Indoor Snow Day Ideas for Kids: A Fake Snow Recipe, Snickerdoodle Mug Cakes & DIY Puffy Snow Paint

So, here's the thing. I live in Georgia. While I am certainly not one to complain about our warmer weather, it's kind of a bummer that we rarely get snow in the winter! I don't want it every day- but maybe once? One good snow that doesn't melt when it hits the ground? It's kind of hard explaining to my three-year-old why we never get to play in the snow. "But how do I make a snow angel, Mommy?" While I don't have an answer to that one (mud angels? hay angels? sand angels? ha), I try to give the kids an idea of snow with some indoor fun. It may not be cold and it may not be real, but I created a fun indoor snow day for our little family and wanted to share with you!

First things first for the perfect indoor snow day: snow! Below is my fake snow recipe- it's a winner every time. I simply whip up a batch of snow (I've made "single servings" or big batches for a party), put it in a baking sheet tray for the kids and let them have at it. I typically throw a plastic sheet down over the table/on the floor because it can get a little messy. Or add a festive table runner like I've got on our dining table. Either way, the kids LOVE it. The light in these photos is off (we held our latest "snow day" during a recent cold and rainy day) but the "snow" is really a pretty white and feels just like the real thing!


1/2 cup vegetable oil for every 2 cups corn starch

After you play in the "snow" it's time for a snack break, am I right? Even if it's fake snow! Ideally, you northerners with actual snow would make snow cream. So we have icecream. Close enough, right? Actually, I spruce it up a little bit... a household favorite of ours is this snickerdoodle mug cake. It's so easy and it takes just a few minutes to make. You can cook the snickerdoodle mug cake in a coffee mug or in a mason jar like I did. Layer with a scoop of vanilla icecream and, well, you get pretty into it like HDawg up there. We love to cozy up next to the fire with a cozy knit throw and a few large kilim pillows and boom. You've got yourself a cozy snack location for your indoor snow day.

To end our spectacular indoor snow day, we love to play with DIY puffy snow paint. My recipe is below. I let the kids go to town with this one, as you can see! They love getting messy- it's just another sensory way to experience snow-like fun down here in the south. Set up the snow paint on a cute kid-sized craft table so the kids are comfortable and so you don't have to worry about the mess.


Equal parts shaving cream (refrigerate first!) and school glue, add a dash of glitter.

It's really special for me to be able to share a snow day with my kids, even if it's fake! What are your favorite indoor snow day ideas?!

Thanks to Wayfair for partnering up with me on this post!

A Checklist for Buying Vacant Land or Property

Having been the owner of vacant farm land for approximately a whopping two months now, I'm certainly no expert when it comes to owning property. But, David and I did go through the purchasing process and (we think) completely vetted all of our options and exhausted all of our resources during that time in terms of performing due diligence and making sure we were buying the right thing. Plus, I'm a real estate attorney, so my professional background gave me a lot of insight into the process, as well. A few of you have recently emailed me asking for tips for buying vacant land or property, so I thought I'd compile my notes and thoughts for you guys!

FYI, we found our land for sale on Zillow- it was for sale by owner. A local farmer was retiring and splitting up his 150 acre tract into 10-20 acre tracts for single-family homeowners. We got lucky with this piece, we think it's the best in the area! Once we negotiated the price and contract, we started the due diligence period, which is basically a "free period" you have to research the property. If you find something you don't like within the due diligence period, you can walk away, have your earnest money refunded and the contract is off. We gave ourselves three weeks, which is a minimum. Try to negotiate something more like 30-60 days into your contract period to conduct this due diligence if your seller is willing. But definitely make sure you have a due diligence period- you need some time to research what I describe below!

Keep in mind that while I'm a real estate attorney, I'm not giving this advice as a professional real estate expert. Another caveat is that a lot of the information I have may be limited to how things work in Georgia, since that's where we bought property. The third thing I want to throw out is that this list doesn't encompass the actual build process at all- this just covers shopping and purchasing vacant land. But with that being said, in no particular order, here are ten things you should research in your due diligence before you buy vacant land or property.

1. Pick a trustworthy team, including a builder, an architect and/or a contractor. Step one for us was to get a few people to help us navigate this process. A huge blessing we have is that my uncle is a talented, renowned architect in Atlanta and he is helping us design our home. We're also working with a builder that he works with and that I know through my real estate profession. Now that we've got this team together, we have folks we can email questions to or run things by as we go through the building process. It makes a huge difference to have smart, trustworthy people to turn to!

2. Ensure the land you're looking at has a proper building site. One of the most important things we did after we first found our property was to ensure that there was a good site to build a house. Would we have to do a lot of site work to put the house where we wanted? Was there enough slope to build in a daylight basement? Would we have to spend a lot of money grading the land and taking out trees? Was there a good place to put a driveway? We asked our builder and architect to take a look at the site to generally answer these questions for us. Luckily, they affirmed for us this was a good piece which would need minimal site disturbance to build the house. We also clarified with the county that we could put a driveway onto the main road from the spot we wanted on the property. All signs pointed to yes for us!

3. Conduct a soil test. It's very important to hire a professional to conduct an examination of the soil to determine if it's able to house a septic system. Most counties will require evidence of this test and proof the soil passes all the right tests before they issue a building or development permit.

4. Ensure the zoning classification permits what you're planning to build/develop. Most local jurisdictions have a zoning map which sets forth what each piece of land can be in terms of use- rural, single-family, commercial, etc. Do your research and get a letter from your jurisdiction confirming what your zoning designation is. For us, it was important to know what our use (agricultural residential), setback lines and permitted accessory uses (farming, live animals) are.

5. Plan ahead and research your financing options. In full disclosure, we'll have three loans throughout the course of this process: a land loan (to buy the land) which will roll into a construction loan (to build the house) which will then roll into our permanent loan (which is like a regular mortgage on a house). So we reached out to multiple local lenders to find out their terms for each of the three loans to make sure that, as we process each stage of the financing, we know what to expect.

6. Make sure all utilities are available at the property. Our property is located off of a main road, but otherwise is relatively off the grid. It was a farm animal pasture and vacant woods for the past few hundred years! Of course, we don't plan to stay off the grid, so it was important to us to ensure that we could get power, well water, gas and internet at the house. We called around to all of the local companies who helped us confirm that information.

7. Obtain a recent metes and bounds survey of the property. A survey basically lays out the exact property lines bordering the land. This helps you to determine exactly what you are buying and whether or not there are any encroachments. If your seller doesn't have a recent survey to share with you, it's worth the few hundred dollars to obtain one yourself from a surveyor.

8. Have an attorney conduct a title examination. If you've got a closing attorney, they'll handle the title exam for you. An examiner will go to the county record room and review the chain of title and any "hits" against the property that are current, such as liens, other mortgages, encumbrances, easements, etc. The title exam will show you if any liens need to be released or if you'll be purchasing the property subject to any permissible encumbrances such as a right-of-way easement for a road or a power easement.

9. Confirm with the local school system which school district the property is in. With two little ones ready for school in the near future (H will start kindergarten in the fall of 2017, ahh!), schools are very important to us. We called our local school system and had them confirm with us the current districts. Once we confirmed we were in a great school district, that pretty much sealed the deal for us!

10. Request an appraiser to conduct an appraisal of the property. Unless you've got a realtor working for you who can verify the value of the property with certainty, put an appraisal contingency in your purchase contract and pay a couple hundred dollars to have an appraisal done. Then, if the appraiser finds that the property is worth less than you have contracted for, you can renegotiate with the seller or walk away. Make sure your money is going towards a great investment!

I've said a lot about the due diligence process and how we handled it... what insight do you have about buying vacant land or property? Spill your tips!

My Word for 2016: PLANT

Did you set New Year resolutions for 2016? I promised myself to eat less sugar, to keep up with exercising, to be more "present" in daily life with the kids, to continue my daily Bible readings, to always say kind words to my husband... all the good things that most of us try to make a priority on a daily basis. But outside of the standard resolutions, I challenged myself with a word of the year. My theme for the year, if you will. Not quite as cool as a theme song (mine is "Gangsta's Paradise" if you were wondering), but a word that (you hope) truly defines the upcoming year for you.

For me, in 2016, that word is plant. Literally, figuratively, this is the year that I'm ready to plant myself into the ground and set some roots.

On one level, this is the year that David and I will finally set roots for our little family. After moving from our first house almost four years ago, we weren't sure where we would settle down. We bounced around metro Atlanta and rented in a couple of different cities. Even once we moved to our current area, we weren't sure we'd stay. So we didn't really invest in the community as much as we truly wanted- we didn't want to set roots and then have to leave. But now, we've bought land, we're building a house and we're ready to set roots. I believe that we'll be in this town for the rest of our lives and we are so excited to plant ourselves down and get settled in. Join a church, participate in local charities, all that good kind of stuff that makes the city you live in your home. We're ready this year!

On another level, this will also be a year of literally planting for us. Now that we're the proud owner of over 17 acres, my hippie farm life homesteader dream will start to become a reality as we grow ourselves a little farm. We're planning a huge garden, which I. am. so. excited. about. We'll start phase one of the garden this spring (and share here on the blog, of course!) and eventually our goal is to be pretty self-reliant on our own land. A full veggie garden, fruit trees and bushes and maybe even some small animals like goats and chickens for milk and eggs. And it all starts this spring with a little gardening. David and I are such dorks- most nights, you can find us curled up with gardening 101 books or Georgia horticultural books or my gardening Pinterest board. We are so excited about this new adventure!

On a third level, I just finished the book of Matthew and the Parable of the Sower really struck me. In Chapter 13, Jesus tells his followers about a time when a farmer went to sow some seeds. Some fell on rocky soil and, while the plant grew quickly, the roots didn't set and the plant quickly died. Other seeds fell among thorns and were quickly choked and taken over. Other seeds fell on good soil and those plants thrived. The seeds on the rocky soil are like someone who hears God's word and is overjoyed, but, without a solid root, their joy and walk with God only lasts for a short while. The seeds that fell on thorns are like someone who receives God's word, but lets other worldly things get in the way, making their journey unfruitful. Finally, the seeds falling on good soil represent someone who hears His word and understands it. As Jesus says, one who hears God's word and understands it produces a crop, yielding a hundred times what was sown. I think that is such a good metaphor not only for people and their walk with God, but for any task you take on in life. Let's see if I can explain myself here. I think this parable explains that it's important for you to take things on in your life wholly, while fully understanding, hearing and committing to them. Give whatever you set your sights to good roots, make sure you don't let thorns take it over. Plant your faith and your dreams in good soil and you'll go far. That's what I take from Chapter 13 and Jesus' parable. And this year, I really want to live that.

So, there it is: PLANT. I'm really excited for 2016 and to see what it has in store for us.

Oh, 2015, You Were A Good Time....

I know we're already four days into the new year (heyyyyyy 2016! I'm ready for you!), but I did want to take a few minutes to reflect back on what happened here on Ten June this year.

In no particular order, here are my top ten posts from 2015.

Our rental house kitchen got an update with a quick DIY. I had no clue a sticker could be such a rockstar.

How to Update A Rental Kitchen with Peel + Stick Tile

I ordered a custom piece of art that I had been wanting for years and it is the star now in our dining room.

Dining Room Update with Song Lyric Art

Some of our biggest news of the year was... after almost four years... the sale of our old house.

After planning and traveling to Puerto Rico in March for my best friend's bachelorette party, I shared my favorite San Juan tips and recommendations.

Travel Idea: A Girl's Trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico

In January, I did what all of us do and I organized! The kids' toy storage got an update.

Kids Room/Play Room Toy Storage Ideas

The world went crazy for Lilly for Target in April and I was lucky to share a sneak peek of some of the home decor pieces before they hit the stores!

Breakfast with Lilly Pullitzer for Target

You guys are big fans of my Dream House series and my kitchen and dining room ideas are no exception. This makes me so excited to share my plans with y'all for our new house!

As always, you guys are so supportive of HDawg's food allergy issues. I love sharing his story because it I feel like it creates such a great community with not only other allergy moms but it also teaches those out there who may not know a lot about severe food allergies.

A Food Allergy Story: My Son's Severe Dairy Allergy

I tried my hardest to jump on the Whole30 train, but I failed. Big time. And I'm glad I did!

And, of course, the BIGGEST news (and my favorite post) of 2015.....

Thanks so much to all of you for reading Ten June in 2015. I know that this blog isn't quite as consistent or content-filled as it used to be, but I kind of like it's current pace. I like where I'm at. In fact, I love where I'm at! I'm a mom. I'm an attorney. I'm an interior design lover. I may not have quite as much time these days to DIY, but I sure do love sharing with you guys when I do! And trust me, 2016 will be filled with all kind of good posts on the process of building our dream home. I could seriously scream with excitement just saying that. Cheers to 2016!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...