Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Day of the Bear


What a week, month, season, year?
There has been so much happening, which would fit this blog, but unfortunately a life of littles doesn't give much time to pause and reflect, much less sit and type.

But, I did want to share a little story about a visitor we had on Sunday night.

We feed birds. We have 3-4 bird feeders going (depending on damages from squirrels) and 2 suet cakes available year round. They are all situated on double shepherds hooks, similar to this one. This has never been a problem until this week. My husband came back to the bedroom after letting our dog out and said, "The bird feeders are touching the ground."

I quickly went outside and sure enough, both metal hooks were bent down the the ground. The bird feeders, which had been empty at the time (I was sick and not in the mood to fill feeders, but I guess it was Providence) were scattered about and both suet cake cages were ripped open and cleaned out.

Luckily only one feeder was destroyed. We think the bear pulled the hook down with it, since it was on the stronger of the two hooks.

Well, all this to say, oh yeah, we live in black bear country and although we live in a neighborhood, that doesn't stop young bears from being overly curious, especially when someone hangs a hunk of yummy fat on a poll.

We've alerted our neighbors and stopped feeding the birds for the time being. At least until we can be sure the bear isn't prowling around our yard during the night. It was a little scary to think of the wild animals prowling around in our backyard while we sleep, but now I'm just bummed we didn't see him.

What's the wildest thing you've had visit your yard?

I'm thinking I might use this experience to convince my husband we should add some more lights in the backyard. hmm...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder


I realize it has been a while. I'm sorry for that.
I think it's time to admit that I do have a problem with Seasonal Affective Disorder and I need to address it.

If you're not familiar, Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) is a type of depression which is directly related to the changes in season and the levels of sunlight a person receives. Symptoms are different for each person ranging from losing interest in activities, having low energy, sleeping problems, difficulty concentrating, feelings of hopelessness or guilt.

I've always had a winter-blues kinda way about myself, but as I've grown older, this issue hits harder. Can you believe the only reason  I haven't blogged is because I didn't want to turn on the computer? I mean how low energy can you get? 

But it gets pretty bad and has consistently gotten worse. I plan to really get to the root of this problem and figure out a way to fight through from November to April.

Do you have problems with SAD? What do you do to fight it? 
 
Medical information for this post are pulled from the Mayo Clinic's website.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Let's Make Bath Bombs!


Bath bombs! You must have heard about them before. It seems everyone is talking about them. For a show I did this past weekend, I made bath bombs instead of my usual glycerin soaps. 
I don't sell bath products by trade, but I like to make something fun, which my children will enjoy if I don't sell them all. It's also nice to schedule a day that doesn't involve crocheting, because when I'm preparing for a convention, that seems like all I do.  

I thought, why not give you a how to on making bath bombs and hopefully you can learn from my mistakes! 

Ok, so first things, first, you need a recipe. I based my bath bombs on Hello Glow's No-Fail Coconut Oil Bath Bomb recipe, but I tweaked things here and there as I saw necessary.

Ingredients:
Food Coloring
Tiny Pokemon Toys (What? Don't worry, I'll explain.)
 
Ok, so as I see it, part of taking a bath bomb is the experience. You want a super fizzy bath bomb with a pleasing color and scent. As a bonus, I like to put a small plastic toy in the bombs. It's a longer lasting memory and a random toy makes things more fun. haha!

Now don't forget, safety first! I highly recommend wearing a Particulate Respirator when mixing your ingredients and Nitrate Gloves will keep your hands from drying out. While working with all these salts, your hands will dry up. 


You will also need:
A Large non-reactive bowl
One Cup measure
1/2 cup measuring cup
A small bowl
Plastic disposable fork (or spork!)
Wire Whisk

Ready to make some fun bath bombs? 

Alright here we go!


1. Combine 1/2 cup of Epsom Salts with a few 10-15 drops of food coloring and 10-30 drops of essential oils. It will smell strongly, but don't worry we will be mixing this with the other ingredients and it will be diluted. Set your Epsom Salt mix aside for about 15 minutes. 


Why are you doing this? Well, The biggest reason we have failures in bath bomb making is moisture. Moisture will make your bombs react before they are ready. To avoid this, we pre-mix the coloring and fragrance with the Epsom Salts. Epsom Salts will absorb moisture without making your bombs react too early.
If you were just making bath salts, you would stop here, let the Epsom Salts dry completely and bottle up your salts. 

2. Now while you're waiting for the Epsom Salt to "cure" let's mix up the other dry ingredients. You will mix 1 cup of Baking Soda, 1/2 cup of Citric Acid, and 1/2 cup of Cornstarch. Mix these ingredients thoroughly with a wire whisk.

Why Cornstarch? Ok, you don't need cornstarch to make a bath bomb. But it does slow down the bubbling process just a tad so you extend the experience. It will also give the water a slightly milky appearance, which is nice. But if you don't want cornstarch, just leave that out. No harm at all. 

3. Mix in your Epsom Salts to the other dry ingredients. Mix well. You will see the color transfer to the other ingredients without the tell-tale fizz of a failure batch.

4. Melt approximately 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a microwave safe measuring cup. I found 15-20 seconds was enough. The amount of coconut oil you use will depend on the humidity in the air on the day you are making bath bombs. I had some mixes act very dry and had to use an extra tablespoon or two to make my bombs. Again, it really depends on the weather. 

5. Mix the oil into your dry mix slowly adding more as needed. It's important to mix this with your hands. The texture will feel like good snowball making snow. It will pack and hold it's shape nicely. 

6. Taking your bath bomb molds, fill 1/2 of the mold halfway. Place the plastic toy inside and finish packing. Use your palms to pack the molds. (Don't be me with sore thumbs) Pack that little ball like it's the end of the world, but be sure to keep the threads clear. If there is ingredients trapped in the threads, it will not make a solid bath bomb. 

7. I found I was able to make a total of 10 bath bombs per batch. Once you finish making bombs, place them in the freezer for 20 minutes. I placed all of my bombs on a metal baking sheet with sides to keep them from rolling all over or worst case popping open in my freezer.

8. Remove your bombs from the freezer, warm the mold with your hands and separate carefully. You should have a perfect little bath bomb now! 

9. Oh no! Your bathbomb broke! No problem. Let it warm up to room temperature and crush it back up. You likely need a little more coconut oil, but it can be repaired. Hooray on only a little waste




10. I recommend letting your bath bombs set overnight to finish drying. With a coconut oil based product, this isn't necessary, but I found letting the tiny bit of moisture from the food coloring evaporate helped produce a more solid product. 

These balls won't like heat or moisture, so I wrapped mine tightly in plastic wrap and tied the ends with curling ribbon to keep them dry and help keep their shape. 

I hope you try making your own surprise bath bombs. If you have any questions, please contact me. This was so fun and my children are loving their baths. (I'm enjoying their coconut oil baths which is keeping itchy winter skin and fly away hair at bay. 

PS! Your bath bombs might make your bathtubs a little slippery. To clean up, I recommend using a scrub brush and dish soap. Fill your bath with hot to warm water, just and inch. A quick scrub around and you're bathtub will be sparkling clean.