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Posts tagged ‘winter’

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

All Eyes on Sochi

It’s that time again… time for another Olympics!

If you don’t already know it from reading previous posts, I am a huge fan of the Olympics. I have watched the Olympics my entire life, each one marking a unique moment or chapter in my life. In 1974, as a four year old, I kicked off a lifetime obsession by creating drawings for every sport I watched on television. When I was eight and 12, I remember marathon sessions on the couch, combined with outdoor sporting “events” in the backyard.

Fast forward to 2002 when I was living in LA and entered a lottery to run in the winter Olympics torch relay. I had the amazing good fortune to be selected as a support runner, who would run alongside the torchbearer. I showed up early that morning to discover I would be running with actor, Chris O’Donnell (only in LA, right?!), who graciously handed the torch to me to carry for a beautiful minute; thanks for that, Chris!) And to top it all off, I went to Salt Lake City for a spectator’s dream weekend.

Just two years later brought significant change of another sort… motherhood. 2004 marked Livi’s birth (of course it was an Olympic year!) I remember nursing on the couch and pacing in front of the television, not quite sure what to do with the colicky infant in my arms, but feeling some small measure of comfort in watching the Games.

Fours years later, I had a four year old who was content to watch some of the Games with Mama, even if she didn’t fully grasp all the ins and outs.

Today, I’m ready for another Games, but also to watch them as part of a new chapter, with my nine year old sidekick. What will be different? Over the past few of years, Livi has been playing sports year round and trying out all that we can fit into our schedule. Now that she is deep into learning the rules and thrills of every sport, she’ll be watching with an entirely new focus. There will be lots of couch conversation surrounding athletes, plays and procedures.

Are your kids interested in reading more about the Olympics? Check out the Time for Kids website. Here you’ll find kid-friendly articles, info and printables.

Hosting an Olympics party for kids? Check out the Birthday of Champions event I hosted a couple of years ago! Perhaps you can host your own mini downhill, curling, sledding event or obstacle course.

Have you seen this commercial? Three cheers for athletes AND their moms!

Make gold medal cookies here.

And make a craft Olympic torch here.

Now you’re ready! Let the games begin!


Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Epic Snowflake for an Epic Winter

It’s been one heck of a winter around here, between snowfall accumulation and the coldest subzero temperatures in 25 years. So what better way to embrace an epic winter than by creating an epic snowflake?

Simply lay 9 full-size sheets of newspaper on the floor in a three-by-three grid to form a square, then tape the sheets together. Fold and cut the square into a paper snowflake, as you would with a regular-size piece of paper. Carefully unfold the paper and there it is!


(image courtesy FamilyFun Magazine)

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Winter Festivals

I’ll admit… in the dead of winter I’m not looking to spend a lot of time outside. Until now, that is, because I came across an article on winter festivals on

Check out the plethora of fun activities you can take part in, if you’re lucky enough to be near any of the 12 festivals mentioned. Race car sled races, snow sculptures, light shows, snow slides, fireworks, snow golf, torchlight parades, snowshoe softball and snow playgrounds… sign me up!

And if you can’t get to one of these awesome events, take some inspiration from them and plan something in your backyard. Savor the season!


(image courtesy de Quebec)

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Ice Luminaries

It’s mid February…the good news is it’s staying light just a little longer each night. The bad news? There are still some cold, dark nights ahead of us. I’ll be honest: I’m not sure I will get around to making these awesome ice luminaries, but I love looking at them. I never cease to be amazed by the things people come up with! Enjoy the tour on making these at Design Mom and have fun thinking about new ways in which to light up your February nights!

(courtesy Design Mom)

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Fun in the Snow

Happy new year!

We were lucky enough to have a good snowfall the day after Christmas. We’re always dreaming of a white Christmas around here, and this year we came really close to making that a reality! Fortunately for the kids, it was a wet snow which was great to build with and it stayed around for the entire holiday break.

First, we built the standard-issue snowman as a warm up to bigger projects. Speaking of snowmen, I never thought to try this, but there were a lot of upside down guys like this online!

I was definitely intrigued when my husband started rolling a giant snowball around the yard. What I thought was becoming a “mine is bigger than yours” snowman competition turned into the unexpected: An upside down sno-cone! If only we had a giant-sized bottle of flavored syrup to pour on top of it!

We also built a snow fort using a small cooler for our mold. It wasn’t until a couple days later that I stumbled upon plastic snow/sand block molds online so I ordered a few to play with on our next snow day.

Then we filled spray bottles and condiment bottles with food coloring and water, painting everything in our path. (You’ll want to keep this off of your clothes due to the stain factor!)

We didn’t try making snow glass (food coloring and water frozen inside water balloons) but I love the end result:

Of course when it was time to go in, we had some hot cocoa, but we also had some snow ice cream. (I guess you could say we had ice cream on the brain!) The ingredients/directions: start with 1 gallon fresh snow, stir in 1 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 2 cups milk. My personal touch: sugar cane stir sticks. A yummy beverage in celebration of a white (day after) Christmas!

Here’s hoping you can spend the next snow day being a kid again!

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Holiday Trees (Minus Those Pesky Needles)

Who says creating a holiday tree is a cookie cutter process? If you’re looking to try a new approach this year, check out these out of the ordinary displays!


Another bookshelf, minus the books


Flat canvas

Book pile




Hand drawn



And yes, even sticky notes!

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Sandman or Snowcastle?

Snowmen are to winter as sandcastles are to summer, right? Unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, where winter falls in July. Check out the fun post at The Crafts Department, who is celebrating a Christmas in July theme this week on their blog.

(image via The Crafts Department/Coastal Living)

(image via The Crafts Department)

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

The No Snowman

Can you believe it’s March?! After a record-setting snowfall last winter, we are rapidly approaching the end of this winter without any… snow! We have only had a couple of inches and more importantly, NO snow days!

I am, without a doubt, a summer girl through and through, but I have to admit there is something not right about a midwest winter without a snow day. Nothing beats an unexpected day inside, looking out on a winter wonderland (except for maybe a sixty degree day in January!)

Heading into the end of the year, Livi and I were extra prepared this time, with plans set to attempt the Lands’ End squallrus below — isn’t it awesome?

Livi has also been fixated on the fact that while we have made a snow fort and snow penguin with her in past years, we have yet to build a classic snowman, and this fact seems to be firmly stuck in her small, but persistent mind! My solution? I presented her with the snowman below, which she happily built and which will never melt (unless it has an unfortunate run-in with a kitchen appliance).

Happy no snow, Livi! There’s always next year…

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Holiday Toasts

from Jamie

Since we had so much fun with last year’s tropical fruit tasting following our Christmas brunch, I decided to keep the explorer spirit alive this year with a hot cocoa bar. First, I purchased as many hot chocolate flavors as I could find (in an ideal world I would have made these from scratch — there are a bunch of unique recipes online!) Then I provided lots of different toppings, including whipped cream, sprinkles, silver/red/green sugar, marshmallows and Pocky sticks in chocolate, strawberry and cappucino flavors (a biscuit dessert from Japan available online and in select stores).

Another cool find: miniature cups made out of chocolate! I found mine at a local foodie destination called Jungle Jim’s International Market but others are available online. The adults had Kahlua in theirs while the kiddies stuck with cold milk.

To add a tropical flair to juice glasses, we lined them with a slice of starfruit.

There was also no shortage of elderflower beverages on hand! I first discovered the St. Germain liqueur a year ago when a friend gave me a small sample. Having a real sweet tooth when it comes to cocktails, I immediately fell in love with it (this must be what nectar tastes like!) The flavor is unlike anything else and is derived from elderflower blossoms. Recently, we were excited to find elderflower concentrate and juice boxes at IKEA, which means two things: 1) I can have an elderflower beverage at any hour of the day and 2) my daughter can participate in the elderflower craze as well! (The concentrate goes quite nicely with tonic water or seltzer.)

Here’s to tasty toasting in the new year!

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

A Tree-ific Yarn Craft

from Jamie

Love the simplicity and unexpected colors in these yarn trees! Directions can be found at One Pearl Button.

(image courtesy One Pearl Button)