Wednesday, July 30, 2014

{I've Been Discovered!}

Tonight my wonderful (not so) baby boy says "I discovered a new planet today." Um, OK Mr. Doesn't Even Own a Telescope, how did you discover a new planet?

"I googled myself and discovered planetcaddick." Oh, that could be bad. Think quick mom, have you said anything bad? Yes. Are there possible embarrassing pictures of your now teenage boy? Oh yeah. This begs the question "Are you ok with me putting stuff of you on the blog?" "Oh yeah, I'm fine with that." Whew! It's not like I was actually going to stop or anything. =)

His favorite page - "Life Lessons from Zach" (natch). I feel he will be making sure I add to that more often. He also pointed out that I haven't blogged since the 17th of July. *gasp* He has no idea how long my no writing streaks can last! Silly boy!

Funny thing is I was thinking about having him start a little blog (or take over my homeschool blog) for typing and writing practice. That's a good idea.....

But the big question I forgot to ask - 'Why were you googling yourself?'

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Field Trip Day

We took our first field trip of the new school year this past week. I like taking trips to indoor places during the summer. Bonus - his friends are out of school so we get to go with other people! I got to hang out with my good friend while Zach hung out with his. Those always make the best trips!

We headed to Discovery Place in Charlotte. Now I've never been to Charlotte, only through on the highway, and this city is beautiful. Even though it's in the 'wrong' Carolina I can see why people are drawn to this city.

Discovery Place is similar to COSI but it seemed like there was more variety here - an aquarium, alien exhibit, rainforest, and a place to make stop motion movies. Because he had a friend to hang out with he did all the stuff he wanted to do, for as long as they wanted. I didn't get a lot of pictures because they spent most of their time on their own, doing their thing.

We parked in a garage across the street that had an innovative way of marking their floors (we ended up on the Mustang floor).

The elevator banks were painted like these floor pictures, here's the Carolina floor. Very fancy (and extremely cool). Also, much easier to remember you're on the 'Mustang' level instead of level 6 (at least for me!!).

{More Soap Trials}

First I'd like to give you an update on our hot process soap.

 I've been using the unscented version of these puppies and they are very nice. Lather well, do all the things soap should do - but I do wish I'd had some scent to add to them. I guess I could rebatch them and add fragrance, but I'm not sure if I want to do that yet. In the meantime I will keep using them because I like them.

But, Mr. Man asked for some kind of scrubby soap to clean his mechanic hands. OK, I think I can handle that. I did these the melt & pour way.

8 oz. Goats Milk M&P Base
8 oz. Olive Oil M&P Base
.5 oz oatmeal (finely ground in my coffee grinder)
~This is a variation of a recipe I found on Soap Queen TV~

I also tried to add some lavender essential oil, but I only had about two drops. The soap still smells good though. I decided to mold them in my silicone muffin pan. I don't use it for muffins so I may as well use it for something =) Here's what they looked like when I was waiting for them to set.

But when all was said and done, I was told it wasn't scrubby enough. That's fine - I put it in Zach's bathroom since he always gets this heat rash thing every summer. It seems to be helping. So I tried again - this time with my own recipe (yikes!), using only oils I could find in the stores around here. I decided I was going to use coffee grounds as my 'scrubby' part, so I figured why not use coffee instead of water in my lye? He hasn't used this soap yet, but hopefully it's a winner. Though I've since learned that you need to use double strength coffee. Note made for next time! I molded these in a cleaned out quart milk container. This is how these buggers look after being cut. I'm not sure why they turned the odd gray color - maybe the single strength coffee? hmm

So, now I'm ready to try some other recipes. I'd love to make one with pumpkin beer instead of water. I love pumpkin stuff, but we are not fans of the pumpkin beer! Might as well use it up!

I've also seen lots of very cool things you can do with melt and pour. I think we're going to end up with way to much soap in this house!

So loving this new hobby.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

{Hot Process Soap}

I've been researching making soap for a very long time. Very long. And there are many ways to make soap. We've been making melt and pour soap around here for almost a year. You can read about our first go round here. I make this kind of soap a lot because I found this bug repellent essential oil blend that works great when Erik is out hunting.

But I still wanted to try my hand at lye soap. You can make lye soap two different ways, hot process or cold process. Although the cold process lets you make all these really cool swirls and such I'm not waiting 4 to 6 weeks to use a bar of soap. I think we all know I'm not a patient woman. =)

So, I know I want to make hot process, but I also don't want to stand over the stove for a couple hours stirring soap. So, I sacrificed my oldest crock pot to try my hand this 'must try' thing.

Now Google is a beautiful thing - seriously - google making soap. I dare you. This is how I found a recipe for crock pot soap using oils you can find in the store. I'm already sacrificing my crock pot, you know? I don't want to spend a bunch of money if I can't make this work (or hate it). So I googled my way over to Chickens in the Road and followed her recipe for my first go round. Crisco, lard, olive oil, and coconut oil. All found at the grocery store. I'm not going to repeat her recipe here she does a great job of explaining everything. I know, I followed it step by step. Seriously, if I can do it anyone can. I'll repeat the standard lye disclaimer *handle with care* *wear gloves* *use common sense since you're working with something caustic* In other words, be cautious but not scared out of your mind.

Some issues I did have - (1) I couldn't get my soap to trace. Probably because I wasn't using a stick blender? I don't know for sure, but after an hour (yes 60 long minutes) of stirring and still no trace I threw the lid on the crock pot and moved on. It still cooked through all the correct stages, it just took a little longer.

(2) I can't figure out how to accurately measure my essential oils for fragrance. I just guessed but I really need to figure this out. Those things are too expensive to pour wantonly!

(3) I panicked when I reached the 'mashed potato' stage. I thought the soap would cool really fast - seconds even. Not true, it took a few minutes, so I know I have a little more time to add fragrance and color. This will help if I ever decide to use lower flashpoint oils.

This recipe does end up really soft. So yes, it can be used right away (after cooling and cutting of course), but it's probably best to let it sit for a couple days. Hey, two days is not 6 weeks, so I'm good with that.

Would I make soap again? Yep. I will probably sacrifice my stick blender though. Honestly, I don't use it that much so it's probably a good call. Now that I know it's really not that hard I'm excited to try some other oil combinations, substitutes for water, whatever. Yes, I think we will have an abundance of soap roaming around this house in the future!

Bonus! I even remembered to take a few pictures. Here they are:

 After cooking for about an hour

 In the beginning there was a big 
glob of yuck

 I used milk cartons for molds
why add expense to the experiment?

Our small batch of scented soap
after unmolding and cutting