Adding Winter Wonderland With Vignettes

No matter the size of your home, a lot of Christmas decorating can be achieved with vignettes.  I’ve lived in small apartments and condos  as well as a larger home. Whether you have room for a big Christmas tree or just a small table top tree, much of your decorations can be achieved with small arrangements on tables, bookcases, and shelves. I love using small scenes to fill a room. This holiday season my living room is a blue and silver Winter Wonderland.

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Gardening in December

We’re getting close to the official first day of winter on December 21st. We’re all decorating, baking, and planning for the two big holidays, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Then cold, dark January comes with low temperatures and for many locations, dreary gray skies. For many of us it means we’re going to end up spending most of our time snuggled up indoors cozy under a blanket. For those of you in more northern climates, you’ve already had snow and are in the winter season no matter what the calendar says. Now we’re in the huge Christmas rush. In another month, the holidays are over and the New Year is upon us.  Are you making resolutions for 2022? How about adding gardening to your list?

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Spiced Pears and Pomegranates

A pomegranate is a sweet, tart fruit with thick, red skin. While the skin is not edible, it holds hundreds of juicy seeds that you can eat plain or sprinkle on salads, oatmeal, hummus, and other dishes. Bottled pomegranate juice is also an easy way to enjoy some of the health benefits of this delicious fruit.

Today’s dish is great for most diets. It’s vegan with no common allergy triggers, that works well as a fruit salad or as a healthy dessert alternative. It’s made with two autumn fruits, ripe pears and pomegranates, and is a great dish for the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year. It works well for potlucks. Pomegranates are, of course, a high-fiber, high-antioxidant “superfood” (thanks in part to those hard little edible seeds!). It’ll make you happy to see pomegranates appear in the grocery in the fall…

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Egret in the Garden

Sometimes we only have moments to try to capture special views of nature. First I’d like to share the instance of an egret in my friend’s garden. Egrets in Florida usually come in pairs or groups and forage the yard for food. At a slight movement by a human, away they fly. This time the bird just watched and didn’t leave. Time to attempt to capture a photo or two.

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Ideas for Simple Christmas Place Settings

Back at the beginning of November, I discussed simple Thanksgiving place settings. We’re now at the end of November, and our thoughts are filled with Christmas. Have you put your tree up yet? Many of us start decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, there are many types of get togethers including a brunch with friends, an afternoon tea, a holiday party, Christmas dinner, and New Year’s Eve. If you are having guests for Christmas dinner or a party, you’re probably in the planning mode now. Deciding on the menu and dividing up the dishes among us is what happens in my family. Who brings what.

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Small Budget, Big Home Improvements

We all have a wish list for our homes.  From the moment I walked through the house on a tour before I bought, I was making a checklist of what I liked and what I wanted to change.   Some home improvement means big bucks; other changes can be made on a small budget.   The smart home owners learn what is doable, plan, and make changes as they are able. For large ticket items, plan ahead and save for the upgrade. I made a 10 year plan and budgeted for a roof replacement, flooring change, new sliding patio doors, and a new central a/c. That was achieved over the last decade. Now I’m planning new washer/dryer, a new front door, and some small improvements in the next 4 to 6 years. Let’s talk about common home improvements.

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Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Several years ago I shared a recipe for marinated spicy roasted cauliflower. The marinade includes chili powder, cumin, and curry for a spicy flavor. Today’s recipe, parmesan roasted cauliflower is a simple but flavorful dish that many home cooks seem to overlook. This dish is perfect for winter, especially when paired with a side of roasted potatoes and meats or served with some warm pasta. Roasting the cauliflower brings out its natural nutty flavor, and the parmesan cheese adds a crispy richness that will have you craving more. A whole roasted head of cauliflower can be really impressive.

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