The Quarantine Report: Episode 5 - Skillful Cook
Our recipes, your inbox. Sign up

The Quarantine Report: Episode 5

A man sitting on a chair facing a baby who is having food.

The sun is shining and spring is blooming and yes, all around things feel better-ish, but wow. This is not a walk in the park. These days are long, long, long.

And I was going to say at least the weeks are passing by fast, but I don't know if that's true. It all feels a little mushy.

I am at the office today - empty office! alone. very socially distanced. - and Bjork just texted me that Solvi took a 50-minute nap when she usually naps for at least two hours. And to be honest, that's exactly the kind of tiny thing during quarantine that can just break you.

No? Just me? Just us?

Luckily we have an office, and jobs, and two of us together to split the parenting and general adulting duties that seem to be endless. I have so much to be grateful for and I am, every day. And even with that gratitude, and the knowledge that it could be so much worse, it still feels hard sometimes.

Collective morale check: how's it going out there?

What's your week been like?

What has been getting you through?


Chart with an arrow pointing towards okay for the quarantine report.

This week was okay overall.

It wasn't bad. There were some highlights.

But there was also enough dishwashing, vacuuming, laundry, diaper changing, post-bedtime work, and toy pick up to just keep it squarely in the category of The Daily Grind.

I know that planning and doing some special things each week (fun activities with Solvi, spa hour for me, “date night” for me and Bjork) would probably help give us all a mood boost, but thinking of said things and making them actually happen feels, like... really hard. And when things are already hard and time and energy are sparse, well, you know how it is.

That will be a good goal for me next week. Do something “special.” I'll report back.

Something Delicious

Coconut curry ramen in a bowl.

For sure the most fun and fancy thing that I made this week was the coconut curry ramen from the archives. I added a soft-boiled egg for fanciness and it really just made me feel like, YES, for two seconds, I have my life together.

But also worth mentioning: there is a peanut butter pie recipe dropping in on Monday and I have been eating that a lot this week as well and YOU ARE GOING TO WANT THAT ONE. It involves cream cheese and peanut butter and sugar and Cool Whip. Don't @ me, it's quarantine. It's so good.

Something Outside

A person taking a photo of their legs in a blanket and a dog curled up at their feet on a couch.

It's not quite warm enough yet to sit outside in full-blown shorts and a T-shirt, so I officially assembled our outdoor sectional (one of my favorite purchases from last summer) and brought my fuzziest blanket out onto the deck and took a nice cozy spring snooze out there with Sage this week.

The birds were singing and my neighbors were having an outdoor concert for their very musical kids so there was sweet violin music drifting across the backyards. Very idyllic quarantine moment.

Something Connected

Two families social distancing and talking to each other through a door.

Our friends have a new baby. 😭

Actually, they've had her for a month now, and this picture was taken right after she was born when we went to do a window visit.

But we have been back a few times this week to drop off some fun things and share some baby essentials and it's just so fun to SEE people even when it's through a window or across a yard. I'm loving these little visits.

Something Fun

A child running to a slide in the backyard.

I've gotten a little aggressive with my Target / Wal-Mart / Amazon purchases in the category of “TODDLER FUN TIME” in the last few weeks.

As of this week I've purchased:

  • A slide
  • A climber
  • A water table
  • A sand box

And we are just having a lot of fun with all of it.

(Side note to say that for environmental / excess reasons I like to try to buy this stuff secondhand. I use ThredUp for almost all of Solvi's clothes and it is awesome. But... I just have not had the energy to learn how to be good at Facebook Marketplace for big, specific toys during quarantine and, honestly, I don't know if I have it in me to drive 20 minutes to a stranger's house to procure my Toddler Fun items right now. Thank you for your patience. If you have tips for how to buy more used kid gear without spending hours searching and driving, I am all ears. I would love to get better at this.)

A Sage Photo

A dog taking rest with a stuffed toy.

The spring bandanas have come out, and this is the photo we all need right now.

Also, oof, her poor nails are so long. One week till your groomer's appointment, Sager! ♡

So here we are again.

I know it sounds a little dorky, but I am actually really proud of all of us. The whole world over. This is really hard. Emotionally, physically, economically, mentally. We are collectively exhausted and sad and weary. And yet, we're doing this - maybe hanging on just barely - but hey. GOOD ENOUGH. We're here, we're taking care of the main things, we're contributing where we can, and we're letting the rest go. While it looks different for all of us, I believe that we're all doing the best we can with an extremely difficult situation.

Hang in there, guys. One week, one day, one meal (!!) at a time.

Sending all our love and extra shrimp tacos from our quarantine to yours. xo

Filed Under: Life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just sending some love your way. I, too, feel derailed because of the smallest things, like maybe the kids didn’t put down the toilet seat (I have two boys + my husband at home right now), but then it all kind of slips away and I get back on track. Hang in there, it’ll be over soon enough and we’ll all be back where we need to be: hugging and kissing the friends and family we love amd miss so much!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Maybe we can see a food blog from you in the future? It’s ok to feel de-railed. Re-rail yourself with the power of positivity and get your food blogging side hustle going. 🙂

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    We are doing ok this week. I am placing a giant grocery order today because we are blowing through food, I’ve been diving into the archives to find ideas that feel new but aren’t too difficult, thank you! Water table.. you will not regret it! I have been looking on FB marketplace for a wooden climber but they are snapped up in a second. That combined with the extra work of borrowing a trailer to haul it, disassemble, bring it to our house, assemble it is just too much. Luckily ( as my husband reminds me) our kids have plenty to do in our yard right now. I did post on my personal fb asking if anyone had a water table they were looking to ge rid of and a family member came through! That’s one way to get things second hand, though not guaranteed. Sometimes just putting it out in the universe gets you what you need! Hang in there!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Exactly. That is 100% my struggle with using Facebook Marketplace! I need a) lots of time to search for things, b) a truck, and c) someone who is good at hauling and assembling things (no offense Bjork)! 😛

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love that you are able to be so self-aware as to check in with yourself and name your feelings. It would be so easy to just keep moving but never feeling quite right, but I think it is important to take time to think about how this is affecting us. Whether we are doing well with all of this or not, this is a huge thing that we are all going through. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and strategies for coping. The bit of normalcy I feel reading your writing is a welcome comfort during the best of times, but especially now. Thank you.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I really feel you on how difficult it is to do secondhand during the quarantine. I thankfully have LOTS of friends and relatives who have given me kids’ toys and clothes (and our kiddie swing, picnic table, and teeter totter are from when I was a girl!!). Now that the seasons are changing I have things for the younger girls, but I normally would buy secondhand for the oldest and that went out the window this year. I marched off to Walmart for summer jammies, swimsuit, and sandals yesterday.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      My non-quarantine tip for finding secondhand toddler fun is to put your mom (or someone else you know with the time and inclination) onto the task. 😉 My mom has managed to come up with a thrifted dollhouse, wheelbarrow, water table, etc… all in really good shape! I am not on FB so that’s how I roll.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Yes got this!! There are grandparents at home with not much to do and a desire to be useful! I have had my parents help with research on outdoor chairs and umbrellas. Would work great for searching out used items too!

      2. Skillful Cook Logo

        Yes to this!! There are grandparents at home with not much to do and a desire to be useful! I have had my parents help with research on outdoor chairs and umbrellas. Would work great for searching out used items too!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yes. This. I feel like there are a lot of things I try to do “better” whether for health or environmental reasons and you know what? There just is not a lot of bandwidth for that above-and-beyond stuff right now. I feel this so much. AND SUCH A GOOD TIP FOR FB MARKETPLACE.

    3. Skillful Cook Logo

      Mommas, don’t stress! Your new purchases will just begin another cycle when you donate or pass them along after you are done with them. Quarantine rules apply.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for being a happy (but real) little corner of the internet for when we all need a mental break. I made your berry cheesecake muffins this week, which my fiancé claimed were the best thing I’ve made since quarantine started. Truly a highlighted and devoured in 24 hours!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hang in there with your little family–it is hard, you are allowed to feel it is hard. We live remotely in Montana in summer and Arizona in winter so this quarantine, stay at home, whatever you want to call it isn’t much different than what we normally do but it is hard, dang hard and I’m ready for it to go away. We are all handling this in different ways and we are all allowed our feelings!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I so look forward to these weekly posts!

    Re: toddler toys. I found myself buying a lot at the beginning, but I wanted to slow down to 1. save money 2. be mindful of overwhelmed delivery drivers and companies and 3. not regret having so much “stuff” in the house. My solution? Rotate the toys and books. Every few days, we’ll take a bunch of books and toys and put them away in our room. Then, we’ll bring out other books and toys from earlier. They feel “new” and have some novelty without having to buy anything else. It’s working pretty well so far!

    I feel you on the special stuff feels hard. My husband and I alternate working/parenting, and while I’m *so* grateful for our toddler, our jobs, each other, I feel like we never get to talk. But by the end of the day, after dishes and bedtimes and straightening up, I don’t want to talk! Just sit and catch up on blogs and such. This is just a season, right? RIGHT?!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I think it is TOTALLY legit to buy things new toys for your daughter, especially during this time. Just think – you are helping the economy (and you’re keeping yourselves sane!) Thanks for all the great recipes and inspiration. A virtual hug to you!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    As a toddler teacher working a very weird job during this very weird time, let me send you some major kudos. I both know and can’t imagine how hard it is to have an under-3 during this time; I’m working with my families to try and support them in supporting their kiddos and I’ll tell you what I keep telling them – you’re doing more than enough! The kiddos will most likely remember this time as extended time with you, and very little else. A water table, a sandbox, and a slide can provide months worth of amusement and wonder for a little one. You’re doing great! If you’re looking for some almost effortless videos/resources/etc for a toddler, I’m here to help <3

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    In case it’s helpful for you or others, here are some things we’ve been doing for fun:
    – Setting up our tv on the deck and having movie night outside
    – Celebrating things we normally wouldn’t – like Cinco de Mayo with homemade tortillas & watermelon margs
    – Setting up a hockey shooting station (we’re a sporty crew over here)
    – Having a cooking competition (I lost)
    – Puzzle challenge…getting a 1000-piecer done in one day (it was a rainy day)
    – Mirroring our phone to our tv so we can have a really big Zoom call

    While a lot of this sucks, I fine that our mini-celebrations & finding fun in new ways is something I want to stick with once this is all over. Hugs to all from St. Paul 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for this post and sending love your way. I’ve been feeling just okay too lately. Little things just have a way of setting you off sometimes, like when my dog starts barking randomly and incessantly at nothing and there was something last week too that was, honestly, so small that I don’t remember what it is now, but it just made me cry really hard. My delicious thing this week has been homemade hummus and veggie wraps which sounds simple but with the weather here in VT right now (cold and STILL spitting snow) it makes me feel like Spring is still coming. I hope you find lots of fun things to do with Solvi 🙂 (Our dog’s nails are getting long too and I’ve been feeling immensely guilty about it, poor guy….)

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have two kids, 2 and under, and some days I am super mom and some days….barely surviving. RE: secondhand kid stuff!

    I love them. Also, stores like Once Upon a Child sell outdoor toys and ours has opened an online store since we can’t visit the store in person.

    hope that helps!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    These quarantine posts are so helpful to me! Thank you for not trying to gloss over the fact that this is hard. Yesterday I thought to myself, “I hope there is a quarantine post coming soon from Lindsey,” and this morning there is one!
    That’s all, just wanted to say thanks.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love your posts! Stay strong. We are all learning to live just a little bit like our great grandparents, except with electronic media! It’s the little things in daily life that matter the most in the long run. The little things are actually the biggest things.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love these reports! It makes me not feel so alone. That the feelings, and emotions I am having aren’t just mine. Thank You for these. I’m really feeling anxious, and sad lately. Missing my family, and friends. Guess we just have to hang in there and maybe hug a tree….get grounded and it’s something to hug.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for writing, I look forward to these. With a 5 yr old, 2 yr old, and 6 month old at home, I feel you on the naps! Routine is such a comfort for my children, and honestly for me too. Anything that derails it feels like the biggest hurdle. Fresh air, eighties music and comfort food cures most of our blues. Thank you for continuing to post delicious recipes!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just love your blog and website! It brings a much needed smile to my face. Could I ask where you purchased your outdoor sectional? It’s on my list for this season’s deck upgrade!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    You are in my head! I feel like I could have totally written this. Thank you for putting to words what I have been feeling. I’m also 6 months pregnant so ALL the hormones aren’t helping. But this little corner of the internet makes me smile and brings me such delicious food, so thank you! I hope you have a lovely weekend.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love how you incorporate environmentalism in little ways into your life and share it!

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    Put some dish soap in the water table. Offer her a dish scrub brush to wash other outside things.

    On its own, add a paint brush to paint the patio, wood fence, etc with the water.

    Ice cubes are also a hit in the water table.

    Toddler fun! Low effort.

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just reading your update, brightened my day. Your outdoor nap was downright inspirational and I am going to try to do one of my own. (Except it’s pretty hot here in L.A. so sans fuzzy blanket.) Happy Friday. Happy weekend. Thank you!

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    Finally, Solvi’s face. She looks like her mom.

    And there it is, my favorite picture of Sage with bunny and bandanna!

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    Where did you get your outdoor sectional?? LOVE IT? We moved into our new house March 14th so haven’t been able to shop for new things (hard for me to do furniture online without seeing it!!) and are trying to furnish our big deck! And the picture of Sage is precious – our dogs nails are so long I have huge scratches all over me from her!

  24. Skillful Cook Logo

    I bought a water table brand new, at Target about 7 years ago when my eldest was just starting to stand. I never buy stuff new and I only succumbed to Target after a long and arduous secondhand search. I was thinking, this is such a waste! He will only use it for a year or so! Guess what? My boys are 8 and 4 now and they still use the water table ALL THE TIME. I have no idea it would have such longevity. It is really such an open ended toy- good for toddlers to splash around it, good for older kids to stage epic Lego sea battles in. They do lots of gross things involving mud in there. Sometimes they fill it with homemade bubble solution (dish soap, water, corn syrup.)

    Just think, anything she does grow out of that you don’t want anymore you can bless someone else with. The secondhand chain can start with you this time.