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Scattered Sundays

Ok friends, enough teasing. Remember last week when I told you I was going to introduce you to a new family member this week? Well, friends, meet Lando. Lando CaLeafian to be exact.

a red Nissan Leaf
This is obviously neither Troy nor myself. Source for the stock photo.

Heads up, a huge chunk of the rest of this post is absolutely dripping in privilege, so feel free to jump ahead to the teal-shaded “Housekeeping” portion to figure out how to support the classroom wishlists of some teachers in the US.

A little backstory – Troy drives a 15-year-old Nissan Frontier that has been a fantastic truck for our family. It positively eats snow and ice for breakfast (delicious), hauls all the stuff we need, is paid for, and other than a little wiper issue that we cannot figure out despiting investing a lot of money, it has been a REALLY dependable truck for us.

However, the gas mileage is crap and always has been crap. We’ve long been committed to getting an electric truck when: 1) they were available in our price range 2) didn’t look like weird spaceships. We don’t need something that looks new age; we just need a truck that we can beat to crap and fill with dirt and garden pavers.

His truck has over 215k miles on it and gets an embarrassingly low mpg. His commute is over 120 miles roundtrip and that sucked during cheap gas prices and it especially started sucking the second freaking Putin invaded the Ukraine.

Even though I work from home, we put on an exceptional amount of miles on our vehicles each year. Bennett is open-enrolled so we are required to provide all transportation to and from school for him. Jack does afterschool activities daily so we have to pick him up in the afternoon or evening.

With sports, Troy’s commute, and during Jack’s travel soccer season, we can often put a combined 1k miles a week on our vehicles. Barf.

We got on the waiting list for the Ford Lighting (their new electric truck) last fall, but it’s now looking like it will take a few years until one is available. If you or anyone you know works for Ford PR, tell them to give me ring-a-ding-ding.

We need a truck and Troy absolutely needs a vehicle with 4WD to get to work. First responders and medical personnel can’t just not show up to work if there is too much ice and snow. Firefighters have to figure out how to get to work and Troy’s truck has kept him so safe in the worst weather.

I can’t downgrade my Subaru because with hauling the boys and friends, and sports equipment, we need every inch of space it gives us.

A few weeks ago when we were at the ocean, Troy and I had a long conversation about our next steps for vehicle options. From a strictly financial aspect, simply keeping our vehicles and waiting on the eventual electric truck made the most sense. Or even getting a small used fuel-efficient car like a Honda Civic.

However, from a long-term standpoint, getting an in-betweener EV car was us drawing a line in the oil-free sand. Our official plan became: keep Troy’s truck AND my car AND get a used EV. It’s basically a vehicle throuple.

Troy will use the Leaf to commute to work when the weather allows for it, and both of us will use it around town whenever we don’t need to haul a lot of stuff. We live 15 miles roundtrip from a grocery store, church, etc. There is nothing walkable where we are.

When an electric truck in our price range becomes available, we’ll get it and sell Troy’s current truck. When an electric third-row AWD SUV in our price range becomes available (chop chop, Subaru), we’ll sell my car. And when Jack starts driving (my poor heart, that is in less than three years), the Leaf will likely become his.

General Motors announced this spring that they plan to go all-electric by 2035 with a phase-out of gas and diesel motors. You can read that story here. I was chatting with a friend about it when it was announced and we had a great discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of the ramp-up to an all-electric fleet.

She was noting that in the Midwest they were already predicting brownouts this summer and we have all seen what a mess Texas (with its privately owned grid) has been in the last few weeks. Super valid points and concerns.

I listen to the podcast, Pantsuit Politics, after many of you recommended it back in 2016. You’re all smarties. One of the hosts, Beth Silvers, always likes to say “it is not up to you to solve x”, “x” being a fill-in-the-blank for a giant global issue – climate change, safe schools, etc. Well, I guess needing safe schools is only a US-based issue. Different vent, different day.

She points out that if we get wrapped up in the existential crisis that is us as individuals thinking we have to solve big issues, then absolutely nothing will get done. But if we reframe it as “today, I can do this to help”, then incremental change is possible without us experiencing burnout from having to solve allllll the things.

And that is how I feel about EVs. With our power grid being what it is, there are going to be growing pains. When I was talking with my friend about it, I gave the example of “it’s going to be like building a plane as it is taking off”.

And for me it comes down to this – the grid CAN BE FIXED. There just has to be the political will and investment to make that happen. We cannot create more oil.

When the first automobiles were rolling out, there were not multiple gas stations on every street corner. Just like now, there are EV charging stations are not everywhere.

It’s becoming a chicken and an egg situation – the demand for EVs is ramping up the need for charging stations. I see this even in my small town, but that could also be a West Coast thing. And as that demand grows, so will the efficiency, cost, and availability for more.

In the spirit of Beth Silvers, I cannot create the infrastructure to improve a national grid. I can however put solar on my house, which we did in April. And while it’s not possible for everyone (though read my post about financing it because I do think that it’s a hidden gem of a secret), it can be for me. I can’t fix the grid but I can do this.

Another thing my friend and I chatted about in regards to EVs is what to do when the power goes out. Well, just like when a gas station goes offline due to no power, EV owners do what gas stations do – they turn to a generator.

Yep, those generators are powered by gas/oil. No, it’s not a perfect solution AT ALL. But it is something and eventually, the options will get better if there is enough demand for it. As I said, building the plane as it takes off.

The Ford Lighting also acts as a generator when fully powered. One of the reasons we’re so stoked about this truck is that our solar company can install a switch that allows our panels to power/charge the truck during a power outage, and then if needed, we can also use some of that power to keep our fridge running, etc. It’s the UV version of a power-generating hamster ball.

So far the Leaf has been great. Initially, we wanted a Chevy Bolt but even the used models were not in our price range for a third car. The Bolt is slightly smaller but does have a battery with a longer range (~240 miles) than the Leaf (~150 miles). I think Nissan is totally missing the boat with battery capacity compared with cars in the same class.

When we expanded our search to also include the Leaf, a lot more options opened up. But it was still a full-time job for me to find one before it was sold out from under us.

I somehow connected with (seriously, I was emailing and calling everyone) Brent Peugh at Lee Johnson Nissan in Kirkland and basically, a Leaf was turned in that morning, hadn’t been listed, and was in our price range. I jumped on it like a seagull on a french fry.

I wanted to shout out Brent for his help during this process. He was so helpful and low-pressure. We handled everything via text and email and I didn’t have to set foot into the dealership until we were ready to pick it up. If you’re in the Puget Sound area, his office line is 425-821-1400.

Since the car had just arrived they needed it for another week for inspections, detailing, etc. Then the boys and I were in Canada for the weekend, so we finally picked the car up this past Wednesday.

It’s a 2019 base model and we lucked out because it only had 13k miles on it. Brent explained that many people did a three-year lease in summer 2019 for EVs, only for the pandemic to happen a few months later.

A lot of people turned a temporary working from home gig into a permanent one and now that the leases are up, they’re turning in commuter cars with super low miles on them. Their low mileage is our gain.

Eventually, we will need an EV with a range of 200-300 miles (the Lighting gets that) just for convenience’s sake. But, we are not road trippers (Troy HATES being in the car for more than 2 hours), and we just need something to get to work and to soccer games.

On the West Coast, especially in the Puget Sound region, EV charging stations are everywhere – at stand-alone places but especially grocery stores. Heck, even Wal-mart has them around here. I’m waiting on Target and Costco to jump on this trend too. Chop chop.

A full charge at home with our slow cable takes about 7 hours. With the faster cable that we ordered, it will take about 3 hours to charge the car. Commercial charging stations that are at grocery stores around here take about 24-45 minutes and cost ~$8-13(ish) for a full charge.

Yeah, you likely never have to wait 45 minutes at the gas station to fill up, but I’ve seen how much it takes to fill up Troy’s ancient truck, and I’m much happier with my 45 minutes and $13 option.

We’re excited to have Lando in the family and I’m sure we’ll learn lots about how to manage life with an EV. Lando is our practice EV, just like the first kid is always the one you screw up the most. Anyone else? Just us?

4 photos of kids on vacation

On a completely different note, the boys and I had a great time with Katie and her family in Canada last week! It was so good to see her face and see how big the kiddos have gotten. Due to the pandemic, it’s been three years since they were back in North America.

We laughed, we swam (well, they did. I didn’t bring a suit), we hiked, we ate gelato, and food truck food at a cidery, and bought all the Canadian treats and chips home with us.

In order to get to her parent’s place, you have to take a ferry out of Vancouver. The BC ferries are so much nicer than the Washington State ones and they’re giant with galleys (cafeterias) selling fresh food, gift shops, kid’s play places, etc. But they’re also more than twice the price of our janky Washington State ferries, so there are some trade-offs.

a boy in a mask with a stuffed cat.

We went into the gift shop on the way to her parent’s house and Bennett immediately zeroed in on a little stuffed cat. Of course. I told him they could each get a small souvenir during the trip but that he needed to wait and see what was available at all the different places we were visiting.

That child was like a dog with a bone about that cat. Despite going to other places and seeing other small gifts, he knew he wanted that ferry cat. On the last day, we brainstormed “Canadian” names with Katie for the cat. Maple or Poutine were my favorites.

On the ferry home, he made a beeline for the gift shop and snuggled that cat like he didn’t already have 43,819 stuffed cats at home. And despite all the great Canadian name suggestions, he went in a very American direction and named her…Cheeto.

Here is to hoping that it isn’t another three years before I get to see this (Nutrition) Lady again. Thanks for the memories, Katie and family!

2 women on top of a cliff overlooking the water.


My disgust with how the American education system is funded will have to be fully shared another day. But TODAY, we’re uplifting the crap out of many of my readers who also are teachers.

There is a social media trend of #clearthelist which aids teachers, librarians, and other educators in fully clearing their classroom wishlists.

Without generous donations/purchases from crowdfunding sources, these hardworking teachers use their own money to educate our kids. I say this as the daughter, daughter-in-law, cousin, and sister of current and former teachers.

So, let’s have a freaking blast and help these teachers stock their classrooms! Also quick note, none of these links are affiliate-related, AKA, I don’t earn a penny if you support them.

In the Garden This Week

I did some normal lettuce harvesting this week and I’m not sure how much longer that will last. I got a shade cloth for the bed and I am hoping it holds off the inevitable of the lettuce bolting (AKA going to see. AKA tasting like crap). Lettuce does not like the heat.

We have so many raspberries and blueberries to pick. There are enough for us and the birds at the moment. Strawberry season seems to be officially over and our harvest was depressing but that was expected after I tore up the strawberry bed to replant everything.

The strawberries are putting out runners (vines) which I push into the soil. Each runner will create a whole new “parent” strawberry plant. The strawberry bed is filling out nicely, and we’ll see those efforts pay off next year.


On the way to Canada, I listened to this episode of How I Built This with Donnel Baird, the founder of BlocPower. It’s a super inspirational episode that shows the intersection of the future of green power AND uplifting lower-income communities with both jobs and clean homes.

Run, do not walk to your digital devices to listen to this episode. Donnel’s origin story and enthusiasm for helping communities while greening the world will inspire the snot out of you.

What I’m reading this week

I finished Invisible Storm by Jason Kander and cannot recommend this book enough. If you don’t think you need to read a book about PTSD, guess what, you’re wrong. This book is for everyone! Additionally, 100% of the profits go to the Veterans Community Project.

I am now a little more than halfway through Two Nights in Lisbon. It’s a good page-turner, even if that page is digital because it’s an ebook from the library.


This August will be my 12th year of blogging. This comment from Amanda that I received this week on our Peach Freezer Jam and Strawberry Freezer Jam, has become my absolute favorite. Seriously, it gave me alllllll the warm fuzzies. Also, some of my friends are now calling me Mildred.

My father-in-law LOVES jam, jelly, preserves, all the fruit stuff. He’s almost 80 and talks a lot about his Mama’s jams and preserves.

I used to buy him all the expensive jams but I decided to try your strawberry freezer jam recipe to see how he liked it. Strawberries are cheap right now so what did I have to lose?

Well, I made it. He tried it on some toasted white bread and said it reminded him of his childhood. He said it’s not too sweet and you can really taste the Strawberries.

He asked me where I got the recipe. I told him from your blog. He didn’t know what a blog was. So I spent 30 minutes trying to explain it. 🤦‍♀️ He didn’t understand that you and I don’t know each other but I was using your recipe.

Anyway, I’m off to find some ripe peaches at the farmer’s market so I can make him some peach jam. And try explain this whole blog business again to an 80-year-old.

Your recipes are wonderful. I’m pretty sure you were an old farm wife named Mildred in your past life. 😂

stacked jars of strawberry freezer jam with fresh strawberries on a white board.


How to Peel PeachesThis easy-to-follow tutorial will teach you how to peel peaches like a pro. Skinning peaches is simple and makes snacking, dessert prep, and canning easier. {Pin this tutorial}

a hand holding a peach with the peel falling away.

Peach Freezer JamAn incredibly fresh-tasting jam, this Peach Freezer Jam is beyond simple to make. Just four ingredients and 20 minutes, and you’ll have a homemade low-sugar peach jam without canning. {Pin this recipe}

4 jars of peach freezer jam with fresh peaches and mint on a white board.

Jalapeño Simple SyrupLearn how easy it is to make your own Jalapeño Simple Syrup for desserts, cocktails, tea, and limeade. You’ll love the amazing flavor of jalapeño syrup for drinks and more. {Pin this recipe}

a half-pint canning jar of jalapeño simple syrup with a glass of sparkling water and jalapeños on a white board.


  1. Canning Peaches – like sunshine in a jar that you can enjoy all year long. {Pin this tutorial}
  2. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan and vegetarian as written but super customizable! Oh, and did you know you can FREEZE these? {Pin this recipe}
  3. Peach Ice Cream – a cold bowl of summer. Seriously, you’re going to love it! {Pin this tutorial}
  4. Garlic Butter Rice – so easy and so comforting! {Pin this recipe}
  5. Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce – use up those lovely fresh garden tomatoes by making this tasty sauce in your slow cooker. {Pin this recipe}


We are off on our final adventure of the summer this week and so we’re not doing a formal meal plan.

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12 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Dear Sarah,
    Hey there!
    I have a piece of information that I offer to you and Troy re: the buying of a new vehicle when that time comes. Never buy a vehichle in the debut year of a new prototype. I say this as a person who spent many years working in the new car business aka dealerships (Saturn and Ford) as a service cashier. The reason is really simple; the car maker has hyped up their new make and they want you to buy it. It may be a perfecty wonderful and serviceable auto right out of Q’s laboratory, but they are counting on you the guinea pigs, er, buyers to invest a ton of money and then deal with the ‘shakedown cruise’, as it were, to find out exactly which features are going to be a big PITA and which features are big fat fail. Wait until the make has proven itself reliable before investing your money and potentially a large chunk of your valuable time spent waiting for unexpected repairs. You are in no way obligated to follow any of the above advice, as you, naturally know already. but I hope it helps you. Have a beautiful week!!! Robin

  2. Dearest Mildred McFrugalpants,

    I love the name of your new vehicle. Lando will be a great addition to your fleet and your continued commitment to reduced fossil fuel use!
    Thanks for including my wish list in your Clear The List campaign (Mrs. E in VA teaching middle school Science)! It means a lot and helps take off some of the pressure to spend my own money on my classroom. This year I will be teaching English Learners and want to add some science translation glossaries to my in-class resources for kids.
    My kid, D, also loves cats and did the same thing as Bennett on our recent trip. SMH. These kids and their cats!

    • Jack started the Star Wars vehicle naming with “Honda Solo”.

      Good luck to you and all teachers on what will be another challenging and virusy year.

  3. I can’t seem to see all the teacher supply lists. If I look at the first one, every other name I click on shows me the same intro and list. What am I doing wrong?

    • They are all individual lists so I’m not sure what’s going on. If you have one you’re interested in, please email me or send me a message on Instagram and I’ll see if I can send it to you separately.

  4. Seriously that review is the best! Nails it all -Mildred, you are the woman in the village we all needed for recipes, advice, and laughter, and we thank you them and now!

  5. Well, I may have been off on the exact nature of Lando, but at least got the right family with a Land Rover. Hope you get many years of faithful service from your new vehicle!

    Of course Bennett wanted a cat. And with an appropriate name based upon her looks. Love this boy of yours!

  6. I went to Amazon to make a purchase for one of the teachers but she/he doesn’t have the list set correctly so I can’t have the items sent to the teacher. Hoping you can help me with this. 

    • I’m not sure what’s going on and don’t have consistent internet access for a week. If you know which one you’re like to donate to, shoot me an email and I’ll see if I can go back to the person who created that list.

  7. Did you see the tiktok where a woman was removing peach pits with pliers? I thought of you when I saw it. 

    See now that Padma Lakshmi tried it on the Today show… afterwards