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What to do when spring fever sets in

Living in the Dakotas, winter is a big part of our year and our daily lives. I believe it's better to embrace the cold and learn to enjoy it than gripe for six months about how ugly, dark and miserable this time of year can really be.

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Amanda Radke's children outside enjoying a rare warm winter day. (Amanda Radke/Special to Agweek)

Living in the Dakotas, winter is a big part of our year and our daily lives. I believe it's better to embrace the cold and learn to enjoy it than gripe for six months about how ugly, dark and miserable this time of year can really be.

Winter offers a lot of joy if you take the time to look for it. With the snowfall comes an abundance of holidays to celebrate - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Mardis Gras and sometimes Easter.

Winter brings us beautiful landscapes to enjoy - snow-covered plains, icicles hanging off trees and sundogs painting the sky.

The weather may be cold, but winter also offers a good excuse to bundle up with extra layers and enjoy comfort foods like soups and hot coffees. Plus, winter is when livestock producers start to welcome lambs and calves to the ranch.

Yet, no matter how much I try to love every day of winter, the season can sometimes feel like it's dragging on forever.

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I currently have a sign in my farmhouse kitchen that reads, "No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow." It's a good reminder for me as spring fever sets in, and our family is itching to spend more time outside.

Our toddlers have an abundance of energy to burn, and when you're cooped inside, that's a little bit more difficult. Meanwhile, I'm yearning to get out in the garden, prepare more suppers on the grill, go for walks down the gravel road and watch the grass green up for the summer grazing season.

Perhaps I'm even more antsy this year as we prepare to welcome a third child to our family in May. I keep telling my kids, once the grass turns green and the leaves start growing on the trees, it will be time for the baby to come.

So we are all in a waiting game, and with bitter temps predicted for the upcoming weeks, I'm trying to find ways to bring spring to our home and optimism to our hearts.

For starters, the snowmen and winter decorations have been boxed up for another year. They've been replaced with spring greens, Easter decor and bright colors to boost our moods when we're stuck in the house.

I've started purging closets, organizing the office, getting ahead of record keeping and tackling other odd jobs that are best done during the cold winter months. We even got our taxes done early, so that's one more task we've checked off our list.

Pinterest is a great place to find spring-inspired crafts and projects for myself and my kids. All it takes is a little creativity to make a blah winter weekend into a memorable one spent together as a family. And if it's not too nasty outside, there's always sledding, building snowmen, making snow angels or playing in the barn with the farm cats and cattle dog.

When we start to get a little stir crazy, our rural community has a full calendar of events we can participate in as well. Whether that's attending a collegiate or high school basketball game, going to church, checking out the community theater, exploring a museum or browsing the shops on Main Street, there's plenty to do in small town USA, if you're willing to brave the cold to get there.

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Winter may be a drag at times, but if we get a little creative, it can be full of fun. The next time you're in town, buy yourself a potted plant or some fresh cut flowers. Set them around your house for a pick-me-up and try to find the best in this cold season that feels like it will never end!

Amanda Radke
Amanda Radke

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