Friday, January 23, 2015

Keeping Things Fresh in Mid-Winter

Fresh pastel pink flowers that freshen up my living room

Before I go out to dinner and a movie this evening, I'm doing a few quick tasks to make sure my home is fresh, smells nice, and is welcoming to return to later tonight. What quick tasks might you be able to do to keep your home lovely this winter?


  • Tidy up for the weekend. Throw out dead flowers, clean vases, replace with fresh flowers if possible; sort out fruit bowl; sweep front entryway and front patio, porch or steps; empty wastebaskets from each room of the house as needed; empty or fill dishwasher; empty dryer as needed; de-clutter stair landings, coffee and dining tables; hunt down missing TV remotes and replace them where they belong; swap out hand towels in the bathroom.
  • Need cash for the weekend, or to fill your car with gas for weekend adventures?
  • Finalize weekend social plans as needed.
  • Need to launder any pet bedding tonight? My dogs are getting their muddy paws and hair all over their beds. I think it's time for a mini project!

TODAY'S PROJECT: Freshening Up in Winter

Japanese Cherry Blossom Home Fragrance Spray, from Bath and Body Works

Today I'm freshening my home, opening windows to air it out. (I'm paranoid that my house smells like dogs, so I do something about it often!) It's currently 50 degrees here in Seattle. I've shut off the heater completely, and opened most of the windows in my home. I'll wear an extra sweater for an hour and keep myself warm with vacuuming and sweeping and mopping chores. An hour from now I'll close up all the windows and turn the heater back on. It won't take long for the house to warm up again. Since I'll be gone so long tonight (dinner and a movie), I'll let the heater stay lower than normal while I'm gone. When I get home later I can easily snuggle dogs under a blanket while the house catches up a few degrees warmer.

Other things I'm doing to make my house seem and smell fresh for winter is setting out bouquets of fresh flowers; removing Christmas-themed magazines from my coffee table; laundering my tablecloth and setting it out fresh on the table; refreshing all the curtains with some Febreze; lightly spraying Japanese Cherry Blossom home fragrance in a few rooms; sweeping ashes out of the fireplace; mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors; laundering pet bedding; and decluttering surfaces. Combined with the quick tasks I'll do before I leave for dinner, I know I'll come home to a fresh, tidy, welcoming home. And all these chores should take me less than an hour if I work quickly!

LOVELY BLOGS: The Culinary Cellar

Debbie is a passionate cookbook collector, with hundreds of cookbooks stored carefully in her basement. She blogs about vintage recipes, cooking and food (as one would expect!) Recent posts include vintage Italian recipes from a 1973 magazine; Superbowl food, and a recipe from Around My French Table. You can also peek at her travel journal if you're interested.

LOVELY BOOKS: BabyLit's The Secret Garden

I'm a huge fan of BabyLit's colorful board books based on classic literature. Therefore, I'm supremely excited for their new "Flowers primer" to come out. By "Little Miss Burnett," it will be available on March first. Just in time for Spring! I suspect I'll pick up two or three copies for friends' babies that happen to be born this spring.

The Secret Garden, on Amazon

LOVELY FOOD: Leila Love Macaroons

I think these colorful, pretty French macarons are a perfect mid-winter perk-me up. I also like to gift them in Spring, for Valentine's Day or for Easter. The packaging is gorgeous, too. I love that they take PayPal!

Leila Love Macaroons on Amazon

Leila Love Macarons on Facebook

LOVELY SHOPS: Bookcooks Etc

Here's a dangerous store for me to be browsing - a fabulous vintage cookbook store! They have several categories for ethnic cookbooks, but seem to specialize in Americana. My favorite item here so far is The Ice Cream World of Baskin-Robbins. I bet you'll have fun looking through here!


Avocado Amandel Cupcakes (Dulce Fresa's Keys)

Blueberry Scones (Handle the Heat)

Curl Up With Winter's Greens - Chicory, Endive, Radicchio (SF Gate)

11 Soup Recipes to Keep You Warm and Kick the Winter Blues (CHOW)

7 Things to Do When You Cut Your Hair Short (

A Simple Carrot Soup (101 Cookbooks)

Wilted Green Salad Warms Up Winter Menus (Chicago Tribune)

Why I Am Not a 'Maker' (The Atlantic)

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