Friday Favorites

Happy day 21 in self quarantine! What an emotional roller coaster of feelings.  I feel like we’re getting into a better ‘groove’ with the kids and their online learning, virtual dance classes and structuring the day so we are all a bit more productive.  That said, we’re truly soaking up this time together as we know how precious it is.  (as I’m typing this, I keep glancing over at Joe and the kids who are doing Just Dance 2020.  Bradley beats all of us. All the time!)

I’ve been trying to balance my time otherwise I literally find myself in the kitchen morning, noon and night.  I sent Joe a bunch of smoked meat (and cheese!) ideas for next week, as the weather cooperates and I just can’t slave over the stove any more than I have to! I sincerely don’t understand how people are bored or have watched so many Netflix shows, but we do have a full house and well I’m not one to sit long anyway.

1. Super grateful for friends and family who are so thoughtful during this time! We’ve had some groceries & goodies delivered from my sister and other staples and fun crafts for the kids from one of my best girlfriends…I in return gave her some flour I had extra and some homemade rolls to try.

Sorry you couldn’t come in Bri!! Thank you so much for driving out here.  We love you!

2.  I thought about doing the “Next 90 days challenge” with my faves the Hollises, but then I saw these two are getting ready to launch their book coming out soon and in honor of that, they are holding a two week challenge which I am loving so far!  It’s simple but you need to be mindful:  Daily: Move, Eat 5 colors, Smoothie, Pray/meditate, Give yourself Grace, and water.  I’ve been coloring in hearts on a chart and Brooke saw and wanted to do it too…I thought this was great! What a healthy way to teach her how to care for herself daily, even during a crazy time.  Pre-order a copy here!! 

So of course I’m all eyes for new smoothies to try–this was delish! I follow Cambria on Insta and You Tube.

3.  I got back into my ‘morning routine’ this week.  We don’t ‘need’ to get up early, but I do enjoy a good hour to myself in the morning.  I like to read, journal, write in this Start Today Journaland sometimes even blog.  It’s not easy and I haven’t mastered it, but I did do it a few times, which is a few more times than I did last week!  Once this whole quarantine is over, life will resume. It will be different, but I want to be 110% ready.

4.  Just Dance.  The kids love it so much and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit Joe and I have been dancing along with them!  We may have just unlocked more songs so we can dance even more haha.  If anyone walks by our house during a dance sesh, it’d be pretty funny to watch.  Bradley kicks all of our butts. Repeatedly.— edit– 8:55 pm on Thursday night, I just beat him! LOL

5.  I’m still keeping a sense of humor amongst the heaviness.  You have to. This whole ordeal is surreal and my heart aches for all those who are suffering right now.  However, we must also find love and light in all things and some of these memes are funny.  Current fave:

Linking up with A little Bit of Everything Blog and Becky.

 

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That Self-Isolation Life

It hits me at weird and random moments, that are so routine and show me just how much my ‘normal’ is off.  Sitting down to meal plan, I’ve been taking a look through our pantry/freezer/fridge before this whole virus took over.  I have been following Jordan Page’s “Shelf Cooking” Facebook Group and loved the idea of not wasting food and using up what you have instead of buying too much at the grocery store. Now I do it because I don’t have a choice.   I stare at the upcoming week and immediately mentally check off each day in my mind: “Monday is Joe’s late night, Wednesday is dance…” and stop myself and realize I don’t need to plan meals around our schedule.  This is it.  We are home.

We have been home isolating since Friday March 13th.  The week prior we saw the progression in China and Italy and honestly began ‘preparing’ a little before that even.  Joe and I would run the “what if” scenarios, and slowly grabbed an extra this or that while out.  I have to thank my acupuncturist for her wise words and guidance.  If she didn’t educate me on exactly where this Covid-19 was headed, we would be in such bad spot.  (And if I chose not to listen) She gave me a random Instagram account to follow and all I can say is that it scared the crap out of me enough to get up and out of the house early Sunday March 8th.  I hit up two grocery stores spending way more than I typically do.  And then I went again on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and one more time on Thursday.  By Thursday the stores were super packed and buzzing since Trump had taken to our TV screens Wednesday night. While I would not consider myself a “hoarder” I knew that if we were to stay home and stop the spread, I wouldn’t be able to leave the house as we have no face masks! So I did what I could do.

Since Joe has Crohn’s Disease AND is on Humira (a biologic which lowers his immune system,) if he caught the Coronavirus, he would have a really hard time getting better. More than likely, he could die.  We knew it was super serious and were willing to do anything in our power to be smart, stay healthy and safe.  Joe did go into work 3/13 and mentioned to the owners his concern and sure enough Friday the 13th, he received a call to stay home and not to come in Saturday or Monday…basically work from home.  My eyes immediately filled with tears because I knew this was going to be bad.  We had already decided that morning to not send Brooke or Bradley to school, and I planned on pulling them out for however long we needed to.  The very next day the schools closed anyway, and we are all doing this ‘distance learning’ as best as we can!

I have to say while emotions are much like a roller coaster, overall I believe I’m handling this fairly well.  We are in a bit of a rhythm here all 4 of us humans and 2 dogs.  Some days we feel like rockstars, checking off completed tasks, being all-star parents and doing all the things.  We’ve been able to really dive in and work real estate since Joe was laid off and all Car sales and stopped. Other moments? We just zone out playing video games, reading, watching Hulu.  Overall my favorite part (if there can be one?) is the way we are connecting with friends and family.  We are all so busy (all the time) that we never slow down to catch up and chat with so many amazing people. Friends Joe hasn’t seen or spoken to are now part weekly check-ins.  The kids miss their schools, but seeing friends and teacher via zoom calls has been so rewarding. We’ve also had a lot of love shown from so many friends and family, offering to grab anything we need, including an incredible supply of fresh produce and meat from Joe’s good buddy Chris.  Another friend dropped a goodie bag for the kids to open—so many sweet souls lending a hand it warms my heart.

Sure I miss my Starbucks, going to and fro as I please…but more than anything we just want to stop the spread and stay healthy.  At the end of each day I thank God for that.  We do not get any takeout as this virus can live on surfaces for a very long time.  I have done one small Target Delivery last week so that my kids will have a little something special Easter morning.  We also haven’t gone anywhere since we are good with groceries and honestly there’s no reason for us to be out and about.  I think maybe a drive would be nice, but we also don’t want to waste gas money.

I’ve been working out daily, getting outside with the kids and dogs, having ‘tea parties’ after dinner and if you haven’t downloaded the app House Party, you are missing out!! Lots of fun happy hours around here.  We are not stressing over what we can’t control, but we are sharpening our saws and really putting forth the effort to help make us even better and stronger when this is all said and done.

So wherever you’re at, it’s okay to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.  Once I “got that” I have been doing better I think.  I was feeling bad for feeling bad, since “I don’t have it as bad as someone else”–but our feelings don’t work that way.  It’s okay and you should all yourself to feel the hurt, anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness etc…and then make a plan to move on.

I have this belief that humans are going to come out of this one of two ways: I can make the most out of the situation and realize we’ll never get this time back, so use it wisely.  Drink the water, eat the healthy foods, relax and enjoy family and little pleasures.  Workout and become the best, strongest version of me that I haven’t even ever seen.  I can put the time in to study, grow with Joe in business and strengthen our marriage.

Or I can become miserable, lazy, negative, gain weight, cause emotional trauma and stress to my children, and probably drive my husband crazy (more than I already do!)

It’s our choice.  We can evolve and become great or we can fizzle out and be left behind.  This world needs us to step up and shine now more than ever.  And in a few more months? Even more so.  This is not going to be a quick fix —this is going to take awhile for things to go back to normal.

Now that I feel like we’ve gotten into a groove and the initial shock factors are over, I hope to make more time to spend here on this blog.  I have lots of recipes I’ve been trying and I hope to read lots of books! (Luckily I grabbed a small stack of books from the library before we went into quarantine!)

I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy and that you too can make use of this unexpected extra time.  And if you’re one of the heroes on the front line, I am praying and sending so much love and light to you!  Thank you to everyone who is making a positive difference during this time.

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!!

Wellness Wednesday: Easy Sheet Pan BLT

I have been trying out some new recipes and thought I’d share one that literally just made last night!  My good friend Ann has been doing rounds of Whole30 for over a year now and has nothing but amazing things to say.  I have yet to bite that bullet, but I am playing around with the meals and food concepts a bit, especially since I have given up Gluten and am really trying to just eat real foods.  I also like to keep things simple around here as well as versatile.

This meal was SUPER easy delicious; I only wish that I made more!  Depending how you eat/serve, it can be Paleo or Whole30.

You will need:

Bacon (ideally Whole30 approved, mine was not #oops)

Cherry tomatoes

Chicken breasts

Lettuce

Compliant mayo (I actually used Primal Kitchen Ranch)

Sheet pans

Instructions:

Pre-Heat the oven to 400 degrees

Cut bacon into small pieces, place on one sheet. (Use kitchen scissors!)

Arrange chicken and tomatoes on another – salt and pepper

Bake for 25 minutes — I watched the bacon and took some out a few minutes before the timer went off, as I don’t like it too burnt/crispy.

I ate mine over a big salad w/ the Primal Kitchen Ranch.

I actually served my kiddos this as a traditional BLT — I toasted bread, used mayo and shredded the chicken, added lettuce and tomato and of course they went nuts for bacon.  At first Bradley gave it a thumbs down, but I told him this was dinner, he was welcome to pick it a part and eat what he wanted but this was it.  A few minutes later he told me he was kidding and that he liked it—kids!  I will say he took the tomatoes out.

Joe just had his with real Ranch dressing, no salad and no toast.  I bet I could have stirred it up in a pasta and he would have enjoyed it as well!

No leftovers and no complaints = winning!

Let me know if you try it!

The original recipe can be found here. 

 

 

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!