I thought that I would pass on a few ideas I’ve come across that have helped me get through those seemingly endless “inside” days of winter.

First, let me tell you that I just finished re-reading an old favorite by Rosamunde Pilcher called, appropriately, Winter Solstice. It’s the tale of the serendipitous coming together of five individuals that couldn’t be more different from each other in every way. An uplifting narrative set in England and Scotland, Pilcher weaves into her story vivid descriptives of the homey, cozy cultures of those small villages often overlooked by tourists. It’s light reading that will keep you turning pages. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Then, before you sit down to read, how about putting up a big pot of my most favorite soup for a cold winter’s eve – Ribollita.  Here I’m linking you to the Ina Garten’s recipe because I think it’s the absolute best. I first had this on a chilly night in Siena and knew I had to make it for myself as soon as I returned home. And make it I did…many times. It takes some prepping but it’s oh, so worth it! Give it a try…you won’t be sorry.

Now this suggestion is one I’ve offered before but its one I’ve learned to appreciate even more the more I use it.  The Great Courses Plus is an on line subscription series of professionally delivered seminars covering an immensely wide range of interests. Right now, I’m a student of Italian and piano, both most enjoyable and worth the time. From cooking to medicine to art history to archeology, there is truly something for everyone on this site. Sign in at your leisure, in your down time, in the comfort of home. No pressure, just oodles of  information.

And finally, my college roommate, Roberta, celebrated a birthday this week and her girls gave her a subscription to Story Worth. I hadn’t heard about this service but, upon investigation, it seems like an engaging, thoughtful, enduring gift for a family member.  The advertising claims that this is a way to “discover family stories you never knew.”  As I understand it, the recipient responds to a weekly email containing a probing question such as “where did you go on vacation as a child?” or “did you ever win anything”.  At the end of the year, all the responses are collected and beautifully bound in a keepsake legacy book. Seems like a beautiful way to tell your story. I may sign up for one for myself!

What inventive ways are you using to keep yourself busy and engaged? Please feel free to share your suggestions with us in the comment section below.