Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bath Salts and Candles for Mama

As a daycare provider I struggle with finding gifts for the kids to make for their parents that are useful. Really, I don't want to send home another scribbled drawing that a parent may want to throw away but the guilt of doing so causes the parent to add the artwork (artwork that looks like the thousand other pieces of artwork) in the stack of all the other "art" the child has made for them. I know. Some of you may be shaking your head in disbelief that I can even suggest that one would want to throw away Jr's precious abstract of dinosaurs caught in a tornado. But let's be realistic.  A few mementos are great but a closet full becomes a burden. When we use all our household space to keep memories, we tend to be too busy organizing the clutter to MAKE memories.

My first challenge was finding something useful. Something that would either be used up or something that is genuinely worth putting in that memory closet. My second challenge was finding something the KIDS could make....not something I could make. Because then really the gift is from me, right? I like doing crafty things but I don't like doing all the work and putting someone else's name on it. I don't mind someone else taking the credit, it's just not what I'd call a perfect gift. So with these challenges in mind, my first thought was to find something that could use up some of the baby food jars .  Hmmm........what to fill them with?


The kids couldn't exactly help with the candle-making. Although I have them help in the kitchen often, I shy away from having them help around the stove. I don't like kids getting hurt on my watch and I guess telling a parent at the end of the day that their child has a "good" burn from pouring candle wax won't win me the title "Daycare Mom of the Year"... so we just avoid the hot things (and sharp knives) in the kitchen. The kids did however gather around to watch me cut up old candles to melt. I taught the kiddos that we can use old things to make new things. I pulled out the old wicks and talked about how a wick is needed in order for the wax to burn. So the kiddos might not have gotten a "hands-on" experience but they definitely learned how to make candles which was evident in the conversations that proceeded days after.

Using the wax as "glue" the s into position the wick into the jars

Filling the jars in stages to prevent the wick from floating all over. The wax also seems to settle better when layers are able to set a bit before adding more wax.

Here I'm using paint brushes to hold a couple stubborn wicks in place.

TADA! I did run out of wax after I filled the jars half full so I had to melt another batch which gives some of the candles a two tone look. 

The kids were involved in making the bath salts. As they sat at the kitchen table, we'd took turns measuring and dumping in the ingredients in a big stock pan. After all the ingredients were added, the pan made it's way around the table a few times while the kids took turns stirring. I allowed the kids to determine how much essential oils to add to our salts and it was cute to watch them stick their tiny heads into the big pan to take a whiff.


3 parts Epsom Salt
2 parts Coarse Sea Salt
1 part Baking Soda

optional: favorite essential oil
These three bottles were delivered "May Day" style to three friends. I think I'm going to start a new Mother's Day tradition of recognizing a few of the fabulous Mama's that I am honored to know.


  1. Wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love these ideas. I am so guilty of throwing away chunks of wax. I really need to save them and make new candles.