Nest­ing at Home

Stay­ing home is the new go­ing out, spice up the evening

Cape Coral Living - - Publisher's Letter - BY ANN MARIE O’PHE­LAN

These days, it’s not all sur­pris­ing to see a clus­ter of cars in the drive­way and the glow of back­yard tiki torches on a Fri­day night. Stay­ing at home to en­ter­tain­ment our­selves, or nest­ing, is the new norm, sav­ing gas, time and cer­tainly lots of dol­lars. “These days, my wife and I are hang­ing out at home more of­ten,” says Cape Co­ral’s Wil­liams Jones. “And even when we go out, we of­ten con­verge back at home with friends.” For those wish­ing to give night nest­ing a try, we’ve in­cluded a few sce­nar­ios to get you think­ing.

HOME BREWED

Grab a se­lec­tion of lo­cally crafted beers. There’re a bunch, such as Old Soul Brew­ing and Point Ybel Brew­ing Co. in Fort My­ers, Cape Co­ral Brew­ing, Big Blue Brew­ing and Mr. Brews Tap­house in the Cape, Mo­men­tum in Bonita, Fat Point Brew­ing in Punta Gorda, dozens of oth­ers in South­west Florida. Check the web­site Thril­list for the state’s top brew pubs, most of which have take-out con­tain­ers or store prod­ucts. Choos­ing to stay in­doors, break out a chess/check­ers set, cards, board/video games, trivia, doo­dling, puz­zles, magic and origami kits and gather around the cof­feetable. Craft­ing and guy task­ing are also huge, with Pin­ter­est, Jux­ta­post, Drib­ble, Gentlemint and Dude­pins among our many favs. Mo­nop­oly games have been a pop­u­lar board game since the early 1900s. These days there are Mo­nop­oly Jack­pot and Mo­nop­oly To­ken Mad­ness, among many oth­ers. Re­mem­ber cha­rades, pan­tomime, whis­per­ing/lip-read­ing and other games? Or play­ing mu­si­cal in­stru­ments, jok­ing or blink-first matches? For added fun, try Troyer Coun­try Mar­ket pop­corn, avail­able on­line and at Bai­ley’s Gen­eral Store on Sani­bel. There’s stream­ing mu­sic, Pan­dora, Spo­tify, Slacker and Soma FM, for ex­am­ple, to set the mood.

PEN­CIL ME IN

A hot trend is adult col­or­ing books―pen­cils, not crayons. Re­search says col­or­ing is a form of med­i­ta­tion, re­duc­ing anx­i­ety. “In ad­di­tion to adult col­or­ing books, paint-by-sticker has be­come very pop­u­lar. They are tiny stick­ers that fol­low a pat­tern and cre­ate a piece of art,” ex­plains Re­becca Binkowski, store man­ager at Sani­bel’s MacIn­tosh Books & Pa­per. Binkowski adds that travel is a pop­u­lar theme. Top off these fun ac­tiv­i­ties with a nice or­ganic wine, such as Frey’s Syrah, along with your fa­vorite take-out pizza, and you’re zen­ning. For mood, cue up clas­sics such as Casablanca, Cit­i­zen Kane, or Lawrence of Ara­bia on­line at Movies Un­lim­ited, or rentable at Ama­zon or Hulu. Also check the Lee County Li­brary Sys­tem’s amaz­ing mu­sic/video cat­a­logues.

TEA OFF

Trip back in time with old-fash­ioned iced tea. In­stead of a slice of lemon, try other pop­u­lar trop­i­cal fruits such as mango,

dragon fruit, or guava. Iced-tea lovers might also try sun tea, where the power of so­lis heats your stuff. Place four tea bags in a quart con­tainer, fill and cap. Three to five hours is per­fect. And, yes, you can spike iced tea. Pull out the ot­toman, gather round the bar, light a few sweet-smelling can­dles, such as Captiva Blue from Par­adise Hand­made Soap Com­pany, then or­der pizza (again)—for de­liv­ery, of course.

GAR­DEN OF EATIN'

Those who love the out­doors can play cro­quet, horse­shoes or bocce. But look to things such as dunkbuck­et­ing, lawn twisters, corn­hole or bean-bag­ging, wa­ter bal­loons, cap­ture the flag/flag foot­ball, pickle and a mil­lion other lawn games us older folks played that seem to have van­ished with clean air and cour­te­ous driv­ers. Then break out the BBQ grill! Along with skew­ered steak and shrimp, add pineap­ple, kiwi, man­goes, all great grilled. Also try wrap­ping foil around cobbed corn/veg­gies/sweet pota­toes, fish/beef/pork, adding a fla­vor­ful oil and leav­ing atop hot coals. Yummy. Rekin­dle the old fon­due pot, and con­sider a round­about of Asian take­out to re­ally spark the fun. Dunk mel­ons, straw­ber­ries and ap­ples in melted choco­late, and use the ex­tra fruit for smooth­ies―a quart of straw­ber­ries or rasp­ber­ries, one ba­nana, a cou­ple of ripe man­gos, a cup or orange juice, two cups of ice and blend. Nice! You should also prac­tice con­ver­sa­tional top­ics NOT re­lat­ing to Don­ald Trump, Nancy Pelosi and Supreme Court nom­i­nees, rather sto­ry­telling. Check the Na­tional Sto­ry­telling Net­work for tips. Light a few tiki torches ... and you’re good to go. Or rather, good to stay.

Ann Marie O’Phe­lan is a happy nester and reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to TOTI Me­dia.

1. Punta Gorda’s Fat Point Brew­ing bev­er­ages are nice around the pool. 2. Mo­nop­oly was orig­i­nally the Land­lord's Game. The chal­leng­ing game re­mains a fam­ily fa­vorite; now with geo­graphic vari­a­tions. 3. A sim­ple deck of cards is still a ball. Poker, rummy, Go Fish/Crazy Eights, bridge, euchre and black jack are favs.

4. Adult col­or­ing books are great with pen­cils or mark­ers. (MacIn­tosh Books & Pa­per, Sani­bel) 5. Paint by Sticker books are fun and chal­leng­ing. (MacIn­tosh Books & Pa­per, Sani­bel). 6. Books with rid­dles, brain teasers, mind games and Zen­tan­gle are a blast. (MacIn­tosh Books & Pa­per, Sani­bel) 7. Or­ganic wines, such as Frey’s Syrah, make for a tasty and healthy choice. 8. Can­dles add in­ti­macy to an evening’s fes­tiv­i­ties. (Par­adise Hand­made Soap Co.) 9. Fruit is great on the BBQ, makes a yummy dessert, es­pe­cially dunked in choco­late.

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