Top 6 Favorites of 2016

 I wasn't sure I would do a top favorites posts for the year, because I just got back to blogging here the beginning of August. But when I looked at our most popular posts, I discovered an interesting cross section of topics; a garden, a DIY project, crafts, a recipe, and a pictorial eclectic mix that truly portrays what this blog is about! So, here it is...

Top 6 Favorites Collage

# 1 is actually the top post of all time....and my personal favorite,
The Garden Of Ede'n Gerald
Garden of Eden Gerald
 This beautiful garden belonged to my parents, Ede and Gerald Blair, and was located south of Sidney, MB, until they sold the property in 2009. Mom and Dad spent many hours working together to create this little bit of paradise. These photos were taken in 2004 when the garden was probably at it's prettiest! Sadly, the garden no longer exists, but it's still here for all to enjoy.

I hope you enjoy this tribute to the Garden of Ede'n Gerald. (Read More)

#2 spot goes to a DIY  project,
our Pallet Walkway Cheat.
Pallet walkway Cheat
 I'm sure you've seen all of those amazing pallet projects on Pinterest, just like I have. Maybe you even went out and picked up some pallets, with great plans for all the awesome things you could create.....and maybe you learned some of the same things I did................(Read More)

#3 is one of my favorite recipes,
Cucumber & Tomato Salad (Middle Eastern Canadian Style)
Served with Rice and Lentils
Tomato and Cucumber Salad Middle Eastern Canadian Style
  I had been craving a particular meal that I'd learned to make years ago, from some Arabic friends who had moved to Canada from Israel....Rice and Lentils, with Cucumber and Tomato Salad. The way I made the salad is very similar to the ones I've seen online, except I don't add parsley, and most use English cucumbers....and I didn't plant any! (Read More)

#4 is the introduction and completed list of our
Christmas Craft and Gift Series. 
Christmas Craft and Gift series
 Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. Even though we didn't have a lot when I was a child, Christmas was always a special time with family. When our own kids were small, there were many years that we didn't have extra money, so we learned to make do with what we had...sometimes saving money by making gifts. Even when the kids were older we often made our own wrapping paper, and baked cookies to give away to family and friends. With the Christmas season fast approaching, I decided to share some of our family's Christmas traditions, inexpensive crafts, and homemade gift ideas. (Read More)

#5 was the most popular of our Christmas series,
Easy Gingerbread Houses.
Easy Gingerbread Houses
 Many years ago, baking cookies and making a gingerbread house before Christmas became one of our family traditions. The gingerbread houses didn't happen every year, but at some point, all eight of our kids had a turn at decorating a house with candy. I still have the gingerbread house kit that I made over twenty five years ago! 
 A few years ago, I decided to try something new...individual candy houses made with graham wafers. We were having the whole family home for Christmas, so we needed a lot of mini houses! 
(Read More)

And # 6 is another one of my favorites,
Where I Am From.
Where I Am From Memoir
  Memories are wonderful, and they are made up of so many different things that come together and leave an imprint in the mind. Sometimes they are as clear as if they happened yesterday, and sometimes they are just bits and fragments...a sound, a scent, a taste, a feeling. 
  Many years ago, I came across a blog that had a little picture with the words, "Where are you from?" I clicked on it and found that it was based on a poem, and that many people had written their own version, based on their own life. I loved the one I read, so I decided to write my own. (Read More)

 I also want to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported us in this blogging endeavour over the past five months. "Likes' on a FB page may not seem very important, but they let us know that someone is reading, and hopefully enjoying what we post. I say 'we' because I don't do this alone...Brian does much of the photography for the blog, and Danica helped out a lot on the Christmas series, and we all do the garden tours thank you from all of us!

How To Enjoy a Blizzard

  The sun did not shine.
It was too snowy to go away.
So we sat in the house
All that blizzarding day. 
I sat there with Brian.
We sat there, we two
And I said, "I'm so glad there is NOTHING to do!"

Ok, so it's not quite the Cat In the Hat...but I'm no Dr. Seuss!

Snowy scenery

 Being storm stayed on Christmas Day wasn't part of our fact we had opened our gifts the day before because we didn't plan to be home at all that day! But when a blizzard hits, you just have to make the best of it!
 So, what does one do when you can't see across the yard for blowing snow, when the roads are blocked and the highways are closed, when it looks like you'll be staying put for at least a day or two?

Well, first things first...enjoy a cup of coffee with the dogs!

Having coffee with the dogs

Next, you get out a jigsaw puzzle. I had to get a picture of this, 
because puzzles are not his favorite way to pass the time!

Doing a jigsaw puzzle

Danica got a new doll for Christmas, AND a sewing kit,
so she wanted to make a dress for her doll.
It's actually a baby dress cut down to size, so it just required one seam.
A good first sewing project!

And when the storm is over, 
you pry the boys away from their video games 
and send them out to shovel!

"This was no time for games.
There was work to be done.
All that deep, deep, deep snow,
All that snow had to go!"
(THAT was Dr. Suess!)

Shovelling snow

 Aside from up close to the house, our place wasn't too bad. We're up on a bit of a hill, and the driveway is on a ridge, so most of the snow blows right across. Still, clearing out a pathway, and around the truck took some work! Once the snow was cleared in front of the garage, Brian got the snow blower out to finish the job.

Shovelling snow

If you have to shovel, you might as well make it worthwhile....
Daniel made a huge pile of snow, 
and then started to hollow it out to make a quinzhee. 

Build a Quinzhee

A quinzhee snow fort and deer in the background

When the blizzard is over, and the snow is cleared, 
then you can get back to enjoying the scenery...especially our evening visitors.

Snowy scenery with deer in the field

Oh, and we can't forget the puzzle!
I ended up finishing it myself, while Brian cleared snow...good deal, I figure!
Unfortunately....there are four pieces missing.
Hopefully I'll find them at Mom's in her little dish of miscellaneous puzzle pieces!

Finished puzzle with pieces missing

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and if you live around here,
 I hope you managed to stay warm, and enjoy that blizzarding day!

And it wouldn't be winter in Manitoba without our anthem, 

Saturday Snapshot, Merry Christmas From Me To You!

We've had an early start here, and already opened our gifts! I'm enjoying a cup of coffee in my new Tim Horton's cup, watching the weather forecast, and hoping the expected blizzard passes us by, or at least waits until tomorrow night to hit. I hope everyone has a great Christmas, wherever you are!

Christmas Greetings

Manger scene, Isaiah 9:6

 I don't expect many will be around over the next few days, so I thought I'd send out a Christmas greeting today. I want to thank everyone who has supported Manitoba Gardens through commenting and sharing posts, and by following our FB page. Brian, (our main photographer) Danica, (my video creator) and I really do appreciate all of you, and we welcome feedback.

 This past few months has been a hodge podge of topics as we find our way through this blogging world, but we hope you all find something of interest here. We're looking for ward to the new year, especially spring time, when we can get back to touring gardens!

  For now...Stay warm and have a Merry Christmas, making memories and passing down family traditions. Most of all, may you know the one whose birth we celebrate. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 
Isaiah 9:6

Manitoba Sky Monday, December 19/16

It was just too cold to go outside and take pictures, 
so this is all I have...warmer temperatures for this week though.



See you next week!

Dad - He Knew That He Knew

For many years, this blog stayed as a tribute to Dad and Mom, and the beautiful garden they created together. This post was written December 18, 2009, two days after Dad passed away. 
Gerald Murray Blair 1927-2009

  Dad asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into his heart and save him in December, 1985, at the age of fifty-eight. Dad went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday morning, December 16, 2009. The following is taken from Dad’s own words that he wrote of his testimony of salvation, and will be read at the service when we celebrate Dad's life.

   I was raised in a family that didn’t attend church, but they did believe in God, so I was taught a strict Christian morality that most people we associated with accepted as all you needed to get into heaven. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew there was more to it than that, and occasionally I did discuss my salvation, or lack of it, with Christian friends, but with a total lack of understanding. The pressure of raising a family of eight children and just everyday cares of this world kept me too busy to do much searching for God, even when the desire was there. I also had a good job that I liked and I had lots of friends; I was doing fine without any help.
 Although there was a time when I tried to study the Bible, I became disillusioned with religion. So when the Lord started working on other members of my family I kept out of it as long as I could. This wasn’t easy to do, as fantastic things were happening to the Blair family. Three of our children accepted Christ and I knew by the way they talked and acted that they had what I wanted. By December, 1985, the need to have Jesus in my life was all consuming. I had an ache in my heart and many sleepless nights. I asked Jesus to come into my life, but something seemed to stand in the way. Later that day, a visiting friend quoted “1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;”It may sound stupid, but for the first time in my life I understood what it meant. Then it dawned on me that I had been born again, and as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new,” …..I knew that I was changed and would never be the same.

  After Dad was saved, one of his favorite expressions was, “ I know that I know that I know.” After all those years, he finally knew that he knew that he knew that he had been born again by the grace of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. And not only that, but he would be kept by that same grace until the day he entered heaven. Dad also talked a lot about the freedom we have in Christ, often quoting “Romans 8:1a There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” He knew that in our own strength we can never live this Christian life, and there are times we all fail, but that Jesus came not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. Dad’s hope was not in himself, but in the forgiveness and saving grace of Jesus Christ.
  After Dad’s retirement, he and Mom spent many hours tending a beautiful garden, which Mom had jokingly named, “The Garden of Ede ‘n Gerald.” Dad was always happy to give garden tours to anyone who dropped by, always quick to grab his shovel and share a piece of a plant with them. Dad wasn’t one to preach at people, but he had a way of quietly sharing his simple faith with anyone who came along, much the way he shared his garden. Peace, contentment and joy were evident in his life; he couldn’t imagine why anyone would not want what he had.  
When the Lord gave my life a new start,
oh, I knew that I’d been changed.
When Jesus light dawned in my heart,
Yes, I was born again, and I’d never be the same.
No, I can’t answer all life’s questions,
 but I trust the one who can.
For there is no condemnation;
I know in Christ I stand, and I’m safe within his hand.
While I’m here I will tend a garden, for the glory of my Lord.
Share Jesus good news of freedom;
sow seeds of grace and joy, in my corner of this world.
Now I know there’s still much that I don’t know,
but one thing I clearly see,
I know that I know that I know that I know
by grace I’ve been set free.

This is a slide show celebrating Dad's life.

And visit the garden of Ede'n Gerald HERE.

Manitoba Sky Monday, December 12/16

Not too many skies worth sharing these days, but we got a few.
Hazey early morning sun through clouds
Morning sun shining through the clouds

Hazey early morning sun through the clouds

Hazey early morning sun

Hazey early morning sun

That's it for this week...hopefully more next time!

Winter Survival Gift Guide

Gifts to warm the heart, nose and ears of someone you love

All of my blogging friends have been posting Christmas gift guides, and after the nasty week of snow storms we've had, I decided to post a gift guide filled with gifts to warm the hearts, toes, and nose of someone you love!

This post contains affiliate links. Should you purchase through one of my links, I may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay. Thank you for supporting my blogging habit!

#1 most important item on the list is a warm winter coat!


 I even managed to find some Manitoba Mukluks

This one was pretty popular on FB last week! The Original Beardo Fold Away Hat. I think I should buy this for Brian...or maybe someone could make him one!

We actually need this one! Our old shovels aren't in great shape. The Garant Ergonomic Sleigh Shovel.

On those days when the streets or roads are blocked and you really need to get somewhere, these might come in handy...Chinook Trekker Snow Shoes.

Another one that we need....ours died....What were we thinking, building a new house and not putting in a wood stove!? We'll freeze if the power goes off! A Makita Air Compressor.

And here's the Wood Stove...The one we DON'T have....but hey we can plan for the next house! (yes, that was for the benefit of my family who are all wondering when we are moving again!)

I love this!! 70 Hour Bee Hive Candle...Not great for a romantic candle light dinner, but it should last until the power comes back on.

Nordic Legend Two Man Ice Shelter with FREE Bonus Ice Chairs! I don't need this, but I'm sure someone out there is crazy enough to go ice fishing! And get bonus chairs!

Who can survive winter without hot chocolate?! And Rolo, no less! 


 I know I have a lot of American readers, but very few Canadians can get through a day without Tim Horton's in case you get storm stayed, you need to stock up!
Gifts to warm the heart, toes and ears of someone you love
And in case any of my family are reading this....I want this blanket!! I'm freezing!

Stay warm everyone!!

And if you didn't find what you're looking for, check here-