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Outdoor Lighting Ideas for year round use

Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Outdoor Lighting Ideas

 

Lights have hundreds, maybe thousands, of year-round uses.  Since it looks like Spring has finally sprung, we thought we’d share some uses for Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Light your deck parties!  String lights add just the right touch of ambiance to your social gatherings on the deck, and do not attract all the bugs that other lighting sources might.  You can wrap the perimeter along the bottom of the decking as well as the railing to make things brighter, or choose either/or for a more subtle glow. If you have any tall trees by your deck or patio you can take strings  to run from tree to tree and hang the lights off the strings that run from the trees.  It is a great way to give a glow without having to run a lot of wires.  Another nice thing is that you are able to change the color of the lamp if you use retrofit lamps to fit whatever occasion you have going on.  If it is football season put your teams colors in the lights.  If it is homecoming use the lights again in the school colors.  With Outdoor lighting ideas the possibilities are endless.

Rope lighting can be the perfect addition to landscaping.  Simply outline your mulch with rope light.  There are several colors to choose from, and rope light can be sectioned off every three foot if necessary, easily integrating into your current landscape design.

Perimeter lighting is another way to illuminate your outdoor surroundings.  Perimeter lighting can be done with rope light or string lights.  Line the entire perimeter of your home (at the foundation, the roofline, or both if you choose) to add a spectacular glow to your outdoor space.

Are there other ways you utilize lighting outdoors?  There are tons of Outdoor Lighting Ideas.  Let us know some of your outdoor lighting ideas ! We would love to hear your imaginative lighting uses, and share them with other fans.

Be  sure to check out Winterland’s online store.

 

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Holiday Treats and Goodies part 5

Holiday Treats

Are you thinking about baking Holiday treats with your family? Christmas is a time to make some special memories with those little ones.  Whether they be your children or grandchildren, baking holiday treats together is the perfect way to create such memories.  We’ve compiled some of our favorite memory-making holiday treat recipes; hopefully you can use them to create your very own.

 Holiday Treats

Creamy Pralines With Toasted Pecans

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

Toast pecans:
Heat oven to 350°. Spread chopped pecans out on a large baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the chopped pecans are lightly browned and aromatic.

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cream, milk, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, to 230°. Lower heat slightly if the mixture threatens to boil over. Add the toasted pecans and continue cooking, stirring constantly, to 236° F. The mixture should form a soft ball when a little is dropped in cold water. Remove from the heat and add vanilla; let stand for about 5 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thickened and slightly creamy, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, spoon the pralines onto a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper. If the mixture becomes grainy, heat and stir over medium heat for a few seconds, or until it can be easily scooped and dropped.
Makes about 4 dozen holiday treats.

 

Heavenly Hash

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
  • 1 package chocolate chips, (6 oz)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows

Preparation:

Mix sugar, milk and 1 tablespoon corn syrup in a heavy 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until completely melted. Let mixture cool for 15 minutes. Add pecans and marshmallows. Using 2 teaspoons, drop candy onto a large baking sheet lined with wax paper. Chill until firm.

To test for soft ball stage: Use fresh cold water each time you test the candy. In about 1 cup of cold water, spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of hot candy. Put you hand into the water and push the candy to form a ball. Gently pick the formed ball up (if it will not form a ball, it is not done) – the soft ball will flatten slightly when removed from water.

 

Butterscotch Snaps

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • granulated sugar for rolling

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°.
In a bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a bowl or the top of double boiler over hot (not boiling) water, melt butterscotch chips. Remove pan or bowl from over the water. In a mixing bowl, blend sugar, shortening, butter, and corn syrup. Beat in 1 egg and stir in the melted butterscotch chips. Add dry mixture, stirring well. Form mixture into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place about 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes. Makes 4 to 5 dozen holiday treats.

 

Chocolate Brownie Drops

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in the vanilla and egg. Sift together the dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, mixing well. Stir in chopped walnuts. Drop from teaspoon onto greased baking sheet; bake at 350° for about 12 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen holiday treats.

 

Peanut Butter BonBons

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oatmeal, quick
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

Preparation:

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, peanut butter chips, peanut butter, and vanilla.

In a small saucepan, combine and stir sugars and evaporated milk. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil 1 minute; pour over oatmeal mixture and stir well. Form mixture into balls and place on waxed paper to cool. Keep in a covered container.
Makes about 36 holiday treats.
Feel free to replace the peanut butter chips with semisweet chocolate chips.

 

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Holiday Treats and Goodies part 4

Holiday treats

Holiday Treats

 

With the holidays upon us, you’re sure to have some parties to attend, here are some holiday treats that will be a hit!  Regardless of whether you’re doing the entertaining or a guest at someone else’s party, these sweet holiday treats are sure to make a splash!

Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preparation:

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil; blend in butter. Begin to stir frequently when syrup reaches the thread stage, about 230°. When temperature is 280°, or soft-crack stage, add peanuts. Stir constantly until hard-crack stage, or 300°, is reached. Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda. Mix well. Pour onto two buttered baking sheets or jelly roll-size baking pans. As the peanut brittle cools, stretch it out thinner by lifting and pulling at edges with forks. Loosen from the pans as soon as possible and turn over. Break hardened candy up and store in an airtight container.
Makes about 2 pounds of holiday treats.

 

Quick Praline Bars

Ingredients:

  • 24 graham cracker squares
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°. Arrange graham crackers in single layer in ungreased 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan. Heat brown sugar and margarine to boiling; boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour over graham crackers, spreading evenly; sprinkle with pecans. Bake until bubbly, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into squares for awesome holiday treats.

 

Peppermint Patties

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Preparation:

In a bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, and flavorings. Add milk and blend well. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Chill for 20 minutes. Flatten with a glass to 1/4 inch thickeness; chill for 30 minutes. In double boiler or microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening. Dip patties in the chocolate; place on waxed paper to harden and freeze for a short while.
Makes about 50 to 60 holiday treats.

 

Jelly Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 cups sifted flour, or more
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • strawberry or raspberry jam

Preparation:

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg yolks, flour and vanilla; mix well. If dough is too soft to handle, work in little more flour. Roll dough into little balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Make a thumb print in the center of each. Fill thumbprint with your favorite jam. Bake a small first batch, and if the cookies in the first batch spreads too much, work a little more flour into the dough. Bake at 400° for 8 to 10 minutes, until light brown around edges.
Makes 8-10 dozen holiday treats.

 

Chocolate Butterball Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 squares semisweet chocolate or 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, stir before measuring
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • granulated sugar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°.
Melt semisweet chocolate with milk over hot water; cool. In a mixing bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in salt and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Blend in vanilla and the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in flour and nuts until well blended. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes about 3 1/2 to 4 dozen holiday treats.

 

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Holiday Treats and Goodies part 3

Holiday Treats

Buddy the Elf

Holiday Treats

With the holidays upon us, we wanted to share some of our elves’ favorite holiday treats recipes with you.  Our hope is that you’ll enjoy them with your family and friends as well!

Apricot Balls

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • more flaked coconut or finely chopped pecans for rolling

Preparation:

Process chopped apricots and coconut in a food processor until thoroughly combined. Add sweetened condensed milk; process until combined. Pour mixture into a dish; refrigerate until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Place waxed paper on a baking sheet; set aside. Place additional coconut or finely chopped pecans in a shallow bowl. Shape apricot mixture into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Roll in coconut; place on waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 24 holiday treats balls.

Maple Shortbread Squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and sugar; cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly. Press into an 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes.

Combine coconut, syrup, and salt in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until coconut has absorbed most of the syrup, about 10 minutes. Spread over warm crumb crust mixture and return to the oven for 10 minutes longer. Cut into squares while warm. Makes about 16 holiday treats squares

Mocha Butterballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 3/4 cups flour, sift before measuring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • sifted powdered sugar

Preparation:

Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light. Add coffee powder, cocoa, flour, and salt; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls; place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 325° for about 15 minutes. Cool and roll in sifted powdered sugar.
Makes about 5 to 6 dozen mocha cookies.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • .
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup jelly, your choice

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, margarine, salt and egg yolk; beat at low spread just until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of mixture for topping; press remaining crumbs in bottom of ungreased 9-inch square pan or an 11- x 7-inch baking pan. In the same bowl, combine peanuts, sugar, peanut butter and egg white; beat well. Crumble and spread evenly over crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Spread jelly over the peanut butter mixture sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Return to oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes about 24 bars.

Chocolate Raspberry BonBons

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup finely crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup raspberry preserves, seedless
  • 1/4 cup raspberry liqueur
  • 6 ounces sweet baking chocolate, grated

Preparation:

Combine wafer crumbs, sugar, almonds, and cocoa in mixing bowl. Heat butter and raspberry preserves until butter melts. Blend butter mixture into crumb mixture; add raspberry liqueur. Chill for about 1 hour, then shape into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in grated chocolate.
Makes about 20.
May be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

 

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Holiday Treats and Goodies part 2

Holiday Treats

Holiday Treats

Buddy the Elf

 

With the holidays upon us, you’re sure to be attending or hosting a party very soon!!  Below are some favorite holiday treats recipes from our elves!  We hope you enjoy sharing them with your family and friends as much as we do.

 

Easy Chocolate Bourbon Truffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa, or very finely chopped pecans

Preparation:

Combine chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over low heat. Heat, stirring, until melted and smooth; remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla, bourbon, and 1/2 to 3/4 cup pecans. Transfer to a small bowl. Cover and chill for 3 to 4 hours, or until mixture is firm.

Working with fingertips, shape into 1-inch balls; roll in finely chopped pecans, sugar, or unsweetened cocoa. Place on a tray or baking sheet, cover loosely, and chill for at least 1 hour. If desired, put each truffle in a decorative fluted paper or foil cup and keep in tightly covered container in the refrigerator until giving or serving. Keep these holiday treats refrigerated, tightly covered.

 

Strawberry Fudge Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels, melted
  • 3/4 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 1/4 cup strawberry preserves , Smuckers
  • 1/2 cup almonds or pecans, toasted and finely chopped*

Preparation:

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with a hand-held electric mixer until creamy. Beat in melted chocolate until smooth. Stir in vanilla wafer crumbs and strawberry preserves; cover and chill for 1 hour. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in toasted chopped almonds or pecans, and chill. Yield: 4 dozen holiday treats.
*To toast nuts, spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350° oven, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. Or, toast in an ungreased skillet over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown and aromatic.

 

Chocolate Macaroons

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 sqares baking chocolate, unsweetened, melted

Preparation:

Combine sugar and salt. Fold gradually into the beaten egg whites. Add vanilla. Fold in coconut and chocolate. Drop from teaspoon on greased baking sheet. Bake at 275° for 20 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch holiday treats macaroons.

 

Peanut Crunch Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter or shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 2 cups oats, quick-cooking or regular
  • 1 cup chopped salted peanuts

Preparation:

Cream butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and soda; add to creamed mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in oats and chopped peanuts. Drop by teaspoon onto well-greased cookie sheets. Bake at 400° for 10 to 15 minutes, or until peanut cookies are lightly browned.
Recipe makes about 4 dozen peanut crunch cookie holiday treats.

 

Divinity

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light (not dark) corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • food coloring

Preparation:

Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in heavy saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture starts to boil. Continue cooking until mixture forms soft ball when tested in cold water (or use a thermometer). In the mean time, beat egg whites until stiff. Then pour 1/2 cup of syrup over whites, beating fast all the time.

Continue to cook remaining syrup while beating egg whites, until syrup reaches the light crack stage when dropped in cold water (this will happen quickly). Pour remaining syrup over egg white mixture, beating all the while. Continue beating until candy begins to hold its shape. Stir in vanilla and nuts and food coloring. Drop by teaspoonful onto waxed paper.
Makes 50-60 holiday treats pieces.

 

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LED vs Incandescent part 2.

LED vs Incandescent

LED vs Incandescent

LED vs Incandescent which do you prefer? Exactly what is the difference between an incandescent bulb and an LED bulb?  What would be the benefits of lighting with LED vs incandescents? Can LEDs really save me a significant amount on my electric bills? These are some common questions from customers concerning the switch to LED lights.  Information is power, and we are here to help you leverage your knowledge where lighting is concerned. Light-emitting diodes, also known as LEDs, emit light in a specific direction, whereas an incandescent or fluorescent bulb emits light — and heat — in all directions. For direct lighting applications, LED lighting uses both light and energy more efficiently. LEDs are more costly initially, but the long-term advantages more than make up for the initial difference.  For example, a 50ct string of LEDs will cost approximately $9, where a 50ct string of mini incandescents will cost approximately $4.  The initial change will be around double; however, one major advantage is that the mini’s will more than likely need replaced every year and the LEDs will last anywhere from three to six years.  This is a tremendous savings over the life of your lights.  Another advantage is the savings you will see in your lighting bill. The lifespan of an LED bulb is approximately 50,000 hours where the lifespan of an incandescent bulb is approximately 1200 hours.  The total cost for 50,000 hours of usage (assuming $.10 per KWh) for an LED would be $85.75.  In comparison, the total cost for the incandescent bulb for the same amount of time would be $352.50.  That is quite a difference, especially in this country’s current economic state. We hope this has answered some of your questions concerning LED vs Incandescent.  Of course, if you have further questions, you are always welcome to send us an email or give us a call. Be sure to check out Winterland’s Online Store!

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Cord Color and which one should you use?

Cord Color

Cord Color

  Cord color is a very important factor when choosing the type of lighting you need.  The color of the cord should be as close as possible to the color of the object the lights are on.  This compatibility is to greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the visibility of the cord.  When decorating, you do not want to have the focus be on unsightly, dangling wires; you want it to be on your beautiful, colorful lights.  Thankfully, there is a large variety of cord color options available to you so that you can get the most out of your lighting experience.  The primary cord colors you will find are green, white, brown, and black. Green cords are by far the most common.  The green wire will blend in well with most greenery including Christmas trees, bushes, garland, and hedges.  Green wire can be used all year round for a plethora of occasions.  Most of the lights available on green wire are UL listed for outdoor use as well as indoor use, so you need not worry about them holding up in an outdoor environment. Another very popular cord color is white cord.  This is meant to be used with white Christmas trees.  White wire is also the ideal choice to be hung around your home and office for general winter decorating and winter parties.  Lighting on white cord is also extremely popular in decorating for weddings and anniversary parties. Brown wire is used for very specific purposes.  It is generally used to wrap lights around a tree trunk.  Brown cord is also the best choice for any type of decoration on decks or furniture that are brown.  They work especially well on dinner tables, patios and decks. Black wire is the rarest of them all and is really only used for Halloween themes.  You will typically find orange or purple lights on black cord.  The black cord enhances the Halloween lights and gives them the extra touch of Halloween magic that your lights are missing.  Lights with black wire are also an excellent choice if your intention is to use them at night. No matter which cord color you need, we have plenty of options available.  Please don’t hesitate to call with any questions or comments regarding the current availability or uses of these cord colors. Be sure to check out Winterland’s Online Store!

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Artificial trees vs Real trees

Artificial Trees

Artificial Trees

Artificial trees vs. Real trees

 

There are advantages and disadvantages to both real Christmas and artificial trees.  For most that choose a real tree, they do so for one of three reasons:  The smell of the pine that fills their home, the nostalgia of cutting your own Christmas tree, or simply to continue a family tradition.

Those who choose an artificial tree attribute their choice to three main reasons also:  Attempting to save the environment by not cutting a real tree, avoid the hassle of transporting a real tree, and avoid stepping on pine needles that a real tree is notorious for leaving behind.

Real trees will obviously range in price, with many factors contributing to that price difference.  For instance, an 8’ tree will be more expensive than a 5’ tree; a full tree will be more expensive than a ‘Charlie Brown Tree’; and the more expensive the tree, the stronger the holding power of the needles, which simply means you pay more to avoid stepping on pine needles.  The cost of a fresh cut 6’ Christmas tree ranges anywhere from $22 for one you cut yourself, upwards of $140 if you purchase from a retailer.  If you purchase on the low end, you can expect to spend probably around $40 if you go to a tree farm, cut the tree yourself, and lug it back to your home-however far away from the farm that may be.  This will be an annual expense, so add that up over ten years.  With gas factored in, you’re looking at an average of $500 for just a tree and gas to get the tree home over a ten year span.  Then you have to purchase lights, ornaments, a tree stand, and a tree skirt.  In addition, you must take into consideration the man hours of transporting the tree, vacuuming the floor five times each day to avoid stepping on needles, and disposal of the tree after Christmas.  Also, please be cautious of the fire hazards of a real Christmas tree.

Our Sequoia artificial trees are reasonably priced, starting around $100 for a 6’ artificial tree that looks real.  The foliage is flame retardant, so peace of mind comes standard with our artificial trees, and the needles are specially made to be both fade and crush resistant so they will last for years and years.  There is no drive to the artificial tree farm, you simply unpack the box and assemble.  In addition, each of our artificial trees comes with its own stand, so there’s no extra purchase.  You can also get them pre-lit so you do not have to hassle with multiple strings of lights.  Add a few ornaments, which are beautiful and reasonably priced, and you’re looking at an average of $150-$200 ONE TIME expense.  This artificial tree will, more than likely, be the last tree you ever have to buy, as the life of our beautifully crafted artificial trees far outlasts the average artificial tree.

Real tree or artificial tree is more a matter of personal preference than any other factor.  If you enjoy the smell of a live tree but not the hassles and annual expense, our advice is to go with the artificial tree and burn a pine scented candle or add some pine scented essence oil to the tree itself.  It will save you hundreds to thousands of dollars over the long-term.

 

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Twelve Days of Christmas – the story to the song

The Twelve Days of Christmas

twelve days of christmas

The  Twelve Days of Christmas was originally written to help Catholic children in England remember different articles of faith during the persecution by Protestant Monarchs.

Below you will find the original meaning behind the lyrics to this favorite Christmas classic song The Twelve Days of Christmas.

The ‘true love’ represents God.

The ‘Partridge in a Pear Tree’ represents Christ.

‘Two Turtle Doves’ represents the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.

‘Three French Hens’ represents Faith, Hope and Charity-the Theological virtues.

‘Four Calling Birds’ represents the four Gospels or four evangelists; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

‘Five Golden Rings’ represents The first five books of the old testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) the ‘Pentateuch’, which relays the history of man’s fall from grace.

‘Six Geese A-Laying’ represents the six days of Creation.

‘Seven Swans A-Swimming’ represents the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (the seven sacraments):  wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe, right judgment, knowledge, courage, and reverence.

‘Eight Maids A-Milking’ represents the eight beatitudes:  Blessed are the poor in spirit, Blessed are the meek, Blessed are they whom mourn, Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, Blessed are the merciful, Blessed are the clean of heart, Blessed are the peacemakers, and Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’s sake.

‘Nine Ladies Dancing’ represents the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit; Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.

‘Ten Lords A-Leaping’ represents the Ten Commandments.

‘Eleven Pipers Piping’ represents the eleven FAITHFUL Apostles.

‘Twelve Drummers Drumming’ represents the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed.

I hope this little history lesson on the Twelve days of Christmas has been as intriguing for you as it was for me.  Please look back for more meaning on some of the holiday’s meanings and what the song really means during this time of the year.

 

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Ornament Uses All Year-Round

Year-Round Ornament Uses

Unfortunately, when it comes to Christmas ornament uses , most people have set limitations in their minds that they can only be used at Christmas to decorate your tree.  We are here to disprove that theory, and hopefully, open your mind to multiple other possibilities for ornament uses year round.

Using hot glue or silicone adhesive, our various sizes and colors of bulb ornaments can become stunning creations year-round.  Consider a giant heart for Valentine’s Day, a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day, a flag for Memorial Day or Independence Day, a jack-o-lantern for Halloween, a pumpkin or gourd for Thanksgiving.  You could spell out a team name in team colors, spell out a child’s name (or yours!) using their favorite colors.  There are so many possibilities if you use your imagination.

You could get a shadow box from your local thrift store and fill it with pastel ornaments and Easter grass to display at Easter; or leave the grass out to display for the welcoming of spring.  You could do the same for any time of year, actually.  Orange and brown ornaments for fall would work well in a shadow box with some pine cones.ornament uses

The same is true for centerpieces made of ornaments.  Using any size/shape glass container, fill with ornaments of various sizes to create a centerpiece that fits the season/holiday.  As with the shadow box, you can add touches from nature; pine cones, small twigs, straw, etc. to add depth to the look.

Need a room divider, or just a new and exciting wall hanging?  Drill a small hole in both sides of ornaments and string them with fishing wire to your desired length.  Hang several strings side-by-side to create a ‘curtain of ornaments’, or a wall hanging that is sure to spark conversation!

Has this blog sparked your inner DIY passions?  Maybe you already decorate using ornaments all year!  We would love to hear from you and share your ideas with our readers!

 

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