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Written by:  Karen M. Alley
Date: January 1, 2009

It’s an unofficial survey, by any stretch of the imagination. But from what I’m hearing, from young and old alike, we’re all yearning for a good snow this winter. Not the inch or two of snow that gets covered with ice, that’s horrible for playing in and even worse for driving.

No, what I want is 6-12 inches of white, fluffy snow. Preferably a huge surprise to everyone, even Van Denton (it has happened once, I clearly remember him getting snowed in at the Fox 8 studios and even admitting on air that he’d only packed a sandwich and had eaten that the night before).

Those are the best kind of snows, and this is why. The first day it snows, you get woken by your kid’s school call line at 5 a.m., so sleeping in is totally out of the question. But the second day the snow plows still haven’t come down your neighborhood’s road, they cancel school the night before, and you and your entire family can look forward to a real Snow Day. They kind where you sleep late, get up and eat pancakes dripping with syrup while still in your flannel pajamas, and then bundle up in layers of clothing and go outside until you’re completely wet and your hands are so cold you can’t feel them anymore.

That doesn’t happen much here in the South. But I have a feeling it might happen this year, and the local weather guys have only fueled the fire, saying that if the below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation that we’ve had continues, well, you know — snow!

So how do you make the most of a snow day with kids? Here are a few tips from someone who used to want to be a teacher only so I could have snow days from work. (That didn’t happen. I ended up with a job where I had to shovel the snow off my car and try to get there at least by 10 a.m.)

Don’t Stress It
This is the key to a good snow day. I know some of you are like me, your whole week is planned in advance. You’ve already got the show and tell item picked out, the lunches made, and plans for doing some work of your own while the kids are in school or maybe meeting up for lunch with an old friend. The snow comes, and all of a sudden your day is thrown out of whack, you have to reschedule appointments, maybe find emergency childcare, figure out what the kids can drink since you were caught without milk in the house. Let all those worries go. The work will still be there tomorrow, the friend can wait. She’s probably stuck in her drive way anyway.

Remember how exciting it was as a kid to wake up and see the ground blanketed with snow, knowing that it meant a day off from school and your homework was already done? Recapture that feeling. Exalt in the fact that you can’t go in to work (forget about the fact that you’re probably using one of your precious vacation days). Enjoy the quiet and stillness of the city where the roads are still and the hustle and bustle has paused.

Get Out and Play
Help your kids make their own snow memories. Go outside with them for a little while and introduce them to the fine art of making snow angels, snow balls and snow people. Usually they don’t need much help figuring out how to enjoy the snow, but it never hurts to have one of us big people be the first down the hill on the sled, to clear the way and pack the snow down a little. In my experience, we adults usually aren’t up for staying out in the cold wet stuff quite as long as kids, and that’s okay. Go out an play for a little while, but then head back in and watch the magic through your window. The snow is a great creativity booster. You’ll be surprised how well brothers and sisters find ways to entertain themselves in the snow, getting plenty of exercise at the same time. It’s usually all fun and games until the snowball fight breaks out. Then you can be ready with some hot chocolate waiting inside.

Come in and Eat
One of the things I remember about snow days as a kid was my mother always used it as an excuse to make a huge pot of vegetable soup. She absolutely refuses to drive in snow, doesn’t enjoy playing in it, and really doesn’t like to be cold. But she loves to look at it. So she sets up shop in the kitchen, right in front of the big picture window, and gets to work chopping vegetables.

You don’t have to make vegetable soup to start some new food related traditions in your family. Try something fun and easy like Rice Krispie treats. Or just do the old standby, some grilled cheese and tomato soup. Of course, you have to have hot chocolate at some point during the day, topped with plenty of marshmallows if you have them.

Snow days are simple. Just these three aspects are all you need to make you snow day a great one. And when it does come, you know we’re all hoping for the same thing. A great snow that melts quickly, so that we’re only cooped up in the house with the kids for a couple of days!




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