Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cold Weather Essentials

The leaves are a far-off memory (at least here), the winds that are blowing across the fields are no longer the balmy summer breezes, but chilly harbingers of cold winter storms, the air is snapping with static electricity.  Winter is (almost) here in the middle.  Which means, I am stocking up on some essentials to see us through.  In the spirit of the cozy season, I thought I would share with you some of my favorites. 

During the summer, my skin is supple.  Smooth.  Perfect.  Yet once winter rolls around it is as if an arid desert sets up shop over my extremities.  I am suddenly chapped, itchy, and generally miserable.  I haven't found the perfect lotion yet-I am still on the lookout.  But I have found the perfect lip remedy that keeps me from peeling my entire face off during blizzard conditions.  Carmex. 
Oh that perfect yellow tin of healing balm.  Your red banner and white lettering reassure me that healing is close at hand.  My chapped lips will be soothed.  This Midwestern staple (since 1937) is one I could never face winter without.  It can be found in nearly every coat pocket of mine, purse, and work bag.  And it is easy on the purse strings, so stock up.  Then pick up a few for stocking stuffers.  Your family will thank you!
As a school counselor, married to a school administrator, with a child in elementary school, it is inevitable one of us-if not all-will come down with a nasty cold at some point during the winter.  No amount of hand washing and personal hygiene and vitamin C seems to prevent this from happening.  When the cold sets in, there are only a few things I want to pull off the shelf in our kitchen to cure what ails me (aside from regular dosing of hot toddys made with good whiskey, lemon, and honey). 

Bigelow's Lemon Lift Tea and Mrs. Weiss' Chicken (flavor) Kluski Noodle Soup are the two make-me-feel-better comfort foods I keep stocked in the pantry for the occasion that a cold will strike.  I have both right now.  Of course, if he isn't felled by the same illness, my husband usually will whip up a batch of his from-scratch, no recipe involved, warm chocolate pudding when I'm sick.  It warms you to your toes and is the ultimate in comfort food.  But these two-tea and soup-are what I've turned to since I was a little girl.  And as long as they're on the market, I will continue to do so. 

Chili Powder is always in our pantry.  We use it as a base spice for many dishes.  Yet in the winter it becomes essential.  My husband makes a chili that will make you swoon.  If a blizzard is in the forecast we don't stock up on bread and milk.  Nope.  We grab cans of beans, some vegetable juice, ground beef and spicy sausage.  The forecast on TV may be for snow, but in our house it is for a large batch of chili served up with peanut butter sandwiches in front of a roaring fire.  We will have leftovers for days and enough to freeze for weeknight meals, so going without the essential ingredient is unthinkable.
Finally the slipper to end all slippers.  I've been wearing these slippers, LL Bean's Wicked Good Slippers since I was 14.  In that time span I've gone through all of two pairs.  Honestly, I would only have gone through one if I hadn't gone up a size after having our son.  There isn't a better slipper on the market.  I beg you to find me one.  They are warm without making your feet all gross and sweaty.  They are soft and delicious.  (yes, I just called a slipper delicious, what of it?)  If you live anywhere that has chilly to absolutely freezing mornings, I can't encourage you strongly enough to invest in a pair.  Your feet will not regret it.

So that wraps it up readers-my list of essentials for this season.  The I-can't-live-without-items when the snow sets in.  Feel free to add yours.  I am open for suggestions!  And if you have the perfect lotion for me to keep the desert-dry skin at bay, by all means let me know!