As a born-and-raised South Texas gal, I rarely get a visit from the “winter blues,” but there are times, I fear, the unwelcome guest arrives with plans to outstay his welcome. While I count myself lucky that we’re rarely buried in snow, I admit that when ice-coated branches lurk outside the window, my mood darkens.
I’m often asked to test my creative powers for the Ziploc® Fresh 180 campaign, but a winter challenge seemed like, well … a real challenge for this southern gal. Imagine my surprise when, lo and behold, the “Dominate the Dead of Winter” challenge appeared with some fun chilly-day ideas that work at any latitude. I immediately thought, “What timing!”
Build Snow Forts
The first idea in the challenge involved making snow forts using Ziploc® brand storage containers to form the bricks. This is a great idea if you have access to the key ingredient: snow, which I did not. But it made me smile because I know these containers work equally well for making sand castles. I’ve carried assorted sizes and shapes in my beach pack for years, doing double-duty for both castle building and packing up beach treasures to bring home. So, score one for the challenge. Since I don’t have snow, I can’t do this project, but the promise of warmer days to come does lift my spirits with thought of beach days to come.
Make a Frozen Treat
The second part of the challenge was to create a recipe for a make-your-own icy treat; something hand-blended and frozen using just a few Ziploc® brand storage bags and a couple other simple ingredients. I grabbed the recommended gallon and pint-sized Ziploc® brand bags and headed to the fridge. The recipe called for juice, but I had a feeling that chocolate milk would do. I filled the pint bag with a cup of milk, a hefty dollop of chocolate syrup, and a few dashes of vanilla and cinnamon. I zipped it closed and popped it in the larger bag already waiting with a few handfuls (about a tray’s worth) of ice cubes and some rock salt. I sealed up the large bag, wrapped the whole kit in a towel and shook. I must say, aside from the obvious benefit of something good to eat at the end, I think this idea has other merits that help chase away the winter blues. First, the shaking warms you up; and second, five minutes of shaking surely burns as many calories as the treat provides. If you have kids, this is where they come in handy. In the end, I had a delicious chocolate treat and another great idea to file away for the future.
Design an Ice Candle
The third idea was to make, essentially, ice lanterns to brighten the chilly outdoors. I knew these wouldn’t last long here because if Texas is known for one thing, it’s for weather-related mood swings. But that certainly didn’t scare me off, these just sounded so “cool.” I followed the directions, using small and large Ziploc® brand storage containers to create the lanterns. I just “floated” the smaller container within the larger water-filled container to create the void for the tea light. I found that the lid of the larger container held the smaller container down in the water and it was a snap to remove once frozen. I just ran a bit of warm water into the small container and it popped right out. Decorated with food coloring, leaves and berries, and topped with a battery-operated candle, these can certainly perk up wintery patios and porches. Heck, with the recent wacky weather, these may last well into spring in some areas.
Cook Up an All-Weather Hunt
The last idea gave me the tools to do an all-weather treasure hunt. The simple suggestion of hiding clues and treats sealed in Ziploc® brand storage containers easily makes this an all-weather activity—at least the clues and goodies stay dry. For our hunt I used both bags and containers. I hung clue-filled bags on trees, fences and posts, and buried treasure-filled containers in my yard for the final prizes. So how challenging do you make it for kids? That depends. How long do you want the house to yourself? In fact, I think this is a fun idea for all ages. I plan to host a night hunt for our older crowd when it warms up a bit (perhaps next week). I’ll simply add a few glow sticks to the clue bags and hide grown-up goodies.
Disclaimer: I was paid to develop this post and to provide related images for Ziploc®. As always, all opinions are my own.