Monthly Archives: March 2020

Stay-at-Home 2020, Week 2


My neighbor down the block decorated the sidewalk with encouraging messages. Love it!

Well, needless to say it’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I’ve been holed up at home with my husband, two boys (ages 15 and 13) and our dog, EmmyLou. For the most part, we’ve begun to adjust to this odd new normal. Sure, we still sleep in a bit and sometimes eat dinner later than usual, but we are settling in somewhat to routines, finding time to work, get outside, and hang out together as a family.

Believe it or not, I still haven’t managed to dig into that things-to-do list from my last post, mainly because I had a new editing project come in that same day. I love it when the universe conspires this way. My having work with the promise of more to come is a always a good thing, but especially now. Just last Friday, my husband learned that all work with his main client—the work that essentially floats our boat each month—will be suspended from the end of April through ??. It may be for a few months, but it could be longer. Really, who can say at times like these?

So as we wrap our minds around what that means for our sweet family of four plus pup, we’ve been working on taking things day by day and practicing gratitude. These are a few of the experiences we’ve had over the past two weeks that wouldn’t have been possible in our hectic, pre-corona virus affected lives. I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

  1. Going for a run around Lake Nokomis with my 15-year-old and our pup at 10 am on a Wednesday morning.
  2. Family walks along the lovely West River Parkway. (With all family members present!) Feeling so thankful to live in Minneapolis, with miles and miles of biking and walking paths, and the fantastic park system.
  3. Learning to play Catan with Will, Theo, and Brian on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
  4. Cooking with my boys.
  5. Lots and lots of family movie time.
  6. Appreciating the little things…like chats over the fence with great neighbors and seeing friends while out on a run or walk.
  7. Time. I can’t really remember when I’ve had the luxury of this much time. Honestly, I think February may have been the busiest month I’ve ever had, and to go from that frenetic pace to almost a complete stop was a bit jarring at first, but now it’s rejuvenating. I’m trying to be thoughtful about how I spend this time.
  8. Instagram. (I know. Funny that I list this one right after what I just said above, right?) More specifically: pottery videos on instagram. I was deep into a pottery phase when the world came to a screeching halt. Now, with no access to a studio, I’m so appreciating the how-to videos potters have been posting on instagram. I’m looking forward to doing the Kurinuki lidded jar demo project from

    with my family.

  9. Messages and thoughtful gestures from friends and neighbors. Last week I opened the front door to head out for a run and discovered a bag of chocolate-dipped biscotti and a sweet note from my friend, Renata. So kind! And the sidewalk notes from neighbors have warmed my heart. I’m also appreciating seeing posts about the ways people are helping others. From making masks, to dropping off flowers or much-needed groceries, to simply checking in on one another. These actions give me hope.
  10. Spring. Can you feel it? Okay, spring would have happened in spite of this outbreak, but now we have the time to actually enjoy it. On Friday I was thrilled to get an email from Mother Earth Gardens, our local garden store, offering a chance to order pansies, seeds, and other seasonal garden items online for curbside pick up. This lifted my spirits immediately. I predict this will be a banner year in the garden! In fact, it’s a great time to start seeds. (For plenty of fun gardening projects to fill your days, check out The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book and Dig In!)

What are you doing to appreciate the extra time you have these days? I’d love to hear from you! Be well!



My dog EmmyLou has this relaxing thing down…until I start snapping pictures.

A little more than two weeks ago I was talking with a friend at an annual gathering for my son’s school at a local roller rink. We talked about music and local venues and how much you’d pay to see your favorite band. We talked about the various activities our kids were involved in and how their schedule had become ours. Eventually the conversation shifted to current events, and the dreaded Coronavirus. He told me that he was almost 100 percent certain that our public schools would close due to the Coronavirus before the end of the school year. At the time I thought he couldn’t possibly be right. His prediction seemed so preposterous and over the top. There was simply no way that could happen.

Fast forward by what seems like a blink of an eye and now here I am, sequestered with my husband, two sons, and our dog in our home, which is more stocked with food and provisions than it’s ever been. Today is the first day of the mandatory school shutdown to “flatten the curve” of the rapidly spreading virus. Yesterday the very thought of every business closing and having nowhere to go flooded me with a sense of despair.  But today I’m focusing on shifting my thoughts of what to do with this sequestered time in a more positive direction.

Last weekend (was that really only two days ago??) I felt little pangs of relief as the six activities we had scheduled were canceled, one by one. Would we possibly have a quiet weekend at home with nothing to do? My introverted, homebody self did a little dance (That little dance was inside my head, of course). Perhaps cutting outside activities and powering down could be a good thing?

I stocked up on food, getting only what we would need for the next couple of weeks. The thought of hoarding seems crazy to me, but I found myself doing an inventory of the number of toilet paper rolls in the house (17 jumbo-size rolls) and swinging by the home paper goods section at Target just to see if all the hype was true (it was).


No toilet paper at Target and no chicken at Aldi on Saturday.

I’m just finishing up a couple of pottery classes so I stopped at both studios to pick up finished pieces and see if I could glaze those items that had been bisque fired. At this point, news of businesses closing had been cluttering up my inbox every hour or so, and the writing was on the wall…these studios would close soon, too. I did what I could and then left the five bowls and one vase on the shelf waiting to be bisque fired. Who knows when I’d be back to glaze them…or if they would still be there?


These will remain “greenware” for the next few weeks at least 😦

Yesterday we made the final, final decision to postpone our upcoming trip to Costa Rica with friends until next year. What seemed perfectly do-able just last Monday was obviously the wrong thing to pursue less than a week later. It amazes me how quickly this whole pandemic has unfolded and filtered into all parts of life. And I realize this is just the beginning. I’m trying not to dwell too much on how it will affect my freelance business or the work of those around me. Like I said, I’m trying to shift into a more positive mindset.

In the meantime, I have an editing project that is at a standstill as I wait for the author to revise a chapter. Many of my usual downtime filling activities—going to the pottery studio, going to the Y—are no longer options. I’ll be honest: I’m already going a little stir crazy. I’m one of those people who can’t really sit still. Ever. The only time I’m not in constant motion is when I’m asleep.

So my plan is to make a list. There are limitless projects I’ve been wanting to do around the house that I just haven’t had the time or energy to tackle: Decoupaging and painting an old end table, sewing a scarf out of upcycled t-shirts, making a few more embroidered hearts, sewing another origami bag or two, starting a practice of drawing something every day, playing the ukulele…the list goes on. Maybe I’ll even revisit one of the windowsill gardening ideas from Dig In!


I made this cherry moon pie for Pie Day on Saturday…more baking to come!

I’m also thinking about what I can do to safely help others in my neighborhood. Runs to the grocery store? Still exploring options. What I definitely don’t want to do is fritter away my time scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or checking the latest news. I’m taking this whole pandemic-induced shutdown as a sign that I need to untangle a bit from my constant need to check the latest anything on an electronic device. Instead, I’m going to go for a run or walk along the river, dig into one of the many books stacked on my bedside table, start one of the projects I mentioned above, or bake something with my boys. Better yet, I’m going to make a point to just sit every once in a while. I’m challenging myself to make more downtime a part of my day.


What are your plans? Any books you recommend that I add to the list? Have you found any ways to help others in your community during this crazy time? Please share!

And if you’re looking for ways to keep kiddos busy during the long days at home, check out one of my gardening or craft books: The Craft-a-Day Book, Dig In, or The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book! Most of all, be well.