Tag Archives: winter

Winter Escape: Sanibel Island

I hate winter. I can’t stop saying it. I have been wanting to take a break from Iowa winter and travel somewhere warm for years, and 2018 was the year to make it happen! In late January, we spent a week on Sanibel Island, Florida.IMG_3071

After traveling all day and then stopping for groceries (because that’s the kind of traveller I am…) we rushed straight down from the condo to the beach. My mom and stepdad were joining us on the trip and when my stepdad took this photo, I thought, “I’m done. We don’t have to do anything else. This is what I needed.”

Even though I thought that, we totally did more.


We spent our first full day hanging out on the beach, looking for sand dollars on the sand bar and exploring Sanibel Island. The birds in the courtyard by Jerry’s Foods was an immediate hit with the kids and we made many trips back over our few days there.


We did more exploring the next day and finished off our day with a “fancy” dinner at the hibachi grill at our complex. The food was delicious and it did my soul good to walk to dinner in my dress and sandals.


On our third full day on Sanibel, we went to the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve. In addition to learning about Ding Darling, his Iowa roots and all the animals at the preserve, we also quizzed math facts and state capitals in the car throughout the day. So we totally counted this as a school day 🙂 PE was spent swimming in one of the heated pools and we finished off our day with ice cream at Pinnochio’s.


The kids spent the morning of our fourth day at Sanibel Sea School, learning all about seahorses and other sea-related things. Aaron and I were busy not being with the kids, so I can’t say exactly what they did 🙂 I do know that they had a lot of fun though! We spent another afternoon hanging out at the beach and collecting a few more shells. Fun fact: Sanibel Island, Florida has some of the shelliest (That’s not a word. I don’t care.) beaches in the world!


On our last day on Sanibel Island, we went on a naturalist led boat cruise around Tarpon Bay. They also had a touch tank and several animal shells and skeletons to look at on land beforehand. It was fun to learn more about the history of the island and some of the animals who live there, but the best part was the dolphin spotting in the bay before we even left for the cruise! We spent the afternoon soaking up the sun, or swimming if you were under the age of 30, before finding seafood for dinner one last time.

When we got up to go to the airport the next morning, Chloe told me, “It isn’t nearly as fun to wake up early when we’re going back home!” So true, baby girl!  Even so, our kiddos continued to be great travelers, we made it home safely and we all warmed up enough to survive the rest of winter.

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Staying Warm & Looking Good

Winter seems to have come early around here. And it means business. The ‘real feel’ when C has to head off to school every morning has been in the single digits, or in the negative, for pretty much all of November. Even the walk from the car in to the school has caused tears for both children, because they’re sooooo cold! We piled on hats and gloves and zipped their coats up all the way, but their cute little cheeks were still unbearably cold.

I gave up my scarf for D on a particularly cold and windy morning, so he could make it back to the car. But a scarf – even one of their own instead of mine – didn’t seem like a good long term solution. I already spend plenty of time helping them get ready – zipping coats, putting on D’s gloves, helping with boots… I didn’t want to add one more thing to my list. I felt like we’d never get out the door in the morning!

In came a homemade, fleece, very small infinity scarf type thing. I’m sure there’s an actual name for it, but I don’t know what it is.


I had some fleece leftover from other projects, so it was just the right price and pretty simple to make. I basically followed the instructions from this tutorial. I didn’t take the time to do a hidden stitch to finish closing them up. I had thread that was an almost exact match for the fabric, and just decided it was okay if the stitches were showing a bit 🙂 I got both of these done in about a half hour while the kids watched a show, so overall it was pretty easy project.

The kids LOVE these. Their cheeks and noses stay warm, they can put them on all by themselves and the kids are pretty sure they look like ninjas when they wear them. Winning!

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I Hate Iowa Winters

I have lived in Iowa all my life, but I still hate winter. I don’t just dislike winter, I hate it. Hate is a strong word, I know. I tell my kids it’s not a nice word and discourage them from using it. But it’s pretty much the only way to describe my feelings towards the season. I am cold ALL THE TIME. The kids don’t get to play outside regularly and we all go stir crazy. We can’t make simple plans to go visit friends or family who live less than 30 miles away, because we never know how the roads are going to be. Not only is it cold, but it feels dark. Sometimes I think we’re lucky to get 8 hours of daylight. Less than 24 hours after the snow stops falling, and it’s no longer pretty and white, it’s dirty and gray.  And did I mention that I’m ALWAYS cold!?!

As a result of these extreme feelings, I’m not a huge fan of fall either. It’s not really fall’s fault, but winter does come right after it.  So as the temperatures start to cool down and the days get shorter, I can’t help but think about winter and get resentful towards fall. The picture below popped up on my Timehop today. Apparently, a year ago, we were worrying about snow already. (See why I don’t like fall…)


When I first saw this today, I thought, “Ugh! I hate winter!” Then I said to myself, “Don’t jump the gun with the winter hating. This was last year’s forecast.” And then, I actually looked at this week’s forecast – you know, just to be sure – and saw that they’re predicting highs in the 70’s this weekend! What am I doing worrying about winter? I should be enjoying the good stuff while I can! So that’s what I plan to do this week 🙂

However, I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m daydreaming about moving someplace warm(er). At least for one winter. For any winter lovers out there, or any fellow winter haters who have figured out how to survive with a smile on your face, I ask, What is your secret?

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