Happy Friday Friends! Since my last post, just one short week ago, our lives have been turned upside down. Last Friday, we were told our school district would be closed for a minimum of 4 weeks to help ‘flatten the curve” of the spread of COVID-19 in Santa Clara Country (amongst others). Come Saturday, we were told to “social distance” ourselves from others and avoid public gatherings. By Monday night, we were on full lockdown – allowed to leave home for groceries, pharmaceuticals, or to walk/run outside. The online schooling that was to begin Wednesday, 3/18, has been postponed to Monday 3/23. At this point, we really don’t know when things will get back to “normal”.
Despite having 2 active teenagers trapped indoors, and a husband (and I) working from home, we are doing OK. As my Mom and Grandma say, it could be worse. At the moment, the four of us are healthy, our internet is strong, the fresh produce stand is 3 blocks from my house, we are able to get out and exercise every day, and our dog as never been happier! We are organizing closets, eating dinner together, reading, cooking, learning new skills (my daughter dusted off my sewing machine and got to work on learning to sew), and hanging out as a family each night. We’re all getting a great night’s sleep, and learning to appreciate the little things in life.
Week one has been about setting new expectations and putting systems into place. Everyday regimens have become central in our daily life, now that we are confined at home. Once you read what’s been keeping the Bell Household sane, I’d love to hear what you’re doing, to keep a sense of “normalcy”, during this very “not normal” time in your household.
Read on for 10 ideas to help you and your family survive the Shelter In Place Mandate
1. MORNING COFFEE
My morning routine has been to get up, open the windows, light a candle and ENJOY my morning cup of coffee. I’m obsessed with Oatmeal Cookie Creamer from Oat Yeah Oatmilk (AMAZON FRESH | HERE). Available in other flavors, you’ll feel like your enjoying a cup at your favorite coffee shop. Somedays my husband joins me, sometimes it’s just the dog and I. I can get by with toliet paper rationing, as long as people don’t start hoarding my favorite creamer. When’s the last time you took the time to sit and enjoy your morning cup of jo?
After burning down my favorite Lavender candle from Elizabeth W, I’ve moved onto Eucalyptus. Currently, both Nordstrom and Anthropologie are offering (for a limited time), 25% off sitewide, and there you will find a big selection of candles, if you need to replenish or just want to browse. Shop Anthro (HERE) | Nordstrom (HERE)
What’s your favorite candle? Have you tried NEST candles?I need to either replenish, or start making my own (a new project!), drop me a line in the comments below.
3. MOM OFFICE HOURS
As part of our daily schedule, everyone is required to make their own breakfast. I’m a strong believer that a healthy breakfast gets your day off to a good start ( my teens tend to disagree), and now more than ever, we need routine in our lives. After breakfast, I hold “office hours” at the kitchen table. This is my opportunity to meet with each family member, check-in, talk about their plan for the day, see where they may need support, and share what I need from them.
4. MENU PLANNING
After dinner each night, I take a few minutes to decide what I will be serving the next day. My usual strategy is to create a weekly menu, but my mindset has shifted a bit as I try to use what I have and not let things go to waste. I’ve made Taquitos (HERE) from leftover Burrito Bowls (HERE) and leftover chicken. Banana Bread and Chocolate Chip Banana Cake (HERE) from rotten bananas. Instapot Applesauce from ripe apples.
What would I do without Pinterest? My go-to for recipes, wellness, aromatherapy, what oils to diffuse from my diffuser, craft ideas, organizing tips, daily inspiration and more. Browse over 10,000 of my pins, on 40 curated boards on my AskSuzanneBell Pinterest Page by (CLICKING HERE).
5 popular boards right now are:
- Let’s Eat (HERE),
- What We Wore, Outfit Ideas for Women over 40 (HERE),
- AskSuzanneBell.com Inspiration from the Blog (HERE)
- Everyday Style Tips (HERE)
- Favorite Beauty Products (HERE)
6. FAMILY MEAL TIME
Dinner with the Family is between 6 and 7 pm each night. No grab-bagging your meal and hitting the Xbox allowed. We all sit down, eat together, talk about what series, show or movie we will watch, or what game we can play together before bedtime. Our nighttime routine has become something I look forward to every day.
Thank god for Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. Hulu gets the shout out for Week One as we are all currently obsessed with “Little Fires Everywhere” (pick up the book | AMAZON HERE). Binge-watching “Grey’s Anatomy” is a close second. We’ve started watching “Love is Blind” and “Jo Jo Rabbit” is on our list to watch. What are you watching this week?
8. LAUNDRY SYSTEM | AT HOME DRY-CLEANING
Laundry. Every.Day. It’s the only way to keep up – especially with all of the towels. Everyone has their own laundry basket. When it comes out of the dryer, in their basket it goes. Each morning they are responsible for putting their laundry away before any fun stuff begins.
A shout out to Dryel in-home dry cleaning system. You simply put 1-5 items in the Dryel bag, add the dry cleaner sheet (pre-treat stains if needed), and dry on medium for 20-30 minutes. Dry cleaner fresh without leaving the home. My sweaters are so happy right now! At Amazon (HERE).
Many of our favorite places to practice yoga or workout are now offering classes online. Tonight my girlfriend set up a Zoom Happy Hour where us girls will be meeting up to connect, laugh and cocktail – all over Zoom. How fun is that?
I am so grateful for the internet, home computers, and personal devices right now. Here are a few ideas to stay connected this week.
- If you have an elderly family member in Assisted Living (like my Grandma above), reach out to the director of the facility and see if you can send an email for them to print and deliver to your loved one – it’s almost as good as a good ol’ fashion letter! Many of the elderly are already lonely, and the current situation only makes them more isolated. Reach out, make contact, send a book.
- Here in our neighborhood, the younger generation has been using technology to reach out and offer to pick up groceries and medications for the elderly in the community.
- Set up a Private Facebook Page for extended family. Invite your family members to join and share their daily musings through photos and stories.
- Set up a Zoom meet-up with your girlfriends.
- Message your inner circle and check in on them daily.
- Find out what business’ offer work-outs online. I’ve been enjoying Hana Raftery’s yoga classes through Zoom and online. Learn more at HanaRaftery.com (HERE)
- Go old school, pick up the phone and call a relative or friend – it does still work 🙂
- Keep up with current social distancing guidelines and order your groceries online.
- If you need to replenish an item, visit your favorite retailers who are trying to keep business going, by offering discounts to shop online. You never know, you may even get a better price! For a limited time, Nordstrom is offering 25% off everything SITEWIDE. Visit Nordies (HERE).
- Follow social media channels that bring you joy. This week, a beautiful poem by Kitty O’Meara circulated around social media circles, bringing light to so many around the globe.
“And the people stayed home. And they read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live, and they healed the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
Poem by Kitty O’Meara