Winter Necessities

I’ve always had very dry hands and dry lips during the winter months. I always just assumed it was just what happened in the cold. Yes, hands can get dry and chapped in the winter. Yes, the same problem happens with lips. But this winter, I’ve noticed a difference and I’m making a pretty big assumption that it comes down to two changes that I made: water intake and Vaseline.

So, as I wrote about here I’m making a big effort to drink more water. More and more and more water. I have now made it part of my morning routine that I can not drink anything else until I finish off one full water bottle. In just the few weeks that I’ve been doing this, I’ve noticed that I’ve been having less headaches. (Although I did have one last night….it did not last long and in the past it probably would’ve lasted through today.) Have I been dehydrated all these years?!? Is that one of the causes of my frequent headaches?!? Honestly, I don’t know. And it’s only been a few weeks. And yes, I’ve still had a couple headaches. But, they haven’t been as frequent or as severe as I’ve had the last few years. So, the water routine is staying!

I used to be a lip balm addict. I would go through entire tubes of lip balm in just a few months. That’s….probably not normal. But, I realized the I was using the lip balms so often because my lips always felt dry! Was it the wax in the balm? I don’t know. But, I’ve switched up my routine here as well.


These Vaseline Lip Therapy containers are awesome! They are also great because I can quickly add some moisture…..and I use them on my hands for a little extra moisturizing if needed….or on my girls when they have chapped skin. And the rosy lips one has a light rose scent which is pleasant as well.

What products are your necessities for surviving the winter in the midwest?


Winter Checklist Update #6

What are your favorite holiday flavors? For most “seasonal” flavors throughout the rest of the year, I could really enjoy those flavors at any time. However, there is just something about the flavors of the holidays….I really don’t want them except for during the holidays. Those flavors are peppermint and egg nog. Sure, I might have peppermint flavored foods at different times of the year but it’s during the holidays when I really crave that flavor. And since you can’t find egg nog except during the holidays, I try to drink as much as possible. Within reason, of course. 🙂


The list thus far:

Winter Checklist Update #3

Traditionally, on past Christmas Eve’s, the girls and I have made cookies on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa (and for us to eat since Santa doesn’t really need two dozen cookies). I usually just buy some cookie dough and we use the sprinkles that I already have on hand to decorate the cookies. This year, however, we changed it up a bit.

When I went to the Wilton Outlet Sale (seriously…check this sale out if you are able), I picked up a gingerbread house kit. I thought that this would be a fun project for the girls and I to conquer during our Christmas break. (The first time that I attempted a gingerbread house on my own, the walls were held up with cans of soup on the inside of the house……)

Was it the prettiest gingerbread house ever built? Um. Of course not. But, we had a lot of fun putting it together and adding our own touches (so many marshmallows!!!!). And, it was actually really easy to put together so a great project to do with kiddos.

It’s not our typical “making cookies” adventure. But, it was fun and then we got to eat it.

Bonus: the house stayed up until we tore it apart to eat it! That’s a victory right there. 🙂

The list thus far:

Winter Checklist – Update #2

We are a week away from Christmas! That’s a bit hard to believe. … I’m not sure where this month has gone. But, the countdown is definitely on. We have already accomplished a lot from our list…..which is good because 2017 is quickly coming to a close…..

So, now I give you ……. “A Very Busy Weekend”

Earlier this month, we knocked off two items from our list in one weekend: Renegade Craft Fair and Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo. We had a great weekend, of course. The problem was the weather….. The weather was amazing! Sunny! Not cold at all! So that means that everyone was out and about trying to enjoy the weather.

We made some fun purchases at the Craft Fair. (Always nice to shop small businesses for the holidays.) I can’t show our purchases right now because many of them are going to be unwrapped as gifts. 🙂


This statue is outside of the building where the Craft Fair was held. The same weekend last year? That statue was covered in snow…..

Since the weekend was so beautiful, we also took the time (and literally a lot of time because it took an hour longer to get to the zoo than it should normally because of traffic) to go to Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo.


This was also the night of the “Super Moon” which is definitely evident in this photo. That moon sure is super! Once we got to the zoo, it was great…..well….once we were parked and had finally entered the zoo entrance, it was great. The weather was fantastic! The zoo was really packed (which is just what happens when the weather is almost warm in December) but it was nice to go and not feel like we’re freezing our feet off.

The list thus far:

Winter Checklist

It’s time for a new checklist. The winter checklist is full of winter-y but mostly Christmas-y things that we will hopefully be able to accomplish in the next coming weeks. Most of these things are ones that we have traditionally done each year. I hope that each of these things are things that our girls want to do for many more years to come.

Our list of winter must-dos:

When we do the summer checklist, we generally have about three months to get everything done and are able to do much of the list during the week since the girls and I are all home for the summer. For the winter checklist, however, we have to get it all done in just a few weekends (for the most part).

A couple of the to-do list items have already been accomplished. The Mag Mile Lights Festival was last weekend. It’s always one of our favorite events of the holiday season. It’s a great combination of two of our favorite things, Christmas and Disney.


Mickey Mouse celebrating his birthday on the Mag Mile

We’ve also already accomplished taking a picture with Santa – a couple times already! At the tree lighting at Yorktown, the girls had a picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. And then, once again, at a tree lighting – this time at the Shops at 900 North Michigan, the girls got to see Santa again and this time sit on his lap and let him know what their Christmas list consisted of.


The tree at the Shops at 900 North Michigan is truly stunning!

So, all in all, I’m feeling pretty good about our list. Hopefully, there will be even more Christmas-y things that we are able to do, even if they aren’t on the initial list.

Our list thus far:

What are your Christmas must-dos?

Garden Update – Here Comes Spring!

We had snow this week! Actual snow! And I’m not very happy about it! Now, I am fully aware that we’ve had a very easy winter for the most part. There has been very little snow and the temperatures have been fairly mild. I think that that’s why this week’s snow seems like such a giant leap backward. I thought that we were done with winter. Although, this year, it seems as though we were done with winter in early January……


The front yard is starting to wake up. There is new growth popping up everywhere. We did a lot of work in the front yard last summer. We moved a lot of plants and planted many new ones. I’m excited and anxious to see how all of the new plants do this year.

My Own Christmas To-Do List

It’s a well-known fact that it is very easy for me to overdue Christmas. There is just so much that can be done during the holidays in and near Chicago! How can you choose? So, well, I don’t choose and instead try to do everything. That might be why December is so exhausting…..well, that and I teach preschool so no matter what December is going to be exhausting. But, if you too are wanting to have a Christmas crammed with activities, here is my list of must-do’s during the holidays. (Close to Thanksgiving, I usually send Ryan a bunch of invites on Google calendar so that he knows what I’m planning.)

Mag Mile Lights Festival -This one is a great way to kick off the holidays, in my opinion. Plus, it combines two of my favorite things: Disney and Christmas decorations!

Christkindlemarket – It’s fun just to walk around but it’s even more fun if you buy some snacks. Since they are right across the street from each other, we usually combine going here with dinner at the Walnut Room.

Walnut Room – One of my all-time favorites. Ryan and I have been doing the Walnut Room since before we had kids. But, it’s even more fun now that we have kids. The girls love seeing the “Christmas fairies” and I love seeing the windows and the giant tree in the middle of the restaurant.

Holiday Magic (or “lights at the zoo.”) – Lots of zoos do their own version of zoo lights. We go to Brookfield because we are members there. But, I have many friends who go to see the lights at Lincoln Park Zoo and they love going there. So, I think that you are probably ok with picking a zoo and enjoying their lights. 🙂

Renegade Craft Fair – I love this because it offers a chance to purchase some interesting gifts for people.

Christmas Around the World at MSI – This has been one of my favorites since before I even lived in the Chicago area. The trees are beautiful and you still have time to check out some of the other exhibits after you see the trees.

Garfield Park Conservatory – This one is a new one to the list. But, it’s not a new one for a list of my favorite things to do during the winter. This really is one of my favorite places to visit in the winter. Walking in here in January, you can forget that it’s 2 degrees outside and just enjoy the tropical temperatures, sights, and smells. This was, however, the first year that we went during the Holiday Flower Show.

Walking (or Driving) Around And Looking at Lights – This one isn’t necessarily a “destination.” However, I do like to walk around downtown Chicago to see the lights. The big tree at Millennium Park always looks nice. But, I also enjoy taking a scenic route home from Target or the mall to check out neighborhood lights. And, a big part of our Christmas Eve tradition involves driving around and looking at lights. That’s what we do following Christmas Eve Mass. 🙂


What are your must-do activities at Christmas?