Hi Guys. I’m just checking in. I’d like to see how you’re all doing. And I’d like to make this check-in a kind of regular thing. Maybe every week? When you get this, I’d love to hear from you! Say “hey” so I know you’re still there and still carrying on and share any thoughts if you want; we’re all in this together, amirite!
When I first started this site years ago, I was very private; I just wanted to share what I knew in the hope of helping people eat better even if they were on a budget. To share strategies and use recipes to illustrate those points. It was my daughter who said, “Mom, just “own” it. That I have. It’s become very personal to me over the years and a good part of my life. I don’t ever expect to be a major player on the internet. I like right where I am, just me, doing what I do and you, if you like, stopping by. 🙂
No Specific Agenda:
I guess that puts me in a good place because I don’t have any big agenda or business plan and hey, that means I can kinda just do what I want. And what I want to do today is talk about what’s on everyone’s mind! Maybe talk about some things we can do to help out ourselves & each other. We’re all in this together and it’s not business as usual.
First, I’d like to share about me. Some of you follow and know some of this. So here’s me. I’m lower-income at this stage of my life, high-risk several times over, and staying in, along with Chance my deplorable Labradorable as I call him and Homer the Cat. Yep, we thought she was a boy until she went into heat. My daughter, Jess, is in Georgia with her husband and eight children (it’s a complicated blended family) from newborn up to 16 and some of them have respiratory issues. My son, Kraig, is off fighting demons of his own and unavailable and has potentially been exposed.
I’m taking coronavirus seriously and determined to help “flatten the curve” as they say. I don’t want to get ill and possibly die, but I really don’t want to be in a hospital slowly deteriorating. And I especially don’t want to take up precious resources. I’ve been out three times since they asked us high risk people to stay home in early March.
- I got my car in for a recall before everything hit, they found a major unrelated and very expensive safety issue & I had to get it to a trustworthy shop. In the meantime, the #%# hit the fan here in Minnesota.
- I got Chance in early for his checkup and shots, always pricey, but this visit was over the top; the vet felt his hip and leg had to be looked at. He was injured awhile back, on med, strict orders to not run or jump, hoping he could heal before his hip plate closed. My neighbors were feeding wild animals & we were overrun. All hope was lost; he is permanently crippled.
- I’ve stocked up modestly over the past few weeks but going to three months of prescriptions, buying over the counter meds and cleaning items (I bought only what I had to) put me over budget and that’s without the car and vet expenses. I was able to participate in my Church’s food for all program and went last week. Thank you all volunteers & donors!
That’s where I’m at right now, right along with all of you. I feel like I’m kind of right in the middle, a little precarious, but I have an income and am so much better off than so many. I’m expecting to use up anything fresh right away before moving on to a lot of meals that are pantry/freezer meals and then things are gonna get a little creative and maybe even a little weird. I’m already thinking about peanut butter ramen!!
The way I see it? Worst case scenario: I die and Chance and Homer eat me or I come out with a new Instant Pot recipe, dare I say it? Well, I don’t know how I’d decide who goes first! Probably Homer coz she’s just a cat (did I say that out loud?)
But the worst of it is I’m feeling the isolation and I know some of you are too! It’s one thing to tuck in at home because you want to but quite another when you’re told you have to! Hey, I feel like a kid that’s been “grounded!” I’m imagining that any novelty of staying at home is wearing thin for many of you, especially those of you that have little ones and I can’t even imagine how poorly most tweens and teenagers are handling the situation!
I’ve been thinking about really positive things that we can do to better our situations; of course, that depends on your situation. I can’t advise you on anything financial or anything to do with economics, but I can think of some things we can do around the house that might help improve things in the long run. Some of them might be possible family projects – fair warning, they’re not all fun, but some might be with the right attitude.
Do Something Good, Every Day:
Random acts of kindness. It’s a good thing and can be big or small and a great thing to teach your kids. Get them involved!
Bring up someone’s mail, drop off a dish, see if they need anything. Check on your neighbors. Check on your family. Find out where you can volunteer, safely online or in person. In a couple of weeks, many volunteers will succumb to the virus and we need them more than ever. Thank people, profusely, for being there for you.
One good thing we can all do: Follow the guidelines our President put out Monday: “Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.” Discretionary means acting on one’s own authority and judgment.
This Week, Preserve What Fresh Food You Can:
Think about it anyway. Those cherry tomatoes that are starting to get a little shriveled or tomatoes that are approaching too ripe can be turned into oven or sun-dried tomatoes, other veggies can be dried, blanched and frozen or pickled. Fruit can be dried or frozen, too and there’s always small-batch jams, jellies and so on.
Bread items that are going stale can sometimes be refreshed (wrap in a damp cloth and microwave for 30 seconds or so) but before any of it molds, make into croutons or slice and dry in the oven for crostini.
You might only have little bits of this or that, but there’s no sense in letting things go to waste if it’s something you might be grateful for later. There is also no sense in going out for items if it is putting someone at risk. I’ll be posting some helps on more basic little projects and have quite a few on my site that I’ll organize into easy to find groupings.
If you haven’t gone through and stocked up your pantry, see my post on Stocking Up for Coronavirus, but wait until it’s safe to do so or order in.
Learn to Cook:
I read a couple of years ago that only 20 percent of us in the States cook, although I assume if you’re here, you’re one of them! Or maybe you just like me. If that’s the case, Kudos to you, lol!! j/k If there ever was a better time to get cooking and or baking, I don’t know when it would be. At the very least, try your hand at bread and/or items you can’t just get anymore.
Some of my best and most vivid memories are cooking with my Mom and Grandmas. That’s a gift you can give your children. Cooking, too, can keep you busy at home if you’re downright bored!
Start a Facebook Community Group:
If you or your older kids are social media adept, think about starting a community Facebook group, a place where people can meet up online and share what they have and connect with people in need.
This is a definite lesson in social justice and community involvement and will need administrative monitoring and parental oversight if your child is underage. It’s a project and a long term commitment but one that can teach so many lessons.
As a matter of fact, I’m calling out all my blogging friends to do the same! This is one of my things in the works.
Go Through Family Photos & Share Family History:
Have you ever been in an antique store and saw an ancient old photo album? That’s the saddest thing in the world. If you’re an elder, sit down, maybe with your children or grandchildren if it’s safe, scan, label, whatever needs to be done so they will be preserved.
This is a great time to think about getting items to those who would like them. Don’t be like my folks who just passed on some family silver that sat in a chest in a closet for decades to my brother now that he’s in his 60’s.
It doesn’t all have to be about old ancient family history! Scrapbook with your kids and create your own history. Maybe it would be a great time to look at the scrapbooks and diaries you can find online from people who have experienced far worse pandemics and challenges and what they went through to overcome. There are lessons in history that we can use today!
Right now, I think everyone who possibly can should be planning for and planting a garden. Maybe they should be called “Win Gardens” instead of the old Victory Gardens since I just heard President Trump say we are going to win. Depending on where you live and what the soil is like it can be $$ to get one going.
There are options. Neighbors too old or busy to garden might have one lying fallow. You could help with & share the harvest. You might have flower beds you can repurpose or at the very least, tuck vegetables in and among existing plantings. Gardeners are usually generous people; they might loan you a rototiller and give you valuable advice. If you have kids it can be a great family project.
We may not be eating the best in the future, some of us, and I haven’t seen too much “buzz” about this, but it stands to reason that if there was a time to take a look at any and all of our issues and get them under control, it’s now. Hey, the better shape we’re in when we’re exposed, the better off we are going in, the better off we’ll come through it.
Work on dropping a few pounds if you need to (especially if you are pre-diabetic) and exercising. Exercise is like a magic pill, one that’s a little hard to swallow but helps with so many issues, lowering blood sugar and triglycerides and exercise is one of the key recommendations for everything from depression to mental deterioration with aging. A massive Chinese study showed hypertension (high blood pressure) as a key risk factor.
Walking & Biking:
Get out by yourself or with family or meet friends (social distance) and pick a neighborhood. It’s going to help with the stir crazies and get you some fresh air. The streets are empty and there’s plenty of room.
My son said some businesses and areas are becoming higher risks with no people around. Walking (safely) is a great way to put feet on the pavement and if you’re biking, that’s the best drive-by ever.
Start with the bathrooms. Get rid of things you don’t need. Be ruthless. Toss out old medicine (safely) and over the counter stuff, old makeup (it’s dangerous) and as much clutter as you possibly can. Put items you normally use but won’t necessarily use if you’re ill in a basket so they can easily be picked up and removed if you’re sick and replaced when you’re well. Think of every single item in the bathroom as an item you are going to have to disinfect, possibly multiple times a day and certainly every day if someone is ill. Remove, at least temporarily, any decorative items.
This is a fabulous time to go through your house (you should see how bad mine is right now with all my shoulder issues) and get rid of clutter, old broken things and at the very least, make sure that every room is reachable by any emergency personnel. Declutter hallways and stairways especially and pay attention to kids’ toys if they’re crazy at your house. Box some up, especially ones that can’t be disinfected, rotate them in and out.
As you change out seasonal items, give away items you won’t be needing any longer especially children’s summer clothing and especially to someone in need or to a reliable nonprofit organization. If you must, sell on Facebook. It’s gonna be a long time before the next garage sale season. We’ll miss this year for sure, and most likely next year. All precautions should be taken with clothing!
Headliners This Week:
- March 15 Trump directed all to stay in (no shopping, travel, social visits), to school & work from home, limit any public gathering to less than 10 people, among other directions. See more at the White House Coronavirus Guidelines for America. (Note: original links have been archived so clicking will take you to the archived material.)
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday (March 21st) in this video that Americans will most likely have to continue staying at home and practicing social distancing for “at least several weeks.”
- Over 80 million Americans on virtual lockdown; we have about 311 million in the country.
- Tested and positive cases as of March 21st: More than 300,000 people have contracted the novel coronavirus and at least 12,944 died worldwide. The US is behind the curve with limited testing and has 21,365 cases of coronavirus confirmed by lab tests and 266 deaths as of 2:36 pm Eastern time.
What Am I Doing Today?
Reading a little, watching a little Food Network, and I’ve taken everything out of my China cabinet (where I keep so much of my food since my shoulder issues) and cleaned it out. You know me, I’m all about the food! Since I have items from so many places I want to make sure everything is secure in glass and/or plastic and there won’t be any infestations. See, I know how to have a great time!!
I’m trying not to watch anything on those crazy spring breakers on the beaches (I have a solution, fence them in and give them tacos and Coronas for two weeks – they’ll be happy & we’ll be safe) and I’m trying not to look at any numbers!
Take care, all, stay in and stay safe! Let me know how you’re doing!
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