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— The bone-chilling cold of approaching winter has set in and there’s a layer of ice on our outdoor water buckets these mornings but it doesn’t seem to have put a damper on the holiday spirit. Stores are filled with shoppers bustling about doing their holiday buying and, as our editor noted last week, seasonal decorations are going up all over town. Our household has received the first Christmas card, not from an individual but the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The daily paper has printed the annual cookbook of reader recipes and I’ve enjoyed browsing through, seeking a few to try.

The frost was definitely on the pumpkin Monday morning, the last day of November. I couldn’t find my ice scraper so I borrowed the one from Mama’s car to remove the frosty coating on my windshield before going to work. The day was sunny but temperatures dropped into the 20’s that night so I was thankful there was still plenty of leftover turkey soup to warm up for our supper.

Sister Nancy stayed with Mama while I worked at the office a few hours Tuesday morning and lingered a bit longer while I went to the grocery store to do a little shopping. Later in the afternoon I got out my collection of Christmas cards and began to address some to friends and family members. Looking through the cards received last year warms our hearts withfond memories and a cup of hot tea sweetened with a teaspoonful of honey helps warm me too. Miss Abby has begun staying inside on these chilly nights and she curls up beside me and does her part as well.

The weatherman forecast snow or a “wintry mix” for Wednesday so Jim didn’t plan any outdoor work. I put some of the crispy squares on my plate, topped them with a ladleful of beans and generous helping of liquid and added several sliced jalapeno peppers for the crowning touch. Can’t beat that for cold weather fare!

Niece Laura came in Friday morning and I had a short visit with her before she and her mom left on a shopping trip. I held down the fort at the office again and at the end of the work day dropped by the holiday open house at Edward Jones Investments. I visited with friends there and sampled a variety of tasty treats before heading home. Jim sent me out to buy catfish dinners for our evening meal.

I went out Saturday morning to deliver our recyclable items to the collection trailer. After breakfast I went to tend to the Evans cats, then dropped by the bazaar at the Methodist Church. I filled a sack with goodies for just a few bucks and stopped by the Bank ofGravett community room to place some decorations on the tables. I picked up a neighbor and took her with me that afternoon when I returned to the bank for our library commission party. Library commissioners, our librarian, a clerk and volunteer gathered to enjoy delicious snacks and socializing with friends. I read a poem, we played a holiday trivia game and gave some special honors.

Jim and a friend went to Southwest City Sunday morning and when they returned I fixed a late breakfast of sausage and eggs, biscuits and gravy.We spent most of the day watching pro football games and I clipped coupons from the newspaper Many folks are busy putting up Christmas trees this week. If you’d like to involve the kids in this activity let them make cute tree decorations from plastic fruit-shaped lemon and lime juice squeeze bottles. Rinse them out and let them dry. Then thread a piece of yarn or ribbon through the loop in the lid (or if there is no loop, tie yarn around the cap) and hang on the tree.

News, Pages 4 on 12/09/2009

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