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Scattered Sundays

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Ok, I need your take on something. I’ve noticed that Troy and I are VASTLY different on how we handle this situation.

When someone new is coming to your house (mostly in the before times, aimright?), and you see them pull up, do you go out and greet them or wait for them to come to your front door?

You can see our driveway from the living room/kitchen area where we spend the most of our time. Troy will yell (xyz) is here and then go out the front door and greet people on these stairs we have leading to our driveway. Which honestly is the funniest behavior for an introvert like Troy.

Me? I wait for them to ring the doorbell. My thinking is maybe they need to sit in their car for a minute. Maybe they’re a parent and this is the first time they have been away from their kids in days, and they just want to soak up that delicious silence. 

Now, please note, this is only for new people. For family/friends, I just open the front door and yell “get on in here”. But with the remodel, we had a lot of different people coming (masked) in and out of the house. The plumber, electrical inspector, someone who gave us a quote for tile (that we ended up doing ourselves because we’re gluttons), etc.

Each and every time, I waited for them to come to the front door. Because maybe they need to check their teeth or have to get all their stuff together and they don’t want an audience while doing it. But maybe that makes ME unfriendly. 

So the big question is, how do YOU and your household handle this? Are we weird? Survey says, yes (see below).

a boy eating snacks in a crab trap

It’s weird being self-employed when it is tax time. Each month I save 30% of my income in a money market account and hope that it will be enough to pay whatever I owe to (as Laci calls it) “daddy government”.

After paying my taxes, if there is anything left sitting there, I take a portion of it to reinvest back in the business. It’s a bit of a bastardized version of Profit First.

Last year I bought a new camera after my 10-year-old Canon Rebel was on its last legs. It would freeze when I tried to take more than two photos in under 15 seconds. And it would often just turn off without warning, and downloading the photos was getting nearly impossible.

This year, I bought myself a new macro lens. I don’t know A LOT about camera equipment, but Lorie influenced me when she talked about this great lens on her Instagram stories. If you know absolutely nothing about photography, macro lenses help you get those super crisp up-close images.

The benefit of using this particular lens is that I not only get incredible up-close photos, but I also get an arm workout at the same time. Ohhhhh, buddy, this lens is a BEAST! I have only used it for one photoshoot so far (you’ll see that recipe on the blog in June), but it was true and instant love.

And even better, I get to use it as a write-off when I do taxes the next year. Picture a baboon hoisting my lens over his head while “The Circle of Life” plays loudly in the background.

a twisted tree trunk

(not taken with the new lens)

The boys and I had eye doctor appointments this week. To make the process go more quickly, one tech took Bennett and I back and another took Jack to a separate room. As we were all leaving the waiting room, Jack asked me to carry his book.

I looked at his hands which only contained one book, and then I looked at my hands which contained my book, Bennett’s book, my sweatshirt, and Bennett’s hoodie. I looked back and Jack and said “carry it yourself dude. I’m not your pack mule”.

My tech laughed and told me she was newly pregnant and wanted to remember that when her kiddo was older. Seriously though. Moms, stop being the “carry all the things” martyr.

Tell your children no. Teach them to carry their own crap. I purposefully have a small purse so that no one asks me to haul their ish.

It was Bennett’s first eye exam and he did great! He was excited to use the grown-up chart with the letters instead of the “baby one” with shapes. The five-year-old pride is strong in this one.

I have chronic dry eye(s), and as a contacts wearer, this is an issue. My doctor and I have tried everything over the last few years and have had some success with a more breathable brand, eye drops, and a specific contact solution.

But these eyes still try and it’s annoying. He did some pressure tests this appointment and then asked if I was Irish. I laughed, said “no, mostly Norwegian”.

According to him, many people of Irish descent experience rosacea, and there is some research showing an antibiotic used to treat rosacea is also helping people with dry eyes.

I’m not one to make meds unnecessarily. Honestly, the only thing I ever take is Advil when my cramps make me want to puke. But since I started using Flo vitamins, my intake of Advil has dropped by 50-75% because my cramps are much more tolerable.

But, one pill that can treat both my annoying dry eyes AND improve my adult acne? Um, sign me up. Please. Where do I sign? Gimme all the pills.

He also gave me a sample of new eye drops that are showing a lot of promise with dry eyes. To me, it was a box of drops and I didn’t feel the need to read any of the instructions on the box (because I have the same kind of medical degree that your kooky aunt shows off on Facebook…). Big mistake. Huge. <—read in the Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman voice.

After I stopped yelling and deep breathing, I texted my friend that I thought they accidentally had given me a box of acid. I’m supposed to put these torture drops in my eyes 2x per day.

Curiously, the second dose that same day didn’t hurt at all. Probably because the initial application killed all my nerve endings? You can’t have dry eyes if you never stop crying from the pain, right?

a boy in a carseat looking out the window

Soaking up all the attention from the church ladies as we were trying to leave parking lot church.

Our driveway has been a bit of a trainwreck since my parents bought the house back in the 80s. For years, and I mean YEARS, heavy rain would cause a weird thick orange sludge to ooze down the driveway near a rock wall. It was slippery and thick and just the nastiest.

The cement was cracked and uneven in most places. There was no consistent way to battle the weeds without herbicides, which I refuse to use. I guess I could have let the chickens range it once a month? Troy had lots of driveway shame and honestly, it wasn’t really functional or safe for gimpy-footed people like my dad anymore.

We had decided to start saving for a replacement driveway for 2022, and then the last stimulus came through. It was important to us to spend our dollars with a local small business. We hired a local crew (local as in they live a mile from us) and they spent three days this week tearing up, grading, and replacing the old driveway. 

Every single morning they showed up 30-60 minutes earlier than expected. I feel like that is the exact opposite of most contractors our friends have used. The only time this was an issue was when a cement truck rolled onto our street at 6:30 am Wednesday morning. Not sure if you’ve ever heard a cement truck before…but they’re not quiet.

Thankfully, our neighbors were all really nice about it, and the truck was only there for under two hours. The crew worked SO hard to make the driveway look stunning. Well, as stunning as a driveway can look.

Troy and I were going to let the boys do handprints in the cement but were a bit too late to make that work. Troy helped them write their names right near the opening to the garage. It makes me smile every time I see it.

names written in wet cement

About two weeks ago I started going balls to the wall on eating more veggies. It basically looked like a giant (GIANT) bowl of salad at lunch and a normal amount of veggies at dinner. Within a few days, I noticed that my stomach would feel super bloated by the afternoon. I never felt unwell and my stomach never hurt, but my pants were ridiculously uncomfortable.

I hypothesized that it was probably due to consuming so many raw veggies and not as many cooked veg. Thankfully, I have a personal nutritionist on hand in the form of Katie from Hey Nutrition Lady. I told her about the situation and she had some great advice.

She too thought that I had overdone it on the raw veg and my gut was annoyed from too much fiber. She “prescribed” smaller servings of cooked veggies, taking a daily probiotic (already was), eating five smaller meals instead of three normal ones, try to let 12 hours pass between dinner and breakfast (already do this), and put a pause on sparkling water consumption (whaaaaaaaa).

I basically only drink plain sparkling water all day, every day. We have a SodaStream and I go through multiple liters per day. I’m one well-hydrated lady. 

To make flat water less boring, I turned to some frozen ginger and frozen strawberries I already had on hand. I just let it sit in a pitcher of water for a few hours and then started drinking away. It is freaking delicious! Who knew that ginger and strawberries would be such a great combo?

Katie also suggested I have some simple soups at lunch. Katie knows me and knows that my heart belongs to soup, so it’s not like this was a challenging recommendation for me. Soup all day every day is my motto.

a boy in a deck storage box

This week was week two of what we have been affectionately calling “fake summer”. Temps in the upper 70s and blue skies were exactly what we all needed for improved moods and some important outside work.

Fake summer came to an end yesterday, but that’s ok. The garden really needed watering and I’m like a sea sponge – I need to frequently be watered. Temps over 82 degrees and too many days in a row of sunshine make me whiny.

Thursday morning I headed out to let the chickens out at first light, per my normal routine. I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was doing, and I quickly found that I clotheslined myself…on our actual clothesline. Good times. Good times.

One of the OG mom bloggers from back in the day, TeamMandy is going through a truly horrific medical condition right now. She has been in the ICU for over a month and is a newly single mom. She hadn’t even had a chance to start her new job. She does not have health insurance. And as we all know, the US is absolutely terrible for people without coverage.

If you are so inclined to donate for her care, all proceeds collected via her Gofundme will be applied directly to medical bills. Our family donated and I hope that by sharing this they can meet their goal of $60,000. Please note, $60,000 will barely begin to cover even a portion of what she will be dealing with.

In the Garden This Week

I did almost nothing in the garden this week, other than stare out of the new kitchen window we added in November and look at the glory that is our mini drawf apple trees. 

white apple blossoms

The raspberry patch is looking incredible after the pruning I gave it a few weeks ago. It looks so healthy and with weeding out the old canes (garden to English translation, canes = raspberry “sticks”).

I’m also able to spot the canes as they grow, and put the errant ones inside the raspberry trellis wire. This prevents part of our walkway from being an aggressive raspberry tunnel come August. 

Thanks to two weeks of fake summer, our lettuce, garlic, cilantro, peas, beets, and carrots are on track and looking great. Our average last frost date is in two weeks, and that is when I’ll be putting in tomatoes, cucumbers, and green beans.

Housekeeping

Have you already signed up to get on the waitlist for our Prep Once, Cook Twice challenge? It’s starting June 1st and will run for 30 days. Participants will learn the ninja art of ingredient prep so that they can make fast and healthy weeknight meals.

You’ll also receive a weekly meal plan as well as detailed shopping lists, and prepping shortcuts and hacks.

Everyone on the waitlist will not only be the first to know when the cart opens for joining the challenge but will also get early bird pricing! Join the Prep Once Cook Twice Waitlist now.

What I’m Listening To This Week

Dateline has a new special series called Killer Role that I am enjoying. Of course, I’m enjoying it; Dateline podcasts hold my heart. I never actually watch the show, but the melodic tones of Keith Morrison in my earbuds never fail to engage my interest.

Also, if you have Peacock, apparently there is a 24/7 Dateline sub-channel! 

What I’m Reading This Week

Before I chat about books, I’d LOVE to ask a favor. Do any of my lovely readers own an independent bookstore? I link to Amazon when I mention books, but I’d be much happier referring readers to a small business owner. If you or someone you know owns one, please email me or message me on Instagram. Thanks!

This week I finished When You Find Out The World is Against You…it was funny at times but not really my cup of tea.

I started The Great Alone at the advice of a friend. It’s a long book but so far, I LOVE it. If you have read The Nightingale (I have not. Yet; it’s been downloaded already from my library!), The Great Alone is by the same author.

The writing is beautiful, even if the story is both hard and poignant at the same time. It reminds me a lot of The Poisonwood Bible.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Jeni left this five-star review on our Frozen Berry Cake {Pin this recipe}:

I made this cake last night with the hopes for an easy breakfast on our way out the door to the beach this morning. I stored it in the fridge overnight and like the recipe notes says it took on a decadent cheesecake-like consistency. It was a hit with the whole family. I liked it because it had limited extra sugar for my toddler (I did less than 1/4 cup)- the berries really do the trick to keep it sweet! My husband who does not like cheesecake (I did not know this when I married him) said it was “really good and way better than cheesecake.” Next time we make it we will try it at room temperature and as a lemon lover I may sneak in more lemon zest!

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Sugared Strawberries – Delicious Sugared Strawberries is a simple recipe to showcase this wonderful summer fruit. Macerated strawberries are incredible on baked goods, pancakes, yogurt, and so much more. {Pin this recipe}

A bowl of sugared straweberries topped with mint on a white board

How to Freeze Mint – Learn all the tips and tricks for how to freeze mint to build a freezer stash of this incredible herb. Freezing mint is a great way to preserve without needing to know any special kitchen skills. {Pin this tutorial}

frozen cubes on mint on a blue plate

Canning Beets – Follow this step-by-step tutorial to learn how simple Canning Beets can be. Having plain canned beets on hand means healthy side dishes can be ready in a flash. {Pin this tutorial}

a hand holding a canning jar of beets

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan/vegetarian as written, but you can make your version to your tastes.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – the childhood favorite with none of the burns on the roof of your mouth.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Potatoes – skip using the oven and make these crispy taters in the air fryer.  {Pin this recipe}
  4. How to Freeze Spinach – here comes gardening season!  {Pin this tutorial}
  5. Air Fryer Zucchini Chips – first time back on the top 5 since last summer! {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Air Fryer Tofu, Garlic Rice (which I previously made and froze in Stasher Bags), and Air Fryer Asparagus.

Tuesday:: Testing a new recipe with Garlic Butter Green Beans on the side.

Wednesday:: Troy is making chicken katsu with Instant Pot Jasmine Rice and veggies.

Thursday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Troy is making his famous burgers with fries and salad.

Sunday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

 

What’s on your menu this week?

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17 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Visitors. Well, we’ve had contractors in and out for the last six months, and a gaggle of friends who visited for a long weekend earlier this month. Plus, a wren family who has constructed a gorgeous nest in the boxwood wreath on our front door. Since wrens revisit their nests for a year or so, I try to “warn” everyone to message me before they arrive and to pull into the “left” side of our circular drive so that I can see them arriving. Then I let them in through the mudroom door so as not to bother the new family. I jokingly call it the “Staff Entrance” and everyone laughs along, either with me or at me.ย 

    But now a bird family has built a nest atop the boxwood wreath on the mudroom door. Everyone visiting will now have to enter through the garage, and they must run for it Olympic dash-style, because any time the garage door is open for a lengthy period the wildlife wander in. (I’ve got the receipt for a chewed AC hose on my car from a nervous chipmunk who spent the night; and photos of the beautiful bird nest I had to relocate from our Christmas tree stand to prove it.)

    Our menu is typically wild and all over the place. I don’t own an InstaPot, AirFryer, or Microwave. (All leftovers become lunch the following day.)
    Monday: Thai Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken with Coconut Rice
    Tuesday: Beet and Goat Cheese Galette
    Wednesday: World Peace Curry (a recipe from an extreme food blogger who knows her stuff)
    Thursday: Cauliflower Steaks with Beans and Tomatoes
    Friday: Social outing with friends that will probably involve pizza and hard cider

  2. Visitors: Unless I stand in my living room looking out the BIG window, I don’t know when someone drives up . . . and even then, I often don’t know because of trees/shrubbery, etc. blocking my view. So, I wait and so does my husband. These days, the only people who come over are expected friends and/or family. They know to just walk in.
    Dry Eyes: I have plugs put in my tear ducts twice a year. Works marvelously. On the rare occasion that my eyes do get dry, I use Oasis Tears Plus. If I am out of that, I float over to Systane or Soothe samples from my ophthalmologist. Really like the Oasis drops.
    Books: Just finished Kindred by Octavia Butler for my book club. It was published in 1976, but still reads fresh. It is the story of a 26-year old black woman who suddenly and unexpectedly time travels to the Antebellum South. It is a great read that I won’t forget for some time to come. Highly recommend.

    Love Bennett in the cage . . .

    • My friend has an autoimmune disease and dry eyes are a side effect of it. I know she has looked into plugs. Your comment is very encouraging, so thank you for sharing your experience.

      I *think* I have read that book, but just to be sure I’ll add it to my list.

  3. Regarding the visitor dilemma: we have a sidewalk -and front steps. ย I usually wait until they are about to go up the steps and then I open the door. This way if they have items in their hands they do not have to put them down or use their elbow to ring the doorbell. This goes for everyone. I never ever go out to their car to greet them. My husband on the other hand waits until they ring the bell TWICE before he answers! ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ฌ

  4. Hello! I wanted to give my opinion about the visitor greeting. I feel it is important to give visitors time to get themselves together. When I had young children, this was the time to give last mi ute instructions, warnings, lol, and clean faces, or straighten up in general. Now as empty-nesters, this is time to quash spats, remind of names, etc. These few minutes before you go into someone else’s home can be very needed at times!

  5. Bookshop.org is an online shopping site whose entire purpose is supporting independent bookstores. The site lets you pick ‘your’ indie bookstore to credit with your purchase(s). And if you don’t have a favorite, then your purchase contributes to an earnings pool that is shared evenly. Definitely a nice alternative to the website named for a South American river!

    • I have looked into that one and indiebound, but the amount of money the bookshop owners actually receive is very unclear in the details. ๐Ÿ™

      • That’s disappointing, and a little surprising, because I’ve seen it recommended by authors I follow, and they’re usually pretty clear on the money trail where their own books are involved. I’ll have to see if I can find out more …

      • Great news! A bookstore owner emailed me and said they earn 30% via bookshop.org, which is the same as what they’d earn on a physical book sold inside the store. So that makes me feel loads better!

  6. With the visitor thing, I would wait because I need time before I talk to people and I assume they need the same. I have dry eyes too (and my dad’s family are Irish so we’ll blame him!). I found that lacri-lube ointment (I know I didn’t make up the name) really helped, it’s basically vaseline for your eyeballs and only to be used before you go to bed because everything is a blur once applied. It helped and my eyes were a lot less teary and itchy, my vision is still terrible though!

  7. Strawberry ginger water does sound really tasty!

    I had a strawberry basil margarita once that was dangerously amazing. Strawberry basil may be a good combo to try if you want to switch things up especially if you grow basil!

    I also really live mint water.

    • I don’t drink, but I have to assume that tasty margarita went down pretty smoothly thanks to those yummy flavors.

      Love mint water! Have you ever tried adding a few slices of cucumbers? It makes me feel like I’m at a fancy spa.

  8. Sarah – I love your blog! It’s the first (on a list of 3) that I read every day. I don’t think I’ve ever commented – and I’m going to change that, because the amount of time and care you put into your writing and photos is phenomenal! So I’m telling you in one long reply that I love your recipes (I’ve made quite a few), I am a fellow gardener, but your food and chicken growing goals are something I aspire to. And thanks for making me laugh out loud on a daily basis.

    One of the other blogs I read religiously is The Bloggess. Besides being a celebrated author, she is a newish owner of an independent bookstore in San Antonio, Texas. But she celebrates and highlights independent bookstores throughout the US. You might check out her blog and find an independent bookstore in your area.

    Thanks again for putting yourself out there in the universe. You do good work ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I discovered the Bloggess years ago. I think it was the giant chicken post? Maybe? I had no idea she also has a bookstore now. That is fantastic! I’m off to check it out.

      And congrats on coming out of the lurker closet. ๐Ÿ™‚