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Things To Do On Cold Winter Days: Make A Gingerbread House

Brrrrr. It’s cold. Gone are the weekends where we spent hours at the park running around and feeding the ducks—or taking power-walks around the lake. Racing around the track was an awesome workout for the time being, but now, even I’m wimping out because of this blustery weather. Well, I can’t stay inside with my son. There’s only so much coloring, Play-Doh, ABC and 123 games to do, before I literally feel like jumping off the balcony. As a single mom, it’s me and me alone. There’s no break or dad to step in and entertain JD so I can run a weekend errand, read a book or take a bath. Over the summer, the park was swarmed with Dads and kids—and JD and me on Sundays. Luckily, I’m a huge (HUGE) dork and I plan weekend adventures well in advance so that JD and I are busy and entertained. This past weekend…

We attended a gingerbread house-crafting event at our local library. I take JD to story-time there every Wednesday morning, because he’s home with me. It’s great! Miss Rosie reads at least five books. We sing fun songs that get us moving and shaking and then there’s a simple art project. Afterwards, we usually hang out for free play or to use the computers. It’s a nice, FREE way to kill an hour-and-a-half and a place where JD can play with other kids since he’s so used to his friends at school. Last week, there was a sign-up sheet for the gingerbread house-crafting event. I anticipated a freezing Saturday ahead so I signed JD and my 6-year-old niece, Juliette right up!

Since my brother, Carlo’s wife, is earning her Master’s degree and has class, he and his daughter, Juliette usually hang out with JD and me all day on Saturdays! This is excellent for JD because he gets what I call, “Dad-time” with Carlo (and my brother, Brian) and of course, loves hanging with his cousin (who is basically a little mommy—a.ka. my BIG helper!) In warmer weather we visited awesome local parks like Van Saun, Brookdale and Greenview. But, now it’s too cold to do that and sitting in either of our homes isn’t exactly fun for the kiddos (again, there's only so many games and watching T.V. in the middle of the day isn't an option in my book), so leave it to me to find exciting things for us to do! HAHA.

This past weekend we had lunch at a local diner. JD is such a good boy when he dines with Juliette. I think it’s because he’s constantly in awe of his big cousin and she is always so willing to play with him + they think it's so cool to share a chicken fingers/French Fries platter. The kids colored and raced Matchbox cars on the table with my Mom, who they call Mema—and my brother and I enjoyed nice, strong Bloody Mary cocktails with our lunch. YUM!

Afterwards we went to the library for the gingerbread house event. Carlo retired in the adult section with a newspaper (what’s a newspaper? Hahaha!) while my mom and I got messy with the kids, smearing white sugary icing all over the little houses (so glad I had that Bloody Mary, oy!), then watched them strategically place candies all over them. “My hands are all sticky,” JD said 100 times. “I need a towel, please!” (At least he’s neat!) They had a ball! By the time we got home it was late afternoon and the sun was low in the pink sky. Enter naptime. Awesome. I’m re-reading Baby Love by Rebecca Walker (she wrote this awesome essay about longing for another child) so I settled in on the couch with my book and some tea while JD snoozed and got some mommy downtime.

Writing about this day makes me laugh a little. It makes me think of Saturdays where I’d sleep until 11 A.M. then enjoy a boozy brunch in SOHO with my girlfriends, then a shopping trip to buy something pretty and expensive. What do you know, time for a cat nap! Gotta rest up for the big night ahead that would start with sushi and sake, then who knows, until about 3 A.M. Ah, glory days! Gone are those weekends, but ya know what? These are just as fun. Just a different kind.

Are you like me? Do you plan your weekends ahead of time so your kiddo has something fun and engaging to do? Single parents, do you find that it’s especially important to make plans with friends and family and kids, so you and your kid have company (I so do!) Do you have single parent friends? Please share.

I'm on Facebook and Twitter @ JDSMOM2007.