Winter-weather wisdom tips for coping with the cold life roanoke.com electricity lesson plans middle school

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Of course, many pets love to go outside in the cold, and then come back in. The ASPCA’s website suggests drying them when they come in from wet weather, paying special attention to paws, which might have picked up ice-melting chemicals. Also, don’t shave a dog down in winter, bathe it less and feed it a little more, the ASPCA recommends.

“[I]f it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside,” according to the site. “If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.”

Libraries never really go out of style, and a couple in the valley — South County Library and Vinton Branch Library — sport coffee shops and fireplaces. Charge up your phone and read a book instead. Visit www. roanokeva.gov/892/libraries to find the branch nearest you.

Find plenty of recreation opps in Roanoke County at Green Ridge Recreation Center (indoor pool!), and other county rec spots via roanokecountyparks.com. Check out the city’s rec centers at playroanoke.com, including cards, games, fitness and arts at Mountain View Recreation Center.

In recent years, the sledding scene in South Roanoke has become more of a social gathering for kids and adults. Families grill hot dogs, drink hot chocolate (and more grown-up beverages), warm themselves by fire pits and turn the street into a snow-covered block party.

More icy fun: When the temperature gets really cold, like the single-digit lows we experienced in early January, the lake at Lakewood Park at the corner of Brambleton and Brandon avenues freezes. Families have skated and slid on the frozen pond for generations. But please be aware of the ice conditions and temperature. When somebody tells you, “You’re skating on thin ice,” take it as a warning and get to shore!

Even a small amount of water will expand when it freezes, which puts pressure on the container, whether it be a plastic bottle or a copper pipe. The pipes most vulnerable to cold are outdoor spigots, outside lines that run to garages or swimming pools, indoor pipes that are close to uninsulated walls and pipes in cold crawl spaces. You can prevent frozen pipes with a few easy steps.

Cold weather can often sap a person’s motivation to go outside — especially if it means shoveling snow off the driveway. Families can start to get stir crazy, which is understandable, seeing as how they’re trapped inside for hours with the same individuals.

Marathon it: Get the family around the TV for a movie marathon. It will take you 17 hours and 40 minutes to finish the entire Star Wars saga. This includes “Rogue One” and “The Force Awakens.” If you want something a little longer, try the Harry Potter series. That clocks in at 21 hours and 52 minutes. Other notable series to watch are Marvel Universe movies, the Jurassic Park series or — for the littlest ones — a Disney movie marathon.

Game on: Pull out those dusty old board games hidden away and collecting dust in the back of the closet. Gather everyone around the dining table, and have a game board marathon. Some good picks are Risk and Monopoly, as they take the most time.

Don’t have any board games? Then, find a deck of cards. Little ones will enjoy Go Fish, and older ones will enjoy gin rummy. A few rounds of poker could be fun. Instead of using money, use some sweet treats like cookies or candies. Also, games like Uno are sure to up the ante.

If you don’t have a deck of cards in the house, but you do have a teenager, video games are the way to go. Some games can be played with more than one person. Others are for single players only but have eye-catching graphics that can be enjoyable for groups. Watching someone play is almost like watching a movie, and you can always take turns. Some fun multiplayer games are “Rayman,” “Ark Survival Evolved” and “Mario Party.” “The Elder Scrolls IV: Skyrim,” “The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt” and “Assassin’s Creed: Origins” are all beautifully rendered single-player games with engaging plot. However, be warned, some of these games are not suitable for little ones. Be sure to check the game’s rating on the case.

Bake-off: A kitchen isn’t complete without a cake mix, brownie mix and frosting on hand (at least that’s what our mothers told us). If you believe that adage, then you have probably hoarded various baking mixes in your kitchen. Now is the time to prepare them.

Have each member of the family bake something, and designate someone as the judge for your very own baking competition. Be sure to save this activity for a time when you know your stay inside will be short. You don’t want to run out of milk or eggs during a snowstorm because you used them to make your batch of treats.

Read-a-thon: Have each member of your family pick out a book to read. Then, find some snuggly spots in the living room, build up the fire in the fireplace and put your eyes to the page. This is great for those parents who can’t seem to get their teenagers to pick up a book, and it also works if your power goes out. Just read by candlelight.

• Know how your brake system works, and if you have the opportunity, practice driving under wintry conditions in an empty parking lot or similar place. If you have antilock brakes, you can apply continuous pressure to the brake pedal when stopping. If you don’t have antilock brakes, you’ll need to pump the brake pedal rather than stomp on it to keep your wheels from locking up.

• If you end up stalled or stuck in a snowstorm, stay with your vehicle. If you get out and attempt to push your car free, do not overexert yourself. If you need to run the engine, clear the exhaust pipe of snow and only run the car enough to keep warm. Don’t run the vehicle for a long time with the window up, or you will risk carbon monoxide poisoning.

These pointers are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. They come from the websites for AAA ( http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/winter-driving-tips), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( www.nhtsa.gov/winter-driving-tips) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( www.osha.gov/Publications/SafeDriving.pdf). Check them out for even more helpful information.

Hot chocolate is THE cold-weather drink, as far as many people are concerned. It’s excellent with marshmallows or without. However, alas, we can’t live on chocolate alone, so here are some other simple snack suggestions to help pass days spent cooped up by the cold.