Quarantine, Food to Come and a Socially Distanced 5th Birthday Party! How we're making it all work
Well, for starters, there is obviously wine involved.
A week ago, we were dealing with a refrigerator malfunction and weren't able to really stock the fridge like normal. By the time it was fixed and ready for stuffing, we were deep into the social trend to buy everything you can in the stores, and prepare to barricade ourselves in our homes until the COVID-19 curve flattens.
If we barricade ourselves for two weeks, will our stomach curve flatten? No?
All jokes aside, I was among a few Market 32 goers that really, truly did have to fill a grocery cart because my kids were eating take out for dinner everyday, and that is not ideal. As I was loading my purchases on the belt, I actually felt the need to tell the cashier
"I swear I am not a crazy hoarding shopper, I honestly just have no food, at the worst time in history to have an empty fridge."
Last year at this time, I was editing and preparing the ultimate Vampirina 4th birthday party post, that my kid puked for, and my family and I hung out while she napped. It was a fun time. This year is obviously quite different. We planned to have a small gathering and then take the kids away for the weekend a few weeks after her birthday, but that got curbed once all this picked up pace. We changed it to just the family over for cake and gifts, and then that had to be rearranged. After receiving new information each day about how many people should be gathering changed to literally don't gather at all, we decided to have the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins hang at home and we had an iPhone/MacBook FaceTime birthday party for her. She really was a good sport about all this. Because of her flexibly I told her that she could have whatever kind of cake she wanted.
Kendall asked me for a "cereal cake." A what? Exactly. Her favorite food to eat is cereal. I'm talking breakfast, lunch and dinner, she will eat cereal with no issue. She may even have cereal as a snack BEFORE her meal. I don't hate it. However, when she asked me for a cereal cake, I was baffled. I am no baker. I can make cake, cupcakes and cookies, but I guarantee it takes me like way, way longer than a good baker. I searched some seriously awesome blogs on Pinterest and found the basic idea of what I was trying to do. We smashed up a bowl full of lucky charms, mixed into the batter of a strawberry boxed cake mix, baked, frosted and they devoured that bad boy.
The whole fam joined in on FaceTime and somehow the house still felt like a party ran through it. There were dishes everywhere, gift wrap all over the place. But, she was happy and we're going to have a surprise double party for them this summer if this quarantine ever lifts.
This brings me to the subject of the whole family being home. I hope that's possible for you guys and your families. I know some of us are essential employees and for that we are grateful to you. My center was one of the last to close its doors, and when we did I had some relief and some grief. We were glad to be home together, hoping to stay healthy, and I was slightly discouraged for my students. It's not easy for a young child to abruptly stop going to school and have their routine turned inside out without warning. But, we aren't here for any negativity! We have wine and we have people reading, being involved in this post, and keeping your brain busy. Speaking of inside out, that is a great movie for times like these, I definitely recommend it and it's on Disney+.
On top of being a pre-K teacher, I'm also a pre-K and elementary school mom. Times are tough and not because the kids are out of school but because they are getting BORED, they are getting STIR CRAZY. I don't know about you, but our kids are on week 2 of indefinite school closure. One thing that's been a "break" from the stay inside guideline is; if we need something from the store, if we're going to our local grab and go coffee shop (support your small businesses) one adult goes in quickly but we all take the ride. Even a quick trip in the car, taking the long way back to the house is good for some fresh air and keeping a mildly normal routine. On top of that we've been following Mo Willams daily YouTube videos, utilizing the worksheets sent via email from school, I've been cooking constant new food posts to come and really just going with the flow. We aren't waking up early, bedtime is a little different then normal, and the general schedule of our day is definitely wonky.
I think as a teacher-mom I can tell you that it is OKAY to wing it right now. Things are not normal, we can't expect the kids or even ourselves to be sticklers to our regular lifestyle. For instance, I don't generally stay up until midnight watching Little Fires Everywhere, but my alarm clock is off and it's controlled chaos around here. Kids are resilient, even more than we are. They will be able to go right back to the normal routine, just like they do after summer vacation. Just like that return to school, things will start off odd and unorganized, but then we will go back to our in bed by 8:00, mom and dad falling asleep on the couch by 8:07.
So, here's to one and a half (maybe more) weeks of hanging out inside. Our kids may be fighting. We may feel like we're on day 13 of the hostile situation. We might be crying about the amount of time we have to spend away from Target, but a few months ago, if you told me I was going to be able to only leave my house for a quick grocery run and everyday was going to feel like a Saturday home with my family, I would have tossed the car keys over and grabbed all my yoga pants. Hang in there. Keep up the positive. And, stay tuned for some new comfort food ;)
The Cereal Cake: You will need
a boxed cake mix (or your own personal recipe, I have one, decided to go the lazier way)
replace the water in the mix with milk
2 sticks of softened butter
a cereal of your choice
a food chopper or processor
1. Begin by taking a CUP of cereal and chopping it down to small pieces
2. Make the boxed cake mix, replaced water with milk and follow the box directions
3. Let cake cool as long as possible (I removed ours from the pan and covered it overnight
4. Take out two sticks of butter and let them get to room temperature
5. To make the frosting use an electric mixer to blend the two sticks of butter, 3 CUPS of powdered sugar, 3 TBSP of whole milk (half and half or heavy cream will work also) and 1 TBSP of vanilla extract
6. Slice your cake horizontally across the middle to end up with two individual layers (or more depending on your preference)
7. Spread a thick layer of frosting on the top of the bottom layer and place the top layer on top
8. Frost the rest of the cake and decorate with your cereal of choice!
If you have a a family gathering coming up and can't all be together, like Kendall on her birthday, utilize apps like FaceTime, you can add multiple contacts to a Group FaceTime OR use Zoom! I use that for work once a week to check in with teachers and go over things that need to be done and just to see familiar faces.
Obviously, you have to go out and buy things. People are panicking, buying up all the gloves and face masks, so here's a tip for you: Go to places where you can use your phone to pay or if thats not possible just bring in your wallet and cellphone in a pocket to the grocery store. Purses and bags pick up a lot of germs, by leaving them at home, you avoid carrying anything "extra" into your home. If you have a cleaning spray or you are able to use a solution of bleach and water, once you get home with your purchases, lay them out on your table and give a little spray across the top, then simply toss your bags in the wash. Medical staff is becoming desperate for these PPE materials and the reality is that using those material will not protect us in our daily lives, unless we have any viruses, in which case, you're probably going to be home resting anyways. Save those materials for the folks that truly need them, by keeping it simple with the grocery runs.