A new puzzle. This is our third Mudpuppy puzzle, and it’s Kaleido-Beetles! I like Mudpuppy puzzles because they have three pictures of the finished puzzle for reference as you go, making it easier for 3 or more people to work on the puzzle.
I live in Minnesota, where snowy forecasts threaten and chapped lips are a way of life.
Despite a desire for a little more elbow room, I simply cannot bring myself to banish my children out to the frozen tundra on restless January afternoons.
So, I, with many other hearty Midwest parents, have been forced to plan creative indoor activities, thereby saving our kids’ eyes from electronic combustion.
Here are three indoor activities to offer your children — and if the parents play along, the fun rate exponentially increases…
Puzzles may look like a simple, slow activity, but working jigsaw puzzles is actually a brain-building, skill-building pastime. Jigsaw puzzlesenhance problem-solving skills, improve learning, support social interaction, and generate a feeling of accomplishment.
Puzzles are an absorbing, therapeutic activity that can last days or weeks. If you have a spare table where a puzzle-in-progress can stay available, this is optimum. (We don’t; we just let the puzzle take over the dining room table until it’s completed.)
Jigsaw puzzles are great for many ages (but not all — watch those tiny pieces and keep your babies away.)Puzzles are beneficial for older people, too; they stimulate the brain and may delay the onset of dementia.
Kids can listen to audiobooks while they draw, build, or work puzzles. Audiobooks are also great for car trips — long or short.
Young readers can listen to an audiobook while they read along with the print version and reluctant readers who aren’t enthusiastic about print books can be wooed into a love of reading with audiobooks. (True story.)
Audiobook narrators are usually awesome, and they transport a child right into the pages of the book. Some of our favorite audiobooks for kids include:
Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries
Chronicles of Narnia
Mysterious Benedict Society Series
Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Note: We listened to three (Hardy Boys) audiobooks while we worked the Ocean Life puzzle shown at the beginning of this post.
Okay, this one was dredged up from my childhood math class (thank you, Mr. Kesti) and it’s more educational than it is pure fun. But, approached creatively, Krypto can be a pleasant addition to your indoor arsenal of activities.
There is a commercial version ofKrypto, but this is how we play it at home, without buying the game:
Choose 5 cards from a joker-less deck of cards.
Write those numbers on a white board.
Choose one more number and write it at the bottom.
Everyone looks at the board and tries to find a way to use all top 5 numbers to get the target number at the bottom.
You can add, subtract, multiply and divide the numbers until the target number is reached.
This uses all of the numbers, and the result is the target number (2) at the bottom.
When someone arrives at the target number, she yells, “KRYPTO!” and demonstrates how she got the answer.
We keep track of points and play it regularly as part of our homeschooling routine.
If your kids take to it, you can plan a lively Krypto tournament.
With or without competition, you’ll have some fun and keep math skills sharp over the holidays. Krypto is also a great low-key summer activity – a great way to stay math-savvy over school break. For more explanation, here’s a Krypto video.
Whether you live where it’s cold, or just need some rainy day ideas, hopefully you will enjoy some of this indoor fun that keeps Minnesotans snowbound but smiling until March.
I like a clean living space, but, cleaning is not a cherished hobby of mine. I generally value clutter-free over dust-free.
Years ago, my Spanish friend Ana invited me into her small apartment. I was amazed at how shiny-sparkly-clean it was and I commented on it.
“Yes, I like to do this!” Ana bubbled enthusiastically. I’ve never forgotten her radiant response; scrubbing the home spotless was a happy thing for her.
My Norwex-selling friend recently educated me on the stunning benefits of micro-fiber cleaning.
I’m totally not going to have a Norwex party, but I appreciated her zeal and knowledge; I really learned something.
For a recent birthday, my daughter gave me a cleaning tote, stuffed with Mrs. Meyer’s sprays and other goodies. Was this gift a not-so-subtle hint, because she knows my housecleaning flaws? Hmmm….
Anyway, cleaning is more fun, now that I have Mrs. Meyer’s help.
I will now awkwardly transition to some brief thoughts about spiritual cleaning.
I was reading my Bible the other day and I cannot remember exactly what I was reading. I didn’t feel spiritually dirty and didn’t set out be to be purposefully “washed” that day, but suddenly I truly felt God’s words cascading over me, cleansing me.
As I have chewed on this the last few days, I have felt that reading God’s word is a powerful spiritual cleaning agent because:
It reminds me whose I am
It purifies my life perspective
It shines a loving light onto my heart
It pours hope down on me
It showers comfort over my soul
It cleanses festering wounds
It removes destructive thoughts and damaging lies.
“…wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7
“The Gospel is a cleansing agent, for it is the good news of Christ’s atoning death at Calvary. The Word is a cleansing agent also for sanctification. That’s why it’s important for us to read and study the Scriptures; they are a cleansing agent in our lives. It’s amazing what the Word of God will do with people when they read and study it. — John MacArthur
It’s been over a month since I have logged in, but I haven’t been idle. This is what I have been up to:
My husband got home from out-of-state and he came back eating Keto. The man I married 29 years ago thought eating bacon was scandalous — but now he embraces bacon as a legitimate thing, and I don’t have to hide eating it anymore!
This was the best ever year for field trips. We attended two homeschool ski days; joined a free program at the Paint Factory; visited the Amazon Fulfillment Center; toured the St. Cloud Hospital; saw the Sea Life Aquarium on homeschool week; jumped at a Trampoline Park and went to the fish fry after the last day of pick-up hockey at the local ice rink.
So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Did we finish our history or math books? Nope.
However, I consider this year fruitful in other ways, because…
We got to see the underbellies of sharks, real sea turtles and God’s creativity with jellyfish — and write about it.
My youngest boys got to ski for the first time.
My three teenagers got to experience the joy of group painting, and brought home their masterpieces. (The one who most reluctantly attended was the same one who proudly set his finished canvas next to his desk at home.)
We saw how robotics works in a hospital operating room AND how robotics works in an Amazon warehouse.
On the creative side, I’m dabbling in tote bags again, thanks to a request from a friend’s daughter. The tote bags I create make use of old wool sweaters, discarded men’s dress shirts, and empty burlap bags. After years of sewing with zipper avoidance, I’m officially not afraid of zippers anymore.
Lastly, my husband and I took a preventative health test from Life Line. It’s a mobile set-up that moves you through simple tests like blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and then uses ultrasound to check for artery blockage.
But, here’s the interesting scenario: My husband, who:
works out almost every day
carries minimal spare body fat
can let a chocolate bar sit unopened in his closet for 5 months
…got only fair blood test scores. It was surprising.
I tried to feel bad for him.
But, all the while I was pleasantly surprised at my own excellent scores, since I:
have been virtually sedentary all winter long (except for the field trips I mentioned)
have oodles of spare body fat
can’t let a chocolate bar sit unopened for 5 minutes
I tried to console him. I did some online research on his behalf and it might have something to do with sleep…
Speaking of sleep, I just found the word for my kind of nap: Nappuccino. A nappuccino is when you want to take a 20-minute power nap but not go longer than that. So, you drink a cup of coffee right before your nap and then the caffeine wakes you up just when you should wake up.
I didn’t know it was a *thing*…but turns out it is 🙂
I have been griping about the snow in my spirit –and aloud– and I have been groaning about how –or if –we can maneuver through our long and perilous driveway.
Today, I just looked at the snow falling gently down from the sky and thought:
“Well, then. Let it come.”
I’m strangely content today. I told everyone it’s a day to stay in our pajamas. I baked up those cookie dough balls from the freezer that have survived the nibblers. And right now I’m making a double batch of brownies.
Has my body entered a state of hibernation — one where I’m subconsciously adding layers of fat to sustain me until the snow melts?
Is my mind slightly sedated, which would explain my docile–or perhaps numb–outlook on life?
Yesterday, however, was a day of sweeping reforms.
Do you find that your best ideas come to you early in the morning
Or late at night?
Or, perhaps in the middle of the night?
That happened to me yesterday as my clock rang early and I sat in a dark room.
Inspiration drifted down to me like a gentle, welcome snowfall, telling me:
We are too distracted by devices. We need to corral our dependence on phones and tablets. We need to organize our use of technology and vary our interests. Everyone seems to default to devices when they don’t have anything to do. This is not how we started out. This will not help us.
So yesterday was a day to roll out the new rules. Phone and tablets will stay in a basket in the middle of the table. We will use them from 3:00 to 4:00. There will be exceptions, of course, but this will be our goal. Surprisingly, it seemed as if everyone was relieved instead of being upset.
I told everyone we will have a contest to name our hour of device-using-time.
“How about Happy Hour?” I heard someone say.
There’s something truly beautiful about this snow.
It’s a clean, firm covering over everything that has finally surrendered to winter.
It’s a white quilt on an already fattened landscape.
We have received an average of one inch plus per day of snow this last month — February, 2019. [40 inches total in February and we are getting more today, March 1st.]
My daughter and I were sitting in the kitchen, when I casually threw out the phrase: “rhetorical question” in conversation.
Suddenly, she reacted as if someone had scratched their fingernails down a chalkboard.
With a smile, she admitted that misuse / overuse of the phrase is a current pet peeve of hers! Then, we enjoyed some friendly banter alternated with Google searches for the proper defining of “rhetorical question.”
Can you imagine having that as a pet peeve?*
[ Was that a rhetorical question*? see definition below. ]
I feel that my grievances are slightly more normal, but you may disagree:
Drips of dirty wet boot slush that stretch across a kitchen floor
Used dental floss and dental floss picks in places other than the garbage
Dryer lint left on top of the dryer
When people say “Aldi’s” instead of “Aldi” (Picky, I know)
Any song by Neil Diamond
An unnecessary apostrophe used in a word that happens to have an “S”. (Are you with me on that one, Sara?)
Speaking of literary terms, I experienced something rather ironic last night.
I was writing a health supplement article — late into the night. The article centered around melatonin, the hormone involved with the human sleep cycle. It’s fascinating how melatonin:
is produced when light decreases in one’s surroundings
is released by an amazing, intricate system in the body which includes the optic nerve sensing a lack of light and sending proper signals to the brain
is intertwined with our circadian rhythm of sleep and wakefulness
I will get to the irony, but I must interject here that reading and writing about melatonin and the intricate workings of the human body reminded me that:
My Creator is an unparalleled engineer, masterpiecing to the rhythms and designs He’s planted everywhere in His creation!
Now back to the irony:
I wrote far too late into the early morning hours — disrupting pools of melatonin, I’m sure.
And, after completing the article on sleep, I proceeded to have the worst night of sleep I’ve had in years. Cold toes, unsatisfying pillow placement, hearing mysterious noises — the whole works.
How ironic, eh?*
What’s your pet peeve? Perhaps your list includes: blog posts where people whine about a poor night’s sleep, don’t get to the point, or make lists of unsolicited facts about body chemicals? Or people who scatter dashes and ellipses like grass seed? Care to share?
*rhetorical question: a question asked in order to create a dramatic effect or to make a point rather than to get an answer.