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Ideas for Enjoying Snow Days

 
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With another unseasonably mild holiday season behind us, folks in the southeast were very excited to wake up to 6 to 10 inches of fresh fallen snow the first full weekend of the New Year. If your family is anything like mine, we were totally unprepared for the powdery goodness. (My husband chalks it up to wearing shorts from March straight through December in 2016.) Below, you’ll find a few ideas for how to make the most of your next snow day. Our fingers are crossed that we have quite a few more in store this winter…


snow-days-1.jpgFirst Snow Coffee
My husband’s neglected half cup of coffee on the back porch made for a surprise treat this past Saturday: snow coffee! When I found the mug of coffee buried in fresh powder on the porch railing, I decided to see how it tasted. I let the coffee thaw a bit by the fire and mixed the snow that had settled on top with the caffeinated elixir below. Guess what? Snow coffee is really delicious. It’s just like an iced coffee, but better. When Ray’s Weather forecasts our next snow storm, I’ll be sure to make a fresh batch of coffee, place a couple of half-full mugs on the porch, and let the snow do its magic. Try it and see for yourself.
 

snow-days-2.jpgOld-Fashioned Snow Cream
For the children, old-fashioned snow cream is a special wintry treat. It’s easy to make, and the neighborhood kids always love it.

You’ll need:
4 cups of fresh snow
1 cup of milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup of sugar
To make snow cream, put the snow in a large mixing bowl. Pour your dairy over the snow and add vanilla. Mix and serve. Sometimes we add a little nutmeg and cinnamon for a touch more flavor. Or, you can replace the cream and sugar with sweetened condensed milk for an extra special treat.


snow-days-3.jpgFeed the Birds
Birds have been flocking to our Poplar Bark Cradle Feeder this past week. Symbolizing happiness and simplicity, we were excited that Eastern bluebirds were the first befeathered winter arrivals at our house. They like to feast on black-oil sunflower seeds, which are said to be the hamburger of the bird world. Nearly all North American birds will eat it, not just bluebirds. If you only want to buy one kind of seed, this is the best choice. The black-oil seeds are easier to crack and the kernel is larger than the gray- or white-striped sunflower seeds. Also, if you like to put suet out for the birds, skip using those made with peanut butter as the binder because squirrels prefer it. Suet made with lard is best for birds and unattractive to other animals. Take a peek at our selection of bird feeders by clicking HERE.


snow-days-4.jpgDIY Sleds
We cracked our plastic sleds and saucers from last winter and hadn’t thought to replace them until after the snow had already fallen this year. Never fear! Do-it-yourself sleds work just as well and are super easy to make with items you can easily find in your home.

You’ll need:
1 thick cardboard box
1 heavy duty garbage bag (black trash bags used for yard debris work best)
Duct tape
Exact-o knife or scissors

To make your own sled, simply cut the broadest side of the box away from the rest of the cardboard. Cover the cardboard completely with your garbage bag. Cut away the excess plastic and secure the cardboard and trash bag together using duct tape. To make your sled extra slick, spray a thin coating of non-stick cooking spray (like Pam) to the bottom surface. You’ll be hot-rodding down the nearest hill in no time.

Other great options for DIY sleds: baby tub or pool (for the little ones), lid from a large plastic container, yoga mat, cookie sheet, trashcan lid, or boogie board. Tarps and shower curtains are great for a sledding train of two or more adults. They’re also nearly impossible to steer, so only try these options on a gentle hill with no trees or other obstacles in the way.


snow-days-5.jpgSnow Hammock
Our family spends lots of time in our backyard hammocks during the warmer seasons. I got a wild hair last weekend and decided to hang the hammocks from our favorite trees after the snow stopped falling. We put a yoga mat in the hammock to guard our hind quarters against the wind and hopped in with big blankets, freshly warmed from the dryer, and wrapped them around ourselves. It was a giggle fest for sure, especially when a bit of wind blew snow on us from the tree limbs above. I have a strong feeling that cuddling in the hammock and taking in the view of our snowy, transformed world will become a favorite snow day tradition. Take a peek at our selection of hammocks HERE.
 

snow-days-6.jpgWintry Nature Stroll
Walking through your neighborhood on a snowy day is a wonderful way for children to explore and learn new things about the natural world. It also helps shake off a serious case of cabin fever. We like to bring an empty egg carton along with us for storing treasures we find outside. Once we’ve returned home, we use the items in the egg carton to create a piece of art. Glue small pieces of bark, leaves, twigs, and holly berries to a line drawing on a piece of paper to add to your collection of refrigerator door masterpieces.

An outdoor alphabet hunt is a wonderful learning opportunity for children learning their ABCs. For example, choose one letter of the alphabet and see how many things you can find that start with that letter. For the letter “S”, we found snow, sky, swallow, smoke, and spruce.

Another fun activity for your nature stroll is a rainbow walk. This is a particularly good exercise for pre-schooled aged children who are learning their colors. Before heading outside, simply take a piece of cardboard and mark the colors of the rainbow along one side with a crayon or paint. Take a roll of tape with you and affix items you find outside that match the color on your cardboard. For example, red berries, orange leaves, yellow feathers, and green grass may find their way onto your rainbow cardboard at any point throughout the year.  


snow-days-7.jpgIndoor S’mores
If it’s too cold to build a bonfire outside, taking S’mores inside is fun and easy if you’re prepared for sticky faces and fingers. Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are best. Indoor s’mores are not a good idea if you have an electric fireplace. You can make s’mores the same way you do outside: Affix a marshmallow to a long twig or stick. Once it’s melted to gooey perfection, place the marshmallow and chocolate between two graham crackers. Give the Marshmallow Fork or Fire Fishing Pole a try for an extra element of fun. Have diaper wipes or a wet cloth ready to clean off sticky fingers so you won’t have to leave the fire (or worry about little s’more-covered hands landing on walls and furniture on the way to the kitchen sink.)
 

What are some of your favorite snow day activities?