Poinsettia & Angel Centerpiece

The poinsettia was brought to the United States from Mexico around 1828 by Joel Roberts Poinsett. An avid gardener and amateur botanist, Poinsett was appointed as the first US Minister to Mexico in 1825. While in Mexico, Poinsett observed this species flowering and sent plants back to his greenhouse in Charleston. Until that time, this species was unknown outside of its native range of Mexico and Guatemala, where it was referred to as flor de nochebuena (Christmas Eve flower). Once introduced to the U.S., it quickly gained the common name poinsettia, but is also known by many other common names including Christmas flower, Christmas star, lobster plant, painted leaf, and Mexican flame leaf.

This species has a reputation for being extremely poisonous. While there is little doubt that the milky latex of poinsettias can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, mucus membranes, or when consumed, to the digestive system, poinsettia is apparently one of the less toxic species of Euphorbia. Of reported human exposure, there were no fatalities.

Source:  The Neighborhood Gardner, University of Florida

Poinsettia is toxic to cats and dogs and causes gastric distress.

For the last few days, I’ve been adding vignettes to my home. Yesterday I arranged a poinsettia plant, a vintage light, and a cloth angel on the dining room table. It’s a farmhouse poinsettia & angel centerpiece.

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Sunset in the Backyard

For the last week or so I have been going through boxes of decorations. It’s time to put away fall and bring out Christmas and winter decor items. It’s the perfect time to review and discard what I haven’t used in a while. You know I’ve bought new stuff this year and like it better than some of the older items. I’m working hard, and I glance up to notice a sunset at the window. To me it’s afternoon since it’s 4 something, but that’s not real this time of year. I ran to the living room and grabbed my camera. I ran to my new sliding doors and took these photos. There was no time for going outside.

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Practical Ideas For Better Home Cooking

For some people, cooking is a passion. Like my brother-in-law, they love trying new recipes, experimenting with different flavors, and feeding their friends and family. For many other people cooking is a chore. At times most of us are tired of answering the eternal question “What’s for dinner” At the beginning of November we discussed finding inspiration to cook. The best advice when trying new dishes is to avoid complicated recipes and start small. Perhaps a sheet pan dinner or a slow cooker meal are easy ways to try something new.

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Create a Home That Supports Wellness

We are approaching the end of the year, a perfect time to re-evaluate and renew our lives and homes. Today I want to talk about stress. The holiday season which brings great joy also can bring great stress.  Many of us have so much responsibility, and often we feel overburdened.  We want it all – great home, family time, work, and personal growth.  Of course we do, but can we have it all at once?

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Scrambled Egg & Sausage Muffins

Today’s recipe is a cheesy breakfast egg and sausage cup or muffin with great taste and lower fat and salt. It’s a healthier combination with turkey (or chicken) sausage. According to the Food Network, pork sausage has 290-455 calories and 23-38 grams of fat per link. Turkey and chicken sausage have 140-160 calories and 7-10 grams of fat for the same amount. That’s hundreds of calories and fat grams dodged per link. You avoid loads of sodium too, and you don’t lose in the taste department either. 

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Advent Vignette 2022

I got my first Advent Wreath decades ago. It was a simple metal wreath with faux greenery and four calendar holders marking the four Sundays before Christmas.  Some Advent wreaths have a 5th white candle in the center for Christmas Day. Advent wreaths are an ancient tradition going back as far as Roman times. Today there are various customs according to several liturgical denominations involving the color of the candles and their significance.  On the first Sunday, a candle is lit and a prayer or scripture read. Snuff out the candle. Please don’t blow it out or the hot melted wax might spray. The next Sunday light the first and the second. Have a service and extinguish the candles. I like using LED lights without fear of fire. Each week light in order, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd,  until the last Sunday there are four candles burning. The candles do not have to burn down but can burn for your remembrance and be extinguished. If you want a Christmas Day candle, the four candles and a fifth white candle all are burning on Christmas.

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Winter Flavors & Dishes

We’re in late fall and winter officially arrives December 21st. As the temperatures drop, our bodies crave a warming, comforting meal. Traditionally, certain flavors like in spices and herbs are traditionally used to welcome fall and to make cozy meals during the coldest season. Today let’s looks at special flavors and think about new dishes to add to our menu. Here are seven winter ideas you need this year. Not only do they add great flavor, but many also add healthy benefits. We can all use that.

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