Written by TAZ
Three and a half months of self-quarantine with my family to avoid the novel coronavirus has been a challenge, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far. My therapist is so proud of my progress! Especially since I’m no longer in a fetal position in the corner with my thumb in my mouth. Interestingly enough, I’ve actually come to enjoy this new normal. With my gentle encouragement/threats, my three kids are happy to help with chores and my house has never looked or smelled so clean! I’ve never accomplished so much Netflix … er, I mean, work. The kids’ efforts are great, but I attribute most of this to the fact my honey-do list has become my hubby’s new part-time employment. I have no trouble adding more to the list. And, as smart as I thought he was, he still hasn’t caught on to the fact that, despite his best efforts to check things off as fast as he can, the list keeps growing. When I determine exactly how I’m able to do this without him knowing, I’ll write a book about it and get stinkin’ rich!
I took a break from Schitt’s Creek to put this list together for all you who might not be as crafty as I am. Here is a list of what I have done since March to survive during this time:
1. Cleaning! Seriously though, scrub the windows and blinds and baseboards. Vacuum the drapes and organize the closets. Clean out the kitchen cupboards. Box up everything you don’t need/use anymore for donation.
2. Yard work! Weed the flowerbeds and plant more. Plant a garden. Organize the shed and the garage. Husbands love this. Just ask ‘em!
3. Have fun! Play board games and card games as a family. Watch the old movies that you loved as a kid with your kids (my kids loved Pollyanna and That Darn Cat). Chalk art on the driveway, it’s fun to do and fun to see! Put together a puzzle. Play yard games like corn hole or croquet.
4. Watch old family videos! Pull out the old tapes and show the kids their old dance recitals or soccer games. Watch past Christmas events and Easter egg hunts. See all the fun birthday parties you created for your children. See the younger version of you and all the energy you used to have!
5. Exercise! Find hikes or walking trails near your home and take a long walk with the family, and listen to your kids tell you all their secrets while getting in shape. This is good for the mind and the body! Then go reward yourself with a big ‘ol 44 oz. from Fiiz!
6. Let the kids plan meals! Encourage them to be creative and plan a themed dinner for the family. You’ll want to emphasize the planning stage (that keeps ‘em busy for a long time). Some themes my daughter has executed well are: Airplane ride to dinner island – we watched a movie while she served us dinner; Disney – she planned Disney-themed games to earn tickets to buy food items, which she served while we watched a Disney movie; Carnival – we ate hot dogs and popcorn while playing carnival games on our ancient Wii. The ideas are endless!
7. Baking! Teach the kids to bake a cake or cookies. Make muffins or homemade cinnamon rolls. Bake cupcakes and have a decorating contest. Bake a pie or two (my kids LOVE my mom’s Angel Pie – see below for details). Try new recipes!
Mom’s Angel Pie
4 eggs separated
1 ½ c sugar
¼ t cream of tartar
4 T lemon juice
1 c whipping cream
Beat 4 egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until it will hold a peak. Beat in gradually 1 cup of the sugar until stiff and glossy. Spread in a glass pie plate which has been sprayed with non stick spray. Bake at 275 for 20 minutes, then 300 for 40 minutes. The crust will rise, then fall in the middle. Let cool.
Beat 4 egg yolks until thick. Beat in ½ cup of sugar and lemon juice. Cook in a double boiler stirring constantly until thick (I don’t use a double boiler, I cook on low heat). Cool.
Whip the cream. Spread ½ on crust, then the filling, then sweeten the remaining whipped cream and spread on top. Chill before serving.
8. Video Games! Kids love to beat their parents at video games. Pull out the old Atari (if you still have one) and show them how you used to play. Play the Wii or Xbox. Let your kids beat you at Fortnite and then show them how it’s done with Ms. Pac-Man.
9. Star gazing! Look for the latest Starlink Train (https://www.heavens-above.com/StarLink.aspx) while eating s’mores. Try to find different constellations.
10. Read books! Read Harry Potter as a family. Start a book club with friends and meet over Zoom to discuss the books and chat. Here are some of my favorites right now: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Where the Crawdads Sing by Ray Pascoe Jr, Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, and Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi.
11. Make a turkey dinner! Show the kids how it’s done and the time and preparation that’s involved. Introduce them to favorite family side dishes and pies to go along with the turkey dinner. Hint: husbands love turkey dinner after cleaning the garage!
12. Take pictures of what you did during your COVID-19 staycation. Make a scrapbook documenting all the fun and crazy things you did while staying home and social distancing. Someday, you’ll want to reminisce and tell your kids or grandkids how you narrowly escaped self-quarantine insanity.
Most importantly though, try to enjoy this time with your family. This situation is temporary (although seemingly endless right now) and while things may never go back to normal, rest assured that we are all in this together!