Posts Tagged ‘winter’

How to Build a Snow Cave

Friday, December 21st, 2012


In this video, I show you how to build a snow cave. Here are some tips for building a successful snow cave that won’t collapse:

  • Pile up a huge mountain of snow wherever you want your snow cave to be. It helps if there is already a huge pile somewhere.
  • Make sure it’s packed down to some degree. Fluffy snow will cave in, and the ceiling will not remain strong unless the entire mound is compacted. Have your children walk on it, but don’t have a adult do it, or it might turn into a chunk of ice.
  • Start digging in one place, right where you want the door to be. Make a tunnel.
  • If it’s large, make different rooms by digging out doorways and caves within the cave.
  • You can bring in light by carving out a window.
  • Your boys can play cops and robbers in the cave. Or they can play that they are at war and are trying to escape from the enemy. They can use walkie-talkies to communicate with each other inside and outside the snow fort.
  • Your daughters can play house in the cave or have a tea party in there with their friends.
  • You definitely need to play in your snow cave at night. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight!

Linked to Snow Day Activities:


Snowflake Card

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012


My daughter and I made an easy snowflake card. You will need the following materials:

  • black card stock paper
  • white string
  • scissors
  • blunt needle
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • thumb tack

How to Make a Snowflake Card with Yarn

Step 1: Cut the black card stock paper in half and fold it. Now open up the card, and on the left side, draw a snowflake in pencil with a ruler.

Step 2: Grab the thumb tack and poke a hole at the beginning and end of each line. It’s like you’re making a dot-to-dot picture.

Step 3: Thread the needle with white string. Tie a knot in the end and begin sewing the card, making sure that the front of the card is producing the design you want.

Step 4: When you are finished, you can use a silver pen to write a message to someone before putting the snowflake card in an envelope.


You can make any design on a card, as long as the lines are straight. You could draw a cool gnarly tree with bare branches in the dark moonlight. My 7-year-old daughter designed a simple pine tree. It only took her about 5 minutes to sew and was quite easy!

Linked to Snow Day Activities:


Stealing Ornaments and Christmas Memories

Monday, December 19th, 2011

stealing-ornamentsApparently our homeschool group has a yearly tradition of stealing ornaments. It’s called the annual Christmas Tea for homeschool moms in our area. We bring an ornament, wrap it, and then call out a number, unwrap the gift, or steal an ornament from someone else.

I know, it sounds bizarre, but we do it, and it’s a lot of fun. For example, I unwrapped a Yankee candle. Someone said to hand it over, and I said, laughing, “It smells terrible.” She insisted that I pass it over, and she said, “It’s a Yankee candle. These are good.” She said the word “Yankee” at least 3 or 4 times, and I told her kindly to shut her trap. But no. The next woman to pick a present stole my candle. I said, “It’s because you said Yankee, Yankee, Yankee so many times, as if we were in a war or something.” Everyone burst out laughing as I chose another gift.

christmas-memoriesWe also bring lots of Christmas hors d’oeuvres, you know, yummy food that makes you fat so that you have to diet in January. That kind of food.

Then it was time to share Christmas memories. Someone shared that she had met her husband on Christmas Day, and that they talked all night, and that they always celebrate Christmas Day as the day they met. I thought it was a bit sappy that they got engaged on Valentines Day and got married on Easter, but whatever. I just imagine a lot of high pressure on the man to have to make each of those days extra special for the rest of his life. But maybe he likes it; who knows?

christmas-memories-2Someone else shared that her family of nine children got together for the first time one Christmas, which was a complete surprise to her. She had two batches of kids, four in the first batch, and five in the second, separated by ten years. Anyway, only one year was everyone together, and the homeschool mom who was sharing this had tears in her eyes as she told the story. (She is the one who hosts this Christmas Tea every year, and she is a dear friend. I love her, and I had to wipe away some tears because her story was so good, how God provided the desire of her heart.)

stealing-ornaments-2Someone else said that when she was five years old, her parents told her that Santa Claus couldn’t come if she was awake. But she stayed awake anyway. Then she heard the reindeer on the roof, and she got freaked out and went to bed like a good little girl. Come to find out years later, her dad was throwing rocks on the roof.

Someone else said that one Christmas she was shopping at a grocery store, when an elderly woman told her that she reminded her of her daughter. Then she said her daughter had passed away last Christmas. (Here people’s eyes were watering and someone blew her nose.) The elderly woman asked her, “Do you mind doing something for me? Could you say, ‘Bye, Mom!’ when I leave? I will call back, ‘See you later.’ It would mean a lot to me.” The woman thought the request was weird, but maybe it would help the grieving woman, so she agreed. After going through the checkout, she called out, “Bye, Mom!” and the elderly woman said, “See you later.” As soon as the cashier told her that her groceries were over $100, the cashier said, “Yes, your mom said you would pay for her groceries.” The woman ran out of the grocery store and found the elderly woman getting into her car, and she said, “You don’t expect me to pay for your groceries, do you?” and she pulled the lady’s leg, just like I’m pulling yours, she said.

We all stopped in shock and then started laughing.

Cookie Nativity Scene Fiasco

Thursday, December 15th, 2011


As I was listening to the “Fun Bonding Activities for Christmastime” workshop I gave last year, I realized that I had promised my readers to put a pathetic picture of a gingerbread cookie nativity scene on my blog. (Well, I didn’t say it was going to be pathetic, but I said I would put it up even if it was pathetic, so you could point and laugh.)

Thankfully I found some nativity cookie cutters at a yard sale over the summer. Then I decided that I don’t like gingerbread, so I made a sugar cookie recipe instead. Bad idea. Part of what I hate about gingerbread is that it’s as hard as a rock, so it’s easy to construct buildings out of it. Well, I baked two huge sugar cookie triangles and put chocolate frosting on both sides. Very messy. Then they broke, right in my hands. (If you click on the picture, you will see it close-up. I tried to glue it back together with more frosting, but it was still precarious.)


I frosted the nativity characters in white, even though you could use brilliant cake dye colors to clothe them in brighter colors. The reason I used plain white was that the entire structure was about to collapse, and time was of the essence. Then I stood the figures up in the goopy icing.

I ran out the door, taking the kids to Awana and having a lovely date night with my husband at a nice Thai place. When we arrived back home, the entire cookie nativity scene had collapsed. Unfortunately I got no picture of the collapsed structure for you to laugh at, because my children all asked if they could have a piece, and they broke the thing apart and started eating it after I said, “I guess so.”


So here is what I’ve learned through this fiasco:

Tip #1: If you are making a gingerbread nativity scene instead of a gingerbread house, make sure you use gingerbread. Also, the gingerbread is brown and already looks like a stable, so you don’t need any icing.

Tip #2: Get a cake pan lid and cover it with aluminum foil. Then slather it with an entire bucket of chocolate frosting, so that you can stand the cookies up in the goop without the figures falling over.

Tip #3: Decorate the nativity figures before assembling the structure, in case the structure is about to collapse when you assemble it.

Tip #4: Have a sense of humor. This will come in handy when you come home from Awana, just to find that the cookie nativity scene has gone through some sort of natural disaster.