Happy Homemaker Monday, March 30, 2020

Well that week just flew by! It’s now going on week 3 that the library and schools have been closed and week 2 of PAUSE here in New York (essentially a shelter-in-place order). The latest COVID-19 number for our county is up to 392 with 3 deaths. We won’t even talk about the numbers for the state. It is very scary and very unnerving. To think there are still people diminishing this disease… I honestly don’t get it.

Anyway, I’m trying to keep myself busy and not worry too much. I suppose that’s what most of us are doing right? Well, a fun diversion is always Happy Homemaker Monday, so again I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

The Weather
Cold. Gray. Drizzly.
I am SO OVER IT.      

Monday – 49/cloudy & showers
Tuesday – 46/cloudy
Wednesday – 50/partly sunny
Thursday – 49/cloudy
Friday – 52/cloudy
Saturday –  55/clouds & sun
Sunday – 48/cloudy, chance of showers

How I am feeling today
I had to run a few errands this AM, which caused me a huge amount of anxiety and I had a few annoyances with work-related things. Nothing major. Once we all sit down to dinner and start to wind down for the night I know I’ll be in a better mood!

On my mind
All of my friends in the medical field. The hospital is a huge employer in our small town, so as you can imagine I know many people who are doctors and nurses. Plus, I have friends I grew up with who are doctors or working in hospitals, and all I can do is keep them in my thoughts. I can’t even imagine what their jobs are like right now.             

On the breakfast plate
It was another peanut butter toast and coffee morning! Yesterday I made banana pancakes and they were delicious. Saturday Drew made homefries, salami scrambled eggs, and fresh fruit. Weekdays tend to be quicker, easier breakfasts around here.  

On my reading pile
Same as last week. Honestly, I don’t think I picked either of them up!

On my tv
Ozark Season 3 (Netflix)
Monk (Amazon Prime – I forgot how great this show is!)     

On the menu this week
Monday – Spinach & artichoke dip chicken, rice, salad
Tuesday – Zuppa toscana, naan pizzas
Wednesday – Kielbasa & pierogi skillet, roasted Brussels sprouts
Thursday –  Herb baked chicken breasts, mashed potatoes & gravy, asparagus
Friday – Alison Roman’s chick pea stew
Saturday – Spaghetti with meat sauce, salad
Sunday – Burgers, broccoli, tater tots

From the camera
I’m so cold I had to get a fire going in the wood stove this afternoon. Brrr!   

Looking around the house
Everything is pretty clean. I do have to put away my reusable grocery bags, which I had opened and spread out in the kitchen so I could disinfect everything.

Chore I’m not looking forward to today, or this week
I’m not really sure, honestly. The kids have all reached the point where they’ve totally cleaned their rooms. I’m on top of laundry. Hm, I really can’t say.                   

To relax this week, I will
Finish Laura’s poncho, watch fun things on TV. 

Another Week Down

TGIF! Sure, we all are home, but I say Friday is Friday so cheers to that. We made it through another week

Things were busy here, that’s for sure. I so admire my kids’ teachers. They’ve all stepped up and managed to work out this remote learning thing in record time. Kudos are due to my daughter’s 5th grade teacher, especially. I can’t say enough about the communication and organization. She even mailed students packets with work and a chapter book that the class was already scheduled to read. The kids focus on their schoolwork in the morning, then after lunch they may take a break and then finish up any “homework” or other projects.

Me? I feel like I’m putting in more work hours at home. There are so many briefings and webinars, plus social media management, e-book/audio-book purchasing, patron management… plus I completely forgot that I need to write 40 questions (2 books) for the high school Battle of the Books program, so I am frantically working on that as well.

Of course, there’s also the regular household duties of cleaning and cooking. Truthfully I wish I could just focus on those things! The one thing about being home during this time is realizing how much I miss just being a stay-at-home-mom, but… those days are long gone, LOL! I’m just thankful that 1) I have a job and 2) even when I’m not working from home it’s pretty flexible.

Most days, meals seem to be the highlight. I’ve made several delicious dishes this week including roast chicken and Buffalo chicken mac & cheese. We’re definitely eating more bread and pasta and potatoes than we usually do, but I kind of feel like everyone is.

We are hanging in there, and honestly still looking forward to the weekend!

Happy Homemaker Monday for March 23rd

Hello all! Hope you had a great start to the week. It’s always hard for me to get these up early in the morning, but better late than never right? Linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

The Weather
Today was a snow day! And a sleet and rain day, too, as is the way it goes in March. We’ve barely had any snow all winter, and since we literally had no place to go I thought (cue up the song…)  let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! It’ll all melt away tomorrow, I’m sure but for now it looks pretty and I’m enjoying that. As for the rest of the week? Here’s what we’re looking at:

How I am feeling today
Today I woke up early. I had such a weird dream, and though I don’t remember what it was it jarred me awake. So I’ve been a little tired. I also felt really overwhelmed about halfway through the day. Trying to manage working from home with homeschooling and balancing it with cooking while managing calls and conferences was a little hectic. Around 2:30/3:00 I was pretty much done. I did a little more work, but the kids had finished their assignments and thing finally started to quiet down.

On my mind
Wondering how long this all will go on. Seems like we’re under a work from home order until at least April 19th, but who really knows?       

On the breakfast plate
This morning I just had a slice of toast with peanut butter and a cup of coffee.

On my reading pile
I have SO MANY new books right now because I’m taking all of the library deliveries home. I wish I had time to read everything because there are just heaps of great books that have just come out. But the two I’ve got going are:

Blindsided by her mother’s sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan. Her mail consists of wedding invitations and final notices from debt collectors. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, moldy room at the side of a garage where she works on the novel she’s been writing for six years. At thirty-one, Casey is still clutching onto something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, her world fractures even more. Casey’s fight to fulfill her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink.

Ten years after the Mayflower pilgrims arrived on rocky, unfamiliar soil, Plymouth is not the land its residents had imagined. Seemingly established on a dream of religious freedom, in reality the town is led by fervent puritans who prohibit the residents from living, trading, and worshipping as they choose. By the time an unfamiliar ship, bearing new colonists, appears on the horizon one summer morning, Anglican outsiders have had enough. With gripping, immersive details and exquisite prose, TaraShea Nesbit reframes the story of the pilgrims in the previously unheard voices of two women of very different status and means. She evokes a vivid, ominous Plymouth, populated by famous and unknown characters alike, each with conflicting desires and questionable behavior.

On my tv
The Tick, Season 2 (Amazon Prime)
Tiger King (Netflix)

On the menu this week
I hit the grocery stores on Saturday and really stocked up on as much as I could. Tomorrow I do have to go to Tops to pick up some of our monthly prescriptions, so I may grab another gallon of milk, some cream cheese, and another package of romaine hearts. I think those are the only things we are low on. Yesterday I made a two-week meal plan up, so I feel really good about that! I may mix and match from my list of dishes, but this is what I have written down:

Monday – Turkey and mixed bean chili, cornbread, salad
Tuesday – Roasted chicken thighs with potatoes, garlic sauteed spinach
Wednesday – American Chop Suey, salad
Thursday –  Spinach-artichoke dip chicken, asparagus
Friday – Penne a la vodka, salad
Saturday -Naan pizzas
Sunday – Kielbasa and pierogi skillet with sauerkraut, steamed broccoli

From the camera
Probably the last snow we’ll see for this winter (even though yes, it is technically spring)!

Snowy Monday

Looking around the house
We are all cleaned up from dinner. Kitchen table is cleared and the island isn’t too bad. The living room is a bit of a different story. I have some laundry baskets piled up that I need to tend to and today’s newspapers are strewn across the coffee table. The boys are upstairs in their rooms and Laura’s curled up on the couch under a blanket watching TV with me. Drew’s in his office finishing up a few work-related tasks. I am very much looking forward to changing into my PJs after I upload this post and relaxing for the evening.

Chore I’m not looking forward to today, or this week
Heading out to pick up our prescriptions. Typically I love running errands, but I do not want to be out among people right now. Call me paranoid, I don’t care. If the medications weren’t absolutely necessary, I’d skip it but I absolutely have to have my thyroid medication. Maybe I should look into mail order!                

To relax this week, I will…
This week I am going to much more conscious of self-care. I’m going to spend more time reading, I want to give myself a manicure and pedicure. I want to drink more water. I want to put less pressure on myself to get everything done.

Quiet Sunday

Happy Sunday evening, everyone! Hope you all had a nice day. Honestly, I found it quite a relief to not feel obligated to go anywhere. Yesterday I did venture out for some shopping. As of 8 PM tonight, the governor has ordered that New York will be on PAUSE (Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone), meaning only essential businesses can operate. I also want to minimize my time in public as much as possible because both Noah and I have histories of asthma and Drew is diabetic, so I am being exceptionally careful.

Grocery shopping was fine. I found everything I wanted (of course, I still managed to forget a thing or two). Yes, I did find TP! Our local Aldi had several packs, limiting them to 1 per person. By the time I was in the last store (Sam’s Club), I started to have a mini panic attack in line because the masks and the gloves and the general weirdness combined with this one irate lowlife screaming at an employee over purchase limits kind of put me over the edge.

But today was different. I slept in (and slept well.) Drew made me a delicious breakfast and I lazed about for a while in the morning. Then I decided to tackle some laundry baskets that I’ve been avoiding. In the afternoon I watched a few old episodes of Unsolved Mysteries while crocheting. I downloaded a few new patterns and looked up some recipes to make.

I also took the time to work on the crossword puzzle in the New York Times Sunday magazine. I’m picking up the library’s newspapers, and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy working through the clues! Back in college and right after I graduated it was one of my Sunday traditions. I’m thinking I should definitely make it part of my routine.

I made up a two-week meal plan, which was actually easier than I expected. Typically I create my menus based on what I have in my pantry and my freezer because I grocery shop based primarily on what’s on sale. So we’re used to a little flexibility. And obviously in the past if I decided mid-week that we wanted something different that required me picking things up at the store, it wasn’t a problem. So this is still a little different, also because we will all be home for all three meals. Still, I felt like I had a lot of options because of what I have in stock here at home, so I think it will be OK.

Dinner was delicious! Typically, I’m not a huge fan of pork chops, but hey, when they’re cheap it makes sense to grab a package. I coated each chop with a mixture of honey and Dijon mustard, and breaded them in breadcrumbs and French-fried onions that I pulsed in the food processor. I just baked them at 425 until they were done and wow – what a great flavor. Even Laura who usually moans and groans about pork chops said that this recipe is a keeper.

So now I’m in my PJs. I have a candle burning and twinkle lights on, and I’m ready to start winding down. I think I’ll pick my crochet back up, enjoy a cup of tea, and just relax until bedtime.

Signs of Spring

During a break in the rain yesterday I decided to step outside for a bit and walk around the yard. Spring is definitely beginning to pop here in the Hudson Valley! Sure, they’re predicting a bit of snow on Monday, but hey, that’s March right? Just thought I’d share some photos of what is starting to pop up around the yard.

Signs of Spring
Signs of Spring
Signs of Spring
Pussy Willow
Signs of Spring
Pussy Willow
Signs of Spring

It’s Surreal Out There

It’s been ages since I’ve posted. Not that I haven’t thought about it. I have. Lots of ideas, recipes to share, pictures… We have all experienced this song and dance before. But now it’s really time to start writing again. Last week I read an article about the importance of journalling through this time period and yesterday, one of my scrapbooking icons Becky Higgins wrote about the topic as well.

Top ‘o the mornin’! Woke up to a snowy St. Paddy’s Day.

As you know, I live in New York. More specifically, I’m in northern Dutchess County. As of today, we have 16 cases. Yesterday it was 10. A week ago I was thinking maybe we should THINK about postponing some library programming. Friday, our county executive declared a state of emergency and all schools were closed for two weeks. Sunday I was frantically communicating with my board about the need to shut the library for the same period of time. Today the Governor Cuomo announced that NYS schools will be closed until April 1.

To say things are weird is an understatement. I admit, that I had my worries about COVID-19 weeks ago. I kept them to myself, but I guess my instinct was spot-on. I’m not sure where you all live. I’m not sure if there is the same sense of concern and unease in your neck of the woods. Sadly, there are still people who think this is all some kind of hoax. It’s not. It’s really not.

I thought it would be good for me to just journal my way though it. I doubt anyone’s reading anymore, so this is as good a place as any.

Yesterday was Day 1 of what I guess you could call “Quarantine.” Though that’s not exactly it. Thankfully my family seems healthy, but schools are closed, the library is closed and everyone is doing their thing from home. I spent most of the day thinking of projects that staff members could do remotely, ways to keep our library patrons engaged, how best to share information. I did run down to work to put up new signage and check on things, too. (Luckily I live 5 minutes away!)

Since I was home I was also able to cook 2 corned beefs and completely reorganize my pantry! It definitely made me realize how much I miss staying at home. I was able to try a new recipe for dinner (Lemon-Thyme Chicken Breasts). Overall, it was not a bad day! I do enjoy being home, so honestly for me I’m okay with the “social distancing” aspect.

Leomon-Thyme Chicken in Parmesan Cream Sauce

Today the schools opened temporarily just so kids could go in and get their books or anything else they may need. I told Jake to grab everything in case it’s the last time he’s in the building. These poor seniors, class of 2020. They’ve all worked so hard and now these last few months, which should be the fun, carefree part of the year, have been stolen from them. Senior trip to Broadway? Gone. High school musical? Gone. Spring sports? Gone. My heart breaks for them.

After our quick trips to the empty schools I zipped over to the grocery store just for a few random things. Now, I’d gone out early on Sunday morning to stock up for the week, so I knew what it was like out there but today it was just so different. Lots of shelves were empty and people definitely kept their distance. A week ago I could never have imagine life like this: schools, businesses, restaurants, gyms, movie theatres, libraries closed… and yet here we are, just kind of going along for the ride, you know?

Anyway, that’s where we are right now! As I said, I did make two corned beefs yesterday and we’re making Reubens for dinner tonight. Not quite Irish, but that’s OK – it’s our favorite way to have corned beef. I did pick up some Guinness at the grocery store. Trying to keep things as fun and normal as possible at home. The schools are just getting distance-learning materials together, so I think that will probably start tomorrow. Basically we are taking everything day by day!

I am thankful for strong state leadership, because it is a joke on the federal level. I try to stay away from politics here, but seriously… the response is abysmal. At least here in New York I feel like someone is actually trying to make things better.

So we will see what the next few weeks bring, I guess. I’m going to try to update daily to keep track of what we’re doing and how we’re dealing with the public health emergency. I do have lots of projects to work on during breaks from work, and a huge list of new recipes I want to make while I am working in the kitchen! There’s no better time for that!

So tell me …. how are you doing? Are you in a similar situation?