Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Household Hints

Good Housekeeping, March, 1926

Good Housekeeping, March, 1926

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The old Good Housekeeping magazine covers were so pretty, I wish that more magazines today would realize that a charming painting on the cover might run up more sales (I think I would be tempted to buy one just to frame the cover!).

In these frigid nights, warm comforts can be found at home, with a little effort on the part of some kind soul in the household:

Large canning jars can be filled with hot tap water, the lids twisted on tight, wrapped in towels, and placed under the covers at the foot of the bed about 1/2 hour before bed-time. The jars create a nice warm spot for cold feet to discover. (Be sure to remove the jar at bed-time.)

Towels and pyjamas can be warmed up in the dryer at bath-time or bed-time for family members.

Keep a hot pot of tea on the kitchen counter for people who need a warm drink. Warm the pot up with hot tap water, then discard the tap water and add the tea and boiling water. Put a cozy on the pot. After the tea has steeped, remove the tea bag or tea ball and put clean dishtowels over the pot and cozy to keep it warm longer.

An easier way to have an instant hot drink is to keep some cider on the stove. Apple cider, or apple juice and cranberry juice mixed, with some mulling spices, on low makes a delicious hot drink. This is a delightful surprise for drop-by visitors or family members who have just come home.

Maine - Interior View of a New England Homestead, Woman by the Fireplace

Maine - Interior View of a New England Homestead, Woman by the Fireplace

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I enjoy giving gifts to friends who I know re-purpose the gift wrap, bag, or bows. I enjoy receiving gifts that have nice touches like wide ribbon or a special tag, because I do save them and re-use them on other gifts.

Keep a special Christmas wrapping box and fill it with the bags and bows and ribbons you have saved. If a bag or bow has been re-purposed for several years, and is too wrinkly, you may want to leave that one out! Though you may no longer be in the mood, after-Christmas sales are the time to stock up on wrapping paper and ribbons. Half-price is a good price!

This year, easy thank-you notes for Christmas gifts were made by removing the string from very special gift-tags that adorned our family's gifts, and pasting them on colored card stock. Try "pulling out" a color from the tag with the card stock you choose, for instance, the snowman below has a beige nose, pink cheeks, and sage touches. He would look good on any of those colors.

This 3-dimensional snow-man gift tag (with a real button and accents of felt) would look good on any of these three card stock colors, and make a quick, easy, and impressive little card.

Here is an easy non-dairy doughnut recipe I had success with this morning:

Beat 1 egg.
Mix in
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar (I used "evaporated cane juice" sugar; you can use turbinado sugar, or try honey or agave, with less water)

In another bowl, mix together
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon non-aluminum baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 or 3 dashes of salt

Oil for frying
(set aside for topping: confectioner's sugar and cinnamon)

Stir dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients until moistened (you may have to add water, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too dry). Roll out on floured board 1/2 thick. Cut with cutter (a round biscuit cutter with a smaller circle cut out with a bottle makes the traditional donut shape). You can also cut strips with a knife and twist them.

Heat oil in pan. I used 1/4 inch of oil and turned the donuts as they browned, but those who have a deep fryer or more oil can do it that way. Carefully place donuts into oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners sugar and cinnamon. Serve warm.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas!

The Pleasant Times Christmas Tree

I would like to express appreciation to the Ladies who take the time out of their busy lives to show the rest of the world something beautiful, good, or wise through their blogs. Whenever I have a moment to go down my links list, I always come across a post that makes my heart glad. Thank you, ladies, who stay true to your calling and brighten your corner of the world.
Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!