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Thursday, May 28, 2020

A very long weekend.

We had a very long Memorial Day weekend around here.  Dan was off Friday, Monday AND Tuesday.  But before you get too excited by that, it's because his company is giving all the salaried employees 15 mandatory vacation days (with a given schedule as to when they are to be taken) to make up for the fact that all salaried employees are having to take a 10% pay cut for the rest of the year. 

I am trying to remain positive.  Thankfully they haven't started laying anyone off yet and thankfully they are trying to compensate for the lost pay with extra days off.  I continue to read about cuts all the airlines are making and it's only a matter of time before it trickles down to Dan's company.  (The company he works for makes airplane seats so if the airlines aren't buying new planes or upgrading the old ones get the picture.)  Still, I'm trying to remain thankful that at this point he still has a job and a paycheck. 

So on Friday we went car shopping with Sarah since she will be 16 soon.  And yes, in retrospect, it's probably not wise to be car shopping with the current state of affairs but we found an excellent deal on a 2020 car that the dealership used as a loaner.  It has very low miles and still has that new car smell on the inside and the discounts on it we large. 

Sarah has an appointment with the DMV to do her in car driving test on June 16th.  Sadly, we learned yesterday that most likely they aren't going to be doing in car tests until the new year.  But it sounds like they are trying to pass a bill in the state legislature that would allow kids that need their license to drive without one until they are doing in-car tests again.  So hopefully that means that Sarah will be allowed to drive by herself with her permit.  But who knows?  We are anxiously awaiting to see how all of that plays out.

On Saturday Sarah completed all of her training and is now officially American Red Cross Life Guard and First-Aid/CPR certified!  When she was done, she texted us that she had passed but that it was one of the hardest things physically that she has ever done. 

Once she got that completed she went online to finish all the forms and paperwork that the pool management company she was hired to work for needed to make everything official.  All that's been turned in and now she's just waiting for a call back to find out the next steps.  I'm getting a little antsy because this pool is supposed to open on June 1st and Sarah still hasn't heard anything about training yet.  I'm hoping that the job doesn't fall through but I'm a little worried at this point.

In other pool news, the pool that we are members of opened on Tuesday but the weather has been so wet this week, we haven't gone. And sadly, we heard that there will be no official summer league swim season.  The team will attempt to have some sort of practices in July but no meets.  Sarah doesn't seem to interested in just going to practices so I'm not even sure if she will do that or not. 

On Monday, we had a cookout (it was cloudy but thankfully it didn't rain).  My mom and my brother joined us as well as Jennifer and her family.    We had a great time. We ate too much, laughed, and talked and it was nice to just be with friends and family.  For a few hours, I forgot about COVID-19.

And one more piece of bright news:  my hummingbirds seem to be back in full force!  I was worried about them.  I had a couple around the feeders but not to the degree they normally visit.  People on the local Facebook page were complaining as well so at least it wasn't my feeders or my food.  They were speculating that the honeysuckle is in bloom early this year and the birds were eating that instead of visiting feeders.  Others were speculating that the cool wet weather was keeping them away.  Yesterday, I had birds at my feeders through out the day and I was very happy to see them! Hopefully my tiny feathered friends will continue to grace my back yard!

Thursday, May 21, 2020


Our lovely weather from last week has disappeared.  This week has been wet and cold.  Feels more like early March than the end of May.  It's supposed to be warm this weekend and not rainy so I guess I'll take it.

Not much has been happening over here.  The kid's official last day of class is tomorrow.  They each have a grade level Zoom meeting on Tuesday but I'm not sure what that will entail.  They are just excited to be done with online school. 

Today they are going to the school to pick up their year books.  They will also be handed all the contents of their lockers which some lucky staff members got to bag up for everyone.  And they will be returning anything that belongs to the school - for example, Peter has two library books that need to go back.

I'm glad they get their yearbooks but it's a little sad that no one will be able to sign them. ...sigh...

On a brighter note - North Carolina moves into phase 2 of reopening on Friday at 5:00 pm.  This means restaurants can open at 50% capacity and salons can start cutting hair.  Also, pools will be able to open as well.

Sarah will actually be able to do her lifeguard training in a pool instead of a lake in the mountains thanks to phase 2.  She's excited to get that done so she can get all of her certification paperwork to her new employer and get to work.

In other exciting news we will begin car shopping for Sarah this weekend.  She's a little more excited about that than I am.  :)

Sarah and I ventured out to Marshall's and Target and Kohl's yesterday.  It wasn't much fun.  It's hard to shop for clothes when you can't try them on. We bought a few things and will most likely be returning some of them (neither one of us has tried anything on yet.)

Also, the selection is the stores was odd.  I guess it's because they are trying to get rid of the stuff that they had in early March when everything closed down and there's not a ton of summer stuff yet.  Not sure if that's because production on those items was halted or if they are just cautious on the amount of items they are bringing in. 

And Marshall's, which is usually packed to the brim with merchandise crammed everywhere, looked like they were in process of having a going-out-of-business sale and weren't restocking the shelves. 

Our chuch is holding Mass outdoors this weekend.  I'm interested to see how that goes. We are required to bring our own chairs, must space them 6 feet apart from other families, and the Eucharistic ministers will be applying hand sanitizer between each family they give communion to.  I am expecting a lot of people.  Dan however isn't.  The Bishop is still granting dispensation from the requirement to attend mass.  Dan thinks a lot of people will use this an excuse not to go.  Regardless of whether there are a lot or a few it's going to be interesting.

And with that, I will close this boring dreary post. I guess this post matches my mood which matches the weather. I don't even have any pictures to add to this post.  Hopefully we will have some sunshine soon on all fronts.

Friday, May 15, 2020

My swimmer girl!

The week after schools shut down here, Sarah was supposed to receive an award at her school's winter sports assembly.  We were finally able to go pick up that award this week!

Here is my sweet swimmer girl with her plaque for Most Outstanding Swimmer for the Bishop McGuinness Varsity Girl's Swim Team!!

And here's the picture I posted on my other social media accounts because she liked it better:

In other news - she got a job as a lifeguard this summer!  (Well, if they can open the pools.)

There's a pool about 20 minutes from here that a friend of hers worked at last summer and even though she was a first-year lifeguard, she got a bunch of hours.  Our local pool gives a lot of hours to the more experienced lifeguards and less to first time guards so Sarah decided to interview with them. 

She got the job and is now waiting to hear from them on when training and pool setup are scheduled. She still has to complete the in-water portion of her training but since pools aren't open yet, the school she's taking her training through has gotten approval to do it in the lake at Raven Knob.

Raven Knob is the Boy Scout camp Peter went to every year and he said that the lake is cold even in the middle of June so Sarah isn't looking forward to being in it next weekend but she's going to have to do it to get certified!

I met with my Care Group on Wednesday.  Since we couldn't meet at Chick-Fil-A we met at one of their houses.  We were planning to sit on the deck outside but it was misting and it was very chilly so we brought yard chairs and sat in her garage wrapped in blankets.  I'm sure we looked ridiculous but we had a great time.  It was so nice to catch up with these ladies. 

And yesterday I was able to chat with Jennifer and catch up with her and that also made me feel a little more human. 

It's supposed to be consistently in the 80s now so the kids begged me to turn on the air conditioning.  Dan usually likes to wait as long as possible and since it's been a fairly cool spring, not turning it on until mid-May might be a record.  Plus I wanted to turn it on this morning to make sure it works.  We have consistently had issues with our downstairs heat pump ever since we built this house and typically have problems the first time we turn the air on in the spring.  But it seems to be working fine right now so I'm happy!

We don't have much planned for this weekend.  Sarah's going hiking with a friend and Peter's going to meet some friends at Cookout and they are going to eat their burgers in the parking lot.  So I guess Dan and I will get some take out from somewhere tonight and have a little date.  I am so ready to be able to eat in a restaurant again and just casually walk through Target browsing and deciding if I really need another black tee-shirt or not.

If there's one thing I've learned during this quarantine it's this:

Non-essential stores are opening back up around here but I haven't made it to any of them yet.  I'm trying to wait for a little until the novelty wears off so I don't have to stand in line for 30 minutes just to get into Marshalls.  I'm hoping to be able to venture out next week.  Fingers crossed.

Enjoy your weekend people!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Mother's Day 2020 - the one where I cooked.

We had a very lovely Mother's Day!

My mom normally cooks Sunday lunch and I normally make dessert. We usually go out to eat on Mother's Day so that she doesn't have to cook.  Since we couldn't do it this year, I decided to cook for my mom so she wouldn't have to.  And Sarah, being the sweetheart that she is, decided to make Sunday dessert for me so I wouldn't have to.

I much prefer making a dessert to making a full meal so in order to keep it easy, I went with lasagna, cucumber tomato salad, and garlic bread.  I made the lasagna on Saturday so all I had to do was pop it into the oven on Sunday.

My mom always sets a beautiful table for Sunday lunch complete with flowers and table cloths so I decided to do the same for her. I even used my fine china and Waterford crystal. 

In my attempt to make sure the lasagna was done, I cooked it a little too long but it was still delicious.

Sarah made a Strawberry Triffle and it was also delicious!

And then we took a bunch of pictures:

My brother Brad, mom, me

Peter, my mom, me, Sarah

Peter, Dan, me, Sarah

And I opened my presents. The kids got me cards and a Yeti coffee mug!

And that was how we celebrated Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2020

On the verge of starting to get back to normal.

Phase 1 of restrictions begin lifted is set to occur today at 5:00 pm!  This means that non-essential retail stores can open at 50 percent capacity and gathering outdoors with friends and family is allowed.  Indoors is still limited to 10 people or less.

Assuming there is no up-tick in cases then Phase 2 will begin on May 22nd.  This phase will allow restaurants to open up for dine-in and also barber shops and  hair salons can open.  I am  hoping and praying for no up-tick in cases!

Peter needs to get his wisdom teeth pulled and he had his consultation on Wednesday. This was supposed to happen in March and got rescheduled twice.  When they called to confirm the appointment on Tuesday she asked if we were comfortable coming in or we could reschedule.  I felt comfortable so we went.

We had to call from the parking lot when we arrived.  A nurse then motioned us into the doorway where she took our temperature in the little area between the front door and the door into the lobby. She asked us a bunch of questions about travel and being around others who were sick and then gave us masks.  We were ushered into the room where the surgeon quickly came in, went over the procedure with us and then we were shown to billing where we were quickly processed and scheduled the surgery and then out the door on our merry way.  Other than the staff we saw no one else and came into contact with no one else.  It was all very surreal.

As we were driving away, the nurse was wiping down the door handle that we just used.  And this made me wonder about all the babies that are born now and all the toddlers. How will not being regularly exposed to germs you would naturally and normally come into contact with in a normal Non-Covid 19 life effect them now and in the future? 

Yes, I look annoyed! I could not breathe in this mask and my glass fogged up the entire time I was talking to the doctor. 

Sarah completed the online  portion of her life-guarding class and is going to take the in-person class with a few girls tomorrow.  She is looking forward to getting this done.  After this class (assuming she passes the test) then they will wait for pools to be able to open and complete the last portion. And if all goes well, she will be able to attempt to get a life-guarding job this summer is she wants to.

Hopefully Dan will get our garden planted this weekend if the weather cooperates so I can start looking forward to tomato sandwiches!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Great news!!

Guess what???

Uncle Bob was released yesterday!!!!!!!

His test on Monday was negative and the people at the rehab facility consulted with the people at his retirement home and they decided that since he had shown no symptoms of the virus for well over 2 weeks they were going to release him without another negative test!

We are so thankful and excited.  He called yesterday morning to tell us he was being released and he sounded a little somber (or maybe tired?)  but when he called to say he was back in his own room, he sounded elated!

Dan's cousin, Gerry, lives and works as a nurse in the area and was able to be there to see Uncle Bob as he was being released and managed to snap this picture as he was waving goodbye to all the staff:

He said he was shocked that Uncle Bob was actually walking out as most of the patients who are leaving after the virus are wheeled out in a wheelchair and in fact, the person that came out before Uncle Bob was being wheeled out on a stretcher.  So the fact that Uncle Bob is walking out is really great news!

Gerry said he looked good just tired and worn out from the whole ordeal and that he also looked like he had lost a bit of weight.  Hopefully, nothing that the food he loves at his retirement home and being in his own room will quickly remedy.

When I spoke with him on the phone yesterday, he said he was glad to be back in his room with all of his toys.  Kindle, computer, television, etc.  That made me laugh.

He will be quarantined in his room for 2 weeks now that he is back but he said he could leave his door open and other priests in the home can come to talk to him outside of his door. 

I am so thankful that he survived this virus and I'm very thankful that he has finally made it back to his home.  Thank you all for your prayers!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies.

For Sunday dessert I made Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies and aren't they beautiful?

My mom used to make these before the kids were born and I loved them so much.  Dan (who has the memory of an elephant when it's something that happened more than 15 years ago) claims the last time he had one was in October of 2001.  We were at the Outer Banks with my parents and mom had made a big batch of these to take with us. I'm not sure that was the last time she made them but that's the last time he remembers them.  I feel like she made them when the kids were babies but I can't remember!  There was a period of several years where she made these frequently.  They are a production to make but man are they good!

Here is the recipe:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches

Cookie Ingredients:

2 cups butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
24 ounces chocolate chips
6 cups oatmeal (regular NOT quick cooking)

Directions for Cookies:

Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy.
Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.
Combine wet and dry ingredients together until well mixed.
Mix in chocolate chips and oatmeal.

Place cookies on parchment covered baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 11 minutes. 

NOTE:  The above recipe makes a lot of cookies.  I HALVED this recipe and it made 12 sandwiches (24 non-iced cookies).  And I used a LARGE ice cream scoop when putting the cookie dough onto the baking sheets.  You can't tell from the picture but the cookies I made were bigger than my palm. 
Also, even though I made a half batch of cookies, I made the full batch of icing because YUM - you can never have too much icing! :)

If you make the full cookie recipe and just use a regular scoop of dough (like for a normal sized chocolate chip cookie) you could expect to get about 88 cookies/44 sandwiches.

Filling Ingredients:

7 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup Crisco
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions for Filling:

Put flour and  milk into saucepan and heat over low to medium heat.  Stir continually (do not stop stirring!) until a thick smooth paste forms.  It will look like smooth mashed potatoes.  Cool this mixture.  It is best to make this the day before and put it in the refrigerator until ready to use.  If you don't plan ahead, at least do this step a couple of hours before you make the filling and cool it in the fridge.

Cream together Crisco, butter, sugar and salt until fluffy. Add vanilla.

Add in flour and milk mixture one scoop at a time mixing well after each addition. Make sure the flour and milk mixture is well blended into the other ingredients before adding another scoop of the milk and flour mixture.  Continue mixing until filling is smooth and creamy and fluffy (you don't want to be able to crunch into any sugar granules - you want it smooth!)  It is best to use a stand mixer if you have one.

After cookies are baked and cooled, spread the filling on one cookie and top with another cookie.  Individually wrap each sandwich with cling wrap.

Enjoy !

Monday, May 4, 2020

We are always late to the Netflix game!

Sorry for the scare I gave everyone with the way I worded the beginning of my last post.  Thankfully, Uncle Bob is still alive and kicking and thankfully still symptom-free.  However, he failed his Friday test and continues to be at the rehab facility.  He will take another test today and if that one is negative will take another one tomorrow.  If the one he takes today is positive he will have to wait three more days for the next one.  UGH!

The weather this weekend was glorious.  In the 80s and sunny.  It's going to be the same today but the rest of the week will be in the 60s which is going to seem so chilly after being in the 80s!

Dan has been restaining our pergola over the last couple of weekends and should be done with it next weekend. 

The kids have three more weeks of online school and then they will be done for the year.  They are both OVER IT and even though summer is going to be weird, at least they will be done with school work and tests. 

I just got back from grocery shopping and scored some toilet paper!  It wasn't my favorite brand but hey - it sure beats using your hand! :) 

We didn't really do anything exciting this weekend other than our new normal of getting take-out for dinner on Saturday night.  I really miss eating inside a restaurant. 

Last night for dinner, I made a charcuterie board to enjoy with Dan. 

I know it's not super fancy but we enjoyed it! 

We've been watching Schitt's Creek on Netflix.  I know.  We should have been watching it years ago but Dan always objected to the name and just thought it would be tacky or in bad taste.  But thanks to the pandemic, we started watching it and we are really enjoying it!  It is very funny. 

What are some other shows on Netflix we should be watching? 

Friday, May 1, 2020

More of the same.

Uncle Bob passed and then subsequently failed another test so he is STILL at the rehab facility.  I guess I just don't get it.  Does this mean he has it one day and then doesn't have it the very next day?  That makes no sense to me.

It is so very frustrating as he is literally just sitting in a room alone.  I feel so bad for him.  His next test is scheduled for today and if he passes that then he will have another test on Saturday.  I am praying that he passes both of them (obviously) but I am not getting my hopes up.

We had a lot of wind and rain on Wednesday night and yesterday my hummingbird visitors spent the entire day back and forth to and from my feeders.  Not sure why but it was nice to see them all day long instead of just during the early morning and early evening hours.

It's cloudy and cool here again today but the weekend is supposed to be sunny and on Sunday it will reach 80!   Dan is planning to get the garden planted so hopefully the weather will cooperate!

I found a really yummy website on Joshua Snyder's website.  He's married to Angela Kinsey from The Office and he is a very good baker and there are lots of good recipes on his site.  These cookies were delicious!  And I know you aren't supposed to eat raw cookie batter but this was delicious and I could not stop. Here's the recipe for the Salted Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pretzel Cookies.

We only had Pretzel Thins so we subbed those for the regular mini pretzels called for in the recipe. I think they would have been even better if we had used a more pretzel-y pretzel!  Also, his pictures are better than mine!  :)

I hope everyone has a great weekend!