Create a cozy home after the holidays with welcoming scents, warm blankets, good books, and a hearty delicious homecooked meal.
After an exciting couple of months with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, we now find ourselves entering a new year and the coldest couple of months ahead (in New England anyways!). This time of year can be a strange time for me and I tend to have mixed emotions.
On the one hand, I am excited to be done with the hustle and bustle of the holidays and I am excited for the endless possibilities a new year brings. However, on the other hand, I am sad that the Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree are taken down and stored away until next year. Christmas decorations make the house feel so cozy, warm, and magical with the twinkling lights, the happy Santa faces, and sprigs of green sprinkled throughout the house.
And so, once the decorations come down, the house feels a little…well, empty and cold. I like to take this time between the holidays and spring (yes spring!) as a chance to assess, take inventory, and take advantage of the blank canvas that is our home. The possibilities are endless with a blank canvas and so, instead of feeling down that Christmas is over, I like to think of this time as an opportunity to start fresh!
Cozy Home After the Holidays
One element that is extremely important to me when assessing and deciding what to use for decorations in our home during the winter (and really anytime of year) is, coziness. Just because the holidays are over, doesn’t mean your home still can’t feel cozy and well loved. Here are a few of the things I do in our home to keep that keep cozy feeling all winter long…
Stovetop potpourri is a great way to keep your home smelling like Christmas all winter. It permeates your home with smells of pine, cinnamon, citrus, and cloves. I love walking into our home after being outside on a chilly day and smelling the delicious scents coming from the kitchen.
Stovetop potpourri is an easy and inexpensive way to make your home feel lived in and well loved. The scents can be changed by simply adding or subtracting ingredients based on what you like and what makes your home feel cozy. For the recipe and instructions on how you can make your own potpourri, read my blog post here.
Pillows & Blankets
You can never have to many pillows, blankets, and quilts during the winter months in my opinion! I love snuggling up on the couch with a bunch of comfy pillows and warm blankets on a snowy day.
Simply adding blankets and pillows to your couch will instantly make your living room and home feel warmer and cozier. For the winter months, I like to have pillows and blankets that have lots of texture. Texture equals warmth. Warmth equals coziness. Knits, linen, fleece, wool, and velvet are all great winter textures and elements that will add warmth to your space.
For depth, mix textures. For instance, on a couch layer (layering is key too!) a large knit square pillow with a smaller linen pillow, and then add in a cotton quilt. Some of my favorite cozy pillows and blankets can be found here.
Books are one of my favorite things to decorate with all through the year. It’s something we use all of the time and they are so easy to style.
When using them in our décor I like to mix new books with old, vintage books. Old books have amazing character. I love thinking of the history, of the hands that touched the book before me, of the story behind the name written on the inside cover, of the reason why page 38 was folded over.
The combination of new & old books adds depth to our décor and thus adds coziness. When styling books in your home whether on a shelf or a table; make them look they have been or are being used. What does this mean? I used to style the books on our bookshelves all in uniform style. I would style them biggest to smallest or vice versa, all in a straight line. Do not do this! Style your books mixing heights, thicknesses, and alternating old and new. Doing these things is what will add the cozy factor to your home when decorating with books.
Some of my favorite home décor books I am currently reading can be found here. Not only are these books good reads, they are perfect for styling as well. My favorite shop to find vintage books can be found here.
Candles add warm light to dark winter days. There is something about the glow and smell of a candle that can make a home feel so cozy. We always have candles on hand, and burn them 365 days a year. I bunch candlesticks (group items in odd numbers, I tend to like groups of three) with taper candles on our mantle or on our kitchen table for a cozy glow.
I also have jarred candles sprinkled around the house so that whatever room I am in, I can light a candle for ambiance. Some of my favorite candles can be found at Antique Candle Co., Anthropologie, and Yankee Candle. I like to invest in higher priced candles that are made with high quality materials. They smell so much better and last a lot longer.
Nothing warms the soul or a cold body better than delicious comfort food. Meals during the winter for our family are typically hearty, stick to your ribs ones. I figure a few lbs. in the winter isn’t a bad thing. Besides it adds a little more insulation to the hips and thighs to fend off the cold weather.
Comfort food for our family consists of casseroles, crock pot recipes, breakfast for dinner, and anything with cheese and more cheese. One of our favorite foods is macaroni and cheese. I discovered a similar recipe to the one I will be sharing with you below on Pinterest a couple of years ago and it has become one of our favorite recipes. It’s super easy (no need to make a rue) and extra tasty and cheesy!
I like to serve our mac & cheese in these small cocottes, for some reason these dishes with cute little covers, make the food taste so much better!
For more comfort food recipes, click here.
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Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese
- 1 lb. Elbow Macaroni
- 2 tbsp. Salted Butter
- 1 12 oz. can Evaporated Milk
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 2 tsp. Salt
- 2 tsp, Pepper
- 1 cup American Cheese cubed
- 1/2 cup Colby Jack Cheese shredded
- 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese shredded
- 1 cup Muenster Cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese shredded
- 2 cups Cooked Chicken Breast cubed
- 1/4 cup Buffalo Hot Sauce
- Bring water to boil in a large pot and cook macaroni according to package directions.
- Drain macaroni when al dente and set off to the side.
- Return the pot that was used for the macaroni back to the stove, turn heat to medium, add butter and melt.
- Pour in the evaporated milk and milk, stir.
- Bring mixture to a simmer.
- Add in salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir to combine.
- Stir in all of the cheeses and melt. Once cheese is melted turn off the heat.
- Add in the cooked chicken breast and the macaroni. Stir until the chicken and macaroni are covered with the cheese sauce.
- Pour into ramekins or large casserole dish and serve immediately or add more shredded cheese on top and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly.