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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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Rushnyk update #3

imageJust a quick little post regarding my stitching progress of the Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk.  As you may recall, I began sewing this ritual cloth in November of 2016 for an upcoming wedding of my niece and her fiancé.

This Rushnyk has several birds, roses and a vase on it.  This particular design is derived from an original Rushnyk from the central region of Ukraine.  It is embroidered in cross stitch using only red and black thread.  If I’ve calculated this correctly, there will be over 68,400 stitches in total.

Yikes!  I only just finished stitching the fourth flower.  I still have a long way to go! Wish me luck.

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Happy New Year 2017!

As we prepare to welcome in the New Year, I want to share something special with all of you.

A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law told me of a special moment in her life.  It was the day of her dad’s funeral.

My sister-in-law and her sister had walked outside first thing in the early morning to spend a few minutes to themselves.  As they walked they recalled how their dad had always loved the early morning.  At that moment, they looked up and saw the sunshine streaming through the branches of a tree.  It was a heart shape.   The sister snapped this photo.  They both believe that it was a sign from their dad telling them not to be sad and that all would be well.

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As we prepare to welcome in the New Year 2017, we ponder all that has been happening in the world this past year.  While there have been happy moments, there have also been sad, tragic times.  You just have to listen to and watch any news and you know what I am talking about.

But tonight, there was a sign left outside our home that gave me a moment to pause, and do a double take.

A small truck came into our cul-de-sac tonight and ploughed some of the freshly fallen snow.  He turned his truck around and look what the tire tracks left behind …..

image   Happy New Year everyone!

 

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“Manitoba at Christmas”

Greetings to all this Christmas!

I would like to share some exciting news with all of you.

Recently I was contacted by email by Wayne Chan.  This “unknown to me” person asked if I would be interested in contributing a recipe of mine to an anthology that he was putting together.  At first, I was thrilled and thought “Wow, that’s nice.  Someone had checked out my blog and was interested in adding it to his own book?”   I was feeling quite honoured.

Then I became leery.  Who was this person? Was he a legitimate writer?  Was I going to have to send him money and then get scammed?  Ha, I know…sounds silly doesn’t it?  Maybe it’s a generational thing!

Anyway, after finding out that Wayne Chan really was a writer residing in Winnipeg (my apologies to you, Wayne), I decided to trust him and gave him permission to not only reprint my Ukrainian Christmas Eve Holubtsi recipe but also to include one of my earlier Christmas posts “Oh Christmas Tree“.  Check out pages 141 and 179.

In case you are wondering, I preferred to stay fairly anonymous for this anthology and on this blog.  I use a pen name and only my family and close friends know the “real” me.  I am probably way too paranoid, but that’s just me.

I now have no doubts that this request was legitimate because I received my printed copy of “Manitoba at Christmas – Holiday Memories in the Keystone Province”  edited by Wayne Chan,  in the mail.  I am truly honoured.

As I peruse the book I see that he has gathered nearly 400 years of holiday stories and memories of how Christmas was celebrated by Manitobans, past and present.  The book is presently for sale and is available from Wayne Chan and is also being sold at McNally Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg, MB Canada R3M 2A6;   Toll Free 1-800-561-1833).

So, if you are still looking for a unique gift….please consider Manitoba At Christmas!

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‘Twas the morning of garbage day…

‘Twas the morning of garbage day

and outside our street,

I woke to a noise

My dreams now complete!

 

I sprang out of  bed;

My brain now a-humming.

My Man lifted his head

I yelled…

“The trucks they are coming!”

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But wait, I forgot….no Christmas gifts did I buy.

So I threw on some clothes,

I needed to try.

 

I drove like a bat,

I had no time to spare;

I knew that the trucks

Would soon be right there.

 

To Walmart I drove

Searched the aisles for a treat;

Something delicious

That these great guys would eat.

 

When into my cul-de-sac the guys did appear;

I ran out of my house

with nothing to fear.

 

They smiled when they saw me

and gave me a hug,

“Your kindness really counts”

As the cans they did lug.

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So be kind to your garbage guys

and clean up your yard;

It’s not a labour of love

But they work very hard!

 

 

 

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When it snows, it snows…

photo-10We have had a blast of snow in British Columbia this past week.  In our community, temperatures plunged down to minus 10 Celsius, causing us to shiver and look for our Winter sweaters, boots, mittens and scarves.  Snow fell for several days and stayed on the ground.  Some communities had between 10 to 20 centimetres.  Although not that cold compared to many other parts of Canada and the world, it’s unusual for us out here on the West Coast.

If you had to go outside, you didn’t like this weather one little bit.  Many of the roads were slick and slippery. The sidewalks were blanketed and in some cases, impassable for pedestrians as they slogged their way through knee-deep piles.

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Frozen pond – fish swimming under the ice

Some of us however loved the snowfall.  I am not afraid to admit that I love snow.  It is winter in Canada after all and snow is a part of winter.  I guess it’s also a part of me.

As you are aware, I grew up on the prairies.  Winter came roaring in every year and we accepted it.  We dressed for it.  We played outside in it for hours.  As I wrote in earlier blog posts, we created “mountains” to ski down and spent hours tobogganing and playing soccer on the frozen fields.  As children we would challenge each other to see who could catch the most snowflakes on our mittens and count their points before they all melted way.  Our “Frosty the Snowmen” people would be built to last until the Spring thaw.

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Aw, such a sad sight

There’s just something magical about watching snowflakes fall and fill the crisp air.  They swirl around, reach out to each other before they join and land softly on the ground.  If you have witnessed these big fluffy snowflakes falling out of the sky on a crisp winter day, then you will understand what I am saying.  It’s peaceful.  You will see beyond the cold.  You will see the beauty of glistening snow on the trees, grass and even rooftops of houses.  The sun may peek out from behind the storm clouds and these snowflakes will sparkle and shine right before your eyes.

Some areas of Canada will still be digging out for a while yet.  But alas, that is not for us out here on the West Coast.  Today we are back to our seasonal temperatures.   Warmer temperatures and rainfall have melted most of our lovely snow.  It would be nice if it had stayed long enough for us to have had a white Christmas.

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Not much snow left!

I wonder what the forecast is for this coming Christmas weekend?  It’s only a few days away.  Maybe,  just maybe…….

Thank you for continuing to follow me on my blog.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

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Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk

I just received some wonderful news!  It was an engagement and wedding announcement.  My eldest niece is getting married.  I am so happy for her and her future husband.  They are a wonderful couple and I wish them every happiness.

But wait!  There’s more that I can do and I have decided that I am going to include you in this little adventure that I have in mind.  I am going to cross stitch a Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk for them.

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A Rushnyk is a Ukrainian embroidered towel which symbolizes hope that the newlywed couple will never face poverty or hard times.  I think there is a saying “may the couple never stand on a bare dirt floor”.

During the wedding ceremony in church, the rushnyk is spread on the floor in front of the altar.  Traditionally it was said that whoever stepped on the cloth first would be the head of the family.  However now a days, most grooms hesitate just a second and let their bride step on it first.

The rushnyk is also used to bind the hands of the bride and groom during the ceremony to signify their union.  The priest leads the couple around the altar three times.  This procession symbolizes that marriage is a never-ending journey led by Christ. These are the first steps that the couple will take as husband and wife.

So I have decided that I will take my first steps too and cross stitch a rushnyk for them.

No, I have never taken on a project like this before.  When growing up at home, I did not learn how to cross stitch.  However, I was taught how to embroider by my mom.  Take a look at these tea towels and pillow cases.

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Not bad for a little girl, right?

I am hoping that I will get your blessings and encouragement as I take on this project. I am teaching myself how to cross stitch right now and would like to share this journey with you.

I have everything I need and I have just started!  Here are my first stitches.  I’ll update you in a little while.

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Wish me luck….this adventure of mine cannot become a never-ending journey for me!  I have eight months until the wedding.  But just in case I do not get it finished in time, please…do not tell my niece and her fiance that I am doing this for them.

 

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