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Scattered Sundays

On Tuesday, this handsome dude turns 14. It happened in a flash and at the same time, it also has somehow been the slowest 14 years in the history of the world.

a baby boy on a swing.

For anyone out there with a challenging young kiddo, I think there needs to be an “it gets better” campaign.

I wish I had done a lot of things differently when he was younger. I wish I had given us both a lot more grace than I did.

We did a lot of things wrong, but I hope he looks back and remembers that we always loved him and were/are his biggest cheerleaders. I constantly tell my boys that I would fight a bear for them. And then I mention I hope if it comes to that, it will be a gummy bear.

Jack has become a kid with the biggest squishy heart with a somewhat stern exterior. He works hard and expects others to, but he is also the first one to check on a friend or teammate who is hurt or having a bad day.

Last week a kid was being a punk to Bennett and Jack said he was going to handle it. He said “nobody messes with my brother…except me”. He’s kind and also very self-aware in that regard. 🙂

Teens get a bad rap but this kiddo has a good solid head on his shoulders. I credit Jack, but also a huge percentage of his generation for being kind, open-minded, and unwilling to tolerate hate and bigotry.

People love to dunk on teens and middle schoolers, but, my friends, I’m here to tell you that the kids are alright. This generation suffers zero fools and they’re going to change our world for the better.

Jack and his peers are truly the definition of lead, follow, or get out of the way. I can’t wait to see what this incredible young man does next.

a teen in a camo hat with a dog hugging him
Background changed to protect the identity of some strangers who didn’t know they were in our picture.

About 96% of the stuff that happens with the blog is things that nobody notices or can see. It’s the boring backend work that can be mind-numbing that takes up most of my time. Which is fine. None of us ever think about our home internet or electricity until it doesn’t work.

If you think of a website like a car, you know that you purchase the car “as is”. And then, you can add things to it with aftermarket add-ons like tinted windows, nice floor mats, etc. In the tech world, these add-ons are called plugins. Plugins essentially don’t make the site work, but they do add some flair.

One of the plugins that I pay for is the piece of tech that makes my recipes printable. I’ve been blogging long enough to remember when I just typed the recipe directly into the post and then would get emails from people complaining that it was taking 2 pages of paper to print them. My bad.

To date, the coolest feature of my recipe card plugin has been the ability to add the ingredient measurements directly under the directions in the recipe card. This prevents the constant scroll back and forth from instructions to ingredients. Everyone loves this – I didn’t create it but I do thank the tech people who did.

Well, my friends, the creator of the plugin has added a super cool new feature called “cook mode”! By toggling cook mode to “on” in the recipe card, the recipe/screen of your device will not go dark while you are on my recipe. No more touching your screens with dirty hands trying to keep the recipe visible!

a screen shot of a website with a red circle around text that says "cook mode".

On the downside, for whatever reason, this doesn’t work on iphones yet. It does work on Androids, and computer screens, so you do have options. Fun tech fact: bloggers make more money when you view our sites on computers vs. phones. Not 100% sure why, but this is standard across all ad networks.

a boy in a tree.

For those who celebrate Passover, let me wish you an early happy Passover! I feel very out of my element on Passover food. But, in terms of recipes, I only have one that (I think) is appropriate for a Passover Seder, and that’s my Instant Pot Matzo Ball Soup.

I’m definitely more comfortable with Easter recipes, and as we are hosting our family Easter celebration (combined with Jack’s 14th family birthday party), I’m going to share some of our favorite Easter dishes.

For Easter dinner I can highly recommend:

As to what to do with holiday leftovers, let me recommend:

For what seems like the 50,817th time in recent years, we heard the horrible news from Nashville this week. I’m out of things to say.

All of my friends and family who are teachers are TIRED. They’re tired of being disrespected, they’re tired of being pawns in political battles, they’re tired of being the scapegoats for all that ails society, and they’re tired of not being trusted to choose books for children but are somehow responsible enough to be armed. They are TIRED.

This week our district had student/parent teacher conferences. Bennett’s teacher is out on maternity leave and we met his new long-term sub. I knew that she had been a teacher at his school a few years before but had retired.

As we were talking, we realize that she had done her student teaching at the school where my mom had taught. She had known my mom but didn’t know she had passed away.

The night of the conferences, I forwarded her an email that I had sent his teacher at the start of the year. It went over his PFAFA and also Bennett’s constant leg cramps. And in the email, I mentioned it was nice to meet her and what a small world this was that we were connected through my mom.

And this is what she sent me the next day:

an email.

My educator friends, I know things are so hard right now and you’re tired to your very core. But I want to remind you that you matter. You matter to the kids, the families, and even your colleagues. I see you. And I thank you.

What I’m reading this week

I had to throw in the towel on The Ministry of the Future. It was just too depressing. I might pick it up later, or maybe I won’t. Instead, I started A Man Called Ove, and it’s a physical book!

When I met up with Katie and Emmeline in Chicago in early March, they had some generous goodies for me (I only brought them giant Costco containers of Advil and melatonin. ‘merica).

One of the items was a book from Emmeline from her favorite Swedish author. I’ve read Anxious People before, and have always meant to read A Man Called Ove. And now I am!

READER SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Long-time reader, Tina, left this five-star review on our Air Fryer Cabbage {Pin this recipe}:

I did the skillet version of this (because my kids made the air-fryer tray a mess today and I didn’t want to clean it, they’ll clean it when they do dishes). I loved it. I let it go 5 minutes covered and then 5 more uncovered to try to get it a bit more crispy…and it was a bit more crispy, but I want to try it in the fryer next time for more crisp! Don’t forget the salt at the end, that MAKES it.

sections of air fryer cabbage on a grey plate topped with parsley

ON SUSTAINABLE COOKS THIS WEEK

Ham and Cheese PinwheelsThis baked ham and cheese pinwheels recipe is perfect for a party or even a speedy weeknight meal. Learn how to make ham and cheese puff pastry for a great appetizer, lunch, or dinner. {Pin this recipe}

6 ham and cheese pinwheels in a white baking dish.

Artichoke SaladThis delicious Artichoke Salad is a healthy and simple recipe that is the perfect make-ahead side dish. Canned artichokes, feta, tomatoes, and fresh herbs pair beautifully with a flavorful marinade. {Pin this recipe}

artichoke salad in a white bowl topped with chopped basil.

Confessions – everyone’s favorite silly post of the month.

A woman with a finger up to her mouth saying "shhhhh"

THE FIVE MOST POPULAR POSTS THIS WEEK

  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. 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}
  3. Air Fryer Cookies – I’m a big fan of this recipe and you’re going to love it! {Pin this recipe}
  4. Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole – this recipe is having a moment on the interwebs and I’m here for it! {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – unlike the ones from our childhood, these are not filled with lava and regret. {Pin this recipe}

MEAL PLAN

Monday:: Scavenger night. The boys will be with my inlaws during the day and Jack has soccer practice that night.

Tuesday:: TBD, Jack might have friends spend the night or we might reschedule it until after spring break. We’re waiting on Bennett’s baseball game schedule to be finalized before deciding.

Wednesday:: Troy is making dinner and we’ll be excited to eat it!

Thursday:: Pasta and veggies.

Friday:: Grilled cheese and veggies.

Saturday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Sunday:: Easter leftovers! Troy and I will still be full at dinner, but my children will be starving because despite a veritable feast of food, they will have likely only consumed 1-2 rolls that day. And birthday cake.

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14 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. If you end up liking A Man Called Ove, I highly recommend the author’s Beartown trilogy. Hands down the best books I’ve ever read!

  2. Jack’s birthday falls during your Spring Break?  That is awesome!  Our break is almost always when my birthday falls too, and I used to say that March Break (that is what we call it, not Spring Break) is a week-long celebration of ME.  😉    Enjoy your week-long celebration of YOU, Jack!

    I like how you compared plug-ins to car mods.  That was a fantastic way to explain it.  I totally followed that.  I am also pleased that my habit (apparently because I am “OLD”, I am told) of preferring the computer to a mobile device benefits you! 

    Bennett’s teacher sounds like a lovely lady!

    • Yep, he always has his birthday during spring break. Sometimes it is great (a party on a Tuesday), but now that he is getting older, most of his friends go on vacation, so the gatherings are rather small. We’ve tried pushing the party to later in April, but then baseball gets in the way for most kids.

      Ha, other bloggers and I appreciate your “old” habits!

      • Glad you appreciate my ‘old lady’ habits!  Happy to help!  Getting older isn’t so bad.  Apparently my hair is “trendy” too.  My hairdresser enjoys telling me that people pay a lot of money for the white streaks I have naturally!!!

        I have a daughter with a birthday two days before my own (my other one is right before Christmas.  I get THE BEST presents!!) and we would always have her party a weekend or two before March Break (and the other about two weeks before her actual birthday because of parents’ Christmas parties) so that friends would be able to attend.  It makes the birthday last longer too.  I used to call it the never-ending-birthday. haha.

      • You definitely did get some amazing birthday and Christmas gifts!!

        Earlier in March we’re busy with soccer and tournaments. Then there is spring break and more soccer tournaments after that. And baseball season starts. Seems to never be a good time to have a party in this household.

  3. My girlfriend said her book club read A Man Called Ove and I needed to read it. Yep, I’m Ove. Follow the rules! I enjoyed the movie too. 

    • Ha! I’m a rule follower for the most part but also enjoy breaking them when it doesn’t hurt anyone. I’m definitely a nuanced version of Ove.

  4. Ooh, A Man Called Ove is one of my favorites.  I enjoyed the Swedish movie version and am a little nervous to watch the American one.  I also loved his books My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and Britt Marie Was Here.  Beartown and its sequel Us Against You are beautiful books but will rip your heart out.

    My middle daughter turned 14 today so we had her favorite dinner, green chili chicken tacos.  My oldest turns 15 tomorrow and has requested butter chicken with naan bread.  Along with planning for the rest of the week for a Tuesday grocery order, I have to plan for eight (extra) teenagers to be at my house for a British Royal Murder Mystery party on Saturday.  Thankfully I’m NOT hosting Easter so all I have to plan is a side to share!

    Happy birthday to your big guy and I completely about teenagers!  My own personal 14-year-old used to be a tantrum a minute kind of gal and now she’s generally a lot of fun!

    • I’ve read Bear Town and Us Against You and didn’t realize until you just said it that it was the same author!

      Happy birthday to your kiddos, and the herd of hungry teens that you’ll be feeding this week. My MIL used to say that when Troy’s friends came over in high school it was like a plague of locusts that would descend, eat, and fly away.

  5. I’m very excited to try this new plug-in on your recipes! I wish more sites used the plug-in that puts the ingredient amounts in the body of the recipe. It’s one of those things that I didn’t know I needed!

    • When I’ve been making things on other sites, I’m definitely wishing they had the same option.

      There are many recipe plugins out there and once you start using it, it’s VERY hard to switch over. The process is a big pain, so most bloggers stick with what they have. And oftentimes, those plugins don’t update or improve. I’m lucky that the creator of mine is also a tech innovator and loves making tweaks and improvements.

  6. “A Man Called Ove” is a great book; the movie was okay. If you like the book, then “The 100 Year Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” should be on your list. 

    I’m staring down a week of Single Gal meals again and couldn’t be happier. We just returned from a week in Ireland and perhaps a few too many Fish & Chips/Guinness combos, so I’m excited to embrace many meals of salad greens and sparkling water.