It’s wintertime in Michigan, and that means cold weather, snow, ice storms, freezing rain, and months and months of having to get all super bundled up to just go outside for ten minutes. And I love it. Well not dangerous driving weather, that scares me. I don’t like or love that. But I do love winter, I find the cold invigorating and I just feel so much more alive in the winter. I always tell people it’s because I was born in the middle of a snowstorm , on a night where the moon was surrounded by a halo of ice, which is true, but my brother was born in December and he is not a fan of the winter. He is all about the hotter the temp the better, which repulses me. I hate being hot and sweaty and avoid it at all costs. He jokes that my family is snow and moon people while his family is summer and sun. And there is truth to that.
I remember one week while I was attending Central Michigan as a freshman, the temps dipped so low that they cancelled classes. There were signs on the door telling us to stay inside and not go out unless we had to go out, so my roomies and I only left the our dorm room to venture downstairs to the cafeteria. The rest of the time my roommate Bethany Lopez read to us. For real. She read us young adult romance books and randomly changed the names to our names and those of a few more of our friends. My other roomie and long time bestie Lori and I were very content to sit and listen for hours. Now Beth writes young adult romances so go figure. Maybe that week had an impact on her as well.
I lean in to winter. I embrace it. I feel that is the only way to really get through it. When I learned about hygge, I felt like I had found my people and lifestyle ideal. Getting cozy in the winter is one way to combat the cold temps – I mean you can’t go wrong with hot drinks, warm soft blankets, books, and pastries. My family also enjoys hiking through the woods in the winter and in general being outside in the snow, which I know is not everyone’s cup of tea. Appropriate layering of the right clothes is the key to enjoying the cold outdoors. But.. we can’t always be outside. And in these pandemic times, we can’t always be inside crowded places or even sometimes with our nearest and dearest. So what have we been doing? Some of these ways are probably crazy, but we keep busy and happy.
One thing I have always done is create a culture of celebration in our home. I like to make a fuss over things that other people may not, like our tradition of takeout on the first snow. We wassail our apple tree, we try to make things fun. Next week is a great week for celebrations – the lunar new year, the new moon, and midwinter all fall on the same night, February 1st. I have a whole day and evening planned for us, one that includes just small little celebrations of cheer. Find things to enjoy and make a big deal over, even little small things. And your big deal can actually be quite small – warm soup and homemade bread eaten picnic style in your family room, hot chocolate pancakes for breakfast, making cards to mail to friends, dropping off baked goods (jeez I have a lot of food related ideas this morning). Whatever floats your boat, it’s up to you!
Maybe you have seen the meme that says people are like plants, we both need water and light to be happy. So make sure you are drinking enough water and getting enough daylight – and even fifteen minutes of morning sun (before noon) is said to have great benefits, including sleeping better at night. And then, add plants to your home. Trust me the green in the middle of winter brings a smile to my face whenever I see my plants. Start small if you need to- one plant, or even a small pot of dill or basil or whatever on your kitchen counter, a succulent in the study. Or go big and crazy. Follow your heart on this. Make a wish list. Go crazy. As for me, I am a fan of the humble pothos. Easy to care for, and pretty inexpensive. They also can get very long! I have one I named Rapunzel, one named Sam Elliot, and one named Poppy. I also love naming them, and it has gotten to the point where Wyatt thinks all plants have names besides their species/type because all of ours do. When we see one somewhere he asks me its name. Lol.
I am a nurturer by nature. I think it is why having plants and animals and gardening and cooking makes me happy. I love to be surrounded by life as well, my reptiles and frogs (we are hoping to add to our menagerie this spring..), and also..sourdough starter. Ok this is weird and I know it. I have issues. I love to make and name sourdough starters. (If anyone wants one let me know..)
Frankenstarter is mine, I am making Mordough for my brother (can you guess where I got the name inspo from?), and Edgar Allan Dough is currently homeless. I have made the Grateful Bread for my stepmom and I feel like I need to make a Nostradoughmas… I am full of dad jokes and bread ideas.
Look at that aeration though- chef’s kiss.
We also love to create together. We put on some music, paint or draw, color, sew, whittle (Billy’s newest hobby). We are a content people over here. We plan our garden. We think about summer and the adventures we will have. I am already thinking about my butterflies in anticipation, of rearing them and recording them and tagging them this year.
Anyway, these are just some of the things we do that get us through these cold months. What are some things that you do?