On Your Own
- Become a chef. Put to work the culinary skills you’ve learned while watching your favorite food shows. This easy soup recipe uses ingredients you most likely have on hand: Bring 4 cups chicken stock and 1 cup water to a boil. Add a 9-ounce package of tortellini (could substitute with mini ravioli), and simmer on lower heat until pasta is tender. Stir in a 6-ounce package of baby spinach (or whatever vegetable you have in your fridge or freezer), and cook until just wilted. Serve topped with grated Parmesan. Serves 4. You could also double the batch and freeze half of it.
- Organize your photos. A rainy day is exactly the time you’ve been waiting for to bring some order to your digital photos. Start by downloading images from your camera to your computer. The beauty of digital photography, of course, is that (unlike the old days, when a roll of film limited you to, say, 24 photos), there are no limits to the number of photos you can take or keep. But the problem with that is that most people keep too many - and then have trouble sorting through them. You want to weed out the blurry, similar, or unattractive shots before you download them to your computer, says Mitchell Mandel, a professional photographer based in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. That way you have a reasonable number of shots to work with. Then, create folders for your pictures, grouping them by event, by person, or by season, for example. Now you’re ready to go through and find a few favorites to print and frame or put into an album. Finally, don’t forget to back up all your hard work to a CD or jump drive. Need some help? Google’s Picasa (picasa.google.com) offers free software that will help you categorize your photos for easy finding, viewing, and sharing. You can edit photos there, too.
With the Kids
- Run the course. No matter what the weather has in store, kids need to move. Len Saunders, author of Keeping Kids Fit, suggests keeping kids busy on a rainy day by creating an obstacle course in the house, with simple tasks as the obstacles. His example: On “go,” run from the kitchen to a bedroom, make the bed, then run to a different room and do five push-ups. Then run back to the kitchen and do 20 jumping jacks, and finish by running to the front door and jumping rope for 30 seconds.
- Go “camping.” Colorful tissue or construction paper, blankets, and the fixings for s’mores are all you need to set up camp in your living room. Let the kids fashion a “campfire” using brown, red, and orange paper for the logs and flame, and spread blankets around for sitting. Then, enjoy the s’mores. If you’ve forgotten the magic recipe, simply top half of a graham cracker with a marshmallow. Microwave on high for 10 seconds, then put a piece of chocolate and the other half of the graham cracker on top. Serve “fireside” accompanied by your favorite stories and board games.