Homemade Bathbombs

Okay, I’ll admit it. I buy Lush Bathbombs for my 3 year old daughter. Am I wasting my money? Yes. Do I feel like the best mom in the world? Maybe. Would I up my cool-mom points by making them myself, a little smaller, and with smells she (errr…I) like? Absolutely. This was my first time making them and they were so easy I feel like a fool for not just buying the supplies and doing it myself from the start. I don’t know what the cost savings would be on these, but I can tell you it is much less than the kajillion dollars I spend in that store. I made a few of each size, and made one roll that we sliced, and they all turned out great. I learned a few lessons on the way, and I’ll share those as well.

This recipe will make 2 – Large 3 inch balls and a little extra. I opted to keep the recipe small so that I could play with different scents and colors, but you could very easily double or triple it and make a larger batch.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup Epsom Salt (fine)
1/2 cup baking soda
1/4 cup citric acid
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tsp coconut oil ( olive oil / almond oil )
1/2 – 1 tsp water
1 tsp essential oil
Pigment powder or 1-2 drops food coloring

OPTIONAL ITEMS
Bathbomb Molds or Saran Wrap
Flowerbuds / tea / petals etc… 
Shrink wrap
bags (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine all dry goods in a bowl (Epsom salt, citric acid, baking soda, cornstarch, pigment). Stir.
2. Combine all wet goods in a bowl (melted oil, 1/4 tsp water, essential oil, food coloring if not using pigment). Stir.
3. Add wet to dry slowly. The dry goods will fizz when wet, just try to stir quickly to minimize fizzing. You should have a consistency that is not wet and is not dry. Mold-able. If you pack these in your hands and they look like they want to crumble apart, add 1/4 teaspoon more of water. Keep adding a few drops until you get a nice consistency. From my expert opinion (reminder: first time), it’s better for the mixture to seem too dry than too wet, but you need to find a balance. (oh COME ON!! The “that’s what she said jokes” are so 2014! Quiet over there.)
4. Add a few pinches of flowers/herbs/glitter/whatever to one side of the sphere molds and pack the mixture tightly on top of it. Do the same with the other side sans flowers. Then, add a little extra in the middle and cram those suckers together tightly. You can also use saran wrap to make a tube, and then cut the mold into slices, if you don’t have the molds. I didn’t try it, but I would guess you could pack these into cute cookie cutters too; I think I will try that next time.

5. Let them dry. After a few minutes (I just start on the next batch), you can CAREFULLY remove the molds from the spheres and marvel at your mad skills. You should plan on letting them dry for 24 hours before using or shrink wrapping them.



In case you were wondering, we made a Peppermint Eucalyptus (purple), Lemongrass (grey), Pomegranate Vanilla (peach) and a Mahogany / Fir (green). This is the green one in action:

Spicy Red Pepper Jelly

Dear Red Pepper Jelly,

We love you.

Sincerely,
Me

This recipe (and plenty others) have come from my most favorite boss (and friend) at work. In our house, this stuff is like liquid crack. After I have fought the darkness for 30 minutes and Kennedy has fallen to sleep, this is often the reason I find to remove myself from the warmth of the bed.This, with some Point Reyes Original Blue, has been a staple on Game of Thrones nights. Red Pepper Jelly is really easy to make, and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or effort. Before I found this recipe, a lot of the red bells from the garden were going to waste because they all tend to ripen at the same time… and it was a great excuse to use some hot peppers too. Anyhow, I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I do.

INGREDIENTS:
3 Red bell peppers
A few red hot peppers
1 cup white vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
(Pectin is quicker, but optional)

DIRECTIONS (makes 3-4 jars):

  1. Remove the seeds and veins from the bell peppers and pulse them in the food processor until the bell pepper is finely chopped (not paste).
  2. Combine peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar and bring to a low boil. Continue to cook until the mixture has thickened to your preference (about 30 minutes) and put in canning jars. You can test the thickness by putting a little on a dish in the freezer for a few minutes, to see how it looks. The Jelly will thicken as it cools. If you prefer to use Pectin, skip this step and do number 3 (below) instead.
  3. Combine peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar and bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes. Gradually add 3 tablespoons of Sure- Jell (I prefer the pink no-sugar) box, and return to boil for 2 minutes. Put in canning jars.
  4. Seal and process jars for 15 minutes in a water bath.

FYI: I would error on the side of adding more hot peppers than you think you will need; it has never turned out as hot as I expected.

California State Fair 2016

Today was Kennedy’s Nana’s last day in town after spending the last three weeks with us while Matt was away for training in Texas. The fair trip last year was a bit of a flop because Kennedy was just “a bit too small” for any of the rides, so I was really looking forward to going this year. The plan was that we would get motivated early and head to the fair to avoid the heat, but since my broody teenager got a new computer and played on it until 3:00 AM the night before, he was “too tired” to get up at 11:00 AM; teenagers are jerks, so we left without him. Before entering the fair, we had a few tickets to give away, since Nivek wouldn’t be using them with a friend like we has planned. The funny thing about giving things away is that you really have to convince the person that you aren’t trying to scam them somehow. I pretty much had to throw them at this woman who was waiting in line for tickets, and I’m still not completely sure that she believed they were legit. She seemed grateful, but skeptical.I would have just held on to the tickets and went at a later date, but I bought one of those 4-pack deals and they all have to be used on the same day.

Sidenote: I think the Shopkins characters are super cute, and their stuffed plushes were a common carnival game prize… but I can’t be the only one who thinks the lipstick looks like either a) dog chapstick or b) uncircumcised wiener. ANYHOW… Overall, we had such a great time. Kennedy’s joy was so infectious, it was hard not to feel a bit of wonderment over the whole experience. Until next year.

Slime Slime Slime Sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmeee

Slime. I really don’t know what it is about slime that all kids love, but I can only guess it somehow correlates with their love of boogers. The problem is, I really don’t to pay 10 bucks for a small bucket of slime, when I can feel like Bill Nye and do it myself. This recipe is quick, easy,  and is a great base recipe for many slimy concoctions.

INGREDIENTS:
5 oz Clear Glue
5 oz Water
1/2 cup Liquid Starch
Glitter (or food coloring, or confetti, or whatever else you want to stuff in it)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Mix equal parts glue and water. It’s easiest if you squeeze out a 5 oz bottle in to a cup, refill the bottle with water, and empty it into the cup. Stir.

2. Add Glitter/fun. Stir.

3. In a separate bowl, measure 1/2 cup of Liquid Starch. 

4. Slowly stir the glue/water mixture to the starch, a little bit at a time. You’ll quickly see the slime taking shape. Continue to stir until you have added all of the glue, then switch to kneading with your hands. At first, it will seem that the slimy is extremely sticky and wet… Just keep kneading, just keep kneading, just keep kneading kneading…

That’s it. The first time I made this I put the glue/water in the bowl and slowly added the starch, and it just seemed so wet, I threw it away, twice. The third time I did it the other way around and it worked perfectly. It takes 5-10 minutes of playing with it before it stops being messy and has the right consistency. At first, Kennedy was completely grossed out by it, but once Nivek emerged from his teen-hole and started playing with it, she was sold. I did notice that it liked to stick to clothing, so keep that in mind for when you start throwing it at each other.

Bonus: If you modify the recipe by adding twice the glue to water, you have flubber.

Homemade Grape Jelly

Who doesn’t love grape jelly? Me! Uh… Well… Ok. I can’t say I LOOOOVE grape jelly, but I like it, and when you have a bathtub full of grapes that will go bad before you can eat them, then you learn to LOOOOVE grape jelly. This recipe is fairly standard, tastes great, uses less sugar than other recipes, and is pretty freaking simple. I did write this under the assumption that you have a large pot for canning, the basic tools, and have read at least a basic guide to canning that can be followed. Basically, what I’m saying is, I’ll tell you what to put in the jar, and you have to know how to make the jar seal. mmmmkay.

INGREDIENTS:
5 cups grape juice (approx 5lbs grapes)
1 1/2 cups water
1 box Sure-Jell no sugar needed pectin (Pink box)
3 1/2 cups sugar

DIRECTIONS:
1. Be a Martha F’n Stewart and grow yourself about 5 pounds of grapes.
2. Beg others to remove grapes from stems; I recommend children and in-laws, but anyone with hands will do. Please note, those are not my hands (Thanks Bronda!).

3. Rinse off all signs of squirrels, birds, rats, and other grape thieving beings. No joking. If I recently gave you grape jelly, I watched rats feasting on them last week. Do you trust me?
4. Blend in food processor and add to pot with 1 1/2 cups water. Boil 10 minutes.

5. Strain and squeeze out the grape vomit until you have 5 cups juice.
6. Return juice to pot and add 1 box pectin. Mix.
7. Bring back to a boil, add sugar, boil for one minute, and remove from heat.
8. Add to 8 oz jars, seal, process in a water bath for 5 minutes.

BAM!

Texting with the Big Kid

So, Nivek wants a new videogame…This conversation took place over the entire course of my workday today. I don’t know if this is more of a “you had to be there” funny, but it had me crying by the end.

And with that… He’s playing Overwatch as I type. Pew pew.

Middle School Graduation

It’s crazy to think that my son has graduated middle school and off to high school next year. Parents always say how everything goes by so fast, and it’s a bit weird for me to consider that my parents once experienced these emotions in regards to me, but damn… Nivek is going to be gone before I know it. There are many big milestones for him up right around there corner; it’s hard not to try to hold on tightly to the little person that lives inside that big frame. I look up to him now with his size 10 shoes, and just hope that if nothing else, he has learned to put the cheese away. Seriously Nivek, after you make a sandwich, put the cheese away.

Cucumber Watermelon Fruit Salad

There is a such thing as bad fruit salad, even when all of the fruit is in-season and ripe. This is our go-to for fruit salad, and without fail, if I bring this to a potluck someone will always ask for the recipe; it’s that good.

INGREDIENTS:
1 small-medium sized watermelon (small soccerball)
1-2 basket strawberries
1 cucumber (large hump toy)
12-15 leaves Thai Basil (shredded)
1 lemon (zest only)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS: I almost feel ridiculous writing the directions for this, but I’ll go ahead and waste your time. Cube the watermelon. Quarter the strawberries. Hack up the cucumber (skin on). Shred the basil. Zest the lemon. Throw it all into a bowl. Add Olive oil. Wiggle. Shake. Stir. Wiggle. Wiggle. Wiggle. (Your butt looks great by the way).

Eat.

Vegan Italian Sausages

Speaking of poop, this sausage recipe looks like shit… but it is super! The first time I made it I screwed it up by adding 2 cans of beans instead of 1/2 cup. No bueno. The second time I had Kennedy helping me and I was sure I measured everything right, except the dough was really wet and I must have screwed up measuring the liquid (That’s what happens when you have to measure with smaller measuring cups because the 1- cup measuring cup was being used as a drum and is lost in the deep unknown of the toy box).  But the third time, without Kennedy’s fine cooking skills and her being distracted by The PowerPuff Girls, it turned out amazing. I really love this sausage recipe.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup cooked great northern white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely grated
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Several dashes fresh black pepper

DIRECTIONS
Before starting, set aside five sheets of tin foil, each about 4-5 inches wide. Additionally, you’ll want to place the steamer in a large pot with water filled just up to the bottom of the apparatus, and bring the water to a boil. In one bowl, mash beans into a pile of mush. Add vegetable broth, tomato paste, soy sauce and garlic. Combine and set aside. In a second bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Merge the wet and dry ingredients and divide into 5 poo-logs. Wrap each individual turd with foil, place in steamer, and put the lid on. Steam for 40 minutes. Usually after 20 minutes I am paranoid that the water has burned off and boil some additional too add, just in case. For the record, I’ve always had plenty. After 40 minutes, I usually will just turn off the heat and walk away for awhile to let them cool, unless I plan on eating them at that moment. Before serving, throw a little oil in a pan and saute them. That’s it. When I don’t feel like cooking, I’ll throw this and a little BBQ sauce on a sad piece of bread, and its the best thing ever.

Adventures in Parenting and Poop

Yesterday, while I was at work, I received the following message from Matt:
poo

 

 

WHAT!?

Kennedy.
shit.
in.
the.
fucking.
dog.
run?

How does this happen?! Part of me is confused, and the other half of me thinks: Man! She is so smart. Way to go! You could have shit anywhere kid, but you chose to go outside and drop one in the dog run. Good for you!

Here’s what happened (says the man who swears he didn’t teach her to drop her pants wherever she is standing and pee in the backyard):
So I got out of the shower yesterday afternoon, and I noticed my house was unusually quiet. Mija was at work, Nivek was at school, and I had the house with Kennedy. She was content with an afternoon snack and an episode of Care Bears, so I decided to shower before picking N up from school. Like I said, unusually quiet. It’s a scary thought when you can’t find your 2 year old. I rushed room to room. Nothing. Maybe the chicken coop or garden. Nothing. Now I’m really freaked. I didn’t even see the dogs. Worst case was her taking them for an afternoon stroll. The dog run was my last option. I saw her pants just outside of the door, and as soon as I called for her, Huck rounded the corner licking his lips like he was in trouble. Here comes Kennedy meandering behind the dogs with just her t shirt on, smelling her hand. “Eeeeewwwww stinky daddy!” Great. She was playing with poop! I went to wash her hands, and they were clean….. “Daddy, wipe myyyyyy butt!” Yup. She took a page from the dogs, and left some soft serve on the walkway of the dog run.

Need proof? I’ll just leave this here…