Can you believe it is December already? Where has the year gone? What better way to start off the month of December than with a giveaway!

I’m joining my friend Katherine from Katherines Corner for her annual Season of Giveaways, this is the Comfort and Joy Giveaway.

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One winner will receive a Comfort and Joy cd (Jim Brickman) Comfort and Joy Cookbook and

Cash prize is provided by Katherine’s co hostesses and is not affiliated with Amazon.

Please remember to follow your sponsors and all of the hostess so you can get all of your entries!

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Katherine- Katherines Corner
Nancy- Nancy on the Home Front
Marilyn- Marilyns Treats
Olivia- Reinvented Collection

To enter please log into the entry form using your email address or facebook log in

Disclaimer-Katherines Corner may receive compensation for reviews and advertising provided. However, no compensation will influence the outcome of any review. Katherines Corner provides reviews to readers in order to provide an informed decision before purchase. Katherines Corner and its affiliate Bobskatie Enterprises reserves the right to not publish a review of a product or products that do not meet the specified instructions provided to product submission companies or individuals. Reviews are posted in the appropriate section at Katherines Corner and also at Amazon.com ( subject to products availability) This in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

To enter please log into the entry form using your email address or facebook log in

The Giveaway STARTS today Dec 2 ends Dec 15

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When you think of Christmas pie you may think of pumpkin or pecan pie, but I think of Cranberry Apple Pie. Many years ago my (ex) brother-in-law introduced me to this fabulous variation of an apple pie and I will forever be grateful! Whenever we spend Christmas with family I am asked to make this pie. After all these years when I think of Christmas pies I think of Cranberry Apple Pie.Cranberry Apple Pie

 

I always use the pie pastry recipe from King Arthur – you can’t beat it. Perhaps it’s the fact that they only use butter, but the crust is always flaky and delicious. If you have your own pie crust recipe that’s fine, but I strongly suggest checking out the pie pastry recipe on the King Arthur site.

 

Christmas Pies: Cranberry Apple Pie

 

Ingredients:

 

Use a basic pie crust recipe for a double crust 9” pie.

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp flour

¼ tsp salt

2 cups cranberries

½ cup raisins (optional)

4 tart apples (Pippin or Granny Smith work best), peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Freshly grated zest of one orange

2 Tbsp unsalted butterIngredients for Cranberry Apple Pie

 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Roll out your pasty for the bottom crust and line a 9” pie pan. Roll out top crust an set aside.

In a large bowl stir together the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the cranberries, raisins, apples and orange zest. Toss to mix well. Pile the fruit mixture into the pastry lined pan and dot with bits of butter.Cranberry Apple Pie

 

Cover with the top crust, trim and flute the edges. Cut a few vents in the top.Cranberry Apple Pie

 

Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Continue to bake until the crust is browned and the fruits are tender – about 40-50 minutes.Christmas Pies, Cranberry Apple Pie

 

Perfect to enjoy at the end of your holiday meal! Christmas Pies, Cranberry Apple Pie

 

Always good to the last bite!Cranberry Apple Pie

simplehomesteadWelcome to the Simple Homestead blog hop!

We are so glad that you have stopped by for a visit! We encourage you to look through some of the great posts shared by our readers and then take the time to read those that interest you. If you are adding to our list, thank you for sharing your homesteading, homemaking, and homeschooling posts with us. It’s so much fun to read your hints, tips, and happenings. We hope you have fun exploring all the great ideas everyone has shared with us.

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Our most-visited post from last week’s hop was:

Could You Do It?old-fashion-homemade-laundry-detergent-768x768

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My Frugal Ways this Past Weeka-cold-nights-fire-vickies-kitchen-and-garden

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When I was in 5th grade, I was head-over-heels for a boy named Jeremy. I’d like to say that I liked him so much because he’d defended me from bullies, or something noble like that… but the truth is that it was all because of his dimples. Who here hasn’t swooned over a charming set of dimples?

 

Mothers coo over their baby’s dimples, and hope that they’ll stay for good. However, most babies will grow out of their dimples as the baby fat recedes. Perhaps this is why dimples are a subconscious attribute of youth and charm to most people; we relate them to the innocence that we lost when we left childhood behind.toddler girl pointing her nose

 

Is It a Genetic Defect?

 

A lot of clinical literature will refer to dimples as a genetic defect (albeit a very desirable one.) While the presence of dimples will rely on a variety of factors, they’re usually ultimately determined by genetics. Adults with dimples have an abnormally shaped zygomaticus major, which is a muscle on the cheek. With dimple genes, one will have a shorter-than-usual zygomaticus major, causing it to pull differently on the tissues of the cheek when you smile.

 

Dimples are a dominant genetic trait, which means that if a child inherits the dimple trait from just one parent, it will manifest itself. But then… why is it that a parent with dimples doesn’t always have a child with dimples too? Well, as cut-and-dry as High School Bio made it seem, genetic traits are actually very complex in people, especially when it comes to appearance. Many other factors can interact, causing someone to have dimples or not. In fact, some scientists say that dimples are actually an irregular dominant trait, which can vary its manifestation greatly.Young charming funny girl cute smiling with dimpled in warm spri

 

Fat and Dimples

 

While dimples and cellulite are two different things, they do both relate to how your body stores fat. When larger amounts of fat are stored, it stretches and strains the connective tissue under the skin, which is why it can appear as bumps and dimples on the skin. That’s why many coolsculpting fat-loss techniques look to a study done years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine. In this study, it was hypothesized that children who sucked popsicles might be more likely to develop dimples because of a method called cryolipolysis. This process says that fat tissues can be killed with exposure to concentrated freezing temperatures, without hurting the skin. It seems that fat reacts more quickly to the freezing temperatures than other, more vital tissues. In children eating popsicles, this means that the fat on their childish cheeks was being rearranged in unique ways, which made dimples more likely.

 

This theory has given rise to a variety of coolsculpting methods, which claim to contour your body in a gentle, non-invasive way. Often, it’s advertised as an alternative to liposuction for patients who only have a few pounds that they want to lift.

 

Can You Force Dimples?

 

So, if kids could form dimples just by eating popsicles, it should be easy to get your own dimples using a box of rocket pops, right? Well, that’s not usually the case. As adults, we simply don’t have the same levels of fat that are stored on our cheeks. Think about children, and the reason you love to pinch their cheeks.

 

In 1936, a peculiar invention called the “dimple machine” came out in the United States. This machine capitalized on the popular idea that you could manufacture dimples simply by putting pressure to the point in question regularly. This machine featured a headdress for you to wear during your off-hours that put pressure on the points in question. However, the invention was a misguided attempt. Pressure alone will not create dimples.

 

Some people actually seek out cosmetic surgery that creates custom-made dimples, or a “dimpleplasty.” This procedure pins the skin of the cheek to underlying tissues. Although the sutures dissolve, a scar is left on the face that mimics natural dimples. Unfortunately, this procedure is, as yet, largely untested, and it’s hard to tell how the effect will evolve as the skin ages and moves differently.

 

It’s no surprise that in our youth-obsessed society, we’re preoccupied with replicating the marks of youth. After all, the percentage of celebrities with dimples far outweighs the percentage of dimples in the general populace, and who doesn’t want to look a little more like Miranda Kerr? However, another theory about the appeal of dimples states that their value might be in social evolution. Dimples deepen with a smile, helping us to gauge at a glance someone’s sincerity and joy. Perhaps, then, our approach should not be to replicate outward signs, but rather to go to the source: the thing that’s really so appealing to us is a genuine smile! If you have dimples, flaunt them. But if not, consider the marks of your true joy, and share them with the world whenever possible!Handsome fit man with hand on chin

 

Guest post by Christine Hill

The basic principles of efficient heating are simple: keep warm air in, cold air out, and your heater or furnace in tip-top shape. There are a few other steps you can take to ensure a cozy winter without resorting to wearing a parka indoors.efficient-heating

 

  1. When the heat is on, set your thermostat as low as possible. Lower the thermostat to 55 degrees at night. Even a few degrees difference will lead to considerable savings. Remember, warm clothing provides an excellent source of insulation, as does adding another blanket to your bed. There are also smart thermostats that you can get where you can pre-program the temperature. Turn the heat down when no one is at home.heat control, frugal tip, prudent living
  2. Keep windows next to the thermostat closed tightly so the rest of the house is not several degrees warmer than the area around the thermostat.
  3. Make sure your heating system is operating efficiently. If you have a furnace or heat pump, check the filter at least every other month during the winter. Clean the filter as needed and replace it when it appears to be worn out. Have a professional tune an oil-fired system once a year. Gas-fired systems and heat pumps need to be tuned only once every two years.
  4. If you use an electric furnace for heating, consider a heat pump. These pumps are expensive, but they can reduce your total use of electricity for both heating and cooling by 30-40 percent.
  5. Close off unoccupied rooms or rooms not currently in use. This means shutting the heat or air conditioning vents, unless you have a heat pump. Shutting vents in this case could harm the heat pump.
  6. Keep your fireplace damper closed when not in use. It also helps to install a glass front to keep warm air from going up the chimney.
  7. Use insulating shades on the windows, this will help keep the cold out out and the warm air in!Close the windows and blinds during the day.

 

By following these basic principals of efficient heating this winter you will save money and stay warm.Winter

As we continue to de-clutter and get rid of things it’s time for an end of the year pantry challenge! My goal is to clean out our chest freezer so that I can sell it. When the house eventually sells we are not planning to move our beloved chest freezer. The freezer is almost empty so what better time to do an end of the year pantry challenge.pantry challenge

 

For the next two weeks I am going to only purchase items from the grocery store that are absolutely necessary such as fresh vegetables and possibly some dairy. I will give myself a budget of $50 for the two weeks. I will be utilizing food from our pantry and freezer. Hopefully by the end of the two weeks our chest freezer will be empty and I can list it for sale.

 

There is actually not a lot in the chest freezer at the moment other than some frozen peas and some frozen spinach, a few chicken breasts, some ground beef and a package of sesame seeds. I will work on eating out of the refrigerator freezer as well so any items still left in the chest freezer can be moved. At the end of the two weeks the chest freezer just needs to be empty!

 

This is what there is to work with for the next two weeks: in the upstairs freezer thare are two containers of applesauce, some cooked chicken meat, two small containers of mushrooms soup, a container of spaghetti sauce with meatballs and a hambone. Plenty to work with!pantry challenge

 

This challenge begins today! First up on the list is making some homemade split pea soup. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice bowl of soup for dinner? I will use the applesauce to make some applesauce bread. Hopefully I can make a couple of small loaves to give away over the holidays. That is if I have enough room in our upstairs freezer!

 

Pantry Challenge Menu

 

Monday: Split Pea Soup

Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Thursday: Turkey Meatloaf

Friday: Baked Chicken breasts

Saturday: Meatball grinders

Sunday: Mushroom Soup and a salad

 

For breakfast we alternate between oatmeal, homemade granola and eggs. If inspired I might even make pancakes or waffles (much to my husband’s delight, he claims they are an excellent excuse to enjoy our local maple syrup!). Lunch will be leftovers or sandwiches from what is on hand. I’m hoping this will inspire me to make better use of the food we do have in stock. I usually cook meals from scratch but don’t always do a good job with using things already in the pantry! Next week I’ll give an update on our progress! If you’re a local reader let me know if you’re interested in a chest freezer! It is still under warranty!pantry challenge

 

If you’d like any of the recipes I’m going to be making please comment below and let me know, I’d be glad to share them! This challenge is something we’re taking on personally, would any of my faithful readers like to join us in our end of the year pantry challenge?

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