Our first Christmas in our Winnipeg condo in 2011 three of my friends bought us a wreath to decorate our new home. I have continued to meet with those friends about once a month ever since and it has been a significant source of joy and support in my life. I actually made the list of questions I’ve been featuring on my December blog posts for our Christmas party this year. Christmas Question #5 is “What is a special gift you received for Christmas?”
This wreath would certainly have to be one of my special gifts. I hang it up every year at the beginning of December and it helps me get into the Christmas spirit and reminds me of three good friends who have walked the journey of the previous year with me. Here is our 2016 photo in front of the wreath.
Christmas Question #4-The Circle of Life
Christmas Question #3- Beer and Pretzels
Christmas Question #2- Chili Soup
Christmas Question #1- A Christmas Carol Saved Our Lives
Filed under Holidays, T-4s
I celebrated my birthday with three good friends who I meet with regularly. We call ourselves the T-4s. For our October party we were spending a crafty Saturday afternoon together. But……… we started with lunch. We each made our own little pizzas on naan bread.
Delicious!We had each brought projects to work on after lunch. Esther was using different pencil shadings to complete a picture in her English countryside colouring book, while Glenys was making plastic covers for take home reading books for her grade one classroom.
My friend Debbie was helping me make a Christmas stocking for my new grandson. I had bought a kit but would never have been able to put the stocking together without Debbie’s expertise and sewing skills. My friend Esther and I both have fall birthdays and Glenys had made us a beautiful cake to share. There were gifts for both of us too.
It was a perfect way to mark my birthday.
On Sunday Dave and I hosted sixteen people from our family for a turkey dinner and we celebrated Thanksgiving and both my birthday and my Dad’s birthday.
And so another year has begun!
A Sunny Birthday on a Rainy Day
On Friday my three friends and I who call ourselves the T-4s, set off on another one of our adventures. This time we headed for the tiny Mennonite village of Neubergthal, Manitoba which was named a National Historic Site in 1989. We started with a drive down the streets of the village lined with cottonwood trees planted by the original Mennonite settlers in 1876. They brought the seeds with them from Ukraine when they emigrated.
First we toured the Friesen House with our very knowledgeable guide Paige. She showed us the beautiful way Mennonite women used to handpaint the floors in their homesIn the pantry we saw the pie shelf, a handy way for the Mennonite housewife to cool a whole oven full of fruit pies at one time. We looked at the honeymoon suite. It got its name because at one point two of the children in the family that owned the house got married in the same year and couldn’t afford farms of their own yet. So both couples stayed in this room together for a year before they set up their own farms. The sides of the narrow wooden beds did pull out to make them a little wider. After trying on some traditional Mennonite garb we headed to the barn which is attached to the house. This meant farmers didn’t have to go outside in cold or blizzardy weather to tend to cattle. The barn also offered a sheltered place for doing laundry and……….
there was a traditional outhouse in the barn, also handy for winter use. The heat of the animals’ bodies in the barn kept you warm and there was no need to go outdoors to the bathroom. Newspaper was supplied for toilet paper and there was a toilet for children too. Then we were off to the Hamm house across the street. Marilyn and Ray Hamm still make their home in the traditional Neubergthal house barn Ray’s grandparents once lived in. The Hamms were excited to meet my friend Esther who used to work at MCC with Ray many years ago and was a frequent guest in the Hamm home.
Ray and Marilyn told us about the history of their house and Marilyn even showed us how the old pump organ in the livingroom worked.
Later we had lunch at the Jasmine Tea Room in Altona a perfect place to talk about our adventure over homemade soups, fresh salads and warm biscuits with jam.
Paige will still be giving tours in Neubergthal for the next couple weeks so check out their website if you are interested in learning more about Mennonite history in a ‘hands on’ interesting way.
Introducing Friends from India to Mennonites
Should the T-4s Get Tattoos
Mennonites in Gone Girl
Filed under History, T-4s
I’d always wanted to visit the Carol Shields labyrinth in Winnipeg’s King’s Park. On Victoria Day I did with my group of friends the T-4s.
We started our afternoon with a picnic lunch. My friend Esther had picked up all kinds of salads, feta cheese, pitas and humus at a Greek Deli. I’d made little desserts and brought an assortment of beverages. It was a picture perfect afternoon. Sunshine, blue sky, puffy clouds, blossoming trees and the scent of lilacs in the air.
After lunch Debbie painted a watercolor while the rest of us did some sketching.
Then it was off to walk the labyrinth in Kings Park built in honor of Pulitzer Prize winning Manitoba author Carol Shields perhaps best known for her novel Stone Diaries.
At the entry to the maze is a billboard explaining who Carol was and the significance of the labyrinth.
At the rear is a wall containing quotes from Carol’s writing.
My favorite was…………
The whole thing about mazes is that they make perfect sense only when you look down on them from above. There can be one route or many. It means that are lives are open.- from the novel Larry’s Party
Before we started sketching Esther inspired us by reading the lyrics of a song about the creative process called I Think A Thing from a musical about artist Emily Carr
A picnic, some sketching, good friends, good food and walking a literature maze. It WAS a picture perfect afternoon!
Other T-4 adventures…….
Welcoming Spring with the T-4s
What’s Happening with the T-4s?
Just look at this elegant English tea party arrangement! On Saturday I got together with three former teaching colleagues. We call ourselves the T-4s and about once a month or so we spend an afternoon or evening together. This time we enjoyed a real British tea at my friend Glenys’ beautiful home. She and Debbie had pulled out all the stops to arrange for a fun afternoon complete with dainties to die for, two kinds of tea and a perfectly appointed tea table. Decorations included my friend Debbie’s lovely collection of quaint David Winter cottages and……… a family heirloom from Glenys’ aunt, a musical teapot that played Tea for Two when you picked it up. We ended the afternoon with rounds of Password and Catch Phrase which sometimes involved such crazy clues that we were all laughing too hard to give an answer.
The T-4s Solve a Mystery
Make New Friends But Keep the Old
On Saturday my friends and I met at Enigma Escapes a new kind of entertainment option in Winnipeg that is really fun. We were locked in a room and had exactly one hour to find the lost jewel of Zanzibar. We had to unearth many different kinds of clues in the room and figure out how they all fit together. We needed to follow maps, solve riddles, break codes and decipher puzzles to locate the jewel. We were a pretty good team and even finished a few minutes before our hour was up. I can’t tell you much more because I don’t want to spoil your experience if you decide to try to find the lost jewel of Zanzibar.
Make New Friends But Keep the Old
Pine Ridge Hollow
After spending a couple hours meandering through the farmer’s market and gift shop at Pine Ridge Hollow the T-4’s, a group of my friends that meets every month, headed into the restaurant for a late lunch.
We were given a lovely spot on the patio and enjoyed visiting over our wonderful meal with a bunch of delicious shared dishes.
Rosemary and sea salt beet chips served with a house made goat cheese ranch dipping sauce.
Pineridge House Salad. Mixed greens with smoked Gouda, crisp apple, candied pecans, and fig baslamic vinaigrette.
Lemon Meringue Torte. Frozen layers of crisp and light meringue with house made lemon curd and whipped cream.
A decadent nutella brownie served with Cornell Creme vanilla bean ice cream. Topped with toasted hazelnuts and chocolate sauce.
And as party favors chocolate bars our friend Glenys bought us in Kew Gardens on her recent trip to London. I got to take the Lime and Lavendar one home and Dave and I polished it off that very evening.
A delicious and delightful afternoon.
Finding my Inner Artist