The Quarantine is Ending Soon. . .Now What?
Being a mom and small business owner, the choice to pivot my brick and mortar toy store to an online business during the pandemic was an easy one. The toy store had been close to the kids’ school but far from where we live. We tried a few days of me going into the store and I would come home to find a disaster - dishes everywhere, hungry kids, no homework done, and a husband working late because he spent half the day connecting and re-connecting everyone's headphones. (Seriously, how do they disconnect so often?!?) No thank you.
So I took my sweet store online. It's definitely been a learning curve. This is a lot different than setting up some fun toy displays and asking people if they need help finding something when they walk in. But it's still so much fun!
And do you know what? I like being home. Yes, I miss wine with friends out at a cozy restaurant. I miss the Hollywood Bowl. I miss walking by people without holding my breath a little until I've gone a good distance past them. I miss lipstick. But I definitely like being at home with my family. We've gotten into comfy routine.
Everyone has been learning at home online for a year now and we are doing ok-ish. We have got online tutors happening for the little ones who are not as into completing assignments as often as their teachers would like and I finally broke down in November and started doing more take out. I am still cutting my husband's hair though. Yikes.
We did do some of the pandemic craziness that we all saw online.
I used Duolingo every day trying to be fluent in French (I took it in school)
I bought a treadmill and hiked somewhere in the world every day.
I rearranged my house.
I redid my back yard.
I ironed my tablecloths and napkins. (OMG that was a sad and short phase.)
I laughed at people hoarding toilet paper and then panicked why I couldn’t find toilet paper.
I cleaned out my closet. Then the laundry room closet, then my pantry, then my kids' closets.
I didn't get on the sourdough kick. I make lovely challah, thank you very much.
But things have mellowed a bit. I am no longer trying to learn a new foreign language and I am on my new treadmill less than I should be. I have stopped ironing my napkins and tablecloths while listening to DJ D-Nice.
We have that comfy routine. It's comfy, cozy. . .
And it is always at that point, just when you are getting comfortable with things, that the rug is yanked out from under you and there's a new normal to get used to. Things are opening back up now! Camp sign-ups are being circulated for this summer. And there's the question of whether or not we go back to school in-person before next fall (our school is currently allowing this, but we haven't done it yet).
Much to think about. But what I’m thinking about most is this:
As we all dip our toes back in the water what traditions and activities that we started during the pandemic will we keep? Well, what did we love? For my family, the answer was quick and simple: movie nights!
Every single Saturday, starting in July 2020, we watch a movie as a family. But we don’t just watch a movie, we have a themed meal to go with it and we dress up whenever it works with the theme. We have special dessert at intermission! These movie nights have been the MOST fun in the crummiest of years!
We have a quarantine bubble with my mom and stepdad, and so for most of the movie nights, we would take turns at each other’s home. I like it because it was fun (and sometimes I got to leave my house!) but I also like it because I know it is providing my girls with a routine. It’s something consistent that they can look forward to and help plan. At a time where nothing feels consistent and things can be a bit uncertain and let’s be real, scary – this has given my kids a sense of normalcy.
Our favorites? Lilo and Stitch and Moana were some of the most fun themes. Modern Hawaii and traditional Hawaii were both fun cuisines to try out. We did pineapple fried rice in a pineapple and grilled things on skewers. We made Chrissy Teigen’s Dump and Done Ramen Salad.
Aladdin was another good one. That was maybe some of the best food we had. We also had an epic meal for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. It was appropriate enough for my kids to watch and we made everyone wear black tie. Yes. The guys had to get their tuxes out and wear them.
We had our own Sound of Music Sing-a-long – complete with schnitzel, lingonberries and potato salad. Dessert? Streudel.
We watched Julie/Julia and made Beouf Bourginon. It was heavenly and may have gotten rid of my hate of pearl onions. Maybe. We had mashed potatoes and buttery peas and my mom made the Reine de Saba cake.
This, I think, is a tradition we may keep going forward. We have My Dog Skip coming up this week and I’m still working on ideas. But for Darby O’Gill and the Little People, I’m ordering a full meal from Tam O’Shanter - corned beef brisket, mashed potatoes, I may make savoy cabbage. . . and there will be coffee with Bailey’s for the grownups.
What traditions will your family keep? I’d love to hear!
Our picks to set up a great outdoor movie night:
- Carrie Harr