The other Christmas dream

On Christmas Eve, Alison spent a lot of the day cooking and preparing for the evening, so the girls had to amuse themselves. At one point Rea came and invited her to join them for Church. They sat on our bed and took turns standing up at the nightstand (their "podium") and giving talks or testimonies. Alison says it was really, really cute. Rea is getting very skilled at her testimony-bearing, and she's beginning to learn how to do talks, with some help, and Sara has started doing coherent testimonies all by herself. It's so much fun to watch them.

This year we had a really nice Christmas. We woke up at about 6 to find that it had snowed for the first time in December this year. The kids opened their stocking and enjoyed them for about a half hour. They then opened up one present and played with it for another hour or so. It took until about 11 before we were done with our gift opening.

Sara really loved her Christmas candies. She ate them all and then tried to eat everyone else's as well. We put less candy in the girls' stockings this year because this same thing happened last year, and I personally think that Christmas went better as a result of that.

Rea bought a baby doll toy for Sara this year as a Christmas present. She wrapped it herself and was really excited about giving it to her. When Sara opened up the doll she was very excited about it. She started by screaming "yea!", and then continued with "I will go to sleep with this doll and dream about my candies."

Alison made lovely cinnamon rolls for breakfast (which were sweet and cinnamony, but not too sweet (as is the problem that I have with most cinnamon rolls) ). We had a big pot of Samoan Cocoa which was brewing on the stove all day and we would get a mug whenever we wanted.

After breakfast we used Alison's new cream extractor on the daily goat milk to get some cream. It worked pretty good (though it was also pretty loud.) We plan on making lower fat Parmesan type cheeses (which should age better than the super high fat cheeses that we have been making) as well as goat milk butter (which we have not made so much on account of the difficulty of extracting the cream from goat milk using a manual process)

For lunch we had egg-paneer-bagel sandwiches with our excellent white cheddar on the top.

After lunch we started to paint the kitchen (which was Alison's way of keeping me from going stir crazy on a day home from work where we are not allowed to go anywhere.) We got on one coat of primer and one topcoat. It looks like a new kitchen. Alison picked a white with blue/purple tinted gray in it. Some would call it white or gray, but all of our rooms are now a off-white with a slight hue to them.

After painting the kitchen I started working on my biggest Christmas gift: a cheese cave. Alison bought me a chest freezer to serve as the housing and the cooling of the cave, and I bought a thermostat online to serve as the new temperature gauge/controller of the cave. I have opened up the back of the freezer and taken out the old thermostat (which neither had a large enough range to cool the cheeses to only 50 degrees nor a digital readout to make it easy to see where they were currently cooled to). I plan on installing a new thermostat and then shelving in the freezer before moving all of my cheeses to their new home.

Unfortunately the voltage of the thermostat that I bought did not match the voltage that the fridge provided, so I am now waiting on a different thermostat (I dare not install the other thermostat, since I am sure that it would not be a good thing.)

We did, however forget to open our blue brie on Christmas day (like we were planning to), so we opened it instead on the Friday after. The paste (the inner part of the cheese that you eat (as opposed to the rind of the cheese)) tasted like a mild brie cheese, but the blue veins were very strongly flavored. I think that we over-aged that part, or that they got infected with the wrong type of mold. Either way, the cheese is still good grated over pasta, and it can be eaten in slices (if the eater is brave or careful)

On Friday we also watched Mickey's Christmas Carol and stayed at home in the evening (Alison visited her parents in the morning since I went to work.)

Saturday we made more than a pound of butter from 9 liters of milk which we had been saving up. It took longer than it had to because we first extracted the cream using Alison's new cream extractor and then made the butter and the butter formed while the milk was still warm, so it didn't separate out very well. We finally figured that the milk needed to be cooler and then had butter in no time. We used the skim milk that was left over to make a small Parmesan that we will be brining for the next little bit.

Finally, our recent Brie of December 20th is growing a luxurious mane of white mold. all around the edges which will hopefully colonize the middle soon. We are really looking forward to this one.

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