Remember that slice mold I used for the “Slice of Peppermint Pie” and “Slice of Roadkill Remains”? I’m still obsessed with it. *grin* This time I went a little more traditional and did a version of a fudge ripple cake. You can’t tell that I’m in the mood for the delicious baked goods of the season, right? *laugh* I thought that a fudge ripple would look awesome and would break up the colors a bit, while letting me avoid trying to find more than an hour’s worth of patience. I admit that I’ve been pretty restless lately, so I’ve been sticking with quick gratification, and this was perfect for it. What do you think?
I planned to frost the slices Monday since I knew that Miss Ash would be here to help, but there were a few complications. *begins to bite my lip while trying to find a way to make it sound a little better than it really ended up being…* Things started out pretty well. I had all of the ingredients gathered and was measuring the FO when she came in. While she filled me in on school and the other fun details of young teen life I started to heat the soap. With her here I figured a half batch of bath frosting would be a wise decision, so we could have some fun together, yet still get to the bigger project that I really needed an extra set of hands for. I wanted to get Ash used to using the scale and how to tare it, so I had her measure out the bath whip. I should have known when the spatula bent as she tried to scoop some out that this wasn’t going to go well. (Our woodstove is still being repaired, so the house is still pretty chilly, but I had been active and quickly overheat, so I didn’t notice this. I’ve thought through all of this for hours and finally realized that this was the first domino that fell. It’s only right to fill you in on my realization. *laugh*) Well, with a metal spoon and a butter knife we were able to get the whip out, although, yet again, warning bells should have gone off, but I didn’t notice that the spoon got impressively bent during this task. *face palm* Miss Ash is very deliberate and cautious, so things took a bit longer and the melted soap began to set up slightly. (Yeah, those dag on warning bells again…*sigh*) I showed her how to get the mixer set up and started mixing the whip with some glycerin I noticed that it didn’t have the consistency that I remembered from when I made the cookie wash soaps last year. I held out hope and gave her the melted soap to add to the mixture. As she did this I added some stabilized FO (so that it won’t discolor later from the massive amount of vanilla that is in Christmas Eve Cookies, the FO I used throughout all of the soap layers). While I was putting a few things away I heard some weird noises coming from the mixer. (You’re welcome to shake your head at this point. We both know this is just going to get worse. Lol.) I turned off the mixer and poked at the mixture with a spatula, and realized that the soap had solidified between taking too long during prep and it being too cold in the room. Hey, bath and body products require a lot of quick problem solving and that was basically my career before I became disabled, so I did a little quick thinking and put the bowl in a sink full of hot water, and had Miss Ash keep rotating the bowl around, so the soap would melt off of the sides of the bowl. I figured the whip attachment would also help (realistically I should have used it in the beginning, but it was the least of the problems really). After things were pliable again we whipped the mixture for a few minutes and I started to add more glycerin. This mixture had started to look really weird, so I figured maybe a little more moisture would stabilize it. Nope. *laugh* I turned it off after a few minutes and packaged it in an empty jar to deal with later, so I could salvage the rest of the night. I’ll spare you any pictures, because it looks like curdled milk at this point, and somehow the smell got a bit distorted. I can still detect the vanilla, although there is definitely some funk going on, while Larry insists (with a very puzzled look of “Why in the world are you topping the soap with…”) that it smells like burnt buttered popcorn. Yum. Nothing like curdled milk and burnt buttered popcorn to make you feel pampered, right? *grin*
Thankfully the big project went well. I needed to make a huge batch of heavy duty sugar scrub for Larry and then a little to have on hand. With the movements and shaking I have some trouble with keeping the jar lip clean when making scrub now, so I figured young hands would be perfect for this. It took a little longer than I had intended, since we took time for explanations and demonstrations of things that she was unfamiliar with, but we ended up with something like 70 ounces worth of scrub. *happy dance* Thankfully I use repurposed empty supply jars for his items and jarring went pretty well. I have to admit that I felt like a superhero by the end, because Miss Ash had learned so much in the two hours together, and she totally had that awesome “mind blown” look going on. *grin* She learned how to use and read a pipette, why sugar is used in scrub, how can sugar be safe for your skin if your dentist doesn’t want you to eat it, what pumice powder is and how it works, what poppy seeds are (let me tell you that the seeds are incredible for heavy duty exfoliating!), what humectants are and how they work in soap, and how to convert measurements. She’s going to be SO far ahead of her classmates now.
To make the evening end on an even better note she told me that she always loves coming over to work with me. Not only does she get to do “cool things”, but it always smells so “awesome” in my house. Then Miss Ash’s mom came over to pick Ash up and bought a Redneck Gift Basket. Yay!
Although the frosting was a disgusting failure I am pretty happy overall with our time. The actual cake soap still looks fantastic and I was smart enough to not try the frosting on ay of the soap, so I can still try again. Larry’s stocked up on his scrub. Miss Ash lit up like a Christmas Tree when I surprised her with a few of the glitter bar soaps that she had made at her last visit, so she can give them as gifts or show them off. Best of all, we both learned a lot. The youthful way of just shrugging off failures and just look to what’s next instead is something I have always struggled with, but with her literally turning and asking “what’s next?” I was finally able to. I’m still smacking my forehead, but I’m doing a lot better with just shrugging it off and laughing. And Miss Ash learned a lot of little tidbits that should help with school, and hopefully even a few skills to help her with life.
This Christmas I think the best gift will be this. Knowing that a young girl can see me as a kind of rock star and not see the things that I can no longer do. That I was able to have a good impact and that I got to see that thirst for information light up in her eyes. No matter if the pies burn, the turkey turns out dry, or I have a fall and can’t walk between now and Christmas, I’m blessed. And all because I believe we should all get pampered sometimes. I couldn’t ask for much more.
I wish the same for you this holiday. Whatever your beliefs and your traditions, I wish you happiness, personal development, and the feeling that no matter how different you are, or how your life has changed, that you are still a rock star in somebody’s eyes.