The Fine Print

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Sweet Cherry Jam...

The other day I decided I needed to do a little "domesticating"...yah, cause I am just not busy enough!
Anyhow, Daddy Dearest was away on a hike with "the guys" so Jax and I headed off to gather supplies.
First we picked up some jars (I needed some for another project I will post shortly) at Canadian Tire - we selected the Bernardin 500ml (2 cups) jars as they are a generous size! Then we headed off to Calgary CO-OP - they had cherries on sale for $1.99lb and they were the perfect ripeness for our needs. We also were able to find Certo Light there and it is pretty difficult to come by for some weird reason!?! For this project, we bought 4.5kg's of cherries and 4 boxes of Certo Lite.
Then it was home to start the preparation for the Sweet Cherry Freezer Jam - here is the recipe that I used - it was from the "What's Cooking Kraft" website.
Here it is (with my notes added):

Sweet Cherry Freezer Jam
4 cups of finely chopped pitted cherries
2 tbsp. lemon juice
3 cups of sugar
1 box of Certo Light Pectin Crystals

Make it:
Wash and pit all your cherries. I used my cherry pitter that I bought a couple of years ago (I believe the brand is XOXO) and then I put the cherries into my handy dandy Tupperware Powerchef System with the chopper blade - 12 pulls. I chopped them in batches and got them all ready ahead of time.
It is important to note that IF YOU ARE DOUBLING, TRIPLING, or QUADRUPLING the recipe - you MUST do it in single recipe quantities - I don't know why but "my mother told me so" is a good enough answer for me! Something about the pectin not working properly.
Measure the prepared cherries into a non-color absorbing bowl (another VERY IMPORTANT STEP) so your nice green tupperware bowls don't end up with cherry juice stains down them. Just saying'!
Measure your sugar and set aside.
Combine fruit pectin crystals with a 1/4 cup of the measured out sugar.
Add pectin mixture to the prepared cherries, mixing well. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the remaining 2 and 3/4 cups of sugar and continue stirring for 3 minutes until most of the sugar is dissolved.
Pour into clean, sanitized jars (I ran my through the dishwasher on a hot sanitize cycle just prior to filling). Cover with tight lids and let stand at room temperature until they are set (may take up to 24 hours).
Store in freezer. If used within 3 weeks, jam may be stored in the fridge.
This recipe yielded 11 and 3/4 - 500 ml jars of yummy sweet cherry jam.
I had about 1 cup of minced cherries & juice left over and decided to make an awesome cherry & port sauce for our BBQ'ed pork chops we had for dinner that night!

Look at these luscious little gems! Washed and ready to be pitted...
Removing the pits from these little guys took about 1/2 hour....
Ever wondered how many pits your get from 5kg's of cherries?
And finally I am done!!!
Next I filled my Powerchef half full of pitted cherries...
And pulled the cord about 12 times - give or take -...
I did this in batches to keep my consistency the same...
When I was done chopping them all up, it was time to measure them out and make the jam. As I mentioned above because I Quadrupled the recipe, I did 4 separate bowls...
Once the recipe was complete...I poured them into 500ml jars and sealed them up...
But they were looking a little lame-o so I opened up Photoshop and created some simple yet elegant labels for the tops of the jars...and voila!!!
Ready for the freezer - or for whomever was lucky enough to receive a jar from Bootybella's kitchen!!!
Until next time...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sensory Tables Overload...

A few months ago I asked a good friend of ours, Thomas, if he could help me bring a project for my dayhome to life!
Thomas took on the project of making me my sensory tables for the children a couple months ago. He quickly took my visions of a few different styles and put them together to create (NOT ONE, BUT FOUR!) Sensory Tables for the kiddos to start exploring and playing in. What he came back with far surpassed my expectations - the care and details that went into the construction was so thoughtful!!
We went with four separate tables so that I had 2 for inside play and 2 for outside play. Although I haven't gotten the time to stain these beautiful creations yet (it really is a BIG decision as to what colour/stain to use), they are part of our daily motif!
Once I selected the bins (which are all Sterilite 10 gallon bins with locking lids from Wally World and were approx $12 each) Thomas went to work! He built two levels to hold the bins, so that instead of empty space under the tables, they served a second purpose of storage for a second bin. He also made small grooves to correspond with the bin so that the bin actually "locks" into place and doesn't slide around while the children are playing with it! This man is genius - seriously! He also sanded the tables down so they were smooth and ready for play!
Since before I opened my dayhome, I felt it was a strong desire to incorporate this type of learning/play in our daily regime, due to the overwhelming amount of benefits to the children. If you want to learn more about Sensory Play, please check out this great article by Earlychildhood NEWS - Sensory Experiences Can Be Messy Fun
I wanted to share a couple photos of the stunning craftsmanship that Thomas brought to our home! Thanks Thomas!!!
So for our first bin - my little guy is all about Diggers, Dozers, Skidsteers, Graters, Dumptrucks - pretty much ANYTHING CONSTRUCTION! So I though it was only fitting that this was our first bin!
The key to building a bin is gathering as much as you can from current stuff you have laying around the toy room and home to begin with...
I have been keeping my eyes peeled at garage sales for little additions as well!
I scored a bag full of "Bob The Builder" figurines and toys at the beginning of the season, and the small CAT equipment was another garage sale find! The measuring cups, ice cream scoop, and spoons came from the Dollar Tree and the construction pylons and signs were kicking around from other toy sets in the home. I decided to use black beans as a medium for this bin as they were nice and glossy, felt great in our hands, and were black - just like DIRT!(Plus - they are pretty easy to clean up if they happen to get spilt outside of the bin!) I kid you not, my little man can't wait to get up in the morning and finish breakfast so he can go and play "Con-SRUC-sion"!!!
Once Thomas' daughter Daria returns from her summer holidays in Polland, I have asked her for some help on building some of the bins! Well, I would love to hear some of your ideas for our future boxes!!! Please feel free to leave a comment or two below! You never know, I just may use your idea in our dayhome!