Friday, April 24, 2020

7 Quick Takes about Expressing Feelings with Song, Honest 'Before' and 'After' Pictures, and Unique Ideas for Your Homemade Pretzels

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


We already expected it, but this week my kids' school was officially canceled through the end of the school year.

As a parent, I relate to this music teacher's sentiments on a deep level:

No really, distance learning is going okay. Most of the time.

The hard part is when I'm trying to upload a picture of someone's assignment to Google Classroom while someone else is complaining that the printer doesn't work and my kindergartner is asking me for the third time to turn his video back on because he keeps fidgeting with the computer during his class Zoom call.

So many technical issues. And seriously, stop pointing the webcam at me! Everyone in my kids' class is already well aware of what I look like with my wet hair up in a towel.


Something I do like about quarantine, however, is the absence of pressure to do anything amazing.

Normally on weekends and holidays, I felt like I should plan something. What a failure was I if the kids went back to school and had nothing to report except playing in the yard and reading a book!

But now that an elaborate day trip isn't possible and the kids won't be going to school on Monday to compare weekends, I feel total freedom to just let our family have a good time without the need to make it spectacular.

This weekend:

  • we worked on the basement
  • my girls and I made some stepping stones to replace ones that have been broken for 2 years, and 
  • I gave my 8-year-old her first lesson on how to use a sewing machine (also on my to-do list from 6 months ago)
In the past I may have seen that as a waste of a day off, but in reality it was great and everyone was happy. I've been doing a lot of thinking about how to carry the positive things I've learned over this quarantine into my normal life going forward, and that is definitely one of them.


We're making progress on finishing the basement! One-third of it is now fully insulated and Phillip put down the floor on Monday:

Forgive me, I'm drooling.

Since this part is going to be a storage/workshop area we're not putting drywall on the walls or doing anything on the ceiling, so it's completely done!

However, I don't want to give you a false impression of what it's like finishing a basement, so in full disclosure this is what was directly behind me as I took that picture:

Wall-to-wall disaster, as far as the eye can see. 

Clearly, we still have some work to do.


For Family Home Evening this week, which is like a weekly family devotional, we reviewed what we believe about God's plan.

As Latter-day Saints, we believe that we started out in heaven with God, were sent here to good ole Earth, eventually die and go to the spirit world, are resurrected and judged, and then live forever in one of three kingdoms of heaven.

I have little laminated pictures of each step, which we laid out and asked the 3-year-old to tell us about as he made a Lego guy hop from picture to picture.

This wasn't my idea, but when the Lego man passed "death," my 3-year-old insisted on taking him apart (are scattered plastic Lego people remains on the floor gruesome? I don't know) and then when he got to "resurrection" he put everything back together, explaining that "Jesus was making the guy alive again."

I was patting myself on the back thinking, "You're such a good teacher! He really gets this!" when the 3-year-old grabbed the Lego guy's scuba tank accessory and said, "Wait! Jesus has to put on the ballistic missiles."

Ah, yes. Let's not forget the ballistic missile portion of the resurrection.


Normally, I only make soft pretzels for lunch on special occasions, when the kids are out of school on a break or they have friends over.

But now that we're all at home all the time, we can make them every day if we want to. (In a purely theoretical world where the grocery store consistently has flour, anyway.)

We busted out our soft pretzel recipe and I mostly made the standard pretzel shape, but the kids got quite creative with theirs. We had music notes and Harry Potter symbols as well as assorted initials, but my favorite was this magnified image of a novel Coronavirus:

Marked with a 'C' for easy identification.

It was delicious.


In our family, we didn't plan to have two sets of kids, it just happened.

There's the oldest three who are close together in age, then a gap of three and a half years, and the three youngest kids who are also close in age. (Sometimes Phillip and I casually talk about having another set of three in front of people, just to watch their heads explode.)

It turns out that having a big kid for each little one is very advantageous, especially when you go for a walk in the woods and the littles get tired:

Actually, this happened spontaneously and I just happened to catch it on film. 

I think one of them was giving a piggyback ride to a younger sibling and the others thought it would be funny to copy it.

(As I type this, I realize I missed an opportunity to get my own ride because Phillip was just walking quietly next to me and not doing anything at all.)


I've been enjoying re-reading the talks from general conference a few weeks ago. Yesterday I reviewed one of my favorites and wanted to share it with you.

If you've ever wondered why Latter-day Saints do what we do or why we send missionaries all over the world, this is your answer (text version is here:)

I don't always feel happy or have everything figured out, but I can't imagine my life without the clarity, hope, and understanding of my purpose that is outlined here.

Congratulations on making it to Day 2,407 of quarantine (give or take,) and hang in there! You can do this.

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Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

I'm intrigued by the basement and the three kingdoms of heaven. We live in the south where there are no basements, so they seem amazing to me. Tell me more about the three kingdoms of heaven - how does that work?

AnneMarie said...

I have a feeling that there will be all sorts of fascinating books and articles written in the aftermath of Covid-19 about crazy stories of Zoom class sessions, pandemic weddings, and whatnot. If it's any consolation to you, from what I've heard from other parents, the whole online schooling thing is chaotic for lots of people (especially those with several young kids)!

I'm also super impressed by your pretzel making. I made soft pretzels a total of ONCE, pre-kids, and it was so much work and effort that I haven't felt inclined to do it since. I've wondered if maybe, if and when God sends us a ton of kids, I'll be brave enough to try soft pretzels again-making the children do most of the work haha.

PurpleSlob said...

That piggy back pic is the sweetest thing I've seen in so long!!
Lol for the pretZel virus. Eating it is the best way to defeat it, I guess!
Oh, it isn't day 4,000 yet?? I guess I've been skip counting!