5 Things To Do During Winter Break

It’s school vacation week! The kids are home from school...now what? Currently we’re sitting under several feet of snow so going outside isn't always an easy option. So if you’re stuck like us or are just looking for some inexpensive ways to keep yourself and your kiddos busy, read on...

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Finally! A Hand Cream To LOVE

I have such a hard time finding a hand cream or lotion that I really like.  With so many choices available commercially, this might seem a bit baffling.  There are literally hundreds to choose from. Don’t believe me? Walk into any drugstore and you will be met with countless choices.  The problem is that many of these products are made with petroleum based formulas that I just don’t like.  They’re sticky, don’t absorb well or leave my hands feeling greasy. Not to mention the manufacture of petroleum is just plain terrible for the environment and not sustainable.

So, what was my solution? I started making my own! I like this method because (not unlike cooking my own food) I know what ingredients are going into it. I can adapt the scent and how it feels on my hands, etc.  By adjusting the ingredients, I can create a product that is perfectly tailored to my needs.  Oh yeah- it’s fun too!

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French Onion Soup with Recipe

With all this snow, it's hard to think of anything but comfort and things that keep me warm.  All my cooking lately has been comforting and slow, the kind that takes hours before it's ready and fills the house with tempting aromas.  Last week I made a very hearty beef and bean chili and now for something else that's incredibly flavorful and warming.

Tell me there's nothing better on a cold day than a rich broth-y soup topped with crusty baguette and bubbly cheese.  I love French Onion Soup! I'm not typically a fan of onions, but when they've been properly cooked down and had time to let their sugars out, they're downright delicious.  Am I right?  Every sip/bite of this soup is a fine balance of umami with a hint of sweetness, gooey and nutty. If you want to make this for yourself, check out the recipe below. Excuse me while I have another bite...

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Homemade Chai and an Awesome Cookbook

Winter is full of warm scents.  I love clove and everything cinnamon at Christmastime (and beyond.)  It’s just so cozy! Like the aromatic equivalent to a blanket. (Is that weird?) And considering the amount of snow that’s fallen in the past month, I need all the cozy blankets I can get.

One drink that encompasses all the spicy, comforting goodness of the season is chai.  A delicious blend of spices and tea.  A little spicy.  A little sweet.  All good.  Sure, you could go to Starbuck’s or your local coffee shop, but making your own is even better.

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Another Snowy Day, Bloody Marys & Infused Vodka

Snow on snow on snow!
So, we’re stuck in the house on another snowy day.  This time coming to us from Winter Storm Linus at a rate of 1 - 2 inches an hour.  It’s not so bad though.  I like the board game playing, reading and movie marathons that come from a day like this.

One of my favorite snow day lunches is grilled cheese and tomato soup.  But wouldn’t you know it, we don’t have any tomato soup in the pantry, nor do we have the ingredients I need to whip some up.  So today I’ll make do with Bloody Marys. Hey, it’s not like we’re going anywhere anyway, right?

A completely home crafted Bloody Mary is great! Fresh (or summer canned) tomatoes blended with horseradish, hot sauce, lemon and all the right spices is not too difficult and great to customize.  However, that’s not what I’m doing today.  I don’t have all the necessary ingredients (namely tomatoes), but I do have a bottle of Christie’s New England’s Best Bloody Mary Mix.

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Game Day Chili!

It’s game day, America!

It’s time to get your tailgate on, no matter where you’re from. Whether your home team made it to the Super Bowl (Go Pats!) or not, I suspect most of America will be watching the game today. But for many what’s even more important than the game itself, is the food that goes along with it.

Today we’re making chili.  It's such a perfect food to pair with a football game, wouldn’t you agree? I’m not much for writing (or following) recipes; I tend to make it up as I go but here’s a rough “recipe” (with pictures) for our game day go-to meal. Feel free to follow these instructions or just do what I do and make it your own

Pantry ingredients

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On the Needles: CupHolder Mittens

We just had a big snowstorm here in my part of New England.  It was two and a half days of snow, snow and more SNOW! To tell you the truth though, I didn’t mind it.  It was nice spending time at home with my family without worry or thought about going outside.  It also gave me ample time to work on some knitting projects.  


As if he knew I’d need something to do during the blizzard, a friend posted a link on Facebook tagging me in the comments asking “Pretty please?”  Well, I was up for the challenge and knew I had seen a good pattern on Ravelry for a similar mitt.  I went through my stash and began work on Monday evening.

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On the Needles: Endless Loop Scarf

I love to knit.  I find the rhythm of it relaxing.  Sometimes it’s something that I can do without a thought and other times it takes some serious concentration depending on which project I’m working on.  But usually in the end I have something useful, pretty or both.  On the Needles will be a post series showing off what I'm working on now.

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The beginning: What did you do today?

Or am I?

What did you do today?

I ask my son this question everyday when he comes home from school.  He almost always replies, “Ummm… nothing.”  I find it very hard to believe that to be true, in fact I know it's not true.  Honestly, six hours of nothing?

Actually I think our days are so packed with things that these daily activities barely register as something we've done; it just seems like the white noise between the bigger events.  You don’t have to plan an outing to have done something worth the recognition.  Sure, some things are more exciting or memorable than others but they’re all things worth doing.  Sometimes the best things are the little things.

I’m trying to be more aware of and appreciate all the things I pack into a normal day. Today I brought the boy to soccer practice, made someone laugh, cooked a meal for my family, met someone new, took time to read, played a board game, found time to knit (even if it was just 10 minutes), did two weeks' worth of grocery shopping, watched my football team kick butt, made a gift for a friend, laughed out loud, told someone I love them, daydreamed, told a story, gave praise and wrote this post.  Not to mention I kept the kitchen (mostly) clean and did two washes of dishes. Actually, I did quite a lot today! Okay so it is the weekend, but it’s still a lot more than nothing.

I never realized just how much I do in a day until someone pointed it out to me.  And that’s kind of where the idea for this blog came from.  I can't tell you how to do it all.  I don’t have the answer.  And you don’t have to “do it all.”  Just do the things you do, recognize and appreciate them.

So... What did you do today?  Tell me in the comments below.

.. Laura ..

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