Passionate About Des Moines
and the Moms Who Live Here

The Groundhog is Lame: 9 Favorite Things for Winter Happiness

I’m not much for winter. My husband LOVES it. He lives for snow. He bought a snowmobile last year. It’s this time of year that I’d prefer to move south. I would like to be a snowbird in Arizona. This makes us slightly incompatible for about five months out of the year, but we are doing our best.

I wish I had a ton of fun activities for you to do on these subzero days and nights. While I don’t, my friend and fellow writer, Courtney, wrote this post and part two here with some awesome things for you and the babes to do in Des Moines this winter. Even though I don’t have many ideas for fun in the frost, I do have a list of things that make me happy this time of year, and they just may make you more cheerful, too. I give you: My Favorite Things That Help Me Through Winter 2013-14.

#1. Burt’s Bees – I confess, I’m a little new to this product. But in the past year, I’ve bought approximately 46 chapsticks of variation and asked Santa for “Burt’s Bees anything.” Santa delivered, and now I am proud owner of this:


There it is sitting at my desk being the best smelling/looking lotion in the world. It provides a nice little shimmer quality to your desperate winter skin. And people at work ask to sniff my hands. That’s awkward sometimes, but gratifying as well.

#2. Homemade soup – I’ve always been a soup maker. I love to make a big ol’ pot of simmering soup and feed Steve and my babies until they are full. A couple of weeks ago, I taught my oldest daughter, Olivia, how to make beef barley soup. She wrote down every detail and instruction on scrap paper. It was adorable. It’s fun to have your kids in the kitchen sometimes. Unless you are in a hurry to get something done in which case they need to skat. But this particular experience was magical for me. She told me this week that she wrote an essay at school on what she was most proud of, and it was learning how to make her mom’s beef barley soup. Awwww!!!! She still loves me sometimes/rarely in her preteen years!!! (Yay!)

#3. This shampoo/dish –


So divine there are few words. Target.

#4. Gold Bond Lotion – healing style. This is one of those tidbits of gold passed down from nurse to nurse. That’s where I heard about it years ago as a new baby nurse when my hands were red and raw and cracking in the middle of winter from multiple hand washings and alcohol gel assault. Regular lotion burned!!! This lotion is soothing, smells great, and never burns. Booyah!!!

#5. I’m pretty much always cold. Winter makes things much worse for me. Boot socks are in style right now, but I’ve found a way to stay warm and look not at all in style wearing them by wearing them under my pajamas! I do it and it is lovely and warm. My husband may think it’s incredibly weird, but I like to keep him guessing so I’m good with it. Check these out:

I want them.

#6. Friends! Remember those? I’m trying not to hibernate. I’ve crawled out of my work-to-home/Target rut a few times recently and met up with old friends. A dinner out, a night at the Civic Center, a fish fry from an ice fishing catch (NOT from me personally, obviously. I only eat and profit from our friends’ trip…. I’ll make pasta salad.), or just talking on the phone to a far away bestie. It helps me connect a bit like I would in the warmer months. I’m not out barbequing or anything, but it’s nice to get together.

#7. Just Dance – I realize I’ll never be and never have been a good dancer. But this game is fun to play with my girls! Most of the time, our resident toddler gets mad mid-dance session and starts hanging on my leg and whining, but otherwise and up until that point, it’s an excellent *indoor* workout and fun, too (especially with a toddler hanging dead-weight on your leg).

just dance

#8. Thinking about making curtains. Do you sew? I just learned a couple years ago when I embarked on a quest to make my first (and only, so far) quilt for my baby niece. I started when she was born, and I gave it to her like a year later. But it was awesome. Here it is:


Anyway, since we moved to our little house in the country, I have zero curtains. I have nice shades that are fancy and functional, but no curtains. I can’t imagine paying $24.99 for one panel. So, I think about making them myself. Think is the key word there. I haven’t done it yet, but I’m thinking about it. That should count for something.

#9. Dreams of tiny plants. I tell pretty much everyone that I dream of being a farmer. I would like a goat and I would name him Roger. My husband stands in the way of this dream, but only regarding Roger. He is supportive of my other farmer dreams. This year we tilled up a bunch of sod behind our machine shed, hauled it away, made a strange visit to a neighbor with horses and asked for some manure, tilled the manure in and fenced it. Voila!!! Giant garden-to-be! Even before we moved here, I grew tiny starts for our garden in the house windowsills for planting later in the spring. This is an awesome activity for the kiddos to participate in, too. We go to Menards (my second fave store after Target) and pick out our seeds. Then we buy a few flats and potting soil for planting. Then we get it done. In a few weeks, you’ll have tiny plants making you smile, growing away in your windowsill. NICE!! Here’s last year’s:


Okay, nine seems like a good number. I’ll stop there. What are you doing this winter to stay happy? Do you have any favorite things/must haves to get us all through the last of winter? Do share! Or are you like my husband and enjoy winter naturally?

Either way, it’s only 41 days until official *spring*!!!! The groundhog is lame.


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9 Responses to The Groundhog is Lame: 9 Favorite Things for Winter Happiness

  1. Bekah Riker February 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    So needed this today my friend. Thanks.

  2. Katie Cox February 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Perfect! The only thing I would add is wine…lots and lots of wine. 🙂

  3. Mel February 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    Katie!!! I forgot the wine…..there is our #10.

  4. Erica Douglas February 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    You’re hilarious!! My 6 year old would disagree with you about the groundhog. He has been educating me for the past 8 days all about him!

    • Mel February 7, 2014 at 12:29 am #

      Haha! I know, Erica. When my kids wanted to know more about the groundhog’s prediction, we quickly discussed it and I followed it up with a quick comment on his general lack of accuracy…He is not to be trusted! 🙂

  5. Courtney Wagler February 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    Great post! Thanks for the smile this morning! Shopping seems to be helping these past few weeks of really cold…not good for my budget! Getting tea with a friend is probably my favorite winter activity! I need to try that gold bond lotion – the chapped hands are killing me! 🙂

    • Mel February 7, 2014 at 12:30 am #

      Target and tea are for sure on my list too!!

  6. Lianna February 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    This post kept me from spiraling into a pit of despair today! Thanks for the laughs! 🙂

    • Mel February 7, 2014 at 12:32 am #

      I would take some of your chocolate lava cake right now. That would bring definite happiness.

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