Monday, February 28, 2011

Frugal Fail: Homemade Yogurt

We love yogurt around here, and after finding a recipe that made yogurt in a Crockpot I was sold.  I bought organic whole milk, organic yogurt, and got the recipe here.  I followed the recipe, put the Crockpot in the fridge over night for it to thicken, and in the morning I got:

That's right. Yogurt flavored milky mess.  Sooooo disappointing.  Not one to give up on frugal experiments easily, I scoured the internet for a solution.  I found a MUCH BETTER tutorial here, and felt confident that I could make something out of this horrific mess.

Like a woman possessed I decided to add MORE organic milk, some powdered milk, and reheated the milky mess, praying that it would thicken.  I stood at the stove, measuring the temperature, making sure the milk didn't burn, whisking continuously, only to wind up with NASTY curdled grossness, which could only mean one thing...

FREAKIN' Ricotta cheese.  DANG  IT!  I KNEW from the second tutorial that I read that you could turn your unthickened yogurt into ricotta, but somehow I assumed that I was exempt from the laws of chemistry.  Wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

After wasting 8 cups of organic milk and, fortunately, only 2 tbsp of organic yogurt, & separating the curds and whey (while reciting Little Miss Muffet) I have:

This much Ricotta

and a bowl full of whey. 

And we just finished eating lasagna last week.  Ugh.  I saved the whey, because I read online that it is supposed to have tremendous health benefits, but it makes me feel rather vomitous, so I think I may pitch it.

World's most expensive ricotta, anyone?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

India Outtakes

This woman is holding a newborn
Indian bathtub (And Emerson's for our stay)
Professor Abhyankhr's favorite perch
Jetlagged E on the Professor's bed
4 a.m. sure looks shiny when you see this sweet face.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Super Saturday Shopping

MSM readers:  I linked up at 3 am & posted my last weeks purchases.  To see this week's deals on TP & Baby Wipes go here.  Sorry!  --Alison

So I actually purchased one of these things a while ago, and the other yesterday, but I couldn't fight the need for some alliteration.  Forgive me will you?

Yesterday, was all a frenzy with the fabulous deals to be had on  Seeing as how I love a good deal, I too had to join in the purchasing madness. 

I purchased <---those wipes, all $19.19 of them, for...drum roll...$1.51.  Here's how:

*Click on the link
*Click on the subscribe & save option just below add to cart.  This saves you 30%, and I canceled immediately after placing the order.
* When checking out, use the promo code, MOMWIPES, this will save you an additional 10%.  That should bring your total down to $11.51.
*  Then, if you are lucky enough to possess either a $10 off promo code, or 20% off code (these are found in Baby Talk, Parenting, and Parents magazines) you will be able to reduce your total even more.  I had a $10 off code, which is how I got the total so low.

Also, I wasn't able to figure out how to use my Swagbucks Amazon gift cards, to get this for free, so if you try this, and can figure it out, leave a comment so the rest can partake in the great deal goodness.

Confession time:  After pledging that I was not going to buy any new clothes for a year, even for Little E, I found an offer too good to refuse. (And I'm sorry I didn't share it, I didn't know if it was going to be a worthwhile thing).

At the end of January,, a daily deals website, was offering a $5 credit when you signed up.  In addition, they had a daily deal that purchased a box of clothing from, (more on that later), for $6.  After the $5 credit, it made the deal only $1, so I bought it., is a used clothing and toy swap website. You pick a box for $5+shipping, then later, post a box of your own child's gently used clothing.  When your box is chosen, you ship it off, free of charge, and the cycle continues.  Right now, if you click on the link above, you will receive a $5 credit for signing up, which should help you be able to purchase your own box, all you would have to pay is shipping!  Yea, deals for everyone!

Anyway, my clothes for E came today, and I am beyond impressed.  The box I chose was actually two boxes in one, so I got a TON of clothes for $1.  Here's what we got:

*3 pairs of jeans, including a like new pair from BabyGap (my fav!)
* A sweat suit
* 2 onesies
* a pair of Gymboree leggings
* a Gymboree sweater
* 3 fleece/velour shirts

For a dollar!  Whoo Hooo!  Now, not everything is my style, but E needed jeans, and the box was STUFFED with clothes, so I couldn't pass it up.

Now, for the stuff that is not my style, or as my dad would say, 'freaky-deaky,' I tried to make the best of it.  Enter, my friend the seam ripper.


 This is the back of the little sweatsuit.  I'm not wild about the ribbon trim on the sleeves and the bottom, and may cut that off too if it doesn't make it too short, but for now, I just removed the strangely place bow.




What you don't see on this bottom one is that I got a little zealous with the seam ripper and ripped a few holes as well as the seams.  Whoops.  I sewed it up with matching thread and it looks good as new.

Hope your are having a good weekend and finding lots of bargains too!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fashionista Friday: I Need to do Laundry Edition

I need to do laundry.  Badly.  I just did laundry, but it seems that I have either misplaced all the clothes that I want, or have already worn them.  Ugh.  And as far as Emerson goes, poor lil' babe is having some diaper absorbency issues and is therefore having to be changed 3 times a day.  (I stripped my diapers today, so I'm hoping that takes care of the issue).

After much effort, here is the best we girls could come up with:

Little E's shirt is from JC Penney's.  We bought it when I was pregnant, so I don't remember exactly how much we paid, but it was on crazy discount, like a dollar or two. 

Pants:  Ralph Lauren--Goodwill $0.99
Socks:  Kohls--Set of 6, free with Kohls giftcard in the mail
Edgar Allen Poe action figure--Priceless

 Shoes:  Old Navy--My sister left them here while visiting.  Sad for her, awesome for me.
Jeans:  Calvin Klein--Gift from my Maja & Faja

Flower Pin:  Gap--Clearance, back in the day when Carrie wore flowers on Sex & the City...

Ring:  Silver & Moonstone--From Von's in West Lafayette, IN (AMAZING jewelry there.  Amazing.)  I paid in the $25-$30 range for this sucker back in college.

E was tugging on my leg here.  :)

Scarf:  Gap--Hand-me-up from my littlest sister
Grey Shirt:  Banana Republic--I got it from my mama, my mama, my mama
Blue Sweater--Merona--Goodwill, a gift from my dad

And lastly, couldn't help but post E's over the top frou-frou coat and pink patent shoes, both from her grandma.

Happy Weekend All!

P.S. Head on over to Domestic Fashionista, the originator of Fashionista Friday and check out her Daisy Girl Creations Giveaway.  Cute!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Saving Energy Indian Style

To bring my week of sharing about the wonders of all things Indian to a close, I wanted to share something I was particularly impressed by during our stay--the way they set up their electricity use.  

Here in the main panel of light switches in our room in Pune.  (I was too jet lagged to get a picture of it in our room in Mumbai).

In order for the lights to work at all, you have to insert your room key for power.  How cool is that?

I know I'm particularly awful about accidentally leaving things on when I leave a hotel room, and this completely prevents such energy waste.

Also, all outlets have an on/off switch, so you can turn off the circuit to prevent the use of phantom energy!   I am so disappointed that my house wasn't designed like this!

Happy Thursday!

Recyclebank Coupons

If you haven't heard of Recyclebank before, it is a website devoted to rewarding you for recycling.  While our area doesn't currently participate in Recyclebank, there are online codes floating around that make it possible to get points easily and they can be redeemed for some high value coupons.  The above picture is 11 boxes of Kashi cereal that I got for free after combining 11 Kashi Recyclebank coupons and a sale at Target.

All you have to do is sign up,  then go to the earn points tab at the top.  While there are many offers based on geographic location, everyone can earn 10 points by playing the "Presenting the reNEWabottle by Naked Juice" game, 50 points for watching the "Saw Us On TV" video, and 30 points for watching the "Miller Coors" video.  That's 90 points that are easily earned.  Those points can then be redeemed for high dollar coupons on green or organic products.  They also have many coupons right now for only 10 points, so that would make your 90 points go a long way. 

Even if you can't earn points for recycling, consider checking out the site for the green living tips too.  You can check out Recyclebank here

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

India IV

On our last day in Pune, Yvonne took E & I shopping.  We met over at her house, then visited Shopa at her flat where she fed me a strange sweet carrot dish and a flat dried rice snack.  Very strange, but very good.  Yvonne wanted to get a sari for her maid, so we headed to Laxmi Road.

Now let me just say, that this day, was TOTALLY awesome for two reasons.  One, I finally figured out how to go out with E & not get harassed by baby lovers/paparazzi--put her in her wrap, tuck all extremities in, and secure a hat to her head.  It completely hid her and by the time people realized there was a pretty lil' baby in my contraption, we were already past.

 Two, Laxmi Road was CRAZY!  I suppose it was the Rodeo Drive of Pune, but man, the traffic, the people, the noise.  It was awesome.  Definitely overwhelming, but awesome.

 We went to all sorts of little shops, but the sari shop was a-MAY-zing!  Yvonne said it was an old way of presenting the saris, but the sales people stood on mattresses level with the rest of the floor.

 Then instead of you browsing, they would pull out the saris, let you look at them, and then throw them on the mattresses.  It was so beautiful; a big, bright heap of gorgeous fabric that just kept growing.  I loved it.  I wish I could have purchased one, but apparently it takes quite a bit of time get one made and tailored.  It's not as ready to wear as one might think.

After the sari shop we just walked along Laxmi Road, tried not to get run over, and browse.

There were huge buckets of different rice preparations, beautiful fabrics, honest to God cobblers on the street, and coconut vendors!

At the end of our shopping trip Yvonne treated me to a coconut.  They just hacked off the top, stuck a straw in it, and gave it to me.  It was awesome.

E & Professor Abhyankhr
 Tonight, we went over to the professor's house to say goodbye.  It was quite sad actually.  When we first got here our hotel and the professor's house was bursting at the seams with mathematicians.  Now, almost everyone has left us, and it is quite lonely.  I've truly enjoyed the people we have met here and will be very sorry to not see them shortly.

Our time here was amazing, the country was so interesting, and the people were so warm and lovely.  I'm going to miss it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

India Part III

I should preface this post by sharing that this day I found my grandfather died.  He had been battling with leukemia, and was not doing well before we left, but he told me to try to have a good time and not worry about things back home.  It definitely kind of marred the rest of the trip for me, but I definitely felt his presence with us at the top of Sinhagad.


Hi everyone.  Time for a little update...

 Day before yesterday we went on an excursion to an old fort outside of
Pune.  It was on the top of the mountain and called Sinhagad, meaning
Lion Fort.  It was absolutely beautiful.

We climbed all over the mountain and Emerson was extremely cooperative in her wrap.  We could
see for miles down into a valley and I just prayed the whole time we
were there that Grandpa would know the peace of that place.  It was
truly amazing and I felt his spirit there.

Last night we went on an excursion here in the city.  We stopped at a
museum that had Indian artifacts.  It was moderately interesting, but
I was sad and the museum just didn't hold my attention.


When we finished walking around we had to wait for the rest of the group, so
we crossed the street to look at a little table of junky wares an
Indian man was selling.

While were where looking I noticed people across the street starting to pile up.  First it was two girls, then six, then it turned in to a group of about 20 people.  At the same time, all of the sudden the junk table became very popular, people were standing all around us.  Suddenly, I realized they were all there staring at US, or rather Emerson.  All of them.  They were all looking at her, taking her picture, squeezing her cheeks, and just generally assaulting her.  I am so thankful that I brought a wrap so she could be held close to me.  Not only do people touch Emerson they also try to pull her out and hold her.  Not cool.
This student was with us, but she did actually pull E out of her wrap during all of this chaos.  I think that is part of what caused the frenzy of others trying to hold her.

While we were at the junk table a man, who in general appeared to be homeless, came up and
starting rubbing all over her head and face.  It was awful, but I just didn't know how to get him to go away.  Finally, our group leader, an Indian man, spoke to him in Marathi and convinced him to leave. As we left I realized the entire sidewalk on the WHOLE street was absolutely gawking.  It was unbelievable.  I never want to be a celebrity.

After that we went the Aga Khan Palace, where Ghandi had an interment.
 The palace itself was beautiful, but to be where Ghandi lived and
walked was absolutely amazing.  We saw the room that he stayed in, as
well as where his wife died.

Once we exited the palace we walked to a
beautiful garden that held Ghandi's ashes.  It was breathtaking, and
I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to be there.

We then did a little shopping again at Fab India.  Expensively disappointing once again. After that we had coffee and returned home and went to bed.

This morning I went over to the professor's house and went to Yvonne's niece's (I'm not entirely sure of the relation) apartment.  It was decorated to the nines and it is always interesting to see an Indian home.

Shopa's apartment
We then went to a store called Motherworld which was crazy overpriced and filled with Western style clothing.  I was so disappointed because I was hoping to get E some really cool Indian
clothes, but when we go to Indian children shops they only want to show me western clothes too.
In the end I bought Emerson a little pull along wood dog that looks like Pippin that she ADORES and a sweet little dress for next summer.  It only cost about $40.  lol Oh golly...

E playing with the Yvonne & the Professor's maid.
Tomorrow Yvonne is going to take me shopping again to get a few last minute things and then we'll go over to their house tomorrow afternoon to say goodbye.  We've really enjoyed our time here, but we are all exhausted and ready to get home.  E has adjusted fairly well, but I think she'll be happy to be able to play and roam the floors instead of being confined to a wrap when we're out of our room.