The season is here and we are seeing Christmas trees in a homes around Saskatoon already. One of the most time consuming (and least enjoyable) jobs is stringing the lights…untangling, checking every bulb and so on. If you do not take the time to do this job properly, it shows in the end.
No-brainer tip: but extremely important is; get a sturdy ladder or stool and don’t be lazy…get down off the ladder and move it rather than reach beyond where it is safe.
If you still need some how-to advice, there are several good instructional videos on GOOGLE.
At Charter House, we feature a 7.5′ pre-lit Christmas tree with LED lights that change from clear to colored lights with the push of a button. This is handy for those people who like to change the theme of their trees from year to year and do not want the hassle of keeping two different sets of lights.
The first step in how to decorate a Christmas tree is adding the lights. Tree lights typically come on green or white wire strands; choose the strand color that matches your tree so the wire will be hidden. Illuminating your Christmas tree from the inside out will give it the most dynamic look. Start at the base of the trunk and work your way up, wrapping lights around every major branch, moving from the trunk to the tip and back.
Here are four popular types of lights to choose from when decorating your Christmas tree.
Traditional incandescent lights: These Christmas tree lights, which come in a variety of sizes and colors,, are the most popular type of tree lights. They warm up the branches of a real tree, which will release the scent of pine into the room.
LED lights: These Christmas tree lights are newer than the traditional incandescent lights and don’t produce heat. They’re typically more expensive, but they are flameproof, fireproof, and completely safe to put on your tree.
Globe lights: These Christmas tree lights are round and come in many sizes. They look like balls of color on the tree, and while they have a softer glow than mini lights, the light they produce covers a larger area on the tree.
Bubble lights: These retro lights stand straight up on the limbs of your Christmas tree. When the liquid tube on top of the light warms up, bubbles float up and down inside the tube, resembling lava lamps.
Experiment with different lighting schemes until you find one you like — it’s OK to mix and match lights. For example, a background of white or clear lights can be highlighted with strands of colored lights that wrap the outer areas of the tree.
Editor’s tip: Don’t skimp on lights — for every vertical foot of tree, you should use a strand of 100 lights.
SHARING: I do not claim all posts to be my own…I post the sites they are from if the source is known.
ON THIS LAST DAY OF MOVEMBER…HAVE A CHECK UP AND LET’S PROTECT “THE BOYS”.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 30 BIRTHDAY TO: Winston Churchill (1864-1965), Ben Stiller 48, Kaley Cuoco 28, Robert Guillaume 86, Efrem Zimbilist Jr. 95, Dick Clark (1929-2012), Bo Jackson 51, Mark Twain (1835-1910), Billy Idol 58, Clay Aiken 35, Mandy Patinkin 61, Elisha Cuthbert 31, Colin Mochrie 56, Ridley Scott 76, Mindy McCready (1975-2013), G. Gordon Liddy 83, Richard Crenna (1926-2003), and Ryan Murphy 48.
No household decorating tips today. I found this on Facebook and thought it was cute for those who like to do their nails. Give it a try. The great thing about these Santa nails is…you don’t have to be exact making the lines, they are supposed to be squiggly.
SHARING: I do not claim all posts to be my own…I post the sites they are from if the source is known.
SAYING OF THE DAY: My favorite outdoor activity is going back inside where it is warm.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 29 BIRTHDAY TO: Howie Mandel 58, Diego Boneta 23, Andrew McCarthy 51, Diane Ladd 81, Chuck Mangione 73 Jonathan Knight 45, Tom Sizemore 52, Garry Shandling 64, Janina Gavankar 33, and Brian Baumgartner 41.
You will find this meatball recipe is a bit different. Not near as many breadcrumbs because they need to be pretty sturdy to keep that cheese in! The ingredients for each part are separate, instead of all together and dividing them. Make sure to go down the entire recipe for what you will need. This freezes beautifully, it can be made a day or 2 in advance, and it gets better the longer you reheat leftovers, just like real spaghetti, in my opinion!
You can use jarred sauce. Don’t even make that “face”, Paul Newman’s spaghetti sauce is really good. If you have homemade, or want to make your own for this, go ahead. I just felt like the meatballs were the star, so the sauce wasn’t going to get all my time and effort!
For the meatballs you will need:
2lbs ground beef
1lb ground pork
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use fresh)
1tsp dried parsley
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion salt
2-3 T Italian dried seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 lb chunk of mozzarella cheese (cubed, you will use some to stuff meatballs and some to spread out over the sauce below them)
Combine ALL ingredients EXCEPT mozzarella cheese, and roll into 24 meatballs. They will be big! When you roll a meatball, stick a small cube of mozzarella in the center and completely seal it back up. If you do not take time to make sure they are sealed, the cheese WILL leak out and the fun stops there. HA! I used a little water on my hands to make sure they were sealed good! In a skillet with olive or vegetable oil, brown the meatballs on all sides.
It is important to brown them to seal the cheese in. You aren’t cooking them all the way through here, just browning them. When you are done set them aside.
For everything else you will need:
1 lb spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine. *no angel hair or thin spaghetti*
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
1 jar of your favorite or homemade marinara
1 regular size can of diced tomatoes.
1 16 ounce package of grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat your oven to 375. Boil your pasta for the lowest cooking time recommended. Drain. Run under cold water, to cool it quickly. In a bowl with a clean hand, mix together the pasta, egg, and grated Parmesan cheese.
Lay it in the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan. It will act as your “crust”. Lay the rest of your leftover mozzarella on top of the pasta. You can see I just pulled pieces apart with mine but if you cube it all just lay them over.
Now in the same or a clean bowl mix together your marinara sauce and diced tomatoes. I gussied mine up a bit, but when you are ready, pour it over the top of the pasta evenly.
This is delicious, and easy to change to suit your liking. Do you like ricotta? Put that on top of the marinara too! This will freeze like a dream and when you are still eating it 2 days later, it will be even better than when you first made it! I promise!
This is one hearty meal, that will feed a crowd and don’t be surprised if you have to unbutton your jeans. Just sayin….
SHARING: I do not claim all posts to be my own…I post the sites they are from if the source is known.
JOKE OF THE DAY: (One alien talking to another alien) “Last month they were lobotomizing pumpkins, now they are shoving bread up a turkey’s backside. This planet has issues, Bert.”
HAPPY NOVEMBER 28 BIRTHDAY TO: Ed Harris 63, Karen Gillian 26, Anna Nicole Smith (1967-2007), Jon Stewart 51, Barry Gordy Jr. 84, Judd Nelson 54, Ryan Kwanten 37, Marc Andre Fleury 29, Paul Shaffer 64, S. Epatha Merkerson 61, and Alexander Gudenov (1949-1995).
Once the birds have flown south, take advantage of your empty birdbath for this unexpected holiday decoration. Any of these bird baths can be lit with flood lights as well.
- Frozen sections of oranges, cranberries, kumquats, and ‘rivers’ of polished stones to separate the sections, provide a contrast to the bright snow. For an added touch, place live pine boughs around the perimeter and let the water freeze them in place. This will be gorgeous now but a bit of a mess in the spring.
- For another bird bath twist; anchor large woven rattan balls in the bird bath and light them with outdoor mini-lights.
- Try this too: if you have a deep enough freezer, place sticks (you can paint them white) standing up in a can of water..freeze, then place in the center of the bird bath with enough water to hold the can in place. Decorate around it with cedar boughs, lights and large ornaments; anchored securely.
EVER WONDER ABOUT THESE?: 1. What was the best thing before sliced bread? 2. If you ate both pasta and antipasto…would you still be hungry? 3. Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?
HAPPY NOVEMBER 27 BIRTHDAY TO: Bill Nye the Science Guy 58, Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970), Bruce Lee (1940-1973), Jaleel White 37, James Avery 65, Caroline Kennedy 56, Robin Givens 49, Eddie Rabbitt (1941-1998), Willian Fichtner 57, Curtis Armstrong 60, Alison Pill 28, Michael Vartan 45, and Kathryn Bigalow 62.
THINGS YOUR MOTHER SHOULD OF TOLD YOU
1. Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.
2. Use a meat baster to “squeeze” your pancake batter onto the hot griddle and you’ll get perfectly shaped pancakes every time….
3. To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
4. To prevent eggshells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.
5. Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispies treats in the pan and the marshmallow won’t stick to your fingers.
6. To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.
7. To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on the stovetop.
8. Spray your Tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces and there won’t be any stains.
9. When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won’t be any white mess on outside of the cake.
10. If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant “fix me up.”
11. Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.
13. Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it.
14. When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn’s natural sweetness.
15. To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh, but if it rises to the surface, throw it away.
16. Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
17. Don’t throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.
18. If you have a problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
19. Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.
20. To get rid of itch from mosquito bites, try applying soap on the area and you will experience instant relief.
21. Ants, ants, ants everywhere … Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march. See for yourself.
22. Now look what you can do with Alka Seltzer. Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china. Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets. Polish jewelry. Drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes. Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary). Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.
SAYING OF THE DAY: I think it’s weird how some days I feel skinny and some days I feel like a busted can of biscuits.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 26 BIRTHDAY TO: Tina Turner 74, Bat Masterson (1853-1921), Peter Facinelli 40, Charles Schulz (1922-2000), Rich Little 75, Robert Goulet (1933-2007), Kristin Bauer 47, John McVie 68, and Chris Hughes 30.
If a rolling ladder isn’t your style — or if your space can’t accommodate one — make sure you have another safe way to access your shelves. Folding ladders stash out of view when not in use.
Welcome to the National Peanut Butter Cup Forest … the sweetest forest in the land
If you find yourself in a baking exchange this year, this is a fun and easy goodie tray to share.
Here are the few items you will need … peanut butter cups (snack & miniature sizes), chocolate kisses, white chocolate (or candy melts) and white non-pariels …
Melt the white chocolate (this will be the “glue” that holds each layer together) and put it in a squeeze bottle or ziptop bag with a tiny cut off corner.
Set up an assembly line …
- Tree trunk – upside down mini PB cup – white chocolate “glue”
- 1st layer – upside down snack size PB cup – drizzle white chocolate around the edges & sprinkle with non-pariels
- 2nd layer – upside down mini PB cup – repeat drizzle & sprinkle
- 3rd layer – chocolate kiss – repeat drizzle & sprinkle
Each tree requires … 2 mini PB cups, 1 snack size PB cup & 1 chocolate kiss
JOKE OF THE DAY: If it wasn’t for sarcasm and attitude, I’d need therapy and bail money.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 24 BIRTHDAY TO: Sarah Hyland 23, Catherine Heigl 35, Billy Connolly 71, Pete Best 72, Colin Hanks 36, Todd Beamer (1968-2001), Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano (1897-1962), and Dwight Schultz 66.
You’ve got today to shop for the ingredients, lots of beer and some delicious bread to make a Grey Cup supper that is effortless.Throw it all in the pot, INCLUDING the uncooked Pasta, and cook! – Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The starch leaches out of the pasta and makes a rich, warm sauce for the noodles. The other ingredients cook right along with the pasta.
12 ounces pasta (Linguine works well)
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid (zesty red pepper flavor or any other flavored tomatoes)
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (regular broth and NOT low sodium)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.
Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired .
Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.
**Editor’s Note** We have tried this recipe. Not only is it convenient and quick, but it is tasty. I have prepared the onion, garlic, tomatoes, vegetable broth and spices in the morning and let the flavors blend all day. We have added shrimp or pre-cooked meatballs…delicious.
SAYING OF THE DAY: Co-workers are like a string of Christmas lights. They all hang together but half of them don’t work and the other half aren’t so bright.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 23 BIRTHDAY TO: Billy The Kid (1859-1881), Lucas Grabeel 29, Nicole Snooki Polizzi 26, Robin Rene Roberts 53, Boris Karloff (1887-1969), Harpo Marx (1888-1964), Oded Fehr 43, Maxwell Caulfield 54, Johnny Mandel 88 (wrote the theme song for M*A*S*H), Vincent Cassel 47, Johnathon Sadowski 34, and finally…the twerking trainwreck that is Miley Cyrus 21.
Grease Removal: Use a sponge to rub the powder on a stain until it’s gone.
Smelly Shoes: A hard days work sometimes results in a smelly pair of shoes at the end of the day. Get rid of the odour (and have less sweaty shoes tomorrow) by coating the inside of shoes with a thin coat of baby powder.
Stop creaks: Shake powder in between wooden floorboards to keep them quiet.
Fend off Ants: Sprinkle powder around their hideouts and they’ll be history.
Keep Sand Out of the House: Instead of rinsing those sandy feet with water rub it down with baby powder. The powder helps get the moisture out of the sand making it a much more easier way to get sand of your feet.
Prevent Chafing During Exercise: If your workout clothes are giving you a rash, apply baby powder to the affected area. The powder will help keep the moisture away and it wont irritate the area any longer.
Cooling bedroom sheets: If your bed gets too hot during summer days just sprinkle baby powder on them. The powder will absorb your moisture and will provide a cooling sensation.
No more greasy hair: If you hair gets greasy overnight just apply some powder to your roots for two minutes and brush! No more greasy hair and makes your hair smell good too!!!
FAMOUS QUOTE SAID ON THIS DAY, NOVEMBER 22: 1963 This is a sad time for all people. We have suffered a loss that cannot be weighed. (about the JFK assassination). – Lyndon B. Johnson
THIS DAY IN SPORTS: 1984 Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary pass: Boston College defeats Miami on a last second play.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 22 BIRTHDAY TO: Jaime Lee Curtis 55, James Campbell Bower 25, Yvon Cournoyer 70, Scarlett Johansson 29, Mark Ruffalo 46, Rodney Dangerfield (1921-2004), Boris Becker 46, Mads Mikkelsen 48, Mariel Hemingway 52, Robert Vaughn 81, Billie Jean King 70, Tyler Hilton 30, MacKenzie Lintz 17, Steven Zandt 63, Josh Cooke 34, and Richard Kind 57.
These tips apply to any time you will be on vacation, some tips are no-brainers and some are head-slappers (as in: I never would have thought of that). No one wants to return home to a catastrophic mess and expensive repairs. Also, if you are attending a family event (such as a wedding or funeral) that has been announced in the newspaper, have someone house sit for the day. Criminals will target those events, it takes only a few minutes to rob a home.
1. Do not post vacation photos on social media until you return home. Letting people know you are on vacation can make you more susceptible to theft.
2. Suspend newspaper delivery. A pile of newspapers on the front porch shows potential robbers that you’re away. If you hire a pet or house sitter, ask them to bring papers and mail inside.
3. Unplug electronics. Pull the plug on computers, TVs and the like. You won’t be using them, and they’ll be protected in case of a power surge.
4. Turn washing machine taps off. This could potentially save you thousands of dollars.
5. Set your thermostat before you leave. Adjusting the temperature according to season can reduce utility bills.
6. Set some lights on timers to make it appear as if someone is home. It is recommended, using ceiling lighting and avoiding lamps if you have pets. A pet can knock a lamp over onto the furniture, and the furniture can catch on fire.
7. Let a faucet or two drip during extremely cold weather. This prevents pipes from freezing and bursting. The extra few dollars on a water bill is inexpensive compared to an insurance claim.
8. If you’re friendly with your neighbors, let them know your travel plans and inform them if you have someone checking on your home. This way, your neighbor knows who to expect at your home and can contact you if anything seems amiss.
9. Consider hiring a pet or house sitter. Not only can house sitters take care of your mail and newspaper, but can be on alert for problems, such as a pipe bursting. Have the house sitter check the freezer every day or two in case the compressor fails. Addressing a situation immediately, as opposed to it going unnoticed until you return, could prevent further damage. Olsen says to hire a house sitter as soon as possible, especially around the holidays, because good house sitters will be booked quickly.
TIP OF THE DAY: When making pie crust from scratch. No fudging here: Use exact measurements for your baking. Too much flour or water will make a pie crust tough; too much shortening will make it crumbly. Also the water must be ice-cold to keep the shortening and butter from melting (a key to keeping your pastry flaky).
HAPPY NOVEMBER 21 BIRTHDAY TO: Goldie Hawn 68, Carly Rae Jepsen 28, Troy Aikman 47, Bjork 48, Ken Griffey Jr. 44, Stan Musial (1920-2013), Marlo Thomas 76, Juliette Mills 72, Lorna Luft 61, Nicolette Sheridan 50, Cynthia Rhodes 57, Joseph Campanella 86 and, Lindsey Hahn 29.
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