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This year, our Midwest winter has been filled with an abundance of grey days, rain and a lack of sunshine. For someone who likes snow, skiing, and sunshine, it’s been a different winter for me. Instead of snow pants, we’ve been pulling out jackets and umbrellas.

Despite the grey, I’ve learned to ward off the winter blues by creating a few traditions that help bring life and light to our home, even on the coldest of days.

1. Family Fun Nights

Years ago, I was looking for a way to entertain my then-preschooler on weekend evenings when going out wasn’t an option. I started planning family fun nights, where I picked a theme and then planned a few easy activities around that theme. Back then, there wasn’t Pinterest, so I was mainly using a book of family fun ideas. But these days, Pinterest provides a treasure trove of free ideas. Our most recent family fun theme was snow (something we are lacking this year). Instead we made watercolor snow flakes and had an indoor snowball fight using paper snow balls. We’ve had themed nights that included games, water, costumes, service projects and holiday themes. I’m even planning a “Chopped” night at our house since our family loves to cook. Remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun.

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2. Winter Getaway

Because of school, we don’t get the opportunity to travel much in the winter. But we’ve found that we absolutely need some time away because getting away physically provides a mental break from our crazy schedules. So we’ve managed to set aside a short trip to a local state park or ski resort for tobogganing or skiing. This has been the perfect winter escape for us and gives us a needed break in the middle of a long stretch of no vacations.

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3. Small Pleasures

For our family, the small things bring needed relief on these dark winter nights. Candles, fires in the hearth, tea, books, games, and music—all these things help settle our hurried souls and bring us closer together.

Because we love Reese’s peanut butter cups in our house, this no bake chocolate peanut butter bar recipe is a wonderfully indulgent winter pick-me-up (you’ve been warned).

In the midst of a busy schedule, I have to push hard to find these moments, but I promise you, it’s worth it!

How do you make winter special? I’d love to hear your ideas! 

Sara

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