One thing I'm glad my mom did was to really dislike artificial smells. I learned this in 1982 when I was given a tiny bottle of strawberry scented oil. See, you rub it on your light bulbs and then as the light bulb heats up your whole room is filled with lovely scent of strawberries. How cool is that?!?
As I walked home with my pretty little treasure I was so excited! I was perfectly ready and willing to rub this stuff on every light bulb in the house and I could just imagine what is was going to be like for everyone to walk through our front door into our own strawberry paradise.
I ran in and threatened my mom with my plan and got an immediate no-go; I couldn't believe it! "What does she mean she hates the smell of fake strawberry?" How could she NOT want our house to smell like fake strawberries?!?
After that, I learned to pay attention to what things smell like and learned that just because it comes in a pretty bottle, it doesn't necessarily mean that it smells good.
In my own house I don't usually have smells. I've been given some really beautiful smelling candles and oils and have happily used them but when they're gone, they're gone and I can never bring myself to spend real money on the good stuff . So, I'm afraid that generally, the only smells in my house are whatever I'm cooking or baking and occasionally a stinky rag that needs finding . . . that is until fall.
When the cooler air of autumn arrives, or in Texas, when October 1st arrives, that is my signal to get the simmering spices out.
I've experimented with lots of them but always come back to the basics: cinnamon sticks, ginger root and whole cloves. I put them in a small pot, fill the pot with water, and let them simmer all day. Sometimes I add apple or orange peels, yesterday I used the lemon pieces from our dinner prep.
I just love when the whole house smells spicy and cheery and makes me want to build a fire and snuggle on the couch with a good book or some cuddly kids. The other day one of the kids said, "That smell makes me excited for Christmas."