Diamond Candles – Rings

What is better than Candles and jewelry? (chocolate?…. yeah.. ok.. maybe)

My daughter Cassie bought a bunch of candles for early Christmas presents – I say early, because she was so excited she couldn’t wait. These candles are 21 oz. and inside each one is a piece of jewelry – most is costume jewelry, but we’ve seen quite a few with real stones, or sterling silver.

I requested Cinnamon Tea.. It has a nice scent – strong enough to smell, but not overbearing. I set it to burn and figured it’d be the next day before I got to the foil wrapped baggie containing my ring.


After a few hours, I could see the foil, but I let it go another hour or so, just because I didn’t want to dig it out. In the above picture, you can see the foil in the liquid wax. One really nice thing is because the candles are soy (I’m assuming so, since they liquefy), the wax burns down nicely. If you do dig the prize out, lighting it again will quickly liquefy chunky wax.. so it’ll be pretty again very quickly.



The ring location is marked on the inside of each candle by a gold circle, making it easy to find. we used needle nose plies to pull it up out of the wax.


These would make a great gift for any woman. Diamond Candle 20% Off Coupon Code

Orange Vinegar Cleaning Mix

Orange Grapefruit Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Here is an easy All-Purpose cleaning solution using the peels from oranges and grapefruits and vinegar.

In a wide mouth jar, fill with peels from oranges and/or grapefruits. I packed them in, so there were a lot, but not so tight there wasn’t room to move a bit. In the picture, I used a canning jar. I also used an empty juice bottle. It wasn’t easy to get the left over peels out.. but it worked well too.

Once the peels are in place, cover to the top with white vinegar.

I let mine sit for almost a month before I used some. I poured straight into a spray bottle and used neat. But it smelled really strong of vinegar.

The second bottle I filled, I fill about half way, and then topped off with water. Distilled would be best for cleaning glass, but even tap is works.

You can also buy orange essential oil. A few drops would scent your mixture more of oranges, but may cause streaking – I haven’t tried it, yet.

Happy cleaning! (Now there’s an oxymoron if there ever was one!)

Simple, Basic Soap Recipe Base


I have been meaning to list a simple handmade soap base recipe, but without using Palm oil. Say No To Palm Oil
Any of my recipes can be edited to suit the needs of the crafter. Just always remember to run it back through a lye calculator whenever you make any changes to the oils or size of the batch.

I loved experimenting with different oils, but my two favorite recipes were just so simple. No special label appeal with shea or cocoa butters.. just a basic, creamy good soap.

A 3 base oil Soap recipe

Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

1 pound

70%  Olive Oil                11.2 ounces
15% Coconut Oil             2.4 ounces
15% Palm Kernel Oil     2.4 ounces

5% superfat – Lye           2.2 ounces

4 pounds

70% Olive Oil                44.8 ounces
15% Coconut Oil               9.6 ounces
15% Palm Kernel Oil       9.6 ounces

5% superfat – Lye            8.99 ounces

For even more basic, Olive Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

Olive Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

1 pound

80% Olive Oil                          12.8 ounces
20% Palm Kernel Oil             3.2 ounces

5% superfat – Lye                   2.16 ounces

4 pounds

80% Olive Oil                               51.2 ounces
20% Palm Kernel Oil                12.8 ounces

5% superfat – Lye                       8.65 ounces


Either of these basic recipes will be a good base for a plain bar of soap, or to add additives and fragrances or essential oils.

You can use either of these bases for just about any recipe on MommaMuse – you can change your liquid (distilled water, teas, milks (read up on using goat milk before trying), cucumber, use your imagination), your fragrances or essential oils, colorants, additives (powders, clays, teas).

How much Liquid should I add?

To figure your liquid, you want 2.2 times the lye amount.  Lye X 2.2 = Liquid in ounces


What does ‘superfat’ mean?

When you make soap, the oil molecules bind with the lye molecules.  To make a gentle soap, you want to have a little bit more oil molecules than you do lye.. But at the same time,  not too much more – or you’ll have a soft oily mess of nothing.


Cold Process or Hot Process Soap?

Some people have their favorites, I like both ways of making soap.  I have tutorials on how I do each, but mine aren’t the only way to make soap.. there are other variations.  For Cold Process, read Rosemary Mint Cold Process Soap Tutorial with Recipe. For Hot Process, my favorite way is in the crock pot. I recommend getting a crock pot you can use specifically for soap making (check thrift stores, garage sales or ask friends – someone is bound to have one they never use). Instructions for Making Crock Pot Handmade Soap – a ‘how to’ with pictures.
– Be sure to use a soap calculator specifically used to calculator amounts, particularly making sure you have the correct amount of sodium hydroxide.
– If you need to make substitutions within your recipe, be sure to recalculate, as the lye amount may change. Don’t just double your recipe, run it through the calculator again. and again. and again.
– Remember your safety and for those around your soap making area. Label items appropriately, wear appropriate safety gear.

Banana Orange filling for Crepes

This is my all-time favorite recipe for Orange Banana crepes.

I use this Dessert Crepes recipe. I make a lot of crepes to store in the fridge for quick snacks (or meals). I also store extra of this orange sauce in the fridge too.

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup orange juice (I do pulp free)
4 teaspoons grated orange peel (I rarely use this much, usually more like 2 teaspoons)

Orange Sauce for Crepes
Orange Sauce for Crepes

In a sauce pan, combine butter, sugar, orange juice and grated orange peel and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat.

Add banana – sliced long-way or in round bites. Let bananas warm through.

Pile onto your crepes with some orange sauce and eat up..

I usually eat with a fork and finish with a spoon.. mmmm

Store leftover in fridge – this will separate, and the butter on top will harden.  Melts in microwave easily enough.

Dessert Crepes Recipe

My mom used to make me crepes with bananas and orange sauce.. and it was just.so.good.

Here’s the crepe recipe she gave me, and I’ve been using like mad lately.

Dessert Crepes

1 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter (some extra for the pan)

I mix all ingredients except the flour, with a hand mixer. Once everything is well blended, I add the flour, gently.

Put in fridge for a couple hours – I usually make the mix the night before and then cook in the morning, or make the mix in the morning and cook up in the evening. The batter usually separates – so when you get ready to cook, just stir it up.

Stack Crepes - layer on paper towel

I have been doubling the batch with no problem.

To make, melt butter in a metal pan (I use stainless steel) and get hot – I have found I start out with my stove on 2-ish, but then have to lower to simmer so I don’t burn them.

I use a metal spatula, but whatever your favorite utensil for the job. 🙂

I use a big spoon and pour into center of the pan – then lift the pan and gently roll, so the batter spreads and thins out. Let cook until the top looks almost dry and the edges look slightly browned. Flip. Let cook about 20-30 seconds on this side.

Set on a wire cookie rack to cool. I let one cool, as I cook the next, then I stack with paper towels between the layers. The paper towels don’t stick to the crepes. You can also use wax paper. I was out, so just used paper towels and since it didn’t stick and was just so easy, that is what I always use.

I stack them up to cool and then put them in a big baggie in the fridge to eat whenever.

Crepes don’t have to be about fruits or sweets. You can load with scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon; lunch meat (might want to cut back on the sugar). When I really lazy, or all out of fruit, I warm in the microwave with butter, powdered sugar and a bit of cinnamon, roll and eat.

Banana Orange Crepe Filler – it’s soo good.

Gone Girl – by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl to-be Movie
Gone Girl to-be Movie

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine shared a link 14 Books To Read Before They Hit The Big Screen and on that list (among several I’ve already read, and a few I still want to and at least one I’ll wait for the movie) was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

This book has been in my Audible wishlist for quite some time. What luck, as I’d been trying to decide which book to get and was having a time of it.. this made up my mind though.

About halfway through, I thought, what is really so special about this book? I mean, it’s good, but.. enough to warrant over 11,000 reviews on Amazon? I wasn’t so sure.

In reading a few reviews, I was careful, because I didn’t want the story spoiled, I saw that the story really picks up when it hits Part Two. I seriously thought I must have been in Part Two already, but I just wasn’t feeling that it had picked up that much.

Getting ready to go out to the Fourth of July Festival today, I was listening and … actually got to Part Two, I really hadn’t missed the announcement. There was no doubting it, even if I had missed “Part Two”.. the story takes such a wild plot twist that I was just in shock. I want so badly to talk to someone about it, but alas.. I’m here, writing to tell you, if you enjoy mysteries, plot twists.. this book, it is soooo worth the read. It makes me want to crawl into a hole and just finish listening – screw the festival, I’m the only one who wanted to go anyway, lol! But no, I must savor it, little bits at a time.

Who am I kidding, I’ll probably spend tomorrow cleaning the house *just* so I can finish the book. Sometimes, I love audio books.

Garage Sales and Haggling

We had a garage sale a few times already this spring. It’s been years since I’ve had one.. but I have spend a couple years helping out at the flea market. And one thing I noticed is there are two main types of shoppers.

One is the shy person. They accept the price marked on the item(s) as set in stone.

I had a man with a thick accent ask how much I wanted for a child’s convertible rocker chair. I told him the price I had on it was $12. He asked again, ‘how much will you take for it?’.. and I replied that I had given him my price, what did he want to offer. He told me he didn’t want to ‘hurt my feelings’. I chuckled.. I told him, it’s a garage sale, let’s haggle.. We settled on a price.

Some people won’t even go as far as he did, but his comment gave me some insight into why some people just accept the price as ‘the price’. People don’t want to offend.

To you shy folks, we may not offer a lower price.. I find I’m less willing to haggle with people who aren’t willing to engage. Chat a bit.. about the weather, about the traffic, about other garage sales, anything.. heck, some lady today told us about her false teeth and how her bottoms ones fit better than the top. My daughter and I looked at each and chuckled as the woman drove away, but we remember her and she got a deal on a few things.

The other type of person, the one who’s ready to get a deal and get it for the best possible price. They may ask how much you want, or they may just say ‘Will you take $x for this?’

Either way, I love this type of shopper. It makes the day more fun. And every item someone buys is one less item I need to move back to the garage – or drive to the thrift store.

One thing to keep in mind, as you set up your garage or yard sale, is many times people attach a sentimental value to items. Sometimes this is good.. but if you are attaching sentimental value to everything you’re trying to sell, you may not do very well. Mark your prices for what you’d be willing to pay, if you saw it at the store or flea market. If it’s worth more to you than you’re willing to part it for, don’t sell it.. save it for the next time.

Don’t be shy. Worst we can do is say ‘no.. that’s too low, how about…. ‘… Just ask. Most people like to haggle, wrangle or dicker.. and this term, I don’t think I’ve heard before.. higgle. What funny words. Just think of those when your out there and remember to higgle a little.

Happy Garage Sale-ing!

Juicing Detox – Going Healthy

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I have never been so sick, in so much pain, for so long. All I wanted was the doctors to make it not hurt. And I wanted to crawl into my little cave and hide from my own body and everything else.

Not long after, my sister was diagnosed with Colitis. She took a much different approach. Instead of using medications, she got back on the healthy track and did much better than I, much quicker.

It’s taken me a long time, but I’m finally following behind her.

For the past year, I’ve wanted an Elliptical Trainer. Got it.
Also on our list was a Breville Juice Fountain Plus. Got it.

Tonight, I had my ‘farewell’ meal – one of our favorite restaurants is closing (it’s been around local since 1963).. and it felt very appropriate that it be my last off-track meal before starting a 3 day plus Juice Detox.

I say 3 day plus because I don’t feel one day is enough, but I don’t want to take on more than I can handle and get discouraged.  So, I’ll do 3 days.. and if I’ve had enough, I’ll stop.. if not, I’ll keep going.

The boys and I tried out the juicer yesterday.  It’s so funny how different real juice tastes compared to what you get at the grocery.  It’s so much better!

I’ll update here periodically, but you can also like us (my oldest daughter and me) on Toward Healthy (it’s sooo brand new I don’t even have a banner image up, so check back as I get things accomplished).

Recommended Documentaries to motivate:
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead – Free if you have Amazon Prime
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead – on Netflix Instant
It’s also on Hulu.

Hungry for Change – Rental fee on Amazon
Hungry for Change – Netflix (free)

Letter to an Old Friend

Dear Old Friend,

I drove by your old neighborhood a few weeks ago, as I’ve done hundreds of times. This time though, you popped into my head. I had to smile.. Another drive that direction, a couple days later, brought you back to mind.. and I thought how strange, that we’d live in the same city for who knows how long and we’d probably never run in to each other. And, how strange that you would come to mind, a few times, in such a short time.

Imagine my surprise, when just a week later, I see you coming in the door of the cafe.. I wasn’t sure, was it you? But yes, of course it was you.. I knew it. And I know you knew who I was too. I wanted to sink into the floor when they called my name for my food and you were standing right there. If I had any doubt as to whether you knew it was me or not, it was gone then. *laughs*

I’m not sure why I didn’t say hi. I was playing the coward. But you looked so… unhappy. Not in a good place. Maybe it was my excuse for not saying hello. But you didn’t look approachable.

Sitting there, you leaving.. I quickly googled on my phone and found you’re going through a divorce. I can say I’m sorry, for what little good it will do, but I am. Very sorry. (and no.. don’t think I’m weird for googling, it’s so normal, I google everything)

Again, you’re stuck in my head, but not in a little corner, now you’re stuck there, in the front and I’m feeling like such a heel for not saying Hi. I thought, maybe I could send you a card.. which, if you knew me now, you’d know I *never* send cards. But still, I could, and include a letter.. and so then I think about all the things I’d like to say. But, I can’t do that either. You didn’t speak to me as much as I didn’t speak to you. So, maybe you don’t want to talk to me.. that’s ok. I’ll write the letter here. Maybe, one day, you’ll stumble across it.. probably not, but I think it’d be nice if you did.

All this plays out in my head over a couple of days. And then, last night, I get a text from another old, mutual, friend. She wanted to know something mundane, but at this point, I’m really feeling like something was missed, because this friend.. I never talk to her.. we don’t talk on the phone, or text, or email and yet, within days of having seen you, I hear from her. It felt so strange. Honestly, as silly as it sounds saying it ‘out loud’, it felt like I was suppose to have had that opportunity… and I missed it.

So now, what I want to tell you is how you have always held a special place in my heart. I think back to times long gone, and I remember that in a small, simple way, you gave me strength I so desperately needed to move past a bad relationship, and forward. And how thankful I feel for those moments.

I wish I could say a few words and give you strength, courage, hope.. something to make things just a little bit better. Know this.. things do get easier. I wish I could give you a hug, talk about old times over a cup of coffee.

I wish I could go back to a few days ago, just so I could say Hi..


PS… I just remembered this today. I wasn’t even suppose to be at that cafe. Normally we meet at a coffee shop. Friends I was meeting up with wanted to get dinner first.. I went to the wrong location.