Cabin Fever

Here we snow again.

Winter weather is once again coming to the Southeastern U.S.  The authorities have requested everyone who doesn’t have to get out to stay home for the next couple of days.  I agree, since Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee don’t really have a whole lot of winter weather equipment and what they do have works better if they don’t need to run over spun-out cars to use it.  So, it looks like a whole lot of people will be inside and that includes many kids.

Now, it doesn’t bother me one little bit to be in for a couple of days from cold and precipitation (I do prefer that we don’t lose power and water, but that is another story), but my kiddos will start getting stir crazy after the first day.  I have heard a lot of friends contemplating how to keep their children entertained for a few days when stuck indoors?  Of course, there will be a lot of just regular old playtime, but sometimes it helps to have some direction.  Here is a list of some of our favorite indoor activities:

1. Building blocks/bricks

In a word, Legos or Duplos or plain shaped blocks.  My kids will build with Legos and other building bricks for hours.  Sometimes they come up with their own scenarios and sometimes we do a big build together.  If we want to do a homeschool day, we can use these to do Lego math (Pinterest has a lot of great ideas there) or launch an art/creative writing project to make a storybook based the places and characters we build.

2. Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

My kids used to love watching Super Why on PBS or Netflix.  Last year we did our own version where I “hid” -usually in plain sight- letters in various places in the house and they went searching for them to fill in the blanks on the dry erase board.  We use felt letters, Magnetic Letters on a cookie sheet, or wooden letter disks (I made these when my youngest was 3 using the printable letters and instructions on Confessions of a Homeschooler).  I also sometimes use a dry erase marker and wipe off boards to write them.  On really stir crazy days I would do this throughout the day with the answer word as the next planned activity (i.e. the words “art time” if we are going to paint next).

IMG_1181 IMG_1182

3. Furniture Fort

Not for the faint of clearing up, but my kids love to grab the blankets and rearrange the living room furniture and kitchen chairs to make forts for indoor adventures.  The only thing I insist is that we put it back before bedtime so that the grown ups can use the living room in the evening.

4. Indoor Camping

We break out the 2-person dome tent and kid camp chairs and set up in the living room.  The boys have a great time playing in the tent, we turn out all the lights, and they set up their bedrolls and flashlights like the sun is going down.  Last time the weather kept us inside for a while, we taught the boys about another camping tradition: s’mores in the fireplace!

smore

 5. Books, books, and more books!

Indoor time is a great time to read together and my kids just soak in snuggle time on the sofa or in the chair with mom or dad.  We choose sticker activity books, leveled readers they have chosen, or chapter books to read together.  If my read-aloud voice runs out of steam, I break out the Kindle Fire and we listen to audiobooks.  We are enjoying Magic Tree House series as well as The Boxcar Children for chapter read-alouds.  My older one especially loves the adventures.

We will round out the top 10 with:

6. Band Time
7. Baking Time
8. Building with Woodsies or other Arts & Crafts
9. Cardboard and Duct Tape
10. Electronic Devices for games or education.

 

Does your family have favorite indoor activities when the winter weather arrives?

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Bread, Milk, and Eggs

It is no secret that we live in the Southeastern U.S.  You  may have heard of us recently when we made national (and maybe international) news because two of our major cities, Birmingham and Atlanta, were shut down due to snow and ice with quite a commotion in the process.  Lots of armchair quarterbacking will continue, probably for days or weeks while people keep discussing “Snowmaggedon,” “Snowpocalypse” and “”Snowjam” 2014.

I don’t think that preparatory trips to the store to collect bread, milk, and eggs are limited to the Southeast.  Growing up in another region, we used to joke that if we all got stuck at least we could make French Toast.  I can’t help with the milk and eggs, but if you don’t make it in for bread, here are a few links to my favorite bread recipes.  Some of these only require a few ingredients each–you may already have them in your kitchen.  Now, while you are stuck inside the house, at least the house can smell like freshly baked yummies.

Here they are: some of my favorite bread and muffin recipes and the links to where I found them.

peasant bread

Peasant Bread from Alexandra Cooks:  This recipe has 6 ingredients, no kneading, and produces a good basic white bread.  I hope at some point to convert the recipe to whole wheat, but I haven’t gotten there quite yet.

Bagel Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Bagel Recipe from King Arthur Flour:  The bagel recipe also has 6 basic ingredients but requires a little more work.  These are easiest if you have either a mixer or bread machine because the dense texture is achieved by working the dough to develop the gluten.  They are also boiled and then baked for their texture.  King Arthur Flour has an extensive recipe database, and I have tried several of their other recipes which have turned out well.

buttermuffins

Butter Muffins from Southern Living:  Good, rich flavor, only 3 ingredients, and fast prep makes these muffins popular with my crowd, but they are very crumbly in texture so I have to get little mess-makers to grab a napkin.

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffins from The Curvy Carrot

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffins from The Curvy Carrot:  These gems require a lot more ingredients than the others, but they are soooooooooo good!

Scones from Allrecipes.com

Scones from Allrecipes.com: You may want to start the coffee pot when you make these scones. They are so yummy and rich that I actually split them in half for a serving. They are not too tricky and the result is more like half-bread, half-dessert.

I could keep going and going and going, but I need to actually go and cook some dinner for the crew now.  Happy baking!

Thank you.

Thank you, Dr. King.

Thank you for the leadership you gave during your time.

We have come a long way since then.  We still have some distance to go.

Thank you for promoting peace as well as equality.

Thank you for having that dream and sharing it with everyone who would listen in your time and in generations to come.

You can read the text of the “I Have a Dream” speech here.  I will add no commentary here; it speaks for itself.  It is worth reading.