Christmas in the Country 2015 Gift Reveal!

001-1Here we are again! It is time to reveal what was given in this years Christmas in the Country gift exchange! This is by far my favorite part of the exchange. Through all of the signing up, matching up, emailing, tracking packages and finger crossing, this is the part that makes all of that time worth it.

I really think this year was our best yet and I think I am beginning to see why. Being our third year, we have had several repeat participants. Each time they participate, we get to know them a little bit better and that knowledge of them and their blogs makes for better matching up of individuals.

This year we had 53 Bloggers; 52 women and 1 man. We had 19 states represented, stretching from Pennsylvania to Oregon. We had Bloggers who are dairy farmers, cattle ranchers, agricultural industry leaders, custom harvesters, agriculture teachers, extension agents, pig farmers, photographers, greenhouse operators, row crop farmers, poultry farmers, farm/country women and all around fantastic individuals. I also had three co-hosts who this could not of been done without! Thank you Jamie, Lara and Kirby for all of your help, all of your time and for just being there when I had a question or needed to run something by you. Thank you for everything!

This year we also had delayed packages, packages left in obscure places that took the receiver a day or five to find, a package that was returned to the sender by the shipping company, packages that arrived early and even a package that the family pet got a hold of before sending. I think we saw and or had it all happen this year! Through it all though, we could not of asked for better understanding and attitudes from all of the participants. Thank you to all of them!

This time Lori from Home on the Range Exchange had my name. I love the name of her blog and that she is from Kansas, a place I still refer to as my second home. Lori and I have more in common then similar first names. We both were born and raised on our families diversified farms; she is a fifth generation and I am a fourth. She is an Extension Agent and my mom has been in Extension for over 30 years. She too loves photography and is also very crafty. We both also love to cook. Didn’t I say something about making great matches this year…

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Lori sent me some great handmade items, an awesome little cookbook that I can’t wait to use and a pretty new camera strap that she also made. My current strap is just black and works great in the cattle lot or in the tractor cab, but is not very stylish for when I am other places. Now I am set!

Thank you Lori for the lovely gift you sent. You really did take time to get to know me and your gift could not of been more perfect. I wish you the very best in 2016 and can’t wait to continue to get to know you better!

Each of the 53 Bloggers will be adding their reveal posts to a special LINKUP that is open from now until the 12th. Check the linkup so see what I sent to Chelsea of Boilermaker Ag.

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link

 

 

 

Christmas in the Country 2014 Sign-up

Christmas in the Country 2014 gift exchange - www.countrylinked.wordpress.com

 

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

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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…………..it 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:

Laurie,

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!

~Taysha~

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 – 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

PIN ME!

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: laurie.link@gmail.com or  thisunchartedrhoade@gmail.com

SIGN UP FOR CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY

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