I’ve realised lately how much happiness it brings me making things with my hands. If your brain and hands are engaged together, it means everything else shuts off and it quietens life down. Even with writing I find that to be the case. You are mentally and physically focussed on what you’re doing and unable to think of anything else. This week has been busy, between kids, school runs, writing two books, socialising and I even attended a rally. When your schedule is busy, I think it’s important to offset that with downtime. So, I have made this morning and this afternoon a time of rest and a time to reconnect with my kids and with what I want in life.
I’m always juggling too many ideas in my head of projects I want to start and there are never enough hours in the day to do them all. I have had a dress pattern sitting cut out for weeks and I still haven’t found the time to use any fabric. I wanted to make time for arts and making jewellery, but I’ve been writing 4000 words a day, and that doesn’t time for much else.
While I was helping my kids make cards today, I realised how essential it is to make time for creative hobbies that don’t require a lot of brainpower. I was cutting out pictures from magazines so they could use them to cover cards and I found the process of cutting things out and looking for pictures soothing. It has made me think about taking up scrapbooking, in addition to everything else I’ve planned to do!
Sometimes I think it is just as important to schedule in relaxation as it is chores. I could clean my house constantly and it would always look the same, or I can sit down and do something creative for half of that time and have something to show for it at the end. It’s essential for your mental health to just sit and do nothing sometimes, or if you have a mind as annoyingly active as mine, close to nothing.
Sometimes the weather overrules your plans and dictates what you’re going to do. For example, I wouldn’t dare to drive in frost again after a recent skid in the snow. So, when the weather is chilly we won’t be covering a great distance, but that makes us enjoy nearby nature and cosy comforts more.
Here are a few frugal things to do on a cold day:
- Winter walks. I love going for wrapped-up walks on winter days. It makes you appreciate the warmth even more once you retreat indoors. You can go to watch the sea when it is rough, go to a park, or just wander around and see what you find. My kids like to fill their pockets with leaves, pine cones and twigs along the way.
- Scrapbooking. Your kids can add what they have collected to a scrapbook. It doesn’t have to involve expensive crafting materials. They just need a blank notebook or paper hole-punched and tied with string or ribbon, glue, pens, scraps of paper, things they have picked up at places you have visited, stickers, etc. You could make a Winter-themed scrapbook for yourself while they are making theirs. Fill it with found objects, quotes, photos and seasonal colours.
- Hot chocolate with marshmallows. My kids and I like to have tea parties on cold days. We make hot chocolate, I light candles and put on jazz and we sit and chat at the table.
- Sitting under a cosy blanket with books and a hot water bottle. Sometimes I read alongside my kids and sometimes I read to them. They like to make up their own stories to the pictures sometimes and I use the opportunity to read something other than Winnie the Pooh.
- Pretend post-box. Use a cereal box and cut a slot into the front of it. You can let your kids paint it if you’re feeling particularly patient, or just leave it as it is. Give them little pieces of paper to write on and pens. Get them to draw pictures or help them write letters to family members or friends. Ask them what they’d like you to write. Then get them to put them in envelopes, add a “stamp” with a sticker or stamper and then get them to post them. They like to empty the post box and open their own letters too.
- Movie afternoon. Make some popcorn and drinks with straws. Let your kids agree on a movie and make a home cinema. You can make tickets for them and let them pretend to buy their snacks. You can also set snacks out for them to put in their own bowls, eg, breadsticks, raisins, popcorn, crackers, etc. I usually put a small amount out in different cups so it seems like they have lots of options, without ruining your dinner plans.
- Make warming foods. Making foods like soups, stews, casseroles and bread help to pass a day indoors and you can involve your kids. If I’m making soup I let them do simple things like placing the vegetables in a roasting tin and sprinkling seasoning on top.
- Go to a charity shop and get a board game or a book of crafts/cooking/activities for kids. I have found quite a few of these second hand and they are great for inspiration. Alternatively, find these for freeat the library.
- Going out for a small treat. My kids particularly like to get ice-cream on cold days. It’s a bit weird, but they are my children, so bizarre choices aren’t exactly cause for alarm.