Well, it's already the middle of December - I can't believe I've gone so long without a post! I apologize for that - this month has just been extraordinarily busy! The operating room is running steadily at work - people are trying to get things done before they start a new deductible period. I think some folks are also a little worried about what health care reform might bring, so they're scheduling procedures now (under a system they know) rather than later (under a system they don't). I don't blame them - I'd probably do the same thing if I needed surgery, but it does mean we've been steadily busy, and some days have been crazy!
But exciting things are happening around here! Christmas is always fun, and my boys will all be home for Christmas, and I am so thankful for that. And we've had gatherings and parties and decorating and baking - whew! No wonder I haven't had ten minutes to sit down and write a blog post!
And, my long promised giveaway - I've finally pulled everything together! It's a two-parter (is that even a word? It is now, I guess!) The first part is kind of simple, but appropriate, given the current climate over most of the United States right now. In other words, baby, it's cold outside!
For the first part of my giveaway, I've made rice-filled therapy bags - a large one, a smaller one and two little hand-warmers to help keep you nice and toasty in the cold. One minute (more or less) in the microwave and these little guys will stay warm and toasty for quite a while! They can also be placed in the freezer for cold theapy - icing sore muscles or bruises or what-have-you.
They are made of soft brushed Moda flannel and the larger two are scented with lavendar (some of it grown right here at Clay Hill and Thistledew). I didn't scent the handwarmers because I figured they were more utilitarian than therapeutic. They're good for those cold mornings on your way out the door!
And now, the second part - I saved the best for last! My dear friend, Ellie Troutman of Windy Meadows, wrote a book! And it's been published! How exciting is that? And she has reserved a copy for one of you! She'll autograph your copy and ship it to you directly from Windy Meadows. It's beautifully written and beautifully illustrated, and is a perfect gift for horse lovers of any age.
I've been to Windy Meadows several times, and I can tell you that the book and the illustrations really capture the spirit of the place. There are guest cottages available on the farm, and guests can visit and tour the barns, and meet the characters. You might even be able to schedule a riding lesson, if you work that out in advance.
So, your favorite horse-crazy child or tween or teen (or adult) can read the book and then go visit the characters, either online or in person - or both! The Troutmans also have character cams, where you can log onto the website and see the horses during the working day.
Here's a photo of one of the illustrations in the book. I've walked by that very pasture on a farm visit, and I've petted the soft, velvety nose of a curious horse peeking over the fence - just as you see here. And Windy Meadows is amazing - visiting there was the most invigorating vacation I have ever had. Ellie and Randy are great hosts. Kentucky's Bluegrass Region is truly gorgeous, and Windy Meadows really is worth a visit, if you find yourself in Kentucky for any reason!
To get your autographed copy of this wonderful book AND the therapy bag collection, visit The Tails of Windy Meadows and then come back here and let me know which character you like best (I have a soft spot for Matem, myself, because he really is a sweetie and he LOVES food!). The site is still under construction, so keep that in mind when you visit, but I wanted to make this book available as soon as possible! If you blog about the giveaway I'll give you two extra entries. If you post it on Twitter or Facebook, that'll be two more entries for each post - just let me know you've done so in the comments.
I'll pick a winner Tuesday, December 15 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time, and will ship the items as quickly as the winner gets in touch with me. We'll try to get them to you for Christmas giving! Good luck - enter early and enter often!
Saturday Smiles Mintwater
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