Winter is upon us and it can be a very long season with the cold. Each winter we embrace the new change in temperature and find ways to make it more enjoyable. I’m sharing with you my 5 things you need for winter to spend your days just a little happier as the cold weather takes over.
Plug In Hand Warmers and Boot Dryers
I received USB hand warmers a few years ago from my dad. He spends a lot of time outdoors during the fall and winter so he knows the good items! They can’t be beat for standing around at playgrounds, sledding hills and parades, or those days when everything is bone chilling. This year, we’ve also added to our active household a boot and mitten dryer. Space has always been an issue by our back door bench and coat rack. The fact that this one can dry soaked kid mittens in less than 1 hour, or running shoes, or boots, is a big win. For a fold down device the size of a shoebox, it’s earned the space it takes.
Libby, Hoopla and Scribd Apps
I’ve always been an audiobook lover from my commuter days to my stay-at-home days. After my daughter was born, they’ve become my way to unwind and sneak in me time. I listen during a run, while washing dishes or preparing a meal. If I’ve got 10-15 minutes to myself, it’s what I go for often. Between the two apps, I started 28 books in 2021 and finished 22. That doesn’t count the number of kids books we’ve been able to try in both ebooks and audiobook collections with my daughter. I recently added somewhere around 10 books that have been sitting on my shelves for years that I’d like to see if I can fold into my audiobook reading and possibly clear off my shelves.
Libby is my preferred interface, but Hoopla is easier to get a book on immediately. I keep favorites lists running on both apps. Reading media coverage along with current bestsellers is a hobby, but getting those titles while they’re hot is something that’s tough to do. Holds often run greater than 6 weeks. Because of that, I’m planning to check out Scribd this year as well. It’s a subscription-based service that has a large pool for a manageable monthly fee, rather than requiring you to purchase each new title or wait forever.
My 6 quart Duo came to live with us in the winter when I was home A LOT with a baby, under 6 months old, and it’s been earning its keep ever since. Soup is our favorite in winter, but there are also so many other just plain good recipes are out there! Winter feels like the perfect time for all the hearty things that Instant Pots do so well. We use ours for everything from hard boiled eggs to white chicken chili to BBQ meatloaf and mashed potatoes (in one pot!) to steel cut oats, yogurt, and so much more. My tried and true add-ons in the last few years include an extra inner liner for ours. This way I can meal prep without having to stop and scrub down the last dish before I make a new one.
Winter Running Gear
I’ve been a runner for the last 13 years and I invested in good winter running clothes that very first year that are still going strong. Now I’m at the place where I’m replacing individual items as they wear out. The things that have by far outlasted every other article of clothing and that block the snow and wind include my Brooks running pants and CW-X compression tights. I also love my Smartwool shirts and socks. I head to Playmakers for those staples and to get a read on what products will work best for me before I invest. Even if you’re not a runner, winter running gear is sure to keep you warm if you head outside with the kids this winter.
I’m a paper planner girl and can’t do with less than a classic planner size in most systems. My current affordable favorite is Happy Planner. I love that they offer many different layout styles to accommodate the business part of my mind, but they also have the flexibility of minimally labeled sections to adapt to my current stay-at-home mom season of life. My must have additions include an inside double front pocket as well as a stick-on pen holder.