Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top 10 Ways to Spend your Winter Break!

Written by: Lauren Viner

Instead of spending your winter vacation sitting watching old holiday movies (which you have probably seen a dozen times already) or playing video games, why not try some of these fun, cheap activities. Great for spending time with family or friends!

1. Go skating at a nearby outdoor rink like Nathan Phillips or Harbourfront. Don't forget to bring a helmet!!!

2. Check out what is happening at some of the local museums. The Ontario Science Centre is always a blast, and the diamond exhibit at the ROM is definitely worth seeing.

3. There are some fantastic shows that are great for kids playing in the city right now. Check out Sleeping Beauty's Enchanted Castle playing at Casa Loma, or Cinderella at the Elgin Theater. Or for something for our adult readers, take a trip down memory lane and go see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Canon Theater.

4. I love going to the local library whenever I get a chance. There are often programs being offered, and it is a great way to spend the day. If you don't know of any good books to read, ask the librarian for a recommendation.

5. The Trail of Lights at Downsview Park or the Cavalcade of Lights at Nathan Phillips Square are absolutely beautiful. With caroling and music, these light shows will make for a festive evening.

6. Have a game night with family or friends. My personal favourites to play with a group: Taboo, Cranium and Scrabble.

7. Need a craft idea? Take out a book of art activities while you are at the library! I have always been a fan of the "White Wash Blizzard".
Instructions for "White Wash Blizzard": Draw a picture of the outdoors using crayons. Cover the entire page. Take white paint and cover the whole picture. The paint doesn't stick to the wax of the crayons so it looks like a blizzard!

8. Have an indoor picnic or camp out in the basement. I'm not one for cold, so I pretend its summer vacation instead! Try drinking lemonade or making s'mores over the fire.

9. Find a good book to read and curl up in front of the fireplace with a blanket and some hot chocolate. What could be more relaxing?

10. Baking is always a fun activity. Try making shortbread with fun shapes, or make your favourite cookie recipe and decorate with icing and your favourite topings. I'm a brownie fan, so I always love making my favourite brownie recipe and then decorating like its a cake. Try this brownie recipe and you will never buy store-bought brownies again.

Death by Brownies
Preheat oven to 350F

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla

Melt butter, add sugars, cocoa and vanilla, and mix together.
Beat in 1 egg at a time
Add the flour and baking powder, mix until smooth and glossy

Pour into a greased and floured 9"x13" (22cmx33cm) pan, bake for 30 min (Centre will be firm but not hard)
Cool and enjoy!!!

Happy Holidays!!!

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