Poison Apples

I’ve been wanting to try to make candy poison apples ever since I saw this post on pinterest. I haven’t made candy or caramel since high school, and I thought I might blow up the house, but the whole process was actually much simpler than I anticipated.

6 large unwaxed apples or 12 smaller ones (or a mix of the two)
Bamboo sticks / Popsicle sticks /tongue depressors / real sticks / pokey-things / whatever
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
Black gel food coloring
Arsenic (optional) (I KID I KID!)


1. Wrap a few pieces of saran wrap around a baking sheet and stab innocent apples mercilessly.

2. In a medium pot, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup and stir over medium heat until all of the sugar has dissolved. The easiest way to check this is to dip your finder in the pot every few minutes and rub your finger and thumb together. Once you no longer feel the grit of the sugar, add a few drops of the black food coloring and turn the stove on high.

3. Allow the mixture to boil until it reaches the hard crack stage (150°c/310°F). You’ll need to check the temperature frequently with a thermometer. The minute the temp reaches 310°F, move the pot to another burner (that is off) and let it sit for 1-2 minutes, just long enough for the bubbles to disappear.

4. Carefully twirl the apples into the tar pit. You will need to move somewhat fast here because the mixture will harden as it cools. Place them back on the saran wrapped cookie sheet and point and laugh at your kids for having to wait 30 minutes for them to cool.

5. Wrap em’ with some saran wrap and some flair and call it a day.

There are a few things I might do differently next time:

  • Realize I am making candy apples and not caramel apples. When I saw the recipe initially, my brain told me that toffee and caramel were the same thing. Wrong-zilla. I should have caught this when I saw I was bringing the temperature to a hard-crack stage, but my soul still said caramel. In my opinion, caramel apples are for eating, and candy apples are for looking pretty, but that is just me. I can’t chew ice either, if that tells you anything.
  • Definitely wait for the bubbling to come to a minimum. I have a few that have some bubbles on them. No biggie, just trying to get pro-status.
  • Make Kennedy eat hers at the dinner table, and chop most of the candy off. Seriously, how much dog hair on a candy apple will it take to make you gag? What is the likeliness that you’ll have to cut this out of your toddlers hair if you fail to make a ponytail? What the hell was I thinking?

Finding The Best Natural Deodorant

Over the last month, I have put my pits (and possibly my coworkers) through the ringer, and I’m not sorry. I have been wanting to make the switch to a natural deodorant for quite some time, but have been holding on to these preconceived ideas about natural deodorant; namely, that it doesn’t work and I am going to smell like a woman named Harmony Moon, with long hairy pits, on tour with Phish, and no shower. Kinda, sorta, not really – but kinda. In truth, I don’t know really what I expected, but I didn’t expect the outcome to be so positive. Because there are so many brands out there, I based my brands on those that had a lot of good reviews already. I have never wore natural deodorant before and I don’t (or didn’t) know any of my friends that used the stuff. So really, I winged it. In order to be fair, I tried each brand for a whole week, regardless if it worked or not. This is what I found:

1. Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant (Bergamot + Lime)

Initial Impression: Packaging looks like any other mass market deodorant; however, the company also sells the little glass pots that are much cuter, as long as you don’t mind rubbing your pits (I don’t). I immediately loved the smell, not Pine-soly, but fresh. Happy. The smell lasted throughout the day, and the application was fairly smooth, though the immediate slippery-wet feeling after it is first applied took a bit of getting use to.

Size: 3.25 ounces
Cost: $10.24

Final thoughts: Overall, this deodorant set the bar really high. I bought this deodorant first and naturally defaulted to the stick option, but I think I will try the jar next time after using some of the other jar brands. I didn’t have any issues with sensitivity, though Matt tried it and had a reaction (inferior genes); Schmidt’s does offer sensitive skin formulas as well.  I put the deodorant on in the morning, and reapplied it after my workout, but never smelled bad. I will say, I think the wetness absorption claim is a lie. False. Completely untrue. While working out, I was very aware of the copious amount of liquid coming from my pits, it just smelled… good. I don’t know that I would recommend wearing this if it is really hot out and you were in a silk shirt or something (you dummy), but I would say that holds true for anything without an antiperspirant, natural or otherwise.  I was actually a bit sad to move on after this one, but I can’t wait to try some of their other fragrances.

Overall grade: 9/10

2. Primal Pit Paste (Thyme + Lemongrass)

Initial Impression: Packaging was nice, not good nor bad, but the smell was definitely memorable. While I love lemongrass and thyme, this was much; the stick smelled like it belonged in an overly fragrant candle and not in my pits. It didn’t smell bad necessarily, I just smelled like it needed to be softened. In addition, it kind of feels like a rough cat tongue as its applied.

Size: 2 ounces
Cost: $12.45

Final thoughts: I didn’t love it, but I do think it might be worth trying a different fragrance. If you like the smell, then I would say that it was mostly effective at masking any unpleasant odor, though at the end of the day the lemongrass might have been more of a lemonish weed. I did feel like it was a bit sticky for the first 5-10 minutes of wearing it, but that seemed to go away. I did not have any issues with rash or irritation, just simply that it was rough going on and I was happy when the week was over. Bleh.

Overall grade: 6/10

3. Fat and the Moon

Initial impression: This was my first experience with using a deodorant cream, and it took some getting use to, but I actually like it. I like that I feel like I can massage it in, instead of just rubbing it on the surface of my skin. I think the packaging is cute and I appreciate that the art feels like someone sat and doodled a logo, instead of a more impersonal one. I guess that just makes me feel connected with the maker somehow,  or I could be waaaay too sentimental about this. Whatever. Anyhow, I am not quite sure what the smell is other than I really like it. The jar says bergamot, black pepper, citrus, and sage, but none of those smells hold the overwhelming majority. While the cost was a bit high for only getting 2 ounces, a little really goes a long way.

Size: 2 ounces
Cost: $18.50

Final thoughts: I really-really liked this one, except for the fact that it only mostly works. I actually bought this small travel size pot with the larger one and it has saved my ass more than a few times. If I didn’t reapply this in the late afternoon, I would offend myself by dinner. There were a few moments over the course of the week that I felt a little chewy, but I kept that little pot in my purse and it was no big deal. I think this one would have been my number one, if it hadn’t been for that fact.

Overall grade: 8.5/10

4. Meow Meow Tweet (Tea Tree)

Initial impression:  Love the packaging, hate the name. HATE THE NAME! How can I talk seriously to anyone about a deodorant called Meow Meow Tweet? I have read others review regarding the smell as being “herbal” and “minty” but I will tell you flat out, it smells exactly like paint thinner. The cream goes on smooth and I didn’t notice being more wet or sticky than the others.

Size: 2.4 ounces
Cost: $18.00

Final thoughts: I could not get passed the paint thinner pits. I don’t see how others haven’t made this connection, but it could not be more blatant. On top of that, I felt like the jar wouldn’t last very long. I would be willing to try some of the other fragrances, but wasn’t impressed by this one for the price.

Overall grade: 6/10


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.

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 tsp water
1 tsp essential oil
Pigment powder or 1-2 drops food coloring

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


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. From my experience, if you stir well, 1/2 teaspoon is perfect.
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.


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.

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.

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)


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.

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

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.


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.

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).