4-H Club does it themselves

Jul. 11, 2014 @ 06:05 AM

Dana Snyder, parent volunteer for Caldwell County’s 4-H Club, held up an open spiral notebook covered in writing in front of 16 young club members.

“This is my DIY Bible right here,” Snyder said. “And if anybody touches it, I kind of go nuts!”

Recipes for all types of do-it-yourself projects are hidden inside Snyder’s special notebook. Everything from lip balm to goat’s milk soap to mouthwash is written on those pages. In addition, there are lists of natural oils and what they can be used for, such as eucalyptus for bronchitis and coconut oil for just about everything.

“You need coconut oil,” Snyder said. “You need to go get you some.”

The 4-H Club members participated in a DIY activity on Thursday morning, making their own hand soap, mouthwash, dog toy, deodorant and lip balm. First, they made dog toys because one of the soap ingredients was not ready quite yet.

“We’re waiting for our goat's milk to thaw,” Snyder said. “It’s still frozen.”

Kids cut T-shirts into strips, then braided the strips to make a chewable rope for their dogs. However, for the time being, the kids used the ropes as bracelets, mustaches and a method of attack against each other in play. Then, the soap making began. Shortening, coconut oil and olive oil was measured out and poured into a large silver pot.

“It’s like cooking, but you’re also scientists,” Snyder said.

When Snyder pulled out the bag of goat milk, the children immediately protested its strange appearance, saying it looked “nasty” or “like puke.” The milk came from Snyder’s goats on Snyder Family Farm. A few of the children stabbed the goat milk, which was still a bit frozen, to break it up, then stirred in lye, which is typically used for breaking up clogs in drains. The lye causes soap to lather. Because of the chemical reaction between lye and the milk, Snyder practiced making soap several times before allowing the 4-H-ers to try it because there was a possibility of a bad reaction. She said that the first try took two hours and that she was decked out in safety goggles, gloves and a big apron. Now that she has perfected the formula, she saidk, the activity was  safe. 

Aubrey Carter, 11, helped measure out the ingredients. It was her first time coming to 4-H, and she was excited to learn.

“I think I like making the soap,” Carter said. “I like the soap because I’ve wanted to learn how to make it for ages now."

Kalee Smith, 11, said that making soap was nothing new for her.

“My momma uses goat’s milk soap. We use it all the time.”

The children also made lip balm, deodorant and mouthwash. Madi Hartley, 13, said she had tried to make lip balm and mouthwash on her own, but they did not turn out right. She was eager to learn how to do it correctly.

“I made ChapStick once, but it was with crayons, and I not like the flavor,” Hartley said, sticking her tongue out and making a face. “I tried to make mouthwash, but it didn’t work. I messed it up. It said to buy mint, but I cheated. I used actual mouthwash for the mint flavor.”