As you can probably tell by the enthusiasm of my blog title, we were all super impressed with the new blast of cold and snow to match, this week. Since winter is showing no signs of letting up – ever – I figure I should probably just change my attitude about it. After all, there is beauty in the land of ice and snow. We just have to dress for it!
Here are some of the things we\’ve been doing around here to keep busy, keep the kids busy and keep our winter-logged brains on a positive track. These ideas are for every budget and every requirement you may encounter – Nine suggestions for improving winter horse health, engaging kid activities and staycations for bigger kids.
Groundwork is one of the best ways to improve your relationship with your horse and touch up on basics that are essentials, once you are in the saddle. When it\’s too cold to ride, practicing groundwork is a great way to keep your skills sharp. Plus, if your horse lives outside and still has his long winter hairs he\’s much less likely to become sweated up during your session.
It\’s technically Spring, although Mother Nature doesn\’t seem to be cooperating very well. However, right now is the perfect time to get your horse\’s annual vaccines caught up to date. With our first foals due to arrive in approximately 30 days or less, our broodmares were in need of their antibody vaccines. So while our vet was out, we also got our other horses looked after for influenza, flu, rhino, EEE/WEE, Tetanus and Strangles. Done deal. Now those sunny days ahead can be reserved for riding instead of veterinary appointments.
When it\’s too cold to ride, that\’s another great opportunity inspect your tack for wear and tear. Aspects like buckles, keepers, Chicago screws and especially latigos, aren\’t often what they seem after months of winter use. Upon first glance, my own personal latigo didn\’t look too bad, but when I stretched it out and took a closer look I realized small tears started to develop on the side of the leather. These small tears can easily translate to a big wreck in high exertion rides. And as a mother, there are no \”Off Days.\” I can\’t afford a broken leg, or worse. Time to switch out my latigo for a new one.
Now for the kiddos! If your kidlets are anything like mine, they need to go outside every day. But when it\’s -40 out, there just aren\’t enough layers to put on them. So I\’ve had to come up with a few ideas for keeping my twins engaged inside. Marshmallow castles are one of the most excellent activities I\’ve come across in a long time. Just a bag of each, small and large marshmallows and a canister of colored toothpicks and away they go! We\’ve never actually got to a second tier (or the castle part of the activity), but my children were totally engaged in this one.
We love playing with dough in our house. So when I run out of the store-bought stuff, thankfully there is a quick and easy fix to replace all the dried-out remnants. An excellent homemade Play-Do recipe can be found at: TheFrugalGirls.com And the best part about it is, even disorganized moms like me will most likely have all the ingredients needed in the pantry!
When my kids are tired of making snowmen and snow angels and snow forts, this is a nifty little trick. Just fill balloons up with water and food coloring and set them outside to spend the night freezing. The next day when you venture out, you and the kidlets can remove the balloon shell (carefully) and you have a beautiful batch of ice globes to create with. Just no throwing them at each other!
Bathtub paint, made from food coloring and shaving cream is a new concept I\’m summoning up the courage to try. It looks so fun! And a great way to entertain the kidlets in the bath. You can find more about how to create this stuff at: Having Fun At Home. The jury is still out regarding whether or not the food coloring will stain grout but if you get to it before me, please let me know!
If you live anywhere near an observation tower, you really must let your kid experience the glass flooring. Interestingly enough, while our kids were busy pointing out the cars and buses below – Mommy and Daddy were grabbing on to things to hold on to and could barely place our feet on the glass… All heart attacks aside, the Calgary Tower made for a nice family outing on a frosty day.
One of our most enjoyable family days so far this year was a trip out to Canmore, AB, to go dogsledding. We bundled up our kids for a two-hour ride and had the time of our lives. Our trip was with Snowy Owl Tours and with views like this, and our munchkins cuddled up in our laps underneath Pendleton blankets – it was sheer heaven.
There you have it! 9 reasons to continue enjoying winter. Aren\’t you glad the weather hasn\’t turned yet? <grin>
And now it\’s time for me to get back to the dried Play-Do strewn across my house. Yep, back to the beautiful mess: