Cherie Lowe: The power of looking ahead – Daily Journal

Posted: June 11, 2020 at 4:50 am

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Vacations, weekends away, summer camp, time at the pool so many of our summer traditions have been canceled or delayed until further notice. While most of us have known this would be the case for a while, what we may not have considered is the power of looking forward. Having special dates on the calendar can help us get through the most mundane of days. And the anticipation of an event is sometimes as much fun as the event itself.

Yes, planning looks different during times of a pandemic. However, it doesnt mean you cant go ahead and put some dates on the calendar now. And, it doesnt mean you cant create lifelong memories, too.

Important factors to keep in mind

When planning anything during uncertain times, you need to realize restrictions are subject to change. Obviously, this makes life a little tricky. Be sure to check all local ordinances and operating hours. Keep an open mind and a flexible spirit. If youre planning for family, you may even want to keep things on a need-to-know basis. Younger children may not understand a shift in the worlds circumstances.

For older kids, friends, spouses and extended family, be sure to share dates again and again. Most of us are having a hard enough time remembering what day of the week it is right now. Overcommunication is the name of the game. Get your paper planner back out, send an e-vite, or use a shared calendar. We love using the Cozi app to track our familys special dates and times.

Last but not least, especially for bigger" events or plans, have a back-up plan in mind when you begin. We cant control the weather, a sudden cancellation or a closure. Especially when it comes to outdoor events, have a Plan B in your pocket.

Weekly events you can plan

Movie Night: Designate one night a week as a movie night. Allow family members to choose the movie everyone else watches weekly. Rather than slipping into an endless cycle of shows you dont really care about, share a special movie with everyone. Consider creating a list on your phone or even fill your queue on a streaming app.

Obviously, to save the most money, use a free streaming app or one you already pay for to watch a movie. However, if theres a more recent flick youre longing to catch, then opt for slower delivery on your next Amazon order to get digital credit, helping you save money or even score an online rental or purchase for free.

Take-Out Night: Many individuals and families have made weekly take-out a part of their quarantine experience since Day 1. So if you havent yet, this is a great chance for you to jump on board. Its smart to focus on locally owned businesses that may be struggling or any that you have a special connection to right now. If youre worried about germ transmission, choose options you can reheat later in your oven at home.

Family meal deals abound at almost every restaurant right now. Do your research and dont forget to use rewards apps and programs when you can. And always look for a coupon.

Outdoor visits with friends: Why not designate one night of the week to develop your relationships? You may not feel comfortable grabbing a meal with a friend, but summer evenings are perfect for sitting socially distanced on your deck or patio. Get caught up and check in with your besties.

Bike Ride Night: Make one evening an intentional time to get a little more exercise on your own or as a family. Maybe its Walking Wednesday or Take a Hike Tuesday or Ride Your Bike Thursday the choice is up to you. Carving out regular time to enjoy the great outdoors and exercise does wonders for your body and your mind and it doesnt cost a dime. Plus putting it on the calendar means youre more likely to follow through.

Themed Dinner Night: There are a couple of different ways you can approach this. While we were paying off $127,000 in debt, we had themed dinners on a regular basis. It was my little way of making things a bit more fun and saving a few dollars. We would play music that matched the cuisine, learn more about the history of a dish or even pick a movie to coordinate.

You might plan a themed dinner to coordinate with a movie night. Or you could choose a character theme (based on a movie, TV show, musical, book, comic book characters, etc.) and challenge family members to come dressed accordingly. You may even want to rotate who chooses the theme each week. Bonus points if your character theme matches what you serve on the dinner table.

Cozy Night: This one is every introverts dream come true. Plan an evening each night of the week to put on your PJs early and curl up with a good book. Hot tea, your favorite read, some relaxing music, maybe a bubble bath or a favorite pair of sweats could all make the evening even better.

Park Night: Some parks are reopening their gates. Do your research to discover which areas are still restricted, but consider taking a trip to a different park once per week. Walk your dog, hike a trail, run and play, or sit and watch the world go by your local parks offer more than a playground.

Monthly or one time events you can plan

Some fun experiences you may want to consider planning only once a month or even once a summer. These ideas take a little more time, planning, energy, and sometimes cash to pull off. So rather than plan for them weekly, put special dates on the calendar now to look forward to.

Water Day: Break out the water balloons, squirt guns, and the hose. Open your very own waterpark in your backyard. Whether you create a sprinkler system from PVC pipe (we highly recommend you do) or construct your own slip and slide is up to you. Research some simple games, purchase any items in advance, and get ready to have some cool fun in the hot summer sun.

Board Game Day: This one is perfect for a rainy Saturday. Spend the entire day playing family favorites. Set up a schedule in advance and allow each family member to choose one game to play. Pop some popcorn and serve simple snacks and food options in between rounds. Dont forget to wash those hands.

State Park Day: Many state parks are reopening, too. You may discover they have fewer offerings; however, beautiful trails arent closed at all. Choose one state park to visit this summer and put the date on the calendar now. Be sure to research the website to see where you should park, what fees you may need to pay, and where restrooms are located. Bring hand sanitizer and/or disinfectant wipes just in case as well as a change of clothes. Pack simple snacks and/or a picnic, too.

Flashlight Tag: I cant think of a more perfect socially distanced game than flashlight tag. The entire objective is avoiding other people. And the flashlight means no one touches anyone else. To plan your epic game, stock up on (or search the cabinet for) working flashlights. Check the batteries, too. A simple internet search will help you remember the rules. This one is best played by big kids and adults though since the sun sets so late during the summer months.

Outdoor Game Day: Wiffle ball, croquet, catch, badminton summer was made for outdoor games. Declare one day this summer Outdoor Game-palooza. Gather the necessary equipment in advance and replace anything broken. Dont forget to research the rules to avoid family conflict.

Im going to miss some of our familys special traditions this summer: parades and fireworks, trips to neighboring cities, and major sporting events are on hold for us. But its only recently that Ive realized that half the fun of those experiences is planning them and looking forward to them. Channel your energy into planning new traditions and put dates on the calendar instead of letting summer merely fly by in an odd haze this year. Youll be glad you did.

Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. She is the author of Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. Send comments to

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Cherie Lowe: The power of looking ahead - Daily Journal

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June 11th, 2020 at 4:50 am

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