Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shae Butter Salt Scrub

My husband's family was having a Christmas gift exchange and I needed something special to add to the gift basket I was making. Thus, my mind went to a luxurious salt scrub that is cheap and super easy to make. I'm always a promoter of Quick and Easy, "do it yourself," projects and this is definitely one of them. I'm starting to wish that I had made more just to keep around the house. I may just have to whip up another batch soon! 

Items needed:
1. A jar that seals well.
2. Fine Sea Salt or Canning Salt.
3. Olive Oil
4. Moisturizing Dish soap or hand soap. I used Dawn Dish Soap with Olay Hand Renewal (the kind that smells like Shea Butter).
5. A bowl and spoon for mixing.
1.5 cups of salt 
1/2 to 2/3 cup of soap 
1/2 cup of olive oil. 

I didn't really measure things when I made the scrub, so I recommend checking the consistency as you mix. When you are satisfied with the results, pour it into a jar that seals well and decorate! Voila! Now, I told you this was fast!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Marshmallow Pops

Every year I love to make a sweet treat that my family can give to our neighbors as a Christmas gift. This year's sugary gift idea came from a brilliant friend who gave me many creative ideas to use for Christmas. I'm going to borrow one of her gems and show you how amazingly easy (and cheap)  it was to make.

What you need: 

1. Dipping Chocolate
2. Large Marshmallows
3. Sticks (I used shish kabob sticks that I already had)
4. Sprinkles 
5. Empty egg carton

First: I had to cut all of my shish kabob sticks in half so that they would be small enough to use.  

Second: Melt the chocolate in the microwave so that it is smooth and thin enough to dip. This takes about two minutes. Stir briskly.

Third: Mount the marshmallow onto the stick and dip.

Fourth: Top with the sprinkle of your choice.

Fifth: Place the stem of the Marshmallow Pop into the hole of the egg carton. Be sure to balance one on each side or the carton will tip. (I learned this the hard way :) After you get several pops made, place the carton in the freezer for two minutes. The Marshmallow Pops will be perfectly hard and you will have a free carton to continue using. 

Isn't it cute!

I was able to find these treat bags at Hobby Lobby on sale for $.99 and thought that they would be perfect for packaging up the goodies.

After they were packaged up I used wrapping labels to label each gift bag.  

I calculated the cost and time that it took to make these sweet gifts and found that it only took me 20 minutes to make a whole bag of marshmallows into pops and only cost me about $2.00!  I hope my neighbors love a good cup of hot chocolate and a Marshmallow Pop to stir, because they may be receiving these every Christmas!
Enjoy making your own batch of Marshmallow Pops!
Many blessings!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Simple Advent Calendar

   This year my family will begin the tradition of an advent calendar to count down the last 12 days until Christmas. (You can read more about Christmas traditions in my post, Creating Traditions.) The idea for my calendar was inspired by a friend who made something very similar to this. I took her idea and tweaked it a little to be age appropriate for our two and a half year old son. The beauty of this advent calendar is that it can be changed every year to adapt to the ages of your children or just to keep things exciting.  

The main idea: The calendar is made to be opened one section at a time, for the last 12 days before Christmas. Each day a family member breaks open the appropriate hole and reveals a special treasure  and the scripture reference to a specific part of the Christmas story.

The advent calendar is made with: 
1. One new muffin pan (they cost around $4.00 at Walmart)
2. Wrapping paper
3. The card board that comes with the muffin pan (don't throw it away!)
4. Stick glue (because it's washable and won't hurt the pan.)
5. Bible verses
6. Trinkets to symbolize each part of the Christmas story. 

Keep the cardboard that comes with the pan.
1st, I had to decide what would go in each muffin cup. You really can put anything you want in there. Some ideas that my friend had were: candy and a Bible verse for younger children, or instructions for an activity such as, baking cookies for your neighbor, for older kids.  I decided to put the scriptures to a different part of the Christmas story in each muffin cup along with something to symbolize it. This part of the project took me the most time because I was trying to think through the story of Jesus' birth and come up with symbols that wouldn't be too hard to make or find. As you can see, I cheated on one calendar day and just put one of my son's toy sheep in the cup.  It fit, so why not?
Baby Jesus on a straw bed.
A gift from the wise men.

Verses and Symbols complete.

2nd, Place the cardboard that came with the pan on a sheet of wrapping paper and trace the circles.

Trace the cardboard to make circles.

3rd, Cut each circle out. Be sure to cut a little wider than what you actually traced so that the paper will fit over the edges of the muffin cup.

Cut 1/2 inch wider than the actual circle.

4th, Use a glue stick to put glue around the edge of each muffin cup. Place each paper circle over the muffin cup.

Glue around the edge of each cup.

5th, All you need to do now is number each cup from 1-12. I wanted to use cute scrap-booking numbers but couldn't find any before I started this project, so... I used an indelible marker. 

Number each cup.

Completed Advent Calendar 
The calendar is definitely not glamorous but I'm looking forward to using it with my family this year. 
If you have any advent calendar ideas, I would love to hear about them! 
Merry Christmas, Friends!