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Friday, February 25, 2011

Only TEN Months Til Christmas!

Yep, I’m gonna come back here on the 25th of every month this year and poke you in the ribs so you don’t forget how long we have until Christmas. Heehee.

Admittedly, I didn’t work on much this month, and finished this project only yesterday. I did the cross-stitching many, many years ago, stitched the names last year, and finally have finished these into stocking ornaments.

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All I did to finish them was sew on a backing fabric around the outline of the stocking, leaving the top open, then turned them right side out. The do need to be ironed, but I don’t want to drag out the iron while Brad’s here.

I must confess that we didn’t even have Max and Tucker when I stitched these stockings. I was going to make several and use them to hold our flatware on a Christmas tablescape. I should know better – I really don’t like to stitch the same pattern more than once. I’m glad to have one less unfinished project in my cross-stitch box, and the kittie boys will be glad to have a little treat tucked inside them on Christmas morning!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scrap Art

There is a small box of paper scraps in the den that I’ve been meaning to throw away for some time now. It gets moved around and I found it this morning tucked behind the treadmill. I’m glad now that I didn’t get around to tossing it. Bradley will make good use of those teensy and odd-shaped pieces.

Yesterday he stuck little pieces to contact paper, collage-style:

I cut a piece of clear contact paper and just set it on the table. It works better if you can tape it down, and blue painter’s tape is on my shopping list. Then I took the scrap pieces and just tore a pile of smaller pieces for him to choose from. Eventually he’ll tear the pieces himself. This time the activity was more about picking them up and sticking them down. I kept using the word “sticky” in reference to the contact paper – always working on that vocabulary.

When he decided his masterpiece was finished, we stuck it on the whiteboard for display. He likes to rub his hands over it.

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We’re going to have so much fun making art together!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Using Up the Yogurt

Well, Jessica may have spit her taste of the homemade yogurt into the sink, but her son loves it!

This Grammy had her thinking cap on yesterday when she cut up and froze a nicely ripened banana.

This afternoon for snack, that banana, some frozen blueberries, about a cup of the yogurt, a drip of really yummy Kansas honey, and a little splash of milk combined to make Bradley a most delicious smoothie. He took the first taste and I heard, “Mmmmm…”. I asked if he liked it and I got, “MmmmHmmm…”


I tried to get a photo of his purple mustache, but the glass didn’t leave his face long enough.

I just love this boy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Made Homemade Yogurt!

After reading about the success a couple of my online friends have had making yogurt at home, I decided to give it a try. It’s such a simple process that at first seems like a lot of fuss and bother, the kind of project I don’t necessarily want to take on, especially on a day when I have Brad-man running around the place. Thank goodness for Super Why! and Dinosaur Train on PBS. They gave me the time necessary to complete my task without “help”. Yes, I am a former Early Childhood professional and I use TV to distract the boy when there is something I need to get done. I make up for it after I turn off the TV. Promise.

So, about the yogurt. We don’t eat much of it around here, yet I always seem to have some in the frig waiting to be thrown away because it’s expired and funky. I know it’s so nutritious and something I should eat every day so I buy it with good intentions, but I don’t like the sickly sweet flavored kind and the plain has a tad too much “tang”. Reports were that the homemade was more tastebud-friendly, which intrigued me. If that’s true, then I’d probably start eating more of it – and would be more apt to incorporate it in what I feed Brad when he’s here, too.

So I did a little internet research and then yesterday combined a couple of methods to whip up a small batch. The information I used came from here and here. Not necessarily just the blog posts, but the comments were quite helpful also. Before we came home yesterday morning, Brad and I ran to the store (well, I drove and he rode, buckled into his car seat) and grabbed some fresh whole milk and plain yogurt with live cultures. Being the small-town grocery it is, there were no 6 oz. containers of plain yogurt so I had to purchase a quart. That’s okay, because I read that it can be frozen and used for future yogurt making. I did use whole milk since that’s what Brad needs right now. If he eats this well, I’ll keep making his with whole milk, but will make mine with skim.

The process was simple – heat the milk to 185 degrees F, let cool to 120 degrees F, then thoroughly mix in a bit of the yogurt. I put the mix into a couple of clean and warmed spaghetti sauce jars with lids, and a half-pint canning jar. Those went into the crockpot where I had a good inch+ of water that had been heated to 120 degrees F before I unplugged it. Set the lid on top and wrapped the entire thing with a bath towel. Four hours later, lookie what I got!

homemade yogurt

I put it in the frig until late in the afternoon because it apparently sets up a bit more as it cools. When Jess got here to pick up Bradley, we all took a little taste. I thought it still had quite a bit of tang, but the texture is softer than store-bought which contains gelatin. Bradley liked it well enough to eat a couple of spoonfuls before deciding that was enough. Jess spit hers out. She’s polite that way. Didn’t her mother teach her any manners?

So what will I do with it? One jar will be drained to make cheese which can be used like cream cheese for recipes. The other I think I will both flavor with fruits and make smoothies, and perhaps make some dip for crackers. Bradley loves Ranch, and if I can make that from scratch, so much the better. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to try this if it interests you. It’d be a great food experience for older kids.

After I told Greg how I did it, he started doing some research and found an easy recipe to make our own Ricotta cheese. Lasagna, anyone?