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Challenge: Winter Survival Secrets

Keeping Warm

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Living in Vermont this year has been a challenge to say the least. With temperatures as low as 40 below Fahrenheit, surviving the winter hasn't just been about keeping warm, but also keeping busy when the outdoors is a no go - not just for my kids, but for my mother as well.

First to keep warm, there are 5 must have items:

1. Long John's. Great for the kids. Tuck in their shirt into their pants, so no cold air gets in.

2. Snow pants with bib. Keep the kids warm with snow pants, so they can play outside in the snow without getting wet or cold. Getting snow pants with a bib, so they come up chest high helps avoid the kids getting snow down their pants.

3. Insulated boots. When it's cold, the kids need more than those darned uninsulated Tiberlands or rain boots. Get them Sorel's or something like that that keep their toes warm and feet waterproofed.

4. Winter gloves. Making and throwing snowballs are no fun without gloves. Get the kids a pair of insulated and waterproof winter gloves.

5. Wonderful winter foods. My childhood is filled with memories of coming in from the cold and be welcomed by my mother with a warm cup of hot chocolate or a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Having something to reward the kids with makes the whole experience of going outdoors more enjoyable for them. Whether it's hot chocolate, tea, soup or ice cream doesn't matter, just make it memorable!

That takes care of the kids. The problem now is how to take care of my mother. She's not playing outside. In fact, when it's 40 below, she's not even going outside. So how do i keep her occupied when she has to stay indoors so much and miss some of her social routine of cards and gals?

For starters, I got her a smartphone for seniors, the jitterbug, which has large fonts and is not too cluttered. I also installed Google Duo, which is the equivalent to Apple's facetime. That way we not only speak to each other, but we see each other. I check up on her a few times a day and also have the kids reach out to her. Their smiles light up her face. Seeing her lets me judge her condition better than any phone call.

There are a bunch of gifts for seniors that you can get to help you and her through the winter. Like I said my favorite so far was the phone with google duo. When the weather gets a little warmer, and she can head outside, I got my mother crampons, to avoid slipping. Truth is, with the weather going back and forth, from freezing to raining, we've been getting a lot more ice days than usual. She loves them and feels a lot more secure with them. That with a walking stick with a spike on the bottom of it are perfect winter items for the mother or father in your life.

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