Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lotion Bars, Belly Balms

Since I've found myself a little low on my belly balm, I thought I would go ahead a few recipes. I find that I like using the oils themselves without adding the water/aloe vera to make an emulsion, especially in the winter when my skin is so dry. At first, I didn't like how the oil just sat on my skin for so long and felt heavy, but now I like it quite well cause my skin isn't dry any longer and washing my hands so often, I don't have to use a lotion every time.

A basic Belly Balm/Lotion Bar

2 oz Coconut Oil
1 oz Cocoa Butter
1 oz Sweet Almond Oil

Weigh all the oils and put into a heat safe bowl or container. I use a measuring cup and put it into a water bath. You can use a double boiler, which is the better way. Microwave if you want, but you have a greater chance to overheat the oils, which you don't want. I only melt the oils until there are small chunks of the cocoa butter left. The warm oils should melt the remaining chunks, you can always put it back on for a few minutes. Cocoa Butter has a tendancy to crystalize, so I melt low and slow. If you wanted to add fragrance oils or essential oils now is the time. I like my lotion unscented. Pour into a container.

The one I've been using has beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil, sweet almond, jojoba, some borage oil and vitamin E oil with a touch of Allantoin powder for healing. Couldn't really tell you the proportions cause I change it every time. I basically make it like a lip balm percentage. I like my lotion bar/belly balm not stiff enough to mold, which is why I pour into containers, so I add more liquid oils or cut down on the stiff oils. This is my preference and I like to experiment. Too bad I'm not too good at taking notes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Did you know that kids can be so generous?

Last week (July 20-24, 2009) was our VBS. I was determined not to stress out too terribly much this year. You see, usually I don't have a lot of help putting one of these together. Even when all ya have to do is sit down and paint. And I am not talking about artistic painting, I'm talking coloring book painting. I do the outlines of the decorations like a coloring book and then paint in the color. My wonderful hubby then takes a black marker after it is dry, and re-outlines the poster so it really pops.

So this year I didn't have a ton of posters up like I usually do. I have carpal tunnel or something with my hands and arms and it is much worse when I am preggers, so I didn't stress it too much. We put together 2 yard sales so we would have enough $$$ to get supplies, prizes and food for the VBS. They went over wonderfully, with enough moula to make it thru.

We (the church volunteers) voted to move the VBS to the end of July and in the afternoon. Personally, whatever gets me the volunteers I need, I will work with. I usually work thru the crafts, redoing some and making up some others, so that we can make it on the budget that we usually have. I make all the samples because, lets face it, I LOVE to craft. I also rework the lessons to hopefully make it easier for the teacher for the various ages he must teach when he is not used to the younger crowd. I do this to make things easier so I can have the most volunteers, not to toot my horn.

Now this VBS we only had 9 kids total for the entire week and that wasn't on the last day at all. It could have been a bummer. After all, we put in all that work for so little attendance, but we got some new faces this year. Some people complain that VBS is only a babysitting service. So what? People trust us to watch their kids for 3 hours while they can rest awhile. WE get to tell them about Jesus and expose them to the wonderful love of God. I think of it as a chance show kids what Christians can be rather than the popular world view of the Hard, Critical, medieval crusader christian. I hope that I can show the Love that Jesus wanted to show. And when I go shopping or play at the park, kids come up to me and ask when our next VBS is going to be and how much fun they had and what new crafts and snacks the next VBS will be had. It is so awesome.

But I wander away. I wanted to say how much I was touched this VBS. How God Himself touched my heart. You see, this year, like so many, we chose to send our offering to the Mission of Morning Glory School in Guatemala. I love Facebook, because I have a link into Lori's blog about the school. I read some of it to the kids which can't have been very fun for them, but they sat and listened. And took the words to heart and gave with such a generous heart. My VBS kids felt so connected to the children in that school, they gave from their hearts. Now remember, we only had 9 total. From these kids, we raised a little over $62 for our mission. Nine little children from the age of 4 to 11, raised $62 for some children they never ever seen. Can we say that God is good? I know that He will certainly bless those little joyful givers, but I wanted everyone to know how God touched ME through the generosity of a few precious children.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Devil and the Duck

Hello there, just thought I would post this email a friend sent me. I thought it was a very good illustration.

There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods.

He practiced in the woods; but he could never hit the target..

Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner.

As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck.
Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head and killed it. He was shocked and grieved!

In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile; only to see his Sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch the next day Grandma said, 'Sally, let's wash the dishes'

But Sally said, 'Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.'

Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?'

So Johnny did the dishes.

Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, 'I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper.'

Sally just smiled and said, 'well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help?

She whispered again, 'Remember the duck?' So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's; he finally couldn't stand it any longer.

He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck.

Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, 'Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.'

Thought for the day and every day thereafter:

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done... And the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.)...whatever it is...You need to know that:
God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing.

He has seen your whole life... He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven. He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you.

The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness; He not only forgives you, but He forgets.

It is by God's grace and mercy that we are saved.

Go ahead and make the difference in someone's life today.

Share this with a friend and always remember:

God is at the window!

When Jesus died on the cross; he was thinking of you!

A Final Thought,
Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
— Frederick Douglass, civil rights activist, Aug. 4, 1857

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Marvelous Marble Magnets

Couldn't help the alliteration, just popped into my head and demanded to be heard. Tonight I got it into my brain that I must have some new fridge magnets. My boys have lost all but a few of my polymer clay ones and it has been driving me crazy to find a magnet so I can put something on my fridge.

Now, do I go out and buy some? No, of course not! Magnets are one of my little obsessions. Sure, there can be pretty ones at the store, but usually the magnets are not very strong. And I like a nice strong magnet, because who knows what I will be trying to stick to my fridge.

This is not my original idea you understand. I believe I saw a version of this on the Carol Duvall Show. Well, I had the supplies and suddenly had this urge to do it right that minute. BTW, I did these while watching the movie Vantage Point. Not recommended, you kinda need to pay attention to the movie or you miss things. Did I stop? No. LOL! And, um, the marbles were actually what I use to help my boys learn math (addition, subtraction, multiplication . . .) so I guess I am going to have to replace those.

I thought I would post the "instructions" so that you can try it if you are so inclined to do so. It is very EASY and if you take some time, they look pretty good too. So lets begin.


Paper, small stamps, ink pad, glue that dries clear, flat bottomed marbles that can be seen thru, scissors, magnets

1. Stamp images onto your paper. Make sure to stamp the next image at least 1 1/2" away from the previous one in all directions. Let dry.

2. Apply a small dab of glue to the image (a little goes a long way). Press and slightly twist a marble onto the image. Notice that the small image becomes magnified? You are probably going to want to use a glue for glass, but I had my favorite glue handy so I used it instead. Remember this is glass and you are supposed to be able to see thru it so make sure the glue is squished all the way to the edges of the marble. Let dry.

3. Cut around the marble. You are basically cutting away the excess paper. Try to be neat, cutting with long even strokes. The neater it looks, the better. This is also why you only use a tiny dab of glue, you really don't want your scissors all gummed up from excess glue.

4. Glue onto a marble. Let dry and you are done.

A few notes, My husband had these beautiful cobalt blue marbles lying around that he let me use, but they were too opaque. I just glued these onto plain white paper to get more reflection. You don't have to have tiny stamps to do this project, it is just what I used this time around. You can use decorative paper as well. I know that sometimes I come across some tiny cute images, but don't know where to use them. This is a good project for small and tiny images because the marbles magnify them.

I hope that you like them. I told you they were easy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How I like to Rebatch Soap

I wanted to write about how I like to rebatch my soap. I rebatch because I just cannot bear to throw away all that $$$ I put into my soap. I have saved 100% of my messed up soap so far. This batch the pics are from is a batch of my friend's. It was too superfatted and the color left much to be desired. So she let me play with it. Neat!

1. Okay, the first thing I do, is get out my soap making crock pot. Cydnie had already cut the soap into small pieces, so all I had to do was put the soap into the crock. I added some aloe vera juice as the liquid portion since this soap was several weeks old by this time. Because this soap was also too soft and slightly oily, I am going to add about a tablespoon of lye when it is almost melted.

2. This is where you wait until it begins to melt.

3. At this stage I added the lye water and mixed it in really well. Then I let the soap mass cook a little more.

4. After I think that most of the soap has melted and before I really scorch the soap, I turn off the crock and let it sit a little to cool off. You have to be careful, too cool and you will have trouble putting into the mold because it won't "stick" to each other. Too hot and the fragrance might burn off and the other additives might lose their goodness. Add your fragrance and additives and stir really well.

5. Putting the hot soap into the mold. It is not a very peaceful process. Basically I end up scooping and pounding. You don't want a lot of bubbles in the soap. I think it helps make it a dense soap. Sometimes, I've added some sodium lactate to keep the soap semi-liquid. It really depends on the oils you use as well. I try to make sure the soap is even in the mold and the top isn't so wavy. Sometimes I put a piece of plastic wrap to try and have a smoother top, but I wanted some texture this time round.

I thought I might have added a little too much liquid, but the next day I was able to unmold. If I had added too much water I would have had to let it sit in the mold a long while. Of course that would have been bad for me, since that is my favorite mold and I wouldn't be able to use it until the water evporated a bit. Since I thought this would stay brownish, I decided to add Vanilla to the fragrances I chose for this rebatch. Vanilla turns soap brown and I hope that it will turn this one into a nice pretty brown. The original soap was scented with Pomegrante, but since most of it burned out in the cook you will want to add more fragrance. Hopefully one that doesn't clash with the original because some parts will come through despite the cook and you don't really want funky soap.

Another time I will post the cut bars and maybe even post a pic of the lather. Another soap saved.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Soap Review

Well yesterday was my Seaside Soap 4 week cure point so today I decided to try it. It smelled good and all, the lather felt very nice, almost like lotion. But unfortunately it didn't lather up very well in my opinion. I was shocked since this was my all coconut oil soap. But I am going to try it in the bath and see how it does with my bath poof. But I must say that it was very nice on my hands. I am going to let it cure for a bit longer before seeing if my hubby can handle it as I have heard that coconut soap does especially well after a super long cure.

I rebatched a soap today that my friend out on the Homestead made awhile back. She had used the last of her avocado oil and did a swirl. It didn't turn out quite like she intended and was a little too much superfatted. So I asked to help out. I don't like to throw anything away and thus decided to save the soap. But I will be writing more on that later on.

I am also trying out a new recipe for shampoo bars. I made the soap last night and am anxious to see how it will turn out. Today it is still a bit soft to unmold as yet, so I don't know how it will cut yet. It did trace awful fast but that may be because I soaped at room temp with a lot of solid oils. My next project is to try the Whipped Soaps. I want to make a cupcake soap and I think that the whipped soap may be ideal to use for the "icing". Of course, I've also thought about making a cupcake bath bombe with the Whipped Soap as the icing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seaside Milk Soap--->is ok!

Well, Thank the Lord, I don't have to rebatch yet again. I cut the soap today and didn't find any oozings or caverns or anything. It still needs to cure a bit, but all in all I am happy with this soap. I couldn't find my soap cutter and so used a knife. As you may tell, I didn't cut very straight and the very end the soap crumbled. I decided to experiment with my rubber stamps. Just need to remember that fresh soap is not like hard oak. IE don't use a lot of force. lol

So here are my pics. I didn't want to get out my setup for my backdrop to take the pics so I just used my very messy kitchen island. If you can't tell, then my camera is doing its job. he he.

This is my 100% coconut soap. I used milk, allantoin, and a bit of honey. I knew it wasn't going to be a nice white soap, but I had hoped that it would be this nice golden color. I know it will eventually fade a bit, but I am happy with the color. I scented it with some ocean fragrance oil but I can also smell the honey. Side note: when your husband is a super sniffer, don't put a fresh batch of milk soap under his nose. Lol, he smelled the ammonia smell real good and no you don't what to know what else he thought it smelled like. I had to refresh his sniffer with the bottle of FO to get the awful smell out of his nose. Poor thing, glad he loves me so.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Here is what happens to hot soap

You know, I really don't think cp soaping really agrees with me too much. My friend Cydnie and I live in the same type of climate and she is able to make milk soaps rather well. In fact, in the summer, her home is way hotter than mine since I have a jet engine of a Air Cooler. I've had to rebatch all of my milk soaps. Not too bad really, they turned out fine rebatched but that was not the point. I wanted some nice cream colored milk soap. What I got was the nice tan milk soap and had to rescent the soap. Which if you know, the FO's and such can be the most expensive thing. *Sigh*

Today I made two soaps with the same oil; Coconut. The first will be a solid Dish Soap. Gonna try this out since when I do dishes by hand I usually end up putting the soap on the sponge and go from there instead of into a sink of water. The Second was destined as a Shower Bar for my dear Hubby. He likes my salt spa bar, but the salt can burn his skin so he doesn't use it very often. (I didn't even put in the recommended lb per lb amount of salt either) This was my Seaside Milk soap. 100% coconut oil with milk, allantoin and a tiny bit of honey.

I was worried about the milk soap overheating, because as I said before, that has been my problem. It was a lovely happenstance that my freezer was a bit on the bare side, so I put the Milk soap in there since the outside temp wasn't as cold as I hoped. Here is a pic of the mold with a plume of the "Soap Volcano:
Kinda cute, really. But I will look at it carefully when I unmold it. If I have those stalagtites and caverns I will have to rebatch. Again. I think that after this, I will probably stick to my fav Hot Process. I haven't had any problems with that as yet.

What is unexpected was the "Soap Volcano" from my solid Dish Soap. It too was 100% coconut oil. This wasn't superfatted at all and I did take a water discount on it. I soaped both of the soaps at room temp which is 68 degrees. I just melted the oil enough to melt, then added the rest of the oil solid and used my sb on it to break it up a bit. Here is some pics so you can enjoy the "Volcano" effect. Pretty neat looking. I do plan on using even the soap that fell into the cardboard box.

If you can't laugh at yourself ...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Giving Thanks

My friend Cydnie sent me this cute email. I wanted to share it because sometimes we just don't take the time to thank the proper entity for what we have.

What Happens in Heaven

I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, 'This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.'

I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on
voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section..

The angel then said to me, 'This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the
people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them.. 'I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. 'This is the Acknowledgment Section,' my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed 'How is it that there is no work going on here?' I asked.

'So sad,' the angel sighed. 'After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments .'

'How does one acknowledge God's blessings?' I asked.

'Simple,' the angel answered. Just say, 'Thank you, Lord.'

'What blessings should they acknowledge?' I asked.

'If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy .'

'And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity.'

'If you woke up this morning with more health than illness
... You are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day .'

'If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ... You are ahead of 700 million people in the world.'

'If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world.

'If your parents are still alive and still married are very rare .'

'If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're unique to all those in doubt and despair.'

Ok, what now? How can I start? If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you want, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

Acknowledge Dept.:
'Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for giving me so many wonderful people to share it with.'

Thank you, Lord God for all you have given me!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

What does the Winslow Wal-Mart have against Boys?

I am beginning to think that Wal-Mart has a prejudice against little boys. It is the most difficult thing to find little boy clothes at Wally World, really it is. Day before yesterday I was there shopping for much needed food and was browsing the Baby section to see what they had. Winter coats, 11 different styles for girls, 3 for boys (My hubby tells me that as of yesterday, they only had 2 for boys). Pants a plenty for little girls; overalls, shortalls, jumpsuits etc. Take for instant the clearance rack. If you have been in the retail business, that tells you a lot on how your product sells. Constantly little girls outfits, dresses, shirts and on and on. The small amount of little boy things are fought over. Really, if you see it on the clearance rack and think to come back even in an hour it is already gone. Grab it while you can. Wal-Mart Buyers (those who supposed know what they are doing by reading what sells, checking the trends and buying what is supposed to sell in the stores for good citizens like me to buy at Wally) take note; if you have 2 racks of little girl clothes on the clearance racks and 5 items of boys; you are buying too much girl clothes and not enough boy clothes.

Holidays are the worse too. Take Christmas, months before the Blessed Event there are cute little holiday outfits for girls. Cute little girly sweatshirts, jumpsuits and of course the really cute and nice dressy dresses for the holiday. You know, the type you go to church in. Nothing much for the boys, which is really sad, because I have 3 of them. Can I splurge a little and buy them little dress clothes at Wal-Mart? No. Once I asked the manager of that section, She said "yes, they had the little boy outfits, but they sold out fast." Really? No. I had been there everyday for 2 weeks looking for dressy outfits for my boys so I can take Christmas pictures. Boy I sure hate being lied to; especially by a manger. Besides the fact, if they really did sell that quick, then obviously then Wal-mart needed to have more on hand.

Really, when I worked at Alco you were expected to check the sheet that told you what sold the best and make a display of those and order a lot. That was at the store level, what do you think they were doing at the executive level. I did talk to one or two of the Alco buyers. One was really nice and knew what she was doing. The other was too knew and didn't know too much about our area for correct distribution. So really, I am not talking out of my ear here.

When I had my middle son in the baby/toddler swim class years ago; I found out I was not the only one with boys that had that problem with Wal-mart. Of course they didn't complain to Wal-Mart like I did. No, they simply got in their car and went to Flagstaff where there are a great variety to choose from and stores who actually look at what sells. I wish I could do that. I know that Target has a much better selection of cute boy outfits. Heck, even the Wal-mart in Showlow has a better boy clothes than we do. I guess it comes down to that Wal-mart isn't proud of this little store in Winslow. They think they have a monopoly here so don't put much of an effort into the store. Excuses like, we are next to a Reservation, we have a loss prevention problem, we don't get to order stuff for our store, it just comes in, etc doesn't really fly with me. Just excuses. It comes down to I can't expect the store here to listen to me, so I will shop elsewhere for little boy clothes like everyone else.

Customer Service. It comes down to customer service. For 6 years I have been trying to get some more little boy clothes to come in. I've been complaining, trying suggestions; it just falls on deaf ears. So I guess I will have to follow the other mothers of boys in this little town and buy out of town. Don't worry, I'll still probably browse the boy clothes looking for something and still probably frown as the little girl stuff overwhelms the baby/toddler/preschool section. But come the times when I need something for pictures or holiday parties, I will go to Flagstaff to their stores.