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Embracing Winter in Iowa Survival Tip 2

Embracing Winter in Iowa Survival Tip 2
A Cozy Home

Surprisingly, after moving from a warmer environment in California to Iowa and it’s frigid winters I have adjusted without too much trouble. I do have a few tricks to keep my toes warm and my heart happy to be in Iowa.

Survival Tip 1 is SKIN CARE. If you are interested the first part of this three part series Embracing Winter in Iowa Survival Tip 1 can be found here.

The next tip to embracing an Iowa winter is creating a cozy home. I have found that the best way to create a cozy home is to entice all five of my families senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste.


My sense of smell seems to be my most powerful sense, an attribute to memory making. My sense of smell can spark forgotten memories and even emotional reactions. Have you ever been out and a scent of something in bloom takes you back to your childhood? For me it is burning fall leaves, lilacs in bloom or the smell of hot asphalt after a cold rain.

There are several measures you can take to fill your home with cozy warm scents that will create an inviting living and learning environment.


We all know that candles have a variety of wonderful scents and can create a relaxing flicker of light. They set the mood. Making your own candles can add to the cozy homemade feeling that the winter season craves. We made candles last fall. It was relatively easy and fun. We are now making it a winter tradition in our home. Homemade really does add an element of coziness to any room.


Both taste and smell can be realized by cooking and baking. The smells of winter are enhanced with simmering stews, roasting roasts and bubbling chowders. The aroma of baking breads, cakes, and cookies will appease both your winter comfort tastes and smells and fill you home with yummy goodness.


The laundry can be another source in your home where you can maximize coziness through your sense of smell. There are wonderful products from detergent and softeners to dryer sheets that will keep your clothes, bedding and throws smelling heavenly all winter long.

Recently, I came across an article about balls of wool that you toss in your dryer. These can be scented with essential oils and used in place of dryer sheets.


Essential oil diffusers have worked wonders in our house. Diffusing lavender oil create a little humidity and a nice scent to help calm our living areas.

When you pick a scent remember this will be the smell that will remind your children of their childhood.

Self Care

Smelling good is always a good thing, right? The scent of your perfume, lotions, shampoos, body wash and soaps are another way to make you feel warm and cozy in your home.


Take the time to create a home that is pleasing to you. If you are a “maximus”, minimalists, farmhouse, mid-century, modern or eclectic it doesn’t matter. Create a space to live and learn that captures what you and your family love. A space where you can breath easily and relax. This will make it much easier to spend time inside on those days when the morning meteorologist tells you not to leave your house. And yes that did happen last year.

If you’re not sure where to start check out YouTube for inspiration. Below is a list of bloggers that I have found very helpful with de-cluttering, minimizing and creating a home where I am free to breathe easily.

Taylor’s at Home Storage Solutions
Clutter Bug- The secret to a Clean and Organized Home
Farm House on Boone

A clean, organized and uncluttered home does make it more tolerable when the weather keeps you inside. A clean, organized and uncluttered home is not in everyone’s schedule But if you can take a few minutes to pick up messes to a degree that you are comfortable this will make your home much more cozy.


Cozy is all about touch: soft, fuzzy and comfy.

Soft Throw Pillows

Pile soft throw pillows on your couches, chairs and floors. Create soft surfaces ( both visually and physically) to cuddle with your children, enjoy a book or a hot cup of tea.

Fuzzy Soft Warm Throws

Cover the arms of your couches and chairs with warm soft throws. During cold winters I don’t think you can have too many throws and pillows piled around your family room.

Soft Slippers and Robes

During these cold months we linger around in our Pajamas far longer than what the rest of the civilized word would consider appropriate. A warm soft fuzzy robe with warm soft fuzzy slippers is how you might find me mid January at lunch time. 🙂

Plush and Comfy Rugs

This year I am investing in new rugs for my bathrooms. I want thick soft and fuzzy. It may seem a little simple but simple touches can make a world of difference between a cold hard floor and a soft warm floor.



Warm and cozy drinks are a must have for surviving winter in Iowa. We stock our “coffee bar” with a variety of hot teas, flavored coffees, hot chocolates and apple cider.

See my son’s yummy Hot Chocolate Recipe here.

Baking and cooking of home cooked meals will add to the warm cozy home. We have traditional Fall and Winter meals in our home. Something about homemade chili and cornbread on a cold evening says winter at our house.



Play music throughout your day. Change it up during the day. In the mornings before we start school we play Pixar Greatest Hits. (#sponsored)

As school starts during reading and math we have a classical instrumental music playing as background music.

During our breaks we might switch it up a bit here and there. We get a little wild sometimes and play a little Johnny Cash, John Denver and Johnny Horton. 😉

If you are interested I have a playlist on my YouTube Channel for our homeschool background music. While you are there you can also check out some of our YouTube videos.

In closing, if you are spending a lot of time at home during the cold months in Iowa intentionally embrace the winter time by creating a living and learning environment that is warm and inviting. I have found this is done best by enticing all of our senses. Stay warm and cozy ~ Bridget Anne

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