What to do at Home on this Cold, Cold Day

Looking for some ideas of ways to keep your kiddos entertained during the polar vortex?

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We’re going to be doing a few of these today……and tomorrow……

  • Do a scavenger hunt indoors.
  • Make hot cocoa. Add marshmallows, whipped cream, and sprinkles to make it extra fancy.
  • Bake something!
  • Color in a coloring book.
  • Have a picnic inside.
  • Make a blanket fort.
  • Make a painting – water color or finger paints are both fun!
  • Read, read, and read some more.
  • Write a story.
  • Play board games.
  • Watch movies.
  • Listen to music.
  • Have a dance party!
  • Write a letter to a relative or friend.
  • Play hide-n-seek.
  • Read some more.
  • Have a “camp out” in the living room.
  • Make a big pot of soup.

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This pile of boxes has already become a house, a fort, a boat, another kind of boat, and a store. Who knows what it’ll become later today….and tomorrow.

Right now, the girls are resting and reading books in bed. As soon as they get up, I think we’ll do some baking.

Have you done any of these activities today?

 

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Get Those Kids out of the House

Winter can be tough. It’s cold. It’s icy. There’s snow, or my least favorite, freezing rain! (Gross. I hate freezing rain.) And it can be tough when the kids need to burn off some energy but you can’t really get outside. (Ugh! Freezing rain!).

Through several winters, we have developed our own list of things to do when the weather is not cooperating. All of these are great whenever you need something to do but the weather isn’t great and that happens during every season in Illinois. However, I think that these are especially great in the winter when you can’t get outside as often as you might like.

Free museum days!

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I’ve posted about managing the free museum days before. You can read that here. Many of the Chicago-area museums have free admission days during the winter months, especially after the holidays have passed. Adler, MSI, Field, and Shedd offer lots of opportunities to explore and get outside and if you can do it without having to pay admission, well, that’s even better. The Chicago Children’s Museum has free admission for kids the first Sunday of every month. The Art Institute has free admission for kids every day.

Go to the mall

Several malls have great indoor play areas. Yes, these can get pretty busy during peak hours so if possible, aim for lunch time or early afternoon to run around in the play areas to avoid some of the crowds. Also, be aware of cleaning times. Some play areas actually shut down for a half hour or hour every day so they can be cleaned. But, really, wouldn’t you rather the play areas are clean?

Bouncy houses, bouncy houses, and more bouncy houses

There are many businesses that make their money by being an indoor bouncy house extravaganza. We have gone to Funflatables several times for birthday parties or just to let the girls burn off some energy. It’s a fairly decent price, especially considering that location is an all-day fee. Go before lunch. Jump around. Leave and get some food. Come back and jump around some more.

Read a book….somewhere else

True, your kiddos aren’t going to burn off a lot of energy reading a book. And, yes, reading is something that you can (and should) do at home, too. But, there is something fun about reading a book that you don’t have at home. Or, reading a book in a different space from where you normally read. Head to your library. Go to a bookstore. Libraries and many bookstores often have storytime programs or crafting projects that will get your kids’ creativity going.

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Find an indoor tropical oasis!

Is there a botanic garden near you? Or a greenhouse that stays open year round? These are great places to visit during the winter. They stay nice and warm year round and it’s nice to see plants that are actually growing, not dormant and covered in inches of snow. One of our favorites is the Garfield Park Conservatory. It’s like a topical getaway!

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Where do you like to go to get the kids out of the house during the winter months?

 

 

Spring! Where Did You Go?

You’d think that after years and years of living in Illinois, I would finally understand that spring in Illinois means, well, that not much has changed since winter. Yes, the calendar has changed. Yes, the Cubs are playing again (except not today – so much for a home opener). But, winter has a mind of it’s own in the Midwest. Some years, we get 70 degree temperatures in January. And some years, it’s still snowing in April.

Remember when I shared a post last week about how our flowers were slowly starting to grow? (You can find that post here.) Well, take a look at how our flowers looked this morning……

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Yep. It looks like spring has taken a bit of a detour. At least for a few days. The forecast is calling for 70 degree temps by Friday. Let’s keep those fingers crossed!

Winter Necessities

I’ve always had very dry hands and dry lips during the winter months. I always just assumed it was just what happened in the cold. Yes, hands can get dry and chapped in the winter. Yes, the same problem happens with lips. But this winter, I’ve noticed a difference and I’m making a pretty big assumption that it comes down to two changes that I made: water intake and Vaseline.

So, as I wrote about here I’m making a big effort to drink more water. More and more and more water. I have now made it part of my morning routine that I can not drink anything else until I finish off one full water bottle. In just the few weeks that I’ve been doing this, I’ve noticed that I’ve been having less headaches. (Although I did have one last night….it did not last long and in the past it probably would’ve lasted through today.) Have I been dehydrated all these years?!? Is that one of the causes of my frequent headaches?!? Honestly, I don’t know. And it’s only been a few weeks. And yes, I’ve still had a couple headaches. But, they haven’t been as frequent or as severe as I’ve had the last few years. So, the water routine is staying!

I used to be a lip balm addict. I would go through entire tubes of lip balm in just a few months. That’s….probably not normal. But, I realized the I was using the lip balms so often because my lips always felt dry! Was it the wax in the balm? I don’t know. But, I’ve switched up my routine here as well.

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These Vaseline Lip Therapy containers are awesome! They are also great because I can quickly add some moisture…..and I use them on my hands for a little extra moisturizing if needed….or on my girls when they have chapped skin. And the rosy lips one has a light rose scent which is pleasant as well.

What products are your necessities for surviving the winter in the midwest?

Winter Checklist Update #6

What are your favorite holiday flavors? For most “seasonal” flavors throughout the rest of the year, I could really enjoy those flavors at any time. However, there is just something about the flavors of the holidays….I really don’t want them except for during the holidays. Those flavors are peppermint and egg nog. Sure, I might have peppermint flavored foods at different times of the year but it’s during the holidays when I really crave that flavor. And since you can’t find egg nog except during the holidays, I try to drink as much as possible. Within reason, of course. 🙂

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The list thus far:

Winter Checklist Update #3

Traditionally, on past Christmas Eve’s, the girls and I have made cookies on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa (and for us to eat since Santa doesn’t really need two dozen cookies). I usually just buy some cookie dough and we use the sprinkles that I already have on hand to decorate the cookies. This year, however, we changed it up a bit.

When I went to the Wilton Outlet Sale (seriously…check this sale out if you are able), I picked up a gingerbread house kit. I thought that this would be a fun project for the girls and I to conquer during our Christmas break. (The first time that I attempted a gingerbread house on my own, the walls were held up with cans of soup on the inside of the house……)

Was it the prettiest gingerbread house ever built? Um. Of course not. But, we had a lot of fun putting it together and adding our own touches (so many marshmallows!!!!). And, it was actually really easy to put together so a great project to do with kiddos.

It’s not our typical “making cookies” adventure. But, it was fun and then we got to eat it.

Bonus: the house stayed up until we tore it apart to eat it! That’s a victory right there. 🙂

The list thus far:

Winter Checklist – Update #2

We are a week away from Christmas! That’s a bit hard to believe. … I’m not sure where this month has gone. But, the countdown is definitely on. We have already accomplished a lot from our list…..which is good because 2017 is quickly coming to a close…..

So, now I give you ……. “A Very Busy Weekend”

Earlier this month, we knocked off two items from our list in one weekend: Renegade Craft Fair and Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo. We had a great weekend, of course. The problem was the weather….. The weather was amazing! Sunny! Not cold at all! So that means that everyone was out and about trying to enjoy the weather.

We made some fun purchases at the Craft Fair. (Always nice to shop small businesses for the holidays.) I can’t show our purchases right now because many of them are going to be unwrapped as gifts. 🙂

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This statue is outside of the building where the Craft Fair was held. The same weekend last year? That statue was covered in snow…..

Since the weekend was so beautiful, we also took the time (and literally a lot of time because it took an hour longer to get to the zoo than it should normally because of traffic) to go to Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo.

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This was also the night of the “Super Moon” which is definitely evident in this photo. That moon sure is super! Once we got to the zoo, it was great…..well….once we were parked and had finally entered the zoo entrance, it was great. The weather was fantastic! The zoo was really packed (which is just what happens when the weather is almost warm in December) but it was nice to go and not feel like we’re freezing our feet off.

The list thus far: