COVID-19: Tips for smart shopping and staying sane

The National Emergency has flipped everyone’s lives upside down. Some people are working from home, others cannot go in at all, while some have to go about business as usual. These are very strange times we’re living in, but they don’t have to be as scary as we all think. If we all just listen to the President and the WHO and try and distance ourselves from others, only go out for essential items and wash our hands-  this will be over faster. If we do not, we could be looking at a few months of this. Personally, I love the extra time I get to spend with my son. But I’d rather it not be in these circumstances.

My husband and I like to prepare for the worst in situations. So when we knew the COVID-19 virus was going to be in the US we started shopping a bit more for food and planning what essentials we needed to stock up on. Two weeks later, the virus came to our city. Within hours I heard of fights at grocery stores and shortages on toilet paper and hand soap.

I’m not saying stocking up on toilet paper is dumb. It’s not. But you need to purchase what you think you’d actually need if you were advised to not leave your home for a month. You cannot tell me you need 5 jumbo cases from Sam’s Club for 1 month. Unless you’re job is to poop all day- I think you’re being excessive. And if you are pooping all day, I don’t think you have COVID-19. Although, I do advise you go see a doctor.

Obviously, you should have a healthy supply of TP, hand soap, diapers and wipes. But those things (I believe) you should always have. So here’s a few tips from what we’ve been doing a little more of lately:

Buy fresh veggies and cheese

You don’t need to live on Ramen and PB&J alone. Buy veggies you know you’ll use in casseroles. Chop them up, boil them for 2-3 minutes and toss them in an ice bath. Measure out enough in each freezer bag to make one casserole. Then when you go to make it, you’ll just need to thaw the veggies and you’ll have exactly what you need. Carrots, zucchini, yellow squash and broccoli are the easiest and hold up well IMO.

Shredded or sliced. It doesn’t matter. You can freeze cheese so it won’t go bad and will be just as fresh when you do need it!

Make meals ahead

Some easy meals (lasagna, pepperoni rolls, soups, stuffed shells, meatballs, etc) can be made and frozen so you have more room for fresh, perishable food in your fridge. Then when you’re ready for them you just pop them in the oven or stovetop!

*For lasagna and shells, don’t bake them before you freeze them! Put them in uncooked for best results later!

Freeze extra milk

If you have a toddler at home you know that running low on milk is never an option. Sometimes when they’re teething, milk is all they want. So you don’t want to be caught without any. I had extra milk bags from when I breast fed/pumped that I found tucked away. So I opened up a gallon of milk and portioned it out into the bags for easy freezing. You don’t want to freeze full gallons because 1. It will expand and possibly explode in your freezer and 2. If it is passed the expiration date when you thaw it, you have to use it very quickly! Saving in small amounts allows you to use is when you need it.

Buy extra Tylenol and other medications

If you have a toddler at home you should definitely buy a few more packages of Children’s Tylenol. Wether your child gets a fever or is just in pain from teething- you don’t want to run to the store and possibly bring your child (even in regulars circumstances, let alone a National Emergency). The same for adult medications too. Even if you don’t use them right now, they won’t go to waste. One day you’ll need them and be glad you have them.

Spring cleaning

Get together a list of things you’d like to get accomplished while you’re at home. Wether it’s cleaning your basement, pulling weeds or bleaching your grout- there’s always something you’ve been “meaning to do”. Now’s the time to get ahead of it so that when this is all over you’ve done something more than just creep on Facebook and watch movies. I even got my husband to organize his closet! (You have no idea how happy I was… unless you are married. Then you probably do!)

ALSO VERY IMPORTANT: Enjoy this time with your kids (or dogs, cats, whatever!)! We should all be taking this seriously, but kids need to have fun. And so do we. Plan movie night and build a cuddle nest with blankets and pillows for you and the kids. Run around outside on the nice days in your yard. Build lego fortresses. Plays cars. Make this fun for them. You don’t want them to be scared, they don’t understand this anyway. So make some happy memories instead!

Tips from Dad:

If you are like me, meat is an essential part of your quarantine plan. Be sure you have checked your propane tanks so you can grill like a champion while stuck at home. Get a couple of marinades and get meat that will provide more than one meal. When out shopping, pick up a couple of small toys or treats for the kiddo’s so that they can have a surprise and some fun during the lock in. Be alert and inquire about elderly neighbors and needs that they may have that you could help with. The virus can make us sick. It can even kill us. But as long as we are helping each other, loving our families, and remembering the best aspects of what it is to be American- the virus cannot defeat us. Remember that the only thing you can personally control in these times (or in any times) is your own reactions to the situations at hand. Also, pray and focus on God. He will lead, guide and direct our paths!



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