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4 important ways to prepare yourself and family for the winter months ahead
Being well prepared is the key to enjoying the winter months. These ideas can guide you in a few important ways on how to do this. - photo by Gary and Joy Lundberg
Winter is practically upon us. Its always a big adjustment to go from warm, happy summer days to cold, icy winter weather. Officially, winter begins December 21st, so you still have plenty of time to prepare. Here are a few ideas to help you gear up for some bone-chilling days that inevitably lie ahead.

1. Prepare your house for mother natures onslaught

Being warm and cozy in your home really matters when frigid winds lambast your house like previous past winters have shown can happen. Check out these winterizing suggestions so youre not left shivering in your personal palace:

Check the furnace so it is ready to go. Do this to ensure that warmth is going to waft through your home and bring feelings of comfort and safety.

Check windows and door frames for air leaks. You dont want Jack Frost sneaking into your home through un-calked cracks.

Have candles and flashlights on hand in all the rooms in your home in case of a power outage. Be sure your supply of batteries are updated too.

Shut off the outdoor faucets. No need to complicate your life with broken water pipes caused by freezing temperatures.

Make sure you have enough warm bedding. Winter weather can actually be quite pleasant when snuggling beneath a cozy quilt.

Have snow shovels and plenty of ice melt on hand. That includes having your snow blower checked and ready to go.

2. Prepare your car to face the storms

Cars need winterizing, too. Be sure to do the following on your car(s):

Check your tires and put snow tires on. Good tread on tires can keep you from sliding off the road or into another car. This is a must to keep you and your family safe.

Check that your antifreeze is up-to-date. Its not fun waking up to a frozen radiator.

Check your windshield wipers. Spend a few extra bucks and get some new ones. Nothing is more annoying and dangerous than wipers that smear and dont clear.

Make sure the heater works. Cold cars can be really miserable.

Keep snacks, water, a blanket and a first aid kit in your trunk in case youre stuck somewhere. Throw in a bag of ice melt for good measure.

3. Physically prepare yourself and family

Having the right gear to wear and food to eat during the winter months is important to combat the cold.

Make sure that your coat is warm enough to weather a storm. If youve been wanting to update your coat, now is the time.

Also, check out your kids coats. Have they outgrown their winter wear? If so, a trip to the store is in order. If youre on a budget, make a run to your local thrift store. Do it now before other caring mothers beat you to it. Often you can find new or like new items there that have been donated by stores going out of business or families who outgrew coats long before they show even the slightest wear. Grab some good boots while youre at it. Gloves and scarves, too.

Have enough food on hand. Fill your pantry with necessities in case you cant get to a store for a few days or even weeks. Extra water is vital, too. Being prepared takes the fear out of being stranded at home.

Plan ahead with a winter menu. Ask yourself what foods you and your family enjoy that warm the cockles of your heart.

If you list a few ideas ahead of time and have the ingredients on hand, half the work is done. Dont forget to add hot chocolate and soup on the list, as well as other favorites like warm casseroles and slow cooker meals. Oven cooked meals are great for winter, too. Not only do they warm up the family, but they warm up the house.

Update your medicine cabinet. Having a good supply of cold and flu remedies on hand before they are needed may save the day. Consider getting a flu shot.

Have an emergency kit of food and other sustaining items you can easily grab in case you have to flee your safe abode. Include some extra cash in small bills.

4. Prepare yourself emotionally

Be ready for those dark, cloudy days by doing the following:

Decide now to enjoy the winter weather. Notice how beautiful everything is after a snow storm. Take pictures and share them with family and friends. Surround yourself in the gorgeousness of the season.

Have some fun playing in the snow with your kids, spouse and friends.

Have good reading material on hand. Choose books that will lift your spirits and hold your interest. You could even join a book club and share the joy of reading with others.

Keep your house well lit. Light can chase away the winter blues. Have a good supply of light bulbs on hand. If you experience seasonal depression you may want to consider investing in a light box. Click here for more info.

Exercise. Take a walk, use a treadmill, do some aerobics or climb a few stairs. Keep moving in the winter months, and you will feel warmer and happier.

Call friends. Keeping in touch with the people who matter in your life will lift your spirits.

Hug your loved ones. That will warm your whole soul and theirs, too.

These few suggestions can help you enjoy the coming winter months. Being prepared will eliminate fear and provide comfortable days, no matter what weather blows your way.