Archive | December 2015

Christmas Eve in Canada

It’s raining outside and this Winter, only a few provinces in Canada will have a white Christmas.

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When I was much younger and growing up on the Canadian Prairies, it never occurred to me that some provinces in Canada never had snow in Winter.  I knew that there were places like Hawaii or Mexico that only had hot weather with year round sunshine and palm trees.  I never gave much thought to other places in the world.  Yes, I was pretty naive.

My world was a small rural village.  We always had a lot of snow and freezing temperatures.  In fact, some years we never even went to church on Christmas because it was just too cold!  I can remember that one Christmas Eve Dad couldn’t start the car even after having the car plugged in all day.

Plugged in?  No wait a minute now.  I am not talking about electric cars.  Remember we are talking about the 1950’s here. Electric cars haven’t been invented yet.  No, I am talking about plugging in the block heater.

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Cars on the Prairies and other cold climates need block heaters.  If you live in a warm country you may not even know what I mean by that.  A block heater is a device that warms the engine of a vehicle.  This protects the components and parts, and basically makes it easier for your car to start in cold temperatures.  There is a lot of information on the internet about the workings of these engine heaters, so I won’t explain more.  I will however tell you a story about block heaters and a Christmas holiday a few years back.

In our first year of marriage, My Man and I took a driving holiday into the Rocky Mountains in late December.  I had never driven in the mountains in cold weather.  I wasn’t concerned however because I knew my husband was a great driver and I of course was madly in love!

The roads had been salted and ploughed and the temperatures were only around minus 10 degrees Celsius.  The air was crisp but the scenery was fantastic!  The trees had a light dusting of snow.  The waterfalls were frozen in time, with solid fingers of icicles cascading down the mountains.  Snowflakes sparkled and danced in the air as they made their way down through the sky.  Stunning scenery and a wonderful drive for us through the mountains and the Columbia Icefields as we made our way to Jasper, Alberta.

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We were staying in a quaint hotel in the town of Jasper.  As we checked in, the hotel desk clerk mentioned to us that our room was ground level and we could park right in front of the room.  Wonderful!  It would make it easier for us to unload our suitcases.  When we parked the car, I also noticed that there was an electrical outlet on the post right in front of the car.

“Look!  That’s just wonderful!”,  I said again to My Man.  “We can plug the car in and not have to worry about it.”

My husband looked at me like I was from another planet.

He didn’t say anything.  He just gave me a long look.

“What?” I asked.

Again, he didn’t say anything but he did take me to the front of the car.  He opened the hood.

“What?” I asked again.

“What are we going to plug in?” he finally asked me.

I said, “We need to plug in the heater, so the car will start in the morning.”  Hey, there’s no wind whistling through my ears!  I knew about cold weather and cars!  Then I peered under the hood.

Guess what?  I found out that day that not every car has a block heater!  Yes, I was pretty naive.

No matter where you are today, I wish you and your family a joyful, peaceful and blessed Christmas and a new year filled with a continued abundance of blessings!

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All the best for 2016!

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It must be a Prairie thing!

I went shopping this morning at my local grocery store and I saw that the store had Cheez Whiz on sale.  Some of you may gasp and think “Yuck, that’s just a processed something that is supposed to resemble real cheese”.

Some of you however may feel the same way that I do! “Yum, the best cheese in the world for perogies and especially for grilled cheese sandwiches”.

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Well, I stood there in that store and felt my mouth start to water. I couldn’t believe it but I could taste the flavour of the Cheez Whiz!

My thoughts went to my memories of cold blustery Prairie Winter days.  I thought about coming into my childhood home to the smells of fresh homemade soup and warm grilled cheese sandwiches. It was a good feeling!

I love grilled Cheez Whiz sandwiches!

I bought a jar.

I came home and as I was putting away my grocery items, my eyes kept looking at that jar of Cheez Whiz.  I couldn’t wait any longer.

“Who wants a grilled cheese sandwich made with Cheez Whiz ?” I asked my family.  Now, we all love grilled cheese sandwiches around here, but today everyone said, “No, thank you!”

You see, no one in my own family likes Cheez Whiz.  Whenever I make grilled cheese sandwiches for My Man and children, I make them by grating a block of cheddar cheese. These go down in a jiffy around here. But never with Cheez Whiz.

Perhaps it’s all in how and where and even when one was growing up. When I was little, my parents couldn’t afford the store-bought blocks of cheddar cheese. So if we wanted something with cheese flavour, it was always made with Cheez Whiz.  Mom always used it whenever she made cheese sauces, macaroni casseroles and potato and Cheez Whiz perogies.  Many people who I now know out here in the West Coast request that I make them perogies with Cheez Whiz too.

I think it’s something we just ate growing up on the Prairies. I believe that it’s very much like Spam luncheon meat.  It’s an acquired taste!

Well, I made myself a grilled Cheez Whiz sandwich and now I am purring like a kitten as I bite into the smooth creamy cheese.

By the way, I love Spam too.  All I have to say about that is …must be a prairie thing!

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