Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Around Thanksgiving time, some friends from South Texas spent the night with with us on their way through. We enjoyed visiting with them, and during visiting I discovered was that they routinely make their own yogurt. Intrigued, I armed myself with a pen and with my cooking notebook, and asked them to describe what they did.

Yesterday, I made yogurt for the first time. I made two batches, since the first one didn't really look like it would be enough to feed eight hungry people for breakfast. The first batch, I followed the recipe I was given and used powdered milk. The second batch, my mother figured out I used powdered milk and told me to use the raw whole milk in the fridge instead. So I did, and it worked fine, but it was still cooling at breakfast time since I put it in last night, so it hasn't been tasted yet (although I smelled it and it smelled right).

This morning for breakfast we had yogurt and granola. I mixed a few spoonfuls of delicious raspberry jam in with the yogurt, and it gave it a mild berry flavor. Considering how fast the yogurt (and granola!) disappeared at breakfast, it looks like both my attempts were a success.

Here is the yogurt recipe I was given:
Take 1 quart good quality yogurt (Mtn. High/Dannon- actually, we ignored this and used the cheapest generic brand), freeze in ice cube trays.
You'll also need a heating pad, glass jars, a large stock pot, two towels.
To make one batch, take 4 'ice cubes' and thaw them in a bowl.
You will also need 2 quarts water and 4 cups powdered milk. (Or 2 quarts milk, which I used the second time.)

Set jars on heating pad to warm, set heating pad on highest setting and cover jars with upside down stock pot.

Gradually heat milk in saucepan to 180 degrees F while stirring. When at 180 degrees F, set aside till temperature has cooled to 115 degrees.
At 115 degrees add about 1/2 cup of the warm milk to the melted yogurt cubes, mix well. Then add yogurt/milk mixture to milk in pan, stir well. Pour in glass jars, put on lids. Replace stock pot over jars, and put the towels over the stockpot, trying to keep in the heat generated by the heating pad. Leave until gels, around 8-9 hours.

Our friends suggested mixing canned or dried fruit, vanilla, or honey in the yogurt. This time, though, we decided to mix in a few spoonfuls of some delicious jam instead, and it was great.

If anyone has questions to ask, or tips to share (!) on yogurt making, please, go for it! If my directions above aren't clear, feel free to ask me to clarify. This was a really fun thing to make and I hope others will try it out as well.

Monday, January 30, 2006

On this day... 1912, Francis Schaeffer was born. Dr. George Grant writes about it here.

Currently Attempting... make yogurt. Also, I'm reading a granola recipe. I have never made either of these things before. This should be interesting!

Sunday, January 29, 2006


"When the hotdogs are eaten,
and the thunder is gone,
when the harvest moon has been hung and taken down,
the fall is upon us.
Rain comes in spring;
rain comes in fall.
But in the fall it brings rot and the sweet smell of a fermenting world, another brew to be served when the green obsession comes again, and then aged again to be served when the fields are golding."
- Nathan D. Wilson, Bluster, Credenda/Agenda, Volume 17, Number 5
(not online yet)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Strange Creature

...that I found in the garden today.

Newest Continent

Brother #4 (age 8) today informed us all that New Mexico was a continent. It took us a while, but we managed to convince him it was a state instead.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


"I'm going to look up jragons in the encyclopedia," he informs me seriously, then looks for the right book..."J, j, j..."
"Dragon doesn't start with a 'j'," I tell him, "it starts with a 'd'... d, d, dragon."
For which information I receive a surprised look from brother number 5. :-)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Around the House...

...two magnificently attired soldiers, caped in old sheets, march through, armed with wooden daggers. They didn't mind being called knights, but I think they look more Roman. They're speaking a strange language they're making up on the spot, and lapsing into English when clearer communication is needed.

As they march through, I'm carefully squashing cookies with a fork, adding the pretty criss-cross look typical of peanut butter cookies. My third brother looks on in horror, and asks, "Why are you smashing them?" He looks much relieved when I explain that it won't ruin them, and asks if it will help them rise better. He has realized over recent months how important it is that my bread rises well, so he politely showed concern over the rising of the cookies. Of course, his concern is practical, as well as polite, but that is perfectly reasonable...nobody's happy when the cookies don't "work".

Opera Creams

I just remembered that someone had asked what Opera Creams were. I haven't ever made these, but here is the recipe anyway, from my trusty Joy of Cooking.

Makes about 1 1/4 pounds.
Bring to a boil in a large, heavy pan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved:
2 cups sugar
3/4 c. whipping cream
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons light corn sirup
1/8 tablespoon salt

Cover and cook about 3 minutes until the steam has washed down any crystals on the sides of the pan. Uncover and cook over low heat to 238 degrees Farenheit. Remove from heat. Cool to 110 degrees. Add:
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the mixture until it is creamy. Pour it into special candy rubber-sheet molds or squares. Place in an airtight container. This candy improves if aged at least 24 hours. When it has ripened, you may dip it in a Chocolate Coating.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


"In the creation of the world and through His leading in history,
God is manifesting Himself. He does not hide from us but shines the light of His glory so that we can seek and know Him. Men fail to see Him not because He is far off but because sinful man willfully shuts his eyes to the light."
- R.A. Smith, in Chapter Three (The Covenantal God) of Trinity and Reality: An Introduction to the Christian Faith.

Dictionary Work

I just finished looking up a word in the dictionary. When I was younger I hated the dictionary- it seemed like torture to have to stop reading just to figure out the meaning of one little word. Now, I appreciate it more, although I don't think that I use it as much as I should.

I got the dictionary out to define "ontological", which was used by Herman Bavinck in The Doctrine of God, which was quoted by Pastor Ralph Smith in a footnote in Chapter Three of Trinity and Reality: An Introduction to the Christian Faith.

The dictionary says:
1: of or relating to ontology
2: relating to or based upon being or existence..."
Finding that this did an imperfect job of illuminating the word's meaning, I checked ontology, which said:
"1: A brance of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being
2: a particular theory about the nature of being or the kinds of existents..."

From which two definitions I conclude that "ontological" is a term describing the study of being or existence.


"Today many readers come to the Chronicles aware that they have Christian overtones, and they are tempted to look for one-to-one parallels between characters, objects, and events in Narnia and corresponding ones in the Bible. However, that is not the way Lewis wanted the Chronicles to be read. "You are mistaken when you think that everything in the books 'represents' something in this world," he wrote to a fifth-grade class in Maryland. "Things do that in The Pilgrim's Progress but I am not writing in that way. I did not say to myself 'Let us represent Jesus as He really is in our world by a Lion in Narnia': I said, 'Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as He became a Man in our world, became a lion there, and then imagine what would happen.' If you think about it, you will see that it is quite a different thing." In another letter a few years later, he explained that he was using not allegory but "supposition."

- an interesting quote from The Way into Narnia: A Reader's Guide, by Peter J. Schakel

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

There are few things scarier than playing crack the egg with three children on a trampoline... and being the egg.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Reading about Wabbits

"Benjamin sat down beside his cousin, and assured him that Mr McGregor had gone out in a gig, and Mrs McGregor also; and certainly for the day, because she was wearing her best bonnet.
Peter said he hoped it would rain."

- The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, by Beatrix Potter

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Thursday, January 05, 2006


...the instrument.

(and if you know immediately, just say "I know"... ;-)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Before lunch today, my second youngest brother asked if he could pray. After thanking God for good health after sickness for two of his brothers, he continued and thanked God for work, cows, and manure, so that our food could grow.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Years!
Psalm 29
A Psalm of David.
Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty,
give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name;
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters:
the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars;
yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf;
Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness;
the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve,
and discovereth the forests:
and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.
The LORD sitteth upon the flood;
yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.
The LORD will give strength unto his people;
the LORD will bless his people with peace.