Monday, December 29, 2008


Ever since the weather turned cold, I have been obsessed with how my house smells. In the spring and summer, I love to have the windows open and fresh air flowing through. But until spring rolls around again, that's not an option. I don't want my house to smell like the cat box or last night's spaghetti, though. I love scented candles and I've been buying them like crazy! This time of year I really like the sweet and spicy scents. Sugar Cookie, Apple, Vanilla Frosting, Spiced Pear and Cinnamon are my favorites right now.

The problem is that good scented candles can be pretty pricey so I thought I would share a few of my inexpensive and/or free "scentimental" ideas with you over the next few posts.

The first one uses nothing but apples, water and some spices. I'm sure many of you have done this before, but for those who haven't, here is how you scent your house with simmering apples:

These are beautiful, fresh apples but they don't have to be. Older apples that have gotten too soft to eat would work just fine. The same is true for apples that are bruised. Even apple cores and peels are a good option.

You'll want to start by cutting your apple or apples into large wedges (if you're using cores or peels you don't have to cut them any smaller).

Now put the cut apples into a large saucepan and add a few shakes each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add water to within a few inches of the top and place on the stove. Bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat to down to a simmer. Be sure to keep an eye on your apples and don't let the pan simmer dry. You can add water as needed. Your house will smell like fresh apple pie. Oh, but be prepared for angry family members when they find out there's no pie!

One last tip: You can prepare the apples and spices ahead of time and store them in the freezer in individual containers or zip top bags. It's great to do with apples that would otherwise be thrown away (or the peels and cores as I mentioned above). Just take them out of the freezer, dump them in the saucepan and add water. No need to thaw first.

Why This Stop Willoughby?

I suppose you're wondering about the name of this blog. If you're a Twilight Zone fanatic, like me, then you've probably already figured it out. If not, then let me explain it to you. There is an episode of the Twilight Zone called "A Stop At Willoughby". In short, it's about a man named Gart who dreams of peaceful town from 1888 called Willoughby. Everything in Willoughby is perfect and serene and Gart wants more than anything to spend his life there. I won't spoil the ending by telling you what happens, but it's a clever story. I think all of us would like to spend some time in Willoughby now and then.

I don't want you to get the impression that this blog will be about Twilight Zone episodes. It won't. It will be about all the things that make wherever I am and wherever you are a little more fun, a little more colorful, a little more comfortable, a little more Willoughby!

Oh, and if you're interested in finding out what happens to Gart and Willoughby, you can see it on the Sci-Fi Channel on January 1 at 11:00 pm Eastern Time. You know I'll be watching!