With below freezing temperatures, strong winds, and ice and snow getting in the way during commutes, winter weather has finally arrived for many people across the U.S. It appears the weather is bad enough for the folks at the Weather Channel to start naming these storms.
Many people will stay at home rather than go out for the weekend or after work for any form of entertainment, and since it is January, there aren't a lot of decent movies at the multiplex, unless you wish see Les Miserables or Django Unchained for the 3rd or 4th time. However, even spending the day under the covers watching Netflix Instant and browsing online (including here) can lose its appeal after awhile.
Here are a few tips on how you can stay entertained without freezing:
Snow ice cream
This one is going to involve you going outside, but just for a moment or so. Gather some fresh clean snow (or you can always place a large bowl outside before snowfall) to create some ice cream. When you're back inside, stir in 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla or vanilla extract, and 1/2 to 1 cup milk. Stir in all the ingredients until the snow thickens. From there, you can add chocolate syrup or chips, bananas, and other toppings with your homemade ice cream. A more detailed set of instructions can be found here.
Game night (or day)
Chances are you have a couple of board games lying around in storage or in the closet. Invite some neighbors or friends (who live nearby and are willing to go out into the cold for you) for a few rounds of UNO, Scrabble, Monopoly, Jenga, or many others. For fans of sketch comedy, there is an interactive board game from Saturday Night Live (Saturday Night Live The Game), which is available in most retail stores and online. You have an opportunity to re-enact classic sketches and characters from four decades of the show's history.
Most people live close to a Main Street-like area (i.e. Chicago's North Side or Milwaukee's 2nd Ward) where they are many outlets for entertainment, or near bars and clubs where you could go for a round or two of drinks. Many bars also feature trivia nights, which are more popular during the week (Monday-Thursday), when most people go straight home from work or school. Just about all trivia night events are free and you can either pair up with a single partner or gather a group to answer questions about music, sports, history, US states, and other irrelevant topics. Some places offer prizes (most of them food or drinks at the same bar), which can sweeten the pot for some people. But the real reward is putting to use all the irrelevant facts you learned from school or online. Note: For those in the Windy City interested in where trivia night events take place, check out this site.
Raid your kitchen
While it is easy to simply call the corner pizzeria or Chinese restaurant and have someone step out into the cold to deliver the food to the door, why not mix things up with some of the items that are sitting in the pantry, where they waiting to either be donated to a food pantry or thrown out by the next occupants of the apartment? Have a couple of boxes of mac 'n' cheese? Why not create some deep friend mac 'n' cheese balls (these also work if you have leftover mac)? Or place them in the oven in some paper cups and create mini muffins. For several more recipes, including creating pad thai from Ramen noodles and an ice cream treat using a breakfast staple, check out this site.
Some homes may have several weeks of magazines, newspapers, and sales papers lying around. If your place is experiencing this, then this is a good opportunity to turn some of those back issues of Entertainment Weekly and all those home and gardening magazines into art. All you need is a either a large piece of construction paper or a few regular letter-sized sheets of computer paper, some glue, scissors, and a bit of imagination. You can either do a theme piece (favorite foods, things that are green or blue, people's heads replaced by inanimate objects, etc.) or simply have fun and cut out and paste pictures of celebrities onto backgrounds of car ads and war zones from Time or the newspapers.
Stay warm and stay entertained.