blueberry microwave jam

We’re in countdown mode. 18 days from now we pack the girls up for the sandy shores of Cape Cod.

I need this vacation. It feels like the last year has pummeled my spirits and pushed me to the limits. Life is supposed to be easier as the girls grow up, right? Well, if your kids are approaching school-age, let me give you a tip. Enjoy the life of leisure that is pre-K. Savor the relaxed pace of Kindergarten.

It all ends come first grade.

I will not sugar-coat the experience. I’ll even go so far to say it was easier the first time around when you did it yourself. Went through elementary school, that is. See back then you didn’t know the answers, so it was all a matter of discovery. Unchartered waters.

The second time around, you’ll find yourself thinking who cares if my kid know which sign is greater or less than. I mean, who really needs to know these symbols to prepare for life? Sure the concept is important, but why the symbols? Is it to prepare us, or them, for the symbolism of life?

I don’t have the answer to that question. All I know is we were sent home this past June with a 22-ounce packet of homework that is supposed to help prepare Isabella for second grade in September. Whatever happened to fun in the sun? Since when did we abandon the “school’s out for the summer” tradition?

DSC00026-1

The last week I’ve lost my cool a bit more than I should admit, and it all revolved around that homework packet. Sometimes it takes the silliest moments to put things in perspective. For me, it was today’s mommy-daughter matinee of Ramona & Beezus. As we walked to the theater and stopped at Sahadi’s for gummy bears, I let out a sigh of relief. It felt good to take the day off and be with my girl.

The next two hours I flashed back to my childhood, curled up with Beverly Cleary, except this time her message was on the big screen, and not a jumble of words I was just learning to decipher. If you read the series, then you remember Ramona was spirited, a free-thinker, full of imagination and hope—all qualities adulthood has a way of crushing from us like a clove of garlic ready for the skillet.

I glanced at my daughter and finally decided to let go of that homework packet. At least for the afternoon. While all of her friends are getting wide-eyed about High School Musical, she’s thrilled to watch The Munsters. While we were in the book store, her hands shot right past Justin Beiber and the tween magazines, as she reached for a Sparkle World glossy, filled with the Rainbow Fairies and My Little Pony. The kid is seven, and the way I see it, I’m going to embrace the “I Won’t Grow Up” sentiment—even if it means accepting her boycotting her summer homework packet. Her love of reading is already there, and now we have a new friend to check out at the library. Just wait until she discovers the wonder that is Judy Blume.

DSC00032-1

blueberry microwave jam

makes about 2 pints

Sometimes technology is a girl’s best friend, as is the case in this quick recipe for homemade jam. Sure you can hang over a pot or hot stove, but this way leaves you more time to enjoy the fleeting days of summer.

2 pints blueberries

1 1/4 cups sugar

Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon powdered pectin (omit for a less firm, preserve)

Mash blueberries in a deep, microwave-safe glass bowl. Cook on HIGH power in the microwave for 6 minutes, until boiling and bubbly. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Cook on HIGH for 8 minutes, until thickened and reduced by about 1/3. Stir in the pectin until thoroughly dissolved. Let cool and store in the refrigerator, in a covered jar, or process in clean, sterilized canning jars using a hot-water bath.

This post is a contribution to the Yahoo! Motherboard—a group of amazing women taking it one day at a time just like me. While there is no financial compensation for my work with Yahoo! the rewards are too many to express in words. Thank you Yahoo! for filling my life with a wealth of inspiration from my peers.




Comments

  • Elle: Love the jammy jam, and the story that goes along with it. Childhood is fleeting–you have to grab it and hang on as long as you can! And that means matinees, movie candy, and blueberries. Enjoy! Oh, and have a wonderful trip to the Cape!

  • Dina: So totally get the stress thing! It seems like just the other day my kids were that age and I was rejoicing every time my eldest would opt for the “littler girl” reading material, as opposed to the scarier waters of tween stuff out there… Hard to believe she’s heading off to college in just 3 weeks!
    I gotta confess – I’ve never thought of doing a small batch of jam in the microwave. Brilliant! Thanks so much – this is a great option!

  • Kathy – Panini Happy: Thanks for the reality check. And here I was thinking life would be “back to normal” once my two little ones were in school. Guess I should savor the preschool days! Anyway, I love the idea of this quick jam…will give it a try while the blueberries are still plentiful around here!

  • April: I totally agree! The homework packets are ridiculous.

  • Jacinda Phillips: Fantastic recipe, came out perfectly – thanks for posting this! :)

Add a comment