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Scattered Sundays

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This week has been a complete dumpster fire. Our family, like most of the world, watched in disgust at the events in DC on Wednesday.

Jack turned to me and said “this is so embarrassing. These grown-ups are acting like idiots. I bet other countries are laughing at us”. I agreed with him, and then reminded him we don’t say “idiots”. Even if it was 100% appropriate in this case.

I’ll be honest in that I don’t know what I am supposed to say or what my role is in talking about a freaking attempted coup. Do I just acknowledge it and then keep writing a normal Sunday post? Do I just not publish anything because no one is in the mood to laugh and we all need time to reflect and stare at the wall?

I honestly don’t know. I’m going to copy and paste a message from an email that our pastor sent to our congregation because it spoke directly to my heart: “These are difficult days we are living in and we can either decide to let hate, hopelessness, and injustice flourish or we can once again try to step forward with a God that calls us to “let justice roll on like a river, and righteousness like a never-failing stream” and work with our neighbors to put the broken pieces, this divided nation, back together.”

I’m not sure what the future holds. None of us do. But continuing down this path is not sustainable and things must change.

I wrote much of my Sunday post early in the week before the news broke on Wednesday. Yes, I write parts of my Sunday posts in an active voice for scheduled events throughout the week. I don’t have 4 hours at 4 am on a Sunday morning to hammer out a fresh post. 🙂 Apologies.

With that in mind, I’ll leave what I had already written below, but I’m not sure if including it is grasping at hope for normalcy, or if it is completely tone-deaf. Just like most of you, I’m trying my best to figure out how to live life with as much grace as possible. Be safe, be well, be good to others, and may you have the best week available to you.

sun coming through trees

(previously written content starts here) Today, maybe even as you’re reading this, our countertops will be installed. It is the moment of truth after a year of planning and measuring snafus. I’ll be honest in that I am a bit nauseous thinking it won’t work out.

To recap for anyone new around here, in December 2019, a friend offered us the lovely quartz countertops that had been in their kitchen. For free. They were embarking on a total remodel of their ground floor, and their kitchen layout was completely changing. Their contractor was just going to scrap the counters.

Troy and my brother-in-law (bless him) spent over 11 hours removing those counters right before NYE in 2019. They have been sitting in our garage since then. We designed our entire kitchen around these counters.

The quartz island piece we were given needs to be cut twice to extend the “main” part of the countertops. We have someone coming in to do it, but he is tackling the project without seeing anything in person. I’ve sent him videos and dimensions, but there is still so much fear on my part that it won’t work out. The idea of having to go and purchase counters is giving me all the boob sweats.

Please send happy thoughts our way today. And should things actually work out, I’ll be posting photos over on my Instagram stories today of the process. And if all goes well, I’m hoping that you’re allowed to mess with the counters within 24 hours, because I’m so deliriously excited to start organizing the cabinets under them.

Oh, and Troy and I installed the cooktop this week. This induction stove was a killer floor model sale I found back in fall, and it has been living at my inlaw’s in their basement. I’ve caught Jack pretending to cook at it (this kid, he gets me), and Bennett has used it as a stage for his stuffed animals.

a stovetop in a kitchen island

Reminder: the cabinets are white. The blue is a protective plastic covering.

Our old stove was a janky electric stove and cooked poorly and unevenly. The placement of the old stove in the kitchen made it nearly impossible to use the burners on the right side for fear of someone burning themselves as they walked by it (I live with all males. It absolutely would have happened). Also, depending on the day, 1 to 2 of the burners didn’t work.

We have gas to the house but not the upstairs kitchen. It would have been $1k to extend the line upstairs. No thanks. Plus, after using my dad’s gas stove downstairs for the last three months, I realize how much I truly hate cooking with gas.

I also have a bad history with gas in which a friend of mine almost blew up my kitchen when we lived in Los Angeles. It ended up with me in the emergency room with a lovely morphine IV. Not the biggest fan of gas as a result.

Iffffffffff everything is installed today, we start tiling the backsplash on Tuesday, with my father-in-law on-site to bestow all his awesome knowledge. We finally got the tile from the store this week and holy crap, nobody told me how heavy tile boxes are. Our floor tiles are enormous (12×24) and just six of them per box weighed at least 50 pounds. It was like remodeling CrossFit unloading them from our truck.

Given how we are new to this process, I’m of course worried that we didn’t measure or order correctly. If we run out, perhaps we’ll try to start a trend called “half-finished” backsplash. Let the next owners deal with that. Right?

a boy with a box fort

I started running again this week. Ugh. I never ever liked it when I was doing it before, but it made me feel strong. And being strong is awesome. So, I squared up my shoulders and decided this was the week to get back to it.

I started with one mile. One little mile. When I hit the one-mile mark, I realized I could have easily kept going. That was encouraging that perhaps it would be easier to ease back into this than I thought. Two days later my legs were pretty sore, but sore muscles are a good kind of pain.

The plan as of now is to add .25 miles each time I go out. The goal is to run every other day when possible and do my normal 4-mile walk on the other days. I’m taking it slowly and stopping when I know I should. But also pushing forward a little bit when I know I can.

There is a house on my walking route that was for sale over the summer. It was quickly purchased (the view is incredible) and it appears the new owners are remodeling it before they move in.

Almost every day when I walk by it, I see new things happening to the house. The carpet was ripped out, they have a very old stove on the deck, and there is drywall dust on the front porch. I want to knock on their door and say “it gets better. Soon. It gets better”.

We have had torrential, end-of-days rain for the last two weeks. I noticed recently that the fridge on our deck (we’re so klassy during this remodel) has retained some water in the place where the fridge and freezer doors meet. As a result, the seal has some mildew on it.

I have never had luck removing mildew from silicone/rubber. If any of you have some tried and true hacks, I’d love to hear them. The fridge will hopefully be brought back into the house in two weeks and I’d love to be able to really deep clean it.

Bennett went back to preschool this week, and it was a shockingly smooth transition. No tears or drama at dropoff. I think he was as relieved to get back to school as we were to have him back on a routine. The last week of winter break he had turned into what Troy referred to as someone practicing psychological warfare.

He started preschool back in November and to date, Troy has never taken him for drop off. Troy is the softie and we both knew that he would not be able to resist the tears and would definitely bring Bennett back home. I’m hopeful that we’re on the brink of Troy being able to handle drop-off. It frees up almost an hour for me to get extra work done or take an early walk.

Troy and I are close to finishing the third season of Yellowstone. It’s been an incredible show, but as Troy has put it “you don’t want to root for any of these people because they’re all horrible”. They are indeed terrible people, but Rip makes us laugh every episode. He’s such a grumpy old (young) man and the comments he mumbles under his breath make us giggle.

I have been trying to convince Troy to watch The Americans. I watched it years ago and it is so good that I would be willing to rewatch all eight seasons. It’s that good. What series should we watch next? Any suggestions? 

Last week I picked up our first grocery order in over 14 days. I wanted to avoid the stores during the holidays (I hate crowded stores even in non-pandemic times), and frankly, we didn’t need anything. I would have gone sooner for fresh veggies, but much to my surprise, the salad in our garden is still going strong.

I was interviewed about canning on a podcast this week (I’ll share the link when it is live) and one thing I shared is that I don’t actually like canning. At all. But it provides us with great food throughout the year and for that, I’ll keep doing it.

Between canning this summer, freezing stuff from our garden, and our well-stocked pantry and freezer, we were able to hunker down and still eat really well. Canning and stocking up as our budget allows can be a lot of work, but the winter and early spring months are when we are able to enjoy that effort. But canning still sucks. 🙂


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What I’m Listening To This Week

I guess I have been living under a rock, because I finally started listening to The Office Ladies, a rewatch podcast of The Office. It is hosted by the women who played Pam and Angela, and it is a DELIGHT!

It is making me want to rewatch The Office, a show I loved but only watched once. Looking forward to a time soon when our workload lightens a bit and I add it into my schedule.

What I’m Reading This Week

I downloaded and finished Camino Winds by John Grisham from the library and it was exactly what I expected it to be. I needed a book that was available NOW and this fit the bill.

Like all newer Grisham books, you know what you’re getting. It was a fast read and is a bit like a Chipotle burrito – you enjoy it while you’re eating it but it is like pretty much any other burrito you’ve ever had and you forget about it as soon as it is done. It satisfies the cravings but offers you nothing new. And guac is extra.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Long-time reader Kezia left this five-star review on a very old recipe (that very much needs an update, especially the photos and long-winded babbling), Double-Chocolate Zucchini Muffins:

YUM! I was dubious I confess right up until trying them. Seemed like not enough sugar or fat and far too much zucchini.
The perfect way to use up our neglected zucchini that transformed to a small marrow ????. The kids love them too, with our five year old proclaiming them to be the best ever (as she is one her third mini muffin for the day). Thanks, Sarah

3 chocolate muffins on a board with a glass of milk

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Dairy-Free Potato SoupA cozy bowl of comfort food, Whole30 Potato Soup is a healthy and simple dinner.  This dairy-free potato soup one of the easiest and most delicious recipes you can make and is a fast weeknight meal. {Pin this recipe}

a bowl of whole30 potato soup with bacon and green onions

What to Eat, Can, and Preserve in WinterDon’t let the cold temps fool you, there is still a lot of wonderful fresh produce to enjoy in winter! Learn what to can, preserve, and eat in winter, as well as delicious recipes for seasonal produce.{Pin these recipes}

9 photos of winter produce dishes

Instant Pot CauliflowerSave time and money by making Instant Pot Cauliflower part of your weekly dinner rotation. It’s so easy to whip up this tender steamed cauliflower for a fast and healthy side dish. {Pin this recipe}

a white bowl of instant pot cauilflower topped with parsley

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

Air fryer recipes were still on fire this week! Everyone seems to still be playing with their holiday gifts. No air fryer? Remember, ALL my Instant Pot and air fryer recipes also include conventional cooking instructions.

  1. Air Fryer Potatoes – skip using the oven and make these crispy taters in the air fryer.  {Pin this recipe}.
  2. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – like a healthier homemade version of my teenage self’s favorite snack.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Pretzel Bites – recently, a new acquaintance asked me about my favorite air fryer recipe, and I told her these pretzel bites. So fast and easy to make and they’re SO GOOD.  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan/vegetarian as written, but you can make your version to your tastes.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Pickles – love these!  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Baked potato bar and salad. Was supposed to happen last week but we ended up needing to purge the fridge of leftovers.

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business. It’s tiling day and not cooking will be a real treat.

Wednesday:: Instant Pot Tortellini and salad. We’ll be tiling all day on Wednesday and there will be zero time for making dinner. The kids love this meal and I can push a button and walk away.

Thursday:: Testing out a new recipe + salad on the side.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: Ground chicken lettuce wraps. Easy peasy and lots of veggies on the plate.


What are you having this week?




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20 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Hi Sarah, de-lurking to suggest trying toothpaste as a way to solve your mould on the freezer seal. Pop some onto a toothbrush and give it a go. The toothbrush helps get into all the place your fingers won’t.

    I am on the other side of the pond and look forward to reading of your escapades and your never give up attitude. It certainly lifts my day when I see a new post from you.

    Take care.

  2. I am glad you stuck with the original content. I already know what’s going on in this crazy time of ours, so having something to look at and read that has more to do with real daily life is AAAAhhhhmazing!!!!

  3. Happy New year to you and your family. I love reading about your remodel. I was thrilled to hear that you prefer to cook on electric versus gas. I thought I was the only one who doesn’t like gas!!
    Glad to see you are watching Yellowstone. Just so you know, I was actually in the first episode, the very first scene. I was in the courtroom as an attorney. You will see me for maybe two seconds so you really have to watch. I’m in a bright blue jacket! That’s the only way you will know it is me. I was on the set for about 8 hours–all that for 2 seconds! Oh well it was fun.
    I’m going to see if I can get some good zucchini and try the zucchini chips. they look wonderful.

    Thanks for all your fun entertainment and great information.
    Carol Eichler

    • Carol, that is SO cool! I’ll have to go back and look for you in your bright blue jacket.

      Zucchini this time of year is pretty rough. I hope you can snag a good one.

  4. Jack nailed it. Sigh.

    Loving the remodel photos! I happen to be a gas stove/oven kinda gal, but we can still be friends, right?? 😉

  5. You are SO RIGHT about Yellowstone. There isn’t one character that is a good person, and yet you cannot stop watching the show. And yep, Rip is just such a delightful curmudgeon. He’s so dry and funny, his character is awesome (despite being what, in reality, would equate to an absolutely HORRIBLE person)

  6. Thank you for addressing the crazy that’s out there right now but also including your normal stuff. My Sunday starts with coffee and going through email and this is definitely my favorite Sunday email. It was nice to have a little normalcy!

    Hooray that the kitchen remodel is almost done! Will you be posting a recap type post with before and afters? I would be interested to know the total cost of you are willing to share that as we may be planning a remodel for the future.

    • Yes, there will be a recap post when all is said and done. I’m assuming the finish work will take us months (because that is always how projects go!), and I will do a big post after that. I’ve already decided to not share individual prices, but more of a tier (most expensive to least expensive in terms of big items), BUT if you need more details on anything, you can always ask me via email.

  7. I just wanted to thank you for still including your usual stuff. My life has been a shitshow this week. While people were trying to destroy the Capitol, my dad went into the hospital with atrial fibrillation, and things have been touch and go since then. It was nice to have some semblance of normalcy with your Sunday miscellany. 🙂

  8. Whelp. We’re under quarantine. My husband tested positive first, my daughter a few days later, and I’m trying my best to stay away. My son is still not showing any symptoms but he keeps wanting to play with my daughter so I feel it’s a matter of time. I’m on borrowed time too because, before she tested positive, I was the primary caretaker and I can distinctly tell when she blew in my face. We also quarantined her entire class so I screwed 20 parents for the week. I’m feeling pretty low right now.

    • Hugs and healing! Take care of you and your family and try not to worry about anyone else. We are all doing the best we can right now.

    • Friend, COVID screwed all of us…please give yourself the same grace that you give others. Hoping that your family’s symptoms stay mild and everyone recovers quickly.

    • Do not feel bad about this. If it wasn’t you, it would be another family. That is just the nature of the times and something we’re all trying to navigate together. Hang in there!

      RE: the blowing in the face. Freaking kids. I distinctly remember Jack sneezing into my mouth when I was 8 months pg with Bennett and Jack was having all those mysterious health issues. This was when we hadn’t figured out what it was yet.