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Scattered Sundays

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Late last weekend, I had had enough of my children and their attitudes. Bennett had been home since Monday with the sniffles and they were both off for the rest of the week for Thanksgiving starting on Wednesday at noon. We did the whole “constantly together” time for 15 months during lockdown. I’ve seen enough of my kids at this point.

Many of my friends were finding themselves in the same boat with their kids. And I know teachers and administrators are fed up with the feral-ness of kids this year. By Saturday night, I was DONE and after yet another stupid fight (during movie time no less!), I went full John Wick finding out about his dog on them.

I regret nothing, even though I acted a fool. I was in the kitchen making popcorn and when telling them to stop the fighting was ignored, I threw 7 metal mixing bowls as hard as I could on our tile floor. Let me tell you, that gets people to shut up and listen!

I blacked out a bit during the next three minutes, but do remember saying “your father and I are in charge, you do not control this house. Your behavior does not get to set the tone for the rest of us” and there might have been “if you ever act like this again, you can spend the entire day in your rooms”.

Other than a few small dumb spats since then, I have to say, the boys have been MUCH better behaved. As I said, I regret nothing. They needed to hear that and if using my ROTC voice was the only way to get them to listen, so be it. 

two shadows on a sidewalk

Because of course he’d wear a cat costume for a Christmas light walk around the neighborhood.

After a wee little break, soccer starts back up this week. Jack has shifted to the local select team and will have two weeks of practice until they take a break for the holidays. I’m so thankful they get to practice on a turf field because I am officially over the mess associated with muddy grass fields.

a drawing of a cat and snowman

After watching with horror the news in Michigan this week, I reached out to a friend who lives in that community. Needless to say, they are devastated, as we should all be. I shocked Jack when I told him growing up this was not a thing we ever had to worry about. I never did drills in school that prepared me for anything other than earthquakes and fires.

If you’re like me, these moments can make you feel absolutely furious but also powerless. In those moments, I look to where I can help as a starting point. First things first, you can sign up with Moms Demand Action or Everytown USA. They guide you through what you can do in your own community to make an impact.

Second, you can donate if it is within your means. My friend who lives in the community vetted this fund through the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. It’s a bit clunky and old school to donate, but there are multiple options for how to get money to the memorial and victim’s fund.

a boy in a mask holding his arm

This mask is part of this set of hilarious cat masks.

Big week in health news – I got my booster and Bennett got his second shot. Yahoo! But at the same time, it feels weird and icky to get a booster when much of the world hasn’t even had their first shot. Katie and I were talking about the complete inequity of the rollout of this thing and the difference between rich and emerging countries.

I’d gladly give up my booster if it meant it was being sent somewhere else. Sadly, I know that’s not how the supply chain works. But, c’mon, let’s get a move on. Help those countries that need it. LET’S GO already.

Just like my second shot, I had limited reactions to my booster. I’m not a doctor (pause for shock), but each time I got an injection, I drank A TON of water. Like so so so much water. I also moved a lot the day of and after the shot. Who knows if any of that helped or it was just the luck of the draw, but my reactions were always mild AF.

About 12 hours post-booster, I woke up with an annoying headache, insomnia, and some chills. I got up, had a snack, took some ibuprofen, and went back to bed. Since I had been awake from 2-4 am, I decided to sleep in a bit. Let’s just say, I had some people worried. HA!

a text conversation

I got up and took a 4.6 mile walk and felt so much better when I got back, except for being freezing due to the 36-degree weather. I don’t think there is a pair of gloves that can keep my terrible circulation moving in my hands. It’s brutal and so painful to thaw out after being outside that long.

I will say that I had a sore arm this time but not nearly as bad as last time. That sore arm syndrome always happens to me with my flu shot too. Every dang time! This year, I was telling the pharmacist giving me the flu shot about how sore my arm gets. She paused with the needle, looked at me, and said “well, that is because you’re holding your arm entirely wrong”. Record scratch noise here! Why had no one told me this before?

Instead of holding it like I normally do (across my chest, almost like my arm is in a sling) she had me dangle it over the side of the chair without tensing a single muscle. She said my arm needed to “play dead”. And wouldn’t you know it, that was the first-ever flu shot I had without pain.

I tried that tactic again with my booster shot, and it easily cut down on the soreness by 50-60%. Still sore, but entirely manageable and it didn’t occupy my mind or make me yelp when rolling over in bed. “Dead arm”. Who knew?!

Bennett got his second shot Friday afternoon and was such a brave little dude! With all of us vaccinated and Troy and I boosted, our cell reception is phenomenal. <—-if you’re new here, that is sarcasm and pretty much spells out how I think about stupid misinformation.

woodchips in a driveway

A few months ago, a reader (and friend) told me about chipdrop, a site that connects arborists with gardeners to provide free woodchips. I finally signed up last Sunday, and by Wednesday there was an enormous pile of woodchips in my driveway. This may not be everyone’s experience since it relies on tree work being done near your home overlapping with when you have requested woodchips. I know of some people who wait forever for their chips or never receive them at all.

It’s entirely free but you can donate to cover the cost that the arborist pays for using the site. I paid $20 for hundreds of dollars worth of woodchips. Chipdrop says to expect 20 years of chips, but let me tell yah, I got A LOT more than that. It’s like Mount Woodchip in my driveway.

My original goal with signing up was to get enough woodchips to spread in the chicken’s run. It’s getting muddy and gross this time of year, and straw is not really a long-term solution. I ended up with enough chips to run a chicken farm. It’s A LOT.

I worked for well over an hour on the first day they were delivered and 80 minutes on day two, and at the end of it, it didn’t even look like I had touched the pile at all. In fact, I think they somehow multiplied in that time.

I also spread them around the garden which is a great way to amend and protect winter soil. Worms love the woodchips and I love the worms. I dumped a bunch around our three large raised beds to help keep the weeds down and make the micro farm more appealing from the road. And I tucked them amongst our lettuce plants like a warm and cozy blanket for winter.

Thankfully, we have friends and neighbors who also wanted chips. I jokingly told anyone who came to get some that they each needed to take at least three truckloads. I was like Oprah giving away cars. “You get some woodchips. And YOU get some woodchips. Everybody gets some woodchips!”

a boy holding a stuffed owl

What I’m Reading This Week

Late last weekend I finished The Lincoln Highway and I enjoyed it very much…all 576 pages of it. That being said, I hated the ending. And by ending, I mean literally the last two pages. The rest of the book was beautifully written. So I guess I enjoyed 574 pages of it.

I started and finished Matrix by Lauren Groff (she wrote Fates and Furies that I read a few months ago). “Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease.” (source)

If you loved Pillars of the Earth but were like “what if it were a bunch of chicks and there was almost no carnage”, this is the book for you! I then started up with Harlem Shuffle and am enjoying it so far, even if I am not very far into it.

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO THIS WEEK

I did a multi-day binge listen of the first season of Strangeland. It’s true crime-based and takes place in an area of Los Angeles that I knew on the periphery from when we lived there. The case and investigation were very interesting, but I did find the outcome to be deeply unsatisfactory.

READER SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK

I’m branching out from the normal kind reader highlight, to share a douchey comment I received on my Air Fryer Egg Roll recipe this week. Originally I deleted it, but then I posted it and then responded to it. Instagram followers of mine know that I love to post rude comments/emails that I receive and then my response. So I thought it would be fun for the blog too. 🙂

If you want easy recipes, I have easy recipes. If you want something more complicated, I’ve got those too! I’ll teach you to dry brine a chicken and roast it, and then make your own bone broth from it, and then for “fun”, I’ll walk you through how to can your chicken broth.

The key takeaway from all of this is that there is room for ALL kinds of cooks in this world. and keep your eyes on your own plate. And DO NOT COME FOR ME OR MY READERS.

Ok, here is the comment: Why even post a recipe when the ingredients are: Store bought wrappers and pre-made coleslaw. Haha.

And here is my response: Because I believe in meeting people where they are in their cooking journey. Someone who hates to cook or maybe can’t cut vegetables very well (disabilities/arthritis, or maybe they’re kids) might want to try something that they made by themselves. And if they get more confident by learning a simple skill, they might be willing to try new more complicated things. Not everyone is at the same level as everyone else. Don’t insert yourself and biases into another home cook’s kitchen.

A hand holding an egg fryer egg roll into a bowl of dipping sauce

ON SUSTAINABLE COOKS THIS WEEK

December is a busy “foodie” month and there will be a lot of extra posts in the coming weeks. I’m pretty excited to share some of these brand-new ones with your gorgeous faces. Let’s take a look at what was on the site for the first week of December!

Old-Fashioned FudgeAunt Barbara’s Old-Fashioned Fudge recipe is so easy to make in under 20 minutes! Made from scratch with rich chocolate and marshmallows, you’ll love this easy chocolate fudge recipe. {Pin this recipe}

a hand taking a piece of fudge from a container

Chocolate Bark With PretzelsWhen you need a fast dessert or appetizer, whip up a batch of this easy Chocolate Bark With Pretzels. Just two simple components and you’re on way your to a speedy and shareable snack that everyone will love! {Pin this recipe}

Air Fryer Toast (YES THIS IS A THING – I’m totally going to break the internet with this tutorial…HA) – Learn how easy it is to make air fryer toast! Ditch the toaster and maximize how you use your countertop air fryer to make perfect and delicious toast each and every time. {Pin this recipe}

air fried toast with a pat of butter on a plate with a knife and strawberry jam

Confessions – Everyone’s favorite post of the month.

A woman with a finger up to her mouth saying "shhhhh"

THE FIVE MOST POPULAR POSTS THIS WEEK

  1. Old-Fashioned Fudge– it is officially fudge season! {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan and vegetarian as written but super customizable! {Pin this recipe}
  3. Canning Apple Butter – this post has both canning and freezing instructions. And it will make your house smell AMAZING. {Pin this tutorial}
  4. How to Freeze Pumpkin – shocked this one is trending so late in the season! {Pin this recipe}
  5. Gluten-Free French Fried Onions – I’m glad to see that some people were attempting to rescue the dumpster fire that is green bean casserole. {Pin this recipe}

MEAL PLAN

Monday:: Chicken teriyaki and rice in the Instant Pot with salad on the side.

Tuesday:: Turkey Chili (this post badly needs new photos!) because no, I didn’t do this last week. We had too many leftovers. to make a whole new dinner. Stovetop garlic bread on the side.

Wednesday:: Takeout to support a local small business and my sanity.

Thursday:: Instant Pot Gnocchi Soup, salad, and Cheesy Garlic Bread. I’m finally making dinner for our friends who brought their kiddo home from the NICU. The day I was supposed to make them dinner two weeks ago, Bennett had a fever. He’s why we can’t have nice things.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Homemade pizza and salad for family dinner. My sister’s family is coming over to watch the Christmas boat parade, and yes, that is the most Seattle thing ever.

Sunday:: A new air fryer recipe that I’m photographing, plus salad and garlic bread on the side.

What is on your meal plan for this week?

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10 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I love the real life of your posts, Sarah. Children need a reality check every so often, so parents don’t perpetually lose their sh!t. And to the person and their up-turned nose at an AF Egg Roll recipe, I need constant reminders and suggestions to put my AF to use. AF Egg Rolls sound like a good thing to make when I’m stay-cationing between Christmas and New Y ears and everyone is sick of leftovers.

    THANK YOU for the ChipDrop recommendation. I signed up for it mid-reading this morning. We’re in winter mode in MN right now, so no woodchip deliveries are required until spring, at which time I’m going to submit a request. My wild-child flowerbeds are going to be happy with me again.

    • It’s like prison – everyone once in a while they need to know which inmates need to be avoided.

      You’re welcome! Order it as soon as you think you might be able to work the gardens. It could come in 2 days…or 2 months! Or never. 🙁

  2. Fellow poor circulation in my hands over here… My best solution? Mittens. I have a wife variety depending on the season and temperature, but they make all the difference for me!

    • Mittens! I’m just picturing all my freezing cold fingers huddled together trying to warm each other. Ha! I’m willing to try it for sure.

      My soccer team got me a Target gift card and I had no idea what to buy with it. I just ordered a pair of heated gloves and I’ll keep you posted on how they work.

  3. Michigan teacher here— Another thing to do after a school shooting can be to reach out to the teachers in your community and try to encourage them (with words, food, coffee, whatever). These incidents are always hard to hear about even if it’s not local, and to be reminded of the goodness in your own community can go a long way. 

    • Absolutely! My sister teaches high school and checking in on her is always paramount.

      Sending lots of love and prayers to your community, Meagan.

  4. I just love you so much Sarah.. you show us how real you are by throwing your own “full metal bowl” tantrum … but the young lads deserved it.. so good to see real things happen.. other than that I don’t know how I’d get by without reading your blogs, etc. you are such an informative individual and hilarious… yeah that persons review or smarmy comment was pointless.. they should just go away … we readers support you .. you’re da Bess wadacress !!! 

  5. Oh have fun watching the Christmas boat parade! When I was up there my brother would have a party every year at his place in La Conner and we’d watch the boat parade going down the canal from the balcony. It was fun!

    Also why ever post a recipe at all?! You mean you don’t milk your own cows? Harvest your own marshmallows from the rolling marshmallow fields? Anyone who’s anyone worth recipe writing churns their own butter. For shame.

    • Oh, I’ve been in those canals before. They’re so cool!

      Also, don’t forget, if I share a recipe, I must post it in binary. Why even have a website if you don’t code it yourself.