Wow. The entire planet is one sick puppy with Covid-19 at the moment.
Dr. Deborah Birx is the one I’m watching, with her fancy scarves and outstanding mind. Majored in chemistry, MD Colonel in the Army, infectious disease specialist, and, in my view, the best voice to stand at the podium and tell us what’s going on.
While we’re waiting for the planet to heal, we’re all looking for things to do during our isolation. I perused cyberspace and collected some ideas, then added some of my own.
1. Sew personal, washable cloth face masks.
Youtube video HERE. These cloth reversible face masks are being requested across the nation. They are not surgical grade, but they are better than nothing. I’m making them for my Dad’s assisted living facility (ALF.) Each person can use the same one all day, then take it home to wash with a powered bleach or Borax. The next morning, it’s ready to use again. Make some for a local ALF, a post office, grocery store, any establishment that is still open. Offer them to your local hospital. It’s a GREAT way to put scraps and excess thread to use.
2. Pull out the games.
Board games or playing cards. Create Tic-Tac-Toe or Hangman sheets. (We’ve been playing Runny and Spades with a deck of cards from Shutterfly that has pics of our grandson on it.) These are face-to-face activities we used to do before we replaced our human interactions with screens.
3. Clean stuff.
Anything, or everything. I’ve bleached our bathrooms and surface areas. You can make sanitary wipes by pouring equal parts of bleach and water into a bowl. Use old washcloths or cut up towels/t-shirts as rags. Pour any unused solution into the toilet and let soak before flushing. So far, bottled bleach is easier to find than Clorox or Lysol canister wipes, which have disappeared from the planet.
4. Clean out the ‘fridge.
How often does anybody do that? My excuse is that I never have time. Also, it’s kind of a big, messy job that’s no fun. Well, it’s still a big, messy job that’s no fun, but I now have the time. When life returns to ‘normal’, it will be delightful to have a clean refrigerator.
5. Catch up on laundry.
This is an obvious one.
But then, go a step further and wash items that don’t get regular attention: throw blankets, throw rugs, armchair drapes, curtains, mattress pads, pillows, knit hats, scarves, and gloves.
6. Make this hot drink.
If you’re sick, (Covid-19 or not – we happen to have some sinus infections going on at the moment), or you’re in a cold climate, sip on this soothing beverage. It’s our take on Starbucks’ Medicine Ball.
Mix up a batch of canned, frozen lemonade. Pour as much as you want to into a pan to simmer on the stove (we keep ours on ‘melt’.) Keep the rest in the ‘fridge for later servings.
Place a tea bag or two in a cup. Peach and citrus/mint are the two flavors Starbucks uses in their Medicine Ball, but you can probably use any flavors you like and 1-2 tea bags. This is the flavor I like.
Add some hot lemonade to the cup, at least to the halfway point. Add some water to fill the cup if desired. You can also fill the cup with lemonade. Diluting the lemonade or not, and to what degree, is up to you.
Let the drink steep for a minute or two – the lemonade, water (or not), and the tea bags (1-2) of your choice.
Sip the drink to soothe sore throats, unclog noses, or just keep you toasty warm. The lemonade cuts through mucus and loosens congestion. It’s widely modifiable by changing tea flavors and numbers of bags. The only constant is hot lemonade. (Lemon in hot tea or water has always been recommended for treating colds.) You can also add honey if you prefer the tartness to be tempered. While we’ve been sick, we’ve kept hot lemonade on the stove all day.
7. Get outside.
Take a walk around the block, stomp through nearby woods, ride your bike, or toss a football or frisbee in the back yard. We don’t have to stay inside, just six feet away from people we’re not entrenched with.
8. Start a journal.
Maybe just about this time of Covid-19 lockdown, or maybe one for the year. Kids home from school can jot down a few things every day – highs and lows, frustrating things, blessings, etc. Give it a theme, or not. Add drawings, colors.
9. Call someone you’ve been meaning to call, but never do.
Think of grandparents, or friends you’d like to catch up with. Remember…it seems everyone is sitting at home looking for things to do. You’ll probably catch that person you never seem to be able to reach. Touch base with someone who needs your forgiveness, or vice versa. Mend a relationship.
10. Pull out photo albums.
Browse through old photos. Clean out as you go. Toss duplicates, blurry shots, old boy/girlfriends, pictures of yourself you hate, etc. On occasion, I’ve emptied old albums completely, and I’m currently storing photos saved by year or event in this clear carry-all with smaller boxes inside. Photos can also be stored in gallon zippered bags. Here’s a link to this one I found at Michaels. (You can surely find them elsewhere online as well.)
This is a great time to reorganize photos. Think ahead – after you’re gone, do you want your kids to have to sort through all your pictures?
11. Bake some treats for delivery.
If you like to bake…now’s the time. I made cinnamon rolls this week and we delivered them to my Dad’s assisted living facility. A staff member met our daughter at the front door to receive the pan. (My Dad’s ALF is on lockdown.) I wanted the workers to know we appreciate the extra work they’ve been doing since the arrival of Covid-19. Take goodies to postal workers, Fire Stations, your local ER. Simply hand a plate/tray of well-wrapped goodies to whoever greets you at the door. Health workers and first responders need extra love these days.
12. Go through bookshelves.
As you dust off your books, reevaluate what you really want to keep. Set items you don’t want/need anymore aside for donation. I did this with one bookcase the first week we were told to stay home, and I ended up with half a cleared shelf. Do the same thing with your DVDs/CDs.
13. Flip through Pinterest.
Choose a project/craft to start and complete. If you have kids at home, let them choose something as well. Return to Pinterest as often as needed.
14. Clean all the ceiling fan blades.
They’re dirtier than you think. Make it easy by slipping a damp pillowcase over the blades to contain all the dust.
15. Consider your will.
If you have one, update it. If you don’t have one, write one. Everybody drags their feet on this, but here’s why it’s important.
16. Clean out your spice cabinet.
In my kitchen, I recently found a small canister of cumin from 2011. Good grief. Spices do lose their potency. I chucked a few things and now bottles fit nicely into two small baskets I can easily pull out of and slide back into the cabinet.
17. Take lots of naps.
Nobody gets enough sleep. Now is the time.
18. Scroll through TV like never before.
All those shows/movies you want to watch/catch up on? Make a list. If you’ve never seen LOST, or just love it like I do…Hulu…all six seasons are available. Sixteen years later, it’s still groundbreaking and riveting. Best television ever.
19. Check out the Cincinnati Zoo.
Starting last week, the Cincinnati Zoo is live-streaming animals. Check this site for full info.
20. Finish your taxes.
You now have until July, but once Covid-19 has passed, you’ll be back to your life and won’t want to do it then. Get it over with now.
21. Go through make-up/nail polishes.
Mascara older than six months is full of germs. Smell things, shake things, toss what’s old, dried up, no longer used. Wipe out your make-up drawer/case with a rag dipped in bleach water (See #3.)
22. Catch up on reading.
That book you been wanting to get to? Now is the time. Maybe you’ll stumble across said book while doing #12. Here are the books I’m working my way through. (Gotta love Joann’s coupon sheet bookmarks.)
23. Hose your house.
How often do we spray the outside of our homes? Hose off the bugs and bird doo-doo. Spray under the eaves to clear out leaves and debris. Spray all screens and doors. Then wipe off all knobs/handles with a bleach-water rag.
24. Memorize something.
The presidents, the state flowers, John Grisham books, all the family birthdays…whatever floats your boat.
25. Hide a sock.
Stuff a sock in a couch cushion (or in any hiding place), then tell your family 5 bucks goes to whoever finds it. This could take a week.
26. Learn to make an origami creature.
Swans are easier than you think. Here’s a good tutorial.
27. Write letters.
Yep, old fashioned letters with stamps and everything. Grandparents especially love getting mail. Have the kids draw a picture to include.
28. Do yard work.
Mow the lawn and weed-whack. Show junior how those tasks are done. Pressure-wash the driveway. Scrub out trash cans and recycle bins.
29. Clean the garage.
Everyone can be involved in this one. Go through boxes and bins you haven’t looked in for years. Pitch and reorganize. Wipe down the washer and dryer. Go through tools and toss rusty/broken or duplicate items. Get rid of worn-thin or deflated balls. Donate toys that kids have outgrown. Check paint cans for what’s still good and what has solidified. Sweep the floor.
30. Make soups.
V-8 makes a wonderful tomato base, and chicken stock (homemade or boxed/canned) makes a good clear base.
For any soup, saute whatever veggies you like. Add desired seasonings. Stir in leftover proteins (chicken or beef or beans) to punch up the hearty aspect. Add the large can of V-8, or a quart of stock (chicken, beef or veggie.) Add water as needed/desired. Simmer until veggies are tender and the kitchen smells great. Here’s our favorite V-8 based soup recipe – easy peasy.
31. Make this healthy snack.
If you’re like me, you’re eating more during this Covid-19 lockdown. It’s something to do, right? Well, here’s a healthy snack that will give you a bit of sweet, while filling the tummy.
32. Go through your clothes.
Start with one drawer. Donate or toss what you don’t wear. One drawer doesn’t take long. Tackle a second drawer or a section of your closet. Every time I inventory my clothes, I end up with more room. If you feel really ambitious, follow the Konmari method and dump every item of clothing on your bed. This makes you see how much excess clothing you really have. This is when I think of the poor and get motivated to donate. Here’s my experience with Konmari.
33. Clean out your emails.
I started looking through my 1600 email messages and came across two important ones I had somehow missed completely. I’ve deleted 600 messages. Still working on this one.
34. Learn something from YouTube.
Always wanted to build a birdhouse? Want to know how to replace the innards of a toilet? Learn fancy braids? There are videos for those and just about anything else you’d like to learn.
35. Create menus.
Take inventory of your ‘fridge and pantry. Plan meals based on using only what you already have. If Covid-19 gets worse before it gets better, getting to the store might become more problematic.
36. Stretch, stretch, stretch.
Reading for hours, or binge-watching TV will make muscles stiff. Try some Yoga moves; the basics are HERE and feel really good.
37. Do crossword puzzles or sudoku.
At Boatload Puzzles, you can download puzzles for free. Do one a day.
38. Make meatballs.
Cook up a double batch of meatballs and freeze them for later meals when you’re back to work and life is crazy again.
39. Fill out your census form.
You can do it online.
40. Read a proverb or psalm a day.
Lotsa wisdom in there. And reminders that God’s still in charge. Covid-19 was not a surprise to Him.
41. Create your bucket list.
Write down everything you want to do before you leave the planet. Start big and jot everything down. A day or two later, review the list and pare it down to significant activities you will actually work towards.
42. Take Vitamin C.
Take 500 mg. twice a day. You can’t take too much, because your body eliminates the excess. We get sick when our immune system is weakened, and vitamin C is an immune booster. Even when the Covid-19 crisis has passed, keep taking C.
43. Make pillowcases.
If you like to sew, this is a fun, easy project. You only need one yard of fabric. Another creative way to clean out your fabric stash. Make pillowcases for your family, friends, or loved ones far away,
44. Buy this brownie pan.
Yes, it’s pricey, but you will never need to buy it again. Using this pan, and this recipe for Ballpark Brownies, you will forever make the best brownies you’ve ever had. You can bake these brownies in other pans if you want, but they are not the same. The Baker’s Edge pan creates the right thickness for a good brownie and creates a crunchy edge for every bite. I don’t get any kick-back from Baker’s Edge. They don’t even know I exist, I simply love the pan.
45. Don’t watch Covid-19 news nonstop.
Once a day for a Covid-19 update is enough. After that, do other things until tomorrow’s update. A steady diet of how sick the country is will create more anxiety than is healthy. We might be quarantined for a while, so don’t overload on dire news. It won’t help you get through your day. In your “non-news” viewing, be sure to watch some light-hearted, funny stuff. I Love Lucy or Home Improvement reruns give me the giggles.
46. And appreciate the difference between “social distancing” and physical distancing.
What we need to maintain is physical distance. Because of social media, we’re all still socially in touch via Facebook, Facetime, Twitter, Instagram, email, phone calls, and myriad other avenues. For all its headaches, today’s technology is shining at the moment. If Covid-19 had appeared just thirty years ago…we would be battier than we are now.
Mare in the dugout