Good morning to  you!

Today is going to be a post full of fun and simple time-tested ideas for chasing the winter blues far far away.

January is just one of those months, isn’t it? The coldness of the weather that often keeps us inside here on the Prairie can lead to shorter tempers, weather doldrums, tired “kids” (and parents alike)….and many other not-so-welcome symptoms of living in a cold weather climate part of the year.

So since we consider ourselves “experts of-a-sort” being from Minnesota, and because “a merry heart does a person good” as the Good book says, straight from our home to yours…here they come.

Trick number one: When the Winter GROUCHIES invade the house, and everyone is mumbling, snapping or snarling, call a family meeting. Make sure these are put on days when it is gray and gross outside where there is no chance of anyone wanting to do anything other than sit on their tush and absorb another two hours of whatever entertainment venue they have already  been pursuing for a  part of the day. Turn on some fun, crazy music, demand everyone get up from the table (make sure Grandma is included),and have a crazy goofy dance party. You may put a hip out doing it, but I promise, you will have a much sillier household after that. And if you happen to have a teenager that would rather roll their eyes at you, just act like a loon, dance straight over to them, and wave their arms around wildly until they giggle and run from you like they are three all over again. After all, someone has to be the crazy one that gets all this started, right?

Trick Number two: Declare every single Saturday night Pillow Fight Night. No matter the age, I promise you, the idea that there is a pillow fight about to happen once the sun goes down and the troops are in pjs leads even Mom and Dad into wild pillow fight schemes. If you have a cat that thinks his family has gone crazy and jumps off furniture with his tail all puffed up running from person to person and yowling like mad when he gets hit with a pillow, well, you can just tell your kids that they will never meet another family like yours. Ever. And that no one can have sleepovers on Saturday nights. Ever.

Trick Number three: No matter how cold it is, find some way to get outisde and breathe the fresh air. If there happens to be sunshine, look straight into it and see how long you can hold your eyes open without going blind for an hour. Open your arms wide and embrace the cold. Then make sure to have a good cup of hot chocolate when you get  inside. Preferably with a cookie.

Trick Number Four: Always make a snowman. Always. Make him crazy, and bright, and make sure to make parts of him out of things that will attract the birds, so not only is he fun to look at, he is also entertaining to children who can only look out the window on those really yucky days. Those happy birds will bring other  birds, and  just seeing them  chatter  back and forth will lift your spirits.

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Trick Number Five: forget creating a box just for rainy days. Create memories by letting your hair down and allowing everyone who is stir crazy do something that is “out of the box” In  our family that means we do school under the kitchen table, paint giant panoramas  on the picture window, act out favorite scenes from movies,  or  make  cookies together in the kitchen.

Trick Number Six: switch meals. Have dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. Allow kids to eat dessert first, and make it something awesome. Another idea is to have a very fancy dinner “just because”. Set up the table with linens and china, and make it a wonderful party. Call it “WinterFest” and have everyone dress up and prepare a speech in case their name is drawn as the Special Guest . Make sure  everyone, from oldest to youngest turns out in their finest for the occasion,  and make sure the speeches are as silly as they can be.

Trick Number Seven: Randomly pick one day when everyone is home and bored, and make it a day where you all pike into the car, choose a destination, and head that  way. Pack snacks or a meal, and see what you find. That way, even if money is an issue,  you still get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air.

Trick Number Eight: Learn fun things you can  do WITH the cold, such as blowing bubbles that will freeze in fantastic ways, or tossing boiling water into the air to make “snow”.  Find a friend and make an igloo if you can, or a sledding slope nearby and enjoy it.

Trick Number Nine: Break out the seed catalogs and paper and have everyone start planning and drawing thier own little garden for this coming  year. Dwell over the pictures, choose the best plants for your area, look  at pictures from the last year,and dream of sunshine, flipflops and warm breezes.

Living in the land of Ten Thousand Lakes (and a Million Frozen Fish) has taught me many ways to  keep the cold  at bay, and the heart piping warm. We need to remember that staying healthy means body, mind and heart….and that a little laughter, surprise and fun go a long way toward keeping us young and healthy all the way around.

Chase those Blues away, and dont let Winter get the best of you!

Blessings to  you and yours,