Home, Home On The Range


Stained Glass Secrets
by: Elexis Penner
Home, Home On The Range



Home, Home on the Range…


So I guess I must have blinked.


We spent a few days at my parents’ cabin with our kids – all of them. It was a summer vacation miracle! These times are getting fewer and farther in between. With six schedules it’s getting harder and harder to make time together, and I was so grateful that this worked out.


I remember when we used to come here with our little troupe of four kids, ages six and under. I don’t know how we did it. I’m not sure WHY we did it.


We’d pack enough kid gear for every possible event or mishap. Then we’d spend each day riding herd – trying to make sure no one tripped into the fire, or slipped off the dock, or impaled themselves with roasting sticks. The list of conceivable perils is long when you combine toddlers and cabin life.


There were hours playing lego, building sand castles, and learning survival skills (aka tromping around in the bush). We’d endlessly cast from the dock. If we were lucky we’d catch a few perch. And with four little rods waving around, if we were REALLY lucky, no one got a hook in the eye.


Then we would finally coerce them into their beds and probably stay up half the night with a baby who wouldn’t settle in a strange place. Only to be woken up at the crack of some obscene hour by our eldest – the early-bird. Hardly relaxing. Usually there was more fighting and crying and tantrums than a session of parliament. And the kids were often upset, too.


Once, just as we were packed and ready to go home, we realized the toilet had backed up, and I spent an hour trying to entertain four homesick kids while Bruce spent an hour up to his elbows in... Well suffice to say, it was a pretty crappy (ba-dump-CHAAAA) ending to an already exhausting weekend.


Anyway… I don’t know how we did it, but I do know why. We love our family, and we love making memories.


That part hasn’t changed – but the activities have.


This weekend Bruce and our son, Rory biked (as in, on bicycles) to the lake – 200 kms!! This weekend the boys had a contest to see who could dump me off my air mattress. I won that one – I dumped myself – I will not be overthrown by two punk kids. This weekend everyone slept in – an event that was once just some kind of mythical thing that happened to old people. As in, people in their 40’s.


The kids are older and the tantrums are few. It warms the cockles of me heart to see them watch out for each other’s feelings. Sometimes it involves wrestling and yes, ‘Butt-Face’ can be a term of endearment.


My dad has an extensive collection of old westerns, and we usually end up watching one while we’re there. Maybe that’s why I kept finding myself singing ‘Home On The Range.’


You know, where seldom is heard, a discouraging word….


This is what I shot for this weekend. Six individuals in a small space can be a pile of fun, but it can also get a little squirrely. I made a deliberate effort to avoid any ‘discouraging words’. I did okay. But I can think back to some other cabin weekends that had some really ugly moments.


I sometimes catch myself in the past wishing I had been better at this when the kids were little. I tell myself that if I could go back and do it all over again I would, and I would be WAY better – more patient, loving, always having time. Lighter on the screaming. You know, perfect.


But it’s easy to say this now, with my uninterrupted nights’ sleep, and regular me time. No. Maybe I did the best I could with the sleep I had.


Because we aren’t perfect. And maybe the sooner our kids (and us!) realize that, the better.


To my sleepless friends who are in the thick of the toddler (or teenage) years, remember that line from Cheaper By The Dozen (this is the part of the movie where I go into full-on sobbing…)


“… you taught us that there is no way to be a perfect parent, but a million ways to be a really good one.”

(VIDEO) HOPE Growing Project Volunteer Video Montage

We've been seeing some activity on fields in Southern Manitoba as combines start to take off some winter wheat.  That pace will accelerate quickly and that's also the case with the Canadian Food Grains Bank.  The first field of 2014 special growing projects was combined at Ste Elizabeth near Arnaud. The event was captured on video

(VIDEO) 5th Annual Manitoba Fibreglass and Vintage Camper Rally

We made reference to this past weekend being a "wheels" extrvaganza. A VW rally at Killarney Lake called, Dubs on the Lake attracted some 60 entries, while another car show was held at Plum Coulee's Plum Fest. But what really drew a crowd was the fifth annual Manitoba Fibreglass and Vintage Camper Rally in the campground at St. Malo Provincial Park. On display were all makes of lightweight, fibreglass trailers with the most attention created by Bolers created here in Manitoba in 1968. A brilliant red Boler restored by Jack Klick of Kleefeld, generated a lot of buzz. Restored by Jack and daughter Kelly, the Boler arrived behind a minty 53 Mercury pickup. Jack told Al Friesen how the restored 39 year old trailer came to be:

Morden Tourism Photo Contest Winners


Morden Tourism Photo Contest Winner -- "The Calm Upon Lake Minnewasta" by David Charriere

The passion for photography has grown in recent years, with photo technology much greater than ever, and the Morden Tourism Marketing Team has been celebrating photography, by taking entries for a year-long Story/Photo Contest.

The competition organizers asked residents to submit a photo along with its corresponding story about their favourite thing to do in Morden. The photos and stories were judged on their relevancy, quality, and unique appeal to Morden’s outstanding tourism and recreational activities. There were 29 qualifying entries.

David Charriere's photo "The Calm Upon Lake Minnewasta" (pictured above) was taken with his Iphone, and came in first place. Here's David's reaction to the win:


2nd place winner: "Bronze & Gold" by Kimberly Striemer

3rd place tie -- "Exploring the Countryside" by Marianne Fenn

3rd place tie -- "Canada Day" by Melanie Goertzen


Pool Day, RTMF, Plum Fest & Legends Charity Drags

The Summer Fun does not stop here in Southern Manitoba!  On Thursday afternoon I trekked around Southern Manitoba looking for the best place to go for a swim. The day started off at the Winkler Aquatic Center.  Families came to the pool from neighboring communities to cool off and enjoy the water.  At the Winkler pool the number 1 attraction is the high diving board and the slides.  Many kids reported that going swimming is their favorite summer activity.

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Tricks off the board! 

My second stop that afternoon was Plum Coulee Beach.  This is a beautiful venue to hang out this summer.  Kids played in the water, built sand castles on the beach and swam to the floating docks.  A mom watching her kids play said, “The beach is a great place for the kids to come and blow off some steam.”  Plum Coulee Beach is a fantastic way to spend your afternoon!

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These ladies are loving the summer sun and time at the beach! 

My last stop was the Altona Aquatic Center.  There I spoke with head guard Janelle Friesen.  She shared about Lifeguard Olympics that had occurred the day before.  This is an evening event where the lifeguards come together and compete against one another in a series of events. She said it was a huge success and the guards are looking forward to the event next year!  Adam, a boy from the community, expressed his joy in doing cool tricks off the diving board and shared that the pool is the best place to be on a hot afternoon.

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Spending the afternoon at the Altona Pool!

Another Manitoba summer favorite is music festivals!  The Rainbow Trout Music Festival was also on this weekend.  People of all ages gathered on a campground on the Roseau River for a weekend of music.  Festival organizer Jodi Layne, spoke about how the weekend is a special for music lovers in Winnipeg.  The festival highlights only local bands and focuses on the music community of Manitoba.  Jodi went on to say how this weekend is about enjoying the outdoors, bringing people together and listening to homegrown musicians.  

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Homegrown Music. 

It was also a big weekend in Plum Coulee! Plum Fest was in full bloom this weekend.  Saturday morning I had the joy of driving in the parade!  Kids stood on the side of the road eagerly awaiting candy and excited to see the variety of floats, cars and people.   After the parade, the community gathered in the main square for the festivities.  There were duck races, booths, line dancing and the opportunity to spend time with the lovely people of Plum Coulee.

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Line dancing during Plum Fest!

Sunday morning Plum Coulee had a lovely community church service.  The time of worship was a wonderful event that brought the faith community of the town closer together.  After church a fantastic lunch of homemade fries, hot dogs and coleslaw was served.  After the afternoon meal I made my way to the grain elevator that had been remodeled to a museum.  Katarina, a friendly tour guide, explained some of the key points of the small town’s history and how the town got its name.

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Plum Coulee.

My final stop was the 12th Annual Charity Legends Airport Drags which was in full gear this weekend.  It was an opportunity for men and women to speed down the track in their car, truck, motorcycle or snowmobile. 25% of the proceeds of this event go toward the United Way.

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This man and his car raced down the track Sunday afternoon!

 The derby ran Saturday and Sunday and brought many people from all over Manitoba.  The race onlookers lined the stands in awe of the vehicles incredibly fast times. A new track record was set at 4.88 seconds. This is the fasted time in all 12 years of the derby.

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It was a busy weekend here in the Pembina Valley.  Mark your calendar for the Morden Corn and Apple Festival starting August 22!

7th Annual Big Hit Slow Pitch Tournament a Success

It was a great weekend for outdoor event organizers, including Plum Coulee's Plumfest, Legends Car Club Charity Drags, while Children's Camps International hosted the 7th annual Big Hit slow pitch tournament Teams included Mixed Nuts, Hittin homers, organized chaos and silver sluggers, and in the final, the CFC Crusaders defeated the Bergfeld Menno's - Steve Zacharias is the event organizer. In conversation with AlFriesen, Steve said the event went well:

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Steve Zacharias -- organizer of the Big Hit Slow pitch tournament for CCI - Children's Camps International - and congratulations CFC Crusaders

Volkswagen Enthusiasts Gather for 'Dubs at the Lake'

Volkswagen enthusiasts gathered in Killarney on Saturday for the first ever 'Dubs at the Lake.' Close to 60 vehicles were on display with some dating back to 1955. Organizers were thrilled with the turn out. One of the vehicles on display is owned by Kevin Affleck of Carman. Golden West Reporter Barry Lamb had a look at Kevin's van and had a chance to talk about the car show.

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Baseball Canada Working to Increase Numbers

We've all heard the numbers, and perhaps seen the evidence...fewer kids are involved in organized sport....and for many of them, and us, we are not replacing that activity with an active pastime . It's a situation that Baseball Canada is addressing -- how to get more kids involved in the game, and how to make it fun.....and that's something Allan Fitzsimmons of Baseball Canada told me about at the Triple AAA PEE WEE nationals:

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Pee Wee Baseball Players -- Jennifer Klippenstein


Canada's top Pee Wee baseball players will compete this weekend in Altona. Jennifer Klippenstein is a member of the volunteer host committee. It sounds like the Centennial Park and ball diamonds will be full

Weekend gate price for a family is $50, for an individual is $20, daily passes are $10, and 12 & under are free! Al Friesen will be there Thursday as a PA announcer, and you can follow the results of the competition throughout the weekend on CFAM Radio, or the Sports Page on Pembina Valley online!

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