Thursday, January 16, 2014

January Fun and Stone Soup!

January is different here.

I live along the shores of Lake Ontario. We're in a snow belt and Buffalo and Rochester, NY are the two larger cities with the MOST SNOWFALL per year.

This is not a dubious honor, by any means! THIS ROCKS IF YOU LOVE WINTER!!!!!

And I like winter well enough but like the rest o' youse, I'll be whining in four weeks, ruing February and longing for spring. But right now we're enjoying the season to the max....

Which means this:

He lasted about two minutes outdoors, and yes... snow-covered babies are a favorite around here!!!

These guys are big, brave and bold 3-year-olds:

They're TOUGH!!!!

And this photo shows one of my eternal blessings of being a totally rockin'-it daycare Grammy....

Clumps of snow.

'Lijah calls them "presents" for me.

Even the cat is dumbfounded, but smart enough to stay quiet... Who wants to insult a three-year-old????

I sent him off to get me MORE!!!!  :) And he asked to wear the pink snow pants, and I smiled, nodded and said "sure!".... I think the brown jacket and rugged mittens complement the snowpants perfectly!

Did he bring me more clumps?

He did.  :)

January is a time for white-chalk-on-black-paper pictures....

For cotton ball snowmen....

This snowman knows a good cookie when he sees one!!!

For warm woolen mittens made by Dave's Mom....

It is a cause for celebration when we can find MATCHING socks and/or mittens.
We are delighted by the simple things in life around here!

And for stories and candlelight and making stone soup:  I still remember the first time I heard the story of "Stone Soup" (the Marcia Brown re-telling) back when I was a kid... 

and how fun then to carry on that idea and tradition with my own kids... The idea of making something from nothing is the basis for this fun story of wit, sharing and caring for the lonely stranger wandering through town. A great lesson learned all around.


Well, first, get a stone and wash it well.

Fill a pot with water.

Add stone.

And that's it, that's the BASIC RECIPE...

But, wait.


It would probably taste even better if you added a few tablespoons of Chicken base to the pot...

And pepper.

Mmm.... that's GOOD!!!!!! Nice stone broth!!!!!

But, wait.


How much better could it be with just a little chicken thrown in? A can or two should be fine!!!! Or last night's leftovers!!!

Mmm..... that's GOOD!!!!!! Chicken and broth, oh yes!!!!

But, wait!!!!

How 'bout if we throw in a couple of potatoes? And a couple of carrots are always welcome! And if the neighbor up the road has a spare onion, well... let's chop that baby up!

And if you surreptitiously remove the stone at some point, that's okay, but it should be given a place of honor at the table...

Because stone soup is all about caring and sharing.

I love the life lesson in the simple story. 

January is "let's eat out of the freezer month" here. The hodge podge of whatevers that need to be consumed so I can defrost the freezer. Stone soups, one pot meals, pots of sauce... I should clean other things too, but hey, one thing at a time! I'm still waiting to put away Christmas this weekend!!!

Tossing together quick eats has become the norm around here. Because frankly, I'd rather write books and play with and teach leastun's than fuss with fancy after the holidays. I think it's a natural reaction (please say YES!!!!) :)

And I'd show you a pic of Jeter in the snow, but Jeter never stands still. He's huge. I'll try and catch a picture of him out the window, where he doesn't see me.... It's warm here this week, the 30's and MUDDY.

Youse can all sympathize with that, I know. A back yard that was a construction zone last winter + two dogs + mud = Muddy Wet Dog.


I prefer the snow (and we've had plenty of that) but a January thaw reminds me that after every winter comes a "spring"...

And I saw daffodil bulbs peeking up in the church garden in North Carolina!!!!!


And not for nothin', but did you know that sunrise is earlier and sunset half-an-hour later in North Carolina than it is up here?

A half-hour later??????



  1. Oh, that was a lovely peek into the 'snowbelt'! And I'd forgotten all about those puffball snowmen. We need to make some of those. Super cute! Especially the cookie part...

    1. Snowmen are quite hungry. Maintains the rotund shape. :)

  2. I like that book! I didn't know about it til a few years ago when I saw it listed on a blog.
    I've never had snow like ya'll do - think you need to open a B&B like nora Roberts did and let all us south of the snow folks come up for some winter TLC :-)

    1. Susanna, that's a wonderful idea! But then we get those stretches like in "White Christmas" where this is no snow!!! None. We've had a week now of 30-50 degree temps.... so we have MUD right now!!!!

      I do not ♥ mud. ;)

    2. Hmm then you either discount for lack of snow or feed us and send us to Jan's or Virginias til we find snow!!!
      Susanna :-)

  3. It's been a snowy winter for sure. Love the snow bumble pic! You could have rolled him a couple of times and turned him into a snowboy! Have you ever read Snow balls by Lois Ehlert? Awesome book for your crew and you could do some amazing pictures using the illustrations as inspiration. I read it every January to all the kindergarten classes and they LOVE it. Usually I have to read it twice before they'll get down to choosing their own books to read.

    And I love Marcia Brown's editon of Stone Soup. There have been so many others since she published hers but they all seem to fall flat as far as I'm concerned. Our grade threes make Stone Soup for Friendship Day which is in February.

    Ruthy I want to be three and stay at your house all day!

    1. Kav, you come down anytime and we'll make stone soup together! I love this version too, I remember seeing it on Captain Kangaroo when I was little and I remember thinking how smart that was, to nudge the people into being friendly and helpful!!! And all from a stone!!!!

    2. I remember Captain Kangaroo. Boy, we're really dating ourselves.

    3. I know. Let's pretend it was re-runs!!!! :) Wait, I think it was.

  4. I grew up in the snow belt - lake effect snow from Lake Michigan, walking to school in snow up to our knees, making HUGE snowballs during recess (we just kept rolling the snow around the school yard until those balls were at least four feet high). I'm so glad we lived in northern Indiana in the '90's and my children got to experience a few years of that snow.

    Here in the northern plains we have wind. And cold. And snow that comes and goes - not like what you have.

    But they're still great days for cozying up inside with soup and hot cocoa.

    The dogs, however, don't agree. 50 MPH wind gusts make for short, quick walks.

    And thanks for the Captain Kangaroo memories! The world is not a better place without the Captain saying good morning to Grandfather Clock.

    1. And Mr. Greenjeans and the ping pong balls with the Mr. Moose!!!!

    2. And Bunny Rabbit stealing carrots....

      That man introduced us to the BEST children's literature, didn't he?

  5. I do miss the snow. Which is why it's such an event when we get anything that closely resembles snow. Like Jan, I remember making snowmen and snow forts at school. With all those bodies to help roll, we make some big ones.

    I also remember chewing my hair (yuck) and coming in from recess with what were essentially icicles slapping against my cheeks. Ah, the memories.

    1. I twirled my hair and chewed the hank on the left side, twirled in my right hand.

      We are freaks.

      I no longer do this. :)

    2. LOVE THE BOOK STONE SOUP!!! Great memories, Rufus!!

    3. Me, either, Ruthy. A habit I was glad to be rid of.

  6. Love the cute photos! And am a little envious of the snow. But not envious enough to want it around all the time, lol.

    You definitely need to share Jeter photos!!

  7. I LOVE the stone soup book!!! must get that out for my four year old. right now he's loving his Curious George stories. i wish i could have my little guy be included in your Grandma daycare. Hubby and I are too far from family to get that. Your littles are absolutely ADORABLE!! no snow in virginia beach and my little guy loves playing in snow (he gets to see it when we visit Gparents).

    love reading about this and the comments about Captain Kangaroo - oh for that show to make it to re-runs somewhere in cable land...