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!

Monday, October 25, 2010

BC Trip Part Two

On the holiday Monday we decided to take a trip to Vancouver. We had some miserable weather in the morning and unfortunately neither Ben or I was prepared. We ended up doing a little shopping at the Pacific Centre which is a huge underground mall and bought ourselves each a rain jackets(which we needed anyways), an umbrella and a plastic stroller cover(I had one, but I foolishly left it at home thinking we would have nice weather in BC... silly me.... it always rains in BC!) for Katie.  Well by the time we actually got out to see anything most of the rain had stopped so we didn't need our umbrella or stroller cover. We were glad for a raincoats as the wind was quite chilly.

When we drove into Vancouver, we decided to park in a Superstore parking lot and take the Skytrain to get to downtown. It was Katie's first ride on any sort of public transit, but like most babies, she really didn't care! After our mall adventure we decided to walk down to Canada Place and the Convention Centre.  The weather was pretty cloudy and drizzly as you can see from the picture, so we didn't get the greatest view into the harbour.  We did get a good look at the grass roof on the Convention Centre.... when these guys "go green" they really go all out! We also got our picture taken by the torch..... oh wow!  It was so thrilling I could hardly contain myself.... *cough cough*.....

Next we took a walk down to Historic Gastown.  The reason why it's called Gastown, is because it was probably the first section of the city to have gas lighting. That's just my thought pattern anyways...

We had planned on going to a suspension bridge, but the day kind of got away from us, and we needed to take Katie home to bed. It was a fun day visiting Vancouver, and seeing some sights!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Eight Months

My seven month post wasn't that long ago, so not too much has changed.

Kaite is still:

  • Sleeping at least 13 hours at night

  • Having a good 1-2 hour nap in the morning and a 3 hour nap in the afternoon

  • Chopping with her two bottom teeth

  • Eating like a little piggy--Seriously, this girl eats like a horse and I have no clue where she puts it! Twice a day--a jar of veggies, 1/4 cup cereal, and a jar of fruit and yet, she's a little peanut!

  • Wearing cloth diapers

  • Smiling for anyone

  • Loving that piano

  • Sucking her thumb and snuggling with her puppy when she sleeps

Katie is learning:

  • to feed herself her cherrios instead of just leaning forward and trying to lick them off her tray or Mommy's hand.

  • be content longer on her tummy

  • that she can move a bit while she's on her tummy

  • that she doesn't have to see Mommy all the time

  • that we get very excited when Daddy is coming home

  • that almost anyone has a smile and a hello for her no matter where we go!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spray Painting

I've come to the conclusion that spray painting something is almost a guarantee that the something will look a million times better!  Granted, I'm still perfecting my spray painting technique (it really is harder than it looks!) to get the finish just right.

Since Katie's in cloth diapers, we have two diaper pails in our bathroom: one for the wet diapers and one with water and a little Oxiclean for the dirty diapers. The pail with water is the diaper pail that my mom used for us when we were all in diapers, so it's seen its share of wear and tear!  The pail is cast aluminum and my mom would frequently just put the pot of diapers on the stove to simmer out the stains and sometimes the smell.** It didn't smell great, but it worked! Anyways, I don't really use the pail for that as I have disposal liners and excellent detergent that gets my diapers clean. So this pail was in definite need of a facelift, so surprise, surprise! I spray painted it! I tried to keep the handle covered, but it didn't work so well, so now it's got a nice dusting of paint on it :-)

Here is the before and after!



**Did you know that if you have stinky washclothes that your washing machines just isn't quite getting the smell out, there is a a way out? You can just simmer the cloths in a pot on the stove with just a little bit of detergent and the heat will release the smell and you'll have lovely smelling cloths again!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had our teBokkel Thanksgiving get together a week early as not everyone could come Thanksgiving weekend. Katie was showered with attention from the Aunts and Uncles from "far" away.  One thing is for certain, this little girl will never be without love!

My parents, John, Hannah, Ben, Katie, and I all went camping for three nights to the Pinery! We had beautiful weather and a lovely time! We hadn't been camping this year, so we were glad to sneak one little trip in! We spent most of our time, just relaxing, reading and playing lots and lots of Blitz!  In fact, we usually played a little too loudly and Katie didn't quite get all the nap time she should have! But she slept well every night, so that made up for it!

Nick  and Alyce came down from Wyoming on Saturday and spent the afternoon and evening with us! We went for a lovely hike and had a yummy supper of pie irons over the fire.  John brought his guitar out and we sang some songs around the campfire. It's been many years since we've done that! We had lots of fun bugging Nick & Alyce and whenever the moment presented itself (ie Nick giving Alyce his jacket because she was cold) we would all join together with a big "AWWWWW!"

We went for few more hikes when were at the Pinery and Katie absolutely loved the backpack carrier. Thanks Brian & Amanda for finding it on the side of the road for free!! That's right, I said free!

Sunday we went to the church service at the Visitor's Centre. There was a minister from the Forest Baptist Church there and he had an excellent message on being thankful.  The sun was just coming up when the service started and the whole amphitheatre was flooded with sunshine! In the afternoon we went for a walk and made a stop at the beach.

It started to rain in the early morning on Monday, but cleared up not  too badly by the time we were taking down.  The trailer did come down slightly wet and will have to be set up again dry.  My Opa teBokkel built that trailer years ago and registered the patent on it as it was the first hard-side trailer ever built.  Unfortunately he didn't renew the patent and since he had taken it around to some trailer dealerships, they copied his design and bought the patent. Anyways, this trailer has stood my grandparents and parents very well over the years and is still going strong! We hope to do some fixing up on as a few things need some repair.  The curtains and cushions are the old gaudy original ones and are well-worn! We hope to keep on using it and sharing it amongst my siblings for many years!

In case you're wondering, the up-side-down picture of all of us on the picnic table is a teBokkel/Branch family tradition. When we(as the teBokkel family) lived in London, we would often go camping with friends of ours and before we would go home we would always take a picture of us hanging up-side-down. Dont ask me why, we just did.  Well the tradition is a tradition for a reason, and we couldn't let this camping trip break that tradition, especially it being Katie's first trip!

We made it back yesterday in time to go to the Apple Barn with the VMS side of the family. This is also a tradition that we just couldn't miss!  My mom knit the pumpkin hat that Katie's wearing and we're thinking of knitting a whole bunch and selling them next year! I got so many comments on Katie and she cute she was in her hat, and where did I get it, and boy oh boy, that is just the cutest hat and did you see that baby with the pumpkin hat.... you get the idea!  So if you want a pumpkin hat for next year, put your order in! We went back to Ben's Aunt & Uncle's for a yummy potluck dinner with everyone!

So in case you haven't gather this by the above,  we had a wonderful, relaxing, fun-filled, family-filled weekend and we loved it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BC Trip Part One

The Othello Tunnels!

The first Saturday we were in BC, the weather was beautiful so we left Katie nicely sleeping and Corina, Ben and I went to Othello Tunnels which is about a 30-45 minute drive from Kattenbergs.  I had been to these tunnels when we lived in BC and remembered how incredible they were.

These tunnels were built in the late 1800's and early 1900's and they're absolutely amazing. If you think back over 100 years ago and how limited they were with equipment etc, it's truly a marvel that they ever built them to begin with.

Here's a mini history lesson taken from the park's website.

"In the early 1900s, the Canadian Pacific Railway decided a route was necessary to link the Kootenay region with the British Columbia coast by rail. Andrew McCulloch was hired as the chief engineer in May 1910.

McCulloch took on the challenging task of building the railway over three major mountain ranges. The Coquihalla subdivision included 38 miles from the Coquihalla Summit to the junction with the CPR mainline across the Fraser River from Hope. This section boasts the most expensive mile of railway track in the world: $300,000 in 1914. The construction was done almost exclusively by hand with the assistance of a few horse drawn scrapers and some black powder. His assistant engineers nick-named the railway “McCulloch’s Wonder”.

The greatest challenge of this route was the Coquihalla gorge, just east of Hope, where the river had cut a 300-foot-deep channel in solid granite. Other engineers had suggested a mile-long tunnel by-passing the gorge, but McCulloch chose to build directly through it. Hanging in the gorge in a wicker basket, McCulloch surveyed the canyon for a straight line of tunnels that could be dug simultaneously. Cliff ladders, suspension bridges and ropes allowed workers to complete what is, to this day, regarded as a spectacular engineering feat.

The tunnels are known as the Othello Tunnels. McCulloch was an avid reader of Shakespearean literature and he used characters such as Lear, Jessica, Portia, Iago, Romeo and Juliet to name stations of the Coquihalla subdivision. The tunnels in the Coquihalla Canyon were near the Othello station – thus, Othello Tunnels. Many of the passengers on the Coquihalla line came expressly to see and photograph the station boards and to send postcards from the stations’ post offices as a souvenir. This added an ironic touch of gentility to this adventurous journey.

The Kettle Valley Railway was officially opened on July 31, 1916. The line operated both freight and passenger service between Vancouver and Nelson, but the operation was plagued with snow and rock slides. In a two-year period in the 1930s, the line operated for only a few weeks.

On November 23, 1959, a washout was reported just north of the tunnels. The 400-foot washout was too large to be filled in one day, and numerous other washouts added to the troubles of the maintenance crews. The line was closed and never reopened. It was officially abandoned in July of 1961. The tunnels and surrounding area became a provincial park in 1998.

Much of the modern four-lane Coquihalla Highway is built upon the original rail bed of the Kettle Valley RailwayTravelling at modern highway speeds it is difficult to imagine the formidable task of constructing a rail route through this rugged section of British Columbia.

As you drive along the highway, you may notice some small signs in the shape of an old steam locomotive, with Shakespearean names. These signs commemorate the approximate locations of the KVR stations along today’s Hwy 5."

I actually read on one sign, that when they were blasting, they would climb down the mountain to the valley, get the charges and explosives set up, everyone would then climb back up the ladder except for one man.  This man would then light the charge and scurry up the ladder as fast as could to escape the explosion! Crazy!  I don't remember reading that anyone died while doing that job in particular, so they must have been pretty fast climbers!

Here are some pictures. Like all the pictures on my blog, just click on them to make them bigger and then.. click again if you want them even bigger**!

**warning** Clicking and then clicking again on the pictures may cause you to be frightened by our faces taking up your entire computer screen.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

7 Months

Ok, so Katie is a little over seven months, but here's my seven-month post anyways!

At her six-month(which was actually seven month) checkup Katie weighed 14lb 9oz and was 27" long! She's a little peanut, but she's long! She only has two more inches left in her carseat! All the books say babies should be double their birth weight by six months, but the doctor wasn't worried.  She was 9lb 5oz when she was born, so if she had been born on her due date, then she probably would have weighed 7ish lbs which means she would have been double her birth weight. Make sense? Anyways, the doctor said she looked super healthy, has all the right reflexes etc. Yay for a healthy baby!

Katie sits up by herself now, so I can just plunk her on the floor (away from any sharp edges) and she'll sit there nicely until I come and get her. She shows no interest in crawling or moving at all, but that's just fine with me!

She's pretty good at entertaining herself. As I write this, she's in her playpen playing with her socks. She's got one off already and was waving it around and now she's working on the next one. That's what I call cheap entertainment!

We think she's going to be a lefty! She definitely favours her left hand over her right, but time will tell....

Katie loves, and I mean, loves the piano! Everytime we pause while walking by it, she's leaning over, reaching for it.  She loves to sit and bang at the keys. It's so fun; I hope she keep her love for the piano and music as she grows up!

She's got two teeth now on the bottom and flashes her toothy grin for pretty much anyone. It's really nice to have a baby that smiles for people in the grocery store; let's hope her happy attitude keeps up!

We have an exersaucer that Katie is in quite frequently. On it, there's a little barn and if you press on the top it plays a little song and lights up. Well Katie has figured out how to make it play and as soon as I put her in the exersaucer she reaches for the barn roof and pulls it down.  You may think that's average for a seven-month-old, but I still think she's pretty smart for figuring it out!

Well I think that's all the new accomplishments/news for now.  Katie's a sweetheart and we love her dearly! Sometimes we still shake our heads and think, "is she really ours? " God has given us a beautiful gift and we thank Him for her each and every day!

Monday, October 04, 2010

BC Trip 2010

Alrighty folks, I'm starting to document our recent trip to Beautiful British Columbia! Please bear with me as these posts are going to be quite lengthy and with a lot of information!  I hope to eventually print my blog or do something with it to keep as a scrap-book of sorts, so I want to sort all my memories here so years down the road we can actually remember what happened!  I took a lot of pictures, and I mean a lot, on our trip. Guess how many! Guess, guess.... come on guess!  Well I'm not going to tell you, you have to guess :P:P  I'm going to write about our trip in sections otherwise the post could go on for days!

So stay tuned for part one of many!

Master Closet Cleanup

Well our Master closet isn't really that 'mastery' of a closet; it's more like a scullery maid's closet as it's quite small and slightly cramped. But anyways, I dutifully took before pictures and after.  I had done a purge on clothes this summer, so I just needed to reorganize them a bit and straighten them out. I also had to sort through some miscellaneous items that just ended up getting chucked in there to make the rest of the room look a little more decent.

Since I don't have a linen closet yet, my linens are a little scattered. I had my bedsheets in a rubbermaid tote on top of our secondary 'master' closet, which is really more of a wardrobe.   ( I did a clean on a few months ago so it didn't need another one.)  a table cloth or two that I would throw on the top shelf in the closet along with our beach towels and a few extra old towels that ended up there too.

So I just straightened it all up and put my rubbermaid tote in the closet too.  It's nothing life changing, but it does feel good to have it all clean and organized. The white box on the top shelf is from IKEA and just keeps misc items.  The tin(which I'm thinking of spray painting) on the bottom keeps extra scarves in one place.  I do still need to find a tie rack of sorts. Ben has almost a million ties, so I need something a little more 'hightech' to keep them organized. I think we will be donating a few to BFM, but I still need his opinion on which ones he wants to keep.

I do have a confession to make... I didn't do this last Monday when I was planning on it; I didn't even do it at the end of the week....I did it this morning.  But my excuse is pretty decent I think:  the weather was just so nice outside, I couldn't be inside last week! Can I be forgiven!?!

I did enjoy the beautiful weather and I worked on another project that I hope to share soon.. and by soon, I mean probably in a few weeks :P

Anyways, here are my before and after pictures. Sorry for the poor quaility; I would have spent more time trying to get the "perfect" shot, but I know how much you all couldn't wait *ahem... cough cough* to see my pictures so....

Friday, October 01, 2010

Just when I thought Fall couldn't get any better....

This little munchkin proved me wrong and showed me that fall with her is best!

Can you believe the colour of her eyes!?! I didn't edit the photo at all! I can't help but brag... she really is the most darling girl!