Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Limoncello and Freezing Lemon Juice

Making Limoncello was my daughter’s idea after she brought home those beautiful lemons from California last winter. We had a lot of lemons, and after making all of those wonderful recipes with them, I still had a bunch left over. Why not? I’ve never had Limoncello and it sounded delicious. I’m up for it.

See what I mean? They’re seriously beautiful lemons.

This is MY lemon tree. My kids gave it to me for Mother’s Day several years ago, and it has barely – and I mean barely – survived the winters in my kitchen where it gets the most sun in the house. The poor thing really needs A LOT more sun than it gets here. Let me add that in this picture, it is looking VERY good. I’m not even going to show a photo of what it looks like right now – a lot of blossoms, but yellow leaves that are falling off faster than summer is getting here. The tree has done well being out on our deck in the summertime, and it NEEDS to be out there. It’s done well enough to give me 2 whole lemons! Just enough to make myself 1 lemon drop cocktail!!! There are recipes all over the internet for making Limoncello, and that’s where I found the instructions to make it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Limoncello

Wash and scrub 12 lemons (organic, if possible). Peel them with either a vegetable peeler or knife, getting the peel as thin as possible, without any of the white pith on it. The pith makes it bitter, so you could use a little knife and carefully cut or scrape off the white pith.

Juice the lemons, but don’t waste that wonderful juice.

I froze the juice in 1 cup amounts in zip top freezer bags. Freeze them flat and you can stack them in your freezer to take up less space. It’s also easier to break off what you need when it is frozen flat. Use this over the summer to make Lemonade, Lemon Meringue Pie, or Lemon Meringue Pie #2.

Put the peel into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and add one bottle of grain alcohol (which I couldn’t find) or 100 proof vodka (which is what I used).

Let it sit for 3 weeks and get all nice and lemony from the oils in the peel. I labeled it so I wouldn’t forget how long to leave it alone.

After 3 weeks, filter the peels out of the vodka. I used a coffee filter put inside my mesh strainer to do this. Press all the vodka out of the peel and filter. Don’t waste a drop!

Now you have the beautiful, fragrant vodka, but you need to add some simple syrup. Heat 3-4 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let it cool. Add the simple syrup to the lemon vodka and combine. Now you have your Limoncello.

I used a funnel to pour it into a bottle – we had a few clean, old plain glass bottles and that’s what I used. Top it with a cork and you’re done!

Here is the beautiful, yellow, lemony Limoncello. It had a mellower, less lemony taste than it might have if I had used regular lemons – these are Meyer lemons with a sweeter, milder flavor. This also makes a great gift – tie a pretty ribbon around it, add a gift tag, and you’re good to go!

I’m glad I tried this. It’s delicious, and when you store it in the freezer, it’s nice and icy cold – you can even enjoy it with some sparkling water and/or over ice. Or try it over cake or ice cream. Try this stuff on anything. Limoncello is the perfect after dinner cocktail for a warm summer night.

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Lemon Cutting Board Cleaner

Today we’re “cleaning up” our recipes using the lemons my daughter brought home from California. Ha! No pun intended. Well, yes, the pun IS intended. This is the last one where we’re letting the “sun shine in”! It’s time to move on to other things, but I had to do one last thing using those beautiful lemons.

I use my cutting boards a lot to cut up onions and garlic, and they tend to get a bit smelly. Do you ever have that problem? There have been times when I have cut fruit or bread on my board, and they end up smelling like onions. I need to clean them from time to time and keep them in tip-top shape. Because we’ve been doing so many lemon recipes, I happened to have a lemon leftover. Aha! It’s the perfect time to clean and disinfect my cutting boards! I had used the rind, but didn’t need the juice of this lemon, so – time to give the boards a good scrubbing.

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Cut your lemon in half and sprinkle on some kosher salt.

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Squeeze on some of the lemon juice.

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Take the lemon half and give it a little scrub on top of the salt, then let it sit for a few minutes. Wow – this lemon doesn’t look so great after losing it’s rind and sitting for a couple of days, but the juice will still do the trick. You could also use a half of a lemon after you juice it, just scrub it like it was a normal half of a lemon. Also, you can do this with lemons that are a bit past their prime and don’t look so great.

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After the juice sits on the board for a few minutes, give it a GOOD scrub with the lemon half. Wipe it down, give it a thorough rinse, and that’s it!

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This doesn’t take out the cut marks, but it does do a good job taking out the smell. It’s fresh and clean!

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I like to put some mineral oil on a cloth, rub it in, and give it a pretty shine, too. The boards get so much use, they tend to get dried out. There you go – all ready to go and good as new! I’ll miss using those bright, sunny, and fragrant lemons, but spring will be here soon, and it’s time to move on. Check back for springtime recipes coming soon!

 

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Hygge

Grandpa’s father (obviously my great-grandfather) was Danish. This is a photo of him and his amazing mustache. Just look at that thing! So cool!

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Because of this bit of Dane in me, whenever I hear about something that’s Danish, my ears perk up. Suddenly, I’m hearing about Hygge – everywhere! Hygge is a Danish word, pronounced hue-gah,  and according to the website hyggehouse.com, is about “making ordinary, everyday moments more meaningful, beautiful, or special”. Some say it’s the Danish art of making things cozy. Here in Minnesota, we’re finally starting to see a bit more daylight, but it’s that part of the winter where this cold and snow thing really starts to get to ya. I say it’s time to explore Hygge and make the rest of winter waaaaay more tolerable. Seriously.

While they say this is a Danish thing, this is something we’ve always done in our family, and I’d like to think it was a combination Scandinavian thing. Grandma’s mother and dad were both Swedish, and Grandpa’s mother was Norwegian and his father was Danish. Unfortunately, Grandpa’s father died when he was 2 years old, so I don’t think a lot of the Hygge factor came from him. Grandma, and therefore my mom, taught me and my sister how to make things cozy and comfortable, but it was just the way things were. It seems like common sense.

In doing a bit of research about Hygge, I found that in 2009, Oprah did a piece on the Danes being the happiest people in the world, so there might be something to this keeping cozy thing. Recently, I was reading my Oprah Health Newsletter and they talked about a book called The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking that has some great ideas for getting more Hygge. I don’t even know if I’m phrasing that right. Hmm. Let’s see if we can find a few of those suggestions for Hygge in my house.

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I have several of the Hygge suggestions here on the corner table. One is to have something “sinful”, or something that would be considered giving yourself a treat. Chocolate is perfect for this, and I keep chocolates in the green candy dish, handy for when we need just a little something special. The tall glass container is holding my Potpourri with Dried Orange Slices that I made last fall, which is both pretty to look at and also has a wonderful scent – both Hygge type things, I would think.

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Another thing needed to make your home cozy is a candle or two. Or more. Scented candles are great, but only if you really enjoy the scent. I love to have candles lit during this darkest time of the year. When I went on the trip to Sweden and Norway, it was September and they already had candles lit all over, everywhere. I loved that. I’m sure there are people who would say I have way too many candles sitting around my house. You just can’t have too many, in my opinion.

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Setting out things that remind us of happy times is another way to help to make the house cozy. Photos are a great way to do that – maybe put out photos of family or friends, or a vacation memory. I’ve set out a photo of a whale tail that I took on a whale watching boat trip we took when my husband and I went to Massachusetts a year ago. In the little glass container is some of the sea glass we collected on the beach during that same trip. Every time I look at those two things, it brings back the many amazing memories we have of that vacation, and it makes me feel so good. The green candy dish, that I keep the chocolate in, was a gift that my mom and dad received at their wedding. That’s another great memory for me because I remember it being around and used my whole life.

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My favorite suggestion to make the home cozy is to have a “nook” to snuggle up in with a blanket, a book, and a cup of hot chocolate or tea. I don’t have an actual “nook” area, but the couches and corner table make a bit of a “nook”, where my book, my reading glasses, my cup of something hot, and my cozy blanket are all handy and easily accessible.

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This really is the place for your most snuggly blanket. The more cozy, the better! If you have more than one snuggly blanket, put a few out for you and your family and friends to get cozy with when they come over for a visit. You could play games, put together a puzzle, and just enjoy each other and being together. That’s an important part of Hygge – making more of those memories.

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It’s nice to keep a few of your favorite books handy, so you can snuggle up and read whenever you feel like it. Don’t forget a nice cup of tea to share with family or friends. I like to have an abundance of warm beverages available at all times: tea, hot chocolate, coffee – and several different kinds of each. Sharing the cozy is important, so you will have more of those great memories of happy times. Make your home a beautiful, cozy, meaningful, warm, special, and welcoming place for you, your family, and your friends. What could be more important? Nothing. Winter is the best time to start putting Hygge into practice, and get happy like the Danes – the happiest people in the world.

 

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Day 12 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Rosettes

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Today is the 12th and last day of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all of the Scandinavian treats, crafts, and fun things I’ve posted here for you! There are so many more to share – I may have to do it again next year! I’ve saved the trickiest thing for last. Today we’re tackling Rosettes. These are a fried treat that are kind of a cross between a donut and a cookie, and while they aren’t necessarily hard to do – they can be a bit tricky. When I pulled out the recipe, I had clipped an extra piece of paper to it with some “helpful hints” on it. There will be more on the “hints” as we go along. Ok – deep breath – here we go . . .

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rosettes

Beat:

2 eggs

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 drop almond flavoring

Add:

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

Mix until smooth.

I let the batter sit about an hour before starting to fry.

Fry in hot oil (about 375 degrees) on rosette iron.

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This is another recipe with incredibly simple ingredients.

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Once you have the batter mixed smooth, let it sit about an hour. I have read that “hint” somewhere since the last time I made these, and as far as I’m concerned, the more “hints” you have to help you out with these, the better.

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Dip the iron in the hot oil first for a few seconds, then dip it into the batter – being careful NOT to dip it more than 3/4 of the way up the iron or it won’t come off. I had some trouble getting the batter to stick at first, so I held it in the batter for about 5 seconds and that worked great. One of the “helpful hints” that was on the sheet clipped to the recipe, to not hold the iron in the batter very long. This is what’s so funny about making rosettes – sometimes one thing will work and the next time you make them, it may not. It’s total trial and error from time to time. I just might not make them often enough. This was a treat that my dad made with my sister when we were growing up. It ended up being their “thing” because they had the system DOWN.

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Hold the iron with the batter on it in the hot oil until the bubbles slow down a bit – about 30-40 seconds, and if you don’t keep it under the oil, it will fall off of the iron. We had a little trouble with that a couple of times (my daughter helped me and made some of her first krumkaka – it took her awhile to get the hang of it).

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I usually have a knife handy and use the point to help get the krumkaka off of the iron and onto a paper towel to drain and cool.

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My family likes them to be dipped in sugar. Grandma did this right before serving, but we decided to try it right away AND before serving if they need more.

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It made a nice tray full. I never had such good luck making them – especially the star ones – it must have been help from the ancestors!

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Rosettes are the quintessential Scandinavian thing, as far as my family is concerned, and it was the perfect way to end the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas! I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have during the last 12 days! Thank you so much for reading and following along on this journey!

God Jul!

 

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Day 11 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Ice Lantern

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We are at Day 11 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas, and today we’re making Ice Lanterns. You can do these several different ways, but I made this one by freezing it in an old tin mold. You can also freeze water in a balloon (don’t forget to tie the balloon shut so you don’t lose the water out of it) and freeze it halfway so there is a hole left in the middle – that’s where you put the candle. Be careful – if you let it freeze too much, you won’t have the hole to put the candle in. Not that I have any experience with that or anything. Freezing it in the mold is really fun and pretty foolproof, so let’s get started!

Here is the lantern as I made it:

Ice Lantern

Find a mold that you want to make into a lantern – I have used a bundt pan and a tube pan in the past. You can also use containers of two difference sizes, using the smaller one to make the center hole where you’d put the candle.,,,

Decide what festive decorations or ornaments you want in it – you can leave it just plain clear water if you want to, but I tend to want to make it more festive looking with bits of evergreen and fresh cranberries. You could add any decoration that won’t be destroyed by the freezing process.

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I start by putting the greens and berries in the bottom of the mold.

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Then I put just enough water to cover the greens and berries and set it out on our deck (if it’s cold enough) or into the freezer to freeze. If you fill it with water, the goodies will float to the top, therefore being on the BOTTOM of the mold instead of the TOP of it where they show up better and are pretty when you add the candle’s glow. Once that part is frozen, fill the mold with water as full as you want it and freeze until it’s firm.

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I put the frozen lantern out on our deck. It seemed like it might not show up very well, so I initially put it on a white plate, but I liked it better without the plate.

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They glow so nicely when you add the candle. I have lined our front steps and driveway with these over the years. It’s so much fun to do when you have guests coming over for the evening.

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You can see the evergreen branches and fresh cranberries showing through the ice. The glow of the candle shining through these ice lanterns is so special and welcoming. It isn’t just a Christmas thing – these would be great to do for any gathering all throughout the winter. This reminds me so much of our trip to Sweden and Norway where there were candles everywhere. I think it’s a very Scandinavian thing to do!

 

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Day 6 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Cinnamon Ornaments

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It’s Day 6 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas and we’re getting crafty. Today we’re going to make Cinnamon Ornaments. They’re supposed to mimic pepparkaker, or gingerbread cookies, only they smell better and continue to smell good all through the holiday season. Because we’re now halfway through the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas, I wanted to share this photo of one of Grandma’s aunts. She was on a trip with her mother back to Sweden when this was taken, and I think it was on the farm where my great-great-grandmother lived before she immigrated to the United States in the mid 1800’s.

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I just love this photo! Maybe she’s spinning some wool into yarn to make mittens?!!!

Now on to the Cinnamon Ornaments. There are recipes and instructions for this all over the internet, but I’m sharing a recipe I made with my kids when they were little. I did add a little bit of a secret ingredient – shhhh, don’t tell anyone, just put it in. It makes all the difference!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cinnamon Ornaments

6 Tablespoons applesauce

1/2 cup cinnamon

Add the secret ingredient:

1 Tablespoon ground cloves – it adds an amazing fragrance!

Mix into dough.

Roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.

Bake 5 minutes in microwave (this was years ago – now I have a bigger and better microwave – I only put them in for 2 minutes and went from there) or until dry.

Don’t forget to make a hole for a hanger.

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This is a simple craft that uses simple ingredients.

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I put a piece of parchment paper on the baking sheet so that you just roll it out (right on the baking sheet – I used my childhood rolling-pin – it was the perfect size!), cut out the shape, peel away the outer extra dough and leave the shapes on the sheet. This was something I learned after rolling out the dough on my kitchen counter and being unable to lift the shape because it stuck. Not fun. My daughter was helping me and thank goodness she was there with the brilliant parchment idea!

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I think I made these stars a bit thin. Try to keep the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Don’t forget to make a hole for the ribbon to go through! I used a plastic drinking straw for making the holes.

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After they’re baked, they look just like gingerbread cookies! An added benefit – your house will smell amazing while these bake! The shapes may have some ragged edges, but they rub off easily if you’re careful.

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Add a bit of ribbon for hanging. I tried to find one that was as Scandinavian as possible!

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These Cinnamon Ornaments look just like pepparkakar and are so pretty on the tree. They add that warm and homey fragrance of cinnamon (and cloves – shhh!) that smells so Scandinavian and so much like Christmas.

 

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Day 3 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Norwegian Mittens and Mitten Ornaments

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It’s Day 3 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas! Today we’re looking back at my post about the Norwegian Mittens that I make. The mittens aren’t really too Christmas-y, unless you make them in red or green, but I also make Mitten Ornaments.

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They’re so cute! Almost the same mitten, only smaller!

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They’re knit on 4 needles, just like the big mittens you wear.

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This is a great addition to your Scandinavian Christmas tree, but they’re also a great package topper, or pretty pinned onto your coat.

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Below I have included a PDF of the pattern for the ornaments, which is from an old magazine – Better Homes and Gardens Creative Ideas, Country Crafts, Christmas Edition 1989!! I’ve been making these a long time, too! Click on the link below if you’d like to give it a try!

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I have found, since I posted about the Norwegian Mittens, that there is the actual pattern out there on the internet. You can find it here if you feel like a challenge and learning to knit these very warm and very durable mittens. Click on the link below to visit my post about these beautiful mittens.

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Norwegian Mittens

 

 

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Potpourri with Dried Orange Slices

This is the time of year where we’re heading to so many parties and gatherings, sometimes it’s hard to find something new and different to bring for a host/hostess gift. How many times can you bring a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers before you just get tired of bringing the same old thing (I think the hostess is tired of getting the same old thing, too!). Let’s up the creativity a bit and bring something a little bit different. The recipe for today isn’t really a recipe, but it is a great thing to have on hand for a hostess gift. You can make up a big batch of this Potpourri with Dried Orange Slices, put it in jars, decorate it with a pretty ribbon, and you’re all ready to grab one running out the door to your next party. In addition to being easy to put together, it smells amazing and it’s really pretty.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Potpourri with Dried Orange Slices

Mix together:

pinecones (I used 2 different kinds)

dried orange slices

cinnamon sticks

bay leaves

whole cloves

allspice berries

Combine and store in jars.

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Gather all of your ingredients. These are the things I used, but you can alter this to incorporate anything that smells good or looks good. You could put some small gourds in this for Thanksgiving or maybe some small glass Christmas ornaments for a Christmas batch.

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I confiscated these pinecones from the neighbor’s yard. Go outside and see what you can find: rosehips, seed pods, anything dried.

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Spices are what makes this potpourri smell good. Star anise would also be great in potpourri. You could also put in a few drops of essential oil for more scent.

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I like the smell of dried bay leaves and they add nice texture. Dried citrus slices add a bit of color. I used oranges, but lemons or limes would be pretty, too.

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To dry the citrus, slice the orange thinly and drain a bit on a paper towel. The less moisture you have, the faster they dry. The first time I tried this I cut the slices too thick and after 6 hours in the oven, they weren’t dry yet. Thinner is better.

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Put the slices on a non stick pad or parchment paper. Into the oven at 170 degrees for an hour (that’s as low as my oven goes). Turn the slices over and go another hour. You may need more time, depending on your oven and the thickness of the orange slices. If they’re in the oven too long, they’ll turn brown, so keep an eye on them after the 2 hours. Let them cool and you have pretty dried slices for potpourri or crafting.

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Mix everything together in a bowl and you’re done!

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You can package this up in a glass jar for gift giving. Add a pretty ribbon and there you go!

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I just love that this is an all natural, non-commercial thing.

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This is so pretty to have sitting out anywhere in your home.

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I love to fun my hand through the potpourri and let the scent waft through the living room. It has a nice light scent that will last throughout the winter. I think this is a different kind of hostess gift and it will be VERY well received. And, I mean, how easy is that? Ridiculously easy and fun to put together. Just gather the pretty and scented things and jar them up. Now put on a pretty ribbon. Done. Now get out there and party cuz you have this covered.

 

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Sheets on the Clothesline

Do you know what my all-time favorite summertime smell is? Sheets on the Clothesline! Yes – sheets that have been dried on the clothesline!!! Oh my gosh – there’s nothing like the clean, crisp smell of sheets hung out on the clothesline in the sunshine and a breeze. They feel great when you climb into bed at night, and they smell great from being outside in the fresh air! I know it’s an old-fashioned thing that doesn’t happen too much anymore, but we decided when we moved to our house that we had to put up a clothesline. I’ve even had neighbors who’ve come over and used it. There have been times when I’ve hung out clothes, but it’s mostly used for sheets.

Hanging out the sheets was one of the things I would help Grandma do at the farm. She actually had two clotheslines and she would hang things depending on which clothesline had the most sun shining on it. I know that sunshine dries things faster and I do remember her being really worried about fly specks (I don’t know if  that had anything to do with the sun). Another use for your clothesline – relieving summertime boredom for the kids. Sometimes, when staying at the farm for an extended time, we would be bored enough to make a fort out of an old red wool blanket thrown over the clothesline with two picnic table benches at each edge to keep the blanket standing out like a tent. We’d stay in there and play until it got too hot under that wool blanket in the sun!

Until this past spring, I was using a very old washer and dryer that was beat up and didn’t look so great (our laundry room is downstairs and hidden behind a door so it didn’t matter what they looked like). We finally bit the bullet and bought a new model washer and dryer set, and we’re forced to use the new HE laundry detergent that is a liquid. Liquid laundry detergent is NOT my favorite smell. In fact, I hate it. All I can say is that had I known that I wouldn’t be able to use my usual powdered laundry detergent (the kind and smell I’ve used my WHOLE life), I would have thought long and hard about getting a new washer and dryer. Who knew that I would have to use a specific kind of detergent in these new fangled gadgets? I sure didn’t. That’s how old our washer and dryer were! I have been buying the usual brand of detergent I use, but in the liquid for most clothing (I just use about half of what they call for so the scent doesn’t bug me too much), but I also use an unscented liquid for my sheets and towels, because I just don’t like the smell of the other. Well, unfortunately, I found out that part of the wonderful smell of sheets hung on the clothesline is the detergent. Unscented detergent doesn’t make the sheets hung on the line smell good. They don’t smell at all!!! It was a sad realization for me, but it is what it is. I still like the fact that the sheets are hung out in the fresh air and sunshine and they still feel cool and crisp climbing into bed at night. Until they make liquid detergent that smells like my usual powdered kind, I’m stuck using the unscented. It will just have to be one of those smells of my childhood that I remember fondly but won’t ever have again. I guess it’s time to make new memories of cool, crisp, unscented sheets dried in the sunshine and the breeze, and enjoy them for what they are.

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Wash your sheets as you normally would and then, out to your clothesline. Get yourself some good old-fashioned clothespins to hang up your sheets.

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Pick a beautiful, sunny, breeze, low humidity day to dry your sheets on the line. I don’t think there’s technically any certain way you HAVE to hang the sheets – just so they’re off the grass and able to freely flap in the breeze.

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It’s nice when the breeze fills up the pockets on the fitted sheets so they dry faster.

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This was a perfect day for drying. You can see here that the sheets and pillowcases are a bit wrinkled when you first put them on the line. When they’re dry and you’re ready to bring them in, they are flat and straightened and look like they’ve been pressed with a iron.

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I love to see the sheets flapping in the breeze.

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Make sure you have good, sturdy clothespins if you have a real breezy day – you don’t want to come out and find your sheets on the grass!

When they’re dry and it’s time to bring them in and put them on the bed, I try and not put anything on top of them and don’t let anyone touch them until it’s time to climb in. That makes this old-fashioned experience even more delicious – I don’t want anything disturbing those clean, crisp, cool, sun and fresh air and breeze dried sheets before I get in. It’s absolute heaven. Sigh.

 

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Glass Cleaner and Spring Cleaning

It’s spring, and that means it’s time for Spring Cleaning. When I was growing up, both Grandma and my mom would really make spring cleaning a big deal. It was a thorough top to bottom cleaning, and it was always REALLY cold. For some reason (fresh air being good for you, I suppose) the windows were open and being April-ish in Minnesota, it was probably only 40-50 degrees outside!! We also lived on a lake and this time of year (or when there’s still ice on it) the wind blowing off of the lake is COLD!! Most years this was probably the first fresh air let into the house since October, and even though it was cold, I loved the smell of that first blast of cold, fresh air let in. I also remember the smell of lemon – as in lemon furniture polish. Everything just seems more clean if you smell lemon.

When we went on our trip to Sweden and Norway, we found out in Sweden that the cleaning bug is not a family thing, it’s a cultural thing. When we were driving in the country in Sweden, you would see a little cottage in the woods and there someone would be sweeping off their porch or shaking a rug. People seemed to be cleaning everywhere. Yep – that’s where we get it from!

I’ve decided to include a recipe that someone gave my mom for Glass Cleaner years ago. I’ve used this ever since – just put it in a spray bottle and get to it. It’s cheap, it’s easy, you know what’s in it, it works very well, and it makes a big enough batch to keep some in a jar on top of my pantry for later use. I have seen some recipes with vinegar and/or lemon juice in it, but this one has rubbing alcohol and that helps dry the glass fast.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Glass Cleaner

1 pint rubbing alcohol

2 Tablespoons dish soap

Add water to make 1 gallon.

Pour into a squirt bottle and use a paper towel, newspaper, or microfiber cloth to dry.

You can find Spring Cleaning checklists all over the internet if you need a guideline. I try to do a room or two at a time so this chore doesn’t get too overwhelming. This is what I like to keep in mind, and do in the order given:

  1.  Declutter – I like to go through, room by room, and reorganize and reassess. We live in a fairly small house, and things can really start to accumulate if we don’t stay on top of it. Sometimes we don’t even know what we have anymore, which is dumb and expensive when you end up with 3 bottles of bathroom cleaner because you bought another one when you couldn’t see that you already had 2 under the kitchen sink. That means it’s time to declutter. It also looks good and takes up less space when you reorganize after decluttering, and there’s nothing wrong with things just looking tidy.
  2. Clean – This is the time to really clean. I mean REALLY clean EVERYTHING. Do all of those out-of-the-way places that get overlooked the rest of the year. You have to do this with an objective eye and try to see things that just seem to fade out or don’t seem that important when doing your weekly cleaning. For me it’s things like: the top of ceiling fan blades, the top of the trim around doorways, scrubbing the outside and top of the kitchen cabinets to get off accumulated dust and grease, cleaning the glass on our front door (now that it’s warm enough to do it and the glass cleaner won’t freeze because the ice and snow are melted and gone for the year – we hope), washing all of my glass vases, containers, and picture frame glass set around the house so they look nice, etc. Use this recipe for glass cleaner, use the lemon furniture polish, and make sure that everything is sparkling and ready for summer.
  3. Freshen up – Like I said above, my mom and grandma always opened the windows and let in the cold, fresh air in the spring and so do I. There’s nothing like the smell of that fresh spring air after being closed up all winter, especially if we’re lucky (like we are this year) to have had a fairly mild winter and there is grass growing already when doing the spring cleaning. The lemon furniture polish will only get you so far in the freshening department. Fresh air is where it’s at.

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Get those windows open and let the fresh spring air in!

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This is seriously the most difficult part of my spring cleaning – the mirror that lives on the wall above our entry/stairway. Don’t ask me how it happened or what it is, but this year something was sprayed up there and made spots on the mirror!! My husband cleans this by climbing up on our big ladder propped up on the second step so he can reach! My part in this particular cleaning project is to get him to do it!!!! I’m not gonna lie – sometimes my part in it is harder! You can see that my hydrangea wreath is still “hanging” in there! Ha!

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It feels so good to have everything clean and sparkling!

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A bouquet of fresh flowers can’t hurt!

Spring cleaning really is a chore, but it feels so good when you’re done. I love how the house looks all tidied up and reorganized, and I love how it smells clean and of lemon and fresh air. It feels like it has good energy. This is a good thing to get done early, so you can go outside and start some other chores, like gardening, and landscaping, and lawn mowing, and house painting. Oh yeah – and those other chores like boating, and fishing, and grilling, and picnicking. Those are really important to get done, too. Happy spring, everyone!

 

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