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The Longest Day of the Year

I officially survived the longest day of the year. No, not the Summer Solstice, June 21st (and yes, I did have to google that) but Daylight Savings Day. Before I had kids, this was actually a fabulous day – an extra hour to sleep in, an extra hour to read the paper – an extra hour to myself. Now that I have three children, this is not an extra hour to enjoy but an extra hour to endure. An extra early breakfast, an extra hour in a cloudy, rainy, winter-is-coming-day.  A day full of pillow forts, dumping out of toys in each room, and the creation of a club by my 5 year old daughter that only her sister was allowed to join and not her younger brother (as you can imagine, that was nipped in the bud and presented a perfect opportunity to give a lecture on including others) . And by this point it was all of 8 am. I am thankful that I no longer have any babies with nap schedules to wrangle with, just kids who, despite the time change,  seem to get up at the same time, yet go to bed one hour later.

Along with day light savings is the abrupt departure of beautiful sun and way-above- normal temperatures. Today is forty degrees with gray skies and intermittent drizzle. Hello winter. My kids asked for hot chocolate after school today – they know it’s coming too.

So not only do we need to adjust our clocks but also our activities for the winter. Swimsuits and bicycles are put away and time to find the parkas and boots. I actually just found my children’s boots today. I had tossed them all in a garbage bag in a cleaning frenzy back in May and have been searching for them for the past five days. I had visions of my husband mistakenly taking them to the curb with the other trash. So I breathed a sigh of relief as I found them in our scary basement on a pallet underneath an old computer monitor and next to a box of floor tiles – right where they belonged.

So, how does my family survive the winter? Barely. Just kidding. We do a lot of crafts, meaning I pull out paper, glue, markers, paints, pipe cleaners and whatever else we might have and throw it on the kitchen table. Yesterday the kids traced their hands on pieces of paper and decorated them – for two hours. With no direction from me. They are much more creative than I am. My friend said her family was having a long day yesterday (The Longest Day of the Year) and she hit gold with address labels. Her kids had a blast making labels for everyone in the family, drawing things each person liked on the labels, and sticking them on each other. The whole family wore them through dinner and then they put them in a notebook. So cute.

If we are home on some weekend days in the winter we are all about pj days and pillow parties. All the pillows come off the furniture, pjs stay on, I close the door and hold my breath that no one is seriously injured. We go outside and play in the snow, even if it sometimes takes twice as long for the kids to get into their gear as they last outside. We bake – a lot. My children are chocoholics like me, so cookies, brownies, and cakes abound in our house during the winter. I also embrace winter with soups, pastas and casseroles. Here is this week’s menu:

Monday: Burrito Bar Night (weekly event per the kids’ insistence)

Tuesday: Pressed Sandwich Night with roasted broccoli

Wednesday: Ham and Cheese Quiche with Asparagus

Thursday: Chicken Soup 

Friday: Pizza Night

How does your family get through the long days of winter? 

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Rachael Ray