Sunday, March 16, 2008

the results are in

Last fall I embarked on a challenge which I titled Winter "Activity Menu." I asked peope who were interested in participating in a 'menu' of sorts to share their ideas of ways to stay busy during the long, c-o-l-d, dreary months to try and beat the winter blues. And now -- at the middle of March -- it's time to share the results and fill each other in on how we did.

Before I share my results, I have to confess that I didn't really necessarily do things as originally planned in terms of doing specific things on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. But I did keep my ideas in the back of my mind all winter long, and used them many times during the past several months.

Here are my results. My plan (which you can read in its entirety here) included the following:

Family Activities One day a week:

1. Have fun playing in the snow: making snow angles, snowmen, going toboganning, having snow ball fights, etc.
We definitely had a lot of fun playing outside this year. We did have a lot of extremely bitterly cold weather in January and Februry which minimized our outdoor time a fair bit. But in the first few months of winter we enjoyed may walks around the neighborhood, and went toboganning a couple of different times. The girls enjoyed many a snow angel and Les built the girls two caves/forts in both the front and back yard.

2. Have a baking night: store the goodies in the freezer for Christmas parties and gatherings, or bring the baked goods to friends and neighbours
We did do some baking, but most of it was done in one evening before Christmas, followed by a few other times. As for bringing our goodies over to friends and neighbours...well, we really only did that one time when our new neighbours moved next door to us in November.

3. Have a craft night: come up with creative crafts to make together with the kids
I don't know if we ever had an official craft night -- but the girls did receive many craft supplies for Christmas and together they made about a gazillion pictures/crafts (can you guess where most of those ended up when they weren't looking?).

4. Have company over (well, okay -- this might only happen once every other week): if you want to be on the guest list, LET ME KNOW!!
This definitely did not happen every week -- or even every other week -- but there were a few times when we did have company over and we fully enjoyed it. We discovered that spontaneous invitations seemed to be fairly successful.

5. Go on an (indoor) outing: this could include visiting friends (let me know if you want to be on that list too!), going to an indoor swimming pool or the Children's Museum
Again, we didn't do nearly enough of this. But we did take the girls swimming a couple of times which was a huge hit!

6. Have a dance party: put on some positive, uplifting tunes and dance with the girls around the living room, stopping for breaks in between to read stories or indulge in some of our previously made baking!
I'm happy to say that even though this wasn't exactly one on a weekly basis, we did do this several times. It's amazing how much music can lift your spirits. And dancing (or running around the living room in circles) is really good excercise! We would also sometimes stop when one of us would yell "Okay, everybody STOP and do 10 jumping jacks!"

The following ME-time activities that I want to get accomplished this winter:

1. Crochet 4 baby blankets (sorry, you can't get on this list -- they're already all spoken for!)
Well, I started all 4 of them but only 2 of them have been fully completed. I'm hoping (the key word here is h-o-p-i-n-g) to have the last 2 finished by the end of April.

2. Update the girls' baby books/jourals
I have three words for this one: "Uh...yeah, right!"

3. Update our photo albums complete with journaling
For the results on this one -- see above!

4. Organize my house! It always seems so overwhelming, but if I break it down to one room at a time (or one section, like the front entrance closet or my junk drawer -- right Rebecca??) it should be a lot more manageable.
I didn't necessarily organize cupboards, drawers and closet like I had originally planned. But Les and I did a fabulous job over a few evenings going through a lot of boxes in our basement. It's amazing how much stuff you accumulate over just a few years! I was also fairly successful in keeping my house tidy for most of the winter. I just love a clean house!

5. Excercise on a regular basis -- not only to drop a few pounds (hopefully!) but what better way to stay positive and healthy throughout the dreary months!
I really suck at getting on track with excercising. I did do a LOT of shoveling this winter which was a good work-out. But as far as doing cardio and weights -- which is really what I had intended to do -- yeah, that didn't work out so well!

So, all in all, I didn't follow my activity menu all that closely. But I did use it as a guide. And the main question is: Did I manage to beat the winter blues? Well, honestly -- no. But I do believe that the effort that I did make was stronger than most other winters. And, I may not have made it through without any depression, but I think -- no, I K-N-O-W -- that it would've been worse had I not had this challenge in the back of my mind the whole time.

I know that the Activity Menu Challenge wasn't nearly as successful as I had hoped it would be -- both in number of participants and in how the participants did (such as myself!) -- and part of me feels disappointed in it. But you know what? If I helped even one person have even a small improvement over their normal winter experience by creating this challenge, then it was worth it!

So thank you for those of you who participated. The following are the ladies who committed to the challenge back in October. They don't all have their results posts up yet, so be sure to check back with them over the next couple of days to read their results. And for those of you who didn't officially participate but who got inspired by somebody else's ideas, I'd love to hear from you too.

Did you beat the winter blues?


ValleyGirl said...

I'm just so pathetic at sticking to lists!! I used to be so good at it, but I don't know ~ in recent years, it's like things are more likely to happen if I just don't say or plan anything. It's like as soon as it's on paper or I've said it out loud, I rebel against my own 'orders!' I DID do well with beating off the blues this year regardless, though.

Melanie said...

I'll be posting about my failures tomorrow.

Seems like you did pretty good though!

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an2 said...

My Precious Andrea...if it weren't for your beautiful blanket for my babes, she wouldn't be sleeping so soundly right now! it is so cozy and she is not tucked in until the blanket is wrapped tightly around her. as for your winter activity plan, i chatted lots with you, and all round happy to report made it thru a long blues and all!thanks for your freindship! with much love, an2

Sharon Brumfield said...

Well--you did finish 2 blankets--that is pretty good. I have been working on one for my daughter for over a year and it is still not done.

That you made it through the winter without sinking deep into the blues is all that matters!
Good job!
The trees are blooming and spring starts Thursday!

TheVasquez3 said...

well atleast you didn't let the winter blues do a complete take over.

i never have been good at sticking to lists. so you pretty much rock for all that you did accomplish!!

Pam said...

Sorry I was part of the disappointment. I loved having the ideas in the back of my mind too- it gave us things to do and try out when we were 'bored'....but I wish I would have been better at planning something.

I will echo what you said to me--without this and I would not have met. SOOOOOOO....that means this challenge ROCKS in my mind. I can't even imagine now having met you or getting to know you. Thanks for giving us this challenge and being a great light for me during those long, cold, dark winter months!!

Jenn said...

This was a great idea, I will have to try it next year. I do quite well with lists so you never know what I might accomplish!
How blessed are we to get your baking. It is dee-lish!!