Blanket Fort Season

When it comes to instant childhood magic, not much can compete with a good blanket fort. Grabbing all your comfy things, some twinkle lights, and a treat or two, you’d transform an ordinary space into a stunning castle as though assisted by a fairy godmother. Sure, bed knobs and broomsticks might be holding it all up, but you didn’t care; you’d conjured a temporary special place (and in my opinion, knowing it would have to come down eventually so normal life could resume made it even better).

Because of COVID-19, we’re entering into a unique moment for this generation. Summer vacations exist because retreats are necessary for the soul. The long stretches of daylight beg for adventure, but many of us are stuck sheltering in place. What are we to do?

Friends, it’s blanket fort season.

Time to roll up those sleeves, gather some creature comforts, and sprinkle a generous bit of imagination over your space. Whether you’re staycationing solo or as a family, consider how you might transform your regular routine and living quarters into a temporary castle. It will take some planning, but the results are magical. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Fixer Upper marathon. Map out a home project you’ve been meaning to tackle, take before and after shots, gather what you’ll need (online if necessary), order in a pizza, watch a few episodes, curate a demo day playlist, and let Joanna inspire the Instagram documentation of your own DIY process.

Austenland. Watch Pride and Prejudice/Becoming Jane/Austenland, cook a meal from that period, listen to classical music, write a letter on parchment with a quill and a wax stamp, and read a smattering of Austen by candlelight.

Backyard glampout. Roast hot dogs, spread a s’mores bar, spend all day lounging/reading outside, decorate a fabulous “campsite,” paint your nails, make a flower crown, and enjoy a brunch feast.

Afternoon at Downton Abbey. Clean the house (or, as Mrs. Hughes would say, “give it a thorough going-over”), deep clean one area while playing the soundtrack in the background, stop for tea and scones, watch Downton or other British media, and only speak with an accent.

Spa escape. Give yourself a massage/pedicure/blowout, try a facial, do a paraffin dip for your hands, drink cucumber-infused water, have a fresh salad, turn on a spa playlist, and soak in a fancy bath.

Trip to Disney. Look up some copycat recipes from the park or snacks inspired by a particular flick, have a movie marathon, sing along with a Disney classics playlist, find coloring sheets to go with your movie selection, and play charades based on characters/items.

Music festival. Watch musicals (Phantom, Les Mis, My Fair Lady), plan a living room karaoke night, listen to Broadway show soundtracks, dress like your favorite character, and break it down with spontaneous dance parties throughout the day.

Summer camp. Enjoy a little lake time, make your own trail mix, work on a craft, take a class, go for a hike/walk, have an epic marshmallow roast, sing some evening worship around the fire pit, and watch It Takes Two or The Parent Trap.

Bookworm’s paradise. Browse online bookstores, update your reading list, snag a Kindle book deal, watch a literary movie, and read in bed until you fall asleep. (Building an actual blanket fort is fun for this one.)

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. Get crazy! Try a theme based on a certain color, cartoon, holiday, or hobby. The sky is the limit. Whatever you choose to do, be clear about your hopes and boundaries at the beginning. How long will it last? What do you need? Are there any off-limits activities? Everyone’s needs are different; just communicate before you get started.

The restrictions we currently face can’t suck the joy out of the coming months; they only call for a smidge more creativity than normal. And my previously stated opinion still holds: the transitory nature of this season makes it all the more special. May your summer be filled with blanket fort moments, and may your eyes be filled with the beauty found in your own backyard.

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