There's something so satisfying about preserving food for the future. When it's combined with getting a great bargain, so much the better. Last night, I headed to a new market's grand opening. Their produce specials included 7 lbs of onions for $1 and apples for 25 cents a pound. I brought home a cart full of produce for about $20. I chose fresh onions, pears, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and huge, delicious apples.
This morning, I determined that my priorities, other than caring for my kids, would be to finish the yearbook pages (48 due tonight!) and dry the apples. I finished all but a few final edits by noon and after a busy afternoon and evening, I got my first set of apples cut, sliced, and into the dehydrating trays. Joey, Lillian, and I cleaned the kitchen after dinner, then Lillian helped by playing with Eliza, and Allison and Sarah parked themselves on the counter, ready to eat any slices that were odd-shaped or too thin. They loved helping me lay out the apples on the trays. Work just doesn't seem like work when it's done in a group.
Tomorrow, I'll do two or three more batches of apples, wash half a week's worth of laundry, and clean my house before my parents arrive to spend the night. I look forward to the work, especially free of yearbook-pressure. DH claims he might come home in time to help, but I'm skeptical.
Sometimes I dislike housework intensely, and other times I'm happy to do it. I'm not sure what the difference is, but it does seem, ironically, that the times when I put in more effort or do something extra, like drying apples or cleaning out a cupboard, I enjoy the regular work a bit more. It also helps when my children work alongside me. Remarkably, Allison and Sarah are finally understanding the joy of helping mom, and it's such a thrill. It started two weeks ago when I was cleaning out some kitchen cupboards. Allison spent an hour sorting lids by size, type, and color. I praised her so much and she was filled with glee, "Mommy, are you so so so happy I helped?" She still talks about how much she helped me that day.
Sarah cleaned her room alone a few days ago after I asked her to, and earned a bowl of ice cream for doing such a good job. Yesterday, when I finished folding clothes, Allison said, "hey, can I take my basket and put my clothes away?" She followed that by cleaning her room all by herself and then came running to show me what a good job she'd done. Sarah had a tantrum because Allison hadn't let her help. The last few weeks have been wonderful, with these two little spitfires using their energy for good instead of just destruction. I'm experienced enough to know that their enthusiasm and glee will likely wane, but their satisfaction in a job well done won't.