Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful..."

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable Christmas and time to relax from the often hectic pace of the season. We had both, although the weather was not very cooperative. In the past week we have run the gamut from frigid temperatures to a warm day in the 60's, from snow and ice to heavy thunderstorms with threats of tornadoes.

The forecast was for a white Christmas, and looking out across the lawn through my living room window last Tuesday, that seemed like a definite possibility.

However, what you can't tell from the photo is that while there is a light dusting of snow, most of the white you see is actually a sheet of ice! The day before saw wind chills below zero, then the next day it warmed up enough so that the predicted snow turned to freezing rain instead. Roads were covered with ice, making for very treacherous driving. Many holiday travellers found themselves stranded as flights were cancelled at O'Hare and other Midwest airports.

Yesterday temperatures soared into the sixties, and the ice melted, leaving flooded roads and fields in its wake. Heavy thunderstorms added to the mess. We did make it to my parents' house for a Christmas brunch and a nice afternoon with my brother and his family, although the constant warnings from the weather radio in the next room created some unease. I have to admit I was happy to get home safe and sound last night--to a thankfully dry basement.

The fluctuating temperatures and high winds at times left their mark. Our yard is littered with broken pine branches that will require some time to clean up as soon as the weather cooperates.

It's a colder, but more normal winter day today, but there is a strange yellow glow in the sky I haven't seen for awhile--oh, it's the sun shining! While we Illinoisans have been complaining about the weather all week, at least it's a nice change of pace from our usual topic of complaint these days--state politics:)

Despite the bad weather, we were able to have our Christmas celebrations as planned. Although several local churches had to cancel their Christmas Eve services, my children were able to get here for our family get-together on Christmas Eve, and everyone managed to navigate our ice-covered driveway without falling. Earlier in the day I was worried my husband would miss out on the fun of watching the children open their presents because he has been on call at nights this week for highway snowplowing duties. Fortunately, the roads were clear enough that he was able to spend Christmas Eve and Day with us.

Christmas presents were eagerly ripped open on Christmas Eve, and the grandchildren had a grand time playing with all their new toys until it was time for them to go home and get a little sleep before Santa came to their own houses the next day. My husband and I spent Christmas Day at home alone, which actually turned out to be very nice and peaceful. My husband appreciated the time to catch up on much-needed rest after spending several days of working twelve-hour shifts, and with a John Wayne film marathon on one TV channel and a James Bond marathon on another, he was perfectly content! I took advantage of his mid-afternoon nap to set up the new Wii Fit I received for Christmas. That's a good thing, since the holidays have been filled with too many tempting goodies.

My five-year-old granddaughter came over a few days before Christmas to help me bake Christmas cookies. We made several dozen cookies, although we would have had more if she hadn't eaten so much leftover cookie dough :0) Her favorite part is decorating, as you can see. I set out cans of decorator icing and all kinds of sprinkles and let her go at it.

Anyone need a sugar fix??

Although the festivities are over, the decorations and Christmas tree will stay up through New Year's Day, as is my usual custom. I like to savor the holiday spirit as long as I can and enjoy the familiar ornaments as well as a few new ones, including this one received just a few days before Christmas.

This lovely mitten ornament was made by Amy at Blossom, and I was the lucky winner of her giveaway! You might enlarge the photo to see the intricate embroidery and detail. Even though she is recovering from recent knee surgery, Amy managed to send these all the way from British Columbia just in time for Christmas. Thank you so much, Amy! I will treasure these mittens, and they will be hanging on my tree every year.

Again, I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas, and I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!


  1. You sound like you had a great time, in spite of the nasty weather. Your granddaughter makes the kind of cookies I like. Lots of icing with a little bit of cookie to go along with it:)

  2. Great post, Rose, that really captures the weather mess we've had this last couple of weeks. We had all kinds of folks that couldn't make it to church Christmas Eve, especially if they lived in the country.

    I have a feeling your husband probably knows one of my favorite choir members, Lyle, from the road crews! We never know when we'll have him in the winter time.

  3. I guess everyone is having some kind of crazy weather these days. We had such strong wind yesterday that we had a few small limbs in our yard too. I'm glad your hubbie was able to be with you on Christmas and not having to work.

    Those cookies look yummie! Love sugar cookie highs!!!

  4. Rose ! I love those cookies .. they would be a great sugar rush for me to zip around the house to clean it ? LOL
    We have had such weird weather it has broken records for a "heat wave" yes .. up to 12 degrees celsius and that is HOT for this time of year .. and now today the wind has howled from early morning on .. I hate that .. a cold front is coming back to where it should be .. and finally the Great White North will be back to normal ? LOL

  5. Thank you Rose! I could surely use a sugar fix and those cookies look like they have tons! Glad you could get out a bit too, even with the awful weather. I just hate to hear the branches snapping in the cold snaps and it looks like you had lots of damage-hence snapping. Sometimes I wish I could just go save the tree, but we can't:( Anyhow, a very heartfelt thank you for the warm wishes and back to you for the New Year. (So hard to believe this year is nearly over!)

  6. Merry Christmas, Rose! Sorry to hear about your harsh weather but your colorful cookies more than make up for the outside dreariness. Stay warm and cozy.

  7. Rose, such an appropriate title! It's done about everyting but rain cats and dogs and I wouldn't be surprised if that happened.

    I'll be granddaughter had a ball helping with the cookies. They are so much fun at that age. I had the girls for a few extra days and we made lots of candy.
    Hope your trees don't suffer any more damage. I've seen several branches down here. Did you lose power at all? We were out 9 hours on Tues. night. Had to do some creative cooking of the Italian beef. S took it to our dauhter's about midnight to get it started. :)

    Here's to a wonderful New Year filled with love family and friendship!

  8. lovely to hear all your holiday news! Thank goodness everyone made it through the weather for your get togethers. What odd weather you're having!

    Those biscuits look somehow quite familiar :)

  9. Hi Rose, It sounds like you had a marvelous Christmas despite the weather. This has been an awful fall/winter so far. I wonder what is yet to come.

  10. I'm glad you had a nice Christmas in spite of your bad weather Rose. Those cookies look like sugar overload for sure, lol. My boys use to love making cookies too and they were very generous with the decor as well. ;) Love the mitten ornaments, congrats!

  11. Christmas cookies! How delightful! I make those every year whether kids and grandkids are with me or not. And they all get eaten. Ummmmmm!
    The weather is really weird - here in Canada too.
    I am glad you had a good Christmas. Those mitten ornaments were really cute. I checked out Amy's blog and will try to crochet some star ornaments.
    Isn't blogging fun??

  12. Rose, even without the closeup, I could tell which cookies your granddaughter made, LOL! The mitten ornament you won is gorgeous! The icy roads turned a trip that's normally 1.25 hours into 4 hours for me on Dec. 26. Yikes! The downed pine branches look so sad. (Pines are my favorite tree, should you ever need to know that for a quiz show, lol!!)
    ~ Monica

  13. Yes, ice on the roads is cause for worry but I'm glad you made it through and enjoyed a wonderful Christmas! The "sugar fix" made me laugh :o)

    I wish you a wonderful new year.


  14. Although the festivities are over, the decorations and Christmas tree will stay up through New Year's Day, as is my usual custom. I like to savor the holiday spirit as long as I can and enjoy the familiar ornaments as well as a few new ones, including this one received just a few days before Christmas.

    I am SO with you on this one, Rose - many of our friends have already "dismantled Christmas", but I can't bear the thought of it. Like you, I want to enjoy it all for as long as I can. The mitten ornaments are adorable!

  15. Flydragon, You've described the cookies perfectly:)

    Joyce, It was a miserable week, weather-wise, wasn't it? My husband has had to miss many social gatherings in the winter because of the snow. Overtime is nice, but he'd rather get a full night's sleep:)

    Susie, I know we're not the only ones with strange weather this past week. You can't eat too many of those cookies without a sugar rush!

    Joy, I think it might take more than cookies to get me in the mood to clean house:) I know you've had terrible weather, too. Hopefully, this week will be more "normal."

    Tina, I hate to see the tree branches split, too. At least we didn't lose any trees. Those cookies come with a warning:)

    Sarah, We didn't have all the snow you had. At least the weather didn't disturb our Christmas plans.

    Beckie, Last year I had grandson help, too, but it didn't work out this year. Most people shied away from eating Em's masterpieces, but she was so proud of them. We were without power for just an hour Tues. evening, thank goodness.

    Suburbia, The weather has been strange, to say the least. Do you think Small Sprog might like some leftover cookies?

    Lisa, This has been a crummy winter so far. I hope it means we'll have an early spring:)

  16. Racquel, Thanks. I just let the kids do what they want in decorating the cookies--the fun is in watching them, isn't it?

    Wendy, I was so surprised to win Amy's ornament. Husband got the mail and said what are you getting from British Columbia?? Blogging is so much fun; the real prize is just getting to know so many wonderful people.

    Monica, Yes, granddaughter was pretty liberal with the icing and sprinkles:) I know many people had extra long and harrowing trips just to get to their Christmas destinations. Glad you made it safely.

    Mary, Thank you. The cookies are eaten in small portions:)

    Nancy, I know so many people who take their tree down on Dec. 26. That would depress me! The week after Christmas has always been the time when I could relax a little and really enjoy the peacefulness of Christmas.

  17. Hi Rose, Your ice sounds scary! I hope you are getting around ok now. It was in the high 60's here today. Crazy weather we are ALL having:/
    We got a Wii Fit too...but I haven't tried it yet. I really really need to. I've been eating so much junk I feel like I've gained 15 pounds in just a few days:( My kids have tried it and said it's fun!
    The Christmas cookies you showed are really cute, with all that excess icing...of course kids love pouring it all on! My kids, at this point, don't really even care about making them anymore. My daughter did make one batch with some friends one afternoon...but if I didn't make more, we wouldn't have any:)
    Well, Happy New Year and see ya around blotanical! Jan

  18. Nice to hear you had a great Christmas and I can't help commenting about the delicacies first. My tongue's still watering!
    The first photo looks really scary and gloomy. I know how great it feels to see yellow in the sky - a ray of hope in the darkness. Stay safe!

  19. Jan, The weather is back to normal right now--no ice and temps in the 30's to 40's. I'll take snow anyday over the ice. You are going to love the Wii Fit! I'm taking it slowly, but it keeps me from having an excuse about exercising--I don't have to get all "gussied up" to go somewhere to do these exercises. And I'm so happy I can finally leave comments on your blog!

    Chandramouli, The gray skies can become depressing after awhile, but we seem to have better weather coming all this week. Loved your story about the jasmine and the sorrow-less tree.

  20. Glad you stayed dry. A lot of folks in this area had their basements fill with water Saturday and Sunday.

    Loved those cookies! Low cal right?

  21. Marnie, I was SO thankful to have a dry basement. Definitely low-cal:)

  22. Hi Rose, what a harrowing Christmas, but it does sound like it turned out splendidly. You are lucky to have won those mitten ornaments, Amy is quite the artist,I love them! Sugar fix is right, I laughed out loud at that heap of pink, too funny!


  23. Glad you made it home in one safe piece, dear Rose, and able to enjoy the holidays. The weather here was horrid also with 50-60 mi/hr gale force winds and flooding; many still out of power, some until Thurs. Unable to go to the cottage due to icy conditions ... neighbor sent photos of huge shoreline trees down in our yard, luckily our lonesome pine still stands, more lonesome than ever ;( Love Amy's mitten ornaments and festive cookies ... you lucky gal :) Happy New Year wishes!

  24. We've had fluctuating weather in Nebraska, too, but not as extreme as yours. I hope your husband has recovered from all that plowing and doesn't have to do it again too soon.

    It sounds like you and your granddaughter had a fun time making those cookies.

    Happy New Year,

  25. Dear Rose.....what terrible weather....sheet ice....I don't do sheet ice!!
    Looks like clearing the garden will keep you fit, you might not need the wii till later on!!

    I love the cookies......children are delightful, they decorate with gay abandon, I like that.....

    The mittens are lovely Rose, and I am sure you will treasure them....

    I hope you have a happy New Year with Beckie and family.....
    and glad you were able to spend quality time with Mr P!

  26. Argh! I left a long comment yesterday but I supposed Blogger lost it. I'm having so much trouble this week leaving comments on Blogger blogs. Anway, I'll try again...

    So glad you had such a lovely Christmas and that you family was safe and able to celebrate with you! I'm also very glad the mitten arrived in time for Christmas!

  27. Rose - I'm so glad you and your family had a safe holiday despite all the bad weather. We always watch True Grit on Christmas, it always seems to be on then. I hope you are enjoying your Wii Fit. I got one too but I haven't tried it out yet. We're too busy playing games :)

  28. Your weather sounds most bizarre.
    It is cold here but no white stuff.
    Glad that you had a lovely Christmas & that you saw the grandchildren and that they also enjoyed themselves. The biscuits looked very original with the colourful decorations. Dare I say additives!

  29. Dear Rose,
    So glad you were able to have all your Christmas celebrations in spite of the crazy weather. We had a wee bit of ice. Lots of black ice on our roads. The yo-yoing temperatures are a concern. I just know my mums are heaving!
    Do be extra careful. Garage floors can get slick when wet and it is easy to fall.
    I wish you and yours the happiest of New Years.

  30. Rose, what a lovely post--and cookies! I am so glad your husband was able to be home for Christmas. My mother flew in from northern IL for the holidays, and her flight was delayed over an hour and a half! No one would tell us what had happened to the flight and I was panicking! But, it turned out that bad weather had delayed another connecting flight, and she finally made it in.

    A happy and healthy New Year to you!

  31. Rose, about the seed swap, it can be any leftover seeds. I'll have a combination of ones I hand collected and those leftover from seed packets.
    ~ Monica

  32. Frances, We ran out of pink icing--I wonder why:)

    Joey, Your weather sounds even worse than ours was. After reading Kylee's post about losing electricity, I'm not going to complain. I hate to see the trees damaged, though.

    Sue, It sounded as though many places across the country had bad weather this Christmas. Husband is used to the long nights of plowing snow, but he's ready for a break this week!

    Cheryl, We had a very nice Christmas in spite of the weather. Fortunately, this week is much better with some sunshine. I love seeing Christmas through a child's eyes.

    Amy, I've had the same problem leaving comments on some blogs at times--very frustrating! I hope you read all the compliments about the mittens; my granddaughter was just in awe of them and wanted them for her tree!

  33. I do miss a few things about Illinois, Rose, but winter weather is definitely not one of them. I'm so glad your Christmas plans were not spoiled by the ice and snow. Tell your granddaughter her cookies are worth their weight in gold and calories. Next year, I'm sure Micah will be helping me in the kitchen too. He's already insisting on lifting the watering can by himself so he can soak my plants.

  34. Cindy, I haven't gone through everything on the Wii Fit, but I like the yoga and the balance exercises. It's surprising what a workout you can get!

    Maggie May, We did have a nice Christmas. I don't even want to know how that icing got so green:)

    Sherry, I would much rather have snow than ice. My son fell getting into his truck two days before Christmas and chipped a bone in his elbow. He'll be fine, but it made me extra careful walking outside. Thank you for the New Year's wishes!

    MG, That must have been frightening wondering what happened to her flight! I'm glad she arrived safely. Looks like you had wonderful family Christmas, too.

    Monica, Thanks for the info. I'll send off an e-mail to you soon.

  35. Walk2Write, You don't miss our winters?? LOL. I do appreciate the changing of the seasons and would probably miss that if I lived some place like Florida, but Illinois winters can be pretty miserable. You will enjoy doing even more and more activities with Micah as he grows older. My two younger grandchildren--now 4 and 5--love to help in the garden, too.

  36. Yes he would! I bet you don't have any left!!!

    I hope you have a Happy New Year :)

    Very best wishes for 2009

    Suburbia xx

  37. Even with the white and the ice, you have a wonderful lawn.

  38. Your grand-daughter did a great job there!

    Sounds like a real mix of weather but not enough to spoil your holiday, which sounded great. Glad Husband had the chance to relax. Hope you did too!

  39. Thanks, Suburbia; are you talking about my comment about the presents??

    Dawn, Thank you. You probably don't see much snow on your Georgia lawn:)

    Liz, Thank you--she had fun. Now you know what you have to look forward to when the grandchildren come along. Yes, I relaxed just as much as Hubby did!

  40. Your cookies look yummy, but I must admit that I'm getting tired of holiday foods. I'm ready for life, & the weather, to get back to normal.


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