Friday, June 19, 2015

Miscalculations and OCC Soap Update

Dusting off the old blog to give you all an update on the 2015 OCC soap project.

Well, I've hit a snag. Nothing our God can't handle. :) But here is the long version of the situation.

I carefully calculated how much supplies I would need to make 12,000 bars of soap for November 2015's packing party at my church. I calculated $490 dollars and set out to raise the money. I organized and held a scrap booking event as a fundraiser and made just over $400. Then people also have handed me money to help out with buying supplies. I was able to get the $490 and purchase the supplies.

I bought 15,000 3x4 zip lock bags to put the soaps in. (So, I have enough of these for the goal)
I bought 6 - 50 lb boxes of tallow
I bought 32 lbs of lye
I was given about 16 lbs of lye
I was given 50 lbs of Palm oil

I've been turning all the oil and lye into soap for months now. I have 1 box of tallow left and I've made just about 7,000 bars of soap. I started wondering what was going on when I emptied the 3rd box of tallow and had only made about 3,000 bars of soap. I was so confused! Where did I go wrong? I should be half way to 15,000 by now...15,000 is the number I felt called to make, even though I calculated for about 12,000 bars. When I went to buy bags I had the prompting to order 15,000 bags and that God would make sure to fill them. So, I listened. He'll still fill all these bags, just maybe not all this year. Grin.

I took some time yesterday to sit down and look at my paper I made my calculations on.
I had written down that 18 batches of soap = 12,528 bars of soap. I did the math again and found that 18 batches of soap actually equals 6,264 bars of soap. Each 15 lb batch of soap makes 348 bars. When I first calculated the amount of supplies I was thinking about how I make 6 loafs of soap every time I make soap for OCC and that those 6 loafs = 696 bars of soap. One 15 lb batch of soap = 348 bars of soap. I make 2 of those when I make OCC soap and fill all 6 of my soap molds. But I mixed it up and was thinking that 1 - 15 lb batch made 6 loafs, but I need 30 lbs of tallow to make 6 loafs = 696 bars.

So, if your still with me on this you can see that I DOUBLED the amount of bars that I thought was going to be able to make and only raised enough money for half the supplies I needed. Not knowing I needed twice as much supplies as I did.

PHEW! That is such a mess!

So, now I wait on God.

This is how you can pray for your soap maker today:

Is God's goal different than mine? Am I supposed to only make 7,000-8,000 bars of soap? Will He be sending $400 more dollars my way to buy the rest of the lye and tallow to make another 6.960 bars of soap?  Should I see if I can get free fat from the butcher again and start rendering tallow to make more soap and just buy the lye at a cost of $75? Do I have the time and energy to grind and render 300 lbs of tallow AND make it all into soap?

I know God has the answers.

You can use the donate button below if you feel led to give financially to the OCC soap project this year and for future years.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Soap Making

There are a million and one soap making tutorials and recipes out there. I didn't really count them, that's a guess. So, I don't feel I need to reinvent the wheel and give you another basic tutorial. Call me lazy if you must. But I do want to take the time to make this public service announcement.

Soap is made with LYE with out the lye there would be no soap. That's no lie.

That is all. You may go back to your regular schedule now. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Back in the Saddle

Today I dusted off my bike and went for a one mile ride, twice. My nine year old daughter rode with me.

It had two flat tires and my rear brakes are busted. The tires seem to be holding air and I hope to ride again tomorrow.

I had a bulging disc in my back in October of 2012 that took nearly a year and a half to fully heal. Prior to that I was riding 15 miles a day. I've missed it.

What do you do to release stress or stay active?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's a boy, It's a girl?! Or is it?

Lilly (the goat) was the last to due to kid this year. We bred four for the first time. We've usually bred 1 or 2 goats each year. Every. Single. Kidding has been adventurous.


First Rachel kidded a week early with 2 doelings. First was an all white beauty we named Ivory, because her all brown "sister" was born dead. Died about 3 weeks before she was born, by the looks of her.

Look at that face?! What a goof! 
This is my wonderful Angel.

Then Angel had QUADS! Our first time having more than twins. The babies were born HUGE. Ranging from 8lbs to almost 13lbs! AT BIRTH with FOUR of them. My friend April had to come help assist in pulling three of the four. Two of the kids were breech. After the third one was born April tells me, "congrats you have triplets." Then Elaine (my daughter) says, "mom there is something else coming out." Tada, QUADS.

The quads in back and Ivory photo bombing in the front.

Then comes Anna's turn. Dear sweet Anna. She is actually the ornery goat here. Poor girl decided to be my very first middle of the night kidding. She started pushing around 1am, by 4am still no babies. So I "phone a friend", April of course. Thankfully she must like me, or maybe it's the goats... But either way she decided to come over and help. Finally around 7 or 8 am a Buck kid was out, but dead. he was just too big for her and when his shoulders got in the birth canal he suffocated. Being born literally killed him. He was alive up until that point. :(  Then his sister was born alive, but with a bent leg. Extra vitamins and she's just fine. Bent Leg is a tight tendon issue that is often caused by needing Vit. A.  Her name is Lucky.

Surprisingly, I don't have any pictures of Lucky.

Now for the last goat, Lilly. Lilly was due Sunday May 19th. When I did chores that night there was no signs of labor. I went happily to bed. Woke up and went out to do chores at 7:30 am and found she had uneventfully given birth to 2 kids! They were all cleaned up and mostly dry. AND up and walking.

I had somewhere to be somewhere by 9am. Having 2 new baby goats to bottle feed and 1 more goat to milk I was in a rush. 

As I was getting the newly born babies out of the big goat pen I checked their sex.

One male. One female. 

I called April right away to tell her the good news that we did not need her assistance and that my doe/buck kid ratio was 4 to 4. Or so I thought... I fed them at 1pm and called my friend Kathy and talked to her for about 10 minutes about how happy I was with the male goat. I've been thinking of adding a pure Saanen Buck to the heard, but would rather not pay the price, nor do we have room to keep a buck. They run $150 and on up. So, it wouldn't be a breed and eat purchase. I don't want to pay that much money for Sperm and meat, if you know what I mean. 
"The little boy is mostly white with a tinge of cream on his head," I tell her, "if only he had waddles like his sister then it would be thee perfect male goat. I won't be buying one this year, I can use him for breeding! God is soo good!" 

Then I fed them again at 5pm and checked under the males tail, HE was a GIRL! I had TWO does! I phoned April and told her I was wrong, I had 2 girls! .....  

Or did I? I

I took my friend Christina out to dinner with our husbands for her birthday as a surprise. It was our VERY first time that ALL four of us went out to dinner together in 4 or 5 years of friendship. We are talking BEST friends, friendship. She has a special needs child and we are her baby sitter you see. So the four of us going out was just not possible.  Well my son, Corey, is finally old enough and able to handle the babysitting for her boys. HOORAY... and it went super well, so we will be doing it again.

Anyway back the goats.

When I got home around 9pm I went out to do chores. Elaine and Corey went with me, so this time I have witnesses.

When talking to April again at 1pm she said, "well do the girls have testicles?" I laughed and said, "I thought one did, but apparently not. When I checked him again, he was a girl." 

Once called Lasagna, SHE is now named ROSE!

So, I thought I better check this again. As sometimes they do have testicles AND girl parts is what April told me.

Well the girl I thought was a boy was a full fledged girl, nothing funny happening. Then on a whim I decided I would check for testicles on her sister, you know the one with waddles? Oh how I love waddles. Well the waddled goat had testicles... A penis... and NO vagina!  A BUCK!!! A perfectly WHITE WADDLED BUCK!!!  God is soo good! I got all I wanted in a buck and didn't have to PAY for him!

First named Daffodil, when he "was" a girl for several hours. 
Look at him stretch out all proud of himself!
Now HE shall be called THORN!

Maybe next time I will pay a little more attention to the business end of the goat, even when in a rush.

What a fun story though.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Henderson Castle Review

Lets cut to the chase...

I will NOT be returning here, and all my friends have been told my story and said "THANK YOU for telling me, I will NOT be going there either." 

We stayed 3 nights for our 10th anniversary and bought the groupon deal spa package for 2 spa services. We choose 2 couples massages.

Night one and Two we stayed in Cottage suite B, it had cob webs behind the tv, dirty glasses, tacky magazines laying around, a bottle of sparkling mineral water that had a price tag on it for $6.95, The walks were not clear of snow and ice AND soap wrappers on the bathroom floor. That is just what I found in the first 5 minutes. Then I went to take a bath later that night and the faucet does not let water go into the tub, instead it just flows backwards onto the floor! OUT of the tub. I informed the front desk of the problem and watched them text the maintenance guy about it. Then I spoke with the maintenance guy the next day and he said, "Oh yeah, that's broke. We have so many new people here right now. They were supposed to tell you not to use it. It breaks a month after we fix it if someone bumps it, so we don't fix it anymore. All those fancy faucets are broken in the castle." WHAT?! MORE faucets are broken AND won't be fixed?! That is not acceptable!

Night three we stayed in the French room. The hot water leaked in the tub, not just dripped it flowed a pencil line thick of water. I told the owner and was told "yes we have a plumber coming tomorrow". I some how doubt that, since I was told the maintenance guy was the one that would deal with the plumbing issue in the Cottage. There was also a soap wrapper on the floor in this bathroom, too! There was also some kind of purple goo on the marble floor next to the bed. Probably a dried drip of juice or wine.

I not ONCE seen someone with a mop in the castle the whole 4 days we were there. Though the whole place is hard wood or hard type flooring. I walked up to my massage with no shoes on in my robe on Wednesday and my feet were FILTHY!

The roof top hot top was had large amounts of green algae in it! The snow had not been cleared to get to the hot tub. The sliding roof door also broke on our last night there.

Then (yes there is MORE) our massages were supposed to start at 2pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday it didn't start till 3pm, but we were warned that it would be starting later at 2:30pm, but then we had paperwork to fill out and one of the massage therapists was rather chatty and we didn't get started till after 3pm.

But the worst customer service that really did me in was Wednesday's massage was to be done by one of the therapist that was there on Tuesday plus a different one (couples massage, means 2 therapists). She says to us, "see you tomorrow at 2pm." Then she shows up at 3:10pm! She was my husbands therapist. Mine was there at 1:30pm prepping the room and waiting on her. At 2:20pm, after the staff telling us multiple times that our therapist would arrive "soon", I asked my therapist if he had to leave at a certain time. He replied that he needed to leave by 3:30pm at the latest. So, I told him to get started with me and then my husband could join us when his therapist finally arrived. SO, our $160 1 hour couples massage that day ended up being TEN minutes of overlapping time with 50 minutes of a private massage for each of us. I complained for FIFTEEN minutes at the front desk before someone finally offered me a full breakfast ($18 value) for us in return for a our troubles. When I didn't respond the owner offered it as "breakfast in bed" which meant they walked it up the stairs from the kitchen to our room... big fat deal after ALL the stuff I've been complaining about up to this point. I also had to pay 18% gratitude and 6% tax on our spa package. Which I new I had to pay and expected that. But I feel they should of given us our second massage for either half price or FREE and that would of covered those fees, cause the groupon was already paid for.

I went to Pizza Hut 2 weeks before this and THEY noticed they messed up our order, gave it to us for FREE, AND gave us, for FREE, a replacement pizza and bread sticks. Pizza Hut people! Not a "fancy" restaurant and Bed and Breakfast. That gives you fruit and cereal for breakfast and charges $20 a head for LUNCH.

OH and instead of investing money into building an office in one of the towers on the third floor, how about they fix the issues (leaky and broken things) and pay for more reliable staff that cleans better, keeps the walks clear, and shows up on time?! There was construction going on in one of the towers and we were told it was going to be an office. We didn't stay in the Italian room, but the shower is broken in there and we are told might never be fixed.

The service at Henderson Castle is Far below 1 star, but that is the lowest rating I could give it. The atmosphere and charm of being a castle is the only thing this place has going for it. I gave them ample opportunity to make things "right" and they sunk further and further away. Despite the bad service, broken things, and dirty atmosphere and mediocre breakfast.... we were able to enjoy each others company and do some shopping. Though we wanted to go to South Haven after one of our massages, but as they BOTH started late and ended too late to bother driving over there. The staff new this as well. Just shakin my head.

I really hope they get their act together, as the charm of the castle is indeed nice. It's what drew me to go there in the first place.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stuck in Time

I see people my moms age and wonder what she would look like today. Twenty years have passed and she is still frozen in my mind as 38 years old.

Would her butt have continued to have a little extra padding that the little bean pole was JUST starting to get when she was 37 years old? I don't think so, she didn't like that we noticed and she began walking to get rid of it.

Would her hair be all gray? Maybe some.

Would she have chosen to color it? I don't think so, she was pretty low maintenance.

Would she have kept her hair long? I can't imagine it any other way.

Would she smile to know that my daughter likes to have her hair braided like Laura Ingalls? Just like I used to. I think so.

Would my heart skip a beat to watch her hug and love on my children? I hope so.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Many Hands OCC Soap Update

My last post I was feeling overwhelmed and I whined a lot.

God heard my heart and sent help in a BIG way!

We are still able to get beef fat from a local supermarket for FREE. And I have a volunteer, my good friend Kathy Boldt, to pick it up, sort and trim off meat bits. Then I pick it up from her to grind up with my sisters massive grinder. Then I drop the ground fat off to my "render ladies". My dear friends Joy Allen and Jill Bolhuis. I then pick up the rendered tallow ready to be turned into soap!

This allows me to focus my energy on making the soap and keeping up with normal life.

I also have volunteers lined up to package soap once it's fully cured/evaporated.

To date we have made 536 - 1 oz bars of soap for the project. The money is all in for making 3,000+ bars of soap with money to spare.

Then today God shocked me with TWO more donations of a sizable amount. $50 each. Now that our oil is free, larger molds and loaf cutter are being made and donated to me, discount on a bar cutter, and all the ways God has met needs.  I only need to buy lye and packaging meaning we are able to make the soap for around 2-3 cents a bar. So the extra $100  will make it possible to make around 9,000 bars total. TRIPLE my goal!

This is all dependent on the continuing steady supply of the FREE beef fat.

Keep your prayers coming. As long as there is money to buy lye and packaging, free beef fat and people to help render it into tallow... I will keep making soap for OCC.

God is so good!