Sunday 12 December 2021

A Woodland Theme and Big Winds

Yesterday was very, very busy. I am hosting Christmas for my side of the family this year. There are nieces and a nephew, all of whom are grown and living in various places, working various jobs. Since it has been a long time since we have all been together, I was really trying to make it work with as many people as possible. There was much back and forth with emails and texts and finally we finalized a date which works for 90% . 

I am now inspired to make sure my home looks nice and "Christmasy". Husband helped to haul out boxes and get me a chair so I didn't have to bend over too much (yes, I'm still dealing with this back, but I feel progress is being made, I am hopeful, although it is slow progress). I wanted to do the actual picking and choosing and decorating myself, so it's not that he didn't help, but you know how it is... you want it done the way you want it.

Something new I did this year was to create a display on a two-tiered metal, I don't know what to call it, display rack?? Husband bought it for me for the kitchen for fruit a few years ago, but it was too tall and the fruit always bruised too easily in it. I had an autumn display in it earlier this year and I envisioned a "woodland" theme for Christmas. Odd as it may sound, I wanted it on the bathroom counter, because that way pretty much everyone would see it and our bathroom is bead board and wood floor and wood cabinetry so it would work well. 

I've always loved these kinds of things - nature, little forest animals, natural texture (yes, I know the boughs are fake), anthropomorphism with hat-wearing birds. I've already professed my love for Jan Brett whose books feature so much glorious texture in her illustrations.

Oh how I adore this snowman. He is emerging from a wooden stump, but it is hard to see in this picture. 

I love how this little bird looks like it is carved from wood (I don't think it is). Unfortunately, I cut the head off the traditional woodland Santa in the background.

This bird has just a slight dusting of glitter on it. The Christmas ball ornaments I included have rabbits and lovely snowy outdoor scenes on them. If I had a Christmas rabbit  or squirrel I'd have included it in this display as well. For what it's worth, this year's theme in the stores seems to be gnomes. There are gnomes in every store - fabric, resin, big, little... So, good for gnome collectors. (Debra, she who seeks, are you on this?)

If you are an Ontario blogger friend, then you will know that we had some pretty awesome winds yesterday. It wasn't until I came downstairs this morning and puttered around that I looked out one particular window and my mind went, "wait, that doesn't look right." 

Indeed, we did not escape unscathed. In keeping with a woodland theme, here is what happened in our backyard. 

This great big Manitoba maple (actually box elder, but we've always called them Manitoba maples, don't know why) came down with the winds. It just popped out of the ground, rather than breaking off at the trunk. We were very very lucky because it did not damage the pool fence. If it had, what a nightmare that would have been. I don't even know if we could find the same type of fencing to fix it. The tree damaged some of the chicken run, but they don't go out much at this time of year now anyway. We also were lucky in that none of the similar trees fell on the chicken coop itself, or on our shed (which is more the size of a garage). Manitoba maples grow all along the west side of our property. We didn't plant them and they grow like weeds. If you cut them down, they sprout even more vigorously from their stumps. They don't have a lot of redeeming qualities as far as trees go.

Oh well, we have more firewood now. Husband has a chainsaw, but not big enough for this job, so he may have to rent or borrow. 

Moving on to more Christmas topics, I also began my baking yesterday. I always make this particular kind of cookie. I'm sure I've written about it before, but I'll throw in the recipe just in case you're interested. I don't refrigerate the dough by the way, just dive right in and bake them as soon as I've mixed the ingredients up. You can tell how much I've made these by the state of the little recipe "card".

I love how they "crinkle" on the top. They smell incredible, too.

You can tell I was going through a calorie counting phase at one point when I figured out how many calories were in each cookie. No, that's not 103 calories if you eat 33 cookies (I wish!!), but if the recipe makes 33 cookies, that's how many calories per cookie. But who cares. Just eat the cookie. 

I realized I am out of ground cloves and you just can't do gingerbread cookies without ground cloves, so I'll have to brave the crazy stores out there. Have you started your baking? Do you even bother? Have you made cookies similar to these? Do you also write on your recipe cards or in your recipe books? Do you still have recipe cards or are you all computerized, embracing the modern world? Do you also love little woodland animals wearing clothes?


  1. Your two-tiered woodland-themed Christmas display is wonderful! And yes, this definitely seems to be The Year of the Gnome, doesn't it? For once, I was ahead of a trend, LOL! Have a wonderful holiday celebration with all your family!

  2. Your display is gorgeous! Yes, the winds here were the worst I've heard since we moved to a condo 9 years ago.
    I do write on my recipes!

  3. Well, first of all, I'm really sorry about your tree. I always hate to see a tree go and only relieved it didn't take out the pool fence. We've had winds here too, and i've seen a lot of downed branches but your tree --that really hurts. I love your tiered display. Woodland is a favorite theme of mine (and Jan Brett -- isn't she the best?!) and this is darling. And those cookies look great. Molasses are one of my faves -- I may have to try these!

  4. It was a poor night for sleeping last night with the wind, which is still gusting. Glad your tree did not do much damage.
    Your decorations are beautiful! Yes, cloves are a must, and I'm pretty sure I have that cookie recipe. I have baked off two batches of cookies so far, gingerbread men and some sugar cut-outs. I have a recipe card file, and I write in my books, the date made and how the recipe was and any tweeks that might be appropriate next time, if the recipe is good enough to make again. I have recipes saved on the computer, but print them out when I want to make them. The good ones then go in the file.

  5. Your tiered tray with all the woodland critters (and Santa) is lovely. I have no theme, it's just objects I like so very eclectic.

    The wind must have been something. Sad that the tree blew down, but as you say, you'll have more firewood. Silver lining.

    I've made gingerbread cake, two batches of shortbread (so far - at least one more to come), rocky road fudge, M&M mint chocolate cookies, chocolate-chocolate chip cookies, mini cheesecakes, and a spice crumb cake. The last is from my mother's recipe box which lists only the ingredients and the oven temperature and time. Most of her recipes are like that. :)

    I have so many recipes in so many places. There is my mom's recipe box, the Canadian cookbook and others, notebooks with recipes I've pulled from magazines and newspapers glued to the pages, along with handwritten recipes from other sources. And then there is where I save ones I find there.

    Good to hear you are making some progress with your back. Take care!

  6. Your woodland critter Christmas display is lovely. My theme this year is Christmas tree vignettes. Tall, short and medium size trees, well lit. Only the large tree in the living room is fully decorated. My baking is poor. I buy pies, a yule log and gingerbread cake. It is shocking when a large healthy tree upends in a wind storm. Thank goodness the damage was minimal. Also, it is good to hear your back is improving.

  7. I like your woodland decoration also... all the little critters are adorable. My decor has no theme... although when I look at it... perhaps it does. So much of it is also little critters, I just never thought about it.
    I hope you have a wonderful family Christmas get-together. We are holding off again this year, but hope maybe next year things will be better.
    Your cookies look delicious. I have been baking... rum cakes, Christmas tea cakes, chocolate brittle, bourbon whiskey balls, and espresso delights! These are our family favorites. And of course I write on my recipes.

  8. I love your woodland themed decorating in your two-tiered "thingy." So many things to look at! We had horrible wind here in upstate NY last night, too. Lots of little twigs to pick up but no real damage. I haven't baked any Christmas cookies in quite a few years. This year, a local baker who has built her business by baking and selling from her home, has rented a storefront in town and is opening her bakery. I've ordered a tray of 4 dozen assorted Christmas cookies to be picked up the week before Christmas and I'm way more excited about it than I should be!

  9. So many questions but here are a few answers. Yes, I have recipe cards and many look just like yours. I will definitely try the ginger cookies, they look easy and scrumptious. Your woodland display is wonderful and I think it will look lovely in your bathroom! Sorry about your tree coming down but it doesn't sound as if you will miss it too much. We just had small branches and pine cones come down here.

  10. I love your woodland theme. I always decorate our half bath too. Our extended family Christmas just got canceled. rightly so I think there are some with big health issues that would not do will if they got sick.
    I have been baking I use Susan Branch's recipe and make several different ones from one dough.

  11. I love your arrangement. I too go for the birds. The birdies are the only colored things on the tree this year.

  12. That was quite a wild wind storm & thankfully other than some twiggy branches, all our trees are standing. Thankfully your pool fence is OK. Neighbours up the street, their Manitoba Maple clump came down & took out two of the hydro poles front the property. We lost power for an hour or so. There were 3 other large trees blown down throughout the village. Yes I've done some more Christmas baking & thanks for sharing your recipe. I wish 33 cookies were only 130 calories. Your tiered tray looks very festive. ... Mary-Lou =^{..}^=

  13. "I am hosting Christmas" - words that make most shudder. Good for you. And very good of you to make that basket - clever !

  14. You are very brave and to be admired for hosting Christmas this year even with you back not completely healed. Wonder Woman you are! Our winds (and trees down) have been like yours. I don't like strong winds. Your molasses cookie recipe looks very much like my Gingersnaps which are a favorite around here, too. I've not done one single bit of Christmas baking yet. What's wrong with me? My recipes all go on cards and into my big recipe box. I'll never get modern enough to put them all on the computer. Your 2-tiered thingamajig is magazine worthy. Just gorgeous! I was looking at one of Jan Brett's books and illustrations just this past week. I could look at them forever!

  15. You're going to have quite a crowd for Christmas. Enjoy the time with your family. You were so lucky that the tree did not damage anything. I hope it did not scare the chickens when it came down. Poor birds. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

  16. I seriously cut down on the baking this year. Just shortbread and another cookie we like.

  17. I love your tiered metal display and all the ornaments and is absolutely beautiful. I love a woodland theme too, better than any other. Oh, the Gnomes, that's all I see in the stores. Your recipe card looks like most of my recipes. I count and divide and figure calories. It gets to be a job. :) Hope you have a wondeful Christmas with all your family there. That makes for a really special Christmas.

  18. How great you will have a big family gathering for Christmas. Family together is the best especially in the world we are living. Your tiered display is so pretty. Enjoy getting ready for the big day. xoxo

  19. So sad to lose that tree, but it's good that it didn't do too much damage. No baking here yet, and I may not bother since no one eats it much anymore and it goes bad or gets given to the chickens.

  20. I love your sweet woodland tiered display! I've also been seeing a lot of Gnomes and they make me think of Deb.
    The poor tree. Wow, so close to your pool fencing. So, do you have some sort of heater for the chickens? I suppose you would have to with those temps.
    33 cookies=103 calories? LOL

  21. It's after Christmas as I write this. Love the display. I found 2 cute gnomes in plaid. But I won't go crazy with gnomes. Just those 2 on the front porch with a plaid fabric Christmas tree on a wooden base. I love natural elements also. This year I finally got to fill my big outside planters with cuttings from our evergreen windbreak and some sparkly pokes. I did 2 for in front of the garage and one in an old bucket on the front porch (by the gnomes.)
    I always write on recipe cards or in my cookbooks. How else will you know if you liked the dish? I have cut way back on baking. I buy some goodies, neighbors gift us some and I made 3 different cookies/bars along with banana bread to share, an apple pie to gift and Chex Mix for snacking. It was plenty and I am noticing that despite Farmer asking for "his" cookies, he's not really eating them. We don't eat a lot of sweets anymore. If they are still here after New Year's, I'll take them to work. Happy New Year!