We are on week 5 of our quarantine in California. It seems like a lifetime ago I wrote my previous post about what to do with kids at home.
My initial motivation quickly waned as I realized this wasn’t going to be just three weeks. And seeing the pain and suffering going on and really just mourning life as we knew it. For days I was distracted while working and using up much of my energy to help my kids adjust.
But now that we are further into this, and my kids’ distance learning is in place, it feels somewhat stable. I’ve been getting up early to write with not as many distractions. I still check the numbers when I need a break but overall I feel more productive.
This is not my typical dinner rotation. I’m not planning each night’s meals because the food available still inconsistent. Instead, I’m going grocery shopping with a list of what we are out of and just buying different proteins and vegetables and cooking as we go. I recently signed up for a CSA box to be delivered every other week. The goal is to go to the grocery store as little as possible. I must say, it feels satisfying to really empty my fridge before going shopping.
I’ve been digging sheet pan dinners like this one with chicken legs, potatoes, and veggies. Just make a side salad and some fruit and your good. Pasta with red, olive oil or white sauce and roasted vegetables is a staple. And of course, anything I can throw in the instant pot works. Then there are the nights no one wants to cook so we opt for frozen pizzas.
Smoothies and frozen veggies get us through when fresh fruit and vegetables run low, although we always seem to have apples and raw carrots.
My kids are into the show Sugar Rush, so they have an interest in baking. Unfortunately, the stores have been very low on flour and yeast. They’ve made breadsticks, cupcakes, naan bread and both chocolate cookies and a chocolate chip cookie cake.
We’ve all had to be more flexible with food as our favorites just may not be at the store and it may be a while before we get them.
Recipe Revamp Challenge
Before all of this happened, I had some projects hanging over my head including re-doing my recipes. I was still using my old system from 5 years ago that came out of my book The Family Solution. My recipe binder had been falling apart and I started putting new recipes in a decorated box with index cards. I’ve been wanting to move everything over to a new recipe box and come up with new meal ideas. This felt daunting in my previous life.
My decision to tackle this was part of the reason I’m now offering The Family Dinner Solution e-book for free. I will continue to do this until this is all over and I update the book. I created a private Facebook group for people who have read my books and am going through the steps.
Right now, I’m on Step 3 which is creating my meal vision. In Step 1, I went gone through all of my recipes and have the ones I want to keep and a folder of those I’m not sure about. Also in Step 2, I cleaned out my kitchen, freezer, and cabinets which felt really, really good to do.
With help from Big A, we have already moved our recipes into my new box from the Cookbook People. I really love this recipe storage system because it allows me to place the recipe card on the box to easily read as I cook. Also, it makes it possible to collect recipes from different sources like cookbooks, websites, and word of mouth. Plus, I almost always change ingredients, so it helps to rewrite them instead of storing them “as is” online. This system is a keeper for me.
Another reason I want to do this now is I want my kids involved in coming up with new recipes. When my daughter is involved in coming up with a recipe, she’s way more into dinners. She’s also better at it than me. And as we go along, I plan to mark the ones my kids can make.
Can you see what I’m getting at? Less cooking for me (ha). But it’s all for a good cause, to help increase my kids’ independence and growth.
So, if you don’t have it already, get the book, and join me on Facebook.
What else is there to do?
I’m trying to be intentional with how I use my time. There are other projects hanging over my head including stuff around my house. Sadly, our room has been the storage place from the misfit stuff that doesn’t seem to have a home (old picture frames, knick-knacks, etc.). So, I’m slowly digging into that and finding places for everything or putting them in the donation box.
We also signed up for Master Class educational series. If you haven’t heard about it, masters in their chosen field like Malcolm Gladwell for nonfiction writing, Steph Curry for basketball, and chefs like Wolf Gang Puck, make videos sharing their secrets of success. Some we watch together as a family, liking the making and cooking videos and others separately.
So every few nights instead of watching a show or movie, we put this on and try to learn something and also be entertained. This got my husband thinking he can try baking because he is more precise while I’m the type to substitute ingredients and cry when it doesn’t work out.
We also go from a couple of walks every day and have developed various routes. There’s the just over half mile small loop around our house, which we sometimes do twice. There’s a 1.5-mile loop we take most frequently and the newest 3-mile route. One Saturday we walked to the small mall near us and back through trails for a total of 5 miles.
It’s funny, but I notice so much more about our neighborhood than before like pretty flowers and houses with really cool garage doors (is that a new thing?). It’s like I’m seeing our neighborhood for the first time.
I’ve been running more frequently than usual but shorter distances. It just feels so good to get out of the house and it helps with stress. This has pushed me to follow Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk-Run to prevent injuries and I decided now was a good time to have him on the Podcast. If you don’t think you like running or think you can’t run or want to keep running forever, check it out. His program is amazing.
I’ve also been working out with my husband more as his gym has zoom workouts. This has to do with a commitment I’ve made to stay strong at midlife and beyond (more on that in a future post). Big A and I also have been doing some quick 20-30-minute videos in the morning before she starts her school work. I pretty much stay in workout clothes most days.
There’s also more screen time than usual and days we lay around and watch movies but if we do this too much, our sleep is compromised, and everyone is crankier. And there are just days one or all of us feel sad, frustrated, or angry, which means that day take a totally different direction. But that’s to be expected right?
I will leave you with just a few articles. Sally at Real Mom Nutrition has some free printables if you want to cook off your fridge and freezer. Jill Castle talks about how she’s feeding her family during this coronavirus pandemic, which mirrors my philosophy. And Katie from My Kitchen Handbook has some cool cooking projects for kids.
Whatever your circumstance during his time, I hope you are staying safe and sane.
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