An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Goats Milk Soap Recipe

When I first started making soap I knew that I wanted to use what we could provide here from the farm as much as possible. I also wanted something that would have a nice lather and I was interested in experimenting with different colors and natural additives. I originally made four different kinds of soap: A plain soap; cinnamon swirled because it was so pretty; honey-oatmeal which is great for exfoliating; and a cucumber soap which is supposed to be good for acne. The basic recipe for all the soap is the same. I checked out lots of different websites with soap recipes and tweaked them into my own as follows:
Terri's Goat's Milk Soap
This recipe makes a great, hard bar of soap with lots of lather and bubbles!

20 Ounces Lard
12 Ounces Olive Oil
8 Ounces Coconut Oil
2 Ounces Castor Oil
5.7 Ounces Lye
15.2 Ounces Goat Milk (Previously frozen, and then thawed to slushy stage)
Scents (I prefer to use 2 ounces) or Additives of Choice

*Rendered lard (your own or from the butcher) works best for this recipe.*

Another simple soap recipe that I use for making laundry detergent (This tends to make a soft bar of hand soap, but it is great for shredding and dissolves nicely in the washing machine.):

Laundry Soap Bar:
20 ounces Canola Oil
8 ounces Coconut Oil
12 ounces Olive Oil
5.6~ounces Lye
14.4~ ounces Goat Milk (Previously frozen, and then thawed to slushy stage)
Scents (I prefer to use 2 ounces) or Additives of Choice
Additive Options:
Honey Oatmeal soap: add finely ground oatmeal and 1 tsp. honey.
Cucumber soap: add finely chopped cucumbers.
Cinnamon Swirl soap: add cinnamon to half the batch of soap after trace, then pour the colored soap into the plain soap, gently swirl. Don't mix too much, as you only want a pretty swirled look.

Basic Directions: 
*Prepare your molds~ Spray plastic molds with cooking spray. Line other molds with plastic wrap.
*Measure the lye, set aside.
*Heat oils to 90 degrees in a stainless steel pan.
*Pour slushy goats milk into a stainless steel container, place in a sink with ice water. Slowly add the lye to the milk while continuously mixing with a wooden spoon. Cool to 90 degrees.
*Add the warm oil to the milk solution and mix with a stick blender (off and on) until light trace.
*At light trace add any scents, colors or exfoliates.
*Continue to mix. At trace pour into prepared molds.
*Wrap with plastic wrap, then cover the mold with a towel.
*After 24-48 hours cut the bars (wear plastic gloves as the lye can still burn your hands). Allow soap to cure 3-8 weeks before use.

Supplies needed: Stainless steel pail, stainless pan for the stove top, scale, thermometer, wooden spoon, spatula, electric wand mixer, soap mold, saran wrap or cooking spray, plastic gloves, safety glasses, newspaper, old bathroom towel, vinegar (None of the mixing items should be used for food use again).

Always wear plastic gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection when making soap.

 If you're looking for supplies, scents or anything soapy, check out Brambleberry.
To start with, prepare your work sight and everything you will need to make soap. I haven't had a problem creating soap in my kitchen, with the windows open for ventilation. FYI~ only use glass or stainless steel to mix your soap in, and don't plan on using them again as they could possibly retain some lye. I use stainless steel milk pails as they are high enough to prevent spills.

I lay out newspapers at each of my work stations (next to the stove top, next to the sink, and on the island where I will set my pail to mix) for easy clean up and to catch any spills.

Once you have all of your supplies out, start by preparing your soap molds. If you are using a wooden soap mold (like I am), you will line it with saran wrap, taping it down as needed. My wooden molds measure 15" long, by 2 3/4" high, and 3 1/2" wide inside diameter. They are the perfect size for this recipe, and you end up with 14 nice sized bars of soap.

Spray your plastic molds lightly with cooking spray. Any plastic container, or even a cardboard box lined with saran wrap will work fine. Just be sure that you don't make your soap too thin, or else it will curl as it dries.
Measure your oils (using a scale), and pour into your stainless steel pan to go onto the stove top.
Pour your slushie goat's milk into your pail, and set in a sink with ice water. Pre-measure your lye and set aside. When everything is prepared, it's time to heat up your oils. You want to reach a temperature of 90 degrees. The oils heat up rather quickly, so keep a close eye on them. Once you reach temperature, shut the heat off and set the pan aside if you are using an electric stove to prevent overheating.

Now, let me put the fear of God into you about lye. Lye is caustic: it will burn, it will blow up your kitchen, and you have the potential to lose your eyesight and will never be able to gaze upon the love of your life or your sweet little dumplings ever again if you are not careful. Be warned! And then just be cautious. NEVER, NEVER pour your liquids into your lye. Always pour the lye into your liquid~ slowly.

If you happen to get lye splashed on you, or even start to feel any tingling while making your soap, pour vinegar over the affected skin. Eyes would need to be rinsed out with water, and then seek immediate medical attention (but of course you're wearing your protective glasses). Don't hover over your pail! Don't ask me why . . . Turtle necks are great to wear while making soap.

Slowly, pour your lye into your slushie milk in the sink of water and ice. Your milk will start out white, but you will soon see it turning yellow. If you pour the lye too fast, it will actually burn and even curdle your milk. The slower you pour your lye, the lighter your soap will be. The quicker you pour, the darker your soap will be.

The lye is going to heat up the milk: sometimes very fast, sometimes slow, depending on how cold your milk and your sink is, and how fast you are pouring. You are trying to achieve a nice, steady increase in temperature. If the colors stay a pretty yellow it is a good indicator that your milk is not too hot and not too cold~ orange means "too hot" and you need to add more ice to your sink.

Keep stirring as you are pouring the lye. Watch your temperature closely~ you are trying to achieve 90 degrees. Add more ice to the sink as needed, or take the pail out of the sink if necessary. You will want to tip your pail to get a good temperature measurement so that you get a true reading.

Once you are at 90 degrees, take your pail out of the sink and put it on your newspaper lined work station. Slowly add your warm oils while mixing with your wooden spoon.
Now it's time to start blending. A stick blender works great for this (but remember, you can't use it again for food use). It is possible to mix by hand with a wooden spoon, but it will take about 2-3 hours of constant mixing.

The mixture will start out pretty thin, but within 10-15 minutes you will begin to have a pudding consistency. This is called "trace." You are looking for a light trace so that you can add your scents or additives. When your mixture starts to get thicker, take your wand and drizzle the soap across the top of the mixture~ if it holds itself up, you are at trace.

At a light trace you can add your scents and additives. Watch your soap carefully at this point. This is prime time for seizing (when additives make your soap instantly become rock hard). I have personally never had any soap seize, but there's always a first time. More often I find that the soap thins out as you have added more liquids. Mix until you get back to a thicker trace, keeping in mind that your blender is warm by now, too, and adding to the heat of your soap mixture. It is fine to let the soap sit quietly for a couple/few minutes rather than burn out your blender or overheat your soap.

At this point, since I am layering this batch of soap, I will pour part of my batch back into my oil pot.

Next add your colorant to the pail and mix again.
When my mixture is back to a nice trace again, it's time to pour it all into the prepared soap molds.I scrape off every last little bit with the spatula.And then pour.
Next, I pour my light color on top.
Because I used Hazelnut Coffee scent, I sprinkled the top with coffee grounds to look pretty.
Then I cover the soap with saran wrap, and wrap it all up in an old bathroom towel to incubate over night. To prevent soda ash you will want to gently press down the saran wrap to reduce any air getting to your soap. After 24-48 hours it's time to cut your soap. If you happen to peek at your soap before this time frame and see a big, gooey mess don't worry just yet~ soap goes through a gel phase, but within 12-24 hours it should be back to a nice, beautiful log of soap that is ready to cut. If it feels too soft, let it sit longer until it hardens.

*After having some recent batches overheat, I have been experimenting with not insulating my goat's milk soap with great results. To gel or not to gel is another post for another day.*

I use a cheese cutter to get perfect sized bars, but you can also use fishing line, knives, or fancy crinkle potato slicers (just remember, don't use them for food again). The lye can still burn you at this point, so always wear gloves while cutting your fresh soap.

Find a spot to let your soap cure. I have a drying rack, lined with newspaper, in an out of the way closet. Basements are too damp to allow proper curing, and warm spots will dry out your soap too quick. After 3-8 weeks your soap will be fully cured and ready to use. Soap never goes bad, and only gets better with age.

Enjoy the benefits of your very own homemade goats milk soap!

Soap is great, but have you found eternal life?

On Friday February 18, 2011, God did the unthinkable in our life: He chose to take our 12-year-old son, Trent, home to heaven in a skiing accident.

It is only considered “the unthinkable” because our plans are not God’s plans, and our ways are not God’s ways.

Before Trent was born we had entrusted the Lord with his life and had asked Him, above all else, to bring salvation to our son. Our greatest desire was that he would be used in a mighty way for God’s glory, and that God would let him dwell in heaven for eternity.

God answered our prayers that Friday in a mightier way than we could have imagined, and we have been rejoicing in His good works and His mercies ever since.

Trent was a boy who truly lived. From the very beginning he did what he loved and enjoyed to the full the gifts and skills that God had given him. In his short life he saw much of this world, traveling as far as India, the Bahamas, Bass Pro Shop in Missouri where he explored his favorite destination on his golden birthday, as well as many family camping trips. God instilled a love of hunting and fishing in Trent, and a joy of the great outdoors. Since he was little all he wanted was to turn 12 to be able to go deer hunting. During his 12th year God allowed him to shoot two deer. Trent loved to pick on his siblings Alexis, Cole, Grace, and Micah, to protect his mother, to snuggle with his father, and to be with his friends, especially his best friends: Thomas and Samuel. He tried everything that interested him, even carving his own long bow and succeeding in taxidermy. In his short years he lived life to the fullest.

But as we are all destined to, Trent also died. On Friday, February 18, 2011, we said goodbye to our son as he left for a skiing trip with his friends, not knowing that he would never be coming back home. God says that He knows the number of our days, that He has created each one, and that He will do what He pleases (Psalm 115:3; Job14:5).

God’s standards to enter His kingdom are high: He expects perfection. Trent was not perfect, not even close. God graciously provided His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, as the atonement for our sinfulness and requires that we simply believe and acknowledge Him for it.

For most of his life Trent struggled with his own sinfulness before God. He knew that he was not right before God, and nothing he could do would ever make up for the sins he had committed to make him worthy to enter heaven. In the spring of 2010, God graciously chose to bring salvation to Trent through repentance and the saving grace of Christ Jesus. Trent’s life was transformed and we enjoyed the young fruit in his life as we watched God work.

It was with great peace and much rejoicing, then, that we as his family have sent him off before us and accepted God’s perfect plan for Trent’s life. Our longing is that God would be glorified in what He has done to wake up many to the realization that we are not guaranteed any number of years in this world (Psalm 39:4-5).

On Friday morning we had our son; on Friday afternoon he was gone.

What we have asked so many people since the accident is: “What if it had been you? Where would you be right now?”

We diligently raised Trent up to know his sinful state and taught him what the Word of God says because we know the implications of denying Christ now, and God was gracious to answer our prayers and to save him. Scripture says that the gospel will go forth with much sorrow and heartache. Please let Trent’s short life be a wake-up call to you. We are rejoicing in the sorrow because we know where our son is and that we will one day be with him again for eternity because of our own salvation.

God's mercies are new every day and His peace does surpass all understanding (Lamentations 3:22-23; Philippians 4:6-7). God has been so gracious to us by blessing us first of all with His peace in His perfect plan. The family and friends who have surrounded us and have lifted us up in prayer are amazing and another testimony to God’s goodness.

It is with great rejoicing that we release our son, Trent, age 12, to our Heavenly Father. Dance before your King, my son.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen

In a family of 7 there is lots to do in the kitchen. Our kids have always helped with the work, and some days even enjoy it! My main job is cooking, and their main job is washing dishes; without a dishwasher. After the old one blew up this summer I told them we could pool our fair checks and buy a new one, but nobody was too excited about it. Maybe that would make a good Christmas present??!
Listening to Micah playing in the bathroom sink.
And one day there will even be kitchen counter tops on all of our cupboards, the island will get painted, the trim work done, there will be a front entry way in the front of the house, and that beautiful fluted apron sink will find it's way in from the garage and get itself installed. Shucks! I should have just got that flu shot so I could have worked all winter for it:)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cute Kid Sayings

The other day I was talking with the boys about letting the goats out into the big pasture for a while in case they were bored of being in their little fenced area. Cole looked at me and said "What does bored mean, Mom?"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Fractured Growth Plate

Near the end of August (during the time of the computer crash) Cole broke his leg. The boys had been out in the woods building a tree fort when Trent chopped off a piece of wood from a branch and it flew and hit Cole in the leg, fracturing his growth plate just above the ankle. I will not be receiving the Compassionate Mother Award this year I guess because I let the poor kid crawl around for 3 days before I finally thought maybe he wasn't kidding and he really did break something. X-ray's confirmed that he had fractured the growth plate and he was fitted with a splint, cast and crutches. Cole just kept on smiling and he never complained about it once.

His mother brought home a puppy in hopes of showing him how sorry she was.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Amazing Grace

We made our annual trip down to the Shriner's Hospital in September for Grace. Six years ago we brought Grace home from India at 19 months old with bilateral club feet. It is amazing how fast time goes! Normally club feet are treated at birth with casting or even as simply as reversing the shoes on a child's feet. Being that Grace had no medical care for her feet they had become severely twisted by the time she got home. When she would try to walk she would actually walk on the top of her feet. Within the first month of her homecoming we had started doctoring at the Shriner's Hospital in the Twin Cities. Before Grace came home I had done quite a bit of research on club feet and found that if surgery was need for correction there was often times pain that continued for the patients entire life. I specifically asked God to correct her feet without the surgery. 7 months of casting, several parasite treatments (parasites were what actually saved her from having any surgery ~ who would have thought we would be thanking God for parasites?!) an investigative surgery that resulted in only an achilles tendon release on both heel cords, no foot reconstruction, another few weeks of hard casts, and 4 years of braces later, we now only have to visit Dr. Aadalen and Chaz every year for a check-up. She was the second oldest child that they had treated for club feet using the Ponsetti method that did not need surgery for correction. One of these days I'll take the time to finish writing our adoption story and go into more detail, but for today we're just praising the Lord again for His amazing hand of healing and straightening these little feet.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another VBS Post

Whew! We made it through a great week of Vacation Bible School! Being Alexis and Trent were involved in the skits, and I was a teacher and assistant director, we were at church on average 5 hours a night for 5 nights in a row. Not to mention being at church for a couple of hours each the 2 days before, and the whole day of building the hut. Talk about begging God for patience! But there were so many fun memories made! And, hopefully, so many seeds planted in little hearts of the mighty things that God has done.My faithful assistants (whom I couldn't have done it without:).
Alexis. A girl full of energy and smiles, all the little ones fought to sit on her lap.
That wonderful sister of mine Traci was brave enough to stay with us a couple of nights. I can do anything my sister believes I can do, even a full week of tired preschoolers at VBS. She saved the week by bringing her "We're Going on a Lion Hunt" book, and the "fast or slow?" Welcome song.
Casey, Casey, Casey! My last minute, last night, saving helper! She enjoys holding little girls' hands and singing "Fisher's of Men". She was a wave of fresh energy!
And I can't forget to mention Rob and Uncle Jim who even helped a bit with all the little squirrely ones.
Tina, Nina, and Miss Bakari at the Serengeti Animal Reserve. And somewhere hiding back in those bushes is the Blue-Cheeked-Bee-Eater, played by Trent.
Alexis put on a stellar performance as the conniving, scheming, repenting Miss Bakari as she led her group through a jungle safari. Alexis also helped with the songs, and even led them by herself on Friday. It was a joy to watch her use the gift that God has granted her. One of the highlights of the week was going out for games with Jungle Jerry! Lots of wild, fun, crazy safari games.
And, of course, attack Bruce was enjoyed by all! We're gonna see if we can rent him out. Maybe a package deal for all the tired moms??
And, glory to God, I survived one of my worst fears (and actually enjoyed it:). I was in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies on Friday because the director was gone. The peace was from God, and it was fun to hear the kids singing and watch them do the motions to the songs.