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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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Bread making is a Science?

I was trying to think of a title for this blog and the story of the Gingerbread Boy came to mind.  I am sure that you know the one – “Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me…..”.  I came up with this title because sometimes dough can just get away from you.

I made some bread this morning and as I was kneading it and setting it out for rising, I recalled a bread making adventure from a few years ago.

My brother and I had the great idea one day to make bread together.  Yes, you are right.  This is the same brother that I have written about before.  He is the one who kept getting me in trouble.  But to be fair, this one time it wasn’t all his fault.  Have a read and see what you think.

One Summer, my brother and I attended university together in the month of July.  I believe we were taking the same Science course at Summer school.  We shared an apartment and one day before our afternoon class decided to go shopping for groceries.

We had gone down to the local grocery store and while walking down the frozen food section, we saw some frozen dough.

“Hey, instead of buying some bread we should make our own”, I had exclaimed to my brother.  He agreed.  We figured that we would save a lot of money and have fresh delicious homemade bread.

To be honest, neither one of us knew a lot about cooking back then but I had seen my mom make bread.  I knew we could do it.  So, we bought the economy pack that had five loaves in it.

After purchasing our groceries, we went home and unpacked our groceries.  We kept the frozen dough loaves out of the fridge because we knew that the dough needed to thaw before baking.  We would bake when they had thawed.

But first, we did have our afternoon Science class that we had to dash off to.  So we kept the package in the grocery bag on the kitchen counter.  We’d bake after class.

I’m pretty sure you already know what happened.

After we returned from our one hour lecture, the dough had thawed.  In fact, it was not only thawed, but it had risen very well.  The dough had split open its plastic wrapping and splayed itself all over the counter.  It covered our entire kitchen counter and rose up under the upper cupboard shelves and was slowly making its way down over the edge onto the floor!  It was like an octopus sliding out of its nest.  Yes, it was scary!

My brother and I now have a good laugh over  this.  Back then it was not funny.  It was however a lesson to learn.   To this day, we both recall learning about rising dough very well.  We can’t say the same about that Science lecture at Summer school that we attended.

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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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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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Wedding Rushnyk Journey

Since the last post that I did on stitching the Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk, I have made a lot of progress.  Well, to be honest…….I am now totally finished the stitching!  And, I must say, “what a project”.  I do not think I could ever do this again!

Here it is….the last stitch!

Just a bit of a recap here.  On November 6th., 2016, I started cross-stitching a Wedding Rushnyk. Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk

I kept at it and kept you informed.  Still Stitching !

Take a good look however and see the change I made on the top and lower border.  I decided in the last month to not stitch the roses on the border but chose a less complicated and fewer stitches band design.  It’s not as busy looking but most importantly, I have not been blinded by this project.

 

Seriously.  I found that my eyesight was rapidly deteriorating and I just couldn’t do any more.

My Man helped me out by setting up the brightest lights for me.  I went to see my optometrist and had prescription eyeglasses made.  But I knew that if I didn’t change-up the pattern, I would not be able to complete it.

I chatted with my friends and even my neighbour came over to see what my dilemma was.  She totally agreed with me and helped me choose a complimentary design.  I’m so grateful for her because I was feeling very overwhelmed and had the feeling that I was “chickening” out of my project. Rushnyk update #3

Want to hear what I find really strange?  I completed the very last stitch on My Man and my wedding anniversary.  To my way of thinking, it was meant to be because I sure didn’t plan it this way.  But wait, I was not quite finished yet.

Next thing that I had to do was to wash the entire cloth.  Even though I had washed my hands and kept my work space clean, oil from my hands did get on the cloth.  I had read somewhere that one had to be very careful about washing a project.  Sometimes the colours of the thread bled.  Great, I thought.  The last thing I needed now was to have the red and black colours run into each other.

Once again I asked around to seek advice from anyone who looked or sounded knowledgeable about cross-stitch.  So much information on the internet and some I knew I shouldn’t believe.

It was at my church where I found the best advice.  I knew I could trust these Ukrainian women because they had recently stitched dance outfits for their grandchildren.  Their advice?  Ice cold water for the first wash; ice-cold water for a second wash but add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to the water; do not rub stitches or wring out; lay flat on fluffy white towel to dry.  It worked!

This Rushnyk has been stitched with love for my niece.  Even when I felt like quitting, I thought of her and her future husband.  This stitching was very hard at times.

As I stitched, I thought about how hard a marriage can be as well.

Every little step of married life is a journey.  Each day needs to be worked on with great care and kindness to each other.  Just like the stitching of this Wedding Rushnyk, there needs to be a plan and an exciting  pattern to follow.  Of course, just like stitching, there will be knots to untie, threads to untangle and even tears to shed from time to time.  But eventually, a life-long design will emerge.

So here it is!  Once again I thank all of you who followed along with me and encouraged me to keep going, one stitch at a time.  

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Celebrating Each and Every Day

Easter, “Velikdenn” – “The Great Day” is here this weekend and like many of you, I am busy preparing our Easter basket and other foods to share with our family and friends.

When I woke up this morning, I had decided to make a butter lamb for the Easter basket that I would be bringing to church to be blessed.  As I mentioned in an earlier post on Ukrainian Easter, we take a basket of special traditional foods to be blessed and then shared with our family on Easter morning.

As I prepared the ingredients and started shaping the butter into a lamb’s body shape, I thought about the time that my sister-in-law made a lamb for us.

SIL is a very special person in our family and in many ways sometimes seems more Ukrainian than I am.

 

SIL is English-speaking  and did not grow up Catholic.  Now over the years that she has been married to my brother, she has learned some of the Ukrainian language as well as many of the customs and traditions.  She is an amazing cook and I have borrowed many of her recipes over the years.  Her holubsti are so much tastier than mine will ever be !

But I digress.  I started thinking about her and this lamb because a few years back, SIL offered to make My Man and I a butter lamb for an anniversary dinner.  At first, I thought great…it’ll be so yummy.  I love eating lamb but had never seen it prepared like butter chicken (so I assumed).  Little did I know.  SIL laughed and said “No, no.  I’ll make you a butter lamb for your dinner table.  It’s butter and we’ll spread it on our bread and buns.”

She then proceeded to cut into a pound of butter and shape a small animal into it. The animal was a lamb.

Maybe I’m just being nostalgic this weekend but I am very thankful for my sister-in-law and I want her to know it.  I now know how to make my own butter lamb. Thank You SIL!

I don’t think we say we are grateful to our family or friends enough.

As we celebrate this Easter weekend, let’s not just think about the food however.  Let’s think about the wonderful people who share our daily lives.  Let’s celebrate these busy yet fun family and friend times now, each and every day.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Happy Easter.  Khrystos Voskres.

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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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