Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Last Minute Christmas Gifts: Spa Related Items

Well I've taken far too long to get back to my blog. My energy level has been extremely low with this surprise pregnancy and then adjusting to our new environment. To quote my brother, "I think I'm solar powered." I do enjoy the green and the extra moisture though and now I'm feeling better and more energetic. This week before Christmas is going to be busy so I thought I would just stop by with some links for those who are scrambling for some last minute gifts.

This set of spa related links is from a blog I enjoy called "Chickens in the Road". Suzanne has just moved into her new farm and has some very interesting things on her blog.

Homemade Body Spray
Brown Sugar Scrub
Chocolate Face Mask

Merry Christmas.

Art Explosion Clip Art

Misleading Dove Commerical 2011

As a soapmaker, I find that the Dove commercial that has been running this year is very annoying and terribly misleading. "If soap dries itself out over time, imagine what it can do to your skin over time" Really? I can certainly understand that the average person might be swayed by this, but it isn't very true and very misleading which is so very wrong for a company determined to put "True Beauty" back on the map. Why the lies and untruths?

Soap is a chemical reaction with fats and lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide). Water is the delivery system to get the lye evenly mixed. Freshly made cold process soap is still very moist and usually requires 4 to 6 weeks to "dry" out into a nicely aged hard bar. Actually, soap that is a year old is even better than soap that is 6 weeks old because the soap continues to change and become more mild. At least it does in my experience. Eventually, a large proportion of the water will evaporate, but through the soap is cracked and dry looking, it doesn't mean all the good stuff has gone, it just indicates the water has left the building. Of course there are other factors to it such as the formulations. Some fats make for a harder bar and sometimes causes the soap to dry faster and crack.

Another misleading little fact that Dove chooses to ignore is that the very same type of thing happens to syndet (synthetic detergent) bars as well. It seems to happen more often to the bars I bought from the store than the ones I have made 5 years ago. Yes, I did find some soap I made 5 years ago and it was wonderful! Of course, I know how old my soap is, but really who know how long store bought soap has been hanging around. But really, in this case, older is better in my opinion in the case of soap.

Okay, that is my rant. Here is a couple other places who have problems with the Dove commercials. The Alabu Skin Care Blog and Point of Interest have some perspective on them as well.  Dove is a nice combo soap and syndet bar but I just have a problem with their advertising.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Do you remember these? I think they are Linking Cubes. Around my house they are called math blocks/cubes. I remember them as boring lines to help figure out simple math problems. Never gave them much thought and didn't think of them as anything other than something boring. After all it only has one prong, how much can you do with it?

Well My boys proved me very unimaginative in the least. We were gifted with several of these math cubes a few years back. I knew they were used in math, although I didn't use them all that often. My boys saw all sorts of opportunities with them. Right off the bat, they were creating things with them. My boys love Transformers, so of course, they made transformers. They would made figures that had movable arms and "transformed" into vehicle mode. Granted in vehicle mode, you might have to use more imagination by they transformed. 

Being a Craft lover, I try to instill that into my boys. After all, crafty is not just for girls you know. We do a lot of crafting together. But sometimes my boys just blow me away with their imagination. I try not to say, "Hey that's impossible!" Usually, I try to see what they boys will do to make their idea happen and the results often are quite stunning.

Here is a recent examples of their imagination:
Bumble Bee
Capt. America

Red Skull

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Totally Disorganized

Well, we made it to Arkansas without any mishaps. Thanks exclusively to the Lord. We had to leave a lot of things behind and due to my procrastination, many things were packed willy nilly. After a month, I'm still trying to find things. Two weeks ago, I went looking for my iron and found my husbands boots, a few of the boxes that held stuff from my desk and some kitchen things. I did not, however, find the iron. Yesterday, I found the iron. It was on top of the refrig. Go figure.

I'm down to one sippy cup for Rockbiter. Those silicone straws and soft top cups are a waste of money for that one. He just bites the tops off and then there is sticky liquid everywhere. The one remaining cup is purple with pink glitter sparkles with pink and purple flowers that have been mostly rubbed off. Thanks to Grandma H for giving us Cousin C's old sippy's. I don't know what I would have done without them. The one hard sprout sippy went missing Day one at the new place. Vanished, without a trace. Frankly, right now, I do NOT want to find it. It had milk in it. If it comes to light, guess where it's going. I have a thing about spoiled nasty milky sippy cups.

I have one dress. My charging cord is missing from my laptop. My craft stuff is littered over several boxes in the packed "Craft" room. I know I'm missing at least two boxes of Kitchen stuff. And the boys still have about 8 trash bags of their old room outside. Sometimes, I wonder if I'll ever find the missing stuff and feel settled.

The good news is that my Living Room is shaping up. I've been cracking the whip and the boys' rooms are decent. Might as well start them off early how to keep their rooms neat and clean. It feels great making dinners again instead of eating that icky packaged stuff. This place is smaller than my last place. That is a plus in my book. I want this place to be better organized than our last place was. My work station is almost set up. I went from using this HUGE office desk to a student desk and my ol' Rolltop knockoff. It is great, I love the new setup.

I don't have a dishwasher, isn't that great?! I know, that sounds weird. Girl, you are a family of 6! That's a lot of dishes. Actually, there's a pile of them right now, but I'm working on getting a routine down. Just a bit behind, but I am gonna make it. I've been very discontented with dishwashers in general. I don't like having to "preclean" the dishes before putting them in a dishwasher and then even then having to clean them again after the cycle has been done. The boys are gonna learn how to wash and put away dishes.

Despite being disorganized and still not finding the things that would make it easier, I'm really happy in our new place. Our new church family is great. The parsonage is wonderful. The weather is beautiful and I'm beginning to feel at home. The Lord has been very good to my family this past year and He continues to bless us. In my chaos, I stop and give Thanks to God. As always, He has been the rock to which I know I will always be able to anchor to. He soothes my soul. Thank You

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I'm trying to post more often, but here I am telling you that I might not be posting for quite some time. After nearly a year without a job, we have finally found one. So now we are packing up to move from the High Desert in Arizona to the Rice fields of Arkansas. Quite a change but worth it to serve our Lord. At least we will still be in an "A" state, lol.

So for the time being, we are packing up and getting ready to leave this house to move to Arkansas. Then we will be unpacking in the new place. I'm not sure how long this will all take, but I know it will be a little confusing. Posting may not happen for awhile.

In the future, I'll be posting some tutorials about soapmaking, lotionmaking and other goodies of that nature. Also, in the works is some kids crafts, which I love and now my older boys are wanting to do. It is going to be a great time until then. Have fun!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Busy Hands

I just wanted to show ya'll what I've been doing these last few weeks. Before I really begin to pack for our move to Arkansas, I wanted to put at least one post together. I have in the works some tutorials about soapmaking and other bath and body products. I'm even thinking about doing some about crocheting even though I'm not an expert.

While on the lookout for another place to serve Christ's Family, we occasionally went to Flagstaff. During the 45 min trip, I liked to keep my hands busy. So I decided to make use of the "free" time to make up some necessary items for my household. My sponges were biting the dust and needed to be replaced. As we were out of work with no extra money to buy such things, I turned to my ability to crochet. I had extra yarn and the hooks, I just needed a pattern.

I found this pattern that I liked the look of. It was very easy and fast to make up. But to my chagrin, I found it too big for me to use to wash my dishes. I do love using these to clean the counters and table and such. They are great. They hold a lot and I do use them quite a bit, but I wanted something small to wash my dishes. So I searched the web yet again.

Then I came across this little gem. Perfect size for me. I like washing dishes with this. Very easy and fast, it doesn't use too much yarn. If I use my smaller pipe mold for round soaps, then I can plop a soap in there before I sew it up. If I use acrylic yarn, then it would be a nice exfoliating bath sponge. Later, when I can afford to, I'm gonna buy some nylon netting and make up some real scrubbies with this pattern.

The first picture is the Magic Shell Potholder by Teresa. If you are a beginner crocheter, check out her YouTube channel. She is very good about going slow and showing the stitches clearly. The second picture is of my Face Dots. Well, I'm still not sure what to call them. I made them to replace cotton balls. I know they are small and most likely to get lost in the wash, but when you can't buy more cotton balls, something has to be done. Not to mention, it is better, in my opinion, to reuse and to make things washable. In short, I'm trying to get rid of my dependence on the disposable products that can be wasteful. The last picture is of a hair scrunchie I made. I'll post the pattern later when I have a chance. It was very easy and now I can made my hair accessories match my clothes if I so choose. I'm not much into matching at times, I'm such a tomboy.

And last but not least, I needed diaper covers. This was a free pattern offered by Celtic Cloths. I'm so glad they offered up a free pattern in a size that seems to be most common. I am definitely gonna buy some more from them. I like it when a company offers up a free pattern so you can try it out and see if it works for you. This works great. Of course, I did change the pattern a bit when I added granny tabs instead of the suggested placement. If I had to do it all again, I think I would go for snaps and a snap press. But more on that later.

I hope you enjoyed the links. This is why I offer my information for free. To give back a little that I have found in the various places that offered up advice, patterns etc. It it helps another person that might be in the same boat as my family, then that is to the Glory of the Lord I serve. Thanks to all who offer up their hard earned information for those of us who search for it.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Heart of Jesus Jelly Soap Favors

I received my Veggie Ambassador’s “Twas the Night before Easter” kit a while ago. I like putting on events for the kiddos and love promoting VeggieTales.  I like to come up with a craft or something really fun for the kids to do that matches every new video. I was stymied. This was about Easter! I wanted something special and memorable. What to do, what to do?!

Then I came across a recipe on the internet. It was about soap of course, I love most things about soap. Bingo! The Lord led me to a very fascinating idea and it was going to be fun for the kids. Anyone can make this recipe, not just soapmakers. It is very easy to find on the web, just search for Jelly Soap. Here is my take on it.

  •  1 envelope unflavored gelatin (I used Knox)
  •  ¾ cup of boiling Distilled water
  •  1 tsp salt
  •  ½ cup liquid soap (you can use bodywash, shower gel, bubble bath, shampoo. Any liquid soap)*hint: If you are going to scent your jelly soap try to get an unscented soap or very mild scent such as milk and honey.

  • 2 drops Myrrh Fragrance Oil
  • 2 drops Frankincense Fragrance Oil
  • 3 drops red food coloring
  • Preservative(at the rate according to your preservative)
  • small spray bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Skin Safe Glitter
  • Skin Safe micas


  1. Make sure your utensils, containers, bowls, molds and work area are clean and as sanitary as you can get it. I spray every time with Isopropyl Alcohol, but you can just a very diluted bleach water.
  2. In a 2 cup heat proof measuring cup, add 1 envelope unflavored gelatin and 1 tsp salt. Add ¾ cup of boiling or very, very hot water. Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
  3. Gently stir in ½ cup liquid soap. Mix well, but try not to whip in too many bubbles.
  4. Let mixture cool down to very warm/lukewarm.
    1. Add coloring, scent, and preservative
    2. Add any other additives such as glitter.
  5. Pour into molds or glass pie plate. Put into refrigerator to set.  If you put into pie plate (or other container), take a small heart cookie cutter and stamp out some hearts. Try to get as many as you can, keep scraps and cut into small pieces.
These are really fun. Package in some Easter cello bags, or make your own with snack bags and scrapbook paper. I found that freezing the jelly soap keeps it from melting too much at room temp, but it still is going to melt.

I plan to have the kids help make a batch and then give them the finished products already to go. I figure I can get an object lesson out of this. Such as, Jesus’ heart was so big that He came down off His throne to die for us. His blood washes away our sins. Note, that I used Frankincense and Myrrh fragrances instead of a sweet candy or bakery one. Tie in the gifts from Christmas and let the kids know that besides being very expensive gifts, they were typically used in the burial practices in Jesus’ time.

I hope you like this craft. I wouldn’t mind doing this one year for my Children’s Church for our Easter Celebration.

Links for Fragrance Oils and Preservatives (just a few that I have dealt with)
Mountain Majestic Sage (Great range of preservatives and fragrances and other neat stuff)
Camden Grey (Great for fragrances)
Lotioncrafter (Great for preservatives)

*Note: I feel that you should use preservatives in anything containing water. If you don't want to add it, it is entirely up to you, but since I'm giving these away to kiddos who aren't always the most sanitary, a preservative is a must for me. Adding water to anything (soap, oils etc) is asking for trouble if it is not preserved. I don't want these cute little babies getting anyone sick or growing mold gardens.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Meal Planner

I have been intending to make myself a smaller meal planner for weeks now, so today was the day I decided to get it done. I try to put together a month of dinners at a time. I have a larger size that is in my Home Notebook, but I am finding that it isn't convenient for me to use, so of course, it doesn't get used. I am hoping that this smaller size will be used more often and thus help me in my home organization. Now I can see what was planned for dinner the morning of and take out anything that needs to be thawed. For the last few months that I haven't been meal planning, dinners have been sporadic and sometimes dismal. I can put together a list of ingredients needed for the week and have everything bought and available.

So here is the little planner. It is very simple. I wanted it to contain a list of the usual meals I make and the 12 months of the year. I left the months to a basic 5 week grid calendar. You can write it the dates and the meals. Since I wanted to be used year after year, this format was the easiest.

Supplies Needed:
     Printout, a long reach stapler, bone folder (optional)

Step One: Print out the planner. I made available my planner here. It uses 8 pages, front and back. It will look like it is messed up, but once you have printed it out and folded it, it will come together. I manually do the double sided printing on my printer since I don't like how my printer messes up every time using the automatic feature. Know your printer.

Step Two: Fold all the pages in half. I do this with them all together, but you can do this one at a time. A bone folder is helpful to use to get the crisp fold. Mine went walkabout, so I just used a pen.

Step Three: Staple on the fold.  I like making booklets, so I invested in a long reach stapler. You can probably get this done at a Print shop or bind it using bookmaking techniques.

Step Four: Use your new Planner. I am going to decorate mine at a later date. I like to get all the dates inputted and highlight special dates such as birthdays, anniversarys, and holidays. I thought about using sticky notes with the usual dinners I make, but I like to look back to see what we had and put something new into the mix to keep from getting bored with the same meals.

Well there it is, I hope you like it. I like to use pencil so I can change my mind. I don't hold hard and fast to my meal plan because things have a way of changing suddenly, but at least I have all the ingredients for a meal of some sort. Often, I haven't used any of the meals I planned, but I was able to make another simpler meal with the available ingredients. I try to have simple meals along with some more elaborate. Sometimes I see a recipe that I'd like to try, so I pencil it in on a day that usually is laid back so I have some time to work out kinks.  How do you get your dinners done?