Quarantine Edition – in which we hear from some of you!

I wanted to create a “collage” post of ideas and thoughts about this quarantine period. So, a few weeks ago I asked– What has God been teaching you? What activities have you been doing with your family that are a little bit different from your normal routine? What recipes have you tried? Has something funny happened that you’d like to share? Has your family found a unique way to encourage others? Please send me anything you’d like to share, and I will put it all together into one post.

I have been so blessed and encouraged by the various contributions that were sent in. Keep it up ladies, building your homes during this time! It’s what we do best! God has uniquely gifted you to provide a haven and a place of comfort for your dear ones.IMG_5922

Thanks to everyone who took time to contribute to this post.

From Connie (my sister in law, mother of four boys, ages 11 and under):

Take a hike! No, seriously, with all this “stay at home” going on, those of us with children need to get them outside and run that energy off. If we don’t, it turns into sibling rivalry, unpleasant attitudes, discontentment, and general mayhem at home. It’s amazing what an hour hike along a river will do for children’s attitudes. We all need it, but children especially. There are a lot of places around here that will allow for social distancing while getting some fun explore time outside. So, GO TAKE A HIKE!

This whole stay at home time has been a special time for me.  Life has been so simplified and I have had more time to enjoy my husband and boys.  It has also helped me put into perspective what I need to do with my time and how not to “over do it”.  Which is so easy to do.  So I have actually really enjoyed it. …call me strange…

From Victoria (a friend from VA, mother of five children, ages 12 to 21):

It’s as if we live in our own little world here on the farm. All the kids seem to be content. I would say the thing that has impacted us the most is becoming a team. For example, delivering calves from first time moms. Everyone has jumped right in and made it all possible. “Team Dunlap.”

Levi (12) is the only one that wants to be a farmer now. 😄 They get one day off a week and they have to accomplish one task a day. Eventually we will get to cleaning the house. They are probably ready for school to start.

They are learning so many life lessons and stuff that will stick with them for a life time. They also get to team up and cook one dinner a week. Also they are learning to do their own laundry. Levi’s the only one that does it on his own now. They have a weekly schedule for dinner dishes. Guess what, I’m not on that list. They are also cleaning their own bathrooms. Again, Levi is the best at that. He is going to make a wonderful husband someday. Bennett (15) is still the one that does the most around the farm. Oh, and their reward or pay is they get to go play Par 3 a couple of times a week.

Photos from the Dunlap Farm:FullSizeRender-7



From Esther (my sister in law, mother of four children, ages 7 and under, and one on the way!):

This song has been a great encouragement to us in past dark times and continues to be so.

I keep thinking that this song is actually very applicable right now at a time when almost everyone is “stuck” at home. Home is a gift. May we each do our part to make our homes a refuge, a haven, a harbor!

I used a frozen ham bone and some dried navy beans to make this recipe. The kids wouldn’t look at it, but Matt and I really liked it!

I made these fried chicken tenders last night, an old recipe I haven’t made in a while but we always love. I just cut up chicken breasts into strips, and if I’m short on time I still make the buttermilk marinade in a Ziplock with the chicken pieces (to give the coating something to stick to) but I don’t worry about the extended marinading. We don’t miss the extended marinade if I forget/run out of time to do it!

From Anonymous (mother of five children, ages 9 and under; name withheld by request):

We’ve had the girls making cards for people. It’s a way to reach out with a personal touch when we can’t be together! They have really enjoyed it and I pray it’s a blessing to the recipients, too. I definitely think of it as a fun way to serve and teach them to serve too!

From Edna (new friend in IL, a farmer’s wife and mother of a grown daughter):

I made this pudding cinnamon roll a friend told me about. I used lemon instant pudding (I had on hand), used olive oil in recipe, cut butter in filling to 1/2 cup, only used 2T butter, 3T cream cheese in frosting w/ rest of ingredients. Cut the sugar in 1/2 in filling, used 1 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. You make the pudding like the instructions on the box.

Hadn’t made sweet rolls all year, so were greatly appreciated by my family, also took some to a friend who had just been discharged from hospital. They were yummy and pudding makes them moist!  The lemon gave a good flavor!

We planted garden today, the ground was beautiful, never planted this early in our lives. I planted purple onion sets, marigolds , beets, buttercrunch lettuce, baby kale, kohlrabi, & swiss chard. Tried something new this year, put organic mushroom compost in the row and worked in with rake, my sister does and always has big produce. Knapp & Steiner had mushroom compost.IMG_5923

From Anonymous (mother of four children, ages 6 to 12; name withheld by request):

I am almost embarrassed to admit this. I feel like the quarantine has slowed me down, so that I actually listen to my kids. Not just hear them, I listen now. We aren’t running from here to there, with them talking in the background. I actually sit and talk with them.

We have been doing cooking lessons, cake decorating lessons, sewing lessons, playing more games. We have made cards for the community, the elderly, the cashiers where we shop, our neighbors. We made cute caterpillars to pass out. We have made masks to pass out to friends and family.

And while we have been doing all of this, we have been spending so much time around our kitchen table, that now even if the kids aren’t involved, and I am there working, they come to just sit and talk with me while I work. There hasn’t been a rush, so I can listen.

We joke more, pray more, talk about helping others more. It has really opened my heart up to my kids more. I am thankful for this time, not for the sickness or the virus unfolding, but just more uninterrupted time with my kids. Something I feel I take for granted because I am home with them all the time. But now it is true time, true quality time.

I could probably write a book. My kids haven’t complained once about this time. I think they needed this time with me, as much as I needed it with them.

From Jackie (new friend in IL, mother of three, ages 6, 16, and 19):

I have found myself coming closer to God and realizing my most important roles in life are those of wife and mother. It’s sad how difficult it is to focus on family in this culture. I am happy and feel blessed that I am finding my way and feel blessed and at ease that I am on the right path.

From me:

The kids have been enjoying kinetic sand. It’s magical stuff that entertains them for hours. If you’re scared of the concept of sand in your house, you just have to try this out to experience the wonder. It’s not sandy sand; hard to explain. Kids love it!

We’ve been reading Little Pilgrim’s Progress each day as part of the school routine for the younger kids and I. Steve listens in as we read, during his lunch break each day. We have all been enjoying it so much! The chapters are the perfect length, the story is right on their level, and the spiritual truths illustrated are timeless and encouraging.

Our large collection of games is finally getting some use. One of our favorite games is the card game Monopoly Deal. As the name implies, it is based on the traditional Monopoly. It moves much more quickly than the board games does, therefore you don’t have to put your life on hold in order to play it. 😄 This game is fun for so many reasons. I love playing it with just two people. It’s fast-paced and doesn’t take much time at all to play a quick game in between other daily activities.

I’ve enjoyed seeing my crew bond more and spend more time with each other. Katelyn planned a “girls’ night” and her two younger sisters loved it, of course! They also made dandelion chains one warm afternoon.

Girls’ Night
We have enjoyed some campfires. Maybe you have, too! On Good Friday, we sat around the fire in the dark while Steve read the account of Jesus’ betrayal. Annalise asked so sincerely, “Why would Jesus want to die?” Moments like that are not soon forgotten.

I have two recipes to share that we’ve made recently.

First, Davy Crockets. Who can resist a cookie bar by that name? These are delicious and very easy to make. You don’t even have to roll out the cookies. All the batter goes onto a cookie sheet and is cut into bars after being baked. Esther shared this recipe with me last year. She said it took her six minutes to whip up a batch. My crew loves these and they are always received with high enthusiasm.

Davy Crockets

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup oil
3 eggs
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and spread onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes until set. Better not to overbake. Squares should be chewy! Cool and cut into squares. Makes a bunch but they’ll go fast! Enjoy!

{This recipe was given to Esther Aardsma by Joy Seward.}

Next, Seasoned Rice & Chicken Casserole. Every time I make this, my crew gobbles it all up in one sitting (a double recipe, of course). It’s easy to put together and bake.

Seasoned Rice & Chicken Casserole

1 cup milk
1 cup water
10.75 oz. can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey
6 oz. pkg. Uncle Ben’s long grain and wild rice mix, with seasoning packet [orange box]

In large bowl, combine milk, water and soup: stir with sire whisk. Add all remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into greased 3 quart casserole. Cover; bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Stir. Bake uncovered for an additional 30-45 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring once halfway through baking.

I double this recipe and it’s just enough to feed our family-(no leftovers)! Enjoy!

{This recipe was adapted from the Bill Rice Ranch Cookbook.}


Goodbye for now! Thanks for reading along. Leave a comment about your experience during the quarantine, we’d love to hear from you!

3 thoughts on “Quarantine Edition – in which we hear from some of you!

  1. This was a delight to read. It pays to learn to be content no matter our circumstances. Thanks for sharing. Love, Grammy


  2. Thanks for posting this! I have been feeling the desire to bond with other mothers and I feel you have brought us together! Thanks Jenifer and I am so happy we are friends. You help me with the Titus 2 mandate of loving our families. Not so many expressing what God has truly made us for -but you are!

    Liked by 1 person

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