Surviving Long Winter Days

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I love living in Colorado. Over 300 days of sunshine and outdoor adventures keep us active, healthy and happy. Though we avoid the numerous long, gray winter days of my Midwestern childhood, the months of January, February and March can be a challenge. The excitement of the holidays have passed and, some days, a dreary forecast have me starting the day with a countdown to bedtime.

How do you burn off steam and keep kids (and yourself!) sane?

In the Winter… Get Crafty

My girls love anything creative.

Though they love when I plan Pinterest-worthy crafts, they are just as happy with simpler art projects. The beginning of the year is a great time to empty out your pantry. A little glue and construction paper can transform leftover pasta, rice and dried beans into beautiful artwork.  Budding chefs will enjoy making “soup” with a bowlful of snow and leftover cereal and food coloring. Pipe cleaners, popsicles, and foil provide endless possibilities for building bridges, fairy houses, and secret containers to hide precious items from siblings.

In the Winter… Get Some Exercise

Another season of life found me at the gym somewhat regularly.

With little kids at home, I find numerous opportunities for us all to get a workout if we are willing. Crank the music and start a dance party. We love to play a “follow the leader” dance game where each child takes a turn inventing a dance move and the rest of us imitate it before giving someone else a turn. How else might you combine the funky chicken and a one-legged hop? Or, create your own CrossFit workouts at home, incorporating suggestions from your kids. Squats, running the stairs, planks, jumping jacks and indoor tag are regular staples in our house. Write workout moves on slips of paper and allow kids to take turns picking a move.

If the sun is shining, we bundle up and take a walk. The sunshine helps my sometimes cranky mommy attitude and it’s a great way to burn off some energy. When kids get bored, we change it up. “Can you walk backward and tag that tree?” “Do you think you can hop on one foot all the way to the mailbox?”

Who doesn’t love a challenge?

In the Winter… Get to Work

Finally, put those little kiddos to work!

As Mary Poppins wisely said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap, the job’s a game!”

Outfit each kid with a bucket of water and a sponge. With a little direction, motivation (snack after cleaning!) and some music, even little ones can be very helpful at washing baseboards, kitchen chairs, or scrubbing floors. Dump bedroom drawers and ask for their help in organizing. We have found numerous lost treasures buried at the bottom of drawers or closet corners. My kids usually get distracted playing with treasures found while I finish organizing.

How do you survive long winter days at home?

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Julie is a Midwest girl who moved to Colorado Springs as a newlywed in search of adventure. Over 16 years later, Julie and her husband Noah can’t imagine living anywhere else! Three creative and energetic daughters – Avary (10), Evelyn (8), and Piper (6) – know how to bring the fun…and the drama! An infant son – Everett – brings joy and a growing sense of boyhood charm. As a surprised-to-be-homeschooling mom, Julie’s days are filled with opportunities to nurture little souls, making lots of mistakes, learning how to ask for forgiveness, and finding opportunities to bless others. As a part-time grant writer for a local non-profit, Julie loves contributing to community efforts focused on serving our Colorado Springs neighbors in need. When blessed with a bit of free time, you can find Julie exploring one of our city’s beautiful hiking trails, swinging kettlebells, making a list for tomorrow (let’s be honest!), engaged in a heart-to-heart with a girlfriend, or enjoying conversation with her very kind husband.