Tag: fed up with frenzy

As a kid one of my favorite things to do was to pour over various Make and Do books which were so prevalent in those days. They were full of crafts and recipes and games and ideas for filling up the days with fun and creativity.

As an adult, those books are still some of my favorites and I have a wide collection of various tomes from the 50s, 60s and 70s that I have picked up over the years at thrift stores and book sales. I pick them off the shelves at various times of year and leave them scattered about the house just waiting for some passerby (read: one of my four children or me) to pick one up, peruse its pages and get inspired. In these books there is truly something for everyone.

I have often wondered why there wasn’t a modern day equivalent to these books. Books that are timeless in their content and ageless in their target market.

And then Suz Lipman of Slow Family Online sent me a copy of her new book; Fed Up With Frenzy; Slow Down. Reconnect. It’s easier than you think.

It is a beautiful Make and Do book for families with a focus on slowing down and finding family connection within the tasks and activities.

It is full of thoughtful suggestions for living family life, games and crafts and garden activities. It has ideas for rituals and kitchen projects and family celebrations. And if you leave it out on the table in your house I guarantee someone will get inspired to create something magical that will surely spur your family onto feeling more joy and more connection.

I received my copy shortly before our big family road trip and tucked it in my travel bag. A few hundred miles in I pulled it out and went right to the Travel Games section. It is full of games to play in the car – some I remembered from my own youth, and others that were new to me or offered a twist I never thought of. For the rest of the trip, each time we needed inspiration we pulled out the book in search of what to do next. We took turns flipping through the pages finding ideas for things to do or just reading along for future plans and projects.

Now home I’m excited to dive into some of the kitchen projects with my kids – crafts and fun science projects. We’ll leave this one out on the table for months I’m sure and turn to it each time we need simple inspiration or ideas for things to do together or just a good read on a lazy afternoon.

This is the book of Make and Do but it is so much more than that. It will give you ideas for things to do with your kids. Ways to add more beauty to your home and your yard and the community at large. It will remind you that the road to connection is paved with simple things – things all within our grasp. You should totally get  a copy and display it prominently so that each time your seeking ways to reconnect, you’ll find it here in these pages.

Thanks to the author I’ve got one copy to giveaway which I’ll be doing next Wednesday on my site. Leave a comment here and tell me what was the last project or activity your family did together or what one you’ve got planned for the near future.



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We have been on the road this summer seeing parts of America. We started off with a longish drive and have been doing shorter drives here and there. The drives have been mostly a blast with random acts of low points interspersed. But mostly a blast wins hands down in my book. And in the kids too apparently who have been reporting to various friends and family that the drive was “awesome!”

Here are some things we learned – some things that made the trip more fun, easier, and definitely more doable…

1. Pack good sandwiches. Perhaps it goes without saying but just what those snacks are is sort of crucial to the overall happiness of the journey. We had salami sandwiches which are a road trip staple of mine. Delicious, chewy and loved by all. I cut them into individual sizes then wrap each one with a paper napkin then stuff them all in a plastic bag. Makes for easy dispensing along the way.

2. Bring treats for random dispensing. You know that little drawer under many front seats? That’s where we kept our candy stash. Now of course candy seems like a bad idea when you’re all stuffed in the car for so long but dispensed in small increments, candy are the proverbial carrot on a stick.”Let’s have a treat when we hit the 150 mile mark.” And all would be cool heading toward that point. We had Swedish Fish and Gummy worms and Red Cherry Twizzlers which could be used for eating or crafting which made them last that much longer! Be careful to choose candy that is not messy – no chocolate or other meltable candys. And no powdery items which could spill all over and leave you sitting in a pile of sticky. If you’re against candy, choose the usually verboten treat of your liking. Again with a mind on the mess.

3. Drink water only. I don’t like stickiness. And I especially don’t like wet stickiness. One juice spill was enough to make us institute a water only rule. If we had something else to drink it was had while at a stop. Not in the car.

4. Give everyone DJ time. Super fun. And now with ipods in practically every pocket, everyone can bring their own music. Plug it in and give everyone a time limit or a song limit – depending on your threshold.

5. If you have dvd player in the car, use it sparingly. On a roadtrip you’re driving to see the country. So if everyone’s staring at a screen, the point is sort of lost. While we were mostly on smaller roads, on major highways we allowed movies. And when it was dark. Otherwise it was a no-go. And nobody seemed to mind in the slightest.

6. Find smaller roads if you can. The green highways on the map are lovely. We traveled on one such road from Natchez Mississippi all the way to Nashville and it was a dream! Beautiful road and super nice rest stops and no trucks. Plus an incredible view of a state none of us had ever spent much time in. The green roads show you the country’s loveliness.

7. Stop and look at the local flavor. Go in the tiny grocery stores along the back roads. Talk to the clerk. Ask them about their town. You can stop in the tourist spots too but the local non-tourist destinations give you a glimpse of life you’ll never get in the tourist destinations.

8. Bring a song book and find a list of good travel games. We brought Rise Up Singing which has the lyrics to HUNDREDS of old songs and Suz Lipman’s new book Fed Up With Frenzy which has a whole section on travel. While some games are age specific like word games, games like 20 questions and the license plate game and Guess Who I Am can be played by one and all. For games that are too old for some, make teams. And of course don’t forget to keep a list of license plates!

9. Do something totally random. On one of our stops at a reservoir we went skinny dipping in the middle of the day. My 9 year old was THRILLED! And I’m sure that will go down as the highlight of her trip. It was short and fun and felt like life away from home.

10. Allow yourself time. If you’re rushing to something that sort of eliminates the road trip feeling of freedom. Allow an extra day that you can take or not take. Allow an extra hour in the day for stopping here and there. From the very beginning we said it would take 4 or 5 days and that extra day made us feel like we had all the time in the world.

11. Find hotels with pools. After sitting all day a pool gives the kids just the movement they need. And usually a pool has a table next to it where you can sit and have a cocktail.

12. Suspend some of the usual rules. In the hotel we watched tv until late. In the car we ate foods that are usually forbidden.

13. Be quiet. In one portion of the trip where it was getting particularly LOUD, I declared I would take an hour of silence. It felt so good to not intervene in everyone’s business. It felt good to step back from refereeing and interrupting. While the noise continued around me, it felt good to sit in silence for a change.

For me time in the car on a trip like this is like incubation for the family. We laughed, we cried, we sang,  it was the feel good drive of the summer. If you can, might I recommend one for your family? Whether it’s a day or a week, it’s a great way of shutting out the world and finding some time to connect.

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