Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dec. 31

Anyone know any good blogs to follow?  Blogs that are active, not a post every two months?  I stumbled across Not So Humble Pie recently and was amazed.  That's the one I'm currently hooked on.  I also noticed two of the blogs I like to read do give-aways now and then.  That would be fun.  I'd like to do a give-away but I only have, what, three readers?  Ha, I guess your odds of winning are pretty good then!  What would I give away?  Soap is always handy but again....most of my large pool of three readers already have free soap.  Hmm, must ponder this.  In the meantime I'm looking for more fun blogs to read.  Hook me up, people.  : )

Some things I missed this Christmas:
Angel Food (sponge) candy...

Divinity candy...

Ham dinner...

Watching Rudolph...

As we end 2009 it was very sunny but very cold here.  It was in the upper teens early, quite breezy, and will be dropping as the day goes on until we're in subzero temps.  I noticed gas was $2.61 today.  We just paid $2.45/gallon for fuel oil for our furnace.  Our Christmas tree is still up but the other decorations have been packed away for days already.  I would do #1 songs, movies, etc....but I don't have that info readily available so poo on that.

We have no big plans for this New Year's Eve.  I went to the bank this morning to make sure we got our checks cashed before the long weekend.  I also took our big penny jug in....

The Dew can is in the pic for scale.  It's 99% pennies in this jug, the occasional nickel or dime was mixed in.  It weighed a freakin' TON and when it was cashed in I ended up with $54.06.  Whoa!  We were not expecting that

Anyway, did the banking then hubby and I went to town because he needed something from Menards and I wanted to get groceries.  Of course we had to check out the Christmas clearance stuff at Menards.  Tons of stuff we loved but we were good and bought none of it.  I did buy Christmas cards for next year though.  They were 50% off and they were so dang cute.  There were four or five designs that I loved.  Hubby told me to get them all but I settled for two.  Hope I still like them when it's time to send them out next year!  We were very good in Menards overall this time.  You might remember that we always tend to overspend there.  We were quite proud of ourselves today.

Then it was over to the Evil Empire to get groceries and whatnot.  Usually I go very early in the morning when the danger of encountering The Stupid Ugly People is at its minimum.  Today we were there about midday and's a whole different experience trying to shop then.  I bought a second tart warmer because I'd like to have a more overall scent in the house, not just in the area of my desk, especially if I'm going to be making my own tarts.  Hubby pointed out all of the fragrance oils and wondered why I didn't just buy from there.  I tried to explain that not oils can be used for everything....just look at the Hobby Lobby oils?!  He had a bit of man attitude, like 'They're here in the smelly stuff section.  They're for oil burners.  What's the difference?'  Fine fine, just to humor him I bought one.  I made a batch of tarts this afternoon, crossing my fingers when I added the oil.  I admit my surprise...nothing bad happened.  The oil seemed very weak though, even smelling it right from the bottle, so I used way more than what is usually recommended.  We'll see what happens when I melt one, maybe tomorrow.

Finished shopping and came home to find our third son Matt here again.  Yeah, the boys have nothing happening on this lovely New Year's Eve either.  So, just like Christmas, it's been the menfolk playing video games and having Yugi card duels while I putter around on the house and stare at all the things I want from Etsy.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)                                                            Times are changing for moody mammoth Manny (voiced by Ray Romano), motormouthed sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) and crafty saber-toothed tiger Diego (Denis Leary) in this third installment of the beloved computer-animated children's franchise. Life heats up for our heroes when they meet some new and none-too-friendly neighbors: the mighty dinosaurs. High jinks and hilarity ensue in this fun family adventure that's packed with celebrity voices.
We watched this today.  I had a coupon from a jar of Nutella, so we bought it today.  It was cute.  The animation always amazes me.  Hubby says the other ones were better, that they 'tried to hard' on this one.  I don't remember much of the first ones because we watched them quite some time ago when most of us were sick and zombielike, camped out in front of the TV.

We also played Wii for a while this evening because we were all so bored.  Hubby had been playing one of the Resident Evil games then turned it off and was watching stupid crap on TV.  Total boredom, like I said.  So I put Boom Blox in and he and I started playing.  Eventually Casey wanted to play so we let him join after a while.  Then Matt wanted to try so we let him join in too.  It was fun for a while, we were even yelling and cheering for a while, then it got boring like everything else.  Back to crap TV, Yugi card duels, and puttering around on the internet.  Now it's 10:30pm and I'm not even going to try staying up till midnight.  I'm going to post this and read a few pages of my newest book before sleeping away the last of 2009.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dec. 30

Yikes!  I have so much to write about I'm not sure where to begin, but I better get started before everyone starts demanding something from me again....

Extract (2009)
Encouraged by his friend, Dean (Ben Affleck), factory owner Joel (Jason Bateman) considers escaping his problems -- an assembly-line accident, a potential lawsuit and a sexless marriage, for starters -- by taking up with the gorgeous new temp, Cindy (Mila Kunis). But does Cindy have something nefarious up her sleeve? Kristen Wiig and J.K. Simmons co-star in writer-director Mike Judge's (Office Space) latest work-set, comedic social commentary.

Loved. This. Movie!  I'd never heard of it before seeing it in a Netflix recommendation.  I'm glad I got it though because I was absolutely busting a gut over how perfect all of the factory behavior was.  Honestly, that stuff could have been taken from our plant.  Too dead on hilarious for anyone who has done factory work.  I was never too gaga for Jason Bateman back in the day, thought he was too pretty boy, but he's aged well!  Not overly crazy about Ben Affleck in general either but he rocks in this one.  I think the only bad thing was that Gene Simmons looked very scary.  *shudder*  Ty watched it this morning before we sent it back and even he was laughing his hiney off.  (He said he's seen commercials for it.  Where have I been?)  So yeah, I highly recommend this one.  Go find it, people.  Nooooowwwwwww!!

Yesterday I ended up making a quick trip to town because we were out of dog food and Ty needed a headlight bulb.  I knew Walmart didn't have any tart making supplies so I stopped at Target, and was happy to find two pans that can be used for molds.  (After more thought, I think one will be too big and I'll probably return it.)  Then I stopped at Joann Fabrics because I'd heard they have candle making supplies.  Ha, no they don't, but I did find more molds that could be used for tarts.  I only bought one on this trip though.  At least I know where to find some now.

So now I had molds.  I already have tons of fragrance oils because I use them in my soaps.  All I needed was wax...and do you think I could find any?  When I got home I started searching and comparing online.  I almost placed and order but then decided to give Hobby Lobby a try.  Hubby and I went after he was done with work.  They had these monster ten pound slabs of paraffin wax.  They also had small one pound boxes.  I wanted soy wax though, and I wasn't seeing any.  I grabbed one of the one pound boxes of paraffin then had to wait forever for these two girls to move so I could check out the dye selection.  Actually they didn't really move until I semi-rudely started nudging myself in where I wanted to be.  I grabbed a pack of basic blue-red-yellow-green dye blocks and left that aisle in a huff.

Walking around the store a bit we found a center aisle display of candle making stuff and there was one bag of soy wax.  I grabbed it!  We continued browsing and found several mold possibilities.  It was funny cuz I was content with just getting the wax and dye since I already had two molds at home.  I was thinking I'd wait to see if I really liked doing it, if I was any good at it, if I really felt a need for fancy molds.  Hubby was more insistent, saying "But you're already here.  Might as well get them now."  So we grabbed a couple small, cheap molds and I kept coming back to one larger pan of Christmas designs.  Hubby was all "Go ahead and get it."  Good thing I did because we learned at the checkout that it was 50% off.  Heheee!
This morning I was so anxious to try making tarts.  I tried finding more info online before I started but it's really quite limited.  Most things just give a basic 'melt wax, add color, add fragrance, pour.'  Well, how much color?  How much fragrance?  What temps?  The endless questions I had were not getting answered so I figured it was time to learn by doing.  I wasn't thrilled about possibly wasting wax but I was really happy that you know your results pretty darn quick....unlike soap.

Armed with the little bit of very basic info I had, I made my first batch.  I used eight ounces of the paraffin wax, one of my partial 'leftover' bottles of fragrance oil, and chopped off a small corner chunk of the red dye block.  It took FOREVER for the wax to melt.  And then it was taking forever for it to cool down to the temp range I'd read was good to pour at.  I admit it, I got impatient and poured it into the molds a bit hotter than recommended.  Other than that everything seemed to have gone great.  I'd read that sometimes the wax will sink a bit in the middle as it sets up.  It was supposed to be easy enough to fix by just pouring a bit more wax on it.  So that's what I did.  The temperature must have really been off or something because all the bits that were from a second pour quickly started looking....icky.  I think I got what they call 'frosting.'  I was a tiny bit bummed but overall it had been so easy that I was happy and excited.

I don't remember how long the first tarts stayed in the mold before I popped them out.  I don't even know for sure how long they're supposed to stay in?!  Once I had those popped out and had a chance to examine them I was a little disappointed.  They looked really rough.  First time, first time, I know...but still....  So, what else to do but try a second batch!  This one was a complete failure.  DOH!  I used the other eight ounces of the paraffin and decided to use a bit of yellow dye along with a flowery scent hubby had gotten me for Christmas.  It was a Hobby Lobby fragrance oil that I was already leery of for soap.  My second batch of soap had been with a Hobby Lobby FO and that's the batch that had become so thick so fast that I had to glop it into the mold.  So when he got me more FOs from there for Christmas I knew I'd not be using them in soap, but didn't want to hurt his feelings by reminding him those oils suck.  Silly me figured they couldn't do any harm in simple wax tarts.  HA!!!!  When I added the oil to the wax the fragrance oil just became a gel-like wormy looking glob within the oil, and no amount of stirring would break it down.  And then the wax started to seize just like the soap had!  I knew it was a loss but decided to try pouring it into the molds anyway.  Enough liquid trickled out to make about six little hearts, but I doubted they'd have any scent.  The yellow wax hardened but it seemed very thin and brittle and sure enough, almost no scent.  I hung onto them to take a pic and show hubby, but they will end up in the garbage tonight.

Later in the day I decided to try the soy wax.  I didn't really want to use a blah leftover fragrance but I didn't want to dip into the good ones yet either, not until I'm sure I can make a good tart.  So I decided on another one of the leftovers and tried to make an orange colored wax.  The color came out more salmon than orange, and the scent is not one of my favorites anyway, but the whole process was alot easier.  The soy melted a hundred times faster because it was flakes.  I was more patient and waited for the temp to come down more before pouring.  I did not do a second pour, and really didn't need to anyway.  The end result is about a thousand times better than my first two attempts!  I think the biggest difference is the wax.

I went ahead and placed an order for some proper soy wax, and picked a few more dye colors.  It should be here in a few days.  I still have a pound and half of soy wax here, so I can make more tarts tomorrow if I want.  I'm not sure how to get rid of the white lines and 'scuff marks' you can see on the pinkish-orange tarts in front.  I think it's related to temperature.  Wish I could find some decent info on this stuff!

While I know my tarts are far from beautiful, and I was just happy to have finally made some, it really didn't do much for morale when I got one of the tart orders from Etsy today.....
Hmm, I guess the pic doesn't quite show them in their full glory.  I bought these from Country Home Scents, which can be found at Etsy.  This is the Breakfast Blends Sampler pack and contains:
Country Berry Hotcakes
Morning Mocha
Blueberry Muffins
Cranberry Apple Marmalade
Apple Danish
Cinnamon Buns

I've had the Country Berry Hotcakes melted most of the day and it's wonderful.  I will definitely order from her again, at least until I get my own figured out.  Go check out her Etsy shop!

I also got my newest body butter order today.  How funny that with my current tart obsession the arrival of this butter was kinda 'meh, whatever.'  LOL
There was a tiny sample of Sweet Pea body butter included but I haven't tried it yet.  The one I ordered is Warm Vanilla Sugar scent.  It's almost all-natural, and it's a thousand times better than the greasy Cherry Almond was without even trying it....but still nowhere near as great as my Bella's Birthday.  This new one is very thick, almost like a balm.  At first I thought it might have hardened because of the cold during shipping so I let it sit on my desk for quite a while before even trying it.  It didn't seem to make a difference.  When I did finally decide to use it I had to really drag my finger across to get any, and then it wasn't enough to properly do my hands.  I had to keep rubbing more out of the jar.  The Warm Vanilla Sugar scent in my soap is one of my absolute favorites, but it doesn't come across nearly as wonderful in this body butter.  Maybe it's a different scent supplier, I don't know.  As for the actual feel and performance, it's not too bad in my initial use.  A bit more greasiness than I'd like but seems tolerable.  My hands do feel great though!  My overall opinion....undecided.  I'll use it after my shower in the morning and maybe get a better idea.

But how fun to get TWO Etsy orders in one day?!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dec. 29

BAH!  Wanted to post about my tartiness, and a couple other things but it's been a whole day and evening of nonstop interruptions and it's late now.

Guess this builds suspense until I have a chance to write tomorrow..........

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dec. 28

Posting my favorite Christmas card of 2009 made me curious about what my favorite cards from other years were.  I spent a good chunk of the afternoon digging thru a huge box of cards and letters going back many years.  Sadly, I found I haven't been keeping my Christmas cards as long as I thought I have.  I only have them back to 2005.  Bummer.  Even so, I went thru the mess and picked my favorite for each year.....




(This is another that was very glittery, sparkly.)

I packed up all my Christmas stuff today, everything but the tree.  Ty called me a scrooge, and hubby said he'd like to leave the tree up thru New Year's.  That's fine.  All of the other stuff was the bigger chore anyway.  We'll keep turning our outside lights on thru New Year's too.

I keep forgetting to say that I started using the Nubian Heritage cocoa body wash.  I'm not as wild about the scent as the person I got it from but I *love* the wash itself.  Niiiiiiiiice.  It's been almost three months since I've used body wash (vs. bar soap) and all that instant lather was like seeing a long lost friend.  The feel of this particular soap is like being wrapped in one of those super soft fleece blankets.  I've also started using the coconut-papaya lotion that I got with it on my feet-knees-elbows.  Yes, I've given up on that greasy nasty Cherry Almond so-called body butter I'd gotten.  In fact, I dumped it in the garbage today.  It just kept becoming liquidy, no matter if I shook it up again or just left alone, no matter if I left it in the bathroom which becomes quite warm or in a cooler spot.  And then I noticed it wasn't doing a thing for my feet.  They were feeling absolutely horrible.  My knees and elbows don't feel any better or worse, but my feet.....gah!  So yeah, garbage for that one.  But even in all of this, my lovely Bella's Birthday body butter is still feeling neglected.  Sometimes I want to use it just to use it and smell it, not because I need it.  Hmm, maybe the coco-pap lotion should be my standby and my Bella's Birthday should be my after-shower slather again.  Yes, I think that's what I'll do.

Didn't go anywhere today so I still haven't done anything about making tarts.  On the other hand, FedEx brought me some lovely fragrance oils today, some springtime scents for soap.  When hubby came home this evening he said one guy who has used my soap loves the coffee mint and said "Don't stop making that one!"  Since I only have one little bar of that left I guess tomorrow will have to be a soap day.

Go Vikings!  Hubby got a new jersey for Christmas so tonight we're both wearing jerseys and screaming at the TV during this game.  I've been coming and going throughout the game but I was just watching the last minute or so of the fourth quarter, watching them come back from what looked like a sure spanking to tie it up and head into overtime.  Goooooooo Vikings!!  (Commercials now or I wouldn't be typing this.)

Well poo.  They lost.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dec. 27

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas (2001) by James Patterson
Katie Wilkinson's boyfriend Matt dumps her; not a total cad, he leaves her a gift, a diary kept by Suzanne, his first wife, for their son Nicholas. Though it's not exactly the diamond ring Katie was hoping for, she's unable to make herself destroy the diary--against her better judgment, Katie begins to read.

Drawn against her will into the other woman's world, Katie learns of physician Suzanne's heart attack at age 35 and her decision to slow down, accomplished by a move to Martha's Vineyard and a new job as a simple country doctor. When love comes knocking, in the form of housepainter-cum-poet Matt Harrison, Suzanne is ready to listen to her newly repaired heart. Though painful for Katie, she begins to know and like Suzanne and her infant son Nicholas. Suzanne's devotion to Matt and their son shines through, as well as her plainspoken wisdom. While the journal helps Katie understand Matt, whether they can write a future together remains in question. --Alison Trinkle

My sister gave me this book earlier this year and I've just now gotten around to reading it, finished it last night.  It was ok, started out interesting but then just got overly sappy and 'Who really talks/writes like that?'  (It's supposed to be a diary, remember.)  Then it just became a mission to finish because I'd started it, and because it was given to me, and because I needed to at least see what happened to Suzanne.  Yeah, you pretty much figure out the basics early on but the details were a bit of twist.

While looking for the cover image to include in this post I discovered that this had been made into a TV-movie back in 2005.  I'm debating whether I want to see it or not.  It's kinda like with New Moon....maybe the movie version will be better because it removes some of the sappy writing.  I'm thinking maybe this movie will be a cheesey tear-jerker, which I'm sometimes ok  I've added it to my Netflix list but not sure yet if I want to bump it to the top or not.

High Spirits (1988)
Peter Plunkett (Peter O'Toole), the owner of a debt-ridden Irish castle, hatches the perfect plan to save his abode: Lure American tourists by advertising the place as haunted. But when Peter and his staff gamely don sheets and chains as part of their ploy, they scare up more than tourists when the real ghosts of Castle Plunkett decide to join in the fun! Co-stars Steve Guttenberg, Daryl Hannah, Beverly D'Angelo, Liam Neeson and Jennifer Tilly.

(Wow.  I don't know why nothing in this post is working today?!  I can't place things where I want.  The cursor just goes where it wants.  Commands are not working.  *GRRR*)

Anyway, we watched this movie tonight.  It was recommended by a co-worker and has been on my Netflix list for quite some time.  It just worked its way to the top naturally, finally.  And man did this movie suck!  I didn't even finish watching it.  Hubby didn't think it was nearly as bad as I did.  He was laughing at parts and made it thru to the end.  I can't even say why it sucked......if it was bad acting, or crappy story, or what.  Even with all those big names.....bleah, nope, sucked.

In other news...
Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays.  Glad I looked at the website before forcing hubby to take me there.  I guess I'm ok with my lack of tart making for now.  I was a little crabby about it this morning.  My day got busier though and I had enough things to keep my mind occupied.

My mom called this morning and said she'd be over at BrotherGary's today to do Christmas gifts, since she'd missed our gathering on Christmas Day.  Hubby and the boys were busy with friends and video games so I went by myself.  My brother Tom and his wife Yvonne were also there, as well as my grandniece Addie.  (I don't like great-niece.  It's like a generation is skipped that way.)  This gathering was the most holiday-like so far.  Maybe because there were presents being passed around and wrapping paper flying everywhere and twenty conversations going at once.  Their tree was still up, decorations still up, holiday munchies still set out, so it was all still very Christmas-y.  I stayed about two hours and then came back home.



Matt was here pretty much all day again.  He's a nice enough kid, very quiet, doesn't get in the way or anything, but would be nice to have just us for a while.  And I still wonder what his home is like that he chooses to spend almost no time there.  Ty's other friend Eric came over late in the day and spent most of the evening.  He's nice too, quiet and polite and they usually just play video games in Ty's room but again.... when can the house be mine for a while?  I keep thinking everyone goes back to normal schedules tomorrow but no, Casey has the week off school.  *sigh*

I started a wee bit of undecorating today.  Just some minor things.  I kept having urges to start packing everything up but managed to resist.  I'm thinking tomorrow alot of it *will* get packed up.  I'm ready to get back to normal.

Before everything does go bye-bye, I just want to share what I've decided is my favorite Christmas card that we got this year.....

Well poo....the scan doesn't do it justice at all.  It's actually really glittery and sparkly and has a blue-silver kind of shimmer all over it.  Wish I would have done this for last year's cards.  I already know which one was my favorite.  Maybe I'll dig it out tomorrow and scan it.  (Yes, I *do* keep all my cards!)

Alrighty, off to bed now.  And hey, one good thing about Casey not having school is that I can sleep in!  Hubby will up and gone early for work so maybe......just maybe.......I will actually be able to do this lazy thing I always hear about!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dec. 26

Another very boring day.  Rather depressing too, as the day after Christmas usually is for me.  All the buildup then *poof* it's here/done/gone, just like that.  One of the saddest parts is falling asleep still listening to the Christmas music the local station is playing, and waking up in the night to find they've switched back to regular programming already.

Did my shopping this morning.  Although I did walk thru the Christmas stuff to see what good deals there were, I did not buy anything.  Paused to look at ornaments because I've been considering a purple-white-yellow tree theme next year, but in the end I decided nah.  I saw NO Christmas cards anywhere.  I did not see any empty spots where they would have been either so I'm thinking they are not put out yet on mega-clearance.  I'm probably going to town again on Monday or Tuesday so I'll look again then.

I went over by the regular greeting cards to see if there were any little Christmas stickers left and couldn't believe they already had the Christmas stuff pulled and the Valentines displayed!  I mean, I guess it's not surprising but geez, it's always a shock to see how fast things change.

Walmart failed me again.  This time is was my hunt for tart making supplies.  They have......nothing.  First I looked in the bakeware aisle for mini muffin pans.  None.  I did find mini bundt cake type pans but I didn't want to buy one until I know whether or not making tarts is something I'll like doing.  Over to the craft department, where I'm feeling confident they'll at least have candy making stuff and that would mean little candy molds that can be used as tart molds.  Ha.  Nothing there either.  Up and down every aisle in the craft department, looking for ANYTHING candle-y.  Not even any wax.  Great.  Wonderful.

I took it as a mixed blessing actually.  Part of me was mad that they didn't have anything.  Part of me was determined to head up to Hobby Lobby today and get the things I'd need to get started.  And part of me was relieved that there was nothing because it forced me to stop and think about it.  Was I just rushing blindly into something again?  Am I just so bored in life right now that I'm grasping onto anything that humors me?  Maybe I could use it as a 'sign' to slow down and get my head back into my soap (which I've been hugely neglecting for a couple weeks now).  So when I got home I told hubby that Walmart had nothing and asked if I should forget it or if we should go to Hobby Lobby.  He didn't answer, kinda just shrugged it off in a 'you tell me what you wanna do' way.  And for a while I was fine with just forgetting about tarts.  As the day went on, however, and I was bored to death yet again, I started hinting that we should go.  He was obsessed with his new game though, and I didn't push the issue.  Not sure how I'll feel about it all tomorrow.

Matt was here early again to hang out all day.  He and Ty went shopping and bought new Yugi cards and a new video game.  Matt's funny about the Yugi cards just like he was about the Nerf gun.  He refuses to be seen actually buying them, and he won't take them home.  Ty told him 'Dude, Walmart has self-checkouts, ya know,' and Matt was all 'Oh yeah!  Let's go!'  I thought MY kids were

I thought about taking some Christmas decorations down today.  Figured I'd leave the tree up till New Year's Day but start packing everything else up.  It was my boredom and my crabbiness.  The only thing that stopped me is that I know I always ended up feeling bad other years I packed up Christmas early.  Well, and it's not fair to my menfolk to just erase Christmas cuz I'm bored, when they might still be enjoying it.  Can't say the stuff will make it thru the day tomorrow though if I'm this bored again.

I'm also moody because I go back to work in one week.  Instead of looking at it as 'I have one more week off!' I keep dreading it as 'I only have one more week off!'  It's the usual 'What have I done with all that time off?' self pressure.  BLEAH.  I'm just an all-around crabby pants today.

I don't even have any pics to share.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dec. 24

Here we are.  Christmas Eve.  Seems very weird to me, very uneventful.  Ty's friend Matt came over about 9am this morning and has been hanging out all day.  We've all just been lounging around the house, relaxing for the day.  The boys have been playing video games.  Sometimes hubby joins them for some Yugi card duels.  They're watching crap TV.  It's like a guy club....and I'm feeling a bit bored and left out.  *pout*

We've had crappy weather all day.  It hasn't really been stormy, but it's been icy.  Temps are hovering just around freezing so we've been getting mix of snow, sleet, rain all day.  There is a lovely looking ice glaze over everything.  Well, at least there was earlier today,,,,it's been flat out raining all evening now.  Matt made a comment about having to spend the night because the roads will be icy.  Any other night I wouldn't have a problem.  And I don't really have a problem with the fact that it's Christmas Eve.  I just think it would be so incredibly awkward to have him wake up to all our presents under the tree.  And really, it's kinda sad that he's got nothing going on at home that he would even consider staying here.  (Ooh, I think he just went out to start his car...hehe.)

I puttered around on the internet all day.  Browsed Etsy for a while, adding more 'favorites' to my list of things I want to eventually order.  Played a bit of UO, mostly just trying to spruce up my little virtual-house for Christmas.....

I was so bored most of the day I was even willing to play Warcraft again if hubby would have played, but he was busy trying to finish a cat tower thing he's been building for his parents' kitties.  It's done now and it's so 'loud' and 'busy' looking.....but looks fun and useful for cats.  We can only hope the cats think so!

I waited anxiously for the mail this morning, thinking any last minute Christmas cards would be in there.  Nope.  No more cards.  Every year we get less and less.  It's quite pathetic this year.  *sigh*  I was almost developing a complex about it ('People don't like us!') until my sister commented that they've been getting less too.  Anyway, once I saw there was nothing Christmas-y in the mail I settled in for my long boring bah humbug Christmas Eve Day.  Imagine my surprise a few hours later when UPS delivered a package for me!  I could not think of anything that was due to arrive so I tore it open to find.......the fragrance oils I had just ordered, what, two days ago?!  Holy jingle balls, Batman!  Well at least I had something to do now.  I whipped up the batches of requested chocolate and gingerbread scented soaps.  And then it was back to the ho-hum, the staring at the computer screen.

Yesterday it was lip balm.  Today it's tarts.  You know, those scented wax things that melt and make your house smell wonderful....?

When I first got into the soap craze my original idea had been to make soap AND tarts.  I'd thought it would be cool to make tarts because I can never find them in stores anymore.  I like candles but I hate how they burn a hole down the middle and what are you left with?  Or I hate trying to clean the little holders after a scented votive has burned.  But tarts.....mmm.

Several weeks ago hubby and I came across a huge selection of tarts at Menards, of all places.  We bought four or five packs.  We were happy we knew where to find them.  A few days later I put the cinnamon one in my little burner seemed rather weak.  I popped a second one in with the first the next time I burned it, and it didn't seem to matter.  I shrugged it off, thinking maybe my old ones were just extra strong.  After the third time burning them, I smelled the actual package containing the remaining two tarts.  I could barely even smell them that way.  What a bunch of doodie.

So today I was cleaning the should-be-cinnamon out of the burner and putting one of my precious few older tarts in, and grumbling about it all.  MMMM, hazelnut cream scent quickly filled the air.  And I was back at Etsy, trying to decide what scent I wanted to order from a Wisconsin maker I've looked at many many times.  Hubby said I should make my own, that really, how hard could it be?  I told him I'd thought about it.  He said I should try it.  As I browsed the Etsy offerings I was at first only concerned with making basic tarts.  The more I looked, the more fancy tarts I saw.  It seemed ridiculous to me, all these little wax smellies made to look like cupcakes or pieces of pie or candies.  I mean, the first time you melt them all of that effort is lost.  It all melts down into the same puddle.  I scoffed and showed hubby some examples.  Surprsingly, he thought they were cool.

"Yeah, but they just melt down into one scented liquid anyway?!" I tried to argue.
"But it's all in the presentation, all in the packaging," he countered.  "I think they look neat."

Well, huh.  The more I looked, the more fascinated I became.....

And suddenly this is what I want to do!  I did some reading online, and now I can't wait for Saturday so I can go check what supplies might be available to me.  I think hubby and I will be making a trip back to Hobby Lobby for this new obsession.  And one of the coolest things is that I can use the same fragrance oils that I use for soap.....and I have TONS of those here already.  (Ok, I admit I don't know how to do something like the cupcake frosting yet, but I will find out!)  Maybe my soap days will be over......hehe.

Speaking of soap....
The first bar of goat milk soap I ever used was ordered from GOAT MILK STUFF, a site I'd found thru a link in a random blog I'd come across.  This is what got me hooked on my own soap madness.  They've just had a story done about them on the news in their area.  You can see the video HERE. 

How cool is that?  I still order from them, even while making my own soaps now.  Part of it is that it's just fun to shop all their varieties.  Another part is that it's just easier sometimes to order something you know will be good.  Did you catch in the video that they make about 45,000 bars a year?  Jinkies!  That is so cool.

Well, it's 8:30pm here and I'm ready for bed.  It's funny, my boys are 18 and 15 years old and they're both pacing around, talking about going to bed 'so Santa can come.'  LOL!  No, they don't believe in Santa but we still wait until they go to bed before putting the presents under the tree.  There's just something about waking in the morning to find way more under the tree, regardless of who put it there.  Heck, even though I'm usually the one putting it under the tree, *I* still get that butterfly feeling in my tummy in the morning, and I'm the one that put it all there.  lol

So yeah, I guess now that we're creeping up to bedtime I'm getting a little bit of the Christmas spirit.  :-)


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dec. 23

Watched this today like I said I would.  No matter how many times I see it, I still love it.  I should get it on DVD...mine is still a VHS copy.  How can you not love this movie? 

I also watched the Charlie Brown Christmas classic.  Again, how can you not love that one??

There is some other Christmas cartoon on the DVD, something like It's Christmas Again, Charlie Brown.  I don't remember ever seeing that one.  I tried watching it today but found it totally uninteresting.  It obviously comes way later because the voices are all different and sound older, and the animation is alot more 'clean.'

I did not watch The Nativity Story or anything like Rudolph.  Maybe tomorrow if I'm bored.

The Ralph Fiennes version of Wuthering Heights came in the mail today (Netflix).  This was the first thing I tried to watch.  Frustrating and disappointing to find I could not get into this version either.  The little that I saw, I think I like better than that BBC version I tried watching but it seems so.....I don't know.  *grrr*  It seems like they are rushing thru early stuff in order to get to the bulk of the story.  It seems there is so much detail and information left out. 

Hmm, I just read the wiki summary of the story and maybe it's something I just won't be interested in.  Still, that stubborn part of me wants to read it and wants to *like* it.  Maybe I'll try watching the movie again tomorrow.

Spent alot of time reading about making lip balm today.  I was comparing ingredients of the ones I've gotten from Etsy.  Also browsed ingredient lists of random Etsy examples, just to see what's common, what's different.  I'm now thinking that caramel freebie one I got from the ThickGreasyLotion girl is just a pre-made lip balm base.  I'm also finding that it's giving me chapped lips?!  Not horribly but definitely happening.  I've been biting and rubbing rough lip skin all day.  Gah!  I've switched to one of the previous ones I'd ordered, to hopefully get things back to normal.

All of that was making me want to start making my own even more.  It should be easier to experiment and tweak recipes with lip balm because the batches are smaller and the product is ready as soon as it cools/sets.  I was excited, ready to dive in and place an order for supplies.  Frustration set in though as I found I can't get everything from just one website.  I ended up finding my list of things scattered over three sites.  And it was way more expensive than I'd thought it would be.  So I guess making lip balm is on hold a bit longer.

Used my Black Raspberry Vanilla soap again today.  It was just as lovely on day two as it was the first time.  Hands were fine again, and this time there wasn't even really the slight dry/tightness on my face.  Even so, I slathered on thick gobs of the greasy body butter on my feet-knees-elbows again.  I guess I'm probably trying to use it up fast so I don't feel guilty about ordering something new.  LOL!

Still no Christmas spirit.  Ty and I even joked about opening presents today while no one else was here and spirit, no excitement.  I know my presents are under that tree, but I haven't even tried to snoop.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that's shocking.  I had such a boring day that I totally forgot to go pick up my paycheck!  And to think that tomorrow is Christmas Eve is really kinda weird.

We have some kind of nasty snowy rainy icy storm moving in tonight and all day tomorrow.  I worry about Ty driving home from work tonight.  Not sure when the crappy weather is supposed to hit us, but I really hope it's after 10pm when Ty is home.  *frets like a mom*  Once he's home it's fine.  None of us have anywhere we need to be until after 2pm on Friday.  I'm really bored and tired and wanting to go to bed early but that worried mom part of me wants to stay up until Ty gets home. 

Guess I'll  *shrugs*

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dec. 22

Major soap breakthrough!  At least I think so anyway.  I tried my Black Raspberry Vanilla this morning and it was WONDERFUL.  It lathered easily, plentiful, and lasted all the way till rinse time...comparable to commercial body wash.  My hands felt fabulous afterwards.  Only a teeny bit of tightness feeling on my face but not too worried about that with the dry winter air right now.  The scent was too weak, not worried about that either at the moment.  So what made this one so great compared to my others?  It was a huge formula change, and it was a different brand of one of the ingredients, which included a slightly different variation within itself.  I think I've found my formula!

Hubby used the soap before he went to bed this evening and seemed kinda flustered.  He said "It felt all lotion-y.  Is it supposed to?"  I asked him if he liked it and he was still a bit....I don't 'man soap doesn't act like that' without saying those words.  He said he liked it, but was just shocked by the feel.  So yes, I think this formula is a go.

I've gotten a request for two soap scents....chocolate and gingerbread.  Woot!  Spent some time browsing my sites and placed an order this morning for the fragrance oils I will use, plus a couple others.  I already have another order for FOs on the way, this one with a bunch of springtime scents.

The body butter from yesterday that I was so disappointed in has found its place as my feet-knees-elbows after shower lotion.  Since it's thick and lasts so long maybe it'll do wonders on those rough spots.  And if it's greasy in those areas, who really cares?  I mean, it's winter so we're all covered up anyway.  hehe

I just used some of the Nubian Heritage coconut-papaya lotion on my hands.  Very nice!  Shortly after I used some of the caramel lip balm from yesterday, and it made me laugh.  I showered with Black Raspberry Vanilla soap, used Cherry Almond body butter on my feet-knees-elbows, used coconut-papaya on my hands, and caramel on my lips.  LOL  I wonder what I smell like to someone besides me???  Wish I could have worked in my Bella's Birthday's feeling neglected the last couple days.

Nothing really exciting today.  Made some soap, browsed some Etsy, got the last of the Christmas gifts ready to go.  I have no Christmas spirit.  None.  Normally I'd be all panicked and depressed about that but this year it's just sort of a 'whatever' feeling.  It all seems rather anti-climatic since my sister was already here.  Well, we're supposed to get together at my brother's house Christmas afternoon but my sister won't be there, and my mom probably won't be there cuz she goes out less and less these days.  I'd kinda like to just stay home and have a nice ham dinner for ourselves.  Also kinda ho-hum because alot of our presents are already under the tree, which is new for us this year.  Usually we do the Santa thing (yes, still!) and don't put them under until late Christmas Eve.  For whatever reason, most are already out this year.  I made the cookies and treats last week and we had them out while my sister was here.  So that too makes it seem like Christmas has already come and gone.  I don't know, just very blah this year.

We watched Jurassic Park tonight, first time on our year old big TV.  Casey said they're watching in school, science class or something, so I thought 'why not?' and popped the DVD in.  I used to absolutely LOVE that movie, was obsessed with, had every second memorized.  As with most movies that you love then don't watch for a long time, I found alot of cringe worthy parts in it now.  Hubby and I pointed out many 'why didn't he just blah blah blah' things.  Even so, I still love the movie.  The special effects are still fabulous, so just think how amazing it was back when it came out.  It was probably like Avatar is now!

I have no plans for tomorrow.  Maybe I'll camp out on the couch and watch Christmas movies.  I absolutely have to watch Christmas Vacation, and I've been wanting to watch The Nativity Story again.  I might as well force Charlie Brown and Rudolph too.  Maybe.  I don't know yet.

We'll see tomorrow.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dec. 20 - New soapies!


Black Raspberry Vanilla


Green Apple

Plain Goat Milk


Lemon Poppyseed


Cinnamon Honey Oatmeal


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dec. 19

My sister and her husband were up from Iowa today, doing Christmas visits.  She brought me a small tin of cookies.  She definitely put more effort into hers than I did on mine!  I haven't tried one yet but dang they do look nice.

Hubby and I each got a Nerf gun from them.  At first we were like 'Huh.  Oooookay,' but they ended up being the highlight of the day.  My menfolk are hooked on Nerf warfare now.  LOL!  In fact, when Ty's friend came over this afternoon he was ambushed.  Looks like he might be into the game now too because he, Ty and Casey decided to go to Walmart and buy more!  (They are going to try exchanging one of them too, because it wasn't firing most of the time.)  It was a pretty funny visit, Nerf darts flying everywhere.  Even when you thought it had settled down and you'd be sitting there talking, all the sudden....WHACK!....a dart would nail you.  What have they started????

Oh geez, just after I finished that the boys got home with a whole new Nerf arsenal.  Even Ty's friend bought one.  He was embarrassed to be buying a 'little kid toy' and made Ty and Casey carry it and pay for it (with his money)....LOL

My sister and her hubby left before it got dark enough for our Christmas lights to come on so I took some pics for her to see eventually...

I absolutely love the green 'tree' and white deer.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  That is the metal tripod stand we set up in the front yard this summer to use in the flowerbed.  We just wrapped strings of green lights around it and hung some candy cane lights we bought a couple years ago.  It looks soooo cool at night.

Still didn't get that second body butter.  I did get a small package in the mail and tore it open thinking that's what it was, but it was a different yummy product instead.  My California friend 'Quilla' sent me a chocolatey body wash and a coconut-papaya lotion for my birthday... 
It is Nubian Heritage and appears to be all-natural and organic.  Woot!!  I'm developing a problem though....I'm accumulating too many bath and body products!  I want to use them all.  At the same time.  All the time.

I gave my sister one of the lip balms I had ordered, the chai one from Wisconsin.  She also tried a dab of my Bella's Birthday body butter but didn't express an opinion either way about it.  She also took a ton of *my* soaps along with her.

I thought about making soap today.  Decided not to though with my sister coming over.  Not sure what to make anyway.  I will definitely make some tomorrow though, even though I still don't know yet what kind to make.  One of the sites I order fragrances from is having another big sale so I'd like to place another order but, yeah, don't know what scents I want.  I should get on that.  I think the sale ends tomorrow.  Hubby keeps saying I should get started on some springtime scents.  All I can think of is flowery things....peony, lilac, etc.  What to do?  What to do???  Springtime suggestions anyone?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dec. 18

Aliens in the Attic (2009)
The Pearsons' summer rental house has it all: plenty of room, a swimming pool and a space alien camping out in the attic. The kids can't help but love the cute little guy, until they learn that he's not alone, and his buddies aren't as nice. Now, what started as a summer retreat has become a brave quest to save the planet. Ashley Tisdale, Kevin Nealon, Doris RobertsAndy Richter star in this comic family adventure. 

This was kinda cute but not something I'd buy or watch again.  The blond boy cousin was cool.  I see he did a bunch of TV shows like iCarly, Zoey 101, etc.  Then I found the girl who played the older sister had also done a bunch of those shows.  Heh, why does it always seem to work out that way?  Was it made by their parent company or something?  I also saw that the dude who played the main character (who I did not like and thought was ugly and annoying) was once on Lost!  At first I was 'No way!' cuz I would remember him, then noticed it said he was uncredited and did the voice of 'young Tom,' which means he was the voice on the cassette tape that Kate and Tom put in their little time capsule.  That's funny.

My other body butter did not arrived today.  Bummer.  But I'm loving the Bella's Birthday one.  I've decided it *is* a bit too greasy but I'm still loving it.  The scent hangs around for a long time.  That's cool because the soap I'm currently using doesn't have a lingering scent.  I slather this greasy smelly loveliness onto my feet and knees and elbows and hands after my shower and I'm smelling like cake for many hours.  Woot!

Did I mention in yesterday's post that I'd spent half the day trying to get my Christmas shopping done?  I thought I had a pretty good list and could get every last thing I needed.  But, ha, as always, things never work out that way.  I gave up the fight and decided I would try again today, different stores, different town.  And yeah, that didn't work out either.  So I wasted a few hours again today.  The only good thing that came out of it was that I came up with a couple ideas for those last hard to buy for people on my list.  I will try AGAIN tomorrow morning.  Sometimes I hate Christmas.... *grrr*

This is what I did with the rest of my day:

I made a pan of SpecialK bars and a batch of Christmas cookies.  I was going to make Puppy Chow too but forgot to get Chex cereal while shopping.  *GRRR*  I'm not doing much for baking this year.  And wouldn't you know, the one batch I did make turned out somewhat sucky.  Oh well....

I'm pretty sure my California friend had her baby today!  Or is in the process of it....hehe.  I've never actually met her.  We're online friends, met years ago on a Lost messageboard.  She was due Wednesday.  She left a message during the night last night saying she was having contractions, and I haven't heard from her since.  Woohoo!  I'm not close enough to the family to be among those who get the big announcement.  So I keep checking Facebook for any news or messages.  I'm excited.  And anxious.  And desperate for news!  lol