How to survive Chiberia

Windchills as obscene as -50F. 12+ inches of snow across the region. Metro-wide city closings. Welcome to Chicago, where it got colder than the South Pole and regions of Siberia this week. The kids got an extra two days tacked on to their winter break thanks to Mother Nature, which means moms across Chicago rolled up their sleeves and dug in their heels.

My weapon of choice in the battle against cabin fever? Fun food and DIY crafts. *cough*andnetflix*cough*

Breakfast on Sunday was a twist on French toast as a “snowde” to the city:

 

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Breakfast on Monday was bagels with a few garnishes, which became Polar Vortex bear and Snowpocalypse Man:

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And snacktime today was spent thinking warm thoughts and trying to remember the color green:

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And as is always the case, comfort food is a salvo for the bitter cold:

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To keep little hands busy, we did this fun ice painting craft, inspired by my blogger friend Angela. It’s just a couple drops of food coloring with water in each cube; freeze for 20-30 minutes, then insert popsicle sticks. It is the most simple and gratifying activity, and one of very few that all three of my kids (ages 2, 6, and 8) loved and kept busy with for a full hour.

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Last night I also cooked up this DIY playdough, which is my favorite recipe:

2 cups baking soda
1 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cups water (mix food coloring with water before adding to the above)

I used one nonstick pot to make all the colors, washing between each one, so this took a while. The actual cooking itself takes mere minutes, though, and makes quite a lot. I halved the amount for the yellow and blue colors and there is still a generous amount.

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And finally, we just had to get in on the arctic freeze fun. There was no way I was going to try the throwing-boiling-water-into-the-air thing, but blowing bubbles is harmless enough. It’s not as easy as it looks, and even in 2 degree weather it took some time for bubbles to freeze. The kids got a kick out of watching them crystallize, though, and I think were also just giddy to be outdoors for the first time in 48 hours.

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This weekend will be a welcome, balmy 37 degrees. I’ll miss the polar vortex, though, for the way it forced us to slow down, stop the daily rush, and enjoy each other’s presence.

Who am I kidding. I can’t wait to send them off to school tomorrow.

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