Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Winter Solstice Celebration

Embracing the longest night of the year and coaxing back the sun. The sun that mom so desperately misses. We all sat inhaling the yummy goodness of a boat full of beeswax candles, listening to music, reading by candle light, and eating "sun foods" -- mango and pure honey comb.

We spent the next day stringing popcorn and cranberries (though mostly cranberries since we have a little popcorn monster aboard) and then making pine cone and apple bird seed feeders for the local critters. Zach really got in to it this year and LOVED the idea of helping the animals during the cold winter months. And man, has it been COLD!

We found a lonely holly tree in the woods near the marina and garnished it with our goodies.

(p.s. My camera is dead :( Unless there really is a Santa, I am going to be thin on the photos in the coming months. I used Zach's cheapo camera to capture Solstice.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Shameless Plug #1

We interrupt this child centered blog to test my tech savvy abilities and post a link to my article in this month's SAIL Magazine.

I have done 5 articles for them in the past year. But I am just figuring out how to post now.

And here is my article in this month's Spinsheet (page 51) I have been a regular contributor since the beginning of the year.


Winter Mail

Stealing great ideas from other people is my specialty, here's the latest. Many people do an advent calendar with treats for every day counting down until Christmas. We decided to do a winter mailbox with the same general idea but counting down the whole month until New Years Day. This way, we include all the winter holidays our various friends and family celebrate and we have activities to do rather than junk food to eat. Plus it's small and easy enough to have on board, and it's something we can continue as a tradition even when we're cruising.

Every morning a little elf leaves Z a message in his mailbox (which I got HERE, she has awesome designs!) and puts the flag up. The first one was what you see above. Other messages that will appear in the mailbox include: drive around and look at lights, go see the Nutcracker, write a thankful list, bake treats for friends, take a walk in the woods, read winter poems, write a winter story, pick out a new calendar for 2009, make pine cone bird feeders, string popcorn & cranberries, holiday movie night, decorate the boat, breakfast in bed, drink hot coco, set out luminaries on the dock, go see the boat light parade, take a horse drawn carriage ride... you get the idea.

But I still think if the weather allowed we'd spend every day on the beach.

Zach and his buddies found some cool stuff washed ashore by the blustery winter winds.

Playing restaurant on an old piling...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Bath Season Is Over

As the temperatures drop, signs of winter are everywhere. The last flocks of geese are honking their way south. The ducks are begging more than usual. And the hoses are out.

Walking back to the boat Zach saw this sight and immediately knew what it meant.

"Mom, is bath season over?"

Yes, we have a bath season. As a year round live aboard in a winter climate baths are not a right but a seasonal privilege. And when the hoses go down that means the marina is shutting off our dock water for the season (because the pipes can freeze and burst on the docks).

This means filling up our water tanks requires a trek up the marina yard to the old office building where the long, mismatched, string of hoses terminates at a water tap with a heated source. So we trek up there, turn on the water, trek back to the boat, open the door to bring in the hose and let all the cold air in, fill up the tanks, then with wet cold hands trek back to turn off the water. Then begins the ritual of walking the whole length of hose and lifting it up to drain the remaining water out. If you don't do this, the water in there can freeze, and when your neighbor needs to fill up they might encounter an ice blockade preventing them access to fresh water. Not good.

So we go on an even tighter water rationing routine than usual. Part of that is no baths. Also the heating system on our boat isn't quite strong enough to warm the extreme corners of the boat, and our bath tub sits in one of those extreme corners. But hey, at least we HAVE a bath tub!

So it's shower season. Zach plays in the shower up at the marina bath house or at the local indoor pool where we swim. And this weekend he hit the jackpot! We went to Grandma & Grandpa's house in North Carolina and he was in bath bliss. I mean LOOK at the size of that thing!

So bath season may be over. But we manage.

And we always carry some bubble bath with us, just in case.
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