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Scattered Sundays

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Jack successfully had two full days of in-person school this week! None of us thought it would ever happen, but it did. Praise be.

With snow in the forecast late in the week, we were holding our breath, certain that the way the last 11 months had been going, OF COURSE, his second day of school would be a snow day. But the flakes stayed away, and I enjoyed two kid-free workdays this week. It.Was.Heaven.

I didn’t have constant interruptions, and I could just put my head down and work. It’s all I ever wanted in life. I was also able to take slightly longer walks than normal, and it felt awesome to move on my own schedule.

My goal this week was to complete a 1.5-mile run. Before I stopped running (back in summer? I think because of all the wildfire smoke…), I was doing three miles a few times a week. It never felt natural or like I was good at it, but I did it.

On Thursday, I got to the 1.5-mile mark, and both my brain and body gave me the go-ahead to just keep going. I ended up doing a 2.36-mile run. It would have been 2.4 miles for a nice even number, but a truck got in my way at a cross street and I had to stop for too long. 

a screenshot of a workout report

Jack’s first day back was so good. He was so happy; beaming. All the new students headed to the gym and sat socially distanced on the bleachers while they were split into groups for tours.

He said the first hour or so, things were a little awkward because everyone forgot how to talk to kids their own age. If you thought that broke my heart when he said it, you’d be right.

For this year at least, all students are eligible to receive free lunch and a take-home breakfast at the end of the day. I think we all know that I think this should continue forever because the idea of hungry kiddos trying to be successful in school has long been something that weighs on my heart.

Jack had taken his lunch on the first day because he wanted to scope out what they were serving. He told me he was thrilled he packed his own because he was not impressed with the spread. He also had forgotten what school was like after a year of being at home with two snacks a day and said he inhaled his lunch.

They’re given assigned seats in the lunchroom and the table is separated with plexiglass. There are only three kids per table, far from the “let’s see how many chairs we can shove around this table” situation I had in middle school.

With trying to reduce crowding in hallways, no kids are assigned lockers this year. So they carry everything they need on their backs. It’s A LOT to carry, and these kiddos look like turtles. I bet the elementary kids can barely move.

He carries a water bottle in his backpack, but the refill stations and drinking fountains are closed. He only has enough room for one water bottle, so I imagine many kiddos are going home pretty dehydrated.

During the info session Zoom last week, his principal mentioned school would be more restrictive this year. And, of course, he was right. Even with the new guidelines, Jack is soooooo happy to be back. Happy and very thirsty.

We’re packing two extra masks in his backpack to swap out during the day. He’s been using a mix of the CoveredGoods masks (use coupon codes sustainablecooks for 15% off) and some shorter ones from Costco. My friend, who has had kids back in school since September, recommended these mask “frames” to slip under his Costco mask.

Jack said they worked really well and it made it so much easier to talk. Even better, especially for little kiddos who might chew on their masks, it keeps them out of their mouths. I was not a fan of these for myself and stick to a surgical mask under my CoveredGoods masks whenever I need to go into a store. But Jack liked them a lot. He was able to double mask with them as well.

This was also the week that Jack got spacers placed in his teeth. He’ll have them swapped out later this week, and then another set put in the week after that. He did really well, even though the process was uncomfortable and they feel annoying.

I have to think that the best gift the pandemic has given kids with braces is that they can wear masks and cover up anything they don’t like. I guess it’s a pretty good time to cover your face at school.

rocks with some snow

You may have seen that the Seattle area got hit by some snow this weekend. Even my friend in Michigan said that our “storm” made her news. For long-time readers, you might remember that this storm is almost exactly two years after our 2019 “snowmageddon“.

Back then, schools were closed for something like 10 days because of the storm. I was so stabby about it all. And while I’d still like the kids in school full-time, I’m able to roll with the punches a bit more after we’ve all been through since March 2020.

2 boys standing in the snow

Between the garden and canning last year, the chickens who are still laying, and just my normal shopping habits, our pantry and freezer were fully-stocked. People in Seattle panic-buy at the mere thought of snow, so I was thankful we could just stay out of that whole scene.

“Artic” winter temps are not normal in this area, and the wind has been a real dillhole, making everything seem colder. Each day, I’m so happy we have a woodstove. I would never again live in a house without a woodstove. They’re just the best.

2 kids in front of a woodstove drinking cocoa

I woke up one day this week at 5 am, my normal time, so I could get some work done. So of course, the internet was out to the whole area. And naturally, it was a day the boys would both be at school. I called the cable company and was greeted with an automated message saying it wouldn’t be restored until 11:30 am. Oh 2021, you’re just 2020 with bangs.

2 photos showing snow on a roof

On the kitchen front, Troy has been busy this week. We are far beyond the part where my contributions are remotely helpful. Everything from here on out is detailed finish work and that is not my forte. Need things smashed? I’m your girl. Need windowsills cut and installed? Um…that guy over there with the big calves is the one you need to talk to.

He installed toe kicks along all the cabinets and a windowsill on one of the windows. Oh, and more drawer pulls until we realized we were out of them because some idiot bought the wrong size (it was me), and needed yet another delivery from IKEA. Thankfully, if you’re not ordering furniture, shipping from IKEA is super reasonable.

a boy at the beach in a winter coat

Hey, so a few weeks ago, I bought a product that is changing my life in a good way. After all the kitchen construction and the constant hand sanitizing, my hands were painful. I dreaded using any hand sanitizer.

A reader on Instagram shared that she found Dove hand sanitizer. I bought some at our local grocery store and it is a GAME CHANGER. Feels lotiony instead of a gel, and it doesn’t crack my hands. The unscented version still has that classic “Dove” scent, but I would avoid the vanilla one with a 10-foot pole. It was super strong.

3 kids on a beach


Are you following us on the socials? Instagram is where I hang out the most, but you can also find us on Facebook and Pinterest. I’m not on Snapchat or TikTok because I’m old.

What I’m Listening To This Week

I enjoyed some old standbys this week, AKA, Dateline podcasts. Nothing compares to the melodic tones of Keith Morrison. Considering the show has been around for 20 years, I’m a bit disappointed that they only release three episodes a week. 

What I’m Reading This Week

There was a perfect storm of limited reading this week. I finished Untamed and went to start the next library book I had already downloaded before I turned the wi-fi off on my Kindle. Turns out I hadn’t downloaded it at all, and all the other books I had placed on hold weren’t ready either.

I ended up finding Lilac Girls under the “available now” section on our library’s online catalog. I was kind of hoping it would be like The Alice Network. We’ll see!

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Eva left this five-star review on our Air Fryer Tofu {Pin this recipe}:

So easy and delicious! As a vegetarian who is currently living at home for college (thanks pandemic) finding easy, balanced meals is hard! Loved this recipe and will definitely be making it again! 

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Instant Pot Tortellini Soup – A big bowl of Creamy Instant Pot Tortellini Soup is a simple, delicious, and affordable “whole meal” kind of dish. This cozy soup has an amazing and flavorful creamy broth paired with delicious cheese tortellini. You’ll find both Instant Pot and stovetop instructions in the post. {Pin this recipe}

A hand holding a white bowl of Instant Pot Tortellini Soup

How to Make Powdered Sugar – Learn how to make homemade powdered sugar in under 3 minutes! Making powdered sugar without cornstarch is affordable for your favorite recipes like frosting, icing, or whipped cream. You’ll never need to buy icing sugar again. {Pin this tutorial}

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing (Vegan options included) – Packed with flavor, this homemade Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing is ready in just 5 minutes. Made with pantry staples, it is wonderful on salads or as a vegan ranch dip. {Pin this recipe}

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

Starting last Saturday, my air fryer recipes started going bananas as everyone was prepping for Super Bowl. And things stayed pretty bonkers until kickoff. 

  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan/vegetarian as written, but you can make your version to your tastes.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Pretzel Bites – so fast and easy to make and they’re SO GOOD. Oh, and the dough freezes like a boss and you can cook these while they are still frozen! {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Potatoes – skip using the oven and make these crispy taters in the air fryer.  {Pin this recipe}.
  4. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – the childhood favorite with none of the burns on the roof of your mouth.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Pickles – welcome back to the top 5, you delicious little pickle chips. {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

I had to delay our Butcher Box order that was supposed to come this week because our freezer is PACKED. I’m starting a two-week freezer cleanout challenge for myself. I need to make some space and not going to the grocery store will be so lovely.

Also, it gives me an excuse to serve soup/stew almost every night and tell the kids “hey, yes, it’s soup again. We’re cleaning out the freezer. Deal with it”. Plus, I’m going to bust out my food processor and make some Stasher bags full of soup veggies for the freezer. They truly are little gifts to myself for mid-week cooking.

I’m also almost out of frozen garlic “pucks“, so that is on tap for this week too. Pretty exciting week planned around here…

Monday:: New recipe I am testing for the fourth time. I cannot get the dang cooking time down and I want to scream. I want to share this one with you so badly, but I need it to be perfect. For you. Smooches.

Tuesday:: Instant Pot Tortellini Soup with salad. I tested this recipe three times and I’m sooooo happy it is finally on the blog so I can share it with the world! The boys gobble this one up.

Wednesday:: Takeout to support a local small business…if we can get out of our driveway.

Thursday:: A recipe that I need to retake the photos for so that I can update and republish the very old post.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: Instant Pot Chicken Pot Pie, biscuits, and salad.


What are you having this week?

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15 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I decided to do a pantry/freezer clean out and since I live in TX, and it’s February, and it’s 2021 saying “hold my beer” to 2020, a snowstorm hit before I could get to the store. So thankful that our freezer stayed frozen during our 30 hour blackout at the house, but our fridge food is mostly unsafe in my book. Stores are empty of most food, but we are blessed anyway, and fully emptying the freezer and pantry until the stores are restocked. We came out pretty unscathed, but so many did not, so prayers are much appreciated!

    • I’m so glad you’re safe, but I’m very sorry for your neighbors and fellow Texans who struggled so much.

      Fingers crossed your thaw is quick and food stocks return quickly to the stores.

  2. I’m glad Jack had a good first day back.  I know my students as well as my own two middle-schoolers are great about dealing with all the restrictions because they just want to be with friends!

    I really liked Lilac Girls.  Hope you do too!

    I had planned on getting grocery pick up Tuesday but here in Central Texas we currently have 5” of snow and icy roads (that we lack equipment to salt) with temperatures below freezing through Wednesday.  I rescheduled groceries for Friday so this week will be a great opportunity to clear out the freezer and pantry.  Thankfully I had accidentally overbought potatoes because I think that’s the one food my husband and kids wouldn’t want to live without!

    • Finished Lilac Girls a day or so after last Sunday’s post and I LOVED it. So good.

      I hope you all were ok during the storm. Every photo I saw from that area was just heartbreaking.

  3. Yay for Jack!!! It sounds like everyone is happy with the in person. I agree that masks will make the kids with braces feel a little less awkward.

    We just moved to a new campground and the restaurant options here are AMAZING in this area! We had pizza our first night here and they had gluten free crust and vegan cheese. The best part was the pizza actually tasted great!!!

    And the new campground allows us to have packages delivered here which means I can go back to ordering through Thrive!!

    Good job on the running! And YAY for long walks and kid free time!!!

  4. Lilac Girls is so good….really intense, but so good.

  5. I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to have two days alone. Since Covid hit, my husband has been working from home, and while I am grateful our income hasn’t been interrupted, I need my time alone. It has made the time I spend in my garden that much more precious. Come on Spring!

    • I think alone time is in such short supply these days. It is what I crave the most.

      Gardens are such sanity savers. I also read an article years ago that the microbes in soil mimic serotonin which boosts our happiness. Makes sense to me!

  6. Argh. You’re. Not your. ???? too early

  7. So cool that Jack’s back! We had a similar issue at our school with the drinking fountains, but one of the teacher’s spouses went through and using tubing created a water bottle refill station at each drinking fountain. This allows the kiddos to refill their water bottles without contaminating anything. I mean, it still takes forever to refill, but it’s a thought maybe for your giant-calved husband? Your welcome Troy. 🙂

    • They actually have special hands-free water bottling refilling stations (like this) so I don’t know why they are closed. But I know they’ve worked so closely with the health department on everything, so I assume it is based on their recommendations.

  8. I am so glad that Jack is enjoying being in person! I am hopeful but also realistic about when our division returns. Fingers crossed!!