12/31/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

I’ve not written about Coronavirus updates in awhile, I’ve thought for a few weeks. As I sat to type one up just now, I realized this is the last day of the dreaded year 2020. How appropriate.

Like many, many others, I reflect back on this year. Truth be told, today is not the only day I have reflected. Even before Coronavirus, I marveled at where I had come in only a year’s time; for, if you are a follower of my blog, you know that I learned I was pregnant in April of 2019 whilst attending ‘school’ whilst maintaining a few blogs whilst helping our family side business to run.

COVID-19 changed many things. At this point, however, it’s only a factor for us in how it’s affected our children’s school experience and our family’s vacationing and visiting abilities. My pregnancy resulted in a sweet, healthy boy who is now a year old. I barely keep up on any blogging. The side business is BOOMING to the point that we were 1700 orders behind on Etsy at one point…

I guess there’s something to be said for marrying a computer programmer and producing a family of introverts. We’re healthy homebodies.

Local news-wise, Utah’s Coronavirus daily infection numbers are similar to other states. I think. They reached an all-time high of 4611 on November 19 but yesterday’s report (December 30) was a mere 2602.

I don’t know what experience others are having but the COVID Climate here is somewhat casual. We still mask in public. I have the children change their clothes and wash their hands after school. There are no samples at Costco, no free candy baskets at the bank, no free popcorn or soda at the oil change store, no handshakes at business deals, and no Charmin toilet paper or Clorox wipes or pure almond extract at the store.

You know times are tough when a person can’t even get almond extract.

©2020 Chel Owens

I do not like these measures, especially when I drop my children off at school and watch tiny Kindergarteners heading in past their tiny playground with a giant mask obscuring their tiny face. I feel Coronavirus to be a skulking shadow. It’s like the cancer eating away at a close relative of ours; something we know is there, something we need to be constantly aware of, something to FEAR to the point that you do not help that old lady load her groceries or that man who dropped his wallet or that child who needs a hand to hold to search for his mommy in the grocery store…

My fearful Twofacebook friends post worrisome statistics about spread and new strains, but also happy news about the new vaccine -some have even gotten it.
My over-it Twofacebook friends post family pictures and occasional articles on the virus’ restrictions affecting our mental health, but also warning news about the new vaccine -they will not get it if they can help it.

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

Still political. Still divided.

But, it’s the holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I didn’t make my traditional plate of cookies for my neighbors this year. I opted for a neat luminary tin full of Polish chocolates I found at a European Market store in Salt Lake City. To my surprise, several neighbors and friends did gift us homemade items. We received bread, chocolates, brittles, and peppermint bark.

The best gift of all? A container of Clorox wipes. Don’t tell; I don’t want to get raided.

From Clorox.com‘s site. Good luck finding this golden ticket.

There is FEAR and a good reason to FEAR, if you are being reasonable about it. At the start, I shared the feelings of paranoia that many still feel. I told my children not to answer the door or touch the incoming packages and mail. I left them home with Kevin when I went shopping –if I went shopping.

Now, I am simply careful. I do not lick shopping carts or gas pumps. I wear my mask in public areas. I also shared Christmas with my parents, sister, and her family. We ate together and visited and *gasp* hugged. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

So, be careful. But, be reasonable. If you’re healthy and haven’t had someone lick you lately, you’re probably fine to hug a grandchild. And if that gives you the heebie-geebies, wash your clothes afterwards. And your hands. But, as Clorox advises on their website, don’t start drinking bleach…

Also from Clorox.com‘s site. It’s a warning that pops up, to cover their legal assets.

What’s daily life like for you? Are you fine sticking around? Heading out now and then? Hugging anyone?

—–

©2020 Chel Owens

Christmas Cookie Limericks

There once was a mom in the ‘burbs
Who thought, for her neighbors, to serve
A plate full of treats;
She filled cookie sheets
With stars, bars, and fudge squares superb.

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Once baked, cooled; then frosted and stored,
The mom looked with pride at her hoard.
“Don’t eat them!” she warned;
Then, her advice, scorned –
Her snack-taking not aboveboard.

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Thus laden with cookies in hand,
She followed her gifting program.
Though many, afraid
Of free calories, stayed
Inside while they spied from their door-cam.

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Cooking With Mum

Cookbook

Unlike many people raised these days, my mother (who forbade us from calling her the formal title of “mother”) stayed home to raise us, made dinner every night, and frequently baked extra treats or tried new recipes. We are requested to name a location and generation for this prompt; so I’ll say that I was “cooking with Mum” when we lived in Ridgecrest, CA and for most of my childhood outside of Salt Lake City, Utah (both in the United States). I consider myself both a Generation X and Y member.

I was always encouraged to help my mom in the kitchen. Perhaps, at my earliest memories, this was more of a “help,” than actual assistance, but I never recall her pushing me away or telling me not to bother her.

In fact, I know this was the norm even from toddling age. I remember reading over a cookbook in her collection compiled and printed by my first preschool teacher. As a child, I remember finding the page with the recipe I’d submitted: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, and thinking of how they were my favorite to make with her. I would have been three years old when it was printed.

My mom loves to try new things, and that was reflected in her cooking and baking. (That’s another thing -I never knew the two were separate classifications till recently because we did both, in equal measures.) She had cookbooks, yes -but also folders and a terribly-messy plastic container full of magazine clippings of myriad recipes.

My parents always insisted on us hand-making Mother’s or Father’s Day presents. In keeping with that tradition, my sister and I decided to tackle THE BOX of recipes one year. We were newlywed adults at the time, and probably could have gotten away with bending the rules due to age -but thought it would be great to finally have them all organized.

It. Took. Hours.

Days.

There is no way I would be able to complete such a task now, with my own family and a large house to maintain. We clipped recipes joined at the page, photocopied the backsides, and typed up handwritten ones with dubious titles and barely-legible handwriting. Then, we organized them by categories and alphabetized them and completely burned out at the idea of typing up tables of contents.

A surprising upside to this venture was that I made copies of my childhood favorites for my personal recipe collection. I’m smart, though; mine are kept in an expandable folder thing. I even have a couple of copies of my mother’s mother’s recipe cards (remember cards?!).

Another traditional activity associated with Mom and cooking was Christmas cookies. This is a bit of a baking/cooking crossover because most of the recipes were baked. I’m not going to classify something like Rice Krispies Treats as baking, however, and we frequently made a no-bake Corn Flake Kisses cookie that is similar to those gooey cereal bars.

Just before Christmas every year that I can remember, we would mix and bake at least four varieties of cookies or bars. Besides helping, our job as children was to deliver finished plates to all the neighbors. Each plate had several samples of each of the four or so varieties of baked/cooked goodies. Some neighbors reciprocated; though most did not hand-make their gifts to us.

This was an activity much like childbirth: I didn’t appreciate how much work my mother went through till I did it myself.

I have tried to continue this Christmas tradition. I even get my boys involved; they sincerely love cooking and baking with me as I did with my mom. However, I cannot get through the holiday event without shaving a recipe or two from my agenda and/or screaming in frustration at some thing that invariably delays production.

I only remember loving all the cookies and making it all happen with my mom, so hopefully that’s what my own kids are retaining.

Perhaps my mom found the tenacity to persevere because desserts have always been her favorite to make. She even bought a cookbook titled The All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed No-Holds-Barred Baking Book. Truth be told, it ended up being one of those that you leaf through, decide you’d better not make anything inside, and stick back on the shelf.

Cookbook Fat

The picture I included waaaay up at the top is an image of my Betty Crocker cookbook, turned to the page on how to make pancakes. I can’t remember where my red cookbook came from, but I do know I thought it imperative that I own one. This is because the main source of recipes for us growing up was my mother’s red Betty Crocker cookbook.

Every time we wanted to make pancakes, we’d pull the book down and let it fall open on the counter. It was always on the page we wanted, through years of training. That, and there was enough spilled and splattered pancake batter to weight them down. We could barely make out the ingredients, so it was a good thing we knew the recipe so well.

In looking over my own well-loved page, I can’t help but feel proud to have inadvertently continued that tradition in my own family. We may not be quite as blotched-out as my mom’s pancake recipe, but we’re getting there.

 

Thanks to Irene A Waters over at Reflections and Nightmares for the writing prompt: Cooking with Mum.