Tuesday, December 15, 2009

HEARTH AND HOME - DECEMBER 15, 2009

Greetings, Dear Friends! And MERRY CHRISTMAS!



As I sit here this morning, contemplating another edition of HEARTH AND HOME, the cold (it’s 10 degrees outside right now) tries it’s best to infiltrate our home, but inside hearts are warm as we anticipate the glorious celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! What better time to reflect back upon all He’s done for us, and to share His love with others, than at Christmas? Can you believe that it’s only10 days away? My! How the time does fly!



Did you all have a nice Thanksgiving? We sure did! We celebrated here with our church family on the Sunday before, then, spent the day of with my mother-in-law at my husband’s cousin’s home. That evening we went on up to our youngest daughter’s home in North Kansas City and spent a couple of nights with her and her husband. While there we visited with old friends and more family members. It was a beautiful and memorable holiday weekend.



Well…shall we get started? Why don’t you grab a cup of something hot (tea? coffee? cocoa?) and join me…won’t you? Here we go…



HOUSEHOLD TIPS…



*Try adding holiday eggnog to waffle, pancake and French toast batter. It adds great flavor!

*Clean dirty glass Christmas ornaments by wiping them with a used fabric-softener sheet. It not only cleans, but it repels dust, too!

*If you’re short on counter space, use your ironing board for cooling cookies. Just cover with a flannel-backed tablecloth, and you’ve got plenty of extra surface for baking sheets.

*Use a melon baler to measure cookie dough. It’ll be easier to scoop, and all the cookies will be the same size.

*Measure gift wrap like the pros do. Use string to measure the box, and then line the string up with the paper. You’ll cut perfect size paper every time.

*Before spraying artificial snow on windows, spray the window with a light mist of cooking spray. The snow will wipe right off when the holidays are over!

*Before mixing a cake, spray beaters with cooking spray. Batter won’t cling, giving you more cake and less cleanup!

*When making caramel corn or popcorn balls, pour the popped corn into one big bowl. After shaking it a bit, the unpopped kernels drop to the bottom. Transfer the fluffy corn to another big bowl, then proceed with the recipe. There will be no unpopped kernels in your holiday treats!

*When melting bulk chocolate or almond bark to coat candies, fruit or pretzels, try using your slow cooker. It keeps the chocolate warm for repeated dips.

*When stringing popcorn, cranberries, or beads, try using waxed dental floss. It’s stronger than thread and everything will glide right on.

*Don’t have pastry bags and cake decorating tips? Decorate holiday cakes and cookies by piping the frostings from plastic food storage bags with the corners cut out.



DOLLARS AND SENSE…



*Make your own gift baskets. Include small jars of jams and jellies, specialty coffees and cookies. Here’s a great idea for something along that line:

Purchase cheap white or decorative coffee mugs. Place a packet of hot cocoa mix in

each one. In Saran Wrap, add 3-4 mini marshmallows, a couple of Hershey’s

plain kisses and a small candy cane.



Using ribbon, attach this poem to the handle of the cup:



Snowman Soup



Was told you've been real good this year

Always glad to hear it.

With freezing weather drawing near

You'll need to warm the spirit.

So here's a little snowman soup

Complete with stirring stick,

Add hot water, sip it slow

It's sure to do the trick.

(This idea sent to me several years ago by my friend, Crystal.)

*Shop the day after Christmas. I did this last year and saved a fortune on cards, gift wrap, bows, candles, etc.

*Take advantage of post-Christmas specials to buy gifts for those you know you won’t see until after December 25.



THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER…



* I’ve discovered several new holiday scents this year. Here are a few of my favorites…



- Bath & Body Works Anti-Bacterial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap

- Fresh Balsam

- Frosted Orange Spice



- Febreze Air Effects

- Cranberries and Frost

- Fresh Evergreen

- Winter Evening and Warmth



- Glade Candles

- Homemade Gingerbread

- Clean Linen



* All autumn long I wanted one of those great big scarecrows that Walmart had, but I didn’t have the extra $8.00 to spend on one. A couple of days ago we were in Walmart and guess what? They had the big scarecrows marked down to $2.00 each and the little ones…the kind that come on a stick that you can poke down into plants and stuff…they were marked down to 10 cents a piece! I literally got a whole shopping cart full of scarecrows for half what I would have paid for one big one earlier in the season. Now I’m ready for fall decorating and gift giving next year!



* I can’t remember where I got this recipe. It seems like someone sent it to me and…for the life of me…I can’t think who. If this recipe came from anyone reading here, please, let me know so I can properly credit my source. Thanks!



TEA FOR A SORE THROAT



Place in coffee filter in coffee maker 1 tsp dried Echinacea Purpurea root (Whole Foods Market bulk herbs) 1 Tsp dried loose Green Tea (Jay's International) 1 tsp dried loose orange pekoe/black tea 2 Wild Berry Zinger tea bags Add 10 - 12 cups water and turn the coffee maker on. Add just a few drops of honey per cup. Tastes great and is very healing. God's herbs are great!







THE CHRISTMAS STORY (from Luke 2:1-20)…

“1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2. ([And] this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.12. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.16. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17. And when they had seen [it], they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.18. And all they that heard [it] wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered [them] in her heart. 20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”



STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS…

For Dad…

*a Home Depot or other gift card

*breath mints in a tin box

*golf tees

*travel-sized toiletry items

*disposable razors



For Mom…

*lavender drawer liners

*an assortment of free samples from the local fragrance counter

*travel-size toiletry items

*candles

*knee high stockings or hosiery



For a young adult…

*gift certificates for movies, music, or food

*phone cards

*batteries

*stamps

*rolls of quarters for laundry



For a child…

*small flashlights

*travel-size board games

*coloring books and crayons

*art supplies

*stickers



LETTERS FROM READERS…



* Following the November 14th issue of HEARTH AND HOME I received this e-mail from Beth in Oregon. Beth says…






Years ago, we moved into our house in Springfield, and discovered we had a flea problem. At that time, we discovered Flea Busters. We called them, and they came out and treated our house------non-toxic, natural product! We lived there for 5 years with our dog----never had another flea! Even had the carpets cleaned during those 5 years, and still never had fleas and never had to have the house re-treated.



Then, we moved to our current home. The former owners had a cat....yep----fleas again! So, we called Flea Busters. We've been here for 13 years, and have never had to have our house re-treated!



Do you know what Flea Busters uses? BORAX!! They use a specially refined Borax and they put it all around the house in the carpets, then they take their machine that has swirling brushes that brushes the fine Borax deep into the carpet. The fleas eat the borax, but it ends up cutting them to shreds. In two weeks, the flea eggs hatch, and they then eat the borax....same thing happens to them!



Some years ago, our son got another dog---while he was still in HS-----we had to treat the dog-----I bought a box of Muleteam Borax and treated the dog and his bedding......never had flea problems after that.



You can take the Muleteam Borax and sprinkle it all over your carpets, then get on your hands and knees if need be, and with a scrub brush, brush the Borax deep into the carpet. Voila! You will have successfully eradicated your flea problem!



I'm going to use your carpet freshener recipe------that sounds WONDERFUL! So the orange oil doesn't cause the carpet to attract dirt?? Just curious....guess you don't use that much oil to cause that problem....



Anyhow....I'm going to reread your newsletter, Rebecca---there were so many neat things in it! Thanks!



Hugs,

Beth>



(Thanks so much for sharing, Beth. What an awesome testimony to the flea-fighting power of borax! As for the orange oil…I’ve never heard of it causing a problem. Like you pointed out…you use so little I don’t see how it could. If anyone out there knows for sure, please, write in and share! Thanks, Beth! Have a very Merry Christmas!)





* And this letter came from my friend AJ in Canada. AJ says…






I soooo look forward to your newsletter each time! Just thought I'd tell you... :o)



Question:

I read somewhere (maybe a previous newsletter of yours) of ideas to use shampoo and conditioner that one doesn't like for another purpose. For example using the shampoo as hand wash soap or to scrub down the tub.... any ideas re. conditioner? We bought some cheap stuff which normally is fine but this batch of cheap shampoo & conditioner is getting a bad reaction .:o) So besides wasting it - which I refuse to do - what else can we do with it? Ideas? :o) …



In Christ's Service,



AJ <>< >



In response to AJ’s letter I wrote the following…



<<


In response to your question...is someone in your home allergic to the conditioner? Or is it just not doing the job that you want it to do on your hair?



If no one is allergic...how about using it to make fabric softener? If you need the recipe for that, let me know. Regardless, I will check around and see what other uses I might be able to come up with to use it for.>>>



After doing a little research here are a few of the ideas that I came up with on alternative uses for hair conditioner…



* The last few drops of your conditioner will work fine to wash your panty hose or fine washables

* Shine your stainless steel. Place some on a soft cloth and as you rub the stainless steel watch the shine return.

* Rub on your leather boots or shoes to protect from salt and chemicals during the winter time

* Rub on hinges to stop squeaking

* Lubricate your zipper to keep it from sticking

* Rub on the shower rod so that your curtain will slide easier

* Use as a lubricant when shaving legs. Rub some on after too to soften and condition skin.

* Place some on a cotton ball and remove your make up. It will make your skin soft too.

* Rub some on your tools to help prevent rust

* Rub some on the wheels of skates and skate boards

* Some hair conditioner on a soft rag will make your houseplants shine

* Rub on the window glide to help with a sticking window

* To soften dry cuticles, rub a little conditioner on them

* Help remove a bandage from your child’s sore

* Rub some into your hands prior to working on your car or painting to help remove grime after



And…last, but not least…here’s the recipe that I use for homemade fabric softener. It was sent to me by my oldest daughter several years ago and I've been using it off and on ever since. I absolutely love it!!!



HOMEMADE FABRIC SOFTENER



6 cups water

3 cups white vinegar

2 cups hair conditioner (the best I've found so far is Suave Ocean Breeze...Mmmmmm!)



Use as you would any softener (I use mine in my Downy ball). It won't leave a residue on your clothing or towels.



(I hope these ideas help, AJ! Have a Merry Christmas, my friend!)





RECIPES…



* An old friend shared the following recipe with me…



SUGAR-FREE CAKE ICING



Easy and good…



1 box sugar-free pudding, any flavor

1 cup cold 2% milk



Mix well. Fold in 1 cup sugar-free Cool Whip. Enjoy!



(Thanks for sharing, Charlene. I bet this would be good on an angel food cake!)





* My cousin’s daughter-in-law shared the following recipes with us over Thanksgiving weekend…





CORN DIP



1 lb. cream cheese

1 cup real mayo

2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 cans Rotel tomatoes

1/2 cup sour cream

small of Mexican corn



Mix all together. Serve with chips.





BUFFALO DIP



Spread two 8 oz. packages of cream cheese in a rectangle pan. In saucepan mix together 2 large cans chicken and 3/4 c. buffalo sauce. Simmer. While hot spread on top of cream cheese. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven until cheese is melted.





CUCUMBER DIP



2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese

1 cup Miracle Whip

4 cucumbers peeled, seeded, and diced

onion chopped



Serve with crackers.



(Thanks, Courtney! The buffalo dip was AWESOME! Thanks, too, to my own daughter-in-law who was kind enough to copy these down and send them to me. Thanks, Angie!)





* Our youngest daughter made this delicious pie for us over Thanksgiving weekend…



TRIPLE-LAYER PUMPKIN SPICE PIE



2 cups cold milk

2 pkg. (4 serving size) JELL-O Pumpkin

Spice Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 (8 ounce) tub COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

1 (6 ounce) HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust

1/2 cup PLANTERS Pecan Halves

1 tablespoon honey



Beat milk, dry pudding mixes, and cinnamon with a wire whisk until well blended. Spread 1-1/2 cups onto bottom of crust. Add 1-1/2 cups of the whipped topping to remaining pudding mixture; stir gently. Spoon over layer in crust; top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate 1 hour. Meanwhile, cook pecans and honey in skillet on medium-low heat 2 to 4 min. or until pecans are caramelized, stirring frequently. Spread onto sheet of waxed paper, separating larger clusters. Cool. Sprinkle over pie just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.



(Thanks for sharing this pie, as well as the recipe for it, with us, Grace. It was very good!)



Well, dear friends, I guess that’s it for this issue of HEARTH AND HOME. I wish each and every one of you a joyous Christmas season, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. God’s blessings over all and…remember…Jesus IS the reason for the season!



All My Love,

~Rebecca

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