Saturday, August 31, 2013

Just a hint...

Rosemary and Mint, Lemon-Lime, Lavender and Unscented...

Wait till you hear what started me on this!

Just a hint....



 

Friday, August 30, 2013

My New Kitchen Soap!

This is a picture of my new kitchen soap.

I call it a kitchen soap because it is full of every citrus essential oil known to man (well, at least known to me!).  I used those oils so that this soap would cut grease!  I wish the picture was scratch and sniff!

The customers who have been at the farm, friends and family have all sniffed....and coveted!  The scent is amazing! But she isn't quite ready yet - just a few more days. The specks are dried powdered lemon peel.  Just a wee bit of exfoliation happening there! It is also full of very moisturizing oils like jojoba, aloe vera and wheat germ.  Nice!

I'm thinking about calling her My Tennessee Kitchen.  But...it doesn't light a fire under me. I thought I'd open her up to a soap contest!  I'll have one other (maybe two...trying to decide!) contest and that should do until I get that beer soap made...

Same rules but a bigger prize!

The Rules

1. Contest begins now and ends at midnight on Sunday, September 1st.

2. Name will be chosen by my family.  Although there *is* a winner, we are not obligated to use your name...after all..we might choose one of our own!

3. You can't be related to me and win.

4. You may enter as many times as you like.

5. Suggestions must be left in the comment section of this post or on Facebook 
(TNfarmgirl naturals). No emails! 
www.tnfarmgirl.blogspot.com 

6. Winner will be announced September 3rd!

And now we have...
The Prizes!

Winner gets a free bar of the soap they name or any other soap in stock AND a lip balm of their choice!
I even pay the shipping!

Always wanted to try my products but never had the chance? Now is the time...perhaps you can try them absolutely free! 

 Let the name game begin! 
 

 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Surprises and Truth!




I've been working the last few days on my new products coming out in just a few days! Consider it my fall surprise for y'all.  I have finished three of the four scents.  One more to create today, get it labeled and shrink wrapped and we'll be ready to roll. I'm so very excited about this and I hope it will be something y'all will love.  Local reviews have been great! You'll want to use it several times a week!

I'm also working on an article about essential oils.  I want you to know the truth because there is SO much misleading information out there!

There are things being presented all the time as "natural" and good for your body when in reality they are just chemicals...they call this green washing (making things sound "green and healthy" when in truth there is nothing "green and healthy" about it). It really concerns me! Knowledge is power and I intend to fully inform you so you can make healthy decisions and hopefully so you will know when you are being blatantly lied to "snowed".  Someone tried this on me this summer. Fortunately, because I've used essential oils for so many years, I didn't fall prey to the scam.  I wonder how many others did that day!

I will post this article early next week but I also intend to create a permanent page both here on my blog and on my website. I think it is information that needs to be within easy reach of my readers who care about what they use on their skin.

Soon to follow that article will be one on the truth about colors, pigments and micas.  Just amazing!

September is almost here and fall is already in the air here in Tennessee!  It's very early this year but we have had several cool days and cool nights - can't remember having my windows open in  August before!  My fall soaps will be unveiled in the next couple of weeks.  They will be available through the season but will disappear sometime before spring.

I think we may need another soap contest if y'all are up for that.  Watch for that happening soon!

Elijah is still busy working on pictures and doing a great job.  We are getting close to having everything updated and I'm happy with his creative eye.

Oh....remember that GINORMOUS caterpillar he found?  Remember he wanted to keep it because he said he "could tell"  it was going to go into it's cocoon soon?  Well, the very next day that thing made a cocoon.


I am waiting with baited breath to see the lovely creature that is unveiled (not) but Elijah tells me that will be sometime in spring. Just think...several months to prepare for the unveiling of another Mothra...oh joy!

Blessings!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And the winner is....

Valerie!  We tweaked her name just a bit to end up with Lavender Oat Scrub!

She's still curing on our shelves and we haven't dressed her up yet but I'll let you know when she's ready to make her debut on our website!  Valerie, let me know which soap you'd like and I'll get it right to you!  Thanks so much for everyone's participation!  You'll see several new soaps popping up here over the next few weeks.

How do you guys feel about a beer soap?

Now, I'm off to work on my new project coming out this fall!  It has been tested extensively locally and I've had nothing but rave reviews...but I wanted a professional opinion.  That just came back last week from someone who uses this item on a daily basis and we passed with flying colors!

Anybody want to venture a guess?  (You locals who know....sssshhhhhhh!)

Blessings!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Traditional Southern Dessert!

I had some of my kids over for dinner this weekend and offered a choice of either peach cobbler or banana pudding.  My daughter chose banana pudding.  This is a down home southern comfort food.  You can't do it justice with a box mix....nor is it healthy.  I haven't used a pudding or jello mix in 20+ years.  In my book, they are right up there with canned frosting...yuck!

I thought I'd share the recipe that I use for those of you who might still be using the boxed mixes.  I hope to convert you!  This is a quick and easy recipe made with simple ingredients.  And the results?

Always a hit!

You'll need a 9x9 oven proof dish (I used a bit larger and doubled the recipe to feed everyone!) and either a double boiler or the ability to stay at the stove until you've finished the recipe. It's so quick, I cook mine in a large saucepan.

Here we go!

3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups whole milk (grass-fed raw if you have it!)
4 egg yolks (from your own hens or a local farmer)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (remember I taught you how to make your own?)
1/2 stick butter
3  medium bananas - not green ones! (sliced into rings)
1 box vanilla wafers (or healthy equivalent!)

Mix the sugar and cornstarch in your saucepan.  I just took a whisk to it until the two were thoroughly mixed.  Turn your burner to medium/low. Slowly add the milk while whisking.  Keep whisking until mixture begins to bubble - be careful, it will boil right out of the pan if you don't keep an eye on the heat! Keep whisking!  Put your egg yolks into a small bowl and temper them. This mean you are going to take a spoonful of your hot milk mixture and pour it into the egg yolks while stirring them - you don't want to cook the egg yolks!  I do this several times.  Then add the egg mixture into the milk mixture on the stove and whisk it in. The purpose of tempering the yolks is so that you don't cook the yolks when you put them into the milk mixture.  That would not make a smooth and creamy custard!

Continue to cook for 2 more minutes.  You should definitely see your custard begin to thicken up.  It will thicken a lot more when it cools so don't worry.  Remove it from the heat and add the butter and vanilla...whisk them thoroughly into the mixture and let it cool.  I go ahead and pour a thin layer into the bottom of my pan.  It will cool quickly and help the pot cool down too. 

Wait just a few minutes until the custard in the pan is set and layer it with your banana rings.  Then put a layer of cookies right on top of the bananas.  Once your custard has cooled a bit, pour some right on top of the cookies, add another layer of bananas and one last layer of cookies.  Cover the cookies with the remaining custard and you are done!  I take a few cookies and crumble over the top (because I don't top this with meringue).  I also like to place a ring of cookies around the pan.

The deep yellow color comes from the egg yolks of our fabulous free-range hens! They are always a deep and vibrant orange.

Some families like to top this with meringue but that's not our tradition.  You don't need the oven-proof dish unless you plan on using meringue.  Since I don't, it allows me to put this in a beautiful pan, or even a trifle bowl when I am serving a large crowd.

Put in refrigerator and cool until serving time.  Your custard will have a rich vanilla flavor with a subtle hint of banana.  The cookies will become almost like a sponge cake.  Your family will love this taste of the south!

Enjoy!



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Three years later and he's still doing it...

Mama's of boys...read this post and I know you'll understand.

Mama's of girls...read this post and weep for joy that all of your bedrooms are painted pink.

Weak tummy? Creeped out easily?  Stop reading now.  Come back tomorrow and we'll talk about soap or baking bread and pies or homeschooling... anything but this!

Perhaps you recall my story about Mothra's baby.  You can read that here.  It has been known to cause nightmares in adults and screaming in small children (unless they are boys...if they are you should hide.their.eyes. you don't want to encourage this at your house!)

The saga continued when Mothra left the building. Perhaps you should read those stories to prepare yourself for this one.

Three years later and Elijah is STILL doing this.  Ack!!

And so we begin again...sigh...

First of all, I love my Father who created all things.  I believe everything He created...at the time of creation, was beautiful and good!  However...this thing called "the fall" happened and it affected all of creation - not just Adam and Eve.  I look forward to the day when He restores it all - what amazing things we will see!

In the mean time....

When my son grabs a container, bends over and scoops something up from the ground all of my alarm bells go off!  Danger! Danger!  Especially when he places said container behind his back.

"So...whatcha got?"

"A caterpillar."

"And...???"

"It's really big."

After which he used his hand to show me how big.  I thought he was exaggerating.

Silly me.

My alarm bells increased in intensity as Elijah went to grab my camera. I may be deaf when this is over.

Can you believe this thing? Who needs Hollywood to create scary things? This is as creepy as they come!  I wonder if we still have Mothra's saddle around - doesn't matter, it wouldn't be big enough.


Of course my son isn't content to observe it...he has to play with it...here's a picture that shows you just how big this thing is.  Elijah is about 5' 9" right now...just so you have the proper perspective...he's not a little kid anymore!






He found this around the chicken coop as he was putting the ladies away for the night.  I think it survived because it was TOO BIG TO EAT!  And he is letting it crawl all over him  ~shudder~

Did I mention that Elijah's hands are HUGE?






And yes...yes, that is his promise ring...size 11...don't ask... I have no idea.

So, do you think he wants to return it to the wild so something can gobble it up and save all humanity it can live a long and happy little life?  No.....he's decided it is about to go into it's cocoon stage and he wants to keep it so he can see it hatch out!  Making note to self to add on to my barn for what's to come.


I thought Mothra's baby was big - I just can't imagine...don't even want to.

Elijah wants me to be sure to tell y'all that he name of this monstrosity creature, once it hatches from it's cocoon is a Hyalophora Cecropia Moth (it's name is as creepy as it looks) and is often referred to as the robin moth. It just happens to be the largest moth in North America.

oh.joy.

It eats a lot as a caterpillar but once it becomes a moth it has no mouth so it never eats. Can it get any creepier?  Because it has no mouth it only lives for 2 weeks.  I have no problem with that.  I would like it to spend it's short little life on vacation...say...at the beach...on the west coast. Seriously.

Oh the joys of being a mama to boys.



Friday, August 23, 2013

Lavender and Oatmeal Soap?


I have many new soaps curing on my shelves for the next few weeks.  However, some of the poor things don't have any names.  How about another contest?

Here's a picture of the next new soap!


It is made with finely chopped oatmeal and scented with Lavender essential oil!  This is soothing relaxation in bar form.  The oats act as a gentle exfoliant while the lavender soothes and calms.

I think a long soak in a hot tub with this soap will be wonderful!

I could just call it Lavender Oatmeal (I really like that!) but let's see if y'all come up with something better!

The contest begins now and ends on Sunday at midnight.  Winner will be announced on Tuesday.

As always...here are the Rules and the Prizes!
The Rules

1. Contest begins now and ends at midnight on Sunday, August 25th.

2. Name will be chosen by my family.  Although there *is* a winner, we are not obligated to use your name...after all..we might choose one of our own!

3. You can't be related to me and win.

4. You may enter as many times as you like.

5. Suggestions must be left in the comment section of this post or on Facebook (tnfarmgirl naturals). No more emails this time!

6. Winner will be announced August 27th!

And now we have...
The Prizes!

Winner gets a free bar of the soap they name or any other soap in stock!
I even pay the shipping!

Always wanted to try my soap but never had the chance? Now is the time...perhaps you can try it absolutely free! 

 Let the name game begin!
 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I wish I'd done this years ago!





Soap making day in my kitchen is an all day affair.  I start around 8 in the morning. I have to pull all of my oils and supplies out and begin setting things up in my kitchen.  I start actually making the soap between 9 and 10  and I'm usually done by 3 or 4 in the afternoon...NOT including clean up.  And believe me there is a lot of cleanup!

When I make soap, I make four batches.  I figure if I have to haul all of this stuff from the laundry room and set it up, I might as well make a bunch of soap.  There is too much time involved in setting up to make just one batch of soap.  Some day that will change.

As I am looking for a smaller piece of property, I am also looking for a home that has space to have a true soap kitchen and room for bigger classes. I hope to be able to have a place for all of my supplies in my soap kitchen and keep them in easy reach.  That way, if I want to make a quick batch of soap or even two, I can do so quickly and easily!

I am always looking for ways to save time since that seems to be my most precious commodity.  The day after soap making I need to cut all of my logs into bars.  This usually takes between 3 to 4 hours. I have to cut each bar by hand and weigh the bar.  I'm not the most even cutter and I don't want to sell anyone a bar that is 3 ounces - those go to the shelf for our personal use.  So, I weigh each bar to make sure that what I sell is the correct weight.

And then I saw this video. I was amazed. My heart beat faster and I got light headed. I may have even swooned. I began saving my money, and pinching every penny. I sold some things. I had to have it...it would save me hours. I was one determined farm girl!

And finally a few weeks ago, it arrived....when I didn't have any soap made.  Hhmmppff.

However, I've made quite a lot since then and I love this little thing....meet my new soap cutter!


This little gem was made by a gentleman for his daughter who is a soap maker.  Then her soap making friends wanted one and voila! Bud Haffner had a business on Etsy! The quality and craftsmanship of this is unsurpassed.  I looked at a lot of soap cutters from metal to wood and believe me nothing compared to this thing of beauty. He's also wonderful to do business with and I highly recommend him - he has a variety of cutters available. (Thank you Bud!)

So here is how it works...I'm cutting one of my yummy fall soaps...Cinnamon Citrus Swirl!

First I raise the bar...


Then I slide my log of soap all the way in until it hits the "stop". 

Next, I pull the bar down until it stops and the wires slice through my soap like butter!
Twelve perfectly even bars in one fell swoop! Did you catch that?  TWELVE!


Then I pick up each bar and place it on a tray so I can carry it to my curing rack
.
No more slicing one bar at a time (unevenly!). No more weighing every.single.bar. It takes three times to cut one whole log of soap...I wouldn't even have 10 bars cut doing it one bar at a time.

Tonight, I cut 4 logs of soap in about 15 min. I just saved myself almost 3 hours.  And every bar is beautiful!

Here I'm cutting a new fall soap - y'all will be naming this one soon!


Here is one of the bars!

My new shaving soap...Yummy!


And one of the bars of pumpkin that I cut.  This soap goes into the mold looking like coffee with lots and lots of cream in it.  It comes out of the mold this pumpkin color with the dark line around it. It's beautiful and smells like pumpkin pie!


So....what will I do with the extra 3 hours a week....come up with a new product for all of y'all!

Coming this fall...something I've never done before!

Blessings!



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

And the winner is....

Kathy Jimison!  With the wonderful name "Lavender Lullaby"!

And here she is all dressed up.....





Congratulations Kathy! Let me know which soap you'd like to have and I'll mail that right out to you.  And thank you so much for an amazing name - love, love, love it!  

This soap has to finish curing so it won't be up on the website for several weeks.  I'll give y'all a heads up when it is available!

Thank you to all of you who participated, I truly appreciate your help. 

For those who didn't win...don't worry,  there will another contest soon! Lavender may be involved.

Now, I'm off to cut all of those bars I made yesterday Almost 150 of them... but it isn't going to take me very long this time...I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!

Blessings, 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In my soap kitchen...




Today I'm soaping!  A large batch of Castile and a new fall soap, a new shaving soap (think the islands!) and my Pumpkin Spice soap - one of the most difficult ones to make.  It can get dicey when you add food to soap...lots of math and the ability to beat it to death in the pot help a lot!

I'm working on picking out a name for the baby soap.  It's down to 4...such great names to choose from.  I can say this..I will NOT be using the name that I thought of...y'all did a much better job than I did for this soap!

Wednesday I announce the winner of the soap contest! 

Thursday, I'll share about my newest tool for soaping! It's going to save me a LOT of time!

I'm very excited!

Blessings! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Contest ends tonight!

Just a few reminders today:

The soap naming contest for my new baby soap ends tonight at midnight - great names so far.  Remember, you can submit as many names as you'd like.  Winner will be announced on Wednesday and your choice of soap will be mailed right out to you!

The soap class on September the 8th is beginning to fill up nicely.  If you would like to learn how to make pure, natural soaps that are actually healthy to use, email me or message me.  We do have limited seating in my farmhouse kitchen! I guarantee lots of fun and delicious snacks.

Want to take my class but are strapped for cash?  For each friend you get signed up, I reduce your fee by $10! You could actually end up taking my class for free!

Have a wonderful start to your week!

Blessings,

Sunday, August 18, 2013

We need to talk...


We need to talk about Rod.  I was at a wedding shower last night and someone asked me about the new "man" in my life.  Hmmppf.

I've warned him that I'm telling all today.  I'm even posting his picture so that other women will be on guard! 

It's a love hate relationship. Seriously.

He's so tall....and I'm so short....it can be awkward.

I would call him brooding - he just sits there "staring" at me...silently demanding attention.

He wants to spend time together EVERY day.  EVERY SINGLE ONE!  I need a break sometimes!

He causes a lot of pain.  Not just pain in the moment but he inflicts pain that lasts.  They say that the pain will lessen over time. I've heard that before! Some people even say that pain is good for you! What's wrong with those people?

He really doesn't talk.  Really.

Supposedly this relationship will provide long term benefits. But...no one can see into the future.

He relates better to my boys than to me....

I'm told he wants to be a part of my life forever.  Do I want that?

I would call him a taker...he's constantly taking just a little bit of me here and a little bit of me there....

There are days I hate him and never want to see him again.

I think about the future and I love him.

His full name?  Just so you can avoid him at all costs...or maybe go look for him if you think he's attractive.



TechRod




And here he is!







Gotcha!
  
  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Eggs anyone?









As you can see we are BLESSED with eggs! Some look white in this picture but they are all brown eggs.  We have someone laying speckled eggs, and another laying an egg with "stripes".  We also have a "stealth" ninja chicken...her eggs are HUGE!

The egg on the bottom is actually a large brown egg - the larger one - always a double yolker!  We aren't sure which hen has this ability but she is faithful - never misses a day.  In fact, I don't think any of our ladies ever miss.

So...I have eggs...and more eggs...and more eggs!  We have given them away, taken them to the local soup kitchen and still there are eggs!  (thinking about the ring and run thing....ring.leave eggs.run).

Elijah is the chicken farmer. The girls know him - they know he brings food - they follow him like puppy dogs follow their master. 

Elijah is saving for a car and he is hoping the ladies help him get there.  He is selling his eggs locally for $3.00 a dozen. (No, Julie, I will not mail you eggs!) If you want wonderful farm eggs from healthy hens that have the run of 45 acres daily, you need to email Elijah or call the farm and reserve your eggs.  He will deliver them to church, in town or feel free if you are headed this way to call and make a time to stop by.

The ladies will be happy, Elijah will be happy and perhaps I can have that shelf in my refrigerator back....

Blessings,



   

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's all about the baby....

A few years ago, when I learned I was going to be a Grandma, I made a baby soap.  It was o.k. That wasn't quite good enough - especially for my grandbaby.  So...I've been working on it and making some changes and now I'm happy with it.  No...not happy...thrilled!

It's based on a castile formula. A true castile soap doesn't have anything (repeat...anything!) in it but olive oil.  No scent, no other oils and definitely no chemicals.  Olive oil doesn't lather much but oh! my! the moisturizing capability!

The base of this soap is olive oil so don't look for lots of lather.  However, I used that olive oil to make some herbal macerations first!  I picked herbs that would be gentle on a baby's tender skin and healing too. I also scented this gently with pure Lavender essential oil because Lavender is soothing and healing too.  Although I can't call this soap a castile, it makes me think of castile on steroids!

Here she is - a lovely pale green from the herbs... I took this picture on a white background so you could see this beautiful color!




 
This contest is a bit unusual....I have a name that I think I want to use - but perhaps you can come up with something even better!  Remember...this soap is very gentle, moisturizing and all about the baby!

And so we begin another contest!  And with a contest there are rules and prizes!

The Rules
1. Contest begins now and ends at midnight on Monday, August 19th.
2. Name will be chosen by my family.  Although there *is* a winner, we are not obligated to use your name...after all..we might choose one of our own!
3. You can't be related to me and win.
4. You may enter as many times as you like.
5. Suggestions must be left in the comment section of this post or on Facebook (tnfarmgirl naturals). No more emails this time!
6. Winner will be announced August 21st!

And now we have...
The Prizes!
Winner gets a free bar of the soap they name or any other soap in stock!
I even pay the shipping!

Always wanted to try my soap but never got around to it? Now is the time...perhaps you can try it absolutely free! 

 Let the name game begin!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Peppermint Patty anyone?

One of my favorite soaps is back on the shelves - Chocolate Ice!  I call this my peppermint patty soap! I would have named it that but I thought some people might sue me object. Made with white chocolate, dark chocolate and cocoa, along with pure peppermint essential oil, this soap refreshes me!  There will be an updated picture soon!

It's so pretty, I hate to put a label on it!



You will also find Patchouli stocked up and ready for school.  This is the soap I made for all my boys when those teen years hit and acne started popping up.  At a speaking engagement earlier this week, someone embarrassed Elijah by commenting on his beautiful skin....and they stated the obvious - "because of your mama's soaps!".

Siah's Citrus Soap is also back!  If you love citrus, you'll love this soap.  About the only thing I miss from Florida, is the huge orange tree that grew in my back yard - fresh juice EVERY MORNING!  This soap is packed with orange and tangerine essential oils and smells amazing. New picture coming soon!



And finally....Lock N' Load is back! This is the ultimate soap for Hunters!  There are oils in this soap that strip the human scent and it is loaded with essential oils, bark teas and oakmoss absolute to replace your scent with the scent of the forest.