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Category: Katy and the Big Snow

I admit I am not much of a cook. My failed cakes I blame on our high altitude (9000 ft). But I am going to try! With each FIAR rowing, we’ll make a related food item. This week is Frosty Snowballs dessert for Katy and the Big Snow rowing.


Frosty Snowballs

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • Edible sparkles or colored sugar


  1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar; beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in water and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the chopped pecans.
  2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake in a 325 degree F oven 20 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Cool completely.
  4. Place 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a bowl. Gently roll and shake cooled cookies until covered in snow. Sprinkle with colored sparkles or sugar.

Various sized "snowballs" entering oven

Various sized "snowballs" entering oven

Here’s Chef Satori licking her hands of yummy powdered sugar after rolling the snowballs in “snow”! We sure wish Daddy was here to help us eat these!


We’ve extended our Katy rowing a few more days to study compasses and blizzards and finish our Katy and the Big Snow lapbook.

Thanks to Hands of a Child, we had a few Compass lapbook entries to add. After working with all the paper plates earlier, I decided to make a compass for Satori, using of course, a paper plate as the compass. Satori then wrote in the letters for directions. She knew where to put “N” for north, and knew the rest of the letters, but not where to put them, so mama had to help. We colored one end of a stick red to point to North. I manually drilled a whole in the center of the stick, and then using a little brad, pinned it to the middle of our compass. (A cardstock compass needle would be an easy option.) Now, Satori can spin the compass dial and point it to North herself!


Then I attempted to explain blizzards. I told her about the “Storm of the Century” (the March 1993 one) in which I went to Florida via bus for spring break, but got stuck in that scary blizzard. We talked about the Schoolchildren Blizzard in 1888 (tomorrow we will read a book on this).

Another creative inspiration hit me.

Vehicles Stuck in Snow

  • Construction paper of different colors, including black
  • Circle paper puncher (or cut out circles yourself)
  • Ziplock bag
  • “Snow” – white sand, white glitter

We took a scrap of black construction paper and had Satori paper-punch round circles out. I then cut out vehicle shapes and had Satori glue her black tires on them. Here we made a fire engine, ambulance, and sports car. Satori placed them in our zip bag.


I happened to have some sparkly white sand handy, so we filled the bag with the sand. I then taped it shut.

Satori got a kick out of trying to “plow” out the vehicles in the snow!


We’re almost finished with our Katy and the Big Snow lapbook. Tomorrow we’ll wrap it all up and start our next FIAR rowing!

Katy and the Big Snow Lapbook

Katy and the Big Snow Lapbook

To take advantage of all our newly fallen snow that’s just a handful away, we did a few science experiments on our snow.


Yesterday the meteorologist predicted 18 inches of snow to fall in the mountains. Does that mean 18 inches of water? Let’s find out. We gathered a jarful of snow, right outside our kitchen.


Gathering fresh mountain snow

After Satori filled it to the brim (no packing down), we measured with a tape measure. Fresh snow in a jar measured to be 5 inches.

5 inches of snow

5 inches of fresh snow

Two hours later, it was completely melted. (By this time Daddy got home from his snowstorm delay and got to help us.)

Did we still have 5 inches of melted snow? No, it was only one inch of water!

1 inch of melted snow

1 inch of melted snow

Maddie lapped up the fresh snow and we also went over the results of our second experiment.


Does snow melt faster by itself, or with salt on top?

Does salt help snow melt faster?

Does salt help snow melt faster?

And I’m sorry to say that the snow melted before we could make a photo comparison, but we did see right away that the snow with SALT melted faster!


I finally got Satori to peruse the snowflake website so we got to see all the different possible types of snowflakes, and what might form in what temperatures. Then I pulled out our black cutting board I had stuck in the freezer overnight and collected some snow. We whipped out our magnifying glasses and looked at the individual flakes. But both Satori and I were a bit disappointed in these flakes, as yesterday, we had TONS of fresh fluffy snow falling down fast! Too bad I didn’t get the idea at that time.


Examining Snow

If you click on this photo for more detail, you can kinda see some 6-pointed snowflakes.


Using a microscope on snow

We were so happy to see our neighbors use their big truck to plow our overwhelmingly steep and long driveway, we’ve been stuck at home all week! Just like Katy and the Big Snow, we needed help to get out of our house. 🙂


Plowed driveway, we can get out of our house!

Satori narrates our new book we just made today – Vicky and the Big Mess. She is so proud of her books! This is our book we made to illustrate the concept of personification which we learned from Katy and the Big Snow.

This week we studied Katy and the Big Snow, about a hardworking, strong, red snowplow named Katy who helps the town. Today was FIAR Math day, and it was simple to count things in the book, so we’re combining a few Language Arts and Art concepts learned, particularly PERSONIFICATION – where we give human traits to non-living objects, and we’ll take this to illustrate a book.

First we looked at Katy and the artwork in the book. We picked out 3 colors (red, yellow and green), same as used in the book and Satori went to work drawing Katy the snowplow with her “human eyes”. Here it looks like she personified the house (which for some reason is on stilts) too!


I had a new Bare Books order I was trying to hide from Satori for the right time, but she kept finding it. She was not going to rest until we made a new book! So this was the perfect opportunity to apply the concept of Personification. I had her choose an inanimate object – gave her a choice of vacuum or car and she also threw in a lightbulb and mop. She ended up choosing a vacuum. Then we chose a name for her – Vicky. I asked her to give her human characteristics – friendly and clean. Together we mapped out a plot, complete with climax!

Vicky is a blue and orange vacuum cleaner who is clean and friendly. She is proud of her clean living room floor.


In the book, something dreadful happens and Vicky and her friend Molly the Mop swoop/sweep in to save the day!


In celebration of Katy and the Big Snow, and our own snowy week, Satori and mom had fun with snowflake crafts today! Before we started, I tried to get her to learn a little about snowflakes, but she was too excited to get started. 😉 The coolest project involved a bit of a chemistry experiment.

Crystal Snowflake

Make beautiful, permanent crystal snowflakes!

Crystal Snowflake required items

Crystal Snowflake required items

You will need:

  • Pipe cleaners – white or other color “snowflake” you want
  • String
  • Wide mouthed jar
  • Borax (20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster only)
  • Pencil or stick
  • Blue Food coloring (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Water

Take the pipe cleaners and form them into a primitive snowflake. Use your imagination! Test to make sure it will fit inside your jar.


Boil some water and pour into the jar. Add Borax until super concentrated (until you see undissolved borax on the bottom). A guideline is to add 3 tbsp for every cup of boiling water.


If desired, add a few drops of blue food coloring to make the snowflake look super “cool”. Tie your snowflake to a pencil or stick and lower into the jar.


Leave overnight for the crystals to form when water cools.


Paper Cutout Snowflakes

While we wait for our crystals to form, we started our next project. We couldn’t resist making a snowflake out of cutting paper, Satori said she’s never done this before.


The snowflake closest to camera (on right) is Satori’s!

Snowflake art

Snowflake art

For Language Arts FIAR day, today we dramatized the story of Katy and the Big Storm by Virginia Lee Burton. Luckily, I had Miss Mayor Satori to help me plan out the city.


This is our second time using a compass for FIAR, and this time Satori knew exactly what a compass was for, and what the “N” means. We used our compass key to layout the map of Geoppolis, which isn’t exactly straight up and down for north.


Together Mayor Satori and I built the city of Geoppolis, complete with roads, signs, buildings, a water tower, ice pond, and the city vehicles.


And an aerial view. (Click the picture for bigger detail.)


One day it started to snow. and it went on all day. Looks like a Big Snow! Everyone and everything was stopped, except KATY!


She plowed out the city of Geopolis. In doing so, Katy helped the police protect the city, the postmaster deliver the mail,  the Telephone and Electric Company repair their poles, the Water Department fix the water main, the doctor help the patient get to the hospital, the fire chief put out a fire, and so on… Katy helped save the town!


Finally the town could move again. In the process, as we traveled to East, West, North and South Geoppolis, we also got nice practice with our cardinal directions. FIAR rocks!


After we determined the city was safe and sound, Mayor Satori decided to have some fun in the snow!


After mopping and a shower, we also learned the literary device of personification – where Katy was a hard working snow plow that was given human qualities. And as always, we learned some new vocabulary:


Tomorrow is Art day so mama has to quickly research up some fun and cool snow crafts!