Wednesday, December 1, 2010

For the busy homemaker on a budget...

With all of the craziness and busyness that comes with planning a wedding, I think that all brides look froward to life calming down after the wedding...

But does that really happen? If it does, I'm still waiting for that moment!

Our fairy tale wedding was in May, and every minute of that day was fact, we're still reminiscing over our favorite details! However, real life does settle in, and with that comes the sweeping of the floors, cleaning the bathroom, making the bed, doing laundry, matching the husband's socks (yes, the ones who thought they preferred to remain unmatched in his drawer!), cooking for two (which has had it's own challenges...when one is used to cooking for 10+, it's hard to know just how much (or how little!) to cook), running errands, etc... And now we're getting ready for the big arrival of a little one. Phew!

Don't get me wrong! I absolutely LOVE my job as a homemaker, a stay-at-home wife and soon to be mother...I wouldn't trade my job for any other in this world! It's so fulfilling and I love making our home a haven for my bestest friend in the world, Ben, to come home to in the evening. I am extremely thankful that my wonderful mother prepared me for this job, and I thank the Lord daily for giving me such a loving husband to serve.

Ben and I love to economize in every way we can...we hit the garage sales almost every weekend and pick up wonderful treasures, antiques and what-nots for very low prices. We eat good, local whole foods when they're in season, we've even canned together! And now the glorious holiday season is upon us! Having only been married for just over six months, we don't have much in the way of Christmas what does one do in such a situation? Well, we could go out and buy lots of things to make our house look festive. And we plan to add to our collection as the years pass, but we want to do that slowly and enjoy filling our home with pretty things. We want our accessories to have stories behind them...we don't want "stuff" we want treasures. And in the mean time, we make do with what we have!

Now what could this be for?

So after almost buying a rather pricey bag of spiced pine cones at the store, I thought I'd try spicing my own! I worked on them today, and had so much fun, I thought I'd share how I did it! All you need are some pine cones, water, an oven, newspapers and spices.....

Pine cones are easy to find this time of year, right? Ben's family very kindly gathered these HUGE ones from their property in the mountains and brought them down to me.

Step 1 ~ Rinse pine cones in water to remove any ickys...a nasty beetle thing came crawling out of one of my pine cones! *shudder*

Step 2 ~ Place pine cones onto old baking sheets (or cover the baking sheets in foil) and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

In the meantime... Hey, what's this?!?!

Step 3 ~ When they're done baking, remove them from the pans and place them on newspapers.

Step 4 ~ Spray them with warm water and sprinkle with cinnamon and cloves. Shake off excess spices.

Step 5 ~ Use them in potpourri, on your mantle, as a centerpiece or decorate however you want to with them! Get creative and use ribbons, beads, cranberries, lace cuttings, greenery! I grabbed some gold trim that somebody gave me, cuttings from a tree in my yard, glass beads, cinnamon sticks, and cranberries! I might even glitter them later on...

So there you go! An easy, aromatic, budget friendly Christmas decoration idea!

And when you're done, treat yourself to some fresh out of the oven Cranberry-Orange Scones and tea!