Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Utlimate Homemade Yogurt

You know I make Kombucha and Kefir, why would I not make Yogurt as well?  Just covering all the pro-biotic bases, especially now, during cold and flu season.  The great thing about this lovely morning treat is you can use any kind of yogurt you like/have and recycle some Thanksgiving leftovers

If you don't have any Cranberry Sauce cluttering your fridge here's an easy recipe:

Just throw into a medium sauce pot:
2 bags cranberries, washed
1/2 c cranberry, apple or pomegranate juice
1/2 c xylitol or coconut sugar 
juice of 1 or 2 oranges :: I used tangerines
Hunk of ginger if you've got it

Boil for about 15 minutes. That's it, it's ready.  

I cooled it down and layered it with homemade yogurt in jars the night before I served it.  Just because I was feeling all kinds of creative the night I took this pic.  But...on a regular morning I would pull out my mason jar of yogurt and a bowl of cranberry sauce and let my early morning milking crew layer it themselves. 

Yogurt doesn't get much better than this!

linked to
Designs by Gollum,
Rachel, Jen,


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Travel Advisory

Currently we are driving
back to the 'burbs from a delightful family Thanksgiving in the mountains of North Carolina.

The delightfulness just came to an abrupt halt as we pulled over for gas (with gas warning light blazing) just as Number 4 wet his pants which grossed out Number 3 who then threw up on his pillow which we then had to throw away and we then tried unsuccessfully to find clean pants for Number 4 in the giant mound of suitcases in the back of the minivan. And to think, only 5 more hours to go.

Another day, another story,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Miscellaneous Musings

Words Coined This Week
The constant thumping and bumping sounds heard through the ceiling of male children going about routine tasks.

The futile attempts by moms to control their children's behaviour via yelling at the ceiling.

He Said, He Said
Wailing, crying, blood, 2 loose baby teeth later...

Number 3, "I didn't even have my fists out like him!"

Number 4, "He told me to lay on the floor and he jumped on my back."

Suburban Haiku
Peace talks underway 
Between lit and unlit houses.
Christmas Truce Treaty?

Nana's Cranberry Apple Casserole
1 - 1.5 pounds fresh cranberries
2 - 3 large apples, diced
1 1/2 cups sugar
Dash of salt
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cups oatmeal
2/3 cups flour
Rinse cranberries. Line bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish with cranberries and apples. Sprinkle sugar and salt over fruit. Mix other ingredients together and crumble over fruit. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Pecan Pie - The Next Level
Spread a layer of Nutella in pie crust before pouring in pecan pie filling. DIVINE.

Me, "I wish we were going somewhere tropical this week."
Number 4, "Me too, like Target."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Teenage Book Club

I'm feeling the drift.  Bound to happen with a teenager,  but it's very uncomfortable to be thrown into the deep end of the parenting pool and hardly remember how to dog paddle.  Forget the backstroke, I'm just trying to tread water.

Knowing I needed to step up my parenting game to maintain a heart connection and common interests with Stringbain, I took a nudge from Kat and asked him if we could read a book together and have our own mom-boy book club. I got a yes-shrug and started plowing through the book he'd just finished. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the three weeks it took to read it, because he initiated conversations about what characters I liked or what chapter I'd finished the night before.  I wondered what I could do to make our book club a memorable event, which is harder than you might think with a 14 year old boy.  Then I noticed an ad for an Egyptian exhibit at a museum only 2 hours away.  Cha-ching.  We would make a day of it.

Our book club discussion turned into a whole uninterrupted day together.  All that driving time turned out to be hours we desperately needed to just relax into who we are becoming together.  It gave me a chance to share some of my teenage-hood with him; stories I'd never tell if all his younger brothers were around. 

We took turns playing favorite songs off our iPods and then discussing what we liked/didn't like about them.   I learned his music library is way wider than I thought.  Everything from Taio Cruz to Elton John to Muse.    

The Egyptian exhibit perfectly dovetailed into the novel we'd just read.  All of the sudden our heart connection clicked ON and we drifted back onto solid ground.  

Unexpectedly out of the deep end of the pool of parenting worry and wondering if I'm doing it right, I found my Mama skills are capable of much more than just treading water...

linked to Kristen and 
Linking here, though it took more than 5 minutes 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An {unorganized} fall

In late August we decided to do the (almost) unthinkable: opt out of any demanding fall sport activity in favor of together time.  Instead of spending our late summer afternoons rushing around looking for cleats, bags or shin guards we played, had time to spare and just enjoyed life. 

Top ten {unorganized} fall activities

Yard Ball - fun even if you're just a cheerleader

The County Fair -  seemingly organized, but I can assure you with 4 boys and 3 guests it's impossible to maintain any organization

This Park for an entire afternoon, getting beaten on the ropes course by 3/4 of the baintrain.  Much more fun than the description, I promise

Time to practice budding rockstar-ness

 An unplanned art class

 Family game night, not to be confused with date night

 Travelling the road of a 31 day blog series

Navigating connecting flights, TSA and rental cars with 4 boys

 Corn maze-ing it up

Enjoying a Family Halloween with the Beatles

Driving lessons with the 8 and 5 year old

I can't bear to calculate the full-of-unorganized-fun we would have missed out on just by filling out a form, and letting someone else dictate of our afternoon/evening plans.  We haven't gotten everything on my wish list done, but cetainly have had fun NOT painiting the kitchen!

After the incredibly full fall we've had, you can be sure I'll be weighing any future sporting commitments very carefully....

linked to Kristen and Amanda
Top Ten {Tuesday}

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to eat a book {overnight porridge}

Keeping our Advent ritual up, we've recently been enthralled reading George MacDonald's Wee Sir GibbieNot going to summarize the book, but it's a precious story that will draw compassion and concern out of your kids' hearts - guaranteed.   It will also make them curious about the mainstay of the late 19th century Scottish diet: porridge and oatcakes. 

Since porridge is nothing more than oats soaked for 8 hours and then cooked I knew I'd just be renaming our regular oatmeal, but I wanted to make it simple, easy and quick. The only thing challenging about this recipe is remembering to get it ready the morning before you want to serve it.  24 hour advance breakfast prep -  I've only succeeded once at that.

::Overnight Porridge::
      8 servings

2 cups oats - steel cut or rolled
6 Cups water, divided
dash of salt
1/4 c yogurt, buttermilk or Kefir
2 cups milk
1/4 c butter or coconut oil
1 chopped apple
1 cup raisins
1 T Cinnamon
Honey and nuts and cream to garnish

When you're cleaning up after breakfast, put your oats in a bowl with 4 cups of water, salt and buttermilk.  Cover with a cloth and let them soak on the counter til bedtime. 

Right before you get in bed, preparing to read more about food, drain the excess water from the oats that have been soaking all day.  Add them to a crock pot with 2 cups water, 2 cups milk, butter, chopped apple, cinnamon and raisins.  Set crock pot to low, climb into bed (we call ours The Money Pit) and drift off to sleep, knowing breakfast is done. 

We garnished with a handful of cashews drizzled with honey and added cold cream so it could be eaten immediately. 

Between satisfied bites, we spent our breakfast talking about eating porridge three times a day, like they do in Gibbie; all agreeing while it makes a tasty meal, we'd prefer it only once a day. 
linked to
Designs by Gollum,
Rachel, Jen,





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