Homemade brownies

Photo: Thinkstock/Jupiterimages

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Interact with a Little Bit of Movie Sugar
The monster box office releases always sweep in with the big family holidays, but why not escalate your ordinary movie night by making a ta-da! out of the pre-movie activities? Here's a simple idea: Instead of ripping open the usual box of cookies from the grocery store, actually make (or bake) dessert together, with extra bonus points for working in the film's theme. Say the team is screening Toy Story (the first or second at home and the third at the multiplex), then decorate and bake Woody Cow Patty Cookies, a perennial kids' fave—Google "cow patty cookies" or just "brownies" for an avalanche of recipes.

Check the website of the movie you're seeing; it might have fun downloads for kids, like quizzes and coloring pages. Also, seize the opp for a fun learning experience by giving the kids a Hamm-style piggy bank (like the Toy Story character) to start them on the road to the world of finance, saving their pennies and maybe even giving to charity. And if having a lot of leftover sugar treats around the house sounds like a bad idea, just wrap 'em up in bandannas for friends, neighbors and co-workers. That's the spirit of giving in action!