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Scattered Sundays

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If you had “the Cook family gets locked on their deck late at night during the 4th of July by the kid who had staples in his head” on your “what the heck, 2021” bingo card, congrats. You can put a chip on that square.

Let me set the scene for you. Our neighborhood goes crazy for fireworks and given that it is daylight until 9:30ish in summer, the show really gets going after 10 pm. We all headed out to our (two-story) deck around 9:45 to start watching the immense amount of money people were wasting.

It was a warm and dry night (a rarity for July 4th in Seattle. The joke around here is summer starts on July 5th.) and we all got cozy in deck chairs. At one point, Bennett said “I’ll be right back” and went into the house and came back with his two stuffed kitties – Baby GG and Cotton Candy. Cats love fireworks. It’s a proven fact. Look it up on the internet.

2 stuffed kitties

He snuggled onto my lap and pretty soon we were amazed by everything being set off around us. After about 20 minutes, both kids declared they were tired. Jack had soccer camp the next day and being up past 10 is really late for him.

Jack got up first and went to open the door to the house. And then declared “um, I can’t open the door”. I laughed, thinking he was trying to pull a prank on us. But, he wasn’t. He really couldn’t open the door. Because for some reason, Bennett had locked it from the inside before coming back out. I can never understand what’s going on in that kid’s brain.

Knowing my dad was downstairs in his apartment, we called him on the phone that I almost hadn’t brought out onto the deck. And called. And called. And called. Let’s just say we found out the NEXT morning that he had left his phone charging in his kitchen.

We then called multiple neighbors. Some weren’t home, some were asleep and not answering, and some couldn’t hear us over what sounded like the shelling of a small town in 1943 France.

I climbed over the deck railing onto part of the roof and checked all the windows. Locked. Of course. Because ninjas attack only during the night, so you must be prepared.

After about 25 minutes of determining options, I finally decided that I could have Troy hoist me up onto the upper roof, climb up and over the house, and drop down onto the roof of the woodshed. Did I mention that I was wearing a skirt and flip-flops?

Just before I was ready to start my unofficial parkour training, we got ahold of our neighbor across the street and explained what was going on. Once she stopped laughing, she said she would come and rescue us. I gave her the code to our garage door and we waited for our release.

Our garage door opener has been glitchy for years, and for years I’ve said we need to replace it. You often have to enter the code in multiple times, press enter just right, and hop on one foot while patting yourself on the head in a circular motion.

So, there we are, with fireworks screaming around us, and poor Sandy is trying to get into our garage while we’re draped over the deck railing shouting “you have to hit enter three times. You have to hit enter three times”.

She finally got the garage door open and disappeared inside. She was back in mere moments, looked up at the deck, and shouted “the door to the house is locked from the inside”. Well of course it was. Of course, it was.

Knowing that we were quickly running out of ideas and that my dad was STILL not answering his phone, I shouted down the keycode to my dad’s door. And then we prayed and prayed that he hadn’t flipped the deadbolt on it that night.

About 60 seconds after that exchange, I see lights in our house turn on, and Sandy, looking like an angel moving through our upstairs to release us from the deck…our very own Independence Day if you will. She set us free, teeth were quickly brushed, kids were put in bed, and spare keys for a door we’ve never ever needed a key for were found. Oh, and we’ve ordered a new garage door keypad.

a boy cooking in a kitchen

He occupied himself by destroying the kitchen while I was working.

The next day Jack started his weeklong soccer camp. He learned a lot and mostly had a good time, but he was zonked at the end of each day. I guess six hours of soccer, outside in the summer will do that to you. Our friends who normally play on the select team that was leading the training said that each day was like one week’s of training during the normal season. Zonked I tell yah!

The family that was over when Bennett cracked his head open like a melon actually DID come back this week for a redo. We’re shocked anyone wanted to hang out with us after that whole ordeal. But it was so fun and we had a great time.

Parents of young kids, please hear me on this. There does come a time where you will be able to go somewhere and just release your kids to play. Where you just need to check in on them occasionally (usually when it gets a bit too quiet) but you get to enjoy talking with adults.

Bennett paired off with our friend’s daughter, and Jack paired off with her brother. It was glorious and the kids were so excited to be around new people. Their daughter is very much the female version of Bennett and apparently, they found themselves playing in our (very dated) basement bathroom.

stuffed animals in a bathroom

As far as we can tell, they built the kitties a litter box, and then the snake was attacking the spider trying to defend the momma kitty? I think I’m going to show this photo at their eventual wedding.

We lost another chicken this week. It’s especially sad because we don’t know what actually happened to her. For months, two of them had been escaping the yard. We cut their flight feathers, Troy was patching every gap we could find, but they were still escaping. On Tuesday, one of them went over the fence and just never came back.

I’d like to think she was picked up by a farmer who loves chickens and was taken away to a giant ranch where she can run and play in the sun all day. And NOT that a dog, car, or eagle got her. 🙁

Since Friday of last week, I have been walking through life one day ahead of the calendar. As in, I cannot figure out for the life of me what day it is because I keep thinking it is the next day. I think lockdown has officially fried my brain permanently. 

I keep meaning to update you on the grilled pizza that Troy made during our heatwave. It was delicious! Instead of putting the pizza directly on the grates, he preheated our cast iron pizza pans on there, then put the pizza on them, and cooked them for 15-20 minutes at 425F.

They came out so great, and the crust was perfectly thin and crispy, just how I like it. I think we have found our new favorite way to make pizza at home! If you’re curious, we used my whole wheat crust recipe and homemade pizza sauce recipe that I had frozen. I’m tempted to try french bread pizza on the grill. Have you tried that?

In the Garden This Week

The boys and I have been teaming up to pick raspberries and blueberries. Our raspberry patch setup is less than ideal, with the bushes backing up against a cement wall. There is no other place we can grow them, and nothing we can do about it, but it’s still so frustrating knowing how many go to waste because we can’t reach them.

We have 25 ish blueberry bushes and they don’t all ripen at the same time. It keeps us in a steady(ish) supply of blueberries until some point in September/October. Some berries are giant and easy to pick, and others are small and make you realize why blueberries are so expensive at the store.

a container of blueberries and raspberries

Just as expected, I did not yank the pea vines this week. At least I never promised I would, right? I should probably work on that this coming week. 

We also had our first almost-ripe tomato, the earliest tomato in my gardening history. But, some jerk face animal/bird stole it when it was a day away from being picked. Rude. That’s never happened to me, even when there used to be wild peacocks roaming our neighborhood. Whatever stole it, I hope they had some really good burrata back at their nest/den.

This technically isn’t gardening-related, but what in the heck is up with allergies in July? I want to rip my face off and powerwash my skull. Pretty much all the grass in our area is dead, dead, dead. The cottonwoods aren’t shedding their cotton ball-like pollen anymore. WHAT IS TRIGGERING THIS INSANITY?


Hey, are you already following me on Instagram? If not, hop on over and join the fun. Frankly, I hate social media (geriatric millennial), but I do enjoy connecting with readers on Instagram.

In addition to sharing seasonal recipes on the daily, I can also guarantee you’ll see at least one kid in a costume on a weekly basis. Plus, there are often garden pictures/tours and some chicken shenanigans.

What I’m Listening To This Week

A few months ago, I recommended Your Own Backyard as a great podcast. This week they had a new episode with updated information concerning the disappearance of Kristin Smart.

What I’m Reading This Week

I finished Troubled Blood and it was a long but very engaging read. It didn’t end how I wanted it to, but I suppose that’s how they keep you coming back for the next book, right?

I started (and finished) City of Thieves and it was 100% up my alley. Favorite time period for fiction – WWII. Check. Interesting foreign characters. Check. A little bit of a mixture between Fall of Giants, A Gentleman in Moscow, and Child 44? Check, check, check.

I have a whole host of library books downloaded to my kindle with the wi-fi turned off. Next up is The Man from the Train.  After that? I’m not sure.

These are the library books that are currently downloaded to my ancient Kindle: Undaunted by John Brennan, Yearbook by Seth Rogen, We Should All Be Millionaires by my business hero, Rachel Rodgers, The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and The Darwin Affair by Time Mason.

Any votes on what I should start next? I’d love to hear reviews if you have read any of the above titles.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Long-time reader Paula left this five-star review on our Kale Chopped Salad {Pin this recipe}:

Sarah! This salad is delicious. I expected it to be a nice, healthy salad, but I couldn’t get enough. I left out the bacon and didn’t have any pumpkin seeds, and still, it was wonderful. Thank you for providing me with another great way to use my abundance of kale.

a white and blue bowl full of kale chopped salad

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

How to Cut a PeachLearn the trick on how to cut peaches into slices in only 15 seconds! Cutting cling peaches doesn’t have to be a chore when you learn this kitchen hack. {Pin this tutorial}

8 photos showing the steps on how to cut a peach

Freezing Swiss ChardLearn all the tips and tricks for freezing swiss chard to save time and money. Learning how to freeze swiss chard for frittatas, casseroles, and soups is a great way to preserve this healthy garden staple. {Pin this tutorial}

frozen pucks of swiss chard on a beige plate

Refrigerator Dilly BeansLearn the secrets of how to make amazing Refrigerator Dilly Beans. This easy recipe for refrigerator pickled beans involves zero canning and will help you “put up” the summer bounty in a delicious and snackable way. {Pin this tutorial}

Two jars of dilly beans with garlic and red peppers on a wooden board

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Canning Peaches – this post will likely remain in the top five until September(ish). Get used to it. {Pin this recipe}
  2. Homemade Peach Ice Cream – AKA a bowl of sunshine. {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan/vegetarian as written, but you can make your version to your tastes.  {Pin this recipe}
  4. How to Freeze Spinach – so many people are going to have awesome smoothies this winter!  {Pin this tutorial}
  5. Easy Air Fryer Appetizers – people must be hunting on Pinterest for air fryer recipes so they can avoid turning on their oven because this post popped up to the top five for the first time ever.  {Pin these recipes}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Tuesday:: Park picnic combined with a playdate for Bennett after Jack’s tennis camp.

Wednesday:: Rescheduled birthday dinner for my sis. We’re having homemade pizza, salad, and strawberry shortcake.

Thursday:: This is a super busy night for me with a soccer coach meeting (still can’t believe that is happening) and church council, so Troy is making chicken kebabs and Instant Pot garlic rice (nope, didn’t happen last week).

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: A new recipe I am testing for the fall!

Sunday:: Troy is making steak fajitas, salad, and Instant Pot Mexican Rice.


What are you having this week?

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5 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. So excited to hear what you think about The Man from the Train. It’s written by Bill James who sits near us at all of the Kansas University home basketball games. We really enjoyed his book. He also was the statistician who developed sabermetrics, which was the analysis method behind Money Ball. He’s an interesting man.

    I’m honored to be mentioned in your Reader Spotlight of the Week! Thank you.

  2. You locked yourself out of your deck. Let’s all think about this.

  3. Whenever anyone says my 9 blueberry bushes is a lot, I tell them about yours and feel much better. But the loss of a the first tomato and a hen is very sad. If it makes you feel any better, my tomatoes have only just started to flower and I still don’t have a courgette or a cucumber (it’s been a really weird year) and my raspberries don’t really start until August anyway. Pollen has been nuts here too, I don’t know why yours is bad but my working theory is that because we had a cold spring and everything is about 4 weeks behind all the pollen came out at the same time, so we have all of spring and summer pollen at the same time!

  4. Oh Bennett… Thats all I got.. Oh Bennett! lolol

  5. So much excitement on the 4th!! Glad it got sorted out.
    The raspberry plants I have in a pot have unripe berries. I never thinned the plants out so I’m a little worried we won’t get much. We will be happy with whatever we do get though!
    Chopped salad is on the menu this week! I’m super excited to have a healthy and easy food option in the fridge.
    And I just bought some green beans, so I may finally try the dilly bean recipe!