Spring Break & Easter

We had “Spring Break” last week even though we were supposed to be ‘in school’ all week too. Whatevs. We made it to the land last week on a beautiful day.  Note: Don’t forget to bring a bag of snacks ON the walk because 5 year old may die of starvation.
We walked the trails, checked the cams and the kids love climbing the tree.

I can’t get over how cool the pictures of the animals are from the trail cams.  Look how many were chillin in this photo?

While I have no idea what the future holds, I do love it here.  It’s nice to have our own private park to visit especially during this time.

I will say we used Scavenger hunt that Brooke’s school sent in an e-mail to do as ‘classwork.”  Both kids loved looking for all of these!

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We may have had a Happy Hour…or two.

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Easter was really low key.  We enjoyed these delicious and colorful eggs from my dear acupuncturist! How gorgeous are they?

Brooke dyed some eggs–these were actually fake! My sister brought some over. Bradley wanted nothing to do with it, so we just did them. Now I can save them for next year too! 

Since we didn’t have any place we COULD go Sunday, I had fun baking in the kitchen! I made some really good banana chocolate chip bars with chick peas—yes really! Kids loved them and I did too!! (Gluten Free)

Throw everything in the blender/food processor and you’re good to go.

Definitely check out the recipe here!! 

They are delicious warmed up and enjoyed with a chai latté.

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I also made these oldie but goodie Vanilla Cupcakes from scratch.  I love that these only make 12, and they are dense/thick but still light and fluffy. NOT Gluten Free, but everyone else seemed to love them.  I used to love them too!  Recipe here on my old blog.

My Dad and step mom stopped by to wave from a distance.  We stayed far away but it was still nice to see them in person!

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Later that day I sat on the back deck and did some planning…and the sun came out! It literally felt like Summer is so near.  I am ready! It was a blessed day. 

This week we have been getting back into the swing of Google/Zoom classrooms and staying more focused on school work.  

Friday Favorites

Happy Good Friday! It’s currently snowing here in New York..awesome.  The weather has been less than lately, so we’ve done a lot indoors (with the exception of one day at the land this week!) So I thought I’d share some of what we are loving around here lately!

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1. We tried out Disney + this week and it was cool.  I don’t see us keeping this subscription but it was nice to watch a few movies on.  The kids had never seen Frozen II so that was the main reason, but I also kept seeing moms on Facebook talk about this other movie being really good, so we had a family movie night and watched it.  I am very emotional and sensitive and may cry more than the average person, but this move tugs at your heartstrings!  The whole story was based on how the boys had lost their dad (the youngest one never met him) and they were on a quest to basically help bring him back for the day with this magic spell.  I know it sounds a tad out there, but really if you look past the magical component, the messages were great.  Cue the tears and the kids actually requested we watch it AGAIN last night, so I highly suggest it for kids of all ages.

2.   Real Estate

If there were ever a time to be “sharpening the saw” I would say now is it.  I had a bit of a rough patch last week mentally/emotionally but I worked through the Corona Funk and now working harder than ever. Joe and I have had our real estate business for years now, but with the way the economy is, (and where it is going) we are bound and determined to be able to help as many people as possible.  We have creative ways to help folks out who are paying unwanted mortgages. There are so many sellers out there who need help and I feel like now that I’ve gotten real quiet, prayed and focused, I hear you God.  I feel the call and know that we are needed more than ever.  I still have a lot to learn, but I have a pretty kick ass teacher/mentor/coach.  He’s not easy on me, but he knows his stuff.  Thank you Joe!

3.  I’m currently reading/listening to a few books.  Shocking, I know! 😉

For fun I picked up J Simp’s book at the library pre-lockdown.  It’s a big one, as it’s her life story.  She writes like she talks and I would bet that she pieced together a lot of her journal entries. It’s kinda cool to read how she grew up and I’m only at the part where she has just met Nick Lachey and how she knew she was gonna marry him.  I feel like since she’s only a year older than me, I can relate to some of what she went through. (Clearly not the pop star icon bit, but you know…) She also opened up in the beginning about how her dad told her in the hospital literally as she’s about to give birth to her first baby that he was divorcing her mom.  She put into words exactly how I felt–all the visions of her parents being the grandparents to her own kids was ripped out from under her.  I can personally say that took some time to really come to terms with.  When we have  expectations, it’s hard when we are disappointed, regardless of what’s best for whom, it’s okay and necessary to allow yourself to grieve, feel the feelings, forgive and move on.

I am listening to Dave’s book on audio. It has good parts, but I’ve read both of Rachel’s books and listen to them daily, so I can’t say it has ‘moved me’ much.  Plus, I’m not a skeptic and I know that I am in my own way so I constantly am working on myself.  It does bring up great points and I just listened to parts of it where it talked about our love languages and relationships (especially marriage). We can be so different and hard on ourselves and particularly our spouses, so it’s important to step back and think about what the other person truly needs, not what we think they need.  Talk about a gut check in a time like now where we are together 24/7!


The third book I am reading is my personal development book I like to read in the morning.  I bought it awhile back and figured now is as good a time as any to pick it back up.  It’s based on Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (which he wrote during the Great Depression) but it’s written more geared towards women because we truly are different creatures! It’s fun to be able to talk to Joe about what I’ve read as well because to him, TAGR is his bible.  I also love that it starts each chapter with a quote; the last chapter I read started with the good old, “When you know better, you do better.” – Maya Angelou


4. In “homeschooling”news aka keep your kids happy and busy, my sweet friend Alison dropped off some items her kids outgrew and my kids LOVED!!

2 hours.  Yup.  2 hours my kids played with this stuff! I loved seeing them be creative and play together so well.  I pulled out some of the playdough toys and they were set.  They’ve actually played with it a few times now and for $9 I’m sorry I didn’t buy it myself sooner! It’s not that messy really and cleans up really easily.

Another item was. “Busy Box” which was just a big old box of crafts and ideas.  We have some stuff but this was awesome. I will say Bradley has no real interest in it, but Brookie is just loving it.  She wants me to sit and craft with her so we will do that today or tomorrow.  If you don’t have a big craft stash or need to replenish, definitely check this out! Then head to You Tube or Pinterest to get more ideas.

5.  My favorite day this week was getting outside and walking our land.  The sun was out and we didn’t need coats.  I love watching them follow Daddy and we explored the trails.  We are excited for more consistent nice weather and to get out here more often.  Maybe pack a picnic lunch, build a fire and roast some hot dogs and just spend the day.  Heck, maybe we’ll buy a tent and camp out! So grateful that Joe and company have cleared the trails so we can easily walk through.

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Grocery Shopping during Covid

Well I did it. I finally went to the grocery store!! Goodness I was a ball of nerves the last few days and I think mostly because of having to leave my house and venture off for food! Now, I am well aware it may sound dramatic, but my last grocery trip was March 12.  With help from friends and family, we have been living comfortably for a whole month! It wasn’t until these last few days where I was completely out of fresh fruits and veggies and running low on eggs and milk.  I was pretty proud of us!

It was a surreal experience to say the least, and though you may have gone many times already, I felt that I should blog about it, for not only my own memory, but my kids and grandkids as well!  I keep thinking about how this is something that my great-grandchildren will be learning about and thinking, “Wow that was sooooo long ago!” much like I do when I think about WWII etc.

So here’s what I did to ‘prepare’ myself for this outing.

  • Wrote a grocery list on paper
  • Brought only a credit card in my coat pocket (no purse!)
  • I had my key and my phone in a separate pocket, as I would not need to touch
  • Mask
  • Hair back in a low bun
  • Hat
  • Sweatshirt and then a coat over that
  • Wipes for my cart
  • Gloves (I know this is debatable, as long as you are using sanitizer or immediately washing your hands….I just brought a few pair of disposable gloves)
  • Glasses— so Joe wanted to me to wear Goggles, (don’t have any) so I tried using my Blue Blocking glasses, but really they fogged up and I couldn’t see so I shoved them in a pocket. I tried.

I went to Aldi first and there was an employee who was wiping down carts — no quarter needed.  They blocked off the entrance so that you must go around and get a sanitized cart.  There were tons of signs everywhere stating stay 6 feet apart from each other.   Now, most people were wearing masks, not many wearing gloves too, but there were a lot of folks just walking around like no big deal.  I should say I’m not surprised but I was.

I was so happy to see it so full of food! I have never in my life been so grateful for fresh fruits and veggies–I was so excited! There was so much bread, snacks, etc. Lots of meats and honestly nothing seemed “out of stock.”  You could only take 2 butters but other than that I didn’t really see any other signs.  I remember teaching The Diary of Anne Frank to my 8th grade students years ago and they for the life of them, could not understand “ration coupons.”  I bet they get it now.

I felt bad for a mom who had nothing covering her or her baby’s face– she ran in, holding the baby in a car seat and we know how heavy those things are, and only had formula to buy.  Another lady and myself both let her go ahead of us at checkout.

Once I got to the checkout belt, I placed my items on there and there was a plastic shield between myself and the cashier.  She had on gloves and a mask…where the money/credit card machine is, there is still space so you still need to keep your distance.  This store was still swapping carts but she was wiping them down…I wiped it again anyway.

I decided that though it was chilly, I would just bag my groceries in the truck so I didn’t have to stay inside the store any longer, but as I stood at the taped line waiting my turn at the checkout, I saw snow. So that was fun, to say the least! (Side note: anyone who is in quarantine with weather above 60 degrees has NO right to complain about anything. #justsayin!)

After I loaded my groceries into my bags at my truck in the blizzard, (I tried to wipe them down as I placed them into bags but my hands began to freeze and I gave up and just shoved them in and said a prayer.) I walked my cart back and wished the employee wiping them down to stay healthy and warm!  I took off my gloves, wiped my hands with a wipe and my steering wheel etc…then called my hubby to let him know I survived the first store and was heading to Wegmans for “luxury items” such as hot sauce and dog food.  I may have grabbed some Jergens tanning lotion and lipgloss–I needed something people!

Wegmans also had a designated “Entrance and Exit” to help keep the herd going the right way.  In both stores people would still walk right by you, no 6 foot distance apart…some with masks and some without.  You could tell that more ‘stuff was missing’ from Wegs probably because I’m just so used to seeing it overflowing with everything there.  Bare shelves where cleaning supplies would be and the meats were not as stocked up. I could not find the Country Style Bone in Ribs that Joe’s grandma likes to put in her sauce to make it so yummy.  Maybe next time…

As for checkout, it was very strategic.  One man would tell you which lane to go to and that was it.  No one else was next to you.  Same thing with the plastic shield and this time my cashier had no mask or gloves…yikes!

Once I got home I took everything out and wiped all of the freezer and refrigerator items down so that they could be put away immediately.  As for pantry items and most produce, I left them in the garage and will get to them in a day or so.   As soon as I was done with the sanitizing, I immediately stripped, left my clothes at the washer/dryer and headed straight to the shower for a full on shampoo etc.

Now that I’ve officially gone out in the wild, I feel so much better. I feel better knowing there is still an abundance of food for us.  I feel better just seeing people in general, even if they were not keeping the distance.  I feel better feeling like I accomplished something haha!

Thank you to everyone who has reached out and given us masks! I couldn’t believe the immediate love from friends and family who sent us some. Thank you!

Stay safe and healthy friends~

If I’m Being Honest…

It’s Wednesday morning and I did not want to get out of bed today.  It seems like it’s getting harder and harder for me to want to get up early. If it weren’t for my 5 year old telling me his tummy was grumbling because he was hungry, I very well could have laid in bed until…

I’m sharing my thoughts today because this is such a crazy time.  We have no idea when this virus will go away, when we can go to the store without fear of picking up germs to bring back to our family.  We have no idea when we can hug and squeeze our friends and family outside of our quarantine circle.

I keep volleying back and forth between, “everything is okay and everything is so not okay.”  I am working hard on my meditations, literally listened to 3 or 4 before I checked any social media today.  I try to allow myself time to process, grieve and allow myself to feel the feelings.  Yes some people have it worse, but it doesn’t make your or my situation any easier.

I keep reminding myself that the kids are happy and healthy.  Joe and I are healthy, and if I’m being honest, he’s always really happy! It’s me who spirals out into monkey mind of, ‘what if’ and ‘what about’?  But that’s always been us.  He’s Mr. Sunshine even on the grayest day, and that’s one of the things I love about him, but he’s him and I’m me and we are different.

So I guess all I’m trying to say is, if you need the good old fashioned shower cry, go ahead and do so.  But please talk to someone, write things down, and give yourself some love.  Read some books, watch some TV, work on a craft or bake if that is your thing.  As humans we need to feel productive, so I always feel best after baking my family cookies or crafting a blog post.  I want to continue to show up, even when I don’t feel like it.  Yup.  I don’t feel like doing a lot these days.  I was killing my at home workouts with Tone it Up routines and then bam–stopped.

I still walked the dogs the last few days, but not showing up and sweating and getting that extra cortisol out really messes with me I think!  I’m making it a goal to sweat daily again. My body, mind and soul needs that extra push right now and it’s so true that we should be taking the very best care of ourselves during this time.

I’m still getting up and writing down 5 things I am grateful for in my Start Today Journal.  I am writing in my journal.  I am working on quieting my mind when the negative chatter comes into play.  It’s an all day every day battle and I will admit Sunday I even had to check out a bit.  I laid in my bed and watched Hulu for a little while.  I just needed a tiny break.  We are not meant to be “on” 24/7 and as moms, wives, friends, daughters, we are fixers and trying so hard to make things right.  I check in with a few close girlfriends and my family through Marco Polo or House Party.  I do think it’s important to stay connected as much as we can!

As for a “Schedule” — nope. We ain’t got one! I love a good routine and groove, but my kids are still little so they’re not sitting in front of computers or iPads for hours on end.  I kinda just let things go where they may.  They have been enjoying a bowl of cereal on the living room floor and watching cartoons together.  It’s the little things. If the weather is nice, which it was yesterday, ZERO worksheets were done. Sorry #notsorry Cuomo.  Instead we all hopped in the truck and spent 5 hours at our land. Walking in nature, looking for items on a Nature Scavenger Hunt.  We saw worms, animal bones, feathers, deer poo, and got real muddy.  I even got a little sunburn on my nose! It was glorious.

I know that I cannot play the “I will be happy when…” card, but I do know that once our weather finally breaks and this 30/40/low 50 degrees crap is gone, we will be living outside! It is supposed to snow this weekend so Joe already promised me a fire.  I can live with that.  I have my Jessica Simpson book I want to finish!

I guess my rambling here is it just let you know, you are not alone.  No matter where you are and who you’re #stayinghome with, just keep going.  If you look for the good, you’ll find the good. If you look for the bad, well you’ll find that too.

1. Plug keep plugging into positive people, my personal faves are, (aside from my husband)

Rachel Hollis

Cambria Joy

How Jen Does it

Gabby Bernstein

Elena Cardone

2. Sweat.  Need ideas?

Tone it Up (You Tube and Free app)

Peleton (going to try)

Beachbody on Demand

 

3.  Laugh.  It really is the best medicine.  Memes galore right now, lighten up and see the humor in the dark.

4.  Eat healthy.  I’m struggling with this one since I am out of fresh fruits and veggies, but try really hard to eat 5 colors a day, throw in some extra frozen vegetables or a smoothie.  I’ve been eating Gluten Free and feeling pretty good! Make efforts and cook from scratch! (No preservatives.). I’ve been following Cara and Christina’s new book ideas.

Wellness Remodel

5.  Show up.  Show up for yourself. Show up for your mom. Show up for your kids, your hubby, your dog. Just keep showing up.  Baby steps like the move What about Bob.  We totally need to watch that this weekend, we just love it! But seriously, DO SOMETHING that makes your soul happy.  We will never get this time back.  The negativity will creep in but you can stop it; we just have to keep showing up. Be the light. Bake the cookies with the kids, play the family board game, make some memories! This will not last forever.
Let me know what is helping you get through the tough moments right now!

Easter Basket Fingerprint Craft

Do you have little ones home with you?  I know it’s not easy juggling all of the cooking (we have not eaten any takeout in 22 days and have no plans of doing so any time soon! #stayhome) cleaning, homeschooling, working from home…or stressing since you may be unemployed.  This time we are in is simply absurd and the best advice I keep telling myself is to not stress.  I personally love doing fun crafts and “school” with my kids, but I also know they are little and I do not expect them to sit still for hours on end.

However, I do enjoy finding different ideas to craft and then of course decorate with.  I have always done little things since the kids were able to craft, so it’s nothing new around here, but I it’s happening more frequently now. I thought I would share some of them here, and maybe you too would like to try them.  I try to keep them inexpensive with minimal printing or needing extra items that I don’t already have in the home.

My two children are 5 and 7 and they both loved this! My 5 year old kept it simple and really enjoyed showing his Pre-K teachers and friends on a Zoom call.  My 7 year old added a bit more detail and really loved her end result.

For this activity you will need:

Draw a basket or Print a copy here.

Fingerprint Easter Basket

Crayons, markers or colored pencils for the basket.  (Bradley even made a pattern on his own!)

Paint (as many colors as your child would like).

Your kids’ fingers to paint with!

It’s simple but fun.  Let me know if you decide to do some fingerprint Easter baskets with your littles!

I know it’s hard mamas, but we will never get this time back (as always) and we have the chance to make some fun memories for our kiddos. They won’t remember being scared or stressed, but they will remember how you took some time and did little special things with them.