Sunday, November 26, 2017

Pick the Best Christmas Tree!

A Christmas tree is often the centerpiece of our home holiday decor.  So how do you pick the right one? The one with the best smell? The most fresh? The best color?

Here are a few ways to find the best tree this year and have long lasting beauty all through the Christmas season.

1.  Check the freshness of the tree by bending a needle in your fingers.  Fir species should snap and pine species should bend.

2. Gently hold the tree in the middle and tap the cut bottom on the ground.  A few needles will fall off. If an avalanche of needles fall off you may have a tree that's not so freshly cut.

3.  Measure before you buy! Know your ceiling heights and the width of the space you want to put your tree before you pick the perfect one.

Before you leave the lot, have the attendant make a fresh cut in the bottom of the tree.  When you get the tree home fill up the tree stand with water. Keep it full - checking several times a day for the first few days.

Avoid placing the tree near a heat source like a fireplace or vent.  This will dry out the tree prematurely. Protect your floors with towels or a waterproof tarp.

Decorate and enjoy!! 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thanksgiving Punch Ideas

There's so much to think about for Thanksgiving - the appetizers, breads, turkey, sides, and desserts.  Obviously those are important pieces of the meal but what about to drink?  A sparkly punch or cider can really take a meal from wow to WHOA!

Here are a few easy, non-alcoholic ways to create magical Thanksgiving drinks.

Cranberry Pineapple Punch

- 3 Cups Canned Pineapple Juice, Chilled
- 3 Cups Cranberry Juice Cocktail, Chilled
- 4 Cups Ginger Ale

Stir together then add
- Ice
- 1/2 Cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 lime - sliced thin

Apple Pie Punch

4 cups Apple Cider
1 Cup White Grape Juice
3 Cups Ginger Ale

Stir together and add chunks of fresh apple!

Cran-Raspberry Punch

- 3 Cups Cranberry Juice
- 3 Cups Ginger Ale

Stir together and add 3 scoops (or more) Raspberry sherbet. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Improving a Winter Landscape

Thanksgiving is just a little over a week away! While there are plenty of tried and true ways to decorate the inside of your home to make it warm and inviting - what about the outside? Especially on those cold, gray days!

Start with what you can control.  Your entryway is the first impression of your home. While the plants may be bare you can liven up the space with some greenery on the door, white lights and even some outdoor furniture pieces and pillows.

Incorporate pops of color from red berries or bright orange leaves.

If you feel like planting some winter shrubs or flowers, consider the following:

- Ornamental cabbage or kale
- Winter Jasmine
- Holly

Also check local nurserys and hardware stores for potted arrangements suitable for cold weather.

If you're really feeling the remodeling spirit - consider updating your front door paint to something with more color- a deep red or blue!

Don't forget to keep your yard maintained - rake the leaves, pick up fallen branches and put away the summer items till next season.

What ideas do you have to make your winter yard for appealing?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Making a Guest Friendly Home

1. Purchase back up items for your guests - toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, headache medicine, bottled water. Your house guests will appreciate not having to ask!

2.  Everyone sleeps at different temperatures so have some options available. A box fan for the hot natured and some extra throw blankets for cold feet!

3.  Have your wi-fi password readily available for guests to see. Also provide any instructions for accessing electronics or setting alarm clocks.

4.  If you have to work or won't be around for your guests, leave them a spare key so they can go in and out themselves.  Provide maps or brochures on fun things available around your town.  If you already have activities planned as a family, create an agenda so everyone knows what is happening and when.

5.  If you don't have time to clean the whole house focus on these key areas: kitchen, hall and guest bathrooms, guest room, main living room floors - windows are an extra bonus!

What do you do to prepare for holiday guests?