The Quarantine Report • Week 1 - Skillful Cook
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The Quarantine Report • Week 1

Well, if nothing else, I thought it might be nice to do a weekly check-in to get us through these times. Still here, still staying home, still grateful and also sometimes still struggling.

A young child in a brown jacket with the hood over their head walks near the water alone.

Well, if nothing else, I thought it might be nice to do a weekly check-in to get us through these times.

TL;DR: Still here, still staying home, still grateful and also sometimes still struggling.

How are you guys doing? What has this experience been like for you this week? And I say this week because doesn't it feel like it sort of changes with the hour? Man. I feel like we've all lived a lot of lifetimes in the last few weeks.

This isn't week one of quarantine for me - it's actually week four, but that's okay. Let's do these weekly reports and check ins until... well, until we don't need to anymore? Here's the recap list from the week:

  • Something Delicious
  • Something Outside
  • Something Connected
  • Something To Look Forward To

Bonus: A Dog Photo!

This is just a check-in. That's all, really. Just a chance to say hi out there to you in your home, from me in my home, on my couch, with toys strewn about everywhere and a pile of dishes taking over the kitchen counter. So, hi. I care about you, and I'm grateful for the internet right now, and I think life is better shared, so here we go.


An arrow on an indicator sign points to 'meh'.

This week earns a solid Meh rating, and yes, there is a graphic!

It's not like it's all bad all the time, but it's also not like this was the best week of my life, know what I mean?

I don't know if you guys feel this, but I oscillate from “it's all good” to “it's all so hard” within about an hour, so I guess if you averaged out all those moments over the week - all the discouragement, all the exhaustion, all the hope inspired by people around the world - this is where I'm landing overall.

Please note the levels on the scale for these Quarantine Reports - the TOP POSSIBLE LEVEL is “good.” A solid good is the most potential I've got on any given week here.

What's your rating this week?

Something Delicious

A hand holds a plate of rice, sauce and meat over other dishes.

In addition to staying on top of groceries and keeping everyone fed and dealing with the never-ending dishes that our family of three generates (what in the world?!?!?!), I've also been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables lately. That is my big struggle because really, all I want to eat right now is cookie bowls.

The best foods I made / ate this week:

Something Outside

A hand pushing a stroller in the winter.

I've been trying to get outside every day (both for light exercise and for outdoor therapy), and since I'm spending a lot more time with Solvi these days, this has been a shared effort by the two of us.

Solvi LOVES - I repeat, L O V E S, to be outside.

This week, the weather had some gross moments. We were still there for it.

Something Connected

Three women seated on chairs about ten feet apart, outdoors on a clear day.

This week I met a few friends for a social distancing chat at the park. Yep, just like this - lawn chairs 6-or-more feet apart.

It was 60 degrees (I'm always cold which is why I'm still in my arctic gear) and we all brought our own chairs and snacks and drinks and it was fabulous. It just felt so good to see and talk to people in real life.

Something To Look Forward To

A dog walking next to a message on a tile that thanks people who served during Covid.

We're getting takeout on a recurring weeknight schedule now. Annnnd that is what I'm looking forward to.

This is one of the new traditions in our life because we need little things to look forward to right now DO YOU FEEL ME. We used to be more cautious about takeout and now we are like... taking-out quite frequently. Stamina for that effort was not great, plus supporting local business? Wednesday night takeout is a new staple part of our schedule and I am already excited about it.

Our takeout habit as of lately has involved aloo palak, shahi paneer, and a double order of naan from our little local Indian restaurant, and I do not see this changing anytime soon.

A Dog Photo

A brown dog, its head on a pillow, relaxes on a black couch.

Sage just follows us around all day and loves her life.

If anyone is thriving right now, it's her.

That's the weekly report!

For a more talk-it-out version of this post, check out this podcast episode Bjork and I did for the Food Blogger Pro podcast where we talk about what life is really like right now as we navigate our way through.

And I'd love to hear from you. How was your week?

What are your big wins, little wins, and not-at-all wins?

Are you at home or are you an essential worker on the front lines (and if so please know I cry regularly with gratitude for you)?

What's giving you life and what's keeping you up at night? Or are you sleeping just fine in which case I'd like to know your tricks?!

Stay well. xo

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    So nice of you to check in with us, here in the U.K (England) were going into the third week of lockdown, as a family were used to being together (Have homeschooled our daughter for the past 11 years) but having our freedom cut back so much can feel unnerving at times. I like to focus on all the positives that can come out of having to change our day to day, the caring for the people around you that in everyday life you may not have a need of thought to do so.
    Thanks for checking in Lindsey, its good to know people really do care : ))

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Toaster strudels!! I haven’t had one in easily over a decade but I’ve been thinking about them daily for some reason. Buying today!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Honestly the most important thing I could have influenced you towards right now. The strawberry filling with that white frosting in the package? SO GOOD.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love that Sage is so ready and willing to see the bright side of all of this. This is hard for so many of us, and seeing Sage living her best life provides some perspective. Thanks for checking in!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Life is pretty much the same for my family as both my daughter and I are essential. I’ve always worked from home. The biggest difference is that my 5-year-old granddaughter has to stay home and inside. This has led to meltdowns several times a day. I’m at my wit’s end!!! I need to accept these meltdowns as her expression of frustration, but it’s so hard when she’s screaming and I’m trying to work.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    We have been doing weekly take out too from a place down the road 🙂 They haven’t really been open that long and as we live in such a rural area it was really nice to have a good place to go breakfast now and then or to get a drink and some (amazing) truffle fries. We’re hoping to help them stay in business until this is over. I hear you on the toaster strudel! Simple foods are the way to go right now (actually just read an article about this on Food52 lol). I’ve just been feeling so unmotivated to cook these days it’s nice to just let yourself have something you just want to eat and don’t have put in a lot of work for 🙂

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love that social distancing park chat! It must be nice for both you and Solvi to spend so much time together. Glad Sage is loving it too.

    This week’s been much better for me! Last check-in, I said things have been all over the place in terms of how I’ve been feeling. This week’s it’s much more positive. Work’s going well. I’ve been enjoying cooking a lot more (will be making your Thai yellow curry paste today). And I’ve been remotely playing video games with friends a lot more. I would actually attribute the wave of positivity to that. It’s increased the social aspect of quarantine a lot.
    Stay safe!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hello Lindsay from Lakeville, MN! The weather this week has been crazy – one day it was a balmy 68 degrees and yesterday it was snowing like a blizzard. Hang in there … spring will come, eventually! A couple of questions from your week 1 check in:
    1. what Indian restaurant do you go to? I’ve yet to find on in the twin cities I like.
    2. is that your red curry pictured in this post? It looks delicious!
    thank you! Happy Easter

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am in the okay category. It would probably be good, but I am unable to see my 87 year old mom in the nursing home😥.

    I am lucky to live on the OBX,NC so I have the beautiful beaches to get exercise and regroup while I breath in salty air.

    I have been cooking and really doing a lot of baking! Rolls, cakes, biscotti, more rolls, you get the picture. I have been avoiding stepping on that scale, at the moment she is not my friend. You too, may understand that.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    We’re making “to do” lists and settling in to a cozy routine. Lots of yard work in our beautiful Georgia spring weather, lots of “one of these days” tasks actually getting done, reading books I’ve meant to read, rereading the Gospel as we celebrate Easter week, sending cards to far away friends, long evening walks, take out sushi, phone calls with family, distance chats with neighbors…all at a sweet, slower pace. I dearly miss my 6th graders and all the fun of spring in middle school, and I pray for those struggling with health, work, and finances. At the same time, I’m cherishing this special time working from home with my husband and pup.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I honestly thought that I was doing OK! Not seeing my grandkids, at least not close enough to hug. But I went to the grocery store yesterday, and I felt my heart racing. Honestly I felt like I was doing something wrong, breaking some taboo, just so weird. Maybe no more shopping (except for milk and fresh veg I guess)…don’t know. Lindsay, stay you!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Such a nice check-in! I’m typically more of an introvert so I’m surprised at how hard it has been with being at home all the time. I usually work from home 2 days a week and go to the office 3 days a week. I never realized how much those 3 office days help with my mental sanity! Working from home full time has been a difficult transition. Mostly because I’m 5 months pregnant and I have a 2 year old at home so I feel like I can’t focus on anything… SO in moments of stress & anxiety I have been turning to cooking & baking. So many of your recipes are on repeat at my house (deep-dish cookie bowls & no-boil baked penne for example). They seriously are like a big hug and I’m so grateful. I feel like we’re all connected virtually through food and recipes and it brings me comfort. Sending good vibes and warm weather your way! 🙂

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m slowly getting used to ‘living’ in our current situation: reading a lot of books, a bit of movie watching, and growing some veggies in my yard (a new hobby).

    Even eating is more structured now compared to the first week of our lockdown: I’ve created a weekly, healthy meal plan, which includes snacking on popcorns and energy balls with occasional baked treats.

    I’ll rate this week okay.

    Our 21 day lockdown was going to end next week Thursday (South Africa), but yesterday the President extended it until the end of the month, so we will just have to wait and see what will happen towards the end of the month.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I would say I’m with you in the “meh” category. I’m not the most social person so I thought I’d be better with this than I am. Three of my four kiddos need direct help getting through the remote learning so that’s not my favorite. I feel like with 6 of us home I’m always doing dishes or feeding someone. Plus trying to help everyone through their emotional ups and downs feels hard sometimes. This week I’ve kind of hit the wall and the last few days have been hard. I made myself put on makeup and actual clothes today and am working hard on remembering that we can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves happy and the amount of work is the same. I’m trying for happy. It’s a beautiful 70° here in Colorado today so I’m going to soak up a bunch of sunshine.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I feel like I could have written this post! This is exactly where I am at right now, right down to the reasons.

      2. Skillful Cook Logo

        “remembering that we can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves happy and the amount of work is the same.”

        Okay I definitely needed to read that. Yes, yes, yes.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love this. I needed that graphic, and what it represents – that even if it’s changing by the hour, it’s okay to be feeling all of these things, even occasionally good! I’ve really appreciated your content (and the cookie bowls, no lie) as a little escape and some normalcy during all of this – I am cooking and meal planning more than ever!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Would it be insane to sub drained sauerkraut for the cabbage in the minestrone if you don’t have fresh cabbage? Asking for a friend. 😊
    Thank you for your heartfelt and honest posts. ❤️ Yesterday was definitely a meh day.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    We are entering week 4 of quarantine!

    Life is really giving us some hard times right now.

    Emotions are everywhere as most of us are homebound trying to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

    We’ve mourned through 9/11 together and weathered the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy (or likely another such natural disaster in your corner of the world).

    And now New York and New Jersey (where I live) are at the epicenter of the COVID-19 virus in the United States.

    But it feels different this time. We can’t see the attacker. We can only feel its effects. It’s hard to know what we can’t see.

    What we do know is that we will get through this. Together.

    What we don’t know is how we hedge against uncertain economic times this health crisis is sure to bring about – how do we recover and start to feel in control again?

    My advice?

    Think… how does the world need you right now? What can you offer that’s useful?

    When I say the world, it doesn’t have to be the world at large but your own circle of the world. Know what you can and can’t do.

    I’m a retired nurse and I feel the pull to help, but I know I can’t the way I used to. I used to work in the ICU and emergency room and I can only imagine what it’s like right now.

    I worked through the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s when it was first thought to be a mysterious form of aggressive pneumonia.

    I cared for HIV/AIDS patients when they were shunned like lepers. I worked with fellow nurses and doctors inadvertently stuck with infected HIV/AIDS patient needles because proper needle stick prevention hadn’t been developed yet.

    But people eventually developed a new needless system for intravenous therapy and new automatic needle cappers post-injection. Therapeutic HIV/AIDS drugs were developed. Wearing gloves became the standard in clinical care.

    New developments are happening right now as we learn about the COVID-19 virus.

    Last week, Mount Sinai hospital in New York began plasmapheresis, where the antibodies from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 will be transferred into critically ill patients with the disease, with the expectation that the antibodies will neutralize it.

    If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 you can donate your plasma for plasmapheresis. You can go to the Mount Sinai website for more information on donating.

    New Jersey has sent out requests through recruiters for retired nurses and doctors to work. I’m 61 years old (can’t believe I’m in the elderly category) and at a vulnerable age for complications from infection with COVID-19. It would be foolish of me to go to work at the next pop-up hospital in our state that is recruiting nurses.

    So how can I help? It may be the same way you can help.

    If I already had the disease and could donate my plasma I definitely would.

    I can help by supporting my family and educating people in any way I know best.

    I can help by following the prudent guidelines of social distancing and staying home. It doesn’t feel like helping but it is.

    Handwashing has always been something I’m diligent about and have taught my children the same.

    Still, it’s unsettling when we feel so very vulnerable. We want to do something. Action helps to overcome our feelings of vulnerability.

    Brene Brown has a wonderful podcast on this very topic you may want to listen to. It will help you find ways to get through these trying times.

    During this long run of the pandemic, it’s okay to be afraid but it’s not okay to panic.

    Fear is a protective mode. You can think rationally about your situation and plan accordingly. Once you hit panic mode all rational thinking is lost.

    Keep things in perspective. When times are hard you still have to be rational. And even though you may be afraid you can’t let fear make your decisions.

    Some steps you can take to keep your perspective:

    Limit input of news and get your news from a scientifically reliable source
    Listen to podcasts
    Read books
    Take walks
    Listen to music
    Pursue your hobby (if you can)
    Talk to family and friends on the phone or facetime.
    Prepare for difficult economic times ahead
    Make rational decisions

    Feeling powerless over a situation can lead to stress. But remember you are always in control of your emotions and thoughts.

    Inspirational posts I’ve posted on my blog this past month to help with the stress:

    10 Best Tea Books to Make You an Expert
    How Theanine in Tea Can Make You Calm
    40 Tea Quotes to Live By
    Ultimate Guide to Brewing Tea

    Drink tea, keep calm and be well.

    xo Mary Ann

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      “Still, it’s unsettling when we feel so very vulnerable. We want to do something. Action helps to overcome our feelings of vulnerability.”
      Mary Ann…. There’s SO much wisdom and experience and heart in all that you write. Thank You! We all want/need touchstones in life that remind us of our common humanity and you have done that.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m sleeping just fine after many, many years of just…not sleeping. Which was torture. Here’s my trick: excellent sleep hygiene! Meaning I now have a solid bedtime, waking time, no screens an hour before my bedtime, and I keep my alarm clock away from my bed.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Most weeks so far, I have been in the Meh-Okay category. This week was Meh-Hard. Both my fiance and I work from home full-time and that has not changed. We got engaged literally right before shelter-in-place orders and it’s hard sometimes.

    The best things we’ve had so far are: blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls from a can, your Sunday chili, homemade ginger lattes, and all the pastas. Along with takeout Italian from our favorite neighborhood restaurant.

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lol am I imagining things or is that a eyeball looking back at that plate !!! Right in the area between the table and the plate the hand is holding just above the hand. It’s just hanging out like , I’m just watching for anything that might fall!! lol love our pets!!!

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    My sleep trick is that I’m just so exhausted from being a full time parent + full time Shopify employee + staying up til midnight so that I can maximize some ‘me’ time before waking up and doing it all over again the next day, I’m just so exhausted that when my head hits the pillow, I get a great night sleep!

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    We have been in lockdown for either 3 or 4 weeks. I’m loving being at home all the time. I don’t have to be anywhere, do anything at a particular time. The time is MINE and I do what needs doing in my time.
    My husband continues to work from home so most days I only see him at mealtimes and maybe odd times in between.
    I’m not an introvert but am really enjoying the ‘stay in place’ time. I want my family and other people’s families to be safe at this time and come out the other end safe and well. Follow the rules and be all together at the end. Life will continue as we have known it if we are considerate now. It’s just for a short time in the big scheme of life.

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hello from Idaho! The weather here has been starting to warm up which is seriously the best thing to have happened this week. I’ve been going for daily walks which provides a much needed escape. I’m partially working from home and going into the office for half days as needed. It’s strange but also kind of nice sometimes. This weekend I really want to focus on Easter and even though it won’t look the same take time to connect with family via facetime.

    Seeing your stroller handle reminded me of your baby post a while back, would you mind doing a baby products recap now that you’ve used them with Solvi for awhile? I would love to know your thoughts on some of the bigger ticket items you shared about before.

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    Doing ok – I think ‘good‘ on the meter.
    Lovely photos – thank you for sharing 😀
    Here in Australia 🐨🦘🇦🇺 we cannot meet friends in the park (even with social distancing) – it changed a week ago.
    We are only allowed to leave our houses if
    *going to work/education if unable to do this from home (if you work is an essential service)
    *going to buy food, medications, medical appts – & must return home without delay.
    * going out for personal exersize in your Local neighbourhood on your own or with 1 other (families can walk together) everyone else – yourself and one other 😢. Hand hygiene everywhere, Hands have to be sanitised on entering supermarkets.
    No one is allowed to have visitors to their home unless it’s for compassionate reasons. No driving to take little holiday, no lounging around on the beaches – it is swim and go home! There are fines for breaking rules. Our new cases Of COVID-19 have dropped down in every state except Tasmania but their curve is now coming down too so that’s good.

    It’s a changed world – lets hope it all resolves soon.
    Meanwhile I can’t do the Fun group cycling I normally do on weekends so I am making sure I do a good walk every day. I miss seeing my grandchildren – have to FaceTime instead. I can’t celebrate my son’s birthday today. . 😢. I have to look at the positives – My family is well, I am well, I am still working as I am a nurse. The sun is still shining! Everyone seems to be doing more baking I have noticed (a good thing).
    Take care everyone, during these strange times.

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love and appreciate this post so much. I listened to the podcast that you linked to, and you mentioned wanting to mirror other people’s emotions….for what it is worth, you are definitely doing that for me! I have found myself re-reading your check-in posts because it feels good to have someone putting the words on what I’m feeling (better than I can myself). Thanks for being so authentic and open and doing what you do!

  24. Skillful Cook Logo

    Linsay, I enjoyed your photo’s
    I like your dog because we had
    Two Labs that liked to do like
    Yours! So you are in Twinkee land!
    Big Chicago fan living in Iowa.
    I am temp quarantine with elderly
    Mother in retirement community.
    I would love go shopping! I am a
    Pretty good cook. Any of your lady
    Buddies single? Looking 50 to 60 ish
    Take care of those kiddos
    Bill W. Iowa North Liberty