I Can, Therefore I Am

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I took a break from canning for the past two years. Now and then, I regretted not canning, but life moved on at a fast speed and I understood myself and gave myself a pass for not doing this. My husband actually promised me the healthiest applesauce money can buy – organic, no sugar added, with the highest possible nutrition score on the label – just so I skip canning.

Peaches in light syrup

Peaches cooking in a light syrup, almost ready to go into jars.

He does not like see me “slaving” in the kitchen. Isn’t he a darling? He wanted me to give myself a break from canning, too.  Continue reading »

Some people think canning is a thing of the past, something American grandmas used to do. But no, wait, there was a lady who told me her mom canned every year. Then she added, “I just don’t have that gene.” I replied that some years I have that gene, and others I just don’t. This year, I do.

My conclusion is that if I do any canning, I have to be in the right frame of mind – the canning frame of mind. I should not guilt myself into it, I should not compare myself to somebody else in order to motivate myself to do it etc. I should do it because I want to do it.

Jars of homemade salsa

Jars of salsa drying off after the waterbath

It’s a lot of work and the kitchen is a mess for a day or two. But guess what? It takes only one minute to wipe the counters and 10 minutes to mop the sticky floor of the kitchen after a day of canning. And then you have the glorious jars to admire and enjoy for the next 12 months. Plus you have a clean kitchen, cleaner than if you had not canned. Who mops their kitchen floor every day? I don’t. It does not get sticky every day.

But what really motivated me to can this year is – well – several things. In all honesty, I have become more and more accustomed to that really good taste of fresh salsa one gets in a Mexican restaurant. So store-bought salsa just does not make the cut anymore.

Visiting Romania in April reminded me of zacusca – a roasted vegetable spread for bread, which I cannot even buy in the States. It’s best when you make it yourself anyway.

Then, of course, the thought of homemade applesauce is enough to make my mouth water. Last but not least, I wanted to can peaches. I love peaches in every form: fresh, canned, in a jelly, dried, in a compote.

So here I am, canning four recipes and seeing if I make enough from the first batch. I have a feeling I want to can more just so I have 24 jars (quarts or pints) of each recipes. I have ordered my ingredients from a wholesaler and on the first day I canned six pints of salsa (plus a quart – somehow I got more than the recipe said I would) and 12 quarts of peaches. The rest will have to happen next week.

Our First Official Homeschool Break

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We homeschool for six weeks and take a week off. Many veteran homeschoolers have recommended this schedule as a sanity preserver, so I am going with the voice of experience. We have homeschooled now for six weeks and this is the first official school break in our home. It’s exciting.

I thought this would be the week when I finally finish some writing projects and can applesauce, but I have all kinds of other appointments which I was not planning on. On top of that, our monthly Ripley’s Aquarium science class happens to be this week and we still have another session of our Adventurer Club to attend before we take a two-week break from that…

Looks like learning will happen despite the break from the 3Rs.

The curve ball is the bug my daughter has been fighting for a few days now and which has transferred to my son today.

Speaking of my son, I asked him to sweep the floor after lunch and he did a great job. I still had to sweep a bit after him in places, but he has made a lot of progress since last week. He was proud of what he accomplished. After he missed the trash can though, he got discouraged. He asked me to sweep up the mess. I told him that he was still learning and encouraged him not to give up. He was still negative, but stood there and watched me sweep.

After I cleaned up the trash can area, he came back to me asking me to let him try dumping the dust pan again. He did not miss this time. I felt he was growing right there before my eyes, not just in home ec. skills, but also in attitude towards work and in his self-image.

Work is an important component of the Moore Formula (besides academics and service). I think children learn so much by working and performing chores around the house.

As I look up, I thank God for every day I am able to stay home and teach the kids.

As I look up, I thank God for every day I am able to stay home and teach the kids.

When we visited their grandmother in the hospital over the weekend (that falls under service, by the way), my son narrated a whole book to her of his own free will – Curious George Gets a Job. (Narration is a Charlotte Mason method.)

Of all the books we have read to him recently, he thought of that one because George broke his leg and had to wear a cast – like grandmother, who fell and broke her leg, and has to wear a cast now.

My daughter sang I’m a Super Sleuth – which she learned in church recently – also of her own free will. Children are so good at comforting others. They are natural at it.

I feel so blessed to be able to stay home with them and teach them and watch them grow and learn.

Homeschooling blesses me just as much as it blesses them. Which is why, when I look up at the sky, I thank God for my life. How did I get to be so lucky?