Thursday, January 30, 2014

Venturing out.

Well.....Dan, Tucker, and Pepper did.
Lana & Mommy stayed inside in the warmth.
We agreed that if it were snow, we would go out into the cold,
but ice definitely didn't call for it.

 After a while, Dan left for work and Tucker returned inside for playtime and warm soup:

After naps, we'll make some more homemade hot chocolate, play the Wii, pull out the board games, and make the most of the last day of being "snowed in."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow days in Florida?

You can only imagine our surprise when our weathermen began talking of snow, and our superintendent closed schools on Monday for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Models like this are a once-in-a-lifetime thing on the Gulf Coast!

 As it turned out, we didn't get much snow, but what we did get was ice.  Lots and lots and lots of ice.  And Floridians have no experience driving on the stuff, so roads were closed and schools were shut down, and we have been homebound since Tuesday around lunchtime.

Check out this view of Palafox, one of the busiest streets in downtown Pensacola:

This ice has been a disaster for so many in the southeast.  Thankfully, we have been tucked safely inside our home, and have not ventured out for much of anything at all.    (My extrovert husband got cabin fever earlier tonight and made a walmart run.)

We have had a really superb time being together.  We have built fires, roasted marshmallows, played games, read books, baked cookies, played Wii, napped, made homemade hot cocoa, snuggled, raided the candy bucket, and tried to fight off stuffy noses.


More to come tomorrow!  With temperatures not rising above freezing today, and a hard freeze called for tonight, the roads won't be safe for buses, so they have cancelled school another day.

I never would have imagined 3 snow days in a row in the Florida panhandle!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Senior Bowl

This weekend, we took the kids to Mobile for the Senior Bowl.
They loved it, especially the funnel cake.
I loved the part where they looked so adorable I could eat them.
We watched the first half, and then the halftime show before making our way back to our car.
It was perfect timing - still light outside, not yet dark, and we were home in time for bedtime.
Super fun first experience for them.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

World's Best Hot Chocolate

These 20 degree temperatures at night call for a little cup of hot chocolate before bed.

Until recently, all we've known is Swiss Miss hot chocolate, and the kind with marshmallows was especially thrilling.  

Just a few weeks ago, though, my friend Courtney posted on facebook about The World's Best Hot Chocolate, and after making a batch, I have to agree with her: making it homemade is totally worth the time and effort.  The cinnamon and vanilla in this recipe are delicious and unexpected.  I won't need to buy Starbucks hot chocolate ever again.

8 oz. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
This recipe could (and should!) be doubled.  Store in an airtight container in the pantry.
Directions (for 4 servings):
2/3 cup cocoa mix
1/4 cup water
4 cups whole milk (you can substitute a different milk if necessary.  but you shouldn't.)
1 tsp vanilla

In a pan on low heat, stir cocoa mix and water until melted.  Add milk and whip with a whisk until smooth.  Heat on medium-low heat until hot.  Stir in vanilla, and serve.

For a single serving, add 2 heaping tablespoons of mix in the bottom of a mug. Pour 1/8 cup boiling water (don't measure - just add enough to cover the chocolate) and stir until the chocolate melts. Add milk to the top of your mug and add a splash of vanilla. Microwave until heated.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Walking in a winter wonderland....

"Record breaking lows"
"Artic blast"
"Schools closing"
"Alaska warmer than Alabama"
"Deep freeze chills US"

It has been far too chilly here in the Florida panhandle the past couple of days, with lows in the 20's, wind chills in the single digits, and even a child in our school district showing up to school with frostbite.  I'm talking cold.  

So cold we couldn't even get our Pepper out of her kennel this morning:

Thanks to an idea from a friend, Dan decided to take advantage of the freezing temps and create a bit of fun for our kids when they woke up this morning.  Last night after we put the kids to bed, he let the sprinkler run in the back yard for a few hours before we went to sleep.  This is what they woke up to:

 even our little pool iced over!
Tucker was a tad disappointed we wouldn't let him ice skate.

They couldn't wait to eat an icicle:

After breakfast, they bundled up and went outside to check it out:

Super cool!