Monday, January 18, 2016

Milk and Honey Soap

Homemade Milk and Honey Soap
At my last job before maternity leave (10yrs ago) they sold local homemade soaps which we also used in the restrooms as samples for customers.  I loved washing my hands at work, my skin was always so soft and clean, not to mention the "LYE" would clean and shine my rings like they were brand new.  A lot has changed since then and I am trying to do the best possible for my kids and family so I am always looking for the better, healthier alternative to modern day products.  I will admit I love the smell pretty products from Bath and Body Works I know they are pretty much just a big chemical bath so to speak and it is time to move on for us.

For a healthier us I knew this is one area where I was really going to have to push myself to find a better solution.  Not just to get away from all the "chemicals" but it was going to take some pushing to get past the "pretty" smells and colors of it too.  After much self convincing I decided that I'm a crafty girl so making soap couldn't be too hard and it was time to give it a try.But....yes the dreaded "But" the first though I think of when making soaps is LYE!!!! EEK!!! and so for that reason I kept putting it off.  You know reasons like: the kids are too little to have lye around, lye is dangerous, it could burn me, it gets too hot.....bla, bla, bla.  Well this year I was determined to do it and after talking to a local who makes soap her first suggestion to me was try it with a soap base and see if it something I wanted to or like to do and guess what the "LYE" in the soap base is not the "OMG going to destroy my face lye" but rather lye that has been already worked and makes for easy, peasy soap making lye instead.  So apparently I hadn't done as much research as I thought or I would have known this already but now I know and soap making I went.
The first step in making soap was to get a recipe that I could do easily and a simple 2 ingredient soap is pretty easy as far as I'm concerned.  I used a recipe from but there are many recipes for Milk and Honey soap on the internet to choose from.  If you are looking for a simple 2 ingredient recipe you should know that most recipes call for adding oats to the Milk and Honey soaps so having rolled oats on hand may be a plus in soap making, I was actually out of them or this blog may have had a different recipe.

If you think you might be interested in giving it a try here are my step by step instructions.

1.  Determine your preference in soap base, I chose an all natural Goats Milk base from Amazon but there are different type of soap base one could choose.  It came in a 2lb. brick but I chose to use only 1/2 of the base for my first attempt.

2.  I cut the soap base into smaller cubes for ease in melting and melted it in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each interval.  All together maybe 5 minutes of cooking was required.

3.  While the soap base was melting I got my honey out and measured it to 1/4 of a cup so I could add it when ready.  My honey is kept in the fridge so it is quite hard so I gave it a few seconds in the microwave to soften it up to make for easy mixing.

4.  When the soap base has fully melted to a creamy/milky substance I added my organic honey and mixed it in.   

5.  You will notice lots of bubbles in mine, I would recommend slowly mixing to create less bubbles if you are going for "looks" in your soap as they stay in the mold and can affect the appearance of the finished soap.  Luckily for me this soap is just personal use so it didn't matter that I messed it up a bit.

6.  To give the soap a honey comb look I lined the bottom of the mold with regular bubble wrap (bubbles up).  I did this step while the soap base was cooking in the microwave also that way it would be all set to go when the mixture was ready. This step is not necessary but I like the finished look when it was done so if you are going with a "honey" soap it adds to the appearance of it.  There is no real how to to this I simple cut the bubble wrap to the size of the mold and placed it in.

7.  When the soap base and honey were evenly mixed I poured the mixture into the mold and wait for it to harden and cool.
I am not sure why, perhaps I needed to add more to each mold but they seemed full to me,  who knows?  The recipe I used said I would get only 4 bars of soap but I ended up with 6 and a little extra (that I molded with a separate dish) so be prepared to have more then expected if you are only using a 6 bar mold.

8.  After a few hours and I made sure the molds were fully cooled 
(I waited 3 hours) I removed the soap bars from the mold and peeled the bubble wrap off the tops of the bars.  Removing the bubble wrap was very easy and definitely gave the soap a honey comb effect so I will definitely use this technique again.

9.  Now we wait for the soap to fully cure (dry out and harden).  Many soap base recipes make it seem as though the soap is fully ready to use but to me it seemed rather soft and I will be curing mine for a few weeks before I use it.  As for curing time, I have read many different lengths of time for curing soaps and since this is my first try I'm really not sure what time to fully recommend but the research I did (online) showed that 4 weeks is the preferred length of time with turning daily the first few weeks.  If you have a method you recommend let me know and I'll be sure to pass it along to others.

*Note: if you are looking at my pictures and seeing a metal baking sheet  please know that was just for photo purposes to allow the soap to stand out and soap should NOT be cured on a metal or sealed wooden surface as it does not dry fully though.

2 Years Later, OOPS! My Bad

Wow 2years since I updated here.....Sheesh!  Funny how 2 whole years can fly by on someone.
I did do a quick glance at things I had posted here before and realized how much our lives have changed since I last posted.  I will do a quick update for all of you but I guess the best way to catch up would be to visit our facebook page at

First big change is that our kids are no longer the tiny munchkins I saw from the garden post of 3 and a half years ago.  The oldest will be turning 10 this year, it just seems unreal!  They have since all grown and are now in school all day (no Pre-K, 1/2 days any longer) making Mommy miss them very much during the day.  They have moved on from each other a little bit too.  They have very different opinions of things, friends and even needs.  Thankfully they all still have the love we taught them for each other and memories to last a lifetime with more made daily.

Life has been a roller coaster the last few years and we have been very busy enjoying the ride, most of it that is.  A big factor in the lack of post here and even my facebook was that I became sick about 2yrs ago, I was having horrible acid reflux.  I was doing my best to treat it with medicine and diet but was just having no luck.  I was having horrible pains all the time (not my gallbladder that was checked a few times) and burning in my throat, for someone who was rarely sick it was horrible.  It felt like I was swallowing hot matches all the time and also had the taste of a freshly lit match in my mouth all the time, if that can put it into prospective for you.  Eating was almost something I didn't want to do as it only made all the symptoms worse.  After countless trips to many doctors, loads of Rxs and finally a surgery on my stomach Sphincter I am finally starting to feel better.  I'm sure quitting smoking before I became sick helped me feel better as well and may also have been the cause of the problem but what is done is done I guess.  Unfortunately I now have Barrettes Esophagus as a result of it all and am doing my best to prevent any further damage and moving on with our life that we love so here.
Another Big change for us is that this year I decided with finally feeling better and all our kids are in school all day I should also find a job.  In April it will be 10yrs since I took my maternity leave for the Oldest Daughter and never looked back at work again.  I loved every minute being a stay at home mom allowed me with my babies and would do every bit of struggling (money wise) again.  As for what to do for employment we decided that I should be part time only right now because with the cost of daycare we could not afford to pay someone to take care of the kids all summer, on vacations and weekends and still make a profit from me getting a job.  Not only that but since the Hubby has a great job with great benefits I need to be available to take care of our critters most of the time.  So what type of part time job fits the description, substituting at the school works pretty well.  I have social/adult interactions, time off when I need it (gardening season), I can say when I can and cant work and summers off, works perfect for us right now and then I still get to see my kids when I do work.  Win, Win!

As for everything else around here well let me start with the basics again.

Itty Bitty

The Animals, we still have and love most of the animals from 2yrs ago.  Some we no longer have and some new were added for example the chickens tend to change the most.  2yrs ago our main rooster was Pecksy one of our original chickens and the start of it all, we loved him and he was greatest rooster but unfortunately he did not make it though the winter a few years ago.  We now have Itty Bitty, he was an egg we hatched out and instantly became a favorite of ours and is now our only rooster unless something changes again this year as I seem to be a chicken addict.

Oreo and Heidi
Duck Duck
We still have the goats Heidi and Oreo, we still have Sparkles the bunny and some ducks (only one, Duck Duck is from the babies hatched a few years ago).  We have since raised 2differnt sets of pigs for eating and are looking into this years pork already.  Lastly is the indoor critters, we still have all of them (cat, dog, turtle) and last year added a few more in the form of 3gold fish and a hermit crab thanks to our big winnings at the county fair (the kids loved winning critters).
This year we are going to be assisting our 4-H club in pheasant raising and are in the process of getting things ready for them so add those to the list of temporary critters.  We plan to fulfill the Oldest Daughter's wish of getting a few turkey and we are also looking into getting a couple of beef cows.  So I guess animals will always be a part of the Bull family.

Oldest Daughter's creation from yesterday to add to the Valentines
Centerpiece on the table, it is hand sewn (proud Mommy moment) and
stuffed with batting then she glued a skewer stick to it.  Not too bad for
no help and something she did all on her own to surprise me <3

The Crafting fun is almost a weekly (daily sometimes) occurrence here.  This is also combined with some 4-H crafting as well so we are always crafting up something.  This week we are working on teaching kids to sew/no sew things in 4-H and the kids have been making all kinds of Valentines stuff at home on their own for decorations and they are doing quite well.
The link here is to just some of the items they/we made last weekend:

We have 14 members (1missing from photo) in the Team Clover 4-H Club
Notice 4-H was inserted in place of Girls Scouts above, yes after a few years of being the troop leader for our Y.Daughters troop I have moved on from Girl Scouts.  Now the Hubby and I are the leaders of a local 4-H club.  I have to say that for our first year and its been a blast so far, very unlike my first year of GS.  Also our kids are way more excited for our 4-H meetings then they ever were for GS meeting.
Leaving GS was fine with me as I can teach them more of the way of life we live and why in 4-H and the benefits of it over how to sell some unhealthy cookies.  I liked the morals behind GS, don't get me wrong but as for our local GS it just seemed things were more about troop secrets then troop sharing/helping than actually teaching the morals of GS.  GS was becoming a lot of BS quickly for me so I was thrilled when the girls no longer wanted to do it.  This also gave us the option to do something with all of our kids and not just me and the girls and the Hubby and our son.

The Garden in 2012
The Garden 2015

The Garden and may I say Wow after seeing my last garden post I almost laughed at the size of the garden.  We have increased it twice since the last post and even plant in places other then our garden to be sure we can produce enough goodies to get us through till the next growing season.  Still find it amazing at all the food we grew in such a small garden all those years.  To think had it not been for the moodiness that came during the pregnancy of our 2nd daughter I may have never ripped out the brush and started digging here for our first garden to begin with.  Funny how life changes when you are never expecting it.

Also in the last 2yrs I have also taken a lot to preserving more of what we grow and raise.   We can freeze most of the garden but it takes lots of freezer space.  I decided to try a new idea and now Pressure canning is not a frightening thing as it once was and with the freezer full of meat we raised it just makes sense to can the vegetable for preserving.  I have to say my favorite pressure canned veggie is carrots, plain carrots no salts or anything.....Delish!

Well that should get everyone up to date for the most part and I really hope to try to post more frequently here.  Even have a post planned for tomorrow should things work out the way I hope.