Friday, November 29, 2013

~ how to have a nearly perfect tree trimming party ~

His Jobs

  • cut the tree down
  • remove bottom branches and give it a good stamping to get out dry needles
  • get decorations and tree stand down from the attic
  • put tree in stand bring into house
  • put on lights
  • decorate the tree ... with her
Her Jobs

  • pick the tree
  • turn on the music
  • give the tree a special drink of lemon lime soda and water
  • make delicious food
  • set the coffee table 
  • decorate the tree ... with him.
Every year it is the same.
Some traditions are so nearly perfect they require no change.

all for now..

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cutting Down the 2013 Christmas Tree

When do you begin decorating for Christmas?
Yesterday the tree came home!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.
The family is coming home here for dinner too.
I'm roasting turkey.
Oh the power of suggestion.

all for now...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

turning six

You were 1 year old when I put a little tutu on you and took pictures of you for an afternoon.
We didn't know then that you would dream of being a ballerina and love to dance.

You dance through life with a quick smile.

May you continue to grow in grace.

The day you were born was one of the sweetest days of my life.
You are a gift from God my sweet girl.

With Love always...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

gathering away the eggs


I always enjoy watching Kanneloni Macaroni put away the eggs.
Have I ever posted a clip of this before?
It seems to me that I have.
I bring them eggs fresh from the hen house in a tray and she puts them into cartons to store in their fridge.
It's her job.
Somehow.. she usually gets them put away without any incidents.


I did several clips on this day and this one made me laugh because she used first her right hand...
and then her left hand.
As she worked her way to the end of the carton...
the weight tipped it over the edge and she caught it....
and saved the eggs.
Too bad I stopped the clip before it happened.

all for now...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ten Thousand Villages Calgary

I'm back!
We got the last flight home last night and just wanted to say...
all is well.

If you haven't ever visited a Ten Thousand Village store during the Christmas season...
I would encourage you to have a look at your local store.
They have unique and beautifully handcrafted ornaments and decorations from around the world..
and they are all fair trade.

We stayed with in Auntie Hilda's (and Uncle Lou's) wonderful "B&B".
The sheets thick luxurious cotton and ironed!
The kitchen was open and breakfast breads, scones and muffins were served.
I have a few things on my grocery list after eating at her breakfast table.

More on the stay there...
another day.

We had a lot of fun at the Ten Thousand Village Crowchild Calgary store.

What makes these signings a success?
If even one or two would come to buy a book and make us feel welcome in their town...
I'd be happy and if there are groups that come...
that is fantastic.

Thank you to each of you who came and told us your stories about what the books mean to you.
Thank you for rushing over from other events to make it in the nick of time.
Thank you for bringing your daughters and your little friends to buy books for their Mom.
Thank you for smiling and becoming the faces we will think of when we try to envision where the comments come from on the blog.

Time to get moving here.
The suitcases are sitting by the door and the sun is nearly up!

all for now...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

With the rain ...

Sometimes I have to quietly open the window to get a good shot.
It's not unlike frightening away a bear when you know he doesn't want to be in everyone's summer vacation photos.

The fence has taken on a green hue from the rain.
Remember that aphid problem we had this summer?
They left with the leaves but the sap that misted off the freshly chewed leaves...
turned the fence a hue of black.

Green and black hues on the white rail fence does not make for a happy farmer...
let me tell you.

Now he'll see this and say...
"they don't need to know everything".

It's true....
but the rest of the news around here isn't blog worthy either so the fence hue restored to white...
it is .

I'll be leaving on a jet plane tomorrow to go to Calgary with Anneliese and Marg to sign books at the Ten Thousand Village store on Crowchild.

I'm excited!
I love the idea of a bit of a get away and the bonus is a visit to see family.
I'm thankful for two such wonderful reasons to visit Calgary.

I'll do my utmost to post a few photos while I'm gone.

all for now...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Things on my calendar and the frosty air.

It has felt a bit chilly the last while.
If the sky clears at night...
there is a hint of frost.

I admit to not spending a lot of time outside during the day this time of year.
I do a lot of poking my nose out the door to test the air.

Behind the scenes the Mennonite Girls are busy planning and starting to do some preliminary work on our Old Fashioned Cookie Class at Lepp Farm Market on December 4.
It looks like it won't be much longer and the class will be full.
It's such a worthwhile labor of love to partner with them to equip the kitchen at Matthew's House.

Matthew's House is nearly ready to receive guests.
They are getting ready for their open house on November 23.  
If you live in the valley and would be interested in seeing this home where BC children and their families will be loved and cared for...
be sure to check the link for more information.

Two events for you to consider...
I'll leave you with that.

all for now..

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vintage Silver Tea Pot

When I found this little vintage hotel stamped Silver Tea Pot at a thrift store for $4...
I held onto it tight.

The inside has lost some of it's original shimmer but the outside polished up just as I thought it would.

At first thought I would use it as part of my Christmas display ...
but then thought it might make a pretty little liquid dish soap dispenser.

I know that when the littles are over wanting to help me with dishes...
I'll have to get out the regular dispenser which already squeezes out easily enough.

When I'm alone at my kitchen sink looking outside on a dark November day...
I'll feel like a little girl playing house while washing my dishes.
Do you want to come wash dishes too?
You are allowed to wash...
I'll dry.

Next time you are poking around a thrift store...
don't forget to check out the tea pot section.

all for now..

Monday, November 11, 2013

We Remember

We must never forget the profound sacrifices of those who have died...

 those who are serving....

and the families that love them.

Today we wear a poppy on our lapel and we remember.

For your sacrifice..
for our freedom..
we thank you.

Looking forward to that day when all wars will cease.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The November Easter Lily

Last November when I was working on photos for the book I wondered how I would make my Easter Paska look authentically like it was photographed in spring.

Magazine photography deals with this dilemma all the time but they have the advantage of professional lighting and endless props.    I was dealing with our typical November low cloud skies but wandered into the garden to see if anything would suffice to make the photo look like spring.

When all the other garden perennials were dying off...
there was the Easter Lily that I had quickly planted behind my peony after its last blossom fell off after Easter.
I couldn't believe it had buds and some of them were opening up on Paska photo taking day!
It was a gift from God and it was my best photo experience for the Celebrations book.
There were other recipes that had better light...
but this was the only one where I felt that I was sent flowers from heaven.
When I see that photo in the book, my eye always goes to the Easter Lily first.

This last week when I was cutting off perennials ...
there was this years Easter Lily trying to form buds.

I'm thankful for God's precious reminder that if he can make Easter Lilies grow in November...
 he can deal with all the other details that concern me today.

all for now..

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blush ~ A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World

During the summer, I met Shirley Hershey Showalter at the Phoenix Mennonite convention. Kathy and I were at the MennoMedia bookstore representing Mennonite Girls Can Cook  while she was there to promote and read an excerpt from her then, soon to be released memoir about her life as a Mennonite girl in Lancaster County.  I came home to Canada and put in a pre-order through Amazon for my own copy of her book. 

Blush ~ A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World arrived this last Friday and on Sunday afternoon I opened up the package and at first, just admired the attractive cover with a photo a of beautiful girl with a slight blush to her cheeks.  Opening the cover and reading her dedication page, I was sure that I would at least in part be able to relate to her story because she was able to look back on her years of being raised in a conservative Mennonite home and still give her Mother honour. 

Throughout the book, the author was gracious, intelligent and kind, just as my first impression of her had been.  I found myself often referring to pages in the front of the book of her family tree, wanting to keep straight in my mind which side of the family each of her captivating stories, the memories of her youth were referring to. The black and white photos placed through the book, caused me to wish for even more details surrounding each photo, knowing there is always more to a photo than what we see.

Part of the reason I was so interested to read this book was to help me understand the differences of Mennonite groups that came from Europe in the 1700's while my own family came to Canada from Russia in the 1920's.  I was curious as well, how Shirley would handle the sensitive relational issues that almost all families have.  I wondered if she would be able to take the good parts, forgive the parts of her past that brought disappointment and teach future generations something worthwhile about both. She handled it as I had hoped, and I found her faith real and evident from the beginning to the end.

I found myself wanting to underline similar things our families experienced, even though our Mennonite churches were different.  Wishing now for an opportunity to be at a book table with Shirley Showalter again,  I believe we could enjoy interesting conversations filled with exchanges of our cultural and family differences and similarities.

When she describes the church service of her childhood, I was swept back to my own country Mennonite Brethren church which I called home for seventeen years and remembered the benches where the older women sat on one side and the older men on the other side. Changes happen and in my experience, some families began to sit together as my parents did. Though my church did not require women to pin hair coverings on,  I always felt we were somehow plain enough from the world to be noticed as different. I remember when my mother stopped wearing a hat to church simply because she taught the two year old Sunday School class.  She declared one Sunday morning "the hat never stays on anyways" as she marched out of the house with her Bible, purse and Sunday School books.

I enjoyed Shirley Showalter's memories surrounding her time in Grade School.  She learned how to cope and thrive even though she was different from children of non Mennonite homes.  I was able to relate to many of her stories even though she was graduating from high school when I was finishing up Grade Two. We both, years and towns and countries apart sat with one or two others in the library during the Dance part of the curriculum in Physical Education class.  Talk about relating ! I wondered if the fact that her family had immigrated so many generations before my family did, if the basic economics caused my family to remain conservative longer, since in some ways, by the time she left for college, it seemed she was allowed more freedom than I felt when I completed grade twelve in 1977.  

Each chapter in the book has a title and I appreciated the chapter called Mennonite Cooking in the Betty Crocker Era.  It was fascinating for me to see that Shirley learned all she needed to know about cooking and baking from her Mother who, according to a 1941 excerpt of her Mother's diary, was rolling out nineteen pies and several cakes a week by the time she was fourteen!  There is a number of recipes in the back of the book which I enjoyed.  Her Grandmother's excellent potato salad secret especially made me smile since it (the secret) is the same as the recipe included in the Mennonite Girls Can Cook book. I somehow convinced my mom-in-law to dice the potatoes for the photo in our book because of the beauty in both the precision of the small dice and the hands that have prepared it so often for our family.  There is a common beauty in kitchens through the ages no matter where they are found.

Shirley's last chapter in her book tells us where she is now in her Mennonite journey. I loved the last several paragraphs she wrote.  Her eloquent words gave me goosebumps and I realized then that though it is very personal to  her own life, she is giving those of us who can relate to her Mennonite experience, beautiful words to the feelings we hold.

 She eventually realized her dream to teach and became among other things a professor and college president. My education resulted in a high school diploma and soon after also realized my own dream to become a homemaker. Though I feel inadequate to presume to write a book review for someone who has achieved so much academic success,  I hope my simple refections on this wonderful read have given you reason to read Shirley Showalter's memoir and wonder afterwards as I did whether her story will continue in a sequel.

Monday, November 4, 2013

First November Rain Storm

They promised it would be wet and windy and they forecasted it fairly accurately.

50 mm of rain fell over night and the next morning over the weekend and I watched from my front window as the leaves were blown off the Tulip tree.

It was a good weekend.
I hope yours was as well.

all for now..

Friday, November 1, 2013

A walk at the Bird Sanctuary

The weather is changing here.
We have enjoyed the most beautiful October.

The wind on the prairie can catch us by surprise and when it comes from the north east like it did one day this week...
we sometimes wish we would have worn a warmer coat.

We watched the fish swim down Willband creek.
Running from one side of the bridge to watch the fish swim through to the other side became a fishing sport in itself.

I carried many little dandelions on the walk.
Occasionally... I would "lose" them but my supply was easily renewed.

They often stopped and chatted...
it was lovely to watch.

I somehow didn't focus this shot very well but I love it regardless.

I grew up on this prairie.
The hills in the distance are all familiar to me...
and yet I went home with a sense of a new experience and a new perspective.

Being intentionally thankful each day has given me joy...
and for that I am thankful.

I plan to do a month of Thankful posts again for October 2014...
because it was worth it and God is worthy!

all for now...