Wednesday, February 24, 2010


First of all, I don't know how I missed jumping on the bandwagon sooner with this one.  As I was doing more research an the making of yogurt, it seems as though there are many people out who have already discovered how easy and less expensive this is.

I put my 8 cups of 1% milk into my crock pot at 2:30pm and set the crock to low (the 10 hour setting on my crock pot). 

At 5pm, I walked past the counter and simply unplugged it. 

At 8pm, I poured 2 cups of the milk into a bowl, added a half a cup of plain yogurt, whisked it, poured it back into the crock, whisked again, put the lid back on and wrapped the crock in a couple of bath towels. 

The yogurt somehow made its way into my dreams.  I dreamed I awoke to find fairly curdled milk that was no good and had to throw it all out.  Luckily, that wasn't the case in real life! 

When Biju's alarm went off at 5:30am, I went to the kitchen to check out my work (yeah, a lot of work it was!).  I took the lid off and presto change-o, we had yogurt!  

I put the crock into the fridge and went back to bed.

For breakfast, I took some canned peaches w/ a bit of the juice (I didn't have any other fresh or frozen fruits that would go well with the yogurt, so went with the canned goods), put that into the blender, gave it a whirl, then  added that to a couple of scoops of the yogurt.  I stirred it gently (there were living organisms in there, after all), and sucked it down with a straw!  I thought Ajay would be all over this, as he loves his yogurt snacks. Unfortunately, Ajay wasn't as thrilled as I was. I'll try to find another way to serve it that he'll enjoy.  I can't wait to try it on some Indian dishes!  (Hmm, there is some chicken curry leftover in the fridge..I think I've got lunch figured out!)

In the future, I may try using whole milk, maybe even whole organic milk (but that would be way expensive - but so much healthier).  In doing my research, I discovered that anything less than whole milk is actually not healthy for you at all, like we've all been led to believe, and that really, the whole milk w/ the animal fats in it, isn't bad!  Amazing what you'll find when you do some research.
I think my next yogurt project will be to make some yogurt for Alex!  I will use his rice milk and I'll try to get my hands on some store-bought plain rice yogurt.  I don't know where to find it and I'm afraid of how much it will cost me, but I'm hoping that in the end, when we're sitting with a crock pot full of yogurt that Alex CAN eat, it will all be worth it!

So on to the pictures!

Here is what the yogurt looked like this morning, straight out of the crock pot.  I was thrilled that it had set up like it was supposed to.  There was also an odd sense of pride, too!   You can see a little bit of the whey (yellow liquid) in the crock pot.  

I dumped almost all of the yogurt into an old applesauce jar that had been washed.  The rest that didn't fit got used for my breakfast and put into a strainer...

I lined this old strainer with a coffee filter and let all the whey drip out.  I only did this for a few hours, but the result was a thicker yogurt.  I could let it sit until, say, tomorrow, and I'd really have some thick stuff!!  It can even get so thick to be cream cheese consistency.  Then I could actually use it in place of cream cheese - so much healthier!

The whey I can keep in the fridge for awhile and use for different things (I'll have to look up some recipes!).  I plan on using some of the yogurt in place of milk in my pancakes.  I've read that it can be used in place of sour cream, too (when the whey is dripped out and it reaches a sour cream consistency.)  OH - and I had lunch already.  I used the thicker stuff on my chicken curry, and guess what?  It tasted just like plain yogurt! Go figure.  It was so creamy and yummy! 
While I'm here, I"ll share a few other pics.  These first two were of a sore of some sort on Alex's upper lip.

It wouldn't go away - until I got my Organic Shea Butter from Norwex!  I scraped up a tiny bit, blended a drop of lavender essential oil with it, and smeared it on his lip.  I applied this 2-3x a day.  In just a couple days, it was cleared up.  I need to figure out what it actually is, though, because once I stopped applying the mixture, it started to come back.

I'm guessing it probably has something to do with his diet.  Same with the sore on his leg - it looks like it started out as eczema and he itched it so much, it started weeping.  I've been applying the same mixture and while it has started to look better, it is still there, and still bothers him.  I'm hoping the yogurt will help flood his system with good bugs and make him healthier all around!

Here is a pic of the boys while they were both recovering from their bout of what we think was bronchitis.

This yogurt recipe was so simple I hope you try your hand at making some up!  If you do, please let me know how it turned out!! (There are recipe links in the Changing the way we do things post)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Changing the way we do things

This post has been a long time coming.  I likely won't get everything out that I would like to, but that will just give me more posts in the future, right?

I'm a little frustrated by the commercialism of, well, so many things.  I watch t.v. and see ads for lotions, air fresheners, deodorants, feminine products, laundry products, baby products - and I want to scream.  Sometimes I do - ask my husband!  I just don't get how soo many of the items readily available to consumers ever got onto the shelves to begin with.  The more I learn about what is in the products we buy, the angrier I get at the companies that make them and the government agencies that give them the OK pass those chemicals on to us.

If you've read my blog for long, you know that I make a lot of my own things.  I do this for a few reasons.  Usually, homemade is cheaper and I have most everything on hand already (gee, I want playdough, but don't want to run out to buy some. Oh! I have flour and salt, I'll make my own!).  Also, homemade is typically healthier.  If Alex puts a glob of playdough into his mouth, I know exactly what the ingredients are, so no biggie!  Granted, he shouldn't eat the playdough, but I'm not going to freak out and call poison control.

Many of you are also aware that I am a Norwex consultant.  I discovered these fabulous products and figured I could be a part of educating others about this great line.  I could go into a full spiel right here and now about the benefits, but I'll try to contain myself.  Basically, you can clean your living space with just water and their products.  The solutions they do offer are infinitely better for the environment and your personal well being.

Today, I spent the bulk of my afternoon researching making my own yogurt (here is one recipe, which uses your crock pot and tells how to add in flavor, and here is another site - this one goes into a bit about why yogurt is so healthy and gives a couple recipes).  Biju is bringing home the ingredients as I type, so I will be giving this yogurt-making thing a whirl tonight or tomorrow.  I'll let you know how it goes!

When it comes down to it, I think there are many things we all can do - some big, some small - that will make an impact in our lives.

Here are some things we do (along w/ links for those who want more info):
Cloth Diapers w/ cloth wipes and homemade solution (these diapers are a great system)
Norwex cleaning and personal care products
Essential Oils to treat headaches, hiccups, skin issues, etc.
Make my own Lip Balm and Deodorant
I've used the Diva Cup for 4 years now (no need for men to click on that link)
Planted our own garden last year, and will do the same this year (I can't wait!)

There is so much more that we can do, and I intend to make a few more changes in 2010.  In fact, I just located a recycling center that is less than 2 miles from our house.  I'm looking forward to making a couple trips there a month and seeing less go into the trash bin! 

I have one more link to give you all.  This is just a 3 minute video that makes you sorta sit up and think about what you bring into your house (or yard).

What kind of changes have you made?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Here we go again

Will the boys be healthier once Spring arrives? 

It seems as though both boys have Bronchitis, now.  Ajay started with a little cough on Monday and that steadily got worse.  By the middle of the night Wednesday night/Thursday morning, he had a fever.  It has stayed pretty low, for the most part, so we haven't had to give him too much medicine.  Yesterday I noticed Alex starting in on the deep chested cough.  I had a little cough and a few sneezes, but I don't seem to have gotten any worse. 
This morning, after I called the school to let them know Ajay would be missing a second day of school, I called up the pediatrician.  Our regular doc was full for the day so they got us in to see one of his colleagues.  This doc listened to Ajay's chest for awhile and said he heard a slight rattle in the lungs.  We went for an x-ray down the hall and the picture of the lungs seemed clear, for the most part, I guess.  The doc said that since Little Brother seemed to be following in Big Brother's footsteps, it was likely Bronchitis (Pneumonia isn't so contagious, it seems).  Not much we can do for this, except to keep them well hydrated and rested. 

They both feel a little warm to the touch right now, but their fevers are hovering around the 100 degree mark (under the armpit).  I won't give Tylenol or Motrin until their fevers get higher, or they start acting like they're miserable.  I want the fever to do the job it was intended to do - fight off the nasties!   

Friday, February 12, 2010

4-day weekend

Here we on Friday looking ahead at a 4-day weekend for Ajay.  No school today or Monday.  Time to find some fun activities to keep everyone occupied!

Biju and I have had a discussion about cutting television viewing down to a minimum.  Yesterday, the boys watched about 10 minutes of Barney after lunch and that was it for the day.  Today they've watched a half hour of Curious George and 20 minutes of Barney.  That's quite a cut-back.  I do love PBS, as what they see is educational, but it's still nice to let them use their own imagination to play with their homemade play dough, their chalkboards, read their books, etc.  We're hoping all of this change will result in better behavior all around. 

We went for a walk this morning.  It was nice to get out into the fresh air.  We were, of course, bundled up, but the wind wasn't blowing strongly and the sun was shining on  us.  (Alex wasn't thrilled with the sun: "Sun hurt my eyes, Ma!") After we got back I let the boys play in the back yard for a bit while I prepared lunch.  I had to bring them in earlier than expected, though, as they'd found a nice mud hole to wallow in.  Both coats are in desperate need of a good washing! 

We will be watching some more television tonight - have to see the opening ceremony of the Olympics!  We love it when the Olympics are on.

Both boys are asleep.  I guess I should take advantage of this time and go do some housework.  Blah.

PS - for those of you who read these updates in e-mails or on your Google reader, there is a new Poll up at the top right of my blog page.  Please be sure to mark your vote(s)!  And as always, feel free to leave a comment!  

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday

Well here we are. Super Bowl Sunday. Now typically, our family has not been much for football. More recently, however, Biju has discovered he kinda likes the sport! We were invited to a Super Bowl Party so this evening we'll be watching the Big Game with friends. It's win-win all the way around, really. Biju will get to watch some football and learn even more about the game, the boys will get to play with other kiddos, and I'll get to talk w/ some of the other guests who might only be in it for the commercials.
I was trying to find something fun to take over and stumbled across a fun looking recipe. It was on the KLove website, and it is called Buffalo Chicken Dip. I just finished making it and I, of course, had to give it a taste test. (Wouldn't want to take it if it was horrible!) And despite not being a fan of buffalo chicken wings, I was actually quite impressed! The only drawback is we don't leave for another hour (as of my writing). I shoved the dutch oven into the fridge, and I guess I'll pull it back out in 45 minutes, transfer it to my pretty crock, slide it into the oven to warm back up, then head out the door.
And now to back up a little, I'll tell you about our morning.
As we were getting the boys buckled up for church, Biju's hand slipped on Ajay's tether. His hand flew up into Ajay's face and he poked him in the eye - pretty hard. There were quite a few tears, but he calmed down quickly enough, and luckily there is no mark!
At church, there is this big holy water ... uh.... gee, I don't know what to call it! It isn't a fountain, but it almost seems as if it would be. There is a big round basin, of sorts, on the ground, then a higher pedestal, all containing holy water. The kids like to stand on the lower black marble bricks to get to the "pool" of water to dip their hands in. The only drawback to this is there are extra little "pools" evenly spaced around the floor bricks. Have I confused you yet?? I wish I had a picture. Anyhoo. Alex stepped up onto a brick to dip his hand into the holy water and took a sidestep - right down into a mini-pool of water. His whole right foot was soaked! We ended up taking off his socks and shoes.
Looks like it has taken me almost an hour to type up this post. Time to stick the dip into the oven , get the boys ready and then head out!