Monday, April 26, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

I have wanted to try making yogurt at home for sometime now. I have always thought it to be a seriously intense project....I was WRONG!!
For me the hardest part of this was to make sure the temp stayed up long enough for the cultures to grow.
And best of all the kids LOVED IT!!!
So guess what? I will be making yogurt often it was super easy and cheap...did I mention cheap. I like cheap, that means I can add those dollars to my mortgage and get out of debt faster.

So this is the recipe I went by and of course I made a few changes
Makes 1/2 gallon

1/2 gallon milk (I use fat free) I used whole milk
2 cups instant dry milk powder
1 cup sugar or your choice of sweetener.....2/3 cup of sugar and maybe 1/4 cup of honey
1 Tablespoon good vanilla (I use Mexican) didn't have the good stuff...just used the plain ol grocery store     vanilla
1 6-8 oz. container yogurt with active cultures (first batch after that save some of your own) I used Greek yogurt
Thermometer....candy thermo
Large, heavy, pot
Electric stove with light or gas stove with non-auto pilot light. Can also use a heating pad/towel/and box to cover) This is where I went off the course...I warmed a small cooler with hot water and put my jars in wrapped in a towel. I had a pitcher that I added hot water to and put in the cooler to keep the temp up

Place milk in pot and add dry milk powder. Stir well.
Heat milk to 180 degrees, stirring now and then so bottom doesn't burn I used a double boiler method to make sure the milk heated evenly....I added sugar and honey just as I took it off the stove
Fill sink with ice cold water and place pot insde sink, Add sugar and stir well. Cool down to 110-115 degrees. Add vanilla.
Fill containers of your choice and seal. ( I use jelly canning jars) Place on cookie sheet or heat proof tray.
Heat oven to 110-115 and turn off. Turn on oven light. This is where my cooler came into play. I left it in the cooler for about 7 hours and then tucked it deep in my fridge
Place yogurt in oven on upper rack and check oven periodically to make sure it stays between 110-115.
Yogurt will be "done" in 4-6 hours but you can let it incubate for up to 12 depending on how tart you like it and how much beneficial bacteria you wish it to have.
Serve plain or with any kind of fruit. Suggestions: Top with sliced bananas, peach or cherry pie filling, or stir in plain vanilla

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lawless Tuesday in Connecticut

It is illegal for any beautician to hum, whistle, or sing while working on a customer.

It is illegal for fire trucks to exceed 25mph, even when going to a fire.

You aren’t allowed to cross a street while walking on your hands.

You may not educate dogs. 

It is illegal for a man to kiss his wife on Sunday.

It is unlawful to walk backwards after sunset.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Getting back to life

Ok I am back to the real world...such as it is.
This past week has been really stressful and crazy...1st of all I want to thank you all for your comments and prayers about my sister. It means so much to me that you all have been so kind with your words. THANK YOU!!
Saturday I got a call from the agency I work through for foster care and was asked to do respite...(babysit for another foster parent) just until Monday morning. Now I should know better....these things rarely are as simple as they sound in the beginning. I had 7 month old twins from Saturday afternoon until Wednesday morning. They were the most delightful little boys...but holy cow I was tired!!! For me it was bitter-sweet giving the boys back. During their stay with us there was some talk of them being placed here on a permenant basis. I think God knew what he was doing when he made the choice for me, and I had to give the kids back. I would have loved to have them but I would have spent my time in the shower and on the potty taking power naps just so I could keep
To add to our list of wackiness was my husbands shoulder surgery on Tuesday morning...which went well and he is on the mend very quickly, but he does have 30 days convalescent leave and I am pretty certain that by the end of that time I will be ready to strangle the man. I guess that is what marriage is all about though right?...LOL I had to arrange help with ALL of the kids. Thank goodness for my oldest....she was here to get all the brothers and sister off to school for me and my BFF Cindy took the twins Monday night. I could not have handled any of the last week without my family. The family that God has given me!!! I LOVE THEM ALL!
Now as I reassess life...I have decided that I need to get back to the simple things that make me smile. Like baking a loaf of bread and the kids drooling over the smell. Making fresh banana muffins for breakfast. Spending time playing kickball with the kids or taking them fishing. So I am going to do my very best to get back to basics and make everyday a day that the kids will remember fondly. I want the kids that come into my home to become adults with happy stories to tell their kids and I am the person that can make that happen. So from now on more pictures, more laughter and more simple pleasures.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Teresa McManus Valentine

Tessa my older sister died on her birthday April 7, 2010. She will be missed by all that knew her.

This woman was the kindest gentlest person you could ever kow....I am not sure how the other 4 of us are siblings to her, we are all out spoken and kinda mean. She spent the last 20 years in great pain and living a life that wasn't really anything the rest of us would have called a life, but she never complained. She never said anything about her chronic pain and always had a kind word for anyone else's suffering.
I do however remember a time when she was just a nasty ol' big sister...I had to share a room with her for a short time and she would do things like tell me I had to ask daddy to let her take me somewhere I didn't want to go just so she could get her hands on the car. OR walk me to the corner store and ont he way there leave me in the graveyard after telling me HORROR stories of how the dead people would stick their hands up and drag me down in the grave with them.
WHAT A FABULOUS SISTER!!! I say that with no sarcasm either....she was truely great!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lawless Tuesday in Alaska

While it is legal to shoot bears, waking a sleeping
 bear for the purpose of taking
a photograph is prohibited.

Owners of flamingos may not let their pet into barber shops.

Moose may not be viewed from an airplane.
It is considered an offense to push a live moose out of a moving airplane.
FairbanksIt is considered an offense to feed alcoholic beverages to a moose.

Who know there was such a problem with the wildlife in Alaska?

Monday, April 5, 2010


As much as I look forward to Monday I dread it too. The good part is that all the kids go to school, but the bad part is that I have to do all the housework that has not been done since Thursday. The kids are out of school Friday, Saturday and Sunday so I play a tad more catch up than most. In reality I don't mind the catch up.....
but today the HUSBAND was home too. Keeping him busy is a challenge to say the least. He likes to wonder around the house and annoy me, just cause he can. Gotta love the man.
I did get a good bit done today though. I made 2 batches of soap one was just plain old fashioned lye soap to use as a stain stick on the kids clothes and the other was a teset batch to see if I like a new scent...Lemon Verbina. I have been watching Little House on the Prairie with the kids lately and was inspired to make an Ode to Miss Beadle soap. It smells great!!!! I also made my first test batch of lotion bars....added raspberry scent the kids are loving the smell, I hope they turn out well. I have a friend that wants something like this for her sons dry skin.
The kids are wired today they are all floating around the house from one thing to another like a bumble bee on crack. I do believe they may drive me to drink or worse yet go to bed wishing I had the energy to drink..
The grand has yelled at me all day....this teething thing is a booger for sure. I will be glad to see bath time and nightie night for the sweet Peanut.

Friday, April 2, 2010

No Spend Week is OVER

OK So I survived the no spend week.....but have to admit it was tough. On Wednesdays the BFF and I usually do random shopping for things like laundry detergent and goofy junk....we will have breakfast or lunch out and just spend the day free without kids. And this week I spent my Wednesday working in the yard....I missed my BFF time terribly.
Although, we have spent every afternoon this week the warmer months we combine our dinners and swap off which house we eat at and the kids play outside till dark. The "community dinner" as we call it is a fantastic way for neither of us to do much cooking or cleaning. Tuesday we grilled at her house, Wednesday was a trip to China here, and Thursday was Southern at her house. Not real sure what today will be but I do know it will be at my house.
Now back to what I learned this week.....that not going to the store prompted me to get some projects worked on that have been waiting in the wings. We got trees trimmed, bulbs planted, yard raked, alley cleaned, worked on painting cabinets, even started working ont he pool. This has turned out to be a very productive week for me and I hope it continues. I have also made a zillion lists of things I still want to get done around here.....need to put sealer on the wooden bench, work on getting the house painted, and work on the koi pond are at the top of the list.
I think for me I am going to continue the no spending in smaller doses like 4 day spells until school gets out. So for me I plan on not spending from Sunday to Wednesday.....let's see what happens....wish me luck

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I got an award

Wow....I feel so special I was given an Award and in the spirit of this I have created a playlist of some music from way back in the 80's that I rocked out to.
And in the spirit of giving I am going to pass this along to......
1-- Liz at Hiding in Plain Sight....who is as real as it gets for a WAHM
2-- Tania over at OutBack....she is trying to live a simple life in the Australian outback.
3--Jenny over at Jenny Matlock......who does what she can to live her life to the fullest.



1. Get really excited that you got the coolest award EVER.

2. Choose ONE of the following options for accepting the OMB! award:
(a) Get really drunk and blog for 15 minutes straight, or for as long as you can focus.
(b) Write about your most embarrassing moment.
(c) Write a "Soundtrack of your childhood" blog.( Like I sort of did)

(d) Make your next blog a "vlog", or video blog. Basically, you talking to the camera about whatever.

 (e)Make a picture of yourself first thing in the morning, before you do anything else (makeup, brush hair, pee, etc.) and post it.

3. Pass the award on to at least three, but preferably more, awesome bloggers like yourself. Don't forget to tell them (duh).

And it's THAT easy!