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!!

New Month Feels

Here’s a quick clip from a favorite of mine. if you’re someone who gets stuck in fear and won’t allow yourself to move forward in life because of what you believe others may think of you, try this!

Happy Sunday.

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.

Five on Friday!

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TGIF!! Man I miss those silly shows from when I was a kid!  Full House was much jam— I wanted to be DJ Tanner. 
Anyway, on today’s agenda:  Fast until my ultrasound.  I’ve still been dealing with digestive issues and in my gut (pun intended) I don’t think I have “GERD.” I have been really watching what I eat, writing down how I feel after and I’ve made some changes.  I’ve noticed fatty/fried foods really bother me (eggs, bacon, ham, etc) so I’ve cut those out.  I’ve gone a bit plant based, no/low fat dairy, and gluten free this week.  I feel better than I have in weeks, so I’m gonna keep at this, while getting my insides checked out.  Both my mom and grandma had their gallbladders removed, and while I’ve never had an “attack” bad enough where I’ve been in the hospital, I’d like to be safe than sorry.  I went off Prevacid (as I don’t think I have an acid problem and I felt AWFUL on that medicine last week.)  I never know who reads this little blog, but maybe you’re experiencing issues, or have, and for that I share.  Last week a friend reached out and told me her doc said it was reflux, but it turns out she had her gallbladder removed and has felt so much better.  Lesson: advocate for your body, and figure it out no matter what!
Ok moving on to the fun things like this:
1. Skinnytaste homemade EASY bagels!My friend Alison brought her kids over yesterday and these delicious *gluten free bagels!  I went with this vegan cream cheese and it did not disappoint!! These were such a treat. I will be attempting them in the future! I’d eat one now, but-fasting.

2.  I’m looking for a vanity mirror for the bathroom at our current rehab.  Shelf or no shelf?  Both are on Amazon. 

 

 

 

Or 
3. These hot little Vince Camuto shoes were $35 on sale! I know it’s 17 degrees and there’s snow on the ground, but these give me hope that soon it won’t be so frigid! They are the perfect height and I think they’ll go well with leggings, skinny jeans, skirts, dresses…fun shorts, you name it! Hurry up Spring/Summer!  I saw Jena Green with them on the gram and had to have them.  She suggested to size down, and I agree. I’m normally a 9, but 8.5 was perfect.
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4.  I’m currently reading these two books.  One for fun, one for leadership.  I have only gotten a few pages into them, so I can’t say much!

 

5.  Life has a funny way of just throwing TOTALLY unexpected curveballs atcha.  I am a planner. I am an 8.  I am someone who likes to be in control, know things, have an outline, a goal mapped out.  But sometimes the universe, God and everything else conspires for a greater good.  I have no idea what is literally happening tomorrow it seems, but I trust and lay my faith down that everything will work out as it’s supposed to. I don’t meant to “vague-blog” but I just can’t say much because, well I don’t know much.  I believe great things are going to happen.  I am working on leaning into an abundance mindset and I just know that I am so grateful for my children, my husband, my current home, and our health.  With our love, all things are possible.

 

 

Make today utterly fabulous!! 

 

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