How I’m Surviving the Polar Vortex

 What I'm Into January 2014

I just couldn’t resist this title…here are the things that have been keeping me sane and healthy during this crazy-cold month!

Thankful for…every hand-knit item I’ve ever made, especially the wool socks.  I’m so happy I’m a knitter when the weather is cold!

Cooking…freezer meals!  (The irony of this is not lost on me.)  I went to a freezer-meal-making party last weekend and I thought it was such a great concept.  I’m going to cook a few of the meals we made and I’ll report back soon!  I’ve also been doing my own version of freezer cooking by making double batches of casseroles and crockpot meals and stocking one in the freezer for later.  Weekday evenings go so much more smoothly to already have the main dish taken care of.

Planning…my son’s 4th birthday party. We had to cancel it last year because it was supposed to be outside at a park and we had a freak late spring snowstorm, so I’m trying to come up with something fun for him this year that won’t break the bank. I just found free Paw Patrol party printables, so that’s exciting!  (P.S.  If your child is asking to watch “Papa Troll” — it’s really Paw Patrol.  It took me a while to figure that out!)

Enjoying…getting to know some new bloggers in the SITS Tribe Building Challenge last week.  My “tribe” included these lovely ladies!

Listening…to Safe and Sound (Capitol Cities) Radio on Spotify.  (Hat tip to Tamara for bringing the awesomeness of that song to my attention.)

Watching…the new season of Downton Abbey. I know it’s basically just a soap opera with English accents, but I love it so.  Also, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned how much I have been enjoying Grimm.  It’s just the right amount of scary to be exciting but not give me nightmares.  In less awesome TV news, is anyone else totally over New Girl?

Fitness-ingit’s been a bit hit or miss around here lately, but the (free!) Nike Training Club app always has a good workout for me when I’m feeling uninspired.  Also, my gym has started offering a new class that combines spinning and bodyweight strength training that’s really fun.

WearingCurvy Skinny jeans from Ann Taylor Loft. They finally solved the skinny-jean/plumber’s-butt problem that plagues so many of us pear-shaped ladies. These jeans actually fit around the waist! Plus, you get to buy a size smaller than normal, so that’s always fun.

Praying…for a family member and a co-worker both dealing with cancer. Cancer sucks.

Reading…The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  It’s a mystery novel set in Barcelona during the Franco years, which I’m really enjoying so far — the mystery, not the dictatorship!  (Although it’s a little bit scary/suspenseful, and I’ve started hearing strange creaks and noises around the house, which is never a good sign.)

Drinking…lots and lots of Emergen-C (pink lemonade flavor).  I haven’t gotten sick yet!  (Well, I got a stomach bug, but no flu or colds — knock on wood!)

What’s been getting you through this crazy winter?  Arizonans and Floridians, feel free to gloat.

Linking up with Leigh Kramer.

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52 thoughts on “How I’m Surviving the Polar Vortex

  1. I read “The Shadow of the Wind” several years ago & thoroughly enjoyed it. There are a couple more in the series now – I haven’t read them yet but want to.

    I look forward to hearing more about your freezer meal adventures. Cooking for one, I want to find a good routine for being able to cook ahead & not “OD” on some things by eating them daily till they’re done. I always seem to have grand plans for cooking all sorts of things & then the plans fizzle out. Better meal planning is something I want to do more of this year.

    Will this extreme cold weather is getting old, it definitely is easier to handle with the hand knits!
    Amy recently posted…Ten on Tuesday: Winter WondersMy Profile

    • It’s a series? Oh, that’s exciting. I plan to post more soon about my freezer cooking adventures! I made pretty big batches of stuff since I’d rather cook a large meal and eat leftovers all week than cook every.single.night, but a lot of the girls at the party were dividing the meals up into smaller portions so they could have more variety.

    • Amy – a hint for freezer meals for one – I make all 9×13 dishes in either two 8×8 dishes, or 3-4 loaf pans. Then when I pull them out of the freezer, I know I have to eat 2-4 servings, rather than 12. And I always have plenty to share if I find that a friend could use a little cheer every now and then! 🙂

      • I do something similar just so we don’t have to eat the same thing all week! And having a meal to pull out of the freezer at a moment’s notice for a friend in need just makes you AWESOME.

  2. I’d forgotten how much I loved Downton Abbey in the break between seasons. Of course, I’m already two episodes behind – Sheila and I watched the season premiere together and I haven’t watched since – but I plan to catch up this weekend. It’s hard for me because Jim really doesn’t like it, so I always end up watching shows that we both enjoy in my limited TV watching time.

    Tell me more about the freezer cooking party – how it was structured, etc.

    And Spotify. I don’t understand it but I want to. Do you have to pay to use it? Or to use it in full? I have the app on my phone but it seems somewhat limited. Tell me more 🙂
    Shana Norris recently posted…One Little Word: DeliberateMy Profile

    • I think I’m a week or two behind on this season of Downton as well… I’m just always behind on all my shows, but my husband actually DOES like it — which cracks me up! He actually set it to record on the DVR and asked if I wanted to watch the season premiere with him. =)

      I’m going to write a full post about the freezer cooking party, but it was a direct-sales thing (which I normally avoid, but I made an exception) where we brought 10 freezer bags with the protein for 10 pre-determined meals, then at the party we added our veggies (which the hostesses provided) and the seasoning (which is what we bought). I think I could probably do it without the sales rep (plan the meals, buy my own spices/seasonings), but there were a lot of people there who weren’t really cooks and I could see how it would be a big benefit for them.

      Spotify — it’s like Pandora except you can actually choose what songs or albums to listen to instead of just choosing a genre. I think you can use it for free for a few hours per month. My husband bought a subscription and I mooch off of it… we just can’t both use it at the same time.

      • I was going to ask you to explain the party, too, but that one, I have heard about. My sister just attended one. I want to do it without the sales piece. I cook for my freezer monthly, and I love it, but it gets old doing it alone, so I really want to figure out how to turn it into a party. Not sure if it is easiest for everyone to bring their meat, and I buy the rest in bulk at Sam’s Club and divide the cost? Or to have everyone bring their own everything, but spices and just do it for the fun of not doing it all alone! 🙂 Oh the decisions that accompany trying to plan a party of any sort…
        jen b. recently posted…PrioritiesMy Profile

        • I would love to figure it out, too! I think the easiest thing might be for each person to “own” one recipe and bring all the ingredients (preferably pre-chopped) for it, you assemble food & seasonings into bags at the party, then everyone leaves with a bunch of different meals assembled. (Almost like a cookie exchange?) You could keep receipts and settle up the difference, since some would probably be more expensive than others.

  3. I actually thought the Nike Training App cost money. I have no basis for why I thought that but I did, but will check it out now! As for jeans, I’ll check out Ann Taylor, surprisingly I’ve been buying jeans lately at garage, I’ve worn through a number of pairs. I like them because they’re skinny with some stretch and high waisted, so my bum is not showing all the time. Plus they’re about $40 and usually you can get one buy one get one half price.

    • Garage… I’ve never heard of that place! (We’re kind of sheltered here in the midwest. =) ) Sounds like a good deal and a good style, though! Thanks for stopping by, Shanondoah!

  4. What’s getting me through it? Boots, a fleece jacket, TWO coats, gloves, hat, scarf, and earmuffs. and prayer every morning as I wait for the two busses I have to catch to work. EVERYTHING should be closed when it’s THIS cold!
    Erica recently posted…IF: January 29, 2014My Profile

  5. Glad you’re surviving in this polar vortex – I don’t like negative temperatures hmph. Sorry about the cancer affecting the people you love, that’s always really rough. I do love that song Safe and Sound but i’ve moved on to other addictive melodies >:) Thanks for the shoutout! 🙂 Have a great Hump Day Sarah! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted…GTFO: Mind Over MatterMy Profile

  6. I freaking adore Downton Abbey. It makes January and February much more bearable, don’t you think?

    I love to hunker down and read much of the time, but especially when it’s cold. I get into bed early and read.

    I try to always have at least two meals ready to go in the freezer all the time.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…January RecommendationsMy Profile

    • Yes – I get through the cold of winter with Downton and the unbearable heat of summer with So You Think You Can Dance. =) It’s all about finding a coping mechanism, right? My biggest problem with having stuff in the freezer is remembering to thaw it…! I guess with 10 new freezer meals from that party, I’ll have to figure it out!

    • You were maybe in a fitness tribe? I think there were tons of people in the challenge, but I definitely consider you one of my peeps! =) I drink way too much coffee on these cold days, too. I’ve been trying to switch over to rooibos tea in the afternoons.

  7. The thermometer in my car read -12 F yesterday – that a bit much even for someone who has been living in Wisconsin for 30 years. Getting me through the Vortex — one foot in front of the other, day after day. There’s more of that to life than we care to admit. But lots of prayers have also helped. Love you dearly. Aunt Brenda

    • I know, I really loved New Girl at first. Ah, breakfast in bed sounds lovely! When my kids get older, maybe I can train them to respond to a little bell that I ring whenever I need anything?

  8. I have been moving from one artificial heat source to another… my heat dish (from Costco), my heated throw (also from Costco), my heated car seat, my electric blanket on my bed… yep, not so much loving the cold. But also following Downton, checking in with SITS girls, cooking, and watching the birds devour the food I put out:)
    Seana Turner recently posted…My Best Organizing TipMy Profile

    • Heat dish? That’s a new one for me! I should have included SITS on my list — I just got started with them in January and I’ve really loved it so far.

  9. Oh my goodness! Could “curvy skinny jeans” be the answer to all my problems?! I am also a bit of a pear and keep waiting for the darn skinny jean phase to go away. I will have to check these out asap!
    Stacey recently posted…Asked and AnsweredMy Profile

    • You should definitely try some on! I was pleasantly surprised. (And we all know never to pay full price at Ann Taylor Loft, right? Just wait a couple days and they will have new sales.)

    • You’re the second person that’s mentioned the sauna to me as a way to warm up during the winter! I think I need to try it again — the first time I wasn’t prepared for the heat and it nearly took my breath away!

  10. I clicked on your link from Leigh because of the book picture – I LOVE Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and I loved The Shadow of the Wind. (The Angel’s Game, the next one, is a little creepy!)

    Thanks for sharing that Nike fitness app. I’ve been feeling uninspired lately, and this one looks cool!
    Jessica recently posted…January RoundupMy Profile

    • I’m really enjoying the book too, although this one is a little creepy for me (I’m a scaredy cat!) so I’m not sure I could handle any creepier. Thanks for visiting!

    • Yes — are you involved in SITS at all? ( If not, you should definitely check it out, it’s a great support system for women bloggers to learn more about all aspects of blogging, everything from making money to SEO to taking better pictures to networking with other bloggers. (I am clueless about, oh… 95% of what I just listed.) For the tribe building thing, everyone who wanted to participate signed up under a blog category (fashion, cooking, etc… I chose General) and we got assigned to a “tribe” of 10 bloggers that were supposed to support each other with comments, tweets, facebook likes, etc. during the tribe-building week. My group was pretty active and I loved getting to know some new bloggers that I think are now mostly all reading my blog consistently.
      Sarah recently posted…What getting back into shape after having a baby *really* looks likeMy Profile

  11. I am so over The New Girl. And can we talk about how sad it was to watch Chris Trager leave Parks & Rec. Ann is kinda blah so I didn’t care about her but man am I gonna miss Chris. I’ve gotta catch up on Downton Abbey. I watched the 1st season and loved it but just haven’t committed to watching the rest yet.
    Danielle recently posted…I Run My WorldMy Profile

    • Don’t worry… you’ll get to your blazing hot summer soon enough! This winter has been pretty bad, but I would never want to live somewhere that didn’t get all four seasons. Thank you for stopping by, Stevie!

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