Smart Methods of Using Baskets As Home Décor

Smart Methods of Using Baskets As Home Décor

Smart Methods of Using Baskets As Home Décor

If you are searching ways to tidy your home décor, baskets are a cute and cheap option to add charm while increasing your available storage space, while keeping it visually uncluttered. Here are a few tips to use decorative baskets to their maximum potential.

Bathroom organizers—use baskets to keep hair brushes, accessories and combs in one place. Nail the bottom of a basket to the wall (with the open side facing out), and use it to store extra hand towels and washcloths. If you have the room, use baskets to hold extra rolls of toilet tissue.

Mail basket—instead of tossing unread mail on the closest flat surface you can find, place a pretty basket on a table, countertop or desk to hold the mail until you can get to it. This not only looks nicer, but it keeps your mail all in one place so you don’t risk losing important bills or correspondence.

Take out menu holder—Take out menus tend to pile up in drawers, on shelves, and on top of the refrigerator, creating unsightly messes and making it hard to find what you’re looking for. Purchase an oblong or rectangle basket and place all your menus in it. The next time you’re in the mood for takeout, you’ll know where to look.

Magazine and book container—give each family member a decorative basket to hold their magazines and books. The next time you come home from the library with a stack of books, your family will have a place to put their own materials.

Hobby container—a pretty picnic-type basket can hold your yarn and needles out of sight until you are ready to get to work. Place it next to your favorite chair or store the basket under an end table. If your kids love to color or doodle while watching TV, store their supplies in a cute kid-friendly basket to keep your living room neat and tidy.

Kitchen helpers—baskets are awesome additions to your kitchen. Use them to hold your leftover condiment packets from fast food purchases, or put small packets of sweeteners and creamers in one next to the coffee pot. Place a tall sturdy basket within reach of the stove and fill it with your most used utensils. Baskets also make pretty holders for napkins and rolled silverware; choose one that fits your dinning room décor and leave it right on the table. You will always have your tableware right within reach.

Home entertainment holders—if you have trouble keeping track of TV and gaming remotes, use baskets to keep them all in one spot. Place an attractive basket on your coffee table and toss all the gadgets in it. You will never have to look for a lost remote again.

Give a quick overview of each room in your home. Identify all messy areas. These are prime candidates to convert into basket storage. Not only will they give you an organization space, but it makes it visually appealing.

The ideas for baskets as home décor are limited only by your creative expression. They not only add beauty, neatness and extra storage space to your home, but they’re not expensive as well, giving your home an elegant look on a budget.

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

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Odd Jelly and Jam Recipes To Make

Odd Jelly and Jam Recipes To Make

Odd Jelly and Jam Recipes To Make

Below you’ll find some strange jelly and jam recipes to try in your canning endeavors. Some of the ingredients, you may not be sure you’ve heard of previously.

Perhaps you’ll choose to make some of them from sheer curiosity. Maybe you’ll give it as a gift to that friend or family member who’s equally strange. These might be interesting to enter into cooking contests or county fairs.

Whatever your reason, have fun cooking!

Mandarin Orange and Wine Jelly

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups white wine
  • 3 ounces of liquid fruit pectin

Combine all ingredients except the pectin into a saucepan. Cook over moderate heat until the sugar melts and the mixture is at a full boil. Boil hard at that point for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the pectin, then stir another 2 minutes. Skim off any foam gently with a spoon. Carefully put into sterilized, hot canning jars to seal. This recipe makes about 6 half pint jars of jelly.

Rose Hip Jam

Rose hips are the fruit that forms on old fashioned type rose bushes. They should be picked after the first frost in the fall and they are very high in vitamin C.

For this recipe you’ll also need a food scale.

  • 1 pound of rose-hips
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound Sugar

Simmer cut up rose-hips in water until fruit is very soft. Blend in a food processor until very smooth in texture. Weigh the puree in the food scale to measure a pound of puree. If it seems too runny at this point, try to drain some of the excess water off.

Put the pound of rose-hip puree in a saucepan and add 1 pound of sugar, again you’ll need the food scale. Gradually add small amounts of water if the mixture gets too thick, but you’ll want the consistency known for jam. Heat and simmer until thick. Seal in hot, sterilized canning jars.

Red Bell Pepper Jam

  • 12 sweet red bell peppers, seeded and cut
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar

Blend red bell peppers in a food processor until fairly smooth. Add salt and let the mixture stand overnight.

Drain well, then combine the red peppers, vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and cook over moderate heat until the mixture boils. Reduce heat and simmer until it gets as thick as jam does, stirring very frequently. Seal in hot, sterilized canning jars.

This jam is wonderful served on bread with softened cream cheese.

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

Home canning kit

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Tantalizing Relish Recipes to Make

Tantalizing Relish Recipes to Make

Tantalizing Relish Recipes to Make

Gourmet Vegetable Relish Recipes

Sometimes it’s fun to make creative, homemade foods that are unusual. You’ll find here some tantalizing relish recipes sure to be winners in your home. These can make some great low-priced special gifts you can make for friends and loved ones. Try entering them into your local county fair to see if they win a ribbon for you.

Corn Relish

  • 4 cups corn
  • 1 cup diced green peppers
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 1 ½ cup vinegar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons flour

In a large saucepan combine the peppers, celery, onion, vinegar, salt, celery seed, Tabasco sauce and boil for 5 minutes. Carefully scoop out about ½ cup of the hot liquid and mix it with the dry mustard and turmeric, then return it back to the saucepan.

Mix the flour with ¼ c. cold water and add to the saucepan, stirring constantly until smooth. Now add the corn and boil for 5 minutes until thickened, again stirring constantly.

Fill clean, hot canning jars to within ½ inch of the top and add the lids. You’ll want to can these now in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, to do a complete seal. This recipe will make about 3 pints of relish.

Beet Relish

  • 12 cooked beets
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish

Process all the vegetables with a food processor until fairly finely chopped. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 15 minutes, stirring several times. Gently scoop this beet relish into sterilized, hot canning jars and put on lids. Can in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes in pint jars.

Onion & Rhubarb Relish

  • 8 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 4 cups onion, chopped
  • 4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon whole mixed pickling spices

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except the clove garlic and whole pickling spices. Tie those two ingredients in a small cheesecloth bag and add to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until rhubarb just becomes tender, roughly 10 minutes.

Remove the spice bag and throw out. Scoop carefully the relish into sterilized, hot canning jars, the put on the lids. Can in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes ensuring that the jars seal.

Experiment with how you’ll serve these unusual but tantalizing relishes. A couple of suggestions you may want to try is to use it as topping on a meat dish, or served on gourmet crackers, or on chunks of specialty bread.

Cranberry & Jalapeno Relish


  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cut red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

In a bowl, mix the orange and lime juices, dried cranberries, onion, cilantro, garlic, salt and cumin and stir well. Chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours and then stir again before serving. This relish is best served cold, but can also be canned as well.

Until next time,
Valerie Garner

Great relish tray for serving

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Make a Family Heirloom Cookbook

Make a Family Heirloom Cookbook

Make a Family Heirloom Cookbook

Make a Family Heirloom Cookbook

Do It Yourself Treasured Family Cookbook

To make a family heirloom recipe book is a decision that could greatly enrich the lifestyles of your loved ones both now, and for several generations to come. A family treasure, cookbook furthermore makes wonderful gifts for any holiday, birthday, or special event. You also may find friends lining up for a copy of your family’s favorite fare.

There are numerous do it yourself publishing book computer software available from which to choose, so you’ll want to do some investigation to start with, concerning the attributes which you’ll want to use. Additionally they possess diverse pricing structures depending on the features you choose. One resource is called Lulu and it gives the option to offer your family’s recipe book on Amazon once it’s printed if you desire to go that route. That might be a good idea to offer friends who might want their own copy of your family’s recipe book, or simply if you have a large family and cannot afford to buy every person their own copy, this would make an easy avenue for each to purchase their own.

Organizing Your Family’s Treasured Cookbook

Get out your thinking cap now, use either at a computer or even paper and pencil to begin to do some overview organizing of your family heirloom recipe book. How many folks do you wish to contribute recipes? Do you want a specific kind of food solely in the cookbook, for instance a pie only cookbook? Do you have specific recipes in mind someone makes that you need to hunt down?

You’ll also need to consider the design type for your family cookbook. Will it be a hard cover book design, or a spiral bound style? Both have pros and cons. The hard cover publications are very classy and professional looking, but are more difficult to utilize in the kitchen area.

Spiral bound cookbooks are simpler to use in your kitchen because they lay flat and many instances they’re more cost-effective to generate.

You could put family photographs or other visuals, illustrations, or graphic designs if you want to add some pizzazz to your recipe book. You might like to include pictures of family members, both current as well as old-fashioned photos of ancestors of past decades. There are also on the market photos for recipe books which you can use as chapter breaks or headings at very reasonable prices.

Generate a Memorial Cookbook

A unique method to recognize the life of a member of the family who has perished could be to generate a memorial recipe book in remembrance of their life through with pictures and treasured recipes that they either prepared, or simply favorites they enjoyed. This can serve as a combo of a collection of memories, and recipes as a tribute to honor this loved one and share this with other family members and friends. It’s similar in reality to a family heirloom recipe book, yet would be dedicated in particular to the passed on relative.

The Gathering of Recipes

Now is probably the most time consuming portion of the project, that of accumulating of the actual recipes you want to include. If you already have them typed on your computer, that’ll save much time, but when they are recipes that are hanging out inside a favorite recipe file, all these will need to be typed out in some sort of word document. Be sure to read the directions of the program you plan to utilize, before doing this step, so you aren’t at risk wasting time doing it incorrectly.

This can be time to get written down these beloved recipes that family members may simply have committed to memory; too many treasured, quality recipes are lost permanently, when that individual person passes on, because it was never recorded. Think about enlisting the help of other members of the family to assist you in this step of the project.

Follow the directions of the software / publishing parameters you are going with, to reach the completion of your recipe book project and have it published.

This cherished collection of recipes will be a labor of love, but one that can will be treasured and cherished for years to come. An additional related heirloom gift could be made of photo books that are comparable, but in one of those lifetime “best gift ever” categories.

Enjoy the process and the joy it will give to others!

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

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Start Your Own Container Garden

Start Your Own Container Garden

Start Your Own Container Garden

It is not difficult to start your own container garden, in fact for many people, it is an enjoyable hobby and can be an economical option to save money on fresh vegetables or herbs. The process of setting one up is the same, whether or not it is geared for indoors or outdoors. Winter is a perfect time for planning your upcoming container garden.

First, write down a list of plants that you are interested in growing. Perhaps, group them in similar categories. For instance, do you want to plant an herb garden, a vegetable garden, and indoor flowering plants, pin point your goal.

When you have your basic list, now is the time to do some research on the specific plants on your wish list, and their growing specifications. The internet, library or seed or nursery catalogs can be great sources for finding this information out. While you are doing this, be open to plants sharing common growing conditions, as these might make great companions in a specific container garden, roommate, so to speak.

The specifications you’ll need to find about is plant is how much root space will be needed, how much sun or shade needed, best type of soil, how much typical watering will be needed, and considerations to frost and season if they will be containers grown outdoors.

Materials Needed

You will also need to research the supplies you’ll need once your gather your plant specification data. Some of those needed supplies will be:

Containers – you can get very creative with these. They may be purchased, large decorative type containers, to the small, basic black pots, to making your own out of various materials. The photo is an old wooden barrel converted into a strawberry container garden. Just make sure the proper drainage can be ensured. Don’t forget, raised beds built from scratch also fits into this category.

Potting Soil – you can purchase potting soil specially designed for container gardens, or you can use compost as well, or a combination of those.

Water – Depending on hot and dry the area is where the plants will be growing, you may want to add garden crystals to the soil that help hold water and reduce the frequency of watering. The same principal is used for the glass bulbs as well. These are optional supplies, but can be real time savers.

Tools – hand trowels, gloves, water can or a watering wand that fits on the end of a hose. If your containers are going to be indoors, be sure to put a dish or something underneath the pots to catch any water runoff.

Plants – you can plant either full grown plants, seedlings, or opt to start yours from seed. This is completely up to your preferences, and budget. For seed starting, be sure to follow the directions on the package for germinating. Most any vegetables can be successfully grown in containers.

Assembling Your Container Garden

After you have gathered your supplies, and your plants or seeds it’s time to get our hands dirty and the fun begins.

Some folks put a ½ inch layer or so at the bottom of the container of charcoal or small pebbles, to assist with drainage. This is optional however.

The next step is to lightly fill your container with potting soil, but not completely to the top. If you are planting seeds, you will fill higher with soil, than if you are planting fully grown plants.

Gently take your plants or seedlings out of their container taking care not to disrupt the roots too much or pull much on the top of the plant. Dig a hole slightly bigger than the plant and put the roots in, then cover with potting soil. Water thoroughly. Now gently with your hands lightly tamp the damp soil near the plant and soil to get a good connection, and water again.

Place your containers in your desired location. Pay attention to any fertilizer feeding schedule you may want to opt for. Rotate your containers periodically for balanced light exposure. If these are indoors, you may need to supplement the light with plant grow lights.

By starting your own container gardens, it can not only be a fun hobby, but can save you money in the long run, and provide fresh vegetables, plants or herbs for a tasty and healthy addition for your family.

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

Check out this helpful book

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How To Care For and Prune Hydrangea Flower Shrubs

Blue Harlequin Hydrangea Flower

How To Care For and Prune Hydrangea Flower Shrubs


General Care When Growing Hydrangea Flowering Bushes

Hydrangea shrubs or bushes are among favorite flowering plants for many people. They grow in a wide variety of sizes, colors and shapes. The flowers are gorgeous dried or fresh in bouquets, craft projects, and simply left in the garden. They thrive in varying conditions from full sun to full shade, depending on the variety. Before planting a hydrangea, find out its sun/shade requirements.

They all need moist, well drained soil with rich compost and other organic matter like implementing the use of cover crops for optimum soil conditions.

Feeding Hydrangea Flowers

Hydrangeas shouldn’t be fertilized at all until new plants are firmly established a minimum of 3 months after planting or transplanting.  Should you decide to fertilize, do so sparingly, as too much nitrogen will cause the plant to stop flowering.

Hydrangea Color

Much of the finished color of hydrangea flowers depends on two qualities.  The variety of the plant itself, and the soil PH.  Acidic soil PH gives blue shades, and more alkaline soils encourage pink tones.

The trick is aluminum ions in the soil, so aluminum sulfate is a good quick fix, but prolonged use year after year, may cause a fatal build up in the soil. Iron sulfate is a safer amendment, or try alternating between the two. If pink is the shade you want to bring out, top dress with dolomite, or drench with a quick lime solution.

Problem – Why Doesn’t My Hydrangea Flower?

Hydrangeas fail to flower for a couple of reasons. Most commonly is frost damage, the other main reason by late pruning. Too much shade or nitrogen, are other factors to consider.

Partial shade means more than four (more like six) hours of sunlight. Planting in a more sheltered spot may be useful.

Reasons for Pruning Hydrangeas

Let’s look at why you need to prune these shrubs. Regrettably, many individuals intend to make them a smaller sized plant, which not a good reason to prune a hydrangea shrub. Unless you’re growing it in a bonsai dish, you’re bound to lose that battle.

Generally, plants ought to be pruned to improve look, certainly not to manage size. The adult hydrangea is a shrub that can’t be made into smaller sized bush. If an individual cuts a big leaf hydrangea down, 1 year later it will grow in size, all the more in the next season. If you would like keep them small in stature, substitute your large growing variety with one that is genetically designed to stay small.

Some short sized hydrangea bush varieties are:

  • Pink Elf
  • Hornli
  • Blue Deckle
  • Diadem
  • Involucrata Tama Azisai
  • Harlequin
  • Quercifolia PeeWee
  • Serrata Shirofuji
  • Blue Billow
  • Pia
  • Mathilda Gutges
  • Hortensis Compacta
  • Glowing Embers
  • Tovelit
  • Red Star
  • Todi
  • Trophy
  • Miranda
  • Amethyst
  • Bottstein
  • Enziadom
  • Forever Pink
  • Masja
  • Blue Danube

Proper Pruning Techniques of Hydrangeas

The dilemma is that the big-leaf hydrangeas, Hydrangea macrophylla (the type that form big round balls of flowers), form their blossom buds in the previous summer season, if you decide to cut them short they don’t bloom very much the following summertime. Almost all the renowned types of the blue mop-head varieties in blue, pink or white lace-cap hydrangeas produce their blossoms on old growth wood.

Not every hydrangea plant flowers on second year growth, and this increases the misunderstandings. The very sturdy tree type Pee Gee hydrangea, ‘Hydrangea Paniculata Grandiflora’, flowers on new growth along with the white-flowering ‘Annabelle’ variety hydrangea. There are also some varieties which blossom on both new and old growth, to further muddy the waters, so to speak.

The big leaf hydrangeas, lace-caps and mop-heads, ought to be pruned as follows:

Prune early in the year when the plant has begun to break dormancy. At this time of the season, you can discern which canes are alive as opposed to which ones are dead.

Begin by eliminating all dead canes, cutting them right down to the ground. This can be best attained by sitting next to the plant, so you’ll not leave ugly, six to 8 inch tall stumps.

When all dead canes are eliminated, analyze what is remaining. If still you have many living stalks, many of the being over 3 years in age, cut out a third of them, again cutting these to ground level. This will encourage fresh growth. If the plant is just not congested with a quantity of older stems, skip this part.

Tidy the shrub by just removing any old flowers that remain, taking care to trim the smallest amount possible, basic deadheading.

Cut leftover stalks back by working from the top down, stopping and making the cut just above the top of the first or second pair of buds you come to. Using this technique, some canes will be cut little or not at all, although some will have living buds only near the base of the plant, thus in that situation, you’ll end up taking away a considerable amount of that stalk.

Step back and examine the shrub. If you find one stem that is a much taller than the rest of the canes, cut it to be in range with the other stalks. If there are any curvy, fragile and spindly looking limbs, and those that trail on the ground, eliminate these at the ground.

Remember the fact that any green buds you get rid of have the possibility to produce blossoms later in the summer. Would you like a tidier plant or more flowers? Bear in mind you can always cut those blossoms for bouquets, thus tidying the plant later in the summertime.

The white Annabelle mop-head variety is one of the hydrangeas that bloom on brand new growth. They are going to still bloom if heavily pruned, even so, and if cut down too far the brand new growth that results may be weak and bend underneath the weight of the flowers, so don’t be too aggressive.

Be sure to use sharp pruning shears when pruning, and sterilize your shears between pruning different plants, so any disease is not spread.

One method to disinfect your pruning shears is to dip the blades in a disinfectant solution of one part chlorine bleach to nine parts water, or use 70 percent wood alcohol. Dip each time in between every cut of diseased plants, or you risk spreading the disease. Do not allow those diseased canes to remain in the area, or it can also spread to more plants.

With proper care of your hydrangea shrubs, you will be rewarded with healthy, thriving flowers for many years to come. They make great indoor décor for the home, and you can learn to easily make your own hydrangea wreaths.

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

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A Guide to Extreme Coupon Savings

A Guide to Extreme Coupon Savings

A Guide to Extreme Coupon Savings

12 Tips to Couponing

Many people use extreme couponing to save money. Those that are good at this process will save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year as they shop. A how to guide to extreme couponing will allow you to become a big saver as well. Check out these 12 tips to be on your way to saving significant money on your groceries, as well as other household items.

1) Get the weekly circulars from your grocery store and look to see what is on sale that week. Match the coupons with the sales that come out in your Sunday paper for deeper savings.

2) Use printable coupons available on several coupon sites to use at stores, such as, couponsponge but there are many to choose from, spend some time to research sites that carry coupons of products you regularly use.

In addition, many stores such as Target have their own coupons on their website. One useful site is It will actually take you to local circulars that may be offering coupons you can use. It also features coupons from redplum and smartsource and the local P&G inserts that come out in several papers.

Coupon Strategies

3) Shop at stores that offer double and triple coupons. There are probably several of these in your local area. Most stores advertise this on their storefront banner, but in some cases you need to ask if this is their policy. Find out the details on when they offer this and do your shopping on those days and times.

4) Take advantage of store loyalty programs. Some websites such as allow you to enter your store loyalty cards, and get credit for purchasing certain items with coupons that are posted on the site. This is a great advantage because it does not involve taking any physical coupons to the store. You will be paid via paypal or once you have redeemed 5.00 worth of coupons.

5) Use social media sites such as facebook to your advantage, often coupons from various manufacturers can be found. In addition, some companies will have coupons available if you sign up on their website, or express an interest in their products.

6) Find out local store policies on accepting coupons, some stores will limit coupons on buy one get one free items. See if you can use one coupon per each item, also make sure your local store will accept electronic coupons. Most stores will accept these coupons as long as there is a barcode and expiration date showing.

Couponing Tips

7) Certain stores allow price matching…so if you can show them the particular item you are interested in, is cheaper somewhere else, they will match the competitors price on the item in question.

8) Read the fine print on the coupons. Some coupons can not be combined with any other special offers or coupons, but some coupons will allow you to combine coupons on special store prices. This is another area where you may need to check with the store first, to see if two coupons can be combined on the same item.

9) If a specially priced item is out of stock, get a raincheck for the item. Most stores have this policy. It is better to go back to the store than miss out on the item altogether.

10) Get organized, being disorganized is the downfall of many would be extreme couponers. For paper coupons find a coupon organizer that you can use, alphabetical is good for the products your regularly buy. Some individuals also choose to organize their coupons, by expiration date, so that they have the coupons that are about to expire first in their organizer.

Final Tips on Saving Money

11) Host a coupon exchange party, you can often exchange coupons for items that you do not want or need, with coupons for the things you do want and need. Some stores also will have sections in the front where people will leave coupons they do not want or need and will leave coupons for others. This can be a great way to meet new friends as well.

12) Get into refunding like extreme couponers do. Refunding is where the product purchased is sent in with a rebate form and usually a receipt of your purchase and mailed back is either products, deeper coupons, or cash back. A good resource that’s been around for many years is:

Following most of these tips may allow you too to get into the extreme couponing mode. Saving hundreds per year couponing, is certainly a possibility. Obviously it takes work to accomplish extreme couponing, but the savings can be powerful.

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

For more tips visits

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The BEST Homemade Hot Buttered Rum Recipe

The BEST Homemade Hot Buttered Rum Recipe

The BEST Homemade Hot Buttered Rum Recipe

There is something so festive about hot buttered rum drinks during the holiday season.  Warm.  Cozy.  Conversation flows.  Below, here is a family favorite for making homemade hot buttered rum batter, perfect for keeping in the freezer for when guests arrive.


  • 1 pound real butter (softened)
  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream (partially thawed)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg

Blend all ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thoroughly mixed. Transfer to a container to store in the freezer.  When ready to make hot buttered rum, add 1 – 2 T. (to taste), to a cup of boiling water, and 1 oz. rum (to taste), and stir well.  Serve in glass mugs and garnish with cinnamon sticks or nutmeg sprinkled on top.

This recipe is smooth and creamy.  It’s also delicious without the rum.

Until next time,


Check out this beautiful soy hot buttered rum candle below.

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Shine and Polish the Dirtiest Room in the Home Fast in a Few Minutes Daily

Shine and Polish the Dirtiest Room in the Home Fast in a Few Minutes Daily

Ugg…a dirty bathroom, the worst room it seems.  Toothpaste on the counter and sink, a scary toilet, towels and other dirty clothing on the floor, clutter everywhere.  But, it doesn’t have to be this way.  With a little planning, it can be a simple room to keep clean and tidy.

Ready to tackle it?  Put a bit of toilet bowl cleaner into the toilet and close the lid.  We’ll re-visit this in a few minutes.

Tackle the clothes and towels next.  If they are dirty, put them into a laundry hamper.  If not, hang them up.  If you don’t have a place to hang the towels, install a place the next time you have a few minutes.  Put out clean towels.  Not only will guests and family appreciate that, you are reducing the spread of germs.

Dive into the clutter that may be on the counter.  Put everything away in it’s place.  If you find it doesn’t really have a place, time to designate a home for said object.  You might need to get an organizer or basket to place items in, and tuck in a drawer or under the sink to get it out of sight.  The less stuff on your counter, the more stream-lined and clean your bathroom will look.

Give your mirrors, facet, and counter  a quick wipe up.

Hitting this room quickly, keep 2 main goals in mind.  First is that everything is neatly presented, and that items displayed are clean.

The tub and shower are next.  Again, de-clutter.  Throw out any empty bottles hanging around and everything that’s not used on a near-daily basis.  If you have time, give it a quick clean or wipe down.  If not, consider a quick rinse, then close the shower curtain, for when there is time for a proper cleaning.

Wipe down the outside of the toilet, then scrub the inside quickly with a toilet brush. Flush and it’s done.

Lastly, the floor.  Do a quick wipe up with a clean damp cloth (don’t use the same cloth that was used to wipe the toilet).   Most bathrooms are fairly small and this can be done relatively easily and quickly.  If you have a large bathroom, just wipe down the areas that need it most.

Just by doing these quick steps will help your bathroom, often times the dirtiest room in the home, to stay presentable in between the major cleaning days.  It’s amazing how much it helps with feeling caught up, and looking nice.

Until next time,

Valerie Garner


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Quickly Get and Keep the Kitchen Chaos Free

Quickly Get and Keep the Kitchen Chaos Free

So often, the kitchen becomes a catch all for clutter, due to it’s being one of the most used rooms in the home.  Is it possible to rid it of clutter and chaos in as little as 15 minutes? Yes, if you have a plan, which is what we’d like to offer you here.

Take an overall look at your kitchen for a quick assessment.  Imagine breaking it up into 3 main sections in which you’ll be spending 5 minutes on each section.  If you need to use a timer, do so.  When you’re ready to start, begin at one end of one section and work your way around the room.  Stay focused on putting away the clutter you are handling at the moment, and don’t allow yourself to get distracted by other tasks nearby.

Usually counter space in the first thing to keep in mind.  Chances are it has mail, food items (like spices or cereal), appliances and other items.  Keep a rule that if you don’t use it daily, find a place out of sight for it, and keep it there.

Keep dirty dishes off the counter, its just as easy to put them in the dishwasher as to lay them in the sink or counter.

Paperwork tends to be a problem in the kitchen for many families.  School papers, mail, take out menus, you name it.  The problem with it, is no matter how organized it may be, visually it always looks like clutter.  Take a decorated box and put the paperwork in there, with the lid on.  Just make sure you frequently go through it and handle it as necessary, throwing out that which is no longer needed.  You don’t want the box to get out of hand either.

If there is still too many items laying out, a pantry or other kitchen related cupboards can be a good solution.  For things that don’t belong to the kitchen, but migrated there, have another box or basket to tuck the items away, so they can be put in the proper place in the other locations in the home.  Again, don’t let that build up too long to become it’s own chaos mess.

When everything is put away, give the counters and sink a quick wipe down.   Your appliances may also need a light wipe up for any fingerprints or grime.

Doing this once a day will go a long way at keeping kitchen chaos at bay.  It also makes it so much more pleasant to be in there, whether you’ll be entertaining friends, or cooking up some delicious food.

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

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