Sugar Grove mom invents Fizzy Magic -- a bath bomb for kids with a toy surprise inside
It's a good thing that Mary Westerhaus' 6-year-old son Lane is the curious type.
The Sugar Grove mom listened carefully when her son quizzed the clerk at a store in December 2017 when she was buying some kids' bathtub "bombs" for bubbles.
Lane wanted to know if the product had a toy in it for kids. When he was told it did not, he simply asked "Why not?"
Why not, indeed, Westerhaus thought.
Some 14 months later, Westerhaus is showing her Fizzy Magic product line at a major toy convention today in New York City.
The imagination of a child thinking his bath bomb should include a toy triggered a journey that has helped Westerhaus reach her goal of "reinventing the bath time experience for kids."
Fizzy Magic does just that, coming in sort of a ball shape, with a toy exposed after it dissolves in the tub. But it comes along with a clue, fun fact and story for the kids.
The correlation of Fizzy Magic with her sons Lane and 3-year-old Milo hits home because Westerhaus considers both sons modern miracles -- especially Lane, who spent a long time in the hospital after being born at 25 weeks.
"At the toy convention, we will have the largest bath tub with prizes inside and the largest toy ever in a bath bomb," said Westerhaus, who started her Fizzy Magic pursuit after a career in consumer packaging and engineering merchandise for a Fortune 500 company.
She took six months off that hectic pace to launch her Fizzy Magic product last fall and started getting it in stores around Christmas.
But she also has been working for a friend who opened a business called Unified Resources out of New Jersey, making her work schedule climb to about 80 hours a week.
So far, Fizzy Magic is available on its website, as well as in a few stores in downtown Chicago. But Westerhaus is in talks with The Little Traveler in downtown Geneva, in hopes that the store will have Fizzy Magic on its shelves just before Easter.
Westerhaus is already expanding Fizzy Magic beyond its opening stage. She has birthday versions that include a gift with a Happy Birthday tag, and a "friendship version" in which the child is taught how to share by receiving a second gift to give to a friend.
There are others in which the fizz of the bath mixture with its all-natural products ties in with a theme. One is a "volcano" fizz in which the child learns about volcanoes while the product creates one in the tub.
"Kids love the product and we keep inventing stuff, such as Test Tube Fizzies," Westerhaus said. "With the test tube set, two colors of fizz product go into the tub to create a new color."
The whole intention of Fizzy Magic, when it comes right down to it, was to create products this particular industry has never seen and adding an educational twist to it for kids.
"We want learning and a differentiation with our products," said Westerhaus, who has lived in Sugar Grove with her family since 2011.
"No one will have a bath toy that creates a show or color in the tub through fizz powder," she added. "It will set my whole product line apart from others."
It has that flair:
It's got Hollywood or the Grammys written all over it, and it's probably fitting that Arcada Theatre frontman Ron Onesti is going to be the master of ceremonies.
TriCity Family Services is going for the red carpet look and feel with its "Walk of Fame" gala theme this year for the agency's 30th annual fundraiser.
For an agency that addresses mental health problems, it has always sent the message of hope at its gala by providing a positive, fun atmosphere. The chance to spruce it up red carpet style falls right into that category.
It takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. Tickets are available at tricityfamilyservices.org website.
Nice and narrow:
A veteran grocery shopper said this about the new Fresh Thyme store that just opened along Randall Road in Geneva: The aisles and the carts are both narrow.
It wasn't said in a manner that declared that as a good or bad thing. But it certainly means this place is different.
We went during the grand opening, so it was really crowded. So the narrower stuff made it seem cramped to me. But that's always a good problem to have on opening weekend.
But it's a store I am going to like. I could tell that right away after eating some of the yogurt and produce when we got home, and also the chuck roast for dinner that night. It was a nice chunk of meat my wife claimed had an excellent price, which of course I would know nothing about in terms of comparing it to other prices.
So, the long wait for something to finally fill the vacant Dominick's site may turn out to be a welcome addition -- narrow or not.
Actually a sweet show:
It may have come as a shock to some to see me walking around the Old House New House Home Show last weekend at Pheasant Run in St. Charles.
This large showcase for home remodelers, landscapers, window installers, waterproofing services, wood flooring, painters and other providers represents an arena in which my knowledge is limited. That, in part, is why I didn't mind tagging along with my wife to attend. I still like to learn more about things I don't know much about.
That being said, one booth actually caught my attention more than the others. And you'll know why in a moment.
It was called CookieGarden.com and it was in one of the hallways between showroom floors at the MegaCenter. Of course, it had nothing to do with home improvements, other than maybe giving you a positive disposition.
It's an online gourmet cookie business, based in Wood Dale, and I bought a chocolate chip cookie with what looked like a half pound of "Oreo" cream filling in between the cookie layers.
Think about that for a minute and you'll understand why I don't have to explain why that was my favorite booth.