Tap, tap. Hey. You guys there? 

How are you doing?

I debated about doing a Friday Thoughts post today. But as I was sitting here ruminating in my own thoughts, I realized these are EXACTLY the type of moments when I want to check in with these Friday Thoughts posts.

Because life is so much more than making chocolate chip cookies and planning a dinner menu. 


I think we can all agree the last few weeks (and months for some) have been a chaotic whirlwind of events and emotions.

Today I wanted to see how you are doing with all that’s going on in the world.

And then take a little diversion from serious talk and follow up on a few things.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you today. Please comment below with any and all thoughts and experiences you are having right now!

1) How Can We Help? My heart feels heavy for those who have been affected in ways that I can’t possibly begin to comprehend. Even though we are having our own ups and downs with the emergency and all that has come with it, I know many family and friends who are having a far more difficult time than we are.

And all the healthcare professionals working on the front lines! Many of them with families of their own. I am in awe and humbled by their endless service right now. My brother is an ER doctor in Montana helping in the forefront there. In response to how we can help, his matter-of-fact answer is: stay home. 

I’ve racked my brains and prayed a lot to know how to help those around us in our community. It feels particularly difficult when we’re also strictly trying to follow the directive to social distance. {Brian has a job in a “critical/essential” industry – food production – so he continues to go to and from work each day.}

We’ve continued to bring meals to neighbors and friends when help is needed. They’ve been on board with us bringing them; we’ve kept everything very sanitary and perfected the zero-contact porch drop-off! We’ve also donated to local food banks and national organizations providing meals to children in need, and it sounds silly, but I’ve also made a more conscious effort to make actual real, live phone calls to connect with family and friends and neighbors.

What are you doing to help during this time? I’m sure there are many, many other ways. I’d love to know your thoughts and ideas on this.

2) Kids at Home: In our area, school has been canceled until April 20 (with online curriculum supposedly coming around April 6). Our governor just issued an additional stay-at-home order until April 15 (which honestly doesn’t seem much different than what we’ve already been doing).

So largely, we’re just trying to all survive each other being homebound during this extended and eternal spring break.

Although I keep reminding my kids this is not summer vacation, and gosh darn it, sometimes I just NEED EVERYONE IN BED.

We have a mini schedule in the mornings: make beds, clean up breakfast, practice instruments, exercise, other jobs/chores as needed that day. But I’m not being too terribly structured at this point. 

I wholeheartedly believe in this quote by Brene Brown: boredom is sacred. We shouldn’t deny our children this holy experience.” {You can read the full quote shared recently on my friend, Andrea’s, Better Screen Time account.}

So I don’t plan our days full minute by minute. My kids are the most creative (and yes, messy and sometimes irritating) when they’re bored. 

My kids are spending most of their day:

  • helping with meals (making and cleaning up)
  • making cookies or muffins (a lot) depending on what ingredients we have on hand
  • playing out in our pasture and building forts by the creek
  • reading and reading and reading
  • writing poems about what’s going on in the world (when I make them…and then we perform them for Brian when he comes home from work; my 15-year old greatly wishes this activity would stop ASAP)
  • learning new things like playing the ukulele and photoshop and making stop motion videos and sewing simple blankets
  • building old school blanket forts in the bonus room
  • keeping elaborate brackets on who is currently winning at Mario Kart (our only playable video game right now)
  • and often figuring out ways to stop the bickering and just trying to ignore each other

Honestly, I don’t want to make it sound like every day is dreamy with everyone cooperating and being creative and doing amazing things independently with joy in their hearts and smiles on their faces. 

It’s hard. Sometimes we’re just a regular hot mess over here. And the worst thing I can do is make you feel like we have it together 100% of the time. Not possible. 

Thankfully I have a lot of bittersweet chocolate chips waiting for me in the pantry. And each day is a new slate to try again. 

What’s working for you and your kids? Any thoughts to share?
Here’s a post with some great ideas and resources (especially in the comments).

3) Switching Gears: On a totally different note, on the Friday Thoughts post from a few months ago, you guys came through big time on recommendations for a) natural deodorant, b) family vacation ideas, and c) vegan/plant-based recipe ideas.

I’ll share the family vacation ideas later (when it feels more appropriate to do so). And I’m also still compiling a resource on the vegan/plant-based recipes…I promise to get that to you soon. 

But if you’re curious about the natural deodorant, the overall verdict was:

A lot of you are passionate about the natural deodorant you use. And it’s clear that what works for one person may not work for another!

Largely, the Native brand and Just Ingredients were the most popular recommendations (by far). But if you want to see the whole entire list of natural deodorant recommendations, here you go. The deodorants are in no particular order except for the two most popular suggestions at the top of the list.

After I read through all the comments, I bought Native deodorant in the coconut vanilla scent {aff. link} and Just Ingredients sweet citrus scent deodorant to try. {Neither of these suggestions are sponsored in any way}

Prior to using either, I also detoxed my armpits (I’m pretty sure I just lost about 1/5th of my readers with that last statement) with this activated charcoal mask {aff. link}. It’s amazing (I use it on my face about once a week, too). 

So far, I am loving the Native deodorant. A lot. I sweat more because it isn’t an anti-perspirant, but I actually don’t mind it (except for a couple times when I’ve had to stand up in front of people at church and then it wasn’t maybe the best moment ever, but every day use is fine). 

Compared to Native, I don’t feel like the Just Ingredients deodorant glides on as smoothly…and because of that, I don’t feel like the texture and coverage is as good. BUT, I can definitely see why people like it and I’m keeping it on hand for when I need to change.

Because apparently, sometimes your armpits like when you change things up. At least that’s what a million of you told me in the comment thread last time. 🙂

4) What’s to Come: I know the next little while is uncertain, to say the least. 

Even though I don’t know what the next few weeks (or even days) hold, I am still planning on giving you the best recipes I can during this time.

I don’t do blogging or computer tasks with my kids at home and awake, so as long as I can burn the midnight oil without being a total grump, you’ll still get new recipes!

I’ve scrapped my whole editorial calendar (which isn’t that intense anyway since I tend to fly by the seat of my pants in regards to what recipes I want to post and when), but I have some easy, family- and pantry-friendly recipes coming your way over the next couple of weeks. Like those amazing little muffins you see above.

And I have a few Easter recipes to share, too, if the timing feels right (in terms of ingredient availability). 

If you’re on Instagram, I’ve also started a daily “series” on Instagram stories where I post a real, live picture of what we’re eating that night for dinner.

It’s supposed to be kind of a helpful peek into reality, but I’m not going to lie, it’s also a little sketchy some nights. Ultimately, I hope it provides you with ideas for how to cook real food in a real world with a real family! And not feel guilt about it. 

Ok, that’s probably good for today.

I have much more I could say but I’ve already wasted a lot of your time (assuming you made it this far), AND my inclination to keep blabbing is largely just because I am not interacting with many other adult humans on the daily right now. #sendhelp

Love your guts so very much. I hope you’re hanging in there.

Comment below with ANYTHING you feel like sharing right now!

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