The New Normal

When 2020 arrived we celebrated and planned for a year of travel. We typically travel a few times a year but this year was set to be our best yet. We finished 2019 with an amazing stay in Paris and looked toward our annual summer vacation to other regions of Europe and France. Champagne was our first stop as soon as the weather was right. Just as quickly as I put our family travel list together the world was hit with a pandemic. What did this all mean…. first things first our spring break road trip from Miami to Orlando and stay at Universal would be cancelled.

The next thing I know school was cancelled and so was everything else, including my inspiration. During all of this loss I’ve had to shift mat focus and look at all of the good that is still left and that has helped me to start establishing a new reality.

I had to understand this new world. I had all of these old ways of educating and entertaining my children, entertaining my pets and entertaining myself and my husband that would have to be modified. I had a big task ahead. Not only did I have to change those habits but simple things like housekeeping and grocery shopping had to be changed. The was all so daunting and I would often finding myself needing extra espresso to get through the day and a good stiff drink to relax all of my anxieties and come down off of all the caffeine. It was a terrible rollercoaster!

I had to take some time and really think about the other times where life as I knew it changed forever. Times like when I left for the Army, when I got out of the Army, when my dad died, when I started A Tail & 4 Legs my doggy daycare, when I got divorced, when I got remarried and most of all, when these two little kids emerged. I started thinking of how I got through all of those forever life changing events and how I managed to survive. It all came down to changing my mindset and accepting things would never be the same.

With that in mind I made an assessment of what may forever be changed.

  • Educating my children
  • Casual days out shopping
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Dog park adventures
  • Visiting friends
  • Having help with housekeeping
  • Eating at restaurants
  • Having a night out with friends
  • Wearing clothes (instead of loungewear)
  • Leaving home without a mask or sanitizer
  • Playdates for kids
  • Hugs hello and goodbye
  • Birthday parties
  • Vacations and hotels
  • Group functions
  • Feeling Safe
  • Sports
  • Breathing lol

As I began with this list I addressed how to adjust our lives to make the new normal exciting and something to look forward to instead of fighting the change..

  • Educating our children in this new world offers us the ability to transition to homeschooling which will give us a lot more freedom and flexibility. I finally get to spend more quality time with our kids and there are so many tools today from apps, workbooks, free state sponsored online programs and learning systems that are available to not only keep our kids on track but teach them about things our family believes to be important like starting a business, homesteading, meditation as well as getting more sleep. We can vacay whenever we feel like it without the rigidness of traditional school. Plus we get to try this out with the rest of the world so there is no fear of falling behind
  • Shopping of any kind has become so awesome. I can order my groceries while I’m cooking dinner and either have it delivered or run out to pick it up. So many hours saved!! I just wish this had been available when my babies were babies!
  • Friends, OMG this has been the toughest! My kids have handled this much better than I have but I’m managing. My friends and I have found time to FaceTime and share things that are making us smile through out the day. I did a drive by one of my girls house and dropped a drink off so we could have a drink via FaceTime.
  • Housekeeping, I use to love Mondays because I would drop the kids off, run a few errands and come home to a newly cleaned home. Now that only happens when I am home. I had to make a real cleaning schedule and stick to it. Main living areas Monday, bathrooms Tuesdays and bedrooms Wednesdays.
  • Eating out, we still have some of our favorite foods that we can only get at certain restaurants so now we do a curbside pick up, take it home, reheat it to kill any trace of bacteria or viruses that my be hiding out then Bon Apetite
  • Wearing clothes, I just came to terms that digging in my garden is more important than Dolce and Gabana so I get up, throw on my garden gear and if I make it out of the garden at a decent hour I shower and throw on something a little nicer to live my life like a soap star. Evening gowns mandatory!
  • Vacations, hotels group events and anything dealing with interacting with other humans is a no go for now. I’ve used this time to slow down and get better acquainted with me and my family. I’ve learned video games are not so bad and my son and I are now in an intense mortal combat battle series, my daughter and I have had some amazing photo shoots and pampering time hubby and I have taken some time to revisit the past and discuss things we never had time to talk about like future goals on a individual level and how we could still attain them. We vacay more at our beach home and have done some awesome renovations and we have really learned to start taking time to use and appreciate all of the blessings we have.
  • We’ve taken our sporting from basketball and gymnastics to golf and swimming. We have to pivot for a moment so its time to explore individual sports.
  • Finally Ive taken the time to make first aid kits and stock them with masks and sanitizers so we never find ourselves in a situation where we don’t have them and we need them.

Once you have taken the time to acknowledge what you need to come to terms with, a good ole fashioned schedule won’t hurt. Start fresh and new. We no longer worry about being in bed by 8pm because we are no longer worried about being up by 5am. We take naps during the day and we smile laugh and play more because we have more time. This is not the time to add more stress to your life by having unnecessary restrictions, this is the time to figure out what in your life is unnecessary. We only get one life so no matter what life throws at you, you need to live it to the fullest!

School Eats for the Week

If you jump up every morning in a panic about what to feed the kids here’s a list that will help you get through the week. I like to put this together so my week is just a get up and go or prep the night before.

  • Monday- Soup of choice (since its technically still winter) make a big pot so it can serve as an appetizer for dinner through the week
  • Tuesday- Hamburgers
  • Wednesday- Chicken Nuggets (Costco has a great organic whole chicken brand)
  • Thursday- Hot-wings (Whole Foods has a great fresh buffalo wing option)
  • Friday- Pizza Since Fridays are pizza day on the menu at school, when we order pizza from my kids favorite restaurant I always order a second one and freeze it in individual freezer safe bags so I can let them have pizza day every Friday with the students that order lunch

For the add-ons to lunch be sure to include:

  • a fruit
  • a veggie
  • a salty snack
  • a dessert (I usually add fruit snacks or a bite size chocolate bar)
  • a beverage

My kids often have something left over so they always have a snack to enjoy at pick up time!!

The soup I am preparing for this week is one of my favorites that I got from Oprahs cook book. Its heavy on the veggies with a little spice and my family can’t get enough!!

From the pages of Food Health and Happiness by Oprah Winfrey

This soup cooks and freezes well. The flavor also becomes more intense as the days go by so around day three you get the full flavor and spice yum!

Stay in Lisa’s Lane for dinner ideas

Happy Eats this Week, From Lisa’s Lane!

Confusion is the Culprit

I like to pride myself on my ability to fit so many tasks into a 24 hour period while still giving my kids, dogs and hubby quality time but by the end of the day I am exhausted! I look and wonder how does an Oprah make time for meditation and dinner by 6 then I figured it out! She is never confused! I rise in the morning trying to figure out what the day holds for me, then I try to figure out what to wear and what I should do first have my coffee or meditate. By the time I try to figure all of this out I look up and I have no time for any of it. Thats when I realized, the happiest people have life figured out. Not the big stuff but all of the little annoying stuff like coffee or dogs.

lisas lane

Since I came to this conclusion I decided it would be a good time to have a morning routine and an evening routine and everything in between can be what I figure out. Now mindlessly I wake up and get going with no thought and after a day of hard work and keeping my family happy and business thriving I come home to the mindless task of my evening routine. Mindless is the new way to be mindful lol!!


To give you and example of how I’ve managed to go mindless my schedule is below.

  • rise and shine
  • take the dogs out and feed them (with 4 dogs this is pretty important)
  • drink 4 glasses of water
  • have my morning meditation time
  • have my morning coffee
  • write my to to do list which in the summer spans from 9-6pm and school year 8-245pm
  • get breakfast going for the kids and myself and eat
  • get me and the kiddos dressed after breakfast
  • take the dogs out while packing my car cooler
  • pack the car with snacks and things we need like backpacks during the school year
  • put fresh water out for the pups and give them a snack
  • Hit the road!! workouts fit into the hit the road hours

So morning goes so smoothly because there is no guess works and the kids and dogs are in sync with the routine. So from 9am to 6pm I am running around checking off my to do list or sitting at my laptop. I stop at noon and give myself a maximum of 2 hours for lunch but no less than 1 hour. We need time to decompress so we have to take time out to recalibrate during the day. I know this may be a luxury of the self employed or stay at home parent but even if you are an hourly employee and you get 30 minutes, take them and just eat and enjoy the sensation of your meal. I have been guilty of working past 6pm but I’ve come to find that I am worthless the next day. So that one or two extra hours I go over six, my kids miss out on time with me, I am cranky , tired, my husband gets snapped at, my dogs play time goes from 30 minutes of run and play to 5 minutes of rushed restroom time lol. So I then realized if I shut down at 6pm, I get more quality, family time and I am excited about the next day because my mind gets a break. At 6pm my mind shuts down and I go into auto pilot. In my to do list I have already chosen the dinner meal and during my day I have made sure I have all of the ingredients therefore making auto pilot awesome.

My evening auto pilot routine is below.

  • Stop all work related items at 6pm at the latest (preferably 5)
  • prepare dinner (this is homework time during the school year)
  • feed pups
  • laugh joke and play over dinner
  • take dogs out
  • clean up and put the kiddos in the bath
  • lay clothes out for kids and myself for the morning
  • get kids out of the bath and have cuddle time
  • put the kids in bed and kiss them goodnight
  • spend time catching up with Hubby watching a show or something
  • drink 4 glasses of water
  • shower
  • skin routine for face and hands and braid hair
  • journal, pray and give thanks for the best parts of the day and read a chapter from my novel
  • get to sleep no later than 10:30 pm to wake up at 6:30 am

Each of us have our own hours but I think a rough outline is always a good way to help jumpstart the new year new you! A new year and a new you doesn’t just have to be reserved for January first!

Happy Planning In Lisa’s Lane

Meals of the year Monday

I’ve noticed how well my life seems to go if I know what my family will eat. Meal planning sounds like some OCD persons way to make us all feel inferior but it is actually the cornerstone of leading a stress free life when you’re a parent.

Eating happens daily, only second to sleep in the amount you need. Your nutrition will reflect in every aspect of your life from your mood to the way you look. My menu this month is here!

My before school menu is a basic outline to choose from. If you’re wondering what goes into a breakfast pizza its a simple piece of toast or flatbread, marinara, mozzarella, meat of choice (we typically do sausage for the breakfast pizzas). Eggs are a great addition to any breakfast but my kiddos don’t eat them so I didn’t include them since this is my actual plan.

Lisa's Lane
Breakfast can be what you make it! Pasta gives the little ones something to burn as they start an active day

Monday- Pasta

Tuesday- Croissants, French Bread, Granola & fruit, Nutella or peanut butter

Wednesday- Breakfast sandwich

Thursday- Breakfast pizza

Friday-Donuts or pastries (treat day)

Lunch is known to be a bit more difficult because you’re typically packing and sending, but with the right containers lunch can be gourmet! The stay warm containers work for more than just soup. The make up of lunch for my kids is the main course, something salty (chips or nuts), a fruit, a veggie (celery sticks, carrots, etc…) something sweet (usually homemade cookies) and a juice. Fridays are always pizza day for my kiddos. I order a large pizza from our favorite pizza restaurant and freeze it in a stay fresh container and violá pizza for lunch box on Friday!

lisas lane
Chop it up for the lunch box and add a dip

Main Courses for lunch

Week One- M-Ham (or meat of choice) and cheese sandwich, T- Spaghetti, W- Chicken and rice, Th-Veggie or Hotdogs, F- PIZZA 🙂

Week Two- M-Baked Potato, T- Chicken nuggets or strips, W- Macaroni and Cheese, Th- Ham(or Cheese)burger, F- Pizza

Week Three- M-Tacos, T- Chicken noodle soup, W- hot-wings, Th- sirloin tips and mashed potatoes, F- Pizza

Week Four- M-Hotdogs, T-Chicken Nuggets, W-Hot-wings, Th- Tacos, F-Pizza

Lastly, Dinner is where our creativity can flow! Throughout the rest of the Mondays I will include some of the fun recipes we use at our home to make mealtime fun and exciting. Lets start here with the outline of what a week in The White House looks like.

lisas lane
Baked potato and chives

Monday- Soup and Salad

Tuesday- Croc Pot meal prepped in the morning (Tuesdays are our long days)

Wednesday- Indian or Mediterranean inspired meal (break out your cookbook or google if you don’t have any)

Thursday- Spanish speaking country cuisine from Puerto Rico to Spain to Argentina!

Friday- Dinner out on the town!

Saturday- Soul Food

Sunday- Seafood

lisas lane
A little tea to help calm and digest before bed

I hope this simple outline can simplify your life!

Happy Eating in Lisa’s Lane!!