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Scattered Sundays

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Well, my friends, I have solved the case of “why have I had a sore throat for 2.5 months”.

Even Dr. House would have been stumped because I was always testing negative for the ‘Rona and other than my toddler-like ear infection, my health has been great.

Drum roll please…I found some mold in the basement.

After our washing machine flooded the basement, my father-in-law, my sister, and I removed the carpet. ServPro removed some of the flooring in my dad’s part of the basement that was impacted by the water.

I always thought it was strange that they left part of my dad’s flooring that was in the entryway to his part of the basement. It had butted up against our carpet, so I figured it had gotten wet, but since ServPro left it, what did I know?

Turns out, I knew something! Because…mold! Gross, gross mold.

planks of wood in a garage with mold.

The contractor fixing all the drywall and doing the painting finished up on Tuesday and our other contractor was ready to jump in and start the flooring Thursday night. In order to speed that process up, a few planks of the old flooring still needed to be removed.

My dad has been out of town and is coming back this weekend and we really wanted to have his place back together. I volunteered to remove the flooring so that our contractor wouldn’t waste a second with demo.

The planks that were in the entryway to our part of the basement gave off a horrid smell when I pulled them up. Yep, that is the photo you see above. Gross! I pulled a more few planks deep into the room and they looked fine.

I bleached the floor twice, turned a fan on, and made sure the door to our upstairs remained closed. It was a productive night and I was so thankful that it was just those boards, because could you even imagine if the rest of the floor was moldy??? In a thriller, that is what’s called foreshadowing… 🙁

Yep, our contractor started on Thursday and within about 2 minutes he called me downstairs. What I assumed was concrete dust on the backside of some of the planks was actually white mildew. It was NOT welcome news.

Everything from my dad’s bedroom and living room and our part of the basement and the laundry room had all been shoved into one small part of my dad’s apartment. We’re talking – his mattress and box spring in his kitchen, our huge IKEA shelves in his living room, etc.

Earlier that day I had been at the store to pick up Bennett’s school-approved birthday cupcakes. I walked past the Valentine’s display and saw peanut butter M&Ms. I don’t really care about M&Ms, but a tiny voice in my head said “let’s get those”.

The Lord was with me in that grocery store, because I really needed something to stress eat that night. I called my sister and before she even said “hello”, I yelled “remind me again why I don’t drink”.

It’s really hard to get me down, and it’s even harder to keep me down. But that night, I had myself a good pissed-off pity party wallow. With some M&Ms and maybe a bit too much kombucha to be responsible.

This is definitely a wrench in our plans and honestly, I was (and am) ready to be DONE with this ish. I’m over it. Over the piles of things, the insurance guy taking forever to get back to me, the piles of stuff, being in charge of this project on top of everything else I have going on. And the piles. OVER IT.

cabinets in a laundry room.
On the plus side, Troy got these cabinets up.

I know that in today’s world, we’re supposed to be all touchy-feely and all that. But I think the best thing I ever learned came from my Boomer dad.

It was after one of the 400 times one of them had a really bad health outcome and I was moaning and groaning about why bad things kept happening to them and blah blah blah. My dad looked at me in the eyes and said “nobody ever promised you life was going to be fair”. Boom. Noted.

So yes, I’m grumpy about the basement. But, it’s a first-world problem. And nobody said life was going to be fair. On the plus side, I’m looking forward to my constant sore throat disappearing. And, pass the M&Ms, please and thank you.

a baby and a big brother.

In happier news, Bennett turned 7 yesterday! Yep, this little smoochie is now 3 years away from being in the double digits.

We’re having a small party with family for him this afternoon. And next weekend he is having a little (indoor) pool party with friends. I didn’t want kids in my moldy-basement house and what could be considered a playroom is currently in a state of chaos.

It will come as no surprise to anyone, but Bennett wanted a cat-themed party. I found some fun cat decorations that aren’t-single use, so we look forward to reusing them each year until Bennett no longer is cat-obsessed.

a dining room decorated for a birthday.

He was very specific on his cake this year, even going to the extent of drawing me a diagram. He wanted a two-layer white cake (which is really a yellow cake that I always make. It’s this recipe), with frosting in between the layers.

But not just “any” frosting – half had to be white (it’s cream cheese frosting) and half chocolate. And then half white and half chocolate frosting around the sides and on the top. Basically, picture a black-and-white cookie as a cake.

And on top of the cake, we have this kitty cake topper. I’ll be frosting it later today, so I’ll share photos next Sunday. Or you can see them in my Instagram stories this afternoon.

I asked Bennett what he wanted for his special birthday breakfast. Maybe pancakes, or homemade cinnamon rolls? Or perhaps frozen berry cake or banana muffins?

Nope, he wanted Fruit Loops. Zero work on my part? Sounds good. #secondkid

9 photos of a little kid.

What I’m reading this week

I finished Good Inside by Dr. Becky Kennedy. It was good. Inside. 🙂 Trying to implement some of the strategies to be a more patient parent and human in this world.

I started The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier and the circumstances of this week have not been conducive to a lot of reading. So far, I’m just learning the backstory of multiple people who were in a plane during a mysterious storm.

I think I watched maybe one episode of The Manifest (the acting was so bad I couldn’t continue), but it seems like a similar plot to this book. Fingers crossed for more reading time this coming week.


Jo-Ann left this five-star review on our Instant Pot Beef Tips and Gravy {Pin this recipe}:

I made this as written and it was delicious. I added sautéed mushrooms on top when serving just because I had to use them up. I also really appreciate that you put the measurement right in the directions. It makes it so much easier when using a phone and iPad!

a white bowl with rice and instant pot beef tips and gravy garnished with parsley.


Chocolate Lava Mug CakeThis microwave Chocolate Lava Mug Cake is rich and chocolatey without any flour. Open your pantry, grab a few ingredients and whip up this mug brownie in 5 minutes. {Pin this recipe}

a spoonful of microwave souffle.

Tortilla PizzaThis incredible Tortilla Pizza recipe comes together in just a few minutes with only a few ingredients. Perfect for fast dinners or snacks, they’re even easy enough for kids to make their own. {Pin this recipe}

a grey plate with a tortilla pizza on a wooden board.


  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. Air Fryer Cookies – I’m a big fan of this recipe and you’re going to love it! {Pin this recipe}
  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 Pizza Rolls – unlike the ones from our childhood, these are not filled with lava and regret. {Pin this recipe}
  5. Pretzel Bites – a Cook family favorite AND they’re freezable! {Pin this recipe}


Monday:: Troy is making dinner and we’ll be happy to eat it.

Tuesday:: Photographing a new recipe.

Wednesday:: Takeout to support a local small business and my sanity.

Thursday:: Soup! Some kind. Will likely be Tortellini Soup.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Friends are coming over after B’s pool party and I’m picking up some pizzas.

Sunday:: Troy is making dinner because I have a soccer board meeting, and we’ll be happy to eat it.

What are you having this week?

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14 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Sarah, I’m so sorry about the mold. That stinks (literally). And sorry that your dad has to roll with the mess, still, too. But the bad memories will fade when all’s back together again. And I have to say, your featured recipes this week are bang on – practically instant chocolate cake and pizza?? Be still my heart! What else does one need?

  2. Hey Sarah! Sorry about the remodel. I feel your pain. We have just completed 4 months without a kitchen. … words cannot explain the despair.
    I love your blog and food and just wanted to share this with you since you’re such an amazing career mom you would be perfect! Also apologies for posting here but tried to email this to you via your mail button but it got kicked back to me twice.

    • Thanks for thinking of me, Kimberly, but I am too busy with my own stuff right now. No time to take on other work.

      I hope your new kitchen is everything you want it to be and more! Four months is a long time (it’s how long ours took), but we were lucky to be able to use my dad’s kitchen in the basement.

  3. Sorry about the mold. Have you reached out to ServPro and asked, “What the heck?”

    Monday. Glazed Tofu with Chile and Star Anise. I’m supposed to sear the block of tofu whole, rather than in cut pieces, and then the block gets “torn into bite-sized pieces so the craggy edges can absorb more sauce.” Hmm. We’ll see how this goes. 

    Tuesday. Roasted vegetables atop buttermilk grits. 

    Wednesday, Thursday. (Depending on our mood)
    Something curried. Maybe lentils, maybe chicken.
    Maybe Saag Paneer.
    Perhaps Schnitzel, if I’m up for the effort.

    Friday. Calabrian Chili and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza. Big green salad on the side. Friends are joining us, and this pizza is perfect for a Friday night and a bottle of wine.

  4. Aloha Sarah… such a bummer about the mold… perhaps your ear infection also had something to do with that? Anyways good on you for it being revealed… imagine all the flooring being done and it want found..  a tiny miracle eh? Oh how funny Bennett is.. cat affectionado..and cat themed party… you’re such a great Mom… yes the laundry area with the new cabinets .. so nice… yay!! One lil area is good right? Yes your Dad is a right “boomer” eh? Life…. Gotta roll with it.. Aloha 

    • I’m not sure if it could impact the ear all that much. Maybe my sore throats were causing some sort of weird drainage? Who knows at this point!

      Bennett was a happy little man at his party.

  5. Ugh, now mold too?!!  That is just the worst, I’m so sorry!  I will say though, the new laundry room cabinets look great!  And in the end, you’re making progress at least with your basement.  Annoying progress (mold discovery!), but still progress…  Hang in there!!

    • The good news is that it appears the mold is only on the underside of the flooring. And under the flooring is just concrete. So, once demo is done, it *should* be straightforward to clean up. Should be. Famous last words, right? 🙂

  6. Oh no!!! That sucks balls, big time. I’m so sorry! I’m starting to wonder if we have mold in this house because Emma has pretty much been low grade sick since we got here. Time to start digging into it more…

    I hope that’s the last bump to getting everything back to order.

    • Oh, I really hope you don’t! She also started public school for the first time, right? That could have a lot to do with it. She has also could have environmental/seasonal allergies to the new location.

  7. Nooooooooo!! Sarah, I am so mad for you and will be drinking kombucha and eating chocolate  on your behalf!  That sucks and I appreciate the venting. May you get great flooring throughout the entire basement and more insurance money than you thought possible when this all shakes out. Also, what the heck ServPro??  Yay for lovely laundry cabinets at least and may that birthday week be awesome. Amazing how the years fly by even when the days are looongggg. 

    • Thanks, Sarah! Drink that kombucha fast; that’s how you get the fuzzy brain feeling. HA!

      On the plus side, the flooring is the exact same as what my dad had and loved. But this time it will be installed correctly and with a moisture barrier. His friend put it in last time and let’s just say he didn’t nail the dismount.