Bean Soup

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Did anyone buy a bunch of beans during a panic grocery shopping trip? I am going to share my Dad’s bean soup recipe. It is written for me in his distinctive handwriting. I think you can read it well enough. You don’t really need many items and you may already have them on hand. I think you could leave the ham out or subsitute bacon.

My Dad liked to talk about how when I was little I requested his bean soup and grilled peanut butter sandwiches! There’s an idea for you – try to grill a peanut butter sandwich and see what your kids think. My Dad loved peanut butter, too!

This would go well with some cornbread or grilled cheese sandwiches, too.

Let me know if you try it!

Amy

Things That Helped Me This Week

Friday, March 27, 2020

How are you doing? This week went by pretty quickly and it’s hard to believe it’s already Friday.

-Putting on a real outfit, doing my hair and makeup – I did this 1.5 times. I put on a spring outfit Monday and then on Wednesday I was dressed from the waist up for a faculty meeting on Zoom!

-Dropping what I am doing and going outside when the sun comes out – this is a rule I have made for myself. That Vitamin D really helps!

-Asking how I can serve the people in my house – making favorite foods usually!

-Limiting the news I watch – I watch our governor nightly at 5 but I need to try to limit my morning news.

-Limiting my time on social media -while I enjoy connecting it is also a place of a lot of grim information and sometimes it’s too much. I have reconnected with some former colleagues and some former students lately and that has been so nice.

-Doing something creative – blogging, taking photos, or cooking are my creative outlets.

-Real phone calls – I have enjoyed actually talking and not texting!

-Gratitude – I have to remember to be thankful for what I can do and not dwell on what I can’t do right now.

-I put on some self tanner just for fun.

Here is a dinner from this week – mini penne with turkey sausage and cream sauce.

This quote hit me.

Curbside pick up at bookstores – We ordered from our local bookstore and from Barnes and Noble because they had what my son wanted. I am allowing this splurge right now because our library is closed and I want to support the local bookstore. Our local hardware store also has curbside pick up. The businesses have gotten creative.

Tonight we are getting German food! We are looking forward to this!

My nails are a mess! The dip did a number on my nails so it was really time for a break. They keep breaking off. This is a good time to work on strengthening them.

Our first mowing of the season. Hub hates mowing but he did it after work one day.

A candle, a bourbon, and a new magazine yesterday afternoon.

Walking in the neightborhood.

What helped you this week?

All we are being asked to do is stay home so this is nothing like what many are doing. Thank you to the healthcare workers, the truck drivers delivering supplies, the grocery store employees, and so many more for what you are doing!

Stay well,

Amy

Thursday Thoughts – Teen Ideas

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Ideas for Teens in Quarantine:

I did a post about ideas for younger kids and for adults (and many of the adult ideas can be used for teens, too) last If you have a special teen in your life, please share with them:

Shout out to my dear student Tori for helping me with these ideas!

-Really clean your room and closet. Watch Kon Mari method videos on youtube for inspiration. Have a goal of x number of bags to donate.

-If you are a senior, call college admissions and get your ducks in a row. They are still available for you by phone. Apply for community scholarships. You didn’t have time to do this when in school and now you do.

-Watch a show virtually with a friend using Facetime, Skype, or Zoom

-Have a virtual meal – Order the same food and eat together virtually!

-Have a cooking challenge with a friend

-Make a friend a playlist and they make you one

-Plan a pretend vacation for a friend and vice versa

-Create a fantasy wardrobe for a friend. Money is no object!

-Read a book you always wanted to read

-Get an adult coloring book or print pages online

-Start a journal; this will be important later on in life when you look back on these strange times.

-Explore a new podcast

-Start your own podcast

-Learn to meditate; there are lots of apps for this

-Do a face mask/beauty treatment

-Cook for the family

-Do a Chopped Challenge where you put together a basket of ingredients

-Find an online exercise program

-Learn a TikTok dance and record it

-Write thank you notes to send via snail mail to people who have shaped you

-Start a gratitude journal and write 3 things you are grateful for each day

-Watch old home movies

-Offer to teach grandparents how to use technology – over the phone of course!

Any other ideas you would throw out?

Amy

What's Up Wednesday

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

I am participating in a fun link up with some ladies right here!

You respond to the prompts they give you so here we go…

What We’re Eating

Last night was Taco Tuesday. I served them with leftover rice and a Trader Joe’s southwestern salad mix that I got a week ago.

Monday night we had a craving for pizza. We did a local carryout and it felt good to get in my car and drive to go get it. I hadn’t gone anywhere since the grocery Saturday morning. This is local Diorio’s Pizza.

What I’m Reminiscing About

The Facebook reminders are bittersweet right now for two reasons – I am nostalgic for the days when my boys were young and because it is a reminder of when life was normal.

All kinds of academic team photos have been popping up. Both of my boys did this from 4th grade – 8th grade, then only Jack did it 9th grade and this year only Mason did it. Quick Recall team will always hold a special place in my heart. Look at those sweet young faces!

What I’m loving

Ahhh… having the washer and dryer off of the kitchen will be a game changer! Before I had to go down to the basement to do laundry. And, moms of young kids, guess what happened yesterday? Mason brought his own hamper to the laundry room and simply did his own laundry. I didn’t say a word, he didn’t ask me anything, and it was a beautiful thing. I was wondering when he would think his hamper was too full.

What we have been up to

We have made use of the time at home and set up our new master bedroom and set up the mudroom. We have watched at least one show a day together. The boys have mostly worn pajamas.

What I am dreading

I am dreading having to do this for too long.

What I’m working on

I am working on a plan for teaching online. We think we will be given autonomy to decide what is best for our classes. We also have to work together with our departments to make some decisions. We start April 6 for teachers and April 7 for students.

What I’m excited about

I am excited to use my bike. I dusted her off and put air in her tires. This was an anniversary gift for maybe our 5th year of marriage? You know, the traditional five year anniversary gift of a Schwinn? I used to ride my bike to school.

What I’m watching

I really haven’t been watching much t.v. I watch our governor at 5 p.m. and I watch some Bravo shows in the evenings. I watch one show as a family. On Bravo, I’m watching Family Karma, Below Deck, and Summer House, and I’m excited for Real Housewives of NY to come back soon!

What I’m reading

I am really sad about no library. I had so many books on hold that I was going to get for spring break! My son and I placed an order from our local Carmichael’s bookstore and we picked up some books for his Women in Lit class and I picked up a cute book called Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane. I can’t remember who recommended it. I need funny right now!

What I’m listening to

I am listening to my podcasts when I walk. I need to listen to more music and less news.

What I’m wearing

Nothing cute! I did get dressed Monday and felt like a human! I have been wearing leggings most days. It has been pretty chilly for much of the day.

What I’m doing this weekend

I have no idea. I would like to do another Zoom game night.

What I’m looking forward to

I am excited about these warmer temps.

What else is new

My husband wants me to research cutting the cable and switching to a streaming service. We have ATT Uverse right now plus we pay for Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu and that adds up to a lot. I have to have a DVR – seriously my fave invention! And, we need ESPN, Fox Sports, Bravo, Food Network, Discovery, and HGTV. Anyone been through this process?

Both boys are deciding between two colleges. I am anxious for them to make their decisions but I don’t want to stress them out. They may pick the same but I want them to make that decision independently and they would have different roommates.

Tonight or tomorrow night we are supporting our local German restaurant! We are trying to do local takeout 2-3 times a week.

What’s up with you? Leave me a comment for one of these categories and any advice about cutting cable is much appreciated!

Stay well,

Amy

Meal Ideas

Tuesday, March 24

I was feeling uninspired last night so I thought I would bring back a old post.  Some of you may be struggling to cook so I thought this could be helpful!  What is your go-to recipe?  Maybe I haven’t thought of it!  

 

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Double decker BLT for hub’s birthday

Sandwiches: (We will often have a sandwich meal on the weekend and I will serve these with soup, frozen fries, salad, broccoli)

BLTS or BLATS (add avocado – yum!)

Grilled cheese

Hot subs

Ham and Swiss on Hawaiian rolls 

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Bowls:  (This is kind of a riff off of the Qdoba naked burrito)

Southwest bowl (go to Momfessionals for the yummy aioli she has but I do shortcuts using rotisserie chicken, frozen corn, frozen rice from Trader Joe’s) and add her aioli with guacamole, beans, cheese, salsa.  Your family can make their own, too

Greek Bowl – rice, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon juice, tzatziki sauce, olives, feta

Mexican:  

Tacos, rice, beans

Quesadillas with side salad

Enchiladas

Mexican lasagna (use tortillas instead of noodles and do a mixture of beans, corn, salsa, sour cream, chicken and cheese – so good!)

Taco Salad with Doritos 

Fish Tacos 

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Easy penne and turkey sausage – make a cream sauce or simply EVOO , salt, and pepper

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Salads:  

Spinach, cheddar, green apple, red onion, with oil and vinegar from Polka Dotty Place Blog (shown above – my husband and I love this! – you could add a protein

Taco Salad 

Greek Salad

Cobb Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Feta, Avocado, Cucumber, lemon juice salad from Lisa at Coast to Coast Blog 

 

Italian:  (garlic bread and ceasar pre made salad is easy)

Penne with turkey sausage and olive oil in photo above

Spaghetti 

Baked Ziti

Fettucine Alfredo

Bacon Alfredo bake from Grace and Love Blog

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Open Face BBQ tostadas with red onion, pickles and slaw with a side of loaded mashed potatoes
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Low Country Boil on a sheet pan
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Mexican Lasagna with the Avocado, Feta, cucumber salad

Other:  

Quiche and side salad

Roasted vegetables on sheet pan – baby carrots, onion, red potatoes and a rotisserie chicken 

Chicken and Noodles 

Chili

Baked Fish with cajun seasoning and panko bread crumbs

Pioneer Woman Perfect Salmon

Brats, macaroni and cheese and green beans

Ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls 

Lunch for dinner (something you would typically make for lunch)

Breakfast for dinner (my family won’t do this!)

Amy

 

 

Hello Monday

Monday, March 23, 2020

How was your weekend? Did it feel any different than the week? You may have been ready for a break from online school/homeschooling? I am linking up today with Heather, etc. if they provide the link up today here.

Our Friday was gorgeous and sunny until dinner time. I took advantage of the weather and spent some time outside. Then, from Friday evening until late Sunday afternoon it was chilly. The trees are blooming beautifully here.

Hub installed our blinds. They open from the top or the bottom by simply pulling on a little plastic piece. I was adamant that I did not want the beautiful windows and doors covered by treatments. I think I am going to like these. They were still super expensive but we saved a lot of money by installing them ourselves.

Friday afternoon before it turned cold we took Ernie swimming in the river where we keep our boat. Can you tell how high the river is from all of the recent rain? It was a lovely shade of brown, too. It was nice to go somewhere.

We got carryout for dinner – trying to support local restaurants. I am worried we will lose that option eventually. I hope not!

Then, Friday evening, Tom and I bought a ticket to livestream our favorite singer – Bob Schneider. It was really cool. Support your favorite artists like this now if you can!

After the concert ended at 9:00, our power went out! It was only out for two hours but it was the weirdest thing. We didn’t have bad weather or anything. I decided to read my book by clipon battery powered book light!

Saturday morning my plan was to hit the grocery at 7 when it opened for just a few things. Well, everyone else had the same idea. I don’t know if you can tell, but the parking lot had at least 100 cars. There were lots of people wearing masks and rubber gloves while shopping – that is a harrowing sight. I didn’t find everything but I did get a pack of ground beef. There are many shelves that are either almost bare or totally bare but they were trying to restock some shelves. I heard some people complaining about not finding things. I hadn’t been in Kroger since maybe Tuesday?

I made Joanna Gaines chocolate chip cookies. I accidentally bought the mini chips.

The day went by super fast because we worked on setting up our new bedroom now that the windows are covered.

For dinner, I decided to make mexican at home. I made chicken enchiladas, queso with Rotel and Velveeta, and Spanish rice. For dessert I made chocolate chip cookie sundaes and I also had my homemade margarita.

Here is what the bedroom looks like so far. I am happy to report a good night’s sleep and we both can’t believe how spacious the room still feels with the bed in it.

Sunday the boys helped Tom move our washer and dryer up to the mudroom!

I started this book. It was so cold I didn’t want to go out but I did take my walk and I called an old friend, too.




We ate dinner as a family and then Tom and I played trivia using the Zoom app with our friends. It was really fun!

How was your social distancing weekend?

Amy

Make your own Bread!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Have you always thought about baking bread? I love the book Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. She really gets you excited about cooking for your people! My friend Tanya at The Other Side of the Road blog posted this recipe from http://www.homegrowntraditions.com and I am here to tell you that I have made it twice and plan to make it until my supplies run out. I had trouble finding flour at the grocery about a week ago. A tip is to try Walgreen’s or CVS because they have baking supplies. Of course, try not to go out if you can help it and you may already have these items at home.

Here we go!

You need:

3 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. active dry yeast (this is not quite a full packet of yeast if you buy it by the packet)

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 and 1/2 cups warm water

Mix together with a wooden spoon and over with a tea towel or plastic wrap for 2 hours

After two hours preheat oven to 450

Place a pyrex dish with water in the oven (I forgot one time and it didn’t matter so I will probably skip this step)

Shape your dough into two round loaves and score the top with a knife (Simply make slits in the dough)

I had to add more flour to be able to work with my dough but I found it very relaxing.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.

It really is best eaten right away. Thank you Tanya and Homegrown Traditions!

Amy

Friday Files

Friday, March 20,. 2020

Well, one week down. Are you doing o.k.? Working from home? Homeschooling your kids? I have enjoyed reading some of my friends talk about being lunch lady, principal, IT guy. There have been a few detentions and expulsions apparently and even some firings.

Your comments have been much appreciated this week. I am so thankful that many of my favorite bloggers are still blogging. I love the journal type entries, easy recipes, ideas for kids and adults, and even some normal type posts. How can I help you? What would you like me to write about?

Here goes some random stuff from the week:

On Wednesday, I ran up to the nail salon before they were mandated to close at 5 p.m. to get my dip removed. I arrived around 10:30 and it looked like I wasn’t the only one with that idea. I had to make an appointment and come back. I was a little bit worried about being close to people but I was also wanted to help support them before they had to close. It was a tough call. I got a local coffee – Heine Brothers – and did my nails at home. I have a huge stash of polish and I really don’t dislike doing them but I am washing my hands so much it won’t last long!

On Wednesday, WordPress told me I hit 500 posts!

Another example of why I think Kendra Scott is an amazing company. Their super generous birthday deal can still be had if you have a March birthday.

One of my students posted this below. I like charts and found this helpful.

The memes that have come out are super creative, like this one below.

Last week I added something to my new bedroom. No, I haven’t moved in yet because the window treatments are not up yet. They did arrive this week so hopefully this weekend we can do that. I am debating if I should keep the sheepskin chair and replace it with an armchair and ottoman. I love the little table.

I have a very creative friend and she texted this to me this week. We are going to try to do this tonight or Sunday night. I don’t know if we should order food from the same place and have the same drinks. I think maybe we can dig up a trivia game or find an online game or something. Any ideas?

I am considering posting recipes this weekend – one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Would you be interested? It isn’t that much work for me and if it helps someone I may go for it.

Thank you for reading and stay well!

Amy

Ideas for Adults

Thursday, March 19, 2020

I don’t think this is what any of us thought we would be doing today. Even if you are still going to work each day I’m sure that looks different. Also, I hope my title isn’t misleading – awkward clearing of throat – I had ideas for your kids yesterday so this is a follow up!

As of right now, I am not really required to do any work from home. I am still trying to maintain my classes by posting on Google Classroom at least once a day and I am trying to be productive and keep a schedule. My boys are doing school work and spending time together but don’t require much of me. My husband is still going to his office for now. So, I have a lot of time on my hands like many of you.

Some of these may seem very little or silly, but having a list helps me. I hope you find something here today, too, and please share your ideas below. Isn’t it so crazy that as humans when we are busy we can think of so many things we would rather be doing at home but when we have to stay home we are only thinking of what we could be doing outside of the home?

-Get dressed in the morning. This helps me to be more productive.

-Exercise every day in some way shape or form. I have been walking alone and with my dog. My dog has never been happier. Don’t let the photo below fool you. He is happy!

-Make yourself a drink and light a candle. This is something little but it might lift your spirits.

-Call that friend that you always say you need to call. I love hearing people’s voices (not the voices in my head) instead of just texting. I am making of list of people to call. Get ready; it’s not a telemarketer!

-Start a blog! I use WordPress. You can start a free blog if you don’t want to pay for a more upgraded website.

-I feel better helping others. I am trying to text someone each day to see if they are o.k. or if they need a roll of toilet paper.

-Take photographs of cool things around your area. This photo below looks like something in Ireland (well maybe not quite like Ireland!). It’s actually behind my school as I was walking my dog on Monday. Maybe get out the big camera!

See if someone else needs their dog walked. Maybe someone who is trying to work from home needs help with this? They can stand 6 feet away from you while handing you the leash?

Make a recipe you have never made before. Below is egg in a hole.

-Do your own nails at home.

-Go through all of your cookbooks or old recipes and see what you can make with what you have on hand. Maybe you can even do a cooking challenge with a basket of ingredients?

-This would be a great time to go makeup free. See what happens to your skin if you let it breathe?

-This would be a great time to do the baby foot peel. Your feet peel like crazy and since you are staying home, why not? You will end up with baby feet. I did it a couple of years ago and it was gross but wonderful.

-This would also be a great time to go deoderant free or to switch to natural deoderant?

-Do the 40 bags in 40 days challenge or change to 15 bags in 15 days – list 15 areas of the house to declutter.

-Play a card game with your husband with candlelight.

-Have an indoor picnic or carpet picnic with your husband.

-Have an outdoor picnic with you family or significant other. Maybe go to an empty park picnic table.

-Go on a drive with your family or significant other. Extra points if you create a special playlist.

-Make up an adult scavenger hunt for the drive or for the house. My husband can never find his keys, wallet, socks – this would turn it into a game!

-Practice your instrument. I used to play piano and now would be the perfect time.

-Try out a new hairstyle using a You Tube tutorial.

-Get all of your spring cleaning done.

-Take advantage of the free virtual art museum tours. Chicago Art Institute and Le Louvre have them as well as many others, I’m sure.

-Watch a slide show/video/make one of a past trip.

-Watch old home movies with your kids.

-Do Minute to Win It challenges with your family or just spouse.

Please know that I am not taking our current situation lightly. If our worst problem is being stuck at home in 2020 with all of the modern conveniences and plenty to eat we should consider ourselves lucky and blessed.

Amy

Random Stuff & Ideas

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How are you holding up? It’s o.k. to be brutally honest. I started to go to a dark place Monday night. I started all the what ifs and negative thoughts. I have to take it one day at a time. Are you the same way? It also didn’t help that we had several grey days in a row. The sun came out in full force yesterday and it was so appreciated!

Also, I have news! This is my 500th post! I started the blog two years ago next month. Who knew I had that much to say? This blog has given me a creative outlet and has brought me many new friends. I am so happy I finally dove in and just started one already.

So, here are some random things today and if you stick with me I will also have some ideas for you.

The memes have been really good. I am not making light of the situation at all, but this is funny stuff!

I went ahead with my green dinner last night. It is silly but I think my 17.5 year old boys like it!

I am not being too strict on wake up times or bed times yet. The boys are hopefully going to still get to go to college in the fall and they need to manage their own stuff. We are not technically doing distance learning but they are working on reading, projects, and AP prep stuff. So, around 10 a.m. Monday I offered to make them chocolate chip pancakes because it’s something I can do to make them happy.

I read lots of blogs and have for years. I cannot handle the blogger that goes on with a fashion post without acknowledging what is going on. Go ahead with your post, but please add something to show that you know what is happening around you. Amiright? I usually try not to judge too harshly but I find it very insensitive. I know that it is their job but I respect the blogger who changes their post to reflect what is going on and maybe adds some tips for working from home or keeping a positive attitude.

Ideas:

First of all, I don’t understand school districts that want you to have your child doing school work for 8 hours. That is not the same as being in school and it’s just too much. Let’s let kids read, build, play games, do chores, and learn some life skills, too. If they are pushed too hard while we are experiencing this stressful time I am worried we will create a generation of super anxious kids who don’t love learning anymore!

Please leave yours in the comments for my dear readers with younger children. Unfortunately my teens won’t go for any of these things anymore!

-Load family in car in jammies and drive around and play I spy or look at the promise of spring in the flowers that are blooming

-Have a carpet picnic complete with picnic blanket and basket – or have the picnic in your yard

-Come up with a scavenger hunt indoors or outdoors.

-Have a car wash – wash the kids’ bikes, riding toys, etc. if it is warm enough where you are

-Let the kids play in the rain or teach them the song “Singing in the Rain” and really go out and do it

-Give the kids a bubble bath and bring them a tray with a glass of juice on it. I once did this for my boys and they loved it! They were probably 8. They each took their bath one at a time.

-Whitney from Polka Dotty Place ordered some fun bath toys – crayons and colored bubbles.

-Have the kids put on a play for you. Make tickets and popcorn.

-Use sidewalk chalk to write uplifting messages and pretty pictures.

-Play Amazon Fulfillment Center with old Amazon boxes.

-Have a minute to win it challenge.

-Have a contest to see who can make the best sculpture out of Amazon boxes.

-Play school and trick them into doing their actual school work.

-Take one of the zoo or art museum virtual tours and then draw something you saw.

-Play art museum. They create and then you display and pretend to be looking at art.

-Play zoo. That could get crazy!

-Play spa. Trick them into letting you lie down with cucumbers on your eyelids.

O.k., it’s your turn to tell me something random or leave an idea!

As always, thanks so much for coming to my little space of the internet!

Stay well,

Amy