Friday, September 28, 2012

Christmas 2011 pages

I'm playing a little bit of catch-up on my scrapbook pages, since I never got around to scrapbooking photos from around Christmas, due to have a newborn at the time. Here are the photos from our Christmas Eve dinner of Scottish food.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What we've been up to lately

It's been awhile since I just did a normal blog post. I haven't really had much time or space to do any crafting lately. My craft room is a disaster as it has kind of become a general dumping ground for things that don't have a designated spot. I'm working on cleaning it off so that I can get back to my creative ways. We do stay busy around here, though, so I thought I would share some pictures of what we've been up to lately. Savannah has started standing up all on her own. The bottom left picture shows her first attempt outside. She thankfully didn't stand up, because I'm sure she would have fallen right onto her face.
We spent a week in Phoenix with my family last week, and while we were there I got my hair cut (it's finally the cut that I've been dreaming of, since the last guy kind of did a hack job on the stacking in the back), I went wedding dress shopping with my sister for her upcoming wedding (she was able to get the perfect dress for an amazing price! Score!), I took the girls to the Children's Museum of Phoenix with my Mom & sister, Janelle. Sharon had such a great time at the museum! I would definitely recommend it to those of you with smaller children. There were things to explore everywhere! She loved the 3 and under area, where they have a little house, with a little kitchen & a monster mom! Savannah enjoyed all the baby areas, and I loved how she looked holding on to the little ballet bar. My favorite thing at the museum was the interactive cactus next to the noodle forest. The cactus has a crank on one side, a belt that goes vertically up the trunk and has little squares of velcro attached to it, little critters that also have velcro that you stick to the belt, and a fan at the top that whacks the little critters all the way across the room when you wind the crank & move the belt. So fun!
While there we went swimming a few times, I found some great clearance clothes, including my favorite shirt from Target for only $3 (I bought one in every color), went out to eat with my sister and her fiance, and just hung out with the family.
I also entered a few things into the Mohave County fair. I won a first place ribbon for this picture of Sharon with the fish she sort of helped catch.
And got a second place ribbon for this photo of Savannah.
I also won a first place ribbon for my prickly pear jelly, second place for grape jelly & an honorable mention for my bottled chicken.
Sharon loved seeing all the animals at the fair, and even Savannah got pretty excited to see some of the little critters! She would start kicking her legs and waving her arms and making all sorts of squealing noises. They liked seeing all the lights once it got dark, but definitely didn't like all the noise from the rides and the people.
One of the most hilarious things I've seen was the chicken wearing the sweater! It was on display with all the other animals at the fair! On the tag it said, "Chicken sweaters for sale (xxx)xxx-xxxx." So hilarious! I'm glad Ammon thought to take a picture of it!
I've been making lots of yogurt, trying to catch up on laundry, chasing two munchkins around, enjoying our homegrown veggies, playing out on the back lawn in the evenings, getting rid of clutter around the house, and just enjoying life.

Updated Yogurt Recipe

Someone recently asked for the recipe I use to make my Greek yogurt, so I thought I would type it up to share with everyone. I orginally followed a tutorial found {here}, but I've changed a few things since first making it.
 I like to use a thermometer to get the yogurt to the right temperatures and like to strain the yogurt after letting it sit overnight to make it thicker like Greek yogurt. It turns out nice and thick and tangy. So, here is my recipe.

Homemade Greek Yogurt
1/2 gallon of milk (I've used whole or 2%)
6-8 oz container of plain yogurt (I like to use the Dannon Greek Yogurt)

Set out your starter yogurt so that it can get to room temperature.
Heat the milk in a large pot until it doesn't quite boil and starts to get a little frothy (if you have a thermometer, heat it to 185 degrees).
Remove from heat & let cool until you can hold your finger in it for 10 seconds without screaming (about 110 degrees, definitely not above 120 degrees, but not cooler than 110).
Stir, or whisk, the starter yogurt into the milk. Pour into a bowl or pot that has a lid, or canning jars. Put on the lid(s) and wrap in towels (or you can use a wonderbox, which is what I do. I've also seen recipes that use a crock pot, or just a sunny window. You just want to keep the yogurt warm, around 100 degrees).
Let sit overnight. You want to leave it at least 7 hours, but the longer you leave it, the thicker it will get. After it sits overnight, I like to strain it a little bit to make it thicker like the greek yogurt. Line a colander with cheese cloth & pour in the thickened yogurt. You can place a bowl underneath and put it all in the fridge. I just left mine in the sink. Let strain for up to two hours for very thick yogurt. I've also started hanging the yogurt filled cheese cloth, by just grabbing each corner & using a clothes pin to pin it the side of my dish drainer at the edge of my sink.
I love to eat it with honey drizzled over the top. If I'm sharing with my baby, I omit the honey & use sugar & vanilla instead, since babies shouldn't have honey. I love to add fresh fruit, or a swirl of jam, and some granola. I usually do this by the bowl, not to the whole batch at once. Be creative. The unsweetened yogurt can also be used like sour cream. I've used it in burritos, potato salad & to top enchiladas.
Be sure to give it a stir each time you take it out of the fridge, just in case more liquid has separated. Also, be sure to save about a cup of it to use as a starter for your next batch. Enjoy!

For my last few batches, I've used an entire gallon of milk & just the same size container of plain yogurt as starter & it has done just fine. It makes 2 quarts of yogurt, which makes it so that I don't have to make yogurt quite as often. We really like it, so it still tends to go pretty quickly! I also no longer put a paper towel on the yogurt when I put it in the fridge. Straining it in the cheesecloth gets enough of the extra whey out that the paper towel just isn't necessary. I have noticed that after straining, the yogurt gets a little thicker after sitting in the fridge.