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Christmastime is Here

by Tara

As I sit in our warm, cozy cottage, my thoughts wander to what life was like a year ago. This time last December, I was learning how to build kitchen cabinets, and the house was a total disaster area. We'd recently moved in (despite the house's unfinished state), to escape winter's cold and a broken camper heater. There was a seemingly endless to-do list ahead of me, but life was better than it had been in years. On Christmas eve, I was able to cook our first real meal in the new house, and it was a revelation.

Crowded House (Painting Cabinets) Tara Painting Range Hood Cabinet Tyler & Christmas Eve Feast (First Real Meal in the House!)

This holiday season, I can hardly contain the joy and gratitude within me. We've come so far, and the house is essentially done. Without a doubt, our life is a hundred times more enjoyable than it was last year. To fill December's dark days with light and warmth, I've been burning beeswax candles with abandon, listening to my favorite holiday music, and drinking tea every morning.

I've also been baking to my heart's content, whipping up delicious things to bring to parties and serve to impromptu visitors. There's been pannetone with homemade candied citrus peels, pumpkin pie, a braided breakfast wreath studded with cranberries and almond paste, my friend Ced's famous molasses cookies, cinnamon biscotti, and chocolate cake with pink peppermint icing.

There have also been holiday parties galore, with good food, friendship, and blazing woodstove fires. One evening while Tyler was working in Boston, I hosted ladies' night at our place. Jenna, Joanna and I baked and decorated cookies (my first time using cookie cutters since we moved to Vermont!), drank Moscow mules, chatted about life, and watched Elf.

Joanna Mixing Frosting Jenna with Moose Cookie Cutter Fox & Squirrel Cookie Cutters Moose Sugar Cookie Dough Icing Woodland Sugar Cookies Moose Sugar Cookie

The next night, Hercilia and I went to see the Nutcracker, and laughed uncontrollably but silently until our sides hurt and tears streamed down our faces. There were three year olds in mouse costumes, and six year olds twirling in the wrong direction, and a five year old who thought she was supposed to stay on stage, but was clearly not. Clara smoothly ushered her off-stage mid-chassé. The overall skill level was medium to low, but the cuteness factor was through the roof! (PS: We're on Instagram—follow us if you like.)

It's nutcracker time! #nutcrackerballet #vermontchristmas

A photo posted by T&T (@going_slowly) on

A few days ago, we put up our first Christmas tree! Last year, we didn't have the time, space, or mental energy to even consider it, but this year, we relished the activity. I found the tree, little more than a tiny sapling off the side of the road, across from our neighbors' house. I absconded with it, and we decorated it with tiny LED lights that Tyler wired to be plug-ins instead of battery-powered. It's a thing of beauty, filling our home with its piney scent and magical glow.

Our First Christmas Tree

I am so happy and thankful to be where we are today. Happy holidays, indeed!



Happy Holiday to you two! May 2016 be filled with something else than:

Pilling straw bales
Shovelling (except for your garden)
And construction work in general. :-)

Enjoy every second of your life and smile as much as you can. Happy New Year T&T.

PS: You can bake panettone? Awesome! Do you have a recipe somewhere I could try?


Anaïs and Carl

Posted by Anais & Carl on January 6th, 2016 at 9:25 AM
Hi both, so glad to read that you had a lovely, funny, relaxing time over Christmas.
I'm still playing catch up from the beginning, and this weeks reading over breakfast has been September 2010, crazy desert convoy in Mongolia.... you've just reached the paved road, about to say goodbye to your 'bizarre coincidence meeting you / breakdown crew' travel companions, who were taking part. in the Rally. Wondering if you're still in touch with any of them.... I'll keep reading and find out!
Posted by Hannah on January 7th, 2016 at 3:17 PM
Sweet tree!
Glad you had some R&R this season.
Posted by Anne on January 7th, 2016 at 4:57 PM
I am so happy that you could enjoy this Christmas season (my favourite time of the year which I excessively enjoy). Your post brought tears to my eyes and from far away and even though we are WELL into 2016 (and rainy and grey it has been so far) I wish you a happy new year! We miss you and hope to introduce little Paula to you soon!
Posted by Nadine on January 10th, 2016 at 4:43 PM