Next up…Chicken

Day 54

I’ve been quiet for a while. A week actually. There just hasn’t been much to report.  There still isn’t much to report, but I worry if I put off writing much longer I won’t come back to it at all or at least not for a long time.  So here we are.

There is one week left of the school year. We’ve wrapped up many of the assignments that needed to be completed before the end of the year.  Next week we need to go drop off the school’s books that we have in our possession, and pick up Arden’s belongings. We likely won’t have occasion to go back to that particular school building.  The elementary school Arden attends goes through 4th grade and then the students move to the middle school in another town for 5th grade. One of the little quirky things about living in such a rural school districts is that the school buildings are spread out into different towns. So now that 4th grade is over, we say good bye to New Boston Elementary and hello to Mercer County Intermediate School – I guess, maybe. If school happens in the fall.  Honestly, I have no idea what will happen.  So, so many changes!

This has been an unique year to say the least. We’ve all walked through big changes – new home, new school, new friends, new locations, new routines. And then COVID. It gets really overwhelming to think about all the changes and losses that have happened in just the last few months. It is a lot.  I will say that Arden has done so well academically this year.  She’s worked very hard and things that seemed to be so illusive last year have clicked into place this year. She still has many challenges academically, but I’m thrilled with the progress she has made to date. I am hopeful that the disruptions of this last part of the school year will not cause a backwards slide in this progression.  This is a worry I can’t allow myself to sit in for long, because there is just no way to know what the long-term impact of this time away from school will be. One day at a time. That’s all we can do.

Other than wrapping up home school for the summer, I’ve been thinking I should be recording somethings that are enjoyable or are bringing satisfaction during this time. It is hard to find a lot, but here are few things that have made me happy lately.

I made this recipe yesterday.  It was delicious and easy. Arden tried it and said it wasn’t the worst thing she ever ate. So, take that as endorsement if you are so inclined.


yield: 6
prep time: 10 MINUTES
cook time: 1 HOUR
additional time: 30 MINUTES
total time: 1 HOUR 40 MINUTES

Samin Nasrat’s Buttermilk Brined Chicken from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

4.6 Stars (10 Reviews)



  • 1 (3-4 pound) whole chicken *note below
  • 1 cup Kosher salt + 2 TB
  • 2 cups buttermilk



  1. Remove giblets and wingtips from chicken. Season VERY liberally with kosher salt, rubbing on all sides and in crevices.
  2. Let chicken sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Stir 2 tablespoons of kosher salt into buttermilk.
  4. After 30 minutes, put chicken in gallon ziploc bag with buttermilk brine mixture. Move bag to distribute brine to cover the chicken.
  5. Place bag in a baking dish (in case of leaks or spills) and into the refrigerator.
  6. Allow to marinate at least 12 hours and up to 48 hours.


  1. Remove the chicken in brine from refrigerator; let sit an hour at room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile position a rack in center oven; preheat to 425° F.
  3. After 30 minutes, remove chicken from the bag, discard brine and pat excess buttermilk off of chicken with a paper towel.
  4. Place chicken in 10″ cast iron skillet.
  5. Place chicken in the 425˚oven with the legs pointing to rear left. Roast 20 minutes
  6. Reduce heat to 400˚F; roast for 10 minutes.
  7. After 10 minutes, rotate the chicken so that legs face rear right of oven.
  8. Continue to roast for 30 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165˚ degrees in the thickest part between leg and breast. Chicken will be brown all over.
  9. Let chicken rest at least 30 minutes before serving.


If using fine sea salt reduce to 4 teaspoons. Do NOT used iodized salt.

I couldn’t find a whole chicken at the grocery store – it’s a mad, mad world – so I just did bone-in, skin on Chicken breasts.  I checked the internal temp at the end of step 6 and it was cooked through.  The breasts were huge (ha, ha) so we all 3 ate our fill and there are still left overs.  I served with mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, and steamed broccoli.  It was delicious.
So, that was good stuff.  Also I cleaned out the hallway linen closet and plan to reorganize the storage room that is off of the laundry room.  That’s on the agenda for today.
I’ve read 2 1/2 books in the last week.  One was good and one was horrible.  I’m reserving judgement on the one I’m currently reading.
The good….
Behind Closed Doors By B.A. Paris
The bad…(the really awful!)
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
The current (this is the 8th book in a series – I love this series so I’m sure to love this book)
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
Well, that’s about it. Hope everyone is hanging in there.
News of the Day

More than 3.8 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and over 270,000 have died.

In the United States, there have been over 1.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. More than 75,000 Americans have died.

A record 20.5 million U.S. jobs were lost in April as the unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent — the highest it’s been since the Great Depression.

An aide to Vice President Mike Pence tested positive for the virus, Bloomberg News reported Friday. President Trump’s personal valet tested positive on Wednesday.

Plan of the Day

Storage room clean out. Read.

See ya soon!


Keep On Keeping On

Day 43

Another Monday.  I took a long weekend from writing the blog. I wrote other places, but didn’t really have anything fit for public consumption to say here. 

The weekend was OK. I made my weekly trip to the grocery store to pick up my order.  I even braved another store, while wearing a face mask, to purchase fresh flowers. I needed something fresh and alive and happy in this house.  While at the store with the flowers, I found a large package of the “good” toilet paper – it was the last one. I felt like the Lord was showing me great favor in that moment, so I grabbed that package and pretty much ran for the check out. There was no need to try to shop for more – TP and Flowers – you gotta know when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em, when to walk away and when to RUN!

So, in addition to groceries and fresh flowers, our posteriors can get a break from the sand paper that was passing for toilet paper in our bathroom!  Let the people rejoice!

I then went to Walmart to pick up the grocery order.  As I checked in, the associates who were supposed to be loading my car had a difficult time finding my order. Turns out the car next to me was occupied by a woman named April as well. They had put all my groceries in her car!  Thankfully, she hadn’t pulled out and left before the error was discovered! 

Although, I’m wondering what was in her order? Did I miss out on a fun week of mystery groceries?  Maybe she bought a bunch of really great food and I totally missed it!!??  Anyway, they switched out the bags and we each got our own order. Everything was correct when I got home.  So, crisis averted!

Is anyone watching The Last Dance on ESPN about the ‘98 Bulls? I am. I am LOVING it! I’m so happy they chose to release it early instead of waiting until the initial drop date in June. The 90s were when I was really into NBA basketball and I am totally loving this walk down memory lane. Plus, I’m a sucker for sports documentaries – really any documentaries, but sports are way up there in favorites.  No one does sports docs like 30 for 30.  It is just terrific stuff. 30 for 30 is doing a follow up podcast after each episode, so I’m listen to those on Mondays.  In this time of no live sports, this series is totally filling a void! 

I also thoroughly enjoyed the NFL Draft last week and weekend. I loved going inside all the homes of the coaches and GMs and the players.  It was delightful. I guess what I’m saying is my sports tank is full and it makes me so, so happy!!

You know what didn’t make me happy?  Starting the week with the Monday of all Monday moments. This morning one of the cats decided, out of the blue, to launch herself on top of the china cabinet I have in the dining room.  I use it as a kind of mantle for seasonal decorations.  I change it out a lot.  Yesterday, I put some of the flowers I bought over the weekend in a small vase up there. The cat has a thing for fresh flowers, but she has never jumped up there before, so I didn’t think anything of it.

I was in the laundry room when I heard a crash this morning and ran in to see the vase knocked over, water running down the cabinet and all over the floor.  Because it is spring and I love little fat birds, I had 4 little bird figurines scattered through the decor – 3 of them were laying, smashed to bits on the tile floor. Their little fat bird faces looking up at me with disappointment that I hadn’t anticipated this turn of events.

The cat had also sent a small glass bottle to it’s untimely death on the kitchen floor, and knocked over about 3 more.  It was a mess. The poor thing was standing up there on top of the wreckage, looking scared to death, so I reached up to help her down.  Big mistake. HUGE.

She did not appreciate my attempt at assistance, and showed her disapproval by scratching the foo out of my hand.  It was a moment to say the least.  I tried to get it all cleaned up without stepping on glass or dripping blood all over the place, and then checked the clock – it was only 8 a.m. I nearly went back to bed and called it a day.

I didn’t.

We did school. I’ve done laundry. And I’ve now written this.  No more tragedies have occurred since this morning – but the day isn’t over yet.    I’d cross my fingers in the hope that nothing else will happen – but I can’t – the cat scratch goes all the way down my left pointer finger.  Dang cat!

News of the Day:

More than 208,000 people have died from the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over 3 million people worldwide have tested positive.

In the United States, more than 55,000 people have died, while there have been over 970,000 confirmed cases.

President Trump’s economic adviser said the jobless rates from the coronavirus will be comparable to the Great Depression.

The World Health Organization director said the pandemic was far from over and expressed concern about children.

Plan of the Day:

Try not to destroy any more decorations or draw any more blood.

See you tomorrow – or whenever.


Eat More Pig

Day 30

Does anyone else have a ton of leftover ham from Easter? I ordered a small spiral ham on my last Wal-Mart pick up order, but they were out of the one I requested and gave me a much larger one. Ordinarily that would be ok – we would have more than 3 people eating and I’d be able to send leftovers home with whomever was over.  However, that was not the case this year. We have SO much ham leftover, we will never eat it in its original form.  

We don’t like ham and beans or ham salad, so I was searching for something to use the ham to make – other than sandwiches. Here’s what I came up with:

Slow Cooker Ham, Potato and Corn Chowder:

  • 6 – 8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces diced ham
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 cups half and half

Place potatoes, corn, chicken broth, ham, onions and salt and pepper in a slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 8 hours. After cooking, mash potatoes to desired consistency. Add butter and half and half. Turn up the slow cooker to HIGH and cook for an additional 30 – 60 minutes.


Arden, of course, would not try it, but Terry had two bowls and I think it will reheat nicely for the next few days.  I had everything (except the half and half) in my pantry – so it was a good option to use up a good portion of the ham. We still have quite a bit of leftover ham – but at least some of it was put to another use.

I wish I had some corn bread to go with it, but I forgot to grab a box when I went to get the half and half.  Oh well – still a tasty dinner on a way too cool night (for spring).

Other than that, not much to report on this last day of spring break. We were quite lazy. Tomorrow we are back to the grind of school. Arden can’t quite decide if she wants school to resume or if she wants it to be out for the year.

I know which I would pick!

She asks every day if the Governor has announced if he is going to allow the schools to reopen. He has not – at least not that I’ve heard. I agree with her, in that I wish they would just announce it one way or another. It is hard not knowing. It is hard not to have a way to plan, even if the plan is just that we are here for the remainder of the school year. It would be nice to know if the end of the school years is what was scheduled or something different. It would just be nice to have any definitive information! 

I will say, that as hard as it is for Arden to be alone so much of the time, I am particularly thankful that I don’t have multiple children to keep entertained and on task for school at home.  I am quite confident I would be ready to be fitted for a straight jack! I don’t know how parents of multiple children are doing it. Especially if one parent is at work or trying to work while the other is primarily responsible for the child care/schooling!  

Like I’ve asked before, Are we there yet?!?!?!?!?

News of the Day:

Nearly 2 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 123,000 people have died.

The United States has had over 592,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 25,000 deaths, leading the world in both numbers.

President Trump lashed out at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after Cuomo dismissed Trump’s assertion that the president has “total” authority to reopen state economies.

Trump used Monday’s coronavirus task force briefing to berate reporters who challenged his assertion that “everything we did was right.”

The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear oral arguments by telephone beginning next month.

Plan for the Day: I started re-watching The Good Wife. So that will keep me busy for awhile. 

See you tomorrow!


Breakfast and Boredom

Day 27

Another weekend. Have I mentioned the weekends are the hardest? Looks like, yes, I did – last weekend. I will reiterate – the weekends are the hardest. The lack of plans gets to me. Not that we had a lot of weekend plans before this, but we always COULD have weekend plans. So, I guess the lack of the possibility of plans is what is getting me down.

We are due for some nasty weather later this afternoon and all day tomorrow – so that is a bummer as well.  This morning I woke up early (thanks, Dog) and couldn’t go back to sleep. Couldn’t really concentrate on anything on T.V. Couldn’t calm my mind to read much.  So I got up, turned on some music and made a big breakfast – sausage, eggs, cinnamon rolls, coffee. My family was a bit surprised. I don’t often make breakfast.  I don’t really eat breakfast, so I don’t spend a lot of time making breakfast. We sometimes have breakfast for dinner, and I can whip up the full spread. But in the morning?  Nope. Morning breakfast is grab what you can and Mom makes coffee.

After breakfast, I baked brownies. I cleaned the kitchen. I took the dog for another walk. I took a long bath.  I AM BORED!!!! I guess I’m not actually bored in the real sense of the word – because there are things that can and should be done, but I don’t want to DO any of them. 

Easter is tomorrow. I have all the things to make a big meal. I found Easter basket materials and Terry found plastic eggs – so the child will have an Easter surprise awaiting her. I am pretty much sure she knows there is no Easter Bunny, but she is clinging to the hope that there is – so we will lean into that. No sense shattering any more illusions just now.

I will have an Easter service ready on the computer in the morning and hopefully we can spend the day eating and singing and celebrating. I guess that is something of a plan.

Monday we are still on “spring break”, so no formal school assignments – I know Arden likes that – but I feel like we are trudging ever closer to complete slothfulness.  I need to get something pulled together that we can do that doesn’t feel like school, but actually IS learning. Unfortunately, my creativity button broke about two weeks ago – so that seems like a very daunting task!  I did put together an indoor and an outdoor scavenger hunt idea before my creativity deserted me (and by “put together” I mean copied with some adjustments from something I saw on the internets). Maybe we will do one of those. 

The question that keeps coming to my mind throughout this entire thing is – are we there yet? I don’t know where “there” is – but I’d like to get there.  “There” holds a lot of unknowns, but at least it would be a kind of destination. The ambiguity of this present time is a lot to handle – especially for a personality type that thrives on a plan. 

Hope you are having a more productive Saturday!

News of the Day:

The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus passed 100,000 on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over 1.67 million people have tested positive for the virus. 

The U.S. remains the epicenter of the pandemic, with over 500,000 cases and more than 18,000 deaths. More than 2,000 people died in a single day. New York State now has more reported coronavirus cases (161,000) than any country except the U.S. as a whole.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is out of intensive care and said to be “in good spirits” able to take “short walks” in the hospital.

Plan for the Day: 

A plan would be nice.

See you tomorrow!


What’s Going On?

Day 18

Good morning, party people!  How are we doing today? Yeah, me too. This morning I have some burning questions rolling around my mind.  Since we don’t have anywhere to go or really anything to do – let’s discuss.

  1. Why have I started getting emails from random businesses I have never patronized?  For example, Soda Stream has been bombarding my inbox today. I am 100% confident that things will never get so bad that I am going to start making my own soda. In NO store – grocery, gas station, pharmacy, dollar – have I seen even the HINT of a soda shortage. I think we’ve got that covered. Plus, if we ever do run out of soda – it might be time to switch to something healthier anyway. That would truly be a sign of the apocalypse, and I’m fairly certain we would have bigger problems with which to be concerned – like, I don’t know, survival. So, no Soda Stream, I don’t want your product.  Please get out of my inbox. How did you find me anyway!?
  2. What are we doing for Easter this year?  I’ve been getting this question a lot over the last couple days. I tried to float the notion that the Easter Bunny is also under a stay at home order. That idea did not fly, because I was informed by my daughter that animals can’t get Covid19, so there is no reason the Easter Bunny would be quarantined. ARGH!!! Doggonit – the joys of having a smart kid! I went on Amazon to see if I could order some things via Prime, but there is a real chance that Easter candy is not going to be considered priority, so I’m not sure it will get here in time.  I’ve been trying to avoid going into stores if possible, but I may have to make a DG excursion. I know I had a bunch of plastic eggs stored somewhere before the move, but I also am about 99% sure I tossed those when we moved because I figured we could just buy more this year. Oh, if I could go back and talk to my July self about what is going to be needed by my April (the month) self!!! I guess what I’m asking is, what are you doing for Easter this year? Obviously, Easter dresses aren’t necessary, nor is figuring out which service to attend. We will do online service at pretty much whatever time we feel like, and most likely in our pjs. Do I need to buy a ham? Have an Easter basket for this 10 year old of mine?  Probably, huh?
  3. Is anyone still setting an alarm clock? Terry still has to go into work every day, so he is. I typically get up when he leaves for work and take the dog out, but I haven’t been waking Arden up at a specific time this week. Bed times are also a bit loose – and by loose I mean, nonexistent.  I tried to be consistent with that the first two weeks, and I know I should probably get back on that train. It is hard though, because up is down and down is up and arbitrary bed and waking times seem to be beyond my capabilities right now. Plus, if the child sleeps until 11 or so, I only have to provide TWO meals a day at this boarding school, rather than THREE!  That just seems like good economics to me. Less food consumed equals fewer trips into the grocery store, which equals less exposure to the public. So really, the relaxation of sleeping and waking times is our way of stopping the spread and flattening the curve! You’re welcome, America! We are just trying to do our part!
  4. Do you think the list of P.E. exercises I just received is something I should be implementing? I mean, are we really looking to turn into Jane Fonda here? Am I being punked?  I don’t even know what half these things are!!! This is a made up list, right? He doesn’t really mean we need to go out and try to twist the trunks of trees, right? I mean, we have lots and lots of trees here, but that can’t be right!?!?  I feel this list probably should have come with some further instructions.  


Ok, I’m finished rambling. Thanks in advance for any and all answers – well, as long as you agree with my opinions on bedtime!  

News of the Day:

The first case of corona virus has been diagnosed in our county. I was really hoping it would skip us. 

According to tracking from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 980,000 coronavirus cases and 50,000 deaths worldwide.

The United States leads the world with more than 216,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. More than 5,100 Americans have died from the virus.

U.S. jobless claims soared to record 6.65 million, according to data released by the Labor Department Thursday morning.

Security for Dr. Anthony Fauci has been expanded after the U.S. infectious disease expert received unspecified threats.

The Democratic National Convention has been postponed until the week of August 17.

Plan for the Day:

Keep searching for Easter Basket ideas that can actually get here by Easter. I got a new Fab, Fit, Fun delivery (some extras that weren’t shipped with the last box) – so I’m going to explore that and see what skin care experiments I can add to my agenda! Arden wants to bake a cake. I’m reading a book about a serial killer in Florence, Italy – a true story – going to try to finish it today, because a “feel good” story is just what the doctor ordered!  Ha!

See you tomorrow!


What Now

Day 14

I don’t have much to say today, other than that the level of frustration I feel over the inability to have any clear path towards when this will all be over is at max capacity.  I understand that control is an illusion, but I like my illusions.

I took a few hours today to make our plans for e-learning this week. That was also an exercise in frustration, because we had a certain pattern to our days that is going to change this week. When schools initially shut down, we were given 2 weeks worth of work to keep us on track for the year and also insure we didn’t have to extend the school year into the summer when we went back.  Now that those two weeks are over and this looks like it will extend at least another 2 weeks (and let’s face it – probably longer) the school district is working on a more robust and connected curriculum for the students. I think that is great. I just hate change. This entire process is just one mess of changes – for the kids, for the parents, for the teachers, for the school district. It is just a lot. Added to all that, I have had problems getting logged into most of the applications that are going to be needed; so I spent a lot of time emailing back and forth with Arden’s teacher to get that all set up.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m feeling overwhelmed.  And I feel guilty about feeling overwhelmed because there are people sick and dying; and healthcare professionals and first responders risking their lives. People are losing their jobs and wondering where their next meal will come from.  So in the scheme of things, me having to figure out how to teach multiples and factors isn’t really that big of a deal. But I’ve said I will be honest here – and the honest truth is I’m overwhelmed. 

I spent a lot of time this afternoon in the kitchen and made a new recipe that Arden enjoyed and asked for more!  That was a major victory.  Here is the recipe if you are interested.

Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta with Mushrooms and Peas

  • Author: Bri McKoy


  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 5 oz shiitake or baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 14 oz Italian Sausage (or breakfast sausage) 
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock 
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 16 oz Orecchiette pasta or pasta of choice (we used farfella) 

Topping (Optional – we didn’t do this):

  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1/2 cup bread or panko crumbs
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme 


  1. In a sauté pan over medium high heat, add the butter and oil. Once butter is melted add the mushrooms. Cook until browned about 2 minutes on each side.
  2. Add the shallot and cook for another minute. Add garlic and salt and sauté for an additional minute. Add the sausage and crumble while it cooks. Sauté for 8 minutes, until browned. 
  3. Slowly pour in the wine, using a wooden spoon to scrap up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. 
  4. Add mascarpone cheese. Stir to combine. 
  5. Add chicken stock, heavy cream and peas.
  6. Remove from heat and add freshly cracked black pepper and the parmesan cheese. Stir.
  7. Serve over pasta and top with bread crumbs. 

For breadcrumbs:

  1. In a small sauté pan over medium high heat add butter. Add panko or bread crumbs. Sauté until browned, about 2 minutes. Toss in fresh thyme. Use to top pasta.

New of the Day

Global COVID19 cases are 716,101 with 33,854 deaths. US total cases are 136,106 with 2,391 deaths.

President Trump extends social distancing guidelines until April 30th.

Country singer Joe Diffie died from complications from COVID19 

Plan for the Day:

The day is nearly over. I did get 3 days of lesson plans completed and a yummy dinner made. The rest of the evening will likely be pretty lazy, and that’s ok.

See you tomorrow!


Welcome Back

Day 13

Lucky 13.  Woohoo. We have reached the 2nd weekend of the stay at home/isolation/social distancing/no one is coming to save us coronavirus thingy. Today in our neck of the woods – pun intended – we are under severe weather threats. That seems about right. Nothing says Happy Birthday to You like a world-wide pandemic AND an impending natural disaster. I mean, we already are under a flood warning because the Mississippi is supposed to crest at 17 feet this week.  So why not add tornadoes and golf ball sized hail?? What more could a girl POSSIBLY wish for to celebrate her birth!?!?!

I’m not bitter.  Really I’m not.

I drove over to Burlington this morning to pick up our grocery order at Wal-Mart and run into a couple other stores to get things to make this week a little more bearable (Wal-Mart was sold out of a few things that we needed). It was a strange feeling in the 3 places I went.  People were doing their best to stay away from each other. There was little eye contact. When I picked up my groceries, the associate loading my car said it had been crazy every day for two weeks and she was feeling a little frazzled. She, Tori, is the associate who I have nearly every time I get my groceries.  She does a great job. She said that she (and all the others working) are afraid, but that they are doing their best to keep safe. She said I was the first to ask her how she was doing and that she really appreciated my concern. That made me sad. It is so easy to lighten someone’s load by just asking them how they are. I have tucked that lesson away in my brain.  I don’t ever want to forget it!


I went into Hy-Vee to get a couple things and found these flowers by the front door.  Obviously flowers are not the top of the needs list during a pandemic, so they look a little worse for wear, but I bought them anyway. I need a little life in my house right now.  Also, I had just bought these little bird bud vases and was dying to try them out. These are my birthday presents to me. I love them. They are making me smile! Yeah for fresh flowers and little fat birds!


Yesterday was a lot of laying around and reading and doing a bunch of nothing.  I did, however, make a batch of cookies. They are delicious. I do not predict them lasting very long.  Yum!


Oh, one more thing!  Wally and Eve are back!!! They are the groundhogs that live in our backyard.  I looked out the window today and there they were – their little fat selves – sitting just where they sat last year.  I am not exaggerating when I say I got tears in my eyes to see them there. Welcome back, old friends!  I’m so glad you survived the winter!  This seems like a sign of good things to come!



News of the Day:  

According to tracking from Johns Hopkins, coronavirus cases surpassed 620,000 worldwide, with more than 28,000 deaths.

The United States now leads the world with over 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, overtaking China and Italy, and over 1,700 deaths.

On Friday, Italy reported 969 new deaths — the largest number in a single day — bringing the country’s death toll to 9,134.

Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged last year, partly reopened on Saturday.

Plan for the day: Sneak outside before the severe weather starts this afternoon.  I think we are ordering take out so I don’t have to cook. Find things to keep me distracted from how sad I am feeling today.

See you tomorrow!


The Gambler

Day 6

Happy Saturday, friends! I’m writing this post early today because I plan to disconnect from most technology (not music) for the rest of the day.  I’ve been awake since 5:30 a.m. because – well you know why – the dog! I didn’t bother to try to go back to sleep. I’ve been reading magazines, watching cooking shows, folding laundry, drinking coffee and generally having a quiet and calm morning to myself.  I filled the crock pots with dinner stuff – ham and green beans – and have watched the cats and dog chase each other around the living room for most of the morning. All three are now sprawled out, sound asleep from the sheer exhaustion of it all!


Romeo and I have walked outside 2 times already today.  The sun is shining and the birds are singing – it is still chilly (30 degrees) but as long as I can see and feel the sun, I am a happy girl!  Once the rest of the house wakes up, I am going to suggest a long walk in forest with the puppy – it would be a shame to waste this sun – the week looks to be very dreary and rainy.  And we have now completed the weather report for today! Riveting writing right there!

We had a full day yesterday. We finished out our school work for the week, and went on the field trip to McDonald’s.  We stopped by the grocery store while we were in town, and picked up a few essentials that were running low at home. We arrived home just in time to do the Cowbell Challenge – Arden was not impressed but she giggled a lot, so I think it was a good idea.  We also squeezed in a few spirited games of Old Maid.  Arden is NOT a good loser. She gets that honest. We didn’t put any money on any of the games – but things could change as we go along this road!

The attempted science experiment for yesterday was a bit of a bust. We tried to race paper fish using water and dish soap. The first attempt was semi-successful, but all further attempts resulted in simply drowning the poor, innocent fish.  Oh well, they can’t all be a success!  

After cleaning up the mess of the home school week, I sat down to watch the news for a few minutes and learned that Illinois is now under a stay at home order and we are out of school for at least an additional week.  The earliest we would go back to school is April 8th. For us, the stay at home order doesn’t do much to impact our daily lives. I was hoping to take Arden to do some thrift shopping next week, but I can come up with something else to do.  Other than that, we really weren’t going anywhere anyway. The longer time out of school is going to be a real challenge. The absence of people, especially for my little social butterfly, is going to be a serious struggle and one I’m praying for guidance to maneuver.  I ordered some playground balls – dodge balls, football, soccer ball, basketball – and though we don’t have friends to play with, we are going to play! I just need the weather to help me out a little. The balls won’t be here until Friday, so Mother Nature has some time to cooperate, but I am putting her on notice – WE NEED SUNSHINE!!!! 

Terry and I celebrate our anniversary this week.  Twelve years. It is hard to believe. Should be a really special and romantic evening quarantined together with a 10 year old, two cats and a dog.  AHHH – Romance!!

My birthday is next Saturday.  I will be 44. I’m not sure how that happened.  I am pretty sure I was 30 yesterday. That also should be a really exciting day of celebration.  Maybe I’ll put on a fancy outfit and strut around the front yard. I’ll keep you posted!

News of the Day: IL is on a governor issued stay at home order until at least April 7th.  The order goes into effect at 5 p.m. today.  Citizens are not to leave their homes for anything other than medical necessity, purchasing food,  and getting gas.  Schools are also closed until at least April 7th.  

Kenny Rogers died last night.  He was 81. Islands in the Stream is my favorite duet probably ever.  

Plan for the day:  Unplug. Get outside. Read. Clean the bathroom. 

See you tomorrow!


Cry Me A River

Day 4

Hey, it’s Thursday!  My child just said she can’t wait to get back to school for P.E.  I don’t even know who we are anymore. P.E.???? What is happening?  I guess I need to find a ball and start throwing it at her or something.  I’m not even sure I have a ball. And this, along with the fact that long division was on the menu for today’s math lesson, is why I was a tolerable high school history teacher, but will never teach elementary. 

I haven’t done long division without a calculator since approximately 1989. I’m pretty sure that muscle has atrophied. It ain’t happening. Will the child be incapable of functioning as a productive member of society if she can’t do long division on paper?  Is she destined for a life of crime? I Googled how to do it and I don’t even recognize the steps – like none of it looks familiar. So, I can’t do long division and I’m not a criminal. She’ll probably be fine. Right? I think Terry might remember how to do it.  He’s making sure no one vandalizes the forest right now, so I can’t ask. Maybe he can help her tomorrow?  

Today was the first time – on this journey – we’ve had tears over school work – both of us.  Division was our Waterloo. See what I did there? Waterloo – it is a history reference – I KNOW HISTORY!  

Thankfully, there were other options for today’s math work – so we put the division worksheet to the side and proceeded with what made us feel confident and successful.  We’ll try division later (after I’ve found a YouTube video to remind me how the heck to divide).  Or we won’t.  I mean, who exactly is going to make me!?!?!  


Yesterday went much more smoothly than this morning has.  We did our math and reading with no incident. We finished our bread preparations and baked it.  It was delicious. We did two science experiments. I posted one on Facebook, but below is the second.  This one’s for Rock Candy and will take several days to complete. But in the end – Candy!


Arden was supposed to learn how to make Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner last night.  I even chopped up all the ingredients so they were all ready, but then she got a video call from a friend from her old school and off she went.  I was so happy to see her so happy to have some human interaction (even if it was on a screen), that I made the soup myself. That also turned out well – she can learn how to make it another time. It isn’t like we’re going anywhere!

News of The Day: President Trump signed Families First CoronaVirus Response Act.  This legislation gives free virus testing and paid emergency leave for those who are sick or caring for a family member who is sick. It also gives Medicaid funding, food assistance and unemployment benefits for more people.

Congress is also working on additional legislation which may give money directly to citizens whether infected or not.  There is real concern about how these things will be paid for once this crisis has passed, but there doesn’t seem to be any way around providing assistance to people and the current economy.

The latest reason for public outrage are the masses of college students celebrating their spring break on the beaches of Florida, rather than self-distancing like the rest of us.  The outrage is probably righteously disguised jealousy, because they are there and we are here. Staring at our walls and our families and desperately wishing we had a daiquiri in our hands and our feet in the sand.  Either the children are complete idiots or we are – and truthfully I doubt we will ever know for sure.

Today we have severe storms coming through the area. The temperatures are supposed to get as high as 68 and then crash overnight. Because it is spring in the Midwest and the weather here is bipolar – and in these uncertain times, there is a bit of reassurance in the reliability of the whackadoo weather here in Illinois. 

Plan for the Day: Recover from the trauma of this morning’s math debacle. Work through the rest of our schedule.  DO THE LAUNDRY. If I keep putting this task on the list, maybe it will actually happen. Probably ought to scrub the toilet at some point.  

See you tomorrow!



Come Rain or Come Shine

Day 3

Good Morning! It’s another beautiful day in the forest under government recommended isolation.  Actually it is cold and rainy and dreary and gross. We slept in – even the dog until all of 5:45 a.m.!! I, again, was able to go back to sleep after taking him outside.  I set an alarm, but apparently my body had different ideas because I didn’t wake up until 9. I beat myself up for a minute for failing at my schedule just 2 days into this home teaching thing, but then realized that I will do much more egregious things before this ordeal is over, so I’m just going to save my self-flagellation until it is really a bad thing!  I simply adjusted our schedule for the day and pushed play on a good playlist. We have rain and storms (and a flood warning in the region for the weekend – because why not add a little natural disaster to the mix) but we also have coffee and waffles and warm socks and what will soon be fresh baked bread! So let’s do this thing!

Here is our new schedule for today:


Yesterday went very well.  We accomplished all of the school work we were scheduled to do and then did a science experiment and a little painting.  I showed Arden how to start the process for making the loaves of bread she loves to have when I make soup (She calls it Panera Bread – and I take that as very high praise!).  It is a no-knead recipe and other than measuring out the ingredients and patience, doesn’t really require a lot of skill – which for me is the key. I’ll post the recipe so you can try it if you happen to have the materials on hand, or can get the materials on hand and not get the plague.  We will finish that up today.



No Knead Bread Recipe

We took a long walk with Romeo yesterday.  It was cold but the sun was glorious and it was a good opportunity to get out and breathe some fresh air and talk.  Arden has a lot of questions and I have very few answers, but I think just letting her ask and us try to reason through it all together is calming her down a bit.  She has some interesting opinions on how long this will all last – some reassuring, some doomsday – and where’s the safest place to be – the forest is the safest but the least fun because there are no people!

Yesterday I really struggled with the reality that Arden is my only child.  She is stuck out here in the forest with no one but her parents for company right now. My sister posted a picture of her daughter and their neighbors having a play date from across the street – one child on one side of the street, the other child on the other side of the street – but still able to interact with each other.  It was adorable and creative, but nothing we can even get close to copying. This made me feel sorry for myself and my daughter for a few minutes. Remember how I said we are going to feel our feelings, but we aren’t going to live in them??  Yesterday was my opportunity to put those sage words into practice. I gave myself a few minutes to feel blue about it and then to pray that this is really just a 15 day exercise and we can get back to people in a couple of weeks – well at least Arden can get back to people at school – there are never going to be people in the forest. If there suddenly WERE people in the forest (other than just as visitors) we’d have a whole other set of problems and I don’t think I’d fair well in a zombie apocalypse.  I’m rambling. Sorry.

Today we are going to get creative on how to entertain ourselves while stuck inside – like really stuck inside – it is pouring!  Arden is working on math now and then we have reading and lunch. We are going to do a rock candy experiment, but it takes a week to complete, so she has requested we come up with another experiment to add that will be accomplished today.  So we are going to get the rock candy started and then do some tie-dye milk drawing.

Last night, I couldn’t bring myself to cook anything.  I had good intentions of getting the soup going, but we didn’t make it happen.  So, Terry said why don’t we order pizza!?!? Win/Win – stimulate the local economy AND Momma didn’t have to cook!  Hallelujah!

News of the Day: Today the U.S. closed the border with Canada (in addition to other international travel from other nations which was done in the past couple weeks). There are an estimated 200K people infected with the virus worldwide.  Severity of the sickness varies from no symptoms to severe respiratory distress and death.  

The country of origin of the virus – China – seems to be slowly recovering from the outbreak.  They have been on about a 3 month curve with this virus – so that may be an indication of the length we are looking at here.  Of course, they are a dictatorial regime and literally locked down their people with military force to slow the spread – I’m thinking that might not work in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We shall see.

The Congress is working on a stimulus bill to help give financial relief to American workers who have been affected by the closing of many industries and businesses.  

Joe Biden won the IL, FL and AZ primaries last night.  He has a 300+ delegate lead over Bernie Sanders. This appears to be an insurmountable number.  It is thought Bernie will drop out in the next couple of days – leaving a Trump vs. Biden general election in the fall.  It will be interesting to see how the “Spring of Virus” impacts the election.

Philip Rivers, former Quarterback of the Los Angeles (San Diego) Chargers signed with the Indianapolis Colts for one year.  So it appears I will go from a Bolt to a Colt fan – this will make Terry very happy as he is an Indy fan. Tom Brady is NOT going to the Chargers – so I can keep cheering for them as well – but to Tampa Bay.

Plan for the Day: School work. Bread. Soup. Laundry. Survive and Advance.

See you tomorrow!



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