Do you have a Christmas baking memory? That’s the eighth question in the series I have been doing this month.
When I was teaching elementary school in Steinbach my mother would come to my classroom every December to make peppernuts with my students. These little round cookies are a German holiday tradition. Mom would come in and mix a batch of dough with the kids so they could see all the ingredients she put into the cookies. She would have prepared long round strips of the dough for each child ahead of time and they would cut their lengthy rolls into the tiny cookies. We’d bake them in the oven in the school staffroom and then the children would put them in plastic bags with a festive ribbon and card to take home to their families as a gift. Looking back I think of how much work it must have been for my mother to prepare for those annual cookie- baking visit to my classroom. I hope she knew how much the children and I appreciated it.
I couldn’t find a picture of Mom making pepper nuts with my students but here she is baking bread with one of my school classes. She used to do that too! What a support she was to me in my profession.
Stopping By Woods
Counting on Their Fingers
Filed under Family, Holidays
Burn. Turn. The flop. The river. Those are a few terms from a unique language I learned one Christmas. I used to always buy a new board game for our family to play on Christmas Day. But one December 25th I hadn’t had time to shop for a game. “No problem”, my sons said. “We’ll teach you how to play poker instead Mom.”
Christmas Question #6 is about something new you learned at Christmas. I won’t forget the Christmas I learned to play poker.
I was a little apprehensive about playing poker but my boys were encouraging. We got out old Checkers pieces and some Scrabble tiles to use for poker chips. My younger son made me a reference chart listing the kinds of winning hands and their comparative values. My older son explained the procedures of a typical round of Texas Hold Em poker. I caught on in a few rounds. I was also introduced to the language of poker. ‘Burn’, ‘turn’, ‘flop’, and ‘river’ refer to the different cards you turn over in a hand. A pair of eights are called ‘snowmen’, a pair of nines are a ‘Wayne Gretzky’ after the famous hockey player’s sweater number, and a pair of Kings are ‘pocket cowboys.’ My favorite part of the game was rapping my knuckles on the table when I didn’t want to raise the bet.
My boys were impressed with my progress but told me I was too transparent. I telegraphed clearly through my facial expressions whether or not I had a good hand. In poker you have to be able to fool others to excel. I don’t know that I’ve played poker since that Christmas a decade or so ago when my sons taught me how. Perhaps its time to try it again.
A Friendship Wreath
Chili Soup For Christmas
A Christmas Carol Saved Our Lives
Beer and Pretzels for Christmas
The Circle of Life
Filed under Family, Holidays
The last two weeks I’ve heard a whole lot of Christmas music. It all started with a delightful holiday concert by the students of the high school where my daughter-in-law is a choral director. The next day I was off to the Forks where my son and his wife supported a group of budding fiddlers playing Christmas favorites. Then on Saturday I was at First Mennonite Church where my husband Dave was performing in a holiday choral concert called Hosanna with the Faith and Life Male Choir. Sunday night found me at the Fort Rouge United Church listening to my talented daughter-in-law perform with the Winnipeg Singers in their concert The Trumpet Shall Sound with special guests The Northern Brass. Tuesday we drove out to listen to the Holiday Tour concert put on by the Winnipeg Symphony at Steinbach Mennonite Church. We were at the concert along with four other couples who’ve been our friends for decades and after the concert we enjoyed a great time of visiting at one of their Steinbach homes. Northern Lights was a concert by the Pembina Trails Children’s Choirs. My daughter-in-law conducts the angelic voices of their boys choir. Sunday afternoon my dear group of friends the T-4s who I meet with every month, had been gifted tickets to hear the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir at Westminster United Church perform Christmas with the Phil.
Sunday night I was at Bethel Church where another choir my husband Dave sings in called Men of Song performed their concert Song of the Angels. Dave was the hit of the evening with his harmonica accompaniment on the piece O Beautiful Star.
That’s eight Christmas concerts and I’m thinking it just might be enough for this Christmas season. My favourite? The short video my son sent us from Saskatoon of my grandson performing a song and dance at the concert at his school. Wish I could have been there to see that one in person.
And So This is Christmas
They Never Made It to the Manger
I’m Getting Crafty for Christmas
Filed under Holidays, Music
A Christmas card Dali made for the Hallmark card company is part of the Dali exhibit currently running at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. An article in the St. Petersburg Independent in December of 2011 tells the story of Dali’s Christmas card. In 1959 an art dealer met with Salvador Dali in his St. Regis hotel suite in New York to explore the possibility of Dali creating designs for various holiday cards . The dealer placed a few calls to different greeting card companies but only Hallmark would agree to Dali’s terms. He wanted a $15,000 cash advance, no restrictions put on the medium he used or the subjects he depicted, and no deadline for his work. A Hallmark representative arrived shortly with the cash and the contract.
Dali retired to the bathroom of his suite where he kept his easels and art supplies and set feverishly to work. He appeared a few hours later with brush and pen creations he declared some of his greatest work. But they were only half finished. Dali left for his home in Port Ligat Spain and forwarded ten completed works in a paper bag to the dealer in New York some time later. Hallmark only deemed two of them suitable for Christmas cards and rushed them into production so they would reach store shelves by Christmas 1960. But people wouldn’t buy them and they became so controversial Hallmark eventually pulled them from the shelves.
Later Dali designed a series of Christmas cards for the Hoechst Iberia company in Barcelona. They became quite popular in Spain.
If you’d like to see one of Dali’s Hallmark Christmas cards in person visit the Dali exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It will remain in Winnipeg till January 31.
Other posts about Dali……
A Personal Dali
The Exquisite Corpse
Dali – I’m Scared
Dali- Twirl That Mustache
Dali- Memories of Home
Dali- Hidden Pictures
We’ve had plenty of Charlie Brown Christmas trees over the years
– trees we had to tie to the curtain rod with string to keep them upright
– trees that fell over
-trees that had lost most of their needles by Christmas.
But this year we have a beauty! We bought it at Sunshine Greenhouse in Steinbach and it looks beautiful, full and straight not to mention that it smells fabulous. I just love walking into our condo and getting a whiff of that pungent pine. 2014 just may be the year of the perfect Christmas tree for us.
Other posts about Christmas…….
A Christmas Day in Hell
Christmas in Arizona
The Nuns’ Christmas
Filed under Holidays, Nature
Dave pushes his Dad through the snow to a Christmas party. They are singing Leise Reiselt Der Schnee
It is snowing like crazy here in Leamington Ontario. Dave says in all his years growing up here he doesn’t think he ever saw so much snow. Yesterday morning we went to pick up his Dad from the nursing home to take him over to Dave’s Tante Gatte’s nearby apartment for a Christmas get together. It was cold and snowing heavily although the flakes were huge and soft. Getting Dad who is almost ninety three years old all bundled up with his gloves and hat and pushing the wheelchair through the snow was a bit of an adventure. I think Dave and his Dad are looking at the townhouse just across the street where Dave’s parents lived for many years after they had moved off of their vegetable farm. Here is Dave with two of his beautiful aunts, Tante Helga and Tante Gatte. Tante Gatte who is ninety years old and still swims everyday, drives her car and is known for her volunteer work had made all kinds of wonderful traditional Mennonite baking for our family get together- zwiebach, stollen, raisin bread and portzelky. Here is Dave with his other two beautiful aunts, Tante Margaret and Tante Marion. Dave visits with his cousin Rudy Neufeld who had organized the family reunion. Rudy runs Neufeld Learning Systems a company that makes software for math teachers. It was nice to see Dave’s cousin Ruth. Many years ago we went to college together and our children in Saskatoon are good friends. Ruth is a talented artist. Check out her website.
Here I’m visiting with Dave’s cousin Judy. She’s telling me that her grandchildren and daughter from Arizona are coming to spend three months with her while their Dad does an optometry rotation in New York State.
I took a photo of Dave’s Dad with his four siblings all in their eighties and nineties. Uncle Johnny, Tante Gatte, Dad, Tante Margaret and Uncle Abe. As we pushed Dad back to the nursing home Dave started whistling a German Christmas song about snow called Leise Rieselt Der Schnee (Softly Falls the Snow) and Dad who has a rich bass voice started singing. He remembered all the words. The three of of us sang three verses by the time we got Dad back to his room. Before we left Dad said, “That was a nice party.”
Other posts about Dave’s Dad……
Autograph Book From a Conscientious Objector’s Camp
A Visit With Dad