Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hey, It's Fave Five Again #4

Once again, I'm delighted to share with you,
my favorite highlights for this past week.
You too, can join in.
Check out the details at Suzanne's at Living to Tell a Story.

1.Gardening is a Favorite in Spring.
Remember last week, I showed off those gorgeous tulips?
Here they are, I have taken them out,
I will clean them up and dry them out for next fall.
Meanwhile I've prepared my garden for planting.
My little helpers are coming out this weekend.

2. Cooking an Old Fashioned Pot Roast
There's nothing like an old fashioned pot roast,
smothered with carrots, celery, onions and potatoes.
My kids can smell the roast a mile away.
There's never enough for leftovers.

3. Sharing Haagen Dasz.
Is there anything better than shopping with your daughter,
in the big city and enjoying room service at midnight?

4. Watching my Farmer Dream of a New Tractor.

Way out in the distance my husband noticed that the neighbor
bought a new tractor for his small acreage farm.
Farmers love to look and schmooze about their toys.

#5. An Evening with Ben Heppner
Farmers do not only work.
A drive to the city, supper out and a concert?
We do enjoy and appreciate the classics.
We spent an evening with Canadian singer, Ben Heppner,
recognized worldwide as the finest dramatic tenor.
Joining him was the Pacific Mennonite Children's Choir,
MEI Chamber Singers, and
Vancouver Chamber Choir and orchestra.
What a wonderful evening of music.
They sang well known Songs from the Heart.

What's the highlight of your week?
This week the sun has been shining every day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Beginnings

Somedays I think...
What can I write about?
I looked outside my office window tonight and there it was.
The sun's evening rays were being sent my way,
reflecting off my favorite mountain.

I dashed outside to catch a few more shots.

Some days seem to go whizzing by,
and today I've been busy washing, ironing,
cleaning my stove, defrosting my freezers,
cleaning my fridge....
cleaning windows with Lovella's sqeaky clean recipe.
By now you must think,
"She's got company coming."
I do! And I have never met them.
At least I'm getting all my spring cleaning done in advance.
I feel like I'm ahead of the game.

I'll be gone while they house sit and visit their firstborn grandchild.
I've already had a peak at him.
This will be a new day for them.

New Beginnings!
The turning of new sod.
Feeling the soil with my hands.
It makes me reflect about the nutrients that the soil requires,
that come from the wind, rain, hail and sun.

I think of this new little child that was born.
New beginnings for his parents, for his grandparents.
I already know he comes from a rich Christian heritage.
Is there any greater blessing for a child?
He's got a great beginning!

Just as I saw the soil being turned over today,
I wonder what it will look like when I come back from my travels.

And so it is with this newborn,
he too will grow so quickly.
We will be praying for you as you nurture this new infant.

So the sun is setting on the new furloughs,
it's the end of another day and I'm thinking...
"I know where my grandsons will be playing this weekend."
"Bring your boots boys!"

I love new beginnings!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another Fave Five #3

It's time to join Susanne over at FAVE FIVE once more.
She's encouraged us to share our highlights.
The sun has been warming our hearts once again this week.
As I'm sitting here in my office, looking out at the mountains,
and feeling the warmth of the morning sun,
I'm once amazed again at the beauty that comes with the spring season.
Here's my highlights!

#1. Tiptoe through the Tulips.
Remember I told you to watch that bud last week?
This is what I've been enjoying in my back yard this week,
only because I chucked the old tulips bulbs in a pile of dirt,
wondering what I could expect...

Are you demonstrating a Plank?

#2. Walking & Hiking with My Front Porch.
Both of us love to explore, hike and walk together.
There is always a bit of a competitive edge on both of us,
and we know how to continuously squeal with laughter,
as we dare each other to the next level.

#3. Planting Potatoes.
I phoned my little grandson, Levi to come help me.
He's always more than willing to join me in the garden.
This week we planted potatoes.
Now he's telling ME, about the eye of the potato.
Am I planting too early? We'll see.

#4. Eating Ice Cream!
While one is planting potatoes,
the other little guy is licking away on his favorite ice-cream.
As you can see, it's getting warmer,
and off comes the shirt,
while the ice-cream drips down his little bare chest.

#5. Spring Blossoms
I think this is my best shot of the week.
Pink blossoms, blue skies, trees as the backdrop.

I'm hoping you have all found some sunny spots,
in your life during this past week.
Enjoy the warmth.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Canada Celebrates National Volunteer Week

It's National Volunteer Week In Canada
April 19-25th, 2009

Over the past two years I have spent time working in our
local hospital coordinating the volunteers in the various organizations.
Our local hospital has over 250 volunteers.

Even during times of recession, volunteers are still
rolling up their sleeves, sharing their skills,
to better their communities and the lives of others.

This past week we hosted our annual Education Day,
and offered four workshops that were led by professionals.
  1. The Cost of Caring
  2. Help the Bugs are Back!
  3. What's a Black Code Anyways?
  4. The Future of Volunteers
Our newly elected Mayor, Sharon Gaetz welcomed our volunteers and
heaped accolades to them for the difference they make.

Our chaplain led us in a session, called
The Cost of Caring, and he used a clip from
The Bucket List video.
This clip gave the message that the hospital,
somehow, is not the best place to be.
He addressed how important it is to validate the patients feelings.
And yet at the same time,
he suggested strongly that we also learn to care for ourselves.
Most volunteers fall into the trap of victimizing themselves,
because they care so deeply about helping others.
How do we avoid the trap of martyrdom?

What's a Black Code Anyways?
We had another instructor walk the volunteers
through the Quick Code Reference.
Most of us are not familiar with the codes,
and it becomes more and more important for us
to understand and respond to the codes appropriately.

Help the Bugs are Back!
Infection Control!
During this session the nurse had all the volunteers,
put plastic gloves on and added a bit of paint to their hands.
They were then asked to rub there hands.
We've been teaching all our volunteers,
to hand out Isogel packets to patients demonstrating
the importance of hand hygiene in the hospital.

Does anyone recognize the person to the right?
She is a wonderful leader that supports,
brainstorms, deletes meetings, redefines methods,
reorganizes and restructures her life to help others suceed.
I am privileged to work together with her.

The Future of Volunteers!
Many Boomers are retiring and they view volunteering differently.
Their interests and aspirations are as diverse as you are.
They run marathons, bike in remote parts of the world or go on yoga retreats.
They are learning a new language, taking an art course or planting a perennial garden.
They're always looking for new experiences,
personal challenges, and how to make a difference.

Of course, this event could not happen without our most supportive staff.
Peggy has worked many years at CGH and is more than willing
to help when some of us are on the crunch lines.

Sandy's pleasant voice will always be heard at the Reception Desk.
She too, keeps everyone on track and fills in all the details
that seem to be endless on any given day.

"I shall pass through this world but once.

Any good thing therefore that I can do,

or any kindness that I can show,

to any human being, let me do it now.

Let me not defer it or neglect it,

for I shall not pass this way again."

Volunteering, Where do you fit in?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't Block My View!

I was off to Phoenix to see the Suns play basketball.
My dear man, knew how disappointed I was,
that I did not win the lottery tickets
for the Winter Olympics 2010.

So he surprised me, inviting me through an email, to join him
at an NBA game in Phoenix watching our dear Canadian athlete,
Steve Nash.

We walked into the US Airways Center.
I did not receive a warm welcome.
"Please remove your backpack." stated Security.
I commented, that I was travelling and that this was my purse.

"Would you please remove your packsack Madam?"
"Please follow instructions and take it back to your car."

You know what it's like...
I turned quickly and ran....
back to the car and found this old recyclable bag.
After all, I came for a reason.

Hm....I thought..this bag was just perfect.
"Freedom, Responsibility, Justice!!!"
Do I see the words TWU?

What message was I sending?

It did the trick.
I put all my belongings in this bag,
and security allowed me to enter the stadium.
I just could not figure out why all those other ladies could
carry those huge bags filled with, you know what?
And here I was, an innocent Canadian tourist looking out for Steve Nash.

I made sure I was early for the pre-practice warm-up.
He did not show. . .
I was finally ushered to my seat,
only to find I had competition.

Look who parked herself right in front of my view?

Blocking my view!
I was serious about this game,
had paid the big bucks,
was early,
had my backpack confiscated,

and my husband was just smiling.....
I know what he was thinking.

I could not let this pass me by.

I jumped to my seat.

I can just imagine what he was thinking....

Oh! there he is,
in the middle of the court,
giving me a High Five?
Anyways that's as good as it gets.
The Suns won their game to Utah Jazz in the remaining 5 seconds.
It was an amazing game.
The hype,
the entertainment,
the patriotic spirit,
the cheerleaders,
the pep band,
and Steve Nash played 90 percent of the game.

Another memory.
I loved every minute.

Now I've turned my back,
because they did not qualify for the playoffs.

But have you noticed the Canucks have won three straight,
against St. Louis Blues?


Friday, April 17, 2009

It's My Fave Five #2

Once again, I'm joining Susanne from Living to tell a Story

Sometimes there is so much on my heart,
but never enough time to tell the whole story.

So here's my Five Favorite highlights for this week.

#1. Look who caught a mole?
He made such a mess of our yard this winter,
and finally after setting out those wicked traps,
he's caught and someone was excited to share "show and tell."
He of course was thrilled, because I caught one glimpse and I was gone....
I cannot stand moles or mice........And he was laughing.

#2. Sharing Easter Chicks with my youngest grandson, Silas.

#3. Levi learned to ride his bike without training wheels.
It didn't take long after running up and down our driveway,
he said, "Opa it's time to take of the training wheels."
Off to the shop they went.
So then his father commented,
"I thought you said that you needed your training wheels till you were twelve."
A huge smile beamed across his face.
Mission Accomplished!
You can obviously see his mother carefully running behind.

#4. I found this flower garden along my walk.
I absolutely fell in love with idea. So creative.

#5. My first budding tulip....
I strolled through my garden,
where I hucked a bunch of old tulip bulbs last fall.
I'm blown away as to the treasure I found. Wait till next Friday....

Hope you all have a wonderful week.
If you want to see more Fave Fives,
visit Susanne, our hostess at
Living to tell a Story.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Top Farms in North America

Today I want to take you on a quick tour of some of the farms,
I see every morning, on my way to work.

When we travel, the first thing my farmer checks out is agriculture.
"Once a farmer, always a farmer."
In the past weeks we spent some time south of Pheonix,
touring close to the Tucson area.

I'm sure all my American friends have used dairy products by
Shamrock Diaries.
In 1920 they started the dairy with 20 cows.
Today they have over 10,000 cows.

Shamrock Farms!
10,000 cows!
2000 employees.
Does that mean 1 employee to 5 cows?
That sounds way better than our medical system.

Far in the distance you will see a silver lining,
which is the low white tin roofs of their barns.
Their barns spread for miles and miles.

Just a bit closer and a better view.
Do you see the desert?
This was my first time ever seeing the desert.
Beautiful blue skies.

Here is the herd.
You can drive for miles and miles to cattle everywhere.
The roadway you see is not public,
this is their own private transportation system between
feed lots, and barns.
It was truly overwhelming for us.
Just imagine the management!

Now back home, I drive past this farm every morning.
Then on another note,
I just arrived home from Palm Springs,
and within one hour I was invited to my neighbors,
for coffee & fresh cinnamon buns.
They, known as Blossom Dairy were asked to host an
"open house" farm tour, hosting guests and farmers from Quebec and Ontario.

Last year they won the Master Breeders Award.
This is a prestigious honor, award, and achievement in the purebred industry.
Once in 10 years BC hosts the Holstein Canada Cattle Show, Sale and AGM Meetings,
celebrating the new farmers being recognized as Master Breeders.
This event takes place at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver.
Blossom Dairy also won the Grand Champion for the red & white animal.
Did you know, Redder is Better?

This is the front view of their farm.
The place is kept immaculate and it was an honor
to share this celebration moment with them.
I'll tell you one thing...
Farmers know how to party in style.

Here's another farm I check out every day.
WOW! I know our dairy never looked like that.
This would be considered an average size farm,
probably milking 100-200 head,

Then in the distance is another new chicken barn...

Just before my last stop,
I drive slowly past this quaint little red barn.
This farmer sometimes is not even in the barn when I drive past.
I make a habit to see who's up early and who's sleeping in.
He milks about 25 cows.
He also has one of the best herds in Canada,
and is awaiting that special award.

Anyways as you can see, I love red barns,
green grass, small farms, blue skies, mountains,
and even chores.
I'm not a desert girl.

Happy to be Home Again.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Blue Monday

My first part of the morning involves emptying my dishwasher.
As I opened the washer,
I was actually delighted, thinking,
"How coordinated my machine looked in the blue colors."
Blue is my favorite color,
and I love my blue Denby,
mixed in with variations of blue pottery.

Did it look like I really tried to be this orderly?

The weekend is over and it's time to clean up again.
All those extra little finger prints,
chocolate wrappings,
egg shells,

You name it!
And of course finish off the last of the Paska.

I'm off to do the chores.
How many more sleeps?

What is your favorite color?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What? They Finished it All?

Let's make more Paska!

We had a Family dinner with the Schmidt Brothers.

I laid the Paska on the table and before I knew it....

Arms were leaning over pecking at the sides.
(just like they peck at the middle of the watermelons)

Those brothers were snitching pieces out of the freshly baked Paska!

So I start the first cut!

Notice that's there's a mixing spoon wedging the Paska?

It was so light and fluffy that it began to lean,

and so our engineer quickly and carefully

laid a mixing spoon or as some called it a "Schlaeff" under one side.

As I've state before, no body cares how it appears.

It's about the good times.

Someone will always be there to rescue you.

Before I knew it, they were all surrounded around the table,

waiting for their annual piece of Paska,

just the way our Mom would of made it.

And they dug in eagerly!


Lots of it...

What's this big grin about Orly?

Only the Schmidt House will know.

I'm off to bake another Paska!!

Oh the recipe?

It's to late to post on the MGCC Blog.

But it's so easy....
It's a true and tried recipe from my friend Laurie.

Heat 1 Cup of Milk (1/2 cup cream & 1/2 cup milk)
Whip 8-10 whole eggs with 11/2 Cups sugar
Add 1/2 melted butter
1 Cup water
3 Tbsp yeast
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp. lemon rinds
10 Cups flour

Make sure to keep the dough rather soft and sticky than too hard.
I learned that trick from Lovella's Easter Paska.
You can follow her step by step procedures.
Let rise for along time (2 hours)
Grease your pans well.
Let rise again on pans.
Bake at 325 degrees

Have a wonderful Easter my friends,
with family and friends,
recognizing that

He is Risen!!!!