Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Making Soap

I've had this package of glycerin soap sitting in my craft cabinet for a long time and it's been bugging me. I don't like items to sit around; I think everything should be useful and have a purpose. So, I decided I'd make some colored soap for the Eskimo. He recently received a set of cookie cutters in the shapes of different vehicles and I knew there had to be a way to melt the soap and pour them into these shapes. Here's what I came up with:

You will need:
-Clear glycerin soap
-Food coloring
-Plastic wrap

First, get the mold ready. The only way I could get the soap to stay in the cookie cutter was to roll out some play-doh, put plastic wrap over it, and then press the cookie cutter down to create a seal around the bottom. This actually worked quite well, but if you don't have a perfect seal around the bottom, the soap runs everywhere. Do not despair, once it's cool enough to touch, you can peel it up, melt it, and try again. :) I also did this on a cookie sheet to spare myself the trouble of cleaning up the counter afterwards.

Next, grab your soap. I used either 3 or 4 cubes, depending on the size of the cookie cutter. Melt in the microwave for 30-40 seconds. Then, add 5-10 drops of food coloring. If you want really vibrant colors, go for 10. You could likely add a couple drops of fragrance at this point, but we tend to be a fragrance-free household.

Stir the food coloring in, and then very carefully pour the hot soap into the mold. I found it helpful to hold down the cookie cutter with one hand while I poured to keep it from leaking out the bottom. Then let it sit for about 30 minutes, until it's cooled, and there you have it!

These turned out really well and the Eskimo loves them. Definitely going to have to do something like this for a birthday gift for someone in the future.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Coffee Play Dough

So my efforts to keep the Eskimo occupied continue. And this recipe was a gem. I found it here through Pinterest. Play dough made with coffee grounds. It looks like mud, which my little construction worker LOVED. Here's the recipe:

2 Cups of Flour
1/2 Cup of Coffee Grounds
1 Tablespoon of Instant Coffee (when it wasn’t dark enough)
1 Cup of Salt
2 Teaspoons of Cream of Tartar
1 Cup of very hot water
2 Tablespoons of oil

I found it to be a bit dry, so I added some extra water until it was a better consistency. The Eskimo got to help me make it, which made the whole experience even more fun for him. Word to the wise: do NOT leave a huge bottle of veggie oil uncapped and unattended on the counter with a two year old present. Not even for a second. Oops.

This kept him occupied for over an hour in both the morning and the afternoon. I sat at his table and played with him part of the time, but he really wanted to be left alone in his imaginary construction zone. Note: since this play dough was a bit crumbly, this was a MESSY activity. There were play dough crumbs all over the floor. We have stained concrete floors, so it wasn't a big deal to clean up as it was dry enough to sweep up the crumbs. But, if you have carpeting, I would recommend putting something down to catch the crumbs. Have fun!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Adjusting to life with two kids...

Phew! It's been a crazy few months around here! Between having a baby, life with a newborn, and trying to complete my current term for my master's degree, life has been nuts. I take my final test for this term tomorrow morning, and then will be enjoying a well-deserved three month break from school. Hoping to spend that time getting my feet back under me and catching up on all the things that have been pushed to the side... like blogging and cleaning. :)

So I'm now the proud mother of two beautiful children. We all know the Eskimo, and now we have a new baby girl in the family.

She's nearly 8 weeks old already and has been a wonderful baby. But, we all know that newborns require a lot of attention. A LOT. We are still in the period of adjustment with the Eskimo. He's fantastic with his new sister, but has definitely been acting out in other ways. So, I'm trying to keep him busy. For my first few days home alone with him and his sister, this involved handing him my iPhone and letting him play games while I nursed and changed her. It worked, but I do NOT want my son turning into a game-zombie at the ripe old age of two and a half. We're kind of anti-screen-time in this house, and letting him spend that much time playing electronic games goes against a lot of what I believe in as a parent.

I decided I needed to come up with something creative to keep him occupied while I was trapped in the glider nursing his sister. I got out a small plastic tub, filled it up with a couple bags of beans and some diggers, and bam! Instant construction zone. :)

I can't believe how well this has worked. The beans are big enough that he can pick them all up when we're done with a play session. He also found some stacking cups and incorporated them into his play. I also limit the time that he's allowed to play with this. We keep it in the nursery and the only time he can use it is when I'm nursing and changing his sister. He loves it. I gave him his own special place in her room to store it and he proudly puts it away after each play session. So far, so good!

Oh, and glad to be back, y'all. ;)