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Scattered Sundays

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My whine-fest from last week is over! Thank you for letting me vent. I did feel better; it was cathartic.

But remaining in “the complaining” zone has never been my jam. For me, it’s dangerous to stay too long in Eeyore mode. I’m not advocating for being “good vibes only”, but recognizing the positive/good in life keeps me from spiraling.

Updates: Troy started testing negative on Tuesday, which was great news! He was a candidate for Paxlovid and had taken it starting the night after he tested positive. His overall symptoms never really improved on it, BUT it kept the ‘rona out of his lungs which is a huge success.

Troy has asthma and any little ol’ cold he gets always goes straight to his lungs and makes itself comfortable for a very long time. Constant coughing = more asthma which then turns into a cycle of not being able to sleep.

He had a very rough go of everything the first few days. It was definitely not “just the flu” for him, and we’re thankful for meds, vaccines (it could have been so much worse!), and my sister’s camping trailer for quarantining.

Anyway, people who take Paxlovid can experience a “rebound” reinfection. Basically, you test negative for a few days and then randomly start getting positive tests again.

Since I had a trip planned to Denver on Friday, we made the decision to not cohabitate in the same indoor space until I left for the airport Friday afternoon.

Troy was exceptionally bored once he started feeling better, but watching Die Hard for the 408th time is a small price to pay for keeping the rest of us healthy and my trip on track!

Last Sunday I mentioned Bennett had caught another cold right after recovering from his tonsil surgery. And then for the first time in their lives, the boys shared with each other. But, of course, it was germs. Poor Jack caught Bennett’s cold on Saturday and the “can I start school next week” panic set in immediately.

I gave him a few days of recovery but also scheduled an appointment for a check-up and PCR for Tuesday morning. We had all been testing negative but if he felt well enough to go to school on Wednesday, I also wanted confirmation that he was safe to be around others.

Just like Bennett, Jack’s test was also negative. Just a general annoying cold that was hanging on for dear life. He did end up going on Wednesday and chose to wear a mask. He said he’d rather be at school in a mask than at home missing the first day.

3 photos of 2 kids on the first day of school
That sign is a liar. I took this on the second day of school. It will be our secret.

Both kids had a successful first day! We had hoped that Bennett would be with the same 1st-grade teacher that Jack had. It didn’t work out like that but his teacher seems absolutely lovely. Everyone we know who has been in her class has been thrilled with her.

Jack has a mixed bag of classes/teachers but we’re reminding him that it is good training for life. Sometimes we’re surrounded by people we love and others we’d rather not be around. We can’t all pick and choose only good cohorts. And plus, we never learn from experiences that are always positive.

Being stuck at home for the fifth week in a row (two weeks before Bennett’s surgery, then two weeks of recovery, and now one week of ‘Rona lockdown) did have some positives. I feel like, especially in the last week of it, Jack matured pretty dramatically.

He and Bennett will fight about anything and everything at any time. It’s super dumb and I constantly remind him that he’s letting himself get played and baited by someone half his age. I think something finally clicked and I did notice he would walk away when Bennett started his shenanigans.

On the morning that Troy tested positive and hightailed it out of the house, I told the boys that for the next 7-10 days, the three of us were Team Cook. Team Cook had to work together because the alternative was falling apart together.

There were some stupid small fights, and everyone was bored, but overall they were super good. I’m so thankful because by that time, Troy had already been gone for most of the previous week and I was already over everyone.

2 photos of a cabinet. One unorganized, the other organized.

The last week of summer break had been “Adventure Week” with fun things planned for each day of the week. Everything was canceled, but staying home motivated me to tackle some projects that had been hanging over my head for months.

In addition to eating sugar and stress baking, stress organizing and stress cleaning are two very productive methods of feelings avoidance that I practice. I tackled: the boy’s bathroom storage, our basement toys/books/games storage, the garage, two cabinets in the kitchen that had turned into the Island For Misfit Toys, and the cesspool of the home – Bennett’s room.

I also did a ton of weeding on my dad’s part of the house which had actively been ignored for months and months. It had been covered with morning glory and blackberry bushes from the neighbor’s yard and I had been avoiding it because the project was just too much to tackle.

Instead of letting myself get overwhelmed with getting all the weeding done in a day, I set a timer for 1 hour every morning and did everything I could do in that amount of time. It was too hot and too sunny (I’m a vampire) to be outside past 10 am, so that 1 hour a day was the perfect amount of time to make progress without spontaneously combusting.

Did I finish it all? No. It’s truly too much weeding for one person to complete in a week, but dang it already looks so much better! Remember, don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. Embrace B- work, my friends!

2 corner cabinets. One unorganized and one organized.

I had been calling the Denver trip the “Voldermort trip” and we all talked around it during the week. Everything was talked about in hypotheticals for fear of jinxing the plans.

I’m thrilled to say that my butt did get on that plane on Friday! I’ve been busy this weekend hanging out with the lovely and amazing, Anne, her husband, and youngest son. I’ll recap my trip next week, but let me just say my heart is full and I’m so thankful that everything worked out.

In the Garden This Week

Our fall and winter lettuce has been planted! Well, half of the crop has, at least. My favorite farmer’s market vendor gave me a small flat of baby lettuce starts and it finally cooled down enough to get them in a raised bed. I’ll be getting more to plant hopefully in a week or so.

I cleaned out the last bits of the old lettuce plants and then hauled about 80 gallons of compost from the chicken yard to amend the soil. I do love our closed-loop chicken/garden system. They eat weeds, kitchen scraps, and old plants, and then give me eggs, and also poop out compost. Everyone wins. Mostly me.

Fun fact: I dig down under the weeds and stuff in the chicken yard to get to the compost. And then when I come back to get the next load, the stupid chickens have covered up the hole. Chickens are going to chicken.

We’re having a little mini heatwave right now, so I placed some shade cloth up over the row cover frame that I made with rebar and PVC pipe. You can see that super simple tutorial here and this is the shade cloth I have. I don’t love that it is plastic but it’s durable enough to reuse for multiple seasons.

2 photos of a raised bed garden. One is bare and the second has lettuce starts.


My love of scams and cults is well-documented. A few years ago I listened to a podcast from the CBC on NXIVM and holy smokes wowser. Two of the people from that podcast started their own called “A Little Bit Culty”.

I started listening to it from the beginning and like all new podcasts, some of the early production is rough. But their guests are interesting and so far I’m sticking with it.

What I’m reading this week

It took me a month (maybe?) to finish The Kingdoms of Savannah and I give it two “meeeeehs”. Meh meh meh. Never liked it, never got into it. Wish I hadn’t read it. But I did and there we go.

I had loads of other library books to choose from on my kindle because I’m crafty and turn off my wi-fi once I have downloaded them. Airport waiting and a flight gave me a lot of reading time and I started back on What Happened to the Bennetts.


Long-time reader and definitely the most consistent reviewer in Sustainable Cooks history, Erin left this five-star review on our Crispy Butternut Squash {Pin this recipe}:

You came to my rescue yet again! A friend gave us a squash and I had to find a way to make it crispy to appease the men folk in the household. This was a big hit!!

a white scalloped bowl with cubes of crispy butternut squash with afork on a white board


Instant Pot Lentil Soup – this reader favorite (seriously, 23 5-star ratings can’t be wrong!) got a big fancy glow-up this week with new photos and better instructions. {Pin this recipe}

two bowls of Instant Pot lentil soup topped with parsley and a bowl of garlic bread.

Drying ChivesDrying Chives is a simple way to preserve this delicious pantry staple! Learn how to dry chives in a food dehydrator or in the oven. {Pin this tutorial}

a copper bowl of dried chopped chives on a white board with a purple chive blossom.

Homemade Seafood SeasoningThis is the best and easiest Seafood Seasoning and it’s made with common pantry staples. Save money and make your own delicious copycat Old Bay seasoning at home. {Pin this recipe}

a spoonful of fish seasoning hovering over a small canning jar.


  1. Canning Peaches – like sunshine in a jar that you can enjoy all year long. {Pin this tutorial}
  2. Canning Pears – Welcome to pre-fall, everyone. {Pin this tutorial}
  3. Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce – use up all those delicious garden tomatoes in this simple recipe. {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan and vegetarian as written but super customizable! Oh, and did you know you can FREEZE these? {Pin this recipe}
  5. Canning Apple Butter – the first time in the top 5 in 2022! {Pin this tutorial}


I’m gone until Tuesday night so Troy is in-charge of meals for the start of the week. I need to test two recipes this week but I’m just going to have to figure out when that’s going to happen.

It’s another week of not having a firm meal plan and while that gives me the boob sweats, it is what it is.

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10 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Yes!!!!! So happy that after so much suffering you got a vaca!!! Mamas  gotta get away sometimes! 

  2. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your advice on tackling overwhelming projects. Covid totally kicked my butt this summer, and any time I spent working outside was to tend my garden. The result is the rest of the yard is a weedy, overgrown, downright embarrassing wreck, and I have been overwhelmed by it. I am going to take your advice, and just work either on a small section or for a finite time every day. I can’t wait to see how much I’ve accomplished by this time next week. I imagine I’ll be very pleased with myself. Thank you again. p.s. I can’t wait to try the seafood seasoning recipe!

    • As a child who would do any task if someone timed them, I have to say that setting my own timer and working in bursts always works for me. Sometimes I choose to work longer and other times I just stop when the timer goes off. Manageable bites is the way to go with a big task.

      Can’t wait to hear an update next week!

  3. So happy you were able to get away .. just a couple of days not having to be THE MOM.. must be fulfilling in its own way… so sad you all had to miss the end of summer events … but man you are doing all you can for your family and really you’re getting so many brownie points from up above.. hehe … garden weeding is no bueno and I can’t stand it in our 85 degree heat and so I know you all have had horrible hot weather and I applaud you pioneer woman… aloha 

  4. Have a fun trip! Glad everyone is feeling better and the boys made it to their first day. Hope your trip home is safe and uneventful!

  5. I am so glad that the boys were able to attend the first day in good health AND you got to go on your trip AND Troy is feeling better! All fantastic news.

    Happy to consistently review your amazing recipes. We lovingly refer to you as McFrugalpants or as my kid says, “Mom’s internet friend Sarah”.

    • Yes, we absolutely lucked out in all aspects of what could have gone wrong. Fingers crossed we frontloaded any potential issues for this school year and have a safe and healthy go of things until June. Unlikely but I’ll keep hoping.

      Awww, sweet little guy! And I’m still bummed we don’t live closer because I know B and D would be absolute besties.