If you couldn't tell by my drama tainted previous post, I struggle with depression pretty badly in the winter. Actually, all the time. But winters are the hardest.
The Maryland Board of Education (aka: homeschool) have required me to be a little more creative this year, so we've been doing a lot of "snow" themed art. You know, the paper plate snowman, the cotton ball snowman, the fingerprint snowman, the marshmallow snowman... for all of our sakes I found this pretty sweet snow paint recipe- mix 1/2 cup of Elmer's glue and 1/2 cup shaving cream and it makes the COOLEST puffy white snow paint. We added lots of silver and blue glitter to ours, and I printed out 8x10 photos of each of the kids playing in the snow. They spent a good 30 minutes (which is 30 hours in Jordi-boy time) glopping heaps of "snow" on their pictures, and then (when my back was turned) emptied another tub of glitter on top of the snow for a very very very shiny snowstorm. Glitter is risky business.
I'm a big snail mail lover & participater, and a great way to incorporate reading, phonics, handwriting & art in one project is through letter writing. We attach half a sheet of those dotted line practice sheets to a piece of construction paper, write a short note to a relative or friend, then decorate the top half. Putting even the tiniest ounce of effort into it gets the kids all excited about it- like printing out some photos of them doing whatever it is they are writing about, or Cricuting (after hearing a very compelling argument proposed by myself and my dear friend, Ben hopped on board the Cricut train and surprised me with one) some shapes to collage or making another one of the gosh forsaken q-tip snowmen... and then putting on the stamp is always a big deal. Why? I don't know. I think b/c it feels a little adult:) After a couple of weeks of this, things start arriving with THEIR names on them and that is always the coolest thing ever for a kid. This also gives a little bit of meaning to the endless Spiderman coloring pages and all those dumb snowmen.
Nothing excites the Jordi men (and the little lady) like a cookie or chip.
The following is an excerpt from a yesterday conversation:
Me: "Guess what guys? Mommy is taking you bowling today!"
Me: "They are going to have pizza there."
Crew: ***deafening cheers
This is BOWLING ALLEY PIZZA they are excited about. And it's free, so you know it's gonna be even worse. My point is that a $2 box of brownie mix can literally tip the scales from gray day of tantrums and fits to happy day of dancing and snotty kisses! Another favorite is homemade caramel corn. Before your opinion of me goes up, it's ridonk-ulously easy. Just corn syrup, butter, salt, brown sugar and baking soda, air popped corn and about 1 hr in the oven. Bad for your teeth, but a band-aid for your soul! We've eaten so badly this winter but treats & chub in excess are necessary to survive winter in the mountains of Maryland.
The last and perhaps favorite winter pastime is the family rave. My kids have long graduated Wheels on the Bus to Family Force 5 and Skillet and Pillar and Toby Mac and Thousand Foot Krutch and I'm like, totally proud of that. Pandora for an hour = homeschool gym class. I quickly ran through teaching the dance moves I knew- The Lawnmower (pull cord to the beat 3-4 times, shuffle forward, repeat) The Shopping Cart (grasp cart, shuffle feet forward, grab can from shelf, place in cart, repeat), The Cabbage Patch (Make fists push arms outward from chest and rotate in circles), The Egyptian (self explanatory)- so one day I You Tubed "Chainsaw" by Family Force 5 and found a whole 'nother world of kicks and punches and moves I never imagined. I do recommend previewing before the kids see b/c maybe you aren't cool with TOO much crazy (it WILL wind them up)- but "BZRK" was December's antidepressant, and just the other day we found "Sweep the Leg" (both by FF5) and the kids already know it by heart. Seriously, even #3 shakes her finger at me and says "uh-uh". #2 told our playdate the other day he was a "lethal weapon". There is no way you can be sad after one viewing. Seriously. It's healing and therapeutic and your kids will say things like "you're my favorite mommy!" I heart that.
What gets you through the winter?