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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Organizing Autumn Decorations for Storage

My historic home has large rooms but only two closets.  Finding storage space is a challenge, however I have gotten very creative in finding places to stash my autumn decorations.  

This year it was like playing hide-n-seek as I found decorations under the bed, behind the china cabinet that is angled in the corner and some decorations were underneath a table that was covered with a damask tablecloth.  It took me a week to find all of the autumn decorations and the house was turned upside down. 

My plan is to pack everything by wrapping the breakable decor items in bubble wrap and then putting it in cardboard boxes.  I will then seal the box with packing tape and  label the outside with the contents.  Then all of the boxes will be put into categories according to the room; Kitchen, Bathroom, Den, Dining, Living, Foyer, Porch. 

Each category will be packed into a plastic storage container and labeled on the side with the contents of the box. Autumn decorations kitchen or Halloween decorations for den.   

Storage Containers

Let's talk a little bit about storage containers.  There's a variety of storage products available to the consumer and I have tested out many of them.

This year I bought a large container to use for my autumn kitchen and dining room decorations.  What I like about the heavy plastic storage container is the locking lid.  It is held in place with the handles so it is a secure fit and will not come undone if someone bumps it.

Another feature is the wheels on the bottom of the container which makes it easier to move from room to room and then to the garage.  I have used other containers that did not have wheels and found that they were heavy to lift and also hard on my husbands back. 

In addition to the containers on wheels I bought see through stacking containers for autumn towels, and table linens.  If you fold with tissue paper and stack neatly you will not need to iron your napkins or tablecloths next season.

So today I am organizing my autumn decorations and my hubby is organizing the garage.  We will work together as a team to get this job done.

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Black Friday Shopping Recommendations

In order to be a successful shopper  on Black Friday I would recommend that you have a well thought out plan and that you are well rested, hydrated and that you wear comfortable running shoes.

My Black Friday Recommendation:

  1.  If you are going to shop on Black Friday then have a plan of action and take a nap before heading out to stand in the lines. 
  2. A map of the store would also be helpful so you can cut out the time needed to search for the products on your gift list.
  3. Band with other shoppers by giving them part of your shopping list, by doing this you will save time and your chances of buying the products is better because they may not be sold out.
  4. Prepare yourself for ciaos, and practice holding onto your favorite cashmere sweater with a strong and confident grip.   
  5. Practice speaking in a low voice and repeat the words; "this is mine I had it first get your own." 
  6. Think of the days when you shopped at Loehmann’s for their annual 65% off designers fashions and then get into your aggressive shoppers frame of mind.  
For all you dedicated black Friday shoppers I wish you well but for me I think next year I will stay in my comfortable home and plan to shop online on Cyber Monday.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Autumn in The Ozark Mountains

The Ozark Mountains and the plateau are a highland region located in central US.  This region covers the southwest section of Missouri and northwestern area of Arkansas. The Ozark Mountains are also noted in Oklahoma, and in Kansas.   The wooded foothills and ridges are many and if you enjoy touring off trail you will view magnificent peaks, valleys and spectacular waterfalls, white water rivers, streams and creeks.  

Autumn in the Ozark Mountains is a real treat for a nature lover.  The weather is ideal as the average temperature is 70 degrees during the day and 50 at night.  The warm days and cool nights  makes it ideal for spending time outdoors; touring botanical gardens, attending state fairs, hiking in the countryside, taking float trips, horseback riding  or working in the yard.  

The season autumn is my favorite time of the year as I enjoy being outdoors and taking photographs.  Here are some of my favorite photos and gifts that I designed from my photographs.  All were captured on a sunny Indian summer day in the Missouri and Arkansas Ozark Mountains.

Scenic Autumn Water view
Scenic water view at lake of the Ozarks

Vintage Homes with Oak Trees
Scenic fall foliage in Ozark Mountains Missouri

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Balls - Candy Recipe

This scrumptious chocolate candy recipe is from my mom’s recipe book.  In the autumn season a few weeks before Thanksgiving my mother would start to make an assortment of sweets.  She would fill up decorative holiday tins with chocolate candies and set them aside. These candy tins would then be handed out to coworker, neighbors and friends as seasonal gifts of care and to say thank you.  

Chocolate candy is always well received when you add to a dessert tray at an autumn open house.  These nutty chocolate balls also make a nice afternoon snack with a cold glass of milk

You will need:
1 cup of semisweet chocolate morsels
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 cup sifted powder sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla
½ cup flaked coconut for recipe
½ cup flaked coconut for garnish
½ cup chopped peanuts

Instructions for chocolate peanut balls
  Photo by Jeremiah Shilhavy
In a heavy medium sized saucepan melt the chocolate and the butter, heat at low.  Stir the chocolate sauce so that it does not burn.  When the chocolate is melted remove the pan from the heat and let it set until it is warm to the touch but not hot.
Using an electric mixer beat the egg into the chocolate until the batter is smooth.  Add the sifted powder sugar and fold into the chocolate mixture with spoon.   

Add the vanilla and mix into the batter. Stir in the coconut and the peanuts.  Using a spoon mix all of the ingredients well.

Chill the chocolate candy mixture in the refrigerator for one hour.  Take a teaspoon of the candy mixer and using your hands roll the candy into a one inch ball. 
Add ½ cup of flaked coconut to a zip lock bag.  Set the rolled chocolate candy ball in the bag of coconut and gently toss.  Garnish the outside of the nutty candy ball with the flaked coconut.

Set the candy ball on a baking sheet. Refrigerate the chocolate peanut balls for one hour before serving.  This recipe makes 30 pieces of candy.

This is an easy recipe that you can make with your children.  Candy making is a fun activity for a cool autumn day.

Store candy in an air-tight container in a cool dry place and it will keep for several weeks.

Learn how to melt chocolate by viewing this YouTube video:

 Other chocolate and peanut candy recipes: