Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Bright Side

A few days ago while eating lunch with the kids, I asked them what their favorite autumn-time things were. Of course they said Halloween, pumpkins, and walks to collect leaves...then Haley piped up and said, "The snow!" Yes, snow is part of autumn time here, and now that our daily high temperatures are in the 20's and 30's, we've gotten all the cold-weather gear out. Instead of a long, whiney, darn-it's-cold-here post (see posts from this time last year), I decided to express my gratitude for the many luxuries and tools that make winter here a less-miserable experience. If you live in a similar climate, please share your tips/tools with us! If you live in a warmer climate, try to not gloat TOO much...

"Cats" - Rob and I have called them this forever because we've never had pets and they keep your lap warm, but they're actually "rice comfort bags" on the internet. Small pouches filled with rice that you heat in the microwave, they stay warm for more than an hour and are great for warming up toes or soothing a sore back. You can also add herbs or scents so they smell good (lavender is my favorite). I often heat a few up to give to the kids in the car, since they don't have...

...Heated leather seats. I am totally spoiled, I know. Our Subaru came with these and I love them! Nothing like a toasty-warm backside. And they'll be all warm and waiting for you if you also have a...

...Remote-start feature on your car. How did I ever live without this?!?! With the press of a button, you can start your car from inside the warm house, store, library, etc. It runs for up to 20 minutes, while the car remains locked and secure. Our remote is currently worn out and needs to be replaced - I've had to actually go out into the garage and start the car by hand! Poor me, I know, although while doing so I'm grateful that I have a...

...Down coat. We have a WIDE assortment of coats and jackets in our house (and a sad lack of closet space for them), but when the seriously cold weather hits, we all rely on our down jackets to keep us snug. I don't know of anything else that can compare! And since the coats don't reach all the way to our toes, we are also in love with our...

...Uggs/sheepskin-lined boots. Rob gave me a pair for Christmas 2 years ago and I couldn't believe that I'd lived in North Dakota without them for 3 years! I know the Ugg fad has passed, but you wear them here whether they're a fashion statement or not. They are uber-comfortable, incredibly warm, and Jake can put his on by himself. I pretty much wear flip-flops until it snows and then wear my Uggs until thaw in the spring (sorry, Stacey and Clinton!).

We hope you're all toasty and warm, wherever you might live!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Moon Afternoon

One afternoon last week, inspired by a book we'd checked out from the library, I planned a "Moon Afternoon" with the kids. We read stories about the moon, made moon cookies, created full-moon window decorations, learned about the moon on the internet, and listened to one of our all-time favorite CDs, Catch the Moon by Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth Mitchell. We all learned so much and had a fun time doing so! Here's what we used:

Catch the Moon book/CD by Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth Mitchell
The Moon Might Be Milk by Lisa Shulman.
Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
We also should have included one of our other favorites: When The Moon Is High by Alice Schertle.

For the project, we traced simple bat shapes on black construction paper and glued them to yellow-construction-paper moons that the kids had cut out. Not the craftiest of projects, but simple enough for Jake to do and they made good Halloween window decorations.

The "moon cookies" are my mom's Snickerdoodle recipe - yum!

Grandma Ann's Snickerdoodles:


1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar


2 eggs

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt


2 3/4 cups flour

Roll into balls; roll balls in cinnamon sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Some great websites for teaching kids all about the moon:

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Of Witches and Dragons

Halloween was great this year - warm weather, not on a school night, and both kids could walk on their own and knew how the "trick-or-treat" game works. In fact, they seemed to have quite the system down: Haley would race ahead to knock on the door, Jake would get there in time to say, "Twick or tweet! 'Appy Awoween! Rooaaar!", and then they would both stand there and chat and charm the socks off of our neighbors, who wound up throwing in a few extra goodies for them. They both made off with quite a haul. The highlight for Haley was getting to stop by her kindergarten teacher's house...the blessings of living in a small town!
Meanwhile, Rob did a very believable Slash impersonation and had a great time doing so. (All the 40-something moms answering doors recognized his character right away.) I think he's found his new favorite costume...

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I love these super-warm costumes from Old Navy!

Rockin' out with dad - could there be anything more fun?!

Jake the Dragon prepares to dig in to his prey. DIBS on those Reese's....

Haley didn't mind digging in to get the "guck" out, despite her grimace.

Jake refused to touch any of the pumpkin innards - who'd have thought he'd be the squeamish child?

Ta da! This year's masterpieces.