The Quarantine Report: Episode 3 - Skillful Cook
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The Quarantine Report: Episode 3

A person sitting on a chair wearing yellow top and blue jeans holding a plate having some grapes.

Same time same place, and we meet again! Except this time I have a bowl of grape remnants in my lap.

Today marks 42 days in quarantine for me. In 42 days, I've been out in the public world exactly three times. That's a lot of time at home.

Bjork and I are splitting days and times and hours to try to both cover our work and parenting bases, and it is, well, just kind of impossible. It doesn't make sense - there are two of us, and one of her - but considering we are used to having at least 30 hours of weekly childcare that has suddenly gone away, I guess it makes sense that balancing all of it feels so overwhelming.

Staying home for this long is both important and hard. Week after week, news cycle after news cycle, I am feeling the when-does-the-end feelings right there with you. I'm trying to remember that even if we don't know when it ends, it isn't forever.

So back to it - here’s the Quarantine Report List this week:

  • Something Delicious
  • Something Outside
  • Something Connected
  • Something Fun
  • A Bonus Sage Photo


A chart indicating an okay score for the quarantine report.

Not a bad week. Also not the most fun time of our lives ever.

It was okay.

We had some mild ups and downs, and I had one day when I just fell into a cry hole after reading a particularly sad news article (THIS IS WHY I TRY NOT TO READ THE NEWS), but overall it felt like the perk-up and love-filled things throughout the week outweighed the bad stuff. It was solid. Solid isn't bad. Solid is just... solid. I will take it.

Something Delicious

Muffins on a muffin tin.

Of course, the deep dish pizza we had delivered last night was delicious, as were the work-with-what-you-have Korean beef rice bowls that I made earlier this week.

But the real winner was these triple berry cheesecake muffins. I made them 3x in 3 days, A) because it's my job to make sure our recipes are actually really good, and B) because, um, THEY ARE REALLY GOOD and I like to eat them.

Check back - that brand new recipe will drop on Monday morning! Just think - it's **something to look forward to!**

Something Outside

A child running towards some grass.

I'm trying to get better about doing some “field trips” with Solvi during my longer days with her. This week we went to an open field by our house. Literally... just a flat patch of grass. There is a park here, but it's closed. There are trails here, but she's not interested in being strapped down in a stroller these days.

So we went to an open field and she just kind of ran around aimlessly in the grass for an hour with me following her around and pointing out trees and robins and dogs walking on the trails. Despite the cold (STILL. WHY.) it was a winning moment in the week.

Side note: when we lived in the Philippines, in the heart of the jam-packed, always-bustling, highly populated urban chaos, we used to LONG for space like this. Just open green space. It is a gift, really. I'm thankful for you, Minnesota!

Something Connected

Colorful painting sitting on the edge of a round white table.

This week: PAINTING!

Brush lettering for me (during Solvi's nap - I just couldn't get any proper tasks done so I dusted off some paints and brushes) and then a stressful / fun watercolor frenzy with Solvi when she woke up.

This is in the “connected” category because I actually just got an email that our community is doing a drive to collect May Day cards for isolated seniors, so it looks like next week we'll be painting again to contribute some cards for our community's seniors and send some love out into the world.

Something Fun

A black and white photo of a child looking out the window.

This week I did a photo shoot with Sage and Solvi. I took a bunch of pictures on my DSLR and then transferred them to my phone where I just edited them right there from my perma-lounge position on the couch. It was a fun distraction.

Sage Photo

A dog lying in the sun.

She loves the sun. She is my daughter. She is me.

How are you guys doing?

Are you on the up-and-up? Stuck in a downward spiral? Riding the rollercoaster of unpredictable emotions day to day?

What are the little things (are there any? one? two?) that are lifting you up this week?

I don't always get a chance to respond to all your comments (see above about dividing work and quarantine parenting shifts) but I want you to know that I read them and connect with them and absorb them. I feel honored to get a glimpse into your quarantine lives. ♡

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love these posts so much – your daughter is precious and her curls are ADORABLE.

    One thing I’ve been learning in all of this is how precious little pieces of good news are. We had a bit of good news in my family and it literally lifted my spirit for 2 straight days. I hope when all of this is over I don’t lose the depth of gratitude I feel for the little bits of lovely in my life. Praying health and perseverance for you all!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    First off – OMG, Solvi’s curls!! I had not noticed them before but they are adorable!! She has great hair!!

    I feel very ‘meh’ about things. I’m an introvert but this is just too much isolation for me. I’m so glad the weather is getting nicer, though. Walks with our 2yo have been filling my cup lately. He will still sit in the stroller which is great for me as then we can go on long walks. We’ve been walking to Lake Harriet and Minnehaha Creek to see the ducks. Yesterday a duck crossed the walking path right in front of us so that was pretty exciting for the toddler!

    Take out once/week is also saving my life right now!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Loving these posts, Lindsay – thanks for sharing and for making me feel more connected to the outside world during this quarantine time. 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    We need the shopping list for the muffins Lindsay! My grocery pickup is today and I neeeed them Monday when you publish the recipe! Lol. So glad to hear you guys are hanging in there. We’re good here, mostly just nervous about my oldest that is supposed to start kindergarten in the fall. Will they or won’t they?!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I always love reading your posts! And Solvi’s curls are adorable!!! I have a sister w/ stick straight hair who was also born w/ beautiful curly hair – to this day, she curses my mom for having cut them when she was little. 😉 Word to the wise…

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I would love to get a list of ingredients for the muffins! That way when we do our weekly shopping this weekend I can get what I need! They sound so delicious!!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve loved reading these!
    Never thought I’d give birth during a pandemic but I did this week. We are home and healthy and she is making our quarantine incredibly sweet!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Congratulations! Same here. My daughter will be 3 weeks on Sunday. On the one hand I get frustrated because this is not how I imagined this time but on the other she is such a bright spot and happy distraction. Hang in there!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m an introvert raising 3 very loud extroverts while also struggling to Accomplish virtual school with all 3. My husband is also an extrovert and talks way too much. I’m not ok. We take turns leaving the house for groceries or diy supplies at Home Depot and I walk our dog alone every day. But I’m still not doing ok. Oh and we own brick and mortar businesses and have been shut down for 5? 6? Weeks. However, I’m relishing in small victories and small moments of happiness, trying to get them to carry me through the day. Thank you for being so honest in your posts, it’s helpful to know we aren’t alone in our struggles.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Katie, I’m sorry life is so hard for you right now! I’m a fellow introvert who works as a social worker, a job I usually enjoy but man, it sucks the life out of me, especially during these times. I’m not OK right now, either. But I’m actively practicing gratitude which seems to be helpful: I set my alarm for every 30 minutes during the work day to make myself get up and move. While I walk around my house, I list the things I’m grateful for in that moment. Some days the list is much shorter than others! Anyway, I wanted to make sure you felt heard. Take care!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Things that lifted me up-two of your recipes! I have 3 daughters who love to bake. Last weekend we made your Best Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies-I was on a hunt for a cookie recipe that I didn’t have to bring butter to room temp (pet peeve). These were AMAZING and will be out go to recipe from now on!
    Last night we made your Deep Dish Cookies Bowls, OMG. My oldest daughter and I agree-we each could have eaten all 4 (we double the recipe). The tummy ache would have been worth it.
    Im in Northeast Iowa and we only have had 4 cases in our county so it is a very weird/surreal time. We are try ing to get out on bike trails and rollerblade, ride bike, spend time as a family. School has been moved to online for the rest of the year, which is weird and hard.
    I love your pictures and recipes, they bring a sense of normalcy to my life, which is much needed now! Thank you!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just sayin “Howdy!!!”
    Tanks again, for the uplifting blog. Maybe in our quiet time, we canfind a better word then blog. Remember I’m old school and your site is more than a blog to me. Bijorn…
    Tanks for helping out. You know it does take two or more to be a family.
    Keep up the good work and God bless

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Really lovely post. Wonderful curly hair and toddling legs on your sweet daughter!

    I’m starting to get a little less desolate over the pandemic and all it comprises. Not compulsively reading news helps. Not assuming that we know anything for sure about the future, when the forecasts are grim. Also it’s helping that I’ve given up grieving my beloved gym’s closure and started insisting I get out and walk the quiet streets of my neighborhood, despite the lingering cold windy weather here in my corner of New England.

    I’ve been listening to old books on Audible, just finished the first three books of the Anne of Green Gables series, currently on Alcott’s 8 Cousins, which I haven’t read in over 30 years. These books really brighten my spirits! As do…the first green grass. The first forsythia I’m seeing locally. The wild turkey flocks that come out of the woods behind our house to graze in our lawn for grubs, or in the compost pile behind our garage. The occasional wild bunny munching our backyard lawn. Knowing we will get through this. We WILL get through this! Chocolate chip cookies will help!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Helloooo. Thankyou thankyou Lindsey for your absolutely refreshing posts that I always look forward to. You are the best. I’ve been a long time fan, but I might add in, a quiet fan. 😉 Anyways. My small inspirations are FOOD (as usual) like so much food. My dogs. Walks. & coffee. COFFEE YES PLEASE.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for these posts; I love reading them!
    I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, where we have just had a terrible week. We have been feeling so disconnected and thrown off with how heartbreaking everything around us has been, and it is just nice to read these quarantine reports and feel connected and some normalcy with checking in on some of my favourite blog families!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love these check ins! I am struggling with the lack of feeling connected and seeing real talk that isn’t doom and gloom is a bright spot for me. My positive for this week? I finally found curry paste in a store and can make your green curry next week! Felt like I won the lotto when. I found flour too. :). Thank for your fantastic blog!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yes ingredient list please!! Those look SO good and my toddler would love them for breakfast :-). Hope you’re able to give yourself grace. It’s ok if work isn’t great during this time or you are only producing the minimum.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I CANNOT WAIT for that muffin recipe! Will be buying what I think it might require on my grocery run tomorrow 😍

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay,

    Right there with you on trying to parent and work, husband and I are both trying to work and care for our almost 4 year old and 18 month old who would normally be in daycare.

    Been trying to take it one day at a time. My home country of NZ is reducing their restrictions as they head towards almost eliminating the virus. I feel like it is going to be never ending, and I’m holding out hope that sense and character will persevere.

    Lifted up by a zoom chat with fellow kiwis in the US for ANZAC day, and planning to make ANZAC biscuits with my girls tomorrow, and get some sunshine.

    Thank you for all that you do to bring light and goodness to others.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for the delicious recipes, they’re really helping.
    And yes, one small child really can outnumber two adults. We discovered that when our son was Very Young, and he was ‘good’. When our daughter turned up 4 years later we realised just how ‘good’ he’d been.
    30 years on I can report that we all survived and they are both good, kind, compassionate people. Daughter is studying to be a nurse and has chosen to nurse in her local hospitals during this pandemic.
    Be thankful that there are two of you to the one of her, and that you’re not your great-grandmother – who probably would have had far more!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love your posts. I am a grandma raising a 10 year old and home school is challenging, 5th grade math isn’t what it used to be. Structure is helping us, I walk with her in the morning, Grandpa bikes with her after dinner, we all swim together when they get home. We planted vegetables and spend a little time gardening g everyday. I try to do phone calls, emails and paperwork for our business while she is studying independently. We are focusing on family, trying to enjoy this extra time we have together, and being grateful for the blessings that we have.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    It’s good to hear that things are going okay. Things are going okay here as well. Reading your posts always brings a spark to my day. I attempted to get some groceries today… I got about a quarter of my list before I gave up.
    I think that is the hardest part for me. Grocery shopping has always been calming and relaxing for me. I used to go once a week, finding fresh herbs and whatever ingredients I needed for my latest inspiration. Stay positive. That is a good idea to paint for the elderly. I might have to see if there is something like that in my area.

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for your post! I love seeing pics of your dog and kiddo-and of course, the food! :o) I am fortunately still working during this whole thing because I am a counselor at a jail. I am happy to still be getting a paycheck and think a lot about how people are getting by that aren’t able to continue working. My husband works from home now and does virtual school with our 11-year-old. I hate it that he’s on his Xbox so often playing video games online with his friends, but my husband always says, “If he’s occupied and happy, it’s okay for right now.” He did go on a bike ride with our one neighbor/friend yesterday. So that was a win! Love your posts and yes I agree….your little girl’s curls are absolutely adorable!!!! Stay safe

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay, your posts are so helpful when I need a little boost.
    I’m in the UK and I’m trying not to stress out by working my way through ALL my bookmarked POY recipes (I have a lot!) and trying to save some for my mum. This week was apple cinnamon cake, last week apple caramel slices, next week maybe the cheesecake bars someone linked here… to offset that I’m getting out for walks, luckily we have quiet open spaces.
    We managed a video chat with technologically challenged family this weekend too!!
    I am near enough to the beach to walk by the sea if I’m struggling and on Sunday I needed that. It really helped me calm and get some perspective on what was a small thing that seemed overwhelming because of the situation.
    If all else fails I go and lie down with my cats! Stay safe everyone. X

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    Loved reading your post! We have a 3 year old grandson who’s “trapped” at home with us. He misses his playmates at preschool and I have a definitely renewed appreciation for his teachers🤣. Keep the faith Lindsay, this too shall pass.

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi…love your post regarding being quarantined at home. I am lucky enough to see my grandson 3 times a week – mom and dad live 6 houses up so keeping our circle tight and small. He makes me smile. Also, baking bread! I finally have the time it takes to be patient and wait for amazing loaves that I can share with my daughter and son in law……stay safe!