Tag Archive | family

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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September….already!

Autumn is a good time to sit back and take a look at all the hard work you put into planting, watering, feeding and weeding that garden of yours.  Well, it is at our house.

It is hard to believe that it’s now the month of September.  The Summer months have zipped by so quickly.  But wait.  That is not entirely true because if you have been following me on my blog, you will know that My Man and I have had a very long and busy Summer.

We celebrated Canada’s 150 year celebrations with many friends and family.  We also enjoyed ourselves at two weddings this July and August.

Happy Canada Day!

It was great to see so many people that we haven’t seen for a few years.

Our weather was hot and dry.  Yes, dare I say, it was almost too hot?  No rain since June. Temperatures have been in the mid to high 30C.  Nice if you can stay out of the blazing sun.  Because of the BC fires in the interior, it has been rough for many people who had to evacuate from their homes.

The sun struggles to shine through the smoke in the air.

So it is no surprise that today’s cooler temperatures and spotty rain showers are welcomed by all around here.  The grass is standing a little bit taller and that garden that we are looking at today…well, it looks ready for harvesting.

Think I will go and see what may need to be picked.  Maybe the tomatoes?

If you have an abundance of tomatoes, why not check out my latest tomato soup recipe.Creamy Tomato and Basil Soup

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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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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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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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Canadian Thanksgiving 2016

The turkey is cooking in the oven.  img_3646

The pumpkin pies have been baked.

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The potatoes, carrots and yes, even the brussel sprouts have been washed, peeled and sliced – all ready to be cooked for dinner tonight.  Although it’s not our official day for Thanksgiving, many families including my own, enjoy a traditional turkey dinner on Sunday.  It’s just seems to be a bit easier on the cook to be able to just relax and eat left-overs on the Monday before going back to work.

Ah, yes, going back to work.  I am retired now but I remember it well.  As the sun just started to rise in the sky, I would wake up every day to the blaring sound of an alarm clock.  I would stumble my way out of bed and step under the hot spray of my morning shower, dry my hair, and hurry downstairs to brew a pot of coffee.  When the family was all awake, we would have a good breakfast before heading out the door.

From the time that our boys were school age, they learned to make their own lunches.  I’d ensure that they had healthy choices to choose from.  My youngest was easiest to accommodate because he always wanted peanut butter and jam sandwiches.  But My Man and oldest son always wanted “meat”.  It didn’t matter what kind, just as long as it was meat.  Hmm, come to think of it, that’s what I recall my mom always packing up for my dad in his metal lunch box.

I remember one frosty winter morning in particular when I was about five years old.  As I wandered into the kitchen in my pyjamas and my bare feet, I saw that it was still dark outside.  I could feel the cold drafts of air seeping in through the windows and my toes were freezing on the cold linoleum floor.  Mom and dad were sitting at the kitchen table, drinking hot coffee and eating their breakfast.  It was still so dark outside and I could not understand why my dad was going out so early.

I remember feeling sorry for my dad but he seemed happy to be going off to work.  I asked him why? He smiled at me and said “I’m lucky to have a job to go to and besides that, I’ve got a great lunch waiting for me later!”

He picked up his lunch box and opened it.  And today, right now, if I close my eyes….I can not only see inside my dad’s lunch box, but I can smell it too.  I can smell “baloney”* meat spread with yellow mustard in-between two slices of fresh homemade bread, all wrapped in wax paper.

Tears just welled up in my eyes and I’m not sure why this memory makes me feel so sad today.  Maybe I’m just being nostalgic on this Thanksgiving day.  Because I am older, I realize how hard my parents worked to take care of us.  I have these fond memories of growing up and I am very thankful for my parents.  It is amazing about the power of a smell.

And right now, I can smell our turkey roasting in the oven, and I hope that one day, my own sons’ will recall the smell of a roasting turkey and remember.

I consider myself truly blessed.  I am thankful for My Man, my two sons and all of my extended family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

*Bologna!  (If you are from the prairies, did you or do you still call it baloney?  Yes, that’s how we said it back then).

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