The rat

Since my last post, we’ve been busy with traveling, the mid-year spring clean (I’m allergic to dust that’s why) and kicking back over two and a half weeks of school holidays. Now I don’t even know where to start.

How about a story?

Well, about a month ago, Pegs caught a rat.

Pegs, our dog. Not another kid you didn’t know we had. Ha!

How did I know? I was still in the throes of heavy slumber just before the break of dawn when Sweet Man shook my shoulder and broke the news in a low whisper.

Forget the front page. This kind of thing makes headlines over here.

Pegs had left it in the middle of our driveway – the mangled body, pretty much intact in most respects. Except for its guts. They had spewed out at the lower section of the body where Pegs had nipped it.

I didn’t bother getting out of bed to see it. No way. I was intent on reclaiming a few minutes of shut eye after having awakened to nurse Roo a few times in the middle of the night.

In any event, I could always rely on detailed descriptions from the kids.

Sweet Man said not to worry about the mess and went to clean up. I’m glad I can always leave guts and gore to him. Give me Roo’s soiled nappies any day.

I stretched in bed with bleary eyes and was about to snuggle back down again with Roo still sleeping next to me when Lamb burst into the room. My little guy doesn’t walk. He runs, leaps, jumps, crawls. He is a tornado, a whirlwind in the house. Floor mats get cast aside in the wake of his path. That is why we need Afternoon Quiet Time and lots of the outdoors.

Mama, Mama, Mama! You’ll never guess what Pegs did! She caught a rat!!!

The exuberance! The breathlessness! A whisper so loud that Roo awoke. Forget more sleep.

Ummmm. I turned on my side and saw dark, shining eyes and clasping hands.

Did you see the rat? Up close?

Oh yes, Mama. Pegs bit its penis! (I think it was this bit that truly woke me up.) Its guts came out like this, spwwshhhhh…..

Boy, I just love those details.

Lamb nestled close to me. I’m so glad I’m not that rat. All chewed up!

With that, he bounced out of bed, out of the room and hurtled down the stairs.

Sweet Man mooted the idea of getting a cat to live indoors.

You can probably guess what I said to that, can’t you?

We’ll just have to continue with the status quo. Sweet Man, the Rat Catcher!

I had his permission for this one, and yes, that IS a fishing net
I had his permission for this one, and yes, that IS a fishing net

Whenever there is a hungry, housebound rodent, my job for the most part is to deal with mess and destruction in the mornings. Tis not an easy feat. It gives me white hairs. (I also have four children now, remember?) Thankfully this has happened only three times. Thankfully also, upon discovery all I have to do is stand by, wield a stick behind a makeshift barricade and scream murder at the top of my lungs while Sweet Man does the running and smashing.

A kitchen without a door is nice and fancy, but not quite when there's a rat in it
A kitchen without a door is nice and fancy, but not quite when there’s a rat in it

Rat traps don’t seem to work. Maybe we haven’t been setting them up right.

I hope we never have to do that again. Not ever.

Certainly not at 2.00am when the job involves moving kitchen cabinets, putting up chairs and I’m halfway nursing Roo. On that occasion (aforementioned) I had to lay her quickly in a basket and grab a stick.

Roo: Just 1.5mos
Poor Roo! Barely 1.5mos

She slept through all our whoops and yells!

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Kefir

Kefir in a cup

Kefir has become a staple drink in our family.

I was first introduced to milk kefir last August by a dear friend who passed me some of her milk kefir grains. She showed me how to brew the kefir and pointed out some useful kefir sites.

The first time I tasted kefir, I fell in love. So did Sweet Man and the kids. Kefir has a tangy flavour but the kids didn’t seem to notice or be bothered by the sour taste. We drank it as it was, chilled and plain. As a two year old, Piglet downed his portion with tremendous gusto and I wish I’d taken a photo of his thick milk kefir moustache!

I now drink milk kefir three times daily and the rest of the family consume at least one cup each.

Kefir is rich in protein, calcium, fiber and is a powerful natural probiotic – 10 probiotic strains! Research has shown it helps lower cholesterol levels and keeps the gut healthy. Drinking kefir has helped to strengthen our immunity and we have noticed that it improves our digestion and regulates our appetites too. I drank kefir during pregnancy as it was great not only for me but also for the baby. I am so glad our kids love kefir, even plain kefir, as it has so many health benefits for children.

If you want to know more about the benefits of kefir, check out the National Kefir Association. For lots of in-depth information on kefir, visit Dom’s kefir site. (He is the absolute Guru of kefir. You’ll know why, when you read his site.)

After Roo was born, I continued brewing our milk kefir every 24 hours for the first few days during my confinement. After a week, I decided I needed a break because, well, life is full as it is with a newborn and three other kids! I stored my kefir grains in the fridge following Dom’s instructions.

Two weeks later I was ready to resume kefir brewing again. My kefir baby was still alive and active and I was glad it took no time at all to produce the same results as before.

I embarked on a new way of drinking milk kefir quite by chance. It happened when I had to take a second break from kefir, when Roo was 8 weeks old and I had to go on a 2-week course of antibiotics as a precaution against infection, a risk when you have retained placenta remnants. Kefir is slightly alcoholic and so I couldn’t consume it while taking the antibiotic I was prescribed.

Nevertheless I continued brewing kefir everyday and gradually accumulated 3 jars of kefir in our fridge. I then had an idea of using our excess kefir to make a banana milk kefir smoothie. This is how I did it:

BANANA MILK KEFIR SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

800ml milk kefir

4 bananas

1 tbsp honey

Method:

Put all the ingredients into a blender. Give the mixture a good whiz. Serve chilled, either as is, or with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder on top. If you wedge a slice of orange or lemon on the edge of the glass, you are guaranteed to get lots of oohs and aahs from admiring little ones.

Banana milk kefir smoothie was a raging hit from the first sip. It has a lovely fizzy zing. The moment he tasted it, Lamb proclaimed I was “The Best Mama in the World”. It can’t get easier than that!

Lately, we tried adding freshly squeezed orange juice and love the results.

There are other natural flavours we want to try, so this week I’ll be making mango kefir smoothies and we might try a honeydew version soon after.

Have you tried milk kefir yet? It just might revolutionize your life!

 

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