10 Easy Summer Projects that Include Friends and Family

The pandemic has limited many of our usual summer activities but in some ways it has challenged us to be more creative. Summer is supposed to be fun time and time for gatherings. It can continue to be both with some social distancing and purpose that keeps us safe and connected. Here are 10 ways:

  1. Begin a genealogy “club” with friends who need a boost in creating their family trees. Facebook Groups and Messenger Rooms. Share family histories and resources. 
  2. Begin a genealogy “club” with family using the same tools as above but also include sharing photos, videos, and anything that helps you all tell your family’s unique story. 
  3. Introduce younger family to their history by creating digital or paper scrapbooks together. 
  4. Use a free, library-based app like Kanopy to watch movies (including documentaries) together and then host a Zoom or Messenger Rooms chat. 
  5. Screen share with Google Meets or Zoom to explore virtual museum exhibits together online. 
  6. Swap outdoor chores and fix-it needs. Good at gardening? Help a friend with theirs. Bad at grilling? Have your friend grill for you. Need your lawn mowed? Ask a family member to cut it. Know someone who needs minor house repairs? Go over and fix a few things. 
  7. Share lunch in the parking lot of a restaurant. Park next to a relative or friend, stay in your vehicle, eat lunch and chat it up. Tell restaurant management what you’re doing ahead of time so that you are not interrupted or harassed. 
  8. Go strawberry or peach or apple picking at a local farm. 
  9. Read bedtime stories to your little relatives or the small children of friends who live far away or who are practicing social distancing. 
  10. Host a weekly dance party via Zoom or Google Meets. It’s a great way to laugh and exercise and you can do it for as little time or as long as you like. 

We want you to have fun. We want you to be comfortable during this virus crisis. If you have an idea, please share in a comment. It would be deeply appreciated. 


July Observances to Write About or Chat About on Social Media

We won’t count down to the end of the year just yet, because there’s simply too much to enjoy about now. July is much more than Independence Day to blog about or discuss on social media. We have selected a few observances to loosen your creative juices and give you some inspiration. 

  • Independent Retailer Month
  • National Anti-Boredom Month
  • National Black Family Month 
  • National Culinary Arts Month
  • National Grilling Month
  • National Make A Difference to Children Month
  • National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
  • Sandwich Generation Month
  • Self Care Month
  • Social Wellness Month

Do you have an online store you want to promote? Talk about or write about independent retailers. National Black Family Month is a great time to talk about family issues and bonding. Do you have any particular insights about sheltering in place? Social Wellness Month offers myriad opportunities to share about social distance has been challenging. You’ve got a lot to work with here. Follow some of the observance hashtags to get a few ideas. 


Enjoying the Fine Arts at Your Leisure

If you’re one of the sums still working from home, your time for you has either increased or decreased. We are accustomed to YouTube videos, but Vimeo and Facebook and other sources have a wide selection of entertaining videos that educate as well as delight. We have selected a few channels and videos you can squeeze in during lunch breaks or after work to unwind. 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

PBS American Masters

PBS Black Culture

These are a small sampling of what’s available online, but do a Google search for a topic you are interested in, and you will be pleasantly surprised at what’s available to watch and enjoy. 


It’s Not Summer Until You … 

We know you already know it’s not summer until you do what you generally do in the summertime. But what if you get busy and mired by a few life events? Here are some reminders that it’s not summertime until you have a little fun. 

  • Dangle your bare feet in a pool or pond and even walk around barefoot in clean grass. 
  • Sip iced tea and watch the sun go down from your porch or patio. 
  • Get up early enough to listen to the birds sing and watch the sun go up. 
  • Buy or cut fresh flowers to be arranged in a vase for your home and eyesight. 
  • Open all of your windows (and doors) to let a summer breeze flow through your space. 
  • Take a ride in the country to buy some fresh produce and take in the scenery. 
  • Buy a big floppy straw hat to wear out in your garden or to shop and protect your skin from the sun. 
  • Catch a firefly. 
  • Bake a cobbler from scratch using an old family recipe. 
  • Wave at your neighbors, because they would probably like it. 
  • Make a summer playlist to stream from sunup to sundown. 

Sometimes the best things in life are free and easy. Here’s hoping you have a wonderful summer filled with things that make you smile.

Seven Quotes about Life by Gwendolyn Brooks

This is a time that is both confusing and yet clear. Sometimes it’s just best to decide to not make sense of it all and to simply live it and be inspired. Here are several quotations about life by the late Gwendolyn Brooks (Born June 7, 1917) that you can use for inspiration and to inspire the people who follow you on social media. 


“What, what am I to do with all of this life?”

― Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha


“My Poem is life, and not finished.

It shall never be finished.

My Poem is life, and can grow.”

― Gwendolyn Brooks


“This is the urgency: Live!

And have your blooming in the noise of the whirlwind.”

― Gwendolyn Brooks


“Live not for Battles Won.

Live not for The-End-of-the-Song.

Live in the along.”

― Gwendolyn Brooks


“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”

― Gwendolyn Brooks


“She was learning to love moments. To love moments for themselves.”

― Gwendolyn Brooks


“Poetry is life distilled.”

― Gwendolyn Brooks


June Observances to Blog About or Chat Up on Social Media

Well, it is June and half of the year is almost over. Are you a blogger or do you have a social network in need of engagement? Here are a few monthly observances you can blog about or chat up on your social networks. 

  • African-American Music Appreciation Month 
  • Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month 
  • Caribbean-American Heritage Month
  • Country Cooking Month
  • Entrepreneurs “Do It Yourself” Marketing Month
  • International Men’s Month
  • Rebuild Your Life Month
  • Professional Wellness Month

If you’re like many of us, you have been cooking at home more than usual, this would be a great time to talk about it during Country Cooking Month. We are certain you have some marketing lessons you have learned that you can blog about and share. Rebuilding one’s life is not an easy task, why not celebrate the people who have done so and encourage those who are doing so now? And for Professional Wellness Month, talk about the stress and strains of working and offer a few solutions to your followers and friends. 


Five Blog Posts for Writers by Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman is a genius when it comes to dispensing advice to authors – new and old. We have featured some of her advice over the years. Here are five (5) blog posts that can help you with your writing or the business of writing, especially during the Coronavirus crisis. 

We think these will inspire you if you endeavor to write and sell books. Best wishes and happy reading.


Seven Quotes to Share with Your Social Networks about Family

This is a time when most of us are either sheltering in place with our families or distant from them yet wanting to be nearer. Here are seven (7) quotes about family to soothe, inspire and even make you and others smile and laugh. 


“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

― George Burns


“Happiness [is] only real when shared”

― Jon Krakauer


“When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family. ”

― Jim Butcher


“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

― Oscar Wilde


“That’s what people do who love you. They put their arms around you and love you when you’re not so lovable.”

― Deb Caletti 


“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”

― George Bernard Shaw 


“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there anymore.”

― Robin Hobb 


Do you have a favorite quote about family? If yes, please share it in a comment. Thank you. 


This is a Good Time to …

As we approach the half-year mark, maybe we can consider doing some things on our goal lists, wish lists, and the list of things we tend to put off. Here is a sampling of some activities you can accomplish in a short space of time, and even add them to what you have accomplished in 2020 so far. 

  1. Send a query letter to a blogger you admire and ask if you can be a guest contributor. Get that byline and article to share with family and friends.
  2. Liven up your home office by painting an accent wall and moving furniture around or maybe buying one thing that will inspire you as you work. 
  3. Find a photographer to take a social distanced headshot and portrait of you that you can flaunt on social media and use to update your website.
  4. Build a website and get a domain in your name. 
  5. Write a fan letter to a notable you admire. 
  6. Interview family members for a family history. 
  7. Extend an invitation to Zoom or video-conference with someone you know via social media. 
  8. Bake cookies, pies or cakes to leave at a neighbor’s doorstep. Food is an icebreaker. 
  9. Take an online course. There are many that are free and some that give credits towards a certificate. Continuing education is always a good thing.
  10. Nap. 

You are in no rush to accomplish a thing but now and again the creative juices flow, and we have to follow. Whatever it is you choose to do, do for you. Enjoy. 


May Observances to Blog About or Chat Up on Social Media

We are five months into 2020. Can you believe it? Time is dragging for some of us and moving entirely too fast for others. Whew. Here are a few monthly observances you can blog about or chat up on your social networks. Some of these should be fun. 

  • National Barbeque Month
  • National Bike Month
  • National Foster Care Month
  • National High Blood Pressure Education Month
  • National Mental Health Month
  • National Military Appreciation Month
  • Older Americans Month
  • Personal History Month
  • Women’s Health Care Month
  • National Family Month (5/12 to 6/16)

For National Barbecue Month, you can share photos or a recipe or blog about an experience involving BBQing. Personal History Month is a great month to explore your genealogy and encourage others to do so too. And Women’s Health Care Month is great for talking about and sharing information about the health cause nearest and dearest to your heart. 

Lastly, go through the list and see if any of your fictional characters or storylines relate. Pairing an observance with your book can be a great way to market a book or story you’re selling.