Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016
God Bless Our Troops

Click on the cabin below to see our family website.

Click on the cabin below to see our family website.
We love what we do!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I am just thrilled with the way last night's batch of soap turned out. I made Candy Apple, but I did something a little different. The last time I did this soap I was still making bars and hadn't yet switched to Cold Process. I used pink kaolin clay to swirl color. This time I decided to add pink kaolin clay to the entire batch and swirl with a burgundy mica. Because the fragrance oil has vanillin in it, the finish batch turns to a light beige. The color in the kaolin clay doesn't do much to color the soap, however, the clay is a wonderful addition!!

Last night I added the kaolin clay before adding the lye/goat milk solution. When the lye solution hit the oils they became thick and creamy. I was a little alarmed at first because I had never seen it do that before. I thought it was trying to seize on me (which doesn't usually happen until fragrance oil is added). But I kept blending. When I added the fragrance oil, it didn't want to blend in at first. I was very nervous, to say the least. But I kept blending and poured it into the molds. It stayed creamy and smooth. I was able to unmold the leaves last night. I waited until this morning to unmold the wooden mold because I was afraid that batch might decide to gel and leave me with a huge caustic mess to clean up in the morning. Normally, if it's going to heat up and gel, it does so in the first couple of hours, but I wasn't taking any chances.

This morning I got up and cut the batch first thing. Omigosh!!! The loaf is beautiful. The camera doesn't quite pick up on the creamy quality. I think I will be adding kaolin clay to all of my soaps from now on!  I tried an end cut (no it's not cured and I should wait a month, but I gotta be me.)  The lather was thick and creamy.  I cannot wait until this is cured.  Tonight I am going to do a Lavender batch.

I hadn't realized that this is the last week I can make soap and have it ready for the Maple Syrup festival.

In other news, we went down to visit our newest grandbaby. It was so nice to only have to drive an hour. It was 2 1/2 hours when we went to Grand Rapids. The longer drive wasn't bad, but it cut into visiting time. Sam, Kelli, and the girls were there when we arrived. Madison and Meghan were quite excited about baby Ben. We got to hold him for a long, long, time!!

It's been a very good week so far!

Word of the day:
Tuesday of the Fifth week of Lent
Saint(s) of the day : St John of Egypt (+ 394)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 8:21-30.

Jesus said to the Pharisees: "I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come."
So the Jews said, "He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"
He said to them, "You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins."
So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world."
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said (to them), "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him."
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

Blueberry Cobbler soap and candle gift set - $15.00

Top notes juicy blueberries with a background of freshly ground cinnamon bark and warm vanilla. Mmmmmmmm

This lovely gift set comes with 2 bars of our wonderful goat milk soap with matching jar candle scented with Blueberry Cobbler. Included is a bath puff. It is packaged in a pretty gift pail and tied with fancy ribbon. This is a wonderful gift for Easter or Mother's day!!


Click Here to Visit My Etsy Shop!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Today was one of those days where the wheels spin but you really don't get anywhere. Oh, I got things done, but I felt like I was swimming upstream. I finished the rug that Madison was "helping" me with.

I packaged some orders. Made some grubby tarts for another order.

Did some photos for the shop, listed some items.  Oh, and I ordered some 100% soy wax.  I haven't worked with it before because I've seen soy candles and have never liked the look of them.  But everyone seems to want them sooo, I ordered 10 pounds to see what all the fuss was about.  I made a batch of  Hazelnut for one of my orders.  The customer said she would be willing to test the soy to see how she likes it.  We raise soybeans so I thought I should at least give it a try.  We shall see.  Pictures tomorrow.

 Word of the day:
Wednesday of the Fourth week of Lent
Saint(s) of the day : St Euda, St Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello (1791-1858)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 5:17-30.

Jesus answered the Jews: «My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.»
For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.
Jesus answered and said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also.
For the Father loves his Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to his Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.
I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This morning I had 3 of the grandkids here.  I decided to work on a rug since I can stay in one place an keep an eye on the monkeys.  Madison is a big help in handing me strips - keeps me from having to keep reaching for them.  I got up to go get something and came back to this:

Madison loves to "make rugs."  She has a specific protocol - she has to have her shoes on (which for some reason she skipped in the above picture). 

We have about 6 weeks until the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival so I have to close in on finishing up any soap we want to have for sale in the next 2 weeks.

Nothing gets me out of a funk like making soap. Today I decided to do something fun and make cupcakes. Madison and Claire love soapie cupcakes.  I made a batch scented with Fairy Tales.

I also tried out a new scent.  I purchased it for my brother-in-law to try.  I'm not sure if it is a scent I will keep.  I'll post a pic of it cut up tomorrow.  We'll see how it goes at the Syrup Festival.  I swirled with with black which morphed to dark green - go figure.  I will probably call it Praire Moon. 

I also packaged the County Fair this week.  Packaged other soaps last week.  Should be pretty well stocked up for soap for the syrup festival.

Word of the day:
Tuesday of the Fourth week of Lent
Saint(s) of the day : St. Joseph Bilczewski, Bishop (1860-1923), St Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus, Religious (1842-1912)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 5:1-16.

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep (Gate) a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.

One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be well?"
The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me."
Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk."
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked. Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat."
He answered them, "The man who made me well told me, 'Take up your mat and walk.'"
They asked him, "Who is the man who told you, 'Take it up and walk'?"
The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, "Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you."
The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sorry I've been so lax about updating. Lately my soap batches have been turning out looking a bit like hot processed soaps. There's nothing wrong with that, except I prefer a creamier look. Once the soap is used, it does look creamy, but I couldn't figure out why it had a different finish. I finally figured it out. Last spring I switched over to fresh goat milk instead of powdered. It was great. However, my supplier's goats began to dry up early so I bought a supply to keep in the freezer. It worked for a while, but lately I have noticed that the thawed goat milk was separating. I didn't associate this with the look of the finished soap until the other night when I forgot to take the goat milk out of the freezer to thaw. I used the powdered instead. The top picture is the the batch I made with the powdered milk. The bottom is the batch I made with the frozen milk.

Made with powdered goat milk
Made with thawed fresh goat milk

If you click on each picture, you can see the difference in the surface of the soap. In addition, I can feel no difference in the soothing qualities of the soap. The powdered is much more expensive, but less "iffy" in the soaping process. I can also use a more concentrated solution of goat milk by upping the powder, thus increasing the creaminess of the soap. After 8 years, I am still learning the art of soapmaking. :)

In other news,our newest little Sugar Bush baby is growing. Little Ben is now a whopping 3 pounds 12 oz. He is such a little cutie.

He definitely looks like his Daddy's side of the family in this picture. I think he looks like he's trying to give someone a kiss. :) The shaved spot on the side of his head was from when they needed to put an IV there earlier. The veins in the head are much closer to the surface. It looks scary, but it's not uncommon. Now he's only on a feeding tube. I am constantly amazed at the strides that have been made in the area of neonatology!!

Word of the Day:
Wednesday of the Third week of Lent
Saint(s) of the day : St Maud (or Matilde), Queen (c. 875-968)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 5:17-19.

Jesus said to his disciples: «Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's been a bit of a week.  A week ago we were headed for Grand Rapids because our newest grandson decided that he couldn't wait 7 more weeks to join us.  Nina and Jamie are on cloud nine and little Ben is doing very well.  I am constantly amazed at how well premies do in this day and age.  It was comforting to see stories of all the babies - how early they were born and how they thrive today. They were all over the wall in the neonatal unit.  Hundreds of babies and hundreds of stories of hope.  If you've never been to the NICU at Spectrum in Grand Rapids, it is truly wonderful!!

Anna, Kelli, Sam, and I went down yesterday.  We were able to touch him.

We even got to see Nina hold him.  Anna and I were so excited that we forgot to turn our flashes off which is why Nina is cringing in the picture.

This picture wasn't taken yesterday, but this post wouldn't be complete without a pic of Daddy and Ben.
We also had an impromptu mini shower in the lobby before scrubbing up to see Ben

In other news, the Maple Syrup Festival is fast approaching and between that, making gift soap for the Girls on the Run gift bags, filling Christmas stocking orders, and getting ready for a welcome party for Ben, we have a lot to do.  (not to mention that big big feast of the Church coming up.)  Oh, and squeezing in time for my new addiction - making rag rugs - I have no excuse for not staying out of trouble!

Word of the day:
Saturday of the First week of Lent
Saint(s) of the day : St. Cunegundes, Empress (+ 1040)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 5:43-48.

Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.