Sunday, September 5, 2010

Preparing for Winter Comfort

Fall is right around the corner. I can feel and smell it in the early morning air. My thoughts are beginning to turn from the busyness of harvesting our small summer garden and fruit trees to preparing our home for the cold winter months ahead. I've learned over the past 30 plus years of 'keeping a home' that it's not wise to put off these preparations until the last minute otherwise my family suffers the consequences.

My husband and I were talking about just this very thing on the way to church. This coming winter will be a bit more challenging since all of my household items are not under one roof. Since we are temporarily living on my aunt's property in a small studio I have many of our household items stored in her sheds. It will mean much less work for me if I can prepare now while the weather is mild instead of waiting until a storm hits to start searching for extra blankets or running into town for medicine. I'll also save money if I can prepare ahead of time while watching for the sales on medicine.

Here is my winter checklist.
  • Oil lamps: I only have room for 1 oil lamp in our little place. It sits on my kitchen counter. It is full of oil and ready for use with a lighter sitting next to it. 
  • Flashlights: I have a flashlight sitting on my end table next to my bed, next to my husband's chair in the 'living room' and one on the kitchen counter hidden behind the oil lamp. I've learned the hard way that when you live in the country it gets VERY dark (think 'no street lights') when the electricity goes out. That is NOT the time to try and find a flashlight. When we lived in a larger home I had a flashlight in every major room.  I need to check the batteries and purchase more batteries for backup. 
  • Extra blankets: I'll be pulling these out to see if they need to be washed. 
  • Electric blankets: The electric blankets will need to be plugged in to make sure they are still working.  My daughter found one on sale last year so I purchased it for a backup. They are horribly expensive if you buy them in the middle of winter so I try to purchase ahead of time at the lowest price. The heat helps lessen the pain in my husband's back so I always want to have an extra one on hand. 
  • Heating pad 
  • Small room heaters need to be located and cleaned. We do not have central heat and air.
  • Winter clothes need to be pulled out of storage and washed. I need to take inventory of what we have and what we may need to purchase. I think we probably have enough clothes and coats to get us through another winter without any purchases. I've been picking up a few winter tops at the thrift store through the summer when I see them on sale. I just purchased 2 long sleeve blouses for less than a $1.00 each. 
  • Cold and flu medicine: I'll be taking inventory of what we have on hand, checking expiration dates and then watching the ads for 'free' products through the drug stores. We had our first round of flu and colds this past month. I was thankful to have cold medicine I had received free last year. 
  • I'm researching a few herbal remedies I want to try this coming year. One is an herbal tea recipe for colds and I'm also hoping to make cough drops. 
  • Soup: I made some wonderful, rich chicken broth that is waiting in the freezer to be made into chicken soup. I'll also be watching the sales for Campbell's Chicken Soup, just in case I'm the one who gets sick so my dear husband just has to open a can. I always try to keep a couple of extra meals in the freezer .. just in case. 
I love being able to make our home warm and comfortable. I remember how much satisfaction I felt when I used to tuck my children into a warm, clean bed at night. I miss those days but I find that same since of satisfaction knowing my husband's needs are met and he is warm and comfortable.

 She has no fear of winter for her household, 
for everyone has warm clothes. (NLT)

That's my beginning list. I'd love to know what you do in your households to prepare for the winter.


  1. Like you I start early too. This year is going to be so different though because we are in the process of renovating and then putting our home on the market. Great list. I look forward to reading your next one. Hugs

  2. One thing I did last winter was use this recipe ( to prepare cream of chicken soup mix. I found it to be way more economical to use this recipe than to buy cans of soup. I use a lot of cream of chicken soup during the fall and winter months. The recipe can also be used to make cream of beef or cream of vegetable soup mixes.

  3. nice to see a post from you and hope you and your husband are feeling better.

    I live in a modular (mobile) home and it gets very cold here in the winter without having much insulation. We cover our windows with plastic, we put away any outside things into our storage shed. I try also to stock up on plenty of food items since going out into the snow storms is not something we like to do much. We make sure we have water on hand. There's much to do when the seasons change.

  4. hello - this a very good post, practical and timely and not "far out"
    we don't have an oil lamp but I am going to try and get one.
    and I have prefered to buy medicine ahead of time ever since those Tylenol poisoning cases. Walgreens should have some great deals. I bought several bottles of Theraflu last fall but thankfully we never needed them.

    I know there is some controversy to them but hubby and I have been getting flu shots every year for at least 6 years now - and we plan to get them again this year

  5. Hi Georgene
    about the vinegar in the jalapeno sauce, I did use less. I chopped up the peppers and onions, then cooked them in the water. After they cooked, I just added the vinegar and a spoon full of sugar. I added the vinegar until it was the right "dip" consistency. I used regular walmart white vinegar but I think cider or wine vinegar or whatever you have would be good.
    My hubby really likes this sauce, he likes to mix it with salsa to make the salsa spicier.
    I plan on making more next year and canning it this time.
    If you try it, hope you like it. We really do

  6. I usually stock up on canned goods this time of year since there are usually good deals.
    I don't buy a lot of canned soup usually-- but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to have a little bit.
    I do usually buy ahead cold supplies when they are on sale and I have coupons.
    We're in a strange transition this year so I will have responsibility over two households--I plan to keep the bulk of my supplies in our base home--here, and only take what is needed for Hubby and I to the new one when we go--as we'll be back and forth.
    This year I do want to get some new bedding--but will probably wait for it a while.
    Otherwise we're in good shape. We go through most of our winter with sweatshirts and have heavy coats for those days when its really cold.
    Right now is the prime season for stock up of food I think--baking supplies not yet--another month or two.

  7. I have painted my flash lights with glow in the dark paint from the craft store and put it near the window so it gets day light and then glows when it is dark, but that place is only good if you have a open floor space infront of the window

  8. Very wise to plan ahead. We have started our winter preparations here as well. I have to think about our animals too. Our barn has enough hay to get us through to next spring and we inspected the horse blanket, checked the heated water buckets...The middle of a storm is no time to figure these things out!

  9. RYC-I'm feeling good. I've been kind of lethargic all summer and I'm starting to get back to normal. I just started Curves again. As I get older I find that it's a lot easier to pull a muscle or stiffen up and so I'm hoping it will help me lose weight, but mostly I'm doing it to strengthen my body. I did it several years ago and I can see that I'm a lot weaker now. I like your suggestion to get started thinking about winter. I think we are suppose to have a milder winter this year on the coast, but I'll have to give this some thought. I made herbal tea remedies last year, but didn't really use them. I didn't really get sick until the spring and summer. Good to hear from you. Linda

  10. Hi
    I found your blog from another I read and I know what its like trying to keep warm and money is really short. Atip my aunt tought me was this, sace back some glass bottles and fill them with hot water screw the top on very well and wrap in a towel. It is a good way to keep warm if you are snuggled in a chair. Apparently they did this a lot during the war.
    Hope this of some use

  11. Rachel.. I couldn't find a website to respond to your reply. That is a very interesting idea about the bottle. Thank you for sharing it. :-)

  12. Or purchase a hot water bottle (it is made of rubber with a screw in stopper, mine has NEVER leaked) at CVS, less that $5, and it will last for years. Before bedtime I heat some water and then fill the hot water bottle, when I get to my bedroom I pop the HWB into our bed. While I am getting ready for bed, brushing my teeth, my bed is getting nice a snuggly warm. I find that the HWB is still warm in the morning.
    We keep our thermostat set at 66, so definitely slippers, socks and sweaters are required and an ample supply of throw blankets and quilts are available to cover with evening. But the HWB is a lovely and simple way to feel toasty warm. When the HWB is not is use it hangs on a hook in the pantry.


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