How a Typical Lock down Day Looks

2 am? It’s not even morning yet. I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep. I remember the number of covid-19 cases Ghana has recorded and if there is anything I can personally do about that.

4:44 am? I wake up fully, pick my phone again and send out devotionals to my church’s Whatsapp group pages. I forward links of my pastor’s audio broadcast while contemplating on what do next – Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, WordPress?

5:30 am? I have wasted some time on those social media pages. Where is the YouVersion? I read the verse of the day, share that to my social media platforms and read several of the devotionals they offer and pray. YouVersion is awesome. Remember to check it out if you haven’t.

7 am? Mostly I would have taken my bath and in the kitchen listening to the radio while thinking of what to have for breakfast – pancakes, puff-puff or something easier to prepare.

8 am? Little girl wakes up and that is when my day really begins since I virtually have to force her to do everything – brushing her teeth, bathing, eating. That takes so much of my energy and I can’t wait for school to resume.

10 am? I’m supposed to be working from home so I sit behind the laptop and turn the TV on for the little girl. On good days, I am able to complete tasks. On bad days, I just lie down or play WordCross or read to the little girl or fix puzzles with her or watch Paw Patrol or Peppa Pig or Abby Hatcher (I’m tired of seeing these cartoons).

1 pm-2 pm? I prepare lunch which mostly serves as supper for me.

3 pm? Depending on how productive I have been, I pick the laptop and still try to do some real work from home. Intermittently, I check to see who has posted anything for the lock down blog challenge. I read as and when I find the time.

8 pm? I work on the blog for the day. I sometimes send and read emails for work at this time. This is the most conducive time to do anything productive since my little girl would have had her supper and bath and either preparing to go or will already be in bed. Implying no interruptions and more productivity.

10 – 11 pm? Sleeping and praying time.

Weekends or Weekdays? I can’t really tell because the days are all the same now. The only difference is that I still laundry on Saturdays.

**18th post of the 21 day lock down blog challenge and the writing prompt is: Take us through a day in lockdown**

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The Silence of Her Words

She had dreadlocks, dressed casually and wore glasses. Her background was in communications and planning and she seemed confident.

“This is the back end of the organisation’s website. This is how to post new content,” she said.

I got highly interested and researched on blogs. I created a personal account on WordPress and that was the beginning of a passion. I served as her assistant for about a year and when social media was not very common, she stressed on the need to tweet for the organisation.

She gave me the responsibility of producing weekly updates for the project’s blog and pushed me to take bigger assignments that I thought I was incapable of. She had a personal blog too and it was featured on one of the biggest websites in New York.

As a young University graduate who had just completed her voluntary National Service, I was intrigued by her. She provided me with a picture of my ambitions. She believed in my abilities when I did not know they existed.

Seven years on and I seem to have followed in her footprint somehow. It wasn’t the words of her advice but her silence, faith and actions were exactly what I needed at that time.

**17th post of the 21 day lock down blog challenge and the writing prompt is: Share the best advice you have ever received.**

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The Real Struggle of Pastry-Making

My second attempt at this and it must go well. That is never the case with pastry making – your second, third and fourth attempts could be worse than your first and you’ll never know what went wrong.

You may have listened and watched all the tutorials, listed and purchased all the ingredients that goes with the recipe but boom – the results could be disastrous. Trying new meals could be an adventure but pastry-making could be a ride on a roller coaster. Brace yourself because anything can happen.

My second attempt at making puff-puff (a popular West African deep fried snack) and I felt I was properly armed this time. I called the commander-in-chief (my sister) who run me though the recipe again (for the purpose of revision). I made mental notes. I had no idea my brain was this sharp. I was able to memorise everything she told me without writing them down – flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt, margarine, flavour, yeast and baking powder. Mix dry ingredients. Mix the liquid ones. Put dry and liquid ingredients together and ‘beat it’ to introduce some air. If it’s too thick, add a little water and make it sit for about an hour. Cover it!

Truly, after an hour, the dough or batter had raised. Oil in pan, I allowed it to heat before dropping the spongy dough into it. That thing turned brown by soaking almost half of my oil. They came out looking like some soggy compact disks. Not today, I said to myself. Probably I did not give it enough time to raise. I allowed the mixture to sit for an additional hour and poured the oil into another pan. It was probably the pan. It did not make the puff-puff round. I heated the oil again and started dipping the dough into the oil. The results was even worse than the first.

I turned off the fire and called the commander -in-chief (my sister) after I had sent her photos of the disaster I was making in the kitchen.

“Did you allow it to raise,” she asked.

“It’s been sitting in that kitchen for two hours now,” I said.

“Sieve more flour into the batter. You probably made it too watery,” she diagnosed.

That was how I added more flour and fried again and this time, they actually came out looking a little rounder. I am not a failure after all.

Not the perfect puff-puff but a good attempt (in my opinion)

It’s amazing how this snack is common in our markets but very difficult for me to figure out how it is made. This lock down period has shown me how challenging it is to make pastries/snacks. The least mistake you and you’ll be preparing an inedible nameless substance.

**16th post of the 21 day lock down blog challenge and the writing prompt is: Document your experience trying something new or giving something up.**

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3 Tips to Buying the Best Gift

Happy Easter to everyone. Our Saviour is risen and there isn’t a much better time to write about gifts and generosity than now. Gifts are the items we give out. We could give kitchen wares, food items, underwear, clothes, money, time and our expertise among others to our family, friends, neighbours, the church and the needy.

How to acquire the best gifts

  1. It is easier to acquire gifts to individuals that we are in touch with, especially, if they are our friends and acquaintances. Through regular conversations, they may drop hints on items they like and from our own observations, we may conclude on what they prefer. My top tip to acquiring a gift is to buy an item that the person likes and not what you (the buyer) prefers.
  2. In order to buy the best gift item, do a little bit of research on the individual, especially if you are not close to them. You may love perfumes but the person you may acquiring the gift for may be allergic to them. You may prefer cakes but the person taking it hates it. Don’t surprise yourself but do a little background search before hitting the shop. The easiest gift to give anyone, currently, is money. No one (I may be wrong) rejects monetary gifts, no matter how little you may feel it is. You can add, “please use it to buy airtime” and they’ll be appreciative of your gesture.
  3. Speaking about gifts, the attitude you put up while giving also matters. Don’t give because you feel pressured. Don’t break the bank to acquire a gift for anyone. Give and expect nothing in return.

There are a lot of people in our neighbourhoods who are really struggling, especially , in this lock down period. They are the ones we need to identify and stretch a helping hand towards. Happy giving!

**14th post of the 21 day lock down blog challenge and the writing prompt is: Gift Ideas…What not to buy someone of the opposite sex.**

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My 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions

  • Her: Mummy, where are you going?

When she sees me dressed up.

  • Her: Mummy, where are we going?

When I insist we all take our baths in the morning.

  • Her: Mummy, are we going to school?

My response: Do you want to go to school?

Her response: No. I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay at home and watch cartoons.

  • Her: Mummy, is it night?

One of the favourite questions of somebody who cannot read the clock.

  • Her: Mummy, are you tired?

As if there is something she can do about it.

These questions are posed by my three-year old daughter. She is the one I spend most of the day with since her dad is a health worker who still goes to the hospital in this lock down period. Who do you spend most of your time with in this lock down period?

**13th post of the 21 day lock down blog challenge and the writing prompt is: Frequently Asked Question.**

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A Special Good Friday

Reminiscing over how we celebrated Good Friday several decades ago
Where we wore mourning clothes and went to church with tears in our eyes
Kneeling before the crucifix and giving it a kiss
Back at home, we did nothing but watched the enactment of the death of the Saviour.
We stayed away from red meat (whatever that meant).

Today's Good Friday was different
The weather was cloudy as it seems to be every year
Sounds of slow tuned Christ-centered music was played on the radio
While some discussed the president's address promising citizens free electricity in this Covid-19 era
No physical church service this year

I did enjoy my quiet time though
Probably the highlight of my day
Initially planned to read about the death of the Saviour to commemorate this day but read Mark 7 instead
The first part of the chapter criticizes those who choose traditions, rules and regulations over a personal relationship with God
While admonishing us to be more weary of what we bring out as its impact is greater

The Pharisees upheld their practice of hand and feet washing
And giving ostensibly to the poor
The modern Christian may be like the Pharisees
Pretending to love while our hearts are distant from God
Perhaps that is the reason the earth is now on a reset mode,
providing us with a chance to reflect on our deeds and practices. 

It's been a special good Friday. 

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How to Make Plantain Frittata

I watch a lot of videos from Tasty, Food Network and other individuals with food channels on YouTube and Facebook and, I like to try out new recipes but these haven’t always been success stories.

Recently in this lock down period, I saw a number of videos on how to make bread pudding and when I tried it first, the bread did not soak well in the mixture. I tried it the next day and the result was even worse than the first. It was so bad that nobody ate it and I had to get rid of it the next day.

I tried making puff-puff the other day (also from videos I had seen online) and the results wasn’t the best either. It did not rise like what I saw in the video and I was later advised to add baking powder.

The few success stories I have had in my kitchen (from watching online recipes) are in the preparation of pancakes and plantain fritatta.

To make plantain fritatta, the ingredients required include:

2 ripe plantains

6 eggs (depending on the number of people eating)

6 sausages,

2 bell pepper,

2 large size fresh tomatoes,

A pinch of salt to taste,

Cayenne pepper,

Slices of onions.

Cooking oil

Method

In about about two table spoonful of oil, add slices of onions, bell pepper and tomatoes. Stir-fry till golden brown.

Deep-fry the ripe plantain separately.

Break the eggs into a bowl.

Cut and add your sausages to the eggs.

Add desirable quantity of cayenne pepper and salt

Pour the stir-fried vegetables into the egg mixture and whisk.

Oil your baking tin and pour the egg mixture into it.

Place the fried ripe plantain on top of the mixture.

Put the mixture into the oven and bake for 20 -30 minutes and that’s it.

Frittata is simple to prepare as the ingredients are easy to find, especially, in this lock down period. It can be eaten as a full meal or an accompaniment to a full meal. Try it and let me know what you think

Today marks Day 12 of the #21lockdownblog challenge and the subject is to provide a guide on how to do something.

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