This morning school was delayed by a couple of hours due to a few inches of stony, glittering snow that fell throughout the night. By the time the kids returned from school in the late afternoon, the sparkly frost had turned into a layer of slush, not fun for sledding or playing. With one sniffling girl, one coughing dad, one achy but refuses-to-be-sick mom, and one energetic boy in the house, this could have been a tiresome evening.
However, for hours no one bickered or misbehaved or whined about not feeling well. The kids were the ones who noticed this at bedtime: not a single moment of bad behavior because "we didn't have time." Our salvation? It began with a three-pack of distressed ink stains. I showed the kids what I had done with the inks last night, merely swabbing them onto watercolor paper. Ho hum, not interesting, looked like any other watercolor brushed onto paper. Actually, it was worse than that. Some of the pages were downright ugly and splotchy. Yep, those were distress stains all right. That made the kids smile. I asked: "Does it look bad?" More smiles, perhaps full of pity and dismay, but no unkind words. We turned to Youtube to figure out the appeal of these distress stains, and we learned about the magic of adding water and using glossy paper. Voila! what a difference they made. After experimenting with the dabbers of ink, the kids took out all sorts of acrylic paints and watercolors and their art journals.
Three of Tofu Girl's postcard backgrounds and Mischief Maker's art journal and even a colorful paper towel rag. We made a big mess, and miraculously, we all felt better after several hours of this mess-making. For dinner we moved everything aside and ate a chicken and rice casserole from a Weelicious recipe. Our boy actually ate mushrooms and brown rice! (I used brown rice, not wild rice.) Perhaps Old Man Winter brought another round of colds to our house, but during this winter storm, we also rediscovered how creative mess-making can be a happy cure.