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Okay, who even knew that the word “Polar Vortex” existed three months ago? Google this: there is a Wikipedia page devoted to the “2014 North American Cold Wave.” Makes me want to crawl into a vat of hot chocolate and warm up.

I remember when snow days actually meant a day off from school because there was just A LOT OF SNOW. Not temps that would freeze my eyebrows on contact. Kids could head outside and get some of the zoobers out. (Technical term, I know). You know sled, make snow forts, hit each other in the eye with snowballs.

After looking back on the five-day break my kids just had off from school here in the Midwest there were a few key things that helped me get through the frigidly cold and claustrophobic days.

1. Exercising – In a moment of sheer madness I accepted an invitation online for the “Plank Challenge.” A way to torture my midsection that seemed like an interesting idea on January 2nd. But it proved to be a great idea to build up a little sweat and some endurance during this time. Each day brought an increase in the time to hold the plank, eventually working up to five minutes. Yeah, I don’t know if I’ll get there. But it was fun to involve Techno and Twinkle and watch them do the same. It also inspired me to add a few other fun exercises we can do together as well. Jumping jacks and squats were never so much fun.

2. Reading – Travel magazines…and LOTS of them! If I couldn’t be in Turks and Caicos I sure enjoyed looking at the photos and enjoyed someone else’s good fortune to be there!

3. Sleepovers with some of the kids’ friends – It was great to break that brother/sister sibling tension with a little buffer. Having some other kids around broke up the monotony for them and me.

4. Car trips to break up the day- Gotta make a trip to the bank? Whoo hoo! What else can we do? Drive through for coffee? Stop at Target and scan aisles for things we don’t need like sparkly paperclips and Hello Kitty lip gloss? Perfect. And I think I can stop for gas and hit the Redbox to pickup a DVD for the evening.

5. Daily Boggle matches – Matching wits with my kids is humbling. Two rounds with my nine-year old and she had found two six letter words and beat me!

6. Counting our blessings that we don’t live in Atlanta, Georgia – It was surreal watching news of 18-hour highway backups and traffic jams, a baby being born in the car amid the snowstorm and children sleeping overnight on school buses and in their schools. In the Midwest we are more than equipped to handle winter!

The kids dreaded going back to school this week after being so out of the daily routine. And truth be told their Mom missed them a little bit.

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