Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tattler Lids

You probably know by now that the regular Ball brand canning lids have BPA in that coating on the underside of the lid. I try to avoid BPA which led me to trying out Tattler lids.

I read reviews and I knew people had a few issues that they felt were resolved by their being more attentive to screwing the lids down just so before the jars went into the canner. I read the instructions carefully. My first batch of canning summer before last showed a surprising failure rate. By this I mean that I owned 24 Tattler lids that were applied to 24 jars of tomatoes or jam and of those 24, I had failed seals or mold within that season in at least 10 of those jars. I attributed this to my perhaps not being careful enough.

So this past summer I gave it another go; I even bought another dozen of these lids at the local coop.

This is the fifth jar of tomatoes I've found like this:

I found at least four others early in the season with their lids just not sealed that I also threw out.

When you find this in your pantry, you doubt everything in there. I made a point of doing only mixed batches of Tattler and BPA lids. None of the regular metal toxic lids have failed. None. I did 90 quarts of tomatoes, 36 of those were canned with Tattler lids. I was extremely careful about the tightening and not tightening and ring and lid placement. I figure whatever that black mold is, it's probably worse for my family than the BPA in the metal lids.

Don't waste your money on these lids. It's not worth the risk.

Sewing Pattern Recommendation

I have had very good luck with Oliver & S patterns and this one was no exception-

I also tried out a pattern from a new source, Marie and Madeline, and I am also quite pleased.

And for myself, I am trying out Colette patterns- also a pleasure.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Series post- What We Teach

This isn't to say "You should teach this." It is instead to reflect on what we actually are communicating and I invite you to comment and share what you think you're actually teaching, as well. So, before I start, I want to humbly acknowledge that I am teaching and failing to teach many things that I just do not see.

Today, Sylvie's math took more than TWO HOURS! We had a day like that last week, too. She is quite mathematically minded and has zero trouble understanding her math concepts. Today, she really needs to resist me. I mostly think you are not learning math in second grade when you spend two hours hammering away at it with your mother, but you're probably learning something just as important.

She learned, not for the first time, that I stick with things that are important and I expect her to do the same thing. She learned that I flat out will not believe that she cannot do math. She learned that sometimes a nice long hug in the middle of something challenging can help firm a person's resolve. She learned that baby talk and throwing herself on the floor will not save her from something I consider important. She learned that skipping work one day does not mean that the work goes away. And she got to feel that giddy feeling of finishing something she started.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hey Cowboy!

Happy Birthday!

At his thirteenth birthday. You've come a long way Cowboy from that itty bitty bundle.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What Christmas Looked Like Here

We take off 4 to 6 weeks around Christmas, and we'll be starting back on Monday. But here's a quick look at what Christmas 2012 looked like.

We finally had snow that stayed. The children began their reindeer games with bury the easiest victim in the snow. It's much better than leaves for hiding someone.

The guilty culprits.

 Making candy to send and gift to various friends and family. The caramels and chocolates were by far our favorite. We hope you got to sample some.

 Preparing the meat for the tamales. We made two beef tongues- thanks Gusto and Chappy! We also made a pork shoulder to be sure there was enough meat. Then Christmas Eve, we crammed 37 people into our house. It was amazing, crowded and fun.
I spent a lot of time knitting and finishing projects that I wanted to do.