The New Winter Semester

by Julia Srnec, sophomore writing coach

We’ve made it through the first few weeks of second semester! As we begin to make the transition from deep winter into what will hopefully be a pleasant and sunny spring, the planning for the next school year is already happening.

The future can be an overwhelming thought during this time of the year, whether that be selecting your classes and schedule for your next year at Minnetonka, or preparing for a transition into college and life outside of high school. As a sophomore headed for my junior year, college seems far away, but I still find myself taking countless career quizzes and racking my brain trying to figure out what it is that I want to do with my future. I’ve already started looking for colleges that have majors I may be interested in, and have started to try to identify what size, style and community I am looking for in a college. This college stress also scales down to my worries about classes I want to take next year. Questions of how many AP classes I can fit in without being overwhelmed, whether or not I should do Vantage, or if I should sign up for the IB program, have been spinning around in my head for weeks now. Since I’m in Spanish Immersion, I also like having at least an hour per day in Spanish, so that adds another level of difficulty. Along with academics, my activities outside of school, including clubs and spending time with friends, are equally important to me. Finding a balance with these activities and school is also an important factor.

With all of the different paths that are in front of me, it is often difficult to narrow down what exactly I want to do. Lately all of this has led to me feeling very stressed, as I’m sure many of you are as well. Though your paths may look different than mine, the pressure of feeling like you have to make a decision that may dramatically affect your life is a feeling we all share in one way or another.

Dealing with the stress of the future can feel like a huge task, so finding a way to deal with it is really important. Talking to friends, taking time to do things for yourself, and utilizing self care resources are all good ways to to reduce this stress and center yourself to be in the moment. I know this time between winter and spring break can be difficult, so make sure to take care of yourself and find people you are comfortable talking to when you’re feeling down. I wish you all the best and be sure to stay safe and stay strong!

The Best Guide to Pick-Up Lines

by Maxwell Maveus, junior writing coach

Universally speaking, many organisms can function without a partner. A boa constrictor can become pregnant by parthenogenesis, and a jellyfish can simply clone itself. Regrettably, humans can neither fertilize themselves nor clone themselves (outside the womb). Moreover, most people want a date — as exemplified by the copious couple’s posts in February, and the sad texts asking if you’re free to get sushi with a friend on Valentine’s Day. Dating advice runs rampant, and in a forest of desperation and sarcasm, it is easy to become lost. This Valentine’s Day, which also happens to be my last under 18, I’ve decided to create the advice I’ve so longed to hear. Still, there’s only so much I can accomplish in a very short window of time that manages to stay school-blog-appropriate. How to propose? No. How to resolve fights in long-term relationships? Definitely not my forté. What people really want to know is how to initiate a relationship. But what if they’re happy being single? That’s fine, this can uncomfortably be used on friends too. I had two goals in this process: to find the top 5 traits of a good pick-up line, and to figure out how to deliver it. Working with my close friend Alexis Hoy, I can confidently say that this is a vital guide to finding your soulmate. 

The process began simply — I had to test different traits. I at first wanted to create 50 different moods for pick-up lines (the jokes write themselves), but if you’re rejected 25 times maybe you need more than pick-up lines. After coming up with 25 lines, I gave them to the comedic expert Alexis to evaluate them on a 10 point scale. These are exemplified below in figure I. 

Amused
“You remind me of my garbage. Want me to take you out?”



9/10
Direct
“Hey. Would you want to go out with me?”




2/10
Envious
“Would you mind sharing those good looks? I’m actually not into THAT many abs. I’d like you more if you ate some cake.” 9/10
Innocent
“If you’d like to, I think it would be fun to visit a museum together sometime! You’re as beautiful as their art.”
2/10
Silly
“Roses are red, My anxiety is crippling, We could be a cuter couple, Than Ravi and Mrs. Kipling.”
10/10
Agitated
“THIEF! Give back my hormones immediately!”
6/10
Cocky
“Are you a mirror? Because you’re the hottest thing I’ve seen all night.” 9.23/10
Sarcastic
“I know what women love. I’m an Alpha Male. Join my wolf pack.” 10/10
Jealous
“Is that your SO over there? Because you could SO use an upgrade.” 9/10
Obsessed
“I hope you like corn, because you’ve just gotten a stalker.”
9/10
Alert
“Excuse me — are you new here? I always notice new people, especially beautiful ones.”


1/10
Confident
“You must’ve rubbed a genie, because I’m your first wish come true!”



9/10
Guilty
“I tried to put my phone number in your purse while you were peeing, but I accidentally spilled your drink. Maybe you should just give me yours?” 8/10
Jolly
“I’d think an angel like you would be on top of a tree!”




9/10 (seasonal)
Morbid
“Since you’re double the hotness of anyone else, do you mind if I take you on a double date? I have trust issues and need a friend with me.”
10/10
Contradictory
“I don’t know how someone can have such terrible and perfect features at the same time, Ms./Mr. Juxtaposition.” 9/10
Courteous
“Let me prove to you chivalry isn’t dead.”




6/10
Hopeless
“I will pay you $10 if you just take my number.”




9/10
Loving
“You remind me of someone who’s very meaningful to me. Thank you for crossing my path.”

1/10
Psychic
“Your palm says we’ll date in the future. Wait until I read the rest of you.”


8/10
Passive Aggressive
“You better be a mosquito, because you’ve certainly checked off the annoying part!” 10/10
Dreary
“Are you my depression pills? Because I can’t smile without you.”
9/10
Insecure
“You smell like my mom. Would you like to get a drink?”

1/10
Mean
“Are you ice cream? Because your sweet face looks like rocky road”
1/10
Zesty
“I know how to tango, but a tango’s for two. Why not let the other person be you?” 10/10
Figure I.

Clearly, there’s a problem. I’m too good at creating pick-up lines. Still, the first 25 tries provided me with something invaluable. Sarcastic pick-up lines are much better received than serious compliments — it is useful to be a little bit mean! If you think they’ll be insulted, lean towards silly. Never try to be serious, because it comes off as “simping” or creepy. Furthermore, annoyed, dreary, and morbid scored much higher than loving, direct, or innocent. The top 5 traits are the S.S. ZMP (like the love boat). These stand for Sarcasm, Silliness, Zestiness, Morbidness, and Passive Aggressiveness. I’ve created an additional example of a great line under each of these top traits in the below figure II.

Morbid
“Please don’t leave me and my thoughts alone in bed tonight again. My therapist is worried.”
Silly
“Sizzle sizzle! You’ve committed arson in the first degree, being that attractive!” 
Zesty
“If a tango is for two, wait until I show you my Tahitian dance!”
Sarcastic
“You don’t wanna get involved with me. I’m a Sigma Male.”
Passive Aggressive
“I hope I’m not as into you as you are into those virgin piña coladas.”
Figure II.

Coming up with a great one-liner is only half the problem. The delivery can make the difference between coffee and a slap to the face. Alexis had created 7 elements of good comedy, some of which I used to create a new adjective to get a date. Here is TRAMIE:

  1. Timing
  2. Relatability 
  3. Audience
  4. Movement
  5. Intonation
  6. Expression

I will cover this briefly. Timing is essential so that you don’t hit on someone during their mother’s funeral. With relatability, never bring up an obscure pop-culture reference like Ducky Momo unless you’re positive they’ve heard of it. Audience has to do with their background — pay careful attention to their politics! A hand gesture makes the world of a difference when you are telling a story (do not put your finger in and out of a clenched fist). If you speak without any emotion, you should be aiming for some weird robot stuff. Finally, a smile softens the mood and helps show that you are not a predator.

So the perfect pick-up line? It doesn’t exist. For someone, it might be a popsicle stick strep test joke. For someone else, it might just be a compliment. Still, if you use the S.S. ZMP with TRAMIE, I can guarantee that you’ll at least walk away with a laugh. Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Maxwell Maveus

Hooray for National Girls and Women in Sports Day!

by Lindsey Muench, senior writing coach

February 3, 2021 marks National Girls and Women in Sports day, a day to celebrate female athletes all across the country. To honor this day, I’ve handpicked some of my favorite influential female athletes that inspire me— and soon hopefully you too — to be a better person and athlete.


Serena Williams

Tennis

First off, you may know Serena Williams, famous U.S. tennis player. Serena set the bar high in tennis, with 23 Grand Slam victories, she is an inspiration to all women striving to be successful in a career. Serena is a tennis icon worldwide, battling rivals and sexism with determination and grit. Serena is not only one of the best tennis players to ever live, she had a child in 2017 and returned to the sport, now 37 still dominating the court. 

Image result for serena williams

“I feel like a warrior in it, a warrior princess. I’ve always wanted to be a superhero.” – Serena Williams on wearing a catsuit at the French Open

Billie Jean King

Tennis

Billie Jean King is a world renowned former number one tennis player. Billie made history on the court: she won 39 Grand Slam titles, was the first female to win the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the first female to have a major sports venue named after her “Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York” and had a competition named after her by the International Tennis Federation. While Billie made history in the sport, she was a pioneer for women’s equality and continually fought for change. She stands for all female athletes worldwide, and her activism helped pass Title IX and further opportunities. To this day, King continues to strive for quality, working for the Women’s Sports Foundation and fighting for equal pay in sports.

Image result for billie jean king

Alysia Montaño

Track and Field

Alysia is a 7 time USA champion and 2 time American record holder. Montaño ran the 800 meters at the U.S. track and field championships in 2014, when she was eight months pregnant, and again in 2017, when she was five months pregnant. Montaño spoke up about the struggles she faced as an athlete pregnant and the lack of maternity protections she received from sponsors Nike and Asics as a professional athlete. She created her nonprofit &Mother to help women thrive in motherhood and a career.

Image result for alysia montaño

Kendall Coyne

Ice Hockey

Two time gold medal olympian for women’s hockey, Kendall Coyne is a prominent figure in ice hockey. In 2019, Coyne was the first woman to compete in the 2019 NHL All-Star Skills competition.She finished less than a second behind three-time champ Connor McDavid and seventh in the league’s fastest skater event with a time of 14.346 seconds. Coyne continues to advocate for women in hockey, leading the more than 200 members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association.

Image result for kendall;; coyne

There are countless more women and girls who have made tremendous impacts in sports all across history and the globe. This day is about honoring the progress of women in sports and the continued fight for equality. To all the girls playing sports, this day is for you! Celebrate, be inspired, and keep fighting.

The Start of A New Semester

by Isabela Snow, sophomore writing coach

Wow! We’ve already made it through a whole semester of e-learning! Time has definitely flown by. It seems like just yesterday that we were all back in school hanging out with our friends and eating banana bread. A lot has happened in the first couple months of the school year; the first female Vice President (yay!!), the much anticipated release of a vaccine for COVID-19, and Harry Styles’ amazing vogue cover, just to mention a few. 

As we transition into the next semester of school, with AP and IB exams looming on the horizon, it is really important to make some time to destress and organize. To destress, I suggest going outside to enjoy the many winter activities unique to Minnesota (I always love going cross country skiing). You could also spend time with your family, read a good book, or watch a movie. Just take some time away from schoolwork so you can be refreshed going into this new semester. At the end of the first semester, I found myself getting tired of constantly being on a device, so to reset, I decided to make it my goal for the next semester to decrease the amount of time I spend on my iPad. I think this will really help with the tech burnout that I’m sure that everyone experiences. At the end of every semester I always like to organize my school materials and my work space to have a clean slate for the next semester. Throwing out my old papers, reorganizing my Notability, and getting back into using my planner are all things I’m planning on doing before the school work picks up again. I recommend you do whatever you need to be organized and refreshed both physically and mentally!

It’s super exciting that the high school is finally going back to a hybrid model. It’ll be so nice to see friends again, but also to have a change of scene. Although I’m staying in the online model, I’m happy for my friends and teachers. It’ll take a little adjustment to get used to 6 classes a day, but it will be nice to have a change in routine. The most exciting part of switching back to the hybrid model is that it is a step in the direction of everything going back to normal. We are so close to the end, so stay strong Tonka!

What Can I Do To Make My New Year’s Resolutions Stick?

New Year's Resolutions 2021: How to accomplish your goals | whas11.com

by Lauren Fligge, sophomore writing coach

Many people create resolutions at the beginning of each new year, myself included. Unfortunately, it’s usually around now, the third week of January, that motivation starts to taper off and we settle back into our old habits. Clearly three weeks of focusing on our goals isn’t enough time to actually make that big of a difference in our lives, so it seems like we need to find a new system that will help us achieve the things we want. Here are some ideas that I’m trying out this year:

  1. Create specific and realistic goals

One of my biggest tips is to try coming up with very specific goals instead of more general ones so that you have a measurable endpoint. For example, if you say that you want to eat healthier, it’s hard to know exactly how much “healthier” you want to be or what parts of your eating habits you want to change. To make the goal more specific and detailed, you can say that you will research healthy lunches to make for yourself and do some meal planning and shopping every weekend so that you have all the ingredients on hand. It’s also important to set realistic goals – for example, if you’ve never been a runner but you want to run a half marathon in three months, it probably will end up doing you more harm than good if you try to do it (although the more likely scenario is that you would give up on training and feel discouraged). Creating unrealistic goals can cause a lot of stress and can make you feel disappointed in yourself if you’re not able to achieve them.

  1. The secret is in your daily routine

I hate to break it to you, but unless you consistently put in effort towards your goals, they will probably never come to be. To make sure that you do reach your goals, you should set aside a specific time slot each day or week to practice your new habit or work on a certain step towards your end goal. If you’d like to read a book a week this year, you might want to give yourself half an hour each night to read. If your goal is something more long term that requires a lot of steps to reach, you may have to do something different each day during the time slot (so make sure to keep track of those specific steps!). 

  1. Visually represent your goals and dreams

You may have seen or heard of vision boards in the past few years. They are essentially a collage on a piece of paper with images and words that represent the things you want to accomplish or focus on for the year. Some you see online can be pretty elaborate, but if you aren’t very artistic it’s still easy to print out some photos and hang them in your room or by your desk. You could even create a digital vision board and use it for your phone background! Vision boards can be really effective since the idea is that you look at them everyday and are reminded about your dreams. It can also be motivating to see a visual representation of what it might look like if you achieve your goals. 

  1. You can set goals any time of the year!

All of my tips above can be done at any time of the year – not just starting on January 1st. In fact, it’s a really good idea to review your daily routine and think about what you want to change about your life every few months, since your visions might change a lot over the course of a year. And if you realize that you’ve forgotten about your resolutions, it’s totally okay to forgive yourself and try again. 

Now go set some goals for yourself and work hard, Tonka!

Behind the Scenes: Making of the Writing Center Beyond 140

by Aspen Schrupp, senior writing coach

Loosely based on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Writing Center Beyond 140 follows four siblings — Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy — as they struggle to write their Narnia fanfiction. When they decide to take a walk to clear their heads, Lucy wanders off and discovers the magical land known as the Writing Center. Thus ensues an epic tale of family, trickery, temptation, and — most importantly — the benefits of the Writing Center. 

After watching this cinematic masterpiece, it is almost a guarantee that the audience will be eager to know more. Therefore, I interviewed some of my fellow castmates and co-writers — Tessa Lundheim (Ms. Tumnus), Scott Sorenson (Edmund), and April Wang (White Witch) — to reveal the most entertaining and intriguing behind the scenes facts. 

Question: What is your favorite part of the script?

Scott (S): Probably when April had to [do] jazz hands [over] me for like five minutes straight while I just tried not to laugh.

Tessa (T): My favorite part of the script is when Lucy arrives at Narnia, because it’s fun to compare the magic of Narnia to the helpful and welcoming atmosphere of the Writing Center. 

April (A): When Ms. Tumnus explains how to set up an appointment with OnBoard and references “the White Witch’s frozen loading screen.” I think that was a really clever reference to put in.

Question: What is your favorite deleted scene?

For context: In one of the earlier drafts, Mr. Erickson was the main character, and the plot centered heavily around him writing his Twilight fanfiction. The end of this script mimicked a “where are they now” theme, and updated the audience on the characters’ lives after the occurrence of these events. 

S: WHITE WITCH BANISHED TO EDINA WAS GOLD AND I CAN’T BELIEVE WE CUT IT

A: [When Mr. Erickson mumbled Twilight references and said] “Sometimes I sit down to write my Twilight fanfiction, but my ideas just don’t fit. I wish there was a way to improve my writing capabilities. *sigh*” Using that iconic Beyond 140 intro was kind of genius. Also, in that same draft, Mr. Erickson introduces his Twilight fanfiction to the writing coaches, and the script says to play the “Simple” iMovie music. The comedic timing of that would’ve been great.

T: I thought the effect of having Mr. Erickson magically [appear] in the scene would end up being a deleted scene, but turns out that’s actually happening, so that will be fun to see!

When asked about their favorite part of the process, filming and writing the script were common answers. As Scott Sorenson said, and with which I agree, “I honestly loved the meetings when we set up the script cause it was just fun to talk to y’all and break up the morning with something good.” Filming, for many of us, was a new experience. We marveled at the professionalism and effort that goes into the creation of these videos while also doing the Hokey Pokey to fight off frostbite. Despite our frozen extremities, we were able to cross off an item on our bucket list we never knew we had: to star in a Beyond 140.

Before I end, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank everyone who made this possible. To our actors and writers (Anna Geldert, Vivi Gonzalez, Scott Sorenson, and Leyden Streed), our project managers (April Wang and Tessa Lundheim), the Writing Center coordinators (Mrs. Hitchcock and Dr. Puechner), and Andy Smith— thank you!!! You truly go Beyond 140 everyday.

How to Achieve the Perfect Sledding Experience

by Emma Komis, junior writing coach

We are well into another Minnesota winter, and many of us are thinking, “Is it over yet?”. We’re dreaming of the hot sun, the feeling of soft grass, and the days when we could go outside without our fingers going numb. But, it’s only January, so we still have a long way to go. 

Winter isn’t enjoyable for everyone, so here’s one of the many ways to celebrate it. While many people take part in skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating; sledding is easily accessible and can appeal to many generations. I admit sometimes sliding down a small slope on a piece of plastic and then repeatedly hiking back up can sound more like work than fun, but I hope to help you to get the perfect, fastest, and most adrenaline-pumping sledding experience of your life. (Warning: Sledding is dangerous and can cause injuries. Please be careful and keep in mind your safety while following these steps.)

Step 1: The perfect snow. You can’t sled without snow. But, not every type of snow is ideal for sledding. For the best experience, it has to be under 32℉. Ice is ideal for a fast run, but no worries if the hill is covered with soft snow. After going down the hill a few times to create a compacted path, lightly spray water over the snow, as Sophie Bushwick of Popular Science recommended. Once it freezes over, you’ll have the perfect sledding snow.

Step 2: The perfect sled. There are plenty of sleds to choose from– the saucer, the tobogan, and the inner tube. The plastic saucer sled is hard to beat; it’s simple, small, and fast. But, according to a study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, inner tube sleds have a faster average speed than other sleds. It is best to have a fully inflated tube, otherwise the results will be disappointing. Lisa Meyers McClintick, writer for the Star Tribune, suggests filling up the tube outside in the cold. Otherwise, the tube will lose air when it is taken outside. Whether you choose the inflatable inner tube or the saucer sled, you’ll be sufficiently fast.

Step 3: The perfect hill. This step seems simple, but might take a bit of travel. Find yourself a hill that is relatively steep and big. This will maximize your speed. But, it is very important to remember the aftermath of your speed. You’ll need enough space to slow down safely and not hit any trees or houses.

Step 4: The perfect start. Now that you’re standing on top of your big, icy, and safe hill with your fully inflated inner tube, you have to get a running head start. 

Step 5: The perfect position. The final step of the perfect sledding experience is your body position. Laying flat on your back while holding on to the tube will cause less drag in the air, making it the ideal position. Another popular position is head first. While it can be fast and adrenaline-pumping, it’s also more dangerous. I would not recommend this position.

There you go. Get outside, breathe some fresh air, and go sledding.

That’s A Wrap on 2020: Ending This Year Positively and Entering Next Year Prepared!

by Ally Chan, senior writing coach

It’s finally the time of this year we’ve all been waiting for. On New Year’s Day, we can officially part with 2020, one of the worst years we’ve ever experienced.

2020 was definitely a tough one. We’ve all had to drastically change the way we carried on with our everyday lives. Every time we turn on the news, we learn about another thing that’s gone wrong with the world. Every day, we are reminded of and surrounded by negativity. So, as we take one last look at 2020 before heading into the next, here’s your friendly reminder to not dwell on the worst moments this year but on the very best ones instead! Here are four ways you can reflect on 2020 in a positive light and end this year on a high note:

  1. Read a few news articles that recap all of the amazing, uplifting stories and accomplishments that happened in 2020. Air pollution was reduced in many countries! Polio has now disappeared from Africa! Vaccines are now being distributed for COVID-19! I’ll link some down below for your enjoyment. The good news from 2020: 10 sunny stories from an otherwise dark year, What went right in 2020: the top 20 good news stories of the year.
  2. Send a note to essential frontline workers. Their work deserves our appreciation, so take the time to thank them for their courageous efforts in helping others battle COVID!
  3. Tell a friend or family member how grateful you are for them. It’s easy to overlook the fact that a lot of people in our lives that we care about are staying safe and healthy, so we should celebrate that!
  4. Employ stress-relieving techniques this holiday season: meditate, exercise, listen to calming music, have deep conversations with your loved ones, reading a book, bake holiday treats, and the like. You deserve a break to reset and get in the right headspace to tackle the new year!

Additionally, as we start making our New Years’ Resolutions, remember to keep things in perspective. If 2020’s taught us anything, it’s that we must expect the unexpected. As much as we may fantasize about how great 2021 will be compared to 2020, it’s always a good idea to think realistically and prepare ourselves for any surprises the new year might throw at us. As you’re writing down your list, think about how you can center your goals around resilience and determination to get through challenges as they come, expected or unexpected, as we enter 2021. 

On a final note, I wish you a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season! Enjoy quality time with family, get lots of rest, and have a fantastic last few days of winter break! Happy New Year!

Winter Introspection

by Caitlyn Carroll, senior writing coach

You guys, we did it! The holiday season has been gearing up for a while now, and is now finally culminating in our beloved winter break. Now is the time to put away the iPad, wrap some gifts, and watch whatever annoying Hallmark movie is calling to you. I’m proud to have made it this far in one piece, and you should be too. 

Truth be told, we can probably all sense that this time of year — and even the concept of a “break” — feels different this time. We’ve faced so many challenges: Being more isolated from friends and family, grappling with online school, adjusting to virtual versions of usual extracurriculars, and potentially working or applying to college; all while feeling positively uninspired. A pandemic will do that. 

Despite all of these pressures, I urge you to take this couple of weeks away from school to find inspiration within yourself. As high school students juggling commitments left and right, it’s important to take advantage of opportunities to rest, but realistically, it’s also just not feasible for most of us to drop everything and bake cookies until January 4th. The circumstances that surround us don’t make it any easier to find solace in the things we usually would, like visiting relatives or partaking in social holiday traditions. That’s why I suggest trying to seek motivation for tasks from within yourself. Whether you have essays to write or books to read or gifts to buy — remind yourself why you are pursuing the goals that are at the forefront right now. 

My main priorities over break are college applications and my job. While I’ve been stressed and overwhelmed, I am able to move forward by thinking about how rewarding the fruits of my labor can be once they are complete. I’m applying to colleges as a stepping stone to pursuing my passions. I work so often because I feel fulfilled by my work connections and ability to save for the future… Statements like these can help you zero in on WHY you do what you do, which is especially important during a time where you might feel alone.

The holidays are a season for giving, and giving to others can make you happy too. But among all the cards and gift exchanges and expressing gratitude for those you love, consider taking time to think about yourself. Mull over the things you feel like you HAVE to do and turn them into things you WANT to do, not because they are mandatory, but because these efforts will truly be worth it. The self care you need the most might manifest in a simple acknowledgement of how much each life goal means to you, and you alone. 

Happy holidays, and have a restful, fulfilling break — whatever that means for you!

But also bake cookies. Please.

Some Fun Winter Activities

by Mikayla Peterson, junior writing coach

As the pandemic is likely causing more of us to stay home this winter break, you may be at a loss for ideas regarding what to do. Although spending time with family can be great, is that really enough to occupy your winter break? Personally, I love spending time with family but if that is all that fills my agenda for more than a week, I’d probably go crazy. Not to worry though, I’ve brainstormed a few things to keep us sane during the upcoming break. 

1: Facetime friends or relatives while baking cookies

As it may be hard to do holiday activities with friends in person this year, what better way than to follow a recipe together whilst baking in separate households? Find a recipe that you’d both like to create, and simply go through the steps together. While the goods are in the oven, you and your friend or relative could catch up with each other. 

2: Create homemade decorations

Another great way to occupy yourself and find some calm during these times is to create homemade decorations for yourself, or as gifts to family members. Some ideas include homemade macrame plant hangers, canvas art, tie blankets, and clay pinch pots. Depending on what materials you already have, you may not need to leave the house!

3: Spend time with furry friends 

For those of us who have pets, we know how hard it is to give them the love we know they’re deserving of. This break, spending extra time with our fuzzy friends could bring some extra joy to ourselves and our furry companions. Take your dog for a walk each day or spend the morning cuddling up with your pal! 

4: New family activities

Although I assume this falls underneath the “family time” category, I often forget how entertaining a game of cribbage or scrabble can be. I’m sure a lot of us aren’t used to seeing our families at the levels we are now, but what better way to bond with them than with a competitive game. Another way to spice up family time could be each choosing meal to cook! Each member chooses a night of the week and prepares their meal of choice for everyone to enjoy. I’m sure this could get messy with some more inexperienced cooks in the kitchen, but the crazier the better, right? 

5: Explore a new hobby 

No matter how many hobbies you may already have, there’s definitely time for you to explore a new one this break! Whether it be picking up a new book, painting, drawing, knitting or writing, the options are almost endless as to what you could discover this break. If you’re really feeling adventurous, try spending time each day learning something new. 

Hopefully you’re inspired to try something new over winter break, and if not I hope you enjoy bunches of family time! I highly recommend that all of us relax and have a wonderful break!