Monday, May 30, 2011

Kitty Foster Family Needed

We're preparing to sell our condo, and we're being realistic about it. In this market, it is not going to be snatched up based on location and potential (which is why we bought it). We are prepared for it to take a good long time to sell. Of course, all you need is that one special person to see what you see in your home! We're hoping to have it listed by the end of the summer.

However, we've got some work to do in the meantime. There's the cosmetic work, and the training of children (and ourselves) to be neat and clean for those impromptu visits from potential buyers, and generally making our place more appealing than the other units for sale in our building. That means, we actually have to follow the bylaws of our association. One of those bylaws says "no pets." Heavy hearted, we have decided it would be best for our family if we found foster parents for our cats until we are able to sell the house, or until August 2012 when we will be moving regardless of the home being sold.

Would anyone be willing to take one or both cats for a maximum time of one year? The cats will have a clean bill of health from the veterinarian before coming to your home, and all food, litter, vet bills, and other supplies will be paid for by us.



Carmina is a 8 year old female American Shorthair. She has claws on all four feet, and is an indoor-only cat. Carmina has gotten a bad rap as being a mean cat, as she has swiped at those who have not respected her space in the past. However, she has mellowed out with age, learning that if she wants any attention at all, she had better be a well-behaved, cuddly kitty. She will often crawl into your lap, not really for petting, but just as a comfy warm spot to sleep. Carmina is a pretty laid back cat in her adult age, not needing much interaction or play. She will let you know when she's lonely by "forcing" you to pet her! She does well with children of all ages, but please don't force kids on her as she likes her space. She mostly copes by staying completely out of their way, though she is tolerant of Miriam occasionally chewing on her tail. Carmina's favorite place to sleep is at your feet in the bed. She is tolerant of dogs, though she has never lived with one. She has no problems with litter box usage or hairballs.



Loki is a 5 year old male Maine Coon, but he's on the smaller side of the breed at about 14 pounds. He also has claws on all four feet and is indoor-only. Loki is a lover. Like most Maine Coons, he has a strong desire to be with you at all times. He loves to be pet and cuddled, though he won't sit still and chill with you until it's bedtime. Loki is a talker! He is very vocal and is perfect for when you need a conversation above a 2 year old level. :-) He also is pretty laid back and will entertain himself for the most part. He does have long hair, but doesn't need extensive grooming. He gets mats in his hindquarters and we rake through them once a month for him so they don't get too bad. Loki also does great with kids of any age, but does choose to stay out of their way. You'll find Loki's favorite place to sleep is next to your head by your pillow in bed. Loki does not tolerate dogs and finds them very scary and stress inducing, even the ones that are smaller than he is. He also has no problems with the litter box or hairballs.

These cats are our furry children. If you agree to foster them, we will do whatever we can to make it an easy experience for you, including coming to clip their nails and grooming if you're not comfortable with that. All we ask is that you treat them with the same respect we would expect you to treat our children with!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One smart little cookie:

My son is a pretty smart little 2 year old, if I say so myself. I'm amazed that we don't have more tantrums because our inability to always clearly communicate with each other. Every day he has a new way to express what he's thinking and I'm just wowed by how his brain works. I'll let you in to a little conversation we had tonight.

Benjamin wants me to read him a story.
Me: "Honey, I will read you a story in 5 minutes. It's time to give Miriam some medicine." (Miriam has an ear infection.)
Benjamin: "Yeah, Momma. Miriam's tummy hurts." (He's remembering from when he last got medicine because his tummy hurt when he had rotavirus last month.)
Me: "Yeah, something like that. Her head hurts."
Benjamin: "It's okay. Momma make it better."
Me: "Yes, Momma will make it better."
Benjamin: "Yup, Momma's good. Momma fix it."

About a half hour later, when Miriam was finally succumbing to the affects of the pain medication and had stopped fussing so badly, Benjamin goes up to her and pats her on the head.
Benjamin: "All better Miriam? All better?"
Me: "Yep, Miriam feels better now."
Benjamin: "Oh, good. Now go asleep, Baby. It's time for popcorn!" (We've been having popcorn as a snack after Miriam goes to bed.)

See, isn't his mind just amazing?!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Kefir overrunneth

My mother first introduced me to Kefir and it's probiotic qualities when Benjamin was a year old. At that time, he already had 5 ear infections and was trying to beat a really stubborn one. She brought over some store bought Kefir, and Benjamin went crazy for it! Because you have to shake the bottle before serving, he started calling them his "shake, shake, shake." Within a few days, his ear infection was gone, and he's never had another one come back. Was it because of the Kefir? Who knows?! But I can tell you that Benjamin drinks one every day for breakfast, and if he stops drinking it, he gets sick. I believe it strengthens his immunity. Also, I'm really prone to colds and respiratory infections, so when the Chris came home with a cold, I started drinking Kefir too. I had a slight sore throat, but it never progressed into anything more. Now, this could all be coincidence, but why tempt fate?!

The downside? Store bought kefir is expensive. We typically get it from Costco, where it comes in a box of 12 single serving bottles and is priced at about $0.84 a serving. However, Costco routinely stops carrying it for a month or two and then we need to purchase it from the grocery store where they have 32oz bottles (4 servings) and it comes out to $0.92 a serving, and even then we might not find it every week.

My mother decided to try making her own kefir, after I innocently asked if one could even make it. She purchased her grains, and started the brewing process. Before long, she had more than enough grains that she sent them to me. Here's how you brew your own kefir.

Here are my grains. They are translucent and cauliflower-like in appearance. These are milky because they were just pulled out of a milk brew.
Kefir Grains

Put your grains (about 1TB in size) in a clean glass jar. I'm using a tall quart canning jar.
Kefir grains in mason jar

Add one cup of milk over your grains. You can use any cow's milk, goat or sheep milk, or soy or almond milk you want. I have 1% cow's milk in the fridge, so that's what I used.
Add 1 cup milk to kefir grains

Cover your grains in order to keep dust out, but you do need to allow air circulation. I covered mine with a coffee filter. Leave it sit on the counter, out of sunlight, for up to 24 hours.
cover kefir with coffee filter

When the kefir is done brewing, it'll be a bit thick (like a runny version of yogurt) and have a tangy taste reminiscent of plain yogurt. The milk may have separated and formed curds. Strain your grains out. Do not use any metal strainers or utensils because the metal will kill the grains, and do not store it in plastic as the grains will eat that. I use a plastic strainer and a plastic baby spoon to do the straining, but I store it in a tall pint mason jar with a plastic freezer canning lid. Now you keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it. (This is two brewings. You're still left with 1 cup of liquid each time.)
2 batches of kefir

This Kefir is the exact same stuff in the store bought bottle. The only difference is that I haven't turned it into a smoothie. I could blend some strawberries or blueberries or other fruit with it and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
my kefir vs. storebought kefir

But, today, I thought I'd make a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana smoothie. You can use Kefir for anything that you would use milk, yogurt, or sour cream for. This recipe originally called for skim milk. With the Kefir instead, it really brings the taste of the banana to the forefront! I gave Chris a drink and didn't tell him there was Kefir in it (he has up until this point refused to drink Kefir on principle), and he thought it was good! Be forewarned, this is a very rich drink though.
Chocolate banana peanut butter kefir smoothie

1 cup kefir
1 cup ice
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 TB chocolate syrup
1 banana

Blend all the ingredients together. Makes 2 servings.