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Scattered Sundays

There are very silly and arbitrary rules around the furnace and wood stove in the Cook household. I created these rules, everyone but me hates them, and they really have zero reason for existing.

Rule one: absolutely do not turn on the furnace before October 1st, you silly silly males. It’s not winter. If you’re cold, stop walking around in shorts and a t-shirt. There are these really amazing inventions called socks. Try them.

Usually by September 15th, Troy and I are snapping at each other over the furnace. I remind him that it might be a little chilly in the mornings, but by 11 am, there is enough solar gain in the house for it to be comfortable. Just hold off a liiiiiiittle longer.

With our absolutely bonkers late-fall weather, not only have we not fought about the furnace, but we had to use the AC the other day. Seriously, it was October 2nd, we used the AC for two hours. Note that in the record books, cause this ish is bananas.

Jack had a soccer game that afternoon, and I was in a skort, t-shirt, and flip-flops. I had two umbrellas with me; not to protect me from rain but from THE SUN. I used one umbrella for my legs, and the other to protect my head, face, and shoulders. It takes a lot of work to stay this pasty.

Rule two: we cannot use the wood stove until November 1st. This one has a slightly practical reason, and that is we simply don’t have enough storage space to keep a lot of firewood on the property.

In previous years that has led us to make sure we’re rationing firewood appropriately, and some years we have had our firewood guy (his name is Larry and he’s in my phone as Larry the Firewood Guy) make a delivery in February.

In spring of 2021, we invested in new windows for our living and dining room, and that change made a huge impact on our firewood consumption. We used at least 30% less firewood from November 2021-March 2022.

And we’ve already had our wood delivery for the year (what up, Larry) and our firewood shelter is absolutely packed three rows deep. TWSS. Seriously, we couldn’t fit much more in this glorious demonstration of nerdy adult Tetris. (you can see a picture of that in this post).

A solid firewood storage + more efficient windows + a super warm Fall might lead one to think that I would relax my woodstove rule should the weather change.

One would be wrong about that. Arbitrary rules are arbitrary rules and I remind the boys that it is character-building. And to go put on some damn socks.

a kid with 2 stuffed cats on his head.

I had a lovely birthday. After Bennett was home sick earlier in the week (yes, seriously. Again. I’m going to scream), he did go back to school on my birthday. I took a nice walk, Troy got me a coffee, and I hit up our town’s chamber of commerce to get some new stickers for our church’s exterior doors.

Pretty wild day; you can find footage of it on my upcoming reality show “Nobody Cares, Sarah”. I requested tofu pho for dinner and the big boys had sandwiches, and the little boy had grocery store sushi.

And then we had a little party on Friday with family that Troy. We had pizza and ice cream cake (thanks to my inlaws) and a delicious salad thanks to my sister. It was perfect and small and didn’t involve me deep-cleaning the house.

a fake Marvel photo of a little boy attacking Thanos.
Troy’s handiwork, of course. Also, notice the stuffed kitty in his hands along with the hatchet.

The day before my birthday, I really lit up the town while Jack was at soccer. (Speaking of reality show footage) I scored some old bananas at a grocery store for a recipe I needed to photograph AND found a cozy sweater and some discounted Madewell jeans at Goodwill. I really need to slow down; life is getting intense with all this excitement.

quiche on the floor.
Whomp whomp. Photoshoots gone wild.

I had a successful week of photographing recipes, which means my dishwasher had a successful week of working overtime. Unless something happens (narrator: it will), I’ll be on track to finish this upcoming week with all my photos for all posts needed before Thanksgiving. Phew! That will give me six full weeks for post-surgery recovery.

I also slowly started running again this week. I stopped in mid-summer when it felt like I was running through Jell-o with each step that I took. We later realized it was my low ferritin levels, which were fixed with my ablation surgery/procedure in August.

And then I just didn’t want to run. It was too hot and took up too much time with the kids home from school. After my surgery in two weeks, I can’t run for eight weeks again, but I might as well go into that being a little stronger than I am now.

dough on the floor.
Whomp whomp pt II. What’s a little biscuit dough on the floor amongst friends?

In the Garden This Week

Almost nothing has happened this week, except for pulling all the sunflowers from the garden and giving them to the chickens. They were absolutely delighted.

Jack has confirmation class this afternoon at church, and when we get home I’m pulling the rest of the carrots and beets from one of the raised beds, and folding up one of our DIY trellises until next spring.

My favorite farmer’s market vendor is supposed to have lettuce starts for me really soon, and I’m hoping that can happen ASAP. I want to get them planted and established so that Troy doesn’t have to do much to keep them alive while I’m recovering from surgery.

The lettuce that I planted in September is growing nicely and I’m going to be able to do a small harvest this coming week of the outer leaves. I don’t want to take too much, but just enough to encourage them to keep on growing.

Raspberries are still trucking along, and this is definitely the longest we have been enjoying them without dealing with mold issues from the rain. Jack, my berry-fiend, is picking/eating multiple pints per day. That child loves berries like no one you have ever met.

I have basically thrown in the towel with picking the blueberries (yes, they’re STILL producing), and the blue jays are my biggest fans. Go for it birds, I’m too busy. Enjoy.

What I’m reading this week

I finished Cherry and it was daaaaark. Think: Trainspotting meets Catcher in the Rye meets Jarhead meets The Things We Carried. It was good but exhausting.

I needed a palette cleanser after such a stressful book and started Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life With 600 Rescue Animals. Not only is it more light-hearted, but it was also 30% shorter than Cherry and I needed something I could fly through.


Darlene left this five-star review on our Air Fryer Egg Rolls {Pin this recipe}:

These were so easy to make and delicious!!!! I also give 5 stars for writing the recipe like you did! No more scrolling all over the place to remind me how much of something is called for! Genius!!!

Three air fryer egg rolls on a wooden tray with a dish of soy sauce.


Instant Pot Chuck RoastFall-apart tender, this Instant Pot Chuck Roast is the ultimate comfort food. You can get an “it cooked all day flavor” in a fraction of the time thanks to using an Instant Pot. {Pin this recipe}

a plate of shredded pot roast with veggies.

Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi SoupThis Chicken Gnocchi Soup is the perfect simple comfort food. Loaded with vegetables and packed with flavor, this Olive Garden copycat soup recipe will become a family favorite. {Pin this recipe}

creamy gnocchi soup in a white bowl

Snow Pea Stir FryYou’re going to love this amazing stir-fried snow peas recipe! This healthy, simple weeknight side dish comes together in only five minutes. {Pin this recipe}

an overhead shot of sesame snow pea stir fry topped with chopped scallions and sesame seeds.


  1. Canning Pears – and now it’s officially Fall. {Pin this tutorial}
  2. Canning Apple Butter – I cannot explain to you how amazing your house will smell with this apple butter simmering away in the crockpot. Recipe includes canning and freezing instructions. {Pin this tutorial}
  3. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan and vegetarian as written but super customizable! Oh, and did you know you can FREEZE these? {Pin this recipe}
  4. Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce – use up the last of all those delicious garden tomatoes in this simple recipe. {Pin this recipe}
  5. Garlic Butter Rice – I can’t think of a week that goes by in this house without at least one batch of this comfort food being made. {Pin this recipe}


Monday:: A new recipe that I am testing for winter. And homemade pizza for the boys because they will straight up revolt at the other recipe. I’m going to make a few more pizzas for the freezer for post-surgery recovery.

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business and my sanity. And we have a super late soccer practice.

Wednesday:: Chicken sausage and a potato recipe that I re-photographing. Plus veggies on the side.

Thursday:: Testing another new Thanksgiving recipe + a Thanksgiving side dish. Salad on the side.

Friday:: Testing a late-fall recipe because the clock is ticking to get things done before my surgery.

Saturday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Sunday:: We’re hanging with some friends and I’m assuming it will involve eating food.

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4 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Sounds like you had a relaxing birthday, yay!

    I’m sorry Bennet is still getting sick. That’s sucky for everyone.

  2. I love your Scattered Sundays posts. Don’t know if you’re looking for content suggestions, but it would be fun to see a day-in-the-life kind of thing. I’m amazed at all you accomplish, and on top of it, you fly through books! How do you fit it all in??

    • I used to do those kinds of posts, and frankly, they take too much time and have no “staying power”. As in, the day after I post them, they never get read again.

      For reading, it’s two things: 1) I have always been a very fast reader. It’s just my nature. 2) Bennett is open-enrolled so we have to provide transportation to and from school. There is no bus because we don’t live in the boundary of the school he attends. His school is very old and the parking lot is TINY. In order to pick him up at a normal time, we have to get there 35 minutes early. And there is ZERO cell reception at the school. So, I have 35 minutes multiple times per week that I’m essentially “forced” to read. 🙂