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by debbie harbeson

Every year, our family waited hopefully for at least one good snowstorm, deep enough to deserve putting on the snow boots. We did get to enjoy several big snows and this month I want to share the flurry of learning activity that snow created around our home.

We learned that it is much better snuggling up in bed with our jammies on, reading about how hot it is at the equator, rather than bundling up to catch a school bus in the dark while mom worries about possible slick spots on the route.

We learned about natural drainage when we realized that at the bottom of nearly every good sledding hill, there is a creek or stream. We learned to jump off the sled at the right time unless we wanted to become human icicles.

We learned two lessons when we made snow ice cream. One was the importance of knowing colors in order to avoid collecting yellow snow, and the second was that sugar added to most anything makes it taste good.

We learned to build some wonderful snow forts and houses. Bread loaf pans make great snow brick molds. On one particularly big snow year, my kids built an elaborate house that contained separate rooms. Adults were welcome in the front parlor, but the back room was for secret kid meetings only.

We learned that providing a service at the right time is a good way to make money. My kids made some of their first independent money clearing snow off kind neighbors' cars and driveways.

We learned it is possible to make very detailed sculptures with the right snow consistency. One year we made a snow dinosaur, a T-Rex, complete with detailed leg musculature and teeth. We still get comments from the neighbors about that scarf-wearing monster.

We learned that in the skiing culture, I am, and will remain, merely a bunny, left alone to frolic on a tiny hump of a hill. One so small, there is not even a creek at the bottom. While the rest of my family enjoyed long slopes, I wrestled with the moving rope and usually got my skis and bunny ears tangled in a knot.

We learned not to feel bad as we sent Dad out to his job on a snowy day, because we discovered that even when he didn't have to work, he would still go out, just to prove that he could drive in any amount of snow. My son waits for the day when my husband finally shares his favorite snow recipe: making parking lot doughnuts. He doesn't know that this will never happen as long as mom has any control of the situation.

From slipping to sliding to just being together as a family, we learned that playing in the snow is cool.



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