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Tap, tap, tap…

Hammering with Dad

I wish I could record the tapping that is happening outside.  No! It’s not a woodpecker.  It’s a carpenter sitting on top of our neighbour’s storage shed. He is putting up shingles and if you have ever heard the sound of a hammer, you’d understand.

He is not using a nail gun.  No, it’s just a hammer.  You are now wondering why I’m writing about such a boring topic.  If you have been following my blog for a while you will understand that something as simple as this tapping can bring on a flood of memories for me!  On this Father’s Day, this time is no exception.

Listening to the tapping outside takes me back to many years ago when I was only 4 years old and my dad was a carpenter.  Whenever my dad had a day off from work, he would often work outside in our old barn.  We didn’t have any cows or horses in this barn.  It was converted into a workshop for him.

I used to love being with him.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, dad often made me things like homemade swings in the old Maple tree and “saw-horse” ponies.  He enjoyed having me around!

This one particular day however, I recall it was just the opposite.  I remember having my own little hammer and was banging nails into a piece of old wood while dad worked away on his woodworking project.  He tapped and tapped. And, I tapped and tapped.  He’d tap once.  I’d tap once.  He would tap two times, and I would imitate his tap. This was lots of fun for me.  He continued nailing and tapping away.  I too tapped away.  He’d look at me and smile.  I’d smile back.  Oh, did my dad ever have a lot of patience with me !

But, after about twenty minutes of this, my dad stopped hammering.

“Okay, that’s enough”,  he said to me.

I didn’t really understand until he took me by the hand and walked me back to the house.

He opened the door and said to my mom, “Keep her in. I can’t concentrate when she taps along with me.”

Looking back, I am surprised that my dad even let me near him when he was trying to concentrate on his wood projects.

I prefer a quiet work place with no interruptions whenever I work on a project. I don’t get too upset whenever I am interrupted.  And, my friends tell me that I am a patient person.  Perhaps Dad passed this trait down to me?  I like to think so.

On this Father’s Day, I fondly remember my dad and I thank him for teaching me about patience.

I heard a saying recently…God gave everyone patience but unfortunately, only a few people use it!

Happy Father’s Day to all !

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Happy Easter 2018

It has been a busy Holy Week and we celebrate Easter this weekend with our family and friends.  I took the Easter basket of special foods to church today to be blessed and our family will be sharing it for our breakfast.

In addition to the traditional foods, I included eight of my newly written pysanky. Why so many?  Well, I like to give away my pysanky and I will not give them to anyone until I have taken them to church to be blessed.

For many years now, I have been trying to improve my pysanky writing skills.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I started writing pysanky with my mom at the age of two.  I was asked last week if I have made the pysanky every year.  To this I had to say no.  Like many of you I started out learning the Ukrainian traditions at home when young.  But as a teenager, it really wasn’t so cool to “be Ukrainian” so I stopped writing them with my mom.  And as the years went by, my career took over much of my time and unfortunately I didn’t make any for a number of years.  But this all changed when I became a parent myself.

When my children were old enough to hold a crayon, I knew that they could also hold a kistka.  It was time to teach them to learn about the traditional art of pysanky.  We started out hand-over-hand and as you can see, they didn’t do too bad at all.  Yes, I’m a proud mom and yes, I have saved all of my children’s eggs.  I’ve included a couple of them in this post.  Also don’t forget to check out my Pysanky photos on my Home page.

 

 

Happy Easter everyone!

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Cookie Season

“The snow crunches under my feet as I climb the back porch stairs.  I stamp my snowboots and shake off as many of the snowflakes that have landed on my toque and parka.  My warm breath has made my scarf over my mouth wet and damp.  Brrr, I think to myself.  Can winter evenings be any colder than this?  I’m guessing that it must be -25C outside right now.  I just want to get out of this cold.  Oh, please, let it be nice and warm inside our house.”

This is just one recollection that I have of growing up on the Canadian prairies.  We had snow!  We had winds!  We had freezing temperatures!  It was often so dark outside by 4:00 in the afternoon that you couldn’t see right in front of you.  It was always a relief to get home and walk into a warm house.

But you know what I recall even better than just getting out of the cold?

It was the smell of home cooked meals and fresh-from-the-oven baking.

My mom was an excellent cook and we enjoyed many delicious dinners.  Each night we always had a “meat and potato” dinner.  Sometimes it was mashed potatoes; or perogies or holubsti; maybe roast chicken; and always a variety of vegetables that had been grown in our own garden.  I sometimes start to drool even thinking about these dinners.

But what really got to me back then and even today was the baking.  The smells of fresh from the oven baking!  Mom’s cookies and cakes were heavenly.  She always had some kind of dessert for us to follow our dinners.

My favourites were her cookies.  Believe it or not, she could make delicious cookies out of zucchini, turnips and carrots!  I think I have enough of her collection of traditional cookie recipes to warrant a section of their own here in my blog.  I am going to add many of my mom’s original cookie recipes to this blog one of these days.

But for today, I would like you to take a look at one of these tasty cookie recipes.  It only has 3 main ingredients, but as many add-ons as you wish!  Carrot Cake Cookies

Take a look. Let me know what you think.

Maybe they will make you want to come in from the cold too.

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One “Frosty” Morning

I woke up this morning feeling all stuffed up in my head. My sinuses are blocked and I have a dreadful headache. I can’t stop sneezing!  Yes, you’ve guessed it…I have a head cold.

Not sure how I acquired it. Perhaps it was the lady that I met on the bus two days ago. She sounded congested and constantly took a tissue out and wiped her nose.  Perhaps it was our postal worker who handed me the mail yesterday. Well, I don’t mreally know who; but what I do know for sure, is that it wasn’t Betty Frost who gave me this cold.

Who is Betty Frost?  Let me explain.

As you are aware, I grew up on the Canadian prairies.  The prairies are a beautiful place really. Weather wise however you must know that the prairies alternate between dry sunny days and quite cold nights, and in Winter, the prairie provinces sometimes have fierce temperatures as low as -30C.  The first snowfall is often in the month of October.

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Growing up on the prairies I often heard…

“Bundle up now and keep warm.  Мороз is outside and you don’t want to catch a cold.”

“Don’t go out without a toque on, it’s мороз outside and you will catch cold.”

“Don’t go out with wet hair. It will get all frosty and you will catch a cold.”

Sound familiar to some of you?  Yes, when growing up,  I was frequently stopped from going outside because I could catch a cold from the cold weather. My mom used to say that the мороз would get me. Мороз is Ukrainian for frost.

Now we know as a fact that no one catches colds from being outside.  The cold temperatures of the prairie winters did not give a person a cold.  Colds are transmitted from person to person, not the cold winds of winter. But old wives tales were very prevalent back then.  Come to think about it, they still are in many ways.

On my first day of school in Grade One, I met a fellow classmate named Betty Мороз.  When I first heard the teacher call roll call and ask if Betty Мороз was present, I nearly ran out of the room.  Oh no, I was doomed.  How could I escape catching a cold if the мороз was in this classroom?  I was so happy to know that her desk wasn’t connected to mine. I was in row 2 and she was in the row 5. Whew. At recess I never went near her. If she was on the swings, I wasn’t. I couldn’t understand why the other kids played with her.

That first day of school after class was dismissed at 4:00pm, I raced home and told mom that I would probably be sick now forever and wouldn’t ever be able to go to school again.  But why my mom asked?  Did you already learn to print your name?  Could you already read a book?  No, I replied. It’s because of Betty Мороз.

My mom laughed and said that I’d be just fine and I should be her friend.  She never explained but I did as she told me.

I became friends with Betty and I still am!

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Ukrainian Beet Leaf Holubsti #2

It is the season for fresh beet leaves from our gardens.  I have just added another recipe for fresh Beet Leaf Rolls and Holubsti, Ukrainian style.

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Beet Leaf Holubsti #2  is similar to my other recipes Ukrainian Beet Rolls and  Ukrainian Beet Leaf Holubtsi.

I am providing a recipe that will produce softer buns and the rising time is shorter.

So if your mouth is watering as you read these recipes or you are feeling nostalgic for tasty days gone by….check out the Beet Leaf recipes on my pages Traditional Ukrainian recipes.

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Beet Leaf Holubsti, without sauce

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A Mother Needs a Day to Rest!

As I was driving to attend the Mother’s Day mass at my Ukrainian church this morning, I listened to a talk show about how Mother’s Day originated.

Anna Jarvis, an American, had wanted to honour her own mother and has been credited as its founder.  At her mother’s graveside in 1905, Anna was overheard saying that “all mothers need a day of rest”.  She believed that mothers were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”. (Engaging Families 2015 Special Editions-Mother’s Day)

The first official Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908.

As I drove along I continued to listen…

Over the years, Anna Jarvis had become resentful that the holiday had become commercialized.  She believed that many companies had started exploiting the idea of Mother’s Day.   She had intended the holiday to be a sentimental time to express love and gratitude, not a for-profit day.

During the mass this morning, I found my mind wandering a bit (sorry, Father) and thought more about what I had heard on the car radio.  It really was so; Mother’s Day has become very commercialized.   There are massive sales of greeting cards and there are all sorts of advertisements about where to buy the best flowers, boxes of delicious chocolates or even diamonds and other jewellery for mom.  Not what Anna Jarvis intended I’m sure.

As the choir today sang Ava Maria, I got all choked up and my memories flooded back to 1963.   It is a memory of a special time I spent with my mom on that particular Mother’s Day.

We were in our village church.  It was hot and stuffy inside, but cold and windy outside of the church.  The smoke from the censer was making my eyes burn and the priest’s words droned on, and were almost putting me to sleep.

“When is it over, mom?” I asked anxiously

“Sh, soon. Here. “,  she said.

Mom handed me a soda cracker.  I happily accepted it because it was perfect for me to break into smaller pieces and eat slowly.  It wasn’t noisy to munch on and somehow, the time just seemed to pass so much more quickly.  I recall looking up at my mom and she looked back down at me and gave me her knowing smile.  I smiled back.

My mom was so wonderful, so kind and as I beamed back at her, some of the cracker crumbs fell out of my mouth onto the floor.  Oh, no! I looked around hoping that no one saw.  I was horrified that Father was going to find out that it was me who had dirtied the church floor.  Tears stung my eyes.  My mom calmly took out a kleenex and wiped my eyes.

At the end of mass, Father blessed and handed out carnations to all of the mothers.  My mom winked at me and gave me the carnation to carry home.  No one ever said anything about the crumbs.

 

Did you know that a carnation is very much like a mother’s love?

 A carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies.  So, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never-dying. — Anna Jarvis

 

 

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Seasons of change

We had some unusual weather these past few months with our snowfall and unseasonable temperatures. Lots of television and Internet news stories focused on the heavy snowfalls and icy conditions.  There have been lots of complaints about our weather this year.

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In my opinion, I think we need to toughen up and take it in stride.  If the snow and cold temperatures are going to stick around for a few weeks, especially in British Columbia, we need to change our behaviours.  We need to dress appropriately in parkas, toques, mittens and wear boots on our feet.   See an older post of my cold winter days First Snow and skiing !

Believe it or not, I saw a woman walking in open-toed sandals across a parking lot when we had over 10cm of fresh snow on the ground.  She certainly is not justified to complain about the cold and wet if she isn’t  prepared.  When living anywhere in Canada, we should expect four seasons and be as prepared for it as much as possible.  Maybe we all need to toughen up a bit.

Ha, listen to me.  I don’t like the cold temperatures either.  But I grew up on the Prairies.  I had my fair share of cold winter days and I dressed for them.  It is what you get used to it and you have to adapt.  Yes, you have to change.

I love the snow as I have said many times in past blog posts. However I also love to see the change to the season that follows Winter.  It is almost Spring!

I looked out of my window this morning and saw the new buds on the rose bushes.  The tulips and daffodils are popping out everywhere as well.

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It’s a wonderful time for renewal and new life to spring out!

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And speaking of new life…I’m so happy to let you know that renewal has happened in our family as well. We welcome Kaden into the world.

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My nephew and his partner have added to their family and we are all so very happy for them.  What better way to add to the seasons of change!

Come to think of it…I better get shopping and send the new little one some warm Winter clothes!  After all, Spring is still three weeks away.

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