But, holy cow, does it have to snow this hard? It’s not a blizzard because the wind isn’t strong enough, technically. However, snow is driving down thick and hard; about an inch every half hour and you can hardly see the goat shed at times. We’re supposed to get about a foot but I’m thinking it’ll be more, plus drifts. Then tomorrow, the temperature’s going to dive below zero with the high on Christmas in the single digits. So I did my chores early, before the snow got heavy then set up to make another big batch of Christmas cookies … even though we’re not doing the big family dinner. But I will give a plate full to Bill and his family when they come on Sunday to quickly and socially distanced gift exchange … probably outdoors. And another for David and Elizabeth. Gee, that’ll leave a bunch that must be eaten up … by us! That’s okay though because it just doesn’t seem like Christmas if I don’t do a bunch of baking. (I’ve already done a batch of Scotch shortbread and Best Ever spritzes.) The recipe I use for my Christmas cookies is the Sour Cream cookie recipe on page 239 of my book, Jackie Clay’s Pantry cookbook. To make cutout Christmas cookies, though, I do add an extra cup of flour, so they don’t puff up so much and retain the shape they’re supposed to be.

I got all set up to make our traditional Christmas cookies. Tomorrow I decorate them!
These are the cookies I made yesterday. (Okay, so I nibbled…)

While I was baking up a storm, Will went out and shoveled a path from the house to the driveway. Later on, when the snow slows down or quits, he’ll go ahead and plow the driveway with the pickup. But there’s no sense in doing it when it’s still snowing and blowing hard.

Will coming in from shoveling a path from the house to the driveway.

I got my Christmas present early. Years ago, we sponsored a family of Vietnamese refugees (then called “boat people” as they fled in often small boats after the fall of Saigon). There were nine in the family; mom, dad, and seven children, ranging in age from a baby to 15-years-old. We became very close. But then they moved to be with relatives after a couple of years and we moved — and moved again. So we lost contact and I felt bad about that as they had become part of our family; we worked together on the farm and played together too. Finally, several months ago, I got an email, asking if I was the Jackie that used to live near Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota. It was from one of the Vietnamese “kids,” now an adult! Long story, short, I’ve been getting daily phone calls from the adult children and we’ve had wonderful visits. They’ve all done very well, have great jobs, families of their own, and are happy. I feel so blessed to have been a help to them, along their often-hard journey. Merry Christmas to me!

And You all have a wonderful Christmas too! — Jackie


  1. Wow, that’s a lot of snow! Soft frosted sugar cookies are one of my all time favorites! What a wonderful story about finding old friends. Stay warm, safe, and have a very Merry Christmas holiday.

  2. Yes, that was the high point of my year! The Nguyens were truly part of our family; such wonderful folks and hard workers, too. I have Mom’s 1959’s spritz cookie press and attachments. The press’s sides have worn through but I wrapped duct tape around the barrel years ago and it’s still there! And it still works fine. I remember the checkerboard cake too but don’t have the set. You have a wonderfully Happy New Year Selena!

  3. So happy that you could connect with your Vietnamese Family. My daughter hosts international students and they become part of our family; but none this year. We were lucky to speak to one of her daughters today. She is living at home in Hungary with her husband, new baby boy, with her parents. They are all affected by Covid restrictions, too, so she is happy to be with her mother, and her husband, a pilot, is furloughed. But, we could still talk and smile and exchange virtual hugs and love. I am very grateful for the ability to have internet connections with distant family. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    • Having close connections with people from other countries helps us understand the world much better than our previously narrow view. You have very Happy New Year!!

    • Thank you Marilyn. Without so many family members here for Christmas, I guess Will and I are going to have to eat more cookies, huh??? What a problem!

  4. MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Thank you for all your blog posts and pictures throughout the year, I’m always happy to see your name in my email. I’m super excited your Seed Treasures catalog is on its way to me, we ordered seeds from you last year and they did fantastic, looking forward to trying more this year.😊

    • And Happy New Year to you, Wendy! I’m so glad your seeds did well for your family. (they’re kind of like our little children, we send out in the world with love and good wishes…)

  5. Merry Christmas, Miss Jackie and Mr. Will, from Central Texas! Thank you for being an inspiration to my husband and me on our homestead, and to so many others. All the best to you in the New Year!

    • I hope you, too, had a wonderful Christmas and will have a very Happy New Year! Stay safe and thanks for your kind words.

  6. Merry Christmas to you, Will and Jackie! It actually was 27 here on Whidbey this morning….and I drove a friend to “the mainland” for a doctor appointment. Thank goodness the roads were dry, so really not a big deal at all… Hope you have a good day, and a great year! Love, JoyceA

    • If truth be known, we kind of enjoy a blizzard. Now isn’t that weird? But all the stock is cozy and we had a nice fire going and Christmas cookies to nibble on while the snow blew. There’s worse things in life!

  7. Jackie,
    You have been such a blessing to so many people over the years. And with your blog and seed business you continue to bless many more. Thank you to you and Will for sharing the ups and downs of homesteading. May God bless you with mostly “ups” in the coming year. Merry, Merry Christmas.

  8. Isn’t it the greatest feeling to look out at the winter storm and know you have a wood fire and plenty of good wood (and plenty of homemade cookies). Merry Christmas and God bless.

    • You can say that again, Jim! The stock was comfortable, with lots of food, we had lots of firewood in the house before the blizzard and, like you said, there are those cookies!!! God has blessed us a whole lot. Have a very Happy New Year!

  9. Merry Christmas!! What a joy to hear from your dear old friends! Cookies look delicious & I love your tablecloth!

    • And a very Happy New Year to you, Wanda!! Yep, those cookies were/are pretty good. (I got the tablecloth last year, after Christmas, for $1, on sale!

  10. How wonderful that you reconnected with a chosen family and that they think so fondly of you! We had our snow a couple days ago, and now it is raining and melting with flood advisories while an hour north of here they have winter storm advisories!

    • I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to sponsor the Nguyen family all those years ago. I learned so much and gathered in so much love from them. Yep, the weather’s been kind of crazy this year, for sure. We had below zero in October!

  11. Merry Christmas to you and your family and a happy new year. Finished making bread and jam for presents today. It’s cold I northern illinois but no snow. Thanks for all you do

  12. Merry, merry Christmas Jackie!!! I’ve been making cookies and candies the entire month and most of it has gone out the door to family and special friends. I think I’ll start the New Year with a new batch of cookies each week and share the recipes that are to die for!!! Stay healthy and warm!!

    • You sound like me; happiest cooking up a storm for loved ones. The only problem is that I have to “check” the results to see if they turned out. And all of them make my pants too tight. Hmmm, how’d that happen??? Have a wonderful Happy New Year.

  13. Merry Christmas! And Happy New Year from our mountain in Idaho to you and yours!
    I received my seed order. Thank you for the special Grey squash seed. I can’t remember the actual name.
    Wonderful about your refugee friends.

  14. Merry Christmas Will and Jackie!!! Looks like you get a white one!!!

    So great that you can reconnect with your Vietnamese family Cool!!!

    And I GOT YOUR SEED CATALOG!!! Came in yesterday’s mail! Can’t wait to finish looking and looking!!!

    May God bless your New Year and may we all have a great 2021!!!!!

  15. Merry Christmas, Jackie and Will, from Colorado Springs. Be blessed – sounds like you already are with lost “family” returning.

    • Oh yes, every day now I’m getting phone calls, texts with photos of darling children, children of “children” I knew when they were that size. It doesn’t get much better than that. You have a wonderful New Year, Diana.

  16. Blessings for a wonderful Christmas! Stay safe (mostly from those cookies!) and warm. And what a lovely Christmas gift!

    • Ha ha! Hey, I just wear my loose jeans for a few weeks after Christmas so I don’t “notice” how tight the snug fitting ones get. Dang, they must be shrinking. Again. Have a very Happy New Year Sandy!

  17. I made spritz cookies for the first time in many years this week, and the recipe I used was very sticky. I’ve got your book out, and will be trying your recipe next time. How wonderful to reconnect with the refugee family. Merry Christmas to you and Will!

    • One sneaky tip; when you make spritz cookies, chill that sticky dough. It usually tames it down so it will press out nicely and also stick to the cookie sheets. I’m still doing the happy dance after “finding” my Vietnamese family again!!! Have a very Happy New Year.

    • Hmmm. Maybe after the Christmas weekend; Bill and his family are coming up tomorrow for a social distanced Christmas gift exchange. But then I’ve got to can up that leftover Christmas ham and maybe some bean and ham soup…..

  18. My Mom has a 1959/1960 Spritz cookie maker – came with two “tubes”, a good number of “attachments”, all in the original box. It is being passed onto my younger daughter. Also a few other 1959/early 60s baking items – the checkerboard cake set is rather cool.
    Mom make sour cream cookies quite often but not as roll-outs.
    A number of my co-workers are in MN and have giving me weather updates all day. We hit 55 today but we’ll drop to 12 tonight. “High” tomorrow is like 16 and the winds have been gusting all day.
    And how cool to reconnect with the Vietnamese family – especially after all these years and moves! Positive news is always most welcome during these otherwise depressing days. It is obvious the relationship you had was wonderful.

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