Saturday, October 15, 2005

Winterizing - is that a word?

Now that I live in a place that actually has a winter I couldn't pass up reading a thread on regarding the things people do to get ready for winter in places with a cold and snowy season that involves staying inside for days at a time. Thank you to all of 'my mothering moms' for making me not dread winter. I've decided to put together a blog entry about the things that hit home with me. It made me realize I could welcome winter and occupy my time with things in regard to that. This would also help with my fears of being homebound during this freezing season on the eastcoast.

First let's list all of the food items that you can prepare in the kitchen - not all of these things appeal to me but who says they can't make great gifts. There are various dried, canned, freezer, fermented, crockpotted, dehydrated foods that you can prepare for winter. Some are easier than others. You can dry tomatoes (sun-dried), leeks (for soups) or apple slices. Another option would be to can homemade spaghetti sauce, jam, apple sauce, tomatoes, pear sauce, fresh homemade juice, rhubarb sauce, tomato sauce, salsa, peaches, green beans, wax beans, butternut squash puree or creamed spinach. You can freeze soup concentrate, zuchinni bread, bread dough, cookie dough, casseroles, ears of blanched corn, banana nut bread or anadama bread. You can ferment saurkraut, cauliflower, red pepper, onion, garlic, ginger carrots, pickles (use grape leaves to keep them from being mushy, makes for a crisp pickle) or beets. You can crockpot soups, stews, chili or cocoa (have it waiting for you when you come in from playing in the snow). You can make apple sauce fruit roll ups using a dehydrator and stock up on bulk meat for the freezer.

I loved the idea of spending winter days baking bread or cookies as a great way to warm the house and create scrumptious baking smells. It also made me laugh to read that someone was planning on eating constantly for a few weeks and then hibernating all winter - if only it were that easy.

I've always aspired to be a gardener, why I think I can keep any type of plant alive is beyond me after all these years of killing house plants accidentally. Regardless, here are some things that I wanted to note for when I do try the outside gardening. Apparently bulb planting for flowers such as daffodils, crocuses, tulips, and hyacinths happens in the fall. You also plant perennials before the first frost, flowers like daylilies, asters, daisies, and black eyed susans. Garlic is planted during the autumn as well. Other things you can do to prepare your garden for the winter is to sew oats or use other cover crop or spread mulch.

Some chore-like activities that could keep you busy during the autumn season would include obtaining or cutting wood for your stove or fireplace or gas for those of you that have gas stoves that heat the house. Another chore would be to caulk any spots on the ouside of your house that look like areas where cold air could get in. Swapping the winter clothes in storage for the summer clothes or alternatively purchasing the winter clothes, boots and accessories needed. Apparently Sorrels are a great brand of boot. Other clothes you might think of purchasing include wool sweaters, waterproof gloves and handwarmers. Other items that you might want to dig out of storage or purchase would be snow shovels, throw rugs for wood floors, electric space heaters and a mat for wet boots. You might want to make a spot in the house ready for hanging wet mittens, scarves, hats and snowpants. Cleaning out your heater and changing the filter, getting the gas lines checked and cleaning out your gutters and chimney are also great ideas. It makes sense to close off the rooms that you don't use very often in order to conserve heat. Another heat conserving trick is to seal your windows on the inside with plastic. A fall clean up to get rid of the clutter will help to make the house not feel so small while you are cooped up inside all winter. You might want to clean out any clutter in your yard so that the kids can play in the snow without worrying about what is under it.

Winterizing your vehicle was a large part of the discussion. Sunglasses help with the glare from the snow. Items for your emergency car kit would include jumper cables, neon signs, flares, coolant, anything you would need to change a flat, large wool blanket, more than one blanket, box of crackers, water - a jug for the car and individual bottles for consumption, juice boxes, handi-wipes, paper towels, some cash and quarters, batteries, flashlight, maps, candy bars, energy bars, extra mittens and hats, a coffee can with a candle melted to the bottom, extra candles, matches, shovel, lock de-icer, broom, extra clothes for the kids, first aid kid and maybe some extra diapers and wipes. We don't like to think the worst but you never know what could happen out there.

A few emergency items for the house that I thought were great ideas included a crank radio, a coleman stove, extra water and extra canned goods. Sand, blankets, salt or grit for the car and driveway, a plug for the car are also good items to have on hand. Rags under your tires for a stuck car work better than sand or kitty litter.

Activities, projects and ideas that I found interesting include growing fresh herbs on window sills, knitting and stocking up on craft items so you have something to do on a cold day. A family jigsaw puzzles was an idea I found appealing even though I'm not usually into puzzles. I really liked the idea of window quilts, I think I would do different shades of blue fleece with white snow flakes and maybe use some batting in between layers of the fleece or maybe snowmen on red fleece, these could definately be fun and would require the kind of sewing I like (all straight lines) - you could also rig it somehow so that you have a way to lift it, like blinds. You could also make door draft stoppers, I envision some character with long legs doing the splits at the bottom of my door to keep the cold air out.

Definatley some awesome ideas. The mamas on the mothering site I visit everyday are awe inspiring individuals and I enjoy their online company whenever I get a chance between diaper changes and ten minute visit to the fridge while my almost two year old explores all the things he can't have. Thank you ladies!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I had to post a new pic of my little man. He will be two in December. He looks so big in this picture in his runners and jeans. More pictures at my homepage link.

We recently went to the Bronx Zoo and he had a blast. We also went to Toys R' Us in NYC and went on the indoor ferris wheel. He had a great time, even if mom was freaking out over how high up we were.

For those of you that don't know much about blogs. You can leave comments for each post if you feel so inclined. Feel free and check back often for new posts. I'm going to try and be more active on my blog in order to keep in touch with everyone.

We also went apple picking recently. Kaius kept trying to roll the pumpkins around on the ground, had a great time throwing rocks in the pond and exclaiming over all the halloween decorations. He loved the wagon/tractor ride and helped pick apples.

So... don't be a stranger and bookmark us so you can check back often.

About Janine

I haven't posted in a bit. Thought I would start writing as often as I could. So I'm hoping that the blog thing will help me. I've always said that I wanted to keep a journal. So... here's something I jotted down the other day about someone I love dearly. Thanks Janine!

There is woman I know and love dearly who helped me get through a very difficult part of my life. She lost her mother when she was a teenager and became like a surrogate mother to me when I was in my teens. Maybe that's why we were thrown in each other's path of life, so that a somewhat lost kid had someone to look up to and aspire to be like. Whatever the reason I won't argue with it because she has been one of the most influencial people in my life. Her three children are lucky to have a mother with such grace, honesty and love. I moved around constantly when I was younger and I am very glad that she wasn't one of those people that got lost in the mix between towns or schools. How do you effectively thank someone that has helped you in such enormous ways.

I was living with her and her family when she had her third child. He's a teenager now, I remember him sleeping on my chest for hours at a time. I was hanging around and babysitting her first two children when they were 2 and 3. It makes me feel old when I realize that they have graduated high school and both drive now. Whenever I am around them I feel young but can't believe how much time has past. There was a time that felt closer to those kids than I did my own sisters. After I moved out on my own there were times when we would see each other constantly and times that months would go by without a visit. They are family so it was never an issue between us when one of our lives got so busy that certain periods of time had more contact than others.

When I think about what part of my life I'd like to go back to, the time where I felt the safest, the time I felt the most happy, I think of my time spent living with them in their home or in the basement suite of their house. Even now when I have feelings about how my life has turned out, there are aspects that I would love to have now that I had when I was a part of their daily lives.

Janine and I don't agree on everything but we never really argue about things. I will have to admit that she is usually right about things in regard to my decisions, whether they be relationship based, financial or otherwise. Considering that she has three children, has lived a bit longer than me and knows me very well I probably shouldn't be surprised when she is right almost every time.

I aspire to be as strong as she has been in her life. I hope I have morals as high as hers. She's fair and honest. She is wise. She is connected to her children and has provided for them emotionally in a way that I have never seen anyone do and I hope I can do the same for my children.