Monday, January 23, 2017

Groundhog Day

Groundhog day is a day to be celebrated! Why? Well, because as annoying as it can be to a person trying to keep a nice lawn to have a groundhog around, they are really funny.

We had a couple of groundhogs while on furlough. We moved into a house owned by people from our church who gave us a real bargain on the rental price. The house was inside a small city along the Mississippi River, high on a bluff with a view of the harbor and bridge. Even though there were neighboring houses, the bluff had some woods on it so we saw all kinds of interesting wildlife while we lived there, but our favorites were the ones we came to call "Nibbles" and "Waddles". 

Our landlord had told us that there were groundhogs around. He pointed out an old tin skillet and an enamel pot under a tree and said we should put any leftover vegetables, lettuce cores, carrot peelings and the like in them and the groundhogs would come eat them. We had a ball taking our leftovers out there and then watching the antics of the two groundhogs that would come eat. Soon my 11 year old daughter named them, Nibbles and Waddles. 

If we happened to come out onto the deck when they were out and we hadn't realized it, watching their loping toddle always brought a smile to our lips. 

They were pretty cute when they sat on their haunches and held their food, biting, turning it, chewing...biting, turning it, chewing. 

I told a friend about "our" groundhogs. She exclaimed, "You encourage groundhogs to come?" I had no idea they were unwanted, so I did some reading and discovered that if you have a garden, you don't want groundhogs, or if you have plants you don't want eaten, or a yard you don't want dug up. Oh well, we enjoyed Nibbles and Waddles and our landlord was the one who told us to feed them!

Another reason I think we should celebrate is my third grandchild's birthday is on Groundhog Day making it very easy to remember because the date is 2/2. Why didn't they all get born on days like that? 3/3, 4/4, 5/5? 

Assuming you don't have a birthday on the day, how would you celebrate Groundhog Day?

Here are my suggestions:

First, get the kids busy with a simple craft. You can use this as your centerpiece at dinner. You can find some ideas on Pinterest. I will be visiting my older grandchildren (the oldest of my 6 grandchildren is five, oh excuse me, five and a half) a couple days before Groundhog Day so I am hoping to do one of these with them.

Next, figure out some food to go with groundhogs day. Groundhogs like roots and greens, so depending on how adventuresome your kids are you could fix some of those. Anything from carrot sticks and lettuce to turnips and brussel sprouts will do. And, although I think they look more like beavers, Pinterest has lots of dessert ideas. You can decide to go all out, or just stick a teddy graham in some pudding. The idea isn't to get all flustered about having a "Pinterest perfect" celebration, just to get together and have some fun.

I have looked up some true/false facts about ground hogs and you can print them out and cut up the cards (or use printable business cards such as Avery® Business Cards 28878 Avery® Template 8371) and take turns asking each other questions at the dinner table. For my groundhog fact cards click here.

Finally, if your kids are big enough--or maybe just for you and your hubby after they are in bed--the movie,  Groundhog Day, which doesn't have a whole lot to do with groundhogs, can be a fun way to end a groundhog day celebration and can even lead to a serious discussion. Ask your kids: 

  • How can we learn from our mistakes? 
  • How should we treat other people? 
  • What makes the changes in Phil? 
  • What can truly bring about changes (transformation) in the lives of people? 

My motto is use any excuse to have fun with, learn, and connect with your family!

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  1. Sharon, We have a groundhog in our backyard who we named Grady. We do not set out food for him or any critters as it does encourage them to dig up the yard or anything else for that matter. We have raccoons, too. A few years ago, we had trouble with something getting into our garbage bins and after DS discovered one lifting the lid that's when began sitting a large heavy rock on the top and since that time we haven't had any problems. The one thing we like to do for Groundhog's Day is watch "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murry. It's a lot of fun. You got the idea right with the fun activities for your kids and I'm sure they'll enjoy it. Thanks for sharing. I'm visiting from Inspire Me Monday! Have a good week. :)

    1. Critters can be a problem. We feed the birds so we get lots of squirrels and chipmunks. The chipmunks are so cute, but they dig around the foundations of our house and let water seep in. Sigh. Our latest "critter" is the neighbor's cat who hides behind a bush watching our bird feeders and pounces out every once in a while. I don't like that. I've even seen her with birds in her (his?) mouth twice! Quite the hunter!

  2. I've never seen a groundhogs so your stories were lots of fun.



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