Weekend Dispatch

Monday, May 4, 2020

We finally had beautiful spring weather this past weekend, and it was invigorating. Seriously, my moods are tied to the weather, and when it's nice and warm outside, I feel like I can take on the world (and usually try to!). It was just nice to spend our quarantine outside on the deck for a change instead of cooped up indoors. I cleaned up our deck, and while the girls did some sunbathing, I read. It was so relaxing and refreshing.

Today, it's back to work and virtual learning, which we learned today will continue through the end of the year as NJ schools are now closed for the school year. I'm doing my best to keep things normal with some fun mixed in for the girls. Breakfast from their favorite coffee shop, Starbucks drive-thru runs, Amazon orders, and more. It's the little things that are keeping them happy these days, and who am I to say no?

Speaking of mixing in some fun, here's what I've been up to and a few ideas for your quarantine time.

We've all been spending more time in the kitchen cooking, baking, and of course, cleaning. Each new week brings a new baking or cooking adventure for me, and I have to admit, I'm kind of enjoying it. I don't normally enjoy cooking; baking, I love. But cooking is a different story. For me it's stressful and filled with tons of pressure to make an amazing meal that everyone will eat (and like). It takes all the fun out of cooking. But right now, everyone seems to have fewer expectations about elaborate meals, and it has taken the pressure off. Last week I made this spicy fusilli from Bon Appétit, and it was a crowd pleaser, for sure. It's basically a cream-based vodka sauce but with a kick. My girls loved it because it was made with tomato paste rather than chunky tomatoes. They like any sauce to be nice and smooth.

This week's baking adventure takes us to the land of pineapple upside down cakes. It was my favorite cake as a child, and since I haven't made one in years, I thought what better time than the present. I'm using this recipe, but you can also use a yellow cake mix instead of making it from scratch. Just be sure to add 1/4 cup of pineapple juice and 3/4 cups of water instead of 1 cup of water to the cake mix.

I'm not sure how it happened, but I've started watching Private Practice all over again. Who watched this Grey's Anatomy spinoff when it was on primetime? I loved this show and watched all six seasons, but only recall a few details from the show, so I've really been enjoying watching it again.

Both of my girls are currently bingeing One Tree Hill on hulu in between their school work. Later this week, I want to start State of the Union on Sundance. It's a series of ten ten-minute episodes where we see how Tom and Louise (played by Chris O'Dowd and Rosamund Pike) are using therapy to repair their marriage. However, it's not the therapy that is intriguing but the prep that Tom and Louise do before they go in to meet their therapist. Prior to their appointments, Tom and Louise meet to delve into their problems and their relationship history. It's described as a "honest, humorous look at contemporary relationships."

When our lockdown first began, I had a hard time focusing on reading, even though it's one of my favorite things to do. I just couldn't sit long enough to read a single page without obsessively checking my phone for COVID-19 updates. But now that things have calmed down a bit and we've gotten a better handle on the spread here in New Jersey, I've been able to put my phone aside and get back to reading. I've finished 3 books in the past 2 weeks. I'm on a roll! My latest read, All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner, is one that I started to read a few years ago. I got about 1/4 of the way through it and shelved it. The other day after finishing a book, I picked it up to finish it so I could get it off my bookshelf and into the hands of someone else.

I'm trying to remember why exactly I didn't keep reading because this time around I am really loving it. It's about a woman who is addicted to pain killers and hides it from her friends and family until they realize there's a problem. It's entertaining and informative in terms of delving deeper into the mind of an addict. I'll be finishing it tonight and moving on to the next great read.

I've been doing this arm workout by Amanda Kloots lately, and it's so fun, so effective, and so short! If you have 4 minutes (no equipment needed), you can do this workout while you wait for a pot of water boil!

So, tell me. What do you have planned this week?

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