Snow Day!!! Whoo hoo!! We love snow days in this house! I'm not the mom who is upset because my kid is missing school or because it's more time I have to entertain my kids. I embrace snow days. This snow day a little different because there wasn't actually snow. There was ice. Playing outside wasn't an option. Going someplace wasn't an option. I, of course, made a list of things that I thought we should do on our day off. My list didn't get done, but it didn't matter. It was all fun stuff. First thing both kids did was grab a book! They spent a good portion of the day curled up reading. We made some chapstick and some lotion bars. We did some electricity experiments. We polished nails. We played a little Minecraft. We baked some almond cressents. Mostly, though, we enjoyed being together! We had a relaxing, fun day off!
It's no secret that I really don't like winter. I can't stand the cold and I really dislike the snow. That being stated, this winter actually hasn't been too terrible weather wise. Northeast Ohio has had a very mild winter so far. Unlike last year where we broke records for it being below 0, this winter, we've only had a handful days in the teens. Until last week, we also hadn't really gotten enough snow to even mention.
I haven't always hated winter. When I was younger, I loved winter. It was my favorite time of year. Until a few days ago, I honestly couldn't remember why I liked winter so much when I was little. Then, after a heavy snowfall and all the kids were in school and most people had gone to work, I stepped outside and I remembered. The wave of why I loved winter as a child came over me. It was the silence. I stepped outside into a world blanketed in snow and there was not a single sound. No kids yelling. No cars going by. No dogs barking. No birds chirping. It was silent. Every emotion that I used to have when I was a child in the winter came back to me. I loved laying outside in the snow for hours (or at least it seemed like hours to a child) and just listen to the quiet.
I'm definitely not saying that I once again like winter. My older body can't handle being out in the cold for too long and I can't stand driving in the snow. My shoulder can't take shoveling much more. BUT....I can once again appreciate not only the way the snow looks on the trees, but the soundless wonder that it is.
Yesterday was the coldest day of the year so far, plus it was a day off of school. I actually started the day off by sleeping in! I rarely sleep in when Husband has to work, but I slept in until 7! It was wonderful! After pouring my coffee and seeing that it was only 4 degrees out, I made some caramel rolls for the kids for breakfast. Just because it's yucky outside does not mean it has to be yucky inside! In true Rock Family Style, we did not spend the day watching TV or playing video games. That's just not us. We did do a little of that, our day mostly consisted of imaginations. I love that about my kids. They can use their imaginations all day and be perfectly happy! Most of the day was spent in the fort they built. Forts are a winter must around here. While the kids were happy, I took some time to paint sayings above doorways in the house. I really wanted to use stencils, but the kids didn't want to wait and go out and buy stencils. They were pleased with how they came out, so I guess I'm happy, too! Baking cookies a requirement on cold days, so I made a batch of chocolate chip while the kids continued to play in the fort.
Around lunchtime, a friend of Sunshine's came over. As I was getting ready for lunch, I realized that all the chairs were being used in the fort and we had nowhere to sit. I moved the dining room table, grabbed a blanket, threw it down, and we picnicked! Kids thought it was great! After lunch, we did some hair and nails. I really wish I would have gotten pictures of the hair because it turned out great. Both girls have very fine hair and I did two different kinds of buns for dance. For the nails, Sunshine's friend opted for glow in dark pink with pandas on one hand and penguins on the other. Sunshine opted for purple backgrounds with cupcakes. They turned out pretty darned cute!
While the girls played, Monster helped me around the house. He was such a fantastic helper. I ended up getting more accomplished yesterday than I had anticipated because he helped out so much. By the time Husband came home, the fort was put away, Barbies were cleaned up, and you could barely tell that there were three kids home all day.
Since I had Bunco last night and Sunshine had ballet, dinner had to be something quick. Since Sunshine is my picky eater, I gave her the option of what to bread the chicken fingers in. She voted for taco chicken tenders. OK, so really she voted for chicken covered in tortilla chips, but the recipe is taco chicken. Had I used the word "taco", she never would have gone for it. After I got the girls off to dance, I came home and started the chicken. It was definitely not something I would have ever thought she was like, but I gave it a shot anyway. When she got home and saw the chicken, first thing she said was, "Those look so good!", which, if you know my daughter, you know is not a normal reaction to any dinner food other than pizza. She loved them, or at least she said she did and ate them. Either way, I take that as a win! And speaking of wins, since I know every one was on the edge of their seats, I actually won at Bunco last night. Most Buncos! Whoo hoo! I don't think I've won in over a year!
All and all, yesterday was amazing. I miss days like that. They are too few and far between. So much of our time is rushed. I love days off school. I can't wait for the next one!
Every year our town has an Ice Festival. This year, it happened to be on one of the coldest, snowiest weekends we've had thus far. We didn't make it when the festivities were actually going on, but we did make it the following day, when it was all of 11 degrees. Here were some of the kids' favorites. After, we got some hot chocolate to warm up!
A snow day was welcome yesterday after the fun filled weekend. My kids needed a day to sleep! I did, too, but I don't get those days. I may hate the snow, but I do love snow days, especially snow days where I don't have to get out of my jammies! I was a relaxing, low key day. I really think my kids needed it to recharge. We wanted to do a little baking, so I found a new cookie bar recipe for Clean Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm not a fan of these, but the kids think they are good. We did some crafts, some "homework", nails and hair, and a lot of reading! The only time the television was on yesterday was to watch Katy Perry's halftime show that the kids didn't get to see the night before because they were in bed. I didn't even have to go out and shovel yesterday because a neighbor came and did my driveway! I really love snow days. They are such great ways for all of us to recharge! So much real play takes place, and kids need to play. A lot of parents hate snow days and can't think of what to do with their kids. I love them and, even if I run out of ideas, my kids never do!
When I was little, winter was my favorite season. For the life of me, I can't understand why. The moment I moved back from Southern Ohio, winter and I became enemies. Maybe it had to do with the fact that after moving back, I couldn't take "snow days" and I had to go to work no matter what the weather was like. Maybe it was that the climate change has caused winter to be a bit more brutal in this area. Maybe it's the fact that now, I have kids that I have to bundle up and get from place to place. Maybe it's the fact that we don't see the sun for half the year. Whatever it is, winter just sucks the life out of me. Don't get me wrong, I love having snow days with the kids. Last year, when the kids were pretty much home all January, it was awesome. But, days like today, when there's a -25 windchill, I really, really wish I didn't live in Ohio. That's why I need to find some positives. I need to find some fun stuff that we can do in the winter here in the frozen tundra.
Today is sort of tough to be writing this since the mere thought of going outside makes me want to go back to bed, but I'll try to pretend it's at least +25 degrees out there. I also admit I had to look up things to do in winter since all I want to do it stay inside. It's not a long list, but I'm hoping we only have 2 more months of this...fingers crossed.
Here it is...the winter bucket list:
Today, however, is not my day to cross things off the bucket list. Today is my day to let the kids sleep in, make cinnamon rolls for breakfast, do some science experiments, watch a movie and do a little baking. Those are all great winter things to do as well.
We are stuck in a polar vortex. It's cold and miserable. We knew there were most likely two snow days coming, so I prepared. I had a list. I love lists. I thought of making it an "unplugged" day, but then decided against it so that Monster could work on a computer project for school and so they could play on the Wii together. I'm glad I decided that.
Monster has a project that they are working on at school that is all about themselves and their families. He loves doing this. Honestly, I'm not sure what draws him to this other than the fact that he's doing computer work like Mommy and Daddy, but it's great for him. He's currently creating a Power Point Autobiography presentation. I admit, watching him hunt and peck at the keyboard is a painful process for me. I have this desire to take over and do the typing for him so he can get through it faster. I'm pretty proud of my kid because he won't let me. When I offered he replied, "Mommy, I have to do this for myself." Got it, Kiddo. I'm backing off. To make this project just a little cooler, they are using Google Drive. For those of you unfamiliar with Drive, it's just like Microsoft office, but everything is stored in the cloud and not on your hard drive. What's good about this? You can work on documents from anywhere other than just one computer. What also makes it cool is you can share documents with people and people can add comments. Last night, Monster was working on his project when his teacher got on and chatted with him. She gave him pointers for his assignment and encouraged him to keep up the good work. How awesome is that?! And, Monster was able to respond to her, which he loved. This brief, super cool, live interaction made him want to do more. He was inspired to work on this project before, but this made him more excited to get it done so he could share his progress with his teacher. Yesterday, he worked on this project almost the entire day. He's got one slide left to go and he's done completely. His teacher left comments and gave him pointers throughout the day. Everytime he was on and she logged on, he got super excited to see if she would leave him a message. I'm so proud of how hard he worked on this!
Another reason I'm glad I didn't "unplug" was because of a great reading website that Monster's school uses. It's called Raz Kids. You listen to and read stories and then answer comprehension questions. Monster listened to the stories with Sunshine and would then take the quizzes after, so it was sort of like a two for one deal with kid entertainment!
The last "plugged in" thing the kids did was Wii Sports. Sunshine loves Frisbee Dog. She's got this uncanny ability to score super high every time! Monster's favorite is Sword Play. Both of these games teach hand-eye coordination. Really, they do. Sunshine and Monster both had a blast. Sunshine learned that she really likes the "practice" round in Sword Play. They spent an hour laughing and just enjoying being with each other.
We did more than that for two days, of course. We played some great games of UNO, Candyland, and War. We read books and built castles. We baked. I cleaned and even organized the play room (which used to be the computer room until toys took over).
I also took some time with Instagram. Honestly, I'm still trying to figure it out, but it was fun playing around with photos.
We didn't get everything on my list checked off. That's the nice things about snow days, we don't have to really DO anything and we can just go where the day takes us. That being said, I am glad the kids have school today. As much as I can do here education wise, they get more by someone else teaching them the same things. I'm so fortunate that I am able to enjoy these days off with my kids and that they are such great friends that they can enjoy the time together.