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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day!!!

snow dayIt's not very often that I get excited about the snow falling outside. I love to be warm inside my home safe and secure under a big comfy blanket with a steaming cup of hot tea. I do, however, love to look outside my windows and watch the snow falling down, covering the ground with a beautiful sheet of white. It makes everything look fresh, and clean. There seems to be a unique purity about it. I especially love to see it covering the tree branches, and rooftops. Once the snow has been walked upon, the magic suddenly disappears for me, and the beauty is lost. All we're left with is piles of dirty snow that turns to slush and mixes with leaves and twigs, and other gross things. I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere, but that's not what I wanted to talk about.

The most exciting thing about getting LOTS of snow is the two words that follow it, NO SCHOOL! I love to have an extra spontaneous day with my kids, a day where we have no agenda but to play, have fun, and do whatever we want. We don't ever leave the house; we just make do with what we have. This week, we were blessed with not just one snow day, but two! We all had so much fun together, and I was sad to see it end.

As you're scrolling through the photos, you're probably wondering, "doesn't she have 3 kids??" Yes, I do. And my Gabriel takes after me a lot. He's a little more sensitive and finds the winter weather a bit much sometimes. You won't see him running and playing near as much as Ariel and Zech. He gets frustrated if his toes start to get cold, or his gloves won't stay on correctly. And if he happens to get snow down his coat or in his face, WATCH OUT!

He couldn't get the snow to stick together to make a snowball...

He did it!! He spent his entire time outside trying to make this one snowball!

The snow was falling all day long, so I did the logical thing and found an umbrella so I could enjoy it better.

Before I went inside, I handed off my umbrella to Gabe, who I knew would appreciate it.

This is the only way he would allow Ariel to throw snow at him. She had to throw it on TOP of the umbrella.

For our second snow day, it was much colder and only Ariel wanted to go back outside. Gabe and Zech both said they would rather watch a movie, or just play inside. Too cold and windy for them!

We made some of our own snowmen since we couldn't get the snow outside to stick together. They could have been decorated even more, but I made the mistake of saying you could eat them when you finished, so both kids would only use what they were willing to eat.

marshmallow snowmenMarshmallow snowmen taste the best when you have them with a big cup of hot cocoa!

We made lots of treats for our two snow days. I think the kid's favorite was the bowls of snow we ate. The only flavoring I had on hand was some hazelnut. We just used a couple medicine dropper fulls, dripped it over the top, and had ourselves a delicious cold treat. I had really wanted to make some homemade ice cream out of the snow, but the only recipes I found had eggs, and that seemed too gross to me. Maybe homemade ice cream is always made with raw egg, but I couldn't do it. If you have a recipe for some good snow ice cream without eggs, please do share it!

snow ice cream
It seems like it would get old, but my kids never tire of making tents inside the house. They LOVE to pull all the sheets out, the bag of clothes pins, all the kitchen chairs, and put together a tent big enough for us all to lie inside of. We usually will have a snack inside and curl up and watch movies together. It's our own little haven.

I thought I would share a couple family favorites that we watched on our snow days. These are both probably not really well known, but movies that the kids love just the same.

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" is a favorite of Gabriel's. If you aren't familiar with it, it's a movie based on a children's book by Roald Dahl. This is the author who also wrote "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory." Gabe's teacher read "Fantastic Mr. Fox" to his 1st grade class. He came home very excited about the book. When I was out Christmas shopping one day, I happened to run across the movie and just had to buy it for him. Gabriel loves it! If it's his turn to choose a movie, he will always choose this one.

fantastic Mr. fox
The film is animated and is done with stop motion. That means they move the objects in small increments between photographing creating the illusion that it's moving. A few other popular movies done this way with clay animation are Chicken Run, and Wallace and Gromit. When I watched it at first I had a hard time getting past the stop motion. It sometimes feels like the picture is not moving smoothly enough. But I don't think my boys were bothered at all by it.

The main character, whose voice is George Clooney, is a newspaper man who returns to his old habits of stealing from three farmers, Boggis, Bunce & Bean. The story is full of quirky characters, adult humor, and slapstick fun for the little kids. My sons loved it, my daughter was bored. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. It started out hard to get into but turned into an eccentric story that had both Titus and I laughing.

The only part of the movie I was bothered by was the "cussing". It's a PG film and they say the word "cuss" repeatedly as a joke. It starts out being used in a conversation, then is only used in place of swear words later. This is the introduction to the "cussing":

Badger: In summation, I think you just got to not do it, man. That's all.
Mr. Fox: I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice.
Badger: The cuss you are.
Mr. Fox: The cuss am I? Are you cussing with me?
Badger: No, you cussing with me?
Mr. Fox: Don't cussing point at me!
Badger: If you're gonna cuss with somebody, you're not gonna cuss with me, you little cuss!
Mr. Fox: You're not gonna cuss with me!
[Both start snarling at each other, and then settle down]
Mr. Fox: Just buy the tree.
Badger: Okay.
"Cuss" is just used randomly after this, but I still thought it was a bit over the top. Other than that, if you like different kinds of films, you'll love this!

Now the next movie, "Flipped" is my personal new favorite. Ariel really enjoyed it also. I happened to be checking Redbox for a movie one day and came across this. It was rated in 2010 as one of their family favorites. I was very surprised with it, and had to purchase my own copy.

This movie is also based on a children's book, by Wendelin Van Draanen. It's a teen romance that will have you laughing one moment and sobbing the next. The story is told from both main characters' points of view. The movie starts with a scene of the two kids at age 7, then fast forwards until they're around 13 years old. You'll hear Bryce narrate the film from his point of view and then it "flips" and you'll get to hear the point of view of Juli from the exact same scenes. It's hilarious!

You'll get to see just how different men and women are and think. God made us each uniquely different, and it's fascinating to me to see in this movie. To give you an example from the movie, Bryce is commenting on how his plan to get rid of Juli didn't work. "Word had gotten back to her and she started making goo-goo eyes again. Only this time it was worse. She started sniffing me. That's right. Sniffing me. What was that all about?"

Then it flips and you hear Juli's explanation. "He was so shy and so cute. And his hair smelled like watermelon. I couldn't get enough of it. I spent the whole year secretly sniffing watermelon.... and wondering if I was ever going to get my kiss."

It's a wonderful family movie. I would highly recommend it to you! The only downside, it has a little bit of swearing, I believe 5 swear words to be exact. It's not just a fun silly movie; it has a great message to it too. There were several things I got out of it. One of the things the father says to his daughter is that you have to look at people and see if they are more than the sum of their parts. Are they just a pretty face or is there more to them? It also makes you think about what you say to people. We sometimes have no idea how much our words affect others. Sometimes we might say something as a joke, or something said flippantly could really be taken to heart. Our words can really hurt people.

I don't want to tell you any more, or I might just ruin the story for you. I would check it out and see for yourself what you think. To me, it was a beautiful movie. I love when I go away from something and still think about it. I love when I turn a movie off and can't wait for the next time I watch it again.

I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the movie. It's words the grandfather says to his grandson about the girl next door who reminds him so much of his late wife.

"Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss; but every once in a while, you find someone who's iridescent, and once you do, nothing will ever compare. "

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