Winterizing Your Life

It’s wintertime again and no matter where you live there are changes in the weather. Here are some tips especially for those who live in the regions where snow and cold are likely.

Winterizing your car, Suggestion One: Make sure you have anti-freeze in the radiator and extra in the trunk. It’s a necessity for keeping your car running.

Winterizing your car, Suggestion Two: Check your tires. This is the best time to switch to mud and snow tires if your area gets really wet or snowy.

Winterizing your car, Suggestion Three: Be sure you have good windshield wiper blades. There’s nothing worse in a snow storm than having to replace your wiper blades in a parking lot!

Winterizing your car, Suggestion Four: Be sure to keep an emergency kit in your trunk or back seat. The kit should contain bottled water, energy foods (candy, trail mix, etc.), a cell phone (a track phone should work if you don’t already have one), first aid kit, extra gloves, stockings and caps for every person in the vehicle, highway flares, waterproof sheets, and blankets. Check the kit before long trips and update the contents as needed.

Winterizing your car, Suggestion five: Be sure you have tire chains, even if you have mud and snow tires. Check them carefully to be sure they aren’t broken or damaged from last year and be sure you know how to put them on if you need to.

Winterizing your home, Suggestion One: Check your furnace and make sure the filter is clean. They aren’t usually expensive and are easy to install.

Winterizing your home, Suggestion Two: If you have a swamp cooler or other cooling unit that uses outside air, make sure it is tightly covered and secured. You don’t need a cold wind blowing through your home.

Winterizing your home, Suggestion Three: Be sure to check your roof well in advance of the first rains. It’s better to do a small repair in September than have to replace the whole roof in January. Also, make sure your rain gutters are clean and empty.

Winterizing your home, Suggestion Four: Be sure your fireplace (if you have one) is clean and ready to be used. Also make sure you have enough wood and that it is in a dry place. Wet wood doesn’t burn well.

Winterizing your home, Suggestion Five: Have plenty of candles and wooden matches in a convenient location. You never know when the power might fail. A good flashlight with extra batteries is always a good idea, too.

Winterizing your home, Suggestion Six: Be sure to have bottled water available and foods that don’t require electricity to prepare.

Winterizing your home, Suggestion Seven: Depending on how cold your area gets, wrapping pipes can be a very good idea. Under your house or outdoors, pipes can freeze and break if they aren’t protected. There are many types of materials you can use, including insulated tape, newspapers, or electric warmers. Of course, if you have a power failure, the electric ones won’t do you much good.

Winterizing your home, Suggestion Eight: Be sure your entrance doors and all windows seal tightly. Keeping warm air in and cold air out are the prime directives in winter. If you have a leaky window, there are several things you can do to fix it. You can get sealing tape and place it along the edges. You can tack heavy plastic over the window. You can even use old newspapers to fill the gaps and stop the leaks. For your doors, you can buy sticky strips at almost any hardware store to fill in the area between the door and its jamb. Under the doors, you can stop the wind from blowing in with rolled towels or one of the really cute, sand filled, cats or dogs that lie along the bottom edge of the doors. You can get these from hardware stores, among other places, or you can make your own. Get sturdy material and cut a strip a little longer than your door is wide by about ten inches. Make the seam as secure as you can get it along the length and at one end. Fill the tube with sand until its firm and tightly stitch the open end closed. How you decorate it is up to you. With a little creativity you can turn the tube into a cat, a dog, a log, a caterpillar or a flower bed.
Winterizing your family, Suggestion One: Make sure everyone has appropriate clothing for the weather. New raincoats, galoshes, umbrellas may be in order. It’s time to put the summer clothes away and bring the winter clothes out of storage. Be sure everything still fits! Just an idea, you can donate the winter clothes that don’t fit anymore to a homeless shelter or other charity in your area.

Winterizing your family, Suggestion Two: Have an escape plan and be sure every member of your family knows how to get out in case of fire or flood. Being prepared for disasters can save your lives.

Winterizing your family, Suggestion Three: Start drinking extra orange juice or taking vitamins with Vitamin C before the flu season kicks into high gear! Prevention is always better than dealing with disasters.

Winterizing your family, Suggestion Four: Plan some fun things to do if you have kids. Its great fun for them to visit the snow (if you don’t get much of your own), so plan a short trip to someplace where they can build snowmen and have snowball fights. Winter can be very boring for active children who are used to being able to play outdoors. You know your own kids, so find things for them to do during the colder months that will challenge their minds and give them some exercise.

Winterizing your family, Suggestion Five: Change your cooking habits just a little. During the warmer months, barbecuing is great. Salads and fresh fruit abound. Not so during the winter. Crock pots are wonderful inventions for every season. In the summer they cook all day and don’t get your house so hot you can’t breathe. In the winter, they have a slightly different purpose. You can keep soups going for hours in a crock pot while the idea of keeping it on the stove is both expensive and wasteful. The soup won’t keep as well on the stove as it will in a crock pot. It’s great to come home, shivering from the cold and be able to have a bowl of hot soup or stew immediately instead of waiting. Also, you can add a little fat to your winter diet (as long as you add some exercise, too, of course). Wintertime can be a food-lovers celebration and not pack on the pounds if you’re careful.

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