We’ll be taking a couple of weeks off this month to wrap up the winter issue (also, to be honest, to play video games and start some projects with our Hanukkah yarn), but we’ll be back with your regular Monday pep talk in January. And since we’ll be gone for a little while, we’ve padded this week’s pep talk with a few extra ideas to tide you over.
fun things to do this week (and beyond)
Celebrate Bill of Rights Day on Dec. 15 with an Oregon Trail-ish online game.
December 18 is Bake Cookies Day, which means you haven’t been procrastinating your holiday baking, you’ve just been waiting for the official day. (I’ll be making rum balls.)
Celebrate National Flashlight Day (Dec. 21) by making your own flashlights.
Put on a family production. It could be that I have read Little Women too many time, but I love the idea of putting on a holiday show in your living room.
Make your own fake snow, and you can have a snowball fight whether it’s a white solstice or not.
Get hooked on a podcast. A few to try: Professor Blastoff’s archives (sadly, no new episodes are coming, but this mash-up of science, philosophy, and humor can be addictive); the Tolkien Professor’s Tolkien chats (perfect for people who want to obsess—and I mean, really obsess—over Middle Earth), and the Infinite Monkey Cage, which is a little bit like what would result if Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, and Monty Python got together and decided to host a podcast about science.
ideas for holiday eating
I want to eat this white bean risotto with garlicky greens tonight—but I’m also wondering if there’s a version of this with black-eyed peas that would make an awesome New Year’s lunch.
This winter vegetable soup is one of those slow-cooker meals that you’ll be so happy to come home to.
Sweet potato and kale bubble and squeak? Yes, please!
This crispy coconut kale with roasted salmon and coconut rice is fancy enough to feel special but a nice break from all the rich roasts we seem to eat over the holidays.
Beef stroganoff with dumplings is the perfect dinner on a chilly evening.
Someone brought this poppy seed chicken casserole to every single potluck when I was growing up, and I still think this with a big plate of roasted broccoli makes the perfect dinner.
one great readaloud