Seven snowy ideas from Spoonful.
The first snowfall of the season is thrilling. We rush outside to greet it, open-mouthed to catch flakes on our tongues. We thrash in the powder to make angels. We build massive forts and create monsters out of snowbanks. Snow transforms our gray world into something splendid and mysterious, and for that we are grateful, at least for a time. Of course, a season of daily blizzards can bring on cabin fever. What to do? Get back out there and celebrate the snow all over again. To inspire you, we've organized a snow appreciation day. Have fun. Toss snow in the air, color it, carve it into an ice dog. This is one day you'll remember long after the first thaw.
First warm up with a big breakfast, and then, when your insides are radiating heat, pull on a second pair of socks, pull on your boots, and head outside for a snow-harvesting expedition. Your quest: Find the cleanest freshly fallen snow. A prize of some sort is in order for the fearless adventurer who stakes out the richest snowfield. (Go for the snow under the topmost layer because it's bound to be cleanest.) Once you've found pure powder, fill two mixing bowls with it and put the bowls in your freezer (more on this later). Then, using empty egg cartons as storage containers, make an arsenal of miniature snowballs. Store these in the freezer, too. These diminutive blobs of cold will be perfect for cooling you off next summer, when (believe it or not) it's going to be really hot again.
Igloos require a diligent team of architects to pack snow tightly into large containers and build the resulting snow blocks into walls. Build a thick base for your igloo, leaving a gap for the door. Add each successive row along the inside rim of the row beneath it, so the walls appear to lean in. Continue until the tops of the rows touch. Alternatively, you can make an igloo of successively smaller snowballs (with the bottom ones at least 2 feet high), like a circle of snowmen leaning on each other. Spritz the finished igloo with water, which will freeze to make a shiny exterior. (An adult must supervise all igloo play in case of cave-ins; ask your kids to break it down at day's end.)
When you're back inside and thawed out, take the two bowls of snow from the freezer and wet one of them thoroughly. Add food coloring to the wet snow, stir and return it to the freezer for sculpturing later. Then transform the "dry" bowl into snow ice cream:
3 cups loose, clean snow
2 tbsp. milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients, sample the result and add more sugar and vanilla extract to taste.
Take the wet snow out of the freezer and dump it on a tray. The snow and water will have frozen almost solid, but you should be able to chip off pieces with a spoon. If it's too hard, wait five minutes. Dig right in and create an ice sculpture--perhaps a dog or a meatball still life. Keep your masterpiece in the freezer until dessert time, when you will serve--what else?--baked Alaska.