November 26, 2019


10 Things Instead of [gasp] Television

With so many ways to watch TV and shows--plus the addition of YouTube celebreties commenting on video games, and young folks showing us how to apply makeup, and then add the amazingly vibrant documentaries on anything from Japanese tea making to the odd habits of a wild turkey.... It's easy to sit in front of a screen for hours and just veg out, isn't it?

Because I'm a list maker, I started brainstorming things to do in the evenings that would easily accompany our evening, herbal tea-drinking habit.

Here's my list (which my friends on Instagram helped me build). Feel free to add more ideas in the comments!

1. Play a Board Game or Cards

Lots of you are already amazing board game players, and I salute you! Board and card games are the best. When my parents were remodeling their home they started a Gin Rummy tournament that lasted a year. They still talk about those evenings of competition, keeping track of who was up and who was down, and grunting at the bad hands, laughing when things got really out of control. We are currently learning to play a board game called Tokaido--I would love to hear some of your favorites...

2. Go for a Walk and View the Stars 

Pull out your flashlights--or light a small lantern--put on your woolies, and head out into the neighborhood for a walk under the stars. Maybe you'll spot a racoon, or the Big Dipper--or both! If you don't want to wander, you could set up a telescope on your front steps, or simply sit and listen to the nighttime sounds. Then come inside and make that pot of herbal tea to warm you back up. 

3. Read

You can all find your own cozy spot and put some quiet music on in the background, or maybe find a family friendly book and read aloud as a group, taking turns. I spent one summer in my 20s reading out loud (to myself) all of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. It made that summer extra memorable.

4. Sing or Play Music Together

Whip out those tambourines and harmonicas. Find the maracas. I made all my kids take music lessons--and some day they will thank me! My dad's favorite evening is still an evening with my mom playing the piano and all of us singing Oh Susanna and Silent Night.

5. Evening Prayers

Gather your prayer ropes, light some candles, fire up the incense, rearrange the icons, pull out some prayer books or an akathist, and pray together. 

6. Practice Handstands or Have a Dance Party

All you really need is a wall, and the will to kick your feet into the air. Make sure the area is clear and see who can stay up the longest. Or... turn on some fun music and dance around the house. You could even make up your own line dance that you could then share with others later on. At our last big family get together, my daughter coreographed a dance that we all learned. It was ridiculous, and a wonderful way to pass a bunch of hours together.

7. Work on a Puzzle

Find a table where the puzzle can be worked on over several days. Make sure everyone joins in, and not just those avid puzzle-doers who have quick eyes and quicker hands!

8. Write Letters

When was the last time you pulled out some paper and wrote a long letter to a faraway friend? 

9. Take a Bath

Nuff said. Having a salt soak before bed sounds like a dream.

10. Handwork

Paint, Knit, Crochet, Whittle, Weave, Draw, Color, Sculpt, Sew, Mend... Put on an audio book or some Christmas music and create something with your hands. Maybe even make some holiday gifts for others. I'm at the end of a sewing spree, and am heading back to both my pine needles and some yummy yarn work soon. 

Extra Credit 11. Do research--whether it's for the spring garden, or your next camping trip to see the Redwoods. 12. Learn a new language. Spend some time each evening learning to speak Arabic, or Swahili, or Yiddish. I spent a year learning Finnish, and have now moved on to Japanese! 13. Prepare food for the next day. I like to mix my bread for the next day during the evening so that when things get busy on that following day, I'm already half way into the process! 14. You could write a book! I know from experience, you just need to write one page at a time. 15. Organize a pantry, closet, drawer, or cupboard. Getting rid of uneeded things is such a great thing to do before the holidays.


Other ideas? Write them in the comments. 



Published: November 26, 2019 | Filed under: Home

Comments (4)
Tammy Makoul said:
November 26, 2019 @ 9:14 PM

Jane, I absolutely love this! Thank you! We do a lot of what’s on the list, but one other thing I love to do is host a friend or of course family if they’re around! Nothing better than face to face interaction. The last previous thing we love to do is play with our dogs and take them for a walk! My love to your family and a special hug for your youngest! ♥️♥️♥️

jane g meyer replied:
November 30, 2019 @ 11:37 AM

Oh, yes. Dinner parties! And that's fun about walking and playing with your dogs. It reminds me that Zuko needs to learn a new trick :)

Elizabeth said:
November 27, 2019 @ 5:07 AM

Hi Jane! Fun list and I remember this IG post! Now that we are in the holiday season one thing I do is similar to what Tammy M above mentioned - host dinners or luncheons. I love to have them beautiful and planning them, doing the baking and cooking and setting everything up (tables with table clothes, dishes, games on game table) ... it keeps my nights and some days busy! I love your words about just a page to write a book! Do you mean, by mixing your bread, that you mix it and let it rise over night or you just mix all the dry ingredients together the night before? Would love to know! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!!! always love your blog posts!

jane g meyer replied:
November 30, 2019 @ 11:45 AM

There are two bread recipes that I make that require a long first rise. One is sourdough, which is just using a natural levain or starter, and so both rises take quite a long time, but the other recipe, which is my go to, is an adaptation of Jim Lahey's no knead bread recipe, where the mix is heavy on water, and has very little commercial yeast. The slow first rise makes for a great hearth bread. I mixcll the ingredients in the evening, then get started with the second rise whenever I want to the next day. Maybe in the morning, maybe midday. Love to you!

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