Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beating the Winter Blues in a Smaller Home!

While small home living can be cozy bliss, it can also feel crowded and suffocating when "snowed in" during the winter! Our part of the United States, has experienced more than its share of the usual winter weather and we have found ourselves quite literally unable to leave the house on more than one occasion this season. The familiar phrase "cabin fever" is especially true in a small home if you are stuck indoors during the winter!

I find it helps to beat the winter doldrums, by turning my focus and attention back to my home and feathering my little nest! Since we spent the entire month of January organizing and clearing out clutter, now is the perfect time to add those little details that really make your house your home.

1. Get some new throw pillows! Pack away the old couch cushions or the throw pillows on the bed and spruce up the room with something new. Inexpensive and varied, pillows can instantly give a room a lift! Try something new! Go with a pattern instead of a solid. Are you normally someone who loves florals? Try a stripe or polka dot!


Photo Courtesy of Country Living



Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

2. Light some candles. Nothing gives ambiance to a room like firelight. In our little Jewel Box Home, we don't have the space for a fireplace and I depend on candle or candelabras a lot to set the mood. Light some candles at the dinner table. Get some yummy smelling scented candles for the bathroom. Try a wall sconce with candles in the bedroom for a cozy glow!


Photo Courtesy of Country Living



Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living


3. Switch out the old familiar fabrics. Just like you did with the throw pillows, do with other fabrics in your home. Pull down your unused linens and switch out sheets and pillowcases, tablecloths or try some new (or rarely used) curtains. Just switching out the small details can really lift the spirits during winter.

Photo Courtesy of Country Living


Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Photo Courtesy of Country Living

4. Bring in some of the outdoors! My spirit longs for spring this time of year. I dream of days spent sunning in a lawn chair or working in my vegetable garden or flowerbeds. Head to the Home Improvement store for a little pick me up in the form of a houseplant. My favorite is the African Violet. Set three in a row in your kitchen window and they will give you just the smile you need. Get a sprig of lavender or rosemary for an indoor herb garden. Aromatic and beautiful, you can use their foliage in your evening meal! And the ever-hardy ivy is always a pleaser. I find that out of all the house plants I've owned, ivy will make me proud and grow when none of the others will!


Photo Courtesy of Midwest Living

Photo Courtesy of Midwest Living

Photo Courtesy of Midwest Living

5. Try a new recipe! Nothing makes a home more cozy than a little home cooking! Soups and stews simmering on the stovetop can make home feel like paradise after a long day's work. Homemade rolls or cookies in the oven are especially fragrant and sweet. My favorite thing on a cold winter day is homemade chicken noodle soup. Comforting and decadent, my recipe will make you feel like curling up on the couch with a blanket and the latest bestseller!


Amber's Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
1. Stew one 3-31/2 pound chicken in a big stock pot with one diced onion, three cloves minced garlic, two bay leaves, one teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon lemon pepper, three chicken bouillon cubes, salt and pepper until done. About an hour.
2. Remove chicken and de-bone. Set aside.
3. Strain stock to remove bay leaves and onion.
4. Add one cup each of diced carrots and celery. Cook about ten minutes until tender.
5. Add 2 cups egg noodles. Cook according to package directions.
Here's the secret. Here's what makes people say "This is the best soup ever!"
6. Add one cup heavy cream and one cup grated Parmesan cheese. Stir and heat thoroughly.
7. Serve with homemade rolls or crusty French bread and a yummy garden salad.
8. Accept compliments.
Tip: I like to leave my chicken in bigger chunks, so you almost have to use a fork. It feels more substantial and comforting.
Sometimes I like to sprinkle a little fresh rosemary on top to make it pretty, but also for the flavor.

Happy winter! ~Amber

2 comments:

Rambling Tart said...

SUCH good ideas! :-) I brought in a primrose last week, and put on a new bright yellow tablecloth this week. Today, I'm busting out the candles and will see about some new fabrics and pillows. Thanks for the inspiration! :-)

Genevieve Ferraro said...

Hi Everyone,

I accidentally rejected Rue's comment! I'm so sorry! Amber and I love Rue and her blog Rue's Peanut Butter and Jelly Life!!! But I was able to retrieve her very nice comment from my email. And here it is.

Amber, that soup is making me drool! Love all those pictures, especially that last kitchen oic.

Had a great time catching up on all that I missed. You two are doing a wonderful job!

xo,
rue