Spice Boil

Here in Wisconsin, it’s very humid in the summer and very dry in the winter.  This can cause dozens of problems come November – itchy, flaky skin, stuffy/runny noses, dry, cracked lips and hands, etc.  I’ve found that the best way to lessen these irritations is to add moisture.  Some people use humidifiers to accomplish this, but because I’ve never found one that isn’t a pain to use/clean/refill constantly, and because I’m too cheap to purchase one of the expensive ones, I’ve found the easiest alternative ever – boil water!

For the last two or three years, I’ve been simply boiling water on my stove to steam up my house.  Around the holidays, it’s fun to add a few spices and let it fill the entire house with its delicious aroma.   It’s wonderful.  (Note: please only do this if you’re going to be home.  It probably isn’t a good idea to leave your stove on all day while you’re at work.)

Another way to do this, if you’re uncomfortable with leaving your stove on ALL DAY, even if you are home, is to use a crockpot.  Plug it in, turn it on high, and put the cover on for an hour or so until it starts to boil.  Then, remove the cover to let the steam fill your house (and skin).  When the water gets low, just add more water.

Here are some delicious scent combinations to add to your water:

Apple Cinnamon – Just add a few sliced up apples and a few cinnamon sticks to your water. You can also use a tablespoon or so of ground cinnamon if you don’t have cinnamon sticks handy.

Christmas – Add some pine needles or pine cones, a handful of cranberries and a few cloves to your boiling water.

Winter Spice – Add a sliced orange, a dash of cinnamon, some cloves and a few sprinkles of nutmeg.

Chai – A vanilla bean, a dash each of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and a few cloves.  You can also toss in a bag of black tea for good measure if it suits you.

For a Cold – Add a few drops of Vicks VapoSteam, just like you would to a humidifier.

Clean – For a fresh, clean scent, and to remove odors from your home, add a few cut up lemons and a few tablespoons of baking soda.

Calm – Add a vanilla bean and a few drops of lavender essential oil or a few sprigs of lavender.

Vanilla Bean – Simply add vanilla beans to your boiling water.

Coffee Shop – Add your choice of coffee beans to the water.

Clean Laundry – Add a splash of your laundry detergent to fill your home with that clean laundry smell.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

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