Thunderstorms Instead of Snow, Bedraggled Squirrels, Women’s Guilt, and General Randomness

In the last decade we’ve had changeable weather with some mild weather around Christmas time. Not sure that I recall a thunderstorm in December, though, which is what we had on Thursday early morning. And then it just poured down rain all day. The grass was already sodden and muddy from the melted snow that we had recently…this just made a bigger mess.

The street below was more water than street:

Heavy Rain the Road Below

The little squirrel showed up all wet and miserable looking :

Little Wet Squirrel

I do clean most things off of the porch for winter but because I have grown accustomed to these mild spells, I leave the chair cushions out there. May as well..I might be wanting to sit out there in December at the day’s end when the rain stopped and it was around 60 degrees! :)

This weekend’s plans are to make a big pot of turkey noodle soup ( with the leftover frozen turkey from Thanksgiving ) and I intend to bake sugar cookies ahead of time, and then just have the little kids go to town with the icing and sprinkles.  Because they say that we may get a “wintry mix” with “snow to follow” I went ahead and got groceries late afternoon on Thursday, just in case we get more than they predict. This has been known to happen here : ) 

I always did sugar cut out cookies with my mom, and then with my boys when they were little. At some point I got my cousin Sheri’s cookie recipe because HERS were always better. Was she a superior baker? Absolutely…however I noticed that I improved a notch when I started using HER recipe :)

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Chill the dough for an hour or so then bake 400 degrees for 6 minutes


I found that when I followed the 6 minutes exactly, these always turned out great. And that is why I bake them ahead, and just have the little kids decorate afterwards.  If no one is sick, and we don’t get a foot of snow, and this all happens this weekend, I’ll probably take some photos and blog about it over at Homespun, where I do more stories about the grands…

The bird feeders around the side of the house were about empty so I filled them all in case inclement weather comes. Back in November at some point there was a week where I could have mowed the grass just one more time. I opted not to and I am glad that I did so. It left me a few patches to tip toe through…sort of like hopscotch, amongst all the mud. I will be happy when it freezes again YET sitting on the porch late afternoon, with windows open in the house…wasn’t too bad :)

A few peanuts gave me more entertainment than most movies or TV would…

bluejay and squirrel collage

I am beginning to think that people that continue on with their sewing projects, and are not distracted by cute little critters and the antics of blue-jays and squirrels…get more done.


But I grabbed my camera, took a break, and then felt guilty for not finishing up my sewing for the day.  But then I always feel guilty about something :) Honestly, I think it was how I was raised. Too much church? Too much perfectionism and never measuring up to my parent’s expectations ?

Not sure…or is just a woman-thing where we expect so much of ourselves that at any given time of the day we are already assuring ourselves that we could have done more or better ?  If that is the case did we get it from books or TV ?

At my age at least I recognize this false guilt and tell my guilty self to ‘shut up / I am so over you’ :) Years ago I recall reading a very interesting article about women being apologetic and it used a grocery store setting as an example. Ever since then I note this. A woman can be in a grocery store, bump her cart into a display, and say “I’m sorry.”  In a grocery store, we apologize to each other halfway down the aisle before we even meet…you’ll see :) If you start to pay attention to something as simple as that, you’ll see how we torture ourselves all of the time ..and so I just want to say that I am having two tablespoons of butter along with my pierogies and I am  not going to feel any guilt at all. Because that’s how you are supposed to eat them! :)

Perogy for Dinner Collage

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Decorating For Christmas in a Small Space : aka those poor pitiful little trees

I have been decorating for Christmas in a small space…

Bell Wreath on Door

There is no entry when you come in from the front porch. You are immediately in the long narrow living room of this 1917 bungalow.

Lily in Living Room

It is not easy to photograph since it is not very big. I have it broken up into two sections…this is the seating area.  When I read to the grandkids, it is generally on that chaise lounge, and the snowmen decorations in the corner there are child friendly, should they want to play with them. ( The antique sewing machine weighs a ton and isn’t going anywhere, in any season :)

Living Room Seating Area Collage

The white dog, Lily, is pretty calm. This dog, Jugsy, is not, and he is very sorry that he missed the chance to jump on you when you came in. He is sitting by the door waiting for a victim.

Jugsy by the door

He knocked down two elves last year which is why ….

OMG Santa stocking

It would be quite difficult to fit a large tree into this space so I opted for small trees here and there. And every year I lament that I do not have a large square living room that a large tree would work in, because I always had big trees as a child and when my sons were growing up, and I do miss that. However, once all of the little trees are out and the decorations placed here and there, it is fine, and I get over it. ( well, almost….: ) And if you look at the collage below and think “Oh that Poor Woman with her poor little pitiful trees…I feel so bad for her ” it’s okay…because that’s how I feel every year, at least for a day or so,  lol! :)

Living room another collage Dreidel ornament   Snow Globe with Angel playing Joy to the World love to cook ornament

Before the grands I could put anything anywhere that I liked. Now the Nativity set, which used to have a prominent place,  has to be high up in the dining room, though there are plenty of unbreakable items to amuse them here and there. Those little lunchboxes were a big hit last year. Basically it is one box, with the other two nestled inside. At Christmas time they take the boxes upstairs, and pack little lunches with the play food in the toy room and then bring the picnic lunch down to share.

Breakable versus unbreakables collage

Some houses on top of the piano… I picked these and many of the decorations for the children’s train table up one year on clearance after Christmas.

houses on top of piano

Antique sleigh and figurine from childhood…

antique woman figure and sleigh

Upstairs…two of the ice skaters in the lower right picture are also from my childhood…everything else was purchased a few years back. There was a third skater; one year it miraculously broke its leg though no child here was responsible! And I have yet to get some super glue and fix it !

Train Table Collage

When my boys were little, I got the entire set of vintage figurines from my mom, and spent a week or two meticulously repainting all of them, and purchased a Lionel train that was similar to what I’d had as a child. Once they were older and I’d split up from their dad and moved here I’d returned these to her but kept a few skaters and the sleigh back. Because I’d enjoyed all of that so much as a child, while I could not have a large tree and platform here I did want something similar, albeit far less, for the grands to remember, and that is why when Brent was 1 or 2 years old, I went all out and got the train table and Polar Express set, and then after Christmas that year and the next, started picking up houses and figurines on clearance….

Because it is those sort of decorations that children remember, that they look back on, and that are part of the magic of Christmas to them. I know this from my own childhood memories. If my mother created an elegant vignette that changed from year to year I’d have no recollection of it. I only recall what was there year after year…the little elves, the display under the tree, the choir of angels, the nativity set, and so on.  My grandmother created large and elegant vignettes…she called them “settings” and while I remember that, I don’t remember any particular ones since they constantly changed. My strongest memories are of what remained the same, each Christmas.

One of the charming little touches in this old house is the room dividers between living room and dining room and those are nice for displays. I took a few pictures of what I have there now but for the moment, I am going to show a favorite picture from LAST year, Christmas Day.  My oldest put Spidey, a gift for my grandson, here, and then he and his nephew played Spidey. Brent would shoot out his arms ( and web ) directing his uncle where to land…on the walls, ceiling, etc.  This picture brings back all of those fun memories and probably no other picture in the world will ever showcase my room dividers better than the Spidey Shot! :)


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