The (Affordable) Parents’ 2021 Winter Survival Kit

By Emma Grace Brown, guest writer

No matter what, winter is always a challenging time for parents. It’s cold out, there’s not a ton to do, and kids and parents alike start to get pretty stir crazy. However, this year promises to be an even tougher time for many. Lots of families aren’t going to be comfortable with the sort of indoor activities and gatherings that have been winter-weather go-tos in previous years. 

We want to help you come up with ways to make this winter fun, despite the difficulties. To that end, we’ve come up with this 2020 Winter Survival Kit. We know money is tight for many families right now, so we’ve gone out of our way to make sure the list includes tips to keep these items budget-friendly. We hope it inspires you to have a safe, healthy, enjoyable winter: 

Outdoor Gear 

If you plan to meet up with people this winter, odds are it’s going to be outdoors. Since indoor gatherings are far higher risk than the alternative, it only makes sense to get out in the fresh air to see the people we love. If you want to meet outside in winter, however, you need good, comfortable, and most importantly, warm gear so it’s actually pleasant to be outside. 

Start with warm winter coats for the whole family. Grown-ups might be able to keep using their coat from last year, but kids tend to grow out of seasonal items before the next cold snap comes around. Outlet malls and shops like Nordstrom Rack are great options when buying for kids. You’ll get high-quality items without the sticker shock. Consider donating the coats your kids have grown out of to a local coat drive to help kids in need stay warm. 

Virtual Activities 

Using virtual means of connection, such as Zoom calls or video games, allow your family to stay in touch with non-household loved ones without risking catching or spreading COVID-19. If you don’t have a video game console, however, it’s easy to feel left out of the virtual fun. The good news is, there are tons of ways to play games with people virtually, no console required. 

There are plenty of online board games that only need a laptop, phone, or tablet for players to join. You can also check out hidden identity games such as Spyfall. Since this kind of game is based more on conversation and interaction than pieces or movement, it naturally lends itself to the video chat experience. Even party games like charades work surprisingly well over video chat! Stay creative and keep an open mind, and you’ll find tons of fun ways to connect online. 

Creative Play 

Finally, we recommend picking up art supplies and embracing creative play over the coming months. Studies have shown that, while the pandemic has made creativity harder, it’s also made it far more important. Art and other creative tasks go a long way toward working out the stress and anxiety the pandemic causes. Moreover, arts are notoriously underfunded in schools, so it might introduce your child to a passion they might not have discovered otherwise. 

A great way to find affordable art supplies is to look for a local second-hand craft shop. These are becoming more and more popular as people become more focused on reducing waste. If you can’t find one near you, you can also check out sales and coupons for local art and office supply stores. 

This winter, focus on finding low-cost ways to keep the whole family connected and entertained. Go gentle on yourself if the stress starts to wear on you, and give yourself space to mourn the winter you might have had. It’s always a challenge to be stuck inside, but creative thought (and lots of self-compassion) can make it easier. 

See more home and parenting hacks at Lumber in My Minivan.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Life with the Lumbers: What we’ve been up to!

We enjoyed a low-key, no big deal weekend at home this past week.

Little Miss Daisy Mae loves looking out the window. You can bet if you open the blinds for her, she’ll be sure to check up on the happenings outdoors.

We removed a ton collar from a post in our backyard and found a colony of ladybugs! Since I like ladybugs, I thought this was pretty neat.

I also tried on my old pointe shoes and realized two things: my ankles are not as strong as they used to be and my shoes are too small. I have been thinking about taking an adult ballet class.

Then, we dragged out our hammock, which we strung up between two trees. Who knew a hammock could be so entertaining?

Then, we had some fun with a fallen tree in our woods. Nature’s playground.

We finished up our weekend with a little trampoline fun. Sometimes a little low key weekend at home is just what you need to recharge.

And it was an absolute blast.

Saturday Smiles

We have been kind of AWOL this week, and for good reason. We will be taking Monday off but things should be returning to normal on Wednesday. Hopefully, I’ll have a finished fireplace to show you.

This little lady won herself a trophy and a crown at her dance competition last weekend, and will be headed to Nationals for a pageant in June.

emorie competition

This tiny girl had a birthday this week- she turned four and had a blast celebrating.

img_1549

I took this creeper shot of my hubby and added a sweet caption on social media. He’s used to my silliness by now 🙂

18B5D391-603A-4040-89DF-4F426B1044AD

And we have been working hard to finish the antique fireplace we are refinishing, and to finish our living room and back porch projects.

I also found this hilarious sign and nearly bought it for my classroom.

IMG_2215

We are so close to being finished but trying to get a little more done. I can’t wait to show you everything when we are done.

Until then, have a safe and observant Veteran’s Day. Dont forget to thank a veteran for their service and sacrifice. We will see you Wednesday with a fireplace update 🙂

Favorite things Friday: Ways to Observe Memorial Day

 

flag of u s a standing near tomb
Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

For many people, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. While many of us use the three day weekend to go on vacation, have cookouts, and visit family members, this is not the true reason for the holiday.

Memorial Day is a day to observe the fallen military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. While all of those things are nice, we need to make sure that we and our children understand why we celebrate Memorial Day. There are many ways we can do this.

white and red flag
Photo by Aaron Schwartz on Pexels.com

1. Put out flags at Veteran’s cemeteries

I used to live near a huge military cemetery. Every Veteran’s and Memorial Day, the local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion would put flags in front of the graves of each veteran. They also did this at the graves of veterans in other cemeteries. You can imagine this is quite a time consuming task, and occasionally they look for volunteers to help with this. What better way to observe our country’s fallen soldiers than displaying flags at their graves?

belief bible book business
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

2. By visiting religious services of your choosing

Many churches across the country will observe Memorial Day with a special service or special music. Many towns and local governments also conduct interfaith services for the holiday.

men standing near flags
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

3. Flying the flag half-staff until noon

If you have a flag pole, it is customary to fly your flag at half-staff until noon. If you do not have a flag pole, you may choose to fly a banner or flag simply in support of our military.

Another way to observe Memorial Day is to simply stop what youre doing at 3 P.M. local time and pause to reflect upon Memorial Day and what it means.

man in black coat carrying a rifle walking in straight line during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

May we never forget the sacrifices these brave men and women made so that we could continue to live free.

Lumber in My Minivan will resume regular schedule next Tuesday. Have a safe, wonderful and reflective Memorial weekend.

Happy Birthday, America!

screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-11-39-59-pm.png

Here at Organized and Simplified, we’re wishing you a happy, safe, and fun July 4th. Happy birthday, America. You’re looking pretty good for 242 years old.

We will see you back on Friday. Have a wonderful Independence Day holiday.