I’m not much a fan of cold weather. Following suit, I’m also not much a fan of winter, especially the variety of winter I grew up enduring in the tundra of Minnesota. As I get older, however, I appreciate more the season of snow. I still prefer a warmer climate, but I understand that it bears some beauty and serenity to be appreciated in small doses.
No matter the season
The Quiet of Fresh Snowfall
If you’ve ever been outside during a fresh, light snowfall, you know how peaceful it is. It’s not particularly cold (in relative terms) and it’s silent. Unless you’re near a highway or busy road, snowfall brings a peaceful serenity along with a beautiful blanket of fresh winter wonderland to everything in it’s path. Despite not loving the cold, I’m always happy to stand on my front step while the snow falls and enjoy the silence of winter.
Anything soft and fuzzy takes the cake in the February deep freeze. Namakan, a Minnesota-based company started by a good friend of mine, specializes in winter accessories that keep you warm and look super cute. I’ve had my detachable ruff on my winter coat for a couple of years now, and it’s still kicking strong. This winter, I received a neck warmer that is so crazy soft on the inside! When I’m always cold, you better believe I’m forever on the look out for things to keep me cozy. Namakan is my jam.
Beauty of a Fresh Coat of Snow
Nature offers plenty to love, including the beauty of our backyard under a blanket of fresh fallen snow. Before the plows pile up the dirty brown slush on the sidewalks and footprints tromp across a perfectly placid sheet of snow on the ground, the sun sparkles off the crystals of fresh flakes resting on the branches of every tree. It’s so gorgeous, M and I talk about it every morning we see it. It never gets old.
Hot Chocolate (If Only For The Marshmallows)
Truthfully, I can take or leave hot chocolate. Even though I have a serious weakness for chocolate that I’m trying to kick, hot chocolate doesn’t do much for me. I do, however, enjoy a good marshmallow. M thinks they’re disgusting, and I can appreciate this. Marshmallows don’t mix with every ‘sophisticated’ palette. 🙂
We’ve made marshmallows from scratch a few times, so I know just how much sugar, corn syrup and gelatin they contain. They embody the opposite of healthy and zero waste whole foods I should be feeding my body. But alas, I indulge. I can’t buy marshmallows on their own because it doesn’t feel right to me. Gross right? Buying them to accompany hot chocolate for my boys after a stint outside in the cold, on the other hand, feels perfectly acceptable (and maybe even necessary).
Only in the last year or so have I come to appreciate in-season produce. It tastes so much better! It might seem obvious to some, but up until a year or two ago, I didn’t focus much on buying seasonal produce. I bought the same small contingent of fruits and vegetables my picky palette was willing to endure.
In our house, oranges and clementines battle it out for citrus superiority. No matter whether you’re Team Orange or Team Clementine (or maybe you’re a switch hitter), they are both pretty darn good and so delicious in season.
I believe my appreciation for in-season produce has, in large part, followed my efforts to buy more local produce. Of course, no one is growing oranges in Philadelphia in February. I know these are still shipped in from afar. Paying attention to what shows up at farmer’s market and in the CSA box, however, instills keen awareness of how quickly certain produce seasons come and go as well as how much better fruits and vegetables taste in-season compared to out of season.
While not everything we eat is local (by any means), sticking to more in-season produce saves us money, allows us to enjoy better tasting treats, and reduces the carbon footprint of buying food that would otherwise be shipped from thousands of miles away.
Fewer Showers & Hair Washes
I hate showering, and wet hair is the worst. I have respectable hygiene habits, but I don’t mind that I can slip by with fewer showers and less frequent hair washing in the winter. In the summer, we’re outside, getting sweaty and dirty more often than in the winter months. All this saves me time, reduces water usage, and saves energy due to less use of our hot water heater. Most importantly, I don’t have to wait for wet hair to dry.
Chicken Pot Pies
Winter warrants comfort food, and homemade chicken pot pies top my list of favorite comfort foods. I don’t recall my mom making them as a kid; maybe I was too picky to eat them back then. She started making them for me around the time T was born, packing my freezer full of single-serve chicken pot pies to pull out and heat up… while cross-eyed and exhausted from lack of sleep as a mom to a newborn.
Ever since then, I gather up the ingredients to make a stash of chicken pot pies for our freezer once or twice a year. They take some time to make, so I have to conjure up a couple hours on a Sunday to make it happen. But they are so worth it, and these homemade chicken pot pies are the best easy and delicious dinners on a cold winter night.
I grew up in Minnesota. I travel there for Christmas and for work periodically, including in the dead of winter. I lived in downtown Chicago for seven years, smack dab in the center of the city with two young kids. We walked everywhere in every season, pushing a stroller to daycare through piles of snow on narrow sidewalks. Philadelphia is warmer, but the temperatures hovered around zero degrees Farenheit last week. I have no shortage of reminders about just how much I do not like the cold.
None-the-less, I’ll give Old Man Winter credit where credit is due. Not everything about winter is all that bad. Some things are, in fact, quite beautiful.
Do you enjoy winter? If so, tell me your favorite thing about the season.