Monday, January 25, 2010

Spring Tease

The mild temperatures over the weekend and rain diminished our snow so there isn't much on the ground. All that is left are the remains of the towering piles from where the snowplows had to dump when plowing. It was so good to see the grass and ground - to smell the earth again. Yesterday it looked and felt like March. But today we are back to the cold and snow is in the forecast!

This reminds me of a tip I came across in regard to having to scrape your car in the snow. It suggested that you put paper bags over the windows to eliminate the cleanup. I tried this a few weeks back putting the paper bags over the front window of my van. Unfortunately, over the night most of the bags blew off so I had to scrape anyway. I came across another tip this weekend that suggested rubbing a raw onion half over the vehicle windows to prevent the formation of ice. So I am going to try that next along with the other suggestion I found that said to try garbage bags over the vehicle windows. I'll let you know if the plastic bags work better than the paper. Looks like there will be some more opportunities with snow coming.

Another interesting tip I read talked about the power of color to enrich our lives. During these gloomy and dark winter days, it suggested making a point of looking at red and orange items to lift our moods. Another suggestion was to put bowls of oranges, lemons and limes around with the scent of the oranges and lemons being especially energizing. Can't hurt and it is worth a try. I cleaned my bathroom yesterday with an orange cleaner and have to say it was very refreshing and vibrant. During my cleaning over the weekend, I "found" some of those adjustable gel air fresheners in holiday fragrances. I went ahead and put them all out and now our home smells great. You can get these air fresheners for a dollar on sale, even the name brands such as Renuzit. What a cheap luxury!

Although my funds are too limited right now to afford flowers, that was another hint recommended to lift winter doldrums. Buy a bunch for your home. Here is a cute idea I saw. You cut some slits into the tops off some lemons. Then you use the shell as a vase for small flowers. This next one is pretty clever too. Take a lace doily and cover with fabric stiffener. Shape the doily over a bowl to dry and when it is finished, you have a cute container. And you could use it to display some of that citrus fruit!

Luckily, none of us have been sick this winter. Surprisingly, we have all been extremely healthy in the years since my husband's death. I just don't "allow" myself to get ill and am lucky I have a strong resolve and immune system because I do think that stress can play havoc with our health. But here are two home remedies for colds I clipped out in case we need them before spring is really in bloom.

Sore Throat Soother to instantly relieve the pain and swelling:

Add 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1 Tbs. Listerine to a cup of water and gargle, 3-4 times a day.

Cold-Weather Cough Quieter:

Mix 1 Tbs. lemon juice with 1 tsp. honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper, then swallow. The lemon adds vitamin C and reduces inflammation. The honey is soothing and coats the throat. The pepper increases circulation.

Interesting that both home remedies contain lemon juice!

For flaky hair which comes with winter and dry scalp, gently work 1/4 cup mouthwash into the scalp for 30 seconds after shampooing. The mouthwash contains less alcohol than dandruff shampoos so is not as drying to hair.

To get out of bed more quickly and energized on these gloomy dark days, press the tip of your left pinkie to your left thumb; do the same with your right hand and hold both for two minutes. Apparently this is an acupressure point that stimulates the release of adrenaline.

I read yet again how the repetitive motions of knitting and crocheting reduce anxiety and relieve tension. I love doing both, especially in winter. I am making a point to have a project always going and in my tote bag so I can work some stitches while waiting to pick the boys up from school, etc. This weekend I whipped up a display for our door. It has been bothering me that all the doors in our building don't have wreaths or seasonal decorations. When I lived in our home changing the door decor was always something I enjoyed and I often made whatever was displayed. But all my decorations are somewhere in the storage shed and I wanted something seasonal. Remember the giant mitten I made for my son's girlfriend at Christmas? I took that pattern and crocheted two mittens in contrasting blue yarns. They are now on the door looking very cute hanging side-by-side. When I come to the door now, I feel part of my fun-loving and creative spirit greeting me. It is feeling good to have a part of me that has been buried the past months start to become alive again.

One last hint. To cure a broken heart: clean, organize, decorate. I've read this before. While our lives can be unpredictable and unruly, one of the things we can actually control is our home environment. By gaining mastery over our living areas, we have some say in how we are living and managing our losses. I may have had to leave my home, but that doesn't mean I have lost the ability to put up a decoration on my door to brighten the gloomy January days.

Today I am grateful:

1. That the van's heat and blower are still working.
2. That we have had enough food this month and have not had to resort to PB & J or Mac and Cheese.
3. For lint rollers.
4. For warm showers.
5. For duct tape, which has surprisingly many uses.


  1. Great hints. Here are two more, the first from a lady whose kid I work with Last week she suggested I add a little honey and butter to milk and heat the milk. It was wonderful, but I liked it better with just the honey. Very soothing.
    Here's another from an ENT I went to for years. When you have a sore throat, gargle with buttermilk. It really works.

  2. Buttermilk? I'm going to have to try that one!!
    I heard that creative activities like knitting and crocheting are forms of meditation and that's why you feel so relaxed when doing them. I'll have to stick to plain old meditation because the closest thing to any type of sewing/knitting I can do is iron on hem tape!!

    The cold has returned here too. After 2 days of unusually muggy weather it was refreshing when it arrived today. The kind of air you just want to take a big, deep breath from.

    Love the airfreshner idea! I agree, any good smell in the house lifts the spirits. I try to light at least one of my candles every day just for that reason!

  3. I loved reading through all your helpful hints. I laughed about the flowers, because I bought a beautiful orchid for our bedroom, and it died within the week. It wasn't cheap. I decided to splurge a little, and it didn't pay off. I'll put it aside, and look for something else that is colorful.

    I'm enjoying all your positive energy.


  4. Thelma - I will keep your hints on hand. But hopefully, we won't have to use them!

    Kelly - I think any kind of hobby or interest can work as meditation. Sometimes I work a word search puzzle or color one of those geometric designs they have out now - coloring books for adults. Any activity that lets us use that creative part of our brains.

    I am finding the candles to be a big help for me right now in warding off some of this winter gloom. I've heard that the Yankee Candle brand is supposed to be the best for the fragrance strength and duration. But my cheap Walgreen's ones are doing the trick.

    Dan - I read about your floral arrangement in your post and am sorry it didn't last. But I'm still glad you got it. I think sometimes just the act of getting the arrangement counts for a lot because we are making the effort to care for ourselves. I would probably take the flowers back and nicely ask for a replacement. Or I'd at least let them know of my dissatisfaction.

  5. I find music is my best creative outlet.
    I too love Yankee Candle. I got several for Christmas from some of my families. The cool thing about Yankee is, even if you get a scent you don't like, they will let you go into the store and trade it for something you like. I have 3 waiting to go back. It'll be such a treat picking out the new ones!