Gray winter skies keep many a kid peering out the windows, hoping to hear two magic words Snow Day! When snow or bad weather keeps the family indoors for too long, however, the excitement can fade into boredom if you're not prepared.

That's why I like to keep a few tricks up my sleeve to turn snow day doldrums into snow day delights. What can you add to this list?

Ÿ Indoor picnic. Turn the family room into a picnic area with blankets and fun foods. Have the children draw outdoor scenes for a cheery backdrop.

Ÿ Scavenger hunt. Give them fun clues that will have them searching all over the house for silly items. Who knows they might even find those missing toys.

Ÿ Old-fashioned forts. Pull out blankets and sheets and let them turn the living room or dining room into a fort or secret hide out. You'll be amazed at how long they can entertain themselves.

Ÿ Baking goodies together. Of course, this is my favorite thing to do. I love this fun recipe for Snow Day Cookie Shovels they're a real treat after shoveling real snow!

For more baking ideas to warm up your snow days, visit www.TollHouse.com [2].

Snow Day CookieShovels

Makes 24 servings

1 package (16.5 ounces) Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough

12 pretzel rods, broken in half

1 cup (6 ounces) Nestlé Toll House Premier White Morsels, divided

2 teaspoons vegetable shortening

cup mini marshmallows

White decorator sprinkles or sugars, sweetened flakes coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three baking sheets.

Break dough along prescored lines. Place 8 squares of cookie dough about 3 inches apart onto each prepared baking sheet. Insert broken end of pretzel rod into each square of cookie dough. Flatten each square slightly with fingers to form a rectangle, about 1 1/2-inches long by 1 -inches wide. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately pat sides of each shovel with edge of knife to form straight sides. Cool on baking sheets for two minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Line cooled baking sheets with wax paper.

Microwave cup morsels and shortening in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on medium-high (70 percent) power for 45 seconds; Stir. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted.

Dip bottom 1-inch edge of each cookie shovel in melted morsels; scraping bottom of shovel along edge of bowl to remove excess. Place on prepared baking sheets. Immediately sprinkle dipped end of each shovel with remaining cup morsels, mini marshmallows and sprinkles. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until set. Store shovels between layers of wax paper in covered containers at room temperature.

Notes: 1 cups Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Tub Dough can be substituted for bar dough. Roll dough into 24, 1 -inch balls.

Refrigerating dough shovels before baking helps cookies retain their shape during baking.

Nutrition Information per serving: 150 calories; 60 calories from fat; 6g total fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 10mg cholesterol; 190mg sodium; 21g carbohydrate; 1g fiber; 13g sugars; 2g protein

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.