Monday, November 23, 2009

Who says you need snow to have a good time?

Here in good ole Northern California, out in the middle of the freakin valley, we don't get snow. Problem is, the kids and I love snow. Tim, not so much. But he'll tolerate a visit to the snow if I beg and plead with him (a promise to have sex is usually thrown in there somewhere). The closest place for us to go is Tahoe, which is 2 hours away.

So for those of you who live where it snows, I'll bet "rainy" days are fun. You bundle the kids up and let them run outside in the snow, catch snowflakes on their tongues, build snowmen, have snowball fights and go sledding. All the while, you're in the house warming up some hot chocolate for them for when they come in from the cold.

Oh, wait....is that just a commercial I've seen on tv?? Well, perhaps it's really not THAT glamorous to live in the snow but that's kind of the way I've always imagined it would be.

In these here parts where we live, rainy days suck. Or, should I say, they suck if you have young children who cannot stand to spend more than 2 hours stuck inside the house.

On Friday afternoon, the kids were going nuts from being stuck indoors. I knew I had to come up with kind of fun craft to keep them entertained and busy. In other words, make them happy so I'm not driven to drink the last 1/4 of a bottle of Bailey's in our fridge just to keep my nerves in order.

Well, we can't build snowmen with real snow but we can certainly make fake ones. I had seen a craft in Family Fun magazine on how to make cornstarch-clay creatures and it seemed easy enough. I'll post the recipe at the bottom for those who want to keep their kids busy without losing their hair or sanity.

For a good hour, we took this huge chunk of white crap and rolled it out, molded it into various shapes and decorated our clay creatures. And the whole time, I'm trying to sound all enthusiastic, "Who needs real snow, right? We can make snowmen right here without having to leave the comfort of our own warm, cozy house!!" I heard some low groans but otherwise they were quiet.

Let me introduce our family of snowmen:



I know..so cute, right? My favorite snowman is Garrett's. See the snowman with the red horns and pitchfork...that would be his. It's SO him, wouldn't you agree? I had no clue what the thing on the right was until Bella informed me, "Mommy, it's a quesadilla. I can't believe you didn't know that".

Cole said, "Mommy, what else do people do in the snow?" I answered, "Well, there's sledding...but I don't see how we could do that indoors".

Leave it to my kids to find a way to go sledding indoors. I'll give you 2 guesses what it involved....stairs and books. I most certainly can never accuse my children of being uncreative.



Here they are in live action....



If there's anything my kids learned that day, it's definitely how to adapt to their surroundings...to make do with what they have.

Of course, it's possible one of them could've also learned how incredibly painful a broken arm could feel. Wouldn't that make for one heck of a post...."A Prelude to an ER Visit".

Cornstarch-Clay Creatures (courtesy of Family Fun magazine)
* 2/3 cup salt
* 1/3 baking soda
* 1/2 cup cornstarch


I doubled the ingredients since I wanted to make sure I had enough for each child.

1) In a small saucepan, mix salt and baking soda with 1/3 cup water and bring to a boil.
2) In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water and stir well.
3) When the salt mixture boils, remove it from the heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir vigorously for a minute or two to thicken the clay. Spoon it onto a sheet of wax paper and allow it to cool before working with it.

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48 comments:

Buckeroomama said...

Hey, that sounds like a fun idea! Making snowmen just might be our "project" for tomorrow afternoon. Thanks for sharing.

I love the little family of snowmen that your children made. Really cute! I like Garrett's and I like the one with the scarf, too. :)

Re: "sledding" -- Did any of them complain about sore bums afterward? Heh.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Well hey, they gotta learn somehow, right?!

The Crazy Baby Mama said...

Adorable. You have a great family :)

M said...

First thought? Wow those ARE cute ... I'm going to do thta with the kids. Sore bums was my second thought. Third was "Really ... is that the proper use of a book?" :)

Now that we are in TX we have a lot of indoor time to kill ... our solution this last summer? The Little Tikes Inflatable Jumper ... the best money we have ever spent. It's intended for outdoors but works great indoors and the kids are exhausted afterwards (this, of course, is the best thing about it). I set it up in our family room right under the ceiling fan.

Our staircase has windows at the bottom ... it's a gift from the builders here in Texas ... fall down the stairs ... break your leg
... and cut your throat on broken glass. We also have trip hazards they conveniently scattered around and upstairs windows in the kids rooms that are 12 inches off the floor.

Thanks for the snowman craft ... (I'll try not to spread anymore TX love around your blog)

Yaya said...

How cute!!!
The kids I nanny for like to make marshmallow snowmen.

Corrie Howe said...

You are such a good mommy! I hate crafts and I can only think about my kids going through the glass window at the bottom of the stairs.

My kids would probably love your house!

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

I think a side of a cardboard box might work better than books. You could also get a bunch of those white styrofoam little balls that are used for packing and pile them in a small space. They are really fun to jump in and throw around. You could even turn on some fans to make some wind!

Love the creativity you and your children have. I think you do a great job keeping them entertained! Whew!

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

I love the snowmen!! My kids would have been going down the banister...oh wait...been there done that!

Mimi and Tilly said...

Fab snowmen. Creative Sledding, fantastic! I'm sitting here writing this in grey, rainy ole Blighty. We've had storms and oodles of rain the past week. Right now the rain is lashing the window and is so loud hitting the roof it sounds like rocks not rainsdrops. Just north of here they've had floods... Snow or sunshine would be good right about now!

Kaleena said...

Love the little snowmen and the sledding looks like fun!

Missy (Two Little Monkeys) said...

CREATIVE & FUN!
What a great idea! And the little snowmen turned out adorable!
Be sure to check out my blog tomorrow - fun & very inexpensive "Make Your Own Christmas ornaments"
PS - I would love to link up your craft idea for snowmen tomorrow, if you do not mind?

Menopausal New Mom said...

That is so creative and you have some talented little hands at your place!

We have the real deal here, so much snow you need to spike your coffee just to get through the day. The reality is your kids go out, play in the snow until someone loses a glove, gets a snow ball in the face and starts crying, loses a boot as they sink up to their hips in snow all the while you are cursing while trying to shovel a mountain of snow from behind one of your cars so you can get away from everyone!

Sadia said...

You're such a fun mom!

I like visiting places with snow, but not living in them. Where there is snow, there will be slush, and I hate slush. I spent two Christmases during grad school in Minneapolis, and that was perfect. The snow was perfect while I was there, and I returned to Texas to defrost.

The Mother said...

I tried making cornstarch clay once.

It ended up in everyone's hair and never became clay. My kids called it "ooblek."

Probably a reference which belies their age.

Morgan said...

The snowmen turned out cute!

Another snow activity is making snow angels. You could do that on the beach in the sand too!

Snow days are fun, but they are INCREDIBLY cold. And if you keep your car parked outside, then you have 20 minutes of scraping ice and snow off your windshield before you can go anywhere. BRRRR!

Mrs Cooper said...

Ok, I live in New England where we get tons of snow and every commercial is for the ski resorts. What you mentioned looking like a commercial is actually how it happens here in the Cooper house. I videotape and take pics of the kids when they first go out, usually why hubby is snowblowing. I have the water heating up for tea of cocoa when they get in. Someone has to stay warm. We had tons of snow last year so we're not exactly hoping for it this year. We are enjoying the mild weather we are having so far.

Jessica Jones said...

Great idea momma! My kids will LOVE that! If we get our claning done today maybe we will make it too@ can you save it or does it harden?

Pam said...

Those snowmen are adorable. And they last a lot longer than the real thing.

Creative Junkie said...

I live in upstate NY. We get snow about 5-6 months out of the year. I HATE SNOW. I don't know why we continue to live here.

Heather Kephart said...

Helene, I love it! Joe is a bit young for this, but I don't think he will care. I too love Garrett's devil snowman. So touching and cute and sweet! Little devil hee hee... copying the recipe now.

Laura said...

We LOVE Tahoe!! We were there in 2000 for our 5 year anniversary since we didn't have much of a honeymoon.

I think those snowmen are adorable and I admire how you can always come up with something for your kiddos to do. Me? I'm constantly saying, "Go find something to do!" to my one and only.

Oh! And I never thought I'd see the words "snow" and "quesadilla" together in the same post. Not in a million years!

Brooke said...

we get very little snow here, but we're only about 30 minutes from the mountains so we can get our fix if we need to.

Amy said...

What a fun craft idea. We are suppose to be getting the real stuff soon. I am not sure what I think about it either. Have a great week..

Eva Gallant said...

You are such a good mommy!

shortmama said...

At least they are creative!!

I would love to live in the snow...of course Im sure if I did then I would long for sunny days!

Mrsbear said...

Never seen snow myself, it would be a lot longer than two hours I'm afraid since we're at the Southern end of Florida. I think it snowed for half a second here in the 70s, every time the temp drops in to the 50 degree range my kids are convinced it will happen again.

They do like to make snow angels in the sand at the park though. Fun to get out of hair.

Love the stair sledding, the chance of broken limbs just ups the danger factor.

Jen said...

We get snow here. Lots and Lots of snow here. And it is not very fun to play in. So I am going to have to remember this craft.

♥georgie♥ said...

wow those snowmen are too cute! and look how creative your childrens are! never underestimate the power of a childs mind...they are precious Helene

Nezzy said...

I'm lovin' the personalities each snowman has. Cute. I once made snowballs and froze them until my niece visited from south Texas who had never seen snow could experience a snowball fight with her cousins.

Have a great day, I think I just found a new use of books! :o)

Jenn said...

Use a sleeping bag for stair sledding... It works like a charm! And gives a little cushion too!
My grandpa taught me that, much to my grandma's dismay!

The Lane Family said...

First off we did grow up in snow but still loved to "sled" down the stairs. But better than books is a piece of wax paper or pillows...yes there are A lOT of bruises an soreness but it is fun!!!

I love the snowmen. What a fun project. out here in Northern Virginia we do not get much snow that stays so Aidan will love this idea.

heather@it'stwinsanity said...

I just cringed at the books on the staircase! My kids would totally do that and certainly someone would crack open their head! Although it looks like fun...

Karen said...

Those "snow"men are adorable!

And we used to "sled" down the stairs too. Until I nearly broke my ankle when I took a fall!

Mighty M said...

You are such a cool mom!! We didn't have stairs in our house where I mostly grew up so whenever we went to my Grandma's I spent a lot of time playing (and sliding) down the stairs!

Sherri @ Luv a Bargain said...

What a great idea! I know your kids had a blast.

Yes, it is fun for the kids to live in snow all winter, NOT so much fun for the shoveler...I mean me:)

I have to say I still feel like a kids when the first snow comes and I love a white Christmas. But by February it just feels the same as a yucky rainy day. I'm over it by then.

Alicia said...

Love the snowmen, and the quesadilla! LOL! I'll have to try that with my kids!

And I'm sure there is a librarian out there shaking her head at all the books being flung around! LOL

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

I am making those tonight! Talk about adorable! Oh, I meant the snowmen- that I am making. Not your kids. However, your kids are adorable! That make sense?

leigh said...

Will you be my Mommy?

Leigh

Tiffany said...

How cute are those snow men? You are so crafty Helene! We are heading up to Tahoe to build the real thing in a couple weeks, but when my boys are bugging in a couple years and we can't get away I will remember this. As always, thanks for sharing.

Amy W said...

My girls will love this!! They still love to play with homemade play dough. This looks similar. Can't wait to try it!

blueviolet said...

You really came up with some great ideas! I know I've done that on the stairs too but I can't remember what I used to slide on. :)

KK said...

No snow in South Texas and that's why I live here! Cute crafts though!

Frugal Vicki said...

That is too awesome! What creative kids you have! We got some blizzard in a bucket and instant snow to review (and GIVEAWAY! ;) ). My so lives in the snow state and he still thought it was the coolest thing ever. Maybe I don't let him out enough!
And to add to your thinking....we only like snow WHILE it is snowing. As my son says....it is "poopy brown" snow the next day

Shelle said...

ouch! Definitely want to copy your snowmen...why don't our crafts ever turn out cute like that? Thanks for the recipe.

Julie said...

FUN craft!

And what a CREATIVE game! LOL!

Julie said...

that was me...wifemomnurse julie

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

I've got that page marked in my magazine. Thanks for test driving it for me. Maybe that will be tomorrow's activity.

kys said...

Yeah - my kids "sled" down the stairs every day. And they are much older than yours and need to quit. The snowmen are really cute!

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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