The Lily Cafe Digest #9 - a summary of what I've posted between February 24, 2020 and April 3, 2020 as well as some favorite bloggers and blog posts

The Lily Cafe Digest #9

Well, the past six weeks have been interesting. Let’s see. As soon as I came back from my week-long blogging break at the end of February, my daughter and I were involved in an unexpected, unfortunate incident that completely knocked me down for about a week or so. And then the coronavirus spread to the States and now has us all in a stranglehold. My state is under a Safer at Home order, so, other than about 3 walks, I’ve been inside for the past 3 weeks. So, yeah, fun six weeks.

My best friend moved to China several years ago, so I had a bad feeling the coronavirus would spread here eventually. I kept up with what was happening with her through social media, and can’t help but remember that, even while under quarantine, she was still able to take walks and buy essentials. You know, like toilet paper. And food. And she offered some beautiful words of advice. Well, of course, she did. She’s one of the most beautiful writer-poets I know!

So, six weeks ago, I was a bit banged up and dealing with trauma. Then I was worried sick about the coronavirus. Then I was preparing mentally for a school closure. I’m glad the district closed fast, but having to juggle everyone and schooling has been an interesting challenge. Thankfully, there are some wonderful people in the blogging community offering resources.

Other than dealing with life, I’ve been trying to read and write as much as I can. Reading takes precedence as I have review obligations, but I’ve managed to write a few more lines in Queen of the Garden of Girls. Oh, and baking. I’ve done a bit of baking. Not too much as it’s now challenging to fit in homeschooling, playing with my almost 3 year old, having a part-time work from home husband (he’s still considered essential for now), chores, blogging, reading, and freaking out because my asthma is not yet well-controlled (it’s a relatively new diagnosis).

Yup, it’s been fun. Hoping the next 7 weeks will be better, but I’m not holding my breath. How are you holding up?

Looking for some new books to read? Author S. M. Stevens (Horseshoes and Hand Grenadeshas teamed up with several other authors to offer 30 days of book giveaways. Sorry, US residents only.

Take a Look at My Finding Magic in Motherhood Posts

Part 13: The Final Weeks|Part 14: I’m Going to What Now?

Enjoy My Parenting Posts

6 Perks of Being Stuck at Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak|Homeschooling at a Moment’s Notice

Check Out the Books I Reviewed, the Book Blog Tours I Participated in, and Guest Posts

Reviews: The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold|BloodStained Bliss by Elle Limpkin|The Killing Fog by Jeff Wheeler|Special by Chino Chakanga|Esperanza by Tommy Tutalo|The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag|The Worst Lie by Shauna Bickley|The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer

Guest Posts: It Takes More Than a Weekend to Write a Children’s Book by Jacqueline Levering Sullivan|How Do You Do It With Five Kids? by Chelsea Ann Owens

Catch Up On Queen of the Garden of Girls

Part 20|Part 21|Part 22|Part 23|Part 24

Enjoy My Ratio Baking Adventures

Toasted Coconut Custard|Custard or Ice Cream?|How to Make Bread|Souffle Wasn’t as Scary as I Thought

Blog Posts I’ve Enjoyed from the Blogging Community

I have to admit that, with COVID-19 shutting things down and keeping people home, I haven’t been keeping up with as many blogs and haven’t been too focused on noting the posts I enjoy, so I apologize for the short list, but I’m including a list of some of my favorite bloggers, particularly the ones who offer a bit of a respite from what’s going on in the world.

5 Ways Gaming Can Be Good for Kids from Geek Mamas – as a mom married to someone who enjoys video games (while I do not) I constantly worry about the amount of time my 5 year old is playing video games and Roblox, so this post really helped me see how it may not necessarily be a bad thing.

Writing Villains: Top 10 Don’ts List by Joan Wiley – as someone who writes fantasy quite I bit, I’m well aware that there’s often a villain that gets thrown into the mix, so I really appreciated what Joan had to say about what makes for a less than perfect villain.

It’s Really Not “Just Stuff” from Tidy Little Mama – I adore the idea of minimalism and would love to practice it, but my family has accumulated so much stuff over the years that thinking about getting rid of half of it makes me wonder where it would go. While minimalism seems like a great idea, all the discarded stuff has to go somewhere, as this post points out.

Reblog – The Real-Life 3 C’s of Blogging from Degrees of Maternity – I love this blog because it’s such a wonderful resources for plenty of real life related things. Since I’m a relatively new follower, I love that she’s reblogging older content, and really enjoyed this short and sweet one about the 3 important C’s of blogging. Simple, but so important! Also, as many parents now find ourselves teaching our kids, check out her Creating Schedules for Children post.

To the Graduating Class of 2020 from Write Side of the Road – This is just so sad and so sweet at the same time. I hadn’t realized this year’s high school graduating class had been born just after 9/11, and now to have to graduate into the world as it is now?

Boondock Ramblings – I adore Lisa’s blog. She’s got everything from beautiful photos of her kids to fiction stories to faith-centered posts. Right now she’s busily working on and posting some fiction, which has been a welcome relief from the sad daily news, and has shared several homeschool resources.

Our Little Red House – I adore the crafts, especially since many of them are great for young kids (of which I have two), but I also love her honest, genuine voice that always sounds so soothing in my head whenever I read her posts. She’s something of a breath of fresh air.

Housewife Hustle – I was an early follower of Jenni’s blog and have been so happy to see how grow and bloom. So I’m really sad she’s leaving blogging. Her content will still be available for a few more months, so be sure to stop by and enjoy her words while you can. But, if you enjoy her as much as I do, don’t worry; she’ll still be active on social media, so be sure to follow her.

Bits and Dragons – This is such a fun blog. It’s a mix of tech-oriented posts I completely fail to understand, fictional stories that are always fun and packed with funny lines, and now he’s sharing what life in quarantine is like. It’s fun and funny.

Chelsea Ann Owens – A mother of five, she also has a mom blog called I Didn’t Want to be a Mother, but this is her main blog that she most frequently posts to. I adore her honesty and wit. Her stories are fun and the bits of life she shares are always easy to identify with.

By Autumn Rain – Primarily a fiction site, she does once in a while write about life and being mom, but I really love stopping by for her stories. They’re fun and always have happy endings, which is so dearly needed right now. Her current story is Alice and the Warden.

Brooke Cutler – My goodness, what can I say about this lovely soul? She feels deeply, and shares her heart on her blog. Reading her is like being wrapped up in a dear friend’s hug. Always a ray of sunshine, even when there’s a bit of melancholy. A balm to the soul.

Most Sincerely, kat

You can find a list of all the Digests plus some bloggers I adore over here

19 Comments

  • Confession of a Parentless Mother

    I honestly have been doing great. I hate staying in the house. I miss going out and being able to go places without feeling anxiety. Maybe I need to sit down and write about my feelings tonight.

    Oh but one good thing came out of all of this … I wrote an email to the superintendent about my daughter staying at the elementary she’s part of now instead of switching AND he approved it. She can stay then until middle school too. I’m so happy because I really like her school. She’s happy because she can still see her friends! The news helped with get out of my deep depression for the most part.

    • kat

      That’s so terrific for you and your daughter! That transition from elementary to middle school can be so tough, so it’s so great that she’ll get to stay with her friends.

      I think most people are simply worrying about making sure people are staying home to prevent the spread, but that can be just as damaging. Only recently has our county realized many people are experiencing worsened mental health problems and have finally begun to address them. I get that preventing people from getting sick is important, but mental health must also be taken into consideration. One of my cousins lives in a country with even more stringent lockdown rules and only people with mental health issues who have a note from their doctor are allowed to go for a walk. She’s actually afraid of what the suicide rate is going to be. Having to stay home is difficult as it is, but being in a position where having to stay at home makes one’s mental health decline is even more difficult. I can’t imagine how hard this has been for you. I just hope this ends sooner rather than later. Until then, my heart is with you and I’ll be sending wishes for happiness to you. I hope more good news comes your way!

      • Confession of a Parentless Mother

        Thank you! We are too! It gives up time to save for a better home too, so I’m glad. We have to figure out where we really want to move anyways. I’m starting to want to stay where we are because I love the way the superintendent is handling everything. We’ll see what happens though.

        I agree with you completely! The staying home thing is definitely messing up with everyone’s mental health. I’m not looking forward to May. It’s already a depressing month from me, so make sure you check up on me. Hopefully I can get myself to write a lot of blog post.

        I feel like our country is going to be like your cousins soon because of how careless a lot of people are. I’m scared to see that day come. I will probably go to the dr and get a note. I have to go outside for walks.

        My heart is with you too! I hope you get some good news. We all a need it ant this point!

      • kat

        We’re doing the same about the home thing! It’s such a huge decision, especially when there are kids who need to go to school. I hope you and your family find the perfect home when this is all over!

        I’ll absolutely check up on you! I always think of you and hope you are doing well. I’m a homebody, so staying home isn’t too bad, but I hate thinking I can’t even take a walk because we’ve been ordered to stay home. It makes me angry in a way I don’t like. Our mayor recently released information about the county’s projections and, with even more restrictions, we’ll see even fewer cases in August than if we keep doing what we’re doing. I’m scared of what exactly that means. We have a new suicide hotline and I can’t imagine how overloaded it must be.

        I hope you’re able to stay safe and mentally strong! I know you’ll do the best possible job, and just remember your parents are watching out for you and will work to keep you safe!

    • kat

      I’ve been told my blog isn’t coming up in the reader for a few followers and honestly have no idea why. I’ve been trying to puzzle it out, but it’s happened to me and some of the blogs I follow, so I’m hoping it’s a WordPress problem and they fix it soon.
      It’s definitely difficult being cooped up with kids, but I’m so relieved they have been taking it better than they could be. Good days and bad days, but at least we’re safe and healthy. I hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy as well!

  • candy keane

    Thank you for checking out my post about gaming with kids! I know a lot of parents often worry about too much game time and it turning their kids brains to mush. As long as you know what they are playing and try to interact with them a little, it can be a good thing. Games make them think and can help with problem solving skills and fine motor skills. But there is always a limit of course. My husband is the first to complain and tell our son to turn it off and play with something else. But he knows I’ll tell dad to go away if we are playing Zelda together though, lol.

    • kat

      Haha, I totally understand about Zelda! My husband and son are big fans of it as well, and I like the idea of my kids getting to go on big adventures since they also sometimes find ways to translate it into real life. I’m finding it a useful tool in teaching my son how to deal with frustration, but I also wish he would be more interested in all the toys he’s begged us to buy him.

  • degreesofmaternity

    Kat – you’re so awesome! Thanks so much for the beautiful mention. I really appreciate it. And to think, you’ve been through quite a few hard-hitting challenges (all within a relatively short period of time) and you still manage to lift others up during all you’ve been going through. We should all take a page out of your book and remember to try to lift up others, even when we may be going through our own struggles. It’s ironic, but helping others when you’re going through yourself tends to have a healing effect. I’m sure you and many others (and I’m a living witness, too) can attest to this. In a time when there’s so much hurt going on for so many people, I surely appreciate women like you who do what they can where they can. Thanks for blessing the blogging (the whole writing) community-at-large with what you do. Take care.

    • kat

      Always happy to! I really enjoy your blog and get so many ideas for what I can do with my kids, and for myself. I absolutely agree that helping others is very healing; it’s really helped me cope these past few weeks! At a time when it’s easier to turn inwards and focus on the good and bad of our own lives, I’d rather turn outwards, even as an introvert, and be part of a community that supports each other, especially now when human connection is hard to come by. Besides, I’m hoping that, with people being home more and probably online, bloggers can find a bit more attention and I’d love to do what I can to spread the word about the blogs I enjoy.
      Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy!

      • degreesofmaternity

        Thanks so much Kat for your kind words as always. You know just the right words to say to bring encouragement and inspiration. I ditto your sentiments above about focusing outwards and helping where you can as well as supporting the wonderful blogging community we’re a part of. And I pray the same for you and your family.

  • Sandra Riguzzi

    This is definitely a tough one these days! Homeschooling is definitely not so easy and I keep hoping it won’t be for the whole year, but I think that is wishful thinking. Unfortunately, I live in NY and just outside of the city so I fear we will be shut down for the rest of the year, but there is always something to be learned and hope springs eternal. Whatever your trauma is, I am sorry you are going through so much. I understand this in life and just know that it is amazing how strong us women can be when we need to. It may not always feel like it, but it’s there inside you. Whatever it is – you got this!

    • kat

      Thank you so much! I can’t imagine what life must be like in NY right now. We have some family there and it’s affecting them. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. It’s scary to be living in such uncertain times, but it’s good to have hope, and to be able to hold on to it. Every time my husband puts on the news, there’s something about NY and how bad it is and my heart just drops a little more every time. I also hope schools don’t stay closed all year, but it’s really looking like that’s the case. Kids are missing out so much and it just hurts my heart. Still, it’s an interesting learning experience, and I’m sure they’ll have plenty of stories for their kids and and grandkids.

  • Lisa R. Howeler

    Thank you for the mention! I still can’t get you in my reader but I haven’t been reading tons of blogs anyhow lately. I have tons to catch up on (obviously). Sounds like you’ve been keeping yourself busy during this time and that’s definitely a good thing. I’ll have to check out all these other blogs you’ve mentioned too! Thanks for sharing them.

    • kat

      Always happy to! Fixing the reader thing is a work in progress, but, so far, I can’t find a way to fix it. With what you and your family have been going through, I can understand why you haven’t been reading blogs as much. I wouldn’t be, either. I am glad, though, to have blogging as it’s been quite useful and helpful in getting my mind off how different things now are, until someone starts ranting about COVID-19, but mentions of it seem to be tapering off.

      • Lisa R. Howeler

        The blogging is a real distraction for me too. My issue has also been the spotty WiFi at my parents. Not having WiFi that is reliable has been nice in many ways. It doesn’t allow me to mindlessly scroll through news sites or social media. However, it also means I am unable to keep up with blogs or if I do read a post, the WiFi seems to die right when I go to comment. My dad’s desktop works okay because it’s On an Ethernet but I somehow feel guilty clogging up his computer to read my blogs 😂😂 even though he told me he doesn’t mind.

        Oh and I agree about the virus. I have to skip the bloggers ranting about it or going on about it too much. My brain is overloaded already, I don’t need it on blogs too. If they are just mentioning it in a blog post or talking about how it is affecting them — I’m good. But several paragraphs about it and politics? Nope. Not happening right now!

      • kat

        Haha, I can absolutely see how spotty WiFi can be good and bad, though that is nice of your dad to offer his computer! Blogs can be a great distraction or just sad reminders of how things have changed. Personally, I’ve been finding that reading the blogs that don’t do more than mention coronavirus have been more appealing. I think I’m starting to just become tired of the whole thing and just want some normalcy from the blogs I follow. And I just skip over anything that involves politics. I’d rather focus on surviving this thing than know every thought someone has one this person or that!

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