Across the Line…

…for our annual Mennonite Girls Can Cook Christmas gathering.

For Christmas 2018, Terry and Lovella hosted us at their warm and inviting bungalow.

The birch tree candle holders were made by Lovella’s beloved after their beautiful birch tree was felled in a storm this year.

Everyone contributed to the meal. Judy and Marg brought and assembled the Charcuterie Board.

Once I sat down at the table my photographing went out the window so I don’t have photos of the delicious Potato Leek Soup that Julie made and brought. The fresh citrusy pomegranate salad was brought and plated with care by Kathy. Bev baked fresh buns. Lovella prepared a stuffed Pork Loin that Terry barbecued to perfection along with sides of noodles, gravy, and broccoli salad.

Before we sat down at the table and while we were enjoying our appetizers the “girls” had their gift exchange. This year we were instructed to bring something that was consumable or used up by Christmas. There were a few varieties of fresh baked cookies, the promise of a hazelnut sponge roll to be delivered, coffee beans, candles, and my choice was a fresh baked razzleberry pie all wrapped up beautifully by Judy.

Two of our husbands were missing, Dear and Kathy’s husband Scot.

Anneliese brought the desserts.

We all got up from the table before dessert and it was the perfect time for me to head back across the line to the U.S.A. before my coach turned back into a pumpkin. At the border crossing I declared my pie and continued south to our kids’ home in Bothell making it there, safe and sound by 10pm. We enjoyed Judy’s pie the next evening for Laura’s birthday dessert and all 6 of us declared it perfect with no soggy bottom!

Hope all is progressing well toward Christmas at your house. We will go out back on our property and find a tree that will work for our Christmas tree this year. We think we spied something that will work well. We were going to get a permit to cut one down on National Forest property but opted for the easier route.

Summertime in Canada…

Who knew several years ago that we would become familiar with the roads and back roads in Abbotsford and Chilliwack Canada? God knew and we had another fun adventure on Sunday meeting up with seven of the Mennonite Girls and their husbands.

We started with a short hike to Cascade Falls to see and experience the new suspension bridge.

Marg and John would meet up with us later for dinner.

This is Judy’s photo of the new suspension bridge. I forgot to take one. Thanks for letting me steal it, Judy.

I didn’t get two of the couples shots because I was using their camera’s and phones to take the photo for them.

After our time at Cascade Falls we traveled back to Hatzic Lake where Anneliese and H. hosted all of us for our potluck.

Lovella brought this beautiful bouquet from the flowers blooming in her garden!

We enjoyed the most delicious meal. Everything was fresh and homemade including the buns that Anneliese baked. Chilliwack corn fresh from Marg’s farm again verifying why everyone agrees that Chilliwack corn is the best! Lovella’s potato salad made from her farm eggs and potatoes from her garden. Kathy’s coleslaw that topped my pulled pork sandwich was perfect. Bev’s very fresh salad of watermelon, blueberries, cucumber, feta and mint. I forgot to take a photo of the cheesecake I brought and of the Peaches and Cream pies that Judy brought for dessert.

It was a lovely evening on the lawn beside the lake getting caught up in person and sharing stuff like books we’ve read and lots of things that made us laugh or moan. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we do not take this friendship circle for granted and we acknowledge that God brought us together and it is good as He is good!

Dear and I made it home by midnight after a 25 minute wait at the border crossing.

There and Back Again…

Yesterday I put a dress on (gasp!) and grabbed my passport and headed to Chilliwack B.C. to attend a tea planned in honor of our own dear Kathy of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Kathy’s Mother-in-law Eileen invited us all to her lovely home and treated us to a very special time. What a wonderful example to all of us girls Eileen is as she chose to bless her daughter-in-law in this special way!

We missed our Manitoba girls, Betty and Charlotte!

Every detail was well thought out and chosen. Beautiful china, silver and 100 year old crystal goblets graced the beautiful table.

After we gathered Eileen shared some thoughts about Kathy using the letters of her name to describe some of Kathy’s attributes. Kind, active, thoughtful, honest, and youthful were just some of the words to describe Kathy. We raised our beautiful glasses to toast our dear friend.

Have you ever seen or enjoyed one of these sandwich loaves? This was my first and I was in awe!

I set aside my de-fluffing regiment on this day because it truly was a day for feasting not fasting!

We found our spots at the table and Eileen offered a blessing on our food and time together. Before we filled our plates for our main course Kathy’s father-in-law, who was our gracious butler for the afternoon, served us our soup course which was a lovely cold Raspberry soup…delicious and refreshing. After we filled our plates and enjoyed our main course there was a light and fluffy Pavlova with strawberries for dessert. Did I mention feasting not fasting?

Kathy is in the center of the collage and her mother-in-law Eileen is above her. Lovella, Eileen, Anneliese, Judy, Kathy, Bev, Marg, Ellen and Julie.

We all reflected on how nice it was to be served in such a special way. It was a wonderful time of catching up with each other. A great time of witnessing Bill and Eileen working together as a couple to help and honor each other and to be a great example of hospitality in action. We were all blessed and our cups were filled to overflowing.

I wanted to share this post before I’m in full swing wedding mode! Prayers appreciated for the blessed event coming up!

 

Without the Guests…

…the preparations are in vain. It’s because of the long-awaited guests that the preparations were completed. This time of year as we remember our long awaited Savior who came to earth on that first Christmas, the preparations for my guests had more significance.  Most of my guest photos were taken by Anneliese and Lovella. Thank you for sharing girls!

Lovella brought this very cute flower arrangement as a hostess gift and I found the perfect spot for it next to my sign that Katie wrote on. It was time for the party to begin and for everyone to eat, drink and be merry!

Kathy and Lovella prepared an Antipasti Platter for us all to enjoy before we sat down to dinner.

Our daughter Katie came to help with the serving.

It was time to find our places at the table.

When everyone found their spot we sang Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow. This has become a tradition for our gatherings.

Katie made sure the soup was hot before she served each person their cup.

Between the courses we sang Christmas Carols. O Tannenbaum and Silent Night were the two chosen and sung in English and German. I wasn’t surprised by the choices my “German” guests made.

It was time to get the dessert plates ready.

After dessert we had fun popping our Christmas poppers and wearing our crowns.

Before the girls retreated to another room to open the little gifts purchased for each other, Judy handed the guys their gift for the evening.

They each got their very own apron…

I’ll add the shout out to the young man who makes these to sell once I get the information from Judy. Since we let him use our logo he gifted us with the aprons for our “boys”.

By this time my eyes were drooping but my heart was full. I’ll leave you with a few closeups and cameos…

I got a kick out of this wine bag that Bev and her guy brought us a bottle of wine in.

What a wonderful world God opened up to us “Girls” over these past several years. I’m so thankful that God brought us together and has deepened our “love for one another”.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2: 1-4)

More Xmas 006Praying you are feeling the Joy this Christmas!

The Preparations…

On Sunday December 14th our long awaited Christmas Party with the British Columbia Mennonite Girls and their husbands began at three in the afternoon. My preparations had been going on for a while.

2014-12-11 More XmasJoy was the theme and red and gold were the color choices I picked. I had red glassware but only had a total of 10 pieces so I was on the hunt for 6 more goblets or glasses to fill the 16 place settings we would need for our party. When we traveled to our son’s home in eastern Washington in early November we shopped at some thrift stores and found a set of 8 red goblets for a real good price. Yippee!

We do not have an open concept home by any means and to be able to fit 16 around tables we had to get creative. We decided to empty out some of the furniture from our living room so we could fit two round tables that would each be set with eight place settings.

Where there’s a will there’s a way. I saw a package of red and gold Christmas Crackers at Costco and knew they’d be a fun addition to the table. The red and gold sparkly chargers came from HomeGoods. I already had a stash of cloth napkins in red and gold tones and napkin rings that worked nicely with the color theme. I found flat Christmas wreaths and red candle holders for my center pieces.

Here’s a photo the day of our gathering with all the last minute touches added to the table. This photo was taken by Lovella. The next couple of  photos were taken by Anneliese.

Our front porch was transformed with a fake little Christmas tree that we had in our condo when we lived in Southern California for a few years. The vintage red step stool was a fun piece to put some of my lanterns on. The cedar branches and all the greenery with red berries, rosemary, and holly came from my yard. I had the large glass jars that I filled with the greenery and added a candle in to warm up the entry to our home.

I’m enjoying our new 3D star that we purchased this year that adds it’s light to welcome you to our front door.

My next post will show the people that made all these preparations worthwhile. Here’s the sneak peek of the girls and the guys.

More to come soon with some great photos from Anneliese and Lovella who clicked away while Dear and I worked on getting the food ready for everyone.

Since I finally set a table and took some photos I’m going to link this post to Cuisine Kathleen’s Let’s Dish for this week. If you’d like to see my guests seated at these tables click here.