April 29, 2020

I’m sure if you’re like me, you’re just itching to travel, or engage in an adventure of epic proportions. This is typical of my enthusiast, enneagram 7, personality type on a normal day, but after being quarantined due to this pandemic for 7 plus weeks now, I am wanting to burst and go hug every stranger in sight.  Now, I know that would really freak some people out right now, so I will refrain. So, I have come up with lots of ways to cultivate fun in our current situation.

1. Conversation starters – Find creative ways to engage in meaningful conversation where you can connect with friends and loved one’s even over technology. You can use the Get gabbin’ app – You can download this app for $2.99. It is a great source of entertaining and deep questions. For example, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” A good friend of mine, Cherini Ghobrial created her own game called, “Uncurated,” which we have used at our staff retreat as well as in my own home. It was created because let’s face it. Small talk is no fun. We crave to be seen and to see others. To truly connect. One example of a question is, “If you could know the answer to one question, what would you ask?” https://www.uncuratedco.com/products/uncurated-card-game You can use these questions in your own home, or on social media, or on your online group video calls.  Learning to be a better question asker is an excellent way to create lasting, deep, relationships. According to Tennessee Williams, “Life is an unanswered question, but let’s still believe in the dignity and importance of the question.”

2. Try something new. Try some new recipes. My brother just told me about a new fad. Now, I haven’t tried it, but he says its delicious. Combine nitro cold brew coffee with fresh squeezed lemonade (or whatever lemonade you can find) Just trying something new can create a sense of adventure even in the confines of your house. You can have your meal on the floor with candles or eat outside in your garden. Change things up to spice up life. You can even dress up for a date in your own house. If you have kids, you can have them serve you dinner (It’s really cute and they really enjoy being a part of it)

Dinner Recipe:

Easy sheet pan shrimp fajitas. I know I’ve heard from several friends how much they are missing Mexican food right now.  So, here is an easy and fun recipe to make at home.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 yellow bell pepper sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced thin
  • 1 orange bell pepper sliced thin
  • 1 small red onion sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • several turns of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • lime
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
  • tortillas warmed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine onion, bell pepper, shrimp, olive oil, salt and pepper and spices.
  3. Toss to combine.
  4. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Spread shrimp, bell peppers and onions on baking sheet.
  6. Cook at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes. Then turn oven to broil and cook for additional 2 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through.
  7. Squeeze juice from fresh lime over fajita mixture and top with fresh cilantro.
  8. Serve in warm tortillas.

Take it up a notch: Make homemade guacamole to go with it. (combine avocado, lime, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno and salt)

Cocktail Recipe:  Gin & Tonic

So, I hope this makes you laugh, but you can make a special quarantine quinine gin and tonic.  Infused with herbs from your garden or the store. You will get vitamin C from the limes, and some quinine (which according to some protects you from COVID especially if combined with zinc). I am not sure about this, but I do remember when I was a missionary in Africa, being told that tonic water with quinine helped protect you from malaria.  Correlation?  I have no idea! But Gin did originate in Holland as a medicinal treatment though (another alternative is my personal fave – green chartreuse which is jam packed with herbs if you’re looking for a medicinal liquor).

Upgraded classic:

2 oz. of gin (your choice – my favorite is Castle & Key)

1 oz. lime juice (see this is some good Vitamin C)

Sprig of lemon balm and lavender if available, or just choose one

4 oz. of tonic water (with quinine)

(infuse the gin with the herbs for 24 hours, then strain) then pour into a glass and add tonic water and lime.

Empress Elderflower Gin & Tonic:

2 oz. Empress Gin 1908 (the butterfly pea flower makes it purple)

4 oz. Fever tree Elderflower tonic

2 slices pink grapefruit

10 juniper berries

1 sprig of rosemary

Directions

Chill the drinking glass for 15 minutes. Add ice to the glass. Squeeze one slice of grapefruit into the glass and discard. Add the other grapefruit slice, the juniper berries, and rosemary sprig to the glass. Pour gin into the glass. Add the tonic and stir before drinking.

3. Keep your kids engaged. REI has a list of creative ways to keep your kids active – https://www.rei.com/blog/fitness/ideas-for-keeping-kids-active-when-home and another site has some other ways to keep your kids learning and entertained https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-kids-activities.html.

Some ideas from things we have tried at home:

  • Tie strips of fabric with a prayer attached to a tree in your front yard. It becomes your prayer tree.
  • Go on a walk and play follow the leader. The sillier the better.
  • Plan a scavenger hunt
  • Have an art day –paint each other’s faces, or some old pots, or canvases. You can even fill eggshells with paint and throw them at a sheet, or paper, or canvas too.
  • Have a slumber party with games (fishbowl, Pictionary, charades), and movies, and fun treats.
  • Have a powdered sugar fight

4. Find something to read that is engaging. You can choose to learn something if that is helpful to you, or just enjoy letting your imagination unwind with a fiction book. Currently I am reading books that help me to learn tools I can personally integrate into my life to become my highest, most conscious self.  According to Anne of green gables, “Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive—it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?” If you have kids, build a fort and have them each pick out a book and read under it with flashlights, or candles.

You can download Dave Ramsey’s book list here.

5. Listen to music. Listen to things that are uplifting. You can listen to podcasts that raise your spirits, or help you create better lifestyle choices. A few friends of Goodwin Investment Advisory have started a podcast for small business owners called Taking Ownership. They recently interviewed Tim Goodwin

6. Take an online class. Have you ever wanted to take art classes? Or, learn something new?  Cooking classes? Yoga training? Coding and web design? There are so many online classes you can partake in and now is the perfect time to sign up and try something new. Dust off an old dream and pursue it.

7. Host an online dinner party, or wine tasting. You can even all plan in advance to try the same wines and have a local wine expert host it.  They can walk you through the different varieties and you can pair it with good food and conversation. Get creative. Host a garden party, where you and your friends share their gardens through video chat.  A friend of mine recently hosted an inflatable pool party in her yard.  They brought their own drinks and inflatable pools and set them up 6-10 feet apart and hung out in the sunshine together.

Get creative.  Have fun and create memories. It takes 15 minutes of boredom to access the creative parts of your brain. So, as I tell my kids every day. If you are bored, you are halfway to creative.