Dried Oranges and Homemade Citrus Cleaner

Growing up, our family did not decorate early for Christmas. Instead, we would use items from around the home or yard to keep the house alive, but in quiet preparation for the coming of Christ.

Advent has always been a time of preparation in our family as we await the birth of Christ. Growing up, our family did not decorate early for Christmas. Instead, we would use items from around the home or yard to keep the house alive, but in quiet preparation for the coming of Christ. I have continued this tradition in my own family. We hang real greenery, fresh wreaths, and dried citrus fruits on garland during the Advent season.

It only takes a few minutes to slice the citrus fruit before baking. It’s rather an easy task to create simple touches around the home. After slicing the oranges, you will have some extra pieces from the ends. Below is a recipe to make a cleaning solution.

Photo: @dmheckenkamp (Embracing Advent and Preparing for Christmas)

Recipe for Dried Organes:

Slice oranges and place on parchment paper. Bake at 200 degrees for 3-4 hours. (I usually baked mine for 4 hours.) These can be made into a garland with twine or ribbon. Otherwise, add the dried oranges to greenery to add a pop of color.

Photo: @dmheckenkamp (Dried Orange Recipe)

After cutting the oranges, you will have remaining end peels. Instead of throwing those peels into the garbage, you can either compost them or made a cleaning solution. This can be made with any citrus fruit (grapefruits, lemons, limes, or oranges).

Recipe for Citrus Cleaner:

Slice citrus fruit and place in a mason jar. Cover the citrus peels with white vinegar and place a cover or tight plastic wrap on top. Let the vinegar and citrus sit in a cupboard for several weeks. After the citrus blends with the vinegar, the fruit can be drained. You may use the vinegar with baking soda to clean sinks, bathrooms, and even your floor.

Photo: @dmheckenkamp (Citrus and Vinegar Cleaning Solution)

My “Favorite Things” Small Business Gift List

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

As we approach the Holidays and many people are already shopping for Christmas, I want to share some of my favorite shops (especially small businesses – as I choose not to shop big box this year or in the future for presents).

The Merry Bohemian – A lovely shop that sells hand-painted ornaments. These ornaments can be personalized with an image of a family home or a special landscape that brings fond memories.

The Merry Bohemian

Photo credit: The Merry Bohemian

St. Charbel Candle Co. – This beautiful shop just opened and the candles are selling out faster than hot cakes! These cleaning burning candles are a perfect gift for a hostess, a neighbor, or a close family member.

St. Charbel – Beeswax Candle Shop

Photo Credit: St. Charbel Candel Co.

Caelesti Handmade Co. – A special shop full of beautiful items for your baby, your godchild, or your little niece or nephew. They offer a variety of wood teethers, bonnets, onesies, and even clothing for adults.

Caelesti Handmade Co.

Beauty CounterMy favorite makeup and skin care lines! It’s clean beauty. It took me awhile to understand the necessity for clean products, but I have come to love so many products through Beauty Counter. These are truly remarkable Christmas and birthday gifts for family and friends. Beauty Counter offers products for women, men, and even children! It’s a one stop place for everyone on your gift list.

Beauty Counter

Photo Credit: Beauty Counter

Nordic Creamery – This family farm offers a variety of cheeses, butters, jams and Amish candies. Order a gift box for a family friend, so that they can enjoy cheeses directly from the Great Dairy State of Wisconsin!

Nordic Creamery

Photo Credit: Nordic Creamery

The Healing Place Farm – Enjoy natural, non-toxic items made through this small family farm, such as body products, diffuser oils, soaps, and gift items. The farm also offers items for sale that are made through like-minded companies. The Healing Place Farm offers Facebook live sales for purchase opportunities.

The Healing Place Farm

Photo credit: The Healing Place Farm

Florence Adams – This is one of my all-time favorite boutiques! It offers a variety of home decor, women’s apparel and accessories, candles, wall prints, baby items, and much more. This shop will be one of your favorites all year long!

Florence Adams

Photo Credit: Florence Adams

Flourish Toy Company – Handmade specialty kids toys for the little ones in your life.

Flourish Toy Company

Photo Credit: Flourish Toy Co.

Lynn Michelle Designs – This unique shop sells salvaged items, organic products, and vintage farmhouse decor. Purchase a piece that fits with your sibling’s personality and support this small business!

Lynn Michelle Designs

Photo Credit: Michelle Lynn Designs

Book Review: Bless Us, O Lord

If you are looking for a practical prayer book that is simplified for daily family use, Bless Us, O Lord is a great addition to your family’s resources.

I am always looking for additional ways to incorporate the Liturgical Year into the life of our family. A copy of Bless Us, O Lord was sent to me from Ave Maria Press and the author, Robert M. Hamma, does a fantastic job of including daily meal prayers with stories about the saints, prayers for specific feast and holy days, and Liturgical information. If you are looking for a practical prayer book that is simplified for daily family use, Bless Us, O Lord is a great addition to your family’s resources.

Photo Credit” DMHeckenkamp

October 2nd – The Feast of the Guardian Angels – Bless Us, O Lord (page 129) gives a short excerpt about the Guardian Angels and offers the following prayer.

“Loving God, we come together this evening to share this meal after a day filled with many activities. In our work and our play , in our travels and our rest, your presence is always with us. You give us the friendship of our guardian angels to guide us and guard us, to remind us of your presence, and to keep us on the right path. Help us to be aware that your love is ever near, and to be grateful for all the gifts that we receive from your generous hand, especially the gift of this meal. Amen.”