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.

How to Make Whipped Coffee (Dalgona Coffee)

So, if you have an Instagram account, no doubt you have seen photos of people showing off their whipped coffee creations. They look absolutely delicious, and I was intrigued! When I read over the ingredients list, I had a hard time believing that what you start with will create that luscious cream, so I had to try it for myself!

Whipped Coffee (Dalgona Coffee)

A fun, creamy way to create a beautiful glass of iced coffee using pantry ingredients.
Course: Drinks

Equipment

  • Hand Mixer
  • Whisk

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. Instant Coffee
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Hot water

Instructions

  • Using a hand whisk or electric mixer, whip all ingredients together until they form a creamy consistency. Once the mixture resembles whipped cream, you're done!
  • Add ice and milk to a glass and top with whipped coffee. Stir whipped coffee into your drink to combine everything into a delicious treat.

This creates a really strong coffee flavor, so keep that in mind. Apparently, this food trend originated in South Korea and was nicknamed “Dalgona Coffee” because it resembles the look of a popular street snack with the same name in South Korea.

It’s a fun way to mix up an iced coffee because you’ll feel like you just ordered a fancy drink at a cafe, even if you can’t leave your house!

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!

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
Forcythia
Signs of Spring
Daffodils
Signs of Spring
Pussy Willow
Signs of Spring
Pussy Willow
Signs of Spring
Pachysandra

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?

This Week’s Menu – October 21-27

Trying to get back to posting my weekly meal plans! Should be pretty easy to stick to this one. The only dinner that is up in the air is Friday — I have to go back to work in the evening for a program, so… it may or may not be ham. We’ll see.
Saturday is my birthday! We will be out all day and most likely eating out for lunch, so I’ll throw a yummy dinner in the Crock Pot so there is little for me to do when we get back. I’m also thinking of getting a chocolate cake for dessert. My favorite!

A Beautiful Surprise

Today when I got back to work after picking up my kids from VBS, this beautiful floral arrangement was on my desk. My parents sent me flowers! It was such a beautiful surprise and they are just gorgeous. They also smell divine! 

The library is closed on Wednesdays so I brought them home so I can be sure to enjoy them. There is nothing like having fresh flowers in the house, is there?

Bits of my Garden

Well it was quite a strange day today, filled with all kinds of ups and downs. We woke up to the news that my husband’s aunt had another stroke this morning. She has Alzheimer’s and just had a stroke in April. This one affected the other side of her brain. 
Drew went down there tonight and she seemed to actually be in good spirits and she recognized him immediately, so that was really good. Her already bad vision, however, has now deteriorated further. All in all, I guess it could be worse, but it is just another blow that I’m sure will make the Alzheimer’s progress further. If you have ever had experience with Alzheimer’s or dementia I am sure you understand how devastating it is to see. She will be in the hospital for at least a day or two while they do some more tests.
I did get some good news tonight that I can’t talk about just yet, but it was definitely a nice way to end the day. After dinner I took a little walk around the yard to check on my plants.
Ferns. We have so many ferns around our house. They grow everywhere and honestly I get frustrated with them because they just overtake certain areas. It’s always surprising when I see how much they cost at the garden center because I just have more than I care to!
Geranium. I love geraniums, especially the smell. My oldest gave me this one for Mother’s Day. They were selling them at the high school and I am so proud of myself for keeping it alive! And look at all those buds! The flowers are a beautiful salmon color and I can’t wait to see them open again.

Roses. This rose bush moved with us from our last home, over 15 years ago. I got it for my first Mother’s Day! I’m sure it would be bigger if I took proper care of it, but it is a faithful bloomer.

Day lilies. This is one of the fancier day lilies I got last summer. I wish I remembered the names of the varieties. Can’t wait to see what color this one is! I know some were pink, some were yellow, and there might have been a purple too.

I’ve kept things pretty simple this year, but at least I am not overwhelmed with plant care. My tiger lilies also have buds, and I can’t wait for those to bloom, too! I think everything will pop in the next few days… Can’t wait to see the beautiful color in my flower beds.

Tracks in the Snow

“There’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on.”
— Carol Rifka Brunt


It snowed last night (though hardly the 2″ I was expecting). In fact, it was just enough to lightly cover the ground. Nevertheless, it was also just enough to let us know that a fox was trotting around early this morning. At least I’m pretty sure it was a fox. My tracking skills are not the greatest, but comparing the prints to images online, and knowing that there are plenty of foxes around, I think it’s a pretty good guess.