Sparkling Like a Million Little Suns

There isn’t much I love more in the world than brand new snow.  After falling asleep in a world that is largely brown and barren it is such a treat to wake up to a glittering, sparkling snowfall–reflecting a million little sunrises back at us.  “Isn’t it beautiful?!” I gasp and ask my children.  This time of year can be a gift with the first few snowfalls often melting between each event.

The girls admiring the morning snow fall.

The girls admiring the morning snow fall.

The difference one night makes.  Photo thanks to Evan!

The difference one night makes. Photo thanks to Evan!

I know that snow is a headache to many, and to them–to you, if you fall into this crowd–I am sorry.  I am sorry that you miss out on this special slice of nature.  I understand and fully know that shoveling driveways and front stoops and driving in and walking on unsteady ice can be far from fun.  I recognize that my love of snow comes from a position of privilege in personal health and resources.  So, I am sorry if you do not enjoy snow because of extenuating circumstances.  I hope there is another way for you to enjoy snow’s silence, beauty, joy and sometimes otherworldly qualities!

Skiing in flat light conditions with some friends.

A friend skiing in flat light conditions with some friends.

It snowed for the first time here the day my last post went up, so about a month ago!  That was a light, mostly inconsequential snow.  Not much of it stuck for more than the afternoon, but it got our excitement flowing!  Since then it has snowed several times and finally snowed enough to stick (well…as long as it doesn’t get blown away! Darn gale force glacial winds) a week and a half ago.  It’s here! Winter is here! Woohoo!

Naughty llama and her friend running through their wind blown field (our neighbor's llamas).

Naughty llama and her friend running through their wind blown field (our neighbor’s llamas).

With farming over, we’ve been aiming at playing outside for at least an hour every day. We’ve been fairly successful. Sledding, playing yard games, Going on nature walks, sledding, catching snow flakes on our tongues and going to the playground have all been great ways to get outside.  The girls even went cross country skiing for a very short while the other day!  They were so cute and very ambitious.  Both of them immediately wanted to go down the fairly steep hill in our front yard.  I let them attempt but regretted it :).  Evan and I went on a date (rare!) and ended up cross country skiing up in the mountains where they had already groomed the trails!  My favorite is off trail cross country skiing in the woods, but the snow isn’t deep enough yet. Soon!

Skiing with the hubs.

Skiing with the hubs in the mountains.

Skiing with the kiddos in the yard.

Skiing with the kiddos in the yard.

Along with the recreation the snow offers, there is a kind of relaxation or acceptance that comes with the the first fall.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the drive to constantly question oneself and frantically finish tasks is calmed with the silence and beauty of snow.  Perhaps it triggers something ingrained in us that says it’s here, you’ve prepared as much as you can.  Now it’s time to see if you make it through.  Luckily, our survival isn’t tied into our personal preparations (because we’d be screwed! ha!), so letting go is more of an emotional and mental respite than anything else.  Time to read and snuggle! and bake yummy things! and drink hot cocoa!

I took a snowy solo rainforest hike when I took a mom night last weekend at a nearby resort! Highly recommended to all tired moms. I found a good deal and did it :)

I took a snowy solo rainforest hike when I took a mom night last weekend at a nearby resort! Highly recommended to all tired moms. I found a good deal and did it 🙂

Speaking of which…

I have an excellent “healthy” hot cocoa recipe for you.  It makes me feel kind of terrible, but sometimes I have to bribe my children to come inside.  Hot cocoa does the trick. However, I cringe at feeding them straight up processed-whatever is in the syrups and powders (having those once in a while is fine, but not every day…).  There are some very yummy organic and gourmet cocoas that are just a few ingredients, but they are the kind of expensive that we reserve for a special treat!

So, here is my easy crunchy farmgirl mama “healthy” cocoa recipe (3-4 servings):

3 cups of whole fat milk (preferably local and organic!) or favorite dairy alternative 

3 T. raw cacao powder 

3 t. of real maple syrup or honey 

pinch of sea salt

~1/4 t. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan. Constantly stir over medium heat to incorporate all ingredients. Remove from heat before boiling point is reached (steam rises and bubbles start to appear around edges of pan). Note flavors for future adjustments (sweeter? less chocolatey?).

I have purchased raw cacao from Amazon.  It is a bit more expensive than regular cocoa powder, but I believe its flavor alone is worth it. Supposedly it has many health benefits, too!  It is relatively high in zinc, iron, fiber, protein and antioxidants.  We make our cocoa with cashew or hemp milk (because we don’t tolerate dairy very well, so sad!) and the flavor is rich, decadent, and all around lovely.  We have an official hot cocoa stirrer which I believe helps incorporate the ingredients and make the drink nice and frothy!  But I think a regular whisk or spoon would work just fine.  You might even be able to froth it up with an immersion blender or some other fun kitchen gadget.

Ava using our official hot chocolate stirrer.

Ava using our official hot chocolate stirrer.

Next on my list: homemade marshmallows!

How is late fall or early winter where you are?  Do you have a winter treat you are looking forward to?  I hope this finds you warm and cozy!

Opal works hard for her hot cocoa.

Opal works hard for her hot cocoa.

Until next time,

Sending Peace and Love from Alaska,

Alex, the Rural Farmgirl

  1. Laura R. says:

    Hi ! Your girls are so sweet, nature-loving, fun-loving cuties !!! I live in the Northeast and have not had any snowfall as yet, and even my first killing frost came in November. Snow does bring extra work, but I always was happier in the winter with a ground cover of snow. And thanks to your insight, I am looking forward to the magic of winter snow. Whenever it comes !!! Happy Thanksgiving !

  2. I’ve been making homemade marshmallows thus last month. They are divine!! Can’t wait to try your hot chocolate 🙂

  3. Peggy Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing your snow and stories. I also love snow but live in Southwest Missouri.
    We rarely see even snow flakes. I truly miss it being from Northern ILL.
    I read christmas books and watch Christmas movies to enjoy snow.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. MS Barb says:

    I LOVE the snow! (don’t care for icy roads though!) Thank you for sharing your healthy hot cocoa recipe! (Have you read the ingredients on the boxes of the commercial hot cocoa? scary!) THANKS again!

  5. Angela F Hajzak says:

    Thank you for sharing your snow stories. I have always loved snow and sometimes I feel that I am the only one who has appreciation for it. You made my day!

  6. Marilyn says:

    Your girls look so happy playing in the snow. Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  7. Joan says:

    Super fun posting! God Bless

  8. Marilyn Berger says:

    What a beautiful homage to Winter! In Mt.Shasta, California , the mountain is covered with snow and we are waiting to it to fall below 5,000 feet on this warm and windy Thanksgiving morning.
    An hour a day in outside activity is a great idea!
    Thank you much for sharing your receipents! I’ll use it as a reward in reverse: go outside for an hour and then I can have cocoa!
    Old Edgewood Farm

  9. Sandi King says:

    Today is Thanksgiving Day no snow! sunshine! 56 degrees! Air is on cool side, sort of brisk. Maybe by Christmas we will get snow, some anyway. I don’t expect we will get very much again this year. We may have really cold temps tho. It has been in the low 20’s at night here in Kentucky. Anyway, love your snow, your children are adorable. My home state of New York has gotten snow already according to my family there. Lucky guys! Waiting to see a snowman on your next blog. Love that idea—– of making a snowman!

  10. Krista says:

    I am another snow lover and you said it perfectly. There is just something about when it snows that’s so peaceful and perfect. I have been snowboarding in the past when it’s snowing and I love sitting at the top of the mountain and just listen to it snow. It’s crazy but you can really hear snow falling and it’s so calming. We haven’t had any snow yet and I’m actually upset about it. After eating our Thanksgiving dinner last night, we went outside to play. Let me just say, we have never been warm enough to go out and play with out jackets after Thanksgiving. I have also been keeping my windows open because it’s still so warm. It’s throwing my holidays off. I’m ready for the snow! Enjoy it for me!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Ah! that sounds so odd–to go outside after a Thanksgiving meal without jackets. The sound of snow falling is a magical sound, in a way. I hope your snow comes soon!

  11. Susabelle says:

    We have had snow five times, but we also have had 70-degree days. Winter is confusing this year (I am in northern Colorado plains just along the Rockies). I’m ready for real winter. Winter is when I read, catch up on sit-down tasks. I run run run the rest of the year, and until winter truly arrives, I will keep running. Spent a week in the midwest with family and brought back a cooler full of frozen venison…spent the day after I got back making loads of meatballs and meatloaves to put in the freezer for later. It was 77 degrees when I did it, which explains the run-run-run! Winter needs to get here already!! I’m tired!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      I hear you Susabelle! I think it’s in our true nature to keep going while the sun shines. Venison meatballs and meatloaves sound so yummy! I hope real winter comes your way soon.

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