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Tear open the shutters, throw up the sash and make this month your FRIEND!

January: the month that induces cringing with its mere mention. Your kids hate snowsuits, winter driving sucks, and all you want to do is jump ship and go to Mexico. We can’t help you with that, but we can help you transform your home into a nest of awesome. How to make this cold, bleak, uneventful month not suck? Do some mood boosting, laughter inducing, feel-good stuff.


Cod liver oil is the enduring arch nemesis of kids the world over. In the 20th century, spoonfuls of this stuff drove children up stairs and down stairs, into closets and behind couches. It was used as a cure for ricketts, a bone disease. In the early 1900s, it was discovered that what made it so effective was its vitamin D content.

Unfortunately, few foods naturally contain this immune strengthening, mood boosting vitamin, but two great sources include eggs and mushrooms. Shitake and button mushrooms are thought to be high in vitamin D due to their adeptness at sucking up sunlight! This Sunday, make some hearty mushroom omelettes for brunch (don’t forget the toast soldiers, for your tough trooper).


Home-made cran-apple cider makes a toasty after school treat. It’s a great source of immune-pumping vitamin C and antioxidants. Fun Fact: cinnamon’s anti-fungal properties make it a natural preservative when added to food. This cider will be tasty for for up to a week in an air tight bottle in the fridge.

Combine 6 cups of apple cider (or apple juice) with 2 cups of cranberry juice, 1 cinnamon stick, a pinch of cloves, and a pinch or two of orange zest and simmer in a saucepan on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Serve garnished with a slice of apple or orange on the side.


Starting a sustained family project can make indoor winter evenings more productive and fun. Even though sunlight might be minimal, you can still sprout an herb garden on your window sill. Tending to the plants is a great task for kids. Or, for a more kid-friendly alternative to knitting, take up corking! Make your own wrist or leg warmers, or finger puppets! Finally, may we suggest Dare to Draw? We assign one drawing per day for your kid, and you pledge per drawing to raise money for families with HIV / AIDS in Africa. It’s a blast. See for yourself!


Make your kid’s bedroom a little sunnier with some exotic motifs. Put a bunch of exotic fake flowers on a nightstand or window sill, or hang garlands of fake foliage from the ceiling. Colourful plants (real or not) make a bedroom that much closer to the ultimate space in kid’s bedroom history: Max’s in Where the Wild Things Are. Who could be bummed out by winter in a room like that?

Photos by Joe Thorn, mars!, sean dreilingerJess Amyn via Flickr

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