Christmas Tree Tips – Finding And Caring For The Perfect Tree

Christmas in The Parlor

Each year we look forward to our special “Family Christmas Tree Day”, when we all go out to find our perfect Christmas tree. I say “day”, because we like to make a whole day out of this fun family event. We bundle up with our boots, coats, hats, gloves, and scarves to keep us warm, because there’s usually lots of snow! Even though this year there was only a few inches of snow on the ground, it was still unseasonably bitter cold. After we find the perfect tree, we go out to dinner, and then we come home and prepare for the festival of decorations 😉

My husband & I have been married for 21 wonderful years, and have been blessed with 4 “not so little anymore” children in our family. I guess you could say that we’re not your typical family. My children are all musicians, singers, actors, and artists of some kind, and all that being said, you might be able to imagine all of the silly fun we have in our home! I like to look at this way… we’re making lots of wonderful memories 😉

Today, I thought we could have some fun sharing our “special” day with you!

So… here are some tips from our family to help you find that perfect Christmas tree!

1. First, you need to find a good tree farm with lots of different types & sizes of Christmas trees to choose from.

We like to go to a farm about 25 minutes away called Grangers Tree Farm. If you don’t know where to find a tree farm in your area, simply google the phrase “christmas tree farms” and include your state.

Christmas tree farm

Did you know…

– Christmas tree are grown in all 50 states including Alaska & Hawaii

– For every Christmas tree harvested, 2-3 seedlings are planted in it’s place to insure a future harvest

– There are approx. 1 million acres currently used in the growth of Christmas trees, and each acre can provide the daily oxygen requirements for 18 people

– The Christmas tree industry employs over 100,000 people yearly between 21,000 tree growers in the US

– Christmas trees have been sold commercially in the United States since about 1850

– It takes 7-15 years to grow a tree of 6ft, which is the average purchased height

– The top selling Christmas tree varieties are; White Pine, Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, Noble Fir, Scotch Pine, and Virginia Pine

2. You need to be happy about the task at hand!

Don’t forget that 80% of the fun comes from the fact that you are together & making memories – not just the hunt itself!

My happy elves
I’m sorry, but those are some of the cutest elves I’ve ever seen 😉

3. Don’t just settle for any tree!

Take some time in choosing your family tree… what’s the hurry anyway 😉

Here is a nice guide that explains all of the different types of Christmas trees. You could read through the guide and look over the pictures before you go tree shopping. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of what you would like before you go.

Don't settle for just any tree!

4. Measure the tree to make sure that it will fit in your home.

My son is standing next to the tree, so we can gauge the approximate height of this possible choice 😉

Measuring the Christmas tree

5. Be sure to examine the tree out from all sides.

There’s nothing worse than getting your tree home, only to find out that half of the tree is missing!

Christmas Sweetie

Sneaky elf

6. Make sure you all like the tree that you’re picking out!

This is it!

But… if you LOVE it, it’s that much better 😉

Gotta love your Christmas tree

7. Have someone stand with the tree while you go get help, so no one else decides to walk off with your prize!

Standing Guard

8. Take some time to take in the atmosphere!

Many tree farms have others things to enjoy such as; petting zoos, a cozy fire, and goodies!

Christmas in the barn

Christmas in the barn

Country Christmas

Christmas in the Barn

9. Take a few minutes to rest before the trip home.

We like to take a few minutes to sit around the cozy fire, and have a few goodies.

Resting after the long Christmas tree hunt

Christmas Love

10. Cover the floor with plastic, and get your tree stand ready.

To protect your carpet from the water, sap, and anything else that might drip on it, put down a layer of plastic (something water proof – I use a garbage bag cut open) before you put your tree stand in it’s place. Make sure your stand is in good working order, after all that’s the only thing that will be holding this whole presentation together 😉

I think getting your tree into the stand, and having it stay up properly is one of the biggest hassles of putting up a real tree. But… it doesn’t have to be a big deal anymore, or so they told me at the tree farm! This year we picked up a new tree stand called the “Stand Straight Tree Stand”. All you need, so they said, was a pre-drilled hole in the bottom of the tree trunk, place the peg into the hole, then stand the tree up in the middle of the stand. With a 9ft “very full” tree, I wasn’t quite ready to sing the praises of this new stand yet…

Stand Straight Tree StandStand Straight Tree Stand

11. Leave the tree bundled up until you get it in the tree stand.

We have found this to be such an easier way to handle the tree, instead of dragging it through the house… dropping needles and small branches along the way 😉

Bundled Christmas tree

12. Fill the tree stand with water.

Because our tree was a fresh cut tree, we could bring it directly into the house & put it into the stand, but if you buy a tree from a roadside stand, be sure to cut a fresh slice off of the bottom of the tree’s trunk so it can properly absorb water.

Did you know… a fresh cut tree will drink a quart or more of water each day for the first week it is brought into your home?

Tip: To make watering VERY easy, simply place a long tube of some sort down into the tree stand, then, using a funnel, pour in enough water to almost fill the basin. For the tube, you could use a piece of pvc pipe, a piece of an old garden hose, or any other type of long narrow tubing.

13. Remove the netting from the tree.

Freeing our Christmas tree

14. Trim the tree as necessary.

After you remove the netting and the limbs relax into place, you might find that the tree needs a bit of trimming here & there. Some folks like to let their tree relax for at least a day before decorating, especially if the tree came into the home directly from the field. * Please remember to shake the tree as much as possible before bringing it into your home, as you could end up with pools of water from the melting snow if you don’t – yikes.

Trim the Christmas tree We didn’t like the little “spindly” spike at the top of our tree, so we cut it off.

15. Let it go & pray it stays up!

Many times we have had to hide a little guide wire hooked to the wall to keep the tree from toppling over, but this year, we wanted to try this new stand to see if our troubles were over 😉

Christmas tree is finally home
It worked… I can’t believe it, but it worked beautifully!

15. Now, decorate to your heart’s content!

We have so many ornaments that we’ve collected over the years, that all 6 of us have lots to do when we decorate!

Ready to decorate our Christmas tree

I hope you & your family enjoys getting your tree ready for the holidays as much as we did!

I’ll be sure to share lots of pictures of our cottage, as soon as we get everything ready!

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!


I wanted to take a moment to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends!

This week is set aside throughout our nation, as a time of giving thanks. Although it seems as though many people may have forgotten the meaning of this special time, we need to cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving in our hearts & homes, not just on this special day, but every day.

To the world around us, Thanksgiving has become:

– Food (turkey day)
– Football
– Macy’s Day Parade
– First day for Christmas TV specials
– The day before black Friday – or the onset of the Christmas shopping season!

*** Although we can enjoy these different traditions, may we never forget that small group of believers, who came to this new land in search of a place to share their freedom to worship. Even in the midst of sickness, many deaths, and a future that was still unknown, they took time to give thanks.

I’m sure, that when you think of Thanksgiving in your home, your mind is flooded with many memories!

I’m sure that I could ask all of you to share a special memory about Thanksgiving around your table, and we would hear so many different kinds of stories!

Here’s a childhood memory of Thanksgiving in my home.

In our home, we grew up not having a lot, but having everything – if you know what I mean! I am truly so very thankful for my mom, dad, and brother, & I would never trade my childhood for anything! I grew up very thankful for all of God’s blessings in our lives, and I got to watch as God came through for us every time we had a need!

Thanksgiving in our home… I remember my dad going out to hunt on Thanksgiving morning. I thought it was wonderful… how our dad was going out to gather the family goose for our special meal. Little did I know, that the real reason dad was going hunting was that we weren’t able to go out & buy our turkey. But, in my little mind… I didn’t see our lack… I saw God use the skill of my father, and provision of the hand of God!

Mom & dad were always up very early so they could start preparing the family meal.

We would sit down & dad would give God praise for His blessing in our lives, and for providing the bounty that was set before us.

He cultivated an attitude of gratitude in our home.

Although we no longer have to hunt for our family meal, the attitude of gratitude that was “cultivated” in our home has only grown as our little family of 4 has now expanded to need a much larger table to fit our family of 14!

Never forget…

Thankfulness is something that we must “cultivate” in our hearts & homes, because we can only reap what we have actually sown! I don’t know about you, but I want to have an attitude of Thankfulness in my grandchildren – and great-grandchildren – and those that will come long after I’m gone. It’s never to late to start… and today is the perfect time 🙂

I hope you have a very blessed day!

May your table be…

– filled with the wonderful bounty of the harvest
– overflowing with thoughts of thankfulness
– and encircled with many friends & family!

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

How to Carve a Perfect Turkey for Your Holiday Table

With Thanksgiving almost upon us, I thought I would share some helpful information about the main dish that will be gracing most of our tables… The Turkey!

Many families have different traditions for their Thanksgiving table. Some families have the whole stuffed turkey on the table for a picture perfect presentation. Then, dad takes the carving knife, and serves the pieces one at a time.

Some families decide to pre-slice the turkey, and serve it on a platter. Sometimes this choice is made due to ease of serving, less time waiting for each plate to be filled, or maybe your turkey didn’t come out of the oven looking like the Norman Rockwell paintings that we all strive for 😉

In any case, whether you place the turkey in the middle of the table for presentation, or you pre-slice it and serve it on a platter, I’m sure the following video will help you decide where to begin when you pick up the carving knife 😉

Great Christmas Find – $1.49

I wanted to post a picture of my newest find at the local thrift shop. These little Christmas trees have such a wonderful vintage look to them with their creamy color & hints of sparkle. I only paid $1.49 for both of them! While I was there, I saw HUGE piles of Christmas items to choose from.

Think about it… people everywhere are pulling out boxes & boxes of Christmas decorations from their attics. As they sort through it all, they decided that it might be time to finally get rid of some of it 🙂 So – they pass it on to the local thrift shops. This is your opportunity to pick up some very nice things at VERY nice prices!

If you enjoy vintage style decorations you will find some very nice finds, because many times, people want the “newest styles”. But, I did find a BRAND NEW Martha Stewart wreath made up of silver bells for $1.98 – so you can find new things as well.

Enjoy & be sure to come back & post your newest finds!

Blogging From NYC

Rockefeller Center

Even though I am away on vacation with my husband, I was so excited to post today!

My husband & I decided to go away for a few days & spend some time together, since we are not able to do that very often. My parents came up to be with our children, so we don’t have any worries while we’re gone.

We decided to go away “last” minute, since we were both feeling a little “under the weather”, but because my parents were kind enough to come up & be with the children, we decided to pack up and go.

We wanted to do something that we’ve never done before, so we decided to head down to NYC for the annual Christmas lights, and store front displays.

As we were walking down 5th Ave., we saw the wonderful New York Library (that’s were I’m sitting right now :), and I thought that would be the perfect place to catch up with all of you! You would love it here! The ceilings are so high & very ornate, the walls & floors are marble, there are murals on the walls, lots of nice lighting, and moldings as well. Dan & I have gotten some nice ideas to use in our library back at the cottage. We especially liked the darker colors with the spotlights that highlight the books & artwork.

There are so many wonderful things to see here in the city!

Lots of people (so diverse), wonderful smells of food on every corner, and glitz & glitter everywhere. We’re looking forward to seeing everything tonight as the sun goes down & the lights come on!

Well, it’s almost 4pm & we still haven’t stopped to eat, so I’d better go for now.

I’m looking forward to sharing lots of pictures from our trip, as well as piles of holiday ideas with you in a few days! Tomorrow we’re off to visit Sturbridge, MA & celebrate Christmas in the early 1800-1900s.

Writing from the city that never sleeps,

Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning my husband & I woke up early to pray & give God thanks for everything He has done in our lives. As we were sharing all of the things we were thankful for, the sun starting waking up as well. We’ve had quite a long season of rain, so you can imagine the joy of seeing the sun – especially on this joyous occasion of giving thanks.

I decided to put on my coat & shoes and go out to save a few memories with my camera.

This is one of the beautiful views from my office window. I love the way the sun was sparkling like thousands of tiny dancing crystals as it kissed the frosty blanket that the forest woke up with this morning.

As I was walking through the woods with our 2 little dogs, I could hear the church bells playing Thanksgiving hymns such as “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” down in the little village below. I love to hear the bells, especially on holiday mornings such as this.

It has been our tradition for the last several years to come together as a family at my brother’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving. This year we will bring, sauteed green beans, candied carrots, and apple crisp. It is always such a wonderful day.

I tend to cook a lot like my great grandmother Pearl. I usually go by how something feels & tastes more often than what the recipe says 🙂 My family really enjoys these carrots, so I wanted to share them with you. They are so easy – but so yummy!

Candied Carrots:

– Peel & chop carrots (I like to use baby carrots)
– Cook in a pot with water until tender – but not to soft
– Drain water
– Mix equal amounts of maple syrup & brown sugar enough to coat carrots.
– Add to the pot
– Add 1/2 stick of butter and salt/pepper/garlic to taste
– Heat through

A few thoughts for the day…

No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
~ H. U. Westermayer