Tag Archives: garden

My Attempt At Making Spaghetti Squash

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My Attempt At Making Spaghetti Squash

Hello! When I’m at work, I am constantly being handed bagfuls of goodies from the gardens of whichever home I’m at for the day. During my produce haul last week, I was given a gigantic squash that I had absolutely no idea what to do with. My client’s mom suggested spaghetti squash and I have always wanted to try it so I thought I would give it a shot over the weekend.

Unfortunately, my attempt at making spaghetti squash was not very successful and, after a quick Google, I learned that the squash I used definitely did not look like traditional spaghetti squashes. WHOOPS! Lol, oh well. I tried something new and now I know differently for the next time! Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

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To learn how to prepare my “spaghetti squash”, I visited the blog Cookie + Kate. This is one of my mom’s favorite sites to get vegetarian recipes from and, as her spiel goes, “Cookie is the dog and Kate is the human”. Lol, I consulted Kate’s recipe while making my squash and it was so easy to follow because it was just like learning how to make it from a friend. No unknown cooking terms and no long stories of how she found God while making this dish, haha.

To prepare my spaghetti squash, I cut it in half from the middle and then halved the pieces again. Afterwards, I scooped out all of the squash guts… AKA the seeds! It was actually pretty fun. Once the squash halves were seedless, I drizzled olive oil onto each of them and then seasoned with salt and pepper. All that was left to do was bake them and I kept my squash in the oven for a little under an hour at four hundred degrees.

I was eager to take my squash out of the oven but, sadly, there was nothing really “spaghetti” about it. I tried to fluff the insides into a spaghetti like texture as Kate had mentioned but there was hardly even any squash to work with on the interior. What I was originally hoping was going to be a noodle shape ended up being a few forkfuls of the squash and the texture definitely looked more like pulp. Although, I must say, it still tasted really good!

Sadly, my attempt at making spaghetti squash didn’t go too hot. However, I feel confident that if I ever get the right ingredients to make it with, it will turn out delicious with the help from Cookie + Kate! 😀

What is your favorite vegetarian recipe? What do you top your spaghetti squash with? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Garden Goodies

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Garden Goodies

Hi! I looove having lots of fresh fruits and veggies at my apartment and, during the summer, I am never lacking in that department. My dad as well as all of the families of my clients have gardens and I always seem to be returning home from work with surplus veggies. It’s freaking awesome and I haven’t been without cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans in weeks.

I know that all of the families I work with are up to their ears in produce and they have entire gardens but, shit, I am too! I can’t even get to the bottom of my crisper drawer until it’s filled up again with all of the garden goodies I am constantly being gifted with. The last thing I am doing is complaining about it, though!!

My appetite changes drastically in the summer because I get nauseous when it’s really hot. I find myself craving light dishes as I think I would keel over even thinking about eating a heavy meal in my hot ass apartment. Having a never ending supply of veggies has been a game changer because I can snack on them all day totally guilt free and it has added a lot of variety to my cooking.

This past week, I had an overflow of produce that I needed to purge from my fridge – cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, lemon, and lots of garlic. So, I decided to prepare a cucumber salad with the ingredients I had available. My recipe went as so:

Lemon Cucumber Salad

  • 2 large cucumbers with the skin peeled and cut in slices
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • Multicolored grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • Juice from one lemon, with some of the pulp added too
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning to taste

I am obsessed with the salad I whipped up and have been eating a few servings daily. I just love the tart lemon mixed with the tang of the balsamic vinegar and when it’s poured over crisp veggies it is an absolute treat. Get creative with your cooking and try making a salad recipe of your own next family dinner!

How has your garden been doing? What do you have growing? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

In Summer, We Wear Black OOTD

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In Summer, We Wear Black OOTD

Howdy! Something I really miss doing while I continue to keep my distance amidst the coronavirus pandemic is having photo shoots for lifewithlilred. I loved doing my makeup, styling the perfect outfit, and feeling like America’s Next Top Model for the day. This past month, I felt comfortable enough to schedule a social distance photo shoot with my usual photographer. But, unfortunately, he had to cancel due to a COVID case at his work (All has since been resolved!).

After that, I decided that I would have my mom take my pictures for me over the weekend – just like she used to when lifewithlilred first started! Now, sweet JANE has no photography experience at all but, unlike my dad, she knows how to take pictures on my iPod. This makes it very easy for me because I can set up the shot, have her stand exactly where I want her to, and she can snap away.

After ten or so shots, I usually take a look at what we have, evaluate what I liked and didn’t like, and then continue the process until I’m satisfied. JANE was a rock star, as per ushe, and I was very happy with the following shots for this All Black Everything OOTD:

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Who? What? Wear?

Nine times out of ten in the summertime, you can find me posted up in my normal uniform of all black. Ten times out of ten, you will hear me complaining about how hot it is. Be that as it may, I never “outgrew” my emo phase. It has turned into a lifestyle at this point so I can’t just stop dressing in a way that I’m almost always prepared for a funeral for a little thing like the sun, lol. Besides, the feathery fake lashes I was rocking were enough of a neon pop to make up for the, otherwise, bleak color palette.

I have become a huge fan of fake eyelashes lately and when I saw the funky pair I’m sporting in the pics while online shopping Sephora, I couldn’t pass them up. I knew that I wanted them to make a major statement in my pictures because they are so unique, so my all black OOTD only enhanced it. It also made the beautiful flowers in my dad’s garden pop, which was another goal I had in mind when preparing this shoot.

When it comes to my personal style, I love having a lot of essential pieces that have an extra something to them. The skort is such a fun take on traditional shorts and they also give the illusion of a romper when styled properly (Which is great for me because I look awful in real rompers!). With a playsuit vibe in mind, I opted for one of my favorite tops to wear tucked in and the end result was an, in my opinion, more modern take on an actual romper or shorts and T-shirt combo.

After the initial outfit was styled, it was all about accessories. I chose one of my smaller brimmed hats for this shoot because I didn’t want a huge floppy one taking away from the eyelashes. Wearing Johnny’s sunglasses was another easy choice because they’re relatively plain and it definitely popped nicely against the black.

Bat wing embellished platforms helped complete this chic goth in the sun OOTD. In fact, I know they did because one of the neighborhood kids said they looked vampire-y. Great success! And, finally, I am extra enough to carry a parasol. Enough said.

I am not exaggerating when I say to you all that I felt like a million bucks in these pictures. It was a hot day but my outfit kept me nice and cool and I felt freaking sexy in it. Lol, since coronavirus, I have not put the most effort into my personal appearance and it felt amazing to both feel and look good. I definitely spammed Facebook with pictures of myself but, damn, I couldn’t help it! Your girl was feeling herself!!

This wasn’t exactly the fancy shmancy photo shoot that I had in mind but it was easily one of my favorites. I loved being able to spend time with my mom and I got a HUGE boost of self-confidence. Some new content on the blog is nothing to sneeze at, either. 😉 Keep it posted for more pics this week!

When do you feel confident? Which color do you wear the most often? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Summer Home Sprucing

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Summer Home Sprucing

When the sun’s shining and the temperature heats up, you’ll want to make the most of your home and garden. Fortunately, it’s easy to transform your property in time for everything the season has to offer. With these simple sprucing tips, you can enjoy the summer weather in your own relaxing retreat:

Overhaul your garden:

It’s easy for gardens to get overgrown in the spring, particularly if you haven’t had a chance to undertake any winter maintenance. However, now’s the time to catch up if you want your garden to be summer-ready. Mow the lawn, trim back overgrown plants, and power wash the patios for simple but effective transformations.

Book pest control services:

One of the most important things you can do to prepare your home for summer is to ensure your property is pest-free. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for pests to infiltrate gardens and homes, especially during the spring when they’re often building nests. With residential pest control services, you can ensure there are no nasty surprises awaiting you. Both pest prevention and removal are essential if you want to make sure your property is safe and hygienic. Professional pest control services will give you peace of mind that no vermin or bugs are present and allow you to relax and enjoy the summer.

Add shade:

When you can combine indoor and outdoor areas, you maximize the space in your property and make it far more functional. Bifold and trifold doors are a fantastic way to do this but even adding an awning or cabana to your garden can have a similar effect. When you can escape the blistering rays of the sun or take cover while there’s a shower of rain, you’ll truly get to make the most of the season.

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Pixabay Image

Keep things cool:

Warmer temperatures can be lovely but only if you don’t get overheated. If you have an AC system, you’ll certainly want to get it serviced and cleaned before temperatures get any hotter. With regular servicing, your AC will use less power and perform better, which means lower running costs and cooler temperatures. In addition to this, professional cleaning will remove potential allergens from the AC system, such as dust or pollen, and help to improve the air quality in your home.

Be bold with color:

Warmer, earthier tones are perfect for fall or winter, but spring and summer give you the opportunity to explore with bolder shades and more vibrant colors. From sweet pastels to vivid reds, oranges, greens, and pinks, there are no limits when it comes to summer color. Updating your accessories, tableware, and fabrics make it easy to change your décor to suit the season, so you can stay on-trend with minimal effort.

It’s never too late to make the most of summer, so why not start transforming your property now? With a few minor tweaks and changes, you can turn your property into a summer idyll and make the most of the longer days, lighter evenings, and spectacular sunsets.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

A Flower For Me

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A Flower For Me

Hello! On Father’s Day, my sister and her daughter arrived at our parents’ house at the exact same time that I did. We didn’t plan it at all and it was perfect because we all had the maximum time together before we split back up for the day. Beautiful presents and lots of love were gifted to our dear old dad but I think I got the most special treat of all that day. Check it out:

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After presents, we all took a pause and went to the backyard so my niece, Valerie, could move and groove before my sister took off. My dad loves to show Val his flower and vegetable garden and she loves it too. More often than not, you can see my dad smelling the flowers with her and then he will help her pick a bloom for her mom.

On Father’s Day, Val wanted a flower for each hand once she picked her favorite. Then, she toddled up to her auntie and handed me a flower with a big smile on her face. And, right at that moment, our Golden Retriever gobbled up the flower in the hand she wasn’t paying attention to. *Face palm*

Once Val realized her other flower was missing, I offered her mine to make up for it. But, she just kept handing it back to me. I have to say, I was really happy she did because there is literally nothing better than getting a pretty little flower from your fifteen month old niece. I brought it home with me and put it in my dried flower collection and it’s never not going to make me smile whenever I see it. ❤

How did you celebrate Father’s Day? How is your garden doing this summer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Animal Crossing Outdoor Fun

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Animal Crossing Outdoor Fun

Hello!! Children, teenagers, and adults alike have all been getting super into Animal Crossing during this quarantine. And, Johnny and I just so happen to be the adults who are super into it, lol. The charmingly simple game of building a prosperous island has captured many a hearts and I always look forward to when I can fish or catch some bugs for a while on our island of Dingusburg (Johnny’s idea, haha).

Recently, at work, I was outside with my client and her nieces and we decided to do some real life Animal Crossing of our own after we saw a big, beautiful butterfly flitting about the back yard. One of the girlies grabbed her butterfly net and the chase was on. We all took our tries at catching it and had no such luck. The butterfly flew away but it was still fun!

If you have little ones with some pent up energy from being cooped in, how about some Animal Crossing fun of your own? Set up a scavenger hunt outside or grab some butterfly nets and toy fishing rods and have an adventure in your back yard. Animal Crossing is all about enjoying the simple things, like planting flowers, picking fruit, and catching bugs… All of which can easily be done from your yard!

Still need some inspiration? Message me on Facebook at Sarah Mushenheim for my friend code and come visit Dingusburg. Then, bring a little of our island life into your activities with your kids for the day. 🙂

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Which games have you been hooked on in quarantine? What are some of your favorite activities with your kids? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

3 Ways To Keep Busy During Lock Down

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3 Ways To Keep Busy During Lock Down

As the days in lock down turn into weeks and the weeks roll into months, it can become increasingly difficult to know what else to do with all of this extra time on your hands. Well, most people always wished they had more time and now that it has come, we should put it to good use. Whether it’s spending more time with the children or learning something new, it’s safe to say that this opportunity will probably never become available again. Without a firm quarantine end date in sight, check out this list of three ways to keep busy during the lock down:

Learn a New Language:

The benefits of learning a new language go beyond being able to order food while on holiday. It also comes with both personal and professional advantages. On the personal side, it strengthens your IQ, and it is also a great workout for your brain. These cognitive benefits help to ward off dementia and enable you to be more decisive and focused on the task at hand. Did you know that learning a new language also sharpens your sensory perceptions in terms of touch, hearing, sight, speech, and movement? Not many other hobbies can attest to this claim.

On the professional side of things, having bilingual skills greatly opens up your job prospects and makes you more attractive to employers. For companies, it allows for a greater ability to reach new customers in new markets worldwide. Learning a foreign language also sharpens your communication skills making you a more rounded employee.

Take Up a New Hobby:

With most people working around the clock in today’s modern societies, not much time is left for extra-curricular activities and hobbies. Yet the advantages of having hobbies are priceless. For one thing, it keeps you present in that moment. A lot of time is spent regretting the past or planning for the future that most people never truly live in the ‘now’. Hobbies can be used for stress relief as it diverts your attention to something that creates pleasure. Hobbies help you connect with people or groups with similar interests. This encourages feelings of inclusion, support, and community, which is great for your mental health.

There are many hobbies that you can consider taking up, including writing, photography, cooking, and gardening. If you think that you have green fingers, why not get out of the house and into your backyard and try to grow something a bit different than the standard household vegetables. As summer is on the way, try growing some pineberries (white strawberries) or some achocha pods. If you’re really adventurous, you could look up how to grow a luffa gourd, then have the added benefits of organic sponges for your bath or kitchen. No matter what hobby you choose to take on, it will certainly help you while away the extra time on your hands.

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Give gardening a go!

Catch Up on Family Time:

Spending more time with your family can be done in multiple ways thanks to the technological advances in video calling. If you don’t have immediate family around you, then you could link up with them via Zoom, WhatsApp, and many more similar programs. Family time is probably the most important use of our time, yet hardly any time is committed to it. Why not jump in and play some fun games online with your kids or video call your aunt or grandparents – you’ll certainly be glad you did!

Dedicating your time to worthwhile hobbies will make your quarantine much more enjoyable. Choose something you’re interested in and watch a day go by as you immerse yourself in something new!

Featured Image By: Pexels

5 Tips For Preparing For Your Next Dinner Party (While Quarantined!)

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5 Tips For Preparing For Your Next Dinner Party (While Quarantined!)

As we move into warmer months ahead, you may be nostalgic for the days of sunshiny afternoons and barbecues with friends. While many of us are still in quarantine, we’re all hopeful that life can go back to resembling some form of normalcy in the coming months.

What are some of the things you could do now to prepare your home for friend get-togethers later when the world starts reopening? Let’s go over five easy tips to help you prepare for your next dinner party… all while you are quarantined:

Get your yard under control:

There’s no time like the present when it comes to doing yard work. Trim hedges and bushes. Power washing any exposed concrete, deck boards, or sidewalks is a great way to make your home really seem well taken care of. If weeds are starting to crowd out plants now, get on top of them since they will only get worse as the weather gets better.

Get those windows washed:

Better yet, consider hiring a monthly window cleaner to make sure your house windows shine like the top of the Chrysler building. Smudges from dirty fingers, dog and cat noses, and bugs make a home look messier than it is.

Speaking of bugs…

Call a local pest control to make sure you don’t have any potential critters coming. Yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps are best taken care of in late spring or early summer months, and nobody wants those bugging them at our friendly get-togethers. Mosquitoes, ticks, and other yard bugs can be controlled with a semi-annual pest control visit.

Do that deep cleaning you’ve been putting off:

You can check out an older blog that mentions the cleaning musts that many of us forget when doing deep or spring cleaning. If you’re not a fan of scrubbing floors and the weird crevices in your bathroom, do all the basic cleaning, then hire a company to do the deep cleaning for you. If the weather has turned beautiful in your neck of the woods, open up those doors after you’ve cleaned to get any of the cleaning product scents out of the home while bringing in some fresh air.

Planning makes perfect:

Plan the perfect dinner party ahead of time. When you throw a get-together, it always seems to take more time to organize than what you expect. Run down a list of things that you need to do before you would want people eating and chatting over a delicious dinner at your house. If you need extra utensils, cloth napkins, citronella candles, or tablescape items like tablecloths and vases, research affordable ones and order them online or place a curbside order for them.

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Lovely!

Quarantine life has been difficult, but making the most of it doesn’t have to be. As we transition into some form of new normal, many of us are craving social interaction that we took for granted before. Now is the time to get your home in a great place to host the get-together we’ve all been dreaming of for the past several months once it’s safe to do so!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Making The Most Of Spring When You’re Stuck Indoors

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Making The Most Of Spring When You’re Stuck Indoors

Hello! In an effort to keep everyone occupied, I have offered guest blogging opportunities on lifewithlilred during the lock down. Not only is it interesting and fun to hear from people all around the world but it also is a huge favor to me to keep content coming when there’s not much to write about!

In today’s post, you can find plenty of great tips to get you in touch with nature from your home from my friend, Helen, at The Feminist Gadabout. Her page is a wonderful treasure trove of cool content so do be sure to give it some love. Now, let’s get to it:

Making The Most Of Spring When You’re Stuck Indoors

With many of us around the world stuck indoors, the usually cheerful season of spring has taken on a frustrating note as we are unable to get outside and enjoy it. It is vitally important that we follow government advice about physical distancing, and do our best to avoid unnecessary contact with other people. But that doesn’t mean that we have to completely miss out on the joys of the season! Here are just a few ideas for how to make the most of spring, without having to leave your house:

Nature webcams:

Now is a time to take advantage of everything modern technology has to offer. From HouseParty to Zoom, we’re all even more reliant on our devices, and internet speed, than we were before. If you feel you’re missing out on your usual dose of nature because of the lock down, webcams are here to help! There are hundreds of different nature webcams to choose from all over the world. Yellowstone National Park, for instance, has its own full set of webcams, offering views of the Old Faithful Geyser, Mount Washburn, and Yellowstone Lake.

These are a great way to watch spring emerging in one of the US’s most stunning natural locations. For a close look at wildlife you can head over to the Explore website, where you can see everything from eagle chicks growing up in Iowa to a hummingbird nest in California. These cute little birds make remarkable parents! Watching nature go about its day is a nice way to feel in touch with the wild, even if you can’t get out in it.

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Grow Something:

Spring is the season of sprouting shoots and new leaves. Even if you don’t have access to a garden, you can still get in on the action. All you need is a bit of soil and a few dishes.  You can even use old toilet paper rolls or egg boxes to make pots! Growing plants from seeds is hugely therapeutic. It is a wonderfully positive reminder of the steady progress of life and the seasons when you see your first baby plants poking up through the compost. There are thousands of plants to choose from, but herbs like basil and cilantro are fun (and edible!) places to start. If you’re looking to add a little color to your indoor life, go for miniature sunflowers or sweet peas. Watching your little pants grow is enormously satisfying, and will provide you with interest for months to come.

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Nature Diary:

Lots of wildlife charities host annual animal and bird counts. All you have to do is note down what birds, animals, and sometimes butterflies and moths, you see in your local area in a given period. Having year-on-year information is really helpful for scientists and organizations tracking wildlife populations and the impact of human activity. You may think you’ll be left out of this is you live in an urban area, but it can be just as useful to know what creatures are thriving in our cities as in our countryside.

Sit out in the garden or at your window and take some time to chill out and watch the world – and all of its creatures – go by.  This is a great one to do with kids, as it offers a chance to teach them as you go. My grandfather used to tell me about the names and habits of all of the different birds, and gave me knowledge that I still cherish to this day.  So take a look at what your local groups are offering, and get involved! You may be surprised by the biodiversity of your area, and with spring progressing you’re sure to spot some cute baby birds and critters.

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Celebrate your personal growth:

Spring is all about renewal and rebirth. You don’t just have to turn to nature to get into this spirit. Spring offers an opportunity to look back and appreciate how far we’ve come, and think about where we want to go next. Why not try something as simple as taking a selfie of your lock down hairstyle, grow-out and all? Think about all you’ve managed to achieve, and thank yourself for your fortitude and perseverance. This is going to be a tough year for all of us, so why not indulge in a little springtime self-love, and take a moment to appreciate and celebrate yourself. We all deserve to be kind to ourselves, now more than ever.

Get Crafting:

Spring is a singularly creative season. The world is bursting with newness, all waiting to inspire you. Whether you craft all the time or rarely pick up a paintbrush, spring is a season for starting projects, and having a go at something new. There are lots of simple crafts, from origami and painting to crochet, which are easy to learn and require minimal equipment. The satisfaction of creating something new that you can proudly display in your home is its own reward, and you’ll also have mastered a new skill!

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What are you doing to keep busy and happy during these indoors spring days? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Helen runs The Feminist Gadabout, a culture, lifestyle, and travel blog that looks at the world through the lens of social awareness. It covers everything from product, film and book reviews, to social justice long-reads and travel recommendations. With the new indoor life tag there’s also plenty of material to help you stay healthy and happy indoors during lock down.

Thanks again to Helen of The Feminist Gadabout! If you are interested in guest posting on lifewithlilred, please email me at: sarah.mush6794@gmail.com !

Community Fun In Self-Isolation

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Community Fun In Self-Isolation

Hello! While all of us are basking in the boredom of self-isolation, I am sure that those who were active members in the community are itching to get back to planning and participating in events for all to enjoy. Although seeing each other from a distance is the standard now, there are still plenty of ways for us to come together as a community and make the best of a difficult situation. Perhaps with some of the following ideas:

Parking Lot Events:

The inspiration from this post actually came from a client’s mom who told me her family attended Easter mass from a broadcast in the church parking lot. What a great idea! Just like at the drive in movies, people filed in with their windows up and were instructed by signs to tune into a radio station for the mass. She said it was such an amazing, refreshing, safe community event and it sure sounds like it.

If attending a parking lot religious ceremony isn’t your thing, how about a neighborhood drive in movie night, instead? I could definitely go for that one!

Social Media Groups:

My city in Ohio has a Facebook “talk of the town” group where people can post news and chit chat with each other. If your area doesn’t have such a page, why not create one yourself? Have everyone vote on a different show to watch in unison from the comfort of their home so all of you can discuss it later. Or how about a neighborhood book club? As long as everyone is communicating with each other, that’s all that matters.

Neighborhood Games:

On your neighborhood social media group, you could post the rules for a neighborhood participation game. You could try something like I Spy for people to walk or drive around and find the clues. Maybe you could encourage everyone to put their dog in a Halloween costume if they are going out for a stroll. Or how about a quarantine edition of Bingo to play from the porch? There are tons of possibilities if you get creative!

Decorate Your Yard:

Something fun for your neighborhood to participate in could be a yard decorating extravaganza for everyone to enjoy. Perhaps you could plant beautiful flowers in your yard? Or what about putting some of your holiday themed inflatables or lights back on display? You could even do something totally random like a snowman made out of tires if you feel like it! Get inspired and create a lawn display for all of your neighbors to be proud of when they walk or drive by.

It’s hard not being able to see each other traditionally but it’s important to still enjoy your friends and neighborhood even if it is from a distance. Use the ideas above and have some fun!

How have you been interacting with people from a distance? Has your community done any social distancing activities like the ones above? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah