Whoa, it's been while since I've posted! We rented a condo in Florida for a couple of weeks, which was lovely, and then we returned to usual post-vacation chaos, so I've hardly had a minute to write. I have a few Disney posts in the works. . .maybe. :) I feel like I'm constantly short on time these days, with two active girls, work, and just life. We spend every free minute playing, doing projects, riding bikes, in the park, or cooking healthy meals. Things have been really good.
Speaking of which, I made yogurt this weekend in my Crock Pot, which came out amazing, and it was SO easy. The yogurt in this country is loaded with sugar and weird chemicals, and I just decided I couldn't let the kids eat it any more. There literally is not one brand I felt comfortable with them eating, but they love yogurt so much that I couldn't bear to deprive them of it. Someone mentioned making their own recently, which made me scour the internet for recipes, and I came across the Crock Pot method. I can't believe I didn't discover it earlier! Here's the recipe:
8 cups milk (about a half gallon)
2 T yogurt which active cultures
Put milk in Crock Pot; heat on high for about 2-3 hours, until temperature reaches 180 degrees F. Turn off Crock Pot and unplug it. Cool for about 30 minutes, stirring a few times, until temperature cools down to 110-120 degrees F. Add two tablespoons of the yogurt with the active cultures (I found one unsweetened, chemical free brand here--it's super sour and tastes a bit like cottage cheese, but worked perfectly for making a large batch of my own yogurt). Place cover back on Crock Pot, unplug it, wrap it in a big towel, and let it sit or 6-8 hours. At this point, my yogurt was set and I would say was average consistency. Refrigerate after 6-8 hours, and voila, giant pot of yogurt.
Even though the yogurt I used to add the cultures was really tangy and sour, it made smooth and creamy, tasty yogurt--it wasn't sour at all. I was a little worried about that, because my kids won't eat it tangy. We add fruit, vanilla, granola, honey, etc.--everyone gets their favorite flavor now! I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.
We are still working out where work will take us next. I am seriously torn. It would be so good to leave the kids in a Spanish-speaking school for a few more years. Miss M's Spanish is seriously awesome at this point, just 4 months into starting school in Spanish. Her accent is perfect. She sounds like a native speaker. She is just a little sponge. But, my husband really would like to return to Europe. He loves the history and the easy regional travel. It's so expensive to live there, though. . .and as much as I was conflicted about having household help, I've really come to appreciate having the extra set of hands that we have here. And then there's the possibility of southeast Asia, which is tempting to me, because if not now, when??? So I don't know.
And then there's still the health stuff. I have more tests tomorrow. Fingers crossed they all come out okay. The possibility of more surgery is still on the horizon. It was good to get away on vacation and get some perspective, which I really think I needed. It gave me time to recharge, to ready myself for whatever is next. I think I'm ready to face it now, whatever the outcome of these tests. But I won't lie: I'm really hoping the tests show everything looks okay, and I'm hoping the recommendation is that no further surgery is needed. I'm really ready to put the negative health stuff behind me.
We are probably three quarters of the way through nap time, so I'd better go work on some of the things on my to-do list now.