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Merry & Bright

December 26th, 2014

It was balmy here in Maine yesterday, around 50 degrees. We took advantage of the nice weather to get a few outside chores finished up. Mr Chiots washed the cars and I cleaned out the duck ponds.
Christmas 2014 2
Breakfast was overnight French toast with maple syrup, then we watched Christmas Vacation. There wasn’t a big fancy meal, we had a meat/cheese plate and some wine. Then off to the neighbor’s house for desert, I baked Bourbon Pecan Pie to take.
Christmas 2014 1 (1)
Christmas 2014 2 (1)
We had already opened up our gifts the night before. It’s always been a tradition in my family to open gifts on Christmas Eve. That way the parents could always sleep in. Even after we all got older the tradition stayed, there’s just something nice about opening gifts when it’s dark outside. As usual, Mr Chiots and I are very practical gift givers. Many times they are things we’d be buying anyways, it just seems more fun to wrap them up and put them under the tree. These are the things we found beneath the tree:
Christmas 2014 1
A handmade terracotta egg crate for all those lovely eggs laid by our chickens. Truth be told I could use about 5 of these in the summer when I’m getting a dozen eggs a day. This will be perfect to have sitting on the counter to keep the eggs within easy reach.
Christmas 2014 3
Mr Chiots is always complaining of congestion the day after spending time on the tractor or cutting/splitting firewood. A Respro mask seemed like a perfect gift. It’s supposed to be super comfortable and the filters keep out the toxic fumes from diesel and small engines along with small particulates.
Christmas 2014 4
Mr Chiots is always complaining of lint & cat hair on his clothes, I found this wonderful wood & rubber lint brush made my redecker. It works very well and now there is no longer a need to buy those sticky lint rollers.
Christmas 2014 5
Our neighbor made us these sweet little felted bacon ornaments. Handmade gifts are the best of all and these are so cute!
Christmas 2014 6
Mr Chiots has been in need of a new set of hair clippers. After going through a cheap set every year or so, I decided it was time to invest in a professional pair that should last for years to come. After much research, the Oster Classic 76 was the pair I selected. They are made in the USA and get great reviews. If you have someone who cuts their own hair, this would be a fabulous gift!
Christmas 2014 8
Being a Tolkien fan, this new book of his art was a perfect gift for Mr Chiots. This was actually purchased as a birthday gift (which is in January), but one of his Christmas gifts didn’t get finished in time. So it will be given at Christmas and this was given now.
Christmas 2014 9
We’ve been needing new outdoor thermometers, ours are falling apart and not accurate at all. Now we have a large French enameled thermometer that should give us accurate temperature measurements.
Christmas 2014 10
Mr Chiots also got me a Kindle for Christmas, definitely not a gift I’ve been pining for. I’m a tactile person and love the feel of an actual book, though it will be nice to get Kindle books from the library. It will also come in handy when I travel, I’m usually stuffing five or six books in my bag, now I can have an entire library in my purse.
Christmas 2014 11
All of my kitchen towels are getting old and warn, we did get most of them for our wedding sixteen years ago. Mr Chiots got me a few waffle weave linen towels from Fog Linen. When it comes to kitchen textiles linen is the best since it gets softer, more absorbent, and better with age.
Christmas 2014 12
Last but not least was the lovely men’s grooming kit I got for Mr Chiots. He’s always been meticulous when it comes to keeping his nails cleaned and trimmed. He has this really crappy set of nail clippers, the kind you get at a gas station for 99 cents. Now he has a lovely set that will last the rest of his life!

What did you find beneath your tree yesterday?


December 17th, 2014

I mentioned last week that I was waiting for a light dusting of snow so we could get our Christmas card photo. This past Friday morning we work up to the perfect conditions for our photo. Out we went to work on our plan…
Christmas Card 1
Christmas Card 2
We took a bunch of photos, some which included the two of us. Our friends are always telling us to include ourselves in our Christmas card photos. After playing around with the photos and supplies from my office and sewing room, I came up with a lovely card:
Christmas Card 4
Christmas Card 3
I worked for a few hours yesterday and am about halfway through the construction process for the cards. Next up, addressing and getting them to the post office to be delivered far and wide. Now I can start thinking about what I want to do for next year. I love making Christmas cards because it gives me something creative to do. Each year I spend so much time trying to come up with a fun idea that is unique. Here are a few of our past cards:
Christmas Card 2009
Writing Christmas Cards 2
Christmas Card 1 (1)
Christmas Card 2 (1)
Last year I didn’t end up doing a card because we ran out of time. With the slaughtering of the pigs and a 10 day trip back to Ohio after Thanksgiving I simply wasn’t able to get photos finished in time for printing. That’s one of the reasons I’m printing and making my own cards this year instead of having them printed professionally. I hope our friends and family enjoy our cards as much as I enjoy making them.

Friday Favorite: FaceTime

December 12th, 2014

Technology is pretty amazing, it can enhance our lives in so many ways. I mentioned earlier that we did the 12 days of Maine Christmas with our nieces & nephew. Their FaceTime wasn’t working for a few days, not we’re back up and running. It’s so much better to be able to watch all of them trying to guess what’s inside the box.
chatting with the kids
Being able to video chat is one of the great things about the times we live in. It’s so nice to be able to see someone face to face while talking. The introvert in my hates talking on the phone, but I don’t mind video chatting at all.

Do you use video chat to keep in contact with loved ones far away?

Sending Holiday Cheer

December 10th, 2014

I love Christmas card, I love to get them and I love to send them. We have yet to get our photos taken for our personal cards, but I’ve been working hard on the Christmas cards I mail out for work. I usually mail out around 500 for that and roughly 100 for ourselves personally. The result is that I spend a lot of time during the month of December working on them.
Christmas card
This year I printed our cards for work, I found a sweet little nativity stamp on Esty to use on them. I took them to Ohio and my nieces helped me fold them and stuff them into envelopes. All I have left to do is address and stamp them and then I move on to our personal cards. I’m waiting for a snow so I can take the photo I’ve been planning. My mailbox is starting to fill up with cards from family and friends as well. I’m always happy to see how much everyone’s kids have grown, Christmas cards are one of the beautiful things about the holiday season!

Do you send out cards to family & friends? Do you enjoy receiving cards?

Oh Tannenbaum

December 8th, 2014

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!
They are green when summer days are bright,
They are green when winter snow is white.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!

Christmas tree 1
We arrived back in Maine on Saturday evening right around 10 pm. I’ll share more of our eventful trip tomorrow. After coffee, unpacking and lots of chores on Sunday, we headed out to gather our Christmas tree in the afternoon. We like to cut a free range tree from our property, the less perfect the better.
Christmas tree 2
We found a sweet little balsam fir conveniently located right by the driveway and decided it would be perfect. Out came the ax and down came the tree. The trees in this area need thinned out anyways, so it’s nice to kill two birds with one stone so to speak.
Christmas tree 3
Of course I did double duty and took some photos for the glove company I work for, why not, right?
Christmas tree 4
Christmas tree 5
I trimmed it with lights and then later in the evening I pulled out my etched glass balls to dress it up a bit. A tree like this really needs not much more than one strand of lights, it’s simplicity is really what makes it beautiful. I will give you one great recommendation, put your Christmas tree lights on a dimmer switch, especially if you use the big old fashioned lights. It’s nice to be able to dim the tree in the late evening.

Do you put up a tree to celebrate the holidays?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.