In the Bleak Mid-Winter: Music by James Taylor, Images by Me

"In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
 earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
 snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
 in the bleak midwinter, long ago." Christina G. Rossetti

 This season is full of colorful lights, festive decorations, and glowing colors. This season also surrounds us with a midwinter beauty. Rossetti's poem was made into a traditional hymm that has been loved by Christmas music lovers for years.

 As I reviewed photos I had taken a year ago during the midwinter I was struck by the beauty of this series along Lake Roosevelt.

What made the words and images complete was my favorite version of this Christmas hymm performed by James Taylor. Enjoy!


The songs of the holiday season has always been a big part of the memories I hold dear of Christmas. I remember hearing songs on Christmas specials at a very young age. Our first record albums contained Christmas songs. Until I was an adult, most of my experiences with holiday music had been listening to classical or traditional songs.

Then I discovered the album December by George Winston. I believe my brother introduced me to this album. First owning the cassette tape, then moving on to a CD, the arrangements by George Winston take me back to decorating my first home in Kennewick, driving through the snow to arrive to Kellogg for Christmas, and songs I could play in the background at school.

I really love songs from all the albums, but since joy became of them of my recent photos, here is Joy. Enjoy.

Christmas Cookie Exchange and a Keeper from the Recipe Box

I first posted this December 8th, 2007 on this blog. It is about memories of a cookie exchange. I will make these yummy cookies again this year.

Christmas Cookie Exchange
Years ago when I was teaching at Cascade Elementary in Kennewick our librarian organized a Christmas cookie exchange. The idea was greeted with enthusiasm, particularly since our staff was mostly women.  This was how it worked. Each participant chose a favorite cookie recipe, then brought an assigned amount to the exchange. Each staff member then collected a mixture of new cookies to take home. The first year we did the exchange our kindergarten teacher Joy brought these incredible cookies. It was hard to tell the exact ingredients. They were soft and buttery with hints of other flavors. I had to have that recipe. To this day I don’t know the real name for this cookie recipe. After baking them for more than twenty years I still call them Joy’s Cookies. My mom has since added the recipe to her Christmas repertoire. She refers to them as “Those Sesame Seed Cookies.”

I still have the 4x6 note card that Joy, using her perfect kindergarten teacher printing, carefully wrote out for me. At the top of the card it says “Here are those yummy cookies- Joy”.  My gift to you- those yummy cookies!
Joy’s Cookies
2 cups softened butter
1 ½ cups sugar
3 cups flour
½ cup finely sliced almonds
1 cup sesame seeds

Cream the butter and sugar. Add flour until mixed. Add sesame seeds and almonds. Divide dough into thirds. Roll and wrap in waxed paper. Chill. Cut into slices and bake at 325 for 20 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen.
Tips: Buy the sesame seeds in bulk or the cookies will cost you a fortune.
          Splurge on the almonds already sliced. If there is a way to slice them by hand, it escapes me.                                                   
          Watch the time. They burn easily depending on how thin you slice them.       
 I can’t say how many the recipe actually makes because Everett usually samples the first warm cookies from the oven and somebody usually samples the dough. If some burn, dogs do love them as a treat. These are perfect any time of year. For some reason I always make them at Christmas.

Christmas Memories: Look Alike Nightgowns

As I prepare for the Christmas season I am flooded with memories of holiday seasons past. This month I am going to reflect on those memories and capture the moments I remember so well in celebration of Christmas.
It is funny the little things that stick in your memory long after the event has happened. Some days I can't remember what I wore the day before, but can remember the matching pajamas from years ago.

One Christmas I think Grandma Woolum gave the whole family matching pajamas. This was before my sister was born and we lived on 14 E. Portland. I don't have any pictures of those pajamas, but I remember how special I thought it was to have matching pajamas. Grandma Woolum pulled through again a few years later after Carol was born. As you can see from the picture above only the sisters had the matching nightgowns. I guess the Crescent didn't have sets that included brothers.

I think one thing I loved about having the matching pajamas was opening them on Christmas Eve. We hardly ever got to open presents on Christmas Eve, but I guess grandma thought we needed to wear them to bed while we waited for Santa to come, so she trumped Dad when it came to present rules on Christmas Eve.

Our family never again had matching shirts, sweatshirts, or pajamas for any occasion. Perhaps we start up the tradition again!