November – Gratitude – Photo/Art

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Traveling to Vermont for Thanksgiving with family. (c)2018

Fireplace on a cold Thanksgiving night. (c)2018


Thanksgiving Dinner. (c)2018

Travel – Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania

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Groundhog’s Day is my husband’s favorite holiday. He despises Valentine’s Day – too commercial, but he loves Phil.

A college friend had grandparents who lived there, so she grew up with Punxsutawney Phil, the myth, the groundhog.

Except that it’s winter in western Pennsylvania, I think we would try to take a vacation there for February 2nd. Maybe one day.

For information on how to get there and what to do, here are some useful links:

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club
Visit PA on Groundhog’s Day
When I was a teacher many years ago, I tried to find unusual books to read to the kids that wasn’t your typical Winnie-the-Pooh or ABCs. Those books have their places in classroom and they’re fun for the teachers as much as for the kids, but sometimes it’s good to introduce them to children’s literature and expand their horizons.

You may remember Crocket Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon. He also wrote a wonderful, simple book for Groundhog’s Day. It is my favorite:

Will Spring Be Early or Will Spring Be Late?​
We should know by now. Let me know in the comments.

Outdoors in the Winter? YES!

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Unless we ski, snowshoe, or take winter hikes, we tend to hibernate through the season. We rush from our house to our car to work and back again bundled up, heat on high. We layer up and avoid the outside as best we can. However our feelings about the cold and snow, the outdoors are actually very healthy for us, even those of us who are not particularly outdoorsy.

With our windows closed keeping us sealed in and cooped up, we’re more susceptible to colds and lingering infections and just feeling yicky and not ourselves. One way to combat that stale air and the winter doldrums is to get outside every day. We don’t often think of that as a solution, but the fresh air is a real pick me up.

I know. It goes against every fiber of my being too. The cold. The snow. The wind. But fifteen minutes every day has a way of rejuvenating our systems.

For kids, it gets their energy focused in the snow instead of on your living room sofa.

Bring out the shovels and the Nerf guns.

By the time winter recess comes along, at least in the northeast, we’re about ready for a mid-winter thaw. The air is a little warmer – forties instead of twenties, the sun is bright.

Take a walk.

Have a snowball fight.

Run and jump.

Make snow angels.

And then when you come inside, have a steaming cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows.

It takes just a little time, a little effort, and no money. Not to mention that it will help to keep the family healthy and ready to go back to school at the end of recess.