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O Christmas Tree

December 7th, 2015

We always get our little Christmas tree the Sunday after we get back from our trip to Ohio for Thanksgiving. We no longer need to head to a Christmas tree farm, we just cut a tree from one of the many on our property.
Christmas tree 2
This year it’s the best one yet, tall enough to reach the ceiling, skinny enough to not take up the entire living room, and full enough to look nice.
Christmas tree 1
Christmas tree with decorations
I added the usual decorations of a few cut glass bulbs, glass teardrops, and two strands of C7 lights on a dimmer switch similar to this one, it’s perfection in my book!

Do you have a tree in your home? Is it a real tree?

Cookies!!!

December 1st, 2015

Every year, when I come back to Ohio to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, we make cookies with the nieces & nephew. This year was no exception. Yesterday, we made a few and we’ll be making more today.
Cookie Making 1
Cookie Making 2
I don’t make Christmas cookies at home, with only two of us they don’t get eaten up before we get sick of them. It’s great to make them with the kids, we make bunches, give them to neighbors and eat them with abandon. By the time we leave, I’ve had my fill of cookies. Gingerbread men are my favorite, this is my recipe if you’d like to give it a try. There’s a reason I don’t make these at home, I simply can’t quite eating them.

What’s your favorite cookie during the holiday season?

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?

Finally….

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
addressing_Christmas_cards
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?

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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