7 Quick Takes (vol. 3)

October 10, 2008 | 25 comments

— 1 —

I had an 18-week ultrasound today, and it’s a GIRL! For those of you who need a refresher, my four-year-old is a boy, and the two- and one-year-olds are girls. So we’ll have our third girl in three years! I also saw her suck her thumb in the ultrasound, which was too precious.

— 2 —

We have weekend plans that I think of as a celebration of everything I’m bad at: it’s a last-minute schedule-destroying trip with all three kids to stay with people we’ve never met in a house we’ve never seen to go to Yaya‘s family reunion to meet a bunch of people whom I don’t know.

Also, Yaya keeps calling me to emphasize that, “JENNIFER, these people are very country. You have to understand, this is a rural area. They are very country.” When Yaya, who grew up in a poor farming family without fancy things like indoor plumbing or toilet paper, refers to a group of people as “very country, ” this is a weighty statement.

— 3 —

Heading out to Yaya’s event reminds me of my own experience with “country” relatives. Our version of a family reunion is an annual Cemetery Homecoming, where the five or six extended families who have relatives buried in the old county cemetery gather together for potluck brunch and barbecue on the cemetery grounds. It consists mostly of very rural, farming families, where the women bake up their best cobblers and the men put on their dress cowboy hats and boots for the occasion. This seemed like a perfectly normal thing to do in my childhood, though based on the reactions I’ve gotten I take it that cemetery homecomings are not a common practice in other parts of the country (“Who comes home?!” being a common response).

— 4 —

For those of you who were concerned about the reader whose front doorstep I was about to show up at to assure her that I didn’t think she was an internet stalker (#6 here), I thought I’d let you know that she saw that post and I did hear from her! …Although I’m not sure if she got my reply. But it seems like we have a nice little system going on where she emails me and I post to the blog about it, which is a big step up from the uncertainty of before.

— 5 —

Do yogurt makers work?

I’m going through tons of plain yogurt at $3 per jar from the grocery store and am thinking about buying one. Anyone have any experience with this?

— 6 —

The comments to my last post are fantastic. Thank you all for your thoughts (and if you haven’t read through them, you should!)

— 7 —

I will probably be offline for Saturday and Sunday. Since the town we’ll be staying in has a population of less than 500 and is evidently “very country, ” I’m going to assume that I won’t have great wireless access out there. Honestly, I’ll be relieved if we have toilets from the way it’s been described to me.

So if it takes me a while to approve comments this weekend, that’s why.


Have a great weekend!


  1. Madam Mitigation

    I had a Cuisinart yogurt maker and ended up selling it on Craigs List. I just couldn’t get a really good result. The yogurt was edible, but the texture was odd – rather grainy. You might do better with a Donvier, though. It’s worth checking out the customer reviews on Amazon.

  2. Michelle

    Congratulations on your new daughter! I had an ultrasound yesterday and found out my husband and I are also having a girl (which was fascinating to my nearly one year old for all of five minutes of the appointment). I’ve been on those last minute trips before. Good luck! They usually work out crazy an tiring but fun.

  3. Jeana

    You don’t need a yogurt maker to make homemade yogurt. I make it all the time using these directions. http://www.stretcher.com/stories/971110c.cfm (I use an ice chest with warm water to let it sit overnight.)

    Or, you can just add 2 tablespoons yogurt to a quart of whole milk and set it in a cooler with warm water. That works too, but it’s more runny than the other.

  4. Heather

    You don’t need a yogurt maker–I have one and just use the jars and put them at the back of my stove with a towel overtop (we have gas which stays warm because of the pilot light.) Oh der–same as Jeana, in fact I originally learned it from Dollar stretcher. 🙂 You can thicken by adding a bit of gelatin (which is what some yogurt companies do) but I prefer to use powdered milk, microwave the water to the right temp, add the powder till thicker than regular milk then add the yogurt and let sit overnight at the back of my stove. The powdered milk is MUCH better than regular (I buy a huge thing of nonfat organic powdered for abou $20 and it lasts me almost a year.

  5. Julie

    I love my yogurt maker. I blogged about it here:


    And congratulations on your little girl. Sisters. I have 2 myself and wouldn’t trade them for the world.

    Good luck this weekend. Sounds interesting.

  6. Jeana

    Oh, and congratulations!

  7. Catholic Bibliophagist

    I used to have a Salton yogurt maker that made beautiful yogurt in individual containers. Before I was married I used to make yogurt in the oven overnight. It had a pilot light, that kept the mixture warm. I seem to recall that my recipe called for unflavored gelatin and I made it in a huge pyrex mixing bowl.

  8. Will Cubbedge

    Re: Cemetery Homecomings-

    I am from E. Kentucky, and a common feature of the Old Regular Baptist sect is the annual homecoming meeting on the grounds of a nearby cemetery. Mind you, ORB church congregations only have one meeting a month (forcing the brethren to travel to other congros the other three weeks of the month in order to fulfill the biblical precept to “visit” and “confirm” their brothers in Christ”, so one out of eleven annual church services is held in a cemetery. The day follows the format of the regular service: Preaching for three hours (usually on the glory of the saints), followed by “supper on the ground.” Many cemeteries have permanent pavilions constructed for these meetings.

  9. Melissa

    congratulations on your baby girl! Your house sounds so….pink and soft and sweet. 🙂 We have 4 boys and 1 girl and our house is very…err..farm-like ;).

  10. Matt

    Don’t have the time to google a yogurt maker, but I’m pretty sure my wife just mixes a little bit of store-bought yogurt with a bunch of milk and it turns into more yogurt somehow.

    This is merely my impression and if my wife contradicts that I’ll let you know.

  11. elizabeth

    Mireille Guiliano has recipes for homemade yogurt with or without a machine in “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” I’ll dig out my book and e-mail you the recipe.

    Congratulations on the new baby girl!

  12. coffeemom

    Congratulations on another girl! What happy news (ok, either way, but still).
    And I was in the same boat, though my weakness was greek yogurt. So I got a yogurt maker. I LOVE it! I haven’t had any success w/ flavored yogurts, but my plain yogurt is terrific, if I do say so myself. Even my husband will eat it, which is a huge deal. I first used this small one, but now since my girls are into making smoothies all the time, I upgraded to this big one and gave the small one to my sis in law. it’s a little expense on the front end, but ended up saving us money. and I know you can do it the ways suggested above, w/ no official machine, but I am such a doofus that I would ruin it in the middle of the process or forget or one of the kids would get into it, etc. So I like these. I got them here, but have seen them cheaper on ebay too.


    Good luck, enjoy the weekend, tell us all about it, and congratulations again!

  13. Elizabeth

    Congrats on your daughter!

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog.

  14. Amy from Occupation: Mommy

    Congratulations on another girl! We have three little girls, and it is so much fun.

  15. Sheryl in the UK

    I have a yogurt maker and I love, love, love it! To start off i use a very small pot of yogurt. It needs to be plain natural with nothing added as additives can affect the process. I use UHT full fat milk (don’t know if you have a different name for it in the states…ultra heat treated…you get it off the shelf not from te chiller) Stir together gently adding a couple of tablespoons of milk powder and leave to ‘cook’. My machine says it takes 8 hours but I leave mine for at least 16 hours. ( haven’t died or killed anyone with it!) The yogurt is then thicker and scrumdiddleumptious! We like to use sprinkles on it, pureed fruit (No bits mamma!) or layer crushed cookies, then yogurt and top with sliced banana.

  16. Catherine

    Yes, yogurt makers work. I got one off of ebay for under $10. You can make yogurt without one, but using a yogurt maker it’s fool-proof, which is important to me with little ones running around, as I don’t always have the ability to keep temperatures constant etc otherwise.

  17. Katie

    Congratulations on baby girl #3! I have 3 girls, too, I love it 🙂

  18. daffy-maiden

    Aww! ^_^

    About cemetery homecomings: Serbian Orthodox churches in the Midwest buy a huge plot of land and have the cemetery, picnic grounds and soccer field all on it, so it’s not weird to me!

  19. Pam

    Congratulations on the latest baby girl!
    I’ve just found a great way to make yogurt without a yogurt maker — using a 1-quart canning jar sitting in a water bath in a tall crockpot. The crockpot is plugged into a cheap lamp timer (the kind that turns the lamps on and off to make the house look occupied when you’re away); the timer is set to turn the crockpot on for about an hour a couple of times through the night.
    I put a few tablespoons of Stonyfield Farms plain whole-milk yogurt into the canning jar as the starter, then added about a half-cup of dry skim milk and filled up the jar with regular (half-percent) milk and mixed thoroughly. I set the jar in the warm water, turned the crockpot on low for a couple of hours to bring the mixture up to temp, then let the lamp timer take it from there.
    The yogurt turned out great, and I didn’t have to buy a new appliance or wash little jars!

  20. Sandy

    Congratulations on baby girl #3.

    We visited my family cemetery in Missouri a few years ago and my husband was intrigued by a permanent board mounted between two trees, just outside the tiny church building. I told him that was the serving line for the dinners on the grounds! I’ve never actually attended a cemetery homecoming but have heard of them from both my Ozarks-born parents. Every year on Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day) the family would gather at the cemetery with tools to spruce up the cemetery and covered dishes for dinner.

    One of my most “country” experiences was when my grandpa died and a woman who lived pretty near the cemetery hosted dinner for the family afterward. Her house was very country, but very cozy, too. It was filled with antiques and looked as if nothing had changed in 75 years. (Probably, not much had.)

    Can’t wait to hear about your weekend.

  21. matthew archbold

    Congratulations on the baby. God bless.

  22. Sally

    Congratulations on the newest little girl! I have three girls myself. Regarding yogurt makers, I have had good results with a 1-gallon cooler jog that I bought for $6. I boil the milk, cool it to warmish, add 8 oz. of plain yogurt to start it, and put it in the cooler (which has been sterilized with boiling water). Leave it to sit for 6-8 hours and you have the creamiest, yummiest yogurt you will ever eat! You can add nonfat dry milk if you like your yogurt thicker.

  23. Liz

    I just got a yogurt maker last week and I LOVE it. It makes 42 oz at a time. You use a quart of milk and 6 oz of yogurt (as a starter after the first batch you can use some of your own yogurt) The texture is pretty good (a few clumps, but I’m using non homogenized milk, so that’s to be expected. The flavor is fantastic (much better than what I made years ago, but I think it may have to do with the variety of culture I started with. This yogurt tastes just like the Stonyfield yogurt I used for a starter. I can actually eat this stuff plain and I’ve NEVER eaten yogurt plain before. I buy my raw milk for $1.25 a quart and that makes my homemade yogurt a lot cheaper than what I was buying in the store at over $5 a quart. My yogurt maker has an automatic shut off and I like not having to babysit the yogurt all day long.

  24. Carrien

    Don’t get a yogurt maker until you try my yogurt tutorial first. Because I make it all the time with my oven, a pot and some mason jars.

    The link is here

  25. Gina Dalfonzo

    I love baby girls. 🙂 Congratulations!


  1. 7 Quick Takes (vol. 5) : Conversion Diary - [...] you for all the great comments about how to make your own yogurt. Unfortunately, I will not be doing…

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