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Posted by: Julie Schaeffer – WIC Nutritionist

Don’t you love a new snow fall when everything glistens and sparkleShutterstock_7817119s?  I especially like the way the hemlocks in my backyard look when there has been dusting of snow. The trees are snow capped and look like a picture postcard, especially when a bird or two land on a branch.

I know a lot of people who tend to hibernate in the winter, but I like to keep active.  I am often the first one out of my house, strapping on my snow shoes to take a brisk walk and explore any animal tracks I can discover.  I usually discover rabbit, mice, and, of course, cat and dog tracks. If you live in the city, you could look for the longest icicle. Have you ever bundled up and taken a walk in the snow with your family to see what kinds of things you might find?

If it is icy out, my daughter and I like to ice skate (either with skates or sliding in boots) in an area that retains water in our woods.  Some years, this can provide endless fun!

My children are into snowboarding while I am much too cautious and prefer to watch, or go sledding with them. Trudging back up the hill is sure to keep my heart pumping.  When my kids were young, they would build various jumps in our side yard. Recently, Connor, age 18, wanted to remove the railings from our deck to provide an entrance to a 10 foot high jump yet to be built.  I quickly said no!  

After all that outdoor activity, we like to come inside and enjoy homemade hot chocolate with peppermint sticks and, sometimes, marshmallows.  Here’s an easy recipe that’s a little healthier than some popular hot chocolate mixes:

2 cups powdered milk
2/3 cup sugar (or less, to taste)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (more if you like it extra chocolaty)
Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients and store in an air-tight container. To make a cup of hot chocolate, measure 1/4 cup of mix into a mug, add boiling water (or heated skim milk) and stir until blended. Use a whisk to make it extra foamy, and sprinkle with cinnamon or more cocoa powder.  Enjoy! Makes about 14 servings.  (Recipe from )

What are some of YOUR favorite winter activities?

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