Friday Finds: DIY Soothing Bath Soak

You guys, this has been a hard season for self-care in my life. December brought us the winter break from school, complete with the frenzy of the Christmas holidays - not to be outdone by the excitement of sparkling juices and mocktails aplenty as we celebrated the beginning of a fresh new year. Winter break ended just in time for the snow days to begin, and just as I prepared for the renewal of my freedom and personal time (which is only found when the girls are at school since I'm a full-time single mom 24/7 with pretty much no co-parent), the time vanished into thin air.

And by the time the snow days passed, Eden's most recent surgery was upon us, bringing a wave of whining-clinging-vomiting-needing-time-to-heal-sick days into my world. Personal time for myself, already such a rare and precious commodity, became even more rare in those first post-surgery days - and as they waned, fading softly into the most recent past, the flu epidemic took a firm hold of our area, shutting down the entire school district.

Which means more days of my kiddos hanging out at home - and less time (and quiet) for me to enjoy.

All this means that my personal self-care moments are even more precious than usual because of their rarity, even more valued. Even the smaller pleasures sprinkled through my daily life are magnified because they come in fits and bursts of joy which must be sandwiched carefully between the needs and demands of two girls still desperately seeking attention and reassurance from the one solid constant in their lives - me.

And when shaving your legs alone in the quiet of the bathroom with nothing but the water pouring from a cheap emergency showerhead (our good one got broken and hasn't yet found time to be adequately replaced) begins to feel deliciously luxurious ... well, that's when you know you need to step up your game.

Winter is hard on the skin, guys - and stress doesn't help at all. My skin has been reacting much more dramatically this winter due to the extremity of the cold, the abundance of stress in my life at the present (with the ex and the kids and the health issues and the finances, don't even get me started on my mom's new health news), and the sheer lack of time spent rubbing myself down with oils or lotions. My skin misses the pampering, for real - but there's just no time.

My kids have both been equipped with some kind of radar that rouses them almost the very second I wake up in the morning - and they wake up alive every single day. Hungry and chatty (both girls) and grouchy/happy (Josephine/Eden, respectively) and ready to greet each new day with energetic fortitude, these girls come alive the second their eyes open, begging for breakfast and cuddles and drinks and all sorts of other things ... not that I mind this, but .... well, it can be a little jarring.

I pull myself away for a morning pee, which is usually soundtracked (let's just pretend that's a word, since you know what I mean anyway) by the beginning of the day's running litany of sibling battles and sister skirmishes. Then it's back to the demands of two little people needing a strange balance of needs met, ranging each day from "I'm independent I'll get it myself" to "please make me drinks and food and love me and can you do everything all at once please while I hang on your back/leg/shoulder/elbow???" From there, the day moves at its own crazy beautiful pace ... again, not that I mind this, but ... well, it can be more than a little jarring, especially as it drags on with very little downtime between needs which need to be met.

By the end of the day (or Monday when they go back to school after a weekend that is both incredibly fun and completely insanity-inducing), I'm ready for the few hours of peace that exist in the space between their bedtime and mine.

Because that's when I take a relaxing hot green tea milkbath ... and yes, I actually do read in the bathtub. And here's how I do it:

Step One: Prepare MilkBath
This is a recipe I found on Pinterest ages ago and have loved ever since the first time I tried it. I love that it's simple, that it's adjustable, and that I can spend just a little while making a batch that'll last me a while. It's just five ingredients:
  • 1.5 cups powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup each: epsom salts, cornstarch, and baking soda
  • 10-20 drops preferred essential oil (any scent, optional - I usually don't use any)
It's so easy to make this - you literally just put everything together and mix it. I like making mine in a huge mason jar because I can just put everything inside, pop the lid on, and give it a good shaking until everything's blended together. Once finished, I usually transfer my milkbath mixture into a smaller jar though, and sometimes I even like splitting the product into a few jars so I can share. (NOTE: This also makes a great DIY Christmas gift, Birthday gift, Galentine/Valentine gift, etc.)

I usually don't try to do this part when I'm actually planning to have my bath, because I know myself well enough to know that once I"m in the kitchen making the milkbath powder, I'll need to clean up when I'm finished. Which will lead to washing dishes which will likely lead to sorting mail or decluttering of some sort, which will lead to taking the trash out, which might lead to starting some laundry, which will ... well, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie right?

Anyway, once that initial prep step is finished, you're ready to move on to ...

Step Two: Gather Supplies
You'll need your milkbath mixture, of course, as well as some sort of measuring scoop. Or you can skip the need to measure entirely, and just dose your milkbath into one-cup servings right from the get-go like I do. Now of course, if I'm making things fancy for a gift or something I'll use little mason jars, usually topped with cute little cupcake wrappers and tied with some sort of ribbon - but usually when I'm just prepping for myself I like the way these little snack-sized zipper bags allow me to measure easily (they're pre-marked!) and store my milkbath powder in a flat stack under the cabinet. Storing this way means I can just grab a little packet of milkbath whenever I want, and it makes the process a lot more effortless - which is really nice when I'm need of some simple pampering.

It really is the little things in life, guys.

However you choose to measure and store your milkbath, you'll need somewhere between a half-cup and a full cup for each bath so you'll need to have that ready. You'll also need about 10 green tea bags for each bath - I like these ones from Lipton because they're affordable, they smell good, and I don't care how they taste because I'm not using them for drinking. (For the record, I have used them for drinking and they're fine, but I generally prefer these Mint Medley Herbal Tea Bags for drinking. SIDE NOTE: If I want my bath to be invigorating instead of relaxing, I'll sometimes swap some of my green tea bags for Mint Medley bags.)

Once you have your tea bags and your milk bath powder (and candles and music and a good book and maybe some wine), then we're ready for ...

Step Three: Draw The Bath
I tend to like my bath to be nice and hot and last for super long - I'm never in a bath for less than 20 minutes, but it isn't exactly uncommon for me to get into a book and lose an entire afternoon in a good bath. (Pretty sure all that's missing to create the perfect bath is one of these bad boys.)

As the water is filling the tub, add your milk bath and your tea bags - I like to knot mine together and drop them in the tub because:
  1. that's easier and requires less preparation, and
  2. when I drop the actual bags in the bath I get the benefit of the scent as the tea steeps -
... but sometimes I'll actually brew my 10 tea bags in a quart of slightly-cooled boiled water, steeping for 10-15 minutes before discarding the bags and adding the tea to my bath.

Step Four: Soak & Enjoy
Taking this kind of bath has become something of a ritual for me - It's relaxing just prep and gather my things, to listen to music while I run the bath, to charge my kindle during the day, knowing that I'm going to be using it later. The heat of the water, the salt and other factors of the milk bath, and the scent of the tea lull me into a sort of bliss I don't usually find often elsewhere, and I love that once the bath is over (and wrapped up with a quick-rinse shower to clean away the old water, wash my hair and body, etc.) I'm completely chilled and ready to face the next thing coming my way.

Recently, in the bath, I've been reading The Next Always: Book One of the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy by Nora Roberts - and as expected, I'm loving it so far! Nora Roberts is totally one of my writing heroes, and reading her work is always a pleasure. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this Trilogy too, but at the same time I'm also still anxiously waiting for my turn to finish reading the Keeper of the Lost Cities Series by Shannon Messenger. I've got Lodestar on hold at my local library, and I really hope the people ahead of me in line read fast because I am in The. Biggest. Hurry. Ever.

Are you a soak-bath lover like me? And if so, what do you like to use to make your bath extra magical? If you use products, which ones are your favorite - and if you prefer DIY bath products, what are your favorite recipes? Drop me a comment below; I'd love the chance to get to know you better!

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  1. I can definitely relate to children needing you all the time. It's hard, but I remind myself that they have only one mom and they get only one childhood. So I try to be patient and meet their needs with love. I'm not perfect by any means, but, by God's grace, I make it through each day. :)

    A milk bath sounds wonderful! I've never experienced that so I'll have to remember to keep it in mind. Great way to enjoy some time to yourself. I hope you and your girls have a great weekend!

    1. That's kinda what works for me too, and since I'm pretty much all my kids have, I need to be able to keep things together as much as possible. Small strategies like this one always make a huge difference for me.


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