Almost Christmas

Even though we started planning our gift-giving back before Thanksgiving, somehow Christmas has snuck up on me this year.  We've barely decorated.  Shayne brought our little Christmas tree out of the basement, the only fake tree I've ever loved, and found that it will not light except in a band around the top.  I'm so very sad about it.  I figured that maybe this would be the ideal time to transition to a real tree, which I've always planned on doing.  And then I remembered that I have a toddler who LOVES to play in water.  And shake pole lamps.  So we're skipping the tree this year. 

I wrapped lighted garland around the stair banister, and it looks very pretty.  I also put out a wreath, some little decorations, and our nativity set.  But it just doesn't feel quite like Christmas without a tree.  I'm going to cut the lights off of it and re-light it after Christmas.  But with everything else going on this week, I just don't have time to do it before.  Plus, I want to wait for lights to go on sale.

I am excited about Ethan's Christmas.  We got him two gifts: a Melissa and Doug wooden tool kit, and a set of colored pins that nest into matching cups.  After reading some Montessori and Waldorf-y books, I'm more determined than ever to have as many natural toys as possible.  We got a lot of plastic toys for Ethan's birthday, and I'm trying to rotate them in and out so he only has one or two at a time.  The rest are wood. cloth, and other natural materials. 

I'm also excited about the gifts we got for others.  Since we started to early, we were able to really think about what each person might want or need.  And since we are essentially debt-free except for our house (thanks Dave Ramsey!!), we got to spend quite a bit more than we have in the past.  All cash.  I'm so excited!  Shayne and I really splurged for each other (he got a DeWalt drill set, I got a NookColor e-reader, and we replaced our broken Xbox with a new model with the Kinect sensor), but I don't feel guilty at all, since we could afford it.  Such fun!  We truly are blessed, and I thank God every day for the wonderful people and opportunities we have in our life.


150 by Christmas

I made a resolution about a month ago to get 150 things out of the house by Christmas.  I've been tracking my progress on a message board, but figured I should post it here as well.  Some of the items have been sold, others given away, and some were just trash.  Regardless, we have 85 less things in the house as of today.  Here is my list so far:

1. dish drainer (does it count if I replaced it with a new, folding one so doesn't take up any space in the cupboard?)

2. 1 book
3. small pile of paperwork/old bills
4. box of glass votive candle holders
5. 2 stuffed animals
6. 2 pairs of shoes
7. bag of plastic bags (recycled)
8. mylar balloons from DS's b-day
9. free sample disposable razor
10. borrowed book returned to owner
11. lots of straws and plastic silverware
12. old set of dishes (given to a friend)
13. plastic outdoor table and chairs set
14. small pile of maternity clothes
15. small box of baby toys
16. sippy cups
17. little box misc junk
18. small box of baby accessories to sell
19. old hangers
20. doorway jumper
21 - 35. 15 pieces of 0-3 month baby clothing (to sell)
36 - 46. 11 newborn "gowns" (to sell)
47 - 64. 18 unneeded diaper inserts (to sell)
65 - 72. 8 unneeded baby hand-me downs (to sell)
73. carseat bunting (to sell)
74. fleece jacket with holes
75. OLD Gore-Tex rain jacket
76. DH's barn coat
77. 2 tiny stuffed animals
78. replaced blender with single-serving version to free up cupboard space
79. DH's old socks (about 20 pair!) that he trashed
80. serving plate returned to owner
81 - 85. another pile of baby clothes

65 to go!


Chickens in the snow

I had read that chickens hate snow and won't walk around in it.  Mine must not have gotten the memo.

My buff Orpington has started laying, and we now get 3 eggs on most days.  Hers are a very light, almost pinkish tan.  The Australorp's are a light brown, and the Wyandotte is a darker, but still light, brown.  The other Australorp's comb and wattles are finally turning red, so hopefully she'll jump on the egg-laying wagon soon.  I keep expecting egg production to drop, since our days are getting shorter.  Everything I've read about chickens says that they need over 12 hours of daylight to continue laying (some even say at least 16 hrs).  Right now we get about 10 hrs, 45 minutes, and it's still decreasing.  I guess it's just another thing my chickens missed the memo about.