Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ABC Wednesday: Snow Day at Grandma's

The main topic of conversation these past few weeks, whether on the news or on blogs, has been the weather. Areas like the southern United States and parts of the UK unaccustomed to snow have been hit with unusually cold temperatures. I have such sympathy for people in these areas; it must be hard to watch gardens full of tender plants shrivel in the freezing temperatures, and traveling in places without a stockpile of tons of salt, not to mention snowplows, has to be dangerous.

Here in the heart of the Midwest, we are used to severe winters, but still it's not pleasant when the temperature drops to Zero or below, as it has for the past two weeks.**

Not only is it cold, but last Thursday six inches of snow fell here, and the winds picked up, creating hazardous road conditions and closing most of the schools for two days. When the weather is like this, I prefer to hibernate inside and don't venture out unless absolutely necessary. But what are working parents to do when they have to get to work, and the schools and daycares are closed? That's when Grandma comes to the rescue!

Youngest Grandson and Granddaughter came to stay on Thursday while Mom and Dad fought their way through snowdrifts. Of course, I'm always happy to have them here, and they find plenty of activities to entertain themselves. Early morning found them spending some time with "friends" Mickey, Winnie, and Handy Manny while Grandma fortified herself with her first cup of coffee and Sophie caught a few Zzzz's. Sophie doesn't leave Youngest Grandson's side very often:)

After playing in the basement playroom for awhile while Grandma finally took down her Christmas tree there, Granddaughter insisted we build a snowman. I had forgotten that it takes 30 minutes to put on snowsuits, hats, and mittens and another 30 to take them off, all for 15 minutes of play time outside.

We tried our best to build a snowman, but this snow was the light, fluffy kind that doesn't stick together. The snowman project was soon abandoned in favor of creating trails through the snow and a short-lived snowball fight.

"O Mother dear,
we sadly fear
that we have lost our mittens . . ."

Those darned mittens wouldn't stay on no matter what Grandma did, so it wasn't long before we had to go back inside.

Back in the cozy warmth of the living room, Grandson enjoyed sharing one of Sophie's favorite activities--bird-watching. We were in luck--the usual assorment of juncos, sparrows, and the downy-headed woodpeckers were busy at the feeders, despite the eyes at the window.

While they kept watch, Granddaughter and I hurried for the bird book to identify this new visitor--a red-bellied woodpecker. He was rather wary about coming too close, which is why this photo is not very clear. I rarely see one of these woodpeckers here, and I'm happy to say he's been visiting the feeders every day since then.

This inspired Granddaughter and I to try a new project--creating some simple birdfeeders out of pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed. ShadyGardener posted instructions some time ago on how to create these, or you can find instructions here. This is a great activity and very easy to do with children. Granddaughter barely had time to make one before her parents arrived earlier than expected, but I finished a few more after she left.

The cardinals, especially, like these simple treats, as do the juncos or the sparrow pictured here. Apparently, it's time to make some more as this one has been picked clean already. Pinecones are in abundant supply here, so there shouldn't be any problem in keeping the birds happy with treats all winter long.

We have reached the Zenith, if you will, the end of the alphabet for round 5. ABC Wednesdays have been hosted for three years by Mrs. Nesbitt, but Denise is stepping down due to time constraints. Thank you, Denise, for sponsoring this for so long! While ABC Wednesday will probably continue under the sponsorship of someone else, I, too, am going to take a little break from this meme. While I may post some ABC's occasionally, I have plans for the next few months that will make posting and visiting on Tuesdays and Wednesdays rather difficult. I have met some wonderful people around the world through this meme, and I do plan to continue to visit you on Wednesdays as often as I can.

I leave you with one parting shot--what would one of my Z posts be like without a photo of my favorite Z---the Zinnia! This is what gets me through the winter!

"O Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
--Percy Shelley

More creative ideas for the letter Z from all over the world can be found here.

**The forecast for tomorrow and the next several days is for temperatures above freezing. Hooray! I might get out those summer clothes that I still haven't packed away:)


  1. It looks as if your weather is warming up Rose as is ours at long last. Still lots of snow on the ground here, more forecast for tonight but then a heat wave is on the way :) It has been a great time though for bird watching and catching up on the zzzzzzzzs. I like the pine cone idea and will try it out soon. Many thanks :)

  2. My tolerance for the cold has dimished with every year. I did Zero this week myself.

  3. Great post, marvelous photos! I was reminded of raising my kids in Montana. By the time I got all four of them bundled up to go outside, one of them would have to go to the bathroom and I'd have to take it all off again! Fun days they were though!! Thanks for the memories, Rose! Have a good week and stay warm -- all of you!!


  4. We've been well below zero for ages Rose, it's been more like a USA winter for once!

    It's snowing again as I write this...

  5. I love the shot of the lost mittens! Can I have your permission to attempt a poem about it? Of course I'd acknowledge you.

  6. Your grandchildren are adorable, Rose! Nothing cuter than kids playing in the snow ... happy childhood memories for me and I still love winter outdoors (but not in sub-ZERO weather!

  7. Here in the UK it isn't as bad as where you are, but for us, it is a 30 year experience. Quite a change.
    Sorry to hear we won't be seeing you for a while. I've enjoyed our visits.

  8. What fun photos of your grandchildren in the snow. A nice Z post....and the orange zinnia is beautiful.

  9. Those are some lucky grandkids (their parents too) to have you around to help out and play in the snow. What fun! Wonder what you'll have going on Wednesdays and Thursdays? I bet it will be fun. Five years is a long time to sponsor something like the ABC meme. It has been fun reading your posts. You've done a great job on it.

  10. A great Z post! Love the shots of the grandkids!
    And the zinnia - especially in minus weather!

  11. Fun post with all the Z's. Too cold for me though.
    We will miss you and your posts. Do try to come back and visit every once in a while.

  12. Thanks for the fun post. I can tell you and your grandchildren had a great time!! Are you going to do the ABC Wednesdays again next year?

  13. Your grandkids are so adorable! I'm glad to be living in the tropic, it may be too hot at time, at least I don't have the amount of snow and clothes to pile on to keep warm. Just looking at the photos give me shivers.Keep yourself warm.

  14. A lovely end to a lovely meme. Snow day at your hose sounds like great fun. The next time it snows, can I come visit you instead of going to work? Please.... I promise to be good!

  15. I'll miss you - darling grandkids - they sure make it fun for us, don't they? Take care...

  16. Hi Rose,
    Coming late to your XYZ posts meant I got to read them one after the other - separately they're great to read, but together they really say something impressive about a life filled with curiosity, surrounded by family and spiced with a love of nature. I love your writing.

    Happy 2010 to you and yours!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  17. I really enjoyed your post. Those pine cone bird feeders are fun to make and the birds love them.

  18. A fine farewell posting Rose, - but I hope it is only 'farewell' and not goodbye.

    At the beginning of the year we had a wonderful snowfall, but the weather has turned mild, - a chinook roared in, and now there are just very small patches of snow here and there. I saw a caterpillar this morning. Brave creature...

  19. I will miss you on this meme! What a lovely post filled with wonderful moments with your grandchildren.
    And, I suppose, tomorrow at the grocery store, orange juice will be $8.00 or something outrageous like that as a result of the freeze down south.

  20. The meme has been great! And we also had problems making snowmen with the fluffy snow. At least it was easier to shovel than the soggy kind!

  21. Rose, the photo of the mittens that wouldn't stay on is the best. And also the one of Sophie and Grandson watching the birds through the window. Precious.

    I luv it when kids get outside and play no matter what the weather is doing.


  22. How wonderful are your grandchildren, Rose! I remember when my Australian Grandchildren were here in the winter of 2003-2004. It took them also a long time to put on jackets, coats, scarves, caps or bonnets, mittens and snowboots. In Australia they never wear coats and mittens or even socks and shoes, for they always go barefooted. So I hope that the next time they'll come, the weather will be warm.

  23. Rose girl perfect post of real winter weather and that "time rule" about how long it really takes to dress and undress kids in the snowsuit fashion .. as soon as I read that I had to laugh because it brought back memories and of course "The Christmas Story" with Ralphie and Randy and their mom ? LOL ... that zinnia is beautiful : )

  24. The 'Oh mother dear' about the mittens made me laugh! Perhaps that's why our parents made us wear those with the string attached which ran up the sleeves and across the back of our coats?

    The pine cone feeder looks like a great idea! I might have to make some of those.

  25. Looks like it was a storybook visit to Grandma's house! (and what's the hurry to get the tree down?? ok, maybe mine will go tomorrow)

  26. Another delightful post, Rose, alphabet or not, thanks! I love the way Sophie sticks close to her human little one, so sweet. How funny about the snowsuit thing, I had forgotten. Our kids were all small when we lived in PA, and the snowsuits, boots, hats and mittens were strewn all over the kitchen floor trying to dry them out for the next go around. We hung our clothes outdoors to dry, so there was not throwing them into the dryer either. Oh what fun memories. You are a good grandma. :-)

  27. Nothing like having the Grands over to keep you busy. After they departed I bet you enjoyed the quiet Zen of the house.

  28. Delightful post Rose. Your grandchildren are adorable.....and Sophie a wonderful companion. I love to see children with animals. I was not allowed a pet as a child......I would take home the local strays and try to convince my mother that the dog/cat I had found would be happy with us. It did not work.
    Still, since I married Mr P, we have always had dogs, so I am making up for lost time.

    Lovely to see your new visitors. The Downy Woody is a beautiful bird and his lovely colour stands out against the snow.

    We had more snow this morning......
    but as I type the sun is trying to break through. I live in hope.

    Lovely post Rose with a perfect finale.....the Zinnia would brighten any day......

  29. Hi Rose, I think that making bird feeders is a great thing to teach children. I wish all parents made their kids aware of nature and wildlife.

  30. There are not many words beginning with Z, so Z has been popular today :-)

    With an inland climate you are used to such temperatures and its easier to tolerate since the air is usually dry. I once live for a period in an area with 30 - 40 degrees (C) weeks on end, but 20 degrees on the coast is worse due to the humidity.

    PS And I think your conversion was right.

  31. Yikes! That's cold, Rose...even though you and I and others are used to such things, it still is tiresome when the days go on interminably like that. Love the pine cones; I have some big norway spruce cones around here somewhere, and should do something similar with them. If my hubby will share his peanut butter with the birds, of course.

  32. Yup I was also shocked to learned that UK haven't had a snow for the past 30 years? And Florida's temp goes below freezing too, too bad for their crops down there. As here in MI we are used to this climate it is expected but thankfully we don't have that much though. Thanks for sharing!


  33. Great Z post and pictures!:-) it has been -30 degrees some days here in Norway, but only zero today, so I`m happy:-) Looking forward to the spring!
    Wish you a great evening!

  34. You picked some excellent *Z*s.
    I loved seeing all the pictures.

    Nuts in May

  35. What fun to have the grandkids over on zero-ish snow day. Looks like you all had a great time together.

  36. What wonderful memories you are building with your grandchildren. I love Sophie...she looks like my Missy.

  37. Lucky you Rose! Your grandchildren are so dear and love the mittens!!!

  38. What fun to have the grandkids on a snowy day! When in the Day Care Business so so many years ago, I do recall the time consuming task of getting all those coats, hat, scarf’s, gloves and boots on those tiny bodies! They all looked like snowmen then selves only with color! lol, The pine cone treats are wonderful and I should make some for our birdies this winter. The Gold finches have yet to show up for their thistle but the Wood peckers are going to town on our suet cakes. Sophie is a guardian angel for the kids. Shsss, don’t tell anyone, I still have two trees that need to be taken down. Maybe today is the day for one more to get packed away….

  39. Anna, It's 34 degrees F. at the moment--I don't think I'll need a jacket:)

    Roger, I agree, but my tolerance for heat has also diminished with age. No wonder spring and fall are my favorite seasons:)

    Sylvia, I remember, too, bundling the kids up in snowsuits that made them wobble like Weebles--do you remember those?

    VP, I can't believe the snow I've seen on UK blogs this winter--hope it warms up soon for you!

    Rinkly Rimes, Of course, you're welcome to the mitten photo--I'd love to read your poem!

    Joey, I do like winters, but last week was sooo cold even Sophie wouldn't stay out long.

    Anthony, I realize what you are going through is quite drastic. I will still be around and post some ABC's occasionally--hard to completely give it up. It's been a pleasure to meet you!

    Carol, I'm looking forward to seeing zinnias in bloom again!

  40. Tina, I'm just "paying it forward"--my mother and mother-in-law were always there for me when I was working full-time and the kids were little. I'll tell you about the class I'm taking soon, just in case I chicken out:)

    Beverly, Yes, I can't wait to see some real blooms in my garden!

    Photowannabe, I don't suppose you Californians are used to this kind of cold:) I'll still be around and probably join in on ABC's every once in awhile, and I do hope to still visit everyone.

    Shady, I'm still going to participate occasionally. I'm going to have to check to see if you joined in this time.

    Jama, Thank you; I'm a pretty proud grandma, if you can't tell:)

    Carol, You're certainly welcome--just bring your snowsuit! And winter would be a good time--you can't see the weeds in my garden:)

    Tumblewords, Thanks; I like the saying that if I'd only known how much fun grandchildren were, I would have had them first:)

    Annie, You always leave the nicest comments! Thanks for making my day!

    Bird Feeder, I had to make some more pine cone treats today--the birds do love them!

    Hildred and Charles, No caterpillars here! No, this is not "goodbye"--I hope to visit everyone as often as I can.

    Paula, I will definitely still try to visit you every Wednesday! Good thing I don't drink much orange juice:)

    Rose, Other than snowman-making, I do prefer the fluffy kind. Of course, it also means the wind makes it drift more, too.

    Donna, Youngest Grandson would stay outdoors all day if the weather permitted. It was good for Grandma to get outside in the snow, too:)

  41. You reminded me of one of my favorite poems when I was a kid. You also reminded me of the clips I had for my mittens to keep them attached to my coat. I had some for my kids too.

  42. Yes, snow seems like no news here in Maine. In fact we wish we had more as our base is getting crusty. We are set for it, but I remember how much harder it was in the UK when they weren’t prepared. It can be dangerous. We had a zero morning today. You are one good mom and granny. Such cozy images of your snow day!

  43. Reader Wil, I much prefer playing outside with the grandkids when it's warm!

    Joy, "A Christmas Story" is one of my favorite holiday movies--"you'll shoot your eye out":)

    Jay, I remember those mittens with the string on them--not a bad idea.

    Janet, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one in no hurry to put away the Christmas decorations:)

    Frances, It took awhile for my floor to dry on Thursday:) Sophie doesn't want to miss out on anything the grands are doing--you should have seen her face in the window when she couldn't go outside with us.

    Lisa, Yes, Zen was the word afterwards--or more precisely, a nap:)

    Cheryl, I've always been an animal lover, and these two don't have a pet so Sophie is a good learning experience for them. The woodpeckers are so much fun to watch--they love the suet cakes I put out.

    Marnie, I think I'm "Grandmother Earth" to my grandkids:) The little ones, especially, are very attuned to nature.

    RuneE, Yes, we are used to these temperatures; zero was a popular word today!

    Jodi, The pinecone treats are a big hit with the birds. I buy the cheapest brand of creamy peanut butter for them, though; they don't seem to mind:)

    Manang, I agree this cold is much worse for those who aren't used to it. We've had winters that were much worse than this.

    Spiderdama, I'm still enjoying winter--sort of--but come February I'll be counting the days till spring.

    Maggie May, Hope all is going well with you. Grandchildren make it all worthwhile, don't they?

  44. Janie, We always have a good time together! Of course, I have so much more free time to spend with the grands than I did when my own children were little.

    Noelle, I remember thinking the same thing when I saw a photo of your Missy.

    Amy, Poor little Grandson's hands were sooo cold by the time we got inside!

    Skeeter, I have only two Christmas trees, so I can't imagine how much time you must spend on yours! I've always wondered how daycare workers do it--they have to be the most underpaid people in our society!

    MMD, I forgot about those clips! Yes, I had them for all my kids, too.

    Sarah, I think this will be my last post on snow for awhile; the novelty has worn off:) I remember visiting New Orleans one winter when they had a light dusting of snow--now that was dangerous travel!

  45. Your grandkids looked like they had a wonderful snow day with you!

  46. Rose, precious photos and such precious memories for you and the grands. It amazes me what we will do with and for them-even braving the cold and snow to build a snowman. :)

    The grands and I made some of these pinecone feeers last year, but of course I had forgotten it. Will make some this weekend while they are here and let them brave the weather to hang them.

  47. I love the photo of Grandson and Sophie birdwatching but all the photos are lovely and how wonderful to have the Woodpecker visit!

    We have been promised a thaw...at last!

  48. What a wonderful finale to ABC Wednesday Rose! Looks like your grandkids enjoyed their snow day with you.

    We're definitely enjoying the milder temps. It appears the wildlife is too. The squirrels are out in force this morning, invading the compost and enjoying the squash seeds I dumped there a few days ago.

  49. What a nice story, with the Zs fitting in so naturally! I love the photo of Youngest Grandson and Sophie looking out the window. :) We had a similar snow fall, probably only 4.5 inches, but that fluffy kind of snow. We've had a lot less snow than normal here, when the other areas, as you mentioned, have had way more. And I like snow! I laughed about the amount of time dressing/undressing in winter gear versus the time outside. As kids we played outside for hours, even in the winters, but at a bit older, when mittens were curcial for fort building and snowball fights, so we kept them on!! :)

  50. Ah, Zinnias... in the depths of a bad winter that is THE flower to bring a smile to my face. Although, I'm having a bad winter in the opposite way. I keep quiet because people won't understand. We have unseasonably warm temps, and no snow. Since we live in a ski resort this is just not right... Loved your photos. :)

  51. I liked the pics. The woodpecker looks so cute and the idea to make a birdfeeder was amazing! :)
    The Zennia is very beautiful. :)

  52. Ah, I remember those days of bundling up the kiddoes and then unbundling them. Thank goodness for zippers! My mom had a solution for the mitten problem. She attached a piece of yarn to the end of each one and ran it across the back of the coat from one sleeve to the other so that the mittens dangled down just beneath each sleeve instead of getting dropped and lost. Of course, she knitted them and didn't want to see all of that work vanish without a trace. Your grandson looks so adorable with Sophie watching over him. Oops, now I see someone else has already brought up the string thing. Thanks for the tip about that book, by the way.

  53. What a lovely friendship Grandson and Sophie have.

  54. Rose, those pictures of Grandson and Sophie are too precious. It sounds like everyone involved had a lovely day together!

  55. What a lovely collection of snowy fun! I love that thermometer - it looks too pretty to be a working model. And as for the colour of your Zinnia - wonderful!!!


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