Bleak Midwinter Days

“I can’t seem to warm up today,” I told my husband for what must have been the umpteenth time since yesterday as I made myself a second cup of hot tea for the day.  Our winter here in the southeast has been crazy and unpredictable this year.  We’ve gone from temperatures in the 20s to temperatures in the 70s overnight more than once this winter. The lady bagging my groceries at Publix agrees with me that it’s no wonder everybody is sick right now.  “You never know whether to put on a tee-shirt or a sweat shirt when you go outdoors,” she tells me.  It’s true—One doesn’t quite know how to dress with temperatures fluctuating all over the place like they have been.  I can’t complain because it’s been a very, very mild winter for us and it’s February.  It’s hard to even call this a “winter” season.

It’s never been the cold days of winter that I dislike.  I’m sorta weird in that way in that there’s something I love about walking outside in the brisk cold and taking a big whiff of the cold fresh air.  The air smells so clean and refreshing.  And I love snow (which we unfortunately hardly ever see in these parts anymore).   It’s the consecutive days of drab, dreary and gray days that get to me.  It’s the sun not making an appearance for days on end that make me crazy.

Part of my introverted self  likes the hibernating season of winter when nature seems to be asleep and things just seem a little less busy and more quiet.

These are some things I use or do to get through those bleak winter days.


I’m a candle nut.  I love burning candles and tea lights at night.  I always have a candle burning on the kitchen table during dinner.  I usually have a few burning in my living room and den every night that are blown out at bedtime.  It adds some cozy ambiance to the rooms, a pleasant scent, and I believe some warmth to the room.  Every year at Christmas, my youngest son gives me a Fresh Balsam scented candle from Bath and Body Works.  It smells just like a Christmas tree.  I burn it throughout the winter.  It’s pretty strong as far as a scent rating so I can’t burn it long as hubby starts telling me it’s getting too strong and to blow it out.



Warm Baths

Who doesn’t enjoy a warm bath on a cold winter’s night?  It’s heavenly to relax in a scented bubble bath.  My favorite bubble bath scents are rose and lavender. Sometimes I’ll just use some  good ole Epsom Salts for these old achy muscles and bones of mine.  It does wonders.  My favorite is Dr. Teal’s Relax & Relief Eucalyptus and Spearmint.  It has a pleasant scent, opens up the sinus and airways (!) and I feel as if I’ve had a warm menthol rub after soaking in it.




This year, I’ve taken on a challenge to try to read 4 books a month or roughly a book a week. I’m not so sure I will be able to meet that goal in February as this is a short month anyway and the end of this month will be taken up with veterinary conferences and continuing education.  So I’ll be lenient on myself if I don’t meet my goal of reading four books this month.  I’m mostly a non-fiction reader but this year I’ve vowed to mix fiction reading in with my non-fiction books.  My January selections were:

Confessions of  a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim

A couple of years ago, I started collecting the Little House on the Prairie Deluxe remastered DVD series.  I watched them all and relived my childhood days from the 1970s.  I had heard that three of the actresses from the show had written memoirs—Melissa Gilbert (who played Laura), Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary), and Alison Arngrim (Nellie). After reading reviews on all three of their books, this one seemed to get the best reviews (by a landslide), so I read it and wasn’t sorry. This book had a little bit of everything.  There were some very sad and tragic stories from Alison’s real life but also some funny behind the scene tales from LHOTP.  Alison Arngrim writes with a lot of humor and I liked her style and liked this book.  I didn’t want it to end and wanted more (always the sign of a good book in my opinion).

Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World by Shelly Miller

I’ve followed Shelly’s blog for years and always enjoy her writing.  Rhythms of Rest is her debut novel and it didn’t disappoint.  It is clear that Shelly writes from her heart.  I love this woman!  This book is deep and meaningful and one I’m sure I will return to again and again.  I can’t wait to read more from her!  Oh, and I got the idea for this post off her blog.  🙂

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol by Joseph Lee Klapper, M.D.

I’ve always had picture perfect cholesterol until this past fall when I had my physical and annual blood work done.  Now I find that my cholesterol is creeping up.  This book is written in a simplified manner (I guess you knew that from the title, huh?) and it outlines the basics of lowering cholesterol.  No new earth shattering information learned in this one and it was somewhat repetitive, but it was good to be reminded of what I need to be doing (that I’m not).

101 Prayers For My Son by Rob and Joanna Teigen

I think this one is self-explanatory.  The prayers are enriched with scripture and deeply touching.  The prayers are short and concise.  I keep this one by my bedside and pray nightly from it.


I love flannel shirts, gowns and nightshirts.   And there’s nothing like sleeping on flannel sheets on a cold winter night!


 Hot Tea

I’m much more of a tea drinker than I am a coffee drinker, although I like both.  My favorite tea to drink in the winter is Bigelow’s Lemon Lift tea.  I sweeten it with honey and add a little squirt of lemon juice to give it even more of a lemony flavor.  It’s the best thing I’ve found for soothing a sore scratchy throat.  I’ve even turned the hubby on to it!



Hot Cocoa

Sometimes a girl’s just gotta have chocolate!  So when I tire of tea (which isn’t often!), I’ll make a mug of hot chocolate.  With marshmallows.  Don’t forget the marshmallows.  One of my favorite varieties of hot chocolate is mint hot chocolate.


Hunting socks

When I was little, my father used to let me wear his wool hunting socks out to play in the snow.  My feet always stayed so warm in those socks.  So sometimes in the winter, on those days when I just can’t seem to warm up, I’ll put on a pair of thick wool socks.  It seems to do the trick every time and gets not only my feet but the rest of my body warmed up too!



I purchased my SADelite light therapy lamp from Northern Light Technologies many years ago.  I wrote a post about it and Seasonal Affective Disorder here.  I love this lamp because it’s so portable and easy to move from one location to another.  I use it in the morning for some quiet time while drinking my morning cup of tea and reading my morning devotional or the morning newspaper.  I’m a true believer in light therapy.


The SADelite by Northern Light Technologies


photo credit:

Long Walks

Walking stimulates those endorphins and improves mood.  And I sure need that in the winter time.  I usually walk in my own neighborhood but sometimes the hubby and I will go walk in the woods in a local state park or go walk on the greenway.  I love nothing more than to go walking in the snow.  Moonlit walks in the snow are my favorite!


Don’t you just love this little country road?  I took this picture while in Indiana in October of 2015 while on a covered bridge tour.  I SO wanted to take right off down this road for a nice walk!



hubby and me- hiking boots

Hubby and I on one of our hikes.  Yes, we have matching hiking boots.


We always see a variety of wildlife on this greenway walk.  We see turtles, heron, fish, river otters, snakes, deer, and ground hogs.



I love to cook.  I’m one of those who has to have a recipe in front of me when I cook.  Chili and soups are favorites in the wintertime.  And yes, I cook a lot of comfort foods in the winter.  I also love crock pot cooking but don’t use my crock pot as much as I’d like.  I’m not really sure why.

sauteed meat mixture added to sauce mixture






strawberry shortcake

fruit salad

banana pudding

Jean’s Jiffy Banana Pudding

baked banana nut muffins

Banana nut muffins

cut pumpkin bread loaf

Pumpkin bread




Are you hungry now?  🙂

Crossword Puzzles, Word Searches, Solitaire, Mahjong, and Jigsaw Puzzles

I believe in stimulating those brain cells so I’ll usually work a few crossword puzzles or word searches before going to bed.  I play solitaire and Mahjong on the computer.  I’ve just recently discovered Mahjong and okay, I’m addicted.  Sometimes, the hubby and I will actually dig out an old Jigsaw puzzle and spread it out on the dining room table (that’s always fun to do with two cats)!  My oldest son is into all the Rubik’s cube puzzles.  He has quite a collection and loves them all.  Hand him a messed up Rubik’s cube and he can “fix” it in the blink of an eye.  My brain…. well it just can’t do ’em.



Mahjong…. I love it!



While I’m stuck in the house with nothing much else to do, I’ll try to find a cleaning job.  It may be just simply cleaning out one drawer (or 2 or 3 if I’m really feeling the cleaning mood hit). Sometimes, I’ll do a deep clean of the bathrooms or kitchen.  Today I’m reorganizing some kitchen cabinets and drawers and tomorrow I’m cleaning out the medicine cabinets. Lately I’ve been trying to make out a To-Do List but they rarely work for me.  I usually end up putting WAY too much on my daily  list that no human being could ever possibly accomplish in a month, much less a day.  So at the end of the day, I’m left feeling overwhelmed, defeated and unproductive. Not a good place to be. But there is something about marking stuff off of a to-do list that makes you feel good so I’m trying harder to be more realistic with my list.

cleaning caddy with cleaning supplies



These are just some of the ways I get through the bleak midwinter days.  What do you do to get through the dark days of winter?

Gail ♥

About Gail

I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, veterinarian, and wanna be writer. I love nature and animals of all kinds, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
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3 Responses to Bleak Midwinter Days

  1. Relax... says:

    She’s now in her early 40s, but daughter’s 2nd grade parent open house at school publicly hosted each child’s written slice of their homelife. Her answer to the first prompting question asking what your mother does: “My mom reads, smokes and swares.” Nothing about the swimming pool, the library, the bowling alley, the parks, the Timothy Tiger meals, the playdates, the toys, the cleaning, cooking, birthday parties, costumes, etc. I can only presume she wrote her response in winter. I still pretty much die and go somewhere readish, smoky and swear-y in winter. I like comfort food, comfort candles, comfort music, and dreaming about my next ocean day. 🙂

    • Gail says:

      Oh NO She didn’t! Ha! I bet the teacher got a big laugh from that prompt response. I guess they see it all! Kids sure can embarrass their parents can’t they? I could write a book!

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