So here we are, folks… in that long stretch of time that comes after the holidays, long before the crocus bulbs will begin to weave their blossoming tentacles up through the surface of the earth. Somewhere in the midst of all the holiday shopping, caroling, and cooking – WINTER crept into our world.
Ya know it always seems to happen this way. Every year, on the afternoon of January 1, I find myself snuggled up on the couch [while the obligatory pork and kraut simmer in the crockpot] debating whether or not to take down the Christmas tree now or leave it up for a few more days in effort to soften the blow of the ended holiday season – when all of a sudden it hits me. “Craaaap. It’s WINTER.” Fall ushered us into the holiday season, and quietly snuck out a mere four days before Christmas. We Northeasterners are left with a generous helping of short days and long nights of below freezing temps, with a side of snow/slush/ice.
Normally, this is where I would put my head under the blanket and wish bitterly that I could bear, bat, or bumblebee [read: hibernate] my way through the next couple of months until spring arrives. I waited for that feeling of dread to hit me a couple of days ago as I painstakingly dismantled our Christmas tree, but it never came.
What DID hit me is this: I love where we live. Our small central Pennsylvania town, tucked nicely in a [happy] valley of beautiful mountains has so much to offer – the best offering [in MHO] being four gorgeous seasons. I love and appreciate each of them in their own right – more so now that I’m older. When I was younger I openly abhorred Winter and cold weather. I was a beach bunny, sun worshipper through and through. When I was pregnant and hot to the point of overheating on the daily, I developed a new-found love for this frosty season. Luckily, that appreciation stuck with me.
So the other day while I was saying “farewell” to our tree ornaments and Christmas lights, it occurred to me that I can’t imagine raising our daughter anywhere else. She’s a lucky lady to grow up in a place where she will get to know and hopefully love all four seasons. My plan, as her mom, is to do my best to avoid negative seasonal commentary – “Running in the winter blows,” or “I can’t stand this heat!” – that might indirectly influence her feelings about different times of year. Each season has lots to offer, and I will make it my own personal mission to introduce her to all of the “wonderful” in each one of them.
I’m not usually one for making New Years resolutions – I, like my co-blogger Sara – prefer to set more frequent, sometimes daily goals. That is, goals that will make each day better. Because great days make great years, right? However, maybe this year my plan of attack will be different. I’d like to resolve to make each season special for my daughter. Planning fun seasonal activities – colored ice castles (see activity below) and sledding in the winter, daisy chains and gardening in the spring, swimming lessons and sand castles in the summer, leaf piles and pumpkins [and Penn State football… WE ARE…] in the fall – will hopefully inspire a love of all seasons and some serious PA pride to last throughout the year.
Icy Architecture Activity*
What you’ll need…
1) plastic containers
2) Food coloring
3) Natural materials
How to make it…
1) Fill containers (pails, gelatin molds, plastic storage containers, cups) with water. Then add food coloring (about 20 drops of color per cup of water) and freeze outside overnight.
2) Before building, bring the ice to room temperature. When you see a bit of water on top or when the ice turns in its container, that means the ice is ready to slip out.
3) Build away. Decorate the completed castles with sticks and mini pine boughs, if desired.
Helpful Hint: If the ice shapes aren't sticking when you stack, add snow between to "glue" them together.
*Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine
Katy Stager, proud mom and wife, is a fan of all things "active." She's a marathon running, swimming, cycling, hiking, art loving, community volunteering, book reading, Instagraming, Animal Kingdom shopping kind of mom who does it all with her little girl in tow. A Bloomsburg University grad, she now studies homemaking, successful childrearing, and thriftiness through the school of life's successful parenting program.
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- Tags: Activities, After the Holidays, Arts & Crafts, Building, Children, Cold Weather, Fall, Hibernate, Ice Architecture, Ice Castles, Indoors, Inside Activity, Kids, More Fun, Parenting, Play, Post-Christmas, Quality Time, Raising Kids, Seasons, Spring, Summer, Weather, Winter