Mold is growing on us

It is finally so hot that we have - once and for all - put away the winter jackets and boots and gotten all of the summer things out. Grandma Julie found the girls some knee length shorts (Alison believed that I wanted the girls to only wear knee length shorts because I have talked many times about modesty) and rash guards (which the girls love and want to wear constantly).

This week we didn't get enough milk to make a cheese. It was the first week that we didn't make a cheese in a long time. Clarabel is down to about 4 cups of milk a day, and Lala is down to about 10 cups a day. Probably next week we will make a cheese.

Yesterday we bought some traditional danish blue cheese (which actually has green mold in it, not blue mold). We made some hamburgers with lovely blue cheese on top of them, and decided that we really need to make a moldy cheese some time soon.

I have been steeling myself to make moldy cheese for a long time. Alison and I both enjoy moldy cheeses a lot. some of the moldy cheeses that we like include Camembert, Derby, Blue Cheese and Muenster. We both like the flavors that they provide, and one thing that we really love is the fact that they age for so short a time frame.

It has just been really scary to intentionally add mold to a cheese. Usually I try to fight off the molds that grow on my cheeses (with more or less success). The new cheese book that Alison got me, Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking, has been absolutely invaluable to me in both overcoming my fear of mold and understanding the processes by which cheeses age and are made. It actually encourages the growth of mold on cheeses (apparently they are a natural part of the process and should be enjoyed).

In order to make an environment that fosters the growth of mold I will have to increase the amount of water in the air. This means having a cheese cave that is devoted to moldy cheeses (some of my cheeses will still remain mold free - I can't imagine what a Parmesan or a Derby would be like with mold on it). Fortunately we never actually got rid of our initial cheese cave (the DI wine fridge), so we will use that one.

In 60 days we may have a new cheese story :).

This week we have been playing things fairly low key since the impending birth of the baby.  The girls have been pretty good about having all their routine activities stopped just in case; Alison was worried that they'd throw fits to lose preschool and our other plans, but they've cooperated well.  Alison has worked hard to get them outside at least 4 hours a day, which has helped keep them happy.  They go to parks a lot and play with other kids there (at least Rea does; Sara wants to play but refuses to talk when there are other kids around).  The pool is only open 4-8pm until school gets out (this Thursday), so going to the pool is a good bribe to get them to get things done before 4, so they can swim for an hour before going home to see Daddy.  Actually, Rea loves the pool; Sara prefers the sand in the volleyball court just outside, so they do some of both.

Yesterday we decided to go to the DI.  Rea took her own money as well as giving a toy back, so she got two stuffed horses.  Sara got a doll, as always.  Alison got some books, but Mike scored the real find: a Ryobi jigsaw for $20!  It has all the parts (even instructions!) and seems to work fine.  Exciting!  Alison is pulling out some of her ideas that require a jigsaw for new projects.

On the way back from the DI, we stopped at a garage sale.  They were about to close up and send things to the DI, so they gave us most of what we wanted free.  We bought one tent, a huge 7 person tent for $10 that will last our family forever, and were given three sleeping bags and a 4 man A-frame tent and a toy bear for the girls.  We came very close to buying a rabbit hutch; apparently our neighbors used to raise meat rabbits, and we want to do that someday.  But we finally decided that it wasn't worth storing the hutch for at least a year until we get around to raising rabbits.  It's good to know we have some experienced neighbors we can ask for advice, though.

Funny story: when we got home and set up the tents, we found that the 4-man A-frame has "Peruvian Park Ward" (our ward) written all over it.  Either it got sold off because it's so old-fashioned, or it got taken home accidentally and forgotten.  I'll ask the Young Men's president at Ward Council today.

The girls loved putting up the tents.  The goats were very interested, too, and wanted to join us inside (we didn't let them).  Sara explained to us that the proper way to sleep in a tent is with your body inside and your feet out.  That's how she sleeps at night, too: her feet on the floor and her body leaning on her mattress.

Speaking of sleeping, it's not going so well.  The shade worked for a few nights, but now they've adjusted and they still stay up past 9 (after being put in bed by 8) and get up before 7.  They've also stopped napping, and Alison is getting frustrated.  When they stopped napping six months ago, she let them start napping in her bed while she does her Hypnobabies practice, but if they stay awake in her bed she can't concentrate and they're grumpy.  We're trying to figure out another solution.  Maybe we just need to admit that at 3 1/2, Rea is outgrowing the need to sleep during the day.  We were trying to hold this off until she read well enough to take a book on her bed for an hour, but she's not quite there yet.  And Sara still needs a nap, but if Rea's playing, it's impossible to make her sleep.  So we don't know what to try next.

Also, Dave got me the final art for my part cards for dancing robots. Next I will work on fixing up the judges to have some form of artwork, and then I will have some hi fidelity cards made.


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