What we are doing during quarantine

Netflix and chill

Like most of the world, my family has spent the last 3.5 weeks quarantined at home because of COVID-19. I can guarantee I’ve never spent this much time at home in my entire life. We’ve been doing our best to keep busy and thankfully haven’t quite reached the point of being bored just yet. Today I’m sharing what we’ve been doing during quarantine.

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I have to admit, I lack the teacher gene. My kids were both daycare babies so they both started “school” at a very early age. Carter and Kenzie rolled into preschool and elementary school like they were ready to rule the school. They’ve always thrived in the classroom setting and do really well with structure.

Never once have I considered homeschooling my kids, so it is crazy to me that I can now add “home school teacher” to my resume. Our school district did a fantastic job of getting distance learning up and running after a short 5 day delay. As of today, we’ve completed week 3 of home school and are starting to get the hang of it. Being 100% honest though, some days are easier than others.

Yes, we’ve been completing worksheets and activities provided by the teachers, but we’ve also been supplementing with other educational tools. One of our favorite education apps is called Prodigy, which is an interactive math game where success depends on correctly answering math questions. Carter has access to the tool through his school, but everyone has the option to signup for a free account.

Another one of our favorites has been Amazon Future Engineer, which is a free robotics coding program available for kids in grade 2 through high school. Carter has been interested in coding for a long time so I thought it was awesome of Amazon to open this program up for free. The younger kids are taught block based coding and the older kids are learning coding through text. Amazon also partnered with EarSketch to provide a free program that helps students learn to code through music.

We haven’t started it just yet, but at some point over the next few months I plan to have Carter start taking Typing Club. Typing Club is a free online resource to teach kids or adults how to type. Now that he is spending more and more time on a laptop, I figure it can’t hurt to teach him how to type correctly.

What we are watching…

Like most families, we’ve been spending some time in front of the TV. Other than The Bachelor and a few of the Housewives seasons, my TV viewing is usually limited to HGTV and Impractical Jokers. Now that we have some extra time on our hands, we had to find a few new things to watch.

Yes, we caved and watched Tiger King, the crazy tiger series now available on Netflix. The whole thing is so out there and absolutely ridiculous. However, it was a good distraction from the COVID-19 news and overall reality. If you’ve ever felt your family is crazy, watch Tiger King. You’ll feel like everyone is actually pretty normal afterwards! And for the record, I do think Carol fed her husband to her tigers.

I was so happy to hear the Impractical Jokers: The Movie was released for viewing at home! Like I said above, I’ve been a huge fan of the show for ages. I even watched it when I was in labor with Kenzie (she’s now 5.5 years old), which was the perfect distraction between contractions. The movie ran in theaters for a short period of time, but ended up going to an early digital release due to the virus. You can purchase your digital copy for $19.98 from places like YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu and Google Play. It felt good to laugh and check out from reality for a good 93 minutes. I give it five stars! Click here to watch the trailer.

My other guilty TV pleasure has been Vanderpump Rules. It’s a Housewives spinoff that I’ve been watching it since the first episode of season one. Fun fact: I even made Kurt go to SUR with me for date night when we lived in Los Angeles during the summer of 2018. We lucked out that evening and they were filming! I was blurred out of the background of one of the scenes, which pretty much makes me famous (not at all). Either way, I look forward to it every Tuesday night.

Finally, my kids have been getting good use out of our Disney+ and Netflix subscriptions. Other than Frozen 2, they’ve mostly been watching old Disney classics they’ve never seen before or re-watching a few of their favorite movies. They pretty much never complain when I let them have screen time.

At-home Workouts

If I’m being honest, working out at home is the thing I dislike the most about quarantine life. I love the downtime and ability to relax and spend time with my family. But I really, really miss the gym. I miss my group fitness classes and the energy I get from the other people in the room. I miss my hour to focus on nothing other than burpees and jumping jacks and lunges. I miss the way I feel after a hard, hard class.

I’ve considered getting a Peleton or something similar, but I realized I can’t wait to get back to the gym when this is all over. I don’t want to invest in a piece of equipment I won’t use in the long run, so I’ve been taking a number of different online classes. Peleton is offering a free 90 day trial on their app, but note most of their classes require a treadmill or bike (I don’t have either). I’ve also been taking virtual classes from my blogger friend Alison over at All Things Alison and friend Jenn Owens over at @jennowensfitness. Alison and Jenn are wonderful, but I can’t wait to get back to the gym (hopefully soon) when my kids can’t interrupt me over and over.

Lots and lots of walks

Lots of family walks

We’ve been lucky to have such amazing weather in Arizona over the last month. Temps have been mostly in the 70’s during the day, so we’ve been trying to get outside as much as feasibly possible. This means lots and lots of walks. Sometimes I run and sometimes the kids ride scooters. We’ve even been doing morning dog walks before my husband starts work for the day. Not only is it good exercise, but it’s good for the soul.

Cooking and eating outdoors

In addition to walks, we’ve been trying to eat outside as much as possible. Kurt has been grilling up a storm lately and we’ve had everything from smoked pork to burgers, hot dogs, chicken and steak tacos. Not only is it great to keep the mess outside, but it also good to have a change of scenery. The kids and I like having picnic lunches in the grass as well!

Home projects

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know we started remodeling our house about two years ago. There are still a number of home projects that have been on the honey do list for a long time that are finally starting to get done. Kurt loves woodworking, but usually our weekends are full of kids sports, family events and dinners with friends. In the past few weeks, he’s built shelves for the bar in our kitchen, as well as corner shelves for our master bath. I’ve also been spending time organizing every closet and cabinet in our house. I suppose quarantine life is good for the remodel. Our plan for this weekend includes organizing the garage.

Virtually connecting with friends

Tips for keeping homeschool kids engaged

It is crazy to think of the role technology has played in this quarantine. My husband has been able to seamlessly transition his entire company to working remotely. Schooling is now being done over the internet. And while it isn’t exactly quite the same as in person, our entire family has still been able to connect socially with our friends through apps.

Facebook Messenger Kids has been a saving grace for us over the last month. Messenger Kids is basically like Facetime with silly little stickers, text and drawing capabilities built-in for kids. I manage my kids accounts and they can only chat with people (adults or other kids) that I approve them to chat with in advance. I love that it is locked down and I can go back and read through a transcript of conversations if I’d like.

Both kids can now “text” with their cousins, request video chats with their grandparents and have regular audio calls with their friends. Carter and his BFF have daily Minecraft meet-ups where they talk and play Minecraft in the same virtual world. I’m thankful they both are able to stay social and connected with their friends during this crazy time.

Zoom has also been a blessing. Kenzie has daily Zoom calls with her Pre-K class and I’ve been having weekly Zoom happy hours with my friends. In fact, my college friends have actually never had a group call or video conference before and now we have a standing 6pm chat every Friday night. We are more connected than we’ve ever been before. It’s just sad it took a global pandemic for this to happen.

So that’s what we’ve been up to. It isn’t the spring we thought we’d have, but quarantine life has been alright so far.