I get it. We’re not the only ones who have been cold this week.

(Minnesota readers? Are you still alive? How about Michigan? Canada? Illinois? Report in, everyone!)

But it’s been cold here. Cold enough to set records and let us experience single digit temperatures below zero windchills and other such absurdities that we’re not built to withstand.

Which turned The Deep South into a post-apocalyptic society of madness.

In the days of my youth, The South only went Y2K when we might have than a centimeter of snow or, horrors, enough ice to see under a microscope.

But no more.

In Southern Freak-Out World Shutdowns, cold is the new snow.

We basically need to enact Martial Law to keep people from bankrupting themselves on Milk and Bread. It’s a tired joke and ridiculously used up cliché, yet people continue to buy it en masse. I’m pretty sure I saw every bread shelf in the state tweeted Sunday night, and they were all empty.

I won’t pretend to understand and I purposefully didn’t buy milk this week (even though my half gallon was two days away from expiration) for fear of being counted among the Sheeple. And also because I’m assuming they put tracking devices on bread and milk during weeks like these and then publish the names and addresses of stupid buyers so that the world may scoff.

And I don’t like to be scoffed.

So instead, I’ll have my cereal with questionable milk and eat my sandwiches without bread.

And anyway. If I WERE going to stock up for an actual snowstorm, milk and bread wouldn’t even be on the first page of my list. Because there are many items out there that are more vital to my ongoing survival.

Like Chocolate.

And also, chocolate.

I attempted to get the children out of the house on Monday to do errands. The beautiful part of motherhood is that you’re always learning something new about your precious little ones, and my lesson that day was that Noah’s legs do not function in below-freezing weather.


As in, he just stands there in shock until he begins to grow snotcicles rather than just walking FROM THE PARKING LOT TO THE STORE.

After experiencing this particularly frosty character trait for the first time, I attempted to pick him up and carry him into the grocery store – with very little luck. I had the kid padded like Ralphie, and he was so thick and slippery that it was like carrying a 40 pound satin pillow at the most cumbersome of angles.

So if that’s the kind of hardship that people were stocking up on milk and bread to avoid, then I get it, people. I get it.

But the most unfair part of our week was that despite the fact that we had below freezing temperatures for 60 hours straight, we had zero precipitation.

Okay not zero. We had a tease of a “Wintry Mix” Sunday night to jerk up our hopes and then dash them onto the hard, unfrosted ground.

So we had to find other ways to amuse ourselves.

Luckily for the children, I had seen some photos of frozen bubbles, and fully planned on using our ridiculous temperatures to try it out for ourselves.

I spend my entire year trying and failing rid our house of leaky, slimy bubble bottles, but of course I couldn’t find a single bottle when I actually wanted the stuff.

So I made my own out of dishwashing soap, and we set off (or rather sat in the front doorway shivering and wrapped in blankets) for adventure.

The bubbles didn’t work until we left our bubble solution outside for a while and gave our porch a couple cups of water to “pre-treat” it for catching bubbles.

But our victory was sweet.

Frozen Bubbles

Extraordinarily frigid, but fantastic nonetheless.

Frozen Bubbles

Some of our bubbles looked like abandoned igloos in a frozen tundra,

Frozen Bubbles

While others looked more like the Epcot center swallowed by a snow globe.

Frozen Bubbles

Ali enjoyed crunching them, fascinated with how unbelievably thin they actually were despite their bulky appearance.

Frozen Bubbles

I’m not going to go as far as to say that our bubbles made up for the sad fact that we received no snow, but I will admit that they’re making me look forward to the next cold snap.

Frozen Bubbles

So. What did your family do to stay sane this week? And how cold did it get?

34 thoughts on “The Frozen South.

  1. Let’s see, we got home in the midst of snowy yuck on Saturday evening from dinner and did not leave the house again until Tuesday morning. It was still very cold that morning, with temps around -15 and windchills around -30. I put on a thermal longsleeve shirt, a t-shirt, a fleece and my enormous winter coat plus two scarves, a hat, thick gloves and boots (and jeans)… I spent about 10 minutes clearing off my husband’s car before I couldn’t feel my thighs anymore, and my car in the garage had a layer of ice under it from the snowmelt. So that was fun.

    But honestly aside from the lack of salt or plowing on some side roads, it’s been okay. The worst part is not so much the absolute bonkers cold as the 2 feet of snow piled up, which I backed into and got stuck in last night trying to leave for my workout class. :)

    I did witness a guy on a bike wipe out in an intersection, though, he tried to stop and his bike flew out from under him. He seemed OK.

    1. Do you guys get fined if you don’t shovel the sidewalks and that sort of thing? I have a friend in Washington that introduced me to this novel concept. Surely they suspend such fining during a situation such as this week?

      1. I think the shoveling fine only applies in the city of Chicago. We’re boring suburbanites. But we have an HOA that contracts for snow removal. Although the main sidewalk is still buried.

        The crazy thing is it got up to 40 today. A 55 degree swing…

  2. I couldn’t believe how cold it got down South! Even Orlando was in the 20s!

    We live outside Milwaukee and it was -30 with the wind chill. It was enough for everyone to go crazy up here too. Schools were shut down Monday and Tuesday, so the Christmas Break didn’t officially end until 1/8/2014. People were stocking up on groceries, mainly because the kids were going to be home and needed something to eat. Some grocery stores closed early too.

    We didn’t get any snow either, but the foot of snow that we already have has been on the ground since early December. I miss green grass!

    Hope you are all warmer soon! We are supposed to get in the upper 30s this weekend….we’ll be in our bathing suits!

    1. Wow. So do they close school down just to keep kids from having to travel to and from the school building? Or wait for car pool? I guess it’s just not safe to be outside at all in that weather. Do people still go to work?

      1. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure why they feel the need to close school! I think it’s to prevent kids from traveling to and from school and waiting at bus stops. Most people still go to work, unless they have outdoor jobs. Our garbage collection was delayed a few days so the collectors didn’t have to be outside.

  3. I have never heard of frozen bubbles, I will have to try this with our youngest this weekend.

    We just went on as normal. Living in Atlantic Canada we are very much prepared for cold weather. Life, work and school continued as normal with temperatures dipping to -35 degrees Celsius with the windchill.

    However, the weekend before Christmas we had 36 straight hours of freezing rain which caused 44,000 households in my area to lose power for anywhere between 24 hours- 11 days. We “toughed” it out in our house for two-and-a-half days with no alternate heat source and temperatures outside hovering around -15 degrees Celsius.

    Having our power restored on Christmas afternoon was the best gift of all this year.

  4. I love your description of Noah in the parking lot. That is too funny.

    I think it got down to 7 here. I’m not sure what the windchill was. To stay sane, we had friends over to have breakfast for dinner and watch Impractical Jokers and other silly videos on the internet. (wasn’t that nice of us to make our friends venture out in the cold so we didn’t have to…although to be fair, they were already out…) Monday and Tuesday I kept the blinds/curtains closed to try and keep it slightly warmer inside, which made it even more depressing. I was ready for some real light by Wednesday! I do hope we have another cold snap so I can try the frozen bubbles. Those are awesome!

  5. I shouldn’t be laughing at that guy on the bike, but I am. Great visual.

    In our circa 1973 house in Connecticut (with the leaky windows and doors) we have the thermostats on full tilt – (oil heat: burn, baby, burn!) – and managed to get the house to 65 degrees. We added a couple of electric radiators and a roaring fire in the fireplace and then we were warm. God bless my husband who leaves the house at 10:30 pm to go to work!!

    I live stocked up because I don’t want to be a sheeple either!!

  6. You had me cracking up with the snotcicles and the fact that Noah didn’t want to move. Jake and I are joining my Sister and her family in a couple of weeks in Colorado, she’s driving and we’re flying, and we’re going to stay at a friends’ cabin. Consequently I purchased a bunch of cold weather clothing recently but haven’t really had a chance to use it since we live in North Texas. Well, I wanted to get out yesterday with Jake and take him to go play at our McDonald’s playground and I bundled him up with extra layers, new snow boots (by the way why is it insanely hard to get a toddlers feet into tight snow boots?? I ended up having to go online yesterday and find better ones that opened more) and his snow jacket and we step outside after 30 minutes worth of getting into our snow clothes and guess what? It felt warm to me! Now, that might have been because we were dressed for the cold, but I checked my car temp and it was almost 50 degrees (we have been in the low 30’s here otherwise). I can’t believe it was so warm and I just went through all of that crap in order to keep us warm. Next time I will test the temps before we go through all of that trouble. Also, I hate children’s shoes. Just putting that out there.

    1. Ha! That’s fantastic. Sounds like my luck.

      And yes. When they invent shoes like turtle shells that will just stay on their feet and grow with them, the world will be a better place.

  7. I just found your blog and I am about to become a slavish fan! Love it. Yes, it’s cold up in Canada where I live, but it’s always cold up in Canada (SPOILER ALERT). At least we’re prepared for it – I feel badly for climates that are normally warm that get cold snaps because you’re not equipped for it like we are :) We’ve got block heaters for our cars, insulation for our pipes, graders for the streets…etc. Stay warm!

    1. Preparation does help! Our roads are built to withstand NOTHING. Ice, Snow, whatever – it shuts everything down. And coats? We have those, but only in marginal forms.

      I hope it’s getting warmer up there! It’s downright nice down here today.

    2. Nicole: Totally agree. My daughter wondered aloud why people in the States were losing it over the cold. I said they don’t have the same preparation or tolerance for it like we do. It’s winter about 5-6 months a year here (Manitoba) and during the cold snap, it got to about -40,. My biggest beef was the poor snow clearing this winter. The snow banks are sometimes taller than 6 ft which makes it pretty treacherous when you”re driving and unable to see oncoming traffic – so you inch out ever so slowly and PRAY. Also, one many main thoroughfares, we lost half a lane. Not to mention the poor salting/sanding of the roads. It felt like I was driving a metal roller skate on an ice rink!

  8. I thought about doing the bubble thing when we were down in the negatives the other day but I forgot. The first year T and I got married it got down to -30 on New Year’s Eve. We came back from a party and were taking things into the house where the snow would melt on our shoes, and then when we went back outside our shoes would instantly freeze to the cement so you had to break loose with every step. It was weird! Thankfully it hasn’t got that cold since! We’ve actually warmed up to the high 30’s this week so it’s pretty nice here. Hope you survive your cold snap! :)

  9. On Tuesday the thermometer in my car said 1 degree, 1. It was likely accurate as our high was supposed to be 12. Wind chills below zero but really it did not feel horrid to me. I live in PA, just outside of Philadelphia. We are used to some drastic dips in the temperatures in the winter, the 20s are not irrational here. But it has been a decade since we were that cold however it was for 1 freaking day. Then yesterday it was in the 20s and today was in the 30s. Last Friday we did have 8 inches of snow and the high was 15. I bundled up my two kiddos as they just needed to go out and they had a lot of fun, until my husband freaked out and made us come in. Actually the 3 year old went in and the 6 year old helped me finish cleaning off my car by sitting in my car while I had it on.

  10. We live in Illinois where we had actual temperature of about -15° and wind chills of about -40°!! The temperature was below zero for almost 48 hours. We also got about 6″ of snow in blizzard like fashion. This is usually the part where someone says how horrible it was but we loved it! Husband got two days off work and kids got Christmas break extended by two days. We made ice marbles and frozen bubbles, we sat by the fire drinking coffee and hot chocolate and sat as a family playing cards with no electronics in site! I love winter!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that y’all appreciated it!! I’m not sure I could handle it in THAT cold of weather, but I am often jealous of the north this time of year. But just a little bit. :-)

  11. We had normal winter weather here with temps between 5-40 degrees and just a little snow. We did have crazy cold temps in December (-20s) but we escaped the weather this time! I do think it is harder when you experience weather out of the norm, we are equipped to handle the cold and also the extreme weather variations we have so people are rarely sheeple because bad weather can hit at any time.

  12. I almost forgot! We braved the early storm and cold to go to church Sunday morning. There were a total of 33 people there including our pastor! (We usually have about 100.) So it was a nice adventure!

  13. We live in Illinois where we had actual temperature of about -15° and wind chills of about -40°!! The temperature was below zero for almost 48 hours. We also got about 6″ of snow in blizzard like fashion. This is usually the part where someone says how horrible it was but we loved it! Husband got two days off work and kids got Christmas break extended by two days. We made ice marbles and frozen bubbles, we sat by the fire drinking coffee and hot chocolate and sat as a family playing cards with no electronics in sight! I love winter!

  14. In Germany we’re having an unusual WARM winter right now, we should be having cold temperatures and snow, but it feels more like spring… Not that I mind but I don’t think it’s normal for this time of the year. It’s about 50°F here (I actually had to use google for a converter of Celsius/Fahrenheit temperatures) when we should be having maybe 10 or less…

    1. Umm, I started writing my comment to tell you how beautiful the frozen bubbles are and completely forgot while talking about our weather and googling temperatures! ;-) I love them!

  15. Minnesota Gal here and despite living somewhere that gets cold, even we weren’t fully prepared for exactly how cold it was going to get. Cold is one thing, 4-50 wind chill is screwed up!

    And we had people stocking up on bread, milk & eggs as well. Last Saturday I was unfortunate enough to have to go to Target to get something. It. Was. Nuts. I literally saw a woman with a carry full of just milk, bread and eggs. Like mounded full. Like, a stranger actually asked her if she realized that it was only going to be a few days and the rest of us were questioning if she had Intel that we didn’t know about yet FULL.

    But somehow we survived. Colder than usual, but we made it. Only the super cold tricked our brains. Not only has this been the longest. week. ever.,it’s also made us start to think “oh yay, it’s 50 degrees warmer today! I don’t need gloves. Heck,I don’t even need a coat!” When really, while it is 50 degrees warmer, IT’S STILL 0! It’s still dangerously freezing cold.

    Have I mentioned it’s been the longest week ever? How was Monday only 5 days ago?

  16. Yeah, I was in the Caribbean when you wrote this. It was about 85. :)

    It’s a balmy 35ish in Idaho right now, though. Compared to what we had a few weeks ago (10-20), I can deal with that,

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