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Scattered Sundays

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Man, oh, man, Bennett’s soccer team (also, mine), got hammered last weekend. My boys were so distracted the entire game. One of my top defenders spent the entire game looking at his parents on the sideline. I’m shocked he didn’t get hurt by getting hit by a ball. If a plane had flown over the field, it would have been game over.

The other team has been playing together for years and has two amazing little players. When my little drunk cats weren’t being distracted, they were actually dribbling and passing well. And we had great shots on goal, but they had a player who would kick it out the goal with millimeters to spare.

And you know what…who cares? They’re five and six and this isn’t a tryout for the Seattle Sounders. They were bummed for approximately 32 seconds after the game…until snacks were passed out.

If you asked any of those kids the outcome of the game, they wouldn’t know. But they knew that Jackson’s mom gave them TWO packs of gummies. That’s what little kid sports should be about. You can develop more skills at 7 or 8. At 5 and 6, it’s all about the snacks and trying to stay upright on the field.

an irritated woman in a red coat and black hat

This is my “why do track meets last SO LONG?” face. Also, notice my TWO shirts. I also had fleece-lined leggings on under my jeans, and two pairs of wool socks.

On the flip side, Jack is going to start practicing with our local select soccer team in a week once track season is over (this Wednesday!!!!  <—-yes I am excited). He’s going to practice with them once a week while also playing in his rec league. And then when rec is over in mid-November…we’ll see what happens.

Track is over in just a few days! It was a bit of an intense season, as it was the first time he’s ever played a sport that takes up five days a week. That’s way too much dang running in my humble opinion.

He fell in love with some of the events and changed others around until he found a set of things he really enjoyed. Years of jumping over things while we yelled “stop jumping over x”, and he blatantly ignored us, really paid off as he placed in the top 16 hurdlers in the region.

The Cook family is headed to the finals on Wednesday to cheer that spindly-legged kiddo on! Win or lose, we all know one thing – we’re relieved to almost have (most of) our evenings back. 🙂

a disorganized garage

I tackled our garage food storage on Monday since the boys had a day off of school. The shelves were super disorganized, and stuff had started accumulating on the floor and there was a Goodwill donation pile that was out of control. It was chaos…well, if you’re Type A like I am, it was chaos.

It took a few hours but I got it all organized. I was able to give away some goodies to friends, made a Goodwill run, and got everything squared away. Now when I walk past the shelves on the way to my car, I no longer cringe.

Someone also recently left our upstairs freezer ajar, and it iced up one night. So annoying. But, I needed to do a deep clean of it anyway, and this was a good excuse. It always makes me feel like a nerdy Indiana Jones to clean out the freezer; you never know what you’re going to find.

A garage clean-up and a freezer deep clean in one week? Man, we really know how to party in this house. You can look forward to seeing the footage on our upcoming reality show, “Crap No One Cares About”.

organized food storage

Speaking of food storage, I noticed this week that our grocery store had fresh cranberries in stock. This seems pretty early for the US, as I usually have to wait until early to mid-November to stock up. With the supply chain so messed up right now, if you’re a cranberry fan, you may want to grab a bag or two and stash them in the freezer now.

My rule for stocking up is to not take more than you need, and unless you REALLY need it, never take the last one of something. If the TP shortage of 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we’re all part of the same supply chain and it’s important to not be a dbag.

If you’re grabbing some cranberries now, check out my tutorials on How to Freeze Cranberries and Canning Cranberry Sauce. That’s right, my friend, you can make and can cranberry sauce NOW to get ready for Thanksgiving. Win, win. Psst, you can also freeze cranberry sauce too and there are instructions in the canning post on how to do that.

a boy sleeping with cats looking on

With the days getting shorter, and our schedule still pretty busy, we’re in this weird time when we aren’t home to lock up the chickens at night. Leaving the coop open past sunset is pretty much just asking for a trash panda (raccoon) attack.

If you don’t own chickens, you may not know that they put themselves “to bed” when the sun goes down. Chickens are birds, and birds roost at night for safety. Getting chickens into the coop when they aren’t ready, is a bit of a gong show chicken circus. There is always ONE damn chicken who refuses to go in early. ALWAYS.

I was seriously popping popcorn to lure the chickens into the coop on the days we had to lock them up early. Chickens LOVE popcorn. And bread. Basically, chickens are like the rest of us and love carbs. Anyhoo, the popcorn wasn’t a long-term option, because it was annoying me and one chicken, Hendalorian, gives me all the rage because she absolutely makes it a giant workout to get her into the coop. My neighbors know I’m mad when I start yelling “I’ll make you a nugget”.

Troy had been talking about getting an automatic chicken door for years. But I was totally misunderstanding where he planned to install it on the coop, and what I was picturing just wouldn’t work. He explained it to me like I was five, and that worked, and I totally got the appeal of this thing.

The install process was easy…cause I didn’t have to do it. The initial ramp he set up didn’t work, so he built this custom ramp that belongs on the cover of CQ (Chicken Quarterly). He put non-skid material on it like the chickens just couldn’t handle anything slippery or icy.

The instructions seem to be written by someone who is a non-native English speaker; it gives me some major Nordic or Cold War Eastern European vibes. Let’s just say that it took us an entire week to get this beast to work how we wanted it to because the instructions just weren’t doing it for us.

We finally figured it out, and thankfully, the chickens finally figured it out. Those dumb-dumbs would just pace back and forth in front of the door for an hour before one of them was brave enough to try it out. I was even throwing bread and snacks in front of it to lure them out. Chickens are beyond stupid.

2 boys wearing cat masks

Remember how I rolled my dang ankle last week? That piece of crap still hasn’t healed! I did all the things I was supposed to – elevating, icing, and resting. I’m pretty sure my Apple watch is convinced I am dead at this point. A normal day for me is 16-25k steps, and I’m barely getting to 8-10k most days. It’s been torturous!

I was nervous that perhaps I had done some permanent damage to it, so I ended up going to the doctor on Wednesday (two visits in a year! Normally, my doctor visits are every 4-6 years.) to get it checked out.

She said it very much felt like soft tissue damage that would take 2-4 weeks to heal. But she offered to write an order for an x-ray if I wanted to go that route. Since I was already heading to the imaging center on Friday for my mammogram, I thought it would be best to just take care of it. Get a twofer for imaging – hooves and honkers.

The mammogram was a breeze. Seriously, it wasn’t even uncomfortable. My friends who are not built like 12-year-old boys, informed me that my experience was not their experience. Finally, small boobs for the win!

Last week I scheduled flu shots for Bennett, Jack, and myself. Troy gets his at work. I signed up online at a local grocery store’s pharmacy and had to fill out a ton of information to schedule them. Including date of birth.

We got there Tuesday night, and the pharmacy tech said “I’m sorry, but we don’t do shots for kids under 7”. I was not pleased; we’re busy almost every night and this was the one magical night that worked for all our schedules. Also, I had to input his birthday to schedule the appointment…can’t a busy mom get a pop up on the screen saying he isn’t eligible???

Jack and I got ours, and randomly Bennett was devastated he couldn’t get one. Usually, we’re having to fight to keep him from fleeing shots, and let me tell you, all 44 pounds of that kid will fight like a wounded honey badger. Freaking kids.

I was thankful to find an appointment at Rite Aid after soccer yesterday. When I was signing him up, they asked A LOT of background questions. Jack and I had a good giggle while I was reading the questions aloud, asking Bennett if he was pregnant or nursing, and about his smoking habits. 

Per the local news, this is the coldest October we’ve had in 40 years. And dang, I believe it! It’s been a mix of really nice days and some rain, but the nighttime temps have been dipping into the 36-39F territory. That is really cold for us, as our average first frost date isn’t until the second week of November.

There is a solid chance that I’m going to break my own “no woodstove fires before November 1st” rule. It’s probably going to happen, because a) it’s a pointless and arbitrary rule and 2) bish, it’s cold.

In the Garden This Week

Insert loud fart noise here. That’s about how much I did in the garden this week. I was going to plant the garlic, but my ankle was being annoying and I decided to be smart (a rarity) and just stay off my feet. Instead, I finally cleaned up all the garlic from August’s harvest that had been curing (drying) on our front porch.

I removed the bulbs (heads) from the stalks and removed as much of the dried stained garlic skin as possible. While a net bag (like how onions are stored) is ideal, I didn’t have one this year and threw everything into a paper bag. I’ll keep the bag open for air circulation and in the garage for cool storage.

a woman gardening

Troy took this pic without me knowing. Like some kind of cottagecore creeper.

And between now and next summer, I’ll use the garlic to make frozen garlic “pucks”, which is the best ever meal prep time saver. For 30 minutes every few months, I peel a bunch of garlic and then chop it in my food processor and freeze it in mini muffin trays. No more chopping garlic multiple times per week! Magic. :throws up garlic-scented fairy dust:

What I’m Listening To This Week

Ok, so I find this new podcast called “Was I in a Cult”, fascinating, but I am not a fan of the hosts. Since it is new, I’m wondering if they’re just being extra because they’re not experienced yet or comfortable with the process. I am hoping they calm down eventually.

Why am I fascinated by cults and true crime? I think it is because it’s essentially a study of human beings. Learning about motivations, why people make certain choices, and the absurdities of our world have always been so interesting to me.

What I’m Reading This Week

The Plot was a great and engaging read that I flew through. It was nice to get lost in a book for a few days, especially after reading some emotionally challenging books lately.

It was an interesting plot (doy, hence the name) and there was some good suspense that was a bit similar to The Guest List. I figured out the big surprise early on, but I still very much enjoyed reading it and getting to see if my hunch was correct. It was!

I started Fates and Furies after reading about it in some magazine. The writing is really beautiful and engaging but unfamiliar in style. I’d have a hard time comparing it to another book I’ve read.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Long-time reader, Christina, left this five-star comment on our Instant Pot Tortellini Soup, and motivated me to put it on our menu for this week! {Pin this recipe}

I bought the 18 oz. package of Rana mozzarella ravioli and use half in this recipe because I like a bit more broth and I can make this dish twice in quick succession. So delicious!

A hand holding a white bowl of Instant Pot Tortellini Soup

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla SoupHealthy, easy, and delicious Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup with rice is the tastiest comfort food in under 30 minutes. Instant Pot, slow cooker, and stovetop instructions are included. {Pin this recipe}

Instant Pot tortilla soup in a bowl with cilantro, sour cream, cheese, lime, and green onion

How to Freeze OnionsLearn all the tips and tricks for freezing onions to save time and money. Learning how to freeze onions (diced, green, sliced, rings, and whole) is a great way to preserve this delicious staple of so many recipes. {Pin this tutorial}

a baking sheet with chopped frozen onions on a piece of parchment

Canning PumpkinThis step-by-step tutorial will teach you about Canning Pumpkin safely in a pressure cooker. Preserving pumpkins give you so many recipe options – pumpkin puree, pie filling, or even pumpkin butter. {Pin this tutorial}

Jars of canned pumpkin with two mini pumpkins and a green striped cloth

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Canning Apple Butter – this post has both canning and freezing instructions. And it will make your house smell AMAZING. {Pin this tutorial}
  2. How to Can Pears – our family’s favorite canned fruit! {Pin this recipe}
  3. Canning Applesauce – such a tasty sauce that can be made without any added sugar. {Pin this tutorial}
  4. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – a family and reader favorite! {Pin this recipe}
  5. Freezing Spinach – looks like the fall gardeners are squirreling up their greens for winter. {Pin this tutorial}

Meal Plan

Monday:: A new air fryer recipe that I’m testing, with salad, and stovetop garlic bread on the side.

Tuesday:: Troy is making pasta and salad. But not pasta salad because for some reason my kids find that dish horrifying.

Wednesday:: Takeout because it is track championships night and we’re going to be super far from home.

Thursday:: Instant Pot Tortellini Soup, salad, and garlic bread. We have Bennett’s soccer practice this night, and it’s supposed to rain, but coming home to this soup all cozy in the Instant Pot will be the best! I’ll be eating on the run since I have church council that night after soccer, but the boys can enjoy it at home.

Friday:: Troy is making paninis with salad.

Saturday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Sunday:: Family dinner with my dad and sister. I think I’m making Troy make burgers.


What are you having this week?

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4 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I read Fates and Furies.  While I can’t say I *liked* it, I did think it was different and interesting.  If that makes sense at all.

    Cross country is over!  And while my seventh-grader loved going to practice every day (weirdo) she has admitted that she won’t miss getting up early to run two miles every Saturday.

    She is making lasagna for dinner right now and I am practicing keeping my mouth shut because she is a really good, VERY MESSY cook!  Dinners for the rest of the week will seem easy now that I’ll get home an hour and a half earlier every day!  And Friday we’ll be eating out because my eighth-grader is getting to play with the high school band at the football game.

    I hope your ankle is back to normal soon!

    • I think your take on the book is 100% spot on. I definitely liked the first half of the book more than the second.

      Hurray for XC being over, and for someone else making dinner. I too have to bite my tongue on the kitchen, just like my parents had to when I was in the kitchen. It’s so painful.

  2. I used to have food storage in our garage, but after this last crazy hot summer, no more. Safe storage temperature is 50 – 70 degrees. I stuck a thermometer out there, and we consistently got into the 80s, topping out in the low 90s during the “heat dome.” It was a real pain having to relocate everything!

    • That heat dome ruined everything for us, huh? I remember visiting a friend in Phoenix in July 10 years ago and going into her garage and gasping at how dang hot it was. That was never my experience growing up and I hate that it is becoming a thing here in summer.