I love winter. All of it. The cold, the outdoor activities, the hunkering down. I even love the snow.
But I know winter isn't everyone's favorite season. Some people just survive the cold-weather months. Loving them isn't even a pipe dream.
Wherever you fall on the winter-loving spectrum, here are some great tips to help you weather the 67 days until the first day of spring (March 20).
Wet boots solution - Fill a large baking tray or serving tray with pebbles or river rocks. You may be able to collect your own, or find the rocks at a craft store or dollar store. Put your wet shoes and boots on the tray, and the liquid and dirt will fall down through the stones, where the water will evaporate. Note: The tray should be cleaned now and again. Dump the rocks into a colander and rinse them, and scrub the tray base.
Made-from-scratch hot cocoa - Absolutely nothing beats coming inside from playing in the snow, to a warm, rich cup of hot chocolate. Try this homemade recipe, and you'll never use packets again. You need milk, sugar, cocoa, vanilla extract and mini marshmallows (optional). Mix ingredient in saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
Indoor winter fun activities - Sometimes - rainy days happen even in winter - you just can't get the kids outside to play. Strap some wax paper "ice skates" to the kids' feet and let them skate inside on the carpet. Make snowflakes out of coffee filters or yarn and sandpaper, or get crafty with foam sticker printmaking, or watercolor tree paintings! Make an indoor snowman out of newspaper, when there isn't any real snow for an outdoor snowman.
Safe winter travel - The best advice for driving in a winter storm is not to drive at all. But if you have to go out, there are a few precautions you can take to stay safe. Check your tire pressure. Fill the gas tank, which does double duty of giving go-power and adding extra weight to your vehicle. Program your car radio for a news station (like KYW 1060 AM) for traffic reports and emergency messages. Keep a basic winter survival kit in the car, including flashlight, batteries, snacks, water, gloves, boots, first-aid kit and blanket. Don't forget winter travel gear, like an ice scraper, snow chains where applicable, jumper cables and road flares. It's also a good idea to keep a cell phone charger in the car.
Snow-shoveling survival - Spray your snow shovel liberally with cooking spray. Spray both sides before shoveling, and the snow and ice should slide off the surface easily, even in wet, heavy snow.
What's your favorite part about winter? Least favorite? Tell us below!