Signup for Christmas in the Country 2015


Welcome to this years Christmas in the Country Aggie/Farm Blogger gift exchange! We are so glad you are here to signup! By following a few simple rules, filling out the information form and linking up your blog, you will be ready to spread and receive a little Christmas cheer.

*We as hosts, enjoy organizing and participating in Christmas in the Country and we enjoy getting to know all of you and seeing the joy that is shared.  We do know that this is a very busy time of year, but we can not stress enough the importance of making sure that each participant participates fully in the exchange. Full participation includes: shipping ON TIME, blogging and linking up to the online party before it ends, taking the time to really get to know your person and sending them something you think they will enjoy and thanking your gift giver for your package. (We as hosts of the exchange do reserve the right to not let someone participate because of lack of full participation in the past.)

Now for what you all have been waiting for, the ins and outs of this years exchange. We did have to make some changes, so if you have participated before, please read this blog post carefully!

Dates to Remember:
November 20th – signups begin
November 30th – signups close
December 1st – receive your name via email
December 15th – Shipping deadline for your package
January 5th-12th – Share on your blog and in the linkup about CITC2015

How the Exchange Works:
First you fill out the sign-up form so we can get all of your important information. Then, after sign-ups close you will receive a name – do your research (be sure to keep this a secret, don’t let them know that you have their name), then pick and send the perfect gift! Be sure to include a note in your gift revealing who you are and your info so your person can contact you to say thank you! In the mean time, someone else is doing their research on you and your gift is on it’s way! When you receive a gift, snap some pictures and thank your person! Then, on Jan 5th-12th, share a blog post on your experience and the gift you received, then link it up on a new linkup.

Rules of the Exchange:
Each participant will fill out an information form. This information will be sent to another blogger who will be your “Secret Santa”. You in turn will receive a name and information of a person whom you will be sending a gift. (All exchanging of information is done via email, so please provide an email that you check on a regular basis.)

Each participant needs to add their blog URL to the Christmas in the Country LinkupThis is a great way for all to see who is participating and a chance to find a new blog or two. This year we are limiting the exchange to only bloggers. 

Everyone who signs up will send and receive a gift. Once you receive your persons name and information, head on over to their blog and other social media sites and take a minute to get to know them. The more you can learn about your person, the more personal you can make your gift. Suggest price range for gifts are $15-$25.  (Local and handmade is great, but specific and personal is even better.)

Packages must be sent by December 15th. We are requesting that everyone send a photo of the tracking number or an email with the tracking information. If the hosts do not hear from you by the 15th, we will be emailing you to ask for the information! Also, if you do not trust a package being left on your doorstep, then please provide an address to an office or other location where you are SURE to receive you gift. (We as co-hosts are not responsible for lost or stolen packages.)

Blog posts need to be posted on your blog and linked up between January 5th-12th. This is to ensure that each post will be seen after the busyness of the holidays is over. The co-hosts will post the new linkup for the blog posts on their blogs on the 5th. (Once you do receive your package, send a timely thank you to your “Secret Santa”. )

Share the love! Please take a minute to follow the host blogs, and like their Facebook pages – this will help to reminded you of all the important dates coming up for the exchange. Also, please take the time to check out the Linkup to see who else signed up for the swap. Leave some comments, find some new blogs, and make new friends! If you feel so inclined, we would love it if you would share about the swap on your blog or Facebook page – the more the merrier!

Right click on the image to add it to your own blog

Thank you for signing up! We hope you enjoy this years exchange!

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link


Jamie Rhoades – This Uncharted Rhoade
Email –
Facebook Page –
Blog –

Lara Durben – My Other More Exciting Self
Email –
Facebook Page –
Blog –

Kirby Linebach – 15009 Farmhouse
Email –
Facebook Page –
Blog –

Laurie Link – COUNTRY LINKed
Email –
Facebook Page –
Blog –



Christmas in the Country 2014 Sign-up

Christmas in the Country 2014 gift exchange -


Signups are now closed.

Welcome to the Second Annual Christmas in the Country!  Today is the day to sign-up for this fun gift exchange among agriculture bloggers, agvocates and country folks!  If you were part of the exchange last year, we welcome you back!  If this is your first time signing-up, we are so glad that you are here!

First off here are some important dates that you need to know:

  • November 30th – Sign-ups end!
  • December 1st – You will receive the name of your person.  Look for an email from one of the four hosts.  If for some reason you have not received an email by the 3rd, please let me know! (This is a secret gift exchange.  You will only know the name of the person you are to send a gift too, not who has your name.)
  • December 17th – All gifts need to be sent! You are of course welcome to send your gift earlier, but please, try to get it sent by the 17th so everyone receives a gift before Christmas.   Once you receive your gift, share about it on your blog or social media sites.
  • January 7th – Come back to one of the hosts blogs and add your blog posts to a new Link-up Party.

Now that you know the dates, here are some simple rules that we have regarding the gift exchange.  Feel free to check back here anytime that you have a question.

  • After signing up, please take a minute to share about the gift exchange on your blog or Facebook page. Feel free to link back to one of the sign-up blog posts. The more the merrier, so encourage your friends to join!
  • Once you decide to participate, we ask that you write a blog post, (or if you don’t have a blog, post on your favorite social media site) about the gift you received no later than January 7th. On January 7th you will be able to come back to the host blogs and link-up to a blog party.
  • If you join, YOU MUST SEND A GIFT! We really don’t want anyone to be left out, that’s the worst! If something comes up and you cannot continue to participate after you have signed up, please let one or more of the hosts know ASAP so we can work something out.
  • This year we are asking that you get a tracking number for the gift that you send, and you must send that tracking number to the host who emailed you your gift exchange name. Please send these to us as soon as you can. One of the best ways to send packages like this is to use the Priority Mail Flat Boxes from USPS. You can pick up the boxes for free from your local post office, and they ship out for one flat rate regardless of weight. You can either print off a label at home and leave for your mail person or take the filled box back to the post office and ship it off there. Either way, be sure to get a tracking number for your package!!
  • Please use the link-up below to add your blog home URL. This way, all who are participating can look at the link-up and see others who have joined.  If you don’t have a blog, please leave a comment telling us why you have decided to participate.  (Bloggers: Click on the little blue frog at the end of this post and it will take you to the link-up.  Add your email and blog URL, then pick a thumbnail and you are all set.)
  • For the sake of fairness, we’ve decided that bloggers will be paired with other bloggers and non-bloggers will be paired with other non-bloggers. That way those that blog will get a chance for their gift to be featured on someone else’s blog.
  • Please tag all posts (whether on Facebook/blogs/Instagram) about the gift exchange with #christmasinthecountry2014. This will hopefully make it easier for us to find everyone’s posts!
  • After you sign up, please grab the button below and add it to your blog if you have one. Feel free to use the large image above as well when you share on your blog and or FaceBook. (You should be able to right-click on the image and download.)

Christmas in the Country 2014 gift exchange

So now on to the fun part, THE GIFT! Here are some guidelines:

  • We encourage you to spend some time thinking about what your person might like, and send a unique and creative gift. Use their likes and dislikes that they listed (your host will email the list to you). Also check out their blogs or social media sites (without letting them know who you are) to get a feel for what they might like.
  • We’ve found it’s nice to focus on locally and homemade items. If you can support other farmers, farm wives, and country folks that’s great! If you’re crafty think about making something special to send to your person, or include some of your famous Christmas cookies in their package. If you’re not the crafty type see if maybe you can support some local artisans with your package.
  • Because we like to encourage local and homemade gifts, we don’t set a spending limit. However, if you’re one of those people who really need a number we’ve found that somewhere around $15 to $25 spent on a gift is a nice range, but you can’t put a price on homemade goods! Many people like to include a few different smaller items in their box, but some also just send one larger item, it’s up to you! If you still need more ideas check out the link up party from the 2013 Christmas in the Country to see what was sent and received last year!
  • Remember, this gift exchange is a secret! You only know who you will be sending a gift to – not who your gift will be coming from! That’s half the fun! So please be careful NOT to let your person know that you are sending them a gift. However, when you do send your gift, please include a note revealing yourself so they know who their goodies came from! You can let them know a little about yourself and why you choose the items that you did. The person that you send a gift to is not the same person who sends a gift to you, so you will have the chance to make two new friends.
  • And remember to please get that tracking number on the gift you send! So we know that everyone received their gift!

Sign-up for the Christmas in the Country gift exchange is now closed.

Again, here are the other hosts of the gift exchange. They are some very sweet country gals and I am so excited to be hosting with them!

This Uncharted Rhoade

The Ranch Wife Chronicles

Diaries From the Dirt Road

Now who is excited!  I know I am!  I had a great time last year selecting my gift for Jesse and I absolutely loved my gift from Taysha at Dirt Road Charm.  I still have each item displayed in my home and they add just the right touch to several rooms.

Alright, get signed up, share with others that you have done so, wait for an email from Jamie, Erin, Robyn or myself and get to planning!

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link


Christmas in the Country 2014

Christmas in the Country 2014 gift exchange

The weather has turned cold here in Missouri.  It is the middle of November, but we usually have a few more days of nice fall weather before the chill of winter hits. With winter making her appearance, we are not yet done with corn harvest, which is not unusual, but the holidays are fast approaching and it is always the goal to be done before Thanksgiving.

November is a favorite month for me.  It has many great days like; Veteran’s Day, Gpa’s Birthday, my Birthday, Thanksgiving and sign-up for Christmas in the Country.  That’s right!!!  Christmas in the Country is Back!

2013 was such a hit,  Jamie and I knew we would be doing the blogger/agvocate Christmas gift exchange again, but that we were going to need some additional help. Erin from Diaries From the Dirt Road and Robyn from The Ranch Wife Chronicles will be hosting this year’s exchange with us! Thank you ladies for lending a hand.

In case you forgot or you did not hear about this last year, here is how it works:

  • Christmas in the Country is a Christmas gift exchange for Agriculture Bloggers and Agvocates.  It is a great way to get to know bloggers/agvocates across the country and engage with others who have the same interests as you.  Shhhh………… is also a secret as to who you have until you mail your gift.
  • Sign up begins November 19th and goes until November 30th.  To sign up all you have to do is fill out a quick form giving us some very basic information about yourself.  We ask for a mailing address so that your secret Ag Friend can send you a special Christmas surprise, your email address and give us some of your likes and dislikes.  We share some of this information with the individual who has your name and you in turn will receive the same information for someone.
  • You will receive the name and information of who you will be sending a gift to on December 1st.  (Please email one of the hosts as soon as you have done so as we will be keeping track that everyone who signed up sends and receives a gift.)
  • All gifts need to be sent by December 17th to ensure delivery before the holidays.
  • If you are a blogger, then join us on January 7th for a Link-Up party.  Write a blog post about what you sent, who you sent it too, what you received and who you received it from.  This is where the real fun begins!  I loved seeing the fun and creative things that everyone came up with to send to each other, especially the ones that sent things from their region or area of the country.

I still have all of the wonderful and thoughtful things that Taysha from Dirt Road Charm sent me last year.  I did not know Taysha or her blog before the exchange, but because of Christmas in the Country, we have gotten to know one another, have meet in-person and I consider her a very good blogger friend.  She is just one of the many new friends I now have and I owe it all to this gift exchange!

Come back on November 19th and get signed up to join in on the fun!  Remember you don’t have to be a blogger, just a lover of all things agriculture and country!

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link


Christmas in the Country – Gift Reveal

Christmas in the Country

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I know, I know, I am really late in saying so, and I apologize.  I decided that this Holiday season I would take a little break from the computer/blogging/social media and just relax.  Okay, so I did not “relax” until after all the Christmas festivities were over, but once they were, I did take a few days of rest, relaxation and reading.  So now that we have rung in the new year, I am back!  Miss me?

Now, I am very excited to share with you all about my gift from the Christmas in the Country Gift Exchange.  If you remember, Jamie from This Uncharted Rhoade and I collaborated on a project to spread some Christmas cheer.  We invited fellow bloggers and agvocates to participate in a  gift exchange.  We were beyond excited to have a total of 25 participants!  You have already met all of them and I hope have visited their wonderful blogs.

Christmas in the Country Gift Exchange 1

I was very happy and excited to see that my package came all of the way from Ohio!  A state that I have visited, but from a blogger I had not “meet” before the exchange.  My new friend Taysha of Dirt Road Charm had my name and sent me a wonderful package full of items she found in her town.

Christmas in the Country Gift Exchange 2

This is what she wrote:


Enclosed is your Christmas swap gifts.  All of the items come from my town in OH.

The homemade laundry soap is made by a local lady in the community and she includes the recipe so if you love it you can make more.

The table runner is from an old feed sack.

The candle holder is actually a “vintage pig scraper”.

The candle is homemade by a local lady as well!  That is one of my favorite scents!

I hope you enjoy!


Not only did I enjoy, I LOVE everything that she sent me!  I was able to open my package without an audience, (aka-Kids) and was able to look everything over and find spots right away for it in my home.  I have the laundry soap displayed in my laundry room because I think it is so fun and pretty to look at.  I do plan on using it, but for now I like seeing it when I do laundry.  The candle holder and feed sack table runner look great in the living room and the dinning room.  The candle was burning minutes after I opened the box and is now one of my favorite scents too.

Thank you Taysha for your gift.  I truly love it!

To see whose name I had, CLICK HERE.

Blessings to you and to all of my new Country Friends,

Laurie – Country Link


Christmas in the Country – Meet the Participants

The sign up is over for the Christmas in the Country gift exchange.  Jamie and I ended up with an amazing 25 people who think this project is a great idea!  Everyone who has signed up is listed below with their blog address or FaceBook page.  Take a minute and get to know all of the participants.  I have to tell you I am complete awe of all of these individuals.  All of their stories are so unique, but also similar in that they all live, love and breathe agriculture and country life.  So a very big thank you to all 25 of you!  I can’t wait to learn more about each of you.

Don’t forget Jamie and I too are a part of the exchange and we both have our own Christmas in the Country to send.  You can check out Jamie’s blog here:  This Uncharted Rhoade,  and her Facebook page.

As you check out the other participants, be sure to leave a message or a Like to the fact that you visited their page.  This is a great opportunity to not only spread a little Christmas cheer, but to also make new connections with fellow bloggers.  I would love for all of the participants to leave me and or Jamie a little note that they saw this post and one thing that they hope to gain from the exchange.  I know, I know, but it will sure bring a smile to my face!

Just a few quick reminders for our participants:  You will be receiving an email tonight from myself or Jamie with the name and address of who you are to send your Christmas in the Country gift too.  All gifts need to be sent by the 16th.  If you run into any trouble or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know!  That is why we are here.
So……………………………………now I guess it is time to go shopping!
Thank you again everyone!  Remember to have fun with this and lets spread some Christmas Cheer!
Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link

Christmas in the Country – A gift exchange

Some years I am not in the Christmas spirit until right before Christmas.  Other years I am ready to have Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.  This year I am already feeling the Christmas spirit and have even begun shopping and am ready to decorate!  I know, I know, but I do love to give to others and baking during the holidays is a favorite of mine too.

That is why I am so excited to announce the first ever Christmas in the County gift exchange!  The wonderful blogger friend of mine, Jamie Rhoades, from This Uncharted Rhoade asked me to team up with her for this fun holiday project.

Christmas in the Country 2

Basically all you have to do is sign up, answer a few questions, wait for an email that tells you who to send a Christmas present too and send your gift.  It is that easy and fun!  I know I have blogger friends all over the country who I would love to send a little gift too and in return get to know them even better.  Like I said, already in the Christmas Spirit!

Christmas in the Country


Follow the link below to sign up and then on December 4th you will receive an email with the name of a blogger/agvocate/country friend that you will send your gift too.  We do ask that you try to keep things secret, but do include with our gift a bit about yourself and the item(s) you choose to send.

Follow the below link to get signed up.  I you have any questions or run into troubles, just send me or Jamie an email: or


Don’t forget if you have any questions or even feedback on how to make this even better, please let us know!  Also Jamie designed the above button so that you could add it to your blog if you like.

Blessings you,

Laurie – Country Link

Farm Picture Friday

Snow!  We have snow and it is a beautiful sight.


I had not done a Farm Picture Friday yet and decided that today was the day.  I have been slacking in my blogging and thought that this would be a good way to get back at it during the holidays.  We have been very busy around here getting ready for Christmas, keeping up with chores, and staying warm.  Thursday morning brought us some needed moisture in the form of rain and snow.  Winds were very gusty, but as you can see it left us beautiful pastures with sparkling snow in the evening light.  It also brought us two “Snow Days” for the kids.

I have much more to share, but for now I have to finish getting things ready for Christmas and take the kids out to play in the snow.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Blessing to you and yours,

Laurie – Country Link

Gift Giving Ideas this Holiday Season

What to give, what to give?  Ever find it hard to find the perfect gift for that loved one?  Or the school bus driver?  Or the Sunday school teacher?

Hopefully this post will give you some ideas and help to jump-start your gift giving plans.  Below are some things that I have given or gotten over the holidays and places that I like to shop for country kids big and small.

John Deere Dealership  

From the site.

Yes it is true, every year I go to the John Deere “Store”, as my kids like to call it, to purchase something for someone on my list.  Believe it or not there are many gifts to find in most dealerships.  Items include: clothing, toys, ornaments,  games, bikes and for the big kid in the household, tools and parts.  Items do have to have a visual price tag on them for me to purchase them.  Nothing in the lot or out front for instance has a price tag on it.

Mama Jane’s Creations  

This is a wonderful gift idea for anyone on your list.  Male, female, teacher, coach, mother-in-law, you name it and Mama Jane has something for them!  Mama Jane decided after retiring from teaching that she would try something new.  So she dabbled in making mixes and rubs and all things wonderful.  Out of that came Mama Jane’s Creations which she has formed into a family business.   She has Beer Bread, Cappuccino Mix, Soup Mix, Sweet and Sassy Creation Mixes, Savory Creation Mixes and a wonderful Chicken Salad mix.  If you like pretzels, then you will love her mixes to make flavored pretzels.  Strawberry is the best!

Yes, I am an Amazon shopper.  I don’t do all of my shopping here, but when I am needing something and have no way of getting to a store, then I head to the computer and Amazon.  The great thing about this site is that they really do have things that country kids and adults do want.  When I could not find the Lego Farm sets, Amazon had them.  We had one very happy little man two Christmas’s ago when he got a Lego Tractor.  Other things I buy here are books, movies and Wii games.

Orschelns Farm and Home

Do you have one of these near you?  If you don’t I bet you have something similar, like a Farm and Home or Feed store.  This is where I usually get the things on my husbands list.  You can get most things a country boys needs, wants or has to have.  They also carry the wonderful Muck boots that I got last year.  Now not everyone wants pink, but don’t worry, they do come in other colors!

Thirty-One Gifts

If you have not yet heard of Thirty-One, then let me introduce you to these wonderful products!  They make bags, purses, totes, thermals and backpacks.  Most of these items can be embroidered for a very low price.  Nothing is nicer than giving something personalized.  My sister is a consultant for the company and has been busy making sure that I have one of everything!  No, not making me, because I love the products and use something Thirty-One every day.  I have taken the thermals to the cattle lot and the corn field.  I use the large tote to carry things back and forth from the car the house.  The kids use the Cinch Sacs when they spend the night somewhere or when they go on adventures in the timber.  This year I already have many gifts to give that are Thirty-One.

My Kitchen

The day after Thanksgiving the holiday making/baking starts.  This year we had 16 different kinds made in a day and a half!  We would have gotten more made, but the cows had to be worked so that they can be breed in a little over a week.  (This is another post I need to write because my sister and brother-in-law helped.  I know, I could not believe it either!)  Besides candy I also like to have breads, Chex mix and cookies on hand to give out.  Usually the neighbors, bus drivers, Sunday school teachers and landlords get these types of holiday treats.  I may need to invest on a lock for the refrigerator though so that it is not all gone before the Holidays.

Hand Made with Love

This year I will tell you that no one is getting a hand-made gift, made by me.  I have made many things in the past, all with love, like quilts, table cloths, journals, picture books and scrapbooks.  This year it is not going to happen, but I do plan on giving hand-made gifts.  My wonderful friend Sandy has started crocheting hats and I already have one to give to a niece and may order more.  There are a few stores in the next town that sell hand-made items and tomorrow is shopping day!  My cousin-in-law, Melissa,  has started making items and sells them at her best friends store, My Favorite Things, you can find it on FaceBook.  Very cute stuff!

Hand crocheted by my friend Sandy.

If you need additional gift giving ideas then head over to Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom or Dairy Carrie to read their lists.

This was a fun post to write and I do hope you enjoy it.  If you have any other ideas or fun places to shop, please share them with us!  Nothing better than the gift of giving, big or small, expensive or not, as long as it comes from the heart.

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link

Trick to Treating??

For us Halloween is that one time a year that you get to dress up in fun costumes and go and see your neighbors for no reason other than that they have candy and they are willing to share.  And let me tell you, they are VERY good at sharing.  So good that we only have to go to 10 houses and we have enough candy to last for months.  Here is how Trick or Treating happens in the COUNTRY.

First costumes are made or assembled from things that we have, need or will use again.  My Kendall wanted to be a rabbit.  I found a set of ears and a fluffy white tail at the store.  We then bought a plain white sweatshirt in her size, a women’s 5X white sweatshirt and some pink fleece.  The pink fleece was cut into an oval and sewn to the front of her sized sweatshirt for a nice fuzzy pink tummy.  The 5X sweatshirt?  Well, I soon learned that white sweatpants are very, very hard to come by.  So we used the 5X one as “fabric” and made her a pair of pants.  Worked out pretty good and was cheaper than a yard of fabric.

Tessa thought a bumblebee sounded good.  So to the store we went to get black and yellow fabric for her and some tulle to make her wings.  Her little costume went together really fast and was a cinch to make.  All we added to it was some black pants,a black jacket and a homemade pair of antenna.  Oh, and of course black eyeliner to give her that cute black nose.

Wyatt was harder this year.  At first he told me he wanted to be some Star Wars guy that I had never heard of and could not figure out how to make.  Then one day a few weeks before Halloween he comes home and says, “Hey mom, Maggie is going to be a cop.  Can I be a robber?”  Why, yes, yes you can!  Something I knew we could pull off.  All his took was black clothing, hat and gloves, a black mask and a “money bag”.  The bag was actually made from a sampling bag that seed corn companies use to gather samples of their corn varieties.  I just added a felt dollar sign and he was good to go.

Now that we have costumes, it is time for Trick or Treating!!  Our closest neighbor is almost a mile away, (that is if you go by the gravel road) so we tend to travel to see all of our “neighbors”, near and far.  I like to start around 5:00 in the evening so that we have time to get everywhere, do a little visiting and be back to Gpa’s and Gma’s to have supper at a decent time.

We started on our usual path, took a detour to the bean field real quick so that Dad could see how they looked, and then we were back on track.   Every now and then we did run into other trick or treaters at houses, but mostly we are out there on our own.  This year we did drive into town to hit a couple of houses.  Boy, that was crazy!!  Kids, parents and cars everywhere!

It took us a little over 2 hours to stop at 11 houses, one bean field and then to end up at the Grandparents house.

And THIS is how much candy the kids ended up with!

It is probably good that Halloween only comes once a year, because there is no TRICK to TREATING here in the COUNTRY.

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link