Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

Scattered Sundays

In less than 24 hours, I will have both kids in full-time school. BOTH KIDS ROUTINELY GONE for the first time in 18 months. But if 2020/2021 has taught us anything, it is the need to get comfortable with saying the F word. As in flexibility. What did YOU think I meant? 🙂

When all the kids in Washington State (and much of the country) got sent home on what I refer to as “Black Friday”, March 13, 2020, it was a shock for most parents. Not to mention teachers and educators. It required immediate pivoting and frankly, most of us lived in The Upside Down for a few weeks, then months. No one knew what to expect and the long-term closure was cruelly hanging over our heads.

I’m fully 100% expecting both of my kids needing to be home multiple times during this school year for quarantine purposes. Whether from direct or indirect exposure at school, out of an abundance of caution, etc. Going into this year KNOWING they will be home is my way of protecting my stress levels when the inevitable happens.

Trying to work full-time and grow my business in the last two years with the kids home has been an uphill battle. That slog often led to me being much more “yelly” and grumpy than I care to be.

I’m looking forward to work days/hours without trying to dodge Nerf darts while doing photos. I’m looking forward to listening to my podcasts while at my computer with all the swears without the use of earbuds. <—-priorities.

two boys on a swing

Never has a photo captured their personalities so well.

But, I’m going into this with my eyes wide open, knowing that the crap will definitely hit the fan at some point. And probably sooner than I truly expect to happen. At which point I will employ the F word again…flexibility. And the other one.

Jack started school this week, and Bennett starts tomorrow. He’s pretty excited too, especially after we had a 1on1 orientation with his teacher this week. She’s the freaking best and we’re so thrilled Bennett will be in her classroom.

You know those people who seem to be ordained by a higher power for their jobs? We feel that way about our pediatrician, and now also about Bennett’s teacher. She is the Simone Biles, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan of kindergarten teachers. We’re straight up giddy about having the G.O.A.T.

Since Troy and I are both the spawn of teachers, we showed up to the orientation with two big boxes of individually packaged snacks from Costco to donate to the classroom. We both grew up thinking it was normal for teachers to spend their own money on supplies and snacks. As (waves hand at the world) everyone knows, that’s not how things should work!

I think we started the snack donation for the teacher thing when Jack was in first or second grade. And we love to drop off additional stuff randomly during the year. Teachers, admin, and staff, we see you and we appreciate the absolute crap out of you.

a boy in a blue shirt holding a first day of school sign

Physics would say those legs should be unable to hold up the weight of a human body, but somehow they can.

Side note for people working in the education field, how do you feel about homemade goodies right now? In previous years, we’ve done the Cinnamon Roll Bonzana right before winter break, where I make an obscene amount of Overnight Cinnamon Rolls for the boy’s teachers, office staff, specialists, playground attendees, and custodial staff. (See 2019’s haul here)

We make and package them at home, and gift them on the second to last day before winter break. Why second to the last? Because inevitably, someone will forget them in the fridge at school and not be able to enjoy them over break. 

Buuuuuuut, if homemade goodies are giving people all the weird feels this year, I’d rather not waste all those valuable ingredients, giving someone something that they’re just going to toss out an abundance of caution. Thoughts?

a boy drawing a photo of a stuffed cat

Jack’s soccer team is absolutely huge this year with 18 kids. They can now play 11 on the field at once, and it seems like just an immense amount of kiddos. More than half the team has played together for a few years, and they’re so fun to watch. They’re a well-oiled machine at this point, despite missing an entire season last fall.

We finally got both boy’s game schedules and there are a few games where it is impossible to be in two places at once. So, Troy will have to take Jack, while I herd the tiny drunk cats over on my team. I’m thankful that most of their games are at the same location for the duration of the season. It makes things so much easier.

Games started yesterday and it couldn’t have been better soccer weather. I love the start of soccer season because it’s so dang perfect. Bennett’s team (AKA the rug rats I coach) went first, and frankly, soccer for this age should be a drinking game. Kids pile up for no reason? Take a shot. Someone cries or picks their nose? Shot! Easily 99% of the game is throw-ins because they cannot keep the ball on the field? DRINK!

After Bennett’s team played, Jack’s team was up. One of the moms on our team has a shirt that says “don’t mind me, this is my soccer mom voice”, and I 100% need that. I become a whole new person when I’m on the sidelines. I get super yelly (in a positive way) and am SO excited to watch these kids play their heart’s out. It’s the absolute best to get to see people do things that bring them joy.

Jack plays his face off the entire time he is on the field. He never holds anything back and frankly, he inspires me when I watch him play soccer. It’s like watching a musician get lost in a song that they love to play.

a boy in PJs with 3 deer on a lawn

On the opposite end of the athletic spectrum, I’m still doing a guided 10k training program. It definitely slowed WAY down in summer, but I’m looking to pick things back up with school finally returning. In a fun way to keep me motivated, I signed up for the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch virtual 5k/10k race. And also, the 5k/10k proceeds go to Feeding America, which is fantastic.

If you watch Yellowstone, you’ll get a kick out of the prizes for participating. But, also, who knows what I have really signed up for given the loyalty they require for wearing that logo…? Does that mean Rip is going to come after me if I stop running? A girl can dream, right? 

a boy holding a drawing of Godzilla

Sometimes he’s so cute I want to eat his face.

I mentioned last week that I had my second microchanneling appointment. I couldn’t upload a photo because we were in the place where the internet went to die, so here is a before and after that I couldn’t share last week. The picture on the left was taken in June, and the one on the right was last week.

two photos of a woman

I can see improvement, but also see a lot of work that still needs to be done. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled with the progress. But I’m also really excited to see how much things improve after the next few treatments. I have a minimum of three left, and then we’ll re-evaluate and see where things stand.

3 photoshopped photos of a little boy at the ocean

While we were at the ocean, Troy took my butthole-clenching fear of the boys being washed away by waves and had some fun with it. See above. Punk.

A few weeks ago we had lunch with some friends and they made us Cuban sliders on Kings Hawaiian rolls. Troy’s cousin makes similar sliders as appetizers at Christmas, but we haven’t had a family Christmas since 2019. I had forgotten how great these little sandwiches are.

Costco had the rolls, so we bought some for quick lunches. Despite the fact that my kids claim to not like sandwiches, both boys ate the ones we made. Jack loves them…Bennett tolerates them. They’re so easy to make and my kids like them – win/win. As a result, it’s about to become a weekly soccer night dinner.

We change up the recipe (you can find a base idea of how to make them here) depending on what we have on hand. I just brush melted butter on top with a little garlic salt, but some people use poppy seeds, Italian seasoning, etc. It’s a super versatile little recipe. And if you don’t eat meat, they would be fan-freaking-tastic loaded with veggies and cheese.

Housekeeping

Our church is putting together welcome kits for refugees and asylum seekers to our area. They arrive with high hopes for a new and better life, but very few belongings. These welcome kits will help provide the basic household items as people and families begin a new journey. Our calling to help comes from Matthew 25:35.

If you feel called to donate, you can send funds directly to my Venmo by clicking here. Please add a note that says “for church kits” in the memo and 100% of the funds received will be used by me to purchase silverware and cooking utensils for families. Our family will match up to the first $200 donated.

The turnaround time for our church is quick, with items needed by the 19th. If you’re called to donate, please do so by Thursday the 14th. I’ll order everything and will post photos to show what we were all able to accomplish. Thanks in advance!

In the Garden This Week

I needed to amend (supplement) the beds where I am planting our lettuce, so I started hauling chicken compost this week. This summer has been SO dry that even the compost was in terrible shape. I think it has been over 100 days since we have seen rain. Whaaaaa.

I finally gave up hauling 5-gallon buckets of subpar compost, hopped into Troy’s truck, and went to the garden supply place, and had 1/4 of a yard of compost dumped into the bed of the truck. It was enough to amend our three main raised beds that we use for fall planting.

lettuce in a raised bed garden

The lettuce starts finally got planted, and I installed my rebar/PVC pipe system for creating a shade cloth tunnel. When the weather gets crummy and cold, I’ll replace the shade cloth with some heavy-duty plastic sheeting. It’s just enough protection in our mild maritime climate to keep greens growing through the winter.

We picked a bunch of raspberries and blueberries yesterday before soccer. I’m finding it almost impossible to keep up with them right now. But on the plus side, I’m the most popular person ever with the birds. So I have that going for me.

a little boy picking raspberries in boots

What I’m Listening To This Week

Ok, this isn’t really a podcast recommendation, but a documentary that I was inspired to watch based on a podcast from a few years ago that I LOVED. Many of you have heard me recommend season one of The Dream podcast so.many.times. It is a deep dive into MLMs and you’ll get so freaking mad about these predatory “companies”. Full-on righteous anger. 

There is a new documentary on Amazon called LuLaRich about the rise and fall of LuLaRoe (no idea how to properly spell that). It’s pure banana pants. And I’m pretty sure that at some point in time, you could have actually bought some banana pants leggings from LuLaRoe.

What I’m Reading This Week

I’ve been having a hard time focusing on books lately. They’re either too depressing or something I’m just not currently in the mood to read. I started The Sum of Us – just like The Color of Law, it’s absolutely fascinating but it makes me want to throw my Kindle against the wall.

I had to put The Sum of Us aside and started When the Stars Go Dark, but it’s already so sad that I’m not quite sure if I want to read it just at the moment. So, basically, I’m contemplating re-reading Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris for the 400th time just for something that makes me laugh.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Rachel left this five-star review in our Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce {Pin this recipe}:

I can’t stop eating this spaghetti sauce! First time spaghetti sauce for me and I can’t believe how amazing this was. It was a little watery for me but I thickened it up with a roux using flour and avocado oil (I didn’t have any tomato sauce), and it was perfect. Just amazing.

a jar of crockpot spaghetti sauce with herbs and fresh tomatoes

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

French Onion Pork ChopsThese French Onion Pork Chops are one-pan comfort food that is ready in a flash. Create juicy and tender boneless pork chops in the air fryer, while whipping up a quick and flavorful pan sauce on the stove. As always, non-air fryer instructions are also included! {Pin this recipe}

a pan with boneless french onion pork chops

How to Can PearsAn easy step-by-step tutorial on Canning Pears. This easy recipe for preserved pears is perfect for newbies and experienced canners alike. Instructions include low-sugar and no-sugar options. {Pin this recipe}

canned pears in a jar

Canning Tomato Soup BaseFollow this step-by-step tutorial to learn how easy Canning Tomato Soup can be. The ultimate comfort food, this tomato soup base recipe can be pressure canned or preserved via water bath canning. {Pin this recipe}

canning jars of tomato soup with herbs and garlic bread

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Canning Peaches – still #1 but traffic to this post is starting to slow, which is a harbinger of Fall. {Pin this recipe}
  2. How to Can Pears – our family’s favorite canned fruit! {Pin this recipe}
  3. Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce – everyone is usually up all the last of the garden goodness. {Pin this recipe}
  4. Canning Apple Butter – this post has both canning and freezing instructions. And it will make your house smell AMAZING. {Pin this tutorial}
  5. Canning Whole Tomatoes – the best way to give yourself a squirrel stash for making soups and sauces this winter. {Pin this tutorial}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Troy is making his famous burgers, tots, and salad. The salad is not famous, but the burgers sure are.

Tuesday:: There’s no soccer tonight, just track, so we can have a real sit-down dinner! I’m trying out a new air fryer recipe that will hopefully be on the blog this fall (if I can get it just right). It will be a prep/freezer-style meal, and I’m excited about it as a potential fast dinner option.

Wednesday:: Pasta and cut up raw veggies.

Thursday:: Take out to eat at the field. Jack has track, Bennett has soccer, and then I have to fly to a church council meeting after coaching.

Friday:: Picnic dinner of homemade adult Lunchables at the soccer field. So fancy.

Saturday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Sunday:: I’m going to make a big batch of gnocchi soup for dinner + lunches or leftovers for the week. It’s a soup that both my kids agree on.

 

What are you having this week?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

18 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I live in regional Victoria Australia and since March last year my 2 kids have been constantly in and out of remote learning. Currently at home again about to go on 2 weeks school holidays and no idea if they will be back at school next term. Has gotten to the point that when they are back in school we tell them not to leave anything in their lockers as you just can’t be sure if they’ll have to stay home the next day. Flexibility is definitely one of the f words needed at this time!

  2. I admit that I would probably be okay with the cinnamon rolls since they will go into the oven before going into my mouth 😉 but honestly it may be best to wait another year. With the faculty and staff you have a strong relationship with maybe just ask them individually.
    And as a staff member – thank you for remembering us. It can be pretty wearing to never get any appreciation or thanks for being part of the educational team.

  3. All the books in Graeme Simsion’s Rosie series are great, but the first book, The Rosie Project, is my favorite. It is definitely well worth your time . . . spend some time with Rosie and Don.

  4. Aloha.  Troy is a good photoshopper ..those photos of the boys with fog monster; giant snake and shark fin cracked me up, although I understand your fear of them getting attacked by waves.. Bennett’s dragon drawing… wow…. A+ 
    Gnocchi soup .. my fave.. I’d love to can but it’s not going to happen in my trailer sized kitchen.. one day when I can have much more room. Your skin does look better in the after.. keep on going .. I look forward to see it after all finished .. congrats on having the boys back in school! Aloha…

    • Yep, he has definitely found his fun little niche of random hobbies. He does it all on his phone which blows my mind.

      I have seen people getting a single propane burner for a canner to process the jars outside. That might solve a few tight spaces issues.

  5. Two school admin in my house and we are voting no on homemade treats this year. It sucks but seems like the safest road forward. For now. 

  6. Homemade goodies… See I am on team.. “If I know who they are from and I trust them” Then I don’t care about pandemics cause I KNOW that person would not make stuff if they were under ANY impression that anyone in their circle was feeling off or potentially had been exposed. There are also lots of people I would NEVER eat their food cause I have bad vibes! lol

  7. Some of my favorite non-depressing books:
    The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore
    Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simionson
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (the audiobook was narrated by Jim Broadbent, which was perfect)
    The entire No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith

    Today I’ll be doing all the meal plan and prep to be ready for another busy week of cross country practice.  My girl came in 10th at her first meet yesterday and it was SO FUN to watch her.  I asked if she wanted me to yell super loud or sort of loud.  She said, “not at all” and I did not honor that wish in any way!

    • Thanks for the list! I read the No 1 series before having kids. My MIL loved them so much and gave me the set.

      Yay for screaming your face off during XC!!! It’s so much fun to watch these kids work so hard. I’m not sure what it is about running, but it chokes me up to watch kids do it. No other sport gives me all those feels. Jack’s first track meet is next Wednesday and I’m sure I’ll be crying behind my sunglasses for some unknown reason. 🙂

    • Class Mom by Laurie Gelman will make you laugh too hard. It’s perfect for the beginning of the school year!

  8. I love the Make Me Smart podcast. They started a fall fundraiser (it is public radio based after all) and one of the thank you gift options is…. Banana Pants! 

    Thank you for the reminder about the gnocchi soup, that needs to go on my menu ASAP.