TeaChat: Pandemics & Forced Family Time

For those of you who are new around here, TeaChats are a monthly post that I do in which I pretend that you and I are going out and grabbing a cup of tea (or coffee or wine) and we’re chatting about what we’ve been up to lately.

Let’s chat!

Dude… dude.

Things have change significantly since I last did a TeaChat life update.

I’ve been working from home for about 3 weeks now and the girls have been eLearning for the same amount of time.

I’m lucky that both my job and my husband’s job allows us to work from home, and that the girls are in a private school that was very prepared for eLearning. Their school was the first in the area to announce the closure on a Friday, by Monday eLearning was fully up and running smoothly.

It hasn’t been smooth sailing since then, I’m not going to lie. It has nothing to do with the school, the school has their sh*t together, however, 99% of my job can be done from home which means that I have the exact same workload I had before, except now I have to homeschool my 5 and 7 year old, who are fairly well-behaved, but still need guidance and need to get their wiggles out.

And, let’s be real, listening to mommy is a little different than listening to your teacher.

Though my husband is home with us – we all sit around the dining room table working together – he is on and off conference calls all day, so I do most of the guiding and prepping each day for school.

Let me tell you how we’ve been (for the most part) surviving:

  • I create checklists for the girls every night for the following day. I make each “checkbox” into a heart that they get to color in after every task
  • I made a daily schedule that stays on our dining room table as a reminder – we aren’t strict with the times – sometimes we sleep in – but routine is how we survived baby and toddler years and it has been working well for this
  • I make sure the amount and type of work that my youngest has takes her the same amount of time as my oldest’s workload. My 2nd Grader’s assigned work takes her much longer than my 5yo’s work, but I utilized online resources to come up with games and work that my 5yo can do pretty independently in the same amount of time as my 2nd Grader.
  • The girls have the same morning routine as they did when they were going to school. They wake up, eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, and go to the dining room table when they’re done. I get ready, but in much more comfortable clothes and no makeup. I make my bed every morning.
  • There is NO screen time during school days until after dinner for about an hour. That’s no TV, no phones or tablets. The only time they use tablets is for school and school-related apps during school time.
  • The girls do PE every day. Usually, they choose to do Cosmic Kids Yoga, but occasionally we just find a kid-friendly workout video on YouTube. This is done in the middle of school time to break up the day.
  • Part of their schoolwork is preparing their morning snack (usually a fruit salad that we call Rainbow Soup), preparing their lunches, and chores. This also helps break up the day.
  • Their school day typically lasts from 8am-1:30pm: it’s a long day, mostly because my 7yo has some processing issues and it takes her a little longer than most to finish her work. She just needs extra time. Meanwhile, my 5yo is very fast, so she ends up doing twice and much work as my 2nd Grader. If I let my 5yo play by herself while my 7yo is still working – she’d distract her sister.
  • Any time I can, I give my 7yo a “break” by letting her help her sister. My 5yo does Sight Word Hunts, so I have my 7yo hide the Sight Words for her and my 5yo has to read the words to her. This also gives me some time to work!
  • My husband and I schedule our conference calls around each other. More like… I schedule mine around him because he has way more than I do. This way someone is always available to help the girls while the other works uninterrupted.
  • Once the girls finish school for the day, they have “free play” until my husband and I finish with work. They can play outside, go in the pool, play in their room, or in the playroom. Luckily my husband and I both have laptops, so if they decide to play outside or in the pool, we can sit outside with them.

I hope all of this helps. It’s not perfect around here. I think all of us have cried at some point these past few weeks (except my husband). But we’re falling into a routine and the girls are happy. They barely notice anything is different.

I say “forced family time,” but I absolutely adore every second of it. I’m a homebody, so I’m perfectly happy staying at home with my little family. I do miss my siblings and parents, but we chat on the phone and text all day.

I can’t tell you how warm and fuzzy I feel sitting at the dining room table with my husband and my beautiful girls every day. I’m going to miss them SO much when we have to go back to work. I think that is going to be harder than anything.

My chest hurts just thinking about it.

Anyway… onward to the usual TeaChat updates:

At Present I Am…


House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J Maas
This book is taking me so freaking long to read. I ended up downloading the audiobook as well so that I could read it more often. I’m only about 1/4 of the way through. I like it so far, but I don’t love it.

I need an epic love, people. Give me ACOMAF 2.0


Little Women (2019)

I have so many fond memories of this story and this is by far the best adaptation I’ve ever seen. I didn’t think anything could beat that 1949 version, but this absolutely did.


Rainbow Soup!

This is actually an adaptation of a fruit salad (more like soup) that my grandma used to make. You simply combine all the following ingredients (it keeps for around 3-4 days, it’s best on the second day.)

  • Sliced grapes (2 handfuls)
  • Blackberries (1 package)
  • Blueberries (1 package)
  • Raspberries (1 package)
  • Diced strawberries (1 package)
  • Diced bananas (2)
  • Diced apples (2)
  • Diced pears (2)
  • Diced plums (2)
  • Diced peaches (2)
  • Enough orange juice (the fresher the better) to cover everything completely

Listening to

My obsession with this song is never-ending.

Obsessing over


This book. I finally read it and now I’m officially obsessed. I loved it so much.

What’s Next

The school is staying virtual until at least May 1, and we’ll be social distancing and staying home until then, too!

Tell me… what have you been up to lately? What’s up next?


For those of you who are new around here, TeaChats are a monthly post that I do in which I pretend that you and I are going out and grabbing a cup of tea (or coffee or wine) and we’re chatting about what we’ve been up to lately.

Let’s chat!

Read More

Where I’ve Been…

Oh, hi there!

You may or may not have noticed a bit of a dry spell here on the blog and over on my YouTube channel.

As with my previous hiatuses, this one was entirely unexpected and, thankfully, not for a bad reason at all.

First, I went on vacation the week of my birthday.

And while I fully expected to have a ton of downtime while my family and I vacationed at my friend’s condo on the beach, all I did was lay in the sun, swim, read, and spend time with my family. It was absolutely glorious and perfect.


Then, as soon as we got back, we started working on replacing our floors.

My sister and her husband could basically star in their own HGTV show because they’re so freaking talented when it comes to home improvement projects.

I left the floor replacement to them, but I helped by re-painting all of our baseboards and doors. (I’m terrible at DIY stuff, but they turned out ok… if you don’t look to close LOL! Meanwhile, our floors are perfect.)

It’s an incredibly slow-moving project because my sister and brother-in-law both have full-time jobs, so we’ve been doing one room one day per week. Right now only the girls’ room and the bathroom are finished.

This weekend we move onto the playroom.

We had every intention of starting in my library (which is where the front door and dining room is located), so I packed up ALL of my books and moved all of my shelves away from the walls to remove the baseboards… then we found out we had mold and had to get insurance involved.

Instead, we moved to the girls’ bedroom and are working our way from that side of the house while the mold issue is getting taken care of.

This means that I haven’t filmed in weeks since my beautiful background is a hot mess until we get to the library and everything gets fixed.

Our house has been absolute chaos. Each room in boxes and shifted around as we work on the floors room by room.

Now, I’m the youngest of four and a Gemini and a general chaotic mess in general, so it doesn’t really bother me. In fact, it’s given me a chance to go through and reorganize and unhaul a ton of unnecessary stuff. (Especially in the playroom).

I’ve been able to donate BAGS of stuff to our local thrift store and after cleaning out our hall closet last week, I was able to donate four bags of blankets to our local animal shelter.

The playroom had so many unused toys that the girls have grown out of that we donated this week as well.

As far as reading goes…

I’ve taken on the task of participating in my very on Mariana Zapata Reading Challenge.

This isn’t actually a real thing, I just felt like re-reading all of MZ’s books, so I did. I read every single one. Now, I’ve read The Wall of Winnipeg and Me about 3,000 times, but all the others I’ve only read once MAYBE twice, so going back into her backlist has been so refreshing.

I was in a bit of a slump, so it was nice to be revived again.

Mariana even let me know on Twitter that she’ll be out with a new book soon, so I’ve prepped perfectly!

Screen Shot 2019-07-05 at 4.15.51 PM
PS follow me on Twitter! @inloveandwords

I’ve since moved on to reading The Mister by EL James because it became available at my library and I’m so deeply disinterested in the story and characters so far, even though I’m about 20% in.

It should be noted here that I was not a fan of Fifty Shades of Gray, however, I read the entire series and I ADORED the movies. I felt like the movies were cast well and, more than anything, the cinematography and score was absolutely stunning.

Anyway, I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things here on the blog and over on my BookTube channel. I have some pre-recorded stuff I can edit and put up while I search for a place in my crazy house to film!

I love and have missed you all! Please tell me what you’ve been up to!

Just A Little Update :)

Hi there, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I wanted to pop in and say a quick, “Hello!” and give you a little update before I begin with my regular blog posts again.

When we last spoke, I was at least 10 books behind in my Goodreads Challenge. I knew setting a goal of 150 this year was going to be difficult, but I wanted to challenge myself. Last year my goal was 100 and upping the goal by 50 was a stretch I was willing to make.

When November rolled around, I finally got over a MEGA book slump and started reading like crazy. So much that I neglected my blog to do it, and while I missed chatting with you all, it was nice to focus on reading.

Over my Thanksgiving vacation I read 11 books in one week! It was insane, but so awesome! I haven’t binge-read like that in a long time and I didn’t want to stop.

Every spare moment I’ve had, I’ve been reading and now I’m only 2.5 books away from my goal (I’m about to finish another book today!)

Once I hit my Goodreads goal, I have a hell of a lot of reviews to write and a ton of ideas for blog posts, so expect to hear from me soon! I’ll be back on a more regular posting schedule and I can’t wait to see what you all have been up to.

I have a request for you:

I’d absolutely love it if you left links to your favorite blog posts that you’ve written over the past couple of months in the comments or send them to me on Twitter at @inloveandwords so I can check them out. I’m dying to see what you’ve been reading and what you’ve been up to!

Aside from reading ALL THE BOOKS, here’s what I’ve been up to:

My best friend had his Black, White, and Sparkles Christmas/Birthday party and a good friend of mine got married!

I love getting all glammed up for Joe’s Christmas/Birthday parties, and this year for the sparkle theme, I went all out with the sparkles and gems:

Continue reading “Just A Little Update :)”