Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mesothelioma Awareness

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman named Heather. She's a 10 year survivor of the rare and aggressive Mesothelioma cancer, and she wanted to know if I would help spread the word on this deadly disease.

How could I say no?

I have been personally affected by the impact of cancer before, though I have to admit, I've never heard of this type until Heather contacted me. Both of my in-laws passed away from cancer. My Father-in-Law of Leukaemia, and my Mother-in-Law of Brain cancer. My Nana also passed away from Lymphoma cancer.

I've seen first-hand, what the affects of cancer and its treatment can do to someone, and quite honestly, wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy. Everyone knows what type of disease this is - one that is not prejudice. It does not care what colour of skin you have, how old you are, whether your male or female, or where you are from. 

Anyone can get it.

So, even if I can inform one person about this specific type of cancer in my tiny corner of the web, I'll be happy.

Mesothlioma is a rare type of cancer that can occur in the thin layer of cells lining the body's internal organs, known as mesothelium. There are essentially three types of mesothelioma, with Pleural mesthelioma being the most common form, accounting for roughly 70% of cases. More information on these type of mesothelioma cancers can be found here.

The cause of this cancer is the exposure of asbestos or the inhalation of asbestos particles, which is still in use in both Canada and the US. Many people often actually refer to this cancer as 'The Invisible Epidemic'. In fact, the number of accepted claims for mesothelioma in Canada rose 216.4 percent between 1997 and 2010, a 2013 paper by Dr. Demers and Dr. Ann Del Bianco reports. Across Canada, seven to 10 accepted occupational cancer deaths claims involve exposure to asbestos.

The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board has pegged the average cost of mesothelioma claim at $532,844 (with much of that in survivor benefits, along with health care costs and loss of earnings).

Canada and the US still allow imports and exports of products that contain asbestos. Countries like Australia, Japan, and Sweden (among 60 other countries), have all banned the use of asbestos.

Like all cancers, there is treatment, but no guarantee. Those usually diagnosed with this cancer are only given about 10 months to live. Treatment for mesothelioma can include surgery (specific and unique to each case), radiation, and chemotherapy; all of which causes further discomfort to the patient. More information on these treatments can be found here.

This info graphic provides further stats on asbestos and Mesothelioma.

I would encourage everyone to read Heather's story. You can also read John's story, who is also suffering from this disease. Their tales of heartache, trials, and tribulations will move you in ways you haven't been moved before. Both of their stories shed further light on this disease, including stats, and how it's impact can affect everyone around you. 

If you'd like to raise awareness of this disease yourself, please share this article and the links contained within it. I also encourage you to write to you local MP and the Canadian Government about your concern with asbestos use in Canada. 

You can also read more about mesothelioma at
Sources: |

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Best Ever Strawberry Jam

Since I've been home with Andrew, I've really been enjoying the time I get to spend at home. From just spending time with him, to baking, cooking, and sometimes catching up with my PVR, one thing I never get tired of is making jam (and that usually happens when jam goes on sale!). I'm so happy to share this recipe with you!

Seriously, this stuff is so amazing! 

It makes 8 jars; but trust me - they won't last long!

Here's the tools that you'll need:

- 8 x 250 ml jam jars with lids
- Tongs
- Sm. pot
- Lg. Pot
- Measuring cup
- Potato masher
- Knife
- Oven Mitts
- Large Bowl
- Funnel (optional)


4          1 lb containers of fresh strawberries
¼         cup of lemon juice
7          cups of sugar
1          package of liquid pectin


1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees, and while waiting for the oven to heat, wash and core the strawberries.

2. Place the jars (without lids) in the oven for 10 minutes and then turn off, leaving the jars in the oven until needed. This will sterilize them and help keep them warm for the canning process.

3. Place the jar lids into a small pot of boiling water and boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Leave the lids in the pot until needed.

4. Put the strawberries in a large pot, several at a time, and use the potato masher to mash them all up. You want to ensure there are no large chunks and have the consistency and look of strawberry salsa.

5. Once you have crushed all the strawberries, measure out ¾ cups. Be sure to be as accurate as possible here, or you may throw off the recipe! I used the bowl I put the cut strawberries in for the amount needed, and saved any extra of later use (they make a good ice cream topping!), and just poured the correct amount back into the pot.

6. Turn on high heat and add in the lemon juice and sugar, then stir, sir, stir! You'll want to bring the strawberries to a rolling boil. Once at a rolling boil, continue to boil for one more minute.

7. Remove the pot from the heat and add the liquid pectin, stirring continuously for five minutes. Once you're done stirring, skim off the foamy part of the jam.

8. Pour the jam directly in the warmed jars (be sure to use gloves, the jam is super hot!). You can pour directly in the jar or use a funnel like I do (it's so much easier with one). Be sure to leave ¼ inch room at the top of the jars to allow for sealing.

9. Place the lids on and screw tight! 

10. Allow the jam to cool for 20 - 30 minutes on a cooling rack, then poke the top-middle part of the lid. You'll hear a 'pop', which is a sign that the sealing worked.

After a couple of hours, you'll start to notice the thickening of the jam which is when it's good to eat! The jam will store in the pantry for up to a year, but like I said before, they won't last that long.

These also make great gifts for friends and family, and you can even make pretty labels like I did.

I'd love to hear how your jam turned out. Let me know in the comments below.


Disclaimer: Original recipe can be found here. Reposted with permission.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weekend Recap

Guys, I'm so excited to tell you about our weekend - it was a good one!

It started Friday when Andrew and I did our second Fit4Baby & Me Barre class, and then headed out for lunch with the rest of the ladies. It's so nice catching up and chatting with those who are going through the same baby experiences as you. If I ever need advice, a second opinion, or even just a different place to vent, I know I can go to any one of these ladies. We've literally created our own village and it's awesome.

Saturday was so cold, and served as a reminder that Winter is on its way (even if it is only the beginning of Fall). And even though it rained pretty much most of the day, it didn't stop us from being outside for a few hours! Sadly, Doug wasn't part of any of our weekend activities as he was up north closing our trailer for the season (a very sad thought indeed).

We started the day with Eric's swimming lessons. He's getting so good at it! He's slowly, but surely getting used to putting his face in the water, and I'm super proud of him. He hates getting his face wet and usually freaks out every time it happens, but he's really try so hard and making good progress. I know it will only continue to get better from here.

After swimming, my family and I went to Puddicombe Farms to go apple picking. This is a yearly tradition. The apples are so delicious and it makes for great family time. 

These pictures include Eric, and my two nephews Logan and Riley :)

On Sunday, my Dad and Brother's work (ArcelorMittal), held a BBQ for employees and their families, where we had the opportunity to tour the plant. This is the first time they've done tours, so after about 30+ years of my Dad working there, I was finally able to see what he truly does. 

It was so much fun and the boys really enjoyed learning and seeing what Papa and Uncle Michael do for a living.

 Me, Mom, and sister Shannon

Eric, Uncle Michael, Logan 

I hope your weekend was just as fun - I can't wait to hear about it!