Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Experiment #15: Snowbet - How we enjoyed this crazy winter

While I probably should be, I am not the least bit annoyed that the relevance of this blog post will be nearing nil in the next two days. But, as we are slated to get another inch of sloppy snow tonight, I thought this would be an appropriate post. Hopefully for the last time this season!

As Nora stepped into the 31 degree sunny warmth today, puffs of breath just barely visible as she exhaled, she exclaimed, "Ahhh...I love summer."

Yes. I remember the first "warm" days in college. There would be pasty white legs sporting shorts and lounging on blankets amongst the shrinking snow piles. Today, Madeline ran to pick up Nora from school wearing her sundress with some grudgingly clad leggings underneath. It was 42 degrees. I'm still baffled daily by the ridiculous similarities between college kids and actual kids.

Growing up in South Dakota, my winter (and large chunks of fall and spring) activities were built around cracked, dry hands, below zero temps, constant biting winds, traveling with winter survival kits in the car and shrinking snow piles into May. I even remember it snowing one year during homecoming in September, the swirling snowflakes gently landing on my nearly frozen fingers, which were sluggishly attempting to squeak the fight song out of my flute.

A couple years ago, Nick and I decided to make a concerted effort to not complain about the weather. We are trying to cultivate an overall attitude of gratitude for what we have rather than fixating on the imperfections in life. So we figured the best way to start is with the weather...you can't control it anyway. In most of the places we have lived, the weather is only ideal for a month or two a year, so we can either spend 10 months lamenting the imperfect weather or find ways to enjoy it. I even made a resolution to spend time outside every single day, which, I'm proud to say, up until this winter, I have mostly kept.

Despite spending most of my life in much more extreme weather and despite my resolve not to be discontent, by the end of January, I found myself wanting to pull out my hair. 

Snow with honey!
So, with no end to the deep freeze in sight, we decided to renew our no complaining vow. We layered, bought three balaclavas, bundled up and got creative with the snow. We brought food coloring outside, used our microscope to examine snowflakes, kept snowballs in our freezer, dug out tunnels, made snowmen, built forts, made a snow ramp, did a lot of sledding and sang "the cold never bothered me anyway" from the top of snow towers. We ate snow with honey, made snowflakes with paper and glitter and watched this amazing video on snowflakes forming.

Watching the kids not want to leave the yard, even as the temperatures dipped below zero, made me realize what a pansy I had become. Some of my best memories of growing up were the nearly numb cheeks, the ice crystals collecting on my scarf from my breath, sweating under my snowsuit after climbing up and sliding down dozens and dozens of times and the warmth of the post-excursion hot chocolate. I had forgotten the magical silence of standing outside on a calm winter night with the snow gently cascading around. It is a peaceful, cleansing quiet that is unique to winter.

The last big snowfall happened the night before Madeline's half birthday. So to celebrate that morning, we decided to make snowbet for breakfast.

Good snowbet snow.

The Experiment: Snowbet
Time to completion: 5 minutes
Cost: $1 - 5 depending on the type of frozen fruit you use
Food Processor or blender
2-4 cups of frozen fruit of choice
1-3 cups of freshly fallen clean snow
Cream (optional - to make it snowcream).

Shhh...the snow is actually optional. But so fun.

Bad snowbet snow
1. Pour 2 - 4 cups (depending on how much you want and size of blending equipment) of frozen fruit into your blender or food processor
2. Blend until the fruit is extremely finely chopped. You may need to scrape the fruit down a few times.
3. Add the snow. For a more intense fruit flavor, add less. You can always add more.
4. Blend for 15 - 30 seconds more. Not too long or it will melt.
5. Use a rubber scraper to press the snow/fruit mixture together.
6. Scoop and serve!
7. If desired, add a splash of cream and mix and it will taste like fruity ice cream!

Note that this is best eaten immediately. We kept it in the freezer to enjoy for family cleaning night, but it turned to ice and lost it's nice soft texture.

As the seasons move on, I'm trying to emulate one of the strongest gifts (and most frustrating challenges) of my eldest daughter. She is simply content to stay in the status quo. She doesn't want to go to school when she's at home. She doesn't want to leave once she's there. She cries to think of running through the sprinklers when she's racing down the hill on a sled. She gets angry to think of snowball fights when she's lounging in our hammock. We once had a weeklong debate about the merits of the current wall color when we wanted to repaint one wall in our house. While this means that transitions are very hard for her and change is a fight, it also means that she can find contentment wherever she is and makes the most of her current situation.

So as the snow (likely) falls for the (fingers crossed) last time this season, I challenge you to bundle up, step outside and really see the beauty. Listen for, soak in and appreciate the last winter silence before the brilliant cacophony of spring.

1 comment:

  1. YOU are amazing! I love to read how you have embraced whatever IT happens to be and to make the MOST of the situation.