Easton At Home
Easton At Home
Hello, Easton neighbors! These might be strange times, but we’re still here for you! During these days when we’re all stuck in the house and social distancing, we thought it would be helpful to compile a list of activities and ways folks can stay entertained, connected, and well fed.
Play Games on Your Phone: We’ve been staying connected with our family around the country by playing group games. These are games you download to your phone via the Apple App Store or Google Play, and then everyone can play together. Family members of all ages like Psych, a group trivia game where each player makes up an answer and players vote on their favorites. The word nerds are into Words with Friends, and another group has a game of Risk going. It’s like the traditional board game, but played online.
Call Face-to-Face: We always stay in touch with phone calls, but lately with everyone home we’ve been doing more FaceTime calls. It helps us feel more connected in our separate spaces, and it’s nice to see each other’s faces. This is a good time to get creative—you could bake together, or do an art project. Here at our house, one cousin led another in a painting craft project over FaceTime yesterday that lasted for 2 hours! My book club also has set up a virtual meeting via Zoom, which is a free app that lets everyone do a video conference together.
Watch Movies Together: A new Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party lets you watch movies and TV shows with friends and family on your computers with a chat room. It’s really easy to install if both parties have Google Chrome web browsers and Netflix accounts—here are instructions.
Get the House In Order
Do Some Deep Cleaning: Those of you lucky ducks with newer homes probably have fewer of these kinds of tasks to do, but for those of us who have been in our homes for a while, it’s a great time to take care of all the chores around the house we always mean to get to. For example, yesterday, I scrubbed out all the shelves in my fridge, and today I’m going to clean the cobwebs off my dusty front porch light—an eyesore that’s been bothering me for months. Make a list of tasks on a piece of paper or whiteboard, and try to check off one or two each day.
Get Organized: My mom has been busy organizing our family photos by year. When she finds ones she can’t identify, she texts pictures of the pictures to her sisters, and everyone chimes in with more information. It’s a fun way for them to stay connected and remember good times from the past. Another good friend totally re-organized her pantry and grouped items by sections—a task that’s especially helpful since many of us are stocked up on canned goods and non-perishables right now.
Do Some Paperwork: So, this might be our least fun suggestion, but if you haven’t completed your 2020 taxes, now is a good time to get ahead on those– the deadline to pay has been extended 90 days until July 15! It’s also a good time to take the 2020 Census if you haven’t done that yet—you can fill out the paper forms that you received in the mail, or use the code from your envelope to complete the census online.
Move Your Body
Go for Walks: While the fitness center might be closed, it’s a great time to go walking or jogging around our beautiful neighborhood. Being outside for as little as 30 minutes can have a positive effect on your outlook and help things feel more normal. Take your dog for a walk, or listen to music, a podcast, or an audiobook. It’s a great way to get out of the house and change your scenery while still keeping a safe social distance from other people.
Dance in Your Living Room: Austin’s own DJ Mel, the official DJ of the UT basketball and football teams and known for playing President Obama’s 2008 inauguration, has been livestreaming a Living Room Dance Party every Saturday night. It’s a great chance to bust a move and get some energy out.
Try a New Workout: There are tons of free workouts available on YouTube. Our family is partial to Yoga with Adriene—she is an Austin yoga teacher who has built a world-wide following for her easy-to-follow yoga and meditation classes. If you’re looking for something a little more high impact, Peloton has recently made its workout at home app free for 90 days. You don’t have to have their fancy bike or treadmill to participate—the app includes both live and recorded strength training classes, stretching, yoga, high-impact fitness classes, and more.
Expand Your Horizons
Learn Something New: One friend has decided she wants to use this time to finally learn to knit, and she’s ordered supplies and found some online knitting video tutorials to guide her. Another friend is starting her life-long dream of learning to bake bread, and anyone can now take pasta-making classes from a real Italian grandma. As for me, I’m finally going to dig into those Spanish lessons, via the free Duolingo app. With the rich amount of how-to content available online nowadays, it is possible to teach an old dog some exciting new tricks.
Travel Virtually: Want to imagine you’re somewhere else? Good news: Good Housekeeping pulled together a list of museums, zoos, and theme parks offering virtual tours. Check out the Panda Cam at the Atlanta Zoo or try a 360° virtual experience of the Small World ride at Disneyland. If you’re feeling a little stir crazy, a virtual adventure might be just the thing to perk you up.
Livestream Live Music: With the canceling of SXSW, there are a lot of local musicians who have lost out on gigs they were counting on. Many of them are doing livestream concerts on FaceBook, StageIt and other platforms to try to connect with fans and make up a little bit of that lost income. It’s a great chance to see your favorite artists up close and personal or find some new favorite singers. Just a heads up, Dolly Parton is even reading bedtime stories every Thursday starting April 2 at 7pm EDT.
Tour a Museum: Google Arts & Culture is offering virtual tours of more than 2500 museums around the world, including Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, London’s National Gallery, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also offers a series called The Artist Project, which includes videos of famous artists speaking about works that inspired them.
Eat Good Food
Support Local Restaurants: This is no time to limit yourself to canned beans and dry rice. At press time, it seems like Favor, DoorDash, UberEats, PostMates, and GrubHub are all still delivering food in Austin, and Drizly and Minibar are still delivering alcohol. While not all restaurants are open, there are a lot of places offering food for take-out.
Get Your Groceries: Also, H-E-B is offering curbside pickup and grocery delivery services – while the time slots are filling up two weeks ahead, it is a good option for reserving your groceries and not having to fight the crowds or wait in lines. Also, many restaurants like Easy Tiger and food distributors like Hardie’s are now selling provisions directly to consumers.
We hope this blog post gives you some fun ways you can stay busy and connected while we’re all trying to keep ourselves safe. We’ve always had a great sense community at Easton Park, so don’t forget to wave at your neighbor from across the street and check in on each other (from a safe distance). We have also heard that hugging your fur-kids relieves stress, so give it a try.
We’d love to hear from our Easton Park community about ideas you have and ways that you’re keeping yourself entertained. Please send us ideas and pictures of your activities to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured later on!