Holiday scented pine cones (a story and a how to).

Earlier this year, we went to Disney World and stayed at Fort Wilderness. It's such a beautiful resort- it's actually the only place I like to stay when I go to Disney. It gives me the feeling I have left home without having to go too far away and that I have retreated to the woods somewhere. :) One morning, my husband and I woke up really early (to be precise, little one #2 was bumping around in my belly and woke me up). Everyone was still sleeping- kids, parents, everyone. We went outside to the porch and enjoyed some free time. We took in the sights and the sounds of the 6.30 am stillness- some squirrels running by, leaves rustling in the wind, blue jays chirping in one of the surrounding tall trees and a couple of woodpeckers hard at work. It was sublime.  After a while, everyone was still asleep and then it was tea & honey for both of us, knitting for me and a martial arts movie for my husband. Soon my folks woke up and came out to sit and share some tea with us. When little one #1 awoke, she and her grandmother went to collect pine cones as they were abundant all around the cabins. Two big bags were collected altogether.

Now that the holidays are upon us, I am so happy we have those pine cones that my little one and mom collected because now I can have cinnamon-scented pine cones in my home again. Last year, I bought a bag of them at Whole Foods and their aroma filled my home for the entire three months I had them on my dining table. I love DIYs. It's so special to make something yourself. And although the great spirit in all of us takes the credit for creating the beautiful pine cones, I can make them myself with my little one instead of buying a bag of them. I found a fantastic recipe online for cinnamon-scented pine cones that I am sharing. They are so delicious and aromatic!

Cinnamon-scented pine cones:

What You Need: Pine cones, Essential oils, Cookie sheet, Foil, Plastic bag or Spray bottle

1. Clean the Pine Cones- If you collected the pine cones yourself, you should clean them so you won't have trouble with insects or sap. Wash them in the sink, then place on a foil-covered cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour at 200F, keeping an eye on the oven for safety.

2. Choose Your Essential Oil- By far, the most common choice for scented pine cones is cinnamon. However, you can use any essential oil you like, or even mix some together.

Suggestions include: Cinnamon, Orange, Peppermint, Nutmeg, Pine, Evergreen, Cloves, Vanilla

Method One - Spray Bottle:

Place water in a spray bottle and add several drops of essential oil. Spray the cones and seal in a plastic bag for 24 hours. Remove and let air dry.

Method Two - Shake in Bag:

Add pine cones to a resealable plastic bag. Sprinkle drops of essential oils on the cones, seal and shake. Leave in bag for at least one week.

Helpful tip: Keep the pine cones in a resealable bag to make the scent last longer.