Tag Archives: weather

A Birthday Surprise for Ozzie


Winter has finally arrived in Western PA. After an unseasonably warm and mild winter, snow has arrived, and it is fitting that it made its debut on Ozzie’s birthday.

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We woke Ozzie early with a song and a cupcake, but the real surprise was waiting outside his window. At our prompting he open his curtains and discovered 8 inches of snow on the ground.

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“I love the gift God gave me for my birthday!” Ozzie exclaimed with enthusiasm. “Snow!”

Heavenly Father couldn’t have picked out a better birthday gift for Ozzie, our weather enthusiast,

Unless of course He sent a tornado, unfortunately I think Ozzie is out of luck with that wish, given he has a February birthday. 🙂

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With the arrival of snow on Ozzie’s birthday came other blessings, like having Toby home for the day. The roads around us were still unplowed and slick when it was time to leave for work so Toby declared the day a snow day from work. (You can do that when you own your own construction company!)

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He spent the morning digging out our vehicles. I was so grateful he was there. Because of his hard work Ozzie and I were able to make Ozzie’s therapy session which was critical given the fact it was his birthday and the overwhelming emotions connected to that day as an adopted child. It was essential we  work through and process some of those big emotions with Tina and thanks to Toby we didn’t have to cancel our appointment.

She even surprised Ozzie, knowing it was his birthday, with cupcakes at the appointment.

Upon arriving home we discovered there was no getting back up our driveway. The heavy, wet snow that fell compacted into ice under Toby’s truck tires, turning our driveway into a skating rink. Currently all three vehicles are parked at the end of our steep driveway and we are hiking in and out.

The greatest blessing that came from the snow storm was a forced stillness and solitude from the world…a break from busyness…a chance to be together, alone as a family. It was lovely and reminded me why winter is such a healing season for me.

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I crave the peace that blankets my world when everything is covered in white. There is a magic…a peace…that only winter can bring.

It was wonderful.

At 2:00 we declared it the end of the school day and put away books and pulled out the sleds. It was time to go out and play as a family. Toby went to the garage to cut sheets of plastic for sleds and the next few hours were spent building snowmen,

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having snowball fights,

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making snow angels,

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and sledding.

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When everyone was sufficiently chilled and worn out we headed inside to put on PJs early and snuggle in for movie time while enjoying mugs of hot cocoa.

After dinner it was time for Wax on Snow. This is a beloved tradition from my childhood. It is a treat that instantly transports me back to age 6. Wax on Snow is a special and rare treat because of two key reasons:

#1: It requires REAL maple syrup which (due to cost) we only have in the fridge when we receive a jug as a gift.

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#2: it requires a pan of freshly fallen snow, so it is a treat that only comes in the winter months.

To make Wax on Snow you fill a pan with pressed fresh snow. You keep the pan outside in the cold until the syrup is ready.

Next you boil REAL maple syrup on the stove top until it reaches the soft ball stage. (In other words: when you drop it in a glass of cold water and it forms a soft taffy like ball).

Then it is ready. The kids gather around the pan of snow and the syrup is poured in strips on the snow where it gums up into a taffy like treat and is eaten with forks. In addition to it being a delicious treat if you love maple flavored candy, it is also a fun family experience. After the candy is all gone then the kids enjoy eating the maple flavored snow.

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The remainder of the evening was spent relaxing in our warm house and spending time as a family. It was a much needed reprieve from a crazy week and a perfect way to celebrate the birth of Master Oswald William McCleery!

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The Weather Capital of the World!


“The Weather Capital of the World”

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That is what the sign said as we drove into Punxsutawney, PA.

That seemed appropriate since we were there for a weather outing with Molly’s school.

A few weeks ago I heard about a school outing to the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center. I knew all the kids would enjoy the field trip, particularly Ozzie, who LOVES all things weather and whose favorite TV station is the weather channel. He could sit for hours watching weather reports, so I knew this would be thrilling for him.

Yesterday morning we left the house by 10:00am knowing we had a two hour drive ahead of us. Although it was a long car ride, it was a beautiful one. The sun was out and the drive took us through the rolling hills and back roads of Pennsylvania.

When we arrived we discovered that the Weather Discovery Center was located in an old post office that had been repurposed. The building was beautiful!

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We arrived 15 minutes before the tour began, and then waited for the other 3 families that had signed up for the tour, to arrive. They never did, so our little family and the school Family Support Coordinator, who planned the outing, had the whole place to ourselves. It was fun having a private tour of this very neat place. There were many hands-on weather related stations for the kids to experiment with. It reminded us a lot of the Carnegie Science Center but was all “weather” themed.

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Tyler loved the tornado slide and spent a good amount of his time playing on it.

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One of the favorite stops in the tour was the pretend weather report TV station where the kids were able to stand in front of a green screen and try reporting the weather. Ozzie was a pro. All those hours of watching the weather channel had really paid off. 🙂

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Another favorite area of the weather center was the “animals can predict the weather” area. Here the displays proved or disproved old weather adages. It was fascinating!



And of course there was “Phil’s Burrow” where we learned about the history of the most famous animal weather predictor

Phil, the groundhog. 🙂

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Here are some of the other fun things we did at the Weather Discovery Center:

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After a fun and educational day learning about all things weather we decided to take advantage of our first ever visit to Punxsutawney, PA and visit Phil!

During the year, when he is not predicting the weather, he resides in a burrow next to the town library, in the public square.  We were able to see Phil and learn a little more about the world’s most famous groundhog.

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After visiting Phil we had one more stop to make before we headed home…

What trip to Punxsutawney, PA is complete without a trip to Gobbler’s Knob, home of the annual Groundhog Day festival.


“Punxsutawney Phil Sowerby is a groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. On February 2 (Groundhog Day) of each year, the town of Punxsutawney celebrates the legendary groundhog with a festive atmosphere of music and food. During the ceremony, which begins well before the winter sunrise, Phil emerges from his temporary home on Gobbler’s Knob, located in a rural area about 2 miles (3.2 km) east of town. According to the tradition, if Phil sees his shadow and returns to his hole, he has predicted six more weeks of winter-like weather. If Phil does not see his shadow, he has predicted an “early spring.”

The kids loved seeing the town where a favorite movie of ours takes place:


“Groundhog Day”

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“No matter what the weather, bring your own sunshine!”

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating;

there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”  – John Ruskin