Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Question and answer, part II

As promised, I wanted to answer some of the canning-related questions that came from this post.

Do you use a pressure canner or just a big stock pot for processing? I saw a pressure canner at Wal-Mart yesterday for about $70, but don't know if that's a good price or not.

There are two ways to can: pressure canning, and hot water canning. Pressure canning is used for low-acid foods such as vegetables (corn, beans), meats, etc. Some people do use pressure cookers as a pressure canner, but canning experts advise against that. I think what Wal-Mart sells is a pressure cooker that is also supposed to work as a pressure canner, but again, I guess there is a difference and it's technically not as safe to use. Because pressure canners are expensive, and I prefer frozen vegetables and meats to canned ones, I only ever do hot water canning (which is only suitable for high-acid foods such as fruits and tomatoes). Fruit jams, jellies, applesauce, canned tomatoes, fruit syrups, canned fruits etc. can all be made in a hot water bath. A pressure cooker could be used for hot water canning, but it is impractical (smaller batches) and unnecessary, so there really is no need to spend $70.

Oh and do you use white sugar, or can you use raw sugar? (Trying to think of health here haha).

This year, I only used white sugar for canning. In the past, I have used honey, as well as fruit juice concentrate for sweetening. There is a different kind of pectin available at the store that is made to be used with fruit juice concentrate (usually white grape or apple juice) or sugar substitute (like Splenda - don't even get me started on that). The package contains all the necessary explanations. It's really pretty much the same, except that you dump in the frozen concentrate instead of sugar. The jelly will not be nearly as sweet, but it does taste very nice. I like apricot jelly and berry jams very sweet, though, so I used regular sugar. I have never used raw sugar in place of the white, but I'm sure that would be perfectly fine.

P.S. How do I get my future wife to make delicious stuff like this??? :)

As with everything in life, you catch more flies with honey. But what on earth are you doing on my blog? And how did you like the apricot jelly?


Below are some questions on other topics that I have been asked recently. If I missed yours, I am sorry, it was not intentional. If you have any other questions for me, please feel free to leave it in the comments section, and I will answer it soon.

Let's start with this important question:

Is there ANYTHING you don't know?

For starters, I don't know the name of the person who asked this, since they chose to leave an anonymous comment. Secondly, yes, there are obviously many things that I know nothing about, and probably many other things that I THINK I know but actually am wrong on. But no, I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that a C-section rate of over 30% is extremely out of whack.

hi Zsuzsanna. I was wondering what your thoughts on infertility in general are. I know you are vocal about your opposition to IVF. What are your thoughts about IUI, Clomid, etc.? What about adoption? I am not being facetious, I am genuinely curious. (Rachel)

I think infertility is a terrible problem for women to have to suffer, and I honestly feel very bad for those affected by it. However, I also believe that God is the one who opens and closes the womb and gives women conception, as the Bible says so over and over again. If a couple is childless, it is because that is God's will at that time. I am quite certain that God does not need our artificial means of trying to speed along conception. Interestingly enough, the Bible mentions many women that were barren, but after they prayed and asked God (in the case of Isaac, for two decades), every single one of them went on to have children.

Since I have already explained my position on IVF, I will give you my thoughts on IUI and fertility drugs (such as the one you mentioned, Clomid). I don't think it would be sinful per se to use fertility drugs at a normal dosage, but I also would strongly advise against it. Just because something isn't wrong doesn't mean it is good for us. If women have ovulatory problems, the underlying cause should be rectified rather than supplying the body with artificial hormones that are nothing more than a crutch, and will only lead to the woman's body becoming more out of balance hormonally. There are many herbs and other natural approaches to regulate a woman's cycle and restore her health to where she can then conceive naturally. People have commented on here that they tried drugs and IUI unsuccessfully, then tried herbal remedies, and became pregnant shortly thereafter.

As for IUI, I really do not know much about the process, and don't want to speculate. To me it seems that God intended the creation of a new eternal soul to be between a husband and wife, not a doctor in a clinic. God doesn't need the doctor's help.

Many times, people who use artificial means of conception take the fact that they were successfully able to have a child as proof that God condoned of their actions, and even used modern medicine to carry out His will. But there are many instances where people sin (fornication, adultery), and a child is conceived. It doesn't make the actions of the adults involved any less sinful, but the child of course had no part in it and is just as loved by God as any other. God has created the laws of the universe, and among them is that when two people come together, they are likely to conceive. God doesn't just suspend that law every time somebody decides to mess around outside of marriage, but it doesn't mean that He condones their actions.

Do you use two diaper bags and just split the stuff up, or do you use a diaper bag for each kid? Or, did you never have this problem? Lol. Trying to figure out what would work the best.

I don't really use a diaper bag. There are always a couple of diapers and a pack of wipes in my purse, as well as in the stroller, and also in the van. Chances are, wherever I am at, there is always a diaper and wipes within my reach. If the kids need a snack while we are out, I either toss that in the purse, too, or just pack a bag with water bottles, fruit, and a dry snack (like pretzels or goldfish) for everyone. But that's rare because I try to run errands between mealtimes, and avoid feeding the kids in the car.

Have you ever read any of the children's books by Kate Seredy? She was a Hungarian author and several of her books are set in Hungary.

No, but thank you for the tip, I want to check into that. We are currently reading the Little House series for read aloud time with the kids.

Years ago, when my babies were nursing, I, like you, enjoyed feeding them during the night while they lay next to me in bed. It was very comfortable for both of us, and less sleep-disturbing than getting up to sit in a rocking chair. However, the SIDS campaign has made this a big issue, so my daughter, who has recently had a baby (my first grandbaby!) is terrified of keeping the baby in bed with her to nurse at night. The medical community has created such a scare about this, and I am undecided about how much to be worried about it. What are your thoughts on this?

SIDS is such a hot topic, and I certainly am no authority on it. I know that SIDS occurrences are much, much lower in countries where moms naturally take their babies to bed with them. And, as another reader already pointed out, if a baby dies from becoming entrapped or smothered it was not due to SIDS, but another (preventable) cause. I for one certainly think that having baby beside mom is safest for baby and easiest for mom, but there are many who would disagree. I never lose any sleep when I have a newborn, no matter how many times they wake up at night. Our babies never "sleep through the night" uninterrupted until they are fully weaned, but it never bothers me one bit because I can feed them while I sleep. The older kids have all grown up to be great sleepers.

There is also a lot of very interesting information on a relationship between SIDS and the flame-retardant chemicals used in producing mattresses. You can read more about that here. It seems that this could very well be the true cause behind the baby suddenly not breathing, and subsequently dying. It would also explain why having mom close by could be lifesaving, as she acts as the baby's "breathing pacemaker". Mom may also wake up if she subconsciously notices that something is not right with her baby. Please click here to read what I have written about SIDS in the past.

My wife and I have decided to switch traditional roles. Nobody forced us to and we didn't force each other. She works all day and I stay home with the kids and do the housework and cooking and such. I also do have a job which I do from home. Do you gave any thoughts on that?

Yes, I do. But I am only telling you my thoughts because you asked. Regardless of whether or not I think that something is a right choice, it's really none of my business to personally make sure that everybody does the right things in life. While I do blog about a lot of issues in general, I do so to inform people and maybe get them to look at their decisions in a different light. I almost never "rip" on a person specifically or point out the flaws I perceive in them. Not unless they are freaks like this woman.

Back to your question, my thoughts (in no particular order) are: your kids are better off at home than in anyone else's care; God intended for the mother to stay at home an raise the children and did not really leave it up to her personal preferences; I don't think there is anything wrong with men doing housework and cooking if that's what they want to do; glad you have a job you can do from home with your kids there; it's nice that you have such a close relationship with the kids; I would never do what you do but again, it infinitely better than putting the kids in daycare and both of you working outside the home.


  1. I take it you have not had to deal with infertility. If fertility treatment was wrong in your God's eyes I would not be a mother. A mother who will teach her child not to judge others.

  2. Hi Zsuzsanna,

    I LOVE your blog. For the mom who is afraid to sleep with her baby; I slept with all of mine and my pediatrician told me the American Academy of Pediatrics does not feel this endangers the baby (unless mom or dad are drunk or on drugs). Now, I don't much care what the doctors say, it is right to sleep with your newborn, your instincts will tell you that if you can just stop and listen. Unfortunately, so many people, especially new moms, think of their doctor as God so they don't listen to themselves. A very sad thing!

    in His peace,

  3. I certainly haven't dealt with infertility, but I have no idea while people find it acceptable to commit adultery (use another male's sperm) to try to have children, when there are many children out there that could be adopted.

    My husband and I have several of our own children, and we are still hoping to adopt one day.

    The women in the Bible weren't given babies because they artificially altered their bodies or committed adultery...

  4. On a side note, I thought you would find this interesting. It is about a pastor in Texas tazed by the police, in front of his entire congregation:,2933,529800,00.html?test=latestnews

  5. Wow... I have to agree with Anonymous above. I am a good Christian woman, faithful to my husband, my family and my church. And without fertility treatments, I too would be childless. And in my case, it is not my "barren womb" but a male medical issue.

    As a Christian, I too will teach my children not to judge, and certainly don't condone calling my sisters "freaks" and "monsters."

  6. I enjoyed this blog very much :). I also have a question. I actually have a question or two for you.

    #1. I am a babysitter (or, more like a momma's helper, because she is always there when I am there) and I was wondering what you think of babysitting, because it isn't the same as daycare. I know that some babysitters are terrible, but I think that I am pretty good, because I have strong maternal instincts, give lots of hugs, and I voluntarily read her bible stories before she goes to bed, and she is only 16 months old.

    #2. I'm 18, and I would like to be involved in a fundamentalist Christian church, but I feel like I'm being pressured by my parents to go to college, get a high paying job, and basically just go against what I want to do (I want to marry my boyfriend and have children). What is the best way to address this to my parents, because I know I should alway honor my mother and father.

    Thank you so much, and I appreciate it.

    God bless,

  7. Zsuzsanna,

    I have just recently found your blog and I love it! I have spent the last several years finally listening to what God REALLY says in his word instead of what others think He must have meant to say. Needless to say, in the last several years our family and our lives have changed DRAMATICALLY (unfortunately I did listen to dr.s instead of myself-or my God- a few years on birth control pills,then 3 c-sections and now the mother of 3 with tied tubes but I have repented and know God is faithful to forgive and I will make sure my daughters do not make the same mistakes because of lack of knowledge.)Anyway, as a fundamentalist that was indoctinated by the public school system I am finding areas almost daily that I had never thought of before in my life when I have unknowingly let men take God out of my life. My question is this...Do you and your husband have a state issued marriage license? and Does your husband perform marriage ceremonies for couple only with a marriage license or only without or either way? This is a new topic that I had never considered until recently and am really curious. If you have ever mentioned it before, forgive me but I haven't had a chance to read all of you archives yet :)

  8. ANON. said

    " If fertility treatment was wrong in your God's eyes I would not be a mother. A mother who will teach her child not to judge others."

    maybe that is why God made you infertile. He knew how you would raise them. That is all we need is more children growing up learning that everything everbody does is ok because we can not "judge" others. I am sure your child is a wonderful blessing to you so please love your child enough to teach them to "judge" what is right and what is wrong. If you are not sure yourself, Get a KJV Bible-the intructions are all in there!

  9. There was also some new research this last fall that having a fan going or an open window in a sleeping babies room many help prevent SIDS (the thought is that it helps circulate the air).

    Just curious, are you also against adoption for childless couples?

    Nurse Bee

  10. You said, "(like Splenda - don't even get me started on that)."

    Are you against sugar substitutes? If so, why?

  11. If it's God's will that a woman or man is infertile and that they shouldn't use IVF, etc, what do you think about cancer? It's certainly God's will then that a person develops cancer. So are you against treating cancer? Or should the person not seek medical intervention?

    Are you one of those people that will withhold lifesving medical treatment from your child(ren) because it's God's will?

  12. I don't believe it's God's will for people to be infertile, or have cancer. We live in a fallen world and all our problems are a result of sin. Sin has consequences and God is no respector of persons.

  13. Anonymous, it most definitely can be God's will for a woman to be infertile. Have you ever read in the Bible about Jacob, Rachel, and Leah? God closed Rachel's womb because of Jacob's attitude toward Leah.

    Sometimes it's not as a result of sin that God allows a woman to be barren (or a couple to be infertile, even if it is the husband and not the wife). I know a couple that was able to adopt 2 children, and they did so because they were infertile. As a result of their infertility, two children have a good home with Christian parents who are raising them in church.

  14. In all seriousness: do you recognize that not everyone on this planet is Christian?

  15. Mrs. L -- I'm not saying personal sin always causes cancer or infertility (although I believe it could), sin in general has caused our world to be filled with disease and a lot of other problems like infertility. Thankfully, the Lord takes what we deserve and sometimes turns it into good. I myself have adopted children because of infertility. I praise the Lord continually for our kids and praise Him for his goodness and tremendous blessings in our life, but I also realize that it was not the Lord's original plan for humans to experience such loss, sorrow and sickness. Adam lived in the garden of Eden (God's original plan) and it was perfect. He made a choice to sin as we all do and sin came into this world. Because God is just, sin has consequences not just for personal sins, but the whole human race is affected because of the sin nature. God can use cancer to bring glory to Himself and does, but it was not his original design for the world to be plagued with cancer.

  16. Christine, presumably she does recognize that not everyone on this planet is Christian, but like many Christians she believes that everyone *should be* a Christian--and that everyone, whether they know it or not, is bound by God's moral laws, which apply to all people.

    Mrs. L, first a correction: God does not make Rachel infertile; she dies after a difficult childbirth, and the Bible gives no indication that God caused this as punishment. I certainly agree with you that it is wrong (and indeed quite horrifically wrong) to think infertile women have become so as a result of their sins. But why do you think God disapproves of fertility treatments? I don't see anything in the Bible that would suggest this is the case; the story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah certainly does not.

  17. Infertility is not just a female problem. I am perfectly fertile but my husband is infertile. How is it you don't know that? 50% of infertility is caused by the male partner.


Your KINDLY WORDED, constructive comments are welcome, whether or not they express a differing opinion. All others will be deleted without second thought.