20 Ideas When You've Got 20 Minutes

More Fun Free Time Tips

11. Pull out your special-occasion vase or just a pretty glass, and create a flower arrangement. If you haven't picked up flowers at the supermarket or a local florist, head into your own yard. Even in the dead of winter you can collect evergreen branches and arrange them; bushes with berries also make for pretty displays.

12. Love to organize? Clean out your purse, diaper bag, or jewelry box. Fingering old jewelry is our personal favorite; it's heartwarming to remember where each piece came from.

13. Speaking of organizing, what about those photos? Drive down memory lane by taking scattered pictures and putting them into albums. This is usually a big project, so don't try to tackle it all at once. First, use a box to hold the loose photos, then just place a few at a time.

14. Goof around in the kitchen. If cooking relaxes you, whip up something that you enjoy making -- and don't stress about whether your toddler or husband will eat it. Cooking or baking for the sake of the process is relaxing for many of us.

15. Garden indoors. Go online and order a miniature herb garden for your kitchen window. We like the kit at Greenfeet.com ($22.50), which comes with four different plants -- lettuce, clover, cress, and mustard -- that grow easily indoors.

16. Give yourself a confidence boost. Stop running around in your sweats and a ponytail and take 20 minutes to really get dressed (nothing fancy, just a pulled-together outfit), style your hair, and put on a little lip gloss. Looking good is like magic; it can change your whole outlook on the day.

17. Customize your television. Instead of being a slave to the boob tube, make a plan to tape only your must-see TV. You can use the old-fashioned VCR timer, but the latest digital video recorders like TiVo are easy once you learn how to use them. Because you can skip the commercials, you can squeeze a half-hour program into just 20 minutes. You'll wonder how you ever lived without it!

18. Remember birthdays. Sit down with a calendar and make a list of family birthdays. Fill out cards now, even if you'll mail them later. Need a gift? Shop online. We like amazon.com and redenvelope.com.

19. Take a walk. It's wonderful to walk unencumbered -- no baby, no purse -- but if there's no sitter, take baby along in her stroller. You don't need any particular destination in mind -- for once just enjoy the journey.

20. Make a cup of hot chocolate or a healthy fruit smoothie. The best part -- you don't have to share with the kids.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, January 2006.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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