Friday, January 30, 2015

Almost February

Winter survival update time, as we are almost past the throws of January!  I finished the beloved book, The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Oh how that book is such a good reminder to my soul to be content with the weather.  It could be so much worse.  We are not starving!  There is hope!  And like Ma says,"February is a short month!" I am about to read Little Town on the Prairie, next.  

As for exercising, I am doing great there.  You may read all about that here.  

I did go through an acute case of "Dune Heart" after our brief weekend trip to the Indiana National Lakeshore for my husband's birthday.   Look at that lake.  Who wouldn't want to live there?  I confess that I spent way too much time looking at the Miller Beach Webcam, and looking at the houses for sale within a mile of said beach.  I kind of lost my head for a few days.  I am better now.  I think I really scared my kids thinking that I was moving.  

I have made a few yummy batches of soup.  The last one was split pea with leftover ham from Christmas and homemade chicken stock.  Oh my, it was good.  This weekend I will be making potato soup, and roasting another chicken for stock next week.  We also baked this lemon cake for my husband's birthday.  It was amazing.  

Monday, I will be having lunch with my adopted grandmother.  I need to write a letter to my maternal aunt and call my paternal aunt.  Neither have computers.  There is nothing nicer than getting a newsy letter in the mail in February.  

Another project that I am working on is getting prints made of some of my favorite pictures from 2014.  I recently read that if you don't print them, your grandchildren may never see them, as they could be lost on a hard drive or cloud.  Time to print! 

And lastly, my mother recently gave me my great grandmother's wedding ring.  It fits, too!  But I need to have it cleaned and check the setting.  I was so shocked to receive this gift.  I loved my great grandmother, and remember her well.  It will be cherished.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sunny Kitchens

I really like this kitchen's windows.  One can image a nice breeze from so many.  The sink is just like the one in my great grandmother's house.  I really wish I had a picture of her home on the inside before it was modernized and sold.  I wonder if I would like open shelves in a kitchen? Would they be hard to keep neat? Would things get dusty?  They look nice in pictures, but how do they function?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter Survival Tips

The older I get, the less I like winter.  I suppose it has to do with a fear of driving in snow, mostly.  Also a loss of freedom to be outside without extreme measures to keep warm.  And I terribly miss camping this time of the year.  Not to mention the longing I feel to see my flower friends!

They still love winter!

So in recent years, I have decided to make an effort to combat this dislike of basically half the year.  I have come up with some winter rituals to keep me focused on the good parts of this time of the year.

1.  Celebrate the minor holidays.

After Christmas and New Year celebrations, the winter can really start to feel like a drag.  That is why I have made an effort to celebrate holidays like Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day. We also are blessed to have two winter birthdays, so I try to make those special as well.

For instance, my husband's birthday is this month.  We typically try to go up to see his mother for the day and take a winter hike at our favorite park.  This year he is asking for birthday  money for a hotel room so we can stay the night.  The hotel has a pool, so this will be like a mini vacation.  It gives me something to look forward to in January.

2.  Read good books.

I love to read, but find that I have less time to read during the school year when I am teaching my children. This is only a perception, really.  I have found that if I make time, it happens, so, I make time!  Each winter I like to read a favorite book about winter, The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I usually get the book from our library, but this year, my dear husband bought me a hardback copy of my very own! I will also make time to read other books.  I am going to carve into my day a time for reading, perhaps along with a warm drink, a blanket and some quiet music.

3.  Mind your health.

I started taking extra vitamin D several years ago during the winter when I thought I was struggling with the winter blues.  I really think it helps.  Plus, it helps me stay healthy.  I've not been nearly as sick as I used to be.  I also exercise five days a week.  I make an extra effort to increase fruits and vegetables in the winter. And, I drink lots of water.

4.  Find a hobby.

I feed birds.  I grow violets.  I play with  my cats.  Just do something inside that makes you smile.  This helps me to not think so much about the summer hobbies that I miss, like gardening.

5.  Make soup!

I can't tell you how much I enjoy making chicken stock.  It is an all day process.  It means I will be home all day tending my stockpot, and I thrive on days at home.  It has taken me awhile to learn how to make really good stock.  I think I was trying to rush it. You don't have to make it on the stove, though.   Here is a fantastic crockpot recipe.

6.  Serve others.

During winter,it is easy for me to forget others around me, especially when I am in a hibernating mood.  My goal this winter is to reach out to others, like older relations, and make a connection.  This will stretch me.  I will have to drive more.  I will have to risk coming into contact with germs!  My action plan is to have lunch with my adopted grandma once a month.  I also will send cards to others in my family who are not online.  I would like to say that I will have a friend over, but that could be pushing it.  :)

Basically, I have found that if I dread winter, I end up wasting half my life wishing for summer.  In Indiana, winter is a part of life.  It is OK to slow down and enjoy the best parts.