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Scattered Sundays

We headed to Ocean Shores this week for a week at Troy’s parent’s place down there. The weather was absolutely perfect, even with a wind advisory that happened on Wednesday and Thursday.

On the agenda was our normal mix of bike riding, mini golf, ice cream, and more bike riding. This year, Bennett discovered a bit of a fort in the bushes and he and Troy spent a lot of time cleaning it up and removing some trees and stumps.

We referred to it as “Ewok Village”. Yub yub.

a boy in a tree

Ocean Shores must be the flattest place on earth; there is zero elevation gain throughout the town. This makes for excellent bike riding, especially for little kids with little legs. Unlike back home, Bennett can ride without issue. Well, mostly.

Our first day there, I took Bennett for a ride to get the wiggles out after a long time in the car. We weren’t even .5 miles into the ride when he somehow crashed without a single thing being in the road.

He was tired and bored from being in the car and was crying pretty hard. He landed near the driveway of a cottage and the occupant and his sweet labradoodle came running out when they heard the commotion.

Mr. Matthew and Gracie were the perfect companions to my little drama king. Gracie was a sweet and patient dog who sat quietly by Bennett the entire time. She even let him wrap his arms around her and sob into her fur. Drama.

a boy in a bike helmet snuggling a dog
His knees are fine. Those holes have been there for ages.

If he had crashed and there had not been a sweet dog to help him, we absolutely would have had to go home. And I feel like it would have been me carrying a crying child while also attempting to lug two bikes back with me.

But Mr. Matthew and Gracie were exactly what he needed to pause, reassess, and then get back on his bike. We ended up riding 4 more miles after the crash!

On our Ocean Shores trip last year, Bennett couldn’t ride more than about 30 seconds without needing to stop, or go super slowly. He was so much faster this year and could go so much further.

We still brought our tow-along bike for rides that involved the main road, but for quiet back roads, I was so impressed to see him go for longer trips. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a mom that prefers the older kid years to the baby years!

2 boys and their dad on bikes

On our last trip to the ocean, Jack and I stumbled onto a really amazing neighborhood and wanted to take Troy and Bennett there on bikes during this trip. But we decided to do a “test” ride first, just the two of us because we weren’t 100% sure how to get there or what the road conditions would be like.

Well, we definitely and hilariously got lost. Yes, I had google maps on my phone, but all the roads down there look alike so every 1-2 minutes something looked familiar and Jack and I kept thinking that what we were looking for was going to be “right ahead”.

We finally threw in the towel and realized we had no idea where we were. Oh, and it was incredibly windy and we were riding one-speed bikes. When you’re on a one-speed bike, it’s you. You are the speed.

I asked Jennifer (what Jack named the Google maps voice lady back when he was little) to get us back to my in-law’s place. By the time we got to an area where things looked somewhat familiar, we had ridden over 7 miles.

a stuffed cat on a mini golf course

Once we were about 1 mile from the inlaw’s place, Jack asked how far we had gone. I looked at my watch and told him we had ridden 8.91 miles. In my brain, I thought “it’s annoying to stop at this point” but didn’t say anything because I knew Jack was tired.

In a moment that confirms my Type A DNA runs deep in that child, he said “I’m tired, but we can’t stop until we hit 10 miles. Let’s just keep going”. Ha! And so we did. And my butt is still store from that ride and the bike seat. It was so worth it though.

Jack is absolutely OBSESSED with pickleball these days. Longtime readers know he goes in and out of “obsessions” but this one seems to be hanging on. He and Troy played at a local court on our first day there and Troy come home complaining that Jack had smoked him.

I wanted to drop Jack at the courts and have him hustle some retirees but it doesn’t seem like anyone plays pickleball for cash. Pity as it could have paid for our gas for the trip.

a bag of kale and a cardboard box
Is it weird that we shipped her off to daycare in a Butcher Box box…?

For the last six weeks, we have had to keep our ancient chicken, PooPoo Sandwiches isolated from the rest of the flock. They attacked her and intended to do her permanent harm. Every time I have thought about reintroducing them, one of the other chickens tries to attack her through a fence. Chickens are not smart.

She has been lonely but alive. She has an isolation nesting box in the coop at night to keep her safe from predators (trash pandas) and the other chickens. By day she roams the yard and has create a fort under our Japanese maple.

We have an automatic door for the chickens that has worked wonders and also gives us the freedom to not be home at night right as the sun goes down. Or at least it did, before the attack on PPS.

While the other chickens file out in the morning and put themselves to bed at night, we have to lift PPS in and out of her little apartment. Our chicken sitters weren’t coming daily while we were gone, so I had to find PPS a foster family for the week.

We couldn’t have been luckier in the family that we found. The woman is an emergency vet employee who has one remaining ancient chicken from a former flock. This chicken lives in the lap of luxury and is best friends with their dog.

On Sunday night I packed PPS an “overnight bag” (her own food, a waterer, and a bunch of kale for her and her new roommate) and the lady came to pick her up. She mentioned that she would probably have her sleep in a kennel inside that night. Fancy chicken.

During our trip, we would get updates and photos of PPS and her chicken roaming the yard together. It was basically a Golden Girls scenario, but for poultry.

a text conversation about a chicken

Our weather went from “it’s too cold” to “dang, that’s hot” in a flash. We finally had our first days over 73F since last September, with the weekend into the mid to upper 80s.

Tomorrow is supposed to be 90F, which is officially deemed “Seattle Hot”. Please note, Seattle Hot is different than a Seattle 10, which is someone with a newer Patagonia jacket who remembered to brush their hair that day.

Given that I’m done photographing recipes until mid-September, our meals are looking a little more standard. No longer will we be eating random meals like air fryer Cornish hens and some side dish that I happened to photograph on the same day.

One of the brain breaks I’m giving our family (but mostly me) for the summer is a meal subscription service. We previously tried Sunbasket for two weeks while remodeling the kitchen and enjoyed it very much.

But, by trying new companies, we get to take advantage of new coupon codes, so… 🙂 First up, we’re trying a vegetarian meal plan company called Mosaic Foods. I saw an ad on Instagram (and now given how AI works, you probably will too) and the food looked so tasty.

And because it is vegetarian, it is more affordable than other companies that offer meals with meat. Cause meat is expensive, yo. We get our first order from Mosaic this coming Friday and I’m excited by the multiple noodle bowls that I chose.

a mom and baby deer

On Father’s day last week we gifted both our dads a Storyworth subscription. I’ve heard Storyworth advertised on podcasts because I am nothing if not the perfect demographic for their ads.

Basically, once a week for 52 weeks, Storyworth will email you a question (you can choose or they have their own selection) to answer. At the end of the 52 weeks, they will put all the answers into a hardcover book and send it to you.

This August will mark five years since we lost my mom. It’s a blink of an eye and a lifetime. I find myself weekly wondering things about her life that I wish I had thought to ask.

Storyworth doesn’t give you all those answers, but it’s a lovely and tangible thing to have and be able to look at and think “I’m glad I know this”.

In the Garden This Week

We were gone for the whole week and the garden loved our sudden burst of warm weather. I fretted about my lettuce with the heat, and as soon as I stopped the car in the garage after our trip, I threw some shade cloth over that raised bed.

The kale is mostly toast, but that’s fine. Confession time: I mainly grow kale for our chickens. It’s a crop that grows well in our climate for about 7-9 months out of the year and the chickens love it and they poop breakfast with bright yellow yolks.

Our blueberries are finally fruiting but everything is green. Fingers crossed we’ll be picking some soon because our freezer stash of frozen blueberries is almost exhausted.

Tomatoes and cucumbers are finally in the garden and loving the sunny weather. My timing was poor in planting them because we left for vacation right after I got them in the ground, and right at the start of hot weather. But they’re hanging on.

What I’m reading this week

Our annual trip to the ocean is really the only time I consistently can turn my brain off. There is no internet so I can’t work except for using a slow hot spot via my phone. There is no house maintenance to do, and other than laundry, activities, and eating, there isn’t much work that keeps me busy.

It’s a time that I slow down, get quiet (first time for everything…), and read! I finished Of Women and Salt in a few days and absolutely loved it. It was beautiful and tragic and so well-written.

I also completed Our Woman in Moscow and it had everything that I love – intrigue, some mid-20th century spy activity, and strong female leads.

Our library recommended The Summer Wives by the same author as Our Woman in Moscow and while it isn’t my normal genre, I did enjoy it.

On our second to last day on the trip, I started This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. So far, so good! It reminds me a lot of The Lincoln Highway, a book I enjoyed very much.


Ruby left this five-star review on our Dill Relish recipe {Pin this recipe}, and in the comment back to her I did make some suggestions on how to convert it to sweet relish. If you’re interested, hop on over and read the comments. But I still think that sweet relish is Satan’s condiment.

I tried your recipe yesterday and I LOVE it! The taste it has ( I tried a spoonful or 2, lol) is THE BEST! But….. I would like a recipe for SWEET relish. I tried one from another site and it didn’t turn out so good. It only made 2 pints of actual relish and the rest was just “juice”. Can you convert the “Dill” recipe to “Sweet”? Thank you so much for sharing with us.

jars of dill relish on a wooden board


This week I shared three brand new posts. Throughout the year I republish old posts that I’ve spruced up and improved, but this week everything was brand spanking new to the blog! This means in three years I’ll be cringing at these posts and the photos. The circle of blog life.

Air Fryer Cornish HenLearn how to make the perfect Air Fryer Cornish Hens for a fast and delicious meal. These tender and delicious game hens look like an elegant meal but are perfect for a busy weeknight. {Pin this recipe}

Also, because I love sharing this stuff with you, this hen was super lopsided to photograph but the only one I had. See how even it looks? Under the right side of the hen, I propped it up with a bunch of croutons.

a roasted air fryer cornish hen on a white plate with sage, lemon, and a bowl of salt.

Instant Pot Bacon and Pea RisottoThis delicious Instant Pot Pea and Bacon Risotto is a one-pot weeknight dinner that is packed with amazing flavors. Ready in a flash, this pressure cooker risotto eliminates the long cook time and constant stirring of a stovetop version. {Pin this recipe}

a grey bowl with pea and bacon risotto and rose gold fork.

Canning Apricots An easy step-by-step tutorial on Canning Apricots. This recipe for preserving apricots is perfect for beginners and experienced canners alike. Instructions include low-sugar and no-sugar options. {Pin this recipe}

jars of canned apricots against a tile background.


Our meal plan this week is very “squishy” because we’re still digging thru the freezer after vacation and haven’t picked up our grocery order yet.

Monday:: TBD

Tuesday:: takeout to support a local small business and my sanity.

Wednesday:: TBD

Thursday:: Troy is making something and we’ll be excited to eat it!

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: TBD

Sunday:: Mosiac Foods meal.

What are you having this week?

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5 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I also gave my parents Storyworth for their various parent days and am so glad I did. We talk a lot and my father has always been fond of story telling but I’ve learned so much new things about them in the short time they’ve had it. The book will be something my siblings and I will cherish.

  2. I love that your old chicken has a new friend! And it’s hilarious that you sent her off in a butcher box!

    And YAY for older kiddos! It’s a lot of fun being able to hang out with them instead of constantly mothering them.

    Our toaster oven finally died recently. We replaced it with a toaster oven/air fryer and I’ve actually used (and liked) the air fryer! The Cornish hen recipe looks great and I may have to give that a try.

    I’m super interested in checking out your Storyworth recommendation. My grandfather passed away yesterday and I’m realizing how little I knew about him.

    Your vacation sounds amazing and I am looking forward to having one of my own someday.

    • We kind of hoped that the chicken sitter would ask to keep her, but that didn’t happen. PPS is a PITA right now but she’s also super lonely. I swear she sighed when she came home on Saturday because she didn’t want to be back here.

      Yay for trying new things with the air fryer! Game changer for hot weather and fast crispy foods.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. Sending prayers and healing thoughts for the hearts of your family.

  3. Happy to see your weather is Summery and you and the family had a great weeklong family vacay and so much physical fun … great story about Bennett meeting the pup and kind human… then went on to ride 4 miles.. wowzers he gets a prize for that.. I wish we could have food delivery companies but not happening in our town…the cost of food here at astronomically gone up … we’re doing a lot of smoothies and salads since I’m growing veggies .. but man it’s getting hard … Aloha 

    • I still owe you a response to your email that you sent while we were vacationing in 2004 (AKA no internet). 🙂

      It seems like there is a huge opportunity for a local to open up a food delivery business on the islands.