Simple Ways to Survive Winter {Keeping it Real in a Pinterest World}

Keeping it Real in a Pinterest World | A Simple Haven

Welcome to “Keeping it Real in a Pinterest World,” where Breanne from This Vintage Moment and I explore what it means to live purposefully in a world that bombards us with a million good things.

We’re just two moms on a journey toward being ok with not being able to do it all and fully embracing the season of life that we’re in–with all of its joys and limitations.

Here, we share about our crafting fails, what we’re currently saying “yes” and “no” to, and the beautiful reality of daily life.  Won’t you grab a hot drink and join us?

eing Texas-bred, I generally feel chilly when the temperature dips below 60.  So when we moved north two years ago, I braced myself for snow drifts and unending winters.

Apparently either my expectations were slightly (and typically) dramatic or we’ve just had milder winters, because so far it hasn’t been all that bad.

Until this year.

The polar vortex continues to circle the Midwest, teasing us with balmy days of 32°F only to plummet to wind chills of -25°F.  My weather channel app keeps telling me  “limit skin exposure” and “bring pets indoors.”

So.  We’re inside a lot.

And while I’m content to stay home more days than not, being unable to go outside has made me just as antsy as my kids.

I’m sure I could search for toddler/pre-k activities on Pinterest, but honestly, if it’s a craft, requires many little pieces, or takes lots of prep time, it’s probably not going to happen at my house. At least not often.

Sure, I’ll spend hours refinishing an easel or making a tent, but doing something crafty with paper plates? Pass.

If that’s your thing, awesome. I will send my kids to your place to do crafts. 🙂

So, here are some simple ways we’ve been making it through (and even enjoying!) our house-bound days.

Simple Ways to Survive Winter

Daily Exercise

Ok, daily is the goal.  Every other day-ish is the reality.

Bun is starting ballet lessons, so I’m living vicariously through her—and this video.  She tries to do the moves with me and even baby brother joins in.

I’ve never made it through the whole thing (it’s an hour, I think). But after a half hour or so of stretching, pliés, and tendus we all feel better.  And more like real ballerinas.

Simple Ways to Survive Winter | A Simple Haven

And Still More Exercise…

If we haven’t done a workout video or been outside lately, I let the kids run laps around the kitchen/playroom or do “races” in the basement.  (Which, interestingly, sounds like this: “Ready? 3! Go!”)

If they were older, I’d tell them to run up and down the stairs.

They eventually need some reigning in, but under polar vortex circumstances, I’m willing to deal with a little extra crazy.

Simple Ways to Survive Winter | A Simple Haven

This one’s from last summer; in winter, we wear pants.

Water “Table”

Ingredients: beach towels + cups/spoons/bowls/colanders/measuring cups/droppers/etc. + warm water.

I put the towels on the kitchen floor and let them go to town pouring water from cup to cup, measuring, and making pretend drinks. The preferred instruments seem to be the fondue ladles.

They do this for at least a half hour with only brief interventions by me.

Yes, the toddler generally ends up soaked. Small price to pay.

Cozy Fire Time

Before we know it, warm days will be upon us.  So I’m cozying up by the fire as much as possible these days.

Bun isn’t napping as much lately, so we’ve started doing hot drinks and story time in front of the fire after her “quiet resting time.”

We’ve also started a weekly family picnic dinner on the living room floor.  Chipotle + Izzes + big sheet + fire = fun for everyone.

Simple Ways to Survive Winter | A Simple HavenWhat we do when we don’t own a sled…

Take Advantage of  25° Days

It sounds completely ridiculous, but lately 25°F feels like the new 50°F.  If there’s no skin exposure warning on my weather app, we bundle up and ride bikes, swing, and go for a walk.  The cat even ventures out of the garage to join us.

Lots and Lots of Art Time

Nearly every day after breakfast and again while I make dinner, we pull out the Play-dough, scissors and glue, and markers and crayons.

We’ve gone through rolls of white wrapping paper, over-sized coloring books, and drawing pads–and have the fridge to prove it.

Buckaroo is proving more trustworthy with crayons but has not yet grasped the concept of markers.

kids reading1

Lots and Lots of Books

We end up at the library about once a week, even if it’s just to pick up what I have on reserve.  I have a list of books to read in 2014 and a list of recommendations from Honey For a Child’s Heart and Read for the Heart that I’m working through with the kids.

(These are my personal favorites for kids!)

Come summer, we’ll be spending more time outdoors than inside reading, so I’m soaking it up now.

How do you survive winter, either with or without kids?

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About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • I love this so much, Jenn. And I needed to read it on a day when we won’t be venturing outside. Again.
    I’m going to start requesting books for the girls, that is such a brilliant idea.
    And water table? My girls will think they died and gone to child heaven. I did a rice bin last year and I lost my courage for that this winter. =)

    • Oh girl, that’s what constitutes most of our library trips: Running in to grab the reserves. Because baby brother can only be trusted for so long in the library ;).

  • brenda venable

    I love the following: when you said “my kids”, JR wearing a sundress during the winter, dinner on the living rm. floor, the laundry basket sled, reading time on the rocker…………… looks like RL is even reading along w/ big sis.

  • Well, I feel very wimpy saying that I needed to read this when I’m pretty sure you would LOVE to have our weather . . . but I’m a Texan and I’m a weakling when it comes to the cold! Thanks for these ideas and overhauling our play time this week!

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