Monday, May 27, 2013

Grizzly Time!!!

Here's a postcard from my travels along the Peter Lougheed Park. (Kananaskis Country)
I have never seen a grizzly in my entire life.
We just rolled around a corner, and I looked down at the river, and exclaimed, 
"Are those buffalo?"
The SUV halted to a screech and was thrust into reverse....
And there below, in the distance stood four grizzly bears.
We looked at them, they looked at us...and all I can think about, is that
I do not want to come in contact with them on any mountainous adventure.
 I wonder what I will find on my next day trip?

Snow Capped Mountains

Back in the mountains!!!!
Took a few days to catch up with the Calgary Cousins!!!!
There's no place like being nestled in the Kananaskis mountains for a family outing.
Does it get any better than this?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Who Likes Math?

Now it's time for Math!
I can still feel the anxiety around the algebra equations.
I am so glad my teacher agreed to give me a Pass for my Gr. 12 transcript.
So we set up three equations and observed their problem solving skills.

The next event took us out to the chicken farm.
There first job was to count the chickens.
That is part of the daily record keeping process.
 First Levi had this daunting facial expression.
He took out his cell phone looking for an app.
Silas was just so happy to pick up one chicken and cuddle it in his hands.
Later their Opa showed him the computer chart with all the statistics.
"Why count chickens if you have a computer?"  says the oldest.
Problem solved! ~ Pass!

Second equation of the day....
It's time to catch chickens.
How long would it take to collect all the chickens in only one barn
if you  picked up two chickens at a time?
There's four barns.
They were not intrigued.
As you can see they both looked totally fagged out.
They lasted half an hour which means they flunked and so did I!
Now I know why I did not like Math.
Last but not least...they preferred to count the cookies on a sheet.
That was easy and simple.
How many cookies on a pile divided by three?
How many cookies in a take-home bag?
This was easy and they were quick to answer as
they devoured their favorite cookies.
Here's Kathi's math lesson for the day -
 divide a cookie in 4 parts and teach fractions as you eat them

That's my kind of Math.
Keep it simple.

I often wonder what will be there favorite subjects.
Now you can decide...Home School ~ Public School?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Home School?

We've had fun planning a long weekend together with the boys.
After spending the day with them, I realized we had many good oppportunities for learning.
I always wanted to become a was my chance.
Am I  now contemplating why I did not consider home schooling?
I rummaged through my old report cards and found some relative subjects.

Each boy developed his own binder in sections, which were divided into their favorite topics which included movies, books, computer games, music
It did not take long before they wanted to write stories.
Those are stories of true confessions.
There were many laughs from this Oma.
If only their father knew.
Then they added a section called,
"All about Me!"
We found photos of the boys, printed them and they placed them into plastic sleeves.
By now the boys were all over my office finding all sorts of craft ideas
to make their own binders/scrapbooks.
Together they sat on the floor, cut, glued and pasted as they worked in their scrapbooks.

Here's a first...Learning to make noodles...mixing the dough and working with texture.

He proudly displays his long thin noodle sheets that needed to cram
through the noodle machine once more...
How will the noodles dry?
He remembered building a noodle rack with his Opa at Christmas.

 The noodles dried and they have been cooked and eaten.

Baking Peanut Butter Cookies by
using the technique of rolling dough in his hands, greased with butter.

 Silas was learning to make an imprint on the cookies.
He learned that using flour makes life less sticky.

 Fresh home-made peanut butter cookies.

Recess meant playing 'Hide n Seek"

They have loved playing that game in the high grass over the past years.

Learning the skills of balancing as they walked along the fence line.
That was my favorite subject in school, but today I flunked.
I opted out to show them the skills of photography.

SOCIAL STUDIES: Flag Etiquette
  1. Where possible, a flag should be taken down every night.
  2. Never store a wet or damp flag; spread it out until dry.
  3. If soiled, a flag may be safely hand washed, using any domestic soap or detergent which does not contain bleach.
  4. If slightly frayed or torn, a flag should be repaired at once. It could save the cost of a new flag. 
  5. When your flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner. 

It truly was time to take down the tattered flag.
It needed to be replaced.
I am wondering how I will  destroy it in a dignified manner. 
" Oh Canada! We stand on guard for thee."

So at the end of our day, packed with fun filled activities, I said to the boys.
"This is what home schooling is all about."
They totally agreed that this was more fun than sitting in class all day.

When I was telling them about my favorite subjects, I mentioned
 MUSIC...and wouldn't you know it,
the little one pipes out singing.
"This is the best Oma,... ever made in this world."

We've had a great weekend...but wait till I integrate Math into this system.
Math was my worst subject.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What do Mennonite Men Do at a Book Launch?

Terry, (Lovella) was there to greet us all at 'House of James.'
As you all know...not only the women came together for the book launch,
but the husbands were also included.
Welcome John (Betty) and Tony (Char) from Manitoba.
Regrets to Greg, Ellen's husband who was on a work project in New York.

The men met at House of James the first nigh.
As you can see...there were some frustrations.
Somehow it seemed like Lovella had the women well organized,
but forgot about the men.
I'm not sure who was delegated to take on this task, or who would want to.

Some how none of these men seemed to know what was happening.
My husband had asked me all week what was going on.
I told him.....
He forgot.
I repeated myself how many times?
I finally printed off a schedule for him.
"Don't ask me once more."
(Somehow this conversation was held in more than one household)

So finally when they came was John (Marg) with his cheat chart.
He seemed to know the weekend's plan.
Now the menfolk were wondering, especially Terry,
why he did not have a printed agenda.
Well, you can imagine how many times they compared notes.
Anyways it didn't take long and the men organized themselves.

They met Elmer (Judy) at his dairy farm, Rosevale Farms, nestled in the Fraser Valley.

 He gave them a tour of his new drive through operation,  showed them their calving operation,

and his newly renovated farm bathroom?

Then off to Harv's (Bev) business, Klassen Specialty Hydraulics,
 which is nestled in Rosedale between the mountains.

He proudly displayed his '47 Merc', and Bev's '78 VW' convertible.

I'm still wondering which truck it was that reached top speeds of 140 mph,
in a limited speed zone?

 Look closely, you can see the men viewing there phones,
messaging, texting, and emailing.

It was time to go to Winks!
Some sat outside and listened to Julene, Herb's daughter serenade them with her violin.

Others were delighted to step right on inside where the action was happening.

Russ Eanes, the executive director from Menno Media
 was comfortably taking it all in.
 In the evening we were all delighted to be served prime rib dinner
at Sweet Dreams Bed & Breakfast.
What man would miss that kind of meal?
As you can see, they too, could sit quietly and visit, but not for long.
Most of  these men have learned how to use their wives point and shoot.
 They certainly had their own agenda of how to pose for the photo shots.
 In our midst we had one sharp shooter.
He never missed a cue.
Here's a few men poking their heads inside the window,
hoping to catch score of the Canucks, which was hopeless in the end.

 Sunday morning, we found ourselves blessed with another sunny blue sky.
They were off to Lepp Farms.
 Charlotte was there to make sure the brunch had stacks of bacon,
extra thick and crunchy for these men.
Later her husband Rob, took the men on a tour of his market.

Once again, you can see our director, Russ examining the brunch set up.

 After a game of Bocci Ball, the men finally sat down and enjoyed some Faspa.
Notice how they always group together?
Except for Ben Penner, Director of Marketing and Sales, who was observing the women inside...
sticking to his job, keeping the women out of trouble and organized. 

And at last, all good things had to come to an end...
The men stood up as our editor, Amy Gingerich had to catch a flight.
And soon the hugs began as they  all said 'Good bye'

Thank you men for joining your wives.
We all had a wonderful time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Blessed Are The Mothers!

It's Mother's Day weekend and what better way than to honor my Mother.
She passed away 13 years ago but I treasure the life she shared with me.
I remember when my Mom was so proud of taking her first course.
She had a love for the arts.  She took up calligraphy.
 She loved to scribble poems on scraps of paper.
Later she began to carefully write out poems,
 in her own style using her new skills.
I treasure her file of writings.

Here's a poem she shared with me in my early years of motherhood,
and addressed it to me personally as the "New Little Mother"

To a New Little Mother!!

Blessed are the mothers,
for they are the conservers of the human race.
Blessed are the mothers of the world,
for they have conserved the spiritual things of life for the sake of the children.
Blessed are the mothers of the earth,
for they have combined the practical and the spiritual into one 
workable way of human life.
They have 
~ darned little stockings,
~ mended little dresses and jeans,
~ washed little hands and faces,
~ and have pointed little eyes to the stars,
~ and little souls to eternal things.
Blessed are the Mothers!
William L. Stidger 

"Thank you Lord for their dedication and love.

from Mom"

I now realized that this poem was my Mom's prayer for me.

But today I would love to extend this poem to all Mother's,
whether single, divorced, married, separated, or widowed....whatever circumstance.
 Many of our Mother's knew the things we would endure.

There is only one way to make a return to our Mother's  and that is to turn our attention
to loving and nurturing the next generation, our children, and our grandchildren.

May you feel a special blessing today!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Celebrating Families!

It becomes really exciting when we can meet each others families and hear there stories. 
Today I am going to share with you some of the cherished memories of our weekend.
Here's a short snippet of each women and what she treasures.
And what is Her treasure?
Her Family!

 Ellen...we know you love your kids.
"There's my kids!" yelled Ellen and she took off from the table.
And all heads turned. Yes, the party was on!
 Ellen was running to meet Laura and Josh.
They had driven up from Seattle to support their Mom and have their books signed officially.
 "Oh my,  Look who's arrived!" Bev was delighted.
Bev's father, (Henry Boldt)  turned 90 years old and made the long trek.
And yes, Bev was trying to explain to him who this fellow was.
Russ Eanes is the Executive Director for Menno Media
and you could tell that her Dad was quite impressed.
I missed an important photo of Irene....
but I can still hear her voice ringing in my ears.

Then another Papa (John Henry Bartel) came along and his beloved Helen.
This is our Papa who celebrated his 101th birthday.
He is featured in the Celebrations Book and
 was so thrilled and delighted to meet the 10 women.
I was honored to have him pass his book along for signatures.
Thank you ladies for acknowledging him in such a special way.

"Oh, my goodness...Look who else has arrived"
Bev, was delighted that her daughter in law,
Adele and her mother had come to celebrate.
She enjoys all her grandchildren, but especially those who live close by.
Meanwhile Bev's newly renovated kitchen is almost completed.
Can you  imagine new recipes flying out of her kitchen?

We arrived at Winks.
Anneliese was in my car...and she exclaims...
"What is Kristal doing here? She doesn't even live here."
She chats to her daughter and is totally confused,
why her two daughters and granddaughter would be at Winks.
Winks had invited Kristal to play her violin during our book event.
It was meant to be a total surprise for Anneliese.
Tears of joy streamed down Anneliese's face.
She was overwhelmed with love and joy.

And then came Broni and the twins, Emme, Spencer and Ryder.
Judy looked at them with an usual expression.
"What are you doing here?  I didn't expect you."
Judy thought that she only watched them in their sporting events.
Not so!  They were out to watch their favorite Grammy.
And then Heidi came, with out her little ones. She needed a break.
Once again, Judy too, was touched to know that family cared enough
to celebrate with their Grammy.

Another sudden burst of energy came  flying through the doors.
"Oma, can you sign my book?"
It was delightful to have Ellen sign her crepe recipe for Silas.
They loved the cupcakes...Thanks Kristal for supplying them.
What a treat.  I won't tell you how many they devoured.

Thanks Sheryl for bringing your daughter Julia along.
It was fun to have my one and only sister join this event.
Julia, a budding chef,  was caught by surprise when I presented her with a gift.
She loves to experiment with recipes.
How many dozen cinamon twists did you make?
She is even getting paid for her baking.

Mr. Janzen, Kathy's Dad, and his new wife, Alice.
Many of us have known him for years.
He knew my parents well and loves to talk about their friendship.
He is so happy that his daughter Kathy and I are friends.
But when he spoke to Judy, he hollered...
"Of course I know Big Bill"  (Judy's dad)
You could feel Kathy's excitement for her  Dad and his new bride, Alice.

Lovella our leader...was estactic also as she recognized faces in the crowd.
Heidi, Jerry, Ken, Mary and of course her adorable grand kids.
When I came in the door, I saw Terry sitting with someone..
I said, "I know you...and then I realized that it was his Mother,
who had sat for hours waiting for the Mennonite girls to sign her book.
Then came the year of the Sunday School Class...they were bestest best friends.
Anneliese, Lovella, Flo and Kathy.
How could we ever survive without Lovella's leadership?

Some of our gals did not have family, Betty and Char,
our sisters from the Winnipeg and Steinbach areas.
Meanwhile Betty has been texting her daughers, Brenda and Alison.
She loves seeing text messages from her grandkids.
She can't even take a pause from her phone during our breakfast hour.
She's hooked.

Meanwhile Char, is our cheerleader...she greets us every morning,
with a positive quote, verse, or pleasant reminders for the day.
She loves her Em's, Amy & Richard and Jeremy.
She loves to chauffer her children and is waiting for grandkids?????
In her spare time she cooks for everyone in Winnipeg.
June 6-8 will see us visiting Manitoba...and we can't wait. did not let us know when your daughter Romay,
walked in the door,at Winks....
I know what she and her daughters mean to you.
They love you more than anything and you are the best for them.
Next time I will give you the loud speaker...Your gentle spirit was too quiet.
If you ask Julie about gluten free can hear her for miles.

And here we are all together, young and old...
Mr. Boldt, with Bev...and Papa with me,
and all of the Mennonite Girls.
It was an honor to have them share there legacies with us.
Somehow we all felt special moments throughout the weekend.

We thank you family and friends!
It truly makes us humble to see you supporting us.

Always look for any opportunity to celebrate with family and friends.

Coming Next!

Let's see how Mennonite Men spend their time during a book launch.