For today’s Michigan Monday post, I wanted to share with you a few ideas for savoring a winter weekend inspired by our corner of the woods. If you follow us here or on Instagram, you know that we live in the northern woodlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, near the coast of Lake Superior, mostly removed from the semblances of city life. Indeed, on Sunday, we tried to track down a copy of the New York Times, hoping to spend the afternoon reading the paper together over coffee and attempting the crossword puzzle, only to find that we, and all the gas stations and coffee shops we called in the nearby town, are far outside the circulation area, reminding us of our remoteness. (Which to us, doesn’t feel all that far off the beaten track, a sure sign of our having settled into life in the U.P.!). That said, I wanted to share some scenes of our woodland winter, and hopefully inspire ideas for savoring your own winter weekend. Here are five simple ways to embrace and enjoy the rest of the snowy season.
Ease into the morning.
With darker days and snowy, often-hazardous commutes during the week, taking time to savor a slow winter morning is a well deserved luxury encouraged by the season. Taking a day without deadlines or responsibilities, as was our Sunday, allows the opportunity to experience a slower morning, enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea, and let the morning unfold at a quieter pace. Temperatures here were below zero, so while we wanted to get outside and play in the snow, we instead chose to build up the fire in the wood stove, brew a fresh carafe of coffee, and watch the sun slowly peek through the trees.
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Get out and play in the snow.
Having an outdoor winter hobby or sport to enjoy naturally makes the season more enjoyable. We look forward to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowbiking, getting outside as much as possible during these wonderful winter months. Perhaps you enjoy skiing or snowboarding or ice skating, but just haven’t been able to find the time to get out and play–let this be your encouragement! Find a day or a few free hours where you can get out and play in the snow again, or make time to try a new outdoor activity (I highly recommend snowshoeing as it’s accessible to beginners and you can often rent snowshoes without needing extra equipment). If winter sports aren’t for you, then even a little time outside, watching the snow fall, building a snowman, or having a snowball fight, a little playtime can reignite the spirit of the season.
Prepare a hearty, comforting recipe.
Especially when it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than savoring a hot home cooked meal or decadent dessert. Winter is the perfect time to get out the trusty slow cooker or spend time learning a new recipe. This year I’ve been dedicating time to learning how to cook and bake, and trying new recipes has made even the bitterest of winter days more enjoyable. Likewise, the process of looking up new recipes and trying new ingredients might ignite a new hobby or at least help create an opportunity to spend time with friends or family learning something new and sharing the results. What better way to savor a snowy day than cozied up with a comforting home cooked meal?
Lose yourself in a project.
Sometimes it’s simply too dark, too bitingly cold, or too blustery. Even if you’re a winter lover like me, there are those days where it’s simply better to stay inside. Having (or finding!) a fun project to do, whether it’s something around the home or a creative DIY activity, can make being cooped up indoors more enjoyable. Some of my favorite projects to work on in February, which can be a winter slump for many, include redecorating or sprucing up a room (or two) in the home, and spending time learning a new skill or furthering a current hobby. For the home projects, I often find that simply rearranging the furniture and clearing off the surfaces can help brighten the whole space and provide a pleasant change of scenery without having to brave the wintry roads. Additionally, there’s no better time than winter to work on new or favorite hobbies. There are plenty of resources available on Pinterest and YouTube, and I’ve recently signed up to take a few classes through SkillShare to learn more about my current interests. What hobbies or skills have you been meaning to get back to or learn how to do?
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Savor the slowness.
After the mad rush of the holidays, the ensuing winter months of January, February, & March (and if you’re in a place like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, April, and May . . .) can seem slower and longer. Why not savor that slowness? The rest of the year can be chaotic and fast-paced, with all the activities of summer and fall and all the need-to-dos and places-to-gos, but often in winter, a slowness settles in with the snow. Following the rhythms of nature, winter is a time for rest. If you find yourself in need of a little winter re-framing, try taking or making some time to truly slow down, enjoy the peace of the season that lingers long after the holidays, and settle in with those activities that relax and restore. Sinking into a book or cozying up with a Netflix queue–with the intent of truly enjoying that slow time, rather than defaulting into it–can be one of the many ways to embrace the slower season. What are some of your favorite ways to take a “slow day”?
For us, our typical winter weekend incorporates all five of the above:
On Saturdays, we tend to get out and play in the snow as much as possible. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of coming indoors to warm up by the fire after a few hours snowshoeing, skiing, or playing in the snowy backyard with Copper. Most weekends, we make a homemade pizza from scratch or try out a new recipe in the dutch oven before settling in by the wood stove. On Sundays, I’m more apt to ease into the morning, sipping a cup of coffee or two while catching up on my favorite blogs or magazines, before either enjoying more time in the snow or digging into a project. Lately we’ve been planning out ideas for building out our van and mapping out this year’s garden (this year we’re getting serious with our planting!).
Whatever or whenever the weekend (sometimes this happens mid-week!), taking time to embrace the season helps us appreciate that all winter truly asks of us is to simply slow down, and rest. Spring is coming, so now’s the time to savor the snowy days.
How do you savor Winter? What are your favorite winter activities? Let me know!
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