Brrr. Winter can be a delightful, reflective and calming time of year. It can also be a frozen tundra of icy frustration and general harrumphing. But don’t go hurling that cup of cocoa against the wall just yet. There are glorious things to look forward to as the temps get lower: holidays, baking, seasonal sights and general good cheer. Us Midwesterners are tough as nails and better yet, we are planners. So here is a simple list of tasks that can ease the sting of your winter worries (and don’t be shy about getting the whole family involved):
Do a sweep of the yard
Yes, you really have to move the baby pool, basketball and toy lawn mower into the garage. Pack up patio furniture, stow umbrellas, cover your grill and even check to make sure all exterior lights are in working order.
Form a snow battle plan
Set out shovels, salt, and/or snow blower preferably near the front of your garage door for ease of access. Line up sleds and ice skates along the side walls so they can be grabbed on the go without getting in the way of everyday life.
Swap those cotton sheets for flannel
This is an inexpensive, whimsical way to ring in winter (and get longevity out of those short-sleeved summer pajamas).
Bag up an extra hat, scarf and pair of gloves
Seal that Ziploc bag of goodies and place it in your car for the days when you drive all the way to school before your kid realizes he/she forgot a cold weather essential.
Re-vamp your rugs
Snow, ice and salt do not pair well with hardwood floors or carpeting. Consider placing larger rugs and mats near entryways (front door, garage) to accommodate boots, piles of snow pants and some wintry mess here and there.
Stock up on essentials
Cold weather can limit driving even if it’s just a trip to the store. So stock up on things like medicine (for kids and adults), toilet paper, Kleenex, batteries, coffee/tea and a few boxes of brownie mix (brownies are always a good idea).
Pick up long-sleeved Henley shirts
This is a sneaky little trick to get longevity out of your kid’s summer gear--layer these long underwear-style tops with t-shirts on top and stay toasty as temps go down.
Donate old coats
Help others stay warm by gathering up your gently used outerwear and donating to One Warm Coat. Better yet, organize a coat drive yourself--One Warm Coat shares how in just a few easy steps.
Consider a car wash and car mats
Take this time to give your wheels a thorough scrub and vacuum. Furthermore, companies like Weather Tech can take your car’s exact make and model and produce customized car mats specific to winter wear-and-tear.
Follow the rule of B: breathe, burrow, and bake
When a winter storm hits, calm yourself with deep breathing, burrow under the warm covers and when it doubt, bake those aforementioned brownies.
What are you favorite tips for winter survival in the Midwest?
Kelly is a mom and storyteller by profession and by bedtime, who pens blogs, books and newspaper columns from her home in Glencoe.
See more of Kelly's stories here.
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