You might have noticed, if you glance at my Twitter feed, that I make bath bombs. These little spheres are not weaponized in any way. Rather, you mix together baking soda, citric acid, a little oil, and a tiny bit of witch hazel, put the mixture into molds, and allow them to dry. When they’re dropped into water, the baking soda and the citric acid react together, creating a fun fizzing effect. My obsession with them originated with me wanting to use essential oils in my baths. I didn’t want to pay seven dollars per bath bomb at the store, and I saw people making them online, so I figured I could, too.
If you’re a crafter, chances are you’re smiling right now because you know that instead of dropping sevenish dollars, I instead spent at least $45 on supplies. You know, it’s always “cheaper” to make it yourself, right?
So I made them. Then I found out why they charge you bloody seven dollars a pop. These things are so finicky. The balance of liquid and oil can make them stop fizzing or fizz too soon, and my friends will testify I did not learn how to make these correctly for a long. long. time.
I do like a challenge — mostly it annoyed the heck outta me — so I started researching recipes, troubleshooting, and figuring out how to make them work. It went way past just wanting a bath — it was like a mosquito buzzing around in the middle of the night — you can’t quite see it, but you know it’s there.
I finally got my perfected recipe and supplies. I became the bath bomb making machine I’d dreamt of being. And my husband is so awesome not to burst into laughter when I tell people how I “saved money” by making these myself. He really is the best.
Armed with stainless steel molds, my spray bottle of witch hazel, and enough baking soda that the folks at Costco know me, I made bath bombs. I’d finally found my niche. One day, whilst perusing the interwebs for fun alternate recipes, I ran across one called a “surprise” bath bomb. You just put a mini bath bomb into a bigger bath bomb. I had the different sizes, I could definitely do it. Maybe even start selling them.
Sounded easy enough.
So I made these adorable little guys. I love’em. They dried overnight, and I woke up, ready to put those little babies into the bigger ones…. Annnnd found out that my large molds were not quite large enough. At all. Sigh.
I made a few monstrosities, but they looked… not good. Frustrating. And then my three-year-old came over and said the magical words, “Ooooh, is it sugar? I wanna stir it.” And stuck her sweet little hand into my irritating batch of mixture, and I got even more annoyed. Great. Now I couldn’t even sell them. But honestly, I couldn’t sell these in the first place because I evidently couldn’t premeasure little spheres before I started a project, and I felt like a terrible mother for thinking that it mattered that she messed it up and–
Did I mention that the oils I put into my fizzies are usually for calming and relaxation? I think they kicked in about then. Or it was that still small voice that often pierces through the chaos of my worried mind. Either way, I heard it. And it said, “Make this a happy memory.” Then my brain jumped, as it’s wont to do, to happy little memories. And then to happy little trees. Make happy little trees. Take the mistakes, and make them as if they’re meant to be there. Bob Ross was so wise.
My daughter is obsessed with eggs, opening them, and finding things inside. She also loves dinosaurs. My settled heart and attitude saw that she was molding and feeling the fizzy mixture. She was working on her motor skills. She was smiling. Happy. And so I asked her, “Do you want to make dino eggs with me?” Her eyes lit up. “Yes, please!” So I held the mini bombs, she loaded up the outer mixture, and then we squeezed and squeezed it together with our hands. And ta-dah! We had our first egg.
A few in, I did what any self-respecting girl does, and added rainbow sprinkles.
I get so irritated, frustrated, and annoyed sometimes. And it’s usually about tiny stuff, but I convince myself that it matters so much, that I have a right to express that aggravation.
I can’t prevent those things, but I wonder what would happen if I tried to turn more of them into happy trees.
Or into dinosaur eggs with rainbow sprinkles.