Tag Archives: Ice

Creating Ice Lanterns & Wreaths

With winter break and the longest nights of the year approaching, try a magical project that will wow your entire family – ice lanterns and wreaths.  Depending on the ages of your children, decide if a simple or more labor-intensive project is in order.

For the younger ones, try filling a balloon up partially with water and freezing it.  After an hour or so, adjust your icy orb to coax some of the remaining liquid up the sides. Once solid, remove the balloon to reveal a vessel that will make Queen Elsa swoon.

Another option is to select an aluminum pie pan or plastic take-away tray and fill it with water.  Arrange cranberries, pine boughs and sliced oranges then freeze.  If you wish to make a hole in the ice to hang your creation, heat the tip of a skewer and carefully push it through the ice before suspending outside.

Finally, try filling a bucket or large container with water. Carefully tape a mason jar down to displace the water (or alternatively try using a bundt pan) and freeze. Once solid, remove the containers and add a candle or small light and enjoy! More detailed instructions can be found here.

For other unique craft project ideas, check out our Pinterest page!

Winter Sports & Sports Insurance

Trying out winter sports like ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding can be very exciting, especially if this is your first time experiencing winter weather. However, you should also know the risks and be prepared.

Is it risky to do winter sports without sports insurance?

Yes. If you have to pay your own hospital bills for a broken bone, you might be shocked at how much that would cost. I checked this website for some cost estimates.

Here are a couple examples:

  • Without medical coverage, treating a broken arm or leg (that does not require surgery) could cost up to $2,500.
  • Without medical coverage, treating a broken arm or leg (requiring surgery) could cost $16,000 or more.

It is important that you understand how your medical coverage works for sports-related injuries. There is a list of “high-risk sports/activities” that are not covered by basic or upgrade medical insurance plans. Those activities are only covered by the Sports Insurance Package.

The Sports Insurance was available pre-departure and may also be purchased at any time during your year. It takes effect within 48 hours of your enrollment and it is good for 12 months. The cost will be the same ($105) whether you have a month left or your whole year ahead of you. I recommend you pay for it early on if you didn’t already purchase it. You never know when an opportunity might present itself and you don’t want to miss out on an adventure. You also don’t want to take the risk of getting injured and being responsible for the bill on your own.

Below is a partial list of sports that are only covered by the sports insurance package:
Football, Rugby, Scuba diving, Ski-doo,  Wakeboarding, Skydiving, Parachuting, Rock climbing, Zipline, Skateboarding, Rollerblading, Roller skating,  Ice Skating, SkiingSnowboardingSnowmobiles & Snowshoeing.  View the full list on your insurance brochure.

Note: Injuries sustained while partaking in these sports are ONLY covered with the purchase of Sports Insurance.

How to register for the Sports Insurance
Use the 2022 Sports Insurance Enrollment Form to register. Contact your community counselor, if you are unsure which insurance package you have and/or have questions about sports insurance.

If you think you will be doing any of these sports, you should get it now.

Top 10 Winter Driving Tips

Cold weather can bring a new set of driving challenges, especially if you are not from a climate where you have experience with these conditions. Driving in the snow and ice can be a challenge even for experienced drivers. If you don’t have to go out in bad weather, stay home. If you do have to go out, here are some tips. More information can be found on the AAA website.

Top 10 Winter Driving Tips

  1. Bulky coats and snowsuits should not be worn underneath the harness (straps) of a car seat. Check out information here and discuss with your host parents.
  2. Keep cold-weather supplies in your car, such as a blanket, a flashlight, window ice scraper, snacks and water.
  3. Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
  4. Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
  5. Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  6. Avoid sudden moves, accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  7. Don’t stop going up a hill.
  8. Increase the following distance between you and the car ahead of you. 
  9. Know your brakes. Test our how they perform on slippery surfaces in a safe place where there are not other cars parked close to you.
  10. Leave early to give yourself extra time and drive slowly.

Even better… If you don’t have to go out driving in snow and ice, stay home.

This short video has some great information.

Photo: Steve Pisano (Flickr)

9 Winter Driving Tips to Stay Safe in the Ice & Snow

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it. Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.

If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared, and that you know how to handle road conditions. It’s a good idea to always keep at least a half tank of gas in your car, especially in winter months where you could get stranded. It’s helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you’re familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner’s manual for tips specific to your vehicle.

Driving safely on icy roads

  1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  3. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  4. Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  5. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  6. Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  7. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  8. Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  9. Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

Photo: Steve Pisano (Flickr)

8 Winter Driving Tips to Stay Safe in the Ice & Snow

Driving in the snow and ice can be a challenge even for experienced drivers. If you don’t have to go out in bad weather, stay home. If you do have to go out, here are some tips from AAA. Check out the full article on the AAA website.
8 Tips for driving in the snow:
  1. Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  2. Drive slowly.
  3. The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds.
  4. Know your brakes.
  5. Don’t stop if you can avoid it.
  6. Don’t power up hills.
  7. Don’t stop going up a hill.
  8. Stay home (if at all possible.)

Photo: Steve Pisano (Flickr)

Snow Ice Cream

My kids are looking forward to the upcoming blizzard for many reasons, one of which is snow ice cream.  I only make it when we have a lot of snow, because  you want to collect fresh clean snow and it needs to be deep enough that you are just getting snow.  Ask your host parents before you try it.  I don’t want anyone freaking out. 🙂

snow ice cream

Here are two recipes I use to make it, depending on what kind of milk I have on hand.

Snow Ice Cream Recipe #1

8 cups of fresh clean snow
1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine in a large bowl and enjoy.

Snow Ice Cream Recipe #2

8 cups of fresh clean snow
1/2 cup of evaporated milk (or regular milk)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine milk, sugar and vanilla extract until sugar is dissolved.  Then combine with snow.  Enjoy.


Holiday Cluster Meeting Photo Montage

Here is a montage created with all the photos my wonderful au pairs sent me.  I left my camera in our suite at the hotel when we visited ICE, so I didn’t have any pictures.  My au pairs helped me out and sent me a whole lot of nice pictures to post here.  Enjoy!

You can find most of these photos on our Cluster Photobucket Album.

Please vote in our Holiday Cluster Meeting Photo Contest.

Holiday Cluster Meeting Photo Contest

We had a wonderful time at the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor.  Below are some photos taken by au pairs in our cluster at the hotel and ICE!  Please take a look at the photos and vote for your favorite.  Voting is super easy, just click on your favorite photo, select it’s number from the list and submit.

Vote early, vote often and send your friends this link to get more votes.  Winner will be announced on December 21.

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