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.