20 Ways to Make “Sheltering In Place” a Little More Sane

Who would’ve ever imagined 2020 would go in this crazy direction when we woke up January 1.  We are 3 1/2 months into the year and I’m ready to return to sender or leap to the future!

Seriously though, we are living in a strange and unprecedented time that honestly I never thought we could or would experience.  There is no doubt that COVID-19 is very dangerous, but everything surrounding it has left so many of us with mixed emotions and a lot of questions.

With schools, business and other things closed and everyone “sheltered in place” life is different for the majority of our nation and other countries around the world.  We’ve seen so many ways people are handling this situation: from freaking out and hoarding, to acting oblivious to everything.  There is nothing wrong with being afraid and worrying, whether it be of the illness itself or the consequences the country is facing because of government orders.  How we express those feelings does make a huge difference though.  At the end of the day, I do know that God is in control and I try to leave my fears and worries to Him.

Trying to keep life as normal as possible is important to me as it offers a sense of security, keeps our home running smoothly, promotes calmness, eases fear, and I want to set an example for my now grown children.

Today I’m sharing 20 ways to “Shelter In Place” that have helped keep me sane and less stressed.

  1.  Open your curtains and blinds each morning to let in the natural light.  I know, we’ve had a lot of rainy days, but even the light on a rainy day is better than living in cave!
  2. Make your bed everyday.  Audley laughs at me on the weekends, because “we’re just going back to bed this evening, why bother?”  But, seriously, walking past my room with a made up bed during the day just makes me feel good and the house feels just a touch more clean, despite the pile of laundry on the chair.img_4633
  3. Change from your nighttime to daytime PJ’s (or hubby’s t-shirts) everyday, and brighten up those jammies by doing your make-up a couple days a week.  You’ll feel so much better!
  4. Catch up on your reading.  Whether you have kids at home, or are an empty nester, use this time to read for pleasure!  Tell the kids you have school work, too.img_3778
  5. Workout.  Yep, all that time you never had for working out, shouldn’t be an issue now.  You may discover after a couple of weeks of walking, jogging, or body weight training that you will want to continue when things return to normal.  Rest assured you will be glad you’ve added exercise to your daily routine! I know different states have different rules right now, but you should be able to stroll around your neighborhood, or hit a trail at a local park.  If you have children, take them with you to let them run.  Just be courteous to those who have the same idea and keep your distance.img_3307
  6. Try a new recipe …. or twelve.  I cook a lot anyway, but good grief since midMarch I have about wore my stove and oven out!  Our grocery bill has increased as well, but I guess that’s off-setting how much we were eating out.7a123289-9022-4a37-9797-5cfffdc28901
  7. Eat cereal for supper.  Just do it.  The kids would love to have Capt’n Crunch while you indulge in some Chocolaty Special K.
  8. Plant flowers. In most states Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware all have curbside pickup. Use it & stop by when you’re getting your groceries.  You can also order things from online from various resources and have them in a few days.  If those options don’t work for you, weed your flower beds, do a little transplanting and trimming.img_3875
  9. Clean out the pantry and spice cabinet.  This pairs well with trying a new recipe as ingredients that are about to expire can be whipped into something unique.  Organize things to that you can easily find items you need: turn labels so they can be read, combine duplicate spice bottles, organize veggies together, etc..
  10. Finish a crafty project you’ve started and put aside. We’ve all got a  cross stitch project only 1/8 of the way completed sitting in a drawer in the living room project sitting around I’m sure.
  11. Refinish a piece of furniture.  That dresser you painted ten years ago and now dislike? Strip it, sand it and stain it! You’ve got a new showpiece and spent little to make it happen.img_3836img_3835
  12. Eat an entire bag of Cadbury Mini eggs in Royal dark edition.  Not that I’ve done that….. Y’all, they are the best!
  13. Set the table.  It doesn’t matter if you use plastic, Tupperware, glass or paper plates; set the table, then enjoy all of your meals together as a family if possible.  This will become a habit you might find you’ve missed.img_4192
  14. Clean out the garage, storage room, or closets.  I know.  A lot of cleaning, but some of us have a wee bit more time on our hands than normal, so use it to your advantage.  This maybe time to plan that yard sale you’ve wanted to have or just haul things off to a donation center.
  15. Picnic in the yard.  I love a good picnic y’all, and with spring arrived here in the south we have had several gorgeous days for dining outdoors!img_4630
  16. Try a family campout in the backyard.  Build a fire, roast hot dogs, make smores, tell silly stories or ask your kids or spouse questions about their dreams and goals.  When the TV is turned off a whole new world opens up!
  17. Organize your photos.  If you’ve got 10 years worth of digital pictures you need to print off, upload them to Shutterfly or some other online service and have them in a matter of days.  You can order albums if you need and never have to leave the house.
  18. Bake.  Yeah, thats a dangerous one for our waistlines, but oh so good!
  19. Build a birdhouse.  Scraps from other projects are perfect for this!  Let your kids paint it and mount on a tree.  See who comes to visit.
  20. Make homemade cards or write notes to friends and family you can’t see write now.  FaceTime is so easy to use, but I an assure you that a piece of old-fashioned mail will truly brighten someone’s day!

 

How are you all handling things right now?  Is it business as usual or has you life completely changed over the last four weeks?  Just know you aren’t a lone and we’re all trying to get through this together!

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Comfort Food: Savory Lamb Stew

With rich, sweet, and fattening foods of the holiday season at every turn the last couple of weeks, I thought it was a great time for something comforting, warm and cozy for supper as the holiday season winds down (and a cold front heads in), so I prepared a huge pot of lamb stew.

Soups and stews are such versatile dishes to make and serve. You can make them as simple or as elaborate as you desire; use them as a first course or the main course for dinner any time of year.

Stews are also a very easy dish to make, although time consuming, and you can even change up what meats you use if you desire. This recipe would be particularly delicious with venison and also beef, but lamb is by far our favorite.  It’s a very tender and flavorful meat!

 

Savory Lamb Stew

You’ll need an oven-proof pot for making the stew.  I highly recommend a cast iron or enamel-coated dutch oven.  For our stew I used 3 pounds of lamb, cubed which makes a fairly large pot. I like for stews and soups to last more than one meal, so I always make a huge pot!

Besides, stew always tastes even better the second day so go ahead and make that big pot!

Other ingredients you’ll need include potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, garlic, red wine, beef stock, a little flour as well as salt & pepper. Very basic ingredients that most of us keep on hand.

Y’all, I’m really bad about not measuring ingredients, so when you look at the full recipe I totally guessed on how much veggies you need.  Thankfully this recipe is really easy to adapt for your family.

Always be open to to adaption when you are in the kitchen.

I used a 10-quart enameled cast iron pot made by Lodge to prepare the recipe from start to finish.

{One pot!  Who doesn’t love that?!}

You begin making the stew by swiping your chopped lamb pieces  through flour then cooking in bacon grease or olive oil. I used the grease from one full pound of bacon (save the bacon for salad topper or make a yummy BLT sandwich while the stew simmers) for cooking my stew meat. Once all the stew meat is browned, remove from the pot and pour 1 1/2 cups red wine into your pot, scrapping to deglaze it.  Scraping the bits of browned lamb will keep them from scorching while it all cooks and of course you want that flavor!

Once deglazed return the meat to the pot and add the potatoes, carrots, onion, & garlic to the pot. This isn’t on the printable version of the recipe, but if you like garlic, add dried garlic flakes to your stew as well! Just a small way to elevate the flavor.

Pour beef stock over it until everything is completely covered. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the oven at 375° and simmer for 1.5  to 2 hours.

Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty French bread. Turn on some contemporaty jazz (FYI, Harry Connick, Jr. has a new album), enjoy a quiet and cozy night in, around the table with this savory stew and your family.

For the full printable recipe, click Savory Lamb Stew

Wishing you all a quiet and peaceful New Years Eve with a New Year full of blessings!

Goat Cheese Truffles

It’s holiday party time and it seem everyone is having one from work to the neighbors, and then it’ll be time for family Christmas… or three!

With all our get-togethers generally comes the invitation to bring a dish or an appetizer. Today I’m sharing this super easy goat cheese truffle that you can whip up, dress up, and introduce an oft forgotten soft cheese to your friends and family for a unique flavor.

I didn’t come up with this recipe on my own. It’s from one of those videos that circulates Facebook (not even sure where it originated from) where you watch it once and can never find it again, so you spend a couple of days trying to remember the ingredients, waste a few ingredients, and then hope for the best when you finally decide to serve it.

{BTW, If you know the originator of the recipe, let me know!!}

 Since these were all eaten when I made them I’m assuming I did ok guessing ingredients and measurements.

These truffles are easy to make, quite flavorful and really pretty when displayed on an appetizer table. If you love cheese and all its delicious varieties that are out there, this is perfect!

 

The shopping list for this recipe is easy:  cream cheese, goat cheese, cinnamon, honey, pecans, Craisins, and parsley. You can purchase the pecans and parsley already chopped if you want, so that makes it even easier!

I used eight ounces of cream cheese and six ounces of goat cheese. This combination can be played with depending on how strong you want the truffles. Goat cheese is delicious, but very strong. With both being soft cheeses they mixed smoothly together. After blending the two cheeses I mixed in the honey, some of the pecan pieces, and cinnamon.

After combining the cheese mixture, the truffles need coating. To do this I used wax paper and combined the leftover pecans, minced parsley and craisins in a pile on the paper.  Roll the cheese mixture into 1-inch balls and then roll in the pecan mix you made to coat.  Do this until all the cheese has been rolled into a finished truffle.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Set a jar of honey out for guests to drizzle on their truffles as they are served.

 

For the full and printable recipe, click Goat Cheese Truffles .

 

Happy Wednesday y’all!  Just one week until Christmas!