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The Advent Calendar

December 21st, 2015

Last year I purchased these old fashioned advent calendars for family & friends. I purchased one for myself, but since we travel to Ohio from Thanksgiving through the first week of December, I didn’t get ours out. This year I pulled it when we returned from Ohio and opened the first five windows.
advent calendar 7
advent calendar 8
These are great advent calendars, designed and printed in Germany by a family that has been doing it since the 40’s. This particular design was the first one published in 1946. You can buy this designs, along with many others, on their website.
advent calendar 1
advent calendar 2
advent calendar 3
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advent calendar 5
advent calendar 6
We have really been loving this little calendar, it’s such a fun thing to do every evening. Next year we plan on adding an advent wreath to our table and will celebrate the tradition of lighting a candle every Sunday.

What are your family traditions that surround the holidays?

Sending Holiday Cheer

December 17th, 2015

I love sending and receiving Christmas cards. Each year I try to come up with something creative to send out and it’s funny because I always thing this will be the year I can’t think of anything…then inspiration hits.
Christmas Cards 2015 2
I’ve been wanting to do a card like this for a few years, this year was finally the year. I printed them on some really nice Linen Coverstock and glued that to some brown kraft cover stock for a sturdier final product. Mine were 5″x7″, which required trimming, but if you make them half sheets then you only have to cut them in half. I had A7 brown kraft envelopes size so I chose to cut mine down, but you can get them in the half sheet size through the same link.
Christmas Cards 2015 1
I’ve been going through my address book writing out addresses and thinking about family & friends near and far. I’m also super excited to head to the mailbox each day to see which friendly faces will appear from an envelope. Holiday cards are such a wonderful way to keep in touch.

Do you send out cards this time of year?

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.
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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
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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)
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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?

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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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