Summer is typically a slow blogging season for me, simply because I have less free, alone-time, and I prefer to spend my time with the Tod who is usually on Summer break. Do follow us on our adventure, though, on Instagram and Twitter -- I'll try my best to remember to share as well.

For now, here's what's happening lately at the Land.

Nothing's better than a pot of freshly made yogurt and homemade strawberry compote.

I am obsessed with yogurt. Yep, obsessed. It all started when I found the yogurt which reminds me of the one my uncle used to make when I grew up. Then a trip to the local Farmer's Market got me chatting with some of the dairy farmer about making yogurt at home. Finally I took the plunge -- first, I made several batched using the oven with pilot light on. Then, after a few failure, I tweaked the starter, the incubating temperature, even the depth of the pot that I was using.

This brand-new looking yogurt machine was probably a white elephant gift.. someone else's junk is my treasure!

A fateful trip to a Goodwill store sealed the deal: I found an almost brand new, perhaps never used, home yogurt machine for $10. I've been making batches of yogurt ever since. Last week, a small packet from my uncle arrived -- it was the yogurt starter blend that he used!

I still am not satisfied with my yogurt, I have a feeling this will be my summer project. Fortunately, this project is quite inexpensive and consumable by the whole family. In fact, I often found no yogurt left when I need a little snack in the afternoon.

I won't belabored on the process of yogurt making as many excellent resources are available on the web. Sufficed to say, here's a few that has helped me along the way:

  • Be gentle. Respect the culture. Stir the culture (or you can even use already-made, store-bought yogurt as your culture, I did that in the beginning) gently into the milk. 
  • Be patient. The bacteria needs to colonize and it takes time. I even let my yogurt "rest" for an hour or two after incubation period before putting them in the fridge.
  • Slow down. I scorched the milk a couple of times in the beginning, but now, I go slow and tend the milk all the way while it heats up. I even got hypnotized sometimes while stirring it.. zzzz..

A little word about shopping at Goodwill: I am a fan. Why purchase new things when you can purchase used and help people along the way? I've purchased many things from Goodwill, and I've also donated many things there. 'Nuff said..

Daisies that the Tod picked for me from the sidewalk, and the shell that he painted the colors of the sea.

Finally, these past few weeks have been weeks of "goodbyes" for the Tod. I'm not sure how much he realizes, but he finally graduated from the Early Intervention program. If you follow me on Facebook, you would probably have noticed that the Tod was born with a few developmental delays. My heart is brimming with pride of what he has achieved so far and I am thankful for the dedication and love of all his teachers and therapists.

The Tod will go to a typical school next year, a pre-K and we are in for yet another adventure and challenges. Along with graduation are goodbyes to all his friends and the parents I've made friend with for the past 2-3 years. Some of their children are in different situation than the Tod and I will miss their constant inspiration of courage, bravery, extreme commitment and radical love. Raising children with disabilities are not for the faint of hearts -- no words can describe the dedication of these fellow parents day in and day out. They keep my perspective of life and the many blessings I have enjoyed so far.

I am already mourning days I spend with the Tod at home, unscheduled and free. I will cherish this summer with him before he goes to school full-time in the Fall.

Wishing you all a blessed, happy, safe Summer ahead!


  1. When I was a kid my friend's mum used to make yoghurt. I wish I had the time to do it too!

    1. Making yogurt is really pretty easy, all you need is to heat up the milk (can be a bit time consuming because you can't leave the stove for a bit), mix the culture, and incubate it overnight -- the most time-consuming part is the incubation period that can be done while you sleep!

  2. Hi,
    I got into yoghurt making last summer after a holiday in Bulgaria. One thing worth trying is to make the yoghurt from a 50:50 mix of cow's and goat's milk. Makes the yoghurt even healthier and easier digestible and adds interest without the strong flavour of 100% goat's yoghurt. Have fun experimenting... :)

    1. Oh, I'd love to get my hands on some goat's milk!!! I agree, I love the sweet, light texture of goat's milk. I will try this when I've perfected my method with cow's milk. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Claire, your yogurt-making adventures sound amazing, and very tasty! You know I'm a fan of 'raw' dairy products as well, I enjoy the actual taste of milk and the bacteria that turn it into other amazing things. Your stories of the starter culture remind me a lot of making homemade sourdough bread, and how Polish women in the US often exchange their cultures that they got a lot time ago from a friend or relative. I've tried my hand at making sourdough rye bread at home, making my own starter, but it turned out to be more dense and similar to pumpernickel than the regular variety of Polish bread I'm used to. Maybe it's just a matter of finding the right recipe!

    Congrats to the Tod and to you for your strength and dedication! Sending much love your way <3

    1. That's it! It's all very organic, trial and error, families exchanging recipes/starter and such. My uncle has long been retired from dairy farming -- the farm itself is now owned/operated by one of his son-in-law (aka my cousin-in-law). They no longer make yogurt to sell commercially but how he started was just like what you described; they use the starter or starter blend that his wife's family used for generations.

      So, maybe you will pick up your sourdough making adventure and blog about it someday :-) Thanks for stopping by, Monika!