Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 41

We were at a mall where they had wagon wheels on the ends of the benches.

Dante: ?There?s a lot of horse wheels around here.?

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Dante: ?Mama, I just saw in a movie that they grabbed a cow and she peed milk!?

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Dorian: ?Oh my goodness! I?m falling to pieces!?

Me: ?What??

Dorian: ?I have another loose tooth. Now I have FOUR teeth falling out.?

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Dante: ?I hate babies in waterfalls.?

Me: ?Um, why??

Dante: ?Because if you put a baby in a waterfall, you will never see them again. Ever.?

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Dante: ?I want bread and jam, please.?

Me: ?We?re out of bread, you guys ate it all for breakfast.?

Dante: ?Oh. How about you just put some jam on a plate and I can eat it with a spoon??

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Me: ?There?s a glass in the fridge that looks like lemonade, but it?s not. It?s whey, so don?t drink it, ok??

Dorian: ?Yeah, we know. Dante drank it and told me it was disgusting.?

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Dorian: ?Mama said we?re getting FIVE Wii controls! She gave some money to a woman and the woman is bringing them to us here in Guatemala.?
Dante: ?Five? We don?t need five controls.?
Dorian: ?HEY! You?re right! We can only use four! And we already have one.?
Dante: ?I guess the other ones are for decoration.?

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Overheard.

Dorian: ?Two plus two. What is it, Dante??

Dante: ?I don?t know.?

Dorian: ?Four. Ok, how about one plus three??

Dante: ?I don?t know.?

Dorian: ?It?s four. Here, let?s try an easy one. One plus one, like this, see? One and one more makes . . .? I?m assuming he was showing him how to count on his fingers at this point.

Dante: ?TWO!?

Dorian: ?You see, it?s really easy!?

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Dante was shouting and screaming as he played one day.

Me: ?Dante, please be quiet. That?s outdoor noise and you?re waking the baby.?

Five minutes later, Dorian dropped a toy.

Danteyelling ?DORIAN! BE QUIET! YOU?LL WAKE UP DOMINIC!?

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Dorian: ?I did NOT bring Zanelle here, she brought herself.?

Yogurt Tutorial

Ok, I did another batch of yogurt and as promised, here is the tutorial. Now, I have a specific yogurt maker that is no longer made, but you can use any method that keeps your yogurt incubating at around 110-112° or so. Acrockpot heated and turned off, then wrapped in blankets, a thermos, or an oven with a pilot light might be viable options if you don?t have a yogurt maker.

Before You Start

The concept behind yogurt is simple. You just put milk and bacteria from a starter together and let the bacteria do its job. The fussy bit is the temperature. And finding the ?right? temperature is a pain in the butt. Every single recipe I found offered a different temperature! I did it with one that recommended heating the milk to 200° F and then cooling to 130° and while it worked, the result was less than spectacular. This recent batch, I kept at a lower temp and it worked fine. The end decision? I think if you heat milk to hot and then cool it to lukewarm, you pretty much have a winning combination. But I?ve included temperatures just in case.

Starters

You can buy yogurt starters or make your own using a favorite plain yogurt. I use Lait, which is available here in Guatemala and is a yogurt that my kids like. It?s not super gelled, but they enjoy it runny-ish. Supposedly, you look for yogurt without sugar. I couldn?t find any around here, so mine had sugar in it.

You are also supposed to look for ?live cultures? on the container . . . I couldn?t find that, either! However, my container said ?contains pro-biotics,? which I assume are alive (and apparently I assumed correctly since it worked). Most yogurts should have live cultures in them, especially if they are plain.

Once you make your first batch, you will have your own culture, just save a few spoonfuls of your yogurt for the next batch. I found this actually worked better than the store-bought stuff. They say that after several batches, the bacteria weaken, so you?ll need new starter. To prevent having to buy a whole new container of yogurt every time you want to restart things, just freeze the first one. Heck, you could even freeze some of your first couple of batches to keep the bacteria on hand. It doesn?t hurt them. Here?s how I do mine:

I use mini silicon loaf tins that are about 1×3? and froze the yogurt in them, then dumped the blocks into a Ziploc bag and tossed it back in the freezer. Let this thaw at room temp. I wouldn?t recommend heating it to thaw, because you could kill your cultures.

Also, I recommend having a cute helper hang out with you while making yogurt.

Milk

I use powdered milk. You can use regular milk if you want.

How to Make Yogurt (in a Salton Thermostat Controlled Yogurt Maker)

You?ll need:

4 c. milk

2-3 Tblsp. yogurt

Step 1: Mix your milk, if you?re making powdered milk. Add a little extra powder than is called for. You can also add a 1/4 cup of milk powder to regular milk to help it set up a bit more.

Step 2: Heat your milk slooooooowly in a pot to around 180° F/83° C. Stir it frequently to keep the milk from burning to the bottom. You could also use a double boiler, but I?m too impatient for that.

Step 3: Once your milk hits the top temp, turn off the stove and go take a shower or play with the baby, whatever you want until the temperature drops to somewhere between 112-120° F/45-49° C.

Step 4: Put your yogurt starter in a bowl.

Step 5: Mix 1/2 cup of your warm milk with the starter until smooth.

Step 6: Add the starter mixture to the pot of milk.

Step 7: Mix that baby WELL. It can cause setting issues if you don?t get it thoroughly mixed in. Remember that the bacteria need to be nicely spread out through the milk, especially if you are putting it into smaller containers, like I do.

Step 8: Pour your mixture into whatever container(s) you are using. These should be preheated. I turn on my yogurt maker when I start heating the milk so it?s ready for this step.

Step 9: Let those cultures culture! How long will depend on the temperature of your kitchen, the starter and who knows what else. Recommended time is 12 hours, but my first batch took about 18 hours and the second one was about 15. It?s fine to let it go longer, so if it?s starting to thicken but still isn?t quite ready, you can just leave it at the warm temperature for longer. Even 24 hours. The longer you leave yogurt out, the more pronounced the tangy taste will be.

Step 10: Don?t erase photos off your camera before eating the yogurt and realizing you no longer have a picture of the end result for your tutorial. True story. (oh, and you can put your yogurt in the fridge now)

Stay tuned for more tutorials . . . I?ve got homemade soda, sauerkraut and cheater?s jam on the go, too!

On a Fermentation Kick

It all started with the 70?s Salton yogurt maker we found at MegaPaca. I tried it out with Dorian?s favorite yogurt and while it took longer than anticipated, within 24 hours, I had five ceramic cups full of yummy, sweet yogurt.

With that success under my belt, I decided to go ahead and try making a ginger bug, with the intention of creating homemade lime soda. The boys love this in the store as a special treat, so why not try a healthy version that would be packed with pro-biotics for their little digestive systems? The ginger bug is on its third day and we?re seeing bubbles, so I think a few more days and I will be making limeade.

After the ginger bug, I finally found a crock and bought some cabbage to make homemade sauerkraut, which I?ve been wanting to do for months. Irving LOVES the sauerkraut he?s had at a local restaurant called Bavaria, so I figured I could make it at home. Now, I?m 99% sure the boys won?t be eating this anytime soon, but the adults will enjoy it! There is now a nice crock of cabbage fermenting in one corner of the kitchen while the ginger bug brews quietly in another.

Next up . . . I?m considering apple cider vinegar or pro-biotic pickles, now that I have whey. Any other ideas?

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 40

I can?t believe we?ve made it to FORTY. Wow. My kids never shut up apparently.

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Dante: ?I?m going to shoot you, Mama!?

Me: ?We don?t shoot people.?

Dorian: ?What about zombies? If you were a zombie, could we shoot you??

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Dorian: ?I want a tostada.?

Me: ?I offered you one earlier and you couldn?t be bothered to get up and come over here, but you want me to get up, even though I have the baby in my arms and be your slave??

Dorian: ?Um, yup.?

Me: ?What do I get out of this??

Dorian: ?I?ll pay you money.?

Me: ?I want kisses.?

Dorian: thinks for a moment ?I?ll give you twenty bucks to buy kisses.?

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Dante: ?I can?t hear you, Mama!?

Me: ?That?s because I?m not talking.?

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Dorian: ?I hear music. Did somebody die??

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Dante lifted his shirt.

Dorian: ?Yeah, I have a bellybutton, too, you know.?

Dante: ?No, I?m just itchy.?

Dorian: ?Whoa! You have two bites right there! Someone bit you. Maybe a monster.?

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Dorian: ?Do we have money for more Wii controls??

Me: ?No, they are really expensive here.?

Dorian: ?Well, maybe you should do more infographics and get more money.?

Two Months

I cannot believe that two entire months have gone by since my baby boy came into the world. It seems like it?s gone so fast, but then again, it feels like he?s been in our lives forever. Here are a few things he?s doing now.

- Sitting up in his Bumbo. We found a used Bumbo for cheap at the MegaPaca and Dominic absolutely loves it. He can sit up properly and watch the world go by instead of being reclined. He?s the first kid I?ve had who doesn?t like his bouncy chair and I think it?s because he wants to be sitting upright.

- Smiling. Oh, how those smiles make us happy! Everyone in the family works to get a grin from Dominic . . . but it?s not really that hard. He?s a happy, happy little boy!

- Talking. Just a few days ago, Dominic started vocalizing. He doesn?t get too loud, he?s more of a whisperer and squeaker, but he does let out some pretty good noises like ?agu? and ?asi? and just generally lets you know he has something to say.

- Laughing. Another recent development are the little hiccuping giggles that are sooooo sweet on a baby. He doesn?t do it too often, but it usually goes hand in hand with his talking.

- Grabbing things. His hands aren?t too stable just yet, of course, and his hand-to-eye coordination is somewhat lacking, but he will grab his bottle with both hands and try to hold it himself and he is working on trying to pull my shirt down when he wants to breastfeed.

- Breastfeeding. Speaking of this, Dominic doesn?t much care for his pacha these days and he wants breastmilk! He?ll take a bottle once he?s had as much as I can give him (which is more these days, thankfully), but for the most part, he pushes it away and lets you know with smiles that he isn?t interested.

- Growing. This little boy is up to 11 lbs now, from 8 at birth. Not too shabby! He is getting himself a cute triple chin, too.

Amazing to think that in just 60 days, Dominic has gone from this:

to this:

What?s Happening Around Here

I don?t have a lot to say on any one thing, so . . . another random bits and pieces post.

  • My pre-eclampsia continues. While my pressure is just slightly elevated right now, I still have to take the diuretics or I swell up like a balloon. I stopped taking them over Semana Santa because Irving was gone and I couldn?t run to the bathroom all day to pee, and promptly gained 15 lbs in water weight. It is rather encouraging to drop 10-15 lbs overnight though!
  • Dominic is nearly two months old. Wow. I?ll do a more in depth post on that Monday, but this means I?m cleared to exercise to my heart?s content now. Irving fixed the exercise bike (Dante took bits of it apart) and I?m using it on a daily basis now in an attempt to lose some more weight. According to my SparkPeople tracker, if I keep going with the weight loss program, I should hit a healthy goal weight by Dorian?s birthday in December. Then I will promptly ruin all my hard work by eating Christmas cookies and birthday cake.
  • The rainy season seems to be here for good! It?s so nice to have the cool afternoons and evenings, but our roof is leaking something awful and we have to find someone lightweight to climb up on the roof and seal all the holes. Last time Irving tried to do it, he bent up the tin and ended up creating more leaks. Oops!
  • In the past couple of weeks, I?ve been contacted by two other Guatemalan expat bloggers. Very cool! I sometimes forget to look for other bloggers around here simply because there weren?t many in the beginning. It looks like I need to update my blogroll though.
  • We found an old 70?s Salton yogurt maker in the MegaPaca and it works! I made yummy yogurt last night and had a smoothie with it this morning. We also found a Bumbo baby seat for Dominic and he LOVES it.
  • I found an 8 Minute Strawberry Jam recipe that uses only a fraction of the sugar in normal jam recipes, so it?s a good alternative for Dorian who can?t eat much sugar.
  • A friend gifted us her daughter?s outgrown Exersaucer, which is still a little big for Dominic, but he?ll be using it in another month. She also sent us a ton of baby toys . . . this kid is super spoiled! He has more toys than his brothers did in the first four years of their lives.

Told you it was random!

In Need of a Helping Hand

Now that I?m feeling much better and getting back on top of things, I?ve decided it?s high time to get some things done that I?ve put off for a year because of being pregnant, sick, and/or hurting. There are a few things that have been on the wishlist for a while, but haven?t been done because I simply don?t know where to find the supplies . . . soooo, I thought I?d throw this out there and see if any of my readers happen to know where I can find . . .

- Canning jars and lids
- Pectin for making jam (I?ve made strawberry jam without it and used apple pectin (homemade) before, but would like to branch out)
- Lye crystals (crystales de lijia) for soapmaking

If anyone knows where these might be available in or around Antigua/Guatemala City, that would be very helpful! Now I just need a goat (and space for one) . . .

Laundry and Expats

I?ve read two posts lately on expat blogs about laundry in other countries and so I thought I?d jump on the bandwagon and blog about it, myself. You can read about laundry in Germany and Brazil, as well.

I?m actually happy to do laundry. And by do laundry, I mean wash it. Drying is ok. Folding . . . we sometimes don?t get to the folding and just pick clean clothes from a pile on the table. I?m not proud of it, but that?s what happens about 60% of the time. Then I will go on a cleaning spree, get mad at all the clothes piled high and fold everything in a big frenzy, only to realize that I can?t put most of it away because the kids are sleeping and then in the morning, they come out and jump on the piles of laundry (on the couch) and ruin all my hard work. Ok, it doesn?t always happen that way, but there are times . . .

We did laundry by hand for many years. I washed my clothes in the giant pila in our first home together and Irving washed his because I am NOT good at washing by hand. Then we got a real pila and I washed my clothes and sometimes his because I was getting better.

Then Dorian came along and we used cloth diapers for his colostomy, so on top of our stuff, I was washing stinky baby clothes (the bindings frequently leaked and about 15 stinky diapers a day. It was not fun. I felt like I spent half my life scrubbing diapers over those concrete ridges with the baby strapped to my back or in a bouncy chair beside me (he, unlike Dominic, actually liked his bouncy chair and spent hours sitting up and scrabbling in the dirt by leaning forward, chatting away to me in baby talk).

Then we had another baby and Dorian had his surgery and we moved to disposable diapers and suddenly there was a lot LESS laundry and it wasn?t as gross, either. I was very happy, but nothing could have made me happier than my washing machine.

When I was working a lot and Irving had gigs, the laundry wouldn?t get done, so we finally decided to invest in a washing machine. We found a small LG one, the last one available in the shop, for a very good price and brought that baby home. Oh, I was in love from the first minute I saw it. We hooked it up, threw in some clothes and stood there watching them wash through the window in the top, oohing and ahhing about how efficient and fast it was. Irving had never had a washing machine in his life, so he didn?t even know what he was missing until this thing!

Now, I get up in the wee hours with the baby, feed him, toss on a load of laundry and by the time the sun starts to come out, the clothes are ready to hang up. I?m particularly happy to have a machine right now because with 3 boys, things get messy around here. Baby puke, dirt, mud and food are common reasons to toss something in the wash these days!

This doesn?t mean I don?t have my pet peeves when it comes to laundry. Right now, all is good, as we have some lovely sunshine in the morning and things dry fast. However, on rainy days (and the rainy season is rapidly approaching, some say it?s already started) things tend not to dry completely. We set up three lines under a tin sheet that covers the area between the house and the bathroom, but it barely holds one load and with so much humidity, getting stuff to dry can take days. I often end up trekking back and forth, moving clothes out to the main line for sun, then back to the covered one when it rains. In the past, we?ve hung stuff in the house, but that is really not ideal!

The other thing that bugs me and is fixable if we invest in a water heater, is that we can only wash with cold water. Most of the time, that?s fine, but the truth is, cold water just doesn?t cut it for everything. Sometimes you need hot to get the stains out . . . and stains are something we definitely have around here!

What?s your take on laundry?