Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Big Ultrasound

Today it's cold and rainy outside, but we are loving it. It feels like fall and today is a day we have been looking forward to for weeks. We dropped Joshua off at Grandpa Bellinghausen's house and headed off to the hospital for our ultrasound appointment. Katelyn went with Ben and I and was semi-entertained by the live video of the baby. After 15 minutes of clicking and measuring, the sonographer finally asked if we wanted to know the gender of our little bean. Of course we did, so she wiggled around to find just the right picture and lo and behold... IT'S A BOY! The first thing Kate said was... "I wanted a sister...". We think she will learn the benefits of being the only girl besides mom. Anyhow, our second little man looks perfectly healthy and very handsome already. We can wait to meet him!

Isn't he so cute!

Baby feet and baby arms... so sweet.

Not shy at all!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pre-Halloween Festivities

As soon as the calendar turns to the month of October, we are ready for Halloween. We've spread out some really fun activities over the course of the month.

In early October, the kids got a really fun package in the mail from their Grandma Burgess. It was so cute. Grandma Burgess filled an empty soda bottle with Halloween Treats for the kids. One of the treats was a little bag of orange tic-tacs. Attached was a note that said "Heard you've been naughty, so here's the scoop... All you get is pumpkin poop!". Katelyn thought this was the funniest thing. Ever since then she has been repeating this poem to all of her friends. Thank you Grandma Burgess for such a neat treat!

Kate and the Halloween treats from Grandma Burgess

Next on our list of all things Fall was to make homemade applesauce. Kate, Josh and I headed out one morning to a local produce stand that was selling mountain grown apples for $.99/lb. At that price we bought 20 lbs! Katelyn and I spent the afternoon washing, peeling and cutting up apples. After simmering them on the stove, Kate mashed half of the apples while I blended the other half to make a perfectly chunky applesauce. Then we filled all of our pint size jars and Katelyn used the magnetic lid lifter to top each jar with a brand new lid, then we boiled them in the water bath canner. We ended up with over 13 wonderful pints of delicious applesauce. It was a great afternoon!

Apples galore!

Josh enjoying a delicious bowl of homemade applesauce

A few weeks ago, Michael's had all of their foam craft kits on sale. Katelyn picked out a spooky haunted house kit, and I promised her that we would put it together sometime in October. She was so excited about, she has asked nearly every day since them if we could make the haunted house. Finally, on Monday night for Family Home Evening we cracked open the kit and spent about an hour assembling, gluing and glittering. We haven't quite finished it yet. More pictures to come!

Ben and Kate building our haunted house

Homemade Applesauce
Makes 8 pints

12 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
3 cups granulated sugar (We only used 1 cup, and it was PLENTY sweet)
4 Tbsp lemon juice
8 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

1.) Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. (We just ran ours through the dishwasher.) Do not boil. Set bands aside.

2.) Combine apples with just enough water to prevent sticking in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 20 minutes, until apples are tender (time will depend upon the variety of apple and their maturity). Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

3.) Transfer apples, working in batches, to a food mill or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée until smooth. (We only blended half of the apples until smooth. The other half we left in the pot and mashed by hand. Then we mixed the blended apples back in to make a perfectly chunky applesace.)

4.) Add sugar, if using, and lemon juice. (We also added cinnamon to half of our applesauce.) Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Maintain a gentle boil over low heat while filing jars.

5.) Ladle hot applesauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

6.) Process jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Little Man

He loves playdough!

It seems like Kate is always the one having all the fun, so I thought I should share some of the silly things that our Little Man Josh has been up to lately. He is 17 months old now, though everyone thinks he is older. He's a big kid. We can tell he always has a lot on his mind and he is very curious, but he has yet to put his thoughts into so many words. He says "MaMa and Dada" and everything else he says is a combination of one or the other. "Ma" usually means, "I want that right now!" and "Da" can also mean "doggy".

Being curious at Grandpa's house

A week or so ago, we headed over to my Dad's house for lunch on his patio. Josh was to curious to sit down and eat anything. This was such a cute photo of him peeking through the woodpile.

Grand Opening of Playdough Towers

We were playing playdough one afternoon and Josh was having a great time. After a few minutes, he got a hold of a few empty playdough containers and started stacking them on top of one another and then pointed at them very excitedly. So... we got out all of the playdough containers and started making towers. We had a great time. Our towers were as tall as Kate! Needless to say, I think Santa is going to bring Josh some blocks this year.

Cleaning the Floors with HIS Mop

If there is a mop, a broom, a stick, a light-saber, or anything of the like, Josh will find it and attempt to clean the floor with it. Maybe I am just a great example with all of the my mopping and sweeping (haha), or maybe this kid is obsessed with sticks, but he can keep himself entertained for quite a while. He was stealing my broom and coming way to close to wacking our big screen tv with the handle, eventually had to make him his own mop by shortening a spare Swiffer mop we had lying around. What a good helper.

Friday, October 2, 2009

So We Think She Can Dance... and Paint

Near the beginning of August, I started hunting for a dance class for Katelyn. I wanted something close to our house that wasn't focused on competition. Masterpiece Studios fit the bill. It's less than ten minutes away AND she gets to take dance and art, one right after the other. Friday mornings are so much fun. Katelyn gets all dressed up in her dance gear and we head to the studio. She does tap first, so we get her tap shoes on with all of other little girls. When Miss Jackie, her dance teacher, invites them into the studio, ten little girls stomp (not tap!) their way across the studio floor to hang up their backpacks and sit down for circle time. Miss Jackie calls the girls her "little angels".

Circle Time

Standing in her spot

After saying a prayer together, they all go stand in their spot, which is marked by a colored piece of tape on the floor, and they stretch out by doing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes".

"Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes"

Kate is still trying to get the hang of it all. She is usually about three steps behind. Its so cute to watch though! Next, the practice their "Mr. Sun" routine, which I have on video at the bottom. Josh and I usually have to leave after the first few minutes of her class. He wants to go in and be with Kate so bad. When they are done with tap, they all switch into their ballet shoes for the last half of the class.

Our little dancer

When dance is over, Miss Erin comes over to get Kate and take her to the art studio next door to the dance studio. In art class, they read a book, and then do a project based upon the book. Today they read "Where the Wild Things Are" and then drew their own monster on black paper and added googly eyes all over it. They looked like monster eyes peering through the dark. She loves her art class, which is totally different than her dance class in that there is just her and two other boys. It's so neat to see Kate experiencing new things!

Mr. Sun Routine