Saturday, October 20, 2012

Homemade Soap

I finally got around to making homemade soap!  I've read and read about making soap, mainly about safety concerns as soap-making requires the use of sodium hydroxide (lye).  I found a recipe and figured out how much of my additives to add and made Honey Oatmeal Goatmilk Soap last weekend.  I wanted to make this kind because the ingredients are beneficial to the skin and especially for sensitive skin.

Remember the soapbox from a previous post...

I thought they turned out really well, although they are rough around the edges.  Next time, I plan to make round soaps in PVC pipes.  This recipe contains tallow, local goat milk, olive oil, coconut oil, sodium hydroxide, oats, and honey.  The oats should give some light exfoliation properties.

This was very exciting to me that it turned out so well! I hope to post future soap-making ventures later on.  I already have an order for 10 bars for someone to give as Christmas gifts, so thankfully this made 25 bars.  They will sit and cure for 4-6 weeks now, so they'll be ready the week of Thanksgiving.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sovereign Grace

One of our pastors is preaching through 1 Peter.  This last Lord's Day, he preached from 1 Peter 1:1-2 on God's sovereign grace as Peter addresses "the pilgrims... elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ..."

"To the pilgrims" - What a great reminder that we are residing temporarily in our earthly homes.  We have an eternal home!  Several men at our church like to say that everything we know here is in its "pre-ash state."  This is comforting as our real homeland is in heaven, and so is our hope!

We read from Romans 8:28-30, which begins "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."  To what do those "all things" refer?  Back up 10 verses where v. 18 says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."  The context is suffering in life.  Peter is also especially concerned about those enduring persecution.  He wants them to realize that they're the elect! 

Our pastor directed us to the explanation in the 1689 Second Baptist London Confession of Faith, chapter III, 1.  "God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass...."  There's a lot more that can be said from this, but I found these to be words of true comfort for believers:  "all things, whatsoever comes to pass!"  Isn't it a comfort that the Lord who saved you, the Father who loves you, and the Spirit who sanctifies you decreed whatsoever comes to pass from all eternity?!  You will not be lost!  These things "work together for good" for you, for your family, and for the church. 

I was so encouraged!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A busy summer

Twin Lakes, CO
the Aspens in Colorado
Well, I haven't posted in over 2 months.  Life is busy.  If you've visited my daughter's blog, Tie-Dyed Rainbow, you know that we took a vacation through Colorado and a corner of South Dakota.  It was beautiful!  And cool (as in, not hot)!

I was also given MORE zucchini, which I shredded and froze to put into zucchini cornbread!  It's really good.  The friend from church who gave us the zucchini had made us some and shared the recipe.

That same friend gave us cucumbers, and we love to make home-canned pickles.  So, I've been pickling.  (I learned that you never want to get vinegar in your eyes!  It stings like I've never experienced before.  The discomfort lasted about a week.)

our little peach tree
Our dwarf peach tree yielded 600 peaches!  Yes, I counted.  I can't believe how many we got.  We ate a few fresh, gave a few away, froze something like 32 cups of peaches in apple juice, canned 12 pints of peach jam (I was tired of peeling, and so I left the peel on.  They turned out great.), and gave the rest to my mom for her to freeze.

pears in apple juice with cinnamon

Then, we had pears.  Our small tree only had maybe 40, but I asked someone in town if I could pick their pears (which were ready and they weren't going to use) and ended up with about 60 pounds of pears.  I started peeling to freeze them when my 7-year old suggested the apple corer-peeler-slicer that I bought from Pampered Chef years ago.  That thing was wonderful!  I had boys and girls all hanging around for a turn at the crank.  It went very quickly.  We canned 16 quarts of pears in apple juice and stuck 2 cinnamon sticks in each jar.  Plus, I froze pears in cinnamon and apple juice too.  I made a few cobblers last weekend with the pears and peaches.  They were soo good!  Honestly, I don't like peaches or pears fresh.  I'm weird.  But, the pear cobbler tasted like apple pie!  It was so good.  I ate it for breakfast too ... twice.  But, my family doesn't know that.  Maybe they'll read my blog.  :)

spaghetti sauce, potatoes, and pickles
The garden is done for the summer now though.  We had such prolific grape tomatoes.  I roasted LOTS of them in olive oil and basil.  They were so good, I was just popping them in my mouth when I got them out of the oven.  I also don't like fresh tomatoes.  I'm weird.  I'm repeating myself.  But, these roasted tomatoes are so good.  Put them on homemade pizza, in chicken with pesto, etc.  I tried them in eggs yesterday, and that wasn't so great.  The roma tomatoes were all canned into spaghetti sauce.  I can't remember, but we probably had 16 quarts?.  We actually canned a lot of the potatoes too because it's too hot here to try to keep them.

from eggs to stew

Oh, and we didn't want to have to ask anyone to take care of our chickens while we were on our trip, so here they are: 

So, this is why the blog has been neglected.  Life is busy.

My point is... when a friend gives you veggies, find a way to use them.  When you have veggies (even if you don't like them), find a way to use them.  I got tired of roasting grape tomatoes, so I found a recipe for pickled grape tomatoes.  We pickled 6 pints.  I don't like them.  Oh well.  But, my husband uses them like olives on a salad.  

Use the internet.  I did.  I can't tell you how many recipes I've found just googling what I want to do, like "what to do with grape tomatoes."  My next project I'm looking into is making homemade soap.  I'm finding all kinds of useful information on the internet.  I hope to post soon.  I went to a garage sale today and found a lot of useful things for my family.  The best treasure I found is this box.  I have no idea of what it was.  But, I thought it was perfect for a soap mold... my soapbox!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Zucchini Chips

A friend gave us some zucchini from her garden, so I decided to try out making zucchini chips.  Here's what I did:
Slice about 2 zucchini thin, about 1/4" slices.
Pour the marinade (recipe to follow) on the zucchini and mix around until all the pieces are covered.
Lay your slices on dehydrator trays.
Dehydrate for 14-20 hours or until they are crispy enough for you.

That's it!  Easy!

Marinade recipe:
4 T. lemon juice
2 1/2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. cayenne
2 1/2 t. onion powder
2 1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. oregano

I made the first batch with this recipe, but some members of my family thought it was too spicy.  So, I made a 2nd batch just like this but without the cayenne.  They were good too!  One of my sons said that they taste like vinegar chips.  I think he's just tasting the zucchini.  We'll continue experimenting with zucchini chip recipes, but both of these were tasty.  I just ate a bunch of the spicy ones and figure I must have eaten about half a zucchini worth.  A great way to eat zucchini!

I ran the dehydrator for about 14 hours, and the chips are crisp, but the 2nd batch kind of gets stuck in my teeth some.  Next time, I'll run it longer.  See what works for you.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Reformed quote

"I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize the Lord is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest positions He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient."
--Hudson Taylor

You can go to to read a daily quotation from the reformed reader.

Spring Garden

We dug up potatoes from the garden last night. It's always fun to see what "hidden treasure" is underground.
Covered in dirt!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Some of you have asked where we buy our wheat for grinding into whole wheat flour. Well, last year we found the best deal at Emergency Essentials at We order several Superpails and split the order with someone else in order to split the $12 shipping/freight charge. An 18-wheeler pulled down our street and in front of our house to deliver the Superpails of hard red wheat (and oats and honey that we also bought). It was exciting for the family to watch. If you scroll down to the bottom of my blog page and click on my affiliate link called Buying Wheat: Hard red wheat, it will take you to Emergency Essentials.