Thursday, August 28, 2008

soap making *

i make my own soap. we use it for everything from cleaning our bodies to cleaning our clothes, even our dishes. it's the best soap i have ever used and i will not go back to the detergents found in the stores. well here is how i do it. i get beef suet from the local meat market where i purchase all our meats. then i render it and make tallow. i cut the suet up into pieces, put them in a pot and add some water (about 2-4 inches). then it is brought to a boil and let boil for about half an hour. i do squish it, while it's boiling, with my potato masher to get all the good fat out. the boiling separates the grizzle and sinew and such from the fat. once it's done boiling i use a colander and strain it into a container and put it in the frig over night. the next morning i drain the water from the bottom of the container and take the solid piece of tallow and boil it done again. in the frig it goes for the night. the next morning i drain the water again. at this point the tallow can go in the freezer for future use. i get my soapbox ready by lining it with parchment paper. my hubby made me the boxes, isn't he sweet? when i am ready to make soap i get the tallow out and weigh it. once i have the weight i can do some math and get the amount of lye and water that i need. *note: lye is a caustic material and needs to be handled properly!! wear gloves and protective eye wear when working with lye.* the tallow goes into a pot and it melted down to a liquid. i mix the water and lye together in the sink. the lye & water mixture does give off heat. when the tallow is melted i add the lye to the melted tallow. over a low heat i stir and stir until i get trailings, which is like pudding sitting up on itself. then i pour the soap into a prepared soapbox to let it cool and solidify. if i get go soapy bubbles when cleaning out the pot and when i stick my hands in and i doesn't sting then i know i have a good batch of soap. after about 24 hours i remove the soap from the box and let it finish curing on a rack. this is about 3.5 lbs. of soap.
* note: this is NOT a tutorial, just the steps i take to make the soap for my family. if you are interested in making your own soap please get a good book or find a reliable online site with explicit directions on the process.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

apron revolution

Apron revolution
I wear an apron everyday. Yes everyday. They are a wonderful utilitarian tool. They are what I wipe my dirty hands on, they protect my clothes for spills while cooking, they have very handy pockets, and if I have to change the baby they provide a prefect place to lay them down (take it off of course). There are a multitude of uses for them. They are also very cute. They come in many styles, colors, patterns. And they are very easy to make. I can make one in an afternoon. While these are all very good reasons to wear an apron, I also wear one as a symbol. One that says no to the government trying to break up my family. I wear one to say, I cook a meal every night, I am at home so my children do not have to be under the care of another, I provide all the care that a parent should. I do not need the government to educate my children, I don not need a licensed daycare, I do not need an after school program. I am responsible for my family. I cook, I clean, I mend, I bake, I can, I garden, and I sew. I do not feed my family preservative filled foods, I do not let the TV entertain us, and I do not clean my home or my family, with chemicals. I am not on any government program. I wear an apron to symbolize the fact that I will not let the government break up my family, this is my family and I will take care of it. I will not let the government step in; big brother is not welcome to look over my shoulder. I wear an apron, not only because they are useful, but also to say “I am the caretaker of my family and home, and I am proud.”