A Change In Plans and We Wish You A Merry Christmas

People who know me well and some who have been following my blog for a while could probably tell you that I believe that a plan is not complete unless it comes with a plan-b. I believe in having an alternative for everything from flushing the toilet when the water has been shut off, to what we will have for dinner, and who I would call if my car broke down. Going through life with plan-b’s has save me a lot of time, energy and STRESS.

My plan for Monday, December 23 was to begin baking desserts for our Christmas Day celebration, a couple of pumpkin pies and sugar cookies (that are a treat that I normally only make at Christmas time). We also had gifts that needed to be wrapped. Then On Tuesday I would bake the ham and dinner rolls leaving the oven available for roasting the turkey on Christmas morning.

Monday morning I set out the butter, that I would use to make sugar cookies, to soften and took two containers of pumpkin out of the freezer to thaw. This things should be ready for me to begin baking after lunch.

The weather was outside was unseasonably warm and sunny, a stark contrast to the cold and gray days that we had experienced throughout the month of November and into December. During that time I longed for sunshine, so when my husband called from the farm, as I was eating my lunch, and asked me if I wanted to come out I could not refuse. I could at least get out for a walk and to soak up some of that glorious sunshine that I have missed for so long.

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There was still a thin layer of ice on the pond as the overnight temperatures have been below freezing.

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But it felt more like springtime than the second day of winter.

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The maple trees seem to be confused by the weather. The buds are swelling as if wanting to open, and last week when my husband cut a low hanging branch from one of the trees the sap began to flow. We had no idea that they would produce sap this time of year.

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The bees were out in full force. Sadly, and for reasons that remain a mystery, we have lost several hives over the past six weeks. We currently have three hives.

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Since there was nothing in bloom for them to forage my husband set out some frames of honey for them to eat and a shallow pan of water with some stones in it so they could drink.

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The chickens were also out and about, happily scratching and pecking.

After taking a walk around the back field with Trooper I just wasn’t ready to return home. My husband was going to work on cutting firewood, so I decided to help out by cutting kindling.

During the 3 hours we were working, and relishing the lovely weather, at the farm I was reformulating my plans for the day. Upon my return home I could still bake pumpkin pies and wrap presents, but making sugar cookies is very time consuming so I would find a simpler alternative. It was because I knew I had alternatives that I was able to enjoy the day.

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Trooper enjoyed being at the farm with us and Peanut found it a fine day for a visit.

Once we returned home I began making pumpkin pie. It was around 3:30 and I should be able to get them in the oven and then throw together a quick dinner. As I opened up one of the containers of pumpkin that I had thawed I realized it wasn’t pumpkin – it was apple sauce. Oh No! I wasn’t making pumpkin pie today either. I went to the freezer and took out two containers that I was sure were pumpkin and told my husband I wouldn’t be baking pies until Tuesday (plan-b).

I then got out my Betty Crocker cookbook and found a recipe for toffee bars (plan-b). They had a cookie type crust with melted chocolate chips on top then sprinkled with chopped nuts. They took less than an hour to make and while they were baking I worked on wrapping gifts. My husband decided to have a pizza delivered for dinner (that was his plan-b), and I was most appreciative.

As I write the pumpkin pies are cooling on the counter the ham is baking, the rolls are rising while they await their turn in the oven and I should still have time to bake the birthday cake for Jesus.

In this case my alternative plans including making a change in menu that freed up some of my time and doing something at a different time than was planned, but truthfully if  one or even two of those desserts were missing I don’t think that anyone would notice. I could have just decided not to make so much.

As I close this post I am happy to tell you that that the ham, the rolls, and the cake have all been baked and I couldn’t be happier that I changed my plans.

From our hearts to yours we wish you love, peace and joy this holiday season and into the new year.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32 thoughts on “A Change In Plans and We Wish You A Merry Christmas

  1. The weather this Christmas was much warmer than usual! I am sorry about the bee hives. I hope no more are lost ❤ Toffee bars and pizzas are pretty great plan Bs! I love that you make a birthday cake for Jesus too. Thanks for sharing, Ruth. I have loved catching up on your blog a bit! Have a very blessed New Year.

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    1. Usually I don’t mind a white Christmas but this year I welcomed the warm weather. It made it possible for my father-in-law to travel up from Ohio and everyone else to make it as well. So far the three hives seem strong but we still have a lot of winter ahead. Thank you so much for spending some time here. Wishing you all the best in the New Year,

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  2. Thanks for your story and pics. I haven’t had my three older sons together for Christmas for years. So I don’t bake, just wait to see my younger son each year and Facetime with others. I do reminisce a lot of past holidays with family that warms my heart.
    Merry Christmas!!

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    1. I glad you enjoyed this Rebecca. I am so thankful that my girls are all still in the area and try to make it each Christmas. I know that that might not always be the case so for now it is important to enjoy the time together and make those special memories. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

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      1. Ha Ha. Thanks for letting me know. Last time that happened it was my sister and I knew by the comment that she left so I asked her about it. I would have assumed your comment was her again. Merry Christmas!

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  3. You are a smart cookie Ruth … sugar cookie or otherwise. 🙂
    P.S. – I just heard on the 7:00 p.m. news that yes, the trees are confused and a few of the flowering trees, (they mentioned lilacs and magnolias) have shown evidence of buds. Not great at all – hopefully the apple tree outside your bedroom window is not messed up – remember the Spring everything got buds, then we got a Wintry blast again? Mother Nature is great sometimes … yes the 50 degrees and sun was wonderful to replace the Fall we never had this year, but wreaking havoc with our ornamental and fruit-bearing tree is a big no-no. Merry Christmas Ruth.

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      1. My ornamental lace-leaf maple tree leafed out then got frost burn and the rest of the year it had yellow-tinged leaves … everyone else with this tree had the same phenomenon. A lot of cherries and apples were lost in this state that year. I think they brought cherries in from Washington for the Traverse City Cherry Festival and also to make cider for some cider mills too.
        Merry Christmas to you too my Michigan friend.

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      2. It is interesting to observe nature and how it reacts to the weather. I am glad I have my blog now to document some of my observations. We had a wonderful Christmas Linda. I hope you did too.

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      3. Yes, the weather is so wacky that I have to worry how it will affect everything in years to come. Snow in Southern California this morning; yes in the mountains, but still … we have California-type weather. So, we hear a lot about the ice melting in Alaska and other polar regions and see the poor skinny polar bears who can’t find food, but the scientists don’t mention what happens in our own backyards. Glad you had a wonderful Christmas Ruth … thank you again for inviting me to your house. My holiday was quiet. I did not go to Elizabeth Park as it was too late. I did not leave the house until 1:30 p.m. I generally like to walk in the morning as the critters, furry and feathered too, are not so likely to be out and about. They do their foraging and begging, earlier in the day. That was the case … just two squirrels, but so mild … I did not need all the clothes I was wearing, that is for sure. At least, once the fog burned off, it was safe for traveling, which isn’t always the case.

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      4. I don’t think we had as much fog up here we did have frost early in the morning. I didn’t get out of the house much to enjoy the warm weather because I spent a lot of the time in the kitchen and the rest just visiting with family. I did step out on the deck a few times though.
        I am going to make a point to get out to the farm for a while each day now while this warmer weather holds. I am still anticipating a long winter ahead.
        If you ever decide to make a road trip (perhaps in the summer) we would welcome a visit from you.

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      5. It was pretty nice this morning too – 48 degrees when I came home from walking. I know they say the bottom will fall out soon – first with rain on Sunday, then with colder weather on Monday – as long as we don’t get snow … they are saying it will be a bad Winter though. Thank you for the invitation Ruth – I need to get better at driving on the expressway … many years ago a friend and I were going to school (a night class) and I was not even driving. In the Summer of 1977 I had to take a class for school because during the regular school year, it was only offered at the same time as other classes, so I had to go in the Summer. The girl I was riding with was in a nursing program. We were in high school together. Anyway, we bumped into one another and decided to ride together … we were merging onto the expressway in Lincoln Park and a semi-trailer decided to speed ahead of us as we were about to merge and she had to apply the brakes really quickly and we started to go up the embankment and I was sure the car would flip … he did that on purpose as we had plenty of time to merge. We were both pretty shaken up but otherwise not hurt and the car was not damaged, but the fear of merging and driving fast has never left me. I did drive to Toronto after that event about 4-5 times a year, when my grandmother was alive (three expressways in the last 20-30 minutes which left me a nervous wreck) … the 401 Highway was not bad at all. And we had to take I-75 to get to Detroit, so for me being on five expressways in four hours’ time left me a little high strung, and then the traffic in Toronto was always congested to get to her house – I often would get there, say “hi” then need a nap (we also left about 6:00 in the morning to try to beat rush hour in Detroit and arrive after rush hour in Toronto). I need to expand my horizons and get out more – I know that for sure.

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      6. That’s what my mom and I always did Ruth.
        I would take a couple of vacation days and we’d travel on a Thursday morning and return Sunday afternoon … we’d try to avoid traffic and the worst was the big semis who often would trap small cars between them like a sandwich and ride like that for many miles, all the time laughing and looking down at your car – it passed the time for them, but it was an uncomfortable feeling.

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