Q&A on Snow Days
By Elinor Spokes
Snow days at the Bunich-Spern and Blau households are lively, ebullient and active. With children nine years and younger in both homes, preparations for days of white, fluffy flakes that create havoc on the roads and cancel school takes planning to ensure a magical day for everyone.
The Bunich-Spern family of Pikesville moved from the northern reaches of Brooklyn five years ago, so snow doesn’t panic Tanya Bunich-Spern. The mother of three children – Sammy, 9, who attends Talmudical Academy, Elana, 6, who is at Yeshivat Rambam and Kayla, 4, at Ner Tamid/Greenspring Montessori School – loves when the kids are home.
Living in the Pikesville-Greenspring area provides many conveniences for them, even in the most inclement weather. They are walking distance to both market and other family members, which gives them many options on a truly snowy day.
Contrast that to the Blau family of Westminster, congregants of Temple Emanuel, who live on the top of a hill and twenty minutes from the closest market. For Shannon Blau, who home-schools her 9- and 7-year-old boys, Ethan and Dylan, while her 5- and 4-year-old, Shayna and Jaden, attend preschool at Little People’s Place in Westminster, preparations for on-coming snow days are a bit more involved.
Q: Do you run to market to stock up on the proverbial toilet paper and milk when a snow storm is predicted?
Tanya: No, I don’t run to market but I get excited by the idea of being home with my kids. If I need anything, I first call “911” – my mother – who lives just blocks away and if she doesn’t have what I need, I walk to market. I do make sure I have plenty of hot chocolate and ingredients to make the kids’ favorite chocolate chip sticks from “The Kosher Palette” cookbook by Susie Fishbein.
Shannon: I do stock up on ready-to-bake cookies, hot chocolate and frozen pizzas, due to the fact that if it snows I have to wait for my husband to plow out our driveway. In a pinch, I have used applesauce instead of oil in a recipe that called for it. We also bake pancakes from scratch as well as bread, because we have plenty of time to do it.
Q: What is your kids’ favorite activity on a snow day?
Tanya: My kids love to go out in the snow. Getting them bundled up for a day in the snow is no easy task and can take quite some time. But it is well worth it as my mother’s yard has a hill in the backyard and the kids sled there for hours until they freeze. Then Grandma has hot fresh chicken soup ready for them to thaw them out.
Shannon: Since we live on a hill, all the neighborhood kids come over for sledding. There are usually 9 to 10 kids at my house. When they are cold and tired, they come in for hot chocolate and whatever baked goods we’ve made. They often then resort to making forts with blankets and pillows.
Q: Is there a favorite dinner that caps off that perfect snow day?
Tanya: My kids are so tired by the end of a day spent playing in the snow that they are done by dinner time. But they love a big bowl of chicken soup with the works – vegetables, noodles, chicken and matzoh balls. The end to a perfect day!
Shannon: I will make chili for me and my husband, which my kids don’t like, so I make them whatever I have in the house so I don’t have to go out for anything.
Shannon’s Snow Bread
1 packet yeast
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Poppy seeds, raisons (for decoration)
1. Mix first five ingredients together until proper consistency. Add small amounts of water or flour, as needed.
2. Put dough on floured worktop. Knead for 10 minutes. Dough should
be stretchy not sticky.
3. Cut dough into small pieces and shape into a face, animal or other design.
4. Place shapes on a greased cookie sheet and cover loosely. Let rise for
30 minutes or until doubles in size.
5. Brush bread with beaten egg. Decorate with poppy seeds or raisins.
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Smaller pieces will cook faster.
Chocolate Chip Sticks
From “The Kosher Palette” by Susie Fishbein
½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets. Combine sugars, oil and mix well. Add egg and vanilla. Mix all dry ingredients and fold together. Add chips.
Divide dough into two logs. Place on sheets. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Cut into sticks.