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Scattered Sundays

To my American friends and readers, happy Thanksgiving eve week! To everyone else, happy fourth week of November!

So tell me, what are your plans for this week? Are you hosting? Going to someone’s house? Cooking? Buying dinner?

We are doing our first extended-family hosting since the ‘rona showed up. The last time I hosted Thanksgiving was in November of 2019!

If you’re still up in the air on what to make or how to prep, check out my printable Thanksgiving Checklist and my list of the Best Make Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

This week has found me waging a war against a trash panda (raccoon). We have only had one issue with a raccoon in the last 10 years of owning chickens. Just one.

Well, last Friday, we had an attack and some of the chickens got roughed up. The chickens rushed into the coop for safety. As soon as I heard the commotion, I closed the automatic door we have in the coop that opens up at sunrise and closes at sunset.

I must have missed a few of them, because the next morning I realized that at least one of the girls spent the night out and, um, it wasn’t pretty. She was still alive and I treated her wounds and put her back in the coop. Sadly, Troy had to put her out of her misery later in the week.

The next morning I set an alarm for 7:10 am to go make sure I caught the auto-open door as it was opening. Well, at 7:09 I heard a commotion and ran out and had to watch that ahole carry one of my chickens in its mouth up and over a fence. I was livid! That jerk was waiting by the auto door and as soon as the ladies came out, he attacked.

Some of the girls scattered and ran through our yard, across the road, and fled into the neighbor’s yard. I locked up all the girls that I could, and then we had to leave for almost the entire day for a travel soccer game.

When we got home, the boys and I spent 30 minutes rounding up those dumb chickens, much to the delight of my neighbor who watched and laughed from her deck. We’re outstanding entertainment.

I also covered the motion sensor on the automatic door that senses the sunlight so that it wouldn’t open the next morning. I covered it with multiple layers of painter’s tape and then stapled cardboard over the little door so that even if it would open, the ladies wouldn’t go rushing out.

And then, I decided to go John Wick on that raccoon. Red Rider BB in hand, I’ve been shooting that buttface from our window and patroling the yard as often as I can. We also have a (humane – like for catch and release) trap set but while I hate this foe, he’s wiley and impossible to catch.

For now, the girls are permanently locked in the coop. They’re miserable, we’re miserable, and the trash panda is hungry. I freaking hate this!

a woman in a blue top in a chicken yard
Troy pulled this off our security camera.

ServPro came out this week and were absolutely delightful. For reals. The demo crew took up the flooring in my dad’s room and part of his living room.

We had already removed the carpet in our part of the basement, but they removed the linoleum that we found underneath it, as well as the terrible peel-and-stick tile that was in the laundry/bathroom.

The baseboard/trim was removed and holes were drilled into all of the drywall to make sure everything inside was fully dried. They set up a total of 12 giant fans (this was new) and the 2 giant industrial dehumidifiers that had been running nonstop for two weeks.

My friends, if you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to live and sleep inside of a jet engine, let me introduce you to the sound of 12 industrial fans. My gosh!

Even with the door to the basement closed, we were having to yell to be heard upstairs. Going down the stairs was a 20-step descent into madness. That being said, they were fantastic aids for air-drying clothes on our folding racks.

Before the demo crew left for the day, they told us that the laundry/bathroom had to fully dry out for 3-5 days and that the washer and dryer couldn’t be in there.

Hi, it’s me. I have two male children, one of them plays competitive sports, and the other one is a filthy dirt magnet. I need a washer.

They said that we’d be able to put the washer back in there if it could be elevated off the floor because that would allow the giant fans to dry under the washer. I remembered a pallet that we’d been trying to get rid of for months, and they said it would work.

Troy cut down the pallet, and when the demo crew found out I was on lifting restrictions because of my surgery, they went above and beyond and lifted the washer up onto the pallet. And then they also plugged everything back in.

a washing machine up on a pallet.
Make sure you pin this to your dream laundry room Pinterest board.

Did they need to do that? No. Was it a little thing for them in their day? Probably. But it meant so much to us and it was so very appreciated. We secretly tipped them (they’re not supposed to accept cash) and I called the office and sang their praises to their boss.

After two days of living inside a wind tunnel, our main point of contact from the company came back out to test the drywall moisture level. He declared everything dry, turned off all the fans (HEAVEN), and hauled them and the dehumidifiers out and into their van. My house now feels as quiet as a monastery.

I will also say that the fans and dehumidifiers did their jobs amazingly well. Our throats and eyes were so dry, and Troy kept getting horrible bloody noses. We simmered a pot of water on the woodstove nightly, but getting rid of the equipment was really what stopped the issues.

Through an internet search process that I couldn’t even begin to describe, and without knowing the brand name, I am 99% certain I have tracked down the flooring that my dad has in his place.

It was a journey. Cassie said I was basically the Liam Neeson (from Taken) for flooring google searches. Fingers crossed we can match it exactly because it’s a really pretty floor. Which also, ironically, is marketed as being 100% waterproof. Lies.

Last Sunday afternoon, I told everyone who was willing to listen that I could NOT SIT AND REST FOR ONE MORE SECOND. I understand why foxes and other animals caught in hinge traps would chew off their own leg for freedom.

I’m still four weeks out from being able to tackle hills, so Troy, the boys, and I all piled into the car and drove .5 miles up our hills to a flat road that is at least one mile long.

Troy and the boys played at the elementary school while I took a very slow and flat 2.6-mile walk. It felt amazing, but like a rookie, I dressed for the weather but forgot my gloves. It took two hours in front of the fire while hand-snuggling mugs of tea to thaw out. Still worth it!

The next day though…I realized that my walk had been too much, too soon. I felt achy, tired, and um, swollen. I took the day to rest and pretty much only sat at my computer or the kitchen table. I did zero exercising and was feeling great by the late afternoon.

For anyone who might be planning a laparoscopic surgery in the near future, I have to share this clothing hack that I discovered about eight days after surgery. I was sick of joggers and “cozy clothes” and wanted to feel normal in jeans, but didn’t want to irritate my stitches.

If you’ve ever seen or heard of a Bella Band, it’s a super stretchy but tight piece of fabric that a lot of pregnant women wear. It’s used in that weird time when you’re too big for normal jeans but too small for maternity jeans.

You can wear it over normal jeans that are unbuttoned/snapped and it will hold your pants up. Being a super sick pregnant lady, I wore mine even with maternity jeans because I suffered from an acute case of noassatall syndrome. My butt just completely disappeared during pregnancy.

Well, I still have the Bella Band that I bought when pregnant with Jack. I wear it over yoga pants when I’m out on my walks, because there aren’t shirts long enough to cover my bum. The band gives me a bit of extra coverage.

I used the band post-op as a barrier between my incisions and my jeans. It kept everything safe and because the band is a lycra-style material, it’s smooth and didn’t “catch” on the bandages like a normal cotton tank top would have.

a woman in a teal tank top and glasses taking a picture in a bathroom mirror.

This worked great for me for about two weeks, until I finally felt like I no longer needed a barrier. And yes, I look a bit sickly in that photo. No need to send me emails about it.

This was back when I could barely eat because all food tasted like cardboard and felt like sludge. I wasn’t remotely happy at that weight, but thankfully food tastes delicious again. I am now back at my healthy weight, so there is no need for concern.

But, feel free to comment on our sweet gold-veined bathroom countertop and patchwork dusty rose floor tile. The spirit of the 80s is very much alive in our primary bathroom.

What I’m reading this week

I finished How Beautiful We Were and it was so intriguing and vaguely odd. Why odd? Well, for about 75% of the book I felt like I was missing out on some essential plot points. I just kept thinking “wait, what”?

It wasn’t until I finished it that I realized somehow early in the book, I skipped ahead multiple chapters. I read my library books via an ancient Kindle, and at some point, I accidentally just swiped ahead a bunch without realizing it. Oops.

Just when I was despairing that my library queue was empty, a ton of my holds all came available at the same time. I started The Ink Black Heart, a book I have been anxiously waiting to read. The author is hugely problematic, but dang it, I really really love this series.


Larissa left this concise five-star review on our Garlic Butter Rice {Pin this recipe}, which proves why this is consistently one of our top five recipes:

This is now a household staple and favorite for the entire family.

a white and blue bowl with garlic rice topped with chopped parsley.


Cheesy Green Bean Casserole – this is NOT the traditional casserole that I have been running and screaming from, for all my life. Oh no, this is loaded with fresh green beans, a homemade cheese sauce, zero mushrooms, and no canned soups. {Pin this recipe}

a cast iron skillet with cheesy green bean casserole topped with fried shallots on a wooden board.

Crispy Fried ShallotsThese crispy fried shallots are easy to make and incredibly tasty! You’ll love these gluten-free and vegan shallots on casseroles, soups, vegetables, and proteins. {Pin this recipe}

a beige bowl of fried shallots.

Puff Pastry Turkey Pot PieThis Puff Pastry Turkey Pot Pie is delicious homemade comfort food. This simple dinner has a flavorful creamy base paired with LOTS of veggies and tender leftover turkey. {Pin this recipe}

a black with a slice of turkey pot pie covered with a puff pastry crust.


  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan and vegetarian as written but super customizable! Oh, and did you know you can FREEZE these? {Pin this recipe}
  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. 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}
  4. Air Fryer Cookies – this one popped into the top five out of nowhere, but I’m a big fan of this recipe and you’re going to love it! {Pin this recipe}
  5. How to Freeze Pumpkin – the people wanted to know, and the Googs said “hey, this chick has the answers”. {Pin this tutorial}

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6 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Hope you didn’t “shoot your eye out” when taking on the Trash Pandas.

    This is our third holiday as Empty Nesters; with both children and family scattered across 8 time zones, we’re Thanksgiving local and will all gather for Christmas instead.

    *We sponsored a family for Turkey Day as per usual. We’ll go for a hike in the morning. Afterwards we’ll prepare a Turkey Roulade (with prosciutto, fennel seeds, sage and rosemary) along with more traditional sides like stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. Uncork a Pinot Noir; set the table with my great-grandmother’s silver; ask Siri to shuffle a Gratitude playlist. 

    This lovely holiday dinner will all happen in our home that is currently void of (some) heating. The lower level furnace in our house died this morning and the earliest replacement is the day after Thanksgiving.  Nighttime temperatures here are upper 20F, so, a little cold. No complaints, though. We have a fireplace, and at least the upper level will be warm. 🤣

    • Oh my gosh, I hope your heat is now running again! It sounds like a lovely holiday, but those nighttime temps are pretty chilly.

      I hear you on the fireplace. Our woodstove keeps the upstairs warm until about 3 am. I’ll never again live in a place without a wood stove. It’s my toasty insurance policy against power outages.

      I love the idea of a Gratitude playlist. I’ve never heard of that before.

  2. Aloha…. Yay!!! YOU and YOUR total hilarious self is baaaaack.. I laughed several times at your comments and the photo capture of you with a gun searching for the trash panda is so good… what is the point of raccoons anyway.. what purpose do they serve ?? Ha… you’re such a good chicken Mama..I’m gonna see about buying that band thing for my after surgery situation.. thank you … Thanksgiving over a good friends and making cranberry relish and sweet potatoes (savory..not the crapmellow kind)… Aloha .. so glad your doing well! Stephanie 

    • The hard part about raccoons is they’re so dang cute, eating things with their tiny human hands. I just wish those things weren’t my chickens.

      Good luck with your surgery! It’s very soon, right?

  3. Funny to watch you go all “Davy Crocket” on those racoons!