As the cold weather season is here, and we turn on our furnace and heaters, it becomes obvious that it is not just the season that has changed. Our skin dries out, electric static is in our clothes and hair, our throats get scratchy and our noses, when they are not running, are usually dried and burning.
It is during this time of year that I like to whip out my (other) crock pot and add a little something extra to warm the toes, ease some of that itchy, flaking skin and help prevent those winter nose bleeds and sore throats, as well as make it smell like grandmas cooking up some sweet treats for us. While you may use the stove top for this, I like to use a small crock pot that is one piece (base and bowl combined-not to be confused with a simmering pot), to safely provide a little comfort. This also results in lower the heating bills because the humidity created makes us feel warmer without raising the thermostat.
Filling the unit with water, adding a few drops of cooking oil and a pinch of cinnamon, ginger or cloves, a few teaspoons of vanilla or orange flavoring, mint leaves or cloves makes the entire house feel and smell good.
For aroma, you can pretty much use anything that can be added to boiling water. That goes for the scented oils used in the simmering pots as well. Using more than one unit will increase the amount of moisture you can put back in the air, and plugged into a timer, can be auto-set to warm things up in the morning along with the coffee pot. A timer with an on and off setting can do double duty, and when placed near the coffee pot will remind you to fill and set each day.
While I have used my large crock pot to increase the effect on occasion, I prefer the small one piece unit. Obviously, you need to ensure water is added as needed and monitor as you would if you were cooking up a stew in the crock pot, but oh the possibilities! Another bonus, they are much easier to keep clean and free of the white powder/residue that builds up on warm air humidifiers, and you don't have the fuss or expense of fancy air filters and water purifiers needed in some of the cool air devices.