A Pinterest Project: Bath Bombs

My daughter and I went to the mall. (Not so crazy that we went there – however crazy it may be that my teen daughter stayed with me….ah, the power of the credit card). She made me go into the Lush store while we were there. So if you have not been to a Lush store, they sell bath bombs. Which are essentially home made bath salts. They were ridiculously overpriced at $6-12 per one time use bomb. I felt fairly certain that I had seen these little gems on Pinterest and they could be made for significantly less money.

I usually pin things on Pinterest and don’t really actually attempt the projects. Some of the time I don’t attempt because I don’t want the mess or even because I can’t find all the stuff that it calls for. But this particular one seemed pretty simple. The most difficult thing on this list to located was the citric acid (which we found is actually available at Whole Foods – it is a food additive). And the funny story that ensued when I told the pharmacist at Target that we were looking for the acid so we could make bombs – perhaps I should have said BATH bombs.  Otherwise, I had everything we needed was easy to find or was already in my kitchen cabinets. YAY!

Makin' bath bombs

Makin’ bath bombs

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 3/4 cup Corn Starch
  • 1/4 cup Epsom Salt
  • 1 cup Citric Acid
  • 10 drops Food Coloring – you can also use Beet Juice for pink color like I did or Carrot Juice for yellowish
  • a few drops of Essential Oil of your choice (we used lemon and vanilla)
  • 2t Water

Directions: Mix the Baking Soda, Corn Starch, Epsom Salt and Citric Acid in a bowl with a whisk. Mix the water, food coloring and essential oil in a small jar/bowl. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixing using the whisk the whole time. When the mix is slightly wet it should mold into balls in your hand. Make sure you dry completely.

Home Made Bath Bombs

Home Made Bath Bombs

The project was short, simple and easy. I am excited to give a couple of our bombs to a friend who has been going through a difficult time.

Check Glassblowing Off The Bucket List

I have several seemingly strange things on my bucket list. I’m not even certain how I got these ideas to put them there in the first place. But one of them was to blow glass. It is not the kind of goal or giant bucket list item that takes a ton of money or even weeks of preparation so I figured with some other big changes in my life this year, this would be the one I could check off pretty easily. I found a coupon for Agnes of Glass here in Denver on LivingSocial (although you can actually get a better deal just by calling her studio).

So on a bright Saturday morning, I headed over to Agnes’ place (Yes, there really is an Agnes) located at basically 40th and Colorado in Denver. The studio is a nice little place.  We (there were about eight people in the class) were welcomed in by Agnes herself and her partner, Renee. As we came into the shop we were asked to fill out a release and sit on the benches. We were called up one by one to pick out the colors of our glass. I filled up my little plastic shot glass with yellow, red, orange and blue (I didn’t pick green). Then returned to my seat on the bench in the back row. After everyone had filled out their form and filled up their cup, Agnes stood in the front of the benches in the middle of the studio. She demonstrated how to make an ornament with the assistance of her nephew, Miles. They were careful to talk through the safety and ensure that we all knew what we were going to do. Agnes was very patient and has a great teaching spirit. It really felt like we were welcomed guests into her home and she was sharing her love of her art with everyone.

AgnesofGlass

Picking up color on my ornament.

We were called up one by one (I was thankful not to be the first). Miles or Agnes would dip the giant metal bar into the “volcano” which has Agnes’ special mix of crystal (the clear glass). We would then take the bar, all while keeping the glass moving (so turning the bar) and touch it into the colored glass that we had chosen. Essentially this was making the glass chards of color stick to the hot crystal glass. We would then place that in the “Glory Hole” to continue melting the glass (Renee helped at the Glory Hole). Then we would take it over to where Miles was standing and while twisting he would clip off the end of the glass. Put it back in the hole. Then sit in the sled (pictured below) to shape/actually blow the ornament into shape. We could make a choice of an ornament, paper weight, or shot glass. As we kept turning the glass blowing the air right into the ornament with a rubber like tube. Turn, twist, air. Then we would score the glass and tap it off the pole. The last step is to take it over to the other stand and “kiss” it with crystal once again – to make the hook for the ornament.

glass blow 2glass blow 3

It would take a couple days to cure. The glass has to cool down slowly so it doesn’t break. I would return on Tuesday to get my ornament. I was so pleased. It was beautiful. The colors had come out a bit more than when it was hot (when it was hot the red looked more like a burnt brown). I can’t wait to hang it on my tree next Christmas and say honestly, “I MADE that.” Yes, I may go again. With friends next time.

The Ornament I made at AgnesofGlass in Denver.

The Ornament I made at AgnesofGlass in Denver.

 

What is on your bucket list? Are some of them one-day two hour deals too or are they bigger undertakings? What have you made that you are proud of?

A Night In India via Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

I have been trying to find a time to attend the special Moonlight Dining series at Arapahoe Basin for several years now. Ever since I heard about it. The ski area hosts a monthly special Moonlight meal at the Black Mountain Lodge at mid-mountain. Most skiers know that the last lift of the day happens at 4 p.m. Then everyone is in some sort of race to clog up I-70 with loads of traffic. I wasn’t really sure what to expect – but open for anything.

We headed to Arapahoe Basin around 4:30 p.m. Check in time is at 5 p.m. This particular dinner was lift served (not all of them are) so we had a choice, we could either take the lift up to mid-mountain, hike up, snowshoe up, or skin up. We chose to hike. It was a beautiful night with the full moon up and the sun just setting. I do want to warn you that hiking in Uggs (which I did) is not the best choice of footwear (I did have hiking boots – but chose to leave them in the car – not so smart). It is a winter hike. By that I mean, wear all the winter wear you would when you are going skiing. You will need to have those ski pants on, jacket, gloves and a hat. It is a hike! So be prepared with a bit of water too. (I downed a gallon of water when we got to the top because I forgot that detail).

When we arrived at mid-mountain the stars were beautiful and the Black Mountain Lodge had been transformed from some cafeteria style utilitarian feeling hut to an elegant lodge complete with real linens and silverwear. There was lovely atmosphere including a local musician who played guitar and sang songs. It was a little bit of older rock and roll – but certainly set the entertainment mood. The bar was open (lots of people drinking a bit of wine). Chef Rybak came out of the kitchen and addressed the group (of almost 100 people) what they had prepared. He also said that this was the first time they had done Indian food so he felt that he really pushed his staff.

Black Mountain Lodge all set for Moonlight Dinner Series.

Black Mountain Lodge all set for Moonlight Dinner Series.

Chef Rybek

 

The meal was four courses including Hors d’Oeuvers; Soup & Salad; Entrees and Desserts. Each of these were delicious in their own right. I liked the idea that they didn’t go overboard when it came to spices (and I know that a lot of Indian food is very spicy). We had made a decision to try a little bit of everything. This also meant that we would have a LOT of eating to do! (Give me a challenge…)

Hors d’oeuvres included: Freshly made Paneer with dried fruits & nuts; Onion Bjajias; Fresh Coconut Chutney; Vegetable Samosas; Onion, Mango & Peanut Chaat; Spiced Potato and Chickpea cakes; Skewered Chicken Tikka; Cucumber & Yogurt; Goan-style Mussels.

My favorite was the Paneer (the mounds at the bottom of this picture). Paneer is like a soft home-made cheese that is served with naan bread, dried fruits and nuts).

Hors d'Oeuvres at Moonlight dining at Arapahoe Basin

Hors d’Oeuvres at Moonlight dining at Arapahoe Basin

Soup & Salad: Spiced Cauliflower Soup; Mango, Tomato and Red Onion Salad; Spinach and Mushroom Salad; Naan bread

This must have been my favorite course. I honestly loved every one of the things on this course. I hear that Cauliflower is the vegetable of the year (like Brussel Sprouts have been for the past couple years).

Entrees: Tandoori Masala Lamb Chops; Fresh Tomato and Onion Chutney; Pea and Mushroom Pulao; Sweet and Sour Pineapple; Balti Chicken Vindaloo; Masal Chana; Dhal with Roasted Garlic; Mango Chutney; Monkfish and Okra Curry; Hot Lime Pickle; Vegetables with Almonds.

All of this was good for different reasons. I would say my favorite was the lamb. It seemed to have a perfect flavor crust and was cooked perfectly. If I was going to go back for more or wish I could order one item on it’s own, it would be the lamb.

Entrees plate at Arapahoe Basin Moonlight dining

Entrees plate at Arapahoe Basin Moonlight dining

Dessert :Creamy Rice Pudding; Carrot Halva; and Drunken Oranges – which also had a ginger cookie. (I totally forgot to take a photo of this because I was so darn full and was complaining about how my pants don’t fit anymore).

I was sort of disappointed in the desserts. But I was also sort of glad I was. I was so full of all the other meal. The fact that the desserts weren’t my favorite – I didn’t have to feel bad not cleaning my plate.

We had left it up for discussion if we would hike back down or ride the lift. We opted to “slide” back down. We didn’t have sleds (and we didn’t steal any trays – despite someone suggesting that). So we slid down the mountain on our butts. It was totally fun. There were parts when we got going pretty quickly others we had to stand and get to the next steeper part of the mountain.

I will go back for certain next year. I will try another theme (they also have Italian, Bavaria, New Year’s Eve, Spain and Randonee). http://www.arapahoebasin.com/ABasin/mountain/bml-dinners.aspx They sell out quickly so I better check my calendar now! Who wants to go with me?

Dinner with Sacramento at Coohills in Denver

Sacramento Convention and Visitor’s Bureau along with help from the Hyatt Regency and the Sheraton representatives made it to Denver for a tradeshow (MIC – Meetings Industry Council). We were invited to dine with them at Coohill’s restaurant. Even though the restaurant is located miles away – we were treated to a dinner ripe with yummy food and fresh produce that was brought in by Sacramento!

For those who either can’t remember or never studied geography, Sacramento is the state capital of California. Sacramento boasts over 8,000 acres of farms (and farmers markets are available any day of the week – in summer).  It [Sacramento] was named the farm to fork capital. Thus they wanted to share some of that great “farm” with our “fork.”

Our Menu for the five-course tasting and pairing. Each course was presented (and explained) to us by Chef Tom Coohill. The artistry of each plate could never fully be explained or photographed. But simply tasted. Tasted from the great conversation, to the great atmosphere, to literally the great taste.

Course 1 – Blue Crab Cake with mustard and chives with an Eric Montintin Sancerre 2013

Course 2 – Lemon Sole with Olive Oil poached new potatoes and champagne sauce with Joseph Drouhin Rully 2011

Course 3 – Duck Confit with braised green cabbbage, garlic, sherry & honey with Wild Horse Pinot Noir

Course 4 – Steak Sirloin, Rosemary roasted new potatoes, celery root puree and crispy brussel sprouts with Simi Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon

Course 5 – Apple tart, profiteroles, chocolate mousse tort and Peter Lehmann Australia.

The only problem with a five-course meal is that I am so full that the last few courses get little more than a taste (and I felt like the pants that fit me when I came in didn’t fit any longer).

Thank you to Betsy from the CVB, Jennifer from the Hyatt and Lynda from the Sheraton. We really did get a taste of Sacramento that night.

Denver Deal: Taxes, Tires, Pies and Consignment Sales

Michele Cushatt is a friend. She is a mom extraordinaire. I think what makes her so great is that she is just like you and me. She questions life at times, doesn’t always know the right answers – and lovingly reminds us all that it is completely OK to have feelings about your life, your kids, what you wish your lift might turn out like, and even more feelings when it so doesn’t turn out that way. She shares her story in her new book (out on Tuesday, March 10), Undone: A Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life. While she thought she was on her way to an empty nest, she adopts three “littles” (young kids) and gets socked with a diagnosis of cancer. Despite fear and confusion she gives us hope, relief, laughter, and a giant verbal hug.

CU Business School Does Taxes For FREE. The Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder is offering free tax preparation services to low-income taxpayers (income up to $53,000). Taxes are prepared by students who have passed the IRS exam (and reviewed by tax law volunteers). Taxes are done January 31 – April 4 in Room 375 in the Koelbel Building (home of the Leeds School of Business on the CU-­‐Boulder campus) on Wednesdays 5:00pm – 6:30pm and Saturdays 9:00am-­‐12:30pm.  There are no appointments.  First-come first-served basis.

Consignment Sales. MileHighMamas has compiled the best of the best in kids consignment sales. The whole list can be found at: http://www.milehighmamas.com/blog/2015/02/11/denver-childrens-consignment-sales/  But the one that is coming up most quickly is the Just Between Friends of Aurora sale on March 19-22. Friday 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. $2 admission; Saturday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $2 admission. Sunday: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Half-price sale) at Arapahoe County Fairgrounds in Aurora.

Perkins Pie. Perkins invites you to join their Pie Society Monday club. For a limited time you can get a free slice of pie with the purchase of an entree at Perkins on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Fruitera: Fruitera is a monthly subscription service for ready to blend, organic smoothies that are delivered straight to your door! Take your morning back with our nutritious and delicious smoothies that blend in less than 30 seconds. With no added sugars or preservatives, these smoothies are great for the kids. Use the coupon code: MileHighFive to receive 5 extra smoothies for free with your first shipment! Check out www.fruitera.co for more information on how you can start your day more smoothly!

Park Meadows. Park Meadows shopping center is running a great promotion. Present your receipt of $75 at a restaurant at the customer service center,  you will receive a $25 gift card to spend on whatever you want in the mall!

Tires Deal. I drive a four-wheel drive car. When I have to replace tires, I feel like I might have to rob a bank because I have to buy four at a time.  CDOT has teamed up with statewide and local tire shops to provide discounts on a set of new tires so that people will stay safe on the roads.

Ski Area Fun: The ski areas are planning their Spring Break and end of the season fun. Plus they are starting to sell passes for NEXT year. Yes, it seems like a long ways away – especially when this season isn’t even over yet. But if you are a skier (or snowboarder) now is the time to get your passes.

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Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

Don’t want to miss any of Mile High Mamas’ contests and events? Be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter so you can forward these great deals to your friends.

If you’re on Twitter follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Kids Eat Free Mile High Mamas has rounded up a huge listing of local restaurants where kids eat free or for a discount with a paying adult.

 

Hermitage in Nashville Worth Writing Home About

My mom used to say, “it’s worth writing home about” when we encountered something that was news worthy or exciting enough to tell the folks at home. With the advent of phones, face-time and internet it seems the more we experience the less we feel the need to actually write home about anything. I travel quite a bit – and I have gotten spoiled by amazing hotels and well thought out details. My kids too have become a bit spoiled when my daughter can walk into a hotel bathroom and notice if they have a scale or not (and know that that means is is a 5 star/5 diamond hotel). I certainly didn’t know this when I was a kid. When we traveled as kids – I was delighted when they had those little bottles of shampoo. Now even the “lower end” hotels seem to have them and I rarely stay at hotels where both the TV and the remote are nailed to their fixtures.

That being said, I have had the opportunity to stay at the historic Hermitage hotel in Nashville, TN. Indeed the opulence of years past comes shining through into the opulence of today. The Hermitage was built in 1910 as a hotel. But unlike many other historic hotels the rooms are wide, spacious, and well appointed (on a side note I hate the term well-appointed – but it’s what I thought of so that’s what I wrote). From the moment I walked into the lobby, I could feel the decadence. From the doorman to the front office staff I think they fed these people niceness pills. And the stained glass ceiling in the vaulted lobby is both beautiful and ornate.

Hermitage lobby

It is the details of the hotel that make it so cool. Like the child in me, I first discovered the great little bottles including devine smelling shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and face wash. My daughter (who is not traveling with me this time) would be happy to know there is a scale in the bathroom (although I don’t like what it reported I weigh).  I was excited about the Nespresso machine in my room. If you have not had their coffee you’re missing out! My colleague was excited about the type of wine that was sitting by the water bottles (although not inexpensive at $30 for a small bottle). The turn down service included cookies and fudge (that was not too sweet – just right). The card delivered to my room indicated what the temperature  and weather would be like tomorrow (and it was HAND WRITTEN!), along with that I received a small stack of Hermitage stationery with my name on it (personalized!) so that I could truly write home about it.