Posts

TBT: The Best Free Medicine (Hint: Not Hydroxyclean)

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It's not Hydroxyclean. Or any kind of disinfectant. Or hydroxychloroquine. It's not anything hocked by our joke of a president. But it is jokes about that and anything else that makes you laugh instead of rage. Humor has become more important than ever to my family's mental and emotional health during this global crisis. My tastes may have matured (or... something) since my days of watching Sacha Baron Cohen movies--now I prefer watching YouTube shows Trixie and Katya Save the World (WOWPresents) and I Like to Watch (Netflix) and following @knee_deep_in_life on Instagram.

My husband and I laugh so hard we cry over a well-timed fart joke. Our nine-year-old daughter is a bit more sophisticated, but she shares the dark side of our sense of humor; we all adore Christina Ricci's iconic portrayal of Wednesday Addams.

The news is, as usual, full of horror that isn't funny. Right now, the two main themes seem to be pandemic tragedy and racist violence. My husband and I che…

$Monday: Double Up Food Bucks

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Such a strange Memorial Day we're having! We're out in the backyard grilling as usual, but we can only safely eat and drink and gather 'round the s'more-roasting fire with the members of our own household. And right at the kickoff of burger-and-hot-dog season, the supply chain for meat is collapsing. Fortunately, we've already mastered the joys of grilling vegetables, fruits, and cheese sandwiches--and this is also the season to take full advantage of Double Up Food Bucks!


Double Up Food Bucks is a program that started here in my home state of Michigan and was recently extended to many states across the nation. Essentially, it's a program that gives families half off fresh produce, up to $20 price as marked, when they use an EBT card at participating farmers markets (searchable on the website). This makes it easy to afford lots of healthy produce, much of which can be transformed into a delicious treat over a grill.

My family is using an EBT card for the first t…

TBT: The Home Library of Books, Music, and Films

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I wonder whatever happened to that Borat DVD I mention at the end of the old post below! I sure don't have it anymore; we've gone through several purges of old media since Borat times. These days, most entertainment is accomplished via streaming services. I listen to Eclectic24 Online, and I regularly stream movies, sometimes podcasts. But I still prefer books on paper, and I don't think that will ever change. My bookshelves packed with old beloveds have been a great comfort to me in quarantine. And I've had fun going through my old CDs and DVDs lately. Have you rediscovered any #ThrowBackThursday gems in your home collections?

During a stay-at-home order, multimedia home entertainment has increased in importance somewhat, and I find it useful to have access to a combination of streaming services (none of which I pay for, more out of concern about data breeches than because of cost) and old-fashioned physical books and discs. I've had fun rediscovering old DVDs and…

$Monday: Buying Fine Art for the Home

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Right before the pandemic canceled everything, I purchased my first piece of fine art directly from the artist. Adulting milestone achieved!
My home has always been filled with art because many of my family members and friends are artists, and I've created a few things here and there myself. I've been blessed with leftovers and castoffs and special gifts of artworks over the years, but this is the first time I've selected and purchased my own piece directly from a known artist (as opposed to, for example, buying folk art in a fair trade shop without knowing the identity of the individual artisan).

There is joy in receiving a surprise gift of beauty and in figuring out where and how to display it in my home. And there is a different sort of satisfaction in designing my own space in advance, choosing a piece to display there, and being able to pay for it.

There is plenty of advice to be found online about how to invest in art and how to decorate one's home, but I'm n…

TBT: Fine Art and Free Drinks

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This post makes me nostalgic for the Before Times. I think we can all agree, at this point, that there are no good virtual substitutes for going to a show or drinking with friends. Virtual museum tours and Zoom happy hours are the instant Nescafé of fun. It's still enjoyable to listen to recorded music, watch movies, and read books at home, but there are some activities that I'll wait to resume when it's worth it--when humans and artworks can mingle in meatspace again.

Way, way back in the day, not just before the pandemic but even more so before parenthood, my husband and I reveled in real-life experiences of art. We went to gallery openings and closings to encounter sculptures and paintings the good old-fashioned way. We interacted with art, walked around it, caught it from different angles, smelled it, touched it when appropriate, heard the way our footsteps echoed in the space, chatted with others about it face-to-face, and stood in awe of the mind-blowing difference b…

$Monday: Testing a New Kitchen Design Before Renovation

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My husband and I planned to renovate our worn-out kitchen this year, with my dad's help. And--oop!--we all know what happened to everyone's plans for 2020. There is no way I can keep my family fed properly through the pandemic in my designed-circa-1990, tacked-together, corner-cut, stingy-cheap, crazy, nailed-it-wrong kitchen nightmare that has been crumbling, grumbling, rotting, rusting, and breaking since we bought this house in 2008. We have to do something, so we turned a setback into an opportunity to slow down and beta test some of our new kitchen ideas with temporary staging. It might look insane, but who cares? We won't be having the queen over for tea anytime soon, so we can take time to play with space and function before we commit to building permanent structures and finishing surfaces.


For example, open shelves are not practical for everyone. They don't hide clutter or protect things from dust. However, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and prefer not…

TBT: Ditch the BMI and Find Your Hot Spot

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This post features Miss Platnum's 2007 hit "Give Me the Food," a delightful anthem for this pandemic time. In all seriousness, food insecurity is a big thing right now, so consider checking up on your friends and neighbors with children or those who may be struggling to stay nourished. Mobile food pantries are popping up around towns to serve those in need, but many families are afraid to go out, deterred or excluded by the need to drive a personal car and wait in a long line, or ashamed of seeking help in the midst of so much need.

But there's no shame, ever, in keeping yourself and your family well nourished. It's one of the best ways to express love, for self and others, during this time.

My family is eligible to get into one of those lines and pick up weekly trunkloads of food from our school district, but we have not participated yet. We are grateful to have maintained stable income so far. (My husband's hours are reduced, but we are receiving unemployme…