Moving to Minnesota came as a big shock to me, having never lived north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
I had no idea what lutefisk was, but it sounded strange enough to be a natural deterrent. I was scared by the size of our furnace — in the South, we just don’t need furnaces this size. I was surprised that your nose hair really could freeze in -16 degree temperatures within a matter of seconds. I learned quickly to add on an extra 15 minutes of prep time so that we could put on all requisite coats, boots, mittens, hats and ski pants – the family is getting faster with practice and age. And with my dog, I learned that frozen poop is easier to pick up than waiting for it to thaw out — totally gross.
But moving here three years ago has been a true blessing. My husband and I love to be outside, and we have found a community crazy enough that loves being outside year round. My husband, an avid runner, has even learned to run in single-digit temperatures (he has not been brave enough for below zero yet), and they actually make winter running gear. Toe and hand warmers do help tremendously.
As a Twin Cities transplant, here are five of my best tips for other families that are new to the cold and snow:
1) Pick a community where you can walk to something you enjoy: a lake, a cup of coffee or a good restaurant. Six months out of the year you are going to walk as much as you can to breathe in the fresh air and get the sun shining all over you.
2) Find your nearest drive-through coffee house — fabulous for when babies and little kids are asleep in the car and it is freezing outside. I had never seen these before and thought it was a stroke of genius.
3) Find a good farmers market or a farm co-op near you – the food is phenomenal. Corn picked fresh that day requires no butter, salt or pepper – it’s just delicious. Local (Wisconsin) cheese is just fabulous and there are so many varieties. There are so many choices on produce and proteins that are locally raised in sustainable and healthy ways. No wonder people here are healthier and live longer than other places.
4) Go to the State Fair – it’s a blast! This is the chance to eat the non-healthy food from Minnesota. And for Minnesota translation: Hot Dish = casserole, and yes it comes on a stick.
5) Embrace winter. Pick a sport that suits you: cross country skiing, snow shoeing, skating, hockey, ice fishing, ice sailing, downhill skiing, sledding – there are so many to choose from. Once you have something fun to do outside, you look forward to the fresh powder and the below-zero temps. Winter here is lovely and fun. It’s a great excuse to eat marshmallows in your hot cocoa, make warm and tasty chili and be a kid again – I mean what other chance do you get to basically have outdoor recess as an adult?
"Moms Talk" is a weekly feature meant to encourage discussion on issues important to mothers, fathers and families in general. Ideas come from—and articles are written by—members of Patch's regional "Moms Council." To learn more about them, click .