This project started out easy.  Toodlebug and I planned on making salt-dough ornaments for the grandparents.  How cute would that be?  I searched Pinterest looking for a salt-dough ornament recipe.  The one I found had a picture of beautifully shaped circles that looked like they were metal instead of salt dough.  They had been turned into pendant necklaces, so I thought, how hard could a few ornaments be?  I didn’t feel talented enough to make a pendant necklace, so I used our heart-shaped cookie cutters that we pull out once a year around Valentine’s Day.

I couldn’t find the original source of the Pinterest recipe I found, so I searched the Internet and found a picture that is similar to what I was going for.  I totally confess, however, that the recipe you’ll find in the blog below (click on the picture) is likely better than the one I followed.  And you’ll see why.

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To get started, I mixed 2 cups of flour with 1 cup of salt.

Salt Dough dry mixture 2014

Then I added 1 cup of water plus a little more flour and then a little more water and got it to the consistency of Play-Doh.

Toodlebug and I rolled out the salt dough to make perfect little Christmas ornaments for the grandparents.

Salt dough wet mixture 2014

After using the cookie cutter, I used a straw to make the holes at the top of each ornament.  I planned to spray them silver to match the pendant necklaces I found.

Heart-shaped salt dough ornaments pre-baked 2014

This was a good plan since the mixture resembled cookie dough, and I wanted to eat them every time I looked at them.  Toodlebug wanted to eat them, too, so that made me feel better.  Kind of like painting your nails to remind yourself not to bite them.

Once they were baked, I went for the spray can and was about to get started when I realized I couldn’t just spray the hearts right on K-Hubs’ baking sheets.  He’d had those sheets about as long as I’ve had my car.  Longer than we’ve known each other.  I couldn’t just spray the ornaments like that.  I needed to line the baking sheets first or place the ornaments on newspaper on the counter.  No cutting corners.

This reminded me of the time I did a work presentation in Nowheresville in the middle of January, long after K-Hubs and I got married but long before we had Toodle and Twinkle, and on the way home got a bird stuck in the grill of my car.

My car is always parked on the side of the garage that leads into our house.  So it wasn’t until I got out of my car and walked into the house that I noticed something sticking out of the grill.

It was dark enough in the garage I couldn’t tell exactly what it was.  But I had it narrowed down to dead bird or dirty snowball.

I was desperately praying for it to be a chunk of ice that had been kicked up by my tires while I had been driving on rural roads.  Or maybe macular degeneration that would suggest my eyes were playing tricks on me.

So I peaked into the garage again, blinked my eyes, and it was still there.

Returning to the ice chuck theory, I proposed the dirty snow got kicked up by the tires, flew around the front of my car, and landed in the middle of my grill.

But I suspected my eyes were fine and my theory was wrong.

So I called K-Hubs.  “Let me get this straight,” he said as calmly as he could, “you think you have either a dead bird or a dirty snowball in the grill of your car.” Uh huh.  “Do you want me to come home and help you with it?”

“No, I can do it myself!”  Yes, please come home and take care of it so I don’t have to ask for your help or do it myself.  “You know, I just, uh, wanted to get your opinion on how I should take care of this situation since, you know, it could be either a dirty snowball or a bird.  Hey, wait!  Do you think it’s dead?”

“I’d say if it’s a bird, it’s pretty dead.”

“Oh, thank God!  I think.”

“Well, I’d suggest getting a broom out and using the end of it to pry the bird out.”

“Or to break up the chunks of dirty ice.”

“Right, chunks of dirty ice.  And, M, don’t forget to back the car out of the garage before you do this.  You know, in case it isn’t dirty ice.”

You might think he was insulting my intelligence, but the truth is I hadn’t thought to do that.  There was a broomstick right next to the door leading into the house.  And I had contemplated prying the bird out from my position on the stairs, leaving it in front of my car, shutting the door, and letting K-Hubs take care of it on his way into the house.

My luck, I thought, the bird wasn’t really dead.  Just paralyzed with cold fear.  To avoid it altogether, I walked through the front door of our house, broomstick in hand, around to the garage, and got in the driver’s side door to back the car out.

Feeling like this was my moment to prove I was tough, though, I backed the car out to the middle of the driveway, looked around for witnesses, and got out of the car.  Neighbors were at work, and I couldn’t decide if this was good or bad.  There was no one to witness what I suspected was going to be the most absurd thing I had done…recently, but that also meant I was entirely on my own.

Still dressed in my work clothes of a suit and slip-on mules (so practical for a January winter morning), I grabbed the broomstick and went into stealth mode.

This song comes to mind.

I jabbed, breathing heavily, eyes almost shut as I went completely focused on my task at hand.  I moved around, getting different angles with the broomstick extended before me.  The rush of adrenaline pulsated through my forearms and hands.  No pantsuit was going to hinder me.  I had the agility of a pro basketball player.  Mules schmules.  My cute dress shoes weren’t slowing me down either.  I was all over the driveway.  I was an animal.  That bird had nothing on me.

Finally out of breath I opened my eyes to inspect my work. The thing was still stuck to my car.  Crap.  I had been jabbing at the sky.  Really crap.

I looked for neighbors again.  No witnesses and no helpers.  I heaved myself a few inches taller, exhaled loudly, and started jabbing, this time for real.

I screamed and spoke in tongues even I didn’t understand.  And then with the final poke of the broomstick, the bird dislodged flying through the air.

For a moment it seemed my worst fear was coming true.  It was alive, and it was coming for me!

But as luck would have it, just one long wing was fully extended, and the bird finally landed on K-Hubs’ side of the driveway.

Screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs, I ran toward the house and got stuck in a mound of frozen snow.  Pulling my legs out of the snow, I lost a mule in the drift, but I couldn’t stop.  Adrenaline still pulsated through me.  Grabbing my mule and dropping the now contaminated broomstick on the front porch, I ran in the house to call K-Hubs.

“I did it!  I did it!” I said breathlessly.  “It was a bird with a long wing and not a dirty snowball.  But, I left it on your side of the driveway, and you have to clean it up when you get home.”

So, kind of like remembering to back the car out of the garage before dislodging a dead bird, I remembered to put newspaper underneath our salt-dough ornaments before opening the spray can.

But I couldn’t get the lid off.

There were directions for how to spray and what temperature to have the room at when you’re spraying.  But no freaking directions for how to open the damned can.

And then there was a phone number for questions and comments, and I seriously considered calling them to ask how to open their can.  But it was Christmas Eve Eve, so I thought maybe I should try this on my own.

Google.

Except all the troubleshooting I found was for once you had the lid off.  I hadn’t made it that far yet.

When K-Hubs walked through the door, I told him how dumb the can was.  “Oh, let me get the screwdriver.  That’s what the square opening is for.  You pry it off with a screwdriver.”

Well, of course you do.

But spraying them when we finally got the lid off didn’t make them look any nicer.

Painted Salt Dough Ornaments 2014

Toodlebug took one look at the hearts yet to be painted, grabbed a few, and fed them to her stuffed animals.  “It’s animal food!”

Baked salt dough ornaments 2014

I’m not sure what she was thinking.  I mean, the photo above is practically indiscernible from the photo below.  Actually, the recipe in the blog below (click the photo) looks better than the one I used.  So next year, Grandparents, watch out, we’re doing this again, and it’s going to be awesome!

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Nailed it, people.  Nailed it.

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