Embrace the Ordinary: What do you do when you’re snowed in for the day?

We knew snow was coming yesterday, but we had still planned to run out in the morning to get the boys their haircuts for the Chinese New Year. But when snow started falling a little after 10 a.m., we decided to stay home. We were glad we did.

What do you do when you’re snowed in for the day? Here is a glimpse into our house on a snow day:

After complaining that he was bored, Daniel spotted a piece of blue poster board and decided to make a crucifix. He was having trouble cutting, so he turned to his big brother, who was happy to help.

Then Daniel drew Jesus hanging on the cross.

Once Daniel had hung the crucifix in the living room, he knew we had no choice but to hold Mass there.

So he gathered a group of stuffed animals, asked me for some crackers and water and two candles and we got started.

How do you begin Mass? No, not with the Sign of the Cross. This is 2015.

Daniel stood beside the crucifix and announced, “Please turn the cell phones off.”

“Or at least make them quiet,” Leo added.

We skipped the homily and made it all the way to the final blessing.

At lunchtime Leo built the Grape Wall of China next to his plate.

All day, though, as the snow fell, our boys were asking to go outside. But I was watching the thermometer hovering around 20. I knew they would go out and come right back in, bringing cold, wet clothes with them. It hardly seemed worth it.

So I took a plastic bin and went outside to fill it with snow. Then I brought it into the kitchen, dropped a cup, a cookie cutter, a Pez, and a handful of pennies into it, and told the boys to have fun.

They loved it. We even built a snowman and used a marker to decorate him. In fact, Gina just wrote a great post about creating little snowmen with colored pencils.

After they finished playing, though, Daniel knew how wonderful snow was and he wanted to go outside even more. Sigh. So eventually, at long last, we bundled them up and sent them outside.

They lasted about 15 minutes. Then they came inside shivering inside their cold, wet clothes. Good thing we had built our snowman indoors because it was too cold to do much outside.

Then we got down to the business of the day—making Chinese dumplings.

We typically make them once a year, and yesterday seemed like the perfect day.

They are a bit labor-intensive, and one year I will probably buy the dumpling wrappers they sell in the store. But yesterday we were home. And being snowed in makes me want to cook.

We made two fillings this time, the pork filling we have made a few times before and a shrimp filling I created on the spot.

Every year the boys have helped a little bit, but this year they took the project over entirely.

Leo showed me how to use the dumpling maker we have to create dumplings that look like dumplings.

His are the beautiful ones. Mine are the bigger, sloppier ones. Daniel liked making “baby dumplings,” tinier versions of the large dumplings.

Leo decided to make double-decker and triple-decker dumplings, which are sort of like the turducken version of dumplings with another one (or two) wrapped inside.

The boys were excited to eat their very own dumplings.

At bath time John said, “Who’s taking the first bath? Let’s flip a coin.” Daniel didn’t miss a beat. “OK,” he said, “I’m both sides.”

Was that a boring day? I hope not because we might end up having a similar day today.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.