10 good house guest things

you may have house guests for a short time or a long time, especially if you live in a sunny and warm place, so here are some things that will make it easier and more fun for everyone…

smells good- with the windows closed and the heat on your place might smell a little stale, try putting 3 or 4 tablespoons of cinnamon or nutmeg in a tin pie pan and heat it on low heat on top of the stove until the spice is gone or try putting a few whole cloves on a piece of orange peel in a tin pie pan and heat it until the peel is burned up and ashy

keeping it warm- open the curtains and shades while the sun is shining, but close them if it gets windy and cold, so you won’t lose heat through little spaces in the windows and make sure that nothing is on top of or blocking heat vents and registers

germ-free and clean- use a wash cloth and rubbing alcohol or vodka to clean bathroom and kitchen sinks and faucets and mirrors and try unclogging drains with a mixture of equal parts of vinegar, baking soda and salt, pour it down the drain and wait for 15 minutes and flush with very hot water

first-aid and extras- keep 2 or 3 new toothbrushes and small tubes of toothpaste around, extra toilet paper, extra pillows, blankets, towels and a first-aid kit for emergencies including: antibiotic ointment, bandages, rubbing alcohol, elastic bandages, ice pack and heat pack, sunblock, tweezers, aspirin, Imodium, Benedryl, cotton balls,gauze, hydrogen peroxide and a roll of adhesive tape

small medical emergencies- cuts- put firm pressure on a bleeding cut when the bleeding stops apply antibiotic ointment and cover with a bandage; burns- immerse in cold water, don’t use butter on a burn, when the pain stops apply burn ointment or a thin paste of baking soda and water or honey then cover loosely with bandage; fainting- if someone faints or feels faint, have them lie down for at least 10 minutes preferably with their head lower than their body

small messes- candle wax can be removed by scraping it off with a dull knife, then place pieces of brown paper grocery bags on top of the left-over wax and put a warm iron on the brown paper until the wax is absorbed into the paper;  gum stuck on clothes will come off easily if you put the clothes in a plastic bag and freeze it, the frozen gum should pop off or scrape it will a dull knife or try rub the gum with an ice cube or soak it in white vinegar until the gum dissolves then after the gum is off wash the clothes in warm water

go that way- print out some maps ahead of time to help your guests get to beaches, museums, art galleries, shopping, zoos and local hot spots, because you’re not a tour guide!

help your self- stock up on lots of things to drink and snacks including salsa, guacamole, and sour cream dips and lots of different kinds of crackers, also collect take-out menus and put them in a folder, because you’re not running a restaurant!

entertainment- have some magazines, good books, movies, games, schedules for sporting events, concerts, clubs and places to go and things to see around, because you’re not an entertainment committee!

 enjoy- if your guests are on vacation but you’re not remember busy guests are happy guests and make sure that you’re having fun, too…even if you worked all day you can have a dinner picnic outside in the yard, toast s’mores and hot chocolate outside with a fire, check out the best holiday lights after dark, have a low stakes all night poker game and a 007 marathon is always good

 

 

 

 

don’t run, walk

the hard part about exercising during this crazy time of year is doing it, and not putting it off, there are so many other things that you have to do that this is probably not a good time to start a new exercise routine but, since you’re doing a lot of walking anyway and walking counts as good exercise, start walking for exercise…

btw the good news is- most people only gain 1 or 2 pounds during the holidays, but the bad news is that most people never lose them! so in 10 years you’ve added 10-20 pounds- that’s very bad and that’s why you need to keep moving…so you can put the pounds on, then take them off just as fast…

  • try to make sure that your walking adds up to at least half an hour a day, that includes walking the dog, walking from the parking lot to the store (park as far away as possible), walk at work instead of sending an email, walk around the house putting things away and cleaning up by doing each chore one at a time instead of saving them all so that you only have to walk upstairs or to the other rooms once or carry in your grocery bags one at a time and walk quickly when you’re walking
  • next try to add some speed and distance and walk uphill or up stairs if possible, you’ll burn more calories and give your heart and lungs a better workout, see if you can get all of your steps to add up to at least 10,000 steps a day- get a pedometer or start counting and keeping track
  • if you feel good walking check out places to hike on the week end and try to find walking clubs or hiking groups to stay motivated, if you live somewhere that’s getting cold and snowy try walking on a treadmill at home or at a gym
as always it’s a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure that this will do no harm before you start

 

 

 

fix it? or get rid of it

something usually happens during the week and I try to remember to write about it, or someone asks me about something and I know that it’s a good thing to tell everyone about, so I’m working on getting Ask Mom together-

here’s the weekly schedule as it has evolved, and I’m letting you know so that you can write to me and be part of Ask Mom we’re in this together…

  • Monday- my advice, solicited and unsolicited!  
  • Tuesday- guys, your turn 
  • Wednesday-everything you need to know about 1 thing or 1 big idea  
  • Thursday-Natalia keeps us moving and well
  • Friday- 10 good little things 
  • Saturday and Sunday- cooking, eating and all things food
the topic today is about dealing with your closet and the things that are there and more importantly the things that shouldn’t be…either because they need fixing or tossing:

if you have clothes or shoes or bags that you loved but they’ve got some problems you have to decide if it can be fixed, and if not, you need to get rid of it- keeping it in the closet taking up space isn’t going to make it any better, so depending on how damaged it is, either have it  fixed, donate it or dump it…the upside is if you get rid of it you’ll have more room for new stuff!

here are some fixable problems and some that aren’t:

  • stretched out elastic waisted tights and work out pants can be fixed IF the elastic is a single piece that runs through a folded over waistband then the piece of elastic can be replaced easily, but if the elastic is part of the material or elastic thread was used to make the pants, then it will probably cost as much or more to fix it as it will to buy a new pair…so I’d say, most of the time don’t fix it, replace it

  • white shirts with stains under the arms can be cleaned especially IF it is a machine-washable cotton shirt, just use bleach and wash in very warm water, or presoak the stains for about an hour in detergent, or spray generously with an oxi-stain remover and let it sit for 30 minutes, then wash in warmest water possible, the sooner you try to get rid of the stain the better. If  your shirt is ‘dry clean’ only material it is unlikely that the material is very forgiving of stains, but if you don’t want to take it to the dry cleaner (it could be expensive and probably won’t come out) try the at home dry cleaning kit before you get rid of it, there is usually a bottle of stain remover in the kit and I’ve had great success with it…so I’d say, try to fix it

  • stretched out necks on sweaters can usually be fixed IF the material is right and you have the patience- the neckline probably got stretched out because it was stretching while it was spinning in the washer. If you’re washing the sweater in the washer instead of by hand (right!) put it into a mesh garment bag along with other good lingerie, the bag will spin and not the sweater, and that way nothing stretches. If you’re going to dry it in the dryer, you can keep it in the lingerie bag or a better way to dry it is to fold it over a hanger or lay it on a towel flat to dry and after it’s dry put it into the dryer for 5-10 minutes to soften and fluff it up- synthetic sweaters are the most difficult to fix and you’ll have the best luck with cotton and wool they’re most fixable material…so I’d say, try to fix it

  • most shoes can be fixed, most of the time IF they are just dirty or need minor repairs. Soles can almost always be fixed or replaced and no matter what the problem is leather shoes are the easiest to clean and recondition, but suede and fabric shoes are much harder to fix and usually pretty expensive…so I’d say, depending on the problem and what the shoe is made of fix the good (expensive) shoes and donate or toss the others

  • lining rips and damage, inside clothes and handbags can be fixed, but is it worth it? yes, IF a rip in the lining of a coat or skirt or dress is small definitely have it fixed, but if the lining is so damaged that the whole lining has to be replaced instead of repaired, it could be expensive and really you still have your old clothes or bag when it’s over, but if you love it and know that you’ll never find one to replace it that you like more…I’d say, fix it, because a new one is almost always going to cost more than the cost of repairing

  • small holes in knit sweaters or any woven material can usually be fixed like new IF you have the little bit of extra thread that came with the sweater or the hole is along a seam or some other hidden place it can always be fixed, and a pulled thread is a DIY fix, if you can push the pulled thread with a needle or knitting needle or chopstick (!) to the inside or pull through to the inside from the inside the pull will never show. A big hole is harder to fix because it has to be rewoven and depending on how easy it is to match the color and size of the hole, it can usually be done, but it could be an expensive repair…I’d say, almost always fix it

most of these repairs can be done at a cobbler shop, dry cleaner or tailor, and if you decide to fix it, take it to the best person you can find to fix it and pay a little bit more if you have to

 

 

 

guys’ guide to giving gifts

I totally agree that buying gifts is scary, stressful and given the choice some of you would choose to stick a pencil in your eye, but I’m here to help make it less painful…Walking into a store can make your senses go numb, so just avoid it…

gift giving dos and don’ts:

  • don’t buy anything that has a size- if it’s too small she’ll feel fat because she should be able to fit into it, and if it’s too big she’ll think that you think that she’s big and fat- so this is a no win
  • don’t buy candy- it doesn’t show much thought and it’s fattening
  • getting suggestions from friends is a good idea
  • tickets for concerts, sporting events, shows and things that you can do together is a very good gift that you can enjoy, too
  • special food like hiring a personal chef to make a special dinner or having lobsters sent from Maine or stone crabs sent from Joe’s in Miami, is a good gift, a box of apples and oranges is not!
  • if you can’t find anything that you think that she would like or as an extra gift of just as a very good good thing to do give a Kiva Card, this is a great organization that does very good things for so many people check out www.kiva.org

If you’re ready to start shopping, I checked out a lot of websites and narrowed it down to just 1, this 1 is the best with a good selection of unique gifts at reasonable prices-www.uncommongoods.com it looks like it has something for everyone…try to get a gift that’s something that your giftee likes to do, or collects, or has hinted about, but whatever you do DON’T buy a vacuum cleaner or toaster, ever!

good luck- and you can always write to me if you need more help

 

party small talk

besides being fun, crazy and expensive- you can also wind up in some sticky situations this time of year- here’s a little advice about 2 sticky situations from 2 readers and my best advice:

I got stuck at a party talking to the most boring person I have ever met and he just kept talking and talking, it didn’t seem to matter at all that I wasn’t listening or that I was not part of the conversation. I just sat there, praying for the power to go out or something, what do I do if this happens to me again?

The first bit of advice is NEVER sit down at a party! It’s much harder to make a clean getaway if you have to stand up first, instead of just running the other way! It sounds like he is very happy to hear himself talk and doesn’t really need anyone to listen-so keep interrupting him and say things about yourself. Don’t ask any questions or he will just have more things to talk about. As soon as you have a chance, say “I’m so thirsty” and start walking away while you’re talking, or “I need to make a quick phone call, I’ll be right back”, but of course you won’t go back or just grab the closest person and introduce him to her or him and run!

 I walked into a party and the first person I saw was someone who called me 3 or 4 times, and I have not called her back- I froze standing in the doorway! I didn’t know what to say, what should I have done?

Smile, and lights, camera, action- start acting! don’t apologize for not returning the calls because it will mean that you did something wrong, instead say- “I’m so happy to see you, I really wanted to call you back but, I’ve been so busy that whenever I had a minute to myself it was either so late at night or really early in the morning (or something like that), and just keep talking for a few minutes and ask how she’s doing and what’s happening in her life and then after a few minutes end with- I’m so glad that I saw you…and just sort of let your voice trail off as you’re walking away…but make sure that you talked enough so that she feels like she had a real chat with you and doesn’t need to call you to chat with you!

 

 

 

drink up

just because we aren’t cooking, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be drinking- most of these drinks are better than eating anyway!

warm and amazing non-alcoholic drink recipes-

 Hot Cocoa Affogato with Peppermint Ice Cream

ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 72% cacao), chopped
  • 1/3 cup (loosely packed) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso or dark-roast coffee beans
  • 2 pints peppermint or mint chip ice cream
  • 8 small candy canes (optional)

preparation:

  • Combine milk, 1/2 cup cream, sugar, salt, and 1/4 cup water in a large heavy saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add chocolate and cocoa powder; whisk until chocolate melts and mixture just comes to a boil. DO AHEAD: Cocoa can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Bring to a simmer before continuing.
  • Whisk remaining 1/2 cup cream and ground coffee in a small bowl until firm peaks form. DO AHEAD: Whipped cream can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk if needed before using.
  • Remove vanilla bean from hot cocoa; discard. Transfer cocoa to a blender and purée until thick and foamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Scoop ice cream into teacups; pour hot cocoa into cups, dividing evenly. Top each with a small dollop of coffee whipped cream. Garnish with a small candy cane, if desired.

 Spiced Cider Cup

ingredients:

  • 1 quart sweet cider
  • 1 two-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole allspice

preparation:

  • Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and heat to the boiling point. Remove from the heat and allow the spices to steep for 3 or 4 hours. Strain, chill and serve with ice cubes in tumblers or goblets. If you like, the drink may be reheated and served in 8-ounce mugs.

Cranberry-Mint Tea

ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Fresh mint sprigs
preparation:
  • Combine 4 cups water and cranberries in heavy medium saucepan and bring to boil. When cranberries begin to pop, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer mixture until cranberries are very tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Place 1 cup mint leaves in heat-proof pitcher or coffeepot. Set fine strainer atop pitcher. Pour cranberry mixture into strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much juice as possible; discard solids. Add 1/2 cup sugar to pitcher; stir until sugar has dissolved.
  • Refrigerate mixture until cold. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.) Garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

 Caramel-Swirl Hot Chocolate

ingredients:

  • 5 cups water
  • 5 3-ounce bars milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons prepared caramel sauce
preparation:
  • Bring 5 cups water and chocolate to simmer in medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve chocolate. Mix in 1/4 cup cream. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer, stirring frequently, before continuing.)
  • Whip 1 cup cream and powdered sugar in medium bowl until peaks form. Drizzle caramel over and swirl together, forming streaks (do not overmix).
  • Divide hot chocolate among 6 mugs. Top with generous amount of caramel whipped cream and serve.
Mulled Apple Cider with Orange and Ginger
ingredients:
  • 8 cups unpasteurized apple cider
  • A 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced crosswise
  • A 2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, cut into 6 slices
preparation:

In a large saucepan combine the cider, the cinnamon stick, the cloves, the orange and the ginger and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a heat-proof pitcher and serve the mulled cider warm.

 Peppermint Hot Chocolate
ingredients:
  • 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces bittersweet (preferably 60% cocoa) chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 4 small candy canes (for garnish)
preparation:
  • Beat 1/2 cup cream and 1 teaspoon sugar in bowl until soft peaks form. Cover; chill.
  • Whisk 1/2 cup cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and milk in medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth. Whisk in extract. Divide chocolate among mugs. Top with cream and garnish with candy canes.
Hot Chocolate with Ancho Chiles and Spice
ingredients:
  •  3 cups low-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ancho chiles
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
 preparation:
  • Bring first 7 ingredients and pinch of salt to simmer in medium saucepan, whisking often. Add cinnamon sticks. Cover; remove from heat and let steep 5 minutes. Bring to simmer, whisking. Discard cinnamon.
Chai-Spiced Hot Chocolate
ingredients:
  • 4 cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 10 cardamom pods, coarsely cracked
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice, cracked
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
  • 6 quarter-size slices fresh ginger plus 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
preparation:
  • Combine first 6 ingredients, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and ginger slices in medium saucepan. Bring almost to simmer, whisking frequently. Remove from heat; cover and steep 10 minutes. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Meanwhile, whisk cream, remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, grated ginger, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl to peaks.
  • Strain hot chocolate. Ladle into 6 mugs. Top each with dollop of ginger cream.

 Strawberry Cheesecake Milkshake (this drink isn’t warm but it’s too good to leave out)

ingredients:

  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 pound frozen strawberries (not in syrup)

preparation:

  • In two batches if necessary, blend together ice cream, cream cheese, milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and strawberries in a blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

warm and even more amazing alcoholic drink recipes-

 The Laureate

ingredients:

  • 4 orange slices
  • 40 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 4 small bay leaves
  • 1 cup añejo tequila (such as Gran Centenario)
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar
preparation:
  • Stud each orange slice with 10 cloves. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add hibiscus flowers; cover and let steep 2 minutes. Strain hibiscus tea into measuring cup; cover to keep hot. Run 4 brandy snifters under hot water until snifters are warm. Place 1 clove-studded orange slice and 1 bay leaf into each snifter; pour 1/4 cup tequila, then 1/4 cup hot hibiscus tea into each. Stir 1 tablespoon agave nectar into each. Serve.

Koffie Van Brunt

ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons aged dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons cherry Heering liqueur
  • 2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
preparation:
Whisk cream in small bowl until slightly thickened but still pourable. Divide rum, Cherry Heering, and brown sugar between 2 warm mugs. Add 2/3 cup hot coffee to each mug and stir to dissolve sugar. Spoon whipped cream atop coffee. Finely grate small amount of orange peel and cinnamon over drinks and serve
Berry-Brandy Toddies with Raspberries & Cream
ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons Chambord or other raspberry liqueur
preparation:
  • Gently warm brandy in small saucepan over low heat (do not boil). Remove from heat and add chambord or other raspberry liqueur. Divide mixture between two snifters. Serve with fresh raspberries and whipped cream.
Hot Orange Mocha with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream
ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • 2 oranges
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Ground coffee beans (optional)
preparation:
  • Whisk cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, and Grand Marnier in medium bowl to soft peaks; cover and chill.
  • Using vegetable peeler, remove peel from oranges in strips; add strips to medium saucepan (reserve oranges for another use). Add milk; bring just to simmer over medium heat. Add chocolate, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar; bring just to simmer, whisking to melt chocolate. Strain. Ladle mocha into 4 mugs. Top with whipped cream and ground coffee beans, if desired.

 Spiced Cherry Cider with Kirsch Cream

ingredients:

  • 4 cups cherry cider or cherry juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 5 teaspoons kirsch (clear cherry brandy)
  • 1 2-ounce piece semisweet chocolate (optional)
Cherry cider is usually a blend of apple cider and cherry juice. Look for it in the juice aisle of most supermarkets.
preparation:
  • Bring cherry cider, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and 1 tablespoon sugar to boil in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until spiced cider is reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain cider.
  • Whisk whipping cream, kirsch, and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in medium bowl to very soft peaks. Ladle cider into glass mugs and top with kirsch cream. Garnish each serving with some grated chocolate, if desired.

most of these delicious drink recipes are from Bon Appetit and Epicurious.com

enough cooking

you’ve done enough cooking this week, so this week-end take a break- no more cooking, here are some ideas for finishing up your leftovers or take in food, eat pizza and Chinese! and since you’re not cooking go out to your locally owned stores and Shop Small Business Saturday stores today! 

leftover turkey seems to multiply in your fridge…so try these ideas for eating the rest of the leftovers

  • turkey, cranberry and stuffing sandwich
  • turkey tacos
  • chef salad with turkey
  • turkey BLT
  • turkey noodle soup
  • turkey empanadas
  • open faced hot turkey sandwich
  • turkey chili
  • turkey frittata
  • Greek pasta salad with turkey

 

10 good little shopping things…

today is all about shopping,  so let the shopping begin…..

Small Business Shopping Saturday is this week-end, November 24- please shop locally

shop till you drop- shopping doesn’t get better than this! Shopgreen.pricegrabber.com one stop shopping and 5% of the profits are donated to environmental charities

keep shopping- www.iamapeacekeeper.com is a wonderful place to buy cosmetics, everything is natural AND the company donates ALL after-tax profits to causes afftecting women world-wide

 it’s easy to give- spend some of your shopping money at AnySoldier.com, it will be greatly appreciated

make it personal- www.picpads.com prints pads of paper with your favorite picture on it- you can take your puppy with you to the grocery store

pictures are perfect gifts- check out www.photowow.com  and www.wallwords.com and www.allpopart.com/rs and www.campusquilt.com

healthy and delicious snacks- get a box full of good, healthy treats delivered to your door go to www.naturebox.com food is always a good gift!

 sugar and spice and everything nice- salt and pepper, too, take a look at www.wmboundsltd.com

eat, drink and celebrate- check out restaurant gift certificates in your area www.restaurant.com 

hot and cold coffee- coffee lovers will love this, it’s cold brewed coffee concentrate- and low acid, too, www.toddycafe.com

what a good idea- www.tastingroom.com lets you taste 6 different wines and then order the 2 that you like the best and there are other very very good ideas, too, drink up! 

 i can’t believe she started shopping without me!

eat, drink and enjoy

It’s Thursday, but I’m sure that Natalia is exercising and cooking at the same time! so she’ll be back next week…

and of course since I’ve left everything for the last possible minute again, I’m running out to find the closest open stores to get everything I need to start cooking…Thursday caught up with me way too fast again, and so it goes for another Thanksgiving

(we once ate at 8:30, but it worked out well because by that time everyone was so hungry and drunk that even my cooking tasted really good…since I’m not sure what time we’re eating this year, first stop is the wine/liquor warehouse store!)

wishing the happiest Thanksgiving to all

make your bedroom better

treat yourself to a bedroom that you like being in…if you’re not happy with your bedroom a few small changes could make a big difference, if your bedroom is small and your bed pretty much takes up the whole room you can still make it your favorite place:

bedside tables-if you don’t have room for tables on either side of your bed try…

  • a shelf or 2 any size that fits, attach them to the wall on either side of your bed
  • narrow book shelves floor to ceiling
  • small benches
  • a tall stack of big size books
  • bricks and boards cut to fit any size space make a DIY bookshelf
  • a narrow cabinet or locker that attaches to the wall (they come in all sizes and colors)
  • hang big hooks and canvas tote bags or organizer on the wall
  • cover a big big box with a pretty flat sheet
  • use chairs on either side of your bed as a table or a chair!

light is important in your bedroom…

  • attach wall-mounted sconces above the bed
  • attach wall-mounted swivel-arm lights on either side next to your bed
  • if your bedside tables are big enough get a goose neck or Anglepoise-style lamp
  • use energy efficient soft light bulbs
Decorating and storage ideas…
  • layer your bed…start with a bedskirt as the bottom layer, there are a lot of tailored styles, if you get a ruffly bedskirt it will just collect all of the floor dust in the ruffles, a bedskirt is more than just decoration because it hides everything under your bed, you can put storage boxes and bags full of bulky sweaters and blankets under your bed and only you’ll know what’s there
  • 2 good sets of sheets are all you need, get the best quality that you can afford, be a good shopper keep checking because sheets are always on sale, there are White Sales in January and July and the discount stores have a good selection of expensive sheets at good prices all the time. When in doubt go with white sheets if you can’t find a pattern that you really like, white always looks clean, cool and it goes with everything
  • next layer is either a duvet, comforter or bedspread- a duvet is my favorite, there’s a big selection of sizes and fillings and the best part is you can keep changing duvet covers whenever you want a “new” bedroom, you can also take the duvet cover off and wash it after you and your puppy have snacks in bed
  • get extra pillows and pillow shams, put these extra pillows in front of your sleeping pillows, if you’re working in bed or sitting on your bed with the clothes on that you wore all day then whatever you picked up on your clothes from the outside, won’t rub off on the pillows that you put your head on and sleep on
  • stack 3 or 4 large hatboxes, they come in pretty patterns and lots of sizes, on either side of your bed and use it as a nightstand and store lots of stuff in them
Walls, floor and windows… 
have fun decorating your bedroom- eclectic is good and your bedroom is the place for all your favorite things
  • if your floors are carpeted or not you can still throw down some great little rugs at the foot of your bed, or on either side or at the bedroom door- size makes a difference in rugs, you can find terrific small rugs at really good prices
  • if you don’t have a headboard make one and decorate the walls at the same time- get a flat sheet or big piece of fabric and fold over the top to make a “tunnel” to slide a pole through, you can sew it, velcro it or glue it, slide the pole through and hang the pole on the wall with brackets or very wide ribbon loops- attach it near the ceiling and it will make your room and bed look bigger!
  • make a wall decoration any size that’s not expensive, fabric stores have great designer fabrics and picture frame or craft stores have stretchers, then all you need is a staple gun- stretch the fabric tightly and start stapling then glue a solid color ribbon along the sides or paint the sides if you want the edges to have a finished look
  • hang anything on your bedroom walls that you love…framed photos, framed or unframed posters from art galleries that you’ve visited, hang a special dried bouquet of flowers tied with a beautiful piece of lace or ribbon, put some small shelves on the walls with framed pictures, a small vase of flowers, candles or hang a mirror with a great frame
  • you don’t have to cover your windows, waking up with natural light is good for you- but if you have a brick wall for a view there’s a variety of shades and you can DIY. If you’re leaving the windows uncovered try painting the window frame red or cobalt blue and your window becomes a decorative accent in the room
  • paint the wall across from your bed your favorite color 
DREAM ON
btw guys- you were great yesterday, thanks for reading Ask Mom and for letting me know that you liked that it was about you! so Tuesday is your day from now on…let me know if there’s anything that you want to know about and I’ll make sure that I come through with good advice and ideas for you…
and extra thanks to Frank for reading Ask Mom, and for always pointing me in the right direction with your great taste and style!