Thank-you so very much for allowing me the privilege of coming to your group to speak.  I hope this handout is helpful to you.

Taking Care of Ourselves as We Lay Down Our Lives Cambridge 2014 Handout

God Bless,


For those of you who attended one of my sessions at the OCHEC Conference this year — thank you very much!  Please find links to the handouts below.

(For those of you who didn’ t attend and are wondering if I am still expecting after a year and a half…No, I am not.  I have a nearly 18 month-old baby!  Yikes!  This blog needs some updating!)

Charlotte Mason – 20 Principles Handout

Taking Care of Ourselves as We Lay Down Our Lives Handout

ATTENTION Moms from the ‘Taking Care of Ourselves’ Session…One of you won a prize for the longest past your due date in a pregnancy, but I forgot to collect your information.  If you are that blessed lady, could you please leave a comment so I can e-mail you and get your information?  Or, if you happen to know this lady, would you kindly ask her to get in touch with me?

Thank-you everyone who attended.  It was an absolute pleasure to spend some time with you.

Almost Time…

I know I haven’t posted in a very, very long time.  It used to be so easy to come up with inspiring things to say, but then it got harder!  I thought I’d give you an update about a couple of important aspects of our life, though.  First of all, we are expecting another baby!  I am due on November 7th, now officially less than 2 weeks away.  Steve and I have decided that this will be our last baby, so I am enjoying every minute of this pregnancy.  I do really love being pregnant, so that isn’t too difficult.  As well, happily, I seem to get at least one bonus week, so I don’t expect to be giving birth until at least mid-November.

One day short of 38 weeks on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012.

We’ve had loads of wonderful blessings in our family this past year.  This baby will be the second new family member we welcome this year.  In July, our oldest daughter got married to our dear son-in-law.  The two of them are making their home at the time near the chef school where our son-in-law is attending.

I am taking this week off of our regular homeschooling routine to prepare for our new baby.  I have already sewn up a bunch of little, adorable newborn diapers, which I may post about later on.  Today, I will be assembling birth supplies and, hopefully, cleaning!

Okay, I am backing away from the computer, but it isn’t easy.  Have you ever visited Awkward Family Photos?  You’ll need some strong abdominal muscles for the laughter you’ll be doing if you make your way over there.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Here he is — dirty, but loved dearly by so many.

  • Served dinner on the grass to make clean up easier
  • Self-feeding leftover spinach quiche
  • Pink bowl, even though he is a boy
  • Dirty onesie (from self-feeding strawberries)
  • Onesie snaps not done up to make it easier to change diapers/EC
  • Adorably happy and easy-going

We did it.

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary!  While a successful marriage is always something to celebrate, I think it is especially so when a couple starts ‘behind the game’ and is able to overcome some really big hurdles.  Two years ago, I posted a bit about starting off with less-than-ideal circumstances and the beautiful way that God uses those circumstances to help us die to ourselves to become more like him.  It is one of my favourite posts, entitled Against the Odds.

Last night, we had a yummy dinner with our children and then, after putting our baby to bed, headed out to a local restaurant for some adult time over chocolate fondue.  We do not take for granted the privileged position we are in having two capable teenagers who can look after our home and children to allow us time to reconnect.  It is just one of the great blessings of being married for 20 years.

Finished Quince Jam by MGF/Lady Disdain
Finished Quince Jam, a photo by MGF/Lady Disdain on Flickr.

My mom and I are canning partners. Each summer, starting about the end of July, we start madly preserving the harvest. We can all kinds of food, which makes up a good share of what my family eats during the winter. My only regret is that, for some bizarre reason, I was actually too intimidated by canning to do any preserving until about 5 or 6 years ago. Asking my mom to help me, I found it intensely satisfying and much simpler than I thought it would be. It is a beautiful sight to see canning shelves filled with jars of pickles, tomatoes, salsa, peaches and pears, applesauce, jam and loads of other goodies — all local foods.

A lot of people who want to do just a bit of canning start with jam. Grocery store jam is often full of sugar and natural food store jam comes in very small, expensive jars. To make low or no-sugar jam, you cannot use standard Certo brand pectin. I tried Certo Light pectin, but found the results unreliable (sometimes the jam would set and sometimes it wouldn’t) and was frustrated that the instructions said not to double recipes. Making 5 or 6 little tiny jars of jam at a time for our family of nine did not seem efficient to me!

Then, out of nowhere the happy fateful day arrived. I was at our local natural foods store and noticed the Pomona’s Universal Pectin on the shelf. I can only believe that God must have prompted me to buy a box since it was about $6, which is about three times as much as grocery store pectin. On a whim, I picked it up and took it home.

Later on at home, I looked over the instructions. I was pleased to find that Pomona’s makes three times the jam that regular pectin does and giddy to read that they encourage you to double or triple the recipe AND to experiment! If you have ever made jam before, you know that most pectin instructions do not encourage creativity and all but ban you from doubling the recipes. Pomona’s honestly seems to be virtually fail-proof.

Making up our first batch of jam with Pomona’s pectin was lots of fun. We did a double recipe of the low-sugar version included in the product insert. There are instructions as well for a no-sugar version, but we prefer just a little bit more sweetness. The resulting jam is absolutely delicious. It has tons of flavour, set beautifully and is gobbled up by everyone. I couldn’t be more pleased. We later made raspberry, pear, peach and apricot jam with the same, perfect results — not one fail.

If you are thinking you’d like to do just a little bit of canning, I heartily encourage you to try some jam (using Pomona’s pectin!). As long as you have a large enough pot to cover the small jars with water, you really need no special equipment. If you would like to try canning later this summer and the berries you want to use are ready now, you can freeze them to use when you are ready. We had excellent results doing this a couple of times.

So, that’s it! The secret for us is to use the right pectin. By the way, I am telling you about Pomona’s just because I love it, not because they paid me or even gave me any free pectin. (I wish.)

Are you planning on canning anything this summer? Do you have a favourite recipe you like?