So here we are. The middle of January. For many living in North America and parts of Europe this time of year can be described as dismally dark and miserable. Unless we are willing to relocate by taking a permanent vacation somewhere exotic, we’re stuck with the icy-grey hand father winter has dealt us. We can endure this time of year as we always have, bumbling and grumbling our way through the wet, the cold and the grey, but why not, instead, celebrate it? I know what you’re thinking. “Whimsygirl’s at it again with her hairbrained delusions! Where to now, Captain Crazypants?!” Allow me, for a moment, or at least for the remainder of this post, to shine a new light on the darkest time of year.
If you’re like me, and you live in the type of climate described above, you probably already make lifestyle changes during the winter months that you may not even realize. You might change your eating habits or the way you spend your time. The cold weather and lack of light tends to keep most indoors. Being the comfort-seeking creatures that we are, we also tend to eat more hot meals to warm us through. We savor this hearty comfort all the while swearing we’re going to eat more salads. The list of changes we make during the winter months can go on and on. We can go ahead and blame ourselves for everything that’s wrong with this practice, but I recommend that instead we embrace these changes as coping mechanisms.
As a way of coping through the winter months, I make every effort to celebrate all aspects of inclement weather. No, I don’t go driving around hoping icy accidents will happen! I do, however, make it my personal mission (obsession, if you will) to make the types of changes that will bring optimal wintertime comfort to myself as well as all those gracing my doorway. How does a smartypants go about accomplishing such a task? Glad you asked!
For me, adding the whimsy of wintertime is a happy marriage of cozy bed and breakfast meets winter wonderland. I put this philosophy into practice first by decorating my home by making it as warm and inviting as possible. I use scented candles, warm quilts and other decorations to make my home a winter retreat (dare I say lodgey-minus the road kill hanging from the walls!). My kids get into the spirit of making our home a winter wonderland by cutting out snowflakes and making white, paper chains to hang throughout the house. These decorations help fill up the emptiness felt once the Christmas decorations are taken down.
SELF DISCLOSURE ALERT!: It is just in my nature to go overboard with any theme. This is why I do my best to make not every common area cozy but I make each bedroom a warm and cozy retreat as well. I do this by placing bottled water and an extra soft blanket next to every bed. Warm slippers can also be found at the foot of each bed for extra cozy comfort. My little ones like finding extra books to snuggle up to so I am sure to leave a new printed adventure each day on their pillow accompanied by a stuffed animal that somehow fits the theme.
With the main living areas all warm and welcoming and the bedrooms equally as cozy, all that is left for inviting wintertime comfort is the kitchen. To stage my kitchen for this time of year, I delve back into the ski trips I took in my yesteryear. Remembering how welcoming it was to come back to a ski lodge loaded with hot chocolate and munchies, I am always sure to incorporate these favs when stocking my own home.
While I’m always sure to have plenty of hot chocolate and homemade cookies prepped and ready to go, I also have a number of healthy options ready for the taking. I keep the fridge stocked with munchies like veggies and hummus, cheeses, yogurt and fruit combos. I also always have a big bowl full of the easy-to-peel citrus that my kids go for.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the laziness that often accompanies the cold weather cuddlies. Which is why I keep my freezer stocked with a few ready-made meals on hand, in the event we feel too cozy to flex our culinary muscles. We also have popcorn ready to be popped at a moments notice for those inevitable wintery movie nights.
Wintertime meal planning in my home embraces the season while also making attempts at health and wellness. There’s something to be said for tucking in to a meal of a nice hearty soup, cheese and baguette on those nights that are cold and unwelcoming. For other great menu options that include the use of vegetables and less fats and starches, I recommend visiting www.foodnetwork.com or www.thetastespot.com.
How will you show off your smartypants in coping this winter? Chances are, the more saavy you use in this cold, dark weather, the more you will savor it!