Archive for February, 2016

February 29, 2016

Christmas Cards

This year I decided to make homemade cards for my family. I experimented with embroidery and they turned out quite well!



February 24, 2016

Multiple Fam Jams

This year my family got together twice over the holidays! The first time was on Christmas eve as is our tradition, but Jen and Chris could not make it because they were visiting Chris’s family. Alissa and I came home, we all went to the Southridge Christmas eve service, and had our classic dinner of appetisers afterwards. We decided to open gifts without Jen because if you snooze you lose! The best gift was a handheld massager that Al and Dad gave mom. We all decided it looked like ET! Another highlight was that Alissa wrapped Dad’s gift entirely in red and green Canadian Tire money! It was a set of really nice shirts. That evening I introduced the others to Wizard, a game that Jen gave to my parents years ago but for some reason we didn’t get past a single round. This time we played through and discovered how fun and frustrating it is! A fun moment was trying to get Foxy to sit still for a photo with Dad and Al…. let’s just say we didn’t have much luck…



Our next gathering was even more fun! On the 30th we met up and shared yet another delicious meal of appetisers! We played more games of Wizard and Al taught us a new game similar to Sorry but with more strategy. One of the funniest moments was when Chris started flying a mini quadrocopter he had received from his brother for Christmas that was the size of a fist. Foxy didn’t know how to handle it and was freaked out; it was so funny to watch! Another funny moment happened when Jen sat on the ground to pet Foxy and somehow it turned into a photoshoot of all of the crazy ladies in our family, with the exception of Foxy who seemed to be the only sane one. Everyone stayed late and slept over that one night so that we could stay up until the early morning.


IMG_20151231_012823The next day I worked with my dad on some shelves for my apartment and then I borrowed the van to go the Devos’ house to celebrate New Years. As always there were a lot of people I didn’t know, but we still had a marvellous time chatting, playing games, and welcoming the new year together. This was my fifth or sixth time celebrating New Years with the Devos family and I am always amazed by their gift of bringing people together and making strangers into fast friends. This was a third fam-jam because they are like family to me and it was wonderful to see them all again. My holiday this year was very restful, memorable, and full of love!


February 12, 2016

Gingerbread Houses

This year I did more gingerbread house making than all years combined! My first opportunity was on December 18th when a group from my church made gingerbread houses with the residents of Adam House, a refugee shelter in the west end. We had it pretty easy because we used a bunch of gingerbread house making sets that have ready-made pieces, icing, and candy all ready to go. We split up into four teams and each made something different. Some groups made the standard house, and others (my group being one of them) started cutting pieces and doing different things with them. It was a fun time! I invited my couch-surfer Ashley to join us since it was also a new experience for her. The winning team was the one that had “Adam House” printed on it!


My next and more hard-core gingerbread experience happened the very next day because my friends Jacky, Rachel, and Vikkie had decided to get together and make a house from scratch! What’s more is that we decided to try and make the house from the Disney Pixar movie “Up”. That morning I went to the store and then baked the dough. It was fun to just chill, listen to Christmas music, and do that part on my own. Then in the mid-afternoon I met up with Joy and we took the bus to Markham to have dinner and finish the house at Rachel’s house. Vikkie found a template for the “Up” house online which was a real help and so Vikkie, Joy and I rolled and baked the pieces while Rachel and Jacky prepared hot pot. We had hot pot together last year and so now it has become a tradition. While we ate dinner we watched the classic film “White Christmas”. I had forgot how many witty quotes that movie has! We didn’t start putting the house together until 9pm and we were at it until 12:30 in the morning when Joy and I had to leave to grab the last bus back to downtown! It took longer than expected to put together because we had some structural problems with our roof. We had baked them too thin and so ended up putting them back in the oven for a while and then sticking them outside to cool to make them stronger! The only thing we didn’t get to was the balloons that we wanted to make coming out of the chimney just like in the movie. First we were going to make a structure out of gingerbread and stick jelly beans on it but then the others had the idea of trying to stick the jelly beams to a balloon. It got too heavy though and soon it deflated into one big sticky mess! We all decided that rice crispy squares would have been the way to go! The house was a real masterpiece overall, though we all decided we had been far to ambitious as usual! Because we had to leave before it was finished, Rachel put the finishing touches on it on her own and sent us a final photograph. Now we are all gingerbread house-making pros!

House from "Up"

February 7, 2016

Christmas in my New Home


The weeks before Christmas were very busy but wonderful. Everyday on my walk from work I would pass this intensely decorated house, complete with a blow-up Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer! The week before Christmas Susan and I hosted our first couch surfer, a girl named Ashley from Taiwan. I think the favourite part of her stay was that she got to sleep in the same room as our beautiful Christmas tree! This year was the first time that I had my own Christmas tree! I had it easy because Susan already had a tree base and a whole collection of decorations. I think the most interesting decorations she had were these miniature people dressed in costume called Mummers. Apparently “Mummering” is a Newfoundland tradition of making door to door visits in disguise! Susan also had these fantastic outdoor colourful LED lights and i decided to surprise her by wrapping them around the stair banister from the entry all the way up to our bedrooms.

IMG_20151206_211803IMG_20151211_004422On December 16th I went and saw Handel’s Messiah with a large group from Grace Toronto at the Roy Thomson Hall. Then the following evening I had my office Christmas party that was hosted by Philip and Anne. Although I was coming and going a lot, I still found a bit of time to hang out with Ashley and talk about things she should see and do in the city. On the final night of her stay I invited her to come with me to Adam House to make gingerbread houses with the residents. In only a few days she had experienced several new Christmas traditions!



February 7, 2016

December Baptisms

On December 13th I went with my parents to visit the Lam fam. The occasion was that the two newest additions to the family, Riddick and Charli, were being baptised. We arrived on Friday night and the first cousin who we saw was Joni who had come with little Jerek from Alberta to surprise the whole family! It was refreshing to spend time with all of the kids. Uncle Dick showed me the video that Alison had made when she told him and Aunt Marie Ann over Skype that she was going to be having twins! On Saturday my Aunt and my mom took me thrift shopping because they knew I was looking for a coffee table. We walked into a Bibles For Missions and instantly came across a beautiful antique trunk!


Uncle Dick with Jerek


Alissa and Rianne

On Sunday morning we went early to church so that we could rehearse two songs the family would sing for the baptisms. They were special because they were two of the songs that we sung at our Grandma’s funeral. There was a another special part to the baptism because Riddick was wearing a baptismal gown that has a wonderful story behind it that goes back to the second world war. My great grandfather Om Jan was a leader in the resistance and his whole family participated in hiding Jews in their home. A British plane was shot down outside of Aalten in June of 1944. One man survived and had landed with his parachute into a tree, injuring himself so that he had trouble walking. My great Aunt, Tante Jo, and my grandpa Geert (her future brother in law) brought him by bike to the next town as the first step to getting him to safety. They found out later through a coded message that the escape had succeeded! The parachute was divided and later sewn into a wedding dress that my Grandma Jannie would wear at her wedding to Geert. Later it became upholstry for a cradle, and finally a baptismal gown that many grandchildren and great grandchildren have worn over the years. This was the first time the gown was brought to Canada for a baptism and is likely the last time it will be worn because it is getting so delicate. Geertien, daughter of Tante Jo, brought it in her personal luggage from the museum in Aalten. It is quite a story and an amazing heritage to be apart of! It is hard to imagine what it must have been like living during WWII. I hope that if I was in a similar situation, that I would also have the same courage!


Tante Ina with Charli