I’m not usually one for a Word of the Year but when life took an unexpected turn for the whole world, I knew we would need something special to get us through. The first word that came to mind was NOVELTY. As the world shut down around us, I knew we would need to find ways to keep life interesting when so much would be the same each day. As homeschoolers, there were less changes for our family than others when it came to our routine, but it was still a struggle to be home everyday and have all our activities within the four walls of our home and no escape from each other. We found some ways to stay busy and have new experiences.
Novelty doesn’t have to be big expensive experiences with special effort and planning. It can be as simple as putting someone else in charge of dinner or learning a new skill from a YouTube video! We have added new family games to our life, tried new foods, and learned new skills to name a few of the ways we have kept life interesting this year.
As a family, we tried new things in the kitchen this year. Without the need to be places, we were not rushed for meals so we were more creative with our eating. The eleven year-old started cooking dinner once a week, while the ten and seven year old started helping in the kitchen more regularly. We even added baking lessons to our school routine this fall. Our family also ventured to try carryout from several local restaurants we had never visited before.
We also tried some new flavors which quickly became family favorites. The boys and I made chocolate covered pretzels for the first time, which was a hit. We made more batches as the year went on. We also experimented with Yum Yum sauce. Yum Yum Sauce is the light colored hibachi sauce found at Japanese Hibachi steakhouses. It’s not spicy but has a small kick from Horseradish. We enjoy it on sweet potato fries and have tried it on other kinds of meat.
When we started to realize life might change in March, I stocked up on activity kits and projects. I was fearful everyone would get bored being home and I hoped that creating novelty would keep things interesting. I signed up for a few months of Kiwi Crates. We had received these in the past and they led to hours of imaginative play after the projects were done. Each Crate includes 2-3 activities on a theme. We have received projects that are a single use as well as projects that were able to be reused in their imaginative play.
The 11 year-old enjoys the Doodle Crate from the same company, which is a single art project. I love that these projects include everything in the box and I don’t have to go shopping. The Doodle Crate projects are more involved than what we would attempt otherwise and she has enjoyed the final project each time.
We also invested this year in new family activities. While we couldn’t visit the local pool we were able to find one for our backyard. We also bought a fire pit for Father’s Day and used it all season. The pool was a great way to cool off and provide the soothing sensory feedback the kids usually get at the city pool. The kids made up new games to play in the different space with the few friends they did get to see. Buying a fire pit led to many evenings of s’mores treats and fireside bedtime stories. Everyone learned to roast the perfect marshmallow over the fire, a very important camping skill.
Living Life Differently
As life continues to be limited at our house, I find more creativity happening. When the routine gets dull I watch the kids rediscover an old toy they haven’t played with in months and the lack of outside activities changes our priorities at home. Life can even revolve around our newly instituted movie nights.
Do you have a Word or theme for the coming year?