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Posts Tagged ‘Winter’

  1. Winter Walk At Indian Lake

    February 29, 2016 by admin

    No need to sit inside all year.  There’s always a way to get outside and explore.

    We are blessed to have a good county park system in our area.  This makes it so much easier to get out and explore all year around.

    Our latest adventure took us to Indian Lake County Park, about a twenty minute drive from our house.admin-ajax.php

    A walk through the winter woods is a great adventure.  Making sure we wore proper clothes, we were comfortable during our long walk.  We were able to explore to our hearts content before turning back and heading for the car.

    Along the way we found animal tracks, a warming cabin which inspired a long talk about planning a camping trip,  cool leaves that had melted into the ice, and this funky fungus!  Much better than staying inside.

    We used the “I’ll follow you.” method of exploring the park to give Bluey the maximum amount of control over exploring this park.  He chose the paths, he made changes in our explore- he was in charge.  And when he was ready to back, we returned to the car.

    With no pre-selected path, we explored the many cross-country skiing paths, and meandered through the woods.  It was a great morning of exploring, creating another great memory, and another place where Bluey says: “Let’s go back there soon.”


  2. Homeschool Snowday

    January 26, 2016 by admin


    One reason to love homeschooling is we get to have a whole new definition of ‘snowday’ ‘holliday’ and ‘vacation.’  Our recent snow means P.E. happens on the hill!  We guarantee that our Bluey gets more moving around time in his day than his public schooled peers.  IMG_3875

  3. Baby, It’s Cold Outside

    January 12, 2016 by admin

    Out 2

    Out 2When the weather outside is frightful, you can still go outside!  Dress warmly and go have fun!

  4. Animals In Winter

    January 23, 2015 by admin

    IMG_2739 We don’t let winter keep this TR family indoors.  There are many great, fun things to do outside during the winter: sledding, building snow forts, conducting science experiments, and more!

    A fun adventure we enjoy is to go on a winter hike.  Hiking in the winter is a different experience than going during a warmer season.  For one thing, you have to dress right.

    You might think there are fewer animals to see in winter.  A lot are hibernating and many others migrate.  There aren’t a ton of critters left to observe, right?

    Wrong.  A lot of Animals are still out and about during the winter months, even in the most extreme weather.  You just have to know what to look for.

    IMG_2748We are reminded of one of our favorite illustrated books on this topic: Animals In Winter, by Henrietta Bancroft, Richard G. Van Gelder and Gaetano di Palma.  We’ve been reading this book to our kiddos since they were tiny tots.  The poetic writing and space pen-and-ink drawings beautifully capture the wonder of the wilds in winter.  Our family learned from the start that animals are up to all sorts of activity during the winter.

    We took this knowledge with us on a recent walk at the Waubesa Wetlands State Natural Area.  Bluey had been learning about foxes and wanted to try to see some in the wild.  Using this as our motivation, we headed out to a likely habitat.

    IMG_2737Tip: Be prepared when heading out for a inter hike.  Parks and natural areas are sparsely attended in the thick of winter.  Dress warmly, and be careful not to overestimate how far your group can hike.  Remember you have to be able to make it back to the car.  Bring a cell phone.

    Immediately upon stepping out of the car we found a trail of canine footprints that were too large to be a fox.  We guessed they were coyotes which we also knew to frequent that area.  Undeterred in our desire to explore, we followed the coyote pack’s prints through the fresh snow and saw where their path crossed those of squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks and deer.IMG_2735

    And it’s not just mammal prints we found.  We saw hawk footprints near a deer carcass, including a great imprint of the bird’s tail feathers as it crouched in the snow.  We’d never seen that before!

    IMG_2736As beautiful as this natural area is, we would never be able to have this adventure if not for the recent snow and cold temperatures.  We were able to enjoy a beautiful hike, see some amazing signs of animal life, and engage in a meaningful discussion about our local wildlife and what these animals might be up to in the winter.

    To top off our discussion of animals that migrate, hibernate or stick around in winter, a large group of Canada Geese passed over us on their migration route as we headed back to our car.

  5. Snowtime Bliss

    November 16, 2014 by admin

    IMG_8760Even though the official start of winter is about five weeks out, there is no escaping the joy of the quickly approaching holiday season.

    What makes this time of year even better? Snow, of course!

    We are always surprised by the amount of people that seem to hate snow. They’ll bundle up and have a fabulous time outside while tailgating and watching a football game. But the mere mention of enjoying the snow brings out their bah-humbug.IMG_8751

    Perhaps these TR family’s favorite snowy activities will change your mind:

    1.  An early morning walk in the snow around your neighborhood. Listen to the birds. See the soft grey fade into a pure blue. Know that later in the day, people will think about your foot tracks.

    2.  Check out the footprints you find.  Who do they belong to?   Where do they lead?

    3.  Exhale and wonder at the beauty of seeing your breath.

    4.  Make a snow angel. Seriously. They’re just as awesome now as they were then.

    5.  Grab a handful of snow and throw it up all around you.

    6.  Have a snowball fight.

    7.  Build a snowman.

    8.  Go on a mid afternoon hike and try to identify animal tracks in the snow.

    9.  Get chilly and then come inside for hot cocoa and try popping your own popcorn on the stovetop.

    IMG_8738The snow and cold doesn’t have to be something aggravating that you suffer through all season. Embrace it and explore!

  6. Cabin Fever

    March 7, 2014 by admin

    We love winter, but we don’t participate in the traditional winter sports, like skiing or ice hockey.  So we need new ways to keep our active and outdoor loving kids happy.

    On a recent cold and snowy day, our Bluey was itching to do something new.  And given his squirrely behavior, we realized that this something new IMG_4898should probably be outside.  But Bluey wasn’t really enthused to climb his favorite mound of snow, or take the dog on a walk.

    And then TRMom had a thought!  Why not snow paint?

    We quickly gathered up some food coloring which we squirted into plastic cups and thinned it out with tap water.  We grabbed some fat paint brushes and headed outside.

    We discovered that snow can be a tricky canvas.  We quickly found out that in order to use our brushes, we had to pack down and smooth out the snow.  Squirt-able water bottles allowed us more freedom in design, but they were harder to handle if we had a specific picture we desired to paint.  Bluey also had fun constructing fairy houses of snow and coloring them with the paint.

    IMG_4915What a fantastic afternoon!  Bring your art outside regardless of the season.

  7. Winter Biking

    February 14, 2014 by admin

    It’s the middle of the afternoon on a recent, bitter-cold winter day.  Schools have been cancelled in our area due to the extreme weather.  What does Bluey want to do this afternoon?

    “Let’s go for a bike ride!”

    Our young rider doesn’t let snowy landscapes and subzero temps keep him off his bike.  And why should he?  We see people riding all winter in our town, so he knows it can be done.  And we spend our springs, summers, and falls biking all over- so he knows how much fun biking can be.IMG_1301

    He has heard our winter mantra many times (borrowed from the Norwegians): There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.

    So we saddle up.  Bluey dons his snowsuit, finds his best mittens and a hat.  He wraps a scarf around his neck while I loosen his bike helmet straps enough to fit over his hooded, hatted head.

    We grab the dog and we’re off.

    The trip doesn’t last long- after all it is pretty chilly out.  But Bluey gets a chance to ride and to explore his neighborhood some more on a day when few people are out and about.

    There are some icy patches to remind us that there’s more to winter biking than dressing right—some sections of the sidewalk are a bit treacherous.  But we have a fun jaunt around the neighborhood, and head home for hot cocoa.

    Polar vortex, arctic blast- no matter.  We’re going on a bike ride.

  8. The Guy Who Came In From The Cold

    January 7, 2014 by admin


    Winter is upon us and we love to head outdoors for snowy fun.  But eventually those toes are cold, the cheeks are frost-nipped; and it is time to come indoors.  When kids stomp in from the snow, they want to be warmed up quickly.  So here’s what we try to have on hand to swiftly bring the coziness, and restock our energies for the next round of winter fun.

    Hot Cocoa:  Around October 1st, we start buying cocoa every week, whether we needed it or not.  If friends are over, a single box of cocoa won’t last very long.  You can even make cocoa by the pot on the stove (which is what TRGrandma used to do).

    IMG_4619Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese:  Keep the ingredients for this classic warmer at the ready.  The kids will be hungry after playing in the cold.  Pre warm the soup, and preassemble the sandwiches, if you want them to be prepared super quick.  (Remember: don’t leave the stove on while you are out sledding!)

    Warm Dry Clothes: Take a minute before you set out into the cold to get a set of clothes ready for when you return.  Then it’s no muss/no fuss! A quick change and you are already feeling warmed up.

    A Cozy Blanket:  We keep our favorite coziest blankets at the ready for snuddling!

    A Place to put all the wet clothes and shoes:  If your home has a mudroom, you’re in luck!  If not, create a functional space in your house.  We lay a bunch of towels down in the dining room and use a few chairs to hold things to dry (a folding drying rack is great for this- if you have one).  Line up gloves and upside down boots along the radiators to warm up.  Then at the end of the day, clean up is a snap as we toss the towels in the laundry and put away the now dry coats and mittens.

  9. Surviving The Cold

    October 24, 2013 by admin

    IMG_0845As our weather turns crisp and chilly, we shift gears from coatless days of outside play and exploration to the joys of our TR Family’s definition of Fall and Winter hibernation.

    It is an adjustment, but it doesn’t have to be a negative one!

    • See what activities or learning events your public library has to offer and remember that not only are these are typically free, but they are not limited to kids!
    • Enjoy winter gardening!  Even if you don’t have a small patch of land to use, you can experiment with gardening inside (in containers) regardless of falling snow.IMG_2330
    • Bake! Cook! Bake!  Try out that new cookie recipe or bake homemade bread.  You can make a homemade soup that will simmer on the stovetop, adding moisture to the dry, heated air.
    • And remember the sayings of our Norwegian friends: There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.  Find some warm mittens, good boots. a good coat, a scarf and cozy hat: you’ll find you can do and see a lot outside if you are ready for it.


    Yes, sunny and coatless days are a joy.  But these chillier seasons brings their own delights, too.

  10. He Was A Sk8rBoi

    January 3, 2013 by admin

    Thanks to Max & Ruby, Angelina, Arthur, and other book friends, our little Bluey has been aching for ice skates for as long as he could walk.  But with feet that seem to grow at a visible rate, the idea of dropping $50 on a pair of brand new ice skates that would only last about 6 months just wasn’t viable for our family.

    IMG_1414We resolved ourselves to find a second-hand pair of skates.  Bluey and TR Dad visited numerous thrift stores in the area looking for these elusive kid-sized skates.   Though many stores had adult skates for sale, few children’s skates were out there.  Finally, at Play-It-Again-Sports (a store specializing in used sports equipment,) we found a few pairs in Bluey’s size.  And they cost less than half the price of purchasing brand new skates!

    Tip1:  It is critical that you have your child wear a sports helmet as they learn to ice skate.  Nothing will ruin your day on the ice quicker than experiencing your child smacking their head on a thick sheet of ice.  If you need help affording a helmet, please contact the Ian Tilmann Foundation.  We fully and heartily endorse and support this charity, which aims to make sure that everyone wears helmet.  All you have to do is promise the helmet will be worn, and it’s yours.

    Our skates in hand and winter air blowing, we headed to the local pond to learn how to skate.  In our town, the parks department monitors ice thickness.  The park employees make sure that the ice is safe for skating and they help to maintain the numerous outdoor rinks.  Many of our parks also offer warming houses and skate rentals to enhance your winter fun.  Be certain to check with your local municipal or county parks department for services available.  Make sure whatever ice you are on is safe.  Don’t rely only someone else’s word.  Inspect the ice yourself.

    Tip2:  Bring a small chair with you to the pond or rink for your child’s first few skating experiences.  The chair will help your child keep their balance as they learn what it feels like to move on skates.  This is especially helpful if the adult isn’t too steady on skates either!  If a chair isn’t available, you could bungee cord 2 or 3 milk crates together for the same effect.

    On our first skating attempts, we kept to the edge of the pond which was out of the way of the other skaters.  Along the perimeter of a pond, there is also a small amount of snow and chopped ice that provides a bit of a foothold for the beginner skater.  Soon enough, we were confident enough to migrate out onto the main ice.

    Get out there and have some fun!