I’ve never been so happy/ relieved about the end of a school year. The last few months have been a challenge because of the lock down. I wouldn’t mind homeschooling under normal circumstances, that is if we didn’t also have to work full-time from home.
We are still going to stick to some sort of academic curriculum, albeit much more relaxed. One reason for that being that summer brain drain is a real thing, and also because the kids have so much time on their hands, unable to go anywhere this summer due to Covid-19. I know some people are starting to venture out, travel, and socialize, but we don’t feel it’s safe yet, based on the numbers of the cases and deaths being reported.
The past couple of weeks have also been emotionally and mentally draining because of the recent events and conversations around racial issues and police brutality. There is so much to process, to filter out what matters from misinformation and noise. I feel like every minute is a struggle, it’s taking all I have to keep going.
A few things making a day-to-day situation a bit more manageable:
** The pool
The wonderfully mild days of the late spring and early summer are gone. We are finally in the typical Texas heat and humidity season. The Pina Colada season is officially open.
** Daily schedule
We have a list of weekly chores for the kids, as well as a daily schedule. The chores are not-negotiable, and the kids are old enough to be real help around the house. The daily schedule looks different for each of them and varies in the degree of detail. This is still work in progress, and will probably continue to evolve. Systems and habits are important, and my goal as a parent is to teach the kids to develop their own ways of being mindful about how they spend their time.
** Menu planning
I’ve been menu planning for years and can’t imagine not having a plan for the week. It helps with grocery shopping and saves time and energy figuring out what to eat every day. Granted, it’s not my favorite activity, I am much happier cooking than planning what to cook. But it helps me and the whole family to keep dinner time less stressful. I write the menu on a small dry-erase board in the kitchen and everyone can see what’s on the menu and pitch in with cooking. I wrote about how I menu plan here and here.
Just got this book placed in my online library account, can’t wait to start. Have you read it? Reading is something I look forward to when I have a free moment. I think, it’s a coping mechanism of sorts. When you are reading, your mind is occupied with the text in front of you, leaving no room for anything else, if for a short period of time.
** Cooking and baking
Kitchen is my happy place (most of the time) and cooking and baking is a from of therapy. Although, some days I’ve had barely enough energy to come to the table, leave alone cook a meal. Ethan and Sonia have been so good at helping, I am happy about that. Another thing that I rely on is a stash of cooked meals or ingredients in the freezer. We normally don’t keep a lot of store-bought ready-to-eat entrees. We did buy them at Costco pre-Covid, but we buy our groceries exclusively online now, and Costco doesn’t have a curb-side pick up.
Some of our meals from the last couple of weeks:
Tofu and vegetable stir-fry with a peanut sauce
I had some tofu left from making miso soup earlier. We used this recipe for the sauce (halved it). It doesn’t include coconut milk which is perfect for us since Brian is allergic to it. It required some elbow grease to stir it all up, which Ethan accomplished very well.
Oven-roasted salmon with Orzo and a salad
For the orzo, I cooked half of a red onion until soft and caramelized and added it to the warm orzo, along with fresh spinach, craziness, parsley, goat cheese, and a splash of red wine vinegar.
Pulled pork quesadillas
I used a stash of pulled pork from the freezer. That was one of the nights when pulling a few things from the fridge and letting everyone make their own (paper) plates had to suffice. Quesadillas are one of the quickest meals I know how to make that everyone loves. Sonia made the guacamole, she is the queen of guac in our house.
Home-made pirogi with kielbasa and cabbage
A Russian meal, on a night when I felt inspired and had some time on my hands. Pirogi means something else in Russian, actually, and what is called “pirogi” in English are known as “vareniki” in Russia. They can be filled with potatoes, cottage cheese, blueberries, cherries. So, so good.
Quiche Florentine with homemade crust
I had been craving quiche for some time. It’s a calorie bomb, but once in a while you have to indulge yourself. It is not picture-perfect, I have to work on my crust-shaping skills. But it was worth the effort and the calories. I’ll post the recipe in a separate post.
Sonia baked these banana chocolate chip muffins. These don’t last long at all.
This is a recipe from King Arthur’s website, a very nice sturdy bread. A bit time-consuming, but that’s the “therapy” part for me.
** Random silliness
Onto another week of making it work.