Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Important Tips on How to be Prepared for Winter

prepared for winter the weather network

Winter officially starts on December 21, at least that’s what Google says. I wouldn’t actually know because for the past 14 years* we have been spending December to April travelling in Southern Mexico. That means that normally, right about now, when you’re unpacking your winter gear and snow suits, I’m packing our flip flops and bathing suits. Except this year.

Due to circumstances out of our control, we will be experiencing all the joys that Canadian winters have to offer. Quite the transition. The Kids are so excited to have the chance to make snow angels, go skating and tobogganing for the first time. As for myself, what I lack in enthusiasm, I make up for in planning and organization.

In turn, I’ve compiled a list of some high level categories and their associated sub-tasks that need to be addressed before the snow comes and decides to stay. Being prepared will ensure that everyone stays safe and warm and that we have the most successful winter possible. As the saying goes, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!”.

Please, please, please share your tips below on how you prepare for winter so that all of us can have a fun winter (is that an oxymoron?).

Weather Forecast

Before you go and prepare for the Winterapocalypse that may or may not be coming, you should check and see what the weather experts are forecasting this year. Did you know that every year around this time, The Weather Network releases their forecast for what Canada can expect for the new few months!? How fabulous that they’ve taken the guesswork out of winter and provided us with information to ensure that we are prepared for the conditions and able to stay safe during the months that can sometimes be so varying and unpredictable. Like the past two days here in Eastern Ontario!

The Weather Network

Turns out that the 2017 Winter Forecast was released on November, 21, 2016 at 9pm! Visit The Weather Network website or download “The Weather Network” app (available for iPhone, Android or Blackberry) for details. What kind of weather have they forecasted for your area?

Inside The House

Be sure to have your furnace, tanks and any other associated equipment inspected by a professional every year. Did you know that in Ontario, it’s the law! Check out Technical Standards and Safety Authority website (Ontario) or your Province regulatory body for details. Install weather stripping and switch out any screened doors/windows for glass. If you were thinking about putting in any extra insulation, now is the time to do it to save some extra money. I’ve put a rubber mat at the front door for people to put their wet boots so that it doesn’t get brought into the house and ruin the floors.

Outside The House

Turn off water access and blow out your outside taps. In our house, the shut of valve is in the basement but there is a portion of piping that goes outside the house and we wouldn’t that to freeze. If you have a wood fireplace, make sure that the chimney has been cleaned and that you have a good supply of firewood that is easily accessible.

Snow Driveway in Winter

Caring for your Machines

If you have a generator or snowblower, now is the time to give it a tune up and make sure you have plenty of fuel. Make sure that you have a good shovel (or two) and plenty of salt. If you won’t be maintaining your property yourself, make sure that you have an arrangement in place so that people come when you need them. Remember to change your windshield washer fluid and oil in your vehicles and make sure that you’ve checked your tire pressure *** and have installed snow tires (it’s the law in Quebec). Note that Ontario car insurance companies have started to give a policy discount if you have snow tires installed.

Enjoying the Outdoors

If you don’t want to hibernate, there are a lot of things to do that don’t necessarily cost a lot of money. Many people flood their own rinks so all you need is to bring your skates and maybe a thermos of hot chocolate. Thrift shops like our local House of Lazarus sell skates for a reasonable price and when you’re done with them, you can donate them back. They also have sleds for tobogganing, snow shoes and cross country equipment. We live on a 13 acres property so there is no shortage of trails or snow to keep us busy. I’ve been reading our local paper and there are lots of events coming like the annual CP Holiday Train that travels from Montreal to Port Moody and places in between. And, winter won’t be complete without an appearance at Winterlude and a beaver tail! P.S. That’s not a real beaver tail.

Snow Ball Winter

What We Wear

In order to make sure that you get the most out of the outdoors, you need to have the right clothes. The Weather Network’s app is really helpful in helping me decide how to dress the kids. Each of the kids have two pairs of snow pants, winter boots, a warm coat and extra scarves, hats and mitts. It’s great to have extras for when (not if!) they get wet and if they get misplaced. I’ve put a freestanding coat rack in the bathroom, right beside a vent where everyone will hang their wet clothing so that it will actually dry.

In the case that we get snowed in and/or lose power, I have an electric heater to keep us warm**, lots of food that won’t spoil and doesn’t need to be cooked like baked beans, peanut butter and jam, crackers, canned fruit and we can always put the ice cream outside. Or just eat it for breakfast.

No matter what winter throws at us this year, we’re doing everything in our power to be prepared. What about you?

How Do You Get Prepared for Winter?

* We didn’t go in 2004 or 2009, the year The Kids were born
** We will run it off of our gas powered generator
*** Suggested by KD (in the comments)

Disclosure: Journeys of The Zoo received compensation in exchange for sharing this information.

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26 thoughts on “Important Tips on How to be Prepared for Winter

  1. Eric SHEWAN

    Sarah,

    This is my first time parking outside, in 29 years and after only 2 days of snow, I really, really hate it.

    I’d like to hibernate like a bear.

    Enjoy your winter, Former Neighbour.

    Eric
    No longer The “SHERIFF” of Outer Heckston.

    Reply
  2. Tara Gauthier

    Hibernating sounds like a great idea! It’s actually 5 degrees Celsius here today and the sun is shining and there is no snow on the ground so I can’t complain really…yet! One thing I am happy about though is that you will be here on the blog posting regularly for the winter. Although, I am going to miss your fun stories about Mexico I have a feeling that the ones about your experiences this year with Winter weather will be just as entertaining!

    Reply
  3. Debbie S.

    Oh yes wintertime is approaching and we are supposed to get a lot of snow this year. Last year there wasn’t much at all. Winter when I was young had way more snow than my children have seen. We had huge snowbanks and us kids lived outside and loved the many activities winter brings. Snow for children is an enormous creative toy!
    My advise is emergency kits and extra blankets in vehicles, extra winter clothing from mittens, toques and footwear. Batteries for flashlights and an indoor emergency kit also. P.S.
    A really great piece of advice is to remember to unplug your car when using a block heater cord BEFORE driving away.
    Another piece of advice is keep that bbq handy outside as on a not too cold winter day there is nothing as delicious as a bbq-ed supper.
    Happy Canadian winter to you and your family.

    Reply
  4. KD

    It’s great to get another post — it’s been a while! I’m sorry you won’t get to visit Mexico, but hope the kids have fun in the cold. Will they be skating on the canal?

    You have lots of great tips!

    Another thing to remember is to check your tire pressure as the temperatures drop. The colder the temperature, the more air you need in your tires for the same pressure. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Eric

    Funny I should read this now. It’s snowing here!! 😀 I love it. This snow is incredibly wet and incredibly heavy. We’ve been out playing it. Built a snowman but he fell over from the weight! Now we’re back inside drinking hot chocolate and getting ready to Christmas decorate and hopefully make some sugar cookies! Mmmm…. I love Eli’s 6 word stories!

    Reply
      1. Eric

        Ours are hoping the couple inches we got yesterday lasts the next 24 days. My fingers are crossed for them. They’re out playing in it at 7:30 this morning before they go to school. They were home yesterday because it was an inservice day for the teachers. Lucky coincidence.
        Eric recently posted…Where Would We Be?My Profile

        Reply
  6. Naomi

    I love winter! We’ve been having a lovely winter with blue skies and -11 in the morning and (barely) enough snow to go sledding. So much better than grey mist that hovers around 0.

    Keeping an extra bag/box of warm stuff and space blankets in the car is a good idea. If you ever get stuck in the car with no one able to get you, it will come in handy!

    Reply
  7. Dena @ Batch of Books

    It’s crazy how much prep work it takes to get ready for winter. But once the temperatures drop, you’ll be glad you did it!

    We always make sure the kids are fully outfitted with coats, hats, gloves, etc. Then I make sure we have a good supply of hot chocolate and soup for those cold days ahead. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Eli@CoachDaddy

    Here in the Carolinas, it’s pretty simple: Just make sure you have bread, milk, and booze. Presumably, French toast is a life saver south of the Mason Dixon in the event of wintry weather. And the booze, well, that’s for the parents.

    Reply

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