By Kim Taylor
When the arctic wind whips at your frost-laden windowsills, and your feet can never quite feel warm enough, then it’s time to find solace in these tried-and-true winter diversions and products. Stay toasty warm and avoid cabin fever with this roundup of everything under the weak sun to assuage your wintry soul.
The Vermont Country Store, based in a state where people know a thing or two about keeping warm, offers a wide selection of 6 oz. flannel sheets, 100% down jackets, thin-skin underwear, snow and rain boots, blankets, and other cold weather gear. Children will love snuggling into their whimsical Sock Monkey flannel sheets, and parents will rest easy, assured that everyone is snug. Check out the diverse cold-weather offerings at http://www.vermontcountrystore.com.
ecoLux + Waffle Robe
The cozy, plush ecoLux Robe, which is both eco-friendly and warm. This dual layer robe is made of soft, woven bamboo on the outside and lightweight bamboo terry on the inside. Its shawl collar, cuffed sleeves, deep front pockets, lovely piping and high-quality construction render this the ultimate in robes. Treat yourself to something warm and comforting at http://www.jonana.com/excoluxury-terra-spa-robe.html. Another cold weather lifesaver is the Hotel Collection’s Waffle Robe, which is thick and heavy duty for winter showers and baths. Stylish and available in white and pink. Find it at Macy’s stores.
Kangaroo + Sunbeam
Snuggle up before a fire or movie with your fleece Kangaroo Blanket from Hollandia, which features deep pockets for baby bottles, bibs, rattles, stuffed animals, or a remote and a bottom panel for tucking in feet. Choose between six funky colors at http://www.Hollandiainternational.com. Sunbeam also offers a wide selection of throws, heated foot pads and heated blankets for cold nights, including the world’s first heated comforter that can adjust to a room’s temperature in order to maintain a set warmth. Peruse the extensive lineup and variety of sizes at http://www.sunbeambedding.com.
With children and pets spending more time inside in the winter, you’ll be grateful for a Shark Cordless VX33 Hand Vac, which is not only light and convenient, but truly shark-like in its swift efficiency. The Shark can ingest popcorn, pet hair, gum wrappers, and all of the other small tokens of family fun, and what’s even better is the fact that kids will thinks it’s fun to clean up after themselves. Order it at http://www.target.com.
Snow days, sick days and February winter break translates to more toy time for children, so why not give them lead-free, safe and durably-constructed toys from VA-based HearthSong and Magic Cabin? The light-up Pictorial Globe from Magic Cabin serves as an inspiring and educational nightlight, and a reminder that it’s warm somewhere on earth. Select your favorite toys at http://www.HearthSong.com and http://www.MagicCabin.com.
Do it yourself projects are an ideal cold-weather pastime, so why not make your own high quality, eco-friendly soaps? Bramble Berry Inc. soap kits enable you to use your imagination to create soaps filled with your favorite fragrances and ingredients, including oatmeal, honey, coffee, chamomile, rosemary, herbs, clay, spirulina, vitamins, grapefruit, etc. The kit includes essential oils and starter ingredients –so why bother with chemical-laden, skin-drying soaps when it so easy to make your own? Find it at http://www.brambleberry.com.
Pad around in your robe and Bath Addiction’s textured Shaggy Slippers, which come in a light lavender hue, as well as white, blue and pink. Ideal for hibernating, these slippers are akin to walking on marshmallows. See them and other cozy, post-bath items at http://www.BathAddiction.com.
Too cold for a trip the spa? Then self-spa with Earth Therapeutics Self- Heating Gel Mittens & Booties. Lined with moisture-infused gel matrix, these cold-weather gems soften skin while gentle heat from reusable Self-Heating Gel Packs penetrate deep in the skin to stimulate circulation. Be kind to your cracking hands and feet -these mittens and booties are packed with nourishing healthy ingredients of jojoba oil, olive oil, vitamin E, canola oil, grape seed oil and soybean. http://www.EarthTherapeutics.com. If you want perfectly spaced, straightforward “yoga toes,” then after pampering your feet, consider giving them the Flex-Tastic treatment. Flex-Tastic toe inserts are soft and flexible, and a mere five minutes on each foot each day can make a difference in alignment; http://www.profootcare.com.
Pama Chocolates from Garrison Confections offer sweet consolation for the freezing weather, and February seems to be the optimal month for savoring fine chocolates. These colorful, lush chocolates are infused with pomegranate liqueur and crafted with traditional chocolate making technique. Peruse the seasonal samplings at http://www.garrisonconfections.com.
Light a few 100% soy oil, toxin-free Heirloom Candles on snowy nights for a winter wonderland effect. These paraffin and petroleum-free candles are also devoid of dyes and wax, and are manufactured in the U.S. Made from soybeans because they’re a biodegradable and renewable resource, this line offers incredibly clean, fresh fragrances as well as special holiday scents. They’re so rich and pure that their oil can be used as a skin softener. Choose your favorites at http://www.heirloomcandles.com.
Sub-zero weather frequently spawns the flu, chills and fever, and the Exergen TemporalScanner is a thermometer that captures your little one’s temperature by scanning the heat that comes off the forehead’s temporal artery, and best of all: it’s non-invasive, accurate and quick. Brace yourself: it takes on 2 seconds to get an accurate reading. Find them at Babies R Us and Toys R Us stores.
As long as you’re snowbound inside, give Dr. Ellis Jones’ new book The Better World Shopping Guide a read. Green your purchases by considering the environment and company ethics when choosing brands at the grocery store and local mall. Conscious consumerism will forge a sustainable future for our planet, and this 177-page, pocket-size book features 1000 companies and 75 product categories to provide parents with the information they need to make intelligent, green purchases. http://www.betterworldshopper.com Another book to lift your spirits when the weather won’t is Stacey Hanke’s book Yes You Can!: Everything You Need From A to Z to Influence Others to Take Action, which will serve as a reminder that even blizzards can’t stop you when you need to power through something.
The 36 Cube, a puzzle for the entire family, will keep everyone occupied; once you’re warm and cozy, you’ll want to tackle the intriguing mystery of its solution. Puzzle fanatics and newcomers alike will appreciate this challenge; available at Barnes and Noble stores.
Stay warm and content this winter, and when all else fails, make chicken noodle soup.