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10 Outdoor play ideas for winter

Happy New Year !

We have had a wonderful holiday in Florida; it is so strange that we have so many different climates on this big continent. Being able to pick your own oranges from a tree and then squeeze orange juice is such a cool thing to do for an outdoor kid from the North.

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Make Christmas cookies for the birds

suetcookiesfrontWe set up our birdfeeder for the winter last Friday. The girls painted and helped set-up our squirrel proof birdfeeder and we discovered a mourning dove and a cardinal checking it out this Sunday. Hopefully we will have as many birds visiting us this year as we did last. It is quite amazing how much fun and entertaining a birdfeeder can be for the whole family.

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Florida style outdoors Christmas

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swimmingmanatees1Every year we head south to visit our extended family in Florida. This year it will be our 10th Christmas in Florida. When asking my 7 year old what is our Christmas tradition she said  “Swimming with manatees in Florida.”

Every Christmas Eve, we wake up early and get on a boat to spend the day on the Crystal River with our Florida family. We are up early because the best chance to see manatees is sunrise, especially during the winter months when manatees gather up in Three Sisters Springs to stay warm. This is a protected place warmed by the spring waters constant 22°C (72°F) temperature. According to manatee experts, the best weather for viewing is after a cold front moves through central Florida and the manatees congregate in these warm spring areas.



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Swimming with manatees


Holiday ice art

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Ice,ice baby

By Kari Svenneby

One year we celebrated Christmas in Norway, my home country. My parents were scratching their heads when my husband and daughter started to fill balloons with water and put them out on the porch to freeze. We then took cookie cutters on cookie trays and buckets and filled them with water.

Every time we were having dinner or hosting a holiday party last year, we would look at the beautiful ice sculptures glowing in the candlelight. It was so easy, cheap, environmentally friendly, educational and so beautiful.

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Gingerbread cookies and house

It is that time of year when everyone is rushing around, trying to get ready for the holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah or what ever you celebrate; slow down a little and bake some cookies with your kids. It takes some organizing but it is such a joy for the kids. This year I had her best friends over for decorating a ginger bread house and gingerbread cookies. They had so much fun and so did the mums.

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Cottage Christmas


Guest blog by Rhonda Sage

It is coming up to that time of year again, a time the malls fill up with shoppers, and the tour de households begin. It is Christmas in our house; we celebrate our holidays a little differently than most. We get out of the city.

It started after my daughter was born, my second child. We were feeling the stress of the traveling to household-to-household and shopping and the rush of the holiday season. The only way we could afford to get away from it was to go up North to our cottage. A 4-5 hour drive north to where you are guaranteed to have a white Christmas. Or at least New Years. It turned into our yearly tradition.

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