Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boxing Day

This kiddo was laughing her guts out. This is not a look of shock, nor a yawn, this is a pure belly laugh.

Recently a friend from the US asked about our Boxing Day. It made me think how far our culture has come from what Boxing Day was originally intended for. On December 26th commonwealth countries have Boxing Day marked on their calendars. Way back in the day, Alms Boxes (boxes for the poor) were placed on church doorsteps for people to put money in. It was a day that was marked as giving to the poor. Now it's turned into a similar day to the American Black Friday (or what I know of it.) People wake up at crazy hours, some at 3AM, to drive to the city to stand in line to wait for stores to open and get smokin deals on all sorts of things. We've never done anything like this, probably not just because of the insane amounts of people, but we were all laying around in our pajamas eating turkey buns.

Really I don't think we need a day marked on those little square boxes to remind us to think of those less fortunate than us. I believe it should be something imprinted on our hearts all year long, and something that is just a natural extension of who we are. Nothing to be shown off or consciously thought of, but it should be as customary as getting your breakfast in the morning.

This year was a beautiful day as a Chinook had blown in right before Christmas and to accompany our white landscape there were impressive warm temperatures. A pink Carhartt coat, yellow snowpants from when I was a kid, and a poor old Oiler's toque (the only one we could find) was tossed on and sleigh rides around the yard ensued. Who needs mittens? Kitty socks on the hands work just fine. A lucky little girl, who promptly could call the horse after she said Momma, got to go for a lil ride and sat up their like a big girl, clicking her tongue and laughing. What a day it was!

 What did you all do the day after Christmas? Was it time to put the tree away and clean the house? Were you still at gatherings? I'd love to know.

*UPDATE* Another Canadian blogging friend made a wise comment about Boxing Day being the day post Christmas when servants got the day off. I looked it up and that is another part of Boxing Day--according to the article I read, people would send home with the servants, boxes of gifts, bonuses or food to go with them to visit their families. Again according to this article, it stated about Alms Boxes left on Church doorsteps. Who really knows...?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Breathe In, Breathe Out-It's Christmas

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By the time I actually get this post finished, Winter solstice will have past, and us Albertan's will have experienced one short day. I poked my head outside for the few minutes of sunshine we had, and then raced back in to continue wrapping gifts...no, I raced back into grab the last gingersnap.

Really, that is neither here nor there; let's get down to business. If I'm truly finished writing this by the 23rd, that leaves us two days till Christmas. Count 'em- T-W-O. How are you feeling about this? Are you pacing and hyperventilating? Do you feel like you're on a runaway treadmill and can't find the off switch? Maybe you are sitting in your green chair with your feet up laughing at all the people making their last minute trips to town to buy more gifts - gomers. Your gifts have been wrapped for weeks, months maybe, packed away in alphabetical order, beside your freezer full of Christmas baking.

You didn't really want to hear about those green chair folks anyway, did you? They are the gomers after all?!?! Right...

Back to business. I am not the latter type, a super organized person with Christmas powers in my hands to have everything all in perfect shape. Yet, I can assure you that I'm not the former either. There is no wildness in this house, okay, not about Christmas anyway. Honestly, dear readers, I've said it a few times this week, Christmas comes and Christmas goes. What get's done, get's done, and what doesn't, doesn't. No one's going to be angry that there aren't gingersnaps on the table - except maybe your diabetic Uncle, but does he really need an extra four pounds of gingersnaps anyway? Do you really think your four year old will notice that his gift is wrapped in Loonie Store paper and looks kind of like he wrapped it himself, instead of with natural packing paper, hand stamped with homemade ribbon that took you four months to make? Nah. Your child will be in wonder with the twinkly lights on the tree, and mercy, if a tree didn't get put up, they will be enthused that  you are enthused about the day. They will remember everyone was happy and excited, they will remember Daddy reading Luke 2, they will remember you teaching them to take baking to the neighbours and to remember to pray for those that don't have a Christmas meal that day. Let's not teach our kid's to be stressed, to be wild over preparation for an event that we've marked on the calendar and keep thinking, "EGADS, FOUR MORE DAYS LEFT, I HAVEN'T BAKED THE NINETIETH BATCH OF SUGAR COOKIES!"

 "Johnny, go play, your Mommy will come up for air in twenty hours after she has scrubbed the walls for company coming, repainted the living room, cooked the hardest candy to make ever, all for Christmas, Johnny, all for Christmas!"

Slow down. Again, it will come and it will go. We'll all be a little fatter afterward, and hopefully we won't all be burnt right out, we'll have remembered what Christmas is truly all about.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Concern

I kind of want to make this picture extra small. Camouflage gift wrap? Why is this stuff legal?!

Ladies, tonight I have a little concern floating through my mind. I talked to my friend today who let me know her husband was in Medicine Hat-Christmas shopping. Egads! Someone let this man go ALONE to the city to shop for his wife?

If I was the betting type,  I would start some kind of pool on here with all your guesses of what this man will bring home.

I did write him a list of rules guidelines for him to peruse, but again, if I was the betting kind, I'd like to place a bet to see if that list is printed off and in his wallet.

Where do you think this man stopped first? Let's hope he ran out of gas and had to call his sister. What can we do to stop him, send a messenger pigeon?

If your brother, husband, father, son has trouble shopping for anyone, feel free to consult that guideline and paste it to their forehead. Oh, they'll learn and grow, trust me, it only makes me a little afraid to see that there is camouflage wrapping paper in with the Christmas wrap?! Is my husband hoping that my gift will blend in with the tree?

Mercy, if someday I have a boy, please pray for grace for me!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mrs. Claus

"Yes, there is a Mrs. Claus. She's you-busy making visions of sugarplums come true. No gift is more welcome than goodies from your own kitchen." --Elizabeth Wood, Better Homes and Gardens magazine, December 1955

I do believe part of the merriment of Christmas is baked up in tiny little drops of enchantment-cookies. The smell, the taste, and the sparkle of Christmas cookies hold happy memories in my own heart of this time of year. I don't want to be so busy baking nine thousand batches of cookies that I forget about the relationships around me, but a few Christmas cookies with children in the house are a must.

The scent of cloves would fill the kitchen when my mom would bake her Gingersnaps and we would blissfully stuff our faces on the gallon sized pail of Sugar Cookies my Grandma sent down. She had been known to clean out her sink to mix up batches of cookies in with her grandchildren, because a lil ol bowl wouldn't do in the size of her batches. I believe I came by my love of baking cookies honestly.

I think, as a child, it was a bit bewitching to see the flour, sugar, and butter mixed together and have tasty treats form out of that; it still is.

I hope you all feel as we would expect Mrs. Claus would, brightly baking up treats in her kitchen. Try not to let the load of Christmastime weigh you down, but try and remember the joys in a good old fashioned cookie you enjoyed as a child.

Here's a treat we enjoy:

Almond Sweets

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Almond Icing
Colored sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a cookie sheet; set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, granulated sugar, oil and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can. Stir in any remaining flour mixture with a wooden spoon.
3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place balls 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool. when cookies are cool, spread with Almond Icing. Makes about 60.
Almond Icing: In a medium bowl stir together 1 cup sifted icing sugar (powdered sugar), 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (YUM!), and 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to make an icing of spreading consistency.

Best of luck to you--I'd love to know if you gave these a shot.

I am linking up here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Minus One Million

This is for you, Baerg girls!

Folks, I know I just wrote a post about the delights of this Jack Frost time of year and law, I do enjoy the warmth of the inside of my house. Alas, girls, today it is so cold that when you walk outside goobers in your nose start to freeze your nostrils together. For you all who are telling me of living in states where it's in the 70'S! right now, I'd like to invite you up to the great white north. You'll enjoy your stay in a bleached land where we will submit you to a short lesson on surviving the cold and then we'll send you out to start our vehicle. Your lungs will smart as you walk, when you come in your legs will itch from the cold, and getting ready to go outside will be a 15 minute effort.

I heard a report today that Calgary (just over 60 miles away) registered as the coldest place on Earth, except for a lovely resort place in the Antarctic. Our thermometer was reading colder than Calgary! What?! It was -36 degrees Celsius, or for you cats south of the border that is -32.8 degrees Fahrenheit.  Throw in some icy wind and you have a recipe for a hibernating momma.

I guess we're lucky here in Alberta, what is the need for Botox and all those other ways to look younger? Our faces simply freeze in place and our cheeks are nice and rosy preventing any need for blusher. Be wary not to make any rude faces or have a look of shock on that mug when you walk outside-that is what might be preserved forevah (or at least until Summer!)

I lumbered out the back door to snap a photo with my husband's boots on and realized the drifts were higher than the boots, which were up to my knees. I snapped the photo and wanted to wrap myself in a full body hot water bottle. I was envious of my daughter's fleece pajamas with the feet included and thought about looking for a pattern for myself.

It is no joke that we live somewhere where there have been students who have come to school on snowmobiles to take their diploma exams. They are infamous and dedicated students, it's too bad they failed, but we knew they couldn't see out of their balaclavas.

It's also a semi dangerous time of year, not for the frost bite or the bad roads, but for our marriages. Running to the back door to greet your husband with a kiss can be a hazardous task. Who can tell any of these rural Alberta men apart, they are bundled up so much? So, before you plant a wet one on the man who appears at the door, make sure it's not a neighbour who has had a break down.

Tonight, with the stove a blazing, I'm painting signs for the Little Prairie Baby shop, be warned though folks, I am not too sure how the outcome will be. Holding a paintbrush with your mittens on is proven difficult.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Weather Outside is Frightful

A glimpse out our living room window.
I love it when the busyness of the day is lulled to sleep by the shadows of the evening. In Alberta, our days are considerably shorter in the winter. My sister and I when we were young, it would be dark out when we would trudge down the lane in our Sorel boots to get on the bus. In the evening, when we'd race back up the lane with the wind painting our cheeks red, it would be dark out again.  It starts to get long by the end of January, but right now, I wrap myself in the coziness of slowing down.

I don't mind getting to bed early when the world already seems asleep, and it feels okay to hang up the apron after supper and sit down with a cup of tea. I love getting out projects that were stashed away for the busy summer months. I love warm drinks, wood stoves and looking outside to see the Evergreen trees weighed down with white. I enjoy seeing the cattle huddled together with snow on their backs and seeing the wind whirling in the yard light. Christmas baking, warm scented candles, and flannel sheets make Winter shorter for me. Most of all, a tiny marvel, with wisps of hair standing on end, pointing at the Christmas lights in glee at her Mammy's house, makes my heart full.

Hopefully, the hot chocolate from our lil giveaway will warm up Sheila's day! Congratulations Sheila, we'll be in touch. Sheila was randomly selected through here. To get me through MY Winter months, I wish this lady would start her own blog. I think the star of it would be her little boy. He is a hoot! My husband was in at her husband's shop when this little guy, maybe he is three or four years old? announced to my husband, "I know where you live and I'm going to come tear your yard up!" My husband thought this kid was about the funniest little guy he'd ever encountered and some days I would like to go pick him up and have him around the house for comic relief.

What helps you get through your Winter months?

Friday, November 12, 2010

City Day and a Giveaway

Sometimes a straight back and a smile on my face doesn't put the assurance in my step or the fortitude in my voice that I've been raised to own. Even though we were raised to be humble, we were taught to look anyone in the eye when we spoke to them.

Sometimes I just want to crawl down into my own shadow of Uncomfortable.  A couple of days ago my husband and I rambled past spread out farms, along the grasslands towards the city. I had a doctor's appointment and we had plans to look for a couch afterwards. A couch that I have been looking for for years now. Everywhere I go, I take in what people are lounging on and file it away in my psyche. You think with years of this sort of research, I'd have a good idea what I'd want-not a chance.

Snaking our way through the maze of buildings and people, we found an exorbitant furniture shop deep in the south end of the city. My husband in his good Wranglers and I in my semi clean shirt, parked the farm truck around the side of the building. There was grass stuck in the tow hooks from jaunts out into the pasture to haul back a hunted deer-I'm pretty sure there was still blood in the box.

My palms started to fret when we were acknowledged with a quick up and down glance by a smart suit in the entrance. Minutes later when we were asked if we wanted bottled water and I prayed the blond haired man I was with wouldn't ask if it was free, I knew we should get out of there.

"Are you looking for a more traditional feel or contemporary style?"


I knew my husband was weak kneed at the seventeen thousand dollar price tag on a couch. I was confused. Had someone made a mistake? Uh, folks, do you have a jiffy marker, this tag is mislabeled. You should really get new help.

A wool sweater three sizes two small was more comfortable than that shop. I am reminded to appreciate any soul, no matter what package it comes in. I want to appreciate and embrace our ethnically, culturally, and financially diverse country-I want to be able to beam sincerely at the salesman who smirked at us. Remind him that we are the people who make up our country.

Part of the reason I like blogging is I believe it gives us a better understanding of one another. I simply started to write to let others know about Little Prairie Baby, but now I see how blogging let's us be conscious of others. We see in each other similar feelings, whether good or bad, and the more exposure should breed more tolerance.

Once a month I'm going to have someone stop in here for 'coffee,' to let us have a little look into what their life is like in corner of this world. In celebration of this, I'd like to host a little giveaway before we have our first guest! I have a Norman Rockwell children's Christmas book, a Little Prairie Baby bib, and some yummy hot chocolate. You know the routine ladies and gentlemen-to enter leave a comment telling me who would wear this sweet bib if it showed up at your house. For additional chances to enter, become or let me know that you are a follower, blog about this contest, or grab my button. Please leave separate comments for each entry. Contest closes November 19th at 12:00PM. Best of luck to you!

Walk tall and live brave!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11

Thank you, Evan, welcome home and God bless you.

"Freedom is not free."

Friday, November 5, 2010

To Give

I feel as awkward writing this post as I did on my first day of Junior High, I'm just more comfortable that my Secret deodorant actually works.

Blogging isn't something that comes easily. Throwing myself out there for the world to read my thoughts gives me a little bit of the heeby jeebies, but it's good to record bits of life, isn't it? I have stacks of journals from years of thoughts needing to flow out onto paper, but mercy, throwing it out there for Phoenix and Manitoba to read is about as comfortable as seeing someone asked if they are pregnant when they aren't.

For the past week I've thought, "Tonight I'm going to blog!" The same old self doubt rolls around, that I don't have anything to say, gosh, we all know I'm not a photo lady, and why in hog city would anyone want to read what I have to say? I remembered no one is forced to read and for Friday night's sake, this is a blog, I'm not solving world peace.

I'm gonna (I mean going to, Auntie P) get my groove back, I've gotta get this blog on...and if ya'll have any suggestions of things you would like to hear about, let me know! I'm hoping if I can spit out some sort of post tonight, it's just going to come back to me. I've got the usual to share- projects, recipes, senseless drivel, and stories about my family-don't say I didn't warn ya.

For tonight, I want to direct your attention to an amazing couple from the East Coast. Allen and Violet Large won 11.2 million dollars and gave it away.
Allen and Violet Large, seen in this image taken from video, have decide to donate almost $11.2 million in lottery winnings.
Please check out this video to hear about their generosity. These folks give my spirit a boost in so many ways. This couple renews my faith in the spirit of charity and reminds me that benevolence can make your own heart grin, helping your body to follow. Violet is undergoing chemotherapy and if you listen to the video Allen tells you it has reminded them of what is really important-relationships. They have one another. Violet tells us how good it feels to give.

We might not have 11.2 million dollars to give away, but friends, a giving heart is something we can all benefit from, it will give us joy and a calm.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Promised Land

A tiny answered prayer, snuggled in purple pajamas with feet, is fast asleep in her cozy nest for the night. Echoes of an Irish Lullaby danced in the shadows of our home as I took steps around the creaks in the floor of the only room she's known.

Sitting down after The Little Poky Puppy and The Little Red Hen have been put to bed, my body starts to relax, my heart is full, and all is still.

I close my eyes and can feel the dust of harvest on my skin and can see the fields of gold that surrounded us tonight. I wonder if it's what Heaven will look like.

Does Jesus let the sunshine down on the honeyed fields to give us a little hope for Tomorrow?

Tonight, little chubby cheeks full of applesauce sitting on her Daddy's lap for supper in the outdoors, gave me hope. Hope that whispered prayers don't fall on deaf ears.

In the hush of that big ol' prairie sky, I'll crawl into my own nest, waiting for my husband to come in from the field, I'll say a prayer and drift off. I'm choosing to remember Hope. Those moments, even when they are day after day, and you feel like the skin on your hand is peeled right off from hanging onto that last knot on your rope, remember Hope. Hang onto that golden rope instead and remember there will be another day,take a breath in the knowledge of that fact.

I am linking up here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The sun shone today and I soaked up every moment of it. I turned my face towards the ball of heat and took a big breath. I rolled that sunshine up in my hand, placed it in my pocket near my heart, and will save it for a a bleak and snowy day.

The leaves crunched, the kiddo squealed, and I was happy.

A wise lady, who lives a hop, skip and a jump (in prairie distance) away from me talked about what Fall is in Alberta. Drop by her blog home and say howdy! Tell her I sent you...she gives you a good description of what Fall is like in our part of the world.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Request

Dear Laziness,

You are overwhelming me these days! I know it's cold outside, I know they are calling for snow, but why do you think you should curl up in my home? It seems you have sat in my comfy green chair, with a little hot chocolate and have settled in.

I have projects to finish, a house to clean, and someone needs to teach this kiddo to keep her tongue in her mouth. The poor kid wanders around with her nappy  hanging out begging for a pair of suspenders or something, but gosh, Laziness, here you are trailing behind me, slowing my every step down.

I'm not sure what to do with you, but I'm getting awfully close to making pals with you. I'm thinking it maybe is time to head into hibernation mode. Maybe I could give you a nickname and share a bit of foreign chocolate with you.

Maybe I could call you Relax or Rest and then I'd feel more chummy. Do you think you could come back when everything is canned and all the Fall cleaning is done? There is a neighbour momma around here who seems to be able to do everything, could you go visit her?



PS-Do you know how hard it is to type with mittens on? Could you go visit someone in the south and haul some sunshine back up here? I know this is where you insert the eye roll. Thanks a lot, Laziness, I'm just going to call you Lazy from now on, 'cause that's what you deserve!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Road Trip!

Image found here
I've got one for your bucket list: Going To the Sun Highway in Montana.

What can I say? It is the most breathtaking road you will ever take. It is like something out of a National Geographic magazine, without a yellow border around the photos. Law, my eyeballs were almost bugging out of my head, and it wasn't because I was shocked at the fact you pay $15 for a lil bag of coffee at the beginning of the park. No sir, it's because the view of God's finest is comparable to your first dog- a rare beauty.

You do need to be prepared for wall to wall traffic, some construction, and a screaming baby. Oh wait, you don't have a screaming baby?  My hard and fast rule was to never give my kiddo food in her carseat, but gosh, I would've given her the $15 coffee and a Big Mac if I needed too!

This road is only seasonally open, and I don't know if the Chilkoot packers would want to be caught up there in the winter. It cost $25 for entrance to Glacier National Park, but that's for the week, and if you are into fishing, you can fish your heart out in the park. Not bad, considering we pay something like that a day up here in Banff.

If you are anywhere near Montana, or heck, if you aren't anywhere near Montana, set your GPS for this road of wonders and experience it in your lifetime. You need to!

Saturday, September 11, 2010



Sunday, August 22, 2010

Looking Around

A couple of years ago we visited a dear friend who was working in a children's home, for abused and neglected kids in Gallup, New Mexico. We loaded up our car and traveled almost 23 hours to show love to little brown faces. These children have left tiny fingerprints on my heart.

 Today when I was sorting through one of my drawers I came across a note from one of the sweet girls we met. Where is she today? Is she with her mama?

We often think we need to travel the world to make a difference in some child's life that is hurting, but right smack in the middle of the powerful and wealthy U.S. we saw poverty. When I helped in our own community's little school, there were kids who would show up without lunch-day after day.

My friend Jenn and a couple of the children, hiking through the rocks behind the home.
 Look out your own back window, there is probably a child who could use a smile and a word of encouragement spoken into their little lives. A grin and a "good job" goes a long way!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Remembering Big

Around 100 miles west of our home, across the prairies, into the foothills, and finally in the mountains is where  family history runs deep and my heart lies. Our cows are taken out there in June and pushed up high in the hills to grow fat and sassy. They'll wander down in the fall when it starts to get cool, ready to come home.
The range has been in the family for years. My heart grins that my daughter will make her own memories there, and hear about the memories of her family's past.
Stories that are vividly remembered and told over and over because history is so important to us. Stories about when her great, great Uncle was riding along with his five year old Bobby, in the bush, they came across a creek and the little guy said, "Dad, what's the name of this creek?" A reply came, "Well, son, don't   you know this is Bobby Creek!"

The same Uncle was guiding a televised moose hunt, when they came around a bend, onto a creek bed, and stumbled across a grizzly bear. Faster than you could spit, he was off his horse, rifle in hand, and a bear on the ground. When this hunt was shown on TV, it's the one time mom's family was allowed to stay home from church on Sunday and watch the hunt. To this day, these creeks are still named Bobby Creek and Grizzly Creek.
One creek crossing, that's referred to in the family as Wet Socks was aptly named after my Grandpa's  mishap. A hired man found him sitting by the creek, drying out his socks over a little fire, where he'd obviously fallen in while he was out checking cows.
One of the best stories of a trick to pull my Dad has passed along to my husband. After a good, heavy wet snow, give a tree a good boot while you're riding by, and the next guy get's covered in snow.
My mom grew up riding through the range at a very young age. While her love for these parts grew strong, so did her ability to ride a horse. I heard on a few occasions from my Grandpa how good at riding Mom was.

Mom tells stories of my Grandma, bringing five children out in the summer to play and make memories. She cooked huge meals in a little cabin, with no running water or electricity. She would bring her typewriter and sit and clunk away in the beauty of the wild, as there were no extra house chores to do, or people phoning or popping in. 

Grandma had an ability to tell stories about  life. She wrote for most national farm magazines,published several books, had stories that were heard over CBC and Drumheller radio, and many recall her hilarious weekly columns for the Red Deer advocate that would include stories about being 'Out West.' Grandma's stories were never exaggerated, our family simply remember's big! I'm blessed beyond belief to continue to pass down these stories, and am  fiercely proud to be a part of this family.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Motley Group of Thoughts

Since I tend to keep it a little random here on the prairies, I'll give you a bit of an update of the craziness nothingness that has been going on....in no particular order!

1) The gypsies called today, they are safe on a working farm near Rocky Mountain House and lost their precious cat en route. For all you nay sayers and non believers of the circus story of my life, they will be on CTV news at 6:00 tonight. Yes, we dined with near celebrities. Since we don't have TV, I will definitely be skulking out a house to watch the news. Watch out, I could be coming to your house, with a smelly baby in tow.

2) Yes, a smelly baby. Have you ever heard the quote by Roy Rogers, "Never kick a cow chip on a hot day?" You can quote me, never leave a fast baby, with curious hands anywhere near where cattle are run on a hot day. You'll be in for a treat! You might just come home and give the babe a scrub in the sink long before bedtime. Remember G, (and I don't mean G as in G-dawg, G-unit, just G) she let's her lil' girl wander around in the winter carrying horse, ahem, droppings. They are frozen, what's the harm? They don't go in her mouth (yes, things are a little different on those big ranches out east) but she assures me this same rule does not apply in the summer. Lesson learned.

3)I said goodbye to a dear friend today who will be moving to a land of swimming pools and fruit trees. I'm pretty sure I've never heard of such wonders. We live in a land where there are heat alerts (in Toronto) when the weather soars to 27 degrees Celsius and we have shelters at the ends of our lanes for the children to wait for the bus in. I am going to miss her piles and am expecting her to package up some sunshine and send it my way. I will be sure to package her some snow and wind to remind her of the prairies.

4)My cupboards are cleaned out! Hooray! I love taking  things out of their original packaging and putting them in something 'cute.'  Things like old jars for my muffin liners, a cute red enamelware bowl for my coffee filters, and a sweet, red and white vintage inspired snack bin. It feels good to have them cleaned, it won't stay that way long, if you want to come look at my cupboards, come today. Possibly you have until tomorrow-by the day after that they will be a disaster.

5)The greatest outdoor show on earth is on now in the big city. People come from all over the world to see the Calgary Stampede. We grew up going to a lot of rodeos. Innisfail, Olds, Three Hills, Airdrie...all these lil' towns I've visited and some I have possibly 'muttin' busted' at as a child. The big, old Calgary Stampede I've been to twice. Once when my husband and I were dating (the first time I had been there) the second time was last year. Someday I will write a post on my Grandpa and  his friend Ralph Loosmore in good ol' cow town...the stories are legendary and you may have a little trouble believing them. If you knew my Grandpa-you would not, he was legendary.

6)I am roping my Dad into making some things for Little Prairie Baby. You heard it here first ladies and gentlemen, the Prairie Pirate himself will be handcrafting some stuff in the loft of the barn for your precious babe. If you would like to encourage him in his endeavor, feel free to contact me, I can give you his full contact information and the land location where my folks live. He loves visitors and phone calls after 9:00 at night.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

For my Dad

There were many great times spent with our Pop, and even more funny times!  He is a very hilarious man, to say the least!  I have three pages of jot notes written down of special and fun times spent with Dad. Seeing as I'm already a zillion days late writing a Father's Day post, I don't think I will actually get everything written out. Not sure if you want to read everything!  Dad spent hours on end with my sister and I, every lesson taught to us was through time spent with us. Whether it be that work was important and something fun and to be enjoyed, or to walk with integrity, these lessons were taught with time spent with us.

My sister and I were often described when we were younger as stick-like skinny, and this was not used in the same way big, 300 lb. men are often called, "Tiny".  WE WERE SMALL! Dad, however, sometimes missed the fact that we were little, or girls, or really just didn't care.  He would have us out changing tires and oil on vehicles, just in case our future husbands didn't know how!  He also enjoyed our company while he lifted weights, and would ask my sister or I to spot for him.  Mom would absolutely have a bird as she would come downstairs to find one of us standing behind the bench, tiny hands on the middle of the bar, "just in case" Dad needed a hand with the 325 lbs. he was pressing!  He would always calmly explain to Mom that if he ever needed help, it would just be about five pounds or so, and he already checked and made sure we could each press the fifty pound bar with ease....yeah right.  The words, "I can't" were never in our vocabulary, we were raised to believe we could achieve anything.

Our Pop would teach us lessons by example of working hard, taking a stand for what you believe in and taking the day one step at a time. When he was just a young, twelve year old boy, he had his foot caught in a grain auger leading to years of severe pain, and eventually an amputation... and then a second amputation.  In all the years we watched his face grimace with pain, he never complained.  Instead, he would enjoy his prosthetics as a conversation piece, always ordering them in camoflauge, or even Bob the Builder print!   We were on vacation with our family away in the land of warm, when a little boy saw Dad with his prosthetic leg walk by. The little tyke hopped up on a rock and shouted, "Arr, Arr Matey!" Much to the mother's embarrassment! Dad thought this was great fun and has set an example to all of us to embrace any kind of challenge that comes your way. Nothing ever stopped him from doing things he set out to do, even if he simply had to find a new way to do it.

The attitude to strive to do your very best at all times enveloped every aspect of Dad's life, and therefore ours also. At our ball games we could always hear him shouting, TWO, TWO, and we always knew that meant not to just steal one base, take two.  Trying your best did not just mean to work really hard, it meant to stay calm in all situations.  Whether it was shooting a gun or a basketball, we learned to breathe when shooting.  When playing one-on-one he would chirp and chirp and chirp trying to get in our heads, because he knew his opinion held such weight with us, so if we could block that out while we played, no one could affect our game.

For a man born in the 60's his ideologies on gender could be seen as revolutionary.  Raising two girls, he didn’t have to teach us that we were able to do anything as well as boys, and could be completely self-sufficient young women, even though we were that, young women, not men.  There was always that expectation; of course you can, that was the attitude conveyed.  It is not surprising though, that his philosophies have always been before his time, he is one of the smartest people I know. He’s extremely well-read, can talk to anyone about anything, simply because he knows a lot about many, many subjects! Often when my sister and I are discussing issues with our husbands trying to come up with a logical solution, our husbands think it would be a great idea to phone Dad, talk with him and get some feedback. I'm grateful both our husbands love our Dad and think as highly of him as we do.

With all of these wonderful attributes, he will always be known most for his joking and teasing... endless teasing!  Before the days of caller ID, he would phone us, our cousins, or really anyone using different accents and voices referring to himself as one false alias or another.  Only a few times did it end up back-firing, as we would hang up on important people while telling them, “Dad, that accent is terrible!”  Luckily, most understood! 

Along with the voices came nicknames, for everyone and everything, including all the barn cats that already had names! Little sayings permeated everyday life, and we had no idea that they were not common until we went to school and our father was the only one using them.  It was also there we realized several of the sayings were not in English! Doesn't everyone say boots and saddles when it's time to go? Don't you say skin the bunny when taking off a little kids coat? No?

This list is getting rather lengthy, and I am just warming up!  Really though, it was the time, the vast amount of time our dad spent with us growing up that has formed such a strong bond between us.  I will be forever grateful for the time we spent making snow/tree forts and digging trenches in the spring. Whether we were riding horses, playing catch in the backyard, going for rides in his big truck, curling up on the couch in the “hole” (the crook of his legs) for a nap, we learned lessons from Dad. Whether shooting hoops off the side of the old barn or eating onions with dad because he called them begonias (we would never dream of eating onions - they were gross!  Begonias - delicious!) or wearing one of his cowboy hats while working in the yard, we had fun.   Many parents have trouble filling both roles so well, but my dad is truly my father, and my friend.

Happy belated Father’s Day Dad, I love you and am proud to be your daughter.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

For All the Men

Recently I read on Kristin's blog (fadedprairie.blogspot.com) about her little son giving her a wheelbarrow for Mother's Day. This did not shock me, he's a farm boy, and I have similar experiences with these types in my life. Lucky thing is, he's still a little boy and there is room for growth in his precious little life.

The first Christmas my husband and I spent together I unwrapped a gift to find a Mark's Work Warehouse box and laughed and said, 'Oh, good idea to put something in a box like this to trick me...' Nope, the gift was from Mark's Work Warehouse.

Today I called up a good friend of mine who lives on a ranch two hours east of us. I started off the phone conversation with something like this, 'Uh hey, G, would it be okay if I tossed Bud under the bus on my blog?' Her prompt reply, 'Oh yeah, go for it!' Okay, it wasn't exactly like that, but she did phone Bud and ask him if it was okay, and I asked her if Bud knew what a blog was...

Anyway, last year when my dear friend was pregnant with their second baby (a time our husbands come with us to a few doctor's appointments and talk with the doctors like this is no big deal because they have calved out a lot of cows) her husband showed up with a birthday gift for her. Bud bought her a PITCHFFORK and FENCING PLIERS. This was not a joke. I kept laughing because it was so outrageous...but Bud really thought it was nice, and thought she really would want her own pitchfork. REALLY?! I told her Bud was crazy-REALLY.

I promptly wrote up a little sheet for Bud to post on the fridge...a sort of guidelines if you will. I thought I would share it on here because after reading Kristen's post, I think this may be something many wives/mom's should print off and give to their husbands. Good luck to you all!

-always consult guide before buying a gift
-NEVER disregard ANY rules in guide
-post somewhere you will never lose or forget about it

A)If you can write it off-do not even consider this an option.
B)DO NOT look in stores like Canadian Tire, Princess Auto, UFA, Peavy Mart, or Mark's Work Warehouse. If a store sells similar stuff as the above listed stores walk, no RUN away!
C)Consult with your mom or sisters until you have the hang of gift giving-if they say it's terrible-IT'S TERRIBLE-don't go ahead with the plan!
D)Listen for hints...some hints might not be intentional and they may not be direct at all. Listen for phrases like "Maybe I'll wait for January sales to buy that rusty star!" Take heed!
E)Wrap with care (or get your sister to.) Putting time and care into wrapping, and a card makes it more personal. It makes it look like more thought was placed into it, rather than just picking something up at Cactus Corner while you fueled up.
F)If it cleans up the yard, house, vehicle...helps a person cook...do laundry, etc, this is a STUPID idea. No matter what, a gift should not involve ANY work or be any kind of household appliance. Gifts should be some kind joy and luxury...not work. This is a KEY rule-tears or anger may result if ignored.
G)Gifts should be bought at girly shops that make you uncomfortable and makes you keep your hands to yourself, so you don't break anything!

Good luck Bud & G.....

Bud, be careful, or G might use the pitchfork on you!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes. ~Edward Frederick Halifax

Humility is one of the qualities I find most admirable in people. It is a selfless quality. Humility helps us live in peace with others. It teaches us to take a sincere interest in not only our own lives, but also in those around us. Humility produces a soft spirit and is a trait found in many great leaders.

Being humble is not about putting your own self down. It is about taking a greater interest in others, than in yourself. It is being respectfully quiet about your own achievements and modest in actions, speech, and demeanor.

My mom epitomizes humility and it is something I appreciate and admire about her.

We grew up in a home that was hospitable, warm, and cozy. Others gravitated towards Mom's welcoming nature and it was always evident by the amount of people we had staying and visiting with us. Mom takes a keen interest in other people's lives and stories. She has no prejudice towards race, age, or sex, but loves all equally. She is sensitive to people's stories and is eager to hear what they have to say.

Mom is one of the most dynamic and interesting people I know and I'd like to tell you about some of her hidden abilities and qualities. Stories of her past are tucked away and aren't told, until we find trophies in the basement, hidden away. Mom is an expert shot, this is one thing we knew, but didn't know that she had been recognized for it until we found her hidden trophies, this is an example of Mom's humility. She even has shot wild pigs in Africa, something not many know.

She has a sense of adventure, she has skydived many times, rides a sport bike, dirtbikes, and loves traveling.

Mom's ability to run displays her athleticism and not many know about how good she is at running.

My mom's plants thrive and fill her house with a special coziness.

Mom is a critical thinker and tried to push us girls to be as well, she is well read, and has read books not many have dared to open.

She is involved in the community and invests in relationships with other people.

Her generosity is definitely something I am always boggled at. The things she has done for others, behind the scenes, trying to evade people knowing where something came from has been a great life lesson.

I heard my Grandpa speak a few times about how good my mom is at horseback riding. Not many people would know this, she can ride better than most folks around.

Mom can speak two languages.

Mom has accepted, loved, and nurtured her family wholeheartedly.

Her faith is her life jacket in times of trouble.

If my little daughter grows up to admire, love, and have the same want to be around me half as much as I feel these things for my mom...I will be blessed.

Growing up in a home where my mom didn't just teach me about being humble, but lived it day to day, was the greatest teaching I could receive.

I love you, Mom, and Happy Mother's Day!

"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
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