Family road trip to see the Lake Effect snow!

After hearing about the record amounts of snow falling in Northwest Pennsylvania and Northeast Ohio, we did a crazy thing.  We took a road trip up to Northeast Ohio to visit my hometown.  With our current home location in Florida, this consisted of over 35 hours of driving!  The result was that we had a great time in Northeast Ohio playing in the snow and visiting family over the weekend.  Heck, I even enjoyed shoveling snow!

Image courtesy of GOES-R/NASA

Growing up in Northeast Ohio, I learned to embrace a life surrounded by cold and snow during the winter months.  Many people know all about cold and snow, but unless you lived, or have lived, in an area prone to Lake Effect snow, you may not know about this type of weather phenomenon.

Regarding lake effect snow, location is key.  For example, a western Cleveland suburb may get little to no snow, while an eastern suburb of Cleveland could get blasted with over a foot of snow.  This past week was a perfect example of this.

For those of you who don’t know what Lake Effect snow is, let’s go to science class just for fun. According to the National Weather Service. “Lake Effect snow occurs when cold air, often originating from Canada, moves across the open waters of the Great Lakes. As the cold air passes over the unfrozen and relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes, warmth and moisture are transferred into the lowest portion of the atmosphere. The air rises, clouds form and grow into narrow band that produces 2 to 3 inches of snow per hour or more.”  Wind direction determines which regions will get impacted by Lake Effect snow.  The downwind onshore areas are the regions that will get dumped on by the Lake Effect snow.

One other important thing to know about Lake Effect snow is that it will not occur after the body of water (Lake Erie in our case) is iced over.  Currently, Lake Erie still has lots of open water; therefore, the Lake Erie snow machine is still in full effect.  However, the temperatures have been brutally cold lately.  If the temperatures continue to be this cold, Lake Erie will likely freeze over, thereby eliminating the threat of Lake Effect snow.  Some years, the winter is milder, and Lake Erie does not freeze over.  In this case, the threat of Lake Effect snow could remain through May.

Well, I hope you enjoyed science class as much as I did today.  The bottom line for me is Lake Effect snow provides an abundance of opportunities for a true winter wonderland, and we REALLY enjoyed experiencing it last weekend! The area we were in had between two and three feet of the white stuff on the ground!

Time Management in a Big Family

As one might imagine, life in home of nine can be chaotic at times.  This is where time management is key.  Time management doesn’t necessarily come naturally to me.  Rather, it is a means of survival.  I know that if I’m not on point in this area, disorganization is to follow.  Disorganization, in turn, leads to chaos.

If I had my way, I would live a life full of spontaneity and adventure.  The adventure part, I still have lots of with This Big House, but the spontaneous side of life sometimes lacks.  With so many different schedules to juggle, Esther and I have been forced to become planners.  About once a month, we get together and come up with a schedule to include chores for the kids, extra-curricular activities for the kids, date night for mommy and daddy, family time, and much more.  With so much to do, and so little time to do it, our calendar fills up quickly!

With so much going on in This Big House, it can be difficult to remember all of the little things that need to get done.  This Big House errands and home maintenance tasks pile up so quickly and continuously that it sometimes gets overwhelming.  It can be easy to do nothing because we don’t know where to start.  Of course, this isn’t an option as it would just lead to more disorganization and chaos.  This is where writing a to-do list comes in handy for me.  First, it helps me to not forget anything I need to get done.  Second, I get a sense of accomplishment as I complete an item on the to-do list.  Checking each item off they are completed gives me something tangible to see my progress.

The third thing we find ourselves doing to improve our time management in This Big House is as simple as constantly maximizing our time wherever possible.  In other words, “killing two birds with one stone”.  For example, if I need something from the local home improvement store, I will try to go at a time when I am already making a trip to the gym.  With our time so limited, I try not to have an idle moment when I could be doing something to be productive.

blended family

While all of the above is good for time management, I believe there has to be a positive end goal.  For us, that is leisure time.  Leisure, also known as quality time, is what life is all about for This Big House.  Proper time management allows has to have this time!