Matthew’s House

2014-02-11 Matthews house6Inspired by the life of a young boy named Matthew, Matthew’s House is a respite care home for children living with complex healthcare needs. Up to five children at a time are cared for in a state-of-the-art residence staffed by experienced caregivers. Medical necessities like overhead track systems for transferring and full wheelchair accessibility will be complimented by a beautiful aesthetic, a multi-sensory playroom and an outdoor playground. Overnight guest suites allow family to remain close while taking a restful step back to refuel themselves.

2014-02-11 Matthews house7The playground area was very impressive with a soft cushy surface and lifts and designs that allow easy access for wheelchair bound children. The slides are equipped with rollers so the kids can slide down without physical effort. Swings that you can lay down on and a merry go round flush with the surface to be able to wheel a wheelchair onto and spin the child while in their chair.

Matthews house 025Providing families with the support they need, Matthew’s House is about caring for kids, a community encouraging one another, hospitality, compassion and joy. One-hundred percent of the funds for Matthew’s House come from the generous support of individuals and community partners. The Mennonite Girls Can Cook have partnered with Lepp Farm Market in donating all the proceeds from our cooking classes at Lepp to Matthew’s House. Each of these leaves on the wall forming a large tree represent the many contributors to Matthew’s House.

Matthews house 026“Rob and Charlotte Lepp, owners Lepp Farm Market and the women of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook (MGCC) blog/cookbooks have raised nearly $25,000 to stock the kitchen at Matthew’s House and keep it cooking. It is a unique relationship that marries a love for good food and a
generous spirit.”

Matthews house 042Here are 7 of the girls along with Rob and Charlotte Lepp in the kitchen that we have helped to build and equip.

2014-02-11 Matthews house8What a privilege to be able to contribute to the needs of these families dealing with children with complex healthcare needs.

Matthews house 024Our private tour of the facilities renewed our vision and encouraged us to continue our partnership with Lepp Farm Market with our cooking class donations going to Matthew’s House. Our next cooking class will be on March 26th, Paska, Pluma Moos and Easter Dinner. Click on the link to see how to register for the class.

It’s Thursday and we have sunshine and beautiful skies while many of you are suffering winter storm conditions yet again. Hope you are safe. What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? We are going to have our meal in. Dear volunteered to barbecue some steaks and I’ll add some baked potatoes and a salad for our meal. Maybe we’ll watch some Olympics or another episode of Midsomer Murders on Netflix. Hope whatever you do that your home is filled with love.

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But the Greatest of These is Love

When God brought the Mennonite Girls Can Cook together little did we know the doors He would open for us to share His love with others and with each other. Yesterday was a day filled with examples of how powerful God’s love and purposes are and what it can do for a small circle of people and extend to the greater community and the world.P1030469

My 220 mile round trip drive up to Abbotsford and back was worth my time. Chris Tomlin’s Burning Lights CD kept me company all the way up and back. Some of these lyrics, each from a different song on the CD, made me want to raise my hands in awe and some made me want to do a fist pump!

“I’m alive when you breathe on me.”
“The God of Angel Armies is always by my side.”
“He is a friend of mine.”
“You’ll never give up on us.”
“All hail, Redeemer, hail, for He has died for me.”
“On the altar of our praise, let there be no higher name, Jesus, Son of God.”
“Thank you God for saving me.”

About thirty minutes into my drive I realized I had left my passport at home and was happy that I had gone to the trouble of getting an enhanced license. It worked great going into Canada and coming back. When I walked up to Lovella’s door I was greeted by Anneliese and Lovella with their cameras in hand. Of course I pulled mine out and started taking photos, too. Lovella’s table was set beautifully for us and the aroma of the food she and Anneliese had prepared set the mood for our celebration.

2014-02-11 Matthews houseThe 4 Chilliwack girls arrived and we sat down for our delicious meal starting off with Anneliese’s Roasted Red Pepper soup (which I forgot to take a photo of). Lovella made a quiche with fresh laid eggs from her farm and an amazing layered salad with greens, papaya, avocado, strawberries, onions cut big enough just in case we wanted to discard them and a tasty home made avocado dressing.

2014-02-11 Matthews house3Lovella will be sharing the recipes soon on our blog.

2014-02-11 Matthews house2We missed Bev, who is out of the country with her hubby on a business trip and our Winnipeg girls, Charlotte and Betty. I borrowed stole this next photo from Anneliese’s blog.

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Judy made a special Valentine’s day dessert treat for us and because 2 of our girls have February birthdays she brought something special to light their desserts up!

Matthews house 019Happy February Birthdays to Marg and Lovella!

2014-02-11 Matthews house4Aren’t these desserts in a jar sweet! What a fun surprise to have them come out of Judy’s Tupperware tote and placed on Lovella’s plates and her mom’s vintage paper doilies from years ago.

The main reason we got together on this day was for a special tour of Matthew’s House in Abbotsford which was scheduled for 2:30. We’ve played a small part in making this dream come true. I will share more about Matthew’s House tomorrow. The house that love built…

Matthews house 022We were going to meet at a restaurant for lunch before our tour. We all appreciated meeting at Lovella’s home instead where we could have a more intimate time together. Thank you Lovella for thinking of that and opening your home and table to us.

I made it to the border close to four for my trip home and had a fun chat with the U.S. Border agent. I wanted to give both the Canadian and U.S. agents I encountered this day a Gold Medal for doing their job cheerfully! I was home by six with just one nasty back up close to home. I’m always thankful for the ease of travel from my home to Canada.

In the Kitchen…

…at the West Coast Women’s Show in Abbotsford, B.C.

2013-10-25 chicken West coast

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chicken West coast 028After the Kitchen Demonstration on Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Grilled Lattice Topped Apples, and French bread (all from our new cookbook, Celebrations) We headed back to the Winks Booth at the show.

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I was happy that our daughter Katie was able to make the drive with me this time to Canada. It really makes the time go by faster when you have a traveling companion.

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Before we headed to the show we stopped in at Lovella’s and she had a lovely table set for us and served us Roasted Butternut soup with homemade buns. Delicious. Then we even got a cranberry scone to top it off. Thank you Lovella. We appreciated your hospitality!

Today (Saturday) the girls will be demonstrating 5 different things to make from biscuit dough at noon in the Kitchen theater at the show. Make sure you stop by if you are in Abbotsford!

We are getting things ready at this old house for a little reunion of some of our daughter’s friends from high school. Dear and I will escape upstairs to our loft after the small reunion gets started later tonight. What’s on your Saturday agenda?

From the Farm…

…to the Farm Market!

We so enjoy the relationship the Mennonite Girls Can Cook have with Charlotte at Lepp Farm Market. Many of our girls were raised on farms and now live off their farms. We are always treated well at Lepp and Sunday was another great day here. Our day started with a very good and challenging message from Lovella and Anneliese’s pastor on being sacrificially generous. After the service we all headed to Lepp Farm Market to enjoy brunch before our book signings began.

Lots of  delicious options plus ingredients to choose from for the chef to make your own personal omelette.

The weather was gorgeous and Charlotte had tables set beautifully for our outdoor brunch.

While having brunch I looked up and spotted Josh and Laura walking up to the market. I was busting at the seams with joy to see their faces and to know they trekked all the way from Seattle to bless me with their presence. It was so much fun to introduce them to all the girls and the husbands. Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart.

Our Josh is a real “people person”, can you tell? I’m glad Marg captured these moments! Thank You Marg! Josh and Laura joined the men and Amy on a grand tour of Lepp Farm Market while the girls got busy signing books.

After the farm market tour Josh and Laura picked up their books that were all signed and headed back across the line.

Then we had a another special visitor arrive!

Marg’s 101 year old Father in law arrived to see what we were up to.

I think he is quite pleased with his daughter in law.

We all decided we should take a photo with our oldest supporters that came to Lepp Market. Along with Marg’s Father in law and Helen, Bev’s dad who is 90 drove over for the event, too. What a blessing!

Another sweet moment from the weekend that made me tear up was when Marg’s grandsons came to Wink’s with their personal cookbooks in hand.

They had marked their favorite recipes in the book and wanted us authors to sign on the page where their favorites were pictured.

It seems little Silas really likes my Blintz recipe and requests them at Oma and Opa’s house. For the record Marg and Silas call them crepes. Don’t tell my Russian friends! This little guy made my day!! Thank you to Judy for capturing these moments!

Another guy that’s going to make my day shortly is Dear. He’s on his way home from the airport right now. It’s been a long 5 days without seeing him. Blessings on your day!

Afternoon and Evening…

…on Saturday in Chilliwack and Abbotsford.

Wendy at Winks along with her staff welcomed us with a most beautiful setting for our 2nd book signing of our weekend.

If you haven’t visited her store yet you really need to put it on your list and you won’t be disappointed.

Many books had been pre-sold and were waiting for us to sign so we got busy.

Anneliese’s daughters both played a part in our day here with one sharing cupcakes from her own cupcake business and the other blessing us with her lovely violin serenade.

It was so much fun to meet the “girls” families. Judy’s DIL brought her children to see their grammy. Anneliese’s granddaughter is sitting on the chair watching with interest. I’ll share more in another post of one of my sweetest moments at Winks.

The patio was filled with beautiful flowers.

How Great Thou Art was on my heart and mind all weekend.

Some of us stole away to do a little shopping.

As Anneliese’s daughter played her finale we packed up and headed to our next event.

This is the peaceful drive up to Sweet Dreams Luxury Inn in Abbotsford.

This is where we would wrap up our evening signing books for each other and for our publisher and then having a lovely dinner served to us.

We took some time to take a few more photos donning our new aprons that Julie sewed from material chosen by Lovella and Kathy.

On our way out we noticed that our Betty matched the beautiful flowers that were centerpieces on our tables at dinner.

Another full day complete we headed to our homes and hotels full of good memories of our day. On Sunday we had one more full day starting with a church service.

Today is Tuesday and I’m still trying to get back in my normal groove. Seeing how it’s noon already that groove seems to be escaping me. We started out today in a cloudy pattern instead of our several bright sunny days. The sun is breaking through as I finish this post.  Dear has one more full day in San Diego at a conference and I’m looking forward to him coming home tomorrow. Are you looking forward to anything?

West Coast Women’s Show

On Friday I traveled North to British Columbia to meet up with some of the Mennonite Girls for the West Coast Women’s Show. Anneliese offered me a room for the night so I headed to her house after I crossed the border. She showed me to my comfortable quarters for the night where I changed into my show clothes and we headed to Tradex next to the Abbotsford Airport.

The Mennonite Girls Can Cook authors were invited to be a part of the Winks’ booth at the West Coast Women’s Show in Abbotsford, B.C. Wendy the owner of Winks has a very generous approach to her business and her customers. Besides all her fabulous wares she decided to feature our book. We divided up the time to be at the booth between the girls that were available this weekend. Anneliese and I were on duty from 5 till 10 P.M. on Friday night.

Saturday we were on again from 10:00 A.M. till Noon. We met a lot of great ladies throughout the show and we signed a lot of books.

Part of our time there was spent on the cooking stage. We had 2 presentations. One on Saturday and one on Sunday. At noon on Saturday we headed to the kitchen stage to prep before our presentation.

We were happy to see a lot of friendly faces in the crowd.

Judy, Lovella, Anneliese, Julie, Marg and I were part of the kitchen crew on Saturday. We made Anneliese’s Waffles with Vanilla Custard Sauce and Mixed Berry topping. We also made Judy’s Ham and Egg cups. Chef Dez introduced us and joined us on stage.

After we were done I headed back home to the U.S.A. I drove for two hours in pouring rain. It was wonderful to finally pull into my garage and even better to walk into my family room to see our son Dan. He lives 6 hours away and I hadn’t seen him for several months. We all went out for dinner and came home again for some Rock Band and then we watched the Sounders Soccer Team play their last season game against Chivas on T.V.

Dear, Me, Dan, Katie, Laura, and Josh. (The only family member not in this photo is Andrew who is serving in Afghanistan right now)

It made me smile to see that Dan has really acclimated to his new surroundings out in the country. He’s really enjoying riding horses out into the wilderness and now he’s wearing these…

So another weekend filled to the brim with friends and family. Life is rich. How’s life treating you?