10 Winter Things

Forgive the rambling brain dump but I have been without much free time lately--see culprit above.

1. Seasonal uniforms. Do you have one?

My winter uniform is really serving me this year. Our house is over 100 years old, and the windows are original, so it's not an exaggeration to say that you can feel an actual breeze come through our windows at times, and NJ winters don't mess around. (It was zero degrees when we were eating breakfast this morning and currently it's 7.)

My current cozy uniform:

a Dudley Stephens turtleneck (an investment piece for sure but I wear one almost every day, they don't stain, they wash and dry beautifully, they're so cozy and cute-- I could go on and on. They rarely go on sale and they often sell out but when there's a sale I scoop one up.)

warm socks--these Smartwool ones and the survival socks from our local alpaca farm are my favorites. Nick gets me a couple new pairs in my stocking each year.

and these Sorel booties, which I get compliments on all the time. They have a more supportive sole for winter walks than UGGs, and at least in my mind they look a little more put-together. My only qualm is they are VERY hard to get on (so if you're pregnant avoid them!), but I can overlook that since they easily slip off without taking my socks off, which always drove me crazy about UGGs.

2. I am not winter's biggest fan, and this is the first winter I'm experimenting with using a happy light. Have you used one? Has it helped? I try and sit in front of it for 20-30 minutes most mornings, and I'll have to let you know if I still want to relocate to Florida come March.

3. Child development by age. Why is something like this not required reading for expecting parents everywhere? One of my new mantras when tricky behavior arises, rather than attribute said behaviors to that child's personality and expect it to happen forever: "It's the age." So helpful!

4. I'm always looking for crockpot recipes that have some texture to them, since Nick feels like most crockpot recipes end up mushy. These carnitas were a big hit with everyone, and although it's an extra step to broil them at the end, it's well worth it. I froze the leftovers and put them in cheese quesadillas last night, and there's still plenty left for one more use--maybe burrito bowls or nachos. Delicious!

5. Adding seasoning to meats + fish is not intuitive to me. Santa put this "seasoning system" in Nick's stocking and it has been SO helpful to grab one based on whether the thing I'm seasoning is from "Land" "Wind" or "Sea". I've done this with pork, chicken, salmon, steak, and shrimp so far and it has been delicious each time. Finally something that makes me look like I know what I'm doing in the kitchen!

6. My new favorite devotional. Don't let the cover fool you (or the low-quality publishing job)--it's a good one.

7. Just as my default method of handling a crabby child after 4pm is to put the child outside or in water, my pre-10am default is to turn music on. Everyone was out of sorts the other morning so on went the Laurie Berkner channel on Spotify and we had the best morning ever. Easy peasy.

8. I was doing some reading recently on the importance of warmth in childhood (here is a nice summary). My girls don't always like to wear layers, so I got them each a wool undershirt (and a wool onesie for George but that child goes through so many outfits a day that I haven't had him in it much yet) that they've been wearing every day. Bonus for me is they rarely need to be washed because of wool's natural self-cleansing properties.

9. Thursdays and Fridays are our "Mimi/Mommy/Georgie days" since Amelia is in school just three mornings a week this year. George naps for the majority of the morning, and when we can't get outside I'm often scratching my head for quiet activities to do with Mimi, who prefers active play to anything seated.

We have baked these blueberry muffins together two weeks in a row now, and it's a perfect activity for the two of us. Baking, while not my favorite activity or strong suit, is much more doable with one child than with two, and the more we practice together the easier and more enjoyable it becomes.

10. Painting, in addition to baking, used to fall into the category of "things my kids love that make me break out in stress-induced hives" but no longer! It's all about the logistics.

My new system: tape a large piece of kraft paper to the dining room table, invest in some spill-proof paint cups (key!), as well as quality paint and brushes. Put each child in an old t-shirt, and put some classical music on to prolong the activity.

Enjoy the peace and quiet!

What have you been loving lately?

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