Pearl’s Snowy Friends Ornaments (Christmas-Time Or Winter-Time!)


This weekend, we will finish up our decorations for Christmas. We are a little late this year, so we may need to leave everything up a little extra long after the Christmas season is over!

We designed more printable pages to share with everyone who would like to decorate along with us. Those are much more “Christmasy” than the ones we shared last week. One is in full color, and the other is in black and white outline, so you can color them any way you’d like. You can use these for garlands, ornaments, gift tags or anything else you might imagine.

And don’t think that these are just for kids! (We know some of you adults like to color and decorate too!) So, it’s time to get out those coloring pencils and crayons and markers and get ready to decorate!

In case you’re wondering about The Big Blue Hippopotamus that appears in “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens,” there is a song titled “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” sung by Gayla Peevey in 1953. Check it out on YouTube if you’d like! At first, Pearl thought Christmas was about The Big Blue Hippopotamus because people in our neighborhood had them as decorations in their front yard. That’s why it appears in the story and illustrations…and in this ornament collection as well!

Click this link for Pearl’s Snowy Friends Black & White Ornaments!

Click this link for Pearl’s Snowy Friends Color Ornaments!

These will both download through Dropbox, but you do not need to have a Dropbox account to access them!

We are using cardstock paper for ours. Both of these will print out as full letter-sized pages with generously sized drawings for those who may not be quite the best at staying inside the lines. (Don’t worry, some of my chickens have a hard time staying inside the lines too!)

Today is the last Sunday of Advent, and we hope it will be a good day for you and yours. Happy Decorating!

SPECIAL NOTE: Bessie has been worrying about being able to share a new Christmas baking recipe with everyone because nobody is laying any eggs right now, but her best friend Gracie has come through for her. She laid two eggs this week and is working on another one this morning. Be on the lookout for a new recipe soon! I’m not sure what Bessie will come up with, but I’m sure it will be good! 

Happy 100th Anniversary, Little House!

Today is the day I’ve been waiting to celebrate for almost 14 years. December 15, 2020 is my house’s 100th anniversary, the day it turns 100 years old! The year 1920 comes from the city records, and the month and day December 15 come from the foundry date stamped into the bottom of the claw-foot tub in the bathroom. Happy Anniversary, Little House!

I bought my house in 2007, the year that marked the 300th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia. (Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the New World.) It is interesting to note my house’s neighborhood, Westhaven, was opened up for development in 1907 as part of Jamestown’s 200th anniversary celebrations. At the time this was “the distant suburbs” from the main downtown area of Portsmouth and there were still large family farms here along the Elizabeth River.

If you drive down High Street from the Olde Towne riverfront to the city’s border with Chesapeake, the neighborhood architecture tells the story of how our little city developed through the centuries and decades. Our neighborhood is at about the halfway mark and right across High Street from Maryview Hospital. (When I started doing some major renovation work on my house, it was nice knowing there was an emergency room right around the corner just in case I ever electrocuted myself or fell off of the roof!)

Rodman Avenue runs through our neighborhood all of the way from the original Rodman’s Barbecue Restaurant on High Street to Moseberth’s Chicken on Airline Boulevard. (Moseberth’s was renamed “The Chicken Place” in “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.”) Airline Boulevard is also where you’ll find Norfolk County Feed and Seed. We get all of our garden plants, chicken feed, and chicken scratch from those good folks.

This is our neighborhood, and we love how it is tucked away from the main roads and has kept its distinctive “small town” feeling from decades ago. Even though we are right in the middle of a small city surrounded by even larger cities, you’d never know it. There are no stockade fences. Kids ride bicycles and play outside. I have chickens. My next door neighbor has a pig and a goat. Veterans have vintage cars in their garage and take them out for a drive on Sundays.

The main part of my house was originally just 28 feet wide and 30 feet deep. (Later a den and laundry room were added to the back.) My house was built on six city-sized lots, three along our street where the house faces, and three along the next street behind us where the railroad tracks to the port were. That was a lot of land for not a lot of house. But back then, that was how they started building homes here. At the time, I imagine the larger yards were good for gardens…and chickens! Over the years, portions of these generous yards were sold off and homes from later decades were built between the original homes. That is what happened with my house.

I’m really only pointing all of these things out for one reason: this is all real. From my little house to my chickens right in the middle of the backyard garden, it is all real. (But there are times when my imagination might get the best of me. The Bottle Cap Lady is actually a compilation of several different real people, not a single actual person.)
Often I wish I could be like writers who “create worlds” and “create characters” to fill those beautifully and elaborately created worlds, but I can’t. I just don’t have those skills, and it’s possible I never will.

But if your own imagination can fill in the colors and details that are missing here, if you feel like you know my chickens personally, and if you feel like you are sitting with us under the camellias surrounded by our backyard garden, then perhaps my limitations are not so bad. Thank you for sharing this Happy Anniversary with us!

The Promise Of Christmas

The Promise Of Christmas

The more I think about it, the extra time and work that went into rewriting “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” was an absolute gift to me. It allowed me to hop, skip, and stumble into a realization that I call “The Promise Of Christmas.”

Events and people come together in the most amazing patterns to influence us in unexpected ways. Almost two decades ago (after teaching for two decades before), I was working for a mobile phone company in technical support for a year and then in customer service for another year. There was a group that was formed called “customer retention,” and their task was to hold onto customers who wanted to drop their contracted service.

One of their retention specialists was an elderly woman named Miss Geraldine. She loved God and she loved her church and she prayed. It was an everyday occurrence to look across our big office suite and see her standing in her cubicle with her hands in the air. Often you could hear her saying, “Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!” Even if you couldn’t hear her out loud, you knew exactly what she was saying.

Now this was not my tradition, but it was hers and no one ever complained about it because she was the best the company had for customer retention. You could just tell she loved everybody.

Miss Geraldine had lived her whole life in our little city of Portsmouth surrounded by other bigger and more prosperous cities. She had lived through Jim Crow laws and segregation, and then she had lived through desegregation and the strife of the 1960’s. Through it all, she kept smiling and loving everybody no matter what.

I asked her about all of this once, and she told me, “God gave me his best in Jesus, so I’ve got to give everybody my best too.”

And that was the start of how The Promise Of Christmas began to come together in my heart and eventually into my writing. God is Love. Love gives. For God so loved, He gave. We are most like God when we give from our hearts.

As Miss Geraldine would say to you if she were alive today, “One Christmas, God gave us His best gift ever. All He had. All He treasured most. The least I can do is to give my best too.”

I have to agree with Miss Geraldine. I’d almost bet she had chickens in her backyard.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you will have a good holiday season no matter what your tradition and even if you don’t have any tradition at all. Giving does not require a tradition, just a heart filled with love.