November 28, 2005
November 23, 2005
A snowman with Texas connections
The kids discovered our first snowfall this past week provided ideal snow for building a snowman so they got right on it.
G. found a hat, scarf and carrot nose for their nearly completed creation. I saw one of their cousins put on the branch arms but then there was a big ruckus outside.
"We need acorns for his eyes and mouth mommy!" yelled L.
No one could find any under the snow after looking for a few minutes. But then I remembered the package we received from a Flat Stanley family in Texas. They had sent us some pecans from their backyard tree...
I've never made a Texas pecan snowman before but I think it worked perfectly.
November 18, 2005
..and the kids are already outside. It's 7 a.m.
They grabbed shovels to clear out the driveway with the dusting of powder that was there.
"We're helping mom, see?!"
Yeah, like that will last....
November 11, 2005
We haven't had time this past week to enjoy the outdoors much. The kids have been busy with school work and various other activities and I'm still getting over a cold.
But we have been living vicariously through our geocaching Travel Bugs (TB) in New Zealand, both of which have been quite active since being released last month.
Hiking Doggie looks like he's had the most fun, having gone to a wedding at Tongariro National Park on the northern island in New Zealand.
There are a couple of photos of the wedding at Tongariro and my daughters - being the quintessential girls that they are - were ecstatic with the photos of our TB with the flower girl and wedding cake.
What's really great is that both our New Zealand bugs, Annika and Hiking Doggie have been logged and photographed by geocachers there. The kids like getting the email notifications when one of our TBs has been picked up (or dropped off) to see if there's a new photo or story about their adventures.
My 7-year-old has been a little disappointed with her U.S.-released TB, Lilo The Swimmer. She was released in southern Maine in June and has only changed hands 4 times. Lilo was placed in a remote cache in Northern Maine (in July) and has yet to be picked up again.
Ronny has seen a little more action with stops in New York and Vermont and has changed hands a number of times during his 5 months on the road.
I love the TBs because even when we can't get outdoors, we can still enjoy mapping our travel bugs' adventures around the globe.
November 01, 2005
How much will our winter sports gear cost us this year?
Earlier this week the kids and I delved into the basement storage closet to dig out the winter sports gear. I thought it was time to figure out what fits - and what doesn't - for this fast-approaching cold-weather season. And see if we couldn't clean out the closet while we were at it.
DOWNHILL BOOTS AND SKIS
We have 6 pairs of downhill ski boots, in various sizes, accumulated over the year from yard sales, thrift shops and friends. I was relieved to find that the space required to store all the boots was worth it. Both kids have boots that fit their feet and ski bindings.
Score: 2 for 2 on both boots and downhill skis. A huge savings for us this year.
We moved on to the ice skate box that had 8 pairs of skates (from those same yard sales and friends) but luck wasn't on my side. We found skates to fit my 7-year-old but none for my 9-year-old.
Score: 1 for 2 but a friend thinks she has the size we need.
As I was sifting through skates that were too small for both my kids and making plans to give them away, my 9-year-old tried on her downhill ski helmet and reported that it didn't fit. It should have occurred to me that this might happen but I didn't even think about scanning yard sales this summer for new helmets. Bummer.
Score: 1 for 2. Definitely need to spend the money for a new helmet, probably about $40 on sale.
Our final winter sports gear fitting included measuring the kids' feet and height for cross-country skis. The kids participate in the Healthy Hometowns program run through Pineland Farms. It's a non-profit organization that offers cross country ski rentals to Maine kids 5-18 years old for $45 for the entire winter. This is the second year the kids are participating in a Healthy Hometowns group (kids participate in a weekly ski group in order to use the rental program). We had a great time last year and I love the fact at least one of our winter sports doesn't require year-round storage (although my husband and I have, and store, our own cross country gear).
Score: $90 for skis, boots and poles for the season for both kids.
These would be the items that fall out of the closet every time it's opened. The skis and boards hang on racks in the closet but we have yet to find a way to hang the various, odd-shaped sleds.
Score: "No! You can't get rid of any sleds mommy!" Mom is out-voted - sleds will continue to fall out of closet for another year.
For our active family, this year's winter gear costs are pretty low compared to what we have had to pay in past years. Tracking down used gear over the summer and making storage space for it was definitely well worth the effort.
Now we just have to save our pennies for the lift tickets....
What a day!
It's 66 degrees and the sun is out.
It's an ideal fall day in Maine. Even our chickens are smiling.