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A Compilation for Christmas

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Holidays

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Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining

When the cold weather sets in and the holiday planning begins to take up all of your time, it can be nice to come home to a hot meal each evening. With a slow cooker, you can prepare your meal ahead of time, set it, and come home to it ready and waiting at the end of the day. Best of all, many slow cooker recipes take just minutes to throw together, so you don’t have to scramble to get things set up in the morning either. Try these fast and easy slow cooker recipes for yourself this winter when you need a little hot comfort food at the end of a busy day.

Split Pea Soup

This split pea soup is hot, nourishing, and incredibly easy to throw together. Add a 16 ounce bag of split peas to your slow cooker, along with a peeled and diced sweet potato, a peeled and diced onion, and some cubed, pre-cooked smoked ham. Add a tablespoon of celery salt, a teaspoon of white pepper, one bay leaf and six cups of water. Now just set the slow cooker to low and let it simmer for 8 to 10 hours. This meal also reheats very well the next day as leftovers.

Chicken Stew

This hearty chicken stew recipe combines some unusual winter tastes into one fabulous meal. Just cut up two pounds of chicken thighs into small pieces and layer them on the bottom of the slow cooker along with one bunch of chopped kale, and one half of a cubed butternut squash. Add a cup of green peas, a teaspoon of white pepper, and one of cumin. Then just fill the rest of the cooker up with your favorite chicken stock or broth. Simmer on low for 8 hours and your stew is ready.

Turkey Chili

Make this turkey chili as spicy or mild as you want by varying the amount of spices. Add a pound of ground turkey to your slow cooker along with one can each of black, red, and pink beans. Two chopped onions, two chopped red peppers, a can of tomatoes, and three cups of tomato juice round it out. Now add a combination of white pepper, Ancho pepper, and chipotle pepper to your taste to spice things up. Cook on low for 8 hours and serve with sour cream. 

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Winter Mantel Decorating Ideas

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

The fireplace is traditionally the heart of a home and often the place where people are drawn, particularly in the winter months. Therefore, when it’s time to decorate your home for the season, it makes sense to pay particular attention to the mantel. After all, this is a visual focal point of the room. Try using any of these ideas to create a mantel decoration that will capture everyone’s attention.

Winter Greenery

Don’t overlook the simplicity of winter greens for making a beautiful and formal decoration on your mantel. Look for evergreen swags you can drape across the mantel, and then try studding the greens with pinecones, bulb ornaments, bird’s nests, and other small items to help complete the look. You can also create small swags and circles out of holly branches or mistletoe; try arranging small groups of them around candles you can light in the evening to enhance the effect.

Mitten Clothesline

Have a little fun with your mantel and invoke the image of mittens drying by the open fire by creating a mitten clothesline. String a line across the mantel, and pick up several pairs of mittens from a dollar store or other discount vendor. Clip them to the line in coordinate colors to give the impression that many little hands are warming up after a cold day outside.

Winter Topiary

Create timeless decorations to display on your mantel this year, and for years to come by making some winter topiaries in a variety of sizes. Create a holiday-themed topiary out of bulb ornaments to display in the center of the mantel, or create two smaller topiaries out of pinecones to set on either end. You can also combine the topiaries with fresh greenery to help enhance the look of the mantel and bring something else to focus on into the overall design. Just be sure that you don’t duplicate the materials used in the topiary elsewhere in the design, so that each component can shine on its own.

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3 Dimensional Wall Décor Ideas

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Wall décor is a must for every room. It adds personality and interest to the room, gives you something to focus on, and can help brighten up the space and complete the design of the room. If you’re looking for something other than pictures and standard wall art to display on your walls, consider one of these dimensional wall décor ideas instead.

Wall Plants

If you like greenery, why not create some living walls in your home? Wall planters are available that are large, shallow boxes that mount vertically to the wall. The plants are able to grow up the walls, rather than out of pots, which makes a living art display anywhere in your home. Just position them across from a window to get the best light and turn your walls into your own greenhouse.

Water Fountains

Wall fountains are a beautiful trend in interior design right now. Not only do they give you a sculptural feel to the walls, they also provide ambient sound to the room. This can create a soothing, tranquil feeling in the room that can enhance the rest of the design. Opt for a fountain that is large enough to really make a visual statement as well as an auditory one for the best results.

Pillars

You’ve probably already thought of wall shelves and niches as a way to display things on your walls, but what about built in pillars? Pillars allow you to arrange items at varying heights on the wall for a more eclectic look. You can also mount pillars on the wall next to your stairs, rising in height with the stairs to emphasize the shape of the wall and give you some added interest in this area.

Metal Wall Sculpture

If you’re in the market for some wall art, consider opting for some metal wall sculpture. Metal has an ability to be bent and shaped in ways that allow it to come right off the wall, while still remaining thin and relatively flat. This adds a lot of extra dimension to the room, because you can view the piece from several angles and see it differently each and every time.

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Area Rugs, The Forgotten Accessory

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Area Rugs

When it comes to area rugs, they can often be overlooked as an accessory for your home. Do you have a room that feels incomplete, lacks warms and that inviting feeling? When you think about area rugs, don’t think floor covering (unless that’s your specific purpose!) think accessory….as in jewelry. When you think about how an area rug can finish off a room much the same way the right necklace can finish an outfit – then you’ll begin to see the value of what area rugs can do.

Area rugs are like magic carpets. They can transport and transform, “move” rooms (and their mood) from ordinary to extraordinary, change a room’s personality and character. They can do this through their color, shape, texture and size.

Area rugs are incredible design tools. They can define a space, act as a finishing touch, establish a color scheme, underlie a key piece of furniture, soften a hard surface, welcome guests to your home.

Area rugs improve your life. They can warm bare feet on cold surfaces, prevent wear in heavy traffic areas, protect children/elderly against injury from falls and absorb sound to reduce noise. Area rugs can also cover flaws in flooring and hide not so perfect carpeting. (Voila! Problem solved.)

Area rugs are the masters of change. They’re the only floor covering you can pick up and move, easily replace – change with the changing seasons. Tired of the way a room looks? Try changing your area rug before changing other things like wall colors. You’ll be amazed at what the change can do.

Area rugs cover the cost spectrum. They can be inexpensive and machine made (cotton and synthetic) to very expensive, handmade ancient weaves.

Think an area rug might be the perfect solution for your room? Century Tile has a great selection! 

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When Preparing for Guests

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining

The holidays can be a joyous time filled with warm and friendly get togethers, love, and laughter. They can also be filled with stress as you attempt to prepare your home for your holiday guests. To help cut down on the amount of stress that seems to come with the territory this time of year, try preparing for your guests using some of these tips and techniques.

Plan Well Ahead

If you’ve been thinking about updating your guest bathroom or having the kitchen floor replaced before the holiday guests arrive this year, be sure to plan this well in advance. The busiest time of year for contractors is in the two or three months heading up to the holidays for just this reason; everyone wants their home to look good for the holidays. Plan and book your home renovation as early as you can to ensure that it gets done in plenty of time.

Anticipate Their Needs

If your guests are staying overnight or for an extended period of time, try to anticipate some of their needs so you can better accommodate their stay. Remember that holidays are stressful times for those that are traveling as well, and your guests may therefore forget things like toiletries or toothbrushes. They may also need a few comforts of home around so that they can relax once they arrive.

Prepare a basket with toiletries for them including things like soap, lotion, extra toothbrushes, tissues, and other items they may need. And stock up on their favorite tea, coffee, and brand of cookies as well. This will ensure that they can relax once they arrive – which means that you can relax as well.

Invest in Good Bedding

A good night’s sleep makes everyone more cheerful. Make sure that your guests are able to sleep well by investing in some good guest bedding. New air mattresses are available that fold away neatly, but blow up high enough to get them off the floor – perfect for extra or unexpected guests.

Have plenty of clean and fresh linens and extra blankets and pillows on hand and easily accessible by your guests as well. Leave them right out on a chair in the room they are staying in, right next to the basket of toiletries so they don’t have to bother you for anything.

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Halloween Party Games For Kids Ages 10 and Under: Spider Web Indoor Maze

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family

This game is time consuming to set up, but it is always a huge hit with the kids. It also keeps them busy for awhile, which is of course, a big hit with the parents. But don’t stray too far away while they’re having their fun. Watching this game go from serious to silly is super funny!

Spider Web Indoor Maze

  1. You are going to create an indoor spider web that fills an entire room. Decide which room you are going to use so that you can estimate how much yarn to buy. This will not be a perfect science.
  2. Purchase a package of yarn for each participant. Select a different color for each child and opt for colors appropriate to the holiday.
  3. Begin building the web at any random point in the room. You are going to create a pattern for each child by stringing one color of yarn back and forth across the room. Move up and down in a zigzag pattern around the room. At each touch point, lightly wrap the string to change direction. 
  4. When all of the colors have been strung, you should now be seeing a massive spider web.
  5. Show each child the end of his or her part of the web. Instruct the child on how to find the other end of their yarn by navigating the entire web.
  6. Emphasize that they can’t just pull hard on the yarn or they’ll pull the whole web down. They have to go to each touch point and unwrap the string and then proceed.
  7. Whoever finds the end of their yarn first wins a prize. Or, you can have first, second and third place prizes if it’s a large group.

Enjoy watching the shenanigans unfold. Watching the children try to untangle the yarn while running into each other is priceless! 

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How Do I Get Hot Chocolate Out of My Carpet?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Holidays

Hot chocolate is a staple on cold winter nights and holiday parties. Unfortunately, this dark liquid can stain your carpet quickly in the event of a spill. While it looks like it’ll be there forever, chocolate can be removed from carpeting. Just be sure to clean up the spill as soon as you see it to keep it from setting.
Begin by blotting up as much of the spill as you can with an absorbent cloth. Don’t rub the stain; you don’t want to work it further into the carpet, just absorb some of the liquid to help lighten the spill. Keep blotting until the cloth comes away dry.
After blotting the liquid from the spill, use one of the following mixtures. As a note, pretest any solution used on an inconspicuous location first. If a small amount of solution results in color transferring to a white cloth, use a different spot solution.
• Mix one fourth (¼) teaspoon dish detergent with one (1) cup of lukewarm water (don’t use any mixture stronger than this!)
• A non-flammable spot removal solution, such as a dry-cleaning type solvent.
• A mixture of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water.
• Warm water
Dip a soft cloth into one of the above solutions. Use this to carefully blot the area of the spill. Begin on the outer edges of the spill and work towards the center. This will keep it from spreading.
Keep blotting the stain until you get the majority of it up. Rinse the cloth with water and pat the area again to help get any remaining soap out of the fibers.
If none of these solutions work, remember that professional cleaners are a great way to attack stains. Professionals have the equipment and skills to attack spots more aggressively.
Spills happen, particularly during parties. If you happen to notice some hot chocolate on your carpet, don’t panic. Take steps to clean it up as quickly as you can, and you shouldn’t notice any lingering stains to remind you of what once was spilled there. Learn more on removing chocolate stains here!