50 things to do this winter (while we await spring)
1. Buy a primrose (or two) and you will feel like spring has sprung a little early.
2. Go on the hunt for a new coffee shop that you have never tried before. If you live in Chicago, make sure you try Julius Meinl. It reminds our family of Europe. (see link below)
3. Surprise your kids and pick them up early from school and go see a movie. (My brother and sis.in.law just did this.)
4. Sort through your books and give away some of them to friends. Include a sweet note.
5. Learn to crochet or knit.
6. Take a long bubble bath. Enjoy lots of candles and a favorite beverage, as well.
7. Send a letter to your pastor (and his family) thanking them for his faithful service. Mention specific ways his ministry has blessed your family. If you have the funds, enclose a gift card for coffee or dinner.
8. Read that LONG book that you have always planned on reading. (You can do it, you can finish it by spring.)
9. Have breakfast for dinner.
10. Rearrange the living room furniture. Sometimes, it is fun to think outside the box. In our new apartment, we switched the living room and the dining room. We love it.
11. Plan a long afternoon visit with a friend you have not seen for awhile.
12. If your kids are grown, borrow some kids and make cut-out cookies. (You can use premade dough, if you want to save time.) Trader Joes has a cute "cookie workshop" in a box. For under $4 it includes the mix for dough, premade frosting, several colors of sugar and 3 cookie cutters.)
13. Re-read some of your favorite books. (Have you ever read Jan Karon's Mitford series?)
14. Buy (or bring home from the library) a new cookbook and fix meals from it for one month. (Christy just bought Lucinda Scala Quinns' Mad Hungry and has been making some delicious meals at her house.)
15. Go "technology-less" every Sunday and find some peace and quiet in your sabbath.
16. Memorize a verse. I just learned Romans 15:13 - "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."
17. Memorize a chapter of the Bible.
18. Memorize an entire book of the Bible. I am kinda scared, but I just started Colossians. (See link below.)
19. Change the pictures on your walls and the arrangements on your end tables . . . by shopping your own house.
20. Have bananas and nutella for dinner. I did this last week when my husband was away. YUM.
21. Buy new pillows for your master bedroom (goodbye, dust mites.)
22. Take ten or twenty dollars to IKEA and see how many inexpensive things you can purchase, to give your home a little lift.
23. Mail your husband a love letter . . . let me count the ways style.
24. Find a tired "mother of preschoolers" and take her kids to McDonalds for lunch and time to play on the playground. Bring them home just in time for naps.
25. Buy pretty postage stamps. I love the floral ones.
26. Drink more water. You will love how good this makes you feel. And drink it in a lovely goblet.
27. If it has been awhile, replace your old "you fill in the blank". (mop, broom, underwear, kitchen knife, bathroom rug etc.) Please, do not write the name of your husband, kids or roommate in this blank. :)
28. Start a gratitude journal. Have your antennae up to recognize special things to be grateful for, that you might not usually notice.
29. Get Skype. It is free and you can enjoy some lovely visits with far away friends and family. Since we just moved, I am a big fan of Skype.
30. Write a long newsy letter to a missionary family that serves overseas.
31. Plan an afternoon in the town where you live and see some tourists sites. (Have you ever been to the gum wall in Seattle?)
32. Spend some time praying for a military family who is having a long lonely winter while their spouse is overseas. If they live near, invite them over.
33. Put something yellow in your kitchen. It will cheer you every morning when you come in to make coffee.
34. Reread some of your favorite childhood books. (Miracle on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen, From the Mixed Up File of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, The Betsy-Tacy Books, by Maud Hart Lovelace, Heidi by Johanna Spyri etc.)
35. Listen to Christmas music, while making Toll House chocolate chip cookies. Then take cookies to your neighbors. (I enjoy Christmas music year round - when I am the only one home.)
36. Write a comment on a blog that you have been reading a long time. Really, it is easy and you can do it.
37. Spend a whole day at a bookshop. Read one of those books that looks interesting, that is not one you would actually want on your shelf. Enjoy a cup of coffee while you are there.
38. Finish "that project" . . . slowly but surely. (organizing your photos, the quilt you started five years ago etc.)
39. Try a new food. I spent the night at our daughters' home last week. They fixed risotto for dinner. I had never had it before and it was delicious.
40. Start a new ritual. My friend, C and B, have coffee every day at 2:00. They stop whatever they are doing, hit the button on the coffee pot (that they set up that morning) and enjoy a rest. Every single day.
41. Enjoy dusk. Do not close your curtains until you have really noticed and enjoyed the beautiful evening sky. It is one of my favorite times of the day.
42. Walk somewhere that you would usually drive. When the girls were here over the Christmas, we bundled up and walked to the coffee shop. It was cold outside, but very fun anyway.
43. Order some new catalogues to browse. They are free, you know. We Childers women are currently obsessed with several British catalogues. (Persephone, Toast, Cath Kidson, Boden)
44. Go to Anthropologie. Do not buy anything. Just enjoy all those beautiful clothes, dishes, books, door knobs etc. You will go away inspired and feeling creative. (This also works for me at Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn or West Elm.)
45. Set aside a quiet hour, and ask God if there is anything he wants to say to you . . . and listen. Remember, He loves you and wants a relationship with you.
46. Try a new flavor of tea.
47. Re-read all the Christmas cards and letters that you got. It is fun in the relaxed pace of winter. It is a great time to update you address book, as well. Then throw the cards away. (gasp!)
48. Have a pajama day . . . for me this is a relaxing, puttery kind of day, which usually includes watching a favorite movie.
49. Switch your cleaning supplies to organic chemically free ones. There are several inexpensive options at Target - Method, Mrs. Meyer or Caldrea. You will love how your house smells and your body will thank you, too.
50. Order a favorite TV series from Netflix and enjoy it one or two nights a week. Dave and I love to do this. Last winter we watched Foyles War. (So good!) Over the holidays, we watched the first season of 24. (So scary!) We are about to begin Friday Night Lights. (Other series that we have enjoyed - The Unit, West Wing, Jericho)
**If you have been slowly working your way through this list, the primrose you purchased for #1 is looking pretty sad. Go get another one, and choose one with lots of little buds in the middle, so it will last a long time.
HAPPY WINTER, FRIENDS. What are your favorite winter activities?