Sensory play beans. I excavated a few bags of expired dried beans from our basement recently, and I had just the thing to do with them thanks to a mom in Ben's class who's an art teacher. You just need food dye, too. Put beans in separate clear baggies, add a squirt of gel food dye or a couple drops of the liquid kind to each and put in a tablespoon of white vinegar or rubbing alcohol (it helps the dye stick to the beans). Seal the bags then shake them up—in a minute or two, the beans will soak up the color. We spread out ours on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, divvied up by color. They dried within the hour. Then we had fun spooning them into an empty eggshell carton. Next time around, we're going to pour some into a bowl and put in Matchbox cars, tiny figurines, and other little treasures to dig around for. Disclaimer: Don't be fooled, I am NOT a crafty mom but this was easy-peasy.
Disability victories. I can't say that I am a fan of Betsy DeVos, but this week she did the right thing and did not free schools of their special education obligations in her report to Congress. In other good news, our state issued a policy stating that if a person with intellectual disabilities or behavioral issues is hospitalized due to the coronavirus, a designated support person is allowed to visit. New York State also updated their visitor policy to include support persons for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities or those with dimentia.
Discounted car insurance. The other day, as I stared at our two cars sitting sadly unused in our driveway, it occurred to me that we should call our car insurance company and ask for a discount. Turns out they were offering customers a 20 percent reduction for April and May. People have told me that Allstate gave them 15 percent off for those moths, and Geico was offering 15 percent as well. Check into it.
Didn't catch the salute to Stephen Sondheim? Awesome—you missed all of the technical glitches. But you can enjoy it on YouTube here. My favorite part: Neil Patrick Harris singing The Witch's Rap from Into The Woods (at minute 12, if you want to fast forward). His eyebrows deserve a Tony.
CVS Carepass. Months ago, when I was shopping at CVS, a cashier I like to chat with suggested that I sign up for Carepass. For $5 a month, I'd get free shipping on stuff, a monthly $10 promo and other benefits. I signed up and forgot all about it until we were quarantined and I was desperate to avoid going out. Our neighborhood shopping group and bulk orders have been a blessing, but so has this—we order snacks, coffee, cleaning stuff and that vital food group, chocolate, and it usually arrives in a couple of days. (My poison is Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars, if you must know—childhood comfort food.)
This food calculator can help reassure you that, yes, you have stocked up on enough beans or tuna or pasta or whatever for your family. Oddly, it does not list chocolate—but ice-cream is on there.
Frederic Chopin. He's my favorite classical music composer, and he's been on Alexa a lot to help keep us chill. Last week the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra shared this video of violinist Wendy Chen playing Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor, accompanied by a friend in Shanghai who's a piano professor. It's beautiful.
Disinfecting tablets. I am SO over wiping groceries down with disinfecting wipes. Our neighbor/patron saint, Matt, suggested Glissen Chemical Nu-Foam disinfecting tablets. Note, this product is NOT on the official EPA list of disinfectants for use against coronavirus. But it is EPA-regulated and otherwise proven as a disinfectant. So we've been using it. You dissolve one tablet in 1.5 gallons of water, pour into a spray bottle like this and spritz away.
DaveDash. Dave and I take turns hanging with the kids and doing our jobs. When I'm up in the attic, working, Dave will call and ask what I want for lunch. And then he'll trudge up the stairs and deliver. Sometimes, he surprises me, like when he made me an awesome tuna melt. (There is a definite theme to my eating these days and it is: comfort food). He does the same for Sabrina. And that, my friends, is my sweet husband, aka DaveDash. I'm grateful for him, always, but especially now.