Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Soap Creation

This was a busy week. I was able to make four batches of soap. Patchouli-Lavender, Rosemary-Mint, Orange-Eucalyptus, and Mojito...a new creation. It is always fun to create something new, especially when it turns out to be a good soap and not sent to the pile that gets ground up for laundry or dish soap.

After making the Mojito soap it inspired me to expand my product base and add lip balm. Making a lip balm has been on my mind several years now, but just wasn't sure about jumping in. So far the results are favorable and the people who have tested it really like it. I will create several new flavors(all natural of course) hopefully in the next week or so. A solid scented lotion bar to match the soap scents will be my next project. If all goes smoothly they will be added near the end of April also. Look for its debut at the end of April.

My mystery soap from an earlier post has been named. After sending out samples of the soap to several people my Brother-in-Law came up with the name Serendipity. It is a very clever name as well as fitting. This soap has had some really wonderful comments so far I think it will be a popular soap.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mystery Soap

I created a new batch of soap. With the intention of making a Spring scent this particular soap developed. This expirement was actually good, because it gave me ideas for three future soaps. I love developing new scents, especially if they are successful oness.

I think I will call it Spring Floral...but I will decide later after some of my product testing team has come back with their thoughts on the bar. The scent is quite different, it has the complexity of a wine because there is quite a bit going on, it has floral, fruity, citrus, and spicy scents mixed in. Some of the essential oils used are lime, clary sage, ylang ylang, and geranium.

The marbling in the bar was attempted with three different colors. Marbling is a very tricky process that I feel I could use more work with. Getting the percentages of the color mixtures to the right amounts, and getting the mixtures at the right thicknesses without having the whole batch seize in the mixing bowl(luckily that hasn't happened yet).

The Pinewood Derby Champions

Nathan's Lightning
Fast Winner! Ka-chow!

Matt's Turtle Car does
anyone else see the irony?

This Saturday was the Annual Pinewood Derby Competition for the Cub Scouts in Pack 4. The boys(and dads) had lots of fun carving, cutting, painting and getting their cars to the right weight in preparation for the big day. Saturday morning they all got together at a local school gym to find out how all their hard work paid off. It was an exciting morning as cars were raced two at a time down the track to see who would eventually come out victorious. In the end the Bear Den's top three winners were Nathan Zerangue, 1st place; J. Price, 2nd place; and R. Burns, 3rd place. Also awarded were M. Smith, Best Design; C. O'Sullivan, Most Unique; L. Kelly, Coolest Car; B. Nash, and A. Wheeler were awarded ribbons of participation.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Homemade Chili or Taco mix

Have you read the ingredients on the back of the packets when you make chili and tacos? It is loaded with things that are just not necessary, not to mention that there are chemicals that can cause sensitivities in many people. Below is a recipe that I have developed over time to use instead of the convience packets.

Chili or Taco Mix

1 tablespoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons Oregeno
1 teaspoon Paprika
2 teaspoons Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard
2 teaspoons Corn Starch(can be left out...I like slowcooking mine)
Salt and pepper to taste

Use this the same way you would use a packet for a pound of meat for tacos. I will use more for Chili, but I usually make a big pot. I will usually make a large batch and keep it in a jar to have on hand when needed.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In Full Bloom

Day 21(January 25 th):
The flowers are in full bloom. It took a full week from bud to bloom. One of the days, I think Wednesday, the boys actually got to see the progress of it opening up. It seemed like it changed every hour. The buds went from closely placed together to spread out and the first bud opened that night. Thursday was the second flower, Friday the third, and Saturday morning the fourth was in full bloom. Today we will be pretending to be a bee and pollinate the flowers and see if we can make seeds to plant later.

Oh, if they could always sleep this peacefully!

I found out recently that there is a new "No-Cry" book out. This series of books has helped us out so much in the past years with our children. I am very excited about this new book, and can't wait to get our copy. Below is an excerpt from the book, it is very informative and explains very clearly why children benefit greatly from a good nap.

The Book is called: "The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems" by Elizabeth Pantley


Why Short Cat-Naps Are Not Good Enough
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Nap Solution

If your child's naps are shorter than an hour and a half in length, you may have wondered if these brief naps provide enough rest for your little one. You might suspect that these catnaps aren't meeting your child's sleep needs – and you would be right.

The science of sleep explains why a short nap takes the edge off, but doesn't offer the same physical and mental nourishment that a longer nap provides. It takes between 90 and 120 minutes for your child to move through one entire sleep cycle, resulting in a Perfect Nap.

It has been discovered that each stage of sleep brings a different benefit to the sleeper. Imagine, if you will, magic gifts that are awarded at each new stage of sleep:

Stage 1 - Very light sleep - Lasts 5 to 15 minutes
The gifts:Prepares body for sleep; Reduces feelings of sleepiness

Stage 2 - Light to moderate sleep - Lasts up 15 minutes
The gifts:Increases alertness; Improves motor skills; Stabilizes mood; Slightly reduces homeostatic sleep pressure (The biological process that creates fatigue and irritability.)

Stage 3 - Deep sleep - Lasts up to 15 minutes
The gifts:Strengthens memory; Release of growth hormone; Repair of bones, tissues and muscles; Fortification of immune system; Regulates appetite; Releases bottled up stress; Restores energy; Reduces homeostatic sleep pressure

Stage 4 – Deepest sleep - Lasts up to 15 minutes
The gifts:Same benefits as Stage 3, but enhanced

Next Stage – Dreaming - Lasts up to 9 to 30 minutes
The gifts:Transfers short-term memory into long-term memory; Organizes thoughts; Secures new learning; Enhances brain connections; Sharpens visual and perceptual skills; Processes emotions; Relieves stress; Inspires creativity; Boosts energy; Reduces homeostatic sleep pressure

Longer naps - For as long as your child sleeps
The gifts:Repeat all of the above stages in cycles

In order for your child to receive all of these wonderful gifts he must sleep long enough to pass at least once through each stage of sleep. Longer naps will encompass additional sleep cycles and provide a continuous presentation of gifts.

Newborn babies have unique cycles that slowly mature over time. A newborn sleep cycle is about 40 to 60 minutes long, and an infant enters dream sleep quickly, skipping several sleep stages. Infants need several sleep cycles to receive their full allotment of gifts. If your infant is sleeping only 40-60 minutes at naptime it is an indication that your baby is waking between cycles instead of returning to sleep on his own. We'll cover a plethora of ideas to help your baby learn to go back to sleep without your intervention.

Now you can clearly see why a short nap doesn't provide your baby or young child the best benefits of napping. You can also see why a mini-nap can fool you into thinking it is enough – since the very first five to fifteen minutes reduce feelings of sleepiness and bring that whoosh of second-wind energy that dissipates quickly, resulting is fussiness, crying, crankiness, tantrums and whining.

This is a copyrighted excerpt from The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, December 2008).
More excerpts (available for reprint) are posted on her website.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Blog Series

In an effort to promote the handmade momevent, become more active with my blog and also help promote other talented moms with businesses, I will be featuring some of these talented moms every week. So check in often to see the variety of talented artitst in their trade. You may find a handmade item that you just can't live without.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nathan Turns Nine

Today was Nathan's Birthday! He is nine now! It is amazing how time flies. This year he is learning guitar, enjoying his cub scout adventures, practicing his skateboard techniques(like staying on the board), wittling, and getting his car ready for the Pinewood Derby in February.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Planting A Tree

This week the Cub Scouts went out and planted a tree in order to earn one of their Achievements. This one is called Take Care of Your Planet.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Graham Crackers

In an effort to begin living healthier we are trying to cut out some of the artificial products that are in food and cutting back on packaged food as much as possible. This week I made Graham Crackers. I have been very frustrated lately with the fact that everything has High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. Even Graham Crackers have moved over to adding it to the list of ever growing fillers in food.
So, in researching to find out why, I found out that it is a cheaper alternative to cane sugar, used to lengthen shelf life of products, and helps to make the food brown better. The big reason for my search was when I bought a box of Saltine Crackers they are made with yep, you guessed it high fructose corn syrup! They are not supposed to contain sugar they are a soda cracker! Anyway, enough of my rant. I am going to be trying to adjust our diet by making more snacks at home instead of buying the stuff in the boxes. If anyone is interested, here is the recipe.
Graham Crackers
1/3 cup butter or shortening
3 tablespoons honey(warm)
1/3 cup of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 300 deg. F
Combine dry ingredients and set aside
Combine butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla and blend until smooth.
Add dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
Add water and mix until a dough ball forms. You may need to use your hands.
Divide the dough in 1/3 pieces and roll very thin (1/16th inch) it will double in size when baked. Rolling between parchment paper works really well.
Using the bottom sheet of parchment, place on baking sheet(keeps it from sticking) and cut it into the shape you would like. To make it standard graham cracker size, score the dough 5in x 2 3/8 in. I just cut ours 2 in x 2 1/2 in.
Bake 22-24 minutes or until the edges brown. if the dough is a little thicker it will take longer.
For cinnamon grahams sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top before baking.
Happy Baking!

Amaryllis Update

Day13(Saturday Jan. 17):

The plant is still alive, and the stem has not been picked yet. That is actually pretty good for us lately. It even survived a night out in the cold bucause everyone forgot to bring it in. Today the leaves measure 3 inches from the base of the bulb and the flower stem and bud are now measuring 15.5 inches from the base of the bulb. It is also beginning to bloom...we will soon get to see a flower. The kids have really enjoyed watching it. Basically it grew an inch every day and in the next week we will be able to watch the bloom unfold. Nathan has started drawing the progression of the bud as it blooms. I am not sure if he will continue, but so far he has done a good job.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Plant Project

For Christmas I was given an Amaryllis as a gift. When I opened the package there was a bulb that had already begun to grow. It was white because it had been growing inside a sealed container. Nathan and I started talking about it because it was peculiar and it is now a pet project on how plants grow, what they need to grow, and how long it will take to create a flower. We will try to keep up with it on the blog as well as the notebook.

Day 1(Sun. January4):
This is the first day out of the package. Nathan noticed it was white instead of green. and it was curled because of the tight packaging. He also measured the height of the leaves and the stem with the flower bud. The leaves were 2 inches tall and the stem measured about 4 inches.

Day 2(Mon. January 5):
Today the stem began to straighten out and there was more color present on both the leaves and the stem. It is a light yellowish green on the edges. The measurements were still the same for both the stem and the leaves.
Day 3(Tue. January 6):
This morning there was quite a noticeable difference in color from yesterday; it is actually becoming green. It is also a little straighter than yesterday. Unfortunately we did not measure the plant to see if it was the same height.
Day4(Wed. January 7):
Today the green is even brighter and the white color is almost completely gone. Measuring the stem and leaves today showed that it had also grown a bit. The stem is now 5 1/4 inches long and the Leaves are 2 1/4 inches tall.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Best Wishes on a Great New Year!

Wishing everyone a New Year filled
with blessings and happiness.
May God Bless your home and family
in the coming year.