Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I have been baking for Christmas but have found that cooking is a little different here. The first time we went to the grocery store I had no idea how much meat was in a package. I couldn't figure out what I was paying per pound. I found this conversion chart in the apartment when we first got here. It has been a huge help. Thank you previous missionaries! I have to get it out quite often. I keep it in my cookbook! Even when I buy something I have to check the chart when I get home to see how much I bought! It is also so dry here that my cookies get almost as hard as a rock so I have started using less baking time with them.
I can't find the same ingredients here. I told Elder Garrett not to brag about my cooking here because I have no idea how it will turn out. I made my sour cream coconut cake for the branch Christmas party. The ingredients were not the same as I get at home. I threatened him not to tell anyone it was delicious because I didn't know if it would taste the same. The coconut was different and I guessed at how much to put in after getting out my faithful chart. It ended up that it was good and almost the whole cake was eaten. I make a tortilla soup that we all love. Can't find the same ingredients. It is still really good just different from what I usually make. I can't get butter in sticks so have to buy the pound block and cut it up. So, don't always know if I'm getting the measurements correct. Guess it hasn't turned out to bad, we manage to eat what I cook. We definitely haven't lost any weight over it!! Only a little part of this great adventure!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Short Friendship

We met Sister Lou Hall the first Sunday that we were here in the Yellowknife Branch.  She invited us  over for dinner as her husband was working out of town.  She even came and picked us up and toured us around Yellowknife.  Her husband had his feelings hurt and has not been active.  They lived here twelve years ago when the branch was a pretty good size.  They just moved back about a year ago.  They have a home in the Edmonton area and were living in an apartment here.  The person they rented the apartment sold them her furniture so they didn't move anything here.  He was offered a buy-out from his company so they took it and are moving back home.

Ray and Lou Hall
 We spent some time with them.  We had them over for dinner a couple of times and they had us for dinner a couple of times.  Elder Garrett and Ray also went to a hockey game together.  He is 62 and has played hockey his whole life.  He had a knee replacement and still plays hockey!  I heard he is pretty good.  They took us out to dinner at one of the oldest restaurants here.  We had the most delicious fish we have ever had.  The atmosphere was to die for!  It was in the little old original shack.

They gave us lots of the furniture that they were not taking.  We were happy to get it and some of it we put in the basement for the missionaries when they get here in the spring.

New couch from Ray and Lou Hall. 
You remember the old, old one that Elder Garrett repaired because 5 springs were broken.  This one is much more comfortable and is a hide-a-bed.  So come see us!!  We have a place for you to sleep!!

Freezer from the Halls. This is also called a lifesaver.  When I would go to the grocery store I would have to remember that I had hardly any freezer space.  Of course I was used to a big freezer back home so that was hard and I was always shuffling and trying to fit things in.  What a relief!!!

This microwave is from the Halls.  It is not new but much newer than the one we had.  The old one didn't even have a timer on it.  You had to guess how long to leave your food in there.  In fact, it was so old I have never even seen one like it!!  We will save the old one for the missionaries when they come!  Suppose to be getting two sets in the spring.

Sis. Hall thought we just had to have presents under our tree!  So the last night they were here we had them over for dinner and she came with gifts!  We are not allowed to open them until Christmas!!!
Ray and  Lou Hall bringing Christmas gifts.

 She is one awesome lady and helped tremendously with getting a visiting teaching program started here.  We will miss them but are happy that they will be able to be back with their family!

Visit From Stake Patriarch

The stake Patriarch and his wife arrived last Friday.  She started feeling bad on the plane ride here.  He came and visited with us and she stayed at the hotel.  We invited them back for dinner if she was feeling like it.  He called and said she was feeling worse and he was going to the drug store to get her some medicine.  I had already cooked dinner so we invited Brother Bellis to eat with us (he was here working on home teaching with President Garrett and his wife was at work (she is a nurse).  Brother Anderson came over Saturday for lunch and we invited him back for dinner, his wife figured she had the flu by this time and was trying to feel better because she and Bro. Anderson were to be the speakers in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday.  So Brother Anderson came back for dinner and he and Pres. Garrett had a good time visiting because Brother Anderson has as many stories as Pres. Garrett!

Brother Anderson, Edmonton North Stake Patriarch

Sis. Anderson was feeling better on Sunday and was able to speak with Brother Anderson.  They both gave great talks.  Bro. Anderson shared his first phone conversation with Pres. Garrett and of course he was using his best southern drawl!  He said Pres. Garrett said I havee nevvver beeen sooo coldddd!  But i havee nevvver mett succch gooood peoplle up heeerr.  Then he proceed to tell us that we are the frozen chosen!  He lives in Edmonton but travels in the northern areas in his business and he calls this the frozen chosen because everyone in the north are always good and hospitable to each other.  It is so cold up here that everybody is always willing to help each other out.

He gave a blessing at 3:00 and then we had dinner together.  Sis. Anderson was feeling better but started to have a cough.  We had a fireside at 6:00 where Brother Anderson talked about Patriarchal Blessings.  It was a great fireside, we had twelve in attendance but wished there were certain others there.  Everyone then came down to our apartment for refreshments and Brother and Sister Anderson visited with us for quite a while after the others had left.  They have eight children and twenty-eight grandchildren with three more on the way.  A great couple doing a great job serving The Lord.

Brother Anderson gave another blessing on Monday afternoon and after that they took us out to dinner.  We had a wonderful time with them.  It is always fun to rub shoulders with good members of the church.  I forgot to take pictures again so after we had dinner we took these in the lobby of their hotel.

Elder and Sister Garrett with Brother and Sister Anderson.

Brother and Sister Anderson

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas is Coming

We thought that since we are up here by ourselves that we wouldn't put up any Christmas decorations.  We have been doing lots of cleaning and organizing in this building.  This is a three story building and has three different offices in it that are rented out.  It has a Family History Center in the basement, a small cultural hall, a storeroom and one of the rented offices.  The middle floor, where we live, has our apartment, the Relief Society Room and two rental offices.  The top floor has the Chapel with a small meeting area in back and a kitchen.  It is also where the branch presidents office is, the library, Primary room and Young Women's Room plus a small Young Men's classroom and a nursery.  Right now we don't have a nursery because there are no babies.  The reason we have such a big building is there used to be two gold mines here and there were several members working there.  At one time there were over 100 members in this branch.  The mines closed about 12 years ago and so the branch has been getting smaller and smaller.  Anyway there needed to be a lot of de-cluttering and so we decided to tackle it.  Anyway, back to the Christmas decorations.  While cleaning out the Relief Society closets I found a 6 ft. Christmas tree, lights, ornaments and other decorations.  There was also a 3 ft. pre-lit tree in the apartment.  So, decided to decorate since we have been having lots of company for dinner etc. Plus the Stake Patriarch and his wife would be coming for four days.  So thought we would share our Christmas apartment with you.  If you have ever been to our home you will recognize that it didn't take me nearly as long to decorate here!!
Was wondering what I would use for a tree skirt...found some batting in the relief society closet.

We put the small Christmas tree on our extra desk and I found poinsettias and a basket to put them in for a center piece to put on the table.

A sister in the branch made this wreath for us.

Winter Wonderland

Last week we hit our first really, really, really cold weather.  It was -37 and the wind chill was -47.  We didn't get out that day, Elder Garrett had some appointments here.  Brother Nestman came by at noon and he looked almost frozen!  He had walked two blocks from his office.  We thought  everything was frozen already but found a whole different world.  Things just had snow on them before but now they are totally frozen!!  It is absolutely beautiful.  It really looks like a winter wonderland!  Elder Garrett took about a million pictures.  He took all of them from the building here. Some were taken from the windows upstairs and downstairs.  We'll share a few.
View out our back alley.

Church parking lot.

Building across the street.

View of church parking lot from upstairs.

Back alleyway.

Street in front of church.

Winter Wonderland

Frozen trees.

View across the street.

Frozen bushes.

We have been told that it really doesn't snow as much here as in other  parts of Canada. It is too cold up here to snow much. When we have visitors from Edmonton they tell us that there is much more snow there.  Their snow is much wetter there too.  It is so dry here that when it does snow you can usually just sweep it off your driveways or sidewalks.  I know it brushes easily off the car.  But I can tell you that it is really, really, cold!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dinner with Members

These people were less active.  The man in the middle is Daniel LaFond, the man on the left is his brother Pierre, and on the  right is his daughter Kelsey.  Elder Garrett called Daniel and Kelsey and they came to church the very next Sunday and Daniel has been here every Sunday since.  His brother had been working on Sundays but says he is off this Sunday and will attend church.  Kelsey came one Sunday and we are encouraging her to come back.  She is almost 20 years old and is engaged to be married this summer.  We hope to meet her boyfriend and get him interested in the church.  Daniel calls Elder Garrett almost every day and has a strong testimony.  Kelsey has her own place and she invited us for dinner but she has a dog so she made arrangements for us to have the dinner at her father's house.  Her boyfriend didn't come because he was sick.  We hope to have them come here for dinner so we can get to know her boyfriend (and of course give him the discussions)!   We had a great dinner and an enjoyable time getting to know them.

Christmas Party

We had our branch Christmas Party on Saturday night.  The Relief Society Presidency was in charge. That's basically me and the Relief Society President!  We had turkey and dressing and ham and lots of side dishes and way too many desserts!  Everything was delicious.  We were proud of our attendance,  we set up for 32 and we had 30 people come.  There is an older sister in the branch here that is a widow.  She has the reputation of making delicious punch for all the branch activities.  She lived up to her reputation.  The punch was icy and delicious, everyone loved it.  We had an in-active family come, a couple and their little girl.  I visit teach her and have been trying to get them to come back, so hopefully this is a start.  We had a good program and everyone helped clean up.  It was amazing how fast the clean up was.  The room we had it in is also the chapel so after putting up the tables and chairs and vacuuming, we sat up the cushioned chairs for the chapel.  I made the Rudolph bags for the youth and they were excited about those.  Hope this was a good start to having some fun activities in the branch.

Eating good food and mingling.

President Garrett enjoying the Christmas Party.

Christmas treats for the children with apple, orange and candy.

Great Mary and Joseph.

Brother Nestman read from Luke 2.  Jordan and Samantha doing an excellent job portraying Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. Mary looking so much the part and a caring Joseph.

Enjoying good food at the Christmas Party.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stilll Cold and Snowing in Yellowknife

Car covered in snow almost every day.

Car cleaner.  Cleaning snow off the car almost every day.

Still snowing.  View out the back door.

We had a pretty busy weekend here in the Yellowknife branch and I forgot to take pictures again!   We had three visitors from the stake to fly up.  It was the stake clerk, Brad Moser, the financial clerk, David Minaker and the technical specialist, Andrew Buchanan.   We have been having huge computer problems.  The computer was way more than slow.  We have also been having problems with our satellite reception.  Elder Garrett has spent a great deal of time talking and emailing back and forth to these people because when you are a missionary your records stay in your ward or branch.  They would put him in as the branch president and think everything was o.k. and the next thing you know he would be off again.  The stake people were going back and forth with  SLC about the problem.  Finally someone from SLC called last Thursday morning and said everything was all worked out and the next time he got on the computer he was off again.  He couldn't enter tithing and he is also needing to get on because we have a missionary going out.  Plus the Stake Patriarch is coming in two weeks and he needs to enter those that are getting their blessings.    Anyway these guys came for training and after spending several hours with them on Saturday and Sunday Elder Garrett's head is spinning.  I fed them three meals and still forgot to take pictures!!!  We also got permission to change our fast Sunday to the second week and these brethren spoke in Sacrament meeting.  The stake people always speak when they come to give us a little change in this small branch.  We had a really good Sacrament Meeting.

We have had a couple for dinner this week that the husband is not active and another family that is a little less active.  Elder Garrett taught four Addiction Recovery classes this week.  So I have figured out my role is basically the same I have always had.  Keeping track of all the appointments and comings and goings and cooking the food!!  Good thing I love this role and have lots of experience!  Maybe I'll remember the camera next time.  I'm slacking in my role!!