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.

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