Posted in Recipes To Try, Two Cents Worth of...

Recipes cooked in quarantine

We’re cooking a heck of a lot more than we ever imagined during this quarantine. I’m not sure anyone signed up for that part of this. Yes, you can order take out, but eh.

Here is a list of some of the recipes we have made during quarantine. They are all kid friendly, but then again my kid eats everything still! They’re all pretty easy too so you could make it a family activity to try together if you would like! I hope you enjoy and can try something to change up the regular menu items you’ve been surviving on!

Click on the name of the recipe or the image to go to the site for the recipe!

Cacio e Pepe

My absolute favorite recipe to make at home that is from a great restaurant in Pittsburgh. Nothing beats ordering it in their restaurant, D’Anoia’s Eatery. We made it with homemade noodles one day too and that was even better! This is a super easy recipe and fun if you do the homemade noodles with the kids!

The image at the top of this blog is when we made it recently with our homemade noodles. Notice our puzzle pieces spread out as well for some quarantine activities!

Honey Soy Baked Chicken Thighs

These were delicious! We love chicken thighs if we cook chicken because they’re never as dry as the breasts but these truly reminded me of a Chinese dish you may order in a restaurant.

Make a side of rice or lo mein noodles to go with it and you’ll have a great homemade dish that will be your new favorite!


My mom found this one on the same site as the baked chicken thighs and shared it with us. My tip on this one, take it easy on the hot ingredients. If you like your nose to run while you eat food, go for it, but you can probably omit the crushed red peppers and hot sauce. The Cajun seasoning is plenty of flavor! Also, add what you want in regards to the meat. There is no real rule to that! We had chicken sausage, chicken and some shrimp. No okra here, though I’m sure it’s delicious in it!

Ground Beef Meat Pies

We made our own version of these but I used this recipe as my directive. Also, we had canned biscuits already in the fridge so I used those instead of making homemade. Worked great! We even froze 2 for later, prior to baking, so they’re ready to go when we need a quick meal.

Scalloped Potatoes

My husband insists on always having a 10-pound bag of potatoes in our house. No matter how much I complain about it, we have them. Therefore, I have to come up with potato recipes before they go bad. This recipe reminded me of my childhood and was such a comfort food dish! Super easy to make and we had all of the ingredients here.

Healing Turmeric, Lentil, Farro Soup

This one does require a few odd ingredients you may not have on hand. I had them at the time I made this because I wanted to make this for 2 mama friends of mine who just had newborns when this quarantine began so I stocked up.

This was made for me when my son was born so I wanted to pass along the favor because cooking is the last thing you want to do when you have a new babe at home. It is a great, flavorful soup! It freezes well too.

Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels

These were something I was craving because I saw Auntie Anne’s advertising home kits. They were fairly easy to make too! I need to work on rolling them a bit longer and thinner because they really swell up and rise. Overall, a great, easy recipe to make for a snack at home!

Give one of these recipes a try! We still have some time on our hands to try something new and bake or cook with the kids. I hope you can enjoy them as much as we did.

Keep yourselves safe!

Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

Routine Keeps Us Sane

I’ll be honest, I lost track of the days this week, as most of you can relate to I’m sure. I’m behind on this since I thought yesterday was Tuesday. Whoops!

Now days we may stay in our PJs until almost noon daily. Mainly just our little guy, of course. I do rock my “good leggings” from time to time. However, routine matters in my son’s life as well as mine when it comes to a few things we do around this little house of ours.

This world is weird but without a little bit of daily routine, we would be even more lost. I am not saying I am a saint here with color coded schedules and a daily chore list because I don’t always know what day it is (see above statement) but we try our best and I think that is all anyone can do right now.

Truthfully, I am very happy we are not in the boat of home schooling right now. I feel for you parents who are trying to be mom, dad, employee, and now a teacher as well. As if the regular days with the many hats you wear were not enough, now home school until the end of the school year! Yikes. I know the kids listen better to their teachers most days and certainly do not talk to them the way you may have them speaking to you when asking them to complete their work!

Speaking with both types of friends through this, friends of mine who are the parents and my friends who are the teachers, it is not easy for anyone in that situation. I hope you all find some type of schedule to help make it seem a little more normal.

Our little guy is a very routine kiddo which I’m very thankful for. My husband always picked on me for my schedule of things with him when we first brought him home but it has been working really well for us. It is without fail he is awake no later than 6:30 am daily and then wants to have his last bottle at 8 pm and typically goes down shortly after that.

Not every day is perfect with him, but most days that routine keeps itself in line. It also keeps structure to our days with him. We will be going back to normal life one day soon and he will be going to daycare, so keeping a routine is helpful for when that comes so it’s not a nightmare when we all have to head out in the mornings again.

Do not let me fool you, we aren’t by any means perfect with this routine. We were up just last night from 4-5 am because he did not want to sleep. We each took turns laying on his floor since he wants someone with him when he falls asleep lately, but when that didn’t work, we brought him into our bed to try to get an extra hour of sleep while getting kicked and crawled on.

Another night last week, it was so hot in our house and we are waiting on a repair for the air conditioner, we had him only in his diaper to try to go to bed. That was a mistake. He knows and relates putting his PJs on to the routine for bedtime. We struggled to get him to sleep for over an hour and then got the PJs out and turned his bedroom fan on. Tada! Routine is the key for kids, at least ours!

Even we as adults need routine. I do not put my Sunday best on each day. I would live in leggings if I could. But the idea of still prepping my coffee pot the night before, going to bed at a “normal” time, working out regularly, eating simple breakfasts, and washing my face each morning during my typical routing, without the makeup, of course, are routine steps to make this weird world seem more normal.

Last week I was struggling with how I was feeling about all that is going on. It is a roller coaster of emotions for all of us with all the news, the staying inside the same 4 walls, seeing the same couple of people and not socializing. Last Friday morning I needed a boost for myself. I set my alarm extra early, hit snooze a couple of times but got up and worked out, then showered, did my hair, put some makeup on and put on a “nicer” sweatshirt for the day. I have been working out here and there during the week but when I do it in the morning, I have the feeling of being accomplished for the day already.

Blue light blocking glasses to make me look smarter & protect my eyes

Sometimes a little kick in the pants and a change can help guide you right back to where you want to be.

I hope each of you have a little bit of routine in your days to help keep you and your kiddos in line for when the reality of normalcy makes its way back into our lives.

Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

Do Your Part

This one is not exactly kid related, though some of my activities to do below are. We’ll get back on track soon enough with more “mom” topics.

I had this mostly written last week, but wasn’t sure I had all the “right” words to share with you. My mind, as well as all of yours, is probably all over the place during this. So let me try again this week and see if I can tackle what I wanted to share.

During all of this and our time at home being extended, I am sure most of you have felt very uncertain and scared. I have. I keep trying to find things to do to occupy myself and my mind through it all though. More importantly finding things to do with our young son.

Keeping our own minds safe and healthy is important. Reaching out to others through this is as well.

The one thing that I wish I could do more of is be the good for others. Since I do not have unlimited funds and we are to be inside and away from others, I had to get creative. I am doing my part with small gestures because gifts have always been my love language to show those I love that I care about them.

I would like to know what you are doing and maybe seeing others do throughout this other than watching the Tiger King on Netflix…

A few of the things I have done during this to help bring a little bit of sunshine to other’s days are below:

  • I have sent Thank You cards to two of my very best friends who are nurses in the front line of this virus along with a chap stick holder. The chap stick holders were something I saw my delivery nurses using and thought they were such a great idea I had to get some for them. They both loved them and one mentioned that they are helpful because with their masks on even more than usual their lips are drying out.
  • Two of my other great friends that are nurses, I had sent Starbucks giftcards to. They even have cute themed ones on the app for Nurses specifically and you can add a special note. All you need is their email address to send it!
  • I made cookies for my neighbors to drop off because they both celebrated their birthdays within a week of one another and have 3 kids to keep busy during all of this. I am sure they needed a quick treat to know their birthdays are important too!
  • We painted a printed Easter Egg to hang in our window. This was the project I told you about last week I had tried with my 10 month old son, who was NOT impressed with it. I believe this is spreading among the nation but kids are going on Easter Egg Hunts while on walks and spotting the eggs in the windows of their neighbors.
  • We placed a Teddy Bear in our window. The same concept as above, but a Teddy Bear hunt. It keeps the kids active and always looking while on their walks!
  • We had a little bonfire in our driveway a couple of weeks ago to get outside and enjoy a beer but also so we can say “hello” to our passing neighbors now that more people are walking to be outside. Yes, we are at a safe distance, I promise!
  • My husband saw an older woman post in our local Facebook page about her fear of going to the grocery store. Since he had been planning to go, he reached out to let her know if she provided the list he would get her items and drop them off. She chose another route, but offer help if you can.
  • Those cookies I mentioned I baked above for my neighbors; I saved a couple so I could gift them to my UPS driver. He is regularly at our home because I have an Amazon Prime problem, but that is not the point here. He is one of those considered essential now and doing his part to make sure we all receive those important packages. He deserved a pick me up for his hard work! I heard of many people doing simple gestures for their delivery teams.
  • We seem to have different UPS and delivery drivers lately as I’m sure they’re bombarded. I had given one a Thank You card along with muffins I made too. They’re doing A LOT for all of us and they deserve to know how appreciated they are.
  • My family that lives close to us, we had dropped off a doorstep surprise for them. It was some lunch and muffins with a card.
  • My mom was talking to her long time friend, who is my godmother, and felt the worry she had for her two girls that live in NYC. Things are a bit different there for them than here in Pennsylvania. My mom and I found a way to get groceries shipped to them. It’s a bit delayed due to the larger population there, but my mom is from a family that is large, not by blood but friendship and when they feel the worry they do their part and this is how she could help.
  • I plan to send more cards to those around us. If anyone does know me, cards are my thing and always have been so I have a plethora of them already stocked up and ready to go! 😊 Maybe have your children make cards for family members they have not been able to see and send them to them! It can brighten their day.

Please share what you have done to “do your part” during our times at home or even maybe your kids have done. Here are a few things we have seen through our neighborhoods that others have done!

  • We saw a neighborhood parade of cars one evening when we were going biking who were doing a drive by for a little girl’s birthday. They had all decorated their cars and the kids looked so excited to cheer and yell for their friend’s birthday.
  • Another thing someone we know is doing, our neighbor’s dad is using his 3D printer to make PPE mask extenders. They go behind the head and eliminate the bands from rubbing on their ears. It’s a small gesture but a big act for those who wear them every day!
    (I tried to embed his post here, but had trouble. If you’re interested, I can direct you to his posts! Let me know!)
  • We saw on several doors that children and families made heart cutouts and wrote an inspiring message on them. “We love you!”, “Thank you to the Heros,” “We will get through this!”
  • Chalk art on driveways, as well as the cute mosaic coloring families are doing to keep their kids busy. It’s nice to see that when driving or walking through the neighborhood.

It is important that we as communities all around help one another but especially your friends and family that you may not get to see. Send the text message to them or give them a call. There are all kinds of video chat apps out there to use and keep in touch!

One of my favorite artists of all time, Eric Church, was a part of the ACM Presents: Our County this past Sunday. He has a wonderful message and an even better new song he sang for everyone. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! It’s a good song to relate to this event we’re going through.

“Don’t let fear steal your brave heart,
Don’t let doubt take your faith heart,

It’s okay to cry, but don’t ever break heart.”