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The Maiden Bath Company Bath Set Giveaway.

Long time no see, right?

Things have been so busy around here, that I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to devote to this blog. In the last year, I traveled to two different countries, had two surgeries, was diagnosed with asthma and anxiety, went to a hundred doctors’ visits – or at least it has seemed so – made thousands of bath bombs, and am currently rebranding the Etsy shop. Hopefully, I will be able to devote more time to the blog in the future. . . But I’m here now. 

Why, you ask? The best reason of all. . . to host a giveaway 🙂

One lucky winner, chosen at random, will win a bath set from The Maiden Bath Company. The bath set will include 1 (one) bar of soap, 1 (one) medium bath bomb, 1 (one) lip scrub, and 1 (one) 1.5 oz bag of Body Scrub (scents and flavor will be a surprise for the winner).

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Now for the legal stuff:

18 & Over Only. Entry limited to the US. Contest ends on April 23 at 12 am CST. One winner will be chosen at random. Winner will then be contacted by email for their mailing address. If winner has not replied within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. 

Good luck!!!

P.S. Don’t want to wait for the giveaway to end? Visit The Maiden Bath Company on Etsy to see all of the available products. You can also visit the brand new website here

Share your giveaway here.

 
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Thank You Giveaway!

It’s that time of year. . . Time for a giveaway!

Actually, I’m a little late posting this – I had planned to start this giveaway a few days ago, but I’ve been a little distracted lately. So much so, that none of the Christmas decorations are even up, yet (check out my Christmas tree posts, here and here). This is why. . .

Standard Poodle puppies. 10 of them! Every last one brown and ultra adorable 🙂

Mom (our brown and white parti girl, Sophie) is feeling a little overwhelmed. She has every right. After growing up as the daughter and granddaughter of a poodle breeder and spending entirely too much time at vets, I completely understand. . . puppies are a lot of work. 

But you’re not here to talk puppies, are you? You’re here for the giveaway, so let’s get started!

Enter to win the following:

A fall inspired set of bath/body items from our Etsy shop, MaidenHillFarm.

That means a bar of pumpkin pie soap, a pumpkin spice bath bomb, and a trio of pumpkin spice sugar cube scrubs. 

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Now for the legalese: Open to entries from the US only. One lucky winner will be chosen at random when the contest ends on November 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM CST. The winner will be contacted by email to obtain their mailing address – if after 48 hours I haven’t received a response, a new winner will be chosen. When you sign in to Rafflecopter be sure to include an email address so that I can contact you. As soon as possible, I will mail out the prize.

P.S. If you don’t want to wait until the end of the giveaway, please visit my shop on Etsy here.

Best of luck to everyone!!!

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DIY Pumpkin Spice Bubble Bath Bar

Remember the Bubble Bath Scoops from a while back? Well, since it is finally starting to feel a little more Fall-like around here, I’m in a pumpkin everything kind of mood. 

Which, of course, means a pumpkin inspired bubble bath bar.

pumpkin-spice-bubble-bath-bars 

This recipe makes about four 3.5 oz (weight will vary, of course) bars, and each one is good for 2 to 4 (maybe even 5) baths. I made a test batch to start with and halved the recipe below. I’ve included links to the fragrances and colorants I used. 

The Main Ingredients: 

1/2 cup baking soda 

1/2 cup Lathanol LAL Powder – aka SLSa 

2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Cornstarch 

2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Bubble Bar Hardener (a.k.a. Cream of Tartar)

3 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Vegetable Glycerin*

3 teaspoons Castor Oil

*There’s a chance you might use more than what is listed. 

Fragrances Used*

1.5 mL Pumpkin Pickin’ Fragrance Oil

.5 mL Apple N Spice Fragrance Oil

1 mL Maple Pecan Streusel Fragrance Oil

*These are just the fragrances I had on hand and used. You can, of course, use any body safe fragrances or essential oils. 

Colorants*

1/4 teaspoon yellow oxide mixed with about 1/2 teaspoon of Vegetable Glycerin in a cup or small bowl. 

1/2 teaspoon red orange mica mixed with about 1 teaspoon of Vegetable Glycerin in a separate cup or small bowl.

1/2 teaspoon chocolate brown mica mixed with about 1 teaspoon of Vegetable Glycerin in another separate cup or small bowl.

1/4 teaspoon gold mica

*The colorant measurements are estimates and you don’t to be exact with them.

Equipment I Used:

2 bowls (1 medium sized and 1 smaller)

Digital Scale

Measuring Cup

Measuring Spoons

Whisk

Spoons (for mixing the colorants and glycerin and for assembling the pumpkins)

3 Disposable Cups (for mixing the colorants and glycerin in)

Face Mask

Plastic Dropper (for measuring the fragrances)

Soft Bristled Brush (I use an eye shadow brush that is reserved solely for bath product making).

1. In a medium bowl, measure out the dry ingredients and mix them together using a fork or whisk until thoroughly combined. When measuring the SLSA and mixing it with the other ingredients, you should definitely wear a face mask, sort of like this one (excuse the really bad photo):

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SLSA is very fine and will cause irritation to your throat and lungs and leave you with an unpleasant, temporary cough if inhaled.

2. Measure out the needed amounts of Vegetable Glycerin and Castor Oil and add them to the dry ingredients. Use your gloved hands to mix the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. 

3. Divide the mixture into two portions. One portion much larger and a second portion much smaller (about 1 1/2 ounces in weight or less). Set aside the smaller portion in a small bowl. 

4. To the larger portion, add the red orange mica and yellow oxide colorants and a couple of drops of the brown mica colorant. Using your gloved hands, knead the mixture until the colorant is completely combined and there aren’t any streaks. The resulting color of the mixture should be similar to the color of a pumpkin. 

5. Divide the mixture into four equal portions. Roll each one into a ball. Using your palm, slightly flatten the bottom and top of each ball. Using the handle of a spoon, make an indentation in the top of each ball (this is where the stem of the pumpkin is going to go). Set aside.

6. Add the brown mica colorant to the small portion of bubble bar mix that you set aside earlier. Using your gloved hands, knead the mixture until the colorant is thoroughly dispersed. You may need to add more colorant or if the mixture is too wet, more baking soda. When you’re satisfied with the color, divide the mixture into four pieces. Shape each one unit it resembles the stem of a pumpkin – I did this by rolling each one into a ball and then rolling the ball between the palms of my hands until it began to flatten and lengthen. Insert the stems into each pumpkin. Use a dull knife, wooden skewer, or the handle end of a spoon (like I did) to score lines down the side of each pumpkin.

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7. Using a brush, dust each pumpkin with gold mica dust (This step is completely optional). 

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Allow the bubble bath bars to dry for at least 24 to 48 hours before using (or longer). 

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Pumpkin Spice Bubble Bath Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Lathanol LAL Powder – aka SLSa
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Bubble Bar Hardener (a.k.a. Cream of Tartar)
  • 3 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Vegetable Glycerin*
  • 3 teaspoons Castor Oil
  • 1.5 mL Pumpkin Pickin' Fragrance Oil
  • .5 mL Apple N Spice Fragrance Oil
  • 1 mL Maple Pecan Streusel Fragrance Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon yellow oxide mixed with about 1/2 teaspoon of Vegetable Glycerin in a cup or small bowl.
  • 1/2 teaspoon red orange mica mixed with about 1 teaspoon of Vegetable Glycerin in a separate cup or small bowl.
  • 1/2 teaspoon chocolate brown mica mixed with about 1 teaspoon of Vegetable Glycerin in another separate cup or small bowl.
  • 1/4 teaspoon gold mica
  • .5 mL Apple Jack Peel Fragrance Oil
  • 1 mL Maple Pecan Streusal Fragrance Oil

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, measure out the dry ingredients and mix them together using a fork or whisk until thoroughly combined. When measuring the SLSA and mixing it with the other ingredients, please wear a face mask as it will cause throat and lung irritation.
  2. Measure out the needed amounts of Vegetable Glycerin and Castor Oil and add them to the dry ingredients. Use your gloved hands to mix the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.
  3. Divide the mixture into two portions. One portion much larger and a second portion much smaller (about 1 1/2 ounces in weight or less). Set aside the smaller portion in a small bowl.
  4. To the larger portion, add the red orange mica and yellow oxide colorants and a couple of drops of the brown mica colorant. Using your gloved hands, knead the mixture until the colorant is completely combined and there aren't any streaks. The resulting color of the mixture should be similar to the color of a pumpkin.
  5. Divide the mixture into four equal portions. Roll each one into a ball. Using your palm, slightly flatten the bottom and top of each ball. Using the handle of a spoon, make an indentation in the top of each ball (this is where the stem of the pumpkin is going to go). Set aside.
  6. Add the brown mica colorant to the small portion of bubble bar mix that you set aside earlier. Using your gloved hands, knead the mixture until the colorant is thoroughly dispersed. You may need to add more colorant or if the mixture is too wet, more baking soda. When you're satisfied with the color, divide the mixture into four pieces. Shape each one unit it resembles the stem of a pumpkin - I did this by rolling each one into a ball and then rolling the ball between the palms of my hands until it began to flatten and lengthen. Insert the stems into each pumpkin. Use a dull knife, wooden skewer, or the handle end of a spoon (like I did) to score lines down the side of each pumpkin.
  7. Using a brush, dust each pumpkin with gold mica dust. (optional)
  8. Allow the pumpkins to air dry for at least 24 - 48 hours before using.
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Of Grandmas and Poodles

In just a few short weeks, my grandmother will be turning 88!!!

Now, let me fill you in on birthdays and my grandmother. She is notoriously unhelpful when it comes to celebrating/recognizing/planning them. Year after year, our birthday conversations go something like this:

Me: What do you want for your birthday present?
Grandma: Nothing. I don’t want you to buy me a thing.

Me: What kind of cake do you want?
Grandma: I don’t want a cake. I’m on a diet.

Me: Where do you want to go out to eat for your birthday?

Grandma: No where. Let it be just another day.

There is, of course, a lot more back and forth that I am failing to include, but you get the gist.

Now, before you say that not everyone wants to celebrate their birthday, and she is obviously one of those people (she’s not, trust me), I will let you in on a little secret. . . The couple of times that I’ve done exactly as she asked (no special present, no cake, and no special meal), she was madder with me than a wet hen. And they get really mad. I was on her out list, basically. Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson. 

So, this year – just to change it up a little – I’m not asking any of the above questions. At all. Instead, I came up with the perfect way to recognize her birthday. But to explain it a little better, I’m going to illustrate another conversation that we routinely have (Not anymore, though).

Grandma: I don’t guess I’ll ever get to see where my little brother is buried.

Me or Sometimes My Mother: Why not?

Grandma: No one will take me.

Guilt trip, much? 

So, this week, we gave her an early birthday present, and it was exactly what she wanted. Not my usual fare of a pretty new blouse or purse, but something I think she enjoyed even more because it was completely unexpected.

A trip all the way to Louisiana to visit Great Uncle Bobby’s grave. . .

Uncle Bobby Grave

And an overnight stay in nearby New Orleans. 

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Little Alfred (who isn’t so little anymore – 57 lbs at his last weigh-in) got to tag along with us. Luckily, we stayed at the Downtown LaQuinta Inn and they were very dog friendly. I mean, very dog friendly. I counted at least three other four-legged guests just on our trips out to potty. Btw, this is not a sponsored post. . . . I (and Alfred, of course) was just very impressed with the welcome we received and they deserve a shout out. 

Alfred felt like he’d landed in a plush doggy heaven. From his walks in nearby Lafayette Square (yep, named after that Lafayette – America’s favorite fighting Frenchman. . . . two points if you know what current hit musical that line is from!!) to lounging in the bed and catching some Zzzz’s with Grandma (he slept with her all night, kid you not) and then waiting on the valet (seriously, there was practically no free parking in downtown NOLA and every single hotel I looked at had valet service), Alfie really enjoyed his trip.Alfred NOLA  Of course, after riding in the car most of the morning, he and Grandma were ready for a nap. So, we left them to it and set off to do a little exploring. And ghost hunting.

New Orleans

If you’ve never gone on a ghost/history tour, what are you waiting for?!? Do it! I love a good tour because they’re a great way to learn a bit of interesting, sometimes obscure history about a city that you might not otherwise hear. Ever heard of the Axeman of New Orleans? I sure hadn’t. On a side note, I kind of wish it had stayed that way – yikes! But I digress. The tour we took was entertaining as all get out! Horror stories. Ghost stories. Stories about celebrities. History. Architecture. And a rainy afternoon spent meandering through a beautiful city. What could be better? 

But enough about that! After the ghost/history tour we stopped off for a to-go order of beignets from Café du Monde, which we promptly took back to the hotel just in time for Grandma and Alfred to wake up from their afternoon naps.  And Grandma fell in love (no pictures of that moment because, well, my hands were covered in powdered sugar), so much so, that she wouldn’t leave New Orleans without another helping of those sugary, fried treats. 

The next morning, we went for a little ride on one of the many streetcars down Canal Street and all the way to City Park before packing up and heading home. 

 

So, the big question. . . Did my grandmother enjoy her early birthday present? You bet! She loved it! In fact, she loved it so much that she has told everyone from the receptionist at her retina specialist (macular degeneration, you know), the nurse, the actual doctor, other patients, and every one she could all about it. 

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Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip

Summer time, to me, means enjoying light, but tasty treats. Like fresh fruit.

And what could make fresh fruit even better?

Fruit dip!!!
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Not just any fruit dip, though. This stuff is easy, tangy, and so pretty, it’s company worthy.

First, mix together 1/2 a cup of Greek yogurt and 1 (8 oz) tub of Lite Cool Whip. 

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Then, add in a couple tablespoons of orange juice, zest from an orange, and honey to taste*

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*I used about 2 tablespoons of honey. 

That’s it! 5 simple ingredients combined together, and you’re done. 

Well, except, for adding a little leftover orange zest on top for garnish, but that step is completely optional. 

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Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 (8 oz) tub of Lite Cool Whip
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
  • Zest from 1 orange, reserve a bit for garnish
  • Honey, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine together the Greek yogurt and whipped topping.
  2. Add the orange juice, zest, and honey, and combine.
  3. Garnish with orange zest (optional).
  4. Serve with various fruits, such as: Pineapple, Apple, Strawberries, Melon, Kiwi, Grapes, etc.
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