Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Genesis 15 - God's Covenant with Abram - and Homemade Salt Dough Stars!

Yesterday during our journey through the Bible, my little one and I read Genesis chapter 15.  We discussed God's covenant (contract) with Abram. -

"And he brought him outside and said, 'Look toward heaven, and number the stars,
if you are able to number them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.' 
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness."
- Genesis 15:5-6

(If you'd like to read more about our journey through the Bible, you can go here: "A Call to Join the Jochebed Club")

So what would be a better way to continue our lesson on God's covenant with Abram than to make homemade salt dough ornaments in the shape of stars!!!  I got my recipe for the salt dough here.  And it was SOOO EASY!!!  All you need is:

1/2 cup table salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
(plus more to flour your work area and more for thickening your dough)

The first thing to do is assemble all of your ingredients and tools...  You'll need your salt, flour, and water, plus a measuring cup, a big bowl for mixing, yellow food coloring (if you want your stars to be yellow - but its not necessary), a spoon to mix with, a rolling pin, (or a drinking glass - something to roll the dough with), star-shaped cookie cutters, and a straw to poke holes in your ornaments.  (Oh, and if you want to make these babies into a little hanging decoration like we did, then you'll need fishing line or twine or wire or string or yarn or ribbon.  I used clear fishing line, but I forgot to put it on the counter for the picture.)

Once you've assemebled all your stuff, pour your table salt, water, flour, and food coloring (if you're using) into the bowl and mix with a spoon.  (I used quite a few drops of yellow food coloring - probably 15 or 20 - and they still came out very light, so you may want to use more.)  When it starts to stick together, get rid of your spoon and start using your hands!  Knead that lump a few times until its the consistency of play dough.  (If it remains sticky, add a little more flour until it reaches a play dough consistency.  I had to add about another 1/4 cup or so to get it how I wanted it.)  This kneading part would be a GREAT place for your kids to participate!  Kids love to get their hands in this kind of stuff!  :)

After you've reached that "play dough consistency," lightly flour your work surface and roll your dough out to about a 1/4 inch thickness.  Now start cutting out those stars!  (My little one is still less than 2 years old, so cutting shapes out wasn't really possible.  Instead, I cut out most of the stars.  But I did give her a handful of dough to play with and the small star cookie cutter.  After all, I can't have ALL the fun!  Haha!)

Place the stars onto a cookie sheet.  (You can place them close together because they don't expand.)  Use the straw to poke a hole in each star - if you want to hang them.  (I decided to make mine into a decoration sort of like a windchime, so I took one of the largest stars and poked a hole in the top point and a hole in each of the bottom 2 points.  - The top hole was to attach fishing line to hang the decoration.  The bottom 2 holes were to attach more stars.  -  Then I did the same thing with 2 of the medium sized stars.  Then I just poked one hole in each of 4 of the small sized stars.)

Preheat your oven to a temperature between 170 and 200 degrees F.  (You want to dry the ornaments, not burn them.)  Place the ornaments in the oven and leave them there for 5 hours of more.  Turn them over after about 3 hours or so.  (I actually preheated my oven to 170 degrees F & left my stars in for about 6 hours - turning halfway through.  Then I pulled them out and checked them.  The small ones were pretty hard, but the larger ones were still kind of flexible in the middle, so I turned the temperature up to 200 and put them back in for another couple of hours.)

Once they are done and cool, you can hang them individually, or you can hang them like I did: (One large star at the top, with 2 medium stars hanging from it.  Then 2 small stars hanging from each of the 2 medium stars.) 

My daughter made the small star to the far left.  Didn't she do a wonderful job! 
Its got all sorts or marks and wrinkles in it, while all the ones that I made are smooth.
That makes hers even that more special!!!

After I tied all the stars together with fishing line, I wrote "God's Covenant with Abram - Gen. 15" on the largest star and then I dated it on the back.  - That way, my little one and I have a permanent reminder of our Bible lesson on God's covenant, and we can always remember the exact date that we made it.  I hung it in our living room to be gazed upon continually.  :)
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