Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cooking with kefir!

We decided a little while ago to get some kefir grains and make our own kefir at home. It's got probiotic benefits, and we figured making it would be more cost-effective than continuing to buy it, or yogurt, at the store. Apparently our little grains like their environment, because they're thriving! Our kefir runneth over, more than we can reasonably drink (Brian and I like it, but we haven't yet convinced Julian that kefir is good and he should give it a try). So Brian thought he'd look for some recipes.

Tonight we had kefir flat bread. The kefir is the only leavening agent in the bread. It turned out wonderfully! It had a very slight tang to it as compared to regular yeast bread. But the dough rose nicely, and our little flat breads baked up hot and slightly puffy and oh, so good. We made pizzas out of a couple of them for Julian since he wasn't crazy about the sausage, onions and peppers we were having. Tasty good bread, and we can experiment with all sorts of different herbs in it, too!

We've also found recipes for kefir pancakes (they're supposed to freeze well) and kefir cornbread. Pretty much any recipe that calls for buttermilk, you can substitute kefir, or so I understand. I'll post more about the different recipes as we give them a try.

We started our grains with a cup of milk, and the first batch or two was thin and very tangy. As we've gone on, our grains have grown, and we're now using three cups of milk a day to make the kefir, and could probably use four. Pretty soon, we may have grains enough to share!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Home, for once

It's a Monday morning, and I'm enjoying the quiet of my little house. I took today off. J has an appointment, and it made more sense logistically for me to stay home than to try to go in to work and then leave and pick him up for that. So we slept a little later this morning - Brian and I got up around 6:45, the boys got up around 7:00. I took Julian to school and Rhys to daycare, and now I'm home for a bit. I wish every morning could be like this. I wish I had known before I committed myself to the rat race how much it would mean to me to be able to stay home with my children and be there for them like my mom was for me.

Anyway, I've now got some time on my hands. Things on the agenda: work out, finish baking that batch of breakfast monster cookies, pick up the disaster that is our living room floor (I'll be so glad when Rhys is past the "path of destruction" phase!), boil some eggs for tuna salad (today's lunch), figure out what to make for dinner. Things I really want to do: take a nice long nap. But if I do that, nothing else will get done. Decisions, decisions....

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

So it wasn't back to the rat race after all

Well, I didn't have to jump back into the daily grind today. Little Bit started running a fever yesterday and had a head full of goopy green snot, so I stayed home and took him to the doctor. Bless his little punkin head, he's got another sinus infection. I'll be glad when we can have him tested for allergies. Until then, it's been recommended that we try Zyrtec, so we'll see if that can help keep him cleared up more often than not.

I don't think I'm cut out to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, at least not while I've got one younger than school-age. That probably sounds funny, as I expect that's when a lot of women would love to stay home, when their babies are small. I love this age (although I will be glad when he gets past the stage where he thinks pulling things off of shelves is the height of entertainment), don't get me wrong, but I think our daycare does a much better job of providing educational opportunities and helping Little Bit learn to socialize than I could if it were left solely up to me. I would love to be able to stay home when both my kids are in school, though. I could volunteer for things at their schools, be here when they get in, and have dinner ready at a sensible hour more often than not (unlike now). Today I picked J up from school. By the time Brian got home, he was finished with his homework, and dinner was indeed well underway. Little Bit was a howling clingy fussy mess, but that's attributable to him not getting much sleep last night and not getting a good nap today (thank you, cough and congestion!). There's something to be said for being a domestic goddess. Sadly, I think my opportunities to do that will be few and far between, and I don't think it will ever work out to be a long-term thing for me.

And tomorrow it really is back to the daily grind. *sigh* Would that it could be otherwise, but it can't, so I guess I'll go off to my job and be thankful for it.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Too bad it can't be like this every day.

Brian and I were both off today for Labor Day, and of course there was no school, so we were all home. It was a pretty nice weekend. Yesterday I made chocolate cake. The day started off rough - Thing Two woke up early and didn't sleep well the rest of the night. I ended up sitting up in the rocking chair with him for about two hours before he finally decided he was awake, and this was after Brian spent about an hour trying to get him back to sleep. But he finally crashed and took a three-hour nap. Brian and I worked on rearranging the living room while he slept, and J played video games. This afternoon we went to Half Price Books and out for frozen custard, and when we got home, I baked some bread (OK, I didn't do it all from scratch, I used the bread machine, but it still beats the heck out of store-bought bread.) There were a couple of rough patches - tired boys get grumpy, and Thing Two conked his head on a table at church yesterday and gave himself a good goose egg - but overall, it was a nice, fairly relaxing weekend.

I wish it could be like this all the time. I wish that tomorrow didn't bring with it an early alarm going off, and a leap back into the rat race. I wish I could be home every day, doing for my family instead of doing for some company's bottom line. Yeah, I know, I do for them by working and providing. But it's not the same as being here, making sure we have clean clothes and hot meals and a welcoming home to come back to every evening. Sadly, though, unless we win the lotto or come into a big inheritance someday, I don't see that ever happening. So, I'll try to make the best of the relaxing moments at home that I do have.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Does the chaos ever stop?

Brian and I were talking a couple of days ago about whether other people live like we do, does everyone feel like their lives are chaos, like it never ever stops or gets better, like it's always something going wrong. I hate that my kids are prisoners of my schedule. I hate that I get up at the crack of dawn to get ready and drag my kids out of bed before the sun is up. I hate that I get home so late every day that any extra-curricular activities are nearly impossible, either because they start too early or because J is so worn out by that time of day that he can't cope. I hate that it feels like we're constantly rushing - rushing to get out the door to work or school, rushing to throw dinner together so we can eat before 8:00 at night (because you know all my grand ideas about prepping ahead of time never work out like I think they might), rushing to cram in dinner and bath and bedtime for the boys before it's ridiculously late, trying to find time on a weeknight to do something that's fun and not work work work for everyone, trying to find "me" time (hard to do when I get up at 5:15, get home at 5:45, and the evening is all things for kids and house and it's knocking on 10:00 by the time I get them both settled, so it's not like that leaves a lot of time before I'm getting up for work again).

Is it just us? Is everyone else as together as I imagine they are? I just can't figure out any way to make things run more smoothly.