Rainy Days and Sundays – aka Ready for Normal Again

I really haven’t had a routine since Vivian was born. I barely got my health to the point where I could begin to exercise again when I got the Backyard Farming book deal. Insert insanity here. But wait, there’s more! Then my body broke down on me and I wound up in the hospital with emergency surgery.

Between the being sick part and the surgery part and the recovery part I’m only just now getting to feel semi-normal again. And none too soon either because the book is due next week. Insert maniacal laugh of despair and sleep-deprivation here.

What’s a mom to do? Seriously. I have kids! Amazing, lovely, wonderful children who do not stop just because you need a break. Or ten. This feeling of “what do I do with them now” has been nearly constant the last four months but can be made worse with a simple thing like rainy day or break from school. So what are some creative kids activities you can have ready to go without  inducing a guilt-derived pity party?

Let them wet the trampoline or go jump in the rain. Especially in the balmy spring weather we’ve been having – Getting wet won’t kill your kid. Go ahead and let them jump in the rain. Then toss them all in the bath, start a load of laundry when they come in and you’ll be ahead on your household chores as well.

Turn on some tunes and clear a space in the living room and let them dance! And during your break (you are taking regular breaks from working at the computer aren’t you, Angela?) get up and dance with them for five minutes. You’ll feel better and they will think you are an amazing mom.

Books are always great. My kids like the recordable storybook we got from Hallmark because they can read along with what I’m saying. We just got an interactive storybook as well – book plus stuffed animal? It’s like chocolate and caramel…a match made in a heaven!

Construction paper and their art boxes. Limit these festivities to the kitchen table for easier clean up, but my kids will sit and color, cut, and glue construction paper together into a myriad of designs and creations for a long time. Longer than it takes me to clean up the mess, so that’s the definition of a win/win in my opinion.

XBox or Wii games. Both Wii and Xbox Kinect encourage movement during game play. And on a rainy day when being outdoors may not be possible, that movement factor is crucial! My kids are pre-programmed to expend a certain amount of energy each day and if it’s not burned playing nicely together, it is burned off in other more mischievous and stress-inducing ways.

Which way are we supposed to be going again?

Extra-curriculars. In our case, soccer. The three older kids are in soccer and it’s been a godsend for us for them. Learning to listen to their coach, to follow the directions, interact with the other kids, and make new friends are all important skills. Plus the weekly practices keep them busy.

Call in help from your support system. That’s a fancy way of saying send the kids to Grammy’s house for five days while you’re stuck in the hospital. But you know what? Sometimes you cannot do it all and that is OK. (Or so I’m learning.) This is the season for finishing the book. The season for being crafty-mom or cook-every-single-meal-mom will be next. My kids had a blast at Grammy’s house and were less worried about me than they would have been at home or hanging around the hospital.

So how do you keep your kids busy and entertained when you can’t follow your usual routine? Do you have some go-to activities you fall back on?

I’m so blessed to be part of the Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion blogger team. Their sponsorship of this blog helps me stay sane while I take on too much. 

About AngEngland

has written 497 posts in this blog.

Founder of Untrained Housewife, Editor-in-Chief of Blissfully Domestic (http://blissfullydomestic.com), mother of five, wife of one, and God-seeker always.



  1. says

    Watercolor paints are a favorite around here. Gabe absolutely loves painting, and it’s an easy cleanup.

    Gabe also enjoys painting small wooden things like birdhouses, so I try to keep an eye on the clearance sections at WalMart and Hobby Lobby.

  2. Deborah Aldridge says

    I’ve never heard of anyone meeting a book deadline. Never. Publishers know that, and they make allowances. Take care of your kids and yourself. Books can wait. If you lose the book deal, there will be another one. You’ll never get this time back.

    • says

      It’s going to be worth this initial investment of time if I can get it turned in this week. It will mean the difference between a 2012 publish date and 2013 publish date. They would be OK with me being late, given the medical issues, but _I_ am not OK with what that delay would do to the book’s release date. This will be for the best in the long run. :-)

  3. says

    Wow! Sounds like you are more than ready and deserve more normal-ish days. Keep taking care of yourself, those adorable babies of yours and best of luck with your book :)

  4. says

    Well, it’s not easy but I have always tried to make my kids figure out their own entertainment. I encourage them to play outside, to play together (there’s nothing like having built in playmates), and to read. It’s not easy, though, to convince the kids to leave Mommy alone when she needs to get something done. My husband made a list a week ago for the kids – things they COULD do and things they should not do while Mom finished her work. They respected the list much more than I thought they would!

    • says

      That really is the nice thing about having 5 kids isn’t it? They DO play together a lot and it makes it easier now that the older ones are old enough to be helpful. Or at least not be UNhelpful. 😉

  5. says

    This is relatable to so many of us (well not the book deal yet for me;), take care of yourself. Breathe in the good and breathe out the bad – you are almost done with the book and then I hope you get some true rejuvenating relaxation!

  6. Robin Egerton says

    Sidewalk chalk. Sprinkler. Sand box. Mud puddle, which can be created with a sprinkler and a sandbox! “Wash” the car. Box of popsicle sticks and bottle(s) of glue. Homemade playdough. Refrigerator boxes. Hikes in woods with grandparents (but not former Marine grandfathers – they have a poor sense of direction.) Hikes anywhere with anyone!! LOL!! Brand new big box of legos.

  7. Kim says

    I love these ideas. I hope you feel back to normal sooner than expected. I love all of these ideas.

  8. says

    Pillows for pillow fight. Bubble stuff (outside). Slip n slide or sprinkler. a patch of dirt, some seeds and little garden tools. Sidewalk chalk. Pudding finger painting on boxes or cheap poster board. Tables, blankets or sheets to make forts. Squirt guns. Picnic. A job…like sweeping the porch, picking up backyard toys and trash, finding pine cones, etc. Puzzles (floor size if kids are little). Loving aunts, uncles (in some families it would be cousins).

  9. says

    Angela, I’m so glad you’re on the mend and even finishing a book! Your article brought back a lot of memories for me. You’ve got the strategies down! You mentioned art supplies, but didn’t mention clay (homemade or otherwise)! I would only allow that on the kitchen table and it was an activity for when I worked in the kitchen. I also had my kids cook with me. They would gather round and I’d give each something to do (chop, peel, stir, even knead bread). I’d give the tiny one some bread dough to manipulate into shapes on bread day–and he knew not to eat it or it would disappear!

    After a while, I started them on Suzuki violin classes and gymnastic classes, then later piano too. So my house was often a concert hall and sometimes a gymnastics meet!

    Another idea is to tell them to put on a play for you either later that day or in a couple days (depending on the ages). That will keep them planning all day long!

    I don’t have to say enjoy your little ones because I know you do! God bless, Christiane

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