Thursday, November 5, 2009

Scrub A Dub, Dub! Virginia Soaps and Scents Review

Since I am reviewing soap products, I feel I must "come clean" and admit that some things are just more enjoyable to review than others. Getting to try luxiurious, homemade soap products falls into the "more enjoyable" catagory!

When the box from Virginia Soaps and Scents arrived, it was a welcome change to see products to review that involved lather, bubbles and clean scents, rather than computer monitors and paper. Well, I realize we wouldn't get much school accomplished if it wasn't for the latter; but bathtub phonics and shower stall fractions could catch on, you never know!

We received four sample size bars as well as a sample size Laundry Soap Kit. Everything just smelled so clean and fresh! Along with the soaps there was a letter from the Spargur family that explained who they were and how they came to be in the soap making business.

When tragedy struck this homeschooling family three years ago, through the death of their youngest granddaughter, grief and exhaustion seemed to overwhelm the Spurger's school routine. But, by God's grace the family began to find comfort in the familiar as they determined to  delve into a unit study of Colonial Life in Virginia. One of the projects in the unit study was learning to make soap!

The "one time" endeavor was so enjoyable (probably theraputic) that the Spurgers didn't want to stop. Through experiments and research and hard work, Virginia Soaps and Scents was born. Talk about turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones! This family of 9 children, 5 of whom have graduated, all work to run this new entrepreneurial business. From printing labels and designing a website to making the soap and taking care of taxes, everything is done "in house."

Of course, they wouldn't have gone through such a shift in school and career if the soaps hadn't been such a hit with all who tried them! They have been especially popular with those that have sensitive skin and find themselves allergic to most soap. With an olive oil base and "no added chemicals for hardening and lathering properties" these soaps leave your skin feeling supple and not stripped. They lather up wonderfully and smell heavenly too. I would also add that they last a long, long time. We are only half way through the sample size bars we received about 2 months ago.

We actually had three small bars of soap to try and one sample Shampoo Bar (each 1.75 oz). Though all their soap is free of irritants, the Shampoo bar, in particular, is great for sensitive skin and for shaving and can actually be used head to toe. One of my daugters has very sensitive skin and so I had her use it when she showered. She has very long hair and didn't care for how it felt when she washed her hair with it. "Too squeaky clean" is how she described it. However, she did like using it for regular soap and she hasn't had any sort of skin problems with it. The Shampoo bar comes in a 5.5oz size (that's huge!) and sells for $5.50 or 2 for $10.

I have enjoyed using one of the regular bars (coconut, lemongrass scent...mmmm) for shaving. Leaves my skin feeling soft and moist! We have one bar in our mud room bathroom and it is hard to believe how long it has lasted, still a decent size after many uses. A regular size bar is four times the size (4.5 oz) of these sample bars that we received. Full sized bars sell for $4.50 per bar, or 3 bars for $12 (and if you buy 4 bars, you'll get one free!).

The Laundry Soap Kit was fun and easy to make, and the "sample" size still made a half gallon (whereas the full size makes 2 gallons).  The Spurgers recommend using a 1/2 cup per load for top loaders, and 1/4 cup for front loaders. Because water hardness varies, you may need to experiment with the amount. However, at a final cost of 4 to 7 cents per load (depending on how much you need), this is a very economical way to wash clothes! Unfortunately, for us, we did not fair so well with the laundry detergent.

Our hot water heater that runs to the washing machine is broken so I have to wash everything in cold water. Once you make the detergent from the kit, it becomes very Jell-o like in consistancy. I just can't get it to dissolve in the cold water. I have tried filling the machine part way with water, before I place any clothes inside, and stirring the detergent around but it still just floats in blobs. I have had to rewash the clothes to get soap spots out, so I have decided to discontinue using the detergent until our water heater gets fixed. Bummer! If your hot water is working, however, you can purchase the full size Laundry Soap Kit for just $4.95. Comes with everything you need (except the pot and water for heating it up!) to make 2 gallons of soap, or approximately 64-72 loads. What a deal!

I really hope you will take a look at the website of Virginia Soaps and Scents by clicking here. (Oh, I am so excited I finally figured out how to embed a link in my blog!!!). Besides their wonderful soap, you can also find lip balms, linen spray, shaving soaps and special holiday fragranced soaps that will make unique Christmas gifts!  If you can't decide, check out their Bed and Breakfast Sampler where you will receive 12 of the same size bars that I received (1.75 oz) for $18-- each with a differing scent. Try them all or split them up for gifts or stocking stuffers! There's a lot of other neat gift ideas on their website too, and it sure is more personal and useful than a gift card or a fruitcake.

Thank you, Virginia Soaps and Scents, for letting me try and review your wonderful, yummy soap! What a testimony you all are of God's faithfulness and mercy!

No comments:

At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.