This winter started out like the last bunch have been... with no snow. The children were finally delighted to see us get not one, but two storms within a week or so that dumped 12 or more inches of snow each on us.

We also visited a nature park during their open house. It's called The Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, and it's one we will definitely be visiting again! They have a web page, for anyone who's interested: Prairie Woods We'll start off there...

The center has many acres of walking trails, which our family loves. We hit the trails as soon as we got there (it's about an hour drive away). Caleb and Corbin brought their binoculars. The girls just used the old fashioned hands cupped around the eyes.

kids using binoculars

Annora was obsessed with the big windmill. The first trail we walked wandered around it. It was a rather windy day, so the hum of the blades whooshing was constant.

Nora and the windmill

We saw lots of bluebirds (which I thought was odd... don't they fly south??!??) and a group of rabbits in some bushes. Annora had to get down and taste the snow along the way.

Nora in snow

After our first trail we went inside the lodge to warm up. They had all kinds of activities going on. The kids churned butter, ground coffee, and shuck corn like olden day pioneers. They also had a 3-d layout of the grounds, which the kids loved.

Kids at map

We ate some popcorn and drank some hot cocoa while listening to some guitar players. Rosa ate a whole bag herself!

Rosa eating popcorn

Then we hit one last trail before it started getting dark. This one had an Yurt, which is a round house-like building, along the way. We all had a blast, and are looking forward to visiting again.


Now on to the BIG snow. We enjoyed driving around town and seeing the sites that come with all the snow. The railway was out plowing off their lines, and we were lucky enough to see them at work.

train plowing snow

Our local grocery store's sign had a new look...

snowy sign

But the prettiest effect was all the icicles. They hung down off of every building, pine tree, and vehicle! Here are some huge ones coming off of a building.


And close up:

icicles up close

The pheasants have started coming out, and we have seen quite a lot lately.

pheasant on road

After the snow first hit, much shoveling out was needed. We didn't shovel out the van we plan on selling, and you can see just how much snow the two storms left behind looking at it.

van under snow

Even getting the vehicles we do use uncovered was an ordeal. Alex was brave enough to clear off the big van for me.

Alex on van

Our house even took on a whole new look.

our house

Rosa was rather overwhelmed with all the snow. She was frustrated that she couldn't walk in it. Daddy came to the rescue.

Rosa and Daddy in snow

She found the sidewalks much easier to navigate.

Rosa in snow

Here's a shot of the girls in front of a snowbank on our sidewalk. By the second storm the banks were so high we couldn't shovel the snow there anymore, but had to haul it to other parts of the yard. What a pain!

Rosa and Nora

The boys really loved the warmer (above freezing) weather that followed. They build all kinds of snow forts and such. Caleb built some snow loons, of course.

snow loons

With the warm sun beating down, we knew it wouldn't last...

sun shining

But we couldn't have predicted what happened next! My poor garden was soon looking like a lake!

flooded garden

The whole garden was flooded with about two feet of water.

flooded garden

another shot of the garden underwater

Soon the melting snow reached the kids' nearby swing set.

swingset in water

The next day showed the waters had rose even more.

garden under water

swing set in water

The kids' always wanted a water slide, but I don't think this is what they had in mind!

slide ending in water

Thankfully, by the third day of major melting the ground thawed enough to start soaking in some of the water, and it has been receding quickly. Before we know it, spring will officially be here!

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