Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

How one little girl put some fun back in my Minnesota winter January 24, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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My granddaughter watches while her grandpa rolls a snowball.


AS I’VE AGED, I complain more about Minnesota winters. But I didn’t always dislike this season of cold, snow and ice. I once loved being outdoors in the winter—rolling snowballs in to snowmen, engaging in snowball fights, racing up and down snow piles, sledding, digging caves into snow banks, making snow angels, running across rock-hard snow drifts, ice skating and constructing snow forts. Winter as a child was fun in between doing farm chores.

Even when I had my own three children, winter remained semi fun with some of the same winter activities. But as the kids grew, so did their disinterest in outdoor winter play. It’s been years since I’ve thought about the fun aspect of the months spanning November – April in Minnesota.

But then along came my granddaughter who is now nearing age two. On Saturday Randy and I offered to play with Izzy so her parents could have an afternoon out. My motive was also grandma selfish in wanting some time with this sweet little girl.


Ready to head outside into the snow.


With temps around 40 degrees, I decided (and Grandpa went along with the idea) it would be a great day to play with Izzy in the snow. After I bundled her into her snowpants, boots, coat, cap and mittens and then got myself ready, we finally headed to the backyard. I’d forgotten how long it takes to get a little one into snow gear.



Once in the backyard, Randy and I pulled Izzy around on a Lion King sled Randy recently retrieved from the garage rafters. It’s the same sled Isabelle’s mama used as a child.



While Grandpa rolled snowballs and stacked them into a snowman, I played with Izzy. She trundled in the snow as best she could, occasionally reaching for my hand to assure she stayed upright. When I started throwing snowballs at a tree trunk, she burst into waves of giggles. She may have been laughing at Grandma’s inability to hit the target about 50 percent of the time.

The time outdoors with my granddaughter on a balmy January afternoon in Minnesota put the fun back in winter for me. Oh, the power of a child. Over a grandmother.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


16 Responses to “How one little girl put some fun back in my Minnesota winter”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Nothing like a little one to bring out the kid in all of us, right? Love that you were able to have some fun time and make some memories.

  2. Jackie Says:

    Good thing you had her BEFORE the storm, was the snow fall accumulation as tall as her???? Sweet photo of Izzy and Grandpa….love it!

  3. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    This is lovely. And good for you for rediscovering this bit of joy.

  4. She has such a sweet little face, no wonder she hold such power! I love her little purple boots.

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    Ha ha! What a great time! We have to expose our kids to all sorts of things in life – winter fun is one that not so many partake in anymore. Electronics and TV soak up a lot of interest these days. I remember years ago, we had a heavy snow here and my elderly neighbor lady found me out scooping snow (which I love to do here!) and asked if I was up for a snowball fight. I was flabbergasted… but we tossed several at each other, laughing until we were doubled over. I asked her what got into her to want to get all wet and pummeled with snowballs. She said as a kid her mother never let her and her brother out to play in the snow lest they’d get sick. I, on the other hand, grew up with siblings and snowball fights could be brutal… but we loved it! I’ll never forget that day. This woman had yearned all of her life to know that experience. Who better than a northerner to ask to indulge in that wish! 😀

  6. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    That sweet little face. The only thing I can think of I that movie A Christmas Story and the kid crying “I can’t put my arms down”.

  7. estremdj Says:

    Love it!
    She reminds me of my children’s book-
    “Winter Wonderland”!

    Debbie Estrem


  8. Susan Ready Says:

    Remember Ralphie from the Christmas Story? Izzie reminds me of him all bundled up. 40 degrees though is a balmy winter January day. When in Roseville you should head for the hills in Como Park for a great sledding experience.

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