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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Welcome Home....


Mr. (or Mrs.) Heron is back! One of my favorite things about coming up my driveway in the summer is the sight of our beautiful Heron who has made our pond his home. Heron's are beautiful birds to watch. They can sit so still that you barely notice them even though they are very large creatures. My hubby had gone for a walk in 'the back 40' a month or so ago and noticed a dead heron in the field. We were sad to realize that he/she may not be back this year, but lo and behold, there's another here.
Today I was sitting at my computer and glanced out the window only to notice this visitor sitting on the far side of the pond. I knew right away it wasn't the same heron that was here last year. This one is smaller and more grey in colour. Last years was a huge, blue fellow. My guess is that this is the female, or one of their offspring. Either way, it was a welcome sight. When these birds take off in flight they are so gracious to watch...they have a huge wing span and it takes them a little while to get going! I needed a pick-me-up today and I think this was God's way of doing just that.

Relatively Speaking....











Two weekends ago we were able to spend some time with family from out of town. My Aunt & Uncle and cousin came up from Oregon to spend a weekend visiting family. They came up Friday night and stayed until Sunday. Saturday was a relaxed day of visiting while my hubby and cousin went to a Diesel Truck Event here in town. My kids were so excited to see their 'cousins' Kevin and 'Nickel' (Nicole) as my 4 yr old has always called her. We had beautiful weather and the kids had a blast playing outside all day. In the evening we had more family over and enjoyed a bbq. It was so nice that my Grandma could come out for the evening and spend time with her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids! Here's few pics to enjoy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Family Time....











One of our favorite family pastimes is Hot Dog roasts over the open fire. We did this lots when we were kids growing up...we did it when we were in youth, and we do it still today. It seems as though this spring season has been busier than ever. There's endless driving to and from events and the phone rings off the hook. It's nice to take a night off and head down to the field where we can't hear the phone and there are no distractions as we enjoy time together as a family. Some of our best conversations happen around the fire. It's out in the middle of nature and we can marvel at God's creation. This past week we enjoyed having my parents join us, as they often do, and we huddled around the fire as it's still a little cold in these parts. We enjoy watching the little fish jump for bugs in the pond, and we discovered a muskrat swimming around watching us. There's also a few Canadian geese attempting to nest and there's lots of ducks and frogs. It only lasts for an hour or so until the weather gets better but they are important memories being made for all. (There's also the added bonus that I don't have to cook!) We're looking forward to many more of these as the weather gets nicer. Hope you enjoy the pics!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter Celebration...








He is Risen...He is Risen Indeed!
Although I'm a week late, I thought I'd post some pics of our Easter festivities. We started Good Friday with our traditional Good Friday Breakfast at Church. This breakfast is sponsored by our Men's ministries and they did a wonderful job! We then participated in the Art Walk at Church. This is a set up where we walk through a variety of art displays. Many artists contribute. There are paintings, stories, sketches, photography, and so much more. It's a wonderful way to reflect upon Christ's love for us and how He expressed it in the ultimate sacrifice of dying for our sins.

The art walk was followed by a service. On Saturday we had my family here for a great time of food and fun. The kids enjoyed an easter hunt and, as you can see, were spoiled by many easter bunnies! The weather was perfect! My parents, one of my Grandma's and both brothers were there. We went to church on Sunday for a continental breakfast with lots of paska and then enjoyed an Easter Sunday service that had drama, music and pictures. It was a great Easter weekend! I trust you enjoyed yours as well!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

First time Paska...






Now I'm not an authentic Mennonite..but I sure married one! So, I've been told that makes me 'menno by marriage'. One of the things I've tried to do over the last 13 years is learn about my husbands heritage and the traditions that go along with it. I love to hear the stories from my husbands Aunt, Tina, about their journey here to Canada. Although she was just a child she has very vivid memories. It is very evident when she tells me her stories that she is so grateful for the chance she had to come to this country.
My hubby is the easiest guy to please when it comes to cooking but every now and then I like to try something special that I know he'll enjoy...sometimes that means making something Mennonite! I have discovered this treasure of a blog called 'Mennonite Girls Can Cook'. This blog not only has great recipes for every day cooking but these gals also share their traditional mennonite recipes for wives like me! I want to thank these girls for the dedication and work they put into their blog because it really is amazing and it is about so much more than just the food.
Well, that being said, I asked my hubby before Easter if paska bread was a big thing in his house when he was growing up. Many of my mennonite friends are making piles of it this time of year and I thought I'd tackle it. Although Rob doesn't remember his Mom making it, he remembers his aunts making it and was more than eager to taste my attempt. I headed off to this wonderful blog and got just the recipe. I was nervous, I'll admit it. BUT, it turned out wonderful...on the first try! I happily served it to friends and both menno and non menno family members and the results were the same....yummmmmm! I guess I'm bragging a little now so I'll go, but not before encouraging you to check out this wonderful website if you haven't already, and oh, try the paska too....it's marvelous!
I can't seem to get my pics to post in the right order...so, reverse in your mind ok?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Best Ever Strawberry Shortcake....







Yup, without a doubt, this is the best ever shortcake recipe you'll find! It doesn't matter where I take this cake I get asked for the recipe. Now, I don't know if it's my Grandma's original recipe or not, but it's always been called hers....the name of the recipe is 'Dot's Shortcake'. (My Grandma's name is Dorothy) This Easter season seemed the perfect time to break out this recipe for the first time this year. It's one of those fussy, 'make one wrong move and the whole thing will flop' recipe. I'll still encourage you to try it because even if it flops you'll still love it!
Here it goes:
In mixer (I use my Kitchen Aid with whisk beater), beat 4 eggs really well. Add 2 scant ( just less than) cups of white sugar. Beat until thick. Add 2 slightly rounded cups of flour, 1 tsp. salt, and 4 (yes 4) tsp. of Baking powder. Mix really well. It will be very thick!
Meanwhile, in a microwave safe measuring cup scald 1 cup of milk. Scald simply means getting the milk to an extremely hot temp without actually boiling it. To do this I turn my microwave down to half power and heat the milk for anywhere from 3-5 minutes....keep an eye on it or it'll start to boil and make a mess all over your microwave. (voice of experience typing here)
You can tell its scalded by looking at the surface...there should be a very faint skin on it and it'll have a distinct smell. Add 1/4 cup butter or marg into the hot milk and let it melt completely.
Add milk mixture into your first mixture and mix really well. Now add 1-2 tsp vanilla and continue to mix. Scrape the bottom of the bowl while mixing otherwise you'll have thick, lumpy batter when you pour it out!
Now, line a pan (I use a metal pan) with waxed paper and slowly pour mixture in.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. This is one of those, 'no running in the house, no slamming doors, no angry stomping' cakes or it'll fall! At first you'll just smell the wax paper heating up but once the cake starts to bake.....mmmmmmm, nothing but goodness!
Once cooled I peel away the waxed paper and place back in the pan, cut into 12 pieces. When ready to serve, cut each square in half to open, and spoon sugared berries and whipped or ice cream. This is a favorite in our house and between summer entertaining and parties I make this recipe at least 20 times each year!
It also just happens to be my Moms favorite cake and I love to bake it just for her!
Let me know how you like it!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sign of Spring...














The last two days here have been beautiful and today is no exception! 'They' say its not going to last but I'm not going to let that spoil my day! Yesterday I started off the day with a nice walk with Kim. We both had capri's and flip flops on to welcome the warm weather. I spent some time outside with the kids, enjoying the warm, beautiful sun and decided to snap a few pics for you to enjoy. Wherever you are I hope you're enjoying your day and hopefully the sun is shining!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Celebrating Two Peas in a Pod...
















What a beautiful, sunny day...the perfect kind of day to celebrate the birth of the much awaited Hunter Twins! Today we had a baby shower for these little darlings. When the girls of Heritage get together to celebrate its an all out party! We truly are just one big family! The noise levels reach crazy levels and the laughter is abundant. I had the honour of hosting this event and here are a few pics for you to enjoy. Amy and Jennifer are a month old already but its hard to believe since they are still so tiny. Tammy is a wonderful Mom....but oh so busy! She now has 4 girls under the age of 5 in her household!





There were gifts galore for Mom and baby, tons of food, a chocolate fountain, games, prizes and lots of laughter. There were so many ladies here it was a good thing we had 2 babies to pass around! There is just something so special about twins...I like to think of them as one way that God reminds us of His awesome power and love for us. I hope you enjoyed your day Tam!

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Lightening Queen.....
















My oldest *kindly* reminded me that I forgot to post about our recent Grand Prix Race Day at church. Every year our Pioneer Clubs program holds a pine car race and it's BIG news for many! The kids have to
design their cars and paint them. The adults help with the cutting. It's all fair and square...they weigh each car and add weight accordingly so the races are fair. All the cars are divided into categories and are judged on speed and design. Last year Olivia brought home 3rd place in the speed category. This year she designed her car to look like a whale! It was a great day with fellow families in the church. There's a cool concession where you can buy cheap 'tail pipes' (also known as hot dogs), and we had a variety of fun cars on display from the auto mall. There were door prizes and trophies galore and most importantly, memories made.
Another special element to this event is my Dad's involvement. Dad has a passion for creating and one of his favorite things to create is garage scenes...he's got large ones, small ones, life size ones....you name it! Both last year and this year Dad set up a couple of his scenes for the enjoyment of all! Notice in the pics how he gives my kids all the credit for the work....that's a true Grandpa! Anyway, it was a wonderul family day. I hope you enjoy the pics. Oh, did I forget to mention that Olivia brought home 2nd place in her speed division this year? She did...so you can well imagine what her goal is for next year!