Friday, November 21, 2014

And Then.....It Was Winter! I think?

Winter has descended upon us here in Michigan. At least I think it has. Pretty much so. There is snow and snow and snow, and a high of 28 degrees today. I know that the season doesn't "officially" start until next month, but it seems as though Mother Nature has other thoughts. I really don't mind, it was bound to happen sometime, right?


Once upon a time, around 1860, there was a little house built. This little house was much like other little houses of the time in being that it didn't have a lot of insulation. Or maybe any. I don't know. 
Over the past 150 years, somebody stuffed newspaper and STRAW in between the front walls of the little old house and the siding to help keep the heat in and the cold out. And I'm not sure that it's working!

I'm thrilled to be living in this little house 99% of the time, except when I have to take my shower in the Arctic, I mean upstairs. Although we've lugged the huge, heavy, wooden storm windows up the ladder and clipped them into place, it is still FREEZING sometimes. On the old part of the house, we still wake to Jack Frost covered windows and a definite "nip" in the air. For Jon and I, our bathroom is in the old part of the house, at the front, and that room especially, it seems to just want to perpetually be really reaaallly cold. Unless it's sweltering hot. But that's only in the summertime.

Even with super hot showers, which dry out my skin so badly, it's still not enough on the coldest of days to keep me from shivering. I've taken to bringing a space heater into the bathroom. (Don't worry, I'm safe!) I keep it many feet from any water, (the room is fairly large for a bathroom.) I turn it on and try to warm the room before hand, but who really wants to do all of this? Especially last year with the "polar vortex", I was dreading my icy showers. At one point, I almost called them quits in lieu of becoming an unwashed house hermit. But I didn't.

So any way, after having my first frozen shower of the year this week and hating it, I'd finally had enough! I needed too find a solution and amazingly it was RIGHT under my nose the entire time...........
I just used the other bathroom.

Yep. I just used the shower in Noah's bathroom that is in the "modern day" part of the house. You know, like a room that actually has insulation and not 150 year old windows. This bathroom is small, with a big heating vent and it's amazingly toasty! Not only that, but unlike our shower, one that has comically old and narrow pipes that practically drip your water pressure out, this shower has AMAZING water pressure! I literally forgot what real showers felt like! It was FANTASTIC!!!

I am never taking another shower in my bathroom again. At least not until the thaw. And now I feel like I have a game-plan and can face winter as both a warm and a clean person. 

Here are a few pictures from the past few wintery days........

There is nary a more joyful joy than THIS happening:

No, NOT watching Cartoon Network. Nothing more joyful than the turning on of the fireplace!
Now we're talking. This is how the evening should be spent, under thermal blankets, around the fire. 

I caught a picture of this adorable site a few nights ago. I'm so glad these two have become friends. Now they snuggle most nights while watching an episode of "Full House" together.  I'm not joking, they are both obsessed with Full House reruns. Just the other day they were SUPER excited when the episode about "Comet the dog" came on. Do you remember that one? Where a Golden Retriever allegedly walked from Ohio to California, (so Noah says) and then the Tanners adopted her? But then, her owner showed up to take the dog home. D.J. and Stephanie and Michelle were heartbroken, but the dog suddenly had puppies and they got to keep one....hence, "Comet."

So yeah, because of winter, you can make a fire in the fireplace and buy fluffy blankets and lounge on the couch while watching Full House.

Did you know that at not even five months old, Josie has her first job!? Yep. She's a personal trainer! Really! This is Lucy. (You might have met her before.) Lucy is my parents' dog. (They also have Buddy. See below.) Lucy is supposed to lose a few pounds, but doesn't usually run a whole lot. Her brother Buddy is eight years old, and he isn't inclined to challenge her to a race, but.....JOSIE is!!!

My Mom has hired Josie to come over a couple of times a week to zoom around her backyard and get Lucy and Buddy running. And run they do!

It's actually very very sweet. I feel like the happiest thing is Josie's life is when I say to her: "Josie! Do you want to go to Nana's house to see Buddy and Lucy!?" She starts barking and RACES to the side door, waiting for her leash and to hop into the car. She is CRAZY about going to see her Nana and her Aunt and Uncle dogs!

Their yard is quite large. Much bigger than ours and mostly wide-open lawn. This is a great time for Josie to run all over.

They play very nicely together. Lucy acts like a babysitter! I saw her help Josie yesterday when Josie became stuck behind a garden fence.

Josie was loving the snow on this day. She was actually trying to tunnel through it! Lucy thought she was crazy and tried to convince her to get up.

That's me in my snow gear. I was trying to get all of the snow and snowballs off of Josie. Snowballs actually form on her hair! Do you know how many times yesterday, I have to use the hair dryer on my dog? It takes a long time. I noticed that her new dog coat keeps her stomach and chest from collecting snow, so I'll be sure to use it next time.

So that's really the scoop. I guess other than that, I've been doing some shoveling and really trying to get used to being outside on walks and in my yard multiple times a day during cold weather. We still go outside in the backyard with Josie on every potty break. She continues to be interested in eating sticks and rocks and pine cones, so I can't let her out of my sight. I'm a little worried it's going to be a long winter....

We might at some point get a lead line that lets her go down the deck stairs and around the grassy area. Then maybe we could eventually let her out alone for a little bit during the winter. There are just too many chewing objects in the rest of the yard right now, with all of the ground cover and foliage and pebble paths. She'll outgrow the chew urge someday.

Oh! One awesome "winter" change..... I don't care about leggings anymore. I used to be afraid to wear them, especially in public. And now, well, I'm still scared, but I don't even care, I'll just wear them. It's too cold and snowy not to wear boots on my walks and in the yard. I need warm leggings to tuck into warm boots and I need to be comfortable and bendy because all day I'm running around, playing on the floor with the puppy or toweling her off. So yeah, don't care anymore. Leggings!

I have been trying so hard since getting my pilates tape in August, to do ab exercises everyday, and leg exercises too, and to take a lot of walks and to not eat after dinner. I'm trying to do things that help me feel less afraid of leggings. It's been fun. I guess you can't tell in that picture above because I'm wrapped in a puffer coat, but I'm trying to be MY best version of fit. I've lost about a pant size. About. Actually though, I haven't weighed myself in forever, it was just something about adding in resistance exercises and core exercises that suddenly started helping. Working those muscles finally! 

This is my new uniform for regular days at home:

I LOVE Lands' End's Starfish Collection leggings. They are very well made and thick and comfortable. They were recently 40% off, so I bought a couple more pairs. I'm also going to try their stretchy corduroy version leggings because they have had great reviews and are said to be warm. I'm a bit worried that they will be unflattering, but it's worth at least a try!

Then on top I wear two layers. A girlie tank top and cotton henley or waffle knit thermal. I've tried to find feminine colors like pinks and purples and little prints. And I've found tank top colors that compliment the shirt colors. Kind of to "cute-ify" such a casual look. I feel a little sloppy in this "uniform", so I try to at least look a little cute. Target has some good, basic tops by Mossimo Supply Co. Actually, I just found them on sale! Tanks for $5 and henleys  and waffle knit shirts for just $8! My favorite waffle knit is the print with tiny foxes and hearts on them.

(I have this shirt is a pastel purple and pink.)

(This is the waffle knit that comes in a tiny fox and hearts print.)

And finally, the most important part, the BOOTS! When  you're traipsing through the snow ten times a day, you need boots! I'm lucky that my Father loves to send me shoes. I found these reasonably priced, light-weight and comfortable, waterproof boots by Kamik on They are the "Brooklyn Boot" in plum, and I love them! 

They're light enough for dog walks and so far, the traction has been good. The boots feel warm, I haven't even...errr....worn socks! (I HATE nothing more than getting my socks wet, so I've just been avoiding socks since it snowed.) I think they look cute too!

And that's about it. My Lands' End coat has been holding up well and really keeping me warm. (It's 40% off today!) I've been wearing homemade hats that I've crocheted over the years and some mittens from last year that I found at Target. Oh! And my Mosey bag has been a lifesaver! It's just so versatile and goes along for the dog walks perfectly holding everything I need, like doggie bags and treats, my keys, phone. All in easily accessible pockets. The bag has been super durable so far. I just love it.

One goal I've had lately is to find more time to crochet for the relaxing aspect of it. Even if it's for just 15 minutes and I don't make anything major, crochet for me is very therapeutic. It helps when I'm feeling  anxious or stressed. 

Tonight I tried my hand at one of these crocheted snowflakes! It's a nice little tutorial from one of my favorites, Lucy at Attic24! She has the best web based tutorials. I made three, they're very sweet and I hope to make enough to hang in my windows as decoration!

And speaking of snowflakes and tutorials, my favorite crochet tutorials on YouTube are from the lovely Bob Wilson 123! I love love love her videos. She posted today (so very timely) a video on how to "stiffen" your crocheted snow flacks so that you can hang them up. Pretty cool! Take a look!

This week I also started an new board on pinterest called : EASY VEGETARIAN LUNCH IDEAS.
Everyday at lunch I'm just grazing, eating this or that with no plan. By dinnertime, no, before dinnertime, I'm starving! I've realized that I need to make proper lunches and I'm trying to come up with some good recipes. You might want to take a loot at the new board. It has some salads, like my favorite..."farro salad" and sandwiches like these gorgeous "Green Goddess" sandwiches from the site "The Bojon Gourmet! Yum!


Also, as a family tonight, we made homemade pizza and watched the documentary I AM by Tom Shadyac. It poses two questions: "what's wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better?" This was an incredible documentary. In a nutshell: world-wide, societies are straying from community and connectedness, and instead we live in a culture of competition and consumption. We are all connected truly and these days many of us concentrate more on what we want to accumulate rather than how we can help those that need our help the most. It sounds depressing, but actually this tale is told in a very inspiring way. You leave feeling like you can work to make change in this world!

And that's everything for now. :)

Until next time, stay warm my friends and enjoy the snow if you have some!
Lauren :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Lauren,
I am in Canada and winter definitely hit today. Lots of snow, been hearing the snow plough and gritter going around the neighbourhood tonight. Brrrr... I also live in a fairly old house and can never quite get it to be evenly warm throughout. We are all wearing nice wooly socks, sweaters and sitting under cozy blankets in the evening. I love the chance to make the house cozy by lightening candles and drawing the curtains things you don't do in the summer when it is 40 degrees even in the shade.
I haven't quite talked myself over to the leggings maybe one day. I can see how they make the boot wearing so much easier.
Keep warm, Jan

Anonymous said...

Hi Lauren,
I am in Canada and winter definitely hit today. Lots of snow, been hearing the snow plough and gritter going around the neighbourhood tonight. Brrrr... I also live in a fairly old house and can never quite get it to be evenly warm throughout. We are all wearing nice wooly socks, sweaters and sitting under cozy blankets in the evening. I love the chance to make the house cozy by lightening candles and drawing the curtains things you don't do in the summer when it is 40 degrees even in the shade.
I haven't quite talked myself over to the leggings maybe one day. I can see how they make the boot wearing so much easier.
Keep warm, Jan

Lauren said...

Hi Jan! \('-')/ Thank you for such a nice comment. I hope you are staying warm too! It sounds like you are. I love your mention of cozy socks and blankets. I will have to light my candles, that's right! Thank you for reminding me. I have some that smell nice, but I always forget to use them.

Don't worry about the leggings thing. If you do try a pair though, it was sort of life-changing. Lol. ;)

Thanks again Jan, I'm so glad that you stopped by!

Fifi said...

Hi Lauren :) I've got mega snow envy every time I see the news they show how much you chaps have had. So far we are having a normal autumn. Lovely pics of the pooches enjoying the snow. Lucy looks maternal. I laughed when you mentioned josie getting excited when you tell her she's visiting her aunt and uncle. My dog has various doggy pals and he gets very excited when we pull up at their homes. He does a sort of high pitch whistle. One reason I love snow is because he does and he comes back home cleaner than he went out. Plus he is shattered for hours afterwards.
Let's talk leggings! I love them but there are rules if you are venturing outside in them. Good quality material so they keep shape and don't show your underwear to onlookers and tops need to be more hip length than waist length. Yes they're fab with boots when dog walking, better than jeans dragging their hems in the mud and comfier. They're also great if you're travelling and sat down a lot. I feel inspired by your salad and pilates. I've been over doing the mince pies of late and feel bleurgh. I need more fresh and green.
Just coming to the end of a night shift and the birds are starting to sing. Some of the birds coming to your feeding station are beautiful, such colours! You have a lovely life, enjoy reading about it. Nerding is the new grey.

Lauren said...

Hi Fifi!!!! \(^-^)/!!!!!!!!

Thanks for your comment. It was lovely! "Nerding is the new grey!" Ha! That is so funny. ;)

Oh Fifi, if I could send you a little snow, I would. But actually, now our snow has melted! Although, more is supposedly coming our way tonight and this week. So, we shall see. It's fun watching the doggies enough the snow, isn't it! :)
I can just picture your excited pooch with his happy, high-pitched whistle of joy. That's so cute! Playdates with dogs has turned our to be one of my new favorites!

Ah, yes, yes! The "rules" of leggings! For many months before daring to don a legging outside or even just inside my house, I was trying to read up on these rules. It sounds terrifying to be wearing a legging and one's underwear is showing!? YIKES! I really Like Lands' End for exactly the reason you mentioned....they're definitely heavy weight and made well and NOT see-through in anyway. I also like the tank tops and shirts I linked to because they are quite long, at least on me. If you pull them down, I'd say that they go down to the top of my thighs. I want to find more tunics too. I'm just so new to all of these options.

Thank you for your kind words on my birds. Due to a bunch of reasons like my puppy being too interested in the discarded seed shells, I think I need to move my feeders to our side yard where the puppy can't go. I have a perfect window with a sofa next to it to station my feeders by. I hope they can find the new location! It's not too far.

Thanks again Fifi. Your comment was great!
I hope you have a wonderful, happy week!

Unknown said...

Hi, Lauren,

I just had to come tell you that I love your blog. You are one of my inspirations because you are so positive and kindhearted. You reply to pretty much every comment on your blog and you have a positive attitude that is contagious.
Thanks for being an inspiration.


Lauren said...

Dear Diana,

Oh THANK YOU! Thank you so so much for your comment. It really means the world to me. There have been days where I get up extra early to reply to a reader email or a couple of comments, and I hope that I can help to make a difference. I never know if my reply comments are seen. So thank you for telling me!

I'm glad that you enjoy the blog. I could never be me and muddle through life without the encouragement of friends-readers like you. :)

I hope you have a lovely, fabulous, wonderful weekend Diana!!! \('-')/

Valerie said...

Dear Lauren,
Loved reading your post today. =) Loved all the snowy pictures. Stay warm, that spot by the fire looks so inviting!
Happy Holidays,

Lauren said...

Hi Valerie!!! \(^-^)/

Thank you! I'm doing my best to stay cozy. :)

A very warm and bright holiday to you too!
Thank you for your always so kind and encouraging words. Your support is very touching and means so much! Thank you friend!

Lauren <3

Jimena said...

This is my first time here. I loved your hair! my mum never dyed hers and she is so beautiful!!
For your cold house, you can buy fireplaces that use alcohol. You just buy them and place them wherever you want. And move them so easily! They are not very cheap, but they only need alcohol to work, you will save on energy bill.

I'd love it if yoou visited my blogs. They are in Spanish, but they hace the option to be translatet.


Lauren said...

Hi Jimena! \(^-^)/

Thank you for stopping by and for your thoughtful comment! That's wonderful about your Mum never dying her hair. She must be brave and strong! And beautiful. :)

Thanks for your tip on the alcohol burning fireplaces for my home. I will definitely look into that. I've never heard of them, so your idea is very helpful.

I will go and visit your blog! Thanks for sharing.

I hope you're having a lovely week! :)


Delaine said...

Just wanted to say hello, and tell you I miss your posts. Happy New Year!!

Lauren said...

Hi Delaine,

That is SO SWEET!!!!! I miss you guys too. I promise to get back into the swing of things soon!

It was just a super busy holiday and then I came down with what I think was the flu. Today school break ends and back to real life! I'll write more as soon as things slow down!

Thank you so much for your comment. That made me smile. :)
Happy New Year!