A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Daily Ramblings, recipes, photos and whatever else I like to share along the way.

Fun Mug - I need one


How fun is this?!

Now you can have the perfect cuppa coffee or tea every time.

The color guides on the inside help make sure your hot beverage the way you like it.

You can purchase your own mug at Generate.

Early Spring Flowers



What a lovely surprise I had when I went to put some mail out for pick up. A sign that spring is right around the corner. Wonder if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow or not this weekend.

Valentine's Day Cookies - trial run



I am in charge of baking 22 of something for my son’s class party.
No big deal.
I love to bake, and make treats for his class.
This year I gave him the choice of cupcakes or cookies.
He wants cookies.
Sweet!
My head began to whirl with wonderful visions of beautifully decorated cookies. No problem I tell myself, it will be easy. The thing is I have never made or decorated cookies with royal icing.

My boys do not like anything on their cut out cookies... no sprinkles, no icing, no decorations of any kind. Just a simple plain cut out cookie. There nothing wrong with a plain cookie, but sometimes you just want a little something on top.

I feel I am up for the challenge given to me but….

I figured I had better try a test run of cookies (did that this past weekend). Otherwise, knowing myself I would be in melt down mode over the cookies not coming out right or not having enough cookies/icing made. This would not be a pretty sight.

I only had a tiny bit of powdered sugar in the house; I figured I would not use it all. Was I ever wrong. (Mental note has been made to buy a few extra bags for the next round.) My icing was a wee bit on the runny side and took forever to dry. (See my son’s fingerprint in the cookie.) This trial run was a one of my better ideas.

In the end, they looked pretty good, tasted great and the practice under my belt.

I’m ready… I think.

This is our Sugar Cookie (Cut-Out Cookie) Recipe:

They are overly sweet and make a perfect cookie every time.

Cream together:

1 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

Beat in:

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

Last add:

2 1/2 cups of sifted flour


Add the flour a little at a time. Mix until all ingredients are well blended. Chill dough for 3-4 hours.
Pre-heat oven (when ready) to 350 degrees.
Roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.
Decorate with colored sugar or sprinkles-if desired.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until barely colored.
Cool.
They can be frosted with royal icing or eaten plain.



Energy Fragrance Handmade Soap



This is my latest bar of soap, getting better.

I scented this one with energy fragrance and used Celestial Colors.

My first time layering and I have to say it's not too bad.

The top layer was not the color I was going for, I wanted yellow but well, um... as I am very prone to do I grabbed the wrong color. It was too late when I noticed that it was turning a nice yellow to try to switch. Oops..

In the end, it just needs to cure for six weeks and I am a happy camper.

Saturday Cartoon Fun




So today, I found myself with a wee bit of extra me time.


What should I do?

Read... naw...

Catch a few extra winks... nope…

Work on a cross-stitch project...uh-no

I decided to Simpsonize my family.

It was not the most productive use of my time but it was fun.



I am quite tickled with how we all turned out, I think yellow is a good color for me.

My boys thought it was beyond words to look like a character from The Simpsons.

Go ahead, Simpsonize yourself and have some fun!

Job Shadowing

Today, my son Nate (11) is shadowing my hubby at work.

Up and out of the house by 7:30, to learn what it is like to be a Unix Administrator.

He was all-nervous about going but so geared up for a business lunch out. (kids…)

I think job shadowing is a wonderful way to show your children what your job is all about and to start to think about their future.

His younger brother (9) yesterday told him that he could shadow me.
(I am a sahm, it is a bit of work, but I enjoy doing it all.)
Nate told him, “I could, but I think it would kill me with all the stuff she does around here.”
Nate’s reply was priceless and set me into a fit of giggles.
Looking forward to hearing about his day when he arrives home tonight.

What would he like to do? Currently, something with history.

New Soap Bars

Sharing some of my soaps, I have made over the past two weeks.

Nothing fancy with these soaps, but they sure smell wonderful.

The fragrances are:

Honey

Vera Wang Princess type (darker pink - not enough colorant added)

Tickle Me (read about it & the fragrance is back!)

Peppermint (large crinkle cut bar)

Lavender Vanilla (small cute crinkle bar)


I really need to break the habit of buying fragrance oils that contain vanilla.

You see the vanilla in the fragrance oil tends to make the soap turn brown.

more vanilla in the oil = a darker brown end result.

Sometimes this does not bother me but after awhile looking at all brown soap is well, blah.

I am going to see if I can kick it up a bit today and add some color to some soap.

My fingers are crossed that it comes out somewhat correct.

I will keep you posted.

Handmade Treats


Hehe… you were more than likely thinking something to eat.

Surprise!

Nope, these handmade treats are for your skin.
I love to make cold process soaps, bath bombs, lip balms, salt/sugar scrubs, cream perfumes, bubble bars, and the list goes on.
I also enjoy to treating myself to goodies from my fellow soapmakers.

I received (by total surprise) a gift certificate to a site that I have been ooing and ahhhing over for quite some time from a wonderful friend.

Magic Hands Workshop in California has some stunning bars of soap.


It was a hard choice to narrow my selection down, but somehow I did.
My package arrived fast, all the soaps were shrink wrapped, and products labeled perfectly.
The first bar I tried was the Eucalyptus Sea Salt; I have a soft spot for salt bars. This bar creates so many wonderful bubbles and the fragrance is so relaxing. My skin feels so nice and soft once done. I cannot wait to try the remaining bars!
The other product I tried right away was the salt scrub in cucumber mint. What a great combination, so refreshing! The scrub is nice and thick, no need to stir up any of the oils. My skin was silky smooth and it felt so pampered when I was done. I have my bath bomb and all my other soaps lined up for use.


Mountain Suds Homemade Soaps & Candles is located in Virginia and she makes a killer lotion!

The lotion that I received was her hand aid version. Let me tell you this lotion is thick, creamy, soaks right in, and lasts. This has been the only lotion I have used this winter to help my poor dried out fingers. (Odd, I know) The fragrance of my lotion is Winter Apple and it so yummy. She offers many other wonderful items for your enjoyment.

I am quite pleased with my purchases and feel quite spoiled. Go ahead and try them if you are in the mood to pamper yourself, I am quite confident you will be pleased.



Happy National Peanut Butter Day


Today is National Peanut Butter Day.

Mmmm… peanut butter
This is a nifty site to check out the history of peanut butter.

Think of all those wonderful peanut butter treats.

These are just a few I came up with…
cookies,
pies,
sandwich,
brittle,
muffins,
Reese's Peanut Butter cups
pancakes, and on it goes.


I think I just may have a PB&J sandwich today for lunch.

Giant Cupcake Cake Mold



I found myself looking at various sites for Valentine treat ideas for my son’s class party this morning.

When this lovely cake pan caught my attention and I just had to check it out.

What a fantastic treat for Valentines Day or any day!

(Personally, I don’t think there is ever a bad time to have a cupcake.)

You can purchase the giant cupcake pan from Gooseberry Patch. I have to admit that I found quite a few cute items while checking out their site.

Who would not love a cake that looks like a cupcake?

I made sure that this cool find was added to my ever-growing wish list.

Cupcakes...a tiny treat

Mmmm......cupcakes

Tonight, we all just wanted a little something sweet after dinner.

No cookies in the cupboard, no tiny chocolate bars, no ice cream but we did have a cake mix in the house. A cherry chip cake mix, my absolute favorite!

We quickly whipped up the batter and placed desired amount in a tiny silicone cupcake mold and a 9 x 9 square pan.

I watched the cupcakes rise in my new little counter top toaster/convection oven.



(I love this little oven.)



Once they were done, I was ready with the frosting and a few decorations for the finishing touch.

They were the perfect little treat. *yummy!*

Flower in my Celery


I never really looked at the bottom of celery before.

Why should I?

I just pull off a stock, cut, and place remainder back in bag.

I decided to cut all the stocks off tonight while I was getting dinner ready. The stalks were then cut into smaller pieces to be kept in the refrigerator.

(Maybe we will reach for more veggies to snack on?!)

I looked over to the bottom that was left sitting on the counter and was surprised at what I saw.

I think it is a nice reminder to slow down and take a good look at what is around you.

Asian Market Finds


Yesterday, my husband and I were out doing some errands.
We needed to run into a local bread store for a few items and located right next door is an Asian market.
We had been in the market plenty of times before but always with our children. Those trips would always be the quick how about a glance at items or the run in, pick up the item for a recipe and out the door. Today was different, we were able to take our time and really look at what was inside. *smile*

I found two wonderful items and snapped them up in a heartbeat. No second thoughts, no doubts, and no wondering if I should.

The first was my new little tea pot. I love tea and have been coveting this tea pot for a bit now. The first time I saw it was in a magazine while traveling and then on television late last summer. I did a double take when I saw it just sitting there on the shelf. I slowly walked over to the shelf, picked it up, while quietly jumping for joy inside. I did not have to think twice about this purchase, especially since it was only $3.90 – what a deal!

We continue on and what is that?! A crinkle cutter, well that is what I call them. They had two types both stainless steel, which is important when working with cold process soap. The decision was on which to purchase –which for me is never easy. Was I going to buy the one with the colored handle (a smidge smaller cutting blade) or the all stainless steel cutter? As you can see, I went with the colored handle cutter. This little guy set me back only $1.90.

At this point in our trip I was done, ready to head home to try my new goodies.
As soon as we were home, I washed off the new cutter, and used it to cut my peppermint soap. It worked like a charm and now I can do crinkle cuts!

We will be testing out the tea pot today and I am on the search for some loose leaf tea online.

What a great day!

SNOW!!



We were treated to about an inch of snow today.
I love the the peacefulness that arrives with snow, it is so relaxing.
No school!
The magical words were spoken today.
The boys were up and outside by 7:00 am, playing in the snow.
Just wish they could be up and ready every school day that quickly.




Making Bath Bombs

We all love how they fizz, release a wonderful fragrance and moisturize our skin.

The thing is that they are not always the easiest bath and body product to make.

It had been a few months since I last tackled making any and I want to share some with a friend overseas.

I broke out my premixed dry ingredients, fragrance oil, molds and started right away.
(I had some of my dry ingredients mixed before hand and kept them in a Ziploc bag. I went to make them in November but found some items missing.)

The fragrance oil used was watermelon from Bramble Berry; it is my favorite watermelon fragrance. Your mouth begins to water for a nice big juicy slice.

I mixed my Sweet Almond Oil, water, fragrance oil and Shea Butter Oil in a separate container. Then I shake, shake, and shake it until they are opaque in color.


Slowly add the water mixture into the dry ingredients using a whisk. This is the point when Iadd in my colorant-Wilton red food coloring. (Yes, the simple colors you would use for icing.) I put some on a toothpick, rub in an area of mixture and then continue to whisk.

I add the water mixture slow because sometimes I do not add all of it to the dry mix.

Once I have the mixture to a dry sand stage, then the citric acid is added.

I read about this little trick some where online and I have to say it works. Your bombs are less likely to fizz when you are mixing the ingredients and they are nice and hard.



I like to use molds, I have tried many times to use a meatballer and each time it was a total disaster.

Pack the mixture into the molds as hard as you can.
I like let mine sit for about four minutes and then unmold them onto a cookie rack.


With my first batch you can see that a few of the round bombs started to wart. (They are those tiny little bumps.) I realized that our house was a bit too humid that day and they all puffed up quite a bit after the picture was taken.


I decided to put on my bath bomb cap on over the weekend and see what I could do.

It was a much better day!

This time I used Iced Cherry Chip Cake fragrance oil and red Wilton food coloring.

I made sure the ceiling fan was on to help keep away any chance of them getting warts.


Success!!

They are fun to make and add a nice special treat to your bath.

Go ahead and try some out.




Difference in bath bombs:

The warted one is from last week vs. the one that was done yesterday.

End Notes:

Where is my recipe?! Coastal Scents

They even have pictures to get you started. I can say that I never used a mixer to create my bombs.

I have received many bath bomb recipes to try over the past eight years and this is the one for the past two years that always produces a great end product for me.

Creamy Orzo With Ham and Peas



Friday night found me sifting through a mountain of recipes.

I wanted to make Orzo for dinner but for the life of me I could not find my recipe. *grrr*

I knew I had it somewhere but was becoming frustrated for I could not find it in my large recipe book, in my recipe card holder, tucked in the recipes in the drawers or the huge stack of recipes I had printed out.

Fine, I gave up and wandered into our computer room and began to search for a recipe.

I love Recipezaar; I have used so many wonderful recipes from there.

That was the first site I looked into and I was able to locate a recipe in no time.

Back to the kitchen to whip up the meal before my husband was to arrive home.

My youngest was grumbling that he did not like what was for dinner and if he could pass on eating it.

I said to him that perhaps he should try it first before he rules it out.

He pondered that request and told me that it would be fine.

I served up our plates (and there were plenty of leftovers), before I knew it the one child who did not want any was asking for seconds.

This was one meal that was a huge hit!

I must say that I am quite happy I lost my recipe and was able to try a new one.

This one is a keeper and a new favorite for the family.

Check out the recipe.

Sweet Smell of Soap

On Friday, I was about to give up with my lovely pink bars.
There was no hint of fragrance.
I was holding out hope that it would return.
I had a problem Saturday of not being able to resist sniffing the bars a few times. Just wanting to know.....
I woke up today, looked at the bars and decided to get the paper.
After reading the paper, doing the dishes, making some chili for dinner, I figured it was time to look.
I picked up on bar, sniffed and there was my fragrance!
Could it be true?
Went for a different bar and yes, there was fragrance!
Mmm... it smells lovely and I am one happy camper today!

*Note to self: Must work on patience when oils go away.

Pink Soap



I don't know what I was expecting to see when I unmolded the soap today.
I can say that I was not expecting the fragrance to have disappeared. :-(
The color is what I was looking for in pink.
I was going to do layers but opted at the last minute to just pour the pink raw soap in and see what the result would be.
Not bad but am so bummed that the fragrance is gone.
I will wait it out and see if it will return or if this batch will become cubes to add to another batch down the road.

Sasha


*sigh*

I received an email from my parents today telling me about their dog, Sasha.

Sasha is a westie and so full of spunk!
My parents bought her the year my oldest (Nate) was born.

She and Nate were pals when they were together on visits.

Nate loved to roll up in a ball, hide his face and let her come over and kiss him.

My youngest loves to play fetch with her. That is him in the picture with Sasha four years ago, when we went to visit them.

Sasha apparently had a lump on her tail.

My parents took her in and they were told it needed to be removed.

The lump however was quite large and there was not enough skin left to cover the wound.

With the size, not enough skin and fear that it is something else growing it was advised to have her tail removed.

What an agonizing decision to make, but in the end for Sasha’s sake they decided to remove her tail.

They will have biopsy results in seven days.

I had a good cry and now just hope for the best.



Sleeping Soap


My soap right after mixing.
Now.. off to sleep until tomorrow morning.

Soap Day!!

I made soap early this morning!
I have been itching to make some soap since the beginning of the new year.
Today was the lucky day!
I used a new fragrance oil I picked up on a garage sale from a soaper cleaning out supplies.
A new colorant I purchased last week and now looking forward to seeing the end result!
I am so like a kid in a candy store when I make soap.
Just wanting to peek all the time to see what it is doing, what it looks like, and if the fragrance is still there.
We know we should not peek once the soap is in the mold and resting but *shhh* sometimes I will take a really quick look.
I will post a picture tomorrow of the end result.
Ooo… I can’t wait!

Two Day Review

Well this week has sort of improved since Monday.
Tuesday started off with the ability to NOT find my keys.
I normally stash them in my purse or perhaps on the odd occasion they might be found on the counter.
Not that morning.
Kids made it by their teeth on time to school after I borrowed dh’s keys to his car.
I arrived home to find my keys in my jacket hanging up. You see we both have the same style jacket and I thought I was looking in mine.
It turned out that I was looking in his; I did not realize that he had worn it that day.
Tuesday night my oldest (11) was in a National Geographic Bee.
He was one of thirty from his middle school- which btw is the largest in the state with 1,350 students.
Some of the questions these students were asked were mind boggling.
He finished in the top ten and we are so proud of him!
Yesterday found me sitting in a dentist chair.
I had to have two cavities fixed; I am one of the few who does not mind the dentist at all.
Now that shot they give you that is another story. *ouch!*
So far so good for today.
Perhaps the week will finish out on a good note. >fingers crossed<

Monday...

Photobucket
Beginning of the week…
Normally, I do not mind Mondays.
Today however started off in a hustle!
Our dog decided to wake me up at 3:30 to go outside.
Ten minutes later I crawl back to bed after letting him in, fall asleep, alarm rings at 5:45. *groan*
Hit the snooze button; wake up at 6, knowing full well I should get up for the day.
I said to myself just a few more minutes. >bad idea<
I wake at 7, I now have 30 minutes to make three lunches, get two kids dressed and out the door to drive one to elementary school and the other to middle school (thank goodness we live close to them).
Oldest is up, dressed and eating, youngest it still sound asleep.
Some how I manage, kids fed, lunches made, kids dropped off at schools, and dh’s breakfast made.
Arrive back home, make my breakfast, load up the dishwasher and enjoy a cup of hot tea.
I would love to curl up and get some more sleep (so sleepy) but there are other things that have to be done today.
Not the way I like to start a day, any day, but especially a Monday.
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