Snow, Christmas and Giving

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and all your loved ones are safe and happy.

I was able to get out to spend Christmas with my youngest son and his family but because of record snow fall haven’t been able to see my oldest yet this holiday season.  Northwest Pa, Erie in particular has received 90 inches of snow, and temperatures reaching negative numbers, in the month of December with 30 of that coming on Christmas day.  So far they have been lucky that the snow hasn’t caused power outages that would cause them to lose heating so all are safe.

Baking For Santa

Thanksgiving is by far my family’s favorite holiday, but Christmas with children is a close second. I spent the night at my son’s to be able to see the children open their gifts. This is the first year that Little Guy really understood the whole concept of presents which made this year extra fun.

I didn’t have gifts for the children on Christmas day because I did something very different this year. Instead of toys or clothes I put together small packages for the 12 days before Christmas. Each day the children found something to make in preparation for Christmas or a craft to busy themselves with. Although one day  there had to be a book for each child or it wouldn’t feel right.

One example of their gifts was a gingerbread man kit.

Their mother loved these. She had tried to make a gingerbread house but it was too difficult for Little Guy to help much.  With this kit the children got to decorate their own set of cookies, Little Guy even mastered a frosting piping bag when decorating his, at just three years old I found that pretty impressive. Here’s the results of his efforts with the piping bag.

Their parents planned gifts well in advance for the children.  They didn’t receive much as their big gift is a trip to Disney World next month.  I found one idea genius.  The children love to play dress up. It’s easy to find outfits for girls but not so much boys.  After Halloween when all the costumes went on clearance they picked up one for each of the children to play dress up in. They were able to purchase each for less than five dollars.

 

The gifts I received were just as thoughtful.  I received an electric blanket to help me warm up after going outside to prevent hypothermia from setting in, something I can slip into quite easily. Another surprise gift was a case of pint-sized canning jars to use to store foods in the kitchen drawers since I’ve had a bit of a problem with mice this winter.

My son then purchased me six books, one by a client of his.

 

If you enjoy suspenseful books you may want to check this author out, I couldn’t put it down and had it read in one day.  My son purchased his first novel for me two Christmases ago and had it autographed.  When I expressed what a talented writer his friend and client was and how I couldn’t put it down he bought me this, his second book.  J.D Barker won the Bram Stoker award for his first novel and has been retained by the Stoker family to write the Prequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The Fourth Monkey has a movie already in the works but the title is expected to be changed so as not to confuse it with Brad Pitt’s movie 12 Monkeys.

My son also gifted me with a Learn to knit kit giving me one more chance to master this skill.

And my daughter-in-law gave me two cross stitch books. I’m told all my gifts were intended to keep me busy so cabin fever wouldn’t set in too badly this winter. 🙂 They know me so well.  There were so many lovely patterns in these books but these are the ones I will probably do first.

 

Love that amaryllis!

 

Finally my youngest granddaughter made a drawing at school she wanted to give me. Her mother had it made into a 12 by 12 quilt block. I see a quilt being made this winter. I can already picture how I want the finished quilt to look.

I have been wanting to make a new quilt as one I use regularly has come to the end of its life. This square was such a surprise and it once finished it will be a special treasure for both my granddaughter and me.

With snow coming down and more expected I stayed just long enough at my son’s to watch my Steelers win their football game then we braved the ice (it was too cold for the salt my son put down to work) with the manual wheelchair, let me tell you that was one scary ride on the hilly drive at my son’s house, and safely headed home.

 

How was your Christmas? Do you have special plans for the New Year?

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27 comments

  1. Sounds like you and family had a bit of Christmas magic. I loved reading this! I love the Iris cross stitch picture. Makes me want to pick it back up and try my hand at some. 🙂

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    • We had a lovely Christmas, how was yours? I hope you and your husband were able to enjoy the day and he’s feeling better.

      That Iris is lovely too isn’t it? I now have plenty to stitch all I need to do is decide which I will start when I finish up a few waiting on me.

      Have a lovely New Years, Jackie, and I hope it’s better than 2017 was to you.

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      • Our Christmas was quiet. Really just another day. I’m not sure I if I should be sad or glad about that.
        That Iris is indeed lovely. Can’t wait to see what you work on next. 🙂
        Happy New Years, Lois. Hope it’s a great one for you. ❤

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  2. Beautiful Christmas. Lovely idea for the twelve days of Christmas gifts for the children. Often the day of is overwhelming for kids, and also, too noisy. This way they got to enjoy and treasure each gift/day.

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    • Hi Anon. How was your Christmas? I hope you are doing well with winter and not hit hard.

      That was part of my reason for trying a 12 days of Christmas. Then Christmas day could be all about the immediate family. I also wanted to stretch out the fun. Aside from some decorations there’s little to enjoy about the holiday until Christmas day.

      Hope you and your family have a wonderful New Year.

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  3. What a lovely Christmas. I have been hearing about the record snow fall in PA – apparently the lake is not fully frozen so the storms are picking up moisture and dumping it on the nearby land … lake effect snow – but pumped up big time. Glad everyone is safe. Our Christmas was lovely.

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    • Hi Elaine, so glad to hear you had a lovely Christmas. As soon as things settle down I’ll be able to get some computer time in and visit you to see what you’ve been up to.

      Yes, the lake effect was in play in the Erie snowfall. Usually the majority of snowfall arrives later in the winter after the lake has frozen so the snowbelt moves to about 12 miles south of the city. It really is a belt. You can follow it on any map it follows Interstate 90 from Cleveland to just south of Erie then up to Buffalo. I’ve always thought the placement of the interstate was a dumb place to put it. 🙂

      Have a wonderful New Year’s.

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  4. I’ve been thinking about you all as I watched reports of the record cold and snow in PA. I was hoping you were safe and warm and had not lost heat. Sounds like you had a great Christmas with some of your family. I’m going to vote for a second Christmas in June or July so those in snow belts can get out and see family and friends. It took my sister 3 hours to get home on Christmas eve instead of one. Icy roads brought traffic to a grinding halt. My daughter was spending the night and my niece was in a little Subaru with all wheel drive. My sister’s truck is rear wheel drive and should not be on the road in that weather. I can see your family puts a great deal of thought into the gifts they give. Very wise parents. I requested no gifts this year for myself. My daughter gave me a gift certificate to get my hair trimmed which I need but don’t want to waste money on. It was lovely to have my sister, daughter and sis’ family over. Christmas day was very quiet and relaxing. Just me after my daughter left early enough to avoid the freeze over after sundown. I am looking forward to the new year and lots of quiet time. Keep us posted with that nasty weather. Hugs and happy new year.

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    • It’s pretty cold here but I’m staying inside and curling up with my heating blanket often. What a perfect year to receive that. 🙂 We’ve gotten more snow here Since Christmas than we had all last year combined but it’s nothing like Erie got and I’m thankful for that.

      I’m glad your sister made it home safely, real wheel trucks are notorious for losing control on icy roads with so little weight in the back end. I would have been worried about her out there.

      I ask for no presents every year but lose that battle immediately. Thankfully, the gifts I get are thoughtful and very useful and they don’t go overboard.

      I’m glad you were able to spend Christmas with your family, was your son able to make it up?

      I too am looking forward to 2018, and happy to say good bye to 2017. Hope this is a good year for you. Take it easy and enjoy your quiet.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lois. The gingerbread decorating looks like it was a real hit – lots of fun and skill building. Love the picture quilt square. Keep warm (easier now with that blanket) and I hope you have a great 2018.

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    • Hi Anne, I hope you had a lovely Christmas. Yes, the gingerbread men were a big hit, They even saved one to share with me on Christmas.

      I’m trying to stay warm, first step is to just stay indoors. 😦

      Happy New year to you. May it be a good year.

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  6. I, too, have been thinking of you as I watch the reports coming in from Erie. Bet you’re glad you’re not living up north anymore! I’m actually a little bit jealous since we’ve hardly had any snow at all this year. We did get a bit of cold weather finally, but it sure hasn’t felt much like winter!

    Your Christmas sounds wonderfully simple. I wish you much luck with the knitting lessons… I fear that’s one gene I did not inherit from my mother, who was a wonderful knitter. I’m happy for your Steelers – I’m pulling for them to win it all this year. I do have to confess though, that I was rooting for the Texans in that game – only because with the way the Broncos’ season has gone, the only thing left to root for is the best possible draft choice, and they’re one ahead of us in that race!

    Best to you and yours for a very happy New Year!

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    • I am glad not to be living up north this winter although I do miss the little town I’d lived in this works better for me at this time in my life. I hope your winter remains mild, the cold here is bitter. It looks like we might get a break in the sub freezing temps in about a week, hope it lasts.

      I’m holding off on the knitting kit until I can spend time with my 9 year old grandson who has master knitting. We have a deal that he will teach me to knit and I’ll teach him to crochet.

      I’ve thought of you often this football season, you sure had a bad one this year. Hopefully, they will work things out in the off season.

      Happy New Years. I have to find a few minutes to visit you, I can’t comment from my phone but was very interested in your last couple of posts.

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  7. So happy to hear you had a fabulous Christmas Lois and what thoughtful beautiful gifts, Love that drawing your granddaughter drew.. and I am sure you will have many magical moments making that quilt along with many more cross stitching hours..
    Wishing you a Very Happy New Year.. 🙂 take care of yourself Lois out in the cold.. xxx ❤

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    • Hi Sue, How was your Christmas?

      It looks to be a long and cold winter so plenty of creative hours spent with needle and sewing machine are planned in my near future. 🙂

      Hope you are having a good New Years day and that this year is better than 2017 was for all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Lois, Christmas was peaceful and quiet for the most part, but most enjoyable, And I spent most mornings since then model making.. Something my daughter bought our granddaughter but she did not realise it was so intricate
        Its a green house filled with everything imaginable, but you have to make everything even the flowers from tiny pieces and the wood you have to cut and glue, Its amazing.. Already spent 6 hours and only scratched the surface of making it.. It was intended for her barbie dolls, but its way to special to play with like that.. So it will be a display model that my daughter said could be a heirloom.. At least Grandma will have put her heart and soul into its creation LOL..
        Have a Wonderful New Year, Hope that cold weather keeps at bay and you are snug within your four walls and cross stitching merrily away..
        Happy 2018 to you.. Love Sue xxx

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  8. It seems you had a wonderful Christmas with family and lovely gifts. You would understand one of my favorite gifts — 3 lbs of hand ground organic whole wheat flour! There is a farmer near my sister’s home who grows and grinds it.
    I thought about your and your family when I saw pictures of all the snow in Pennsylvania. I’m glad to know you and they are safe and warm.
    I wish you a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.

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    • Hi Cynthia, yes I do understand how pleased you were with 3 lbs of organic whole wheat flour.

      Pennsylvania has had snow like this before but it usually hits about 12 miles south of Erie. Erie exceeded it’s annual average snowfall in the month of December but it’s not the first time. I still remember Christmas of 1983, I promised to spend the day with my grandparents. Driving in I was the only driver on the streets besides the snow plows. After dinner we couldn’t find my car and I had to spend the night. The next day all the neighbors came out to dig the street out and find my car. So glad Pittsburgh doesn’t get snow like that. How’s the weather by you? I’ve heard the cold snap went pretty far south this year.

      Have a wonderful New Year.

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  9. That sounds like the perfect Christmas to me! I love the idea of 12 days of little things.
    And I’m positive you will be creating lovely things over winter.
    A most wonderful New Year to you and yours, Lois! xoxo

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    • Hi Dale, How was your Christmas?

      The 12 days was fun for the children with one side effect. Little Guy for days after Christmas kept asking if there were more presents when he woke up and his parents say it’s all my fault. 🙂

      Happy New Year to you too Dale.

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      • Hi Lois! It was pretty good. We did our ritualistic each sister having the gang over.

        Oh dear… I guess it would be hard to understand when we are little. Still. Very cool idea – Grandma’s fault or no!!
        A very Happy New Year to you too!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Ooh, how very Christmassy! Ironically, lowland Switzerland had no white Christmas, and very rarely does…

    What a great time you had with family, perfect. You really have inspired me with your stitching and I have brought out my last unfinished work… eventually I will get my threads and find the masterplan, too!! So I had to laugh when I saw your son encouraging you to knit lol! Love that iris motif for spring 😁

    Happy new year and all the very best for 2018!!

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    • Swiss Rose, I am always thrilled to inspire others to pick up forgotten creative ventures. Hope you’ll share your cross stitch when finished.

      Happy New year to you too.

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    • It’s rare here that we don’t have snow for Christmas, often Thanksgiving, Halloween and Easter as well. I could do with less snow but it’s what I’ve always known.

      the knitting kit will wait until my 9 year old grandson comes to visit as he’s promised to teach me. I suspected we were going to have a harsh winter and planned ahead with plenty of projects to keep me occupied but it was wonderful to receive such thoughtful gifts from my son and his family to add more variety to winter activities.

      Happy New Year to you Swiss Rose.

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  11. Loved the idea of 12 days before Christmas, Lois! Perfect for keeping little ones busy and calm. INspired! Ours was quiet and nice. I had to read the 90 inches bit a few times; that’s well over my head and I used to be 5′ 10″!! Hard to believe, really. Glad you and your family are safe and relatively warm. Also glad your kids ignored your request and got you that blanket! Just the thing this year, I think. I loved Little Guy’s cookie decorating; he may end up a baker at that rate. And the quilt square is wonderful. I was wondering if you are thinking about turning other artwork into squares to add to the planned quilt? I’ve thought of doing something like that with my own grands, but it’s not simple to get things done and mailed to me. I may still ask, though. Your niece would do well to load a few sand bags or concrete blocks or both into her truck for the duration; it sure improves the traction and the sand comes in handy if one ever does end up off the road a bit. (a shovel in the back seat helps, too).

    I loved hearing about your Christmas, Lois. Sounds pretty good to me. Warm hugs to you. ~ Linne

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    • I’m cracking up picturing you comparing the snowfall in Pennsylvania to your own height. 🙂 While snowfalls like this put a burden on a city getting the roads cleared the children love it. I used to have a neighbor when I lived in a townhouse community who would get permission from his immediate neighbors then shovel a maze in the snow. He would collect all the small children to run through it trying to find him and his wife and I would sit in the upstairs landing looking out the window for children who might need help since no one on the ground could see them.

      The 12 Days of Christmas was a lot of work trying to put together just the right gifts/activities for all as I had to send them to three different households to cover all my grandchildren. It was well worth the trouble because the children loved it. They have even asked me to do it again.

      I’m not going to have my granddaughter make more squares as the cost would add up and instead pick up colors from her square for other fabrics to make up the rest of the quilt. On the other hand my oldest granddaughter is an amazing artist who at nine is studying adult art lessons so I’ve offered to put together a dozen of her favorite pieces into a quilt for a gift. I think it would be a wonderful thing for her to look back on years from now and see how far her talent improves with time.

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