Operation Save the Snow Day

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Tuesday night a winter storm dropped about 4 inches of snow in my area. This was less than what was predicted by the rarely-accurate local meteorologist. Nonetheless, it put a damper on travel and closed numerous local schools, including those my kids attend.

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, a snow day meant a carefree day away from school. A day full of sledding and snowmen. Although my boys can enjoy the same, fun snow activities, it no longer means a day totally away from school. Their snow days are made up at a later date. So when they woke up Wednesday morning, instead of cheers, I was greeted with disappointed, grumpy little boys. They knew that even though they were off that particular day, they just lost a day of spring break. A day that they hoped would have provided better weather and a different kind of outdoor adventure. Maybe playing in the woods, or the much-anticipated, first day of the year spent fishing.  I felt bad for them, and although I am glad when they are home from school, I was also hoping there would be no more “make-up” days this school year.

Now normally my kids keep themselves busy, but when they are grumpy, not so much.  So, hoping to eliminate the soon-to-come complaining about being bored, I thought the best thing to do would be to keep them busy.

Crafting is always fun with my boys, but I didn’t exactly have a project prepared.  After briefly skimming through my random craft supplies, I decided we would make puppets.

These are the supplies I came up with:

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(Construction paper, markers, glue, fancy scissors, pom-pom balls, and various beads, sequins, bobbly eyes, and sucker sticks normally used for making candy.  The paper tubes were actually intended for a fall project that we never got around too, so why not use them now? I also used a hot glue gun, although it’s not pictured!)

I told the boys we were making puppets and briefly described how it should go.  I tried to limit the amount of suggestions I made because I wanted them to use their imagination as much as possible.

We started out by marking the size of the cardboard tube on a piece of construction paper. Then cut it out and glued it to the outside of the tube. We used clothes pins to hold the paper in place while the glue dried.  During this time the rest of the puppet was created.

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My oldest, R, chose to make a monster. N, possibly inspired by Easter, chose a bunny. And W chose a dog, more specifically, Scooby-Doo.  I pretty much let them do as they wanted once they had their idea.  After much cutting, gluing, gluing and more gluing (if any of you have little ones, you understand!), they were finished!   Oh wait, maybe there was a little more glue in there some where…..only this time it was my turn, I used the hot glue gun to adhere the sticks to the inside of the tube.

IMG_0425          IMG_0429  Their finished products!

This is a very simple project so I didn’t go into a lot of detail, but if you ever have questions, just ask!!  The thing that is important to remember is that there is no “right” way to do it.  Everyone’s imagination is unique, that’s what makes the world so interesting!

After cleaning up our crafting chaos, the boys bundled up and headed outside for some snow fun!  While they were sledding and throwing snow balls, it gave me time to get ready for our next activity:  homemade soft pretzels.  If you’ve never made them before, this recipe is one of the easiest, and pretty darn tasty to boot!

Soft Pretzels

3 pkgs dry yeast

2 1/4 cups warm water

1 tsp sugar

6 3/4 cups flour

Stir together the first 3 ingredients until dissolved.  Let stand until foamy.

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Add the flour and knead until the dough is smooth.

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Cover and let rise for 15 minutes.  (I usually just flip the mixing bowl upside down over the dough).

When the dough is finished rising, in a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup warm water and 4 tsp baking soda.  You will dip the pretzels in this mixture before placing on a baking sheet.  It helps with the texture of the pretzel and also gives something for the salt to adhere to.

Rolling the dough is the fun part.  Cut into pieces, then roll into “worms” and shape as desired.  Our only rule is to make each”worm” about the same thickness so they cook more evenly.   After the shape is made, dip into the soda water and place on baked baking sheet.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake at 375° for 10-15 minutes.  (this recipe can be cut in half if need be, that’s what we did!)

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The boys made everything from letters, circles, snakes, to the traditional pretzel shapes.

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I can’t decide if they enjoyed making them or eating them more.  They actually thanked me for letting them make them though, so I can’t deny that they enjoyed themselves!

So between making and playing with their puppets, playing in the snow, and baking and eating their pretzels, the boys stayed super busy.  No one complained the whole day, so my master plan actually worked!  One might say it was a snow day miracle 😉

We finished off the day with a batch of snow cream.  In our house, no snowy day is quite complete without it.  If you want to try the recipe yourself, you can find it here.

Have you had much snow this year?  What fun activities do you do on snow days?

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