So I decided to go the homemade route with gifts this year. In light of the economy and since I am a stay at home mom – I felt it was my duty to do my part to save the family money. Honorable intentions, yes they were.
Anyone who knows me knows my lack of domestic skills and creativity. That is putting it mildly. I would have flunked home-ec if they had offered it at my school. But I found a recipe for homemade bath salts – and thought Eureka! Here is something even I can handle – how hard can it be to stir a bunch of salt together and pour into a cute jars? All my friends will be so impressed with my homemade gifts – I was getting all excited about my new venture.
I’m off to the store to buy the necessary supplies. I was told that I could easily buy all the ingredients at any grocery store. (whatever!) So here I am in the spice aisle looking for Epsom salt and sea salt. Only the sea salt comes in little jars and I need like four gallons of the stuff. So how many jars equal four gallons? Then the Epsom salt comes in bags, but the recipe requires four cartons. Well, how the hell much is in a carton? What does that even mean? So after trying to convert cartons to gallons, and wiping the entire aisle out of salt for the rest of the season, I’m off to find glycerin.
Okay, for any of you who have ever tried to buy this stuff, it ain’t so easy to find. I combed the aisles of at least five grocery stores and even posted a request on Facebook to find the blessed stuff. At this point I might as well have bought luxury bath salts from Saks Fifth Avenue for what I was spending in time and gas driving all over the county. Finally I called my friend Heather (my version of Good Housekeeping’s “Ask Heloise”) and she steered me towards Hobby Lobby. (duh! Why didn’t I think of that?) Anyway, after a week of looking I finally had all the ingredients (or so I thought) to make my salts.
I was visiting a friend in OKC for a few days and decided to make my salts there. She was quite impressed with my efforts and was looking over my shoulder as I was opening all the ingredients. Apparently, peppermint extract is not quite the same thing as peppermint oil…thank goodness for my friend. So again, off to the store to buy yet again, another ingredient for the bath salts I was really beginning to hate. This could be a separate blog post, but I will spare you the details of getting lost, running out of gas and hitting at least three stores before an hour later coming home with the Holy Grail of peppermint oil.
Besides a few spills and broken jars, the salt making actually went okay. (Oh yeah, except for the part where after all this time, I actually lost the recipe spent another few hours trying to hunt it down). Put everything in the car, put the bath salts in a big plastic bag to jar when I got back to Tulsa when yes, you guessed it, my adorable five-year old son picked up the bag and dumped the entire contents all over my backseat. I am so not even kidding. The only plus side is my car now smells like a giant peppermint factory. (if you like that sort of really strong smell.)…
To all my friends who receive bath salts this year – please know the time and effort that went into this endeavor. And next year – I’ll be rolling out the Sak’s bags