DIY Snow Day Survival Kit
The holiday season is a great time to put together something special for the ones who are helping raise our kids. I can’t imagine how excited teachers are to get that well deserved winter break, so the kids and I thought a “Snow Day Survival Kit” would be a fun way to treat them to a day of relaxation (snow not required)!
Story and Photography by Kerry Guice
Teachers are more than superheroes, they're coparents! They do so much more than teach our kids math and grammar. Think about your own memories of favorite teachers growing up and how they impacted your life well beyond childhood. In fourth grade, my teacher, Ms. Mallett, told me that I was her best English student and that was the day I realized I had a love for writing. The confidence she gave me with just one compliment helped to shape a big part of who I am today. There's no way to sufficiently thank teachers for what they do for the next generation, but it helps to sprinkle them with little “Happy Things” throughout the school year.
I found the adorable buffalo check flannel basket at every mom's favorite place—Target. While I was there, I also grabbed some cozy socks, a scented candle and the cute little sled ornament to be used as the gift tag. At Whole Foods, I got a carton of my favorite chai tea latte and a sweet smelling gingerbread man bath bomb. I ordered some Peppermint lip conditioner from Beautycounter, and added a Netflix gift card. Just think of what would make the coziest snow day, and let your imagination go!
I wanted to include a few homemade things as well, so the kids and I made a snow globe and some Apple Cobbler Popcorn! Anything apple is my favorite treat for a teacher, and popcorn is essential for a snow day Netflix binge, so this Apple Cobbler Popcorn is perfect! I toss old fashioned oats in melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, white chocolate and apple cider mix. All the flavors together make you think of apple cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just be warned, it's addicting!
The snow globes were such a fun activity for the kids that I went back to Michael's craft store and bought a few more empty globes so we could keep some for ourselves, too. The best thing is that they're made of plastic, so I don't have to worry (as much) about my 6 year old dropping it and having to clean up the glitter water bomb, but you can certainly use a recycled jar or plastic juice bottle.
To thicken the water a bit so the “snow flurries” float slowly, you'll need a bottle of glycerin. I found it in the pharmacy section of the grocery store. I love how simple these are to make, and how cute they turned out! To make sure the bottom stays completely sealed, I recommend using E6000 adhesive to ensure that no water will leak.
I hope my kids' teachers know that we think they're sweeter than the apple cobbler popcorn, and we're wishing them (and all teachers) a cozy and relaxing holiday season!
APPLE COBBLER POPCORN
1 bag of popped popcorn (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Ghirardelli white chocolate melts (vanilla candy melts also work)
1 packet dry apple cider mix (I used Alpine, found at Kroger)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a microwave-proof bowl or mug for 20-30 seconds, then stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Toss the oats in the butter mixture, then spread onto a small cookie sheet. Toast in the oven for just a few minutes until lightly golden brown. Check often. It won't take more than 4-5 minutes. Set aside. Pop popcorn while waiting for the oats. Pour the popcorn onto a large tray or pan (be sure to remove all unpopped kernels). In another microwave-safe bowl or mug, melt the white chocolate in 30 second increments until melted and smooth. I used half red vanilla candy melts and half Ghiradelli white chocolate melts (in two different bowls), but you can use all white chocolate or all red candy melts. When chocolate is melted, add the pouch of apple cider mix and stir to combine (I split the pouch between the two colors). Drizzle the popcorn with half of the melted chocolate, and toss to coat. Sprinkle half of the oats and toss again. Drizzle the remaining melted chocolate, toss again, and then spread it out on the pan, sprinkling the remaining toasted oats onto the popcorn without tossing a final time (they'll still stick to the popcorn but you'll be able to see them more this way). When completely cooled and hardened, break apart and serve or pour into treat sacks or tins.
Homemade Snow Globes
- Empty plastic or glass jars with a very tightly sealed lid (you can find the ones I used at Michael's)
- Small bottle of glycerin (found in the pharmacy section of most grocery stores)
- Glitter, sequins, fake snowflakes (anything you want to swirl around as the “snow”)
- A small, waterproof figurine (make sure it fits through the container of the lid and isn't too tall)
- Hot glue
- E6000 waterproof craft adhesive
1. Generously apply hot glue to the bottom of the figurine and attach it to the underside of your lid. Let it dry completely.
2. Turn your jar or globe over, and fill it with the sequins and glitter. A little goes a long way; if you add too much, you won't be able to see the figurine. Also note that the different materials will float differently based on their weight. Glitter floats fast and easily, larger items may tend to clump or float slowly.
3. Fill globe about . way up with water, then add about 2 teaspoons of glycerin.
4. Carefully start to submerge the figurine into the globe, adding more or less water depending on the size of your figurine. You want to have the smallest amount of air in your globe as possible.
5. Seal the lid, then apply the waterproof adhesive to prevent leaking.
6. Swirl and enjoy!