The Quarantine Report: Episode 4 - Skillful Cook
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The Quarantine Report: Episode 4

Yellow daffodils growing in a garden.


They are blooming!

We go on walks and just sit and look at them and Solvi waves at them from her stroller. There is at least a 99% chance that newly-blooming flowers can save us all right now.

How are you all doing?

We just got word that Minnesota's stay at home order is now extended for another two weeks. What is the situation where you live?

Can you get outside? Are you feeling heavy and dull (been there) or is spring slowly lifting your mood like it is for many of us here in Minnesota?

Here's a recap on our week in quarantine.


Covid rating chart.

Honestly I didn't really think this day would come, but here I am reporting that overall this week in quarantine was really... actually... GOOD!

A big, big, big part of that was that it was my birthday this week, and even though I didn't get to do the normal fun stuff I would have liked to do on my birthday, I still got a day that included a lot of my favorite things: donuts, migas, a mocha, a nap before noon, a long uninterrupted shower, zero dishwashing, a bouquet of flowers, a visit from my parents (more on that in a second), pad thai and spring rolls for dinner, and a big ol slice of chocolate cake. It was relaxing and happy. The best kind of birthday.

Also helping the overall state of affairs this week: THE WEATHER. Round of applause, please, for sun and warmer temps. It's bringing my heart and soul back to life.

Something Delicious

A plate of naan with sausage and peppers.

A) Eating outside. Anything right now is better when it can be outside.

B) This is a grilled sausage and peppers situation. The Italian chicken sausages are from ALDI (well, everything is from ALDI) and I'm going to do a post about this later in a more normal bun situation. But on this particular night I got a little rowdy and decided to try grilling some garlic naan and folding our sausage and peppers into that? Yeah, I don't know. It was really messy but SO good. I'll have a recipe for this coming soon, but until then... sausage, peppers, aioli, and carb vehicle of choice.

What are your favorite grill recipes? This is now my little nightly backyard restaurant and I am hungry for ideas.

Something Outside

A person holding a popsicle.

$7.99 pool for the win!

Also for the win: a watermelon popsicle on a 70 degree and sunny day.

I am living for the warm weather life right now. Did I mention that already?

Something Connected

A woman holding a child on her hip as she talks to someone in a grey car.

My parents came by for my birthday! YAY!

I haven't seen them in person for... I don't even know. Weeks. Lots of weeks. A long time. After they sang to me in the driveway, they eventually took off their masks and sat with us on the deck in lawn chairs 6 feet apart.

They made faces at Solvi that had her rolling with laughter, and we sliced off a piece of our store-bought cake to share with them.

And it wasn't ideal but it was so, so, so wonderful. It reminded me how good it is to be together. I just can't wait for PEOPLE.

A Sage Photo

A dog sleeps on a sofa.

Certifiably angelic.

Even if everything else in life is hard, I have one good thing to say which is... we made it to the end of another week!

And even though the weekends kind of just look the same as the weekdays, maybe this weekend you (and me) can carve out some time - like, what feels reasonable, 30 minutes? 2 hours? depends on how needy your kids and animals and various other people are - to just do something that makes you happy. Bake muffins. Go for a walk. Sit outside in a chair in the sun and stare off into the distance. (That's what I'll be doing.)

I'd love to hear your quarantine reports in the comments!

Sending lots of joy for the good days, grace for the really bad days, and all the patience we can muster from our quarantine to yours. ♡

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    So glad you had a happy birthday! We are getting the warm, sunny weather in Milwaukee today and I CAN’T WAIT. It was 40 and rainy the past 3 days which was so hard. We set up a water table in our kitchen for our boys (3 and 10 months) and it has been so fun! 10/10 would recommend a water table for the summer. I found out I got hired back on my job so my husband and I are navigating balancing working at home while watching our kids. Crazy! Sending good vibes to everyone! I keep telling myself although I don’t know when, this will end one day ❤️

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Stay at home orders are now through the end of May in Ohio. But today, they restarted elective surgeries, dental work and eye exams. But no proms and only socially distanced graduations.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy belated birthday to you! So glad you had a good week. We are kind of the same – obviously nothing is ideal, but we are just counting our blessings and in a fine routine (even if it does involve a LOT of screen time). Virginia’s stay-at-home order is through June 10, which is actually fine with me because I prefer to stay on the cautious side, anyway. Stay well and be well!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Happy Birthday!
      Lately I do all on my weber I did koftas, octopus, veggies, turkey burger, even I baked your bread there 🙂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo


        Sounds like you have an acquired taste for Octopus. When I tried it long ago, it tasted to me like I was virtually chewing on rubber. That was when I tried friend Octopus-Squid. It was good they way they made it, but kinda slippery. What was your 1st taste like when you ate it? 🙂

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    happy birthday, lindsay! xx sounds like it was a fabulous celebration (all things considered, of course). glad it was a good week! we’re hangin’ in over here – the beautiful weather in the last week has been a much-welcomed antidote to the overall “blah”-ness also known as april. ready for more of it! stay well!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Montana is still brown, a bit of green grass but no leaves or flowers yet. Our state started a phased re-opening this past Monday. This coming Monday restaurants re-open with restrictions. Wednesday we had takeout from a local restaurant, drove to a nearby park and had lunch outside with friends–the first meal I have not cooked in right at two months.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love all your life posts! (And the recipe posts too of course :))
    Here in Switzerland things are easing up a little, and it feels nice but also scary. So, like, we’re allowed to do things and you just trust us to be reasonable about it? Scary. Anyway, I’ve started doing little outings and meeting friends for very distanced lunches outside, and it’s been SO nice. Take care everyone, and lots of virtual hugs from my corner of the world to yours!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Dear Lindsay… I do look forward to your weekly updates- makes me feel connected to the world. Overall this week has been ok. I heard somebody say “right now, it’s ok to just be ok” so that’s been my mantra tis week! Good news! My nephew who has been in isolation got the all clear. Texas is one of the states that seem to be in a rush to reopen. But it looks like they are doing gradually. Work at the hospital is slowing picking up again. Sometimes I forget this is going on- I stay busy at work doing admin. work & listening to my music on my headphones- drowning everyone out ( I’m tired of the politics of all of this!!) The picture of the nurse staring down one of the protesters made me cry and applaud. I started scrapbooking again!!! That had came to a screeching halt when my grandson was born, but it’s time to take a trip back down memory lane and get it all in the books!! Like i said, sometimes I forget (or maybe subconsciously I’m blocking for self preservation) but then reality hits me in the face and I’m devastated all over again. This roller coaster ride is exhausting… and I don’t even like roller coasters!!! BBQ ideas: Shish-k- Bob’s! Meats veggies starch – call it a day! God bless you and God bless America!!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy birthday! Totally jealous of your situation there with the shorts! Random question but where are the shoes that you’re wearing in the driveway picture from? They are so cute and I love that they go with Sovi’s!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Belated Happy Birthday! So glad it was a relaxing day for you. You’d think I would be getting used to staying at home but it wore hard on me this week. I live alone and am ready to see people again. I’m hoping for some yard visitors this weekend! My son pops in from time to time but it’s usually brief but it’s nice to see another person. Not sure if it’s the best decision as he continues to work but I’m at the point of not being willing to deprive myself from seeing my only child and I’m trusting in the immune system God gave me and not wanting to live in fear of the people I love. Because that’s how we started out with this whole thing and it was NOT good! We do keep our distance; i.e. no hugs 🙂 On another note, I have made 2 of your recipes this week! The chocolate chip cookies and the 15 minute sesame noodle bowls except I used peanut butter instead of tahini and really loved both! Hope your weeks continue to stay at the “Good” level!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy birthday! This week was meh- ok, and I’m ok with that. Shelter in place is loosened as of today in Texas and I’m not 100% ok with that so I will be staying in. The jasmine is in full bloom in our complex courtyard and it makes our patio time so much better in the meantime!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    We are in Canada and one of the rare families who’s life feels pretty much business as usual (aside from no social gatherings and grocery shopping being really weird). I am a hospital based doctor so still working, and my husband is a contractor and our provincial leader wanted all residential construction already in progress to continue so he is also still working. Our daughter is in a special daycare set up for essential workers. I already did most of my shopping online prior to COVID, and I am also an introvert so call me crazy but I secretly like that we can’t have social gatherings 🙂

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy Birthday Lindsay!
    I’m very glad you had a great birthday, especially with parents. So important to stay connected
    My week’s been pretty good. Not as much exercise this week, but loads of cooking and reading. Work’s been good too. The weather’s been incredible. So I’m happy

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Belated happy birthday Lindsay! Warm summer days here in India (New Delhi) are keeping me happy as well. Today it was announced that the lockdown is extended for two more weeks. Not exactly sure how I am feeling, but somewhere between MEH and OKAY.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy belated birthday! It sounds like you had a wonderful day & in these trying times, that is all we can ask for! My pandemic prescription is yoga… lots of mini practices of yoga throughout the day. It keeps me grounded & helps me weather the stresses of work. Though I must say that I am very thankful that I continue to work & am able to do so from home… what a blessing!

    Enjoy your coming week & I look forward to next week’s installment!


  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    After many decades of reading recipes and then running to the store for whatever ingredient I needed, I have finally learned to figure out how to plan ahead, and also how to make do with whatever is on hand. So yesterday I wanted to try Mexican Street Corn but the only corn I had was in the freezer and the only lime juice I had was in a bottle. So under the New Normal SOP, I went ahead and toasted the corn on top of the stove and added the usual sauce ingredients. Everyone loved it! And my son even suggested they would be good with fish sticks in a Fish Taco! YAY!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy Birthday! In my family, we celebrate ‘birthday season’ and it is over when we get to celebrate with every one on our list. Fun! I live on a farm, so we’re busy with the animals and putting in a huge garden. We’re enjoying fresh greens, asparagus and radishes this week. I miss people, too! We are doing our doctor check ups via Zoom and that is a nice perk. My state started phase 1 opening today, I shop only once per month anyway, so it won’t change what I already do. I’m a nurse, so still going into work. Spring is here and I’m going to invite my friends one at a time to sit a spell outside 6 feet apart for a catch up.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy birthday! It sounds like the best kind of birthday, considering the times. I love the picture of you and Solvi with your parents. In Washington, our governor has extended the Stay at Home order. As a special ed. teacher, I’m still working, but it’s very hard to get my students (5 & 6-year-olds) to actually attend to a Zoom video. Plus, I miss them so much. I’m an introvert, so I like staying home, but I do miss seeing friends. Please keep the quarantine reports coming. xo

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy Belated Birthday Lindsey! I am so happy to hear you had a great week and got to see your Mom. I’m in Los Angeles, CA and Quarantine has been pretty strict so my family has been hunkered down at home. I have been spending each morning doing a morning weight training with a friend via Facetime and that has been a great way to start the day. The weather has been gorgeous so I work from my porch on my laptop. I am grateful to be healthy and alive! Taking it one day at the time and staying connected with family via Facetime. My son’s attended 2 driveby birthday’s yesterday. One was a Zoom birthday and the other was a drive by birthday where we drove by his friend’s house, dropped off a gift and said hi! It was pretty fun! Some cars were decorated with streamers and Happy Birthday signs! It was memorable! Sending you love from California! Stay healthy and safe. Love, Ester

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy birthday! I teared up a little when you mentioned seeing your parents for your birthday – my birthday is next weekend (the big 3-0!) and I have been trying to feel good about it although this is such a crazy weird time. We had lots of plans and now none of them are happening, but a day filled with all my small favorite things can be just as good as a big blowout vacation or party (which will be made up later anyway!). Thanks for bringing a smile to my face with your post!

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy happy birthday! What a delightful weather week we Minnesotans have had. Makes such a difference as we cope with the situation at hand. And today my hubby our golden retriever and I hooked up our airstream and are heading to the Badlands and Custer for a getaway. Hiking, biking and camping in God’s beautiful world will be another gigantic spirit lifter! Wish I would’ve read your sausage, pepper naan bread recipe yesterday-it would be a terrific campfire meal! Next time!

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay—your posts help me know my feelings during this quarantine are shared by you and likely many others —we will get through this. My favorite meal this week was what I made for dinner tonight…blta salad with creamy ranchy-blue cheesy drizzle. I grilled the bacon and skipped the bread…it was awesome🥳. Oh and a little rose 🥂

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have been quarantined since March 9th. A few rides to town but I stayed in the car. I sew, making purses, quilts and clothing. This keeps me happy. I love to cook and bake lots of differnet things. However the days I look forward to the most are Prayer Group vis Messenger, Church via internet. All is good.

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy birthday! I just love your posts, they’re so well written with wit and a touch of sarcasm… hilarious. Here in Dural in Sydney, Australia, our iso-life has just eased slightly. As of yesterday, we are now allowed to visit friends and family, only 2 adults at a time, plus kids. It’ll take the edge off having the kids climbing the walls (I have 3 sons under 13) and certainly take the edge of my insanity! Thanks for your posts, I always thoroughly enjoy reading them. x