Happy Homemaker Monday, May 4, 2020

Ah, another Monday! We are starting Week 8 of Quarantine. New York is currently extended through May 15th, but that may change. Sigh… It’s hard to be upset when you know that the governor is making smart decisions and it is all for the greater good, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tired of it. Nevertheless, I appreciate that he is doing what truly is the right thing. I think back to that quote we’ve all heard “You can do hard things.” It’s something we usually tell our children, but I think we all need to remind ourselves of it, too.

Along those same lines, Gov. Cuomo announced on Friday that NY schools would be closed through the end of of the academic year and even though I knew it was coming, it absolutely gutted me. Jake was so sad listening to that press conference. Again, we realize it is for the good and health of all, and truly it is the right call. But selfishly all I can think about is everything he will be missing as a Senior. You can be understanding of why decisions are being made and still be sad about what you’re missing, too.

Anyway, let’s get to Happy Homemaker Monday, where I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

The Weather
It was a beautiful weekend, in fact yesterday it got up to 81. I so enjoyed the sun and warmer weather. This week, though, we are back into the 50s. And what is this? Potential for snow on Saturday, are you kidding me?

How I am feeling today
Tired and “meh.” It seems like I’ll be okay and motivated for a few days and then I have a really down day. That’s today.

On my mind
Seriously? My mind does not stop lately. These people who are like “Oh, we all have so much time now…” who are you? It must be nice, LOL. I literally have less time now than ever. I’m thinking about how stressful it is working in the dining room with constant interruptions, I’m thinking about reopening at work (when it will be, the logistics, managing people’s expectations, the inevitable budget cuts), thinking about whether or not we are doing enough virtually, thinking about some of our vulnerable patrons and hoping they are OK, thinking about my kids’ teachers and their classmates, and navigating another 6-7 weeks of distance learning, thinking about family members we can’t see, thinking about what happens when things do reopen and then there is a second wave because people refuse to keep their distance and wear masks and then we’re in this same spot again in the fall or winter. Yup. There’s a lot on my mind alright!

On the breakfast plate
Yesterday I made a delicious raspberry-lemon coffee cake, so I had a small slice of that with a cup of tea.

On my reading pile
Nothing at the moment.

On my tv
Nothing really. Last night we watched Midsommar and what a disappointment that was. I did not find it that scary. In fact, I couldn’t help but laugh during a few scenes that were supposed to be serious. It was beautifully shot, but that’s about all I can say.

On the menu this week
Monday – Grilled London Broil, potatoes, broccoli
Tuesday – Carnitas
Wednesday – Chicken Parmesan, spaghetti
Thursday –  Turkey chili, salad (I have a 5 PM meeting, so something I can make ahead)
Friday – Cheeseburgers, fries or potato salad, cole slaw
Saturday – ?
Sunday – ?

From the camera
Planted a few flowers on Saturday after I did yard clean up. I had great luck with my Dollar Tree zinnias last year, so maybe these will grow well, too!

Looking around the house
Laundry to fold & put away, and kitchen table and island have a bunch of stuff on them that needs to get put away, but otherwise not bad.

Chore I’m not looking forward to today, or this week
Grocery shopping. It is so mentally exhausting now trying to stay ultra-focused and avoid people who don’t understand what 6-feet means.

To relax this week, I will
Crochet, work in my memory planner, watch TV… same stuff, different day!

Just the Usual…

Yikes, I didn’t realize it’s been so long since I’ve posted! As I look, I see that I have several posts I started and never finished or hit “publish” on. Oops! Not much is new, anyway. Kind of the same old, same old around here.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today Laura and I baked cookies. Honestly, I don’t bake cookies a lot because in the past I’ve never gotten them right. They always burn or come out too hard. But I think I’ve finally learned to take them out of the oven just before you think they’re actually done. These were Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies that were a band fundraiser from a year or two ago. The high school band sells cookies-in-a-jar and I always buy them. Finally I’m using them up!

I’ve been trying so many great recipes lately. I really need to put some up here on the blog to share (and for easy reference later on). Here are a few.

Peanut Butter Pie
Classic White Bread (Bread Machine)
Sheetpan Crunchwrap
Alison Roman’s Spiced Chickpea Stew
Hearty Turkey Pot Pie

Yes, I think I need to get these up here on the blog for sure! In fact, I will probably be making another turkey pot pie this weekend. It was so delicious and filling!

Another thing I’ve been doing is sewing masks. Here in New York we are supposed to wear them when out in public, and given that I work with the general public I personally plan to wear one for several months once libraries are open again. I know some people in this country do not view COVID as a real threat, but I am not taking chances. I know of several people who have suffered through it, one who almost died, and one who did die. So I have made several for my family, my brother’s family, my parents, and a few neighbors.

The other day my cat Margo kept me company while I sewed away. She loves chasing the spool, which is cute unless you’re actually trying to get things done!

And then yesterday I decided to treat myself and purchase the new Erin Condren Daily Duo planner. As you may know, I absolutely love EC planners and I’ve been using them for several years now. The hourly has suited me well in the past, but I am really excited about a coiled daily planner. Schedule on one side, to-do list on the other, and room for notes? Yes, please!

I figured that over these last 7 weeks of quarantine I have not been buying any extras for myself, so I went for the splurge! Trust me, it is so worth it. (You can get $10 off your first Erin Condren order if you sign up using my referral link.) So that is happy mail I am surely looking forward to getting!

I guess that’s about all. I’ll try to get these recipes up soon and not be away for so long again. A little over a week ago I made the decision to deactivate my personal Facebook page and honestly, I only regret not doing it sooner. I never realized how many hours I wasted scrolling mindlessly. Do I miss feeling connected to people? A little bit, yes, but I feel that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Anyway, my point is that now I want to try to use some of that Facebook time for blogging and craft projects. A much better use of time, in my opinion!

A Quiet Easter

Easter 2020

Well, much like everyone else, we had a very quiet Easter! It wasn’t bad, though. In a way it was nice to have such a relaxed day — no one had to leave, so we could eat whenever we wanted. Of course, the Easter bunny still brought the kids baskets of candy. Usually he brings a few extras, but this year… well, candy was what he could swing, LOL…

Easter 2020

The weather was pretty nice. The sun was in and out, but it wasn’t freezing cold and it didn’t rain. We set up an egg hunt for the kids in the yard, but instead of candy in the eggs we put clues and set them on a mini treasure hunt. The prize at the end was a jumbo Reese’s egg! It was silly, but fun.

Dinner was delicious. I made a roast turkey breast, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, and cheddar-olive bread (I’ll be posting the recipe for this tomorrow). Everything was delicious and I still have turkey left over. I think I’ll make a pot of creamy turkey & rice soup.

Easter 2020
Easter 2020
Easter 2020

Laura and I had make double-chocolate cupcakes on Saturday, so we decorated a few with jelly beans and had those for dessert. They were just from an Aldi box mix, but wow — they had a delicious, rich chocolate flavor!

Easter 2020

Truly, it didn’t feel like a holiday, but it was still a nice day together! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend.

Happy Homemaker Monday, April 13, 2020

Hope you all had a nice Easter! I will post a recap of ours later. Let’s get right to Happy Homemaker Monday, where I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

The Weather
Today it’s raining and the wind is howling and gusty. It would be a good day to relax with books and movies, if I didn’t have so much work to do. Guess spring is still not arriving in New York. The weather, quite frankly, sucks. I’m really tired of the cold.

How I am feeling today
Tired. Laura’s alarm clock must have been accidentally set last night because it started beeping like crazy shortly after midnight. Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to a loud noise you weren’t expecting!

On my mind
Wondering if/when the kids will be able to return to school before the year is over, what will happen with graduation… Lots of work-related stuff, too.

On the breakfast plate
You guessed it, PB toast and coffee! I am a creature of habit (or perhaps laziness in the morning)… what can I say?

On my reading pile
Nothing at the moment. My mind just can’t focus on a book right now.

On my tv
Twi Peaks Season 2 (Netflix – rewatching it for the umpteenth time in honor of the 30th anniversary and my teens are totally addicted!)
Monk (Amazon Prime – I forgot how great this show is!)    
Young Sheldon Season 2 (DVD) 

On the menu this week
The last time I was grocery shopping was Sunday the 5th, and this is the longest I’ve gone between trips in quite some time. When things were normal, I’d do one big shop and then a smaller “fill-in” for more fresh vegetables. I have to say, I am really missing lots of nice, fresh salads. Anyway, my menu is subject to (and likely to) change. I’m hoping I can put off grocery shopping until Friday morning. Not the best time because I think the stores have less stock at the end of the week, but… I want to go as long as possible.
Monday – Chicken korma, cauliflower rice
Tuesday – Pork chops with sweet & hot peppers, steamed broccoli
Wednesday – Chicken & black bean quesadillas
Thursday –  Maybe take-out tonight?
Friday – Chili & cornbread, salad
Saturday – Burgers & fries, cole slaw
Sunday – Western quiche (ham, onions, peppers, tomatoes), salad

From the camera
My forsythia bushes are so vibrant this year! I’m enjoying seeing them out the window.   

Looking around the house
Nothing is too out of order, just a bit of tidying up to do.

Chore I’m not looking forward to today, or this week
Laundry. I have so much to fold and make sure gets put away.

To relax this week, I will
Watch TV, crochet, maybe catch up on my memory planner

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.