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Spring will come again

January 12, 2009

by Jenni Sebora

It is the middle of the winter, which calls for some ways to deal with what some may call “the winter-time blues.”

Winter can make us feel trapped in. The days are shorter, which means less sunlight, colder air, and more time indoors.

Some people like it, and there are those that hate the winter; but the fact of the matter is, if you are living in Minnesota, you better learn to love it, or at least deal with it.

Really, on the bright side, the daylight is increasing, and we have had enough snow to at least play in. Sunlight reflecting on snow-covered trees is certainly a wondrous winter miracle in and of itself.

How about creating some frozen sun catchers, too?

Using a pie plate, water, string and various articles from nature, such as pine cones, pine needles, dried flowers, bird seed, lemon and orange peel, one can create a winter sun catcher.

Fill the pie plate with water; place a piece of string in the middle of the water with about a foot of string hanging outside of the pan. This extra string will be used to hang this sun catcher.

Add your nature items to the water. Freeze this until it is solid and hang outside.

Have some outside fun. Using an old sheet, clothespins, and snowballs, play “throw the ball through the snowman.”

First, cut three holes in the sheet for the snowman’s body, or draw a large snowman on the sheet, and cut out large button holes, eyes, mouth, etc. Assign point values to the various openings and keep track of your point totals.

How about playing with a parachute outside during these winter months?

Dressed in your winter attire, use a large old sheet for parachute play outside. Hold the various corners or edges and lift up and down; take turns running under the sheet to get to the other side. Put some snowballs in the middle of the sheet and watch them fly up and down as you raise and lower the sheet.

My three children found a good strip of ice on part of our drive way that slopes, so they spent the better part of two hours just body sliding down that strip of ice.

Watching this event was sheer entertainment for a parent. In fact, it turned into active entertainment for me. I accidentally slid down the slope myself, laughing along the way. I then joined my kids for a few more rides down the icy runway.

We used nothing but our bodies clad in snowpants (it made the gliding that much slicker) and the ice. Now that is simple fun!

Looking for another good book to curl up to possibly with your older children?

How about trying a Newberry award winner? A while back, I had listed some of the award winners dating back to 1960.

What were some of the award winners prior to that? Here is a list from 1959 – 1950. I always find these lists interesting.

• 1959: “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare

• 1958: “Rifles for Watie” by Harold Keith

• 1957: “Miracles on Maple Hill” by Virginia Sorenson

• 1956: “Carry On, Mr. Bowditch” by Jean Lee Latham

• 1955: “The Wheel on the School” by Meindert DeJong

• 1954: “. . . And Now Miguel” by Joseph Krumgold

• 1953: “Secret of the Andes” by Ann Nolan Clark

• 1952: “Ginger Pye” by Eleanor Estes

• 1951: “Amos Fortune, Free Man” by Elizabeth Yates

• 1950: “The Door in the Wall” by Marguerite Henry

How about a winter-time picnic inside the house?

Grab, once again, an old sheet, towel or blanket, plop it down on the living room floor or wherever your family’s hearts desire, and have a picnic lunch, brunch, or dinner.

Enjoy some hot cocoa while you are on this picnic, coupled with a good family movie and/or some books.

How about some of these wonderful children’s books?

• “The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs;

• “Clifford’s First Snow Day” by Norman Bridwel,

• “Thomas’ Snowsuit” by Robert Munsch;

• “The Mitten” by Jan Brett,

• “Curious George Snowy Day;”

• “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg;

• And one of my favorites, “Bear Snores On” (this is a series of books about Bear) by Karma Wilson.

Embrace the season, enjoy winter, and remember spring is on its way. From the pages of “O Pioneers” by Will Cather:

“When she went out into the dark kitchen to fix her plants for the night, she used to stand by the window and look out at the white fields, or watch the currents of snow whirling over the orchard. She seemed to feel the weight of all the snow that lay down there. The branches had become so hard that they wounded your hand if you but tried to break a twig. And yet, down under the frozen crusts, at the roots of the trees, the secret of life was still safe, warm as the blood in one’s heart; and the spring would come again! Oh, it would come again.” Page 104