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Too cold to be outside? Head indoors and exercise your mind. Visit a local museum and enjoy the paintings and exhibits together. Which is the family favorite? Which makes everyone smile? Which would you or the kids like to see every day, say hanging on the living room wall?

Bake Sale/Fund-raisers

  • Taking part in a food-related fund-raiser? Raise the bar and create new treats to offer a hungry public. How about bananas or strawberries dipped in dark chocolate? Bring a cooler full of fruit or yogurt pops -- blend juice and your favorite fruits; or combine yogurt, fruit, and juice, then freeze.
  • Opt for alternative fund-raisers like a car wash or a multi-family garage sale. Plan a 3K walk-run, complete with sponsors, or hold a fair, with games, and activities like three-legged races and treasure hunts.

Columbus Day

  • The theme is exploration, so pile the family into the car and head someplace you've never been. When you get there -- whether it's a small town that's new to you, a garden, playground, or museum -- make it everyone's job to learn fun facts about the place.
  • Why not explore a new food, too? Pick a theme, maybe bread, then see how many kinds the family can sample. Think pita from the Middle East, French baguettes, chapati from India, and Mexican tortillas to start.


  • Of course you want to enjoy traditional favorites on this holiday, but bump things up a notch and replace one so-so dish with something new. Make it a healthy family activity by replacing a fattening dish with a healthier version.

Maybe retire the green beans in exchange for orange slices with cinnamon, golden raisins, and champagne vinegar. Or brighten the winter table with the most colorful salad creative minds can conjure, think strawberries, snow peas, julienned carrots, and spinach.

  • Before every major meal during the holidays plan a walk, even if it's just a casual stroll around the block. Or better yet, throw a ball or Frisbee in the park to build up appetites, then on the walk home talk about what your thankful for, focusing on your neighborhood, neighbors, family, or friends.