Saturday, 30 April 2011

BOOK REVIEWS ~ Kids Can Read ~ A Series of Books About A Little White Dog Named "Sam" ~ By: Mary Labatt

Sam is a little white female dog.  She gets into mischief.  She eats pizza, plays with the children next door and likes to eat candy on Halloween.  Joan and Bob are her kind owners who take good care of their pet.  Sam also teaches youngsters how to read!

Isobel loves the "Sam" book series.  When we read the book about Halloween, the word "candy" was repeated many times.  So, as I read aloud, I would pause every time we got to that word.  By the end of the book, Isobel knew the word "candy" was spelled "C-A-N-D-Y."  She even phoned her Grandma to announce that she now knew how to spell it!

These colourful books, by Mary Labatt, are published by "Kids Can Press" and are part of their "Start to Read" series.  Each one has a banner across the top of the front cover positively stating "Kids Can Read."  There are three levels in this reading program.  The levels are "Kids Can Start to Read," "Kids Can Read With Help" and "Kids Can Read Alone."

The back of each "Sam" book says:  "It's one adventure after another for this adorable puppy!  Kids will discover the joys of reading as they watch Sam discover the world around her.  Part of the "Kids Can Read" series, the Puppy Sam books have been written especially for the beginning reader." 

We have two other "Sam" books borrowed from the library, at the moment, "Sam Gets Lost" and "Sam's Goes Next Door."  In the first one, Sam escapes from a convertible, while Joan and Bob are driving downtown.  Luckily she is reunited with her loving owners at the end of the book.  (We don't want tears at bedtime!) 

In the other, the little dog goes next door and plays with two new neighbour children who have just moved in. 

We have already read two other titles in the series ~ "Sam Goes to School" and "Pizza For Sam."  Our first introduction to the lovable white dog was when she went to school, on the bus, as a stowaway in a backpack.  Of course the canine was discovered and had to reluctantly return home!

In the second story, Bob and Joan are hosting a party.  There is a lot of delicious food on the table but all Sam gets to eat is kibble.  Eventually a deliveryman comes to the door bearing pizza.  When Bob and Joan are distracted, Sam takes the opportunity to help herself to some of the contents of the cardboard box!  The cover is amusing as the little dog is obviously enjoying nibbling on the pizza.  At the back of the book there is an illustration where Sam's white fur is covered in tomato sauce and green peppers!  

I'm sure we'll be reading about more adventures of the little puppy named "Sam" in the future.  In other titles she goes on an adventure at the seaside, finds a monster, experiences a snowy day, takes part in a parade and makes a new friend.  It's fun to learn what mischief the furry white dog is getting up to ~ while learning to read ~ simultaneously!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

SKETCH TUESDAY ~ "Something Made with Fabric, Beads or Yarn"

Alisdair's Crazy Quilt
Alisdair glued squares of fabric, that he'd cut from a 5" Charm Square we received at the Manitou Creative Quilters show last weekend, to his "Sketch Tuesday" entry for this week. Who wouldn't want to snuggle up under a crazy quilt like this one?  Too bad it's only made of paper!  The slideshow is smaller than usual this week, which Harmony Art Mom attributed to Spring Break.

Next week's assignment is to sketch something you would see on a playground.  Join the fun!  Email a photo of your picture to before 9 p.m. PST on Monday, May 2nd and it will be included in the next slideshow.

COOKING ~ "Aunt Rachel's Scones" from "Great British Cooking: A Well Kept Secret"

Since I am "Mrs. Porter" and not "Mrs. Pottage of Greendale Farm," (see previous post titled, "Postman Pat and the Surprise Breakfast"), Alisdair and I had to find a recipe before we attempted to make Scones.  Once again, inter-library loans provided the answer, in the form of a cookery book titled, "Great British Cooking:  A Well Kept Secret ... Over 200 recipes - from meat pies to plum pudding adapted for American cooks" by Jane Garmey.

I don't know WHO "Aunt Rachel" IS, but here is her recipe for Scones! Garmey says:

"Scones are very easy to make and should be eaten right away as they do not keep well.  (There is nothing in the world more dreary than day-old Scones.)  Traditionally, Scones are served for tea while still warm from the oven, cut in half and spread with butter and lots of strawberry jam.  They are fattening, indigestible and quite glorious.  Makes 8 - 10."

Aunt Rachel's Scones

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
3 ounces butter
1 heaped Tablespoon honey
Approximately 1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar into a mixing bowl.  Rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Make a well in the center and stir in the honey and enough milk to make a light springy dough, which should be just firm enough to handle.

Turn the dough onto a well-floured board.  Knead very lightly to remove any cracks and roll out to a thickness of 1/4 inch.  Cut into 2-inch rounds with a cookie cutter or a glass.  Place the rounds on a baking sheet that has been greased and floured.

Glaze each scone with a little milk and bake on the top rack of the oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until the scones have risen and are nicely browned.

Our "How To" in Photographs:

Dry ingredients measured in bowl
Blobs of butter on top of dry ingredients
Alisdair rubbed the butter into the dry ingredients and when he was done, (it took a little while), we forgot to take a photograph of the resulting granular mixture.  We didn't get a picture of the stage where we added the honey and milk, either. (I had to add a fair bit more milk than the recipe called for, in order to make a pliable dough).

Ball of prepared dough
Ready to roll out on a floured surface
Rolled dough ... ready to cut scones out
Alisdair cutting scones out with a pint jar
Some scones are cut, some left to finish
A scone... ready for the oven
Six scones ... ready for baking
The last blob of dough...
A plate of baked scones... (we baked two pans separately)
A plain sliced scone 
Delicious finished product ...
 with butter and strawberry jam
In our excitement, to get the scones in the oven, we forgot to glaze them with milk! 

Alisdair was so funny... as he took the first bite of our finished scones he said, "I am biting into England!"  I couldn't help but laugh at my British wannabe lad!

The scones WERE delicious but I kept thinking there should be an easier recipe (or at least one that made more scones at one time).  We each had a little taste and they were all gone!  Thanks to Mrs. Pottage and Postman Pat for the inspiration for another "Kitchen adventure"/Home Economics lesson!

Who knows what we'll try to cook next . . . . Alisdair is already eyeing a few more British recipes from Garmey's collection.  Perhaps we'll try another in honour of the Royal Wedding, later this week!

Monday, 25 April 2011

VIDEOS ~ Could This Be the Royal Wedding Entrance Dance???

Alisdair and I enjoyed this video from T-Mobile.  Some of the Royal impersonators are so lifelike that you can almost mistake them for the real thing!  We hope to get up in the middle of the night to watch the Royal Wedding . . . of course there will be reruns, throughout the day, but it's always fun to see the action as it takes place.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

SPEECH ARTS ~ He Remembered to say "Thank You . . . "

Are the youth of today ungrateful??  That's what I wondered, for a few moments, after Alisdair received his prize cheque from the Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival at the Gala Concert.  Inside the package of materials, attached to the cheque, was a little neon green card. 

Inside it said, "Please write a note of thanks to the sponsor of your award."  An address was supplied.

It used to be a given that, if you received a gift from someone, you would automatically respond with a "Thank You" note.  It was simply proper etiquette.  Now, it seems, some folk overlook this common courtesy.  I'm glad the Festival Committee are reminding award recipients to thank their benefactors, however, it would be nice if this was unnecessary and the winners would automatically take a moment or two to jot a few lines to the generous person or organization that sponsored their award.

Alisdair's card...
 Alisdair chose this card to sent to the Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival Committee.  On the outside it says, "The beauty of kindness ... it is a treasure you share so freely" and on the inside the thought continues with the words, "your kindness means so much."

The inside of the card ...

Alisdair added the following personal message:

"To: The Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival Committee:

Thank you for the scholarship for the Junior Speech Arts Test piece. I opened a new Savings Account with the $100.00 and plan to invest it into a Canada Savings Bond when they go on sale in October."

Like the lepers in the Bible account, Alisdair remembered to say thank you.

Perhaps there is someone YOU should single out to thank today.  A Thank You note doesn't have to be for a specific gift.  You could write to one of your former teachers to thank them for taking extra time for you and making a difference in your life.  Or you could send a brief note of encouragement to your Pastor for a recent sermon that spoke to your heart.  Maybe you have an elderly friend or relative that would simply appreciate a card to know they are thought of and loved?  The possibilities are endless!


This is the Meditation that was presented at the joint Good Friday service in our small community.  The United Church hosted the gathering with many attending from Manitou Evangelical Free Church.  Individuals from both congregations participated in the service ~ including the Ladies Choir that I've been part of for a few weeks.  (It formed especially to sing over the Easter weekend).  The two ministers involved in the morning Meditation were Rev. Lorna Brick and Pastor Mel Letkeman.

Today, we will explore the use of stones throughout the stories of the people of Israel and the early Christian community.  As a physical link to the stories you will be hearing and as a way to help you reflect on what stones might mean for you in everyday life, we invite you to hold a stone in your hand.  Take a stone from the basket, hold it and ponder the multiplicity of images that arise when you think of 'stone.'


Dear God:  In our faith traditions we encounter you in many ways.  We hear you first of all in the story of creation as you give life and shape to the world that is our home.  Earth!  Sand and soil!  Pebble and rocks!  Every stone we pick up and run through our fingers was created by God.  We give thanks to God for the gift of creation and for all that this means for us.  We give thanks for the gift of story and the ways in which stories help us to reflect on life's meaning.  We give thanks to God for the gift of free will and all the responsibility that comes as we make choices about how to live within God's creation and with the elements God has created for us.  On this day, let us reflect on the significance of stones in our world, and let us draw strength and hope as well as caution and concern from our reflections.  In the name of the one who creates and who invites us to be stewards of creation, we pray.  Amen.

Scripture Reading:  Joshua 4:1-9

Twelve stones to build a cairn.  Twelve stones to help us remember.  We build our own memorials in many ways.  Cairns in our rural communities mark where schools and churches have stood.  Stones in our cemeteries carry the names of our loved ones.

Marble monuments remind us of wars fought and lives lost.

A stone in our home reminds us of a place we have visited, an experience we have celebrated, a connection we have made with someone else.

Stones become part of the web of our remembering, whether in the form of a cairn or monument. or a marker on a grave.  Stones point us to places where our stories are gathered, that we might remember.  In our remembering, we touch again the spaces that have been holy for us, and we find new strength as we celebrate the pathways our lives have taken.

Scripture Reading:  1 Samuel 17:40-49

In the encounter between David and Goliath, we see a different use for stones.  In times of war, human beings have been extraordinarily creative in the use of materials at hand to gain an advantage over an enemy.  David reaches for the simplest of weapons, a young lad's slingshot and a few well-chosen stones.

Those stones, in the hands of an expert shepherd, become a weapon as lethal as any of our modern armaments.  Those stones fly through the air with deadly intent, and those stones kill.  To reflect on stones is to absorb not only their positive images, but also their darker side.  In David's story, we are reminded of our capacity, as human beings, to kill each other.  A stone becomes as much an instrument of death as any other weapon we could choose.

Scripture Reading:  Nehemiah 2:11-20

What could be more natural than returning to one's home and beginning the process of rebuilding?  But first, we must rebuild the walls!  Solid stones set, one on top of the other, will keep out those we do not wish to include in our community.  Walls will also keep in those we want to control.

These stones that we are gathering will help us build the kind of community we want where we get to decide who is in and who is out.  These stones will separate us from those who disagree with us.  Surely this is what our God wants.  What sort of walls do we build to keep some in and others out?  What happens to any group of people when another group of people decides that they are not the right sort of people?  Stones become walls.  Walls become prisons.  Prisons destroy lives.

Scripture Reading:  Luke 21:5-6

Herod the Great rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem, adding a vast area to its original dimensions.  The stones used in the reconstruction phase were so gigantic as to be almost beyond comprehension.  One archaeological excavation has unearthed a stone that is 40 feet long, 10 feet high, and 14 feet wide, with an estimated weight of 500 tons.  How could something so massive ever be destroyed?  How could stones so large ever be dislodged from the place where they had been set carefully on top of one another?

What happens to our sense of security when such a structure crumbles to the ground?  Where are the stones that should protect us?  "Destroy this temple," said Jesus, "And in three days I will raise it up!"

Scripture Reading:  John 8:3-11

It seems but a short step from the use of stones in warfare to the use of stones in legal punishment.  These stones are covered in blood!  The self-righteousness of a crowd that sits in judgement, eager to carry out a death sentence, is an example of that human characteristic to rush to conclusions.  How often have we thought someone was guilty until proven innocent?  How often have we rushed to judgement, suggesting that a person be executed?  How often have we supported the actions of those who take the law into their own hands?  Would we cast the first stone?

Would we stand on the sidelines and cheer as it is happening?  Is the stone in our hands starting to feel less comfortable now?  Are we beginning to question why it is that we have the power to stone another human being to death?  Is it far easier to join a crowd, no matter the crowd's motivation?  How does the stone feel in your hand now?

Scripture Reading:  Mark 15:6-15

The crowd!  People with stones in hand, ready to do their worst.  Are we those people?  It comes to us as an astonishing and startling realization that we could easily fit in with a mob mentality.  How easy it is to get caught up in the moment, to suspend any sober second thoughts, to dwell within the feeling of being part of something bigger than each of us as individuals, no matter the origin or consequences.  All of us have seen images of crowds that have grown out of control.  It is overwhelming.  And in full flight, it is uncontrollable.  This is the crowd that surrounded Jesus.  This is the crowd that yelled, "Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!"

We are that crowd.  Like it or not, we share in the human characteristics that could easily transform ornamental stones into weapons to be thrown at others.  We can become so convinced of our own righteousness that we leave no room for others to be different.  We create narrow definitions of what is good ~ of what is God's ~ and then we feel free to consign all those who don't fit within our framework of godliness into the outer darkness of non-being.  "Crucify him, stone her!"  The shouts are there, all around us, and even in our silence, by saying and doing nothing, we participate in the cycle of violence.

Hymn:  Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 27:57-60

The sentence of crucifixion was Rome's harshest punishment, reserved for those deemed to be opponents of the empire and disturbers of the peace.  Often, the bodies were left on the crosses as a reminder to others of what would happen to them if they also disturbed the peace.  This did not happen to Jesus.  His body was taken down from the cross and placed in a special tomb that had been cut out of rock for Josephy of Arimathea and his family.  A rock has been hollowed out to shape a tomb.  The tomb is protected by a stone that has been rolled across the opening.

There is night, and there is a kind of peace.  What a journey our stones have taken!  From creation, through memorials, to the killing fields of human contacts, to the crowds who cast the stones in judgement.  And now this:  a tomb.

An ending, and yet also a new beginning.  Entombed in stone, waiting to be born anew, to rise from the dead.  Hope transformed as life leads to death and death leads to the promise of life beyond death.  I invite you to take your stone home with you and use it as a memorial for the journey you are on.  The journey from creation to death, to the in-between time of waiting and hoping.  Remember that stones are used for good things and for bad things.  But know that the choice has always been ours.  Know too, that it is the choices we make that ultimately define us.  May God help us to hear the stories, to ponder the choices, and to live in ways that are life-giving, ever-nurturing, and love abiding.

Hymn:  Beneath The Cross of Jesus

We leave this story in the middle, knowing that we will return on Sunday morning to listen to the next chapter.  This is the way things are in life.  We accept incompleteness.  We wait for a story to continue.  We ponder and we hope.  Go home then to ponder.  But go home also with hope, knowing that we already have an insight into how God's story continues.  It continues with us!  We are part of the ongoing story.  This is our story, and we live it in faith, in trust, and in love. We live it because love has clothed itself in light and embraces us with hope.  We live it because we are children of God's creation, sharing in the life God gives us, becoming the unfolding story of God's Word each moment that we live.

Thanks be to God.


Friday, 22 April 2011

BOOK REVIEWS ~ "Postman Pat and the Surprise Breakfast ~ By: John Cunliffe

Poor Postman Pat!

In "Postman Pat and the Surprise Breakfast," this hard-working letter carrier has a rough start to the day. It's "half-term" and Pat has to make his own breakfast, since his wife and son are enjoying the school holiday and sleeping in.

Pat knocks the glass milk bottle off the counter.  Of course it shatters on the floor.  While he is busy cleaning up the mess, Pat smells something burning.  It's the last two pieces of bread in the house, that he's just put on to toast.  And he can't even have a cup of tea because he forgot to fill the electric kettle with water before he turned it on.  It got red hot and then the fuse blew in the small appliance.  Jess, the cat, is sympathetic to Pat's plight and kindly offers him a dead mouse for his breakfast.  While appreciative, Pat declines the offer!

Pat is so hungry that he stops to eat some blackberries he spies growing "along the hedges."  He proclaims them to be delicious, before heading to the Post Office to pick up the letters for delivery.

Things start looking up when Mrs. Goggins offers him a cup of tea and a biscuit.  Pat gladly accepts the sustenance.

From there, Pat's first stop is at Greendale Farm.  Mrs. Pottage offers Pat "some fresh cream with a scone."  "I'd love it," said Pat, and "Jess had some too."

Time is not of the essence for Postman Pat as when he arrives at Thompson Ground, Dorothy is "just getting a batch of biscuits out of the oven."  She tells Pat to help himself and pours him a cup of coffee.

Miss Hubbard's house is the next stop.  She serves the Postman a champagne glass of blackcurrant cordial.  " 'Superb!' said Pat.  'I am feeling better and better.' "

But the gastronomic extravaganza is not over yet!  Ted Glen is making ice-cream.  He serves Pat and Jess with big bowls of ice-cream and fresh strawberries.

When the day's work is over, Pat arrives home. 

" 'Whatever happened at breakfast-time?' asked Sara. 'I never saw such a mess.' "

" 'It was one accident after another,' said Pat, 'and we had to rush out without any breakfast.' "  

This evokes much sympathy from his devoted spouse.  " 'Poor Pat and Jess,' said Sara, 'you must be starving.  Never mind.  We went shopping, so we can have a really nice dinner.' "

" 'We're not exactly starving,' said Pat, 'but we'll enjoy a good dinner, won't we Jess?' "

Jess doesn't "let the cat out of the bag" and Sara is oblivious to the fact that her husband may be verging on committing the sin of gluttony!.

Both Alisdair and Isobel were amused by this tale and all the interesting food stuffs that Pat was served.  The book even inspired Alisdair and I to try making our own scones with a recipe we found in a British cookery book from the library.  But that's another post . . .  

VIDEOS ~ Annie Oakley ~ Shooting Demonstration ~ November 1, 1894

We recently borrowed a biography of Annie Oakley, (part of the Step-into-Reading Series), from the library, which sparked our interest in this "Woman of the West."  It's amazing that Thomas Edison managed to capture a shooting demonstration on film.

Isobel was trying to decide who was better with a gun ~ her Stepdad John, or Annie Oakley.  Finally she decided that John was a better sharpshooter, as he was alive, and Annie had died long ago.  While discussing this with her Grandma (over the telephone), Isobel said, "Skeletons can't do very much."

You've got to admit, she does have a point!

CHARITY/VIDEOS ~ Update ~ "Build a Bano" Mexican Wheelchair & Bathroom Renovation Project

Here is an update on Uncle Vance's "Mexican Missions Project."

Before they left for Mexico, on April 8th, the Skate Life group managed to raise the necessary $2,500 to provide a wheelchair for Vance's friend and to begin remodelling the family's home so it could be made wheelchair accessible.  The bathroom isn't finished, but the work has begun.

It's exciting to see the volunteers working ~ chipping out the old concrete and pouring fresh ramps and floors for the family.  Near the end of the video, the young man's mother speaks (through an interpreter) thanking the Lord, and the Canadian donors, for their kindness to her family.  What a blessing this project has been to them!

It's amazing what a difference the "Build a Bano" donations have made to the quality of life of this family.  I'm glad to see actual footage of the project, documenting the positive results.

SKETCH TUESDAY ~ "Something with a Tail"

The Easter Bunny
If you look very closely, you will see a little white tail on this fanciful rabbit ~ Alisdair's version of the Easter Bunny.

An anonymous commenter, on last week's "Sketch Tuesday" post, suggested Alisdair could draw a book as it would contain a TALE!  Although Alisdair didn't follow through on the pun, we were amused to see  another artist did just that!  Other somewhat unusual interpretations of the theme were some participants who drew kites with long tails and those who drew girls with ponytails!  You can view this week's slideshow here.

The next "Sketch Tuesday" assignment is to draw something that is made with fabric, beads or yarn. This one could inspire real creativity as artists could embellish their drawings with samples of these craft materials.  I look forward to see what Alisdair, and the rest of the artists who enter, come up with.

You can also enjoy participating in "Sketch Tuesday."  Just send an email to with a photo of your drawing attached.  Deadline for entries is 9 p.m. PST on Monday, April 25.  See you in the slideshow!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

SPEECH ARTS ~ Alisdair is "In The News..."

We discovered that the Wednesday, April 20th edition of the Battleford Daily News/Power Flyers has a complete listing of the award winners at the Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival. Alisdair's name is among them.

It was surprising, and exciting, to find his name online for his recent achievement at the Festival.  It will be interesting to see if the local newspaper also publishes the list.  If so, we will post a link to the article.

REFLECTIONS ~ Easter "Random Acts of Kindness" Encouraging

We're just back from delivering today's edition of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix to Alisdair's subscribers.  There were more papers, than on an ordinary Thursday, as today is considered "Friday" for distribution purposes (since there is no newspaper tomorrow due to Good Friday).  Several subscribers choose to receive the paper on the weekends only and so there are always more deliveries on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays (as this is the edition that contains the TV Guide).

We were partway through the route and Alisdair and I were both tired and hurrying to get the job "over with."  And then we stopped at Lois' house.  She is in her eighties and is blind in one eye.  When she heard Alisdair opening her door to throw the paper in her porch, she yelled, "Hey Paper Boy!"  He stopped.  When she came to the door, Lois handed him a baggie with an Easter egg and some chocolate bunnies in it.  Alisdair rushed back to the car.

"Look, Mum! The Easter fairy came to this house!" he said as he showed me his sweet loot.  We decided to share the chocolate bunnies and to save the egg for later.

Farther along the route, Alisdair arrived at another mailbox.  This one had four "O Henry" Easter eggs inside.  Another treat for the diligent paper boy.

Until taking on the responsibility for this paper route, I never would have thought about remembering a delivery person in such a manner.  But it is so kind and thoughtful and makes such a difference, especially when the worker is a child.

So, thank you to all those who express appreciation through little "Random Acts of Kindness."  They are much appreciated!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

POETRY ~ "And Spring arose on the garden fair..." ~ By: Percy Bysshe Shelley

"And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

VIDEOS ~ "Mood Indigo" ~ Duke Ellington 1969

EDWARD KENNEDY "DUKE" ELLINGTON (b. April 29, 1899; d. May 24, 1974).  Composer.  Bandleader.  Pianist.  Regarded as the greatest composer in jazz history.  "Duke" Ellington (called "Duke" because of the manner in which he dressed and conducted himself) composed approximately two thousand songs, covering a huge array of genres including ballet, nightclub, motion pictures, live theater, and concert halls.  In 1930 he formed the Duke Ellington orchestra, which became prominent through radio broadcasts and film performances.  During the 1940s he toured with his band both in the United States and in Europe.  Among his most well-known songs are:  "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" (1932), which came alive during the swing era, and "Take the 'A' Train" (1941).  Throughout his career, Ellington won eleven Grammys, was honored with nineteen doctorate degrees, and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 and the French Legion of Honor in 1973.  He was truly the duke of jazz.
               ~ Biographical Notes taken from "Ellington was not a Street"  By:  Ntozake Shange

SPEECH ARTS ~ $100.00 Scholarship Presented at Gala Awards Concert

Delighted Winner!
It's obvious Alisdair is delighted in the above photograph.  He's learned that "hard work pays off" ~ and some times not quite the way you think!

Scholarship Certificate
Friday evening, Alisdair received a Scholarship Certificate at the Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival's "Gala Awards Concert" for 2011.  The Certificate says the award was for the "Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival Junior Speech Arts Test Piece."  A cheque for $100.00 accompanied the certificate. 

The "hard, cold cash!"
Being new at the Music Festival scene, we weren't sure what a "Test Piece" actually was.  Apparently they are classes where the participants are given a specific poem or passage to perform.  The award, then, was for "Sacred Reading" (Matthew 25:31-40). He received a mark of 89% for that particular entry.

READING ~ Fun With Dick and Jane ~ "Look up. Look up, up, up!"

Did you learn to read with the "Dick and Jane" series?  The frontspiece in this reprinted Reader ["Fun With Dick and Jane"] tells us "Millions of Americans remember Dick and Jane (and Sally and Spot too!).  The little stories with their simple vocabulary words and warmly rendered illustrations were a hallmark of American education in the 1950s and 1960s."

It wasn't just Americans who learned to read with Dick and Jane ~ thousands of Canadians, too, owe their literacy to this sibling pair.  And I am one of them.

So, when I discovered that some of the Readers had been reprinted by Grosset & Dunlap:  New York, and were available through the library, just for fun I ordered one. Besides, I was feeling a teeny, weeny bit nostalgic!  The book eventually arrived from Estevan and I read the six short stories to the children a few times at bedtime.  It wasn't my specific intention to teach Isobel to read ~ I was just enjoying reading stories to my children that were related to my own childhood of long ago.

But then it happened.  We'd gone through the book a few times on previous occasions.  I started reading "Look Up," the first story in the 32-page book.  I paused at the word "look." Suddenly, a tiny voice chimed in "look....look up." And then she did it again.  "Look up, up, up."

The actual page from the book...

I stopped and excitedly said, "ISOBEL YOU ARE READING!!"  And then I gave her a "High Five!"  I am still amazed!

Unfortunately, we need to return the book shortly. However, we do have an old tattered copy of "The New Friends and Neighbours:  The New Basic Reader," published by W. J. Gage And Company Limited of Toronto.  It also features my old friends, Dick and Jane, but at a slightly more advanced level.  Nevertheless, it will give more sight reading practice for Isobel until we can obtain another easy reader.


"See Isobel read.  See Isobel grow.  Mother is happy and Mother is sad, too.    Mother looks down.  Isobel, you are still my little girl.  Don't grow up too fast, Isobel. Isobel looks up.  Up, up, up.  Isobel says, 'I want to read.  I want to grow bigger.  Reading is fun.'


Monday, 18 April 2011

GARDENING ~ Our Nasturtiums are FINALLY Growing!!

It's so exciting!  We replanted the Nasturtium seeds in Alisdair's little red "Pail of Posies" on Sunday, April 10th and yesterday (just a week later), we have progress!  Six little seedlings are reaching upwards to the sunlight.

I know we planted more than six seeds, so it will be interesting to watch and see if any more tiny shoots poke out of the soil.  Since the pot is so small, after a while we will have to get a bigger container to transplant them in.  It's encouraging to see signs of Spring indoors ~ especially with the recent snow we had over the weekend.  It makes you feel like Spring and Summer will never fully be here... and so a little greenery is an encouragement that all is right with the world and eventually we will enjoy sunshine and greenery on our lawns, and in our gardens and flowerbeds.

CURRENT EVENTS ~ Manitou Creative Quilters Host Show

The Manitou Creative Creative Quilters meet during the winter at the Neilburg Seniors' Centre.  These ladies, who travel from a wide radius to attend club meetings, turn out beautiful handiwork.  Every two years, they host a quilt show and Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17, were the dates for the 2011 extravaganza.

The theme this year was "Spring Into Christmas and More..."  There were demonstrations of the "Quilt as You Go" method, using self-made bias tape; "Fun with Circles" (using the cut around ruler); the "Gizmo Bag" and Reversible Binding; as well as a session on Half Square and Half Quarter Triangles (using the Wonder Cut Ruler).

Everyone who came through the show on Saturday and up to 1 p.m. on Sunday could vote for their favourite quilt, which would be awarded the coveted "Best in Show" award.  Votes were also taken for a selection of "Challenge Quilts" that were on display at the library.
Best In Show
"Quilters Courtyard Mystery"
By:  Kathy Peterson-Neufeld
The winner of the voting for the "Best in Show" was a work titled "Quilters Courtyard Mystery," which was created by Kathy Peterson-Neufeld of Swift Current.  She originated from around the local area and her parents, Lil and Tony Peterson, still live in the district.  Kathy's quilt was a mystery project from "Border Creek Mystery Station" and a quilt shop at Gull Lake.  Initially she was sent a list of required yardage which specified how much dark and how much light fabric was required.  Then, each month, she received additional instructions in the mail.  "The challenge of this quilt was picking out the fabric, but that is part of the mystery," Peterson-Neufeld explained.

The "Challenge Quilts" were on display in the Neilburg Library.  The tablerunners had to contain "at least one star, one circular design, and one piece each of red and white rickrack."  They also needed to be related to the "Spring into Christmas and More" theme.

The winner was Janice Graham with her whimsical Santas:

First Place
Challenge Quilt
Janice Graham
The Second Place winner was a circular swirl crafted by Gail Bertoia:

Second Place
Challenge Quilt
Gail Bertoia
The voters had a hard time deciding which project should receive the Third Place ribbon, and so, in the end, there was a three-way tie.  Frances Wright, Edna Jeffrey and Kathy Peterson-Neufeld shared this honour!

1 - Third Place
Challenge Quilt
Frances Wright

2 - Third Place
Challenge Quilt
Edna Jeffrey

3 - Third Place
Challenge Quilt
Kathy Peterson-Neufeld
There was also a "Quilt Raffle" held at a fundraiser for the Manitou Creative Quilters.  The very lucky winner was Joan Makaroff.  This is the quilt she won:

Raffle Quilt
Winner ~ Joan Makaroff
There were two "Scavenger Hunts" with all ballots with the hidden word correctly identified, placed in a draw for a prize.  In addition, many door prizes were awarded.

As I said to someone, while trying to explain what the show was, and why it was worth attending, "Every time I go there, I feel like going home and dusting off my sewing machine!"