Category / House + Home

Classroom Halloween Treats: Witch’s Brew Bath Bombs

We’ve been busy over here whipping up all the magic potions so that Crew’s classroom friends can create some of their own for Halloween!

You may have guessed it — we made our own bath bombs, complete with spooky surprises inside!

This project was much easier than I expected (I was fully counting on some crumbling bombs and preschooler – and Mom – meltdowns) but I’m happy to report it was really pretty simple and straightforward!

It DOES help to have all your stuff ready, premeasured/open, so you can work quickly. (Once everything is mixed, you want to make your bombs before the mix gets too dry.) I did two batches; the first I followed the recipe below exactly (this made about five medium-sized bombs), and when those turned out well, I quadrupled it to make enough for Crew’s class of 24 and a couple extra friends.

My best tip is to spend a minute on YouTube watching an actual video of how to make these, because I picked up a lot of hints and it helped me understand better than all the written directions out there. In all I’d say we spent about $20 on everything (although I did already have the essential oils on hand). And if you keep scrolling I’m sharing a printable of the label we stapled across the top, so you can gift these as well!

After reading a few reviews of silicone versus plastic versus aluminum, I settled on this set of molds. I don’t foresee using the small one much, but the medium was perfect for stretching the batch enough to make decent-sized bombs for 24+ kiddos (and I’ll be making my own and gifting some at the holidays with the larger mold, which feels even more grand/luxurious). They worked like a charm with no sticking.

For our bath bombs, we knew we wanted them to be green (but not so pigmented they stain anyone’s tub ha!) so we used green food coloring accordingly.

THE RECIPE:

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup citric acid (cheaper online than in stores)

1/2 cup corn starch

1/2 cup epsom salt

3 Tbsp almond oil or grapeseed oil

1 Tbsp water (add your drops of food coloring to this for even mixing)

Essential Oil as desired (for our quadruple batch I did about four drops each of lemon, tangerine, sweet orange, and bergamot)…Crew could not get enough of smelling them ha!

Our final “ingredient” was a bat-shaped ring (I bought a bag of 30+ at WalMart for a dollar) and they fit perfectly inside the medium sized mold. I thought these would be a fun surprise when the bomb fizzles apart in the tub.

TO MAKE YOUR BATH BOMBS:

After gathering your ingredients, whisk together all the DRY ingredients first. Combine the wet ingredients separately and pour them SLOWLY into the bowl, constantly whisking. The consistency should feel ALMOST as damp as wet sand – a tad more powdery, but still “wet”.

Scoop the mixture into both halves of your mold. Don’t PACK it in, but gently press enough to firm it up, and make sure both halves are overflowing. (At this point, I pressed the bat ring into one side.) Stick your two halves together and press them together, wiping off any excess that comes out the seam. Use your knuckles to tap firmly on either side of the mold so the packed mixture will slide out easily. I used a slight “twist” motion (like unscrewing a cap) to remove one side at a time, and laid them out on a sheet of wax paper to harden up. A lot of recipes called for 24 hours to dry but I think it only helps to give them a solid 48 hours before handling them in any way.

I was nervous about how durable these would be when loaded up dozens deep and handed out at school. My coworker had the genius idea to add some cobweb stuffing to the little ziploc treat bags (found at The Dollar Tree). I added a bomb and some stuffing to each bag, and printed and cut apart the following printable. (They should be about the size of a business card, before folded in half lengthwise). Stick them over the tops of the bags and staple in place. Voila! Witch’s brew for all!

Grab your free printable treat topper by clicking the attachment link below:

Witch’s Brew Printable

Happy Halloween!!

The Guest Bedroom

This room has been painted, with a door, and a bed for quite some time. But when we learned we’d be hosting company last week, we kicked it into high gear to finish out some of the details.

While Page worked in the bathroom next door, I did my best to pull together some little details to make this room comfortable for our guests (and yes…maybe benefit us long after they leave when one of us is sick or snoring – the other often ends up down here!) 😉

I scored a dresser at our local HomeGoods for a song, and we added a spare TV from storage, connected our Hulu to it, and framed all the passwords for our guests. 🙂

I’d like to find a prettier standing mirror eventually, but for the time being we hung a smaller one behind the door for getting dressed.

There’s nothing worse than being too hot or cold — this room runs particularly cold in the basement, but I made sure a spare blanket was easy to find if needed.

I’m so pleased with how light and airy this space feels for being a basement room with only an egress window to provide light.

When Crew was over his sound machine from babyhood, it made sense to keep it down here for those who like white noise. (Dohm makes the BEST sound machines, if you’re in the market!) I also added a wall USB/iphone charger because I am the POSTER girl for traveling and forgetting a charger cable.

One of my favorite details in the room is the “Hotel” print — and the colors work so perfectly on the wall color.

Much of what we used in this room was repurposed from elsewhere in the house and no longer available to link online (sheets are Garnet Hill, and the duvet, bedside table, and lamp are all IKEA, if you can luck out in store), but sharing what I can!

house tissue box pennant fixture  |  Dohm sound machine  |  paint color is Sherwin Williams “Faint Coral”

Finished! The Guest Bathroom

The guest bathroom in our basement level is completed! Do you hear the angels singing?!

Some out of town friends coming to visit was just the push we needed to pony up the last dollars and burst of energy needed to bring this three-quarter bath to completion.

We are thrilled with the result and I’m swooning in bathroom heaven. Per usual, Page whipped out his mad DIY skills to build the vanity to scale. He did all of his own plumbing work (seriously…I did not even know this about him when I married him…score!) hooking up our shower and sink and toilet and installing all the plumbing fixtures.

I don’t like when things get too “matchy” so combining fixtures in both shiny chrome (already in our door handles) and matte black (to echo the dark floor tile and shower grout) struck the right note for me.

My very favorite part is thinking through all the little details — spare (stylish) toothbrushes, the cutest little overpriced travel toothpaste I’d never splurge on for myself, soaps, lotions, and everything else someone away from home might need.

The beauty of a bathroom that isn’t heavily used on a regular basis is that you don’t end up with all the “stuff” of a daily use bathroom. All we needed in here were a couple of towels and a bath mat stashed under the sink with a basket for extra toilet paper, and a quick spray paint “first aid” box project to hold some basics for our guests.

Thanks for peeking in! And if you need me I’ll just be over here tile-gazing and soaking in the success of (finally) checking this project off the list!

Products used:  shower curtain  |  curtain rod  |  curtain hooks

faucet  |   sink  |   sconces  |   shower head set

hair dryer bag  |   towel hook  |   toothbrushes  |   TP holder

 

The Best Lunch-Packing Products

As a follow-up to my favorite toddler/preschooler-sized backpacks, I’m turning my attention to all things lunch-related as we enter the first week of the school year. We don’t often have to provide a lunch yet, but as we approach kindergarten (say whaaa?!) I’m paying attention to my oh-so-smart mama friends who have all the best recommendations. I do pack my own lunch for work frequently, and have used a similar style lunch box and the silicone cups to keep things separate. And some of these things make lunches at home with littles that much more fun to prepare.

  1. We love this set of cutters — that includes sandwich cutters (who wants crust, anyway?!) little ones that are fun for fruit and cheese slices.
  2. Genius move by parents everywhere to use these little silicone cups to keep foods separate within lunches. (I personally like them to hold almonds and other stuff I want to stay “crunchy” on top of my salads until I’m ready to eat.)
  3. I love the idea of Bento boxes for kids because they hate when stuff “touches” — I like the price point of this box, and as my neighbor so smartly pointed out — you can afford to purchase a week’s worth, pack and stack them all in one night in the fridge, and have ZERO to do all week long.
  4. We’ve been using this stainless water bottle since shortly after Crew was off bottles. They are indestructible and great at keeping cold drinks cold (perfect for all-day summer outings). I’m picky about water bottles because they MUST be easy to clean — this one is my winner.
  5. I love the idea of these pre-printed lunchbox notes! They don’t make much sense until your kiddos are at a reading age, but I love the idea that they don’t require as much time to prepare, but still offer a touchpoint of “I’m thinking about you!” during their school day.

And if you’re looking for some lunch-packing inspiration, here are a couple of my favorite sources:

  • Lunchbox brand, Lunchbots, has a great Instagram feed full of ideas
  • My friend, Lisa, shares her healthy and creative ideas over at Love You Lunches

Age 3: Q2

It’s the summer your freckles arrived. <3 Just in time for Three and a Half.

Let’s jump right in!

We got a SLOWWWW start to spring (snow through April!), but we managed to tough out plenty of adventures while we waited for the warmer temps to show up.

It helped that you’re getting more and more content to play with one activity at a time, for a longer period of time. Water beads and this science kit have been a serious win lately!

Some of the latest details about you and your world…

You detest stickers, but love stamps and temporary tattoos.You’re clocking in at 37 pounds and change, and stand about 39″ tall on a good day.

You love nothing more than when it’s “daddy, mommy and me — ALL of us!” doing something together, even better if the family is extended beyond just us.

You truly hate to disappoint us or be in trouble, and I’ve gotten a much better understanding of the term “threenager” this quarter — lots of dramatic emotion when you’re sad/upset and you can well up with real tears at the drop of the hat!

This seems to be especially true on days you skip a nap — which is why we’re keeping them for now! You fall asleep around 9 most nights, still often end up in our bed somewhere after midnight, and are up at 7 or so, still napping 1.5 to 2 hours most days.

Your eating habits continue to improve…your yes category is still significantly smaller than your no category, but you’ve expanded which veggies you’ll eat, you’ll try a taste of most things with coaxing, and you blew my mind when my HARD NO TO PASTA kid asked for spaghetti for dinner. We ordered some, assuming it would be our next day lunch for work, but you proceeded to eat a ton of it. Now if you would just give mac ‘n’ cheese a chance….it would change your life.

You’re trying really hard to grasp the concept of time – minutes, hours, months, and annually occurring events like holidays and birthdays. “How many minutes?” “What comes after Easter?” and “after I wake up from bedtime?” are common questions as you try to piece it all together. Even if it’s still months away, every week it’s something new you want to be for Halloween (most recently an acorn, before that a butterfly, before that a ghostbuster). Good thing you have some time. 😉

We took our first vacation in over a year that was more than a quick overnight road trip, back in May. Let’s just say you were born to vacate — you ask weekly to go somewhere new again. It was such a treat to unplug for a few days and just be super present with little itinerary. I think you picked up on our lack of stress and distraction — in short, we had FUN!

Your coordination and bravery are increasing — we opted for a Ziggle for a new outdoor toy lately and it did not take you long to figure out how to propel yourself around and spin out in circles!

By far a highlight this quarter was a trip to the McNeilus plant on our way to a Twin Cities weekend with friends. After your news segment about loving garbage trucks went viral, the incredible team at McNeilus invited you to come tour the campus where they manufacture trucks for, among others, Waste Management. To say you were in heaven is putting it mildly! 😉

We were so touched by the generosity of this company – they gave up their afternoon to show you around, let you test drive some of the trucks that were ready to ship out, and sent you with so much swag to take home!

The same trip took us to catch up with good friends who moved out of town, and they showed us around their new digs including the Minnesota Childrens Museum, and some other favorite kiddo haunts around town. The shot above doesn’t do this museum justice — you were literally bouncing about four floors up and surrounded by windows, among the St. Paul skyline!

You live for trips to the pool and are all about swimming independently as much as you can — you’re at that tipping point of being able to swim independently, but you aren’t nearly as good as you THINK you are — so we are watching you like a hawk, and when we want a little backup, we still bust out the puddlejumper. 🙂

Three, just like every other age, is proving to be oh so fun. And as much as you love to tell us we’re “your favorite mommy and daddy” — you are OUR favorite, through and through, Little Man.

Keep spreading your magic.

Love,
Mom

Inspired: Project Faceless

A few things have been happening lately, and they’re inspiring some changes in how I approach sharing our life online.

A few months back, I woke to a friend’s comment tagging me in the Instagram post by a baby food brand. A major, household, parent-centric brand. There in the post was my child staring back at me. The photo was: taken from my blog without my permission (strike 1), photoshopped (strike 2), of my minor child – again no permission (MAJOR strike 3), and even if I could have seen past all of that, I wasn’t so much as credited in the caption or a comment. My mama blood boiled, I worked to get the post removed from their feed (and an apology was issued — but seriously, WHO is running their social media that they think is acceptable?). I ultimately got around to being frustrated with MYSELF that the content was out there in the first place to be misused.

I won’t pretend for a second that I’m any “big” blogger, but over the years, I’ve experienced strangers asking me if I’m “Life in Yellow” (much more common than my actual name ha). I always kind of laughed it off and figured it’s par for the course when you put so much of your life online. Then we had our son, and as babies do, he changed rapidly from month to month these early years. He now has hit that stretch where he still looks quite similar now as he did a full year ago, and thus he’s easier to recognize. Something we’ve learned as we’ve had a couple encounters where people who’ve never met him (innocently enough) remark that they know him, and even call him by name. While we KNOW these people mean nothing but good, this recognition coupled with our son’s instant bestie status with EVERYONE, for lack of a better term, freaked me out.

I was moved by this podcast by some of my faves, Young House Love, on protecting their children’s privacy. Once sharing on the same level I have (birth stories, monthly updates, etc) they no longer use names or show faces of their kids. Their children, while older than our own, are that much more in need of their own space and privacy, and as John points out at one point, it’s up to THEM to decide who, if anyone, they want to be online.

This moved me, big time.

Privacy, safety, exploitation (even if the “innocent” kind, by a brand trying to sell toddler snacks) – MORE than enough reason for me to make this call. I shared my thoughts with Page and he was quick to agree it made sense. The photographer in me (and of course the proud mom) longs to share every little bit, but I’ve always tried to find a balance, and now more than ever. There is plenty to share, in creative ways, that allows me to blog about motherhood (hello, cute room decor, outfits, stocking stuffers and party planning!), and still protect my son. I’ve been further inspired by the work of #projectfaceless photographers, like this one, who are beautifully and authentically capturing childhood in creatively anonymous ways. Challenge accepted!

I know there’s no perfect way to do this. Yes, he will still show up in our private social media. Yes, he may still show up in my blog instastories (that don’t get saved) and no, I’m not going to work backward and delete every picture I’ve posted. Yes, I realize he was just on national news for his love of garbage trucks, and there’s no net I can cast to reign that in. So I’m just making the conscious decision now, going forward, to be more aware and share less here and on the blog’s social media. I LOVE following along with the littles of bloggers and others who share their lives publicly, but this is simply the right choice, right now, for US. Thanks for the support as we go faceless! <3

5 Boy Outfits for Summer

Hat by Joules | Tee by Tailor Vintage | Shoes by Children’s Place | Shorts by Target

I had so much fun digging through Crew’s closet for Spring Outfits, that I had to do it again for summer. We’ve been hit HARD by the heat lately, so the layers are fewer and the outfits much simpler this round, but we also have our sunnies on serious repeat, which has been a fun new accessory to incorporate. (Read: Mom is buying ALL the cute little boy sunglasses!) And of course, we get to do some cute SWIM outfits as well. Bring it on, heat wave!

Hat by Under Armour  | Shirt by Rockets of Awesome | Shoes by Native | Shorts by Target

Rash Guard by Hanna Andersson | Sunglasses by Target | Swim Boardies by Zara Kids

Button-down and Tie by Janie & Jack | Shorts by Gap | Sandals by OshKosh

Tee by CrewCuts | Sunglasses by Gap | Shorts by Monica & Andy | Boots by Hunter

Basement Update: Into the Home Stretch

I last posted some updates about our basement bar/living room here, and the guest bedroom / bathroom here, earlier this winter.

Since then, it’s been flooring glory!

Basement Progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

Beginning in the bar, we put down a “luxury vinyl” (that term kills me) at the recommendation of a couple different flooring experts, because of the fact this is basement level. It’s still dusty in this pic, but we love the variation in the color, and the texture that looks like real scraped wood.

Basement Progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

I’m totally psyched about how the cabinet color turned out (“Cascade” by Sherwin William), and it was all in all a piece-of-cake job. The bar will have some copper accents, including this cabinet hardware. After weighing a TON of counter options, we’ve decided to stain some butcher block for the counters to match tones in the floor, and keep some woodsy depth going — it was starting to feel like a light of “light” between the carpet, paint color, and white trim.

Basement Progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

In the bathroom, we went several rounds of plumbing WTF moments — the super short version of a very long story is that our basement was originally plumbed for a tub/shower combo — not what we wanted. And because the builder had already been in here once to jack up our foundation and move the pipe once before (it was originally placed in our storage closet on the other side of the wall — face palm), we didn’t want to do that yet again. So we settled for an above rough-in “special” (read: expensive and must be custom ordered — budget increase/timeline delay GRR!) shower pan insert. To make it feel as little contractor grade as possible, we opted to surround it with subway tile up to the ceiling, and hopefully draw eyes away from it altogether. I love the contrast of the dark grout on the white tile, and grounding it all with the dark floor tile and light grout that makes it pop.

Basement Progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

A standard shower door won’t fit the space and while we looked at some alternative options, we are MORE than happy to put in one of the many cool rod options I’ve seen popping up, along with an extra long curtain and call it a day down here. This portion of the project ended up way over budget, both in time and money, and I’m okay that a curtain tucked to the side still shows off the tile. A toilet, some trim, and a vanity that Page would like to build himself will finish up this bad boy.

Basement Progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

The basement is just one of many projects in the works right now, but as soon as there’s more to show (hopefully just a final “DONE” tour!), I’ll be back!