What’s saving my life right now. When the days feel long and dreary, it’s important to take notice of the things that are saving us. It’s easy to find the things that are draining and stressing, so instead, let’s find the things that are making the long winter months as enjoyable as possible.
I first heard of this idea from the lovely Anne Bogel over at Modern Mrs. Darcy and immediately saw merit in the idea. We are in the midst of a long, record-breaking cold snap here in MN (thank you, polar vortex). It’s been so cold, the powers that be are advising people to not go anywhere if at all possible.
Anyway, all that to say, these ideas are truly the things I’m reaching for these days. As Anne says,
Even though most of us can easily articulate what’s killing us, few of us pay attention to what’s giving us life.
Let’s be the ones paying attention to what’s giving us life.
In no particular order, here is an abbreviated list of what’s saving my life right now
- Our fireplace. I wake up before everyone else does and every morning, I come down, pour a cup of coffee, and light the fire. And by light the fire, I mean I flip the switch. Praise be for our gas fireplace. It chases away any lingering chill in the air and comes in handy when the boys have been playing outside. Nothing thaws chilled toes and fingers like lounging in front of the fireplace.
- This kids channel on You Tube. Our boys don’t get much screen time here, save Friday Night Family Movie nights. However, when it’s dangerously cold outside and the kids have tired of playing with legos and slime, I’ll let them hop on to the Art For Kids Hub channel. It’s so great because the dad and his son do the videos together and the dad walks the kids through drawing some pretty cool stuff, step by step. My little ones love this.
- Our elderberry syrup recipe. I talked all about why we love this stuff here – and shared my recipe, too. I can’t say enough good things about it! When the crud hits, we’re reaching for it every couple hours and I swear it shortens the duration of any yuck that may strike.
- Walks in the woods, alone. I crazy-love my kids, but I need time alone – and quiet – to recharge my batteries. Granted, there have been no walks in the woods this week since the temps have been so dangerously cold, but I’ve been known to bundle up and go for my walks on the trails in the woods anytime the temps are above 15 degrees. Lots of layers are key. Walking anywhere is good, or course, but there’s something so calming and grounding about listening to the wind in the trees, hearing the crunch of snow underfoot, and the birds singing in the branches overhead. It is absolutely my jam.
- Empty the fridge soup night (or lunch). Once a week, I literally open the fridge, take out the leftovers, and throw them in a soup pot. Adding broth and appropriate seasonings as I see fit (basil, oregano, and garlic for Italian flavors and cumin, chili powder, and/or a packet of taco seasoning for anything Mexican themed). If I think the family is going to raise their eyebrows at it, I’ll whip up a quick batch of biscuits or our favorite dinner rolls to go alongside. Freshly baked bread makes everything better. *Note: I wouldn’t recommend mixing certain food ethnicities – Chinese and Mexican could be a regrettable combination.
- Audible. I talked about the ways I’m getting more books into my reading life here, and why I love Audible so much, but I bears repeating. It really is one of my favorite resources. On Monday this week (our first snow day that was too bitterly cold to go anywhere), I popped in my earbuds, turned on my Audible app and listened to a book while I cleaned out and decluttered our workshop for three hours! Listening to a book made the time fly by and before I knew it, I had a giant pile of donations ready to go – and another pile of trash to be taken out. Yay for book listening AND decluttering! Double win.
- Our sunroom. This room has gone from random storage location, to office, to schoolroom, and now it’s my spot for sunning myself when it’s bitterly cold outside. You can see the whole makeover here. With windows banking three sides of the room, the sun streams in and begs you to curl up like a cat and soak up the warmth and vitamin D. It’s one of the many reasons I love our home. I’m often found reading, working, or just taking a break with a hot cuppa and staring out the window here.
- Simple dinners. I love a culinary challenge every once in a while, but for everyday (and I’m finding this especially true this winter), I keep reaching for the same few easy recipes. Whether it’s a quick brunch-type favorite or more of a standard dinner idea, I’ve simplified menu planning even more. Things like: baked potato bar with all the toppings, spaghetti and salad, french toast or pancakes and eggs, taco bar – (with the taco meat cooked in the crock pot so it’s ready when we are and I’m not cooking it in the middle of the dinner time witching hour), and of course, Friday night is pizza night. God forbid if we ever mess with Friday Night Pizza and movie night. 😀 *Also see number 5, above.
What’s saving your life right now? I’d love to hear in the comments below – or come join the conversation over on my Facebook page.