Author Archives: jennifer

Marker Mania

I walked in the door today from picking up my daughters and was greeted by a proud 18 month old who came running across the house shouting “Look!”

So I looked.  And this is what I saw.

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She was covered with ink.  Her hands were solid blue, she had marker all over her clothes.
The back of her neck was blue, and the inside of her ears were blue.  She was so proud of herself.
Her three year old brother, who was responsible for climbing to get the markers, had escaped with blue hands and a few marks on his face and neck.
The babysitting brother had no idea what had just happened on his watch (we’re learning).

So, I grabbed my camera and some Magic Erasers and we all went upstairs to assess the damage.
Let’s pause here to just make sure that every mother of toddlers knows about the existence of these fabulous things.

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Every house needs a bunch of them on hand.  They can get almost anything off of a wall, without bringing the paint, too.  I’m a big fan.  In fact, I should have invested in stock years ago because of the small fortune I’ve spent on them.  You can get them in most stores on the cleaning aisle.  And if you don’t have them, please get some!  You’ll never regret it.

Back to my early evening detour.  At first I just saw things like this:

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No big deal, I thought.  We can take care of this.

So I put the little ones to work in an attempt to teach them to take care of their own messes, and took a few pictures of them cleaning.  I was still feeling pretty good-natured at this point.

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She was cleaning so earnestly!
The whole thing was almost a sweet experience until I walked back into the hall and could see the murals on her brother’s bedroom walls.

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Then big sister walked in with her American Girl doll who had some new tattoos on her face.  They looked an awful lot like the graffiti on the walls.

I started walking from room to room, assesing the damage, and realized that the walls weren’t the only targets.  She had gone for the beds too.  Five, yes five, sets of white sheets all now had red and blue scribbling on them!  Three bedrooms, the hallway, and five beds.  I’d call that a pretty thorough adventure.

Then I turned around and discovered that my four year old, in a sincere attempt to be helpful, had taken everybody’s erasers and soaked them in the sink for a minute.  She didn’t wring them out.  Suddenly I had three little kids wiping blue and red marker off the walls as it ran down their arms and dripped bright blue ink into my carpet.

All of a sudden it wasn’t cute, funny or sweet, and I wasn’t feeling like a good, patient mom anymore.
That’s why the pictures stop right here.  I couldn’t bear it.
I reclaimed the sponges, explained the problem to my daughter, and tried to quickly get the blue out of the carpet.  I put the two little ones  in the bath and we scrubbed as much marker off their little heads and faces as we could.
I finished scrubbing the walls, a couple of which still have a blue tinge to them and which I will tackle with a fresh eraser on my own.  Then I answered a long distance call, raced to get my son to Scouts (late, by now) and came home to feed them all tacos for dinner.

We won’t talk about the lettuce on my kitchen floor.   Let’s just say we had an early bedtime.  And I’m going to bed early, too.

My New Friend

I have a new friend in the form of a kitchen gadget.
It’s my  oxo cherry pitter.

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I’ve been trying to get my hands on one for the past week, but they’ve been sold out everywhere.  (Of course every employee has reminded me gently that it is, after all, cherry season, and lots of people thought of this a couple of weeks ago.  I don’t tell them that I was at the beach thinking about sandcastles and water and sunscreen.)
Finally I thought of another store that might have one.
I called…. and raced in to buy the last one!
I wish I had three.

This thing takes care of cherry pits in a serious way.  I couldn’t believe how quickly I was able to remove all the pits from my cherries for a few more batches of jam and fruit leather.

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That’s a lot of pits!  And look at this beautiful pile of pitted cherries just waiting to be made into something yummy:

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I’m so thankful to have this handy little tool, especially with another tree that is almost to the dripping with juice stage.

Yep, life is good with a cherry pitter in hand.
If I could just keep it in hand!  My kids think it’s so cool that they suddenly need to use it every ten minutes.
That’s okay.  Helpers are good things.

Homegrown Cherries

Just a few months ago, I was celebrating the tiny bits of green that had appeared on my cherry trees.
In such a short period of time, we went from green to blossoms to cherries.

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We came home from vacation and our yummy cherries had turned into deep red,
dripping with sweetness, dribble juice all over you cherries.

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Beautiful cherries.

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We started picking.  Filling buckets and trays.

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But it didn’t even look like we’d picked.

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I’ve always enjoyed preserving fruit, making jams and sauces,
dehydrating and bottling.  But it’s never come from my own backyard.
I’m fortunate to live in an area where there are multiple orchards around me
and I can buy from the growers.  This time, to be harvesting from our own trees
is really a pleasure.

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I’ve been bottling cherries and making jam.
I’ve never had cherry jam before, but we’ve learned that it’s really tasty.
Freezer jam and cooked jam both.

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It’s a lot of work, but for me it’s work that brings a real feeling of satisfaction.
So much of what I do has to be redone several times a day.  But I love the feeling of lining up
the food I’ve preserved and knowing that because of my efforts my family will enjoy it in
months to come when the fresh food is no longer available.  And we’ve only harvested from one tree!
I still have another to take care of this week.

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I also find that working with fruit helps me slow down, relax, and notice more of the
simple joys of life.  I start looking at the lovely shades of color in the fruit, pondering life
in a day and time when work such as this meant survival.   Today I noticed the lovely color of the foam as I cooked some cherry jam.

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And how beautiful it was when it reached a full boil.

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I feel more grateful for the bounty that God has given us, marveling at the genius of a God who created trees that can bring us such delicious pleasure, and such blessings.  I am reminded that God’s economy is one of abundance.

Taking advantage of such abundance, expressing my appreciation for it by putting it to good use and sharing it with others, just feels right.  And that’s an awfully good feeling to carry around in your heart.


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