Tag Archives: quarantine

Disney Magic!

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The winds of change are coming to Patchwork Farm. As our state slowly moves from red to yellow, normalcy (under strict mitigation) is returning. This week work at the daycare resumes for Grace. Graduation is a week away for Rusty and Braden. Molly will be leaving us in seven days to head to Salt Lake City to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the next 16 months. Grace and Zach spent the weekend moving back to their little apartment, after living at Patchwork Farm for the last 9 weeks during quarantine. With all these changes coming down the pike, we have been working hard to create pockets of fun and memory-making opportunities before everyone scatters.

One way we have done this is through themed dinner nights. Gracie had the idea of having a Disney dinner night, an idea that our Disney-loving family jumped at!

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This was probably our most extensive themed dinner yet. This Disney-loving family had lots of ideas, and our inability to edit ourselves meant we incorporated

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!

This themed dinner took a day’s worth of effort as we spent all of last Wednesday shopping for groceries, decorating, cooking, and creating.

Our efforts began in the dining room as we transformed the space into a tribute to all things Disney, incorporating many decorations from Rusty’s room!

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Then we started cooking. Our meal was a hodgepodge of Disney-themed dishes.

Grace took on the task of creating corresponding food tags for each of our side dishes. Using water colors, she captured the Disney film represented by each dish.

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While she painted, Rusty and Molly helped me cook.

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Some of our culinary nods to classic Disney films included:

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Our main dish was Toy Story’s Pizza Planet Pizza. We made the pizza dough ahead of time. When Toby and Zach arrived home from work everyone was sent to their rooms to dress for dinner. Everyone was instructed that they were to arrive at dinner Disney-bounding as a character from a Disney movie or ride.

Many of our outfits paid tribute to Toy Story…

With Molly representing Woody:

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Tyler dressed as a Pizza Planet delivery boy:

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And Toby and I as Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head:

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Rusty came to dinner Disney-bounding as Brer Fox from Splash Mountain:

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Others came to dinner dressed not as a particular character, but instead sporting Disney gear.

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Then it was time to make our personal pizzas. Everyone got a ball of homemade pizza dough that Grace had mixed ahead of time, and plenty of toppings to pick from. The kids enjoyed getting to create their own culinary masterpiece.

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As the pizzas baked everyone headed into the dining room to check out the other goodies,

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Including character cupcakes for each family member.

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When the pizzas were done baking everyone dished up and headed to the dining room where we enjoyed a delicious dinner paired with Disney music and Disney movie trivia.

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We REALLY loved “The Grey Stuff!” Here is the recipe we used if you’d like to try it yourself…YUM!

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of cold whole milk
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 15 chocolate cookie sandwiches (Oreos)
  • Food processor
  • 1 (8 ounce) container whipped topping, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons instant chocolate pudding mix
  • Edible sugar pearls
  • Directions

    1. Pour milk into a large mixing bowl. Add instant vanilla pudding mix and whisk for 2 minutes until smooth and slightly thickened. Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, until firm.

    2. Place chocolate sandwich cookies in food processor and pulse until pureed.

    3. Fold pureed cookies into pudding mix. Stir until fully mixed.

    4. Add whipped topping and instant chocolate pudding. Stir until fully mixed.

    5. Place in refrigerator and chill for one hour.

    6. Spoon grey stuff into piping bag fitted with desired tip. Pipe grey stuff into cups. Top with sugar pearls.

    7. Enjoy your very own grey stuff, because as Lumiere says, “It’s delicious!”

It was a “magical” night!

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Let’s Go to the Movies!

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Last weekend we ventured out for the time since March for an excursion other than a supply run or essential business. Our local drive-in movie theater received permission from Harrisburg to re-open. While movie theaters are considered high risk environments, drive-in movie theaters have been deemed safe.

Offering all the best of the movie theater experience with minimal risks, and we jumped at the chance to get out of the house and watch a movie on the big screen.

Dependable Drive-in has created a new set of policies to keep guests safe… guidelines that were handed to each guests at the entrance.

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These guidelines included an unoccupied space between each car as they opened at 1/2 capacity, mandatory masks if guests left their parking spot, the addition of touchless soap dispensers, sinks, and paper towel dispensers in the bathrooms, with a limit of two guests in the bathrooms at a time.

They were also allowing guests to bring in their own food for those hesitant to take advantage of online ordering at the concession stand.

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On opening night Dependable Drive-in was offering two movies. It was a test run for the drive-in, so rather than offering double features at their four screens, they offered a single movie at two of their screens. The choices were Trolls: World Tour or The Vast of Night (An Amazon original movie). We opted for the latter.

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Suspecting that opening night might be busy, and since they were only admitting half the capacity, we arrived at the drive-in 90 minutes before the movie began. We weren’t the only ones being proactive. As we turned off the highway exit we were greeted with a line of brake lights, as cars waited to enter the drive-in.

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When it was our turn to enter we paid the special “opening weekend” price of .50/person. For a whopping $3.00 we enjoyed a night at the movies!

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As we waited for the movie to begin, we played card games, safely tucked away in our parking spot.

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As the opening strains of the Star Spangled banner began to play, signaling the start of the movie, treats were passed out and we settled back to enjoy the show.

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A review of The Vast of Night as taken by a reader on IMDb:

“The Vast of Night is a classic tale that stays true to what makes the subgenre so appealing, while innovating and delivering fresh and interesting tactics to keep your eyes glued to the screen.

From the moment the film introduces us to one of our protagonists, we are greeted to an amazing long-take tracking shot that would make Iñárritu (ala Birdman) jealous. These beautiful tracking shots persist throughout the film, including one where we are quickly transported through the quiet small town setting seamlessly into the busy action of the high-school basketball game. These shots are also complimented by long takes that have almost no obvious movement at all, save for maybe a methodical zoom towards the character as they deliver a captivating monologue. In fact, there are moments where there are no visuals at all but simply a black screen allowing us to focus entirely on what is being told.

Dialogue and performances are also a highlight. The slick and smooth conversation starts immediately as we are introduced to our characters, helping transport us easily into the 1950s. This is assisted by the spectacular performances that never let up. Whether it be a tense monologue, fast-paced banter, or fervent arguing, every emotion feels real.

As for screenplay, the film plays out in real-time which let’s us hang on every lasting feeling of mystery and suspense. The Vast of Night masterfully balances both hiding and teasing us with aspects of a reveal that do enough to terrify and excite, leading up to a simply beautiful payoff that feels as rewarding as it is earned.”

Some enjoyed it more than others. It definitely had a more creative and artistic filming style that lent to a Alfred Hitchcock or Twilight Zone vibe. The suspense was built through interesting camera angles and movie soundtrack. I loved it and found the movie charming and engaging, but some of my kids found it lacking in special effects and action scenes. Regardless of the mixed reviews, we all enjoyed a night out of the house after months in lockdown!

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After a bit of a Detour…

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Detours are a natural part of life.

They serve an important purpose.

Sometimes those detours follow a roadblock, as God redirects us down a different path.

Sometimes detours come in the form of delays, as God buys time to prepare us for our next purpose.

Sometimes detours are there to lead us to people we need to meet or to places we need to visit.

Regardless of the “why” behind divine detours, there is always a purpose behind the pause.

That doesn’t mean a change in plans is easy. It certainly hasn’t been easy for Molly, but like every divine detour there are blessings that come from His change to our plans, and Molly’s situation is no different.

Last December Molly sent in her paperwork to become a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She waited with bated breath for news to come of where she would be assigned to labor for the Lord for the next 18 months. A process that typically would have taken a couple weeks dragged into a month and a half as she waited for her call to come. Road Blocks (or God Blocks) popped up as paperwork was misplaced and delays occurred. She had the opportunity to practice patience as she waited.

Finally, she received an email indicating that her news had arrived. Many loving friends and family weighed in on where they thought Molly would serve the Lord.

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She could have gone anywhere in the world.

She was called to Utah.

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At the time we had no idea what a blessing a domestic assignment in the states would be, and what divine purpose was in that six week delay.

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We had no idea a pandemic was on the doorstep.

She was given her date to arrive at the Missionary Training Center in Utah and airline tickets were purchased for Toby and I to fly her out. We were scheduled to fly out on March 28th.

On March 13th Grace, Molly and I drove out to Wooster, Ohio to have a girls weekend with my parents. That was the first day that the reality of the looming storm really hit. We enjoyed a day of shopping and lunch on Main St., but there was a tension in the air and you could feel the tides of life shifting. That was the last visit we had with family. After that weekend churches closed, schools shut down, and non-life-sustaining businesses were closed.

Then we received news that Molly would not be going to Provo, Utah for her missionary training. Instead, she and thousands of other new missionaries, would experience the MTC at home through the computer. For three weeks her days were spent attending classes, study sessions and devotionals in her bedroom,

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As the rest of the family (who were all at home as part of Pennsylvania’s Stay-at-Home order) tried to carve out some normalcy in other parts of the house.

I know it wasn’t the MTC experience Molly had dreamt of. Once again it was another detour off the path she had planned, but she handled it with grace and good spirits and was able to enjoy the unique blessing of being able to share her MTC experience with her family, firsthand.

When she reached the end of her training, she was detoured once again. Rather than arriving in Salt Lake City on April 21st to check into her mission, she was told to remain at home until travel was deemed safe. As the pandemic spread around the world, missionaries across the globe were being brought home before boarders closed. Like Molly, thousands of LDS missionaries were enduring their own personal detours as their mission plans changed. International missionaries were brought home to quarantine and then wait for a reassignment in the United States.

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Once again I saw God’s hand in those troublesome delays that were such a challenge for Molly at the start of her mission process, as they placed her where she needed to be prior to the events of the world unfolding.

Following her MTC online, she removed her nametag and waited once again, uncertain of how things would unfold. After another month of waiting news finally came. It has been deemed safe for Molly to travel and the Salt Lake City South mission is ready to receive her, so after five months of detours she is finally headed to her destination…

And she is thrilled.

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We have 12 days until she flies out on June 2nd and we are making the most of our remaining two weeks with her. Donning masks we headed to Walmart to purchase the final items on her packing list and we made a list of family fun we wanted to fit in with Molly before she leaves.

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We are still pretty shut down in out area of the country but a few things have opened up (like drive-in movies, parks, etc.) so we plan to make some memories before Molly flies the nest.

As happy as we are for Molly and the lucky people of Utah who will get our ray of sunshine for the next 16 months, (she will still return home at the same time despite the delay in her departure, thus her mission from 18 months to 16 months,) we are sad for our family. Molly will be missed SO VERY MUCH. It is going to be especially hard on my boys who struggle with being triggered by the loss of people they love. The good news, however, is that we will get to Skype with Molly once a week and exchange mail and emails which will hopefully make Molly’s time away easier on the boys.

To help cement the idea that she will return, I ordered a missionary countdown chart on Etsy. Tyler already helped me mark off the time that has passed during Molly’s mission days spent at home. It will be his job to add a dot each day so we can see the time pass in a tangible way.

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Here at Patchwork Farm we will be posting a weekly mission update with letters and photos Molly sends so that all of you can share in her experience.

This was the post she shared two days ago letting family and friends know her exciting news:

“I have an exciting update! I was called out into the field to finish up my mission. I will be in Salt Lake City South mission the first week of June! 

I am very humbled by God’s plan and will. When I first imagined my mission experience (and this year in general), it is a lot different than the present. It makes me reflect on how God works. 

It is like this: we are going about our lives, planning this certain route, thinking that it is the quickest way to our desired destination. We plan and prepare and find all the rest stops along the way. We pack fun road trip snacks and are all ready for the ride, then one day…  

God gives us a detour. 

This detour might not seem as fast. It may be a bit foggy at times, or maybe perhaps we feel we know best all together in our journey. 

I think I have learned this valuable life lesson by experiencing it: 

 I was feeling stubborn about the new direction God took me this year. In my mind I planned my missionary experience and new year step by step. (In a way I had my road trip snacks and details all set and ready to go,) but Heavenly Father knows better than me.  He sees the bigger picture. He knows the roads of life like the back of His hand and will be able to guide us in the best way. God’s way isn’t always easy though. We will experience bumps, hills, and waits just like any journey, but His way will bring the greatest blessings in the end. His path is where the greatest views will be witnessed, the most experience and learning gained, and will produce the most joyful adventure in the end. 

I am deeply humbled that God has given me recent experiences that I might not have picked for myself, but now I see the blessings flowing forth. I am thankful to be called out into the mission field and for the blessing of being able to have these past two months of waiting to progress and learn at home. I am thankful for the experiences that God gives me to humble me and teach me that His direction and detours are beautiful moments of progression in the journey. I am humbled that He hears my prayers and forgives me of my weaknesses. 

I would like to end my thoughts with a scripture verse I found that helps describe God’s great love and grace in our journeys of life, 

“Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.”- Helaman 3:35 

As my mom has always taught me… God is good, always good!”

Detours are a part of life.

We can choose to mourn the change to our plans or we can delight in the journey. Molly has chosen the latter, and we are so proud of her choice.

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“May the Fourth be with you”

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Our second themed dinner took place on May 4th.

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Embracing our inner Jedi, we planned a “May the Fourth be with You” dinner.

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After a few hard days we were  in need of some light hearted fun. Grace and I took the lead for this family fun night since the boys were busy with school and Toby, Zach and Molly were back at work.

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The dinner preparations began with the menu. Relying on Pinterest for inspiration, we came up with an easy menu, using food already on hand, and molded it to our theme using catchy names.

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Once the menu was decided we started on decorations…

Grace used her artistic talents to turn leftover gold plates into C-3PO,

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And we rolled green napkins into lightsabers.

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We also created lightsabers for each guest using water cannons and duct tape. Our original plan was to have a water gun fight after dinner using the “lightsabers,” but cold temperatures and biting wind changed our minds. We decided to save that fun for another day.

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When the work crew was nearing home, Grace and I began getting dinner ready. By the time they walked through the door the Hans-burgers were grilled,

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The Yoda Soda was poured,

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And we were ready for our “May the Fourth be with You” party.

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Our efforts were appreciated and everyone enjoyed our Jedi dinner.

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We ended the evening by watching the first three episodes of Star Wars: The Mandalorian on Disney+.

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