Archive | June 2013

38 Days to Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival !

Uk girlsI just checked my calendar and there are only 38 days until
Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin Manitoba.

Visit the website http://www.cnuf.ca

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Father’s Day 2013

My Man happily barbecuing on his Big Green Egg on Father's Day!

My Man happily barbecuing on his Big Green Egg on Father’s Day!

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The Sunday Visit !

Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday, June 16th. In North America, it is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. It is a day for us to show our appreciation and say Thank You to our dads. I just found out that the date for Father’s Day in countries such as Australia and New Zealand is celebrated in September. Again this blog is not a history lesson but I am always intrigued about other countries and their traditions.

Speaking of traditions, our own family celebrates Father’s Day with a day spent with dad. The boys spend time visiting. Of course, we always have a special dinner.  If the weather cooperates this Sunday, we’ll have a barbecue and enjoy our backyard. Maybe a game of bocce?

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Both My Man and I no longer have our own dads but on Father’s Day, we reflect and recall special times spent together. Each of our dads were unique and not only helped us as we grew up, but were also influential in our own sons’ lives.

As I mentioned in my Mother’s Day post, I believe building memories and spending time together with those you love is far more important than purchasing gifts. Of course a card in the mail or a small gift is okay, but please let’s not commercialize our relationships!

Some of you may be wondering why I call my husband My Man.

Well, it is a Ukrainian thing with me that links back to a very special aunt and uncle and a tradition called “the Sunday visit” !

If you are not from a rural Ukrainian village, you may not understand the significance of  “the Sunday visit”.

Let me take you back in my recollections.

Ever since I can remember my mom, dad, siblings and I would go to church on Sunday morning, come home, change out of our Sunday best, have lunch (maybe a bowl of borscht and fresh homemade buns?) and then we’d go visiting.

No, wait…dad would often have an afternoon nap first. Hey, that’s just the way it was. He worked very hard all week long and needed a day to catch up. Nothing wrong with that. Except of course, the rest of us sat around and anxiously waited for our drive into the country.

Now we already lived in a small town, but driving out into the country meant that we were literally driving into the “bush”, with lots of trees, farmland, and maybe a small farmhouse every couple of miles. We travelled down dusty dirt roads and if I am not mistaken, the days were often sunny, dry and hot in the Summer or dark, dreary and cold in the Winter months. Heaven help us if we were to ever break down in our orange  ’57 Ford Fairlane.

The Sunday visit that we all enjoyed the most was to Uncle Jack and Auntie Sophie’s house. I think everyone has a pair of relatives that we love dearly and have influenced our lives. These two were like the pillars of the whole community. Everyone spoke highly of them but I considered myself extra lucky to be related to them!

Uncle Jack farmed, planting and working the fields as well as keeping cattle and turkeys. Oh how those turkeys loved our bright orange car!  In fact, they would fly up onto the roof and surround us when we drove up. I was always afraid to get out of the car.

Aunt Sophie was one of the best aunts anyone could ask for. She was always so happy to see us and made us feel special and so welcomed into her home. I can still picture her standing by her wood stove stirring the boiling pyrohy or whipping up the fresh cream for her pies and cakes. Auntie Sophie’s Angel food cakes are still talked about! Mile high, light and fluffy! Add the whipped cream and no wonder we liked to come to her house for Sunday dinners!

Uncle Jack and Aunt Sophie taught me a lot about the importance of family. Pictures covered their farmhouse walls. Aunt Sophie could name every person in them. She knew when they were born, who they married, what their children’s names were, and sadly even when some of them had died. She took it upon herself to teach us that people were important. Her family and friends were special to her, but no one was more important to her than “her Man”.

Uncle Jack was her “Man”.

Her “Man” could do no wrong. When he was out in the field, she’d stop whatever she was doing and make sure that her “Man” got his dinner. Her “Man” worked late into the evening seeding in the Spring or threshing in the Fall, but Aunt Sophie made sure that the cows were milked and the turkeys fed, because her “Man” had put in a long day.  She kept his supper hot and ready.

When I got married, my aunt told me to treat my man nice!  “It’s important to take good care of a good man!”

I’ve started referring to my husband as My Man a few years ago.  It just seemed right. I see so much of Uncle Jack in my husband; hard-working, ambitious, sometimes opinionated but also so kind, generous and very loving. Maybe he’s not yet a pillar of our community but he is in my eyes. Funny how people like Uncle Jack and Aunt Sophie from our past lives can so influence our present lives.

Just for fun…take a look at my page called How To Preserve A Husband.

Whether you are a father, a father-in-law, grandpa, foster dad or just a great husband, Happy Father’s Day !    Щасливий День батька (Shchaslyvyy̆ Denʹ batʹka)

30th Anniversary Road Trip

Happy Anniversary!

My husband (aka My Man/MM) and I are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this year.

We were married on the Victoria Day long weekend in May and each year we try to do something unique or go somewhere that is memorable to mark the date. Every year is a new adventure!

We often like to surprise each other and this year was no exception. MM gave me a little “blue” sparkly, and for those who know me well, know that I like jewelery and enjoy wearing it even when I garden. I’m no fashionista, but I see no reason why a bit of bling doesn’t go well with blue jeans, plaid shirts and wellingtons (Ukrainian gumboots)!

My gift for my husband, on the other hand, was a bag of licorice and several road maps!

You may think it strange and that’s okay. I know he thought it very strange at first but being good-natured as he is, he went along with my plans. I told him that we were going on a road trip…location is a surprise!

So how does my man prepare for a trip to an undisclosed location? What does he pack? Will he need a passport? Are we flying or driving?

Well needless to say, I gave very little information about what we were doing or where we were heading. I did provide a list of what to pack for a four-day adventure…warm clothes, rain gear, hiking boots, shorts, golf shirts and swim trunks. Oh yes, don’t forget good evening clothes as we would be going to a few nice places for dinner!

Can you sense that maybe my husband would be getting a bit impatient with me?

We started out early on Tuesday morning just after breakfast and drove for approximately 5 hours to the interior of our province British Columbia. We took the Hope-Princeton highway driving through Manning Park and stopping for lunch in the cozy little town of Princeton. It was raining off and on but the weather cleared a bit as we headed for the beautiful Okanagan Valley.

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Situated in the interior of the province, the Okanagan Valley stretches more than 100 kilometers. The Okanagan Lake fills most of this valley. There’s a vast array of wildlife here that includes big horn sheep, cougars, bears, burrowing owls and even rattlesnakes. This bear was munching on some roots and did not mind posing for us.

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Canada’s only desert is also in the Okanagan. With this diverse terrain, unique microclimates have created conditions ideal for growing grapes and producing a variety of styles of wine.

So here we are in wine country and we are staying at the Apple d’or Bed and Breakfast in Naramata.

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This Apple d’or Guesthouse is a fabulous 5 star Bed and Breakfast which has 3 beautifully decorated guest suites.  There is a sunroom, hot tub, sauna and swimming pool that overlooks the Okanagan Lake. The continental breakfasts were fabulous.

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Each suite is uniquely decorated. Ours was called the Ambrosia suite. Like all of the suites, it has a kitchen area as well as a private patio which opens up to a beautifully landscaped yard with lush green grass, flowering trees, rock gardens and Spring flowers popping up everywhere.

With the orchards and vineyards surrounding us, it feels like we’ve just arrived in Tuscany! My words here do not do this beautiful place justice. I have included a few photos but please check out their website.  www.appledor.ca

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We had another wonderful surprise waiting for us in our suite. Our best friends had arranged for a chilled bottle of champagne to be in our suite when we arrived. This is so very kind of them and so like them too. Thank you so much.

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By the way, our champagne was called Between Friends. It’s only available at this B&B. Holly and Colin, the hosts, have a small vineyard and make their own champagne. For a donation to help out a couple of boys and their family in Kenya, you may acquire a bottle or two to take home.

We spent four wonderful days up here enjoying fabulous dinners, going on wine tours and tastings and we even biked a part of the Trans Canada Trail. This great walking and bike trail includes access to the Kettle Valley Rail trestles.

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So there it is…another adventure for us as we continue our life’s journey!

If you are planning a road trip or a get away of your own, I highly recommend the Apple d’or and the Okanagan Valley.

If you have any comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you.