House/Home

The Corona Diaries Day 7 - My Turn To Chill

I'm a doer and a producer so being active and managing situations is what I'm about. Yesterday I allowed myself to just chill. Did a few things in the morning that needed getting done, but after that, not much else. Played Candy Crush. Cooked meatloaf.

In a facebook group I'm in, someone asked how we are all doing. Reading through the replies makes me very grateful for all that we have and how lucky we are in this wacky weird situation we are all in. I wrote about how I drift between just focusing on today and what's in front of me right now and then look ahead to the hazy strange future. What will it look like for all of us? I don't overwatch/overread the news, but starting to see articles about "how our future will be radically different" adds to my teeth grinding at night, I'm sure. And my mom is a five hour plane ride away. Maybe that's why my shoulder hurts.

So much is out of our control so I'll focus on what I can do and let go what I can't. And play candy crush when I really just need to zone out.

Speaking of out of control, yesterday (the actual day 7), Harper woke up at 4am - I heard her door open and she went to the bathroom. Cool, I thought, she'll go back to bed. Nope, she came to me and said "I can't sleep." She lay with me in our bed for a bit, then got up and said she would read. I tucked her in and asked why she couldn't sleep. "My ear hurts." Okay, some tylenol then. I went back to bed, she read. Then she came in to our room around 5:30 and climbed in bed again and fell asleep, we both did, until about 7.

She asked for more yoga!

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Then because it's Friday and Friday's are days she can watch tv after school, she asked to watch tv. I said "After school" so she said, "okay, let's do school!" So we did the math work and the language arts work including a letter to my mom.

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Then it was time for art. Kurt set up the easel and paints.

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Then some lunch and snacks and it was time for tv! She watched for a couple hours then I said time for a break. We all just did whatever until around 3:30 or 4. I was playing the aforementioned candy crush and she wanted to help so she did. Then I had to get up for something and I said, "Why don't you take a nap?" and by golly, she said, "okay" and went to her room and TOOK A NAP FROM 4PM UNTIL MIDNIGHT! Wow. Clearly she needed that sleep. I was asleep at 10:30 so when she woke up, she came to me and I took her back to bed and gave her more books to read and fresh water. That lasted a little while then she wanted to get up. I told her to watch some tv with Kurt, and yelling from my bed "Animal shows!" which she did until about 2 or 3. Then she went back to bed and woke up at 7. YAY. I hope that is the end of crazy sleep schedule for her as she is no longer complaining of earache. Fingers crossed.

Kurt and I had dinner on the couch! It's been ages since we did that since we normally eat at the table together every night. It felt like such a throwback to the Before Kids era. We watched the first episode of Top Chef.

Harper got a letter! It's from Grace. As of this writing (Saturday morning) she hasn't opened it yet.

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One week of staying home. It's very very weird to try and conceive of doing this for a long time. While it's stressful to not have work right now (freelance and all) I'm really glad I'm not currently employed so that I can focus on our own needs. Again, very grateful for that.

I have a cold now too...did I catch it from Harper? Whatever was rolling around in her ears? Probably. It's wasn't strep for Harper, so that's good news. No fever for any of us. But a head cold for me. Ugh. Oh well, this too shall pass. Another day, more candy crush.

 


The Corona Diaries Day 5 - Sick Day

Last night Harper woke up crying at about 11pm with an earache. She cried and cried and cried. My theory is that half of that was unexpressed emotional stress about all these changes. Poor thing. I gave her motrin and water and read to her for a bit and she felt better and went to sleep. It was about 11:30 or 12. She woke up at 6:15 this morning and napped a bit this afternoon. Hopefully she'll get a good long sleep tonight.

We do talk to her about what's going on, that it's serious and we are serious about doing all the right things, that it's going to be a big challenge, but we will be okay. I try to ask her about her feelings and share some of mine (But not all. I'm not a monster!)

So Day Three of homeschooling was a sick day. Sweet girl did do another yoga session (she asked to do one!), then got to watch Netflix for a bit as it was a sick day. She ate apples and had hot chocolate.

I enjoyed that down time with a lovely pot of tea.

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I attended to household business, bills and calling the doctor for Harper's ear and such. Kurt was out golfing - I know I know, it sounds nutty, but out in the wide open and easily staying far from the other players sounded good. On his way home he stopped at Vons for more apples and cucumbers and parchment paper and potato chips. Many things were empty but many things were still very much available and it wasn't too crowded. We got a starbucks treat as well (Biscuit was jealous). Kurt took a silkwood shower after all that outdoors/among people stuff.

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Harper had a doctor's appointment at 2:30 so we hung out and ate lunch then played Uno (aka math practice with the Biscuit assist) on our bed.

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It was nice to drive around, traffic was fine, but busier than I thought it would be. There were cautions galore at the Dr.s office, which is good. It took no time to get seen, which was even better. Harper got a strep test just to be overly cautious, negative in the office, we'll get confirmation tomorrow. For now just take the motrin as needed.

Harper proved she is genetically related to me and my mom by doing THIS all on her own. God I love looking through drawers in doctors waiting rooms...!!!

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Harper was perky in the afternoon so Prof. Frey had math class ready for her after the doctor. She did great. I think the alternate seating options are helpful!

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Later she distracted herself with lemon picking and while I'm glad she found something to do on her own, I was really bummed she picked all those lemons as I had planned to leave them on the tree and use them as needed. :-( Luckily there are still a few on the tree.

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So.

Thursday is Lemon Zest and Juicing Day!

She had a nap while I made a lovely leftover rice/chicken/cheese casserole for dinner with enough for more tomorrow and a bunch for the freezer.

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Quiet dinner, a bit more tv and now bedtime with a slug of motrin for the girl and hopefully a good night sleep!

Fortunately, fresh lemon goes well in a vodka tonic.

 


The Corona Diaries Day 4 - Diorama Day

Tuesday, St. Paddy's Day. We didn't find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but dang, we got a rainbow! Small blessings.

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I got to write more this morning, Harper woke up a little after 7:00am. Clearly she needed the sleep after being up so early yesterday. It was good to have lots of quiet time to myself and put some words down in a creative fashion.

Before school started I put on my walking shoes and went for a lovely cold march through the neighborhood. I was thinking I might pop into Trader Joe's for 2 small things on the way then came around the corner and saw this:

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I didn't get any details but am guessing people were only being let in a few at a time. I am very happy to wait for my small not very necessary items.

I came home to find school was gearing up. Harper started with more yoga and then as I made some breakfast, she and Kurt started math class. I audited. Then they went for a walk as I hit the showers.

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Afterward was break time then onto The Diorama! Harper and I worked on it with my trusty new glue gun. I didn't burn myself at all and Harper only did once. Success!

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There was some lunch and more chillax time, followed by Language Arts. We went through her workbook and then the worksheets which we forgot yesterday. Harper didn't really want to do the work sheets at first, but then she started rolling I just sat back as she plowed her way through them. Rock on, girl.

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Then she got to watch Frozen 2 while I dealt with grown-up stuff, tax prep, paperwork, etc.

Then the diorama beckoned her again and she finished it before dinner with supervision and some assistance from Kurt. I was amazed and pleased as I told her she could do more this week. But no, DONE! Well, not 100% done. Still needs the facts and description.

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While they glue-gunned away, I baked a water cake that someone had posted on Facebook. A cake made without milk or eggs or butter. I was dubious but decided why not give it a go. I had wanted to make Irish soda bread but didn't have buttermilk or cream or even white vinegar to make faux buttermilk. Gravity was on my side today, no mishaps.

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It's different. Definitely benefited from the lemon curd I had in the fridge. The flour I used was not All Purpose, but a stronger one I had from Grist and Toll. You can taste the flour a bit too much. There is lemon zest in it, but not nearly enough. I would play with this cake recipe when I have more flour. I do have some coconut flour in my baking drawer, I should find something to make with that.

I had a nice call with my sister in San Diego and texted with friends around the country. It's nice to be in touch in this wacky time.

Second school day in the books. It went really well, though there were a few moments of WHY IS EVERYONE IN MY OFFICE RIGHT NOW??? on my part, but more in my mind than out loud.

We are working on a field trip idea! More on that later...

 


The Corona Diaries Day 3 - First School Day

Day 1 of actual 'school' day. It was chock full, starting oh so very early.

I woke up extra early to get some writing done (since all my day time writing time will disappear). Started writing at 5:40 am hoping Harper might sleep till 7:00.

6:04.

SIX OH FOUR!

Ugh. Oh well. At least I got a page done in that time.

Harper and I did kids yoga via Cosmic Kids this morning. It was a bit, um, faster than I was used to for a yoga session. But a good thing to get going with. And later in the day she asked if she could do another one. Cool!

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The morning was filled with a friend of Harper's whose parents were in a child care pickle and of course you have to step up and help. They had a great time playing and making silly videos (which I will not post here because it consisted of much screaming and running.)

After our friend left there was math and language arts. Using the handy dandy white board in an alternate direction.

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Around lunch Harper found an alternate use for her backpack. Biscuit kinda liked it.

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After lunch was art class. I happily observed the lesson on shading, cross-hatching and blending. Kurt is pretty darn good at drawing! There was a lovely rain shower while class was on. It was very relaxing.

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Then we rounded out the day with baking cookies for St. Paddy's day tomorrow. We had green icing but no shamrock shapes. And in case you imagine I have my sh*t together, please observe many an imperfect moment! Ha! Gravity and heat...my nemeses.


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After we made dough, when it needed to cool for an hour, Harper took a long nap. Something she rarely does. I guess that early wake up, super high energy morning with a friend and classes at home really did her in.

I hope she sleeps later than 6:04 tomorrow...!

It was a good first day and a good start to the whole new world we are living in.


Pencils - Standard #2

IMG_5876I bought me some basic pencils today. Bog standard pencils. Classic yellow #2 pencil with pink eraser. I got a pack of 10 from the grocery store and I love them so far. USA GOLD - "Proudly made in Tennessee."

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Harper's Pencils

Harper is in first grade and we are drowning in pencils. They are given as party favors and valentine favors and rewards at school and come flying out of piñatas. And most of them are CRAP. You can sharpen them over and over, but they break so easily and so often. With all the "oooh look! We can print pencils with anything cool on it!" enthusiasm, they forgot the basics about ACTUALLY USING A PENCIL.

I know I know, kids today barely use writing instruments of any kind (past a certain age).

But I recall pencils not only being used for writing, but for PENCIL FIGHTS! Raise your hand 🙋if you had pencil fights during recess or on the school bus! I certainly did. Armed with my trusty Berol Mirado #2 or the Eagle, I would challenge my friends. (All this in between Chinese jump rope and marbles and milk caps.) Berol Mirado Eagle Pencils 

I never grew out of my love for writing instrument. You might know I'm obsessed with office supplies in general, writing instruments in particular. So much so that I once did a Writing Instrument Census in our house. (Gosh that was in 2010 - I have two years to prep for the next one.)

PENCILS!! Get yourself some. You know you want to (affiliate links in this blog post):


Improv Cooking - New To Me

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Building an Improv Lasagna

I love to cook. I try new recipes, I buy cookbooks, I subscribe to emails for recipes. The food comes out well, I think, at least 9 times out of 10.

One thing I'm not great at is improv cooking - looking into the cupboards or fridge to see what's there and then whip something up. Following rules is something I'm better at. And one of my current goals is to be better at improv cooking!

Last night I took the leftover squash (butternut and zucchini) in the fridge and decided I could make a veggie lasagna. In my cupboard were boxes of whole wheat lasagna sheets (no boil style) I'd bought a while back but hadn't used. (I just looked at my amazon history and see that I bought the lasagna noodles in, ahem, 2015! Luckily the expiration is Dec. 2018. Guess who is going to be eating LOTS of lasagna before the end of the year??!)

Glancing at a few basic veggie lasagna recipes, I made a bechamel sauce (I did look at a recipe for that!) and built a decent lasagna. There was also mozzarella and parmesan in my fridge.

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Finished product

These days, with a shift in life and work priorities, I'm working harder than ever to save money and not just buy whatever I need the moment I think of something. Therefore, the improv cooking. Or better to call it the "USE WHAT YOU HAVE!!" method of cooking. In our pasta/rice drawer, there is a lot of both that need to be used. (Hint: Rice casseroles coming soon!)

The pasta sheets I bought were whole wheat and organic. (See images below to click on the affiliate link and try some for yourself.) Nobody really seems to notice the difference between regular and whole wheat these days, so I usually opt for whole wheat. 

As for the finished product? Not bad! I had sauteed the butternut and zucchini but the butternut squash went weirdly dark brown after the baking. Tasted fine, just looked, um, odd. Also, I think there needed to be more filling. It all went very flat. I'm still pleased with myself and I'll do it again. 

I used my trusty pyrex baking dish. I swear I used to have two of these, but can only find one....hmmmm. Maybe in a frenzy of "clean out all the crap!" I did away with one. Or maybe it lives at someone else's house now because I made something and took it for a potluck. Maybe I need to put this on my Christmas wish list. I like the glass better than a metal pan. I like seeing the layers cooking. 

I will continue to practice my Improv Cooking skills. Stay tuned for my next adventure, probably rice related!

P.S. Many of my links (and/or images below) connect you with Amazon Affiliates products. I write about things I love and use. I don't get compensated to write about them. (I'll tell you if I do.) However, if you do decide to click through and end up buy something, I'll get a little bit from that sale.

Click the image for Pryex dishes: 

 Click the image for Whole Wheat Lasagna (set of 6):


Bye Bye Bibs and Perfect Sundays

I was cleaning up my computer desktop and found this image:

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It's from October and represents a Perfect Hilarious Family Sunday. All of us on the bed playing Hot Wheels. As you do. Hopefully Kurt will not try to recreate this scene with the new slot car track he Harper got for Christmas.

I love this picture. Pure relaxed fun.

 

When we moved out to remodel the house, things that had been jammed into the tiny old kitchen ended up at the new rental. I cleaned some stuff out, donated them to charity, etc but some stuff stayed. Like these bibs which were on a magnet on the fridge.

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When we moved back to our house, these got donated. Harper hadn't really used a bib in ages, but somehow they stayed. They are one of the last baby things to go from the house. The other is the monitor which I'm weaning Harper off of. If I'm honest, I'm weaning myself off of it. It's really been a year or two too long to still have a monitor. Harper is adjusting to not just calling my name at night. I'm the one who jumps when she opens her door when we are watching TV after she's gone to bed to say, "Mama, I want to read a book." For some reason she needs me to come in and watch while she picks books to "read" then get back into bed with them. It's sweet and why I ever tell her no to reading?

At the doctor for Harper's Five year check up, the nurse asked her to put on a paper gown! OMG it was really Big Girl time. Additional cuteness was when the doc when to check her ears, on her own, Harper held her hair away from her ears for him. Adorable.

Next year is a new year with some travel and then kindergarten to look forward to. Yowza.

 

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House Before And After - Quick Bathroom Tease

Our remodel is almost complete. Still some odds and ends going on, but most of it is done and we've moved back in!

Here is the main bathroom Before and after pics. Not sure why I took so few before pics! Also we are still in the process of putting up towel racks and artwork. For now, please enjoy the pics!

Before:

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After!

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Before:

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After!

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Before:

(Not sure why I didn't take a wider shot...)

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After!

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