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Scattered Sundays

Some of my readers have been spammed…by me…a few times in the last two weeks, getting duplicate posts in their inboxes multiple times. My baaaaaaaaad.

Two weeks ago I switched hosts (the nice tech nerds I pay money to keep my site online. It’s because of them you can read this right now) to make my site faster. It’s been a process, and during those two weeks they’ve had to do some crap behind the scenes. I just picture elves at an old-timey early 1930s telephone switchboard. This is why I don’t work in tech.

Some of the stuff they had to do triggered my email system to resend the same email, one day later. If you didn’t know what was going on, it looked liked “heeeeey. I just really want you to make these sugared strawberries and I’m just going to flood your inbox until you do”.

Based on what I know, and let’s be honest, it’s not much, the email issues should be solved. And we’ll go back to our regularly scheduled program.

a father and son making pancakes

They were making Star Wars pancakes while I was out on a run.

Today is Mother’s Day in the states and that is a day filled with a lot of feelings for a lot of people. Whatever today looks like for you, I hope it involves delicious food and something that brings you joy. Sending lots of love to anyone who struggles on this day for any reason.

A few weeks ago I texted my lovely mother-in-law and basically said “let’s figure out what we want to do, and then tell everyone else”. And thus, my inlaw’s, including my sister-in-law, is coming over to our house (yay science and yay vaccines!) for takeout pizza from our favorite place, salad, and storebought desserts.

I’m pulling a pie out of the freezer that we bought in November as a fundraiser for Jack’s school. We also grabbed a chocolate mousse cake from Costco. Done and done.

My mother-in-law said no gifts, but I did get her a little something. She reads this blog (Hi Ann, I love you!), so I’ll have to share a photo of it with you all next Sunday. It was inspired by something my sister showed me a photo of, and a friend swooped in and hooked me up with my own copy.

a baby yoda pancake

Almost too cute to eat. Almost.

I have my second vaccine shot later this week! Most people I know have had some sort of reaction to the second one, so I’m prepared for it. Listen, growing a tail is hard work and sometimes our bodies react harshly. 🙂

Troy was down for the count for a solid 48 hours. As in the house could have burned down around him and I would be pulling him out using our comforter, cursing the fact that his calves weigh 32 pounds each. Not all heroes wear capes.

My sister did just fine with her second dose and I’m hoping that our shared DNA benefits me too. Or maybe she is the only one who doesn’t feel crappy from the vac AND got the long thick hair, gorgeous eyelashes, and the ability to tan. We all hate her now, right? Freaking Amy.

So, my plan for the shot day is to come home and take a nice long walk. If I’m going to be feeling poorly for a few days, I’m going to be missing physical exercise. The problem with this “long walk” plan is that you’re supposed to be super well-hydrated before and after your vaccine, and that means I’m going to have to pee 3 billion times.

When I’m back from my walk and pounding more liquids, I’m going to make a batch of Instant Pot Matzo Ball Soup to keep in the fridge. If I feel like junk, I’m going to crave soup and nobody in the house is going to make it the same way I want it.

Between you and me (just you and me. And no one else), I think Troy is secretly hoping I am down for the count. I have some sort of Wolverine-style immune system and never get sick. If the kids even think about getting sick, Troy will catch it. Meanwhile, they could full-on sneeze into my mouth and my immune system is like “nah, we’re good”.

The last time I needed medical attention (that wasn’t a dentist or eye doctor) was when Bennett (now 5…) was two weeks old and I had mastitis. Even then, with a 104-degree temp, I STILL FED A CHILD FROM MY BODY. So, Troy does not get a lot of sympathy from me when he’s feeling down. I’m mean like that.

If I feel crappy, then I feel crappy. At least that is what I’m trying to tell myself. I see getting sick as a moral failure (of myself. You do you) and am the kind of person who will not admit they’re sick even if they are. I was sick as a dog with both pregnancies and never missed a day of work. I’m surprised I didn’t try to convince people it was just allergies.

a boy wearing mulitple shirts

“Hey mom, could I BE wearing any more shirts”?

A few weeks ago we had part of our driveway redone. In the prep work for that process, I moved some paver blocks that surrounded a weird little “bump-out” that goes into our driveway.

The bump-out keeps the electrical or gas meter box thing (who knows for sure. Not me) from being hit or run over. It’s really in the dumbest place possible for them to have installed this, but oh well. Previously, the bump-out encroached on our driveway a super silly amount.

To pull out of my garage, I would have to do an Austin Powers move to avoid the bump-out while also avoiding a cement retaining wall. Redoing the driveway was a prime opportunity to reduce the footprint of this paver area.

I moved all the pavers and dug into the hillside about 16 inches. The driveway guys (<—their official title I am sure) then built a frame around that space. All in all, we ended up with about 12 inches more driveway and that much less bump-out.

Buuuuut, since they finished, that pile of dirt I had dug out and the pavers have just been sitting by the road, mocking us. I think Troy and I were playing “paver chicken” to see who would blink first. I did. It was me. I blinked.

a driveway

I finally rebuilt the paver wall this week. It involved digging even further into the hillside to get everything as level and even as possible (spoiler alert: it’s not remotely even or level because that is not my forte). I hauled 10 wheelbarrows full of dirt and soil out of that tiny little space and started laying the pavers.

Full disclosure: they’re the heaviest pavers ever created. I’m not sure what kind of witchcraft they used to make these things, but they each weigh at least 75 pounds. I think they’re made from the same material that Thor’s hammer is made from.

And there were 24 of them! Between digging, hauling, and moving the pavers, it took me over an hour. I’ve never felt so physically close to 40 in my life.

The process created a ton of dirt and debris, and there was still a bunch of compacted dirt on the road from the actual driveway demo/pouring. I spent almost two hours sweeping and hosing down everything to get it all ship shape. Just a note, if we lived in a drought-prone area, I would not have used the hose. But this was the second rainiest winter in 100 years, so I think we’re good.

Everything ended up looking really nice. It’s not pro-level paver placement, but I work for free, so there’s that. We need to get another load of woodchips once I get the summer garden planted, so I’ll spruce this area up soon.

The soil is crap and yes, I could amend it, but I’m just not interested in planting anything here. I have grown zucchini in this space before, but it ends up looking pretty janky fairly quickly.

paper copies on a car's front seat

I finally finished the ebook for our June Prep Once, Cook Twice challenge, and I’m so excited about this thing! I poured a ton of effort (and swears…not sweat) into this course and challenge and I’m really freaking proud of it. I had a hard copy printed at Staples so I could proofread it because I’m an old-school analog paper kind of girl.

If you want to sign up for the challenge waitlist, you can do so here. I’ll officially be opening it up for sign-ups in the last two weeks of May. People on the waitlist get first dibs and a discount. I’m super geeked out about this and I really think it has the potential to change meal time for so many people/families.

teal shoes near a pothold that looks like Yoda

I kid you not, this Yoda pothole/puddle was on my run on May 4th, AKA Star Wars day.

In the Garden This Week

I did some weeding this week, but not as much as I wanted to. See overly dramatic note about hauling pavers above. I still need to finish going through the strawberry patch and pull out ALL.THE.WEEDS.

Our strawberry towers are still in really good shape, but I have decided I need to yank them out this week. We built and placed them back when our mini drawf apple tree was a lot smaller. Now, the tree is fighting the strawberry towers for space.

I’m going to set the towers aside for the year and think about where to replant them next year. Cause remember I promised myself to add (tiny lightweight) pavers to this space and raise it up at the end of strawberry season? Even though I promise it every year, THIS is the year. Right? Right?

The carrots, beets, and garlic that were planted last fall are going gangbusters. In fact, I think I need to harvest them all soon. I can tell the beets are about to bolt (go to seed) and then they’ll taste gross. Or, if you’re Troy, you already think they taste gross. He calls them dirt apples.

The lettuce and peas I planted in April (maybe?) are looking great and I’m finally ready to start harvesting the lettuce. I gave it some time to get established and strong, and now I’m gonna eat it all up. So happy to be done buy greens from the store.

The peas need someone (me, the paver chicken loser) to put one of our DIY trellises in the raised bed. I have been putting it off but that is just beetleheaded. These pea tendrils need something to climb and I need to do it ASAP so I don’t damage their roots. This week, it’s happening. Sure…

While I was pulling weeds in the strawberries a week ago, I also finally made the decision to yank out three blueberry bushes in this same area. They have never thrived here and always looked sad and produced a combined 10 blueberries a year.

These bushes were dead and yet each year I assumed there would be a blueberry Lazurus situation and I just couldn’t force myself to throw in the towel. That seems to be a gardening theme…I wait years to do something that I know should just be done. Oh well.

On the plus side, the super warm weather we had in mid-April kickstarted the rest of the blueberry bushes. Most of them are loaded with flowers and one even already has (unripe) berries on it. We’re getting excited and the bees are loving it too.

blueberry bushes


With summer upon us, I’m always on the hunt for a few fresh tops. My summer uniform – a longer running skirt (if you’re tall, let me know if you’d like recommendations on ones that don’t let your booty hang out), and a plain white tank or t-shirt. I keep it simple and comfy.

Pact Organics is my favorite place for super affordable 100% organic cotton tops, sleep tanks, my favorite hoodie, and underwear. Full disclosure: they also sell pants as well but the inseam isn’t long enough for me. New customers to Pact can get 20% off their first order via this link

What I’m Listening To This Week

A long-time reader recommended the Professional Troublemaker podcast after I mentioned last week that I was reading that book. And…I love it!

The first episode I listened to was with one of my business idols, Rachel Rodgers, which of course made me enjoy the podcast even more. Rachel has the best laugh ever, so it’s worth a listen just for that.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Sara (fantastic name!) left this five-star review on our Air Fryer Okra {Pin this recipe}:

These turned out GREAT, I topped with hot sauce and used only a teaspoon of flour, 2 Ts of cornmeal, added a light shake of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, a dash of cayenne powder to the mix. YUM!

fried okra in a white dish on a wooden plate

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Instant Pot Asparagus Risotto – This delicious Instant Pot Asparagus Risotto is a simple weeknight dinner that is packed with amazing flavor. Ready in a flash, this pressure cooker risotto eliminates the long cook time and constant stirring of a stovetop version. {Pin this recipe}

a black bowl with asparagus ravioli and a fork

How to Freeze Strawberries – Learn all the tips and tricks for freezing strawberries to extend the harvest. Freezing fresh strawberries is a great way to preserve this wonderful summer fruit without needing to know any special kitchen skills (like canning). {Pin this tutorial}

A baking tray with strawberries on parchment for freezing strawberries

Cilantro Chimichurri – This amazing back pocket Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce will transform anything you drizzle it over. Steak, chicken, veggies, and eggs are all instantly transformed with this herby packed sauce! {Pin this recipe}

a glass jar of chimichurri

Dehydrating Garlic – Dehydrating Garlic is such a simple way to preserve this delicious pantry staple! Learn how to make dried garlic in a food dehydrator or in the oven. {Pin this tutorial}

a canning jar of dried garlic on a white board

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

All my analytics data got wonky this week due to the whole switching hosts thing. I feel like these top five posts might not be entirely accurate, but whatever.

  1. Instant Pot Garlic Rice – on our menu. Weekly. So good. {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan/vegetarian as written, but you can make your version to your tastes.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. How to Freeze Spinach – here comes gardening season!  {Pin this tutorial}
  4. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – the childhood favorite with none of the burns on the roof of your mouth.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Instant Pot Iced Tea – strong, smooth, and perfect for when you don’t have the sun to make sun tea.  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: A new recipe I tested this week (fabulous!) and need to photograph. Plus salad on the side.

Tuesday:: Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas and a new recipe I’m photographing. And salad.

Wednesday:: Takeout to support a local small business. We’re heading to my sis’ house for the cousins to play outside and then we’ll eat on the patio.

Thursday:: Troy is making chicken parm and salad (this was supposed to happen last week but got scrapped).

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night. And I might be having a delicious bowl of fever dreams. Mmmmm!

Saturday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: TBD


What are you having this week?


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12 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Good luck with your second vaccination. My husband and I have been doubly vaccinated for three months now. We got our first shot mid-January and our second the first week in February. We both experienced the exact same reactions both times, meaning his nasties were the same both times and mine were the same for me. And, here is the biggie . . . the reaction from the first injection was WORSE for both of us than from the second injection. So, the second shot was a dream. Spouseman had a sore arm and fatigue. I had fatigue, headache, nausea, and dizziness. We both needed medication for the first round, but the reaction was so minimal for the second one that any kind of analgesic would have been overkill. So, here’s to a great second vaccination!

  2. My husband and I got our second shots at 6 pm.  He started feeling bad at about 2:30 the next afternoon, spiked a fever by 6:00 and generally felt miserable.  But then he was pretty much back to normal by 10:00 the next morning.  I just had the same sore arm I had after the first shot.  Hoping you won’t feel bad and then you’ll still be super happy you already made soup!

    Tonight my family is making green chili chicken tacos for my Mother’s Day dinner.  I know Thursday we’ll be grabbing sandwiches at the sub shop near school because there won’t be time to go home between school/work and my older daughters’ band concerts.  The rest of the week will be spaghetti bolognese, green Thai curry, chicken chili, and turkey burgers, in whatever order I decide!  Saturday we’re having friends over BECAUSE WE FINALLY CAN and while my husband is doing sous vide/seared steaks, I’m going to make your fabulous crispy baked potatoes and a salad.

    • Glad you were both relatively unscathed. I’m hoping for the same outcome you had.

      Hopefully, the tacos were a delicious mother’s day treat. And HURRAY for friends eating together again. I’ve missed it so much.

  3. I got my second vaccine two weeks ago on Friday afternoon about 4:30pm. By Saturday at noon I had chills and fatigue. By 2pm I was running a low grade temp and felt like someone hit me with a truck. By 5pm I was running a fever of 100.6 and couldn’t move from my chair. By Sunday morning at 8, I was fine. I weedeated and completely cleaned out my car that day lol. Good luck on yours! 

  4. I am so excited for Prep Once Cook Twice!!! I’m an analog gal also. I also love me some highlighters and sticky notes for a project like this!

    I had my second vaccine last week and all I ended up with was a sore arm.

    Now that we are in a house again I keep dreaming about a garden, but it will have to wait until the puppy is a little more settled. Our potted raspberry bush is taking off though, so that makes me happy.

    Yay for tech elves!!

    • Nothing better than a paper copy of something so you can take notes. 🙂

      Living where you do, gardening is a year-round hobby. You’ll have plenty of time to create some awesome space once the puppy gets settled.

  5. Have been following you for a looong time.
    Love your sense of humor, watching your family grow,
    love of gardening , cooking , added to all that your caring for the environment.
    Today for Mother’s Day I bought myself some new Cotten shirts  from PACT ORGANICS( good cotton tops are getting harder and harder to find).
    Have a great Mother’s Day.
    Keep up the good work🌺

    • Thanks for being a long-time reader, and hurray for new shirts and happy Mother’s Day! I agree, good quality tops are hard to find these days. I buy all my clothes secondhand thru ThredUp, but I do love a fresh cotton T or tank.

  6. I’ll be adding a roof to the chicken bc of of the girls likes to escape by going over the 8 ft walls. And after sprinting across the yard screaming twice yesterday bc someone pulled over and tried to steal my chickens out if the neighbors yard they’re on lock down for a bit. Good luck with your second shot. I felt like crap after but only for about 12 hours. Hubby is the one that doesn’t get sick here and it hit him hard

    • Who in the world steals chickens?!

      • We’re thinking someone who’s friends with the neighbors the entire street has a problem with🙄. My sister lives 30 minutes away and her neighbors put up a coop and lured the chickens over with treats. My brother in law saw them driving to work the next morning after their bird didn’t come back to roost the night before