photo p1_zpsc8a7232f.png  photo j2_zpsc3f43514.png  photo p2_zpse73671a0.png  photo j2_zpsc3f43514.png  photo p3_zps456abd62.png  photo j2_zpsc3f43514.png  photo p5_zps95486d0f.png  photo j2_zpsc3f43514.png  photo p4_zps481d5f13.png

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zoom Bombing from Joe Gatto!

I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with the show Impractical Jokers or TruTV or not but last Thursday one of the stars, Joe Gatto, popped into Peter's Environmental Science class to surprise the kids.

Apparently he's been doing this all through the quarantine and Peter's teacher entered a contest for a surprise visit and actually won. I love to see the kids reactions.Some of them got their parents, one girl was so excited she started to cry, some kids texted their friends and you can see them pop into the class. 

Anyway, it was cute (although I feel bad for him trying to make conversation over Zoom with kids are a clearly star struck and a little in shock) and it definitely made Peter's day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Just over here trying hard not to bite off the heads of those I love the most.

Last Thursday I was in a bit of a funk.  Like everyone else, I AM OVER IT!

Friday I did manage to drop off a birthday present for Jennifer and that made my day (week! month! - okay at this point, probably my year!).  It was so nice just to chat with her for a little bit. I miss our lunches.  :(

Then Saturday I was back in my funk but on Sunday Jennifer dropped off a bouquet of flowers for me.  She had been to the farmer's market and picked up a bouquet for me and one for my mom. I lucked out in the best friend department! :)

On Monday morning,I went to the grocery store which always makes me feel a little more normal even though all the masks and sanitized carts and lack of toilet paper remind me that in fact, nope, still not normal. After lunch I went on a walk. 

On this walk I asked God to just let me know that everything was going to be all right. I have a tendency to worry about things far out in the future and things that are out of my control. And right now, EVERYTHING is out of my control.

At the end of my walk, I checked the mail and received a sweet note from one of my dear friends.  Tucked inside the note was a little card with Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God.

All righty then.  I love it when God responds so quickly!

I'm still not in the greatest of moods but I am trying to remind myself that God is in control, that things will get back to normal soon enough, and I'm trying not to worry about next fall and winter and this whole thing happening again.  Just trying to take it one day at a time.

And I am also trying not to beat myself up for the fact that even though I am walking 3 miles a day 4 or 5 times a week, I CONTINUE TO GAIN WEIGHT.

Sadly, I fear this might not be too far from the truth for me but laughter is the best medicine, right?

I hope you guys are all fairing better than I am!  Hang in there!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Prayer request, hair questions answered (sort of), and a recipe!

Could I ask for continued prayers for Dan's Uncle Bob?  He is still in the rehab facility.  His breathing is fine (no oxygen needed), he has no fever (been fever-free for over a week and a half) BUT they won't release him back to his retirement home until he tests negative for COVID-19.  Even though he is symptom-free, he continues to test positive.  After each positive test, they wait THREE DAYS before they will test again.  He just received another positive test yesterday so he won't be tested again until Thursday.  IF he passes that test, he must pass another test the next day before he can be released.

Uncle Bob is spending his days alone in a room with nothing but a telephone (the kind hooked to a wall) and a tv.  He is bored out of his mind. He isn't even allowed to walk the halls of the rehab facility.  Please pray that his next test is negative and that he is able to continue to pass the time without going stir crazy.

Several of you asked questions about the hair training so I thought I'd answer them here.

On days that I am not washing my hair, I put it up in a shower cap so it doesn't get wet.  For people that do sweaty workouts on the regular while hair training, Jasmine recommends using a blow dryer on the cool setting and drying the sweat.  She says that the salt in the sweat is good for the hair follicles. 

I don't use any product in my hair to style it so I don't know how that would work.  BUT  - I did put some curl in my hair the other day and it was still in there two days later.  Obviously, it wasn't as curly (more wavy after sleeping on it) but I still thought it looked cute.  If I was actually leaving the house I would have just re-curled a couple of strands and been good to go!

I wish Jasmine had a blog so that you could read all the info.  Instead, she just talks about her method on Instagram and Facebook so you have to watch the videos.  I'm more of a word peruser and find videos kind of annoying.  But all the info is there you just have to sort through the videos!

I made the most delicious dessert for Sunday lunch.  It's called Cookies and Cream Brownie Trifle from Chef In Training. It was so good!  EVERYONE loved it.  And even if you don't want to make the trifle, I recommend the brownie recipe.  Dan and I agreed that the brownies were dense and chocolatey and just perfect.  So it's like two recipes in one!

So it's no surprise that I put on a pair of leggings yesterday AND THEY WERE TIGHT!

I continue to walk three miles a day but I also continue to eat Cookies and Cream Brownie Trifle.
I was hoping that the walking would counterbalance all the eating.  Apparently, that's not working.

I guess I could walk more.  I guess I could eat less. 

OR I could just order new leggings.  PROBLEM SOLVED! :)

Friday, April 17, 2020

Quarantine. What's it good for?

I started off our quarantine with a bang.  I cleaned out a closet, made some homemade breads, and cleaned out a few filthy window sills.

And then in week two, I lost steam.  The reality of our new normal set in and I just didn't give a crap about anything other than making it through quarantine.

But the one thing that I have managed to accomplish during quarantine that I hope will have lasting results is HAIR TRAINING!

Back in January I started following Jasmine Rae Hair Company on Instagram (she also has a Facebook page).  If you check her out, you will see that she has beautiful, long, REAL hair.  I call it mermaid hair because to me it looks just as I would imagine a mermaid's hair to look if mermaids were real.

And she has gotten this beautiful, healthy hair by only washing it once every three weeks or so!

My hair stylist has told me for quite some time that I shouldn't wash my hair every day because washing it and drying it is damaging it.

I always responded by whining and complaining about my greasy hair and that it HAS TO BE WASHED DAILY because it gets so gross looking.

But then I found Jasmine and listened to her explain that every time you shampoo your hair you are striping away the natural oils from your scalp.  In response, your body produces more oil to replace what you removed.  So by washing it everyday for my entire life, my scalp created extra oil to compensate for the oil I was unnaturally removing.

So in order to get my scalp to stop creating and secreting so much oil, I need to STOP WASHING MY HAIR EVERY DAY!

But you have to TRAIN your scalp to do this.  For the first few weeks of January, I washed my hair every other day.  On the in between days, I used dry shampoo (she recommends L'ange products and gets paid by them.  I will tell you, their dry shampoo is the best one I've tried to date.  They always run sales so if you want to try any of their products wait until they are having a 50% off sale.)

After a few weeks of this, I added another day between shampoos.  So for instance, I would wash my hair on a Monday and then not wash it again until Thursday.  I was at this point in the process when quarantine set in.  So now that we aren't going anywhere or doing anything I have been able to work up to going 4 days in between washes and am about to add in an extra day and see how that goes.

My hair doesn't look fabulous all the time and by the time it is hair wash day, it definitely needs it but it's fine because NO ONE IS SEEING ME AND I DON'T REALLY CARE HOW I LOOK!

I have noticed that I need less dry shampoo now as well.  Previously I was using it every day between washes but now I am typically only using it on the last couple of days before I wash my hair.  So it must be working!  I am slowly but surely training my scalp to make less oil!

I don't think I will every get to the 21 days between hair washing and honestly I'm fine with that.  If I can get to where I wash it once a week and it looks good all seven days I will be happy.

She doesn't have a blog so you have to watch her tutorials on  Insta - they are saved in the highlight bubbles. She does Facebook lives regularly as well. I can definitely say that my hair is healthier than it has ever been AND I have a lot of new baby hairs growing in.  (New  hair growth is one of the benefits of hair training.)

In the picture below, I had washed my hair on Wednesday and this was Sunday:

Not bad, is it?

I washed my hair on Monday morning and today is Friday. I am planning on washing it tomorrow but I might see if I can go until Sunday.  I'm just going to see how it looks in the morning.   Nobody is going to see me so it doesn't matter! So in that respect, I guess quarantine has been good for something!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Easter 2020.

Happy Easter!  I hope everyone had a great one!

It was weird but I guess ours was as good as you can expect under quarantine. 

The Easter service is my favorite so watching it online was a horrible replication.  I think part of what makes Easter mass so great is that you can  feel the joy in the air.  The church is full, Lenten restrictions are gone, everyone is wearing their Easter finest, we've made it through a very long and dark 40 days, and we have come out victorious because our Lord has risen!  And I love all the Easter music and the choir and it just feels so happy and joyous.

So watching Easter mass online brought me more annoyance than joy. It was just another reminder of all that we are missing thanks to this virus.  I told my husband last night that even though Lent was over, it still felt like Lent - thank you COVID-19. 

I have been trying not to focus on what we (and by we, I mean the entire world) has lost and I have been trying not to think about when this will be over and what other things we are going to lose because I'm sure getting back to normal is going to be a long process.  Instead I am trying to remember that God can take a mess and make something beautiful out of it.  I am hoping and praying that while the next year may not look like we want it to look, it will still be beautiful. 

In today's Gospel reading, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary left the empty tomb "with fear and great joy" and that's kind of how I'm trying to approach this quarantine.  While I am full of fear and uneasiness and hopelessness, I know that God can make it beautiful and that should full me with joy.


I'm still a work in process so I still working on the joy part but I'm trying!  I just keep repeating one of my favorite prayers, "Jesus, I trust in you.  Help me to trust you more."

The kids checked out their baskets and then we went next door for lunch with my mom and brother. 

We had steak, twice baked potatoes, and salad.  And for dessert we had this delicious Cherry Chocolate Chip cake that Sarah and I made.  I made the cake and she made the frosting and frosted it.

It was delicious!

After lunch we opened our baskets from Mom.  Yes, my mom also makes a basket for me, my brother, and Dan.  And I imagine when I'm a grandma, I'll be doing the same!

Not happy about posing with Easter baskets but doing it anyway for Mom.

Again, not happy posing with Easter baskets but again, doing it for Mom.

Last night we had a big storm blow through. In fact, it's still very windy today.  There was a tornado warning at about 5:00 or so this morning.  The winds howled all night long but luckily in our part of the county there wasn't much damage.  In other areas there were a lot of trees down and power outages but we are fine here.  The power went out a lot last night but would always come back on after a few minutes.  I am always very thankful when we don't lose power for an extended period of time!  It has stopped raining and I think the winds are supposed to die down by mid afternoon. I hope so because after all that I ate on Easter, I need to go on a nice long walk.

That's all for today but I would like to leave you with a picture of my hummingbird buddy.  He has been visiting since April 7th.  I'm hoping that more of his friends and family join him soon. I'm ready for the humminbirds to be buzzing around and fighting over the feeders!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

A prayer request, a kalanchoe, and another chicken recipe.

Has it really been over a week since my last post?  You would thank that with all this spare time on my hands I would have time to write a blog post but - eh, I guess my motivation is nowhere to be found.

The weather here has been glorious since the weekend.  It's been in the upper 70s and sunshine and that has done a lot to lift my spirits.  I've been walking every morning in an attempt to get rid of all the extra weight that I have put on in the last year.  I could blame it all on the quarantine but I would be kidding myself.  I was at a wonderful weight early last spring and then proceeded to gain a lot of it back on our vacation last July and haven't been able to lose it again. 

In fact, it's almost as if I turned 50 in September and my body was like, "Oh, you think you want to lose some weight, do you?  Well, guess what?  You're an old lady now so not only will losing weight be harder but you will automatically gain extra weight even though you are not eating any extra and exercising the same as before."

Apparently not only is my body against me but it's now talking to me as well.

Perhaps turning 50 also brought on a little craziness?

I guess all of this to say, I'm working against age-related weight gain AND a quarantine so all my clothes are getting tight.  And it really stinks because I bought a bunch of new shorts last spring since I was at a nice new low weight and guess what doesn't fit now?  Yep - all those cute shorts.

Okay - so I've addressed the weather and my weight.  Is anyone still reading?  Have you all fallen asleep? I really wouldn't blame you if you had.  :)

So, what's been happening around here?

Dan's 84-year-old uncle has tested positive for COVID-19.  He is a retired priest living in a priests retirement community.  4 other priests had tested positive two weeks ago, one of which was a good friend of Uncle Bob's. 

Uncle Bob has a mild case of it and was being tended to at the retirement community.  However, on Monday the staff didn't like his oxygen levels so they took him to the hospital. He as admitted and given oxygen through the nose.  Thankfully he is not on a ventilator and they are expecting to move him from the hospital to a rehab facility today so they can continue to monitor his levels and make sure he is well before they send him back to the retirement community. Your prayers for him are appreciated.

I picked up this cute little kalanchoe from Aldi this week during my one trip out into the world and was very pleased to discover that it matched my Mrs. Meyer's products.  It's the little things, y'all!

I tried a new recipe this week and everyone liked it so I will definitely be making it again:

I know it doesn't look like much but it was delicious from this picture but it was really good.  It's Coconut Chicken Tikki Masala from Half Baked Harvest.  Check out her pictures.  It looks much better!  I served it with rice and grilled naan bread and was told to make it again.  So I will!

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my hummingbirds and yesterday I spotted one on one of the feeders!  I was so happy to see it.  But it flew away and I haven't spotted another one yet.  But don't worry - I'll be filling up the pages of this blog with pictures of them soon enough.

I made a chocolate log roll for Sunday dessert and it was delicious.  They are a lot of work but one of Dan's favorite desserts and what else is there to do these days so I had no excuse.  I overbeat the egg whites and I think that's why the cake came out a little fluffier than it should have.  This extra fluffiness made it harder to roll so it wasn't as pretty as it could have been but it tasted delicious.

Do you remember the one I made in December?  It's right here. It's so much prettier (because I was trying to make it look like an actual buche de noel.)  Anyway, the one I made in December wasn't as tasty so I guess I'll take good taste over good looks any day.

Starting today, the kids are on Easter break until the 20th.  They are excited not to have any school work to do over the break but other than that, there's really no excitement.  Peter was supposed to be touring colleges with his friends and then we were all going to Charleston/Folly Beach for a long weekend.  Now, Peter's going to try to help his uncle for some extra money and Sarah's going to do an online class to work towards her lifeguard certification.  (She was supposed to be doing all the in-pool and in-class portion of it over this break)  Hopefully, the pools will be open in May so she can complete the rest of the Red Cross training but I'm not sure.  She was hoping to be done with it this month so she could get a job this summer lifeguarding.   

Right before everything was closed down, a new shop selling ice cream and coffee near our house was in the process of opening.  Obviously, they haven't opened yet and I'm hoping that they will still be able to when life goes back to normal.  Sarah, who loves coffee, has also decided that she would like to work there as well when she turns 16.

Oh, and by the way - MY BABY WILL BE 16 IN TWO MONTHS!!!  She keeps reminding me of this but I keep trying to put it out of my mind.  She's even sending me links to cars so I guess it's all happening whether I want to admit it or not.

All right this post is getting away from me.  I am going to attempt to write more this week.  Not that I will have anything exciting to write about but at least it will give me something to do. See you tomorrow - maybe.