Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Quick and Simple


I'm just popping in to say a quick hello before getting back to doing not much of anything. This week between the years is delightful for its lack of expectations. We had a lovely Christmas with family - full of delicious food, laughter, and happiness. 

Our 16 or so inches of snow melted in less than a week due to temperatures above the norm combined with rain and wind. For the past two days we've noticed a Varied Thrush hanging about, picking up food from under the bird feeder. This elusive bird lives in coniferous forests and comes more into the open after cold and snow. Such a handsome fellow! 

Wishing you all a wonderful week, and a very happy beginning to the new year - 2023! 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Ducks in a Row


Our world is still white, with rain to come tonight, turning all into a slushy mess. Walking by the pond these ducks in a row perched above the snow that was too deep for waddling. 

Here at home, I've got my ducks in a row - we are celebrating on the 24th this year as we alternate years with in-laws. Presents are wrapped, and all that remains is to do a little cleaning this morning, and some cooking this afternoon. 

We've had very cold temperatures for a couple of days, nothing like the cold further east, but highly unusual. The American Robins generally go south for the winter so I was surprised to see a fluffed-up female in a hawthorn tree. 

I finished up some last minute sewing - neck pillow for all the grands, made from the remnants of Christmas pajamas over the years. When I tried one out, I found it very comfortable and think that they would be good gifts for adults, as well. But not this year. 

I'm nibbling on a small bowl of snack mix as I write this post. It's not "nuts 'n bolts" because there are no bolts - pretzels. I find that I always pick out the pretzels first and eat them right away as I don't enjoy them. So I'm calling this mix "nuts 'n washers". It's packaged into jars to send home with everyone tomorrow. 

Merry Christmas blessings of love, joy, peace, and hope for all, and wishes for days of mingled quiet and delight, whether with family and friends, or alone. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

When Snow Falls


When snow falls in our coastal city, the corners of my mouth turn upwards. I can't help but smile, inside and out. We had a huge snowfall overnight, well over a foot, so I've been practically grinning! 

When snow falls, I don boots, toque, gloves, and down-filled parka to take a walk. The transformation from dull greens and browns to glittering whiteness never fails to astound me. 

When snow falls, contrast is highlighted and the world becomes a soft geometry of snow-capped seed heads, fence posts, and bird baths. 

When snow falls, little flowers like this feverfew blossom peek out with brave and pale colour.

When snow falls, I am happy to come indoors and enjoy a cup of tea and baking in front of a warm fire. And I know that here, snow will not last long, which is precisely why I love it so much. I grew up in the north where snow lasted long into March and April, and grew very, very weary of it. 

Today, however, I am reveling in the snow, drinking tea, looking out the window, puttering in the kitchen, and finishing up a little sewing. 

How do you spend a snow day, if you ever have them? 

PS I've posted the sugar cookie recipe on my other blog, here

Saturday, December 17, 2022

On a December Morning


Sunrise is around 8 am now. We were both awake early and decided, on a whim, to go to the beach when it was still pitch dark. Dressed in heavy coats, gloves, and toques, we stopped by Starbucks at 6:30 for two breakfast sandwiches, coffee for him and tea for me. 
We sat in the darkness of the car and ate breakfast while watching two beacon lights across the water blink alternately red and green. A tugboat chugged by, its bright headlight shining a path across the inky water. 

On this overcast morning sunrise was almost imperceptible, a mere gradual lightening of the sky in the east. Breakfast finished we went for a short walk. Gulls, and Bufflehead ducks were just awakening and beginning their mornings. Sparrows flitted from their nests across the path, still almost invisible in the half-light. 

From a distance we heard the faint honking of Canada geese. Then, there they were, high overhead, long trails of dark shapes swirling and shifting in loose formation, now over water, now over land.

How beautiful they were, greeting the morning together with us, wild geese against a grey December sky. 

And so the day began. All through the tidying and vacuuming, the folding of laundry and washing of dishes, the peace of that early morning has stayed in my mind, a few moments of delicious beauty in God's marvelous world. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

A Feast of Celebrations


Isn't that a unique cake? Our daughter-in-law created it to mark two birthdays, for our eldest granddaughter and our youngest. The cake inside is the same. Oh, how the children oohed and aahed at the lollipops on the pink side. Everyone wanted one and coincidently, there were five of them! I think it was planned. 

Here are the birthday girls, happy as can be. I love how the three oldest grands play with and care for the younger two. It warms the cockles of my heart. 

I've been folding paper stars, and taught Sadie, who stayed the night with us over the weekend, how to fold them. She learned fast and did a great job. 

These particular stars are 5 cm (2 inches) across and are now part of centerpieces at the church. Tomorrow is a luncheon for the seniors that I've been organizing. I'll be at the church early tomorrow getting the turkey rolls and stuffing into the ovens. Once the event is over, I will get cracking on more Christmas preparations around here. 

As you can see, there's no snow here, other than the crocheted snowflakes made by a good friend now passed on. I set up this wooden village with a tiny creche on the windowsill each Christmas and enjoy imagining the goings-on that might be happening. Perhaps it's a village similar to Louise Penny's Three Pines. 

Have you read Penny's books featuring the Quebecois detective Armand Gamache? I have the latest on my bookshelf, but am waiting until after Christmas to read it. There are four episodes of Three Pines, adapted from the books, on Amazon Prime Video, released in early December. Have you watched them? We did, and found them enjoyable, but not nearly as engaging as the books. 

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Enjoying the Days


Outside my window I see the lights of the houses below us and a dark sky above. Night falls earlier and earlier these days as the winter solstice approaches. I am thankful for light and warmth, and can't help but think of those who suffer in cold and darkness under the attacks of evil men. I pray for them and admire their courage.

Some of my favourite memories emerge along with the ornaments and decorations pulled from the Christmas boxes. Last night we put up our tree, and for the first time in many years, a child helped hang the sparkly stars and bells. Her parents were at a work party and she spent the night with us. She was surprised at how many of our ornaments were the same as the ones hanging on her tree. So I told her of my tradition of giving an ornament to my children each year, ornaments that they took with them into their grown-up homes. I often bought or made an ornament for ourselves, too.  Those ornaments bring joy to my heart and I remember where each one came from. 

I am smelling the pumpkin soup that I pulled from the freezer for an easy supper this evening. We had friends over for breakfast and cooking one big meal a day is enough for me!

Christmas preparations are coming along at a gentle pace. I feel peaceful and calm, most of the time, and am reveling in these days of quiet. I should clarify that not all moment are gentle and quiet - no indeed - life continues with its frustrations and unexpected happenings. 

Small, creative activities are bringing me a lot of pleasure. Often, those are the things that get scratched from my list because I think I should be doing something different, more useful perhaps. I baked sugar cookie stars a few weeks ago for the grands to decorate some of them. I was inspired by Shayda Campbell to try painting some simple designs with food colouring on them. What fun I had. I stuck with green and painted trees and leaves in various designs. Some are more successful than others. 

I am reading Bess Streeter Aldrich's Journey into Christmas on the recommendation of blogging friend Dewena. The book is a collection of short stories written before I was born - gentle tales of Christmas past. 

Baking is high on my list for this coming week - Christmas favourites from years ago like shortbread, rugelach, and peppermint bars. I have a few new recipes I'd like to try, as well. 

Wishing you a week filled with gentle moments in the midst of busy days, moments that carry you through when things don't go as planned. 

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

On a Grey December Afternoon


It's 2 pm and the fire is glowing, warming this dull drizzly dark day. Twinkle lights glow on the mantel and the piano. A cup of tea accompanies me and I just finished nibbling a square of dark chocolate and eating a sweet mandarin orange. 

I spent the morning finishing my Christmas shopping - it seems I do less each year. I spoke with my mother this morning and asked her what she would like for Christmas. "To be with my family," was her answer, and I echo that for myself. Christmas of 2020 was so hard because of not being together at all. 

The first greeting card arrived, one with a dark blue background filled with stars. I am reminded that I must get mine posted soon. There are far fewer cards than in past days, but I still enjoy sending them - little notes that mean "your friendship is important to me." 

I'm pulling the recipes for the baking I plan to do - recipes on cards that are stained and a wee bit worse for wear. Shall I make fewer cookies this year? They all manage to get eaten no matter how many I make, and it's good to share them with neighbours. 

After our busy weekend helping with a house move and entertaining the grandchildren here, our own house was in dire need of a thorough cleaning. That happened yesterday, and since everything was off the shelves for dusting, I decorated for Christmas. The tree will go up later as it's a real tree and I would like it to have needles on Christmas Day. 

The little girls did so well while their parents were moving. They spent the night here, and I gave them their Nana-made nightgowns. They remind me of the characters in Little Women as they trail around the house. Utterly adorable. 

The older grandchildren are getting to be such a great help with the younger two. Adria had the idea to make tissue paper parachutes with Duplo figures. Everyone chose an animal and she crafted parachutes with crochet thread, tape, and tissue paper. (One grandchild was missing due to illness). Then, up to the top of the stairs and the count - one, two, three - and everyone let their parachutes drift to the floor below. Up and down they went, good exercise for all.  


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