Monday, May 28, 2012

Do-It-Yourself: Yogurt

At the beginning of the year, I set 12 DIY Project goals for 2012.  May's challenge was to create my own yogurt.  And as I was searching the web, I found a variety of ways to accomplish this goal.  So I searched and searched till I found, what appeared to me, to be the simplest way possible.  I'll post more ideas for you, but this Crockpot version was the one I finally went with.

It turned out YUMMY!  My husband has been eating Greek yogurt for at least 8 months and I couldn't keep him out of this homemade yogurt.  It's thinner than Greek, but it could easily be strained to a thicker texture.  This recipe was so easy; I have a second batch ripening right now.  

Now that I realize how cheap and easy homemade nutritious yogurt is, I don't think I'll be turning back.  Are you up for the challenge?

Other homemade yogurt versions:

*Linked to these Parties

Monday Muddle

Hum... Monday Muddle???

Guess it's Monday night so I'd better get to it.  Ooops!  This weekend flew by and every day was FULL.  I feel like this day was a whirlwind.  Really this whole weekend was.

When my older two kids were little, I used to leave my camera on top of the entertainment center.  It was a reminder to take pictures every day.  Remember to capture every moment.  My thought process went that I didn't want to have any less photos of my second child then my first.

And now, there's three.  Three kids.  THREE KIDS!  And the days are full and sometimes I just forget.  The last couple of weeks have been crazy with Noah's fractured wrist and dentist appointments and baby and ... I have to get that camera back on the entertainment center.

So since that's my little rant, here's our menu for the week:

Oatmeal and bananas
Cream of wheat
Cereal and fruit salad
Pancakes and strawberry rhubarb compote

Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas

Monday: Chipotle Turkey Sandwiches
Tuesday: Spaghetti, salad, homemade sourdough
Wednesday: Spinach Calazone
Thursday: Taco Salad
Friday: Homemade Veggie Pizza
Saturday: Tenderloin, BBQ corn, salad
Sunday: Tostadas

Raspberry Lemonade Slushies
Flavored Water
Apple Oatmeal Bars

What's going on in your world?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bookmarks for May 2012

*Bookmarks is an online book club hosted at Creative2xmom.  Here we discuss the books we've read in the past month as well as the suggested reading.  Our suggested reading for May was Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas.

These are the books I read this month:

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis--This book was actually the book club book for April but I wasn't able to get y hands on it in time.  So I read it first this month.  Katie Davis found herself living every young girl's dream: all-American girl next door, loving family, supportive boyfriend, and college around the corner.  But she knew she was being called to something different.  Something special.  Something revolutionary.  At 18 years old, she moved to Uganda, promising her parents that it's just for one year.  Instead, as she opens her heart to the Lord's dreams, her world is turned upside down.  No longer satisfied with living the American dream, she teaches, comforts, supports, fundraises, and adopts.  Today she is the mother to 14 daughters and leading a huge non-profit that sends children to school.  At a very young age.  All because she pushed through and said "Yes."  This book is an easy read, a challenging read, and life-changing.  

Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas--Our suggested reading for this month was Sacred Parenting.  I just finished this one and all I can say is "Wow!"  Gary Thomas' books continue to be a source of inspiration, challenge, and encouragement in my life.  And this one was no exception.  This is not a "how-to" book.  It won't give you "5 Easy Steps to a New Child by Friday."  In fact, it focuses very little on kids.  Rather Sacred Parenting holds a magnifying glass up to the real issue: parents.  Thomas focuses in on how God is changing us, growing us, and loving us into people after his heart.  And He's using the challenge of parenthood to accomplish his purposes.  Chapter 9 entitled "Walking on the Wild Side of Parenting: The Gift of Extremely Demanding Children:  How Raising Kids Teaches Patience, Long-suffering, and Perserverance" spoke to me in particular.  What parent, at one time or another, hasn't felt like they're raising a demanding child?  But what is the Lord seeking to accomplish in that situation.  For me in particular, I can get so caught up in the immediate needs of the moment.  I forget to step back and soak in the lesson.  How much I miss by being short-sighted.  This book will challenge you, but it will also encourage you to take a broader perspective on parenthood.

So what are your bookmarks this month?

Tell us in the comments about the books you're chewing on.  Or link up a review from your own blog.  Let's share the books we're finding, good and bad.  And give us your thoughts on Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas.

And come back Friday June 29th  as we discuss The Table Experience by Devi Titus and other books you're reading.

*Linked to these Parties

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Minnie Mouse Toes

After painting those Mickey Mouse Toes a few weeks ago, I realized how easy it would be to convert them to Minnie Mouse.  And since we would be in Disneyland for three days, I had the perfect excuse to change it up.  What do you think?

Honestly this might be my new paint job.  They just make me smile when I see them.  Who says there has to be a special occasion for Minnie Mouse Toes?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sourdough Starter: Day Eight-Baking Day

* Sorry this one is going to be photo heavy.  But that's ok.  It's BAKING DAY!

I woke up this morning so excited to bake.  I had a busy day, but was easily able to work this bread in and out of my schedule.  Now this is an old fashioned method of baking so it will take time.  But the tasks are easily broken into your day.  Alot of the time necessary for this bread is spent in waiting for the rising.

So how is your starter looking?  This is what I found when I checked on mine this morning.  Do you think my starter is healthy?  Happy?  It looks pretty happy to me.  

The smell is still slightly sour, but only mildly so compared to a few days ago.

Put one to two cups of starter into a glass jar and seal.  Place in the fridge for future use.

Here's what you'll need for your bread:

2-3 c. starter
2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 - 2 c. cold water
4-8 c. flour (I used 5 1/2)

Place remaining starter into bowl (I had 3 c.) and other ingredients.
Add 2 c. of flour at a time.
Mix thoroughly.

Now here's where I screwed up a little.  We've been focusing on using glass bowls, but without thinking I threw mine into a metal kitchenaid mixer.  From what I read, you want to avoid metal in the fermentation process as the starter can begin to taste metallic.

However, the mixing didn't seem to distaste the end product.

Cover with a clean cloth and allow the yeast to work.
My A/C was set on 75 degrees and it sat for about 6 hours.

Yeah!  Look at how that yeast is working.

Knead thoroughly.
My reading said about 5 min,
but I only kneaded about 3 min.

Divide your dough into three parts.

Knead into 3 round balls.

Oops!  There I am again with metal pans.
I'm sure you could use glass or even stone (Pampered Chef).
And I only had 2 pans,
so I divided the third ball into four
and made mini loaves.

Cover and allow to rise again.

This is what I had after 1 1/2 hours.

Bake @ 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

I was very pleasantly surprised with this experiment.  The bread came out wonderfully.  The sour taste was just right for my taste.  Not too sour, but definitely enough to know it was sourdough.  

Now hang onto that starter.  I'm going to be posting more sourdough experiments in the weeks to come.  And in the meantime if you want to do some experimenting of your own, here's how to reactivate the starter.  Remove 1 c. of starter the night before and feed it with 1 c. flour and 1 c. water.  Cover with cheesecloth and place in a warm spot to rise overnight.  If it's bubbling in the morning, your yeast has been activated and you're ready for baking.  Just be sure to save some starter for the future.

Happy Baking!

Mickey Mouse Clippies {Pinterest Inspired}

I am loving Pinterest.  Maybe loving it too much.  It's become an obsession, as I knew it would.  Over 1000 pins, ... yeah, I think I have a problem.  There's so many creative ladies out there.  I am impressed.  My biggest boards are food.  That may speak to another problem that needs to be dealt with soon too.

Anyways... I saw these cute clippies a few weeks ago and knew I had to make some.  With our Disney trip coming up, I had Mickey on my brain.  Plus how cute are these going to be in Lydia's hair?

How do you think they came out?

How have you been Pinspired lately?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Monday Muddle

Hey Everyone,

How was your weekend?  Our week last week was over full!  Definitely OVERFULL!  So as this weekend rolled on, I just couldn't get enough rest.

Last Tuesday, we got a call from Noah's school right as class was about to start.  The good news???  Noah fell off the monkey bars and fractured his wrist.  Yeah!  Not so much.  I feel so bad for the little guy as we're getting ready to roll into summer.  The final verdict?  A splint for one week and a cast for five weeks.  As the mom, I hold my breath every time he gets a little crazy.  I'm already counting down the days till that cast comes off.  Just praying he doesn't break something else while he's healing.  At least, it's five weeks and not eight.

To top it off, last week was filled with T-Ball, volunteering, relationships, etc.  It was a very LOOOONG exhausting week.  But as far as the weekend went, we had our final T-Ball game.  The timing for this wrist issue isn't great for summer, but at least it was near the end of T-Ball season.  So we were at the final two games to support the team and then we had a celebration at the park to end the season.  It was nice for the parents as well to get together one last time, watch the kids playing with their friends, and say thank you to the coach and his wife who put so much work into this past season.

But by the time Sunday rolled around, I was absolutely exhausted.  Noah had a friend that spent Saturday night.  And with getting the kids ready for church, my husband came home and took them for me and left me to get a nice nap.  And when my head hit that pillow, I was gone.  It was a nice surprise after a CRAZY week.

And now we're gearing up for another crazy week.  Casting, kids, family, friends, field trips, volunteering, and just trying to keep my sanity.  So as we roll into this busy week, here's our menu:

Overnight oatmeal
Quinoa Oat porridge
Oatmeal and bananas
Sourdough pancakes

Easy Healthy Lunch List

Monday: Honey Sesame Chicken, rice, mixed veggies
Tuesday: Spaghetti, salad, and hm sourdough
Wednesday: Chipotle Taco Bar, steamed broccoli
Thursday: Turkey and pesto wraps, marinated tomato and cucumber salad
Friday: Homemade veggie pizza
Saturday: Kebabs, raspberry vinegarette salad
Sunday: Baked potato bar, smoothies for dessert

Berry Coconut Popsicles
Rhubarb popsicles

What's going on in your life this week?

Lee's To Do List

Sourdough Starter Series: Day Seven

Day Seven!

This is what I found this morning.

Can you see how close to the top my starter has risen?
I'm almost afraid to keep using the same bowls.

The starter is loaded with bubbles and the yeast is really active.
And there was NO dark liquid to pour off the top today.

Again I added 1 c. flour and approx 1/2 c. water. 
I like this consistency.
I think this will give me the perfect blend of sour and mild tasting bread.

Stir well and back to it's nesting place.
Tomorrow we bake.

How is your sourdough developing?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sourdough Starter Series: Day Six

It's Day Six!
Are you counting down the days yet?
So close.

Today there was hardly any liquid on the top of my starter.
If you'll remember, I cut the liquid yesterday to 1/3 c.
So my dough is thickening.

It was still frothy on the top with lots of bubbles working.

I poured my starter into a clean bowl and added:
1 c. flour
and 1/3 c. water.

I'm hoping from this picture you can see the consistency that's developing.

Remember you can add as much liquid as you'd like (up to 1 c)
to change the "sourness."

Thin=more sour

And that's it!

Cover with cheesecloth and return to your warm spot.

Happy Fermenting!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sourdough Starter Series: Day Five

It's Day Five!  We've over half way to our sourdough.
This is what I found this morning when I removed the cheesecloth.

How's the smell?  Mine is smelling like old gym socks.
Sorry if that's nasty, but it really is the best description.
The liquid on the top is becoming less and less as time goes on.
This morning I probably only poured off about 1 Tbsp.

Here's a few tips on controlling how sour your bread will become:
The more liquidy your starter, the more sour your bread.
The thicker your starter, the more mild your bread.

Mine is still pretty liquidy so I decided to adjust the recipe a little today.

I added 1 c. flour as usual, but only about 1/3-1/2 c. water
This made my batter thicker and will hopefully produce a bread 
that's sour, but not too sour.
Be sure to still use enough liquid to mix in your flour.

How is your starter doing?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How We Told the Kids About Disneyland

After we got back into the van, Noah turned to me and said, "Are we really going to Disneyland?"  They still couldn't believe that we were really going.  Some of the prizes we included were their light up toys, word searches, Mickey ears, and Disney swim goggles.  It was fun!

*Linked to these Parties

While You're Waiting: Find a Hobby

(Image Credit: Jomphong)

*Recently I was thinking about all I would want my daughters to know before they get married.  Instead of wishing the days away until they walk down the aisle, how would I encourage them to live?  Living in the joy of who God created.  The practicalities and the dreaming.  What would I want to encourage... While they're waiting?  These are some of those thoughts.

Sometimes While You're Waiting, it can become so easy to slip into just ... waiting.  You forget to live your life.  You forget that today is a gift and it doesn't care if you have a spouse standing beside you or not.  Life is simply ready to be enjoyed.

So don't just sit around waiting.  Go out and enjoy your life.  Find out what you enjoy.  What makes you tick?  What do you want to do when there's obligations of life pulling at you?

*Take up a sport.

*Pick up an instrument.

*Write a book.

*Get certified in something you love.


*Go hiking.


*Learn a language.

My point is don't just wait for the right one.  Become the right one.  When the Lord brings someone special into your life, that young man will want to know what makes you special.  And you'll be able to show him how you've been living your life, not just wishing the days away.

*Linked to these Parties

Sourdough Starter Series: Day Four

We're on Day Four of our sourdough and I'm still remembering to check on it.

In my past two failed attempts,
Day Three and Day Four were where I started to forget.
But not this time.

I removed the cheesecloth today to see lots of bubbles.
Lots of bubbles.
The sour smell is getting stronger
and the starter is bubbling throughout.
The top is very frothy and it's working!

I must admit that the smell may be starting to get to me.
But I'm going to hang in there.
After all, it will be worth it in the end.

Looking at my starter,
it's risen considerably since yesterday.

By now, you know the routine.
Pour the liquid off the top if you have any.
The liquid on the top of mine was miniscule.
Really there was hardly any.

Mix in 1 c. flour and 1 c. water
Mix throughly.
If you can see from the top picture,
it's about the consistency of cake batter.

Cover with cheesecloth and return to a warm place.
And try to hang in there with the smell.
That just means it's working.

How does your sourdough look?
I'm curious to know if it looks like mine.
How is it working in your area?
Has your experience been different than mine?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

No, I'll Never..

Have you ever had to eat those words?  Your words?

Like all those things we said we'd never do when we had kids.  And now... well let's just say, sometimes the TV is on more than we'd like.

Oh, let's take that one for instance.  For the first year of Noah's life, he didn't watch a minute of TV.  Not one minute in that whole year.  Really he had no need to.  Naps were frequent and he was busy crawling and walking.  And moving every second of the day.  Now... well, now... we have Family Movie Night and Cartoon Saturdays.  So I've eaten those words.

What about the "No Soda" rule?  No Soda!  In a world that values High Fructose Corn Syrup and artificial sweeteners, soda is hard to avoid.  And again we were so careful in the beginning.  Even juice was watered down.  But slowly and suttley, soda crept into our lives.  Not into our pantry, but just a kid's soda out to dinner.  Just a little at the neighborhood BBQ.  Maybe a can during the ball game.  Now.. well, now... we're doing serious detox to revert to our old ways.  So I've eaten those words.

And the worst of all, I'll never let my kids sleep in bed with me.  Never?  Well, maybe not never.  You see this was the rule that took the longest to break.  My two older kids NEVER slept with me.  Maybe once or twice if we were traveling and they had an accident in their sleeping bag.  But I could count on one hand the number of nights they slept in my bed.  Now... well, now... Baby Number Three loves Mommy's bed.  I have a million reasons:

He's addicted to the pacifier.

He's still learning sleep patterns.

He still needs bonding time.

The list could go on and on.  And I've certainly eaten those words.

Such is life.  For the most part, our parenting philosophy hasn't changed.  In fact, it's only grown.  It's grown stronger and smarter and fuller.  Some battles have been dropped and others have called for reinforcements.  And I've eaten a lot of words.  So before you say, "No I'll Never..." Just think of my children piled on my bed on a Saturday morning drinking soda and watching cartoons.  Trust, you'll eat your words too.

*Linked to these Parties

Sourdough Starter Series: Day Three

So this morning, I didn't have as much liquid on the top.
But there was probably about 1 Tbsp.

How is your sourdough smelling?
Wow!  Mine is sour!

Today was especially bad.

So I started by pouring off the liquid.
And I started to add the flour, I realized
my quart jar just wasn't going to work anymore.

Out came the bowl to the rescue.
Pour the starter into a clean jar or bowl.
Add 1 c. flour and 1 c. water.

Stir to a cake batter consistency
and replace the cheesecloth.
Return to a warm place.

Easy, peasy!

It's definitely smelling sour,
a weird sour,
but that just means it's working.

Let us know how your starter is going!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sourdough Starter Series: Day Two

Here's what my starter looks like after 24 hours:

I was actually a little worried thinking it should have been separated more.
Several tutorials I've seen show more separation.
I WAS worried until...

Until I saw this.
There's the froathy sourdough I was looking for.
So it is working!  Yeah!

So here's what you do today:
Start by pouring off the liquid on the top.
I had very little, but you could have a couple of Tbsp.

Pour your starter into a clean jar.
And mix in 1 c. flour and 1 c. water.

Mix well to a smooth consistency.

Replace your cheesecloth and rubberband,
and return jar to a warm spot.

And that's pretty much it.
We'll be repeating the same process for several days.

You may or may not see a huge difference over the next several days,
but I'm sure it's working.

For tomorrow you'll need:
A Clean Glass Jar
(Mine's getting full, so I may need a bowl soon)
Flour and Water

Did you notice a change in your Sourdough Starter today?

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