Many of us are looking for ways to make the most of our time spent at home over the next few weeks. Maybe you are working from home, watching the kids during school closures, practicing social distancing, self-isolation or all of the above. As a result we are shifting the focus of this installment of Happenings to things that you can do at home and online. PLUS we’ve included tips on how you can still support local businesses!

This post is updated daily. Do you have something to add to this list? Send us a note! We would love to share with our Northern Heart + Home community. Remember, we are all in this together. Together we will see each other through and come out stronger!

Focus on Family Time & Making Memories

If you are looking for additional ways to keep your loves and little ones busy, consider focusing on family time and making memories:

  • Books like My Baby’s First Love by Northern author Lauren Perry are sure to be a hit with young families, reminding us how much we have to be grateful for. Visit our social media pages for a chance to win a copy!
  • If you have an Amazon prime membership you already have access to over 2000 books available for download. You can also sign up for a free 30 day trial to gain access to these titles.
  • How many of us have books at home just waiting to be read? One reader suggests now is the time to crack open those covers. Set a goal of pages or chapters per day for your kids or yourself.
  • Take the time to cook and bake together with some of our past recipes in the health and hospitality sections. If your children are old enough one reader recommends having a meal rotation, where each member of the family attempts a recipe the others will enjoy. Since the availability of some ingredients may be limited, try a site that suggests ingredient substitutions or use a tool that generates recipes based on the ingredients you do have.
  • If you are looking for ideas on what to stock up on Detoxinista is offering a pantry staples shopping list along with easy recipes using minimal ingredients.
  • Use readily available at-home supplies to craft & create with ideas from a site like One Little Project. CBCKids has also put together this helpful list of 20 activity ideas.
  • A member of our Northern Heart + Home community suggested having your kids write notes and colour pictures that can be mailed to the residents of care homes that can’t have visitors during this time.
  • Do you have instruments at home? Try online lessons or free video tutorials as one reader recommends. You can either enhance your skills or teach one another.
  • The Kennedy Center’s first-ever Education Artist-in-Residence, Mo Willems, invites YOU into his studio every day at 1pm for his LUNCH DOODLE. Learners worldwide can draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day for the next few weeks. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons as Mo invites you to doodle together and explore ways of writing and making.
  • Take a trip to the zoo or aquarium via webcam. Here are links to live video feed at the San Diego Zoo and the Ouwehand Polar Bear Park in the Netherlands along with the Ripleys Aquarium of Canada.
  • Go on a virtual tour of some of the most famous museums in the world without leaving your couch. Google Arts & Culture has partnered to bring you access to over 500 museums and galleries.
  • The Metropolitan Opera is streaming operas free, with a different performance each night from their collection from the past 14 Years.
  • The Seattle Symphony is offering free broadcasts and livestreams.
  • Hands up if you have been meaning to preserve your photos in a book, on a canvas or other creative means? Mixbook is the place to do it! Use this link for 50% off a fun solo, couple, friend or family project.
  • A movie night or marathon of tv and film projects shot in the North can also be the perfect way to spend a night (or nights!) cuddled on the couch. Check out this impressive list by year here!
  • If you live with your partner ensure you still make time for at home date nights, whether that be after the kids go to bed or once you are both done work for the day. There are some recommendations here.

Free Education Resources & Learning Activities

Schools may be closed but thankfully several online educational sources are offering free educational resources:

  • Scholastic is offering a free resource that provides 20 days of exciting articles, stories, learning challenges and more!
  • CBC has made access to their educational platform of CBC/Radio-Canada typically available to teachers open to all for free. It gives students, from primary through to post-secondary levels, streaming access to educational content from CBC and Radio-Canada.
  • Here is an extensive list of other educational free subscriptions.
  • Browse this selection of over 450 free online courses offered at these Ivy League Schools.

To create a learning activity can use any of the virtual trip links to museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, operas and symphonies listed in the family section above to create the bases for learning. Have your child pick an artist, animal or composer to research, prepare a paper or draw a picture depending on their age. They can then share what they learned in your household or online with friends or family.

One Canadian teacher offered this educational activity to keep children across the globe connected while modelling compassion:

Looking for an at home activity?

Help take part in keeping children across the globe connected through learning while modeling compassion at the same time!

COVID-19 has affected many countries worldwide. With so much of the attention focused on the devastating statistics, let’s move the spotlight towards educating children about the many cultures of the world and interesting facts of each country. I encourage you to take this time to teach your child about what makes each country so unique. By taking part in this initiative we can show the many affected children and citizens of these countries that we care and can learn together.

How to implement this:

  1. Using one of the following websites, choose a country to read and explore
  2. Have your child record the following information in a table.
    Country Name
    Official Language
    Currency Name
    Types of Food
    Famous Landmarks
  3. Print the country’s flag by searching for it on this website:
  4. Colour the flag according to its colours.
  5. Tape the flag to your front door or front window.
  6. Snap a picture, post it to social media and use the following hashtag #connectingcompassionatekids
    Optional: your child can be in the photo.
  7. Please be sure to copy and paste this message with your picture.

Now is the time to realize that everybody can play a part healing the world, one flag at a time. Remember, open minds can lead to open hearts.

With love & solidarity,
A Canadian Teacher ❤️

Get Outdoors

Being outdoors is a scientifically proven mood booster and stress buster that benefits both our physical and mental health. Luckily now is the perfect time to get outside as daylight savings has made for extra sunshine and longer days. Bonus: Spring is around the corner and with that, forecasts of warmer weather. So take that walk around the block, have a picnic on your porch, venture on a fab Northern hike or just enjoy the fresh air in your own back yard.

Stay Active

Staying active is essential, as exercise is both a mood and energy lifter. If you can’t venture outdoors:

Get Connected

We are lucky to live in a time where technology provides a means of connection:

  • Check on your friends and family. Call, FaceTime, email, text or get creative by hosting virtual happy hours, play dates, books clubs etc.
  • Do you have a talent or service you can share? Consider providing online classes, performances, concerts, faith services and more to create a sense of community.
  • Reach out to the most vulnerable and see if you can be of any help. The elderly and immunocompromised may benefit from grocery store runs or meal delivery or just a simple check in to remind them that they aren’t alone.

Be Grateful

Although these weeks may not be exactly what we imagined, let’s take the time to count our blessings. Here are 5 ways to practice gratitude and embrace a grateful lifestyle.

Be Inspired

These uncertain times may test our spirits, but motivational material is proven to lift them.

  • Check out our Heart profiles which feature the people shining at the heart of our Northern communities.
  • Read our recent International Women’s Day post. Not only does it feature some incredible advice from fierce females but there’s also our top buys for boss babes and some of our absolute favourite books for motivation and inspiration. If you have been meaning to download that ebook, start that project or better your business now is the time to do it! Find it here.
  • Alt Summit is a community and annual conference for female influencers and entrepreneurs in creative fields. They are making their keynote videos available free online to offer learning and inspiration while we are at home.
  • The Adobe Digital Experience Summit will go live and be available free on March 31. Watch the keynote, hear about trends and new products that are transforming industries. Sign up now

Manage Your Mindset

Our friends at The Atelier Collective posted something that resonated with us and we had to share: Though stress levels may be elevated you can help manage them by shifting your mindset. Focus on what is in your control and prioritize your well-being with a self care routine.

  • Apps like Calm and Headspace can help you integrate mindfulness and a sense of solace at times like this when you need it most. Calm is even offering a number of free resources handpicked to support mental and emotional wellness.
  • One member of the Northern Heart + Home community suggests listening to podcasts to keep you company if you alone at home or enjoy with your partner or family. Happier and Ted Talks are two of her recommendations!
  • On Friday March 20th at 11am, Certified EFT Emotional Freedom Techniques Practitioner. Karen Goldgruber will be offering a free 30 min webinar to help navigate these times of uncertainty and sometimes feelings of being overwhelmed.

Spring Cleaning

Spring is all about new beginnings so there isn’t a better time to clean, declutter and re-configure your space. Sometimes all you need for a fresh Spring feel is a coat of paint or simply moving furniture around in a new layout. Check out this post on our favourite Northern sources to help you Spruce up your Space for Spring!

Support Local Businesses

Ensure you continue to show your love to all the small businesses. They count on our support for survival and many are taking serious steps to ensure the health and safety of their customers, staff and community as their doors remain open. If you aren’t able to go in, consider buying a gift card for future use or placing an order for pick-up /delivery. Here is a list of local businesses with a special offer during this time:

  • Verdicchio Ristorante is giving 20% off all take-out orders for pick up.
  • Elliot + Olivia Bridal Boutique is offering 10% off all wedding dresses including samples for the month of March by appointment only.
  • Lady Crimson Cloth Emporium has reusable essentials like cloth pads, wax good wraps and yes, even reusable toilet paper! She is offering free shipping on all orders.
  • BRealStudios is doing a free online event called Self Care on the Fly to help you create inner balance no matter where you are. Tune in March 21 from 10am-12pm.
  • Stix and Stones offers free delivery in North Bay and is offering free shipping on ALL orders placed.
  • Twiggs Coffee Roasters is offering 10% off any take out order and a special of $10 for any pizza. Order ahead, online, drive thru.
  • Creative Learning is providing free delivery with any purchase over $50 within city limits and will also run orders for pick up out to your car.
  • Dirty Girl’s Farm is having an all natural hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap sale on Monday March 16.
  • Stitch & Stone is offering free shipping.
  • Guilty Pleasures Bake Shop is now offering Contact-Free Cupcakes that can be ordered online and delivered with FREE next day delivery. You can also book a custom order for free delivery.
  • 1886 Lakehouse Bistro is providing a 25% discount on all menu items for takeout/pickup.
  • New Ontario Brewing is offering FREE delivery within city limits. They are also accepting donations to the North Bay Food Bank to help the most vulnerable.
  • Gateway City Brewery is providing a 15% discount if you show a receipt from a local take-out or delivery order for the current or previous day.

Do you know of other local businesses with a special offer? Let us know, we will keep a running list for our readers.

Become a Maker and a Do-er

Our Hand section focuses on outstanding handmade offerings from the North. Do you have a talent that you would like to turn into a thriving business but don’t know where to start? Join Compass: The Society of Makers and Dreamers, created by past feature Julieanne Steedman of Heirloom Island. This online course and virtual community will guide you every step of the way.

Naturopathic Consultation

Naturopathic consultation from the comfort of our homes? Yes please! Guest contributor Dr. Danielle O’Connor offered our Northern Heart + Home readers the following with no time limit:

– distance appointment via phone or zoom

– 10% discount on appointments

– free shipping on supplement orders over $100

– fast appointment times for any acute situations

Check back between March 15-April 15 as we update this list with even more that you can do at home & online! We will return to our typical format of featuring events across the North for the next Northern Happenings post covering April 15-May 15. Do you have an event you would like to see featured on Northern Heart + Home? Send us the details!

In celebrating the people, places and positives that set the North apart our editors naturally review products and make recommendations. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. This will help subsidize the copious amounts of coffee and tea we go through while creating Northern-inspired content. Trust that any compensation received will never influence Northern Heart +  Home. We only feature items we love and think you will too!