The (Affordable) Parents’ 2021 Winter Survival Kit

By Emma Grace Brown, guest writer

No matter what, winter is always a challenging time for parents. It’s cold out, there’s not a ton to do, and kids and parents alike start to get pretty stir crazy. However, this year promises to be an even tougher time for many. Lots of families aren’t going to be comfortable with the sort of indoor activities and gatherings that have been winter-weather go-tos in previous years. 

We want to help you come up with ways to make this winter fun, despite the difficulties. To that end, we’ve come up with this 2020 Winter Survival Kit. We know money is tight for many families right now, so we’ve gone out of our way to make sure the list includes tips to keep these items budget-friendly. We hope it inspires you to have a safe, healthy, enjoyable winter: 

Outdoor Gear 

If you plan to meet up with people this winter, odds are it’s going to be outdoors. Since indoor gatherings are far higher risk than the alternative, it only makes sense to get out in the fresh air to see the people we love. If you want to meet outside in winter, however, you need good, comfortable, and most importantly, warm gear so it’s actually pleasant to be outside. 

Start with warm winter coats for the whole family. Grown-ups might be able to keep using their coat from last year, but kids tend to grow out of seasonal items before the next cold snap comes around. Outlet malls and shops like Nordstrom Rack are great options when buying for kids. You’ll get high-quality items without the sticker shock. Consider donating the coats your kids have grown out of to a local coat drive to help kids in need stay warm. 

Virtual Activities 

Using virtual means of connection, such as Zoom calls or video games, allow your family to stay in touch with non-household loved ones without risking catching or spreading COVID-19. If you don’t have a video game console, however, it’s easy to feel left out of the virtual fun. The good news is, there are tons of ways to play games with people virtually, no console required. 

There are plenty of online board games that only need a laptop, phone, or tablet for players to join. You can also check out hidden identity games such as Spyfall. Since this kind of game is based more on conversation and interaction than pieces or movement, it naturally lends itself to the video chat experience. Even party games like charades work surprisingly well over video chat! Stay creative and keep an open mind, and you’ll find tons of fun ways to connect online. 

Creative Play 

Finally, we recommend picking up art supplies and embracing creative play over the coming months. Studies have shown that, while the pandemic has made creativity harder, it’s also made it far more important. Art and other creative tasks go a long way toward working out the stress and anxiety the pandemic causes. Moreover, arts are notoriously underfunded in schools, so it might introduce your child to a passion they might not have discovered otherwise. 

A great way to find affordable art supplies is to look for a local second-hand craft shop. These are becoming more and more popular as people become more focused on reducing waste. If you can’t find one near you, you can also check out sales and coupons for local art and office supply stores. 

This winter, focus on finding low-cost ways to keep the whole family connected and entertained. Go gentle on yourself if the stress starts to wear on you, and give yourself space to mourn the winter you might have had. It’s always a challenge to be stuck inside, but creative thought (and lots of self-compassion) can make it easier. 

See more home and parenting hacks at Lumber in My Minivan.

Photo Credit: Pexels

2021 Winter Home Tour

After the splendor of fall and the grandeur that is our home at Christmas, winter is a time for me to simplify and just let my house breathe. We do so much decorating for Christmas that my home sometimes seems bare after we take it all down. I do like to keep some of our wintergreens and red berries out for winter, and fill in the gaps with other things (and by other things I mean snowmen). We do very simple decorating for winter and I’m very happy with the results this year.

This cute little vignette didn’t change much following Christmas. It sits on our sofa table in our front entry.
Our mantle: winter evergreen wreath with plaid ribbon and red berries, faux snow, white glass houses and zinc houses.
To me, this just feels cozy. There is a little left over Christmas but nothing that feels overly Christmas-y.
In our kitchen. This vignette hasn’t changed a lot since Christmas but we traded a white ceramic tree for a cute little snowman.
Isn’t he cute?
Beside our kitchen sink? More snowmen.
On our living room table? A trio of snowmen.
In my girls’ bathroom? Snowmen
I think that snowman used to hold a roll of tea towels. Maybe he needs to hold toilet paper since he is in the bathroom.
This is in our master bathroom. Wouldn’t you know? More snowmen. The one on the right is a tea light holder.
This is on our dining room table. It doesn’t have any snowmen but there are some in that room.

I may just have a snowman problem. Who wouldn’t? They’re cute, they’re wintery, and we live in NC, so we rarely get to build one. And there are worse things to love than snowmen 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

From Christmas to Winter: transitional decor that works!

Have you ever undecorated after Christmas and immediately felt that your house looked naked or empty? I have.

Did you know you can leave some of your Christmas decor out to serve as winter decor? You definitely can- don’t pack away all of your Christmas pretties. Today I’d like to share how some of your Christmas decor can transition to winter decor.

1. Candles

Do you love the look of soft Christmas lights and candles? There is no reason you can’t use white Christmas lights and candles for a soft, cozy winter look.

2. Do you want to display a snowman?

You know you just sang that like Anna from Frozen. Snowmen are perfect for winter or Christmas and you can leave them out from November to March if you want.

3. Pine branches and pine cones

You know what I love? Decorating with natural elements. Pine cones can be used to decorate for fall, winter or spring, and they can be used as vase fillers too. Plus, they’re pretty easy to find.

4. Red berries

Red berries are great for fall, Christmas and winter. I love how these things look mixed with the soft glow of candles or white lights. Pair them with some fake snow and they’ll look amazing.

5. Bottle brush trees

I love bottle brush trees but I especially love how versatile they are. They work well for Christmas or winter and they look great with almost anything.

I hope this gives you some great ideas for filling in those after Christmas bare spots.

Winter home tour coming soon!

2018 Winter Home Tour

2018 Winter Home Tour

2018 winter home tour

 

My home always feels so naked and so bare after Christmas time. We do so much decorating for Christmas that I feel like our home needs an opportunity to breathe when we take it all down.

For this reason, I like to keep my winter decorating very simple and natural. I even reuse some of my Christmas decorations, and since I’d rather decorate for seasons rather than holidays, I can leave all of it up until Spring.

Today, I’d like to share our simple, yet elegant farmhouse winter home tour. Basically, I’ve taken my favorite things about Christmas decor and incorporated them into our winter decor.

1. Candlelight and evergreens

winter vignette 2

One of the best ways to decorate for winter is to keep it natural. Here, I’ve used some realistic evergreen floral picks with winterberry and pine cones to decorate our china hutch.  I picked these up a few years ago from a local craft store and I’ve used them every year for Christmas and winter. Candles remind me of Christmas lights, and they just make our home feel so cozy and comfortable.

dining room sideboard

Also on our china hutch: some red berry sprigs and a red berry wreath. The berries match the red in our winterberry, and they’re so versatile. I use them when we decorate for fall as well. There’s also a galvanized pail of “snowballs” as well.  I love incorporating sentimental items into my decor, and this stoneware pitcher belonged to my great grandmother. I love using it to show off these pretty floral picks.

winterberry

2. Lanterns add a cozy glow

faux mantle

red lantern

I love lanterns! If you’re familiar with my blog, you know we don’t have a mantle (stay tuned), so I decorate this pass through in our dining room as if it were a mantle. I continued our winterberry and evergreen in here, but I also added a terrarium, a pitcher with frosted berry picks, two lanterns with candles, and two small candle holders with fake snow on them.

winterberry pitcher

3. Natural elements go a long way

winter ht- pineconesFront Entry vignette

I love the outdoors, so it isn’t surprising that I love bringing the outdoors inside. Pine cones are versatile because you can use them to decorate for winter, spring, and fall. Either buy some pinecones from a craft store, or pick up your own. You can find realistic looking evergreens and berries pretty much anywhere. I use these year after year and I love how realistic they look. This vignette is brightening up our entry way.

wintervignettedining room

Our dining room table contains this vignette made from a Pepsi crate I found in the mountains last spring, a gallon jar with more evergreen picks, a milkglass bowl of pine cones, and a scale my grandmother gifted to me.

Well, folks, that wraps up our 2018 winter home tour. I hope you’ve enjoyed it!