2013... and a WINNER!

Happy, happy year of 2013.
How was your 2012? 
What will you do differently in 2013?
What new year resolutions do you make?
Do you typically make resolutions?
Do you stick with your resolutions?

In 2012 I had 1 baby- I am very proud and thankful of that!
In 2013 I do not plan to top that- Lord willing!

In 2012 I had a wonderful friendship with my handsome husband
In 2013 I plan to do that very thing (not necessarily always act the way I did, however!)

In 2012 I loved the Lord
In 2013 I want to know Him more, for to know Him is to love Him

In 2012 we moved to a lovely home
In 2013 I want to be thankful for this every day

Now, to the homemade soap giveaway!
As I said before, there are two winners and you know who they are?

Angela and Sara!

Please email me your 2 picks and addresses and I will get them mailed out to you both!
(I used a random number generator from here but could not get screen shots.)

(For those of you who did not win, I do sell my soaps for $3.50 per bar. I also have Lavender and Eucalyptus-Spearmint available currently.)

Have a wonderful 2013!


My Job

So I will tell you, as some have asked!
On Wednesdays, I have been working at

located in downtown Troy, Ohio.

They provide eco-friendly family items for the whole family. Allison started this store in the fall of 2009 because her oldest was allergic to disposable diapers. Once cloth worked so well for her family she wanted to be able to offer it to other families.
Mainly focusing on cloth diapers, and things that go along with them such as detergent, travel changing pads, pail liners, cloth wipes, wet bags, snappies, trainers, etc,

{photo credit Apple Cheeks}

we also sell Barefoot Books,
(made of recycled paper)

Aden and Anais blankets,

(made of silicone so it is safe for baby to chew on while mommy wears stylish jewelry.)

(non toxic)

Lunch supplies, 
(such as reusable snack bags, glass and stainless steal lunch containers,
lunch bags, glass water bottles.)

Hazelwood and Baltic Amber necklaces,
(Hazelwood helps with the acidic levels in you body, therefore helping against acid reflex, eczema  etc. Amber is high in succinic acid which is absorbed into the bloodstream and helps with pain and inflammation.  Wonderful for teething, carpel tunnel, and other issues.)

Green ToysPlan and Haba toys
(along with some other homemade and miscellaneous toys.)

{photo credit Plan Toys}
{photo credit Plan Toys}
{photo credit}

Personal care,

{photo credit Earth Mama Angel Baby}

Locally Grown clothing, knot caps, natural food coloring,
handmade headbands, baby leg warmers, nursing covers, dryer balls, hats, tag blankies, and onsies.
{all photo credits to Allison Fullencamp unless other wise marked.}
I went in one day knowing nothing about this store. I immediately fell in love with it, so I emailed Allison within a couple days asking if she could use some help. I hadn't been looking for a job, but thought this would be a good opportunity to be able to get cloth diapers in exchange for helping out. The cost was just a mental thing, though, because you will save an average of $1,500+ for your first child with cloth and even more with your others because you have most of your things. I couldn't, like most people, get over that initial cost. I was buying $24 worth of diapers every 2 weeks (more when she was little). Buying cloth can be anywhere from $118 (with the old- style prefolds and covers, which is the cheapest option and I quite like them anyways.) to $500+ depending on how many (basically how often you want to do laundry) and what type of diapers you choose to use. 
That would have only taken me 5-20 weeks to pay off. Just think of this: on average, you will have 130 weeks per child in diapers. That is a lot of money to spend on mounds of bleached and chemicalized diapers to sit for a very long time in landfills.
Now, off my soap box, this is for another post that is soon to come. 
(I haven't updated on diapers because I was confused for a bit but I've done some experimenting and research and can't wait to share what I've learned with you.)

I very much enjoy Wednesdays and I think my Mom does too since she gets to watch Adeline.
I will be honest though, I rarely come home with much cash, but I do come home with lots and lots of goodies like diapers, a carrier, blanket, toys... you know, all of it!

What product looks most exciting to you?



Making Soap and 100th Post Giveway

Two weeks ago I made 3 batches of soap. 
Lime-Green Tea, Patchouli, and Orange-Clove.

I'd like to share with you how to make it. It is very easy and cost much less than 
buying hand crafted soap from stores.

You'll need:
Palm Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Spring Water
Essential Oil
Extra Oil (such as Shea Butter, Avocado oil, Etc.)
You will also need some kitchen supplies which I will tell you about as we go through the recipe.

With a scales that accurately measures grams and ounces, measure out 397g Palm Oil. It is in solid form so you will have to melt it down (which will be the same amount so no need to remeasure.) I use an ice cream scoop to dip it out with.
Dump melted oil into your Kitchen Aid mixing bowl

Measure, melt, and dump 454g Coconut Oil.

Measure and dump 595g Olive Oil. Mix the 3 oils together (with whisk attachment) to combine.

Next step:
Sodium Hydroxide is the official name for lye. While everything in this recipe is safe for consumption lye IS NOT. 
(Disclaimer: depending on where you buy your oils, especially essential and extra, they are safe for human consumption. Some brands add things to make the oils go further, thus not being pure. These additives are not safe for human consumption making the "essential oil" not safe.)

Measure out 201g lye and put in a metal bowl. This is important because next we will be adding water. When you add water to lye it will immediately heat to 180*F and fume. This can eat away at plastic or break glass.

Measure 10oz spring water.

Mix water into lye with a metal whisk until dissolved. Again, we don't want to use a rubber spatula or plastic silverware.
Use a glove on the hand your mixing with and cover your mouth with your other hand. If you breath it in too much it will cause major coughing! Also make sure children are in a different room. This will only last a minute or two.

The impurities from the water will rise. You can see here that even spring water isn't perfectly pure. It would be a nightmare if I use my well water. This is why SPRING water is important.

Once the temperature has lowered to at least 100*F measure 9oz milk and slowly add to water/ lye mixture. We want to make sure it has cooled so our milk doesn't curdle. Continue mixing until well incorporated.

It will slowly turn yellow.

Next step:
We want to make sure the lye mixture is well yellowed and the oil mixture is no more than 100*F.
Once all is ready we will combine the two mixtures. Slowly pour the lye mixture into the oil mixture while the mixer is running.

Whisk on medium speed for 10-15 minutes until the mixture can trace. When you lift a spatula it will leave a trace,  ribbon, or visible drizzle on top. The mixture will be creamy and have started to get thicker.
Once fully mixed, add 7t essential oil(s) and 1T extra oil of your choice. They all have different benefits and uses. You can read about most of the different ones at Camden Grey, where I order all my oils.
(I use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and make sure everything is very well combined. As the essential oils can penetrate plastic, I have one for soap making and don't use it for anything else. I keep it with my essential oils.)
At this point you can also use coloring and exfoliants. I like to use things I already have in the kitchen. Celery seed is my favorite exfoliant, for example. And cinnamon, nutmeg, or beet juice make wonderful colorings.

Now it is time to pour it into molds. My Husband made me these out of PVC board. Since each recipe makes 18 bars, it is 18" long inside so once my soap "log" is ready to cut, I just cut every inch for even bars of soap. I line the molds with wax paper for easy removal, as these molds don't come apart as some do.

Pour the soap into the mold.

Cover mold with cardboard (so it is pretty well sealed, but the cardboard absorbs some of the moister from the condensation of the heat and extra water doesn't get into/ onto the soap.) Add a big bath towel on top for insulation.

After 24/48 hours the soap will be ready to cut into bars. If you are using individual molds, this is where you would take them out.

I cut along the short edge with a knife,grab the wax paper, and pull the soap right out. 

Then I mark every 1" and cut with a metal pastry scraper.

Lay the bars on cardboard for 4 weeks to fully cure (lye evens out and bars gets harder).
I put mine in a cold, dark cellar, but a friend of mine puts it under the dresser in her bedroom. So to my knowledge, it doesn't matter what temperature (as long as it isn't hot enough to melt it again) or darkness.
Then use away!
This is the only recipe I've use but I'm wanting to soon try more.

Now about the giveaway:
In celebration of this 100th post, I would like to give a 2 bars of soap away to 2 of my followers. 
(United States only, please)
Winners can choose from any of the following options:
1} Lime- Green Tea
                                                                  2} Orange- Clove
                                                                  3} Patchouli
I just made these 3 flavors and they will be fully cured December 31st. That is the day this giveaway will end and I will announce the winner New Year's Day.

To Enter:
(Must be or become a follower)
Just leave a comment on this post with the soaps of your choice and you will be entered.
If you would like to blog about my giveaway, one more entry. Just leave a link to your blog post on a separate comment.

Be writing soon!


Dear Crystal...

{Just a shout out to my sis-in-law!}
I had so much fun hosting your baby shower a couple weeks ago!
Thank you for letting me be a part of it.


And if you can't tell by all the tummy-rubbing/ talking and constantly bringing it up, 
I can't wait to meet your sweet baby girl. 
I know that you and Brad will make such wonderful parents! 


I'm Dreaming... of Christmas

Yes, a white one even.
And if the all-knowing Creator decides a little white is not right for this year, it will be OK!
But my home's inside shall be decked with some festives!

This year I had an unimaginable list of decorations to make (Thank you, Pinterest!)
I did accomplish a couple things like the stockings and reindeer canvas.

{The REASON for this lovely season}

Hanging Christmas cards to see them all season long.

{Vintage sheep, card, tree}

And our Christmas tree. {How do you take good photos of then anyways?}
I was a little disappointed we didn't have time to decorate our tree this year. My dear Husband knew of this disappointment and I knew he knew. 
One day I got home from my {wonderful} job {that I haven't blogged about yet (notice I didn't say "Haven't told you about" because I'm sure if we've talked at all you know about it!{this is called major rabbit-trailing.})}
Where was I? Ah, yes, I got home from my {wonderful} job and the tree was beautifully decorated. He had picked up lights. ornaments, and tassel and spun them around our "tree".
This year we have a decorated tree!

With an array of "brown paper packages tied up with string"... and ribbon!

And, one last thing, our Hot Chocolate/ Chia Tea bar. This is truly used daily!

I much love decorating.
I love even more giving gifts to my most loved.
I love even more getting together with family.
I love even most celebrating the One Jesus, the Lord of my heart.

What is your favorite part of the season?