Meet the Writer (Quarantine Edition): Natalie Mikles

Natalie Mikles writes TulsaKids' Get Cooking column as well as other articles

Natalie Mikles sits on the front porch wither her family - husband, two twin girls and a younger son

We interviewed some of our writers about their work with TulsaKids Magazine as well as their experience with social distancing. In this article, learn more about Natalie Mikles, who writes our Get Cooking column and other features. Read her latest Get Cooking article here.

How long have you been writing for TulsaKids?

I’ve been writing for Tulsa Kids for 8 years. I started in 2012 when I had three kids ages 3 and under.

What can you tell us about your May article—what do our readers have to look forward to?

My May article is all about cooking from the pantry. Before Covid 19 came into our lives, I was quick to run to the grocery store for a stray ingredient, or to find an excuse not to cook when I didn’t feel like it. Now that we’re trying to stay home as much as possible, I’m finding ways of turning what feels like nothing into something delicious. I share recipes for quick dinners using basic ingredients.

What do you do outside of writing for us?

I’m a food writer and recipe developer. I write for TulsaKids and TulsaPeople magazines, and I represent the Made in Oklahoma Coalition, promoting local food growers and producers.

Who are you social distancing with right now?

I’m distancing with my husband, Jason, who has been working from home since mid-March, and our kids. We have 10-year-old twin girls, Annabeth and Mary Kate, and a 9-year-old boy, Bennett.

How has social distancing affected your daily/weekly routine?

It has affected us in a million little ways. We have never had so much time together as we have the last few weeks. I’m no longer watching the clock to make sure we’re not late for soccer practice. We’re all staying up later and sleeping in a bit. We’re eating nearly every meal together. Our weekday routine is to get up and exercise or stretch, then begin schoolwork (usually in our pajamas). By noon, most of us have changed into “real” clothes and brushed our teeth and are ready for a walk or bike ride. Family dinners were always important to me, but now there’s no struggle to force them. We’re all here, so we all sit together, passing the potatoes every night.

In three words, how would you explain your #socialdistancing experience?

Grateful, reflective, repetitive

What has been the hardest aspect of social distancing for you?

I have two grandmothers in assisted living, and I have not been able to see them for a long time. Their assisted living centers are both locked down. I worry about them feeling isolated and alone.

What has been most helpful to you at this time? 

My kids’ teachers have made remote learning pretty seamless. Having the routine of school, projects to work on and check-ins with teachers through zoom has made the situation much easier for my kids.

What aspect of your pre-social distancing life do you miss most?

I miss the end-of-year celebrations and ceremonies – soccer tournaments, end-of-year ballet performance, my son’s Mother’s Day program he had worked so hard on. I also miss going to the movies, running to QuikTrip for an iced tea and walking around aimlessly at Hobby Lobby.

What are some things you are doing to stay connected with friends and family?

We have had a lot of porch visits with family. For my sister’s 40th birthday, we all pulled into her driveway to sing happy birthday. We rolled down our windows and talked to each other for a little birthday happy hour.

What are you grateful for?

I will forever be grateful for this time with my family. We have had many moments of frustration and tears during our quarantine. But those don’t compare to the times spent watching movies, playing dominoes, doing puzzles in our pajamas, taking neighborhood walks after the sun sets and long talks trying to make sense of all that is happening in the world right now.

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