DIY Homemade Valentine Play Dough

DIY Homemade Valentine Play Dough

Play dough is one of my favorite things to make with my kids.  They love watching it cook, kneading it, adding the colors, etc. and enjoy that they are able to help with the entire process from beginning to end.  With February right around the corner, I decided to make a batch of homemade Valentine play dough last week.  The recipe is almost identical to our usual homemade play dough with the addition of baby oil for a softer consistency.  You can stick with vegetable oil, but since we have baby oil on hand, I decided to give it a try.  We also added some heart-shaped sprinkles and glitter to this batch for our Valentine’s Day theme.

Homemade Valentine Play Dough

DIY Homemade Valentine Play Dough
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 4 cups water
  • food colors
  • glitter (optional)
  • spinkles (optional)
  1. In a large pot, mix together dry ingredients.
  2. Add the oil and water and cook over medium-low heat until play dough looks dry and pulls away from the pot. You don't want it too sticky.
  3. Remove from heat, divide into batches, and allow to cool.
  4. Once cooled, knead, add your colors to each batch and any optional additions like glitter or sprinkles.
  5. Enjoy!

Homemade Valentine Play Dough

For our Valentine play dough, we dug out the heart cookie cutters along with some flowers and stars.  We own the 101 piece cookie cutter set and it is perfect for all seasons and holiday.  It gets a ton of use.  It’s well worth the money!  I also noticed some heart cookie cutters in the $1 section at Target which would be perfect for Valentine play dough.  You could even make your own Valentine’s using homemade play dough and the cookie cutters in a little bag.

DIY Valentine Play Dough 1

Ideas for Valentine Play Dough

Print and laminate these Valentine play dough mats.

Use cookie cutters to spell out your own Valentine’s Day message.

Practice counting by seeing how many hearts you can make out of a batch of play dough.

Learn basic shapes by making your own or using cookie cutters.

Set up a Valentine play dough station with rolling pins, cookie cutters, glitter, sprinkles, beads, and allow you child to enjoy open-ended play!

DIY Homemade Valentine Play Dough

Dear New Trach Mommy,

Brynlee Dec 16 blog

Sweet mama, I never thought I would be able to write this post.  Everything was so scary and I felt desperate.  How would I ever get the hang of this trach-baby thing when every time I thought about it, I broke out into a sweat and my eyes teared up.  It was months before I could get through a trach change (my husband did the change, I was just there for uhhh… moral support? except I wasn’t very good at that either) without having a complete and total meltdown.  Justin would change Brynlee’s trach and I would find myself short of breath, sitting down to keep from falling down, and for the next few minutes, it was all I could do to keep breathing.

Brynlee birth day

A little over a year ago, I was in your shoes.  Maybe not your exact shoes, I’ve learned all of us trach mommies have different diagnosis’s, different babies, different stories, but we all stick together.  We thought we were having a healthy baby girl, but that turned out to be far from the truth.  Within minutes of her birth, we knew there was something wrong.  She was soon transferred to a NICU which would become our second home during the holiday season 2013.

Brynlee Pierre Robin

The first time “trach” was mentioned to us, it was in a “We really don’t think she will ever need a trach.  It’s a worst-case scenario here and we consider her mild to moderate.” sort of way.  So we kind of brushed it off- we weren’t going to be trach parents.  Within days, Brynlee’s little body had begun to wear down and she could no longer hold her oxygen saturation where it needed to be.  If you are reading this as a trach mommy, I know that I don’t have to explain that to you.  You’ve held your breath as you watched those screens and waited for the alarms to sound off that your baby needed help.  You know all about sats and respiratory rates.

shiley trach baby 3.5 neo

We tried to be prepared for anything, but I was still stunned when the doctor sat us down and said, “I’m conservative with trachs, but we really think she needs one.  How do you feel about this?”  All I could muster was, “You do whatever it is that she needs.  Whatever she needs.”


So at 9 days old, we handed our baby girl off to a team of surgeons at Hunstville Women & Children and the next time we saw her, she had a tube in her stomach, another in her trachea, she was on a ventilator, sedated, and paralyzed.  She came through the surgery just fine and when I held her for the first time, it was like she breathed a sigh of relief to let me know how good it felt to be able to breathe easily.

Brynlee Dec 16 blog

What I want you to know is that it’s okay to be scared and to breakdown.  Yes, you have to pull yourself together and be strong for your child, but it is okay to be vulnerable.  You need to be open and honest and share your fears and concerns.  Don’t hold all of that in.  You will eventually burst and let me tell you, it isn’t pretty when that happens.

Brynlee July 30 WSW blog

I know it is all so overwhelming.  No amount of preparation can change that.  There are many decisions to be made and the burden of those fall on your shoulders.  The decision to trach your child is a tough one no matter how necessary it may be.  I almost drove myself crazy between the moment the doctor told us she needed a trach until the moment we handed her off.  I googled as many trach-related terms as I could find and what I found was scary statistics that did not help at all.  Mama, let me just tell you that those terrifying statistics about tracheotomies do not apply to your baby!  Your baby is not a statistic.  Even though I knew she needed a trach, it was not easy to say “Yes, here take my tiny newborn and put a tube in her.”  No, it was excruciating.  I was blessed that my husband was strong and decisive while I fell apart.

Brynlee Suction Pierre Robin

I want you to know that you will find a routine.  You will learn how to take care of your child.  You’ll learn how to best organize that truck-load of supplies in your small space.  You’ll learn how to suction your child in public without a second thought.  You’ll learn how to overlook the rubberneckers and instead bask in the miracle of your child.  You’ll learn the easiest way to load everything up for an outing.  You’ll learn the best times for appointments.  You’ll learn how to plan to get to those appointments on time.  (It took us months to actually arrive somewhere with more than a minute to spare.)  You’ll learn to trust your gut, your intuition, and to keep pushing until you get what is right for your child.  You’ll become a nurse for your child.  You’ll learn when it’s time to find a new doctor and you won’t be scared to do what is right for your child.  You are strong.  You’ll learn exactly how strong you are, how to keep going when you are exhausted, and how to do whatever it takes to better the life of your trach-baby.  You’ll learn how to change that trach without flinching.  You might even find yourself in the dressing room at Target reinserting a trach after your baby has pulled it out in the middle of an aisle.  (Ask me how I know.)  You’ll learn how to clear plug with saline without complete panic and if the plug won’t clear, you’ll learn how to change a trach in an instant half-asleep.  You’ll learn to hear the softest sounds, the raspy sounds, the quietest cry and you’ll know exactly what those sounds mean even when they are barely there.

brynlee 01172015 1

You will learn.  You will become an expert on your child.  You will be the best mama and the most important advocate.  You really can do this.  It’s not easy.  In fact, it’s really, really hard some days but it also completely worth it.

on grief and excavation

Grief is not a place.

You can’t just pass through.

It is a journey.

One that is long and filled with ups and downs.

Two weeks of good can feel instantly erased by the onset of another bout of pure, desperate grief.

Of missing someone so much it hurts to breathe.

The world continues spinning.

My world stopped.

12:28, 9, October 2014.

but it goes on.

If it weren’t for them, I would have chosen to go with him.

Tears fall.  My face feels like it will be forever tear- stained.

My lips feel as if they will forever taste the saltiness of my grief for him.

And I know he would pissed at me for falling apart this way.

and that’s okay because sometimes I’m pissed at him for getting cancer and dying on me this way.

If ever there was a person next to God who seemed to love me unconditionally- it was him.

And I feel like a lost, little girl without him here to guide me through this mess.

He was like an all-in-one- dad, best friend, life coach, leader, always full of laughs and wisdom.

And knowing that I’m only 25 and that I will live the rest of my life missing him..

it is a constant dull ache that sometimes bubbles up to the top and boils over like a pot on the stove, the tears unstoppable.

the only way to release it is to write it out, to bleed it out on paper

even if it scares people simply because they don’t understand

it is a blessing to know the love we have- the love we had.

the pain of losing him is a blessing because it means that we loved.

I would do it all over again- the love

even knowing the pain it would bring.

I can call myself blessed because he was my dad.

Because of him, I can dry the tears and begin my day and I can love my children well.

He taught me how to love well, to push through when it’s hard, to keep going, to be open and honest, to never give up.

Grief can be ugly- it is easy to allow grief to be ugly.

The hard part is turning that brokenness into something of beauty.

He could turn a pile of a dirt and rocks into a thing of beauty given time.

It’s what he did for a living- he turned dirt into a beautiful yard, hills into level ground..

He worked his magic on our yard- giving my kids a place to play.

It doesn’t happen overnight though- you have to put up with the dirt and the mud, the itchy hay and the rain and then one day, you look out

and you see a yard made for running, chasing toddlers- a landscape made for life, living, and happiness.

Grief is kind of like that- a big pile of dirt and rocks that needs a lot of time, love, and grace

and you have to wade through the mud and the rain

but on the other side, there is beauty, happiness, and life to be lived.