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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Laundry

I don't know about you, but I have the cutest laundry!



 

 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BC Trip Part Four

Well,  I'm sure you're a little bored just seeing pictures of where we went while we were in BC, so I thought I'd show some pictures of the first and foremost reason why we went in the first place :-)



As I'm sure most of you know, this is Corina: world traveller, Registered Nurse in training(almost done!), awesome aunt and best friend. (I save the best for last :-) Corina has been faithfully coming out to Ontario for the past numbers of years: I think five times in five years? And we owed her(big time!) a trip out west.



Corina's parents(my adoptive parents) have also been out here three times so ya.. we owed the whole family! Katie's picking on Corina's brother, Rick.... don't worry, he deserves it :P:P Just kidding Rick :-)

For those of you who don't know the story here it is in brief point form view:

  • My family moved to Saskatechwan in my grade 12 year.

  • My courses didn't line up with those in Saskatchwan.

  • I moved back and in with the Kattenbergs to finish the semester.

  • I went back to SK.

  • Courses still didn't line up via correspondence

  • I moved back to BC to finish grade 12.

  • After graduation, I moved to SK for a few weeks before we moved to Ontario.

  • I loved living with the Kattenbergs and they became a second family to me and I was treated just like one of the kids :-)

  • Corina and I never fought once(that I can remember) while we lived together.

  • I miss BC, the Kattenbergs and would move back without a lot of convincing**


 

**provided I could take my family, friends, weather climate, etc with me..... on second thought, maybe Kattenbergs and the mountains could move here? Anyone? Anyone?   *crickets*  well you can't say I didn't try :-)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordpress vs Blogger

A little while ago, a friend asked why I thought Wordpress was better than blogger.  I had several reasons and thought, in case anyone else was interested, I'd post my pro/con list on here too! When I started wordpress I had my sister sitting beside me to help me figure things out as she already had a wordpress blog.  That did make things a whole lot easier.

The primary reason I switched was because I was having trouble with the blog templates; they never quite looked the way I wanted and on some web browsers the posts didn't show up(that may have been fixed by blogger now).

Pros

  • I find the setup in Wordpress much easier to use. It's simpler to find the tools and applications you're looking for.

  • More options for formatting posts.

  • Gives a good feedback on viewing(you can tell how many people looked at it per day, which posts and where they were directed from)

  • I find the dashboard(your opening page) on wordpress much easier to look at and manuver. I found blogger almost.... primitive :P

  • Has a good spam control and you must approve all comments before they appear( once you've 'okayed' the email address, they don't need to be approved)

  • Has a gallery where all the picture you upload are saved(you can actually upload to your gallery if you don't have a post to put the picture in yet).

  • It gives a lot of options for the size of your picture, caption etc.

  • You can also move your picture around after you uploaded it( this you can't do in blogger, you have to upload it again in a different format--so annoying!)


Cons(or at least things I haven't taken the time to figure out)

  • You have to give an email address to comment(kind of a hang up for some folks)

  • You can upload more than one picture at a time, but I haven't figured out how to insert them into your post all at once.

  • You can link other peoples blogs, but not how recently they posted.

  • hhmm.. I can't think of anything else that I don't like or that wordpress doesn't offer.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

M.O.M

This is my mom.



Isn't she beautiful?

I think she's great

and grand

and wonderful

and helpful

and caring

and giving

and funny

and loving

and sharing

and goofy

and talented

and creative

and concerned

and godly

and amazing

and a supermom/grandma!

This woman is so giving of her time, talents, resourses and wisdom. She has answered countless questions, giving sage advice and buckets of love to me and the rest of my siblings. This woman loves her granddaughter so much you can just see it overflowing from her eyes.  (Seriously, she goes into withdrawal if she doesn't see Katie for more than 3 days!)

I love my mom and am so thankful to have her as my mother and friend.

Oh ya, and it's also her birthday tomorrow! :-) Happy Birthday Mom!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winking....

It doesn't matter which eye you're using, winking is tricky either way :-)









**The credit of this adorable girl goes to my sister-in-law and hubby :-) :-) They make cute kids :-) :-)

Friday, December 10, 2010

BC Trip Part Three

We took two days and went to Vancouver Island to see the sights there. Unfortunately, Corina was in school, so she couldn't join us :-(  We spent most of our time driving around and seeing the sights. We left 5am on Tuesday to catch the 7:45am ferry sailing and came back on the 7pm sailing on Wednesday(we had just missed the 5pm sailing by 15 minutes!).

Riding on the ferry was fun. It wasn't nearly as long of a ride as I remember from years ago, but we may have taken a different route.  Katie enjoyed being out of her carseat and in the front seat for a change!



We basically just got off the ferry and started driving. We knew that we wanted to head in the direction of Port Alberni, so we just followed the signs. We did stop at a information centre and got a few extra maps and directions.  Our first stop was just on a whim. We had been driving for an hour or so and needed a little break. Katie also needed lunch!  Little Qualicum Falls beckoned our name so we listened.  We had a nice, short little walk/hike and saw some pretty views of surprising deep water falls.



Our next stop was Cameron Lake. We were just driving along and the highway took us right along the edge of a lake. The view was so serene, I wanted to stop, but there wasn't a lot of room on the side of the road. Then low and behold, there was an actually picnic rest area. Ben didn't want to take Katie out of her carseat again so he told me just to jump out and run down the stairs to look. Well I went about two-thirds of the way down and ran back up to tell him that he had to come and look at this view!  I was just in awe standing at the lakeside gazing up at the magestic mountains all around.  "How Great Thou Art" kept playing through my head as we enjoyed God's beautiful creation.


Our next stop was actually planned: Catherdral Grove.  This is a huge grove of old Redwood's some over 800 years old! As we walked through the grove you just realize how small you really are in this world.  Ben was really excited to see the redwoods and take in the grandeur. We probably spent a good 45 minutes walking the trails and looking at all the magnificant trees. The pictures just don't to these trees justice.....







From there we drove on to Port Alberni. We stopped briefly at a visitor's centre to find out some good places to stay and then drove on to Ucluelet.  Between Port Alberni and Ucluelet there are no towns or rest stops. It's about a two hour drive through lots of winding roads and beautiful views.  Katie was good for most of the time, but just in case you think she's a total angel, I included a few pictures of her when she was slightly unhappy. All but two of these pictures were taken from the car window!

About 1/2 an hour before we got to Ucluelet it suddenly got totally overcast and dreary. We drove into the little town with really no idea where we were going. We ended up driving around for a little while trying to find a beach of some sort. Well most of the coast is all rocks,  so we walked down a little path and checked out the view we could find. Ben went climbing over the rocks while Katie and I watched.  It would be really cool to be there in the middle of a huge storm with the waves crashing upon the rocks and the little lighthouse flashing its light.


We drove back to the main highway and went in search of Long Beach. Again, with all the fog we weren't really sure where we were going. But we did end up finding a beach: Wickaninish Beach. Katie was just about asleep, so we each took a turn running down the small path to look at the ocean. There were a couple wind surfers out on the very cold, choppy water.  In nice weather, this beach is very nice to walk along, but alas it was not so for us.


We drove back to Port Alberni that night and drove around for about five minutes before finding a motel. I ran inside to check the price and availablity and we checked in! We had a nice little kitchenette, two bedrooms split by a partial wall, and decent size bathroom.  The next morning we got up and drove to Victoria... but that's an adventure for another day!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Winter Wonderland!

It started snowing on December 1st and, well... it hasn't stopped. YIPPEE!! I love, love LOVE snow and I'm so excited for the huge dump we are getting right now! It's supposed to keep snowing for a few days yet! I'm hoping we all get snowed in and the city is shut down for a couple days! What fun that would be: drinking hot chocolate, playing games, staying cozy warm!!

Here are a few pictures of our snow so far!








Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

For Wayne & Lorraine

Our dear neighbours, Wayne & Lorraine make a few trips down south every year and on one of their trips, which was shortly after Katie was born, Lorraine (and her friend, Missy) went baby clothes shopping! She brought us back many beautiful clothes for Katie! She seriously spoiled Katie rotten! There are a few dresses that fit Katie perfectly now, but she'd be a little chilly if she wore them outside. I didn't want to let her grow out of them before I got a picture, so without further ado.... Wayne and Lorraine(and Missy!) these are for you!





Thanks for all the wonderful clothes Uncle Wayne & Aunt Lorraine!

Love,

Katie

Monday, November 29, 2010

The apple doesn't fall far from either tree!

We've heard a lot of the following comments in Katie's short life:

Boy, is she ever a VanMepp!

Oh, she looks just like you, Heather!

She definitely looks like Ben!

She's totally a VMS baby!

She looks so much like her cousins!

Definitely a teBokkel!

Etc.

While we believe all of the above, we'd like you to decide for yourself :-)

Does Katie look like her Mama?



Goofy like her Dad?




Contemplative like her Mom?


Adorable like her Dad?



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

For all you non-facebook users :-)

Check out this video!

My sister, Angelina, sings in this choir so we went up to Welland to see her and we just "happened" to be at the mall when they sang :-)





Monday, November 22, 2010

Nine Months

So nine months eh? Is it weird that I think about the fact that Katie has still not been outside of me longer than she was inside of me?  Inside count: 42 weeks. Outside count: 39 weeks.  It is kind of cool to think that she's twice as old as she was when she was born though.  Do you know that in some Asian countries, they celebrate the baby's "birthday" three months after they're born, so they're celebrating life since it actually began: at conception.  I would totally be in favour of that if we started doing that. In that case, Katie would be 1 and a half.  No, wait, nevermind would be,  Katie IS a year and a half!

So at the nine month mark, you usually hear about babies starting to crawl and pull themselves up from sitting, or at least getting to a sitting position from their stomach. Well not this babe! She is so content to just sit and play.  She is getting stronger on her stomach and makes some moves towards crawling and pulling herself up, but she's not going anywhere fast.  But even though she's starting off slow on the crawling front, she's got lots of other tricks up her sleeve!  She's a pro at clapping her hands, playing peek-a-boo, and "How big is Katie?!?!"  She can also wave and she's pretty close to hugging.  It's so fun to get her up from her naps. I slowly open her door, peek my head in and she's lying in her crib grinning away.  As soon as I pick her up, I get a little bounce and a lunge towards me with her arms outstretched around my neck.  So, even if you don't, I still quailify that as hugging!

Katie is still a big snuggler. She loves to be held and snuggled especially right before bed.  She has a little stuffed puppy that she only gets when she's going down for a nap or to bed. (If she's really fussy at the church nursery then she sometimes gets it too.)   It's a really good cue for her and she knows when she gets it, she's headed for bed.  She reaches out for the puppy, grabs his ear and pops her thumb in her mouth.

Usually the dog is just called "Puppy," but it's official name is Pavlov.  In case you're not aware, Pavlov was a Russian scientist who did a whole bunch of stuff, but the thing he's most famous for is teaching dogs to salivate on command.  He was doing a study on digestion on dogs, and was particularly interested in the connection between digestion and saliva. He started out by ringing a metronome everytime he gave the dog something to eat. After a while, the dogs, which previously would only salivate at the sight of food, would now salivate upon hearing the metronome.  Pavlov called this "conditioned reflex."  So the reflex to salivate was conditioned by hearing the metronome.   I'm sure by now you've put two and two together.   Everytime Katie sees the puppy, we've "conditioned" her to know it's bedtime(is it cruel that we've "trained" her?).  We said right from the beginning that this stuffed animal would be her "special" one and that we didn't want her to drag it all over the house, but just have it for bed. The fact that she sucks her thumb is merely coincidental(well we did help a bit).  So in honour of Igor Pavlov, we (and that would be my crazy family!) decided the puppy's name should be Pavlov.  Around here however, it's still just called Puppy.

Ok, so that was your mini history/science lesson for today.

Katie had a middle ear infection last week and ended up with a ruptured eardrum. She's been fighting cold after cold and this time she just got so plugged up, that the fluid just needed to get out.  Tuesday night she was just miserable and Wednesday I noticed that she had all this waxy liquid dried on her ear so I call my local nurse (Mom!) and she confirmed my suspisions.  So off to the walk-in clinic we went and sure enough, my baby was sick.  I got antibiotics and eardrops for her and by the next day she was already feeling tons better!  Ear infections are no fun and I hope this is her first and her last!

Other than that, there's not too much to say.  Katie is still growing like a weed and she's starting to get heavier. All that food is finally catching up on her! I'm still nursing her three times a day, and we're trying to get the bottle going again. Remind me next time to keep up the bottle habit (that worked so well at five months), so I don't have to go through this battle again! Katie loves nursing so I'm thinking it'll be hard for her to give it up, but I'm not planning on nursing her for more than a year, so we're going to have to face the battle whether we like it or not!

Well, this was a longer post than I anticipated. And here, I thought I didn't have much to say.... please try to keep your gufaws to yourself regarding that last comment.

Since you probably are only really looking for pictures of my sweetie and not my ramblings... here they are!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Pantry Reno

Our basement consisted of six rooms all so designated by concrete walls. I guess the folks that had the house before us could get concrete at a big discount and decided instead of 2x4 walls, they'd just pour concrete... lovely.  We have one big room at the back of the house that was made by taking out two of those walls. That was fun hard work and very dusty. Anyways, we're now working on making that into a big workshop for Ben. Well we were doing some cleanup a few days, weeks, make that months ago, and decided to empty out the room beside it so we could "quickly" paint the walls and floors and set up proper shelving and storage for all our canning goods and other miscellanous items. Well that "quick" job wasn't done for a while, but when my dear hubby did get working on it, it was done lickaty split! Ya, I know... he's the best!

So over the course of four nights and half a  Saturday Ben:

  • Tore out all the 2x2 wall frames

  • Parged the outside block wall to fill any cracks letting in cold and letting out heat.

  • Rebuilt and insulated the outside wall

  • Wired an electrical plug

  • Rebuilt the window

  • Wash and painted the walls

  • Vacuumed, washed and painted the flour, twice

  • Rebuild shelving,which we bought on sale and turned out to be very crooked


So here are some before and after pictures. I am so thrilled with room and pretty much look at it everytime I go downstairs to check my laundry. I know, I 'm a geek, but I just can't help it!

BEFORE



I couldn't even get in the room far enough to take a proper picture of this end of the mess!


AFTER

We have some leftover countertop that we're Ben is going to build into a counter/workspace under the window.

All our hard work this summer looks so nice on the shelves!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Proud to be Canadian

Remembering all those who have lost their lives while serving Canada.

Remembering all those who have lost family members serving Canada.

Remembering all those who have gone through the war horrors and survived with those memories.

Remembering the peace we continue to enjoy.

Remembering it is God who keeps our land Glorious and Free!

 

Monday, November 08, 2010

Cousins

Katie and her cousin Charity were born exactly a month apart.  Amanda and I were due five days apart, but Charity was born on January 22nd two weeks early and Katie on February 22nd two weeks late.  They're pretty on par with most things, eating, sleeping etc.  But Charity is a wiggly little go-getter, crawling around and pulling herself up on furniture. Katie isn't quite sure what to make of her buzzing around!  Katie's pretty content to just sit and play or watch other kids play.  She's starting to make some effort to  move, but not much. For now I'm just enjoying not having to put up gates!

It's so fun that they're both the same gender.  I'm looking forward to sleepovers and hope they can be the best of friends!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Applesauce

Since I have an applesauce monster who eats close to a cup and half per day(that's dessert for lunch and supper!), it was in my best interest to make applesauce this year.  I went to my parents yesterday and we made a total of 50 and 1/2 quarts of applesauce! That's two and a half bushels worth! By the time I got there at 9:30, they had already peeled *EDIT* cubed and cooked a bushel and a half and had most of it through the Victoria Strainer. My mom said when they bought the Victoria Strainer years and years ago, they hemmed and hawed for so long because it cost so much and they really didn't have any extra money. But they bought it anyways and it's been worth it's weight in gold! We were done putting the last of the apples through by 12:30 and by 2:30 the last jars came out of the canner.  My mom kept 15 half-quart jars and I took home the 43 quart jars! It sounds like a lot of applesauce, but I just hope it lasts us until next year!



My dad turned the crank(Thanks Dad!) and put all the apples through the Victoria Strainer. The stainless steel bowl at the top, right-hand corner is all the "gunk" left from the 2 and 1/2 bushels of apples!

We bought the last bushel of Ida Reds (We had half a bushel left from making pies), half a bushel of Macs and half a bushel of JonaGolds. We did a taste test and decided to mix the Macs with a pail of the Ida Reds. The JonaGolds were the sweetest, the Macs the blandest and the Ida Reds the tartest. Such a difference in colours too!



We had both our pressure canners going at the same time. And since the weather was nice, we could do everything outside!  The applesauce is very yummy and so much better than storebought(which I've been buying since I've used up the last of my mom's from a few years ago!)  So cost(which I know you're all expecting to read here) is less than $.50 per quart.  So my 43 quarts cost me just over $20. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple Pies

Well we made apple pies again this year and Amanda joined us for the fun! We made a total of 38 pies and one extra shell. My mom and Amanda took home 13 and I took home 12 and the extra shell.  Would you believe that we only paid $42 for all the ingredients!?!?? That's only $1.10 per pie!! We started at 9am and the last pie came out of the oven at 1:30pm.  For 6ish hours of work we can enjoy pies all winter long! I worked too, floating between apples and making pie shells, my work just wasn't captured on film the memory card.....

Amanda peeled many, many, many apples. And incase you don't know how many that is... 1 & 1/2 bushels!



My mom rolled out a lot of pie dough!



Good thing we had this fancy contraption!



She still has the touch from her bakery days!



Ready for apples!



The kids played/napped nicely all day!



Getting a good "stack" already!





Kara helped peel apples for a bit!



38 pies!


yum, yum yum!