10 Tips While Being Home with Kids

First off, I will start by saying we have a unique situation when it comes to Covid-19.  My husband has Crohn’s Disease and to help manage his symptoms, he recently started taking a biologic. It seems to be helping a lot, but that said, his immune system is highly compromised. We are extremely fortunate that we can work from home, but we have self-quarantined since last Friday.  No one in, no one out.  We are hunkered down with the kids, dogs and other than walks outside we don’t plan on going anywhere. I am pretty passionate about this isolation because of  my loved ones and their compromised immune systems. For the love, people, please just stay home. The virus cannot live long on surfaces but it needs people to infect to survive. If we all just stay in, this will blow over faster…

With that said, I came up with a list of 10 ways to not go too crazy during this time of social distancing. I am remaining optimistic and hope that I can help give some light into what our days will look like.  No, it will not be all sunshine and roses. Yes I am sure we will be experiencing cabin fever and there will be way too much screen time, but I’m a type A so I have to have some sort of plan…so here goes:

  1. Take time to reflect. I probably do this too much already, but go through old photos, and really see how beautiful your life is.  Maybe they are FB photos, instagram, or hard copies.  Maybe you’ve never made photo books and now could be the time you create some on Snap Fish or Sometimes we get wrapped up in the day to day and don’t stop to reflect at how awesome life has been for us.  In 10 quick years I have gotten married, had 2 babies, raised those babies to 5 and 7 year old amazing kids.  Gotten 2 dogs, grew a business, maintained an amazing marriage…the list goes on.  None of it is without a ton of work, but when you stop and see just how far you’ve come, it should make you feel really good inside.  And if not?  Well, maybe now is the time to truly make those changes.  Take this as an opportunity to become better than you were yesterday.
  2. Cook something new.  (shelf cooking, chopped chef, include kids and husband) Okay, real talk.  We stopped eating out last week. We don’t want anyone touching anything else from last Thursday on. The one thing I am a little ehhhhhh about is cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner, for goodness knows how long here.  While I did start stocking up a few days before the herd, I still didn’t make a bunch of freezer meals or plan out a bunch of meals.  I legit started buying more of what we typically eat and now I have enough food for us for awhile, but it’s going to take some creativity here.  I am also not wasting ANYTHING.  Use those leftovers and eat what will spoil first.  From there, start pulling from your freezer and pantry.  Jordan Page is SUCH an inspiration for shelf cooking.  I’m thinking I may have a little “chopped chef” adventure and give everyone a little something and tell them create your own meal!  I dunno the details yet but I can see us using the smoker, the BBQ, the grill, the fire pit…we will have fun and get super creative.  Think, sheet pan meals, using instant pots, slow cookers, air fryers, foil packets, skewers, whatever odd kitchen gadget you’ve got, now is the time to pull it out! Have fun! And please please please share some meal ideas with me!!
  3. Read from my own library. Libby, Overdrive, Hoopla.  Granted, I had a feeling we would be going into ‘lockdown mode’ so I made sure to pick up some books at my library. If you didn’t have that chance, I bet you may have a book (or 10) laying around that you just haven’t gotten to.  Now’s your chance!  You can also check out those above e-book services, or even Audiobooks, to get your imagination up and running about something other than this virus.  Reading does wonders for your mind, body and soul.  It always takes me away and I know you will enjoy it too! Share your favorite books below!
  4. Write.  Journal, blog, start that book…for me, writing has always helped me sort my thoughts, figure out tricky emotions and really clear my headspace.  Even if you just pull out a notepad and brain dump a list of activities you’d like to do while you’re home, I bet it will make you feel a tad better.  Worried about food? Go through and write down your inventory. I bet you’ll be surprised at how much you have and what you could do with it. If you’re feeling alone, share a post on instagram, FB or even email or text someone.  You are not alone.  This is uncharted territory for all of us and it’s okay to feel whatever emotion you are feeling.  Get the feelings out of your head and onto the paper…trust me!
  5. Face-time with friends and family.  We try to make efforts with people to chat, but we all get so busy! Well, here is our chance to charge up those phones and iPads and connect! Set a “tea date” with your mom.  I actually already do that since my mother is down in SC and I am in NY, but do it with everyone.  Playdates cannot happen, but your kids will get a kick out of seeing their friends virtually.  Maybe have them play games or show off cool drawings, or forts, whatever activity has gone on.  I think there are some epic lego creations about to go down in this house.  Call your sister, your friend, the babysitter, your aunt who lives super far away.  We are all going to need some connection because we are all going through this together!
  6. Homeschool. While you don’t have to take the whole day, it seems as though most districts have provided something for our children.  You can try to utilize the colored ‘Covid Homeschool’ graphic, or totally wing it. Whatever you want, you’re in charge! I’m going to post our daily ideas on my Instagram stories. (because I like to do this kind of stuff and I love sharing!)  I have a First grader and one in Pre-K.  I know I am biased because I was a teacher and heck, I’ve been “playing school” with my little sisters for as long as I can remember.  The point is, try to break up your days with some educational fun.  Pinterest has a ton of ideas, Instagram Busy Toddler, Scholastic, I can share more if you’re interested! But really, don’t make it complicated.  Count as you’re baking, measure as you’re cooking.  Go to an online museum and talk about whatever your kid is into right now!  Simply reading to your child WILL make a world of difference.  Don’t make this hard.
  7.  Move my body.  30 minutes MINIMUM.  I am going to try to something in the morning and something in the afternoon or evening. TIU app, walks outside, BeachBody on demand, You Tube, Just Dance or even dance parties in general.  Listen, I get that being cooped up and missing things is hard. We LOVE the Ugly Disco and that was cancelled last week.  We weren’t going to go as soon as we realized how serious this Covid-19 was.  But the more I move, lift weights, feel my blood flow through my body even in a 10 minute yoga session, I just feel better. Period.  Have you seen the videos from Italy where music is blasting and people are out on their balconies dancing around? Be like them.
  8. Connect with my family.  I plan on lots of chats…dreams for our future, looking through old photos, playing board games with Joe and the kiddos.  I think we may do some “date nights in” where we feed the kids an easy dinner and we can cook up something for us while they watch tv upstairs.   I also want to have family movie nights and make the time to play all together.  If you think about it, when (other than vacations) do we get this much time to be all together?  I’m aware that my tune will change sometime into this whole ordeal, especially if we really are stuck inside for months, but still…it is really a unique opportunity.
  9. Watch movies and TV.  (escape) I don’t make the time to watch shows because we live a really busy life and I leave little room for me to get sucked into Hulu, Netflix etc.  But during this time of isolation, I think it’s best for me to allow some time away from reality.  So far I have on my radar: The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, Little Fires Everywhere, The Morning Show, Harriet Tubman and Frozen 2–I think we are the only family with little kids who hasn’t seen it yet!
  10. Be grateful and think positively.  It’s scary. It’s an uncertain time.  I am right there with your friend.  How will bills get paid if there is no job? How will we get more food if we run out? There are so many unanswered questions and at this time no one has the answers.  However we cannot fixate on the what-ifs and question all the things.  We just have to take it day by day and count our blessings. I am still writing in my “Start Today Planner” where I list 5 things I am grateful for and 10 dreams down as if they already happen. We will be okay and we will get through this.  Think about the stories we will tell our grandchildren, or even great grandchildren!

Most importantly, don’t stress during this time.  Try to make the most out of this!

Find me on Instagram JennDelleFave and let’s be there for each other!!

Family Time

I never shared some adorable photos from awhile back of us on our land.  We enjoyed bundling up, getting some fresh air and trekking through the snow! It’s hard to stay active when it’s so cold and gloomy, but we make efforts when we can to get outdoors!

This one jumped just as I was taking the photo, stepping on a stick and thus resulting in it bumping her on the head.

While we enjoyed Winter, we are certainly ready for Spring and Summer!

February Favorites

It was full of love and that by far is my favorite!  But really, when we come from a place of love, life flows effortlessly.  When we are afraid, or stuck in fear, it can be so much more challenging.

Moving onto some drinks:

I started taking a little magnesium before bed at night for a few reasons.  I heard that it helps with any GERD/digestive issues, also my acupuncturist always tells me to have a little and this helps with sleep.  I just do 1/2 a teaspoon in a little warm water and it fizzes up, then I add cold water and drink.  I think it works!  You can grab Calm off of Amazon.

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I think I finally perfected (for now) my at home Matcha lattés.  I started pouring the Matcha powder, soy milk and stevia sweetener into my milk frother and it is SO much better! I also like to heat up my yeti mug with hot Keurig water so that it keeps my latté warm while I sip it.  It’s not Starbucks, as I am still certain they sprinkle magical unicorn dust in their Matcha Lattés, but it’s better on the wallet and lower in sugar!

I really fell back in love with some delicious green juices.  I swear I was coming down with something Thursday of last week and I just tried to stay away from processed sugars (as much much as I could) and really upped my greens.  My body craves green juice now!  We stopped into this cute Just Juice shop Friday.  My boys had a tropical smoothie which they LOVED and I had a shot of ginger and some green juices.

Clearly I’m on a bevvie kick here, but this Tea is so so good!! It stood out to me at the grocery store because one of my Start Today Journal goals is to be calm and intentional.  I just recently heard about this herb Ashwagandha and it helps with stress and staying calm.  It’s in my current vitamins below as well!

As far as my favorite read of the month, it goes to this one-You Are Not Alone: A Novel It takes a few chapters to get into it because there are so many characters, but it is worth reading until the end!

I get a lot of questions regarding my hair and I do indeed use a Purple shampoo to help keep it a whiter/lighter blond and not more golden yellow.  I find that Joico seems to be the best bang for your buck and produces the best results.  I do get my hair professionally highlighted and it’s naturally a dirty blond, so as always test it out on some of your hair first before you go and do your whole head.  PS do not leave it on for longer than 5-10 minutes or you will get purple hair.

I’m also working hard at amping up the real estate game.  Come September, I’m going to have from 8:30 until 4:00 with no kiddos! Seriously, for the first time in 7.5 years I will have no child to care for most of the days—I am excited and sad all at once, but what an opportunity for our family to really grow and prosper! I am also a tad nervous since there are so many facets to real estate, I feel like I should know everything 100% inside and out but the reality is, I have to just start. Learn. Fail. Get up. Try again. It’s all about not giving in or giving up and just doing my best every day.  So with that, if you or someone else you know is looking to sell a home in the Rochester area, let me know!  Be sure to send them to my Facebook page, Jenn Buys 585.

On the selling side of things, we finished up our Irondequoit house and the kitchen was just so darn cute! Within 6 days we had a buyer.  A lovely family moved in and this home is now filled with lots of love! Definitely a favorite that happened in February.  If you don’t already, be sure to like our page 585 Rent to Own where we love asking our followers for flipping advice!

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We had lots of fun in February, but one of my favorites was taking the kids to see Dino World Live Tour.We had a lot of fun!

I would have to say the other fantastic family moment was when Joe made unexpected reservations at one of our favorite restaurants, The Revelry.  The kids got dressed up and we all had a delicious meal!  Mama didn’t have to cook which is always a win in my book!

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And one of my favorite quotes I stumbled upon this month was this:

 

We cannot beat ourselves up for what has happened in our past, the people that have let us down or stay stuck in that negative energy that perhaps made us unhappy.  I keep telling myself that no matter what, if I do my best every day and that I love myself and honor my time, my energy, my life, everything will be okay.

This month has taught me that once again, everything does happen for a reason, and to stop trying to control things that I have zero control over.  God’s Plan is bigger than anything and sometimes you need to give him space, to do his work and he will move mountains.

Looking ahead, I keep picturing how I see Joe and I living our lives in the next few years…

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Aldi’s Grocery Haul

Happy Wednesday!

I decided to record a quick little video of what I just bought at our local Aldi’s.  If you haven’t shopped at one lately, or ever, you are missing out!! I can fill my cart and feed my family (and all of our crazy dietary needs) on a budget.  In today’s haul I spent $127 and I am certain that it would have been close to $300 at our other store.

As I have shared a little, I have been having weird digestive issues and stomach pains on and off for a few months.  Back in 2016 I felt very similar to this, had the same procedures done and somehow through diet, exercise and luck? I overcame my issues and haven’t really had any problems until this past October after our trip to NOLA.

Granted, I am now 38 and in a separate blog post I’ll go into more about this, but I am considered “Perimenopausal.” I know.

So, long story short, since my Endoscopy was totally fine (some stomach irritation)—Prevacid made me worse, and then my recent Ultrasound shows NO issues whatsoever, I feel as though I’m left to my own devices to figure out how to properly fuel my body and feel better.

Hence, about a week ago I’ve been trying to go Gluten and Dairy Free.  Now, I am not allergic to Gluten nor to I have an intolerance to dairy, but the pains and gas pressure in my stomach along with feeling bloated, tired, irritable and just miserable for a bit have caused me to say enough is enough!  In this haul I share some Gluten Free finds and also some great deals on things like Cage Free Organic Eggs.

My husband has Crohn’s and obviously my kids are little, so dinners are a bit of a 3 ring circus but I’m determined to help all of us live our best lives.

Do you have an Aldi favorite? I am obsessed with some of their GF chips and crackers dipped with hummus.  I’m not a huge sweets person, but I got some to try! I’ll report back later.

Enjoy!

 

PS

In the video I mention Tiffany Beaston–here is a link for her You Tube video and the “Marry Me Chicken”.  I just love her channel!

 

 

Weekend Wrap Up & Menu for the Week

Happy Monday!

I figured I’d share a few tidbits from our February break weekend as well as my menu for the week!  I am still doing Gluten Free (for me) but I’m experimenting a little with dairy… I’ve been watching a ton of You Tube videos of other healthy ladies who have had similar digestive issues as myself, and they have found that going GF and even Dairy Free has helped them feel so much better.  I have been feeling pretty well, but not 100%.  I’m not going to give up yet and since meds haven’t helped, I am simply listening to my body and trying to give it what it needs.

We’ll start with this week’s menu, shall we?  All recipes are linked!

Sheet Pan Beef & Broccoli

Shrimp Scampi (Instant Pot)

Baked Scallops

Veggie Quinoa Soup  (Slow Cooker)

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

I saw Jordan Page post this recipe and I may try it for the kiddos.  Sometimes we have lots of fruit going quickly, so it maybe nice to Some of those may end up being lunches or just food for me, as Joe’s diet is low fiber and lots of carbs.  I’m getting used to the 3 ring circus that is dinner some nights.  I don’t expect my family to eat no gluten, and on pasta nights, I can either sub zucchini noodles (zoodles) or GF pasta or rice. Simple!  I am not one to give up carbs totally, so I’m trying to take on this GF thing as something new and exciting…rather than omg it’s so hard and more work.  Being pain free to me is 100% worth it!

As always, if need be there’s always these as back up options:

Taco Night (I use ground beef, turkey, or chicken and taco seasoning. Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, rice, beans, tortilla shells.) It’s a fam fave.

Breakfast for dinner (usually waffles, pancakes or eggs)

Leftovers

Ok moving on to some randoms from the weekend!

I just LOVE this green juice.  It has a whole bunch of goodness in it and my body actually craves it.

Friday the boys got hair cuts and look so cute!

After that we hit up the Outlet Mall for some new clothes for Joe.  Mama may have scored a few things too!  This CK hoodie was on sale for $14.99. I LOVE the neon!

Miss Brooke insisted that we stop at Justice and she picked out a few things as well.  I already miss that she’s back in school full time.  She’s growing up so fast!

Saturday night was low key; Joe built us a fire and Holly snuggled near it.

These two pretended to like each other for a few minutes…

Sunday brought more sunshine and I felt the need to purge all the things.  While doing so, I watched this documentary on Netflix.  The power of our minds and how to heal our bodies.  It all fascinates me and I do believe in the power of our thoughts. Have you seen it?

Look at it still being LIGHT outside during dinner Sunday night!!  (Smoked/Grilled Wings for the win!!)

I gotta say I was awesome at my workouts last week! I made it to the gym 4x with the kiddos.  Saturday I did the bike and triceps/biceps.

I also baked my babies some chocolate chip cookies! I used the back of the Wegmans brand chocolate chips recipe. 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes had these babies crisping up! I took some out around the 8 minute mark so they’d be chewy for Joe. I had a tiny nibble, but don’t want to upset my stomach so I refrained.  Any good GF sweet treats you could share?

I also got to chat with my mom a little bit.  She just launched a blog for her Life Coaching business!  Check it out.

Mom’s Blog!

I hope all of you have a great week.  Remember: start before you are ready and that DONE is better than PERFECT.