Like most moms, Danielle Jonas has gotten creative with how she entertains her family during the coronavirus pandemic.
The jewelry designer is mom to daughters Alena, 7, and Valentina, 4, and has used the last year as a chance to become more comfortable in the kitchen with her two children.
"Me and my girls experiment now, so I'm doing it with them because I am so picky and I don't want them to be. It annoys me that I'm so picky, so I'm learning with them," she tells PEOPLE exclusively.
"They pretend that they're doing YouTube videos and it's all, 'I need my chef hat, Mommy, I need my ingredients!' "
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She believes it's only a matter of time before the girls start a YouTube channel of their own, saying, "I wouldn't be surprised, to be honest. I think it would be cooking, arts and crafts, playing with L.O.L. Surprise! dolls."
Jonas, 34, says that despite the challenges of having everyone at home, it's been a rare opportunity for her and husband Kevin Jonas, 33, to have an incredible amount of quality time with their girls.
"It's been tough and then nice. The tough part would be more that they're not getting to see their friends as much, and the social aspect is a little weird, but having the time being home and spending as a family has been great," she explains. "Kevin's been home and we got to soak in all that time, still soaking it in, so that part has been really great. I've been learning to have more patience through this whole thing, being more patient with each other and especially with the kids."
She says the couple, who wed in 2009, have to work a little harder now to get some alone time, but they have been taking advantage of the quiet nights at home.
"When we were able to be outside, we would put the girls to sleep and then we would go outside," she says. "We have a little fire pit and we would sit there and have a glass of wine or do a little S'mores or something. We always seem to find some time, but it does mean that we're waiting for them to sleep at night."
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Jonas is extremely close with her family, and reveals having a bubble with older sister Dina Deleasa-Gonsar and her family has made the experience much easier.
"Our family dynamic didn't change too much because we are always together," she explains. "We have fun with each other and we want to be together. We are more together now and we always have Sunday dinners together."
Having a professional chef as a sister means Jonas has been using her as a resource to develop her cooking skills.
"Well she probably wants to chuck her phone out the window because I FaceTime her constantly like, 'What can I make with this?' " she says with a laugh. "We grew up on a lot of Italian food, so that's kind of what I've learned to make. Then she ventured out with all this crazy stuff, so now I'm going to her and being like, 'Teach me please!' "
"I was kind of like her phone-a-friend, and we were cooking together every night and just getting comfortable with different swap outs," Deleasa-Gonsar says about helping out her younger sister. "The flavors are kind of second nature to me, so I was able to pass that onto her. And it's fun. And you see what your family likes and dislikes and your go-to's become new, and then you have new food habits."
One thing helping the pair add a nutritious spin to their dishes is Hood Cottage Cheese, which both sisters have been incorporating into new recipes for their families.
"We love using the blueberry flavor in either pancakes or waffles and it folds right into the batter. It's something that not only Danielle and I like to eat, but our kids will go for it as well," Dina explains. "It also adds protein, so it's a great way to start off your day with the kids. And we're both busy moms, so having ingredients that kind of pull double duty for us are key because half the time we don't have time to feed ourselves, which is frustrating."
"Even dipping the vegetables in the cottage cheese. It just makes it easy and healthy," adds Danielle.
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When she isn't trying out new ideas with her family in the kitchen, Jonas says they are staying in touch with Kevin's family virtually.
"We do movie nights with Nick, Pri, Sophie, Joe, where we all get on Zoom and we go to the same movie and start at the same time," she admits. "People are talking through the movie and it's just fun! I actually really look forward to it and hope that we never stop doing it, even when quarantine isn't around, just because we get to see each other that much."
"We do prank phone calls with Joe and Sophie and we just find things to do to just to stay in touch and see each other's faces because of course we miss each other," she adds.
Alena and Valentina were excited to receive the news about their new cousin when Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner welcomed their first child, daughter Willa, last July. Jonas says they're looking forward to the day they can meet her in person.
"They are over the moon about her. Everything is 'I'm going to make this picture for Willa. Can you send it to her?' And we'll be looking on the computer for swimsuits and they'll be like, 'Willa needs one and maybe we need to get her one for Easter,' " she says. "Everything always comes back to Willa and their cousin. They can't wait to meet her, they think she's adorable. We FaceTime a lot!"
As for more kids for her and Kevin, she says they're waiting until life returns to normal.
"We are always kind of talking about it, but I'm just not sure yet of what to do. Still up in the air," she confesses. "Being locked up inside with two of them, it's been intense. You hear about all these people having babies right now because of quarantine, and it's like, I'm not there yet."
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