The Countdown Begins

In the northern hemisphere, we have less than a week until the shortest day of the year, less than a week until Christmas, less than a week until our home will be filled with dogs and family.

I am happy to report that my cooking is right on schedule.

I’ve made chili,

more pumpkin bread,

and I put together a pie using peppermint ice cream made by Gifford’s, a Maine business.

All are in the freezer waiting for the big day, and the cupboards are bulging with goodies to go along with what I’ve made.

On Friday and Saturday, to get us all in the mood for a Maine Christmas,  Mother Nature obliged with a nor’easter.

During the storm, here was the view from our living room,

and here was the backyard from another room.

Unfortunately, the snow was wet and heavy and knocked out power to more than 100,00 customers in central and southern Maine. Today, there are still over 18,000 customers without power. Given that the entire state only has a population of a little over a million, a fair number of households lost their power last weekend.

We did lose our power, but only for a few hours in the middle of the night, and we scarcely noticed it.  As I’ve mentioned before, although we live on a country road, we are lucky to be on the same line as the town’s fire department. Every time a bruiser of a storm comes, we give thanks that our power line is linked to the fire station’s line.


My new book, Of Time and Magic, continues to sell very well. In fact, Of Time and Magic has sold better on release than any of my previous books. Many thanks to all my blogging friend who have bought Of Time and Magic. If you haven’t bought a copy yet and want to, never fear! We have plenty of books in stock and would be happy to mail them in the U.S. after the holidays if that is more convenient.


If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you a very merry Christmas or Joyeux Noël as we Franco-Americans would say.  I will be taking a blogging break until the new year. Wherever you live, whatever you celebrate, I hope the last days of December are filled with warmth, merriment, good food, family, and friends.

And a happy New Year to all!

90 thoughts on “The Countdown Begins”

    1. Sounds as if you have all your ducks in a row, as they say. I’m pleased your books are selling well. Enjoy your Christmas with your family, human and canine 😉 Best wishes for 2023!

      We used to have a Giffords Ice Cream store in Bethesda, Maryland 50+years ago. Had no idea it was a Maine firm. Splendid ice cream!

      1. Thanks, Ginny! I’m wondering if that Gifford’s was connected to the Maine dairy. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that our Gifford’s was very small and local 50 years ago. Any, a very happy holidays to you and yours.

  1. WHAT an organised soul you are! I have wrapped my gifts and baked a traditional fruit cake … will look for a tree on Thursday and then knuckle down to baking and cooking once it has been decorated. ENJOY having your family with you – this is so special – and CONGRATULATIONS on your books selling so well! You deserve a break!!!

    1. Thanks, Anne. Sounds as though you are making good progress on your Christmas tasks. Because of arthritis, I have to plan carefully. Can’t zip through my chores the way I once did. 😉

  2. Glad your power outage didn’t last long. That would be rough in that cold and snow. We’ve just had rain and wind and cold.

    I just ordered your book and never thought about the implied Christmas rush. Absolutely take your time with it. It’s for me, lol. If you send it in Feb. it will be my birthday present.

    It sounds like you have a Christmas ahead full of good food and family. There’s nothing better. Wishing you and the family all the best for a great 2023. xo

      1. Aw, thanks for the super fast shipping, Laurie. That was so kind of you and Clif. Can’t wait to see what Maya has in store for us this time.

        Wishing you all a lovely Christmas and wonderful 2023.

  3. Good cooking, and congratulations for having the foresight to live on the same power line as the fire station. That was a very sound move. Happy Christmas to you both.

  4. How convenient to be attached at the telephone pole to the fire department! Have a wonderful, warm and happy Christmas, here’s to 2023! PS: Glad your book is selling so well!

  5. Brr, that much snow looks COLD! Glad you’re warming things up with all those yummy treats. Congrats on the book’s success, Laurie, and Happy Christmas to you and yours!

  6. There’s very little that’s more enjoyable than watching a snow like that from inside a warm house! Everything looks wonderful, especially that pie. I’m a fool for peppermint, and it looks like yours has a chocolate crust: perfect. Merry Christmas to you and Clif and all your gathered ones; here’s to the very best new year ever!

  7. Cheers to your culinary yummies for the big day. To me, the combo of chili and peppermint pie are a perfect match with pumpkin bread acting as a good kicker. Meanwhile, rare blizzard conditions are expected in my area! Cheers to good sales of your book. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

    1. Thanks, Frank! Hope the weather is not too bad for you. But the forecast for much of the country isn’t too good. Stay warm and have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

  8. Your holiday cooking and baking looks delicious Laurie and your family are in for a treat! Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year too 🤗💖🎄 xxx

  9. Perfect weather for chili and yours look delicious as does the pie and bread. The photo of the snow through the window is beautiful. Hope everyone has their power back on and keeping warm. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

  10. Your chili looks fabulous! As does everything else. I do love watching a snow. Are you going to get any of the monster storm? We’re up for rain down here. I’m getting ready to start my food prep this week. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope it’s warm, bright, and joyous.

  11. I can smell the cooking and feel the festive home atmosphere. The snow is beautiful, and I am glad you are on the same line as the fire station. I know it makes a huge difference here which power grid one is on.

    How is little Miss Watson?

  12. Wishing you Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year. I smiled as I read about Gifford’s ice cream. It’s my favorite brand! I never realized it was from Maine. Enjoy your snow–looks like it will be a green Christmas here.

  13. Merry Christmas from my house to yours, and applause on all that good looking food. I sure won’t have to wonder if your family is eating well. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful holiday, and applause on the success of the new book!

    1. Thanks so much! Very common to have a white Christmas in Maine. Alas, rain is in the forecast, and it might take away all the snow. Wishing you and yours a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

  14. Hi Laurie, Guess what, your book “Maya and the Book of Everything” has arrived from Booktopia!
    It looks lovely and I will show it to my granddaughter when she arrives. She is too young for it now, but I know she will love it, as she loves all stories.
    I’ll take a photo of it, and send it to you, shall I sent it to your blog or put it on my blog?
    By the way, best wishes for Christmas to you and your family.

    1. How cool is that? Maya is in Australia. Go ahead and post it on your blog, and I will repost it on mine. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Love the notion of your bookish granddaughter.

  15. Merry Christmas Laurie!
    We been hearing about the severe weather – glad power returned after a couple of hours. Enjoy the feasting (that pie looks so good!) and ushering in the new year!

  16. Postscript: I caught up on your summer and autumn. I am glad you didn’t have an entire summer of horrible heat. I truly appreciate knowing of someone else who spends most time at home, thinks environmentally before using gas to go on trips, and has similar Covid precautions to ours. Congratulations on your new book. I, too, had a wonderful memere, although I can’t get the proper accents in here and just called her “Gram”. Thanks for all the lovely photos of your garden flowers and homey, delicious food.

    1. Yes, yes! Wonderful to know there are other folks out there who are living creative lives close to home. Of course it helps to be a dedicated homebody. 😉 How cools that you had a memere—I can’t get the proper accents here, either. I guess you must have Franco-American roots, too.

  17. I hope you’re having a wonderful Boxing Day and that your Christmas plans were not affected by the winter storm. Wishing you a happy & healthy New Year when it comes. I downloaded a copy of Of Time & Magic and am just about to start it. I ‘saved’ it (with some difficulty) for my holiday treat.

  18. Your post is lovely. Thank you for making our holidays special!

    As the new proud owner of all four of your Great Library books (happy reading days await me!), I can also report that readers’ local independent bookstores will happily order them for customers. Congratulations on such good sales!

    I hope your New Year is warm, happy and healthy, Laurie. I wish you and Clif all the best.

    1. Many, many thanks! Yes, our books are available through IngramSpark, a company that many independent bookstores use to order books that indie authors write.

    1. Thanks, Tanya. We had a wonderful Christmas. Unfortunately, the storm hit Maine hard, and knocked out power to over 200, 000 homes in central and southern Maine. Fortunately, we did not lose our power, and everything was all systems go on Christmas day.

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