Humor, Life, Nonsense

Things to Make Winter Not Suck (A lot Of This Is Gonna Be Food)

I am trying to like winter, but winter is not cooperating.

I hate winter, and I’m not sure when it started because I didn’t mind it when I was younger. When I was in therapy, we tried to solve the winter hatred puzzle. We put our heads together and concluded it was probably because I gave birth to both of my children during winter. Something to do with having babies, bouts of postpartum blues, and being stuck inside, which gave me some PTSD. When you combine that with my anxiety, you get seasonal affective, post-traumatic, winter depression. 

It got worse once I was in perimenopause and my estrogen levels dropped. Many women are unaware that once you enter perimenopause, your estrogen levels plummet, and that can give some women extreme bouts of depression from what feels like out of nowhere. Your gynecologist may not let you in on this little nugget of information.

I promise this post gets lighter. 

I decided with my new “homework,” that I was going to try to shed my winter hatred.

I’m on an antidepressant now!

I am out of perimenopause!

I can do this!

Tree Surrounded by Snow
Courtesy/ Simon Matzinger (Pexels)

Then January gave me a big old crap taco.

We have seen the sun twice in 2021.

Add in an insurrection and a shoulder injury of some sort that happened WHILE I WAS WALKING.  Walking in order to get out of the house because we’ve only seen the sun twice in 2021.

Things to make winter not suck

(a lot of this is gonna be food)

My friend Kari (yes, she spells her name like mine; no, it’s not me referring to myself in the third person) told me about hot chocolate bombs a few weeks ago.

I had no idea these existed until she sent the recipe to me. I thought it would be a fun homeschool project to make. Did we do it? No. 

Not because we weren’t excited or anything. We have the ingredients, we just didn’t do it. I think we went to the Starbucks drive-through and played a game instead?

But I made fish sticks for dinner. Does that count?

Remember my shoulder issue? Mike and I went for a two-mile walk in the woods in the snow on the day it happened. We had boots on and it was a “trek”. We also ran up a hill, and I was being funny and exaggerated the run. I believe I hurt my shoulder by being funny. By exaggerating the run.

THEN, that evening, I made these homemade fish sticks.

Over FaceTime the next day, I told Anna that I thought I aggravated the shoulder even more by making the fish sticks. Dipping, breading, egging, and so on.

And she didn’t blink an eye.


Of course, I could do that.

Of course, I could.

But dammit if these weren’t the best fish sticks on this side of the Mississippi River.

The Gorton’s fisherman would be proud.

Here is the recipe.

Ikea has released the recipe for the Swedish meatballs it serves at its stores.

Nothing says winter doesn’t suck like Swedish meatballs from IKEA. I miss IKEA. I don’t know why I’m not shopping at IKEA. They’re still open. In fact, I’m willing to bet if I go to my local IKEA on a random Tuesday morning, no one is even there.

I mean, I don’t really need anything from IKEA, but does anybody ever really need anything from IKEA? Furthermore, does anyone need an excuse to go to IKEA?

I just miss the idea of IKEA, I guess. Maybe I’ll eat these meatballs while wearing clogs. Here is the recipe.

White Votive Candle

Winter and candles go together like…winter and candles? Candle making might be fun? Apartment Therapy has a good tutorial. Or just go to Target and buy a candle. Not IKEA, though. Their candles suck. Oh, wait, not their tea lights. Man, I miss IKEA.

Easy Moist Chocolate Cake
Courtesy/ Life, Love, and Sugar

Ella and I have a fun tradition of making her cake on her birthday. But this year, instead of using a box mix which we normally use, we baked it from scratch using this recipe. It was incredible. Incredible isn’t the appropriate adjective to describe this cake.

It was magnificent.

I love cake. But the next day? I’m not usually interested. Box cakes usually lose their flavor and are dry and nasty. But this cake? I was hiding extra pieces on top of the refrigerator. Three days later. It was just that good. I am sharing the recipe with all of you because homemade magnificent cake is what will take the winter of 2021 to levels beyond what we are currently experiencing.

Do we need paper bag stars?



I am never sure if it’s my meds or sheer boredom or the soul homework.

Sorry, I am new to happiness and optimism. It’s like trying on a new pair of shoes.

Is that a blister or am I good?

DIY Paper Bag Stars
Courtesy/Alice and Lois

My meds, homework, optimism are is telling me that paper stars might be nice.

Learn how to make them here.

winter self-care
Courtesy/Blessing Manifesting

Looking for a challenge? Not me.

It involves self-care, so I guess it’s an enjoyable challenge.

Head here to read all about it. Or just write the ideas down from the above graphic.

THIS IS NOT MY PHOTO. Just plant porn.

I love this idea for several reasons. Plants. Lights. Plants.

You can read about her journey here.

Courtesy/ Hunker

This is probably more my speed. I could live under fluorescent lamps among plants.

Wonder what that says about me?

Courtesy/ Who the hell knows. Click the picture to take you to the Reddit thread where I found the picture.

This gives me a 70s pie restaurant vibe. Remember restaurants where you would walk in and the first thing you saw was a revolving dessert cabinet?

Why aren’t we still doing that?

 48” X 60” Acrylic on canvas. Framed in pine. SOLD
Courtesy/ Ashley Mary

I want her artwork all over my home.

Copy Cat Krispy Kreme Donuts Recipe
Courtesy/All Natural and Good

Guess what gives me migraines for certain? Donuts. What a shitty thing to discover about your life during a pandemic. Make some in honor of me.

See that up there? That is a gift from my mom. Think Colorforms for adults! I had it with all of my soul homework stuff and when I hurt my shoulder, it was the perfect remedy.

Because I couldn’t do things like cook or laundry or clean bathrooms. Aww, shucks.

Sitting on the couch playing with stickers is how I want to spend the rest of my days.

Think I will.

You can find them here, so you can play with stickers too.

You know what else is fun during winter? Dressing up the dog and having impromptu photoshoots.

If you don’t have a dog, insert your pet of choice. Or doll. Or stick. Or rock.

I made homemade hot chocolate mix while having a bad shoulder. It is that easy.

Courtesy/ An Oregon Cottage

Only mine doesn’t look as pretty because I don’t have fancy accouterment.

Exhibit A:

It’s a hot chocolate mix. I’m not reinventing the wheel.

Happy Winter, don’t hurt your shoulder.

30 thoughts on “Things to Make Winter Not Suck (A lot Of This Is Gonna Be Food)”

  1. So much to unpack here. First, I am also at that menopausal age where hurting your shoulder breading fish sticks makes perfect sense. Hell, I tore my meniscus stepping off the porch. Golden years my (ever expanding) ass. Plant porn? Love it. Dressing up pets for photos? Even better. I do take issue with you hating winter though. These few months of blissfully cold temperatures make my hot flashes bearable and suicide by conflagration less likely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with that last part. Summer used to be my favorite until peri menopause. I am in total agreement with you there. Hence the headache hat. I took the picture of me wearing it, by the way. I am saving it for the next tater tot post. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t even like fish sticks, but omg those look heavenly. I suppose homemade fish sticks could cause me to be interested. How dare you bash boxed cake mixes – they DO NOT lose their flavor . . . consider this from your GF friend with celiac who misses cake mixes like nobody’s business. I refuse to have their good memory tarnished. Again, homemade is probably better.

    Oh no- a shoulder injury while running to be funny? That takes some coordination. I think our parents would say to us, THAT’S WHAT YOU GET. But it isn’t the 70s anymore, so I hope it feels better and that you don’t continue to throw your body completely into your jokes. We’re aging, Kari.

    I hate winter because I hate being cold. I did also have 3 babies (half of my children!) in the winter. Close to Christmas. Ugh. I’m not hating this winter, YET. It hasn’t been ungodly cold YET. Once the below zero weather hits, then I will be hating trips to the grocery store and just getting in the car in general. The minivan’s heat is taking forever to get going lately. I’m all about: think spring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I grew up loving fish sticks but there are so many chemicals in the store bought ones. This recipe was amazing. And I used an air fryer. Omg do you own an air fryer? Life changing. LIFE CHANGING.

      Sorry about the box mix comment. I digress. I never would have thought that would be better for gluten-free! I’m learning every day.

      We ARE aging. Sigh.

      You’re right about the cold. We’ve had tolerable weather except for the no sunshine. I don’t like intense heat so I should quit complaining. 😂


  3. Ooh! That challenge sounds fun! Towels right out of the dryer sound heavenly. I’ve been trying to get my husband to install a heated towel bar and think I might just add one to my next Amazon cart for when we re-do our bathroom soon. By the way we made hot cocoa bombs and neither one of us felt like it was worth the work or the hype.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I don’t need all those things to fight my winter blues. Just another Kari post that makes me laugh. (check) I’ve decided that 56 years is too long to live on the planet having never made a cake from scratch, and now I have the recipe to remedy that. Also, I feel your Ikea pain. I did go there not too long ago, but just to get candles. I was in and out in about 15 minutes, which I’m sure is a record. If it makes you feel any better, the food part here is all closed up so no one gets Ikea meatballs right now. I have a recipe somewhere for them, too–and they are better than Ikea. I hope you like yours. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the plant porn photos. Those cabinets are wonderful. I’m like you about Ikea. It’s the concept of it that calls to me more than the furniture in the store. Still that Ikea hack looks interesting.

    I copied the chocolate frosting recipe. I have a yellow cake planned for tomorrow and do love chocolate frosting on them.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know if IKEA smells of newness, but it does have a distinctive scent. When my daughter’s Swedish boyfriend visited (in what feels like another life), we walked into IKEA and he exclaimed, “It smells just like IKEA at home!” I just loved that.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my goodness. You are going to HATE my post today, so I’m so sorry ahead of you reading it. You can come and visit us way down here in sunny Florida. I promise.
    I can totally see how your winter depression will get the best of you and I admire the fact that you were trying to GET OUT there and make the best of it. What the hell with hurting your shoulder while being funny. The only thing I could picture was Phoebe running.
    I do recall hurting my back while waking up from sleep and stretching. Getting old is for the birds.
    Homemade cake. Heavenly!!
    I’ve never had Ikea meatballs and I’ve only been in Ikea one time. Do you still like me?
    We did have hot chocolate bombs at Christmas; my MIL brought them for the girls and they were the coolest thing ever. I hope your shoulder gets better so you can make them will Ella. I’ve never made fish sticks before….they do look yummy.
    Seeing colorforms takes me back to a simpler time. *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will never hate one of your posts. I can promise you that. Plus, we woke up to SUN!! Maybe I should make cake to celebrate?

      I was running like Phoebe!! Damn her.

      I like you even MORE.

      My shoulder feels better today! Each day it’s better, so I’m happy. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So many nuggets of goodness in this post…

    I’m a winter hater, too. I need warmth and sunshine and trees in full bloom and lush gardens and birds and butterflies and sitting on the patio in the morning with my iced coffee and at night with a glass of wine. The cold and gray skies and gloom really get to me. I can’t pinpoint it to any particular time that I started hating winter. I had one child in the thick of summer and the other right before Christmas. I think every child starts out loving winter. What child doesn’t love to play in the snow with their friends? And we didn’t have to shovel or drive in this crap. But hey…it’s good to finally see the sun this morning for once! I’m sitting in a sunbeam in my living room while typing to you.

    Brian and I went to IKEA a couple of weeks ago during the week. It was the least crowded we’ve ever seen it in our entire lives. Nary a car in the loading zone. We ran in for one item – one of those 3-tiered rolling carts. We were in and out in about 10 min. That recipe you posted for the Swedish meatball looks fantastic. Mmm, served with mashed potatoes and a side of broccoli…comfort food, for sure. I pinned the recipe so I can make it soon.

    I’ll have to pass on the cake because I’m doing no sugar again (since I fell off the wagon at Christmas) AND my hubby doesn’t like chocolate, so I’d have an entire cake to myself. That is NOT a good thing.

    Candles…just thought I’d pass it along, but if anyone can’t do commercial candles because of allergies to synthetic fragrances (raising my hand), a company called Goodlight makes candles with pure essential oils. They don’t make me sneeze and clog up my sinuses or give me headaches. I get them on Amazon.

    Plants…love them, have no more room for them, buy them anyway and then spend too much time trying to find a place for “just one more”. 🙂 I’m limited where I can put certain ones anyway because one certain very bad cat (Monkey) eats them. He’s partial to spider plants but eats other varieties, too.

    Revolving dessert cabinet in restaurants…you know who still has a couple? Isabel’s in Woodstock. Or, at least, they still do a few years ago. Alexanders in Elgin (which has delicious food, BTW, esp breakfast) has a huge dessert case right when you walk in the door.

    Your shoulder injury…oh honey, I feel for you. About six years ago, I got shoulder impingement in my left shoulder. Then the rotator cuff finally tore. It was a partial tear, not a full one, so I didn’t need surgery. But NINE MONTHS of physical therapy! I kid you not. I am still fully healed and have complete range of motion back but…now I have shoulder impingement in my right shoulder! That happened about three years ago. It flares up from time to time. Like right now. I’m babying that shoulder so I don’t get another tear. This is what happens to our bodies simply from aging. I also tore my menicus in my left knee four years ago. Didn’t do anything in particular…all these things just “happened”. It’s simply wear and tear on our aging bodies. IT SUCKS. And yes, I am shouting that. Oh, and guess what – falling inside parts happen, too. Just a heads up. 😉

    And I just hijacked your entire blog post. My apologies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So much goodness in THIS COMMENT.

      I’ll eat the cake for you. No, that’s not the correct answer, Kari.

      I think I’m going to head to IKEA one of these days. Just to walk. If something happens to end up in the cart, oh well.

      I’m looking for those candles! I don’t buy candles anymore because of headaches! I usually just diffuse essential oils. So that is a good tip!

      I love plants. I have a plant pot problem. Not pot like marijuana but plant holder. I buy cute ones and then they end up not being the correct size. Then I need to find plants to fit my pots. Sigh. First world plant pot problems.

      I need Isabel’s in my life!! How have I never heard of it?? Let’s go there with Ella when it opens up again!

      That’s what I feared it was at first. I realize that I cannot over exaggerate myself anymore! Scary times. I need to be careful simply walking. That’s so boring. 🙄

      This is never hijacking. I love comments. This is simply adding to the scenery here. ❤️


  8. I love love love the plant porn portion of this post. So cool. And the cake recipe. And the idea for fish sticks. Though I’ve only ever made the store bought version of those! I have made a few homemade cakes but my chocolate cake recipe is VERY dark and slightly bitter (kinda like me!!). It doesn’t surprise me at all that yours looks sweeter!!

    I’m sorry about your shoulder. I LOVE winter but I also have a S.A.D. lamp, a bottle of strong D vitamins, and a lot of extra padding to keep me warm. Sending winter loving vibes your way.

    Also for whatever reason my blog reader never posts your posts the day you post them! I could have used this sunshine yesterday (because we aren’t getting any here either!) but I’m glad it came today (still none)!!

    Hope your shoulder feels better soon!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cake tasted better with each day! It was a deeper chocolate taste and so good. I will use it every time I make cake going forward.

      Thank you for the winter love! I will take it. I am doing much better today because we have sun. I have been going outside and standing for as long as I can tolerate to absorb it. Ha. And it’s Inauguration Day too! So that’s helping.

      I’m glad you’re getting them too! Sending you a hug. 😘


  9. Oh dear…I am concerned that my daughter’s succulents may have peered at the plant porn and are now threatening to shrivel up if I don’t create such a space for them! What? They want cake too now? That seems unreasonable to have to share with them! I made a chocolate bundt cake last week for no reason whatsoever (so it was ok to use a box). I am not always a lover of frosting so those cakes work for me, but I may succumb to your peer pressure. I want the fish sticks, but must I touch the fish? Why do so many footprints seem to be headed straight for you? I hope you are ok! (aside from the shoulder thing)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For many years, I had trouble keeping succulents alive. So do not feel sad. I think it is a succulent problem and not an Andrea problem. But maybe try giving them cake at this point. It wouldn’t hurt.

      Making cake for no reason seems to be the best reason!

      Maybe have your husband make the fish sticks for you!

      I am good! I’ve been walking on the treadmill now to be safe but the woods are calling my name again. By the way, that day we were walking in the woods we saw cross country skiers and I thought of you. 😘


  10. I honestly love all of these. This winter has been strangely kind to me. I have been able to really sit back and enjoy it. I’m not sure if it’s because I have been in such a rut, or maybe just because things have been so hard in general, the winter has been beautiful. The snow is just amazing. I was shoveling yesterday and was thinking, how can anyone hate this? It’s like shoveling cotton balls. We got a love thing going.

    I am really loving all of the self-care posts you’ve been sharing. I’m hoping it’s because you are really doing these things too!

    Also, Lorelai calls shoulders shurdles. So, there’s that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ME TOO! I love that you are also enjoying it! That makes me so happy for us!

      You’re gonna hate today’s post lmao. But it is in the same vein-ish of self-care. LEveling with ourselves honestly about mental health.

      I LOVE THAT LITTLE LORELAI CALLS THEM THAT. I will forever call them that. 🙂


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