December Giveaway: Winter Blues and Things to Do


Winter is beautiful.

Colorful birds, Christmas lights and conifers are contrasted by a bright white canvas. Snowfall brings a natural, muted calm to the busyness of the season. Aromas like spicy cinnamon, pine and cookies made from grandma’s handed-down secret recipe bring back warm memories of parties past and being asked to read the story of Jesus’ birth from an enormous family Bible.

Winter is also harsh.

Snowy wind and freezing temperatures can be too bitter for little ones to play outside for long, and icy roads cause terrible things like church and playgroup cancellations.

On especially snowy days, when ever last piece of snow gear was soaked, my mom would bring out a big roll of newsprint and we’d make beautiful snowflakes to hang on the windows. Mom would carefully fold the paper to make more realistic, six-sided snowflakes, and would cut detailed diamonds, hearts and moon shapes. One year, we sprayed the paper snowflakes with gold paint and used them to decorate our Christmas tree. It looked amazing.

Finding fun things to do on bad-weather days is one of the many responsibilities that come with the territory of parenthood.

This month’s giveaway (sorry it’s late… went on a mini vacation to Tokyo by myself for a few days… thanks again, love!) is designed to make beating the winter blues a little easier. I’ve never seen origami paper so cool, and I had to share the crafty goodness with my readers.

What is your favorite creative way to spend bad-weather days as a family?

Maybe it’s using a calligraphy pen to write beautiful verses or poems over children’s watercolor paintings to frame and give as presents, turning household books into a library by using scrap paper date cards, rubber stamps and Polaroid photo ID library cards, or ordering from your children at their plastic food restaurant (my brother reminded me the other day that ours was called “McDonaking”) …I’d like to know!

Please share your best family-friendly activity tip in the comments of this post to be eligible to win this 11-piece origami prize pack:


(Click photo to enlarge)

Eight packs of Japanese origami paper:

  • Glow in the dark paper
  • Japanese floral print (3 variations)
  • Japanese fighting beetle printed paper
  • Waterproof boat making paper
  • Animal print (zebra, giraffe, tiger and more!)
  • Dinosaur skin-print paper
  • Two-toned paper for more dramatic origami
  • Colorful fish themed origami paper
  • Two origami folding instruction books

  • Easy “Level 1” book
  • Intricate “Level 6” book
  • One, 400 sheet capacity origami paper carrying to help make your creativity portable.

    From the list of comments (and yes, you have to leave a pertinent comment in order to qualify!) my children will draw the winning name.

    My hope is that this giveaway will bring some sunshine to the winter doldrums and inspire parents to help their children have fun, and make some happy life-time lasting memories together in the process.

    BONUS: If you mention this giveaway in your blog (send me a “proof” link) or Tweet (via @mrsalbrecht), you will get ONE extra entry. (C’mon! I know some of you get a little carried away with this stuff and I can’t keep track of THAT many tiny pieces of paper!!) PLEASE do me a small favor and post a “proof link” or copy of Tweet so I’m sure to not to miss your extra-entry qualification. (Thanks!)

    Please leave your comment by 9PM EST, January 8, 2010.

    The winner will need to provide their mother’s maiden name, social security number, and a valid US credit card number + three digit secret code. JUST KIDDING! I will, however, need their name and mailing address which will be kept strictly confidential.

    If they’re agreeable, I’d like to interview the winner and feature them in a future post. I would consider including links in the post to the winner’s blog, favorite cause, home business, etc.

    Winning contestants may not enter my subsequent monthly giveaway contests for a year following their win. In other words, if you win in January, 2010, you cannot enter again until January, 2011.

    Origami, Snowflakes and Other Paper-Related Pleasures:

    Origami USA

    Origami Club (English version)

    Origami Resource Center

    Robert J. Lang – Origami Artist

    How to Make a 3D Snowflake

    Paper Snowflakes

    Enchanted Learning : Paper Crafts

    Paper Crafts from Family Fun

    Photo Credit: Winter Cardinal by JMitaStudios via Flickr

    Saturday Afternoon Children’s Poems

    My friend Anne shared some children’s poems with me today, so I thought I’d post them for keeps. Imagine! Enjoy!

    Pipes and Drums

    A little Pixie Piper went
    A-piping through the glens;
    Some folks who heard him thought his notes
    A robin’s or a wren’s.

    “How late to hear a robin sing
    It must be nearly ten!
    (The Pixie Piper chuckled and
    Went piping down the glen.)

    If it wasn’t quite a robin’s note,
    fancy ’twas a wren
    (The Pixie Piper chuckled and
    Went piping down the glen.)

    If we’d been there we might have made
    The same mistakes ourselves;
    The only folks who knew the truth
    Were Goblins, Gnomes, and Elves.

    The Pixies sought their pixie pipes
    The Goblins fetched their drums
    The Gnomes and Elves called everywhere,
    “The Pixie Piper comes!”

    He led them slowly through the town
    And slowly back again
    Some folks who heard them thought the drums
    Were raindrops on the pane.

    And, as the Goblin band drew near,
    Cried, “Listen to the hail!”
    (The Goblin drummers chuckled and
    Went drumming down the dale.)

    Be careful, pray, the next wet day,
    To make quite sure yourselves,
    The patter’s really raindrops not
    The drums of drumming Elves.

    -Lilian Holmes from the “The Golden Flute An Anthology Of Poetry For Young And Children”


    The Second-Hand Shop

    Down in the grasses
    Where the grasshoppers hop
    And the katydids quarrel
    And the flutter-moths flop –
    Down in the grasses
    Where the beetle goes “plop,”
    An old withered fairy
    Keeps a second-hand shop.

    She sells lost thimbles
    For fairy milk pails
    And burnt-out matches
    For fence posts and rails.
    She sells stray marbles
    To bowl on the green,
    And bright scattered beads
    For the crown of the queen.

    Oh, don’t feel badly
    Over things that you lose
    Like spin tops or whistles
    Or doll’s buckled shoes;
    They may be the things that
    Fairy folk can use,
    For down in the grasses
    where the grasshoppers hop
    A withered old fairy
    Keeps a second-hand shop.
    -Rowena Bennett

    Photo credit: Fairy Pumpkin House by Tinyfroglet via Flickr

    6.20.09 – The Progression of a Fall

    More can be learned from walking a mile in someone else’s shoes than in a day spent navel-gazing. Get over yourself. 1:29AM Jun 20

    Earlier in the day:
    This is going to be an awesome day. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into it. 9:10 AM Jun 19th

    From my friend this afternoon:
    bethcat@mrsalbrecht How awesome was it?I thought the same at the start, but the disguise awesome’s wearing still has me spinning 3:19 PM Jun 20

    My reply:
    @bethcat Turns out Humble Thyself was wearing the ‘awesome disguise’ ;) 4:25 PM Jun 20

    Proverbs 16

    My Firstborn (FB Quiz)

    Tagged by Emeth :)

    Here you go, moms … a different kind of survey for a change! It’s all about you and your first baby. Tag all your mom friends so we can all learn more about each others’ firstborn!

    1. Were you married at the time? Yes.

    2. What was your reaction when you found out you were pregnant? Disbelief. I said, “What am I going to do?” Tom replied, “You’re going to have a baby.” He gave me the most wonderful hug and assured me he’d take care of me every step of the way – and he did. He’s been fantastic for all of the subsequent pregnancies and deliveries, too :)
    Continue reading “My Firstborn (FB Quiz)”

    1/3/09 – Evening

    Tonight we went out for dinner at a ramen noodle restaurant. We purchased tickets for our soups and then handed them to the hostess. She tore off the ticket and handed us back the stubs.

    The restaurant is one of many ramen restaurants in this little “Ramen Town” located in the back corner of our mall.

    All of my kids – except for Thomas – seem to love ramen.

    Tabitha enjoyed adding the various condiments to her soup – soy sauce, vinegar, minced garlic, and pepper. After every addition she’d say, “Mom, you’ve got to try this… it’s soooo good!”

    Leah, who was on my right, kept stealing soup from my bowl. Whenever I’d catch her dipping in her spoon, she’d smile sweetly and offer it to me – as if her goal was to feed me all along.

    Micah sat on my left. He, too, was sharing my soup (the bowls are quite large!). He could not stop eating the pickled konbu kelp! After he ate mine, he asked for Tom’s!

    Aomori Bank is closed, and we had attempted to get some cash out of the ATM thinking that the ATMs would at least be working – it was not! Even the ATMs are closed for the New Years holiday!

    We finished our outing by going to the grocery store. Leah and I got separated from Tom and the rest of the kids, and we were attacked by Leah’s fan club – all the old ladies who tussle her hair, tickle her, pinch her cheeks and cry Kawaaaaaaiiii!!!!!!

    When we came home, we finished watching The Forbidden Kingdom (starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan).

    Off to soak in the tub!

    Tomorrow is Bible Study at my house :) We are still in John 1, continuing with Piper’s Sermon “In Him Was Life” as a guide.