So many of us are suddenly at home all day, every day. With the threat of COVID-19 and stay at home orders in place, we are all in the same boat working to stay healthy and keep ourselves busy during this self-isolation. I thought it might be fun to share some of the ideas I’ve seen floating around as well as some of the things we’ve found to be the most enjoyable during this challenging time in the world.
More time at home means more time in the kitchen. We’ve had a blast playing with our new Ninja Foodie. Trying out new recipes and different ways to prep some of our favorites has been a great distraction while we’ve been in self-isolation.
The great thing about the Foodie is it’s an amazing 9 in 1 appliance for our kitchen. Not only does it pressure cook, air fry, slow cooker, grill, and rice cooker. We have baked a pan cookie, fried up some chicken wings with our favorite sauces, pressure cooked some chili to top our Indian Fry Bread and slow-roasted some chicken. Our foodie came with a comprehensive cookbook with a guide to prepare almost anything you can think of. It has been one of our favorites during all of this crazy in the world.
Another favorite we’ve come across is the Salad Shooter. Flashback to the 80’s when the first models came out — I can still hear their little jingle playing in my head. I had never considered getting one of these thinking I couldn’t possibly need one, but after using our friends earlier in the year I have silently obsessed about owning one. We’ve used it not only for chopping up produce for yummy salads but I used it to slice some zucchini for chips we made in our foodie (yummy!). It is so easy to clean and chops, slices, grates, and shreds in minutes. Everything but the base is dishwasher safe.
We have loved our Roku for a few years now, but it has been a great way to enjoy some of our favorite TV shows while we’ve been on lock-down. Not only are we able to add our most-watched channels like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to stream our favorite shows and movies. The latest Roku model offers private listening, voice-activated search, and an app to use your phone as a companion control. Compatible with all the popular channels including Hulu, Disney, Apple TV, Premium Channels, and so many more.
A Little Reading Pleasure
I love the extra time I’ve had to pick up on some books I’ve had on my list for a while. My book group is reading A Gentleman in Moscow and Where the Crawdads Sing over the next few months. I’m excited to get a head start on these books.
A Gentleman in Moscow is about Count Alexander Rostov, who is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat, and sentenced to house arrest (sound familiar?). He lives in an attic room of a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin in the early 1920s as some of the most tumultuous times in Russian history unfold. Listed on the New York Times bestseller list – I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while!
Where the Crawdads Sing is another one from the New York Times bestseller list. I’ve had many recommend it as a good read and I’m excited for a little more time to indulge in some guilt-free reading. “Marsh Girl” rumors have haunted the quiet town of Barkley Cove for years. When Chase Andrews is found dead the Marsh Girl is automatically suspected. Labeled as a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, this book promises to be filled with suspense, love, and self-discovery.
The biggest problem I’ve had with reading these books has been getting a copy. With our library closed, I discovered I can get two free months of Kindle direct and you don’t need a Kindle to use it. Amazon offers a free app that allows you to access all of the books available on Kindle. It’s a great solution during this time of self-isolation!
I’ve found journaling to be especially helpful in managing my mind during self-isolation. If you’re looking to get a better handle on the thoughts going through your mind my Creating Positive Habits Journal might be a good fit for you. It can help you dig deep to tap into the power of gratitude.
While we may not have any littles in our home right now, I’ve loved seeing what some of our neighbors have done to keep their kids busy. We have to get creative to get these kids out and burning some of that cooped up energy and these are some great ways to do just that.
The messages we’ve seen on the sidewalk during some of our walks have been fabulous! And even more special are little messages on our own driveway. When our kids were growing up I wasn’t a big fan of Sidewalk chalk, but this is such a great way to share some love with your neighbors when you can’t do it in person.
We’ve also loved discovering beautifully painted rocks along the trail by our house. One of the things we all miss the most during self-isolation is connecting with others. These simple rocks have helped us to feel like someone was leaving us little surprises to lighten our day. We keep an eye open for new ones on every walk and it is like finding little treasures from the kids in our community. You could paint rocks with your kids to add to your own yard art or share them along your most commonly beaten paths.
What about a time capsule? Your kids could be occupied for hours creating and capturing the details of the history you’re living. I created this fun printable to help get them started.
We are a game loving family. Luckily we’ve had some of our college kids home to help pass the time with some new games we’ve discovered. It is so much better to sit at the table to play a game than to get lost in a video game. You’re able to interact with other people and it is so much more fun!
Our latest addiction has been Century Spice Road. Made for ages 8 and up, it has some similar strategies and terminology as Settler of Catan. You collect different spice cubes to trade for point cards. The first one to collect 5 point cards ends the game but it doesn’t always mean you’ve won. The real winner is the one who has collected the most points. Another great thing about the century series games is they can be combined to play together.
A couple of other favorite ways to spend time together with our college kids have been playing Secret Hitler and Cthulhu. Each of these games has the same basic strategy —deception. It sounds like a terrible way to spend your time, but we have laughed for hours while playing both of these games. If you’ve ever played Mafia or Ultimate Werewolf you know how fun these kinds of games can be.
Making the Most of Self-Isolation
It’s true; most American families look dramatically different than we did a few months ago. We’re spending more time together, and the pressing worries of yesterday have taken a backseat to more critical world issues.
The big question is how are you making the most of this time? Are you spending it worried and in panic mode, or are you using this time to strengthen your relationships, learn new skills, and share some goodness with the rest of us?
I choose the latter. This is time for personal reflection and growth. A time to bond and connect in ways we never have before. I hope you’ve found a new idea or two that might make your journey during self-isolation a little more bearable and pleasant – but most of all I hope you see this time as a blessing.
More Book Ideas for Self-Isolation Reading
- Boys in the Boat
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
- The Day the World Came to Town
- 15 of the Best Books I’m Excited to Read this Summer