“To-Do List” for Winter Fun

This article was originally presented in slightly different form in our Winter 2012-2013 Catalog.

You know you live in Minnesota when the four seasons are: almost-winter, winter, still-winter, and road construction. (That’s how we see it here, anyway.)

And when you think that minus 10 degrees is “just a little chilly,” you’re definitely a Minnesota native. As Minnesotans or even Americans living most anywhere north of the Florida panhandle, at some point we just have to laugh at the cold and make the best of Old Man Winter’s visit.

Even so, Jack Frost can be a downright harsh visitor. The blizzard of the century hits; ice storms in the Midwest or South wreak havoc on trees and power lines, or even a few inches of snow in areas that don’t often get any can throw things (like cars) into a tailspin.

So when the inevitable frigid challenges of winter happen and we get stuck in the house because snow piles up or ice cripples our travel plans, it’s time to pull out my “Snow Day Survival Kit” to cope with the worst that winter has to throw at us.

pin winter funHere’s what you do!

  • Stay indoors. An extra car slipping around on the roads is not necessary!
  • Put on wool socks and your favorite warm sweater or hooded sweatshirt.
  • If you’re a woman: Take the day off from your makeup routine. Or better yet: Spend some of the crazy day playing with the new stash of Beeyoutiful all-natural makeup you just ordered. Do your eyes in a new color of eye shadow, or try a new technique for applying eyeliner.
  • Brew a big pot of your favorite hot drink. Coffee, tea, or cocoa.
  • Pop about 6000 IU’s of Vitamin D, because you’re definitely not getting enough of that! Here in the north, we get so little sunlight during winter that supplementing with Vitamin D is critical. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is no joke!
  • Bake some muffins. There’s something perfectly comforting about a fresh-from-the-oven muffin.  Pumpkin, banana, blueberry, or your favorite of Beeyoutiful recipes!
  • Snuggle on the couch with a blanket, your favorite person, or your favorite animal (or all of the above).
  • Pull out a craft to work on. Start that knitting project you’ve had waiting, or finish the photo album that’s been on the shelf for 4 years.
  • Find a terrific book to read. Last year in the dead of winter, I was riveted to the true story of Louis Zamperini as told in the best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption. If he survived being a Prisoner of War held by the Japanese, I know I can survive a measly winter storm.
  • Watch a Christmas movie. Or some other movie set in winter. (White Christmas, anyone? It’s a favorite around here.)
  • Make snow ice cream, sweetened with Stevia. My toddlers LOVE making this as much as I did when I was a kid. It’s a fun activity that makes really good use of that pile of fresh snow.
  • Call friends and family who live far away and chat for an hour or two.
  • Be thankful we’re not in the White Witch-ruled Land of Narnia. At least here, with winter, Christmas does come!
  • Put a new essential oil blend in your essential oil diffuser from Beeyoutiful. Enjoy the aroma, and know it’s helping kill off the icky germs cooped up in the house with you.
  • Put on some fun music and have an impromptu dance party with your kids or animals.
  • Write a REAL letter to someone you love. You know, the kind you write with a pen on a pretty piece of paper? Yeah, the old-fashioned way!
  • Spend some time praying for people who are truly suffering.
  • Make homemade pizza for dinner.
  • Put flannel sheets on your bed.
  • Heat up a rice bag to which you’ve added some of Beeyoutiful’s delightful Lavender Essential Oil, and get cozy.

Around here, we usually get the opportunity to “rinse and repeat” this list four to six times each winter. I love the snow, and my three-year-old will be in raptures the first time God opens His storehouse of white and dumps it on our yard.

But the cold? Oh my! I could do without the sub-zero temperatures. Yet we soldier on and thank God for a warm house, wool socks, fireplaces, and hot cocoa. And, of course, there’s always the beautiful promise of spring.

Johanna’s Favorite Winter-Day Recipes

Grain-Free Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree or fresh-baked pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup organic maple syrup or honey
  • 6 oz dark chocolate chips chips
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs and other wet ingredients in one bowl. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl. Melt chocolate and coconut oil together over low heat, and let the chocolate cool for 5 minutes. Add the chocolate and coconut oil to wet ingredients; then blend with a whisk. Combine the wet and dry mixtures until well blended. Scoop into muffin tins with paper liners. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm.

Vanilla Hot Chocolate (serves 8)

  • ½ cup cacao
  • Liquid Stevia to taste (substitute raw honey to taste if desired)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Small pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup raw cream
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 cups milk

Dump coconut milk and cream into small pan. On medium-low heat, whisk in cocoa powder, Stevia, and vanilla. Add salt, and mix until dissolved. Add milk, and bring to desired temperature. Taste and adjust sweetness as desired. Top with a homemade marshmallow or whipped cream, and enjoy!

Johanna Puelston loves her life as a wife, mother, a sometimes caterer, and freelance writer. She lives in beautiful Minnesota with her husband and three children. Feeding her family well and making memories together are two of her many passions. The Puelstons also love to travel, hike, make new friends, drink coffee, and laugh. 


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