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A Special Delivery

February 20th, 2013

Last week, Mr Chiots and I were in Colombia, South America. It was a work related trip, we were producing videos for the non-profit I work for, which was founded by my parents. In addition to missionary work, my parents do a lot of benevolent work, trying to improve the lives of the poor refugees, those neglected by society. One of the things we did while we were there, was deliver soap.
lavame clean soap 1
This isn’t just any soap, it’s 100% all natural handmade soap, some of the best soap money can buy. You see, Wendy, traveled to Colombia a few years ago. Deeply moved by the poverty and wanting to help in a tangible way, she started Lavemé Clean. She makes all natural soap, for each bar that is purchased, a bar is donated to an impoverished area. Some bars of soap go to Honduras, other to shelters here in the US.
little girl in the slums of Colombia
This is her story in her words:


It all started in the summer of 2011. My oldest son Caleb and I went on a mission trip to an impoverished barrio nestled beneath the Andes Mountains in the heart of South America.

That experience broke us.


Shelter was nothing more than small shanties with bare packed-earth floors; walls of wood pallets, corrugated tin, or whatever material was to be found. For water, the slum area had one well; one small well for many people to drink from, bathe in and wash clothes in. Lice and mange were running rampant.

In North America, for most people, it’s not terribly challenging to procure a bar of soap somewhere. In the slums, it’s simply not readily available, and if it was, it would not be affordable. I watched a construction worker labor from sun up to sun down, working for a monthly paycheck of $100.00, in an economy where a bar of soap costs as much as it does in the States. read the rest of the story on her website

lavame clean soap 2
Mr Chiots and I delivered many bars of her soap on our trip. It’s encouraging to know that there are people like Wendy, who are moved enough by the pain and suffering around them to do something proactive. In a world where liking something on facebook or signing a petition is seen as action, it’s refreshing to meet someone who is actually doing something. A big thanks to Wendy for making this soap, we were honored to deliver it for you!

If you are in need of all natural handmade soap, consider purchasing from Lavamé Clean. Mr Chiots and I are particularly fond of the Eucalyptus Cold Care.

Buy Local or Small + Free Soap

December 16th, 2010

One of the things I’ve been trying to do more and more is to find local or small businesses from which to purchase the things I need. This is a wonderful way to cultivate community, especially when you can find things locally. I have also found Etsy to be a wonderful resource in finding small businesses. For example: I am in need of a few more wooden cooking utensils as I have just acquired some enameled cast iron cookware. I could purchase this set on Williams Sonoma, or I could find a few lovely pieces on Etsy, like these that I’m considering. I know if buy from Etsy I’m supporting a guy who does this as a hobby, he gets 100% of the money I send and I like knowing that.

This year I’ve been searching for my holiday gifts from local or small businesses. It has been amazing the wonderful things I’ve found for all those on my list. I won’t mention what specifics since I haven’t given them yet. Sometimes you stumble across something while at the farmer’s market that is just perfect. Local Roots Market in Wooster, OH (which is the main farmer’s market I go to) has an artisan fair this time of year just for Christmas and I’ve found a few wonderful things there.

Miranda, one of my readers (you probably recognize her, she comments often) and her husband have a business called The Relic Jar. They sell soap and very interesting gourd art. Her soap is made of all natural ingredients some that she grows in her own organic gardens in Texas. She generously offered to give a bar of soap to one of you in order to encourage you to buy local/small business not only during the holiday season, but all year long. All you have to do to is to comment on this post and you’ll be entered. PS – Miranda also has an illustration business with lovely things, check it out at Miranda R. Muller Illustrations.

Have you found any wonderful holiday gifts from a local or a small business? chose our winner for this contest:

Kim won the soap from The Relic Jar.

Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap

October 8th, 2010

Many many years ago Mr Chiots and I went on our first backpacking trip in Pennsylvania. My dad gave us an old bottle of Dr Bronners Peppermint soap because it’s biodegradable and you can use it in streams for dish washing, etc. We started using it and loved it and have been using it ever since, and not just for backpacking.

When we go camping we still use it for dishwashing and bathing, but we also use it at home for all sorts of things. I use it to make homemade cleaners and laundry detergent, I like the lavender or lemon for this. I love using it for bodywash, my favorite for this is eucalyptus. The tea tree oil makes a great dog shampoo as well.

I also use this for washing up any of my gardening tools and pots when they need it. I know I can safely rinse things and use the gray water in the flowerbed. I don’t have to worry about phosphates or any other petroleum contamination from this soap. I’d highly recommend giving this wonderful soap a try if you never have. It may seem expensive, but you only need to use a tiny bit.

Do you use biodegradable soap for washing garden pots and tools?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.