Did you like our podcast? Interested in some of the recommendations we provided for living that Quarantine Life in a work from home/educate from home situation? We've got you covered.
Let's start things off nice and easy with educational resources for the kids. (If you are here for drinkies and food, scroll to the bottom for my grown-up recipes and entertainment recommendations)
Brain Pop HERE (They are now offering their services for free to families who are now suddenly educating from home. There is a Brain Pop Jr. for the younger kids, too.)
Khan Academy HERE (Always has been free.)
ABC Ya HERE (This site offers basic games for free, you still have to pay for the premium services.)
For other teaching resources I've enjoyed: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, The Trophies Language Arts Curriculum, Mammoth Math, Singapore Math, and of course Bob Books.
Dollar Tree and Target Dollar Spot offer some great (inexpensive) educational tools.
They aren't going to win any MENSA awards, but they can be useful for keeping hands busy and teaching basic fractions and math concepts.
We love the following educational STEM-ish sort of toys that help reinforce interests and concepts learned in school.
*We have provided links through our Amazon Affiliate's program. Details can be found in our disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
1. Magna-Tiles are a less terrible version of Legos that are supposed to make kids be super-smart... or something. I don't know. It keeps my children occupied for hours on end. Also, they don't hurt to step on. So win-win.
2. Hoot Owl Hoot! Co-op game! Yay! No winners or losers, just finding ways to think ahead and plan a way to get the baby owls home.
3. OZO-bot. We discovered this little guy at the Boeing Factory Tour. It is a tiny robot that reads certain "codes" that are plotted out with certain color patterns. It teaches coding, or something. Scott says it is super educational.
4. Robot Turtles is the same kind of "game that will turn your child into the next Silicon Valley Billionaire". I like it because the kids stay quiet when they play it. Bonus if they grow up to buy me a house in the Cyclades with their tech money.
Since the kids are home... like a lot... we find "Reading Challenges" to be super helpful in keeping the kids mentally busy and not getting into mischief. Finding books that kids (especially boys) can be incredibly challenging.
(Reading challenges is when we have the kids pick out a toy and they have to earn said toy by reading books at a rate of $10 for 1 book. So a $50 toy would be 5 (decently challenging) books.)
Favorites around here include:
The Wild Robot (ages 8-10)
The Boxcar Children... all 5,000 of them (ages 8-10)
Elephant and Piggie (ages 5+)
We use screen time to our advantage and are more generous with our "allowances" if the shows the kids are watching are educational. Some favorite shows that are enrichment as they are entertaining are:
Ask the StoryBots (Netflix)
Justin Time Go! (Netflix)
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (Amazon Prime)
Blue Planet (Netflix)
Umizoomi (Amazon Prime)
And if you feel like dusting off the old (supervised) YouTube Between the Lions is an old PBS show that teaches reading.
We have no reservations about making the kids watch TV shows in another language. How many stories have we heard of people learning a foreign language by watching kid's TV shows? Take advantage of the play options on Disney movies to see familiar shows in Spanish or French. The kids also watch the French kid's TV show "TroTro" in French. I only let them watch it in English as a special treat. No, really. Set the bar low, and you'll be amazed what you can leverage as a "treat".
Now, on to the main event... the kids have gone to bed. You are sleepy, but not too sleepy, and are ready to have some "me" time. Well, we're all in COVID-19 jail, let's have a little well-earned self indulgence.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)
The Crown (Netflix)
Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime)
Schitt's Creek (Netlfix)
Hello Ladies (Amazon Prime)
For fun bingeing:
New Girl (Netflix)
Brooklyn 99 (Hulu)
The Great British Baking Show (Netflix)
Bob's Burgers (Hulu)
The Color of Water, James McBride
The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition, Caroline Alexander
Some Girls, Jillian Lauren
Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow
Bringing up Bebe, Pamela Druckerman
The Greatest Generation, Tom Brokaw
Bringing up Geeks, Marybeth Hicks
The Descendants, Kaui Hart Hemmings
Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression, Mildred Kalish Armstrong
...or some Best Sellers
Buena Vista Social Club
Fotografia, Antonio Carlos Jobim
The Decemberists, The King is Dead
Regina Spektor, Remember us to Life
Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine (podcast)
Popcorn. Air pop it. Then melt some butter in a mug and add olive oil (habenero infused olive oil if you're feeling spicy), drizzle over the popcorn and season with sea salt.
Rice Crispy Treats. Rice crispies. Marshmallows. Butter. You know what to do.
Ghirardelli boxed brownies. I like the caramel one.
Tokyo Mule (As inspired from our time at Sushi JLM in Jerusalem) - One serving.
1-2 shots of vodka
1 thing (tiny can, tiny bottle, whatever tiny vessel these mixologist are selling this stuff in these days) of ginger beer. BEER. Not ale. It is brewed differently or something. I like Crabbies or Fever Tree.
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 shot of pineapple juice
1/8 tsp of wasabi powder
1/8 tsp of chili powder
Mix the vodka, lemon juice, pineapple juice, wasabi, and chili. Pour over ice. THEN add the ginger beer and stir. Of course this is best in a copper mug, but use whatever. Now is not the time to be fastidious about bar-ware. Am I right?
Lavender Gin Lemonade (As inspired from my sister's wedding) - One serving
Make a simple syrup of equal parts water and sugar and boil. Somewhere between the sugar dissolving and boiling add a 1/2 tsp of dried culinary lavender. (Pretty sure there hasn't been a run on this recently. Check Whole Foods.) Let them simmer and then let it cool. You'll have plenty extra, so store in a mason jar or something.
1-2 shots of Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 cup (or to taste) of lemonade. (I prefer the Simply Lemon brand. But we can't be picky now, can we. Whatever the hoarders haven't grabbed is what will have to do.)
1 T. of the lavender simple syrup (or to taste).
Shake well. Serve with ice.
Go for a walk.
Check Pinterest for cool scheduling ideas.
Stay on top of keeping your living spaces tidy. (The little dignities add up, they really do)
Find a creative outlet- writing, knitting, (naughty) cross stitch...
Focus on things you can control like donating to the World Health Organization's COVID-19 response fund, donating to the local Food Bank, or send GrubHub to the night shift staff of your local hospital's ICU.
Commit to getting your Voldemort-19 news from trusted sources that don't stand to make money off of your panic like The World Health Organization, The Centers for Disease Control, STAT Medical News Blog , or better yet... talk with your doctor about your concerns. Get information from people who have extensive training in understanding statistics and epidemiology and then let it go... We tend to go down a spiral to want to fix things. Hoping that the more we probe and read the more we can "crack the case" so to speak. Believe me, I know. I have struggled with crippling anxiety my entire life. I've tried to "solve" so many cases of medical "what-if's" and all it did was throw me down a rabbit hole taking joy, hope, and productivity along for the ride. Guess what, the CDC has yet to hire me because I "read a lot of WebMD". This video right here explains it all perfectly HERE
Hope this helps. Please feel free to email or comment if you have any questions. Thank so much for listening and reading!