1. Get some waterproof markers (or washable if you want this to be temporary) and gather up your kids’ plain socks (and your kids!). Divide them in two piles and inside each sock write a word– nouns in half and adjectives in another. Let the kids pick the words. Some examples for nouns could be: frogs, kiss, homework, love, dog and for adjectives: slurpy, bouncy, pink, magical, and gigantic. To easily write the words, turn them inside out and put them on the child’s foot. Write the word across the sole and turn back. Now each morning the kids can pick two socks and see what kind of silly message they spell. All day they’ll have secret silliness in their shoes with nobody the wiser.
2. Make up a couple dozen fortunes and stash them in cereal boxes, snacks, the cookie jar, etc. Make some especially silly (Beware of odd rabbits today. You will have a monkey on your head….) and some sappy (Your mama loves you more than peanut butter cups. I’m proud of you…). Slip some in drawers and leave some for your sweetie, too.
3. Dig around for old costume jewelry that you can take apart and hang it from the lights and in the windows. If you have any glass prisms, hang them to catch the light and scatter rainbows in the morning. Drape old pearls and beads in surprising places. You can never have too much whimsy in my book!
4. Go find a fallen branch, pot it (use anything as filler– blocks, bags of rice or beans, rocks, whatever, then drape fabric on top of the pot), and decorate a Valentines tree for somewhere in the house. Tie ribbons or strips of old red fabric on it, drape more of that old jewelry on it, even add some white twinkle lights. A small one can be a centerpiece or a large one can decorate a lonely corner of any room.
6. Start a tradition that for one hour, one night a week, you live like "the old days." Turn out the lights and use candles and lanterns. Read books, play games and just talk. Let the kids make some outfits that feel authentic (even an oversized dress or nightie can give that Little House feel) and cook traditional old foods. If you like, you can even pick up period novels and read those before or during the blackout.
7. Help your child hide a message in the house for a future resident. Talk about how sometimes people have found newspapers 90 years old in walls as insulation, how there might be stuff in the attic from their grandparents’ childhood, and how years from now some little child might find her memento. Even apartment dwellers could probably lift a section of carpet in the closet enough to slip a note in or squeeze a signed photo behind the bathroom vanity.
8. Let him overhear you bragging up a storm about a recent accomplishment or what a fantastic kid he is.
9. Pick some old, grungy, dark colored clothes and let them use markers to draw designs, words or pictures onto them. Paint over the designs with bleach (you!), let sit until faded, and then launder well. Voila! New, funky jeans and fun clothes! Reverse idea– use light clothes, permanent markers and skip the bleach.
10. Completely dress them up, either all dolled up in formal clothes or in a fun costume, and take them anywhere. The more boring the location the better! You’ll all love the comments and attention! Make up an excuse together for what you’ll say. Call it family dress up day, say you’re on the way to a party (and then have one at home) or tell them some woman on the internet told you to do it. That’ll make you look sane! 😉
Have a magical week!