Saturday, April 18, 2020

You Don't Have To.

mental health, COVID-19, Corona virus, Corona times, pandemic, stress, emotions, anxiety, overwhelm, overload, parents, motherhood


I keep seeing people posting about how they don't understand why they ...

Can't focus enough to even read a chapter. 

Is that you? I'm an AVID reader friends. But this is me.

Aren't cleaning their homes from attic to basement. 

Yeah. No.

Didn't start a work out routine that leaves them feeling fitter than ever. 

Any guesses on my success there?

Don't cook meals from scratch 3x/day. 7x/week. 

If you can even GET groceries it's a big deal, friends.

Haven't started that - what? - garden? hobby? blog? book they have always wanted to write?

Gentle breaths, please. Let's take several steps back here.


You know you've said it.

I've been home for (fill in the blank because we're all quarantined a different number of days at this point) however long and I haven't done diddly.


You don't have to.

That book isn't going anywhere.

It's okay if you haven't read it from cover to cover yet.

You don't have to.

It's okay if your house looks like a tornado blew through, whether or not you have kids in your home with you. Clean it in sections, if you're motivated to do so. Wipe off surfaces. Lysol whatever you need (you know you've done or are doing that much!). But clean every single room? Surface? Floor? Wall? Baseboard and trim?

You don't have to.

As for working out? I've always said I need more time to fit that into my days. And guess what? As someone with a fenced in yard who takes her dog for way too few walks? We're getting out more often. Am I running a virtual 5K or marathon? Have I started PIYO or Peloton - pssst. thanks for those free workouts, truly, I know somebody's using them! Me? Is it me? No. I haven't. It's not me. And it's okay if you haven't, either.

You don't have to.

And the cooking.


Y'all. The cooking. I have been cooking for about 957 days and nights, and it's only me here in my home 50% of the time. When my daughter is here, ssssh, don't tell anyone - tell EVERYONE. Some days we opt for soup or Ramen or Taquitos for her and I decide if I'm hungry at all. SOME days. On other days? I cook. Like actually find myself being a complete grown-up who thawed some meat in advance, or pulled together ingredients from the 500 grocery orders I've attempted and the three (yes, three) I've succeeded at, to create an actual beautiful glorious MEAL that we both enjoy.

But y'all.

You don't have to.

If you find yourself feeding your family with frozen waffles and pancakes, Pop Tarts (generic or otherwise), and a whole lot of chocolate milk? It's okay. You're allowed. I'm not baking everything from scratch. I'm not pulling all of those beautiful cookbooks out of my cabinets and diving right on in. As much as I adore Chrissy Teigen.

And you?

You don't have to.

So please.

Cut yourself some slack.

Give yourself a little grace.

This is pandemic living.

We have no idea what we're supposed to be doing.

There. Are. NO. Shoulds.

You don't have to.

You just don't.

And if you need me to tell you this directly? Message me. Let me help.

I'm more than happy to.

Because beating ourselves up, especially now, during crisis living, quarantine life and these Corona times? That's absolutely something you don't have to do. Absolutely something you need to NOT do.

Take good care of you. Please.

Looking for more resources on taking better care of yourself, your emotional and mental health, and/or how to find support?

How To Keep Calm When Everyone is Freaking Out

Home Alone: Check On Your People

Feel All The Things

5 Steps To Take To Protect Yourself in the Current Political Climate

11 Inspirational Books and Journals

Friday, March 27, 2020

Home Alone.

COVID-19, Corona virus, pandemic, stay-at-home, community, connections, introverts, extroverts, staying home, solo, single parents, solo mom

Oooh, friends.

What a time it is to be alive, don't you think?

It's so overwhelming.

So exhausting.

So draining.

So confusing.

And so so very - strange - especially if you live alone.

Now, granted, I have a daughter, so my first week of "quarantine" was not solo.

But she has been with her dad for a few days - and wow - it's really really different being here by myself.

I'm not writing this for anything along the lines of: oh, you poor thing.

That's not why I'm writing about being home alone.

I'm writing because I want you to consider your surroundings.

I want you to consider your family members, your friends, your neighbors. I want you to consider all of the people in your circles who live alone.

Again. I'm not asking you to worry about me. Have you SEEN my Facebook wall lately?

I'm fine.

* Plus I am working so much right now that if you call me I am 99% certain I would not have a moment to answer - so - really - I'm okay, I promise. Also, update: My daughter is now home with me. Yay! *

But there are so many people out there who aren't.

Isolation becomes a joke when we talk about it with respect to introverts.

Oooh. They love this! They work from home! Live at home! They totally prefer their 4+ walls to anywhere else!

No, friends.

If you have an introvert friend who lives alone? Please check on them.

See if they need anything.

See if they want to video chat with you.

Because 4+ walls and no other human faces?

That's not exactly introvert life.

Because even your favorite introverts leave their houses now and then.

Even your favorite introverts have people they enjoy being close to.

And right now - during this pandemic time in the world we're living in - unless those people live in the same homes as they do? They're not getting to see those people. No smiling faces. No collaborative laughter. No arguing over the remote. Deciding where to grab lunch.

None of it.

So. Please, if you would.

Check on your people.

*The extroverts, too! Because they are for SURE struggling.*

They're home alone.

And they are struggling.

Remind them that they're home alone - but they're never ever truly alone - okay?

Just those few words will mean the world.

Trust me.

Stay safe and healthy and hydrated, y'all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Book A Month For 2020!

Hey! Guess who started this post a few months ago?

*looks around*

Yep, you guessed correctly.

The major bonus there is that some of the early titles I list below are already available to you. Yay! Go forth and read, friends. It's a great way to get through each day.

nonfiction, fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,

I'm normally an avid reader.

Truly tearing through books left and right.

2019 was a totally different kind of reading year for me.

I left many books unfinished. Not necessarily because I didn't enjoy them, but because I was distracted, frustrated, or - yes - quite possibly bored.

But this is a new and fresh year, and I am planning on reading all the things.

Read with me?

I have decided to share one new release per month that I am planning to read this coming year.

Let me know if you'll join me. It'll be fun.

And if you want to talk books, consider popping into my Facebook group: I Like Big Books!

* p.s. Links may be affiliate links and if you use them to shop I'll make a few cents from your purchase at no cost to you - so, thanks!

12 Books To Read in 2020


fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,


nonfiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,


fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,


fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,


fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,

June (yes, again)

fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,


fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,


fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,


Anxious People, Fredrik Backman

* cover not yet revealed *

fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,


Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters, Emily Carpenter

fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,


After All I've Done, Mina Hardy

fiction, reading, Goodreads, Kindle, ebooks, reading recommendations, reading while quarantined, books,

Okay, friends. I give up. I have been searching for a December release for weeks and have had no real luck finding something that I could concretely share with you. So. I am skipping December. Who reads during the holidays, anyway, right? (I know - I know, many of us do!)

Instead I'm going to toss an extra into the mix. Scroll back a bit. You'll notice that June has two titles. Maybe you already noticed. Whatever. You'll forgive me - right? Because there's no overlooking Jasmine Guillory. Period. 

Now - let me know which covers you like best. Because we all know we totally do judge books by their covers. 

Happy reading!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

This Is Not Homeschooling.

learning, learning at home, homeschooling, teaching, parenting, children home from school, teachers, education, pandemic, education during a pandemic


I see so so very many of you talking about the new normal.

You're parents. And your children are now home with you for all the days.

Your school-aged children.

Let me tell you something.

This is not homeschooling.

First of all.

Homeschooling parents make a CHOICE to homeschool.

They decide. They know that this is what is best for their child(ren).

You? You have been given no choice in this so-called decision making process.

This is not homeschooling.

Homeschooling parents also have communities.

Did you not know any homeschooling parents before today? (Okay, this week, or two.)

They do not sit in their homes and just teach their child(ren) all the things.

Sure. They have days where they are home. Working on lessons and the like.

But they do so so much more than that.

You? You have been confined to your houses with your child(ren).

You are not allowed to go to the museum. The zoo. The play place. The library.

This is not homeschooling.

You (hopefully!) have some guidance from your school, your teachers, your child(ren)'s support teams. You (hopefully!) have access to efforts they have taken for you to utilize to help you teach your kids.

Homeschooling parents create their own lesson plans.

Sure - they might use an online program, they may purchase some workbooks, but they create it all. The whole syllabus. Schedule. Everything.

The main purpose of my clarification here is to remind you - as mom or dad or grandparent - that you are not required to do it all right now. This is brand new to you. This was not something you planned or decided on or researched in any way.



And it's also a reminder, the next time you hear someone mention a homeschooled child and you find yourself thinking, I wonder how they're going to get on in the world without socialization (come on, you know you've thought it, or certainly HEARD it, at least ONCE!), you also remember that their parents have considered that. And they've made sure that their child(ren) gets to experience all the things. And their so-called lack of socialization? Is an unnecessary concern.

And, sure, there may be the homeschooling parent who only works from their home and doesn't offer their child(ren) the opportunities others do. For whatever reasons. It's not our place to judge. But most? Do not. They're out there. Teaching and learning and engaging with others. Ensuring their kids have the best of everything.

And it's a lot more than what you're suddenly finding yourself doing.

Because. My friends.

This is not homeschooling.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Can We Please Not Judge?

grocery shopping, COVID-19, Corona Virus, current events, panic, stockpiling, eating how we want to eat, emotional eating, preparing for disaster, quarantine eating, exhaustion, judgement, judgment, mind your business

Y'all really have your own thoughts about things, don't you?

You know what you need for your family to survive for the next 14+ days and you've made those purchases accordingly.

And maybe you got some extra toilet paper. Good on you. As long as you didn't knock someone over the head for it, I'm cool with that.

Honestly, I don't care if you ordered six dozen mega-packs of toilet paper from Amazon if it made you feel better.

And I don't care if you piled your shopping cart with about ten bottles of wine if you're so inclined.

You're a grown-up. You do you.

And I'll do the same.

But can you not judge me for my choices?

And if you're thinking, but what, Andrea, I didn't say anything to you about what you did or didn't buy when you went to the store two times this last week. What's the problem?

No. Maybe you didn't.

But did you, when you were buying your "essentials" - did you find yourself looking at the cart of the person next to you and thinking, what the heck do they need THAT for?

Did you look at how many blue boxes of macaroni and cheese they purchased and roll your eyes?

Did you count their cartons of eggs, and the number of boxes of cake mix?

Did you think, what on earth does someone need four jars of pickles for?

Did you look through their items and wonder why they didn't have berries and apples and avocados in their stockpiling stashes?

Did you consider that they didn't need that stuff because they get two produce deliveries every week so they can support local farmers and buy rejected fruits and veggies so they don't end up in the landfill?

Did you think about how their toddler ONLY eats the mac-n-cheese from the BLUE box, no matter how hard they've tried to get them to eat something else?

Did you count the number of bags of frozen chicken nuggets in comparison to packages of fresh chicken breasts and thighs? And if you did - did you realize that this was the third store they'd been to this morning and every single one of them was out of poultry?

Please, friends.

We are in the middle of a freaking PANDEMIC.


Definition from Merriam-Webster.

occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population

an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population a pandemic outbreak of a disease

Can we please stop with the judging?

Can we please remind ourselves that what we're just trying to get through this as best we can? And that we've each got our own concerns in the midst of it all? 

Because the last thing we need is to feel like someone is looking at us with an 'I've got it all together' kind of look. You know the one. The one that makes you feel like crap and makes you wish you could crawl into a hole. Or the freezer section at the local supermarket. Or maybe the beer section. And I don't even drink beer. 

I'm always telling people to cut themselves some slack. 

To give themselves a bit of grace. 

To remind themselves that, hey, we're all - each one of us - human. 

Now I'll take a moment to remind each of us of something else. 

The importance of doing the same for others. 

Cut them some slack. 

Give them some grace. 

Extend a bit of heart beyond your own circle. 

If you wouldn't say it to a friend, or want a friend to say it to you? 

Don't say it about anyone you don't know. 


Please don't judge. 

* If you're concerned about your community and the impact that closing schools will have on those families who are managing food insecurity? I have shared information on how to Donate to Your Local Food Bank. 

Read it to find ways to help.

Because helping feels so much better than judging, my friends. 

And I know you have it in you. It's why I love and respect you so. 

Important Disclaimer: 

If you're buying all the medical supplies and things that our friends' lives depend on, but yours does not? I will judge you. DO NOT PUT THE LIVES OF OTHERS AT RISK for your stockpiling purposes. Please. Just don't do it. You don't need fifteen bottles of distilled water. But your friend who needs a CPAP machine to BREATHE while they sleep? DOES. Thank you.