{SQT} Grandma, School News, and a Road Trip

I don’t know if I really need seven whole quick takes to recount the last week or so, but here goes.

1.For Mother’s Day, we managed to join a Zoom chat with my grandmother who lives in an assisted living facility. She’s been in lock-down, in her room, for at least six, maybe seven? weeks now. They’ve stopped allowing people to even visit through the windows so she hasn’t seen any of us for almost half that time and it’s been tough on her. Thankfully she does get constant phone calls throughout the day from friends and family, but this was the first time we were able to set up a Zoom call (with the help of the facility staff). Almost all my aunts and uncles and cousins were able to jump on so we all got to catch up a bit and my grandmother got weepy with joy. She’d recently told my mom that she doesn’t know how much time she has left (she’s healthy but she will be 90 this year) and it’s been hard missing so many family events (Palm Sunday, Easter, Mother’s Day) with no end to quarantine in sight. Seniors like her aren’t fairing well, and I’d love to see some actual ideas for protecting the well-being of residents like her as things start to open back up (since admittedly, the current methods have still led to a disproportionate number of deaths in long term care facilities).

2. This week Addie and Byron wrap up classes at the community college. They have a few more weeks of classes to finish up for me, but things are finally winding down for everyone. Addie was supposed to walk in a homeschool graduation ceremony on June 5th, but that’s not happening, and we’ve decided to postpone her graduation party until later in the summer, probably August. Her homeschool spring formal has been postponed until July so we’re hoping that still takes place. I’ve sort of been thinking about next year’s schooling but, the boy’s current education needs are keeping me preoccupied. I’ve done some research into online classes for Edie (through Catholic Virtual– larger review later once we’ve tried some things out), but not much other planning. However, Addie will be a full-time college student and out of my hands entirely, and I believe Byron will be doing all dual credit classes at the community college as well, so I have much less planning on my plate overall anyway.

3. Tony and I are also canceling our Nativity of St. John the Baptist party, and holding a large party for a different feast day later in the summer or fall. Last year was the tenth year for our large summer gathering, and the first at our new house. Since we obviously need to be more cautious than most families, even if most things reopen and start to get back to “normal” it’s probably not prudent for our family to host a large group of people at our house any time soon. We’re leaning towards the feast of St. Lawrence, or at the latest, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. And of course we still need to squeeze a graduation party in there somewhere too so, August and/or September may be pretty fun.

4. I’m not FULL ON promoting it, but I wanted to let y’all know about the Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle from Ultimate Bundles. I know lots of folks are looking into gardening and self-sufficiency now, and this bundle has a nice mix of products for only $19.99 (with a money back guarantee). It contains info on container gardening, composting, homesteading, the currently trendy sourdough, preserving food, and raising animals among others. If you’re looking for a crash course on providing more for your family off the land you’ve got, this would be a great first step. Learn more HERE if you’re interested. It’s on sale from Monday 5/18 to Friday 5/22. Even I, a homesteading failure, will admit to buying seeds and buying a few plants. And while I’m not interested in raising chickens at our current house, I have thought of ways to try to convince the tenants at our old house to get chickens and share some fresh eggs with us.

5. And last but not least, Tony and I made a last minute decision to go quarantine in the Outer Banks for a week. Pros: we reserved a house with a small private beach on the sound, we’re saving money by going very early in the season, and there’s far fewer cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina than here. Cons: After seeing pictures of the rental house the kids now view our home as “hideous”, “too small”, and less entertaining due to the lack of an air hockey table. We’d saved up money to take a family vacation this year, but with the way things were going, we didn’t think it was going to happen, but when I saw that tourists were going to be allowed to enter the Outer Banks beginning May 16, I checked prices (and the number of infected) and I figured that if we had to be quarantined, why not quarantine at the beach? Especially a much less crowded beach than the Jersey shore points we’re used to. And going early meant we could afford a house with amenities so even if we never leave the house, we’ll be happy. Everybody is super excited and Teddy, who doesn’t really remember our last trip, insisted on making a count down chart for the dining room. Every morning, as soon as he and Fulton wake up, they’re yelling at me to update the countdown chart. And Teddy is reminding everyone how fun road trips are and how much he LOVES long road trips. We’re all going to love reminding Teddy of these comments at about hour two of this trip when he starts “getting bored”.

6.Another con is I told the kids no stopping to go to the bathroom on the drive down. Just kidding; we can stop for bathroom breaks, but I’m not even sure what public restrooms will be open so, that will make for some fun stories I’m sure. I may have a absurdly large collection of pins on my Family Camping Pinterest board relating to “toilets” right now.

7. The older three won’t be doing any school work, but we’ll still need to squeeze in some distance learning, and Tony will work remotely a couple days too. We’ve been assured there’s good wifi, so as long as Teddy can surprise all his classmates during his weekly Zoom with scenes from our rental, all will be well, although I did need to set some ground rules: “No Teddy, you can’t do your Zoom from the hot tub!”

How was your week? Write it down then link it up below. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!

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  1. Amazon sells portable camping toilets for RV’s, boats, and camping – maybe you could fit one in the back of the van? The one I have works well, though your kids might not like the idea.

  2. Kelly it makes me so happy that your family can get away to the beach! i can’t imagine staring down the barrel of not only having to but needing to keep doing this for months and months on end. what a relief that wide open expanse of ocean will be.

  3. The OBX are my FAVORITEEEE. Which town are you staying in? I’ve been telling my family that we so need to do this….I know my dad would go for it. 🙂

  4. If you’re new at homesteading, I highly reccomend container gardening as a first step, even if you have a big yard. It’s easier to set up, easy to maintain, and you can put it where you’ll see if often and remember to take care of it.

    Pro tip: go to the bakery at your local large chain grocery store and ask for empty icing buckets. Ta da! Free food grade plastic containers. Punch a small hole on the side near the bottom for drainage and you’re good to go.

  5. There are two bathroom stops once you are North Carolina- the border Station and then Powells Fruit Market. Powells has the best bathrooms! Even in peak tourist season they are clean and family friendly. They usually have an attendant keeping them clean and the line moving.

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