Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter Happenings

Hi there!

Well, I think we've been well reminded what winter is all about after several flurries already. I can't believe how much snow is on our yard in so short a time. Hanna decided one morning that she couldn't possibly wait to put pants on before going to see the snow. She was out the door with only boots and a parka but realized quickly that with winter comes COLD!

I've got a bit of a love/hate relationship with winter. I've been dreading all the bundling up to go outside, my car barely making it off the roadslippery steps and sidewalks and not always that confident with winter roads. Wayne had a great idea though by parking our car in his little shop and keeping the woodstove going. Can't believe we've only thought of that after three years of living here. That will make things so much easier when packing two children into the car. So on the love side of winter, the gently falling snow just makes the world seem at peace, clean and of course invokes the Christmas Spirit. In winter I feel extra thankful to have a warm home and life just feels a little less rushed. The snow was beautiful yesterday and the temperature down so it was a great afternoon to spend some time outdoors.

Our first dozen of eggs! Hanna and I have been thrilled to find little brown and blue eggs nestled in the straw. Although now I realize that I need to keep a better routine of chicken chores. Now that its so cold they are eating and drinking more. It's best if I check them in the morning because they've been laying in the corner of the house where the cold air is freezing the eggs by afternoon. So we've put in a stronger heat bulb, and I've got a bag of wood shaving to spread around so hopefully the chickens will feel a little warmer.

Yesterday I finally felt up to doing some baking. I think I had a flu bug in the beginning of the week and tried to avoid making food as much as I could. Wayne's has pneumonia and Hanna has an ear infection. We're all doing much better but it's so hard to want to cook when we're all feeling under the weather. I've had this craving for cream cookies with candy canes on top. I came across a recipe that turned out really good and will share it with you too:
Cream Cookies
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c margarine/butter
1/2 c cream
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
flour to make soft dough, I used about 2 and 3/4 c

cream sugar, eggs and butter; mix in dry ingred alternately with cream
I dropped mine by spoon to save time rolling out dough and baked at 350 for 8 min
frost with buttercream icing and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Next time I think I'll add peppermint extract to the icing rather than vanilla.

I'm excited to announce that this is the clean and less cluttered version of my dining room. We recently painted the whole main floor of the house. Its now a grey with beige (greige) in it all the same thorughout the rooms. Do you want to know the color of this room before? Well it was a very minty green that I loved at first but am so glad to be rid of now. Homemaking must be a journey because some of my tastes have sure changed. When we first moved in and with the thrill of my first own home I wanted every color in the rainbow. I think I almost accomplished that and now I realize how busy my house looked. So now that I'm in a neutral frame of mind( a little less eccentric) the house actually feels warmer and like everything flow better. Most of all, Wayne is happy I've come around to a new way of thinking about decorating. Mom gave us the little desk to fit in the closet and it's so nice to have a space for the laptop. For four years it just sat around by the couches or on the table with cords always in the way. So now I have a little corner to sit and blog without having to clean up the computer to make room for other things. Anyway, this may all seem a little materialistic but for me a change in surroundings is just what I need to boost my vim for keeping this house in order.

Today we leave for Grand Forks for a little getaway with my family. I'm really looking forward to shopping and relaxing in the hotel. However the roads and weather are not looking very good. I don't think it'll stop Wayne from travelling so please pray for safe driving for all those out on the road. If we end up in the ditch I suppose I can console myself with a container of cream cookies for a little while at least :)
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What A Small World!

Good Morning! Looking out the window makes me want to stay snug in my house with the furnace on. It looks so cold and as is if the snow will be beginning very soon. However, as I shiver at the thought of winter, I have a story to share that really warms my heart.

This moment of realizing what a small world it is took place during our trip on the semi through Pennsylvania. I'm going to backtrack a bit because really this story starts at home. First of all, a little bit about me. I've always been a person who sticks to what I know and a not to eager to venture beyond what feels comfortable especially not into that big bad world out there. Well I think some of that has changed and I'll give some credit to the technology of the Internet. I discovered the world of blogs about a year ago and ,well, one blog just takes you to another. I've found so many blogs of women out in the world who I can relate to and share similar interests with. These 'strangers' somehow don't seem so strange or far away as you read about their daily lives. One of the first blogs that really spoke to me was that of 'The Country Blossom'. You can find her link at the side of my blog page. I love her warm, inspiring way that she writes about her daily life and her desire to share her faith. I've been following for several months but still it seemed so strange for me to leave comments on her blog as 'I don't even know her.' Recently though, as I got up the bravado to start my own blog page I began to comment on the blogs that I follow. I feel comfortable now sharing with these women out there in Internet world because I guess the world just seems smaller when you can access it from the screen of a computer. (Now I feel like all my old fashioned-ness is going out the door :) )

So now to the heart of the story. We're driving through Pennsylvania down a main highway. I think it was a ways past Lancaster. I'd like to give exact locations but Wayne has the atlas on the semi and my memory is failing a little. I remember thinking about my blogger friend, two of which live in Pennsylvania, but I don't know any exact locations. It felt neat that beyond the Internet, now I was actually in their state although I would still never actually see them. Well we came to an accident scene and had to take a detour. Before coming to the accident we were meaning to get onto highway route 322 and thankfully the detour was going to take us straight to that highway. So traffic was really slow, and it felt as though we were creeping along for a very long time. Wayne and I were both a little stressed because we weren't sure that we were on the right road and thought that we might miss our turn because of the hold up. So we drive into a small town where there were several men directing traffic at different turns. We stopped where the first man was and rolled the window down to ask him if this turn would keep us on the highway 322 and he confirmed it was the right way. I noticed that he had red hair and looked so familiar. It dawned on me as I rolled up the window that he looked like the husband of Katy at 'The Country Blossom' I didn't say anything to Wayne for a while as I pondered how very unlikely a chance meeting like that would be. My mind was thinking it couldn't be possible but inside I was feeling like this really had happened and that God had put her husband in our path. Eventually I told Wayne, thinking he would think I'm crazy, but he said for some reason this man had struck his attention to although Wayne has never had any contact with the blog I read. We were chuckling thinking how neat that would be if really was true. So I decided that when we got home I would contact Katy and find out if she could confirm. I just had to know and really wanted it be true.

So the day before yesterday I received a very pleasing reply from Katy. Sure enough, it was her husband that we had met and spoken very briefly with. I'm smiling as I write as it's just so heartwarming for me. My headed keeps repeating ' how unlikely in all of Pennsylvania and trust me, it's far more populated than Manitoba, that we should come into contact with my Internet friend. That was certainly not luck or a freak coincidence. I'm so sure of God's hand in this moment and how He's connected the dots. I'm humbled as I realize that the world is not just a big, bad place but that the Lord has all things working together and that the ties of faith connect us far beyond our reach.

So now I'm back home, back to reading Katy's blog knowing that in this lifetime I may never come into contact with her again beyond the Internet, but then again who knows what the Lord has in store. It really is a small world after all!!



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seven Days on the Road

I'm back to blogging!

What a week its been, a far cry from the norm for me. Hanna and I spent a whole week with Wayne on the semi; driving through much of eastern USA. Last Friday evening Wayne called home saying that he really wanted us to be with him when he took this trip to Delaware, leaving Sunday morning. I have to admit that even though I agreed to going a big part of me was fighting the prospect. I'm finding that I'm a bit of a homebody, it feels safe, secure and it's what I know. So much for being adventurous. Also, the idea of being seven months pregnant with a two year old seemed very daunting. What really pulled me along was the desire to finally be with Wayne for a whole week and I realized that he's been really struggling with being alone away from us.

We got ready in a hurry on Saturday and were ready to leave the next morning. By that time my excitement had built and it felt great to climb in and head out!

Wayne's trip included taking a load of woodstoves to Delaware with four other drops along the way. I think in total we drove through nine states. A little ways into Wisconsin, the scenery began that I'd really been looking forward to. Farmyards dotted the country with two storey farmhouses and big, old barns. The trees began to look different and so tall. There were so many farmyards that I just wanted to pick up and take them home with me. I really got a sense that the Americans are big on preserving their heritage, there was such an old fashioned feel to the rural areas. The small towns are so unlike ours; homes with front porches line the streets, so many of the stores looked to be in original buildings, the sights of the town just feeling so homey! These sights continued all the way to Delaware, I can honestly say I didn't get bored of looking out the window. The weather got warmer, the trees so many vibrant colors, and definitley the land becoming very populated. By the time we reached Pennsylvania and Maryland I realized how wide open and spacious our land really is. I think there was hardly every a square mile that didn't have yards close together. I noticed that farmyards are really compact with all the buildings near each other. The distance between towns seemed so short, but the landscape was breathtaking and the yards so well groomed. I've come home with many ideas of what I'd like the outside of our house to look like someday! We didn't realize that all our drops were mostly to farmyards and not commercial places, so we really were able to take in the rural country although I'm sure Wayne would rather have been in a smaller vehicle than in a semi with all the twists and turns we took. Of course if we'd been in a small vehicle he would've had to stop many times for pictures and at all the stores and neat places that I wish we could've stopped at.

Hanna did so well on this trip. We brought along many toys and books and she spent much time playing with those. I was thankful for the bunk in the back so that we could move about. Surprisingly, she spent much of the trip on my lap, content to see the sights and now knows all about bridges, water, towers, hills, tunnels and was always talking about seeing big bucks in the bush! We had our laptop with so she could watch some videos and she did a little bit each day but nearly as much as I thought she would want to. Most evenings when it was dark she would ask to go home as boredom started setting in. She was always excited to get out of the semi and walk but never put up a complaint about getting in. Our sleeping patterns were thrown for a loop with having just left on time change weekend at home and then three states later entering another time zone. Even though some nights I felt like a squished sardine we still had a decent amount of rest. The truck stops weren't nearly as bad as I thought, the bathrooms and showers were always clean and I guess I have to admit that you can still find healthy food on the road. We definitely had more junk food than usual but still ate a good amount of normal food. Me being the Chip Queen, bought only one bag of chips. That's recordbreaking!

The picture above is of the five mile bridge we crossed from Maryland to Delaware. It was spectacular to see but I was relieved once we had crossed it. I don't have the best pics to show of our trip as everthing was snapped from the truck and just didn't turn out very clear. The picture below was our final destination in Delaware. We pulled up to a long lane and sign had the name Miller on it. I excitedly said " Wayne! Miller is an Amish name, I think we're unloaded at an Amish yard" Sure enough the closer we got we saw a woman in a long dress and white cap, Amish clothing on the laundry line and a buggy came into view. There were two yards down one lane and they were just beautiful places with big homes and barns. We got out of the semi and the first thing I noticed was the stillness. We'd just driven out of busy roads and towns into total peace and quiet. The yards were surrounded by a few acres of tilled land and then surrounded completely by bush with tall, colorful trees. I was so thrilled that this had been our destination and to have a chance to enjoy the simplicity of it all.

Finally time to head back home. Our route now would take us north though Delaware and into Pennsylvania to pick up our load to take back to Canada. Now that I was into Amish sightseeing this would be the state to go to. I was telling Wayne about the Author Beverly Lewis and how her novels are based on the Lancaster Area. Well to my delight we drove right through this very area, a place I'd always wanted to see. I definitely want to come back to this area again someday. The picture below was just before Lancaster where we saw Amish men baling with a horse pulled baler. Then in town Wayne stopped the semi so that two amish men could make a turn in front of us and they waved cheerfully to us. I'm sounding like such a tourist and like I've never seen Amish in my life. Being a mennonite it shouldn't be such a novelty but nonetheless I was still thrilled. Pennsylvania was both very exciting to drive through and very stressful at the same time. We had some complications with the load to work out, bypassed an accident for quite a distance and I have to say we were relieved to get out of the hills and and back to flatter ground. At this point Wayne was frequently reminding me how thankful he was to have us with him because there were times where it seemed that our trip would take a turn for the worse and that we would be very delayed in making it home. On Thursday I was praying that everything would work out on the road home, that the scales and rules of the road wouldn't keep us from home for too long.

Friday we made it to Ohio and we were feeling so much closer to home. The land was starting to look more like the prairies and that feeling of having space was coming back to us. We were feeling the anticipation of home being nearer. That night we slept in Minnesota, and it probably my best sleep and the nicest truck stop to be at. The next morning we'd have eight hours to go and then HOME SWEET HOME! Crossing the border felt so good. As much as I love the sights of small town and rural America home is still the best place to be even if the scenery isn't as great. I do have new appreciation though for the wide open spaces of the prairies, it feels like home.
I'm so thankful I went on this trip with Wayne. It was worth the aches in my hips and back, the sleeplessness and (holding it in for long periods at a time). I just really appreciated being able to talk endlessly with him, laughing about silly things, dreaming about the future and just sitting quietly next to each other, knowing that home is really wherever the three(and a half) of us are together.