Sunday, March 28, 2010

52 Projects Week 10: Yogurt!


I have been intensely reflective, of late, and one thing I have been reflecting upon, is how very good participating in 52 projects has been for me. How very right on it is, for right now.

For me, 2010 has been very much about moving through obstacles, most of my own creation. Most of what I'm pondering is still so much inside, not really solid enough to articulate. But this weekly commitment, here, has really supported this growth.

But on to the week 10 project, yogurt!

My mom has been makng yogurt FOR YEARS. Why I considered it to be at all intimidating, I'm not sure. But after reading this here, on the benefits of eating yogurt (thanks mom!), I decided it was time to try. It was so easy!

I used this product for yogurt starter, and pretty much followed the instructions inside. I did use about half as much started as was recommended, per mom, and it worked out just fine.

1/2 gallon of whole milk, heated to boiling. I also added 1/2 cup of powdered milk, which I'd read online results in thicker yogurt, which I prefer.

Once the milk is heated to boiling, you have to cool it to 108-112F degrees. 110 seemed about right to me. The cooling took longer than I expected, about an hour.

Once the milk was cool, I whisked the starter into a small amount of lukewarm milk, then mixed that with the rest of the milk.

Poured it into mason jars...we were short 1/2 cup from milk used for cereal that morning, which you can see in the jars. Then, and here's the trick...I popped in into the oven, which you can do, if you have a gas oven with a pilot. No yogurt maker required. You don't even need to turn it on, just don't forget it's in there and preheat for something else! My mom has been doing it this way for years. It does take longer than the 4 hours the packag indicates. Mine took about 10 hours. I did it in the morning and it was ready before bed.

Here it is...and one quart is already gone!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

52 Projects Week 9: Lined the Cabinets


As I was typing the title of this post, it hit me, that at week 9 (having joined at week 3), I've been at this for nearly two months can this be?

I have kicked into serious organization mode in the last 2 weeks. Maybe it's the springy weather (oh, hooray!). Maybe it's some other change in me (lots of those going on these days), but it's really time to get this house in order!

So this week, I lined the shelves in the kitchen. We've had the shelf lining since our last move, and I pulled it out to use about 3 weeks ago. And there it sat, on top of my refridgerator.

This project was particularly important to me because we have painted cabinets, some paint is chipping off, and I'm not sure what's in the paint. The current coat is fairly recent and likely fine, but what's underneath is likely to contain lead. And it may be getting in our food, primarily on the bottom of pans and plates and rims of drinkware, so eliminating that friction was a priority.

I discovered, for those who sew, that a rotary cutter and cutting board are a great, fast way to cut the webby shelf liner stuff (technical term:-)

And there you have it, my lined shelf. I had enough for about 90% of my cabinets, and plan to pick up some more for the last few tomorrow.

On a separate note, I'm really behind on peeking at what everyone else has been working on, responding to comments, etc....but hope to catch up over the next few days.

Happy Sunday, the sun is still shining here, but threatening to leave soon, so we're off to enjoy some!

Monday, March 15, 2010

52 Projects: Weeks 7 & 8, Rice Bag and Growing Up


I am a week+ late with week 7, and a day late with week 8, but here I am, just the same.

Last week, week 7 we worked on a very late gift (I won't confess just how late:-(, are you sensing the late theme in my life? ), and it was so simple, it's definietly going on our list of holiday handmade gifts. We received two of these 2 christmases ago (love you Cheryl!), hence the inspiration:

We made a Rice Neck Warmer. The kind you pop in the microwave for 3 minutes to sooth sore muscles, and by the way, they're great as winter foot warmers as well. This was so simple and fast. I took a scrap of flannel, 5" x 23" and folded it in half, wrong side out. Stiched up the long side and one short side. Then I serged the seam, but you could zig zag instead, to reinforce the stiching. At that point it looked like this:

Here's a close up of the serged edges. I want my own serger, this one has graciously been loaned to me.

And the we turned it inside out and filled it with about 2.5 pounds of rice. You want it to be full, but loose enough to bend around your neck or lower back. Then we turned the raw edges under, ironed them flat, and stiched it closed. That's it!

My week 8 project was much less tangible. I have been pondering this for awhile now (yes, I do a lot of pondering), and conversation with a dear, dear friend (if you're reading this, which I doubt you have time for these days, I love you honey!), solidified it for me.

This friend of mine and I were talking about some changes in her life (don't you just LOVE LOVE LOVE our friends for the mirrors they are for us?) and said something like (paraphrasing here, ) "I just don't want to work so hard to have people like/want to spend time with me."

My response was something like: "here's the person I want to be, am not yet, but am closer to than ever before in my life. I want to be the person who says, I'm pretty a fucking darn awesome person, and if you're a pretty fucking darn awesome person to, than we'll both recongnize that and want to hang around together, and if not, why bother."

Fairly simple (and excuse the profanity, but yes, I do sometimes talk that way), but such a revelation to me as it poured out of my mouth. Aha!

Fairly simple, not necessarily earth shattering, but wow, when I said it out loud, I just knew it was time. Time to start walking that talk. I have been anyway, but doing it intentionally is something more solid and profound. I have the good fortune of beginning some new friendships, and I'm too tired, my life is too full, for me to try hard anymore.

Time to JUST BE ME.

And to have that be okay.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Little Me

How do you feel when you look at photos of yourself when you were small?
That's me, on the right. I was 1975 and I was about 3. On the left is my dear and oldest friend Felina, who I am blessed to still know. We're standing on the walkway to my front door, and I can see my dad's Ford in the background.
Gosh, I was cute. Somehow, when I look at this photo, I want to weep. I can see the pureness of me, right there. And I want to remember that. Oh, how I want to remember that, during the harder moments, when it's so easy to fall into being hard on me. When I'm struggling with how to best love my daughter, who's not much bigger than me in this photo. I want to remember that we all, me, she, you.....we all deserve as much love as we can give ourselves, and each other.