Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Home Creations: Liquid Soap Saves the Day

Has this ever happened to you?  You go to your sink needing to wash your hands only to find you're completely out of soap?  If you have a child with you then you're probably in a hurry, you crank off the top, slosh water in the dispenser, and pour the now "gas station quality" soap all over?  That was my morning.  Except for it wasn't one sink, it was four of them.  And did I mention we have no liquid hand soap in the house?

I decided to make my own soap with what I had on hand, BUT not before I filled up the soap dispensers with a lovely combination of dish soap and water.  Don't judge, you know you've done it too :)

There are lots of recipes for liquid soap making online (hello Pinterest my friend).  Most of the websites advocate homemade hand soap because of the low cost.  The soap I made today cost about $2.  Not bad.

 The basic ingredients consist of  bars of soap, water (distilled is best), and glycerin.  Having two of the three on hand, I went for my own concoction.

Homemade Liquid Ivory Soap

3 Bars of Ivory Soap
1 Gallon Distilled Water
1 Large Stockpot
Blender - immersion stick blender is the best
Containers for soap (use the gallon jug from the water)

1.)  Pour water into stock pot and heat until just steaming.

2.)  While water is heating, grate the soap.  It goes really fast.

3.)  Remove water from the stove.  Add soap shavings.

4.)  Blend until the soap shavings have completely dissolved.  If you are using a stick blender, it will take about 5 minutes.

My Helper eating peas while I blend.

          5.)  Now walk away for 10 hours.  I mean it.  Don't even look at it until the end.  If you look                        beforehand it is going to look like you have water in a pot.  You might fret over it.  Seriously walk away.  It's only after 11 hours that you get...

Liquid Soap!!!!

It was a little thick, so I added some extra water.  You could probably use less bar soap and do just as well.  It made more than a gallon of soap too. I could see where the glycerin would make it a bit smoother, but it works fine without it.  Tomorrow I am going to make enough to put a large container under each bathroom sink.

This would make a great gift.  I'm thinking of getting some of that amazing Yardley's pomegranate bar soap and going to town with it.  Would you like some homemade liquid soap?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Home Creations/Music Creations: Bar Graph Bliss

Couldn't really decide which category to put this one in since it is organizational, but I'm using it for my music studio.  So many possibilities :)

I use a prize incentive program to keep my students motivated to practice.  For every 15 minute plus practice session, the student receives one point toward a prize of their choice.  5 points for a piece of gum, 25 for a stuffed animal, 100 for a hardback book, etc.  Nothing new, my piano instructors did the same type of thing.  Usually either the student (me) or teacher (well, this is me know and folks not much has changed) would lose track of the points and both parties would end up frustrated.

Enter the easy wipe-off bar graph.

I took an old picture frame and stuck in a customizable bar graph. Cleaned the glass, and grabbed the dry erase markers.  That's it.

I love this.  You can put anything in the frame and switch it out as needed.  I see a lot of potential in the bar graph alone:  Practice Log, Growth Chart, Distance Chart, Chore Log, and so on.

It takes 30 seconds at the beginning of lessons to write in their progress.  No one forgets what was earned.  After they redeem their points, I just wipe the slate clean.  As an added bonus, the kids get to review some of their simple math skills.

I know it's not rocket science (took me 15 minutes including looking up the graph online), but I thought it was worth sharing.  Hope the girls like their new chart tomorrow when the come for lessons :)

You can find the template for this chart here.  I also recommend looking the whole Mathwire website over - it has tons of great lesson ideas, template, and more.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Classic Creations: Pinterest, Panda, Presents

We were invited to Party Like a Panda for a sweet two-year old guy's  birthday party. He loves the movie Kung Fu Panda which made for a really cute party theme.  So cute in fact that his present needed to be taken up a notch.
I got the ideas for both the card and the magnet letters on Pinterest. It is officially my first completed 
Pinterest project.  I love how they turned out.  If you'd like instructions for the card click here and instructions on lots of fun wrapping ideas can be found here.  God Bless Ethan on his Birthday and Every Day!

What do you like on pinterest?



Classic Creations Cooks: Neighborhood Catering Fundraiser

In my last post I wrote about my dream of starting an at-home catering business.  To do this, I need to raise some funds.  What better way to raise money for my catering business than to do just that:  Cook.  I passed out a flyer to all of my neighbors, with a set menu of Homemade Sweet and Dill Pickles, Watermelon Tomato Basil Salad, Potato Salad, Honey-Mustard Chicken, Frozen Smores, and Banana Pudding.  All...From...Scratch.  I invited everyone to dine in or carry out and donate what they thought was fair for the meal.

Two families took me up on the deal.  Then right before the meal, our amazing neighbors from across the street brought me an encouragement card and donation.   One sweet older gentleman came and ate in house.  We had a great time talking and had good food.   It was great to get the experience and to make a little cash for the business too. 
A Table Set for Our Dinner
Watermelon Tomato Basil Salad

Side-ways Banana Pudding completely from scratch

The one thing that needed a bit longer were the Bread and Butter Pickles, the dills were perfect, but these needed a bit longer.  This was also the only thing I had never made before.

Frozen S'more Goodness :)

Awesome Card from my neighbor

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Classic Creations Cooks: Dreaming Big

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am a dreamer. I'm talking Anne of Green Gables, pie in the sky, out of this world dreams. One of those dreams I have had is to find a way to work, stay home with Olivia, be flexible, and creative all at the same time. Classic Creations has been allowing me to do some of that on a small scale with lessons and crafting, but, like I said, I'm a dreamer.

Experimental Classic Creations Logo - What do you think?
 Enter the idea of catering or as I call it "cooking for folks". I did a few jobs cooking in Camden right after Olivia was born for our church family, and I LOVED it. It pleased me so to create fresh, from scratch food for folks with Livi in tow. And the money was really good. Conviction got the best of me though - I wasn't licensed and did't want to break the law.

Practicing my catering skills for my class reunion in June 2012

 To be a legal at-home caterer in most states a person needs a seperate kitchen for their business. Not an option in our Camden home, however, when we moved here back in December I got a crazy idea. Our basement could be a perfect solution. In that one large finished room I now have a lounge/library/consultation area, music lesson area, craft area, and even a spot for a KITCHEN!!! The wet bar could be convert to a dream catering kitchen. So here we go in the process. I got an oven at the nearby auction house for in the single digits and a countertop free from Craig's list. Both need some cleaning and work. I need a 220 outlet put in, plumbing tweaked, a double sink, and a fridge, and I will be in business. Right now I am working on raising money on my own to finance the changes (don't want to take money from our family budget). I look forward to sharing the process as it develops :)

What do you think?  What is your big dream?