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Scattered Sundays

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Monday was the one-year anniversary of the start of our kitchen demo. It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 months since we started down the long road of building our dream kitchen. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, but I’m so thankful that we were able to do that project.

And I’ll always appreciate Troy, my father-in-law, and my brother-in-law for going through that journey with me. No matter how much pizza and soup I fed them, it will never be enough to properly say thank you.

a woman in a blue shirt using power tools

a woman with insulation falling around her

Still kicking myself for never starting a Build-a-Bear franchise with all of this insulation.

2 men cutting into a board

My FIL was there almost every day, even while recovering from shoulder surgery. What a trooper!

2 men hanging drywall

What we learned about hanging drywall: we could do, and it sucks. Also, take photos of EVERYTHING before installing insulation and the drywall. I can’t tell you how many times we looked at all the pictures I had taken to figure out where things were.

Next up: the bathroom in our room needs to be updated because of two words: orange laminate. But, there is no timeline for that happening. Yet.

We really love the floor tile that we picked out for the kitchen. Unlike some tiles, it’s not freezing cold to walk on. It’s also huge, so it won’t take much time to cover the tiny floor in our bathroom. Our bathroom is so small that it would be considered a powder room in a new build.

We ordered two boxes of the tile to have on hand in case the company stops producing it. And so far, that’s it. That’s all we have done and probably all we’ll do for another two years. I think we’ll start the planning when both Troy and I can think of a remodeling project without wanting to throw up.

two kids in soccer uniforms

On Wednesday, I completed my first run in a month after hurting my ankle playing soccer with five and six-year-olds rescuing a bus full of orphans from a waterside cliff. My plan was to complete two miles, with the hope that I would feel good enough to make it three. And I did!

I had my normal thoughts of “running is super dumb” around 2.25 miles, which is always when I want to quit. Always. But I felt strong and like I could and should keep going. I don’t have a plan for how often I’ll add running back into my routine; I’ll just take it on a day-by-day basis.

For many people, self-care looks like yoga, baths, or a massage. Me? It was hiring an electrician to finally replace 16 worn-out electrical outlets that have been driving me crazy for at least five years. It takes 3x as long to vacuum if your outlet barfs out the plug every 12 seconds.

We know someone who is an electrician and he charges a flat hourly rate that is VERY affordable. He works as an electrician for a large local employer during the day and does personal jobs in the evenings and on weekends. He is building a gorgeous house bit by bit for cash, and all the personal jobs go towards that endeavor.

He swooped into the house on Monday evening, did his thing, and within two hours every single outlet in my house would actually retain a plug. Watching Jack put his room back together again was hilarious because not one of his electronics would go into the new outlets because the plugs on all our items previously had to be bent and manipulated to stay in an outlet.

a mess under a bed

I need Rebecca from Ted Lasso dressed as the nun from Game of Thrones to walk behind me yelling “shame. shame”.

Part of prepping for the electrician meant moving all the living room and bedroom furniture, which is always a humbling moment for someone who prides themselves on being clean and tidy. I found approximately 43,919 Nerf darts and Lego pieces under the couch and Bennett’s bed. And dear Lord, the dust bunnies had created an entire advanced society under his bed.

It was a lot of work and planning, but now we have outlets that actually work AND a house that has been deep-cleaned. I tell yah, self-care looks very different to different people.

a cord in an outlet

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?

Our nighttime temps haven’t been that low, but our house is generally pretty chilly when I get up in the morning. We’ve had a few fires in the woodstove this week and I completely forgot how cozy and toasty it keeps the house overnight.

Each night that we’ve had a fire we’ve only burned two logs. Just two. And yet the house is 68 degrees at 5 am, instead of 62. Ah, magical woodstove, you have been missed. BRING ON THE COZY.

a messy kitchen

In recipe testing news, I had my greatest triumph, and my largest defeat this week. I have two air fryer recipes that have been my “white whale” for four months. Both have been tested 5+ times, and both were causing a lot of swearing to happen. Not since the year-long quest to perfect the Air Fryer French Onion Pork Chops have I felt so defeated.

At long last, I absolutely nailed one of the recipes. The boys cheered, declared it delicious, cleaned their plates, and asked for seconds and thirds. And then put the leftovers in their lunchboxes for the next day. That recipe will be shared in mid-November. The other one though…

There was a point on Wednesday when I actively considered tossing my air fryer off of the deck. The recipe tastes amazing, but the star ingredient is not reacting in the way it is supposed to. I know that sounds vague, and if I ever actually figure this recipe out, I’ll share the details with you.

All of this to say, I take my job very seriously in providing you with thoroughly tested recipes. Food costs money and cooking takes time and I refuse to waste either of those things for anyone who comes to my site for a recipe. I want to earn and retain your trust.

So when you see a post on the blog, know that hours and lots of dollars have gone into making it the best it could be. And I can 100% guarantee that many, MANY four-letter words were also wrapped up in the creation of the recipe.

Which leads me to ask my next question…what recipes or tutorials are you looking for from me in 2022? I have a 2022 version of my favorite paper planner (#geriatricmillenial) and I am gearing up to start planning my content calendar for next year. It’s my favorite time of the year!

I’d love to hear suggestions and requests, but I have to warn you I can’t do everything that is asked. Desserts are a non-starter since they do terribly on my site. And doing popular and generic terms like “roast chicken” aren’t doable since I’d be competing against huge sites and will never rank on the first page of Google. It takes too much time and money to develop a recipe for it to just flop.

I do miss the wild west days of early blogging where you could just post a recipe, title it whatever you wanted, and it would go viral on Pinterest. Those days are definitely gone, and every (recipe) post now has to be meticulously researched and worded. But alas, this is now my full-time job and no longer a hobby. 

Speaking of the business side, I started a new photography course this week. I have known for a year or so now that I need to learn flash photography to give myself some flexibility on when/where I can take photos. But I prefer to have kept my head in the sand and pretend this day wasn’t coming. It has.

Bear with me as I curse my way through this course and try out new methods for taking photos. I’m hoping that this gives me the option to take pictures when the outside light isn’t “just right” and will prevent me from having to block off windows, move furniture, and yell at the sun from ruining my perfectly cloudy day. Clouds are nature’s diffusers.

I think I might have broken google by searching for an appointment for the new 5-11-year-old Pfizer vaccine for Bennett. My laptop is protesting me and I believe it groaned the other day when I logged onto Walgreens for the 400th time.

It reminded me of the early days of spring 2021 when the vaccines were rolled out to everyone and it felt like a reality show trying to get an appointment. I stalked our pediatrician’s office homepage but got a hot insider tip from a friend that they were scheduling visits over the phone. I jumped on the phone like a seagull on a french fry to schedule that ish.

We were able to get him in for his first jab yesterday…and then immediately headed to his soccer game. Poor kiddo, but he was still so excited to finally get his shot too. Let’s goooooooo!

4 kids dressed up for halloween

This week was the first time in months that Bennett got to meet with his speech therapist. With the “family” schedule of track and soccer 5x per week, we could not find a way for him to have his appointments, even through telehealth. He adores his SLP and missed his weekly chats with her.

There was an attempt at him doing a worksheet with her, but right before I logged him on, he said “I don’t know if she’s met Whiskers yet”. Whiskers is one of his cat stuffed animals.

The entire appointment was basically him showing her all the things in his room that he thought she needed to see. Troy and I were laughing in the living room when we heard “how cute is this” as he shoved yet another stuffed animal into the laptop’s camera.

I could hear her trying to get him to say his “R” sounds correctly during the show and tell. To all the people who choose to work with children, thank you for your patience and your grace.

a kid in a cat costume

How was Halloween for everyone? Bennett, true to form changed his costume the day of trick-or-treating. I think this is the third year in a row he’s switched it up at the last minute. Pfft, kids.

Originally he was going to be an army guy (Halo?), but then Sunday morning he switched it up and came out of his room in all black sweats and informed us that he was going to be “a shadow”. And then he decided to be a shadow with a Jason mask.

As we were leaving for our friend’s neighborhood, I randomly decided to throw his fleece cat costume into the back of the car. After we parked and took photos with Jack and his friends, Bennett saw the cat costume and decided to change right then and there in the driveway.

Thankfully the cat costume was super warm because the night was pretty cold with no cloud cover. It was a perfect fall day and a great spoooooky Halloween night. 

It might seem like a long way off to talk about (American) Thanksgiving, but what are your plans this year? Last year we canceled our plans the week of Thanksgiving, which sucked but was very much a first-world problem. We had hoped that this year everything would be back to normal. Alas.

Instead of doing the whole big extended family event at our house, we’re just sticking with our little family plus my mother-in-law and father-in-law. It keeps things from being complicated and stressful. And, famous last words…maybe things will be more normal next year. A girl can dream, right?


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You can sign up here to claim your $40 bonus.

What I’m Listening To This Week

I stumbled on The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill on Sunday morning and had binged the entire season by Tuesday. It’s about the creation and ultimate closure of a Seattle megachurch. I remember hearing about it on the periphery back in 2014 but didn’t know the details.

My own (small) church had a toxic pastor leave 11 years ago, and we’re just now spiritually, emotionally, and financially recovering from it. I’m the VP of our church council and sometimes meetings are very long because we discuss every detail at length, and vote on everything. Listening to this podcast had put some of that into a new light for me.

As a side note, a friend recently asked me how I listen to so many podcasts. Here was my response: I get up between 4:30 and 5:15 am every morning. I listen to podcasts while I work, drive, exercise, and do things around the house. I listen to them while I work on my computer. And I don’t turn on the TV until after 8 pm.

I am someone who likes a lot of noise while I work. Before, that used to mean working in front of the TV. But podcasts have replaced that background “noise” for me, and I think in the end it is more productive than having the TV on. I’m definitely less distracted without the visual aspect.

What I’m Reading This Week

I finished Somebody’s Daughter pretty quickly. After reading fairly long books lately, a quick 220-page memoir seemed to fly. The book was beautifully written, but definitely sad with a bit of hope.

It was my turn at the library for The Almost Legendary Morris Sisters. From the publisher: “The Almost Legendary Morris Sisters is the revealing account of what Klam discovered about her family—and herself—as she dug into the past. The deeper she went into the lives of the Morris sisters, the slipperier their stories became. And the more questions she had about what actually happened to them, the more her opinion of them evolved.” (source)

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Terry left this five-star review on our Instant Pot Gnocchi Soup Recipe {Pin this recipe}. And psst, here is the stovetop version of this soup if you don’t have an Instant Pot.

OMG I have made this soup twice in the past three weeks. It is absolutely delicious, and EVERYONE who has tried it has loved it, including my 91-year-old father-in-law and my oh-so-picky college freshman. My new fall favorite. Well done!!!!

a grey bowl of Instant Pot chicken gnocchi soup with a spoon

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Instant Pot Lasagna Soup A big bowl of Instant Pot Lasagna Soup is simple, delicious, and so comforting. This cozy soup is packed with your favorite flavors and is ready in under 25 minutes. You’ll find both Instant Pot and stovetop instructions listed. {Pin this recipe}

a spoon lifting a bite of Instant Pot Lasagna Soup over a dark grey bowl

The Best Orange Cranberry SauceThis is the best Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe and it’s so easy to make! With only four simple ingredients, this simple make-ahead dish will help you rock the holidays. {Pin this recipe}

a bowl of orange cranberry sauce topped with fresh cranberries and orange zest

Printable Thanksgiving ChecklistA user-friendly printable Thanksgiving checklist for all type-A planners. No matter what the holiday looks like for you this year, this Thanksgiving checklist helps you get ready with manageable bite-sized tasks. {Pin this checklist}

A hand cracking an egg and cooking

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. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – a family and reader favorite! {Pin this recipe}
  4. How to Freeze Pumpkin – tis the season! {Pin this tutorial}
  5. How to Can Pumpkin – tis the season 2x. {Pin this tutorial}

Meal Plan

Monday:: (this was supposed to happen yesterday. But clearly didn’t) Butcher Box sent us a whole chicken, so I’m going to make dry brined roast chicken (and then Instant Pot bone broth on Tuesday), fluffy mashed potatoes, and yet another air fryer recipe test for a side dish.

Tuesday:: Troy is making pasta with salad.

Wednesday:: Instant Pot Tortellini Soup and salad.

Thursday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night. Now that rec soccer practices are over, Friday night movie nights are back!

Saturday:: Probably grilled cheese and soup.

Sunday:: Troy is making taquitos and some other stuff that he didn’t tell me before I needed to publish this post. 🙂


What are you having this week?

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8 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. If Bennett’s SLP is anything like me, we super enjoy having that time to connect with our kids by seeing their treasures!  Sometimes I have worried that the parents are in the next room thinking, “Gosh, tell the kid to put down the stuffies and get some SPEECH done!”  But I think ultimately kids who know we care about what is important to them work harder for us!

    I am always looking for new podcasts so I started The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.  Really interesting so far!

    I always love one-pot or sheet pan meals.  I don’t have an instant pot or air fryer so I really appreciate how you include alternate instructions on those recipes!

    • Troy did laugh and said “our insurance is paying for this” while we were listening in. But I know that those interactions are all part of the process.

  2. Sarah, love, love, love your blog! I’m a long time reader who enjoys incorporating new recipes into my usual meal plans. My daughter and I both have multiple food allergies, which means I need to adapt everything. I’d love to see more paleo, keto, grain and dairy free recipes.

    And the constant house updates are brilliant! The transformations are fabulous, and I too love well organised closets.

  3. Hi Sarah I loved your Scattered Sundays as usual. Can you tell me where you got the corner cabinet shown in your kitchen photo? I hate my two corner cabinets: I have to practically climb into them if items get pushed into the back. Thanks!

    • All the cabinets are from IKEA. And one thing I love about their corner cabinets is that the openings for them are HUGE. This one is a longer cabinet, but we have a square one near our fridge that has rotating shelves. If you want to email me I can send you pic or video of them. They’re really a marvel!

  4. As a fellow self proclaimed clean and tidy person, I also had a “Shame!” moment this week. We had to have the living room carpet (yes, I dream of a day when it’s all wood flooring) stretched, which meant all the furniture got moved. And the carpets shampooed. It wasn’t pretty. There was more animal hair present than I thought possible. The carpet cleaner water was horrific.