This winter has dumped piles of snow on many areas of the country so far, with more scheduled to come. And with so much snow falling, snow days inevitably follow. As a kid, snow days are greeted with glee at a day off from school, opportunity to play in the snow, and a full day of freedom. For parents, however, snow days are more likely to mean shoveling, rescheduling appointments and rearranging childcare and work duties, and feeling stuck indoors with rowdy, rambunctious kids. The first one or two might seem like a bit of an adventure, but for most of us in the Northeast at least, snow days have definitely worn out their welcome by now. Since it seems unlikely that we’re done with them, however, how about a few treats to make your next snow day a bit more enjoyable?
Of course, the classic snow day treat would have to be hot cocoa. When you’ve been out in the cold – whether shoveling, building snow forts, or even braving a harrowing snowy drive to the one place that wasn’t closed – there’s nothing better to warm you up and calm your nerves than a nice steaming cup of cocoa. Depending on how involved you want to get (and how much energy you have leftover from your outdoor adventures!), preparing a cup (or several) can vary from simply stirring a store-bought envelope of powdered mix into a cup of hot water to fashioning a gourmet batch in the crockpot using ingredients like whipping cream and chocolate chips. Personally, as a busy Mom of 2 preschool-aged kids, I like to stick with a relatively simple, but delicious mixture of milk, cocoa powder, and sugar, with a touch of vanilla, quickly combined on the stove or even in the microwave. For young kids, keep a close eye on the temperature to make sure it is warm, but not too hot.
If you want something a bit more substantial, how about a baking project you and your kids can do together? Try something familiar and comforting with supplies you probably already have on hand like chocolate chip cookies or brownies, or with a little preparation (if you can brave the mobs at the grocery store in advance of the storm), you can have fun with the snowy day theme by trying some frosted or unfrosted snowflake cookies, snowman cupcakes, or even creating an entire snowed-in gingerbread village.
For something even more adventurous and novel ( though not nearly as likely to warm you up), try making your own snow ice cream (yes, really). Talk about the best way yet to use up some of the snow piling up in your yard (just make sure the kids grab the clean stuff, not what’s been shoveled off the driveway).
Not all snow day treats have to be sweet, of course. For a deliciously warm savory treat, try a gourmet grilled cheese and soup combo. And not all snow day treats have to be for the kids, either. Whip yourself up a deliciously decadent batch of spinach artichoke dip. Tell your kids it’s all for you and they can’t have any, and who knows, maybe they’ll suddenly be begging for something that includes two vegetables! Or turn your hot cocoa into an adults-only treat, by adding a splash of Kahlua, peppermint schnapps, or most any liqueur you happen to have on hand.
Whichever treats you choose, enjoy them, and the time with your kids. Spring will be here eventually – we hope!
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