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Scattered Sundays

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Another weekend, another soccer tournament. Which sounds exhausting, but I’m just being dramatic. It’s our second and last tournament of the 2023 summer-fall season.

Thankfully, this tournament was within daily driving distance, so I didn’t have to pack anything excessive and we didn’t have to get a hotel room. My wallet is thrilled about that.

I did get a few things before the last tournament to make my life easier. The complex we were at was HUGE, we had to move fields after every game, and Troy wasn’t able to come. So I’m really thankful that we have a wagon so I could haul everything around by myself.

We have had a 12×12 pop-up canopy for years that takes up half my trunk and is really unwieldy to haul around. I wanted something that provided shade from the sun both overhead and from the sides. I finally settled on this smaller canopy that comes with zip-on sides.

It was a HUGE hit, and the shade on the sides was so appreciated in the afternoon. Our assistant coach has a 9-month old and when her husband isn’t at games, I get to watch that little smooshy face.

My little buddy and I and a few other smaller siblings hung out in my pale people shade palace. And her dog even joined us for much of the afternoon.

a woman with a baby with emoji over his face.

The other thing that saved my bacon over the weekend was this belt bag. I’ve avoided the belt bag trend for years, but finally see the value in using them. I’m keeping my normal daily purse, but plan to use this one for tournaments, vacations, etc.

I tried multiple bags before settling on this one. The other ones weren’t big enough, didn’t have enough structure, or enough pockets, or functionally were just not working with my needs.

This one has multiple compartments with pockets and zippers, card slots so I don’t have to pack a wallet but also don’t have to worry about cash and cards falling out. It also has a handy dandy little pen slot because I’m the nerd who always has a pen on me.

And most importantly, it has a retractable key fob. I cannot stand fumbling for my keys and I listen to enough true crime that I know being able to get into your car in a flash can be important.

I know the bag can be worn around your waist, but I wear it as a cross-body bag with the purse portion in the back. If I’m in a crowded area, I switch the compartments to the front.

a wagon full of soccer stuff.

I stumbled onto this article on Wednesday night and it’s a really powerful read. It’s all about teachers sharing incidents with students that changed their policies. It’s an exercise in humanity, humility, and empathy.

A long-time reader, Erin, who teaches middle school, told me it’s called Culturally Responsive teaching. My mom taught at a very poor school and spent a lot of her own money on her classroom and for the kids. And part of it was just meeting the kids where they were.

I’ll never forget watching her buy snacks for her classroom and I asked why she was feeding her students. She looked at me and said “hungry kids can’t learn”. That right there was a mind-shift change for me on realizing that not every kid was afforded the privileges that I had.

In the Garden This Week

This week found Bennett picking lots and lots of blueberries. He can be out there for an hour and still, only pick about 10% of what is ripe. Picking blueberries is a full-time job in the Cook household during this time of the summer.

a kid picking blueberries.

I’m also giving away cucumbers and zucchini at soccer practice like it is my actual job. Green beans are thriving, but then getting too big because I’ve been too busy to pick them. Whoops. The chickens are enjoying the huge pods though.

Tomatoes and burrata (Trader Joe’s has the best prices if you’re near one) are on repeat, and my heart and stomach are both full and happy.


Pamela, reader, and sister of the infamous Hey Nutrition Lady, left this five-star review on our Frozen Berry Cake {Pin this recipe}:

Excellent recipe, and healthy enough that it is on regular rotation for a quick breakfast for my kids. I make it the night before and it is sooooo good cold out of the fridge. I often use 100% whole wheat flour and it turns out just as good. It’s even forgiving when you forget to add the butter. Oops! 

frozen berry cake on a plate with a fork topped with yogurt and a sprig of mint


We took a wee break from the “preserve all the things” posting this week, to bring you some chicken dinner recipes.

Creamy Chicken PastaThis Creamy Chicken Pasta is a simple dinner of delicious homemade comfort food. Even better, this chicken pesto pasta makes delicious leftovers, and that makes you a meal prep legend. {Pin this recipe}

a white skillet with creamy chicken pesto pasta topped with shredded parmesan.

Air Fryer Chicken TaquitosThese delicious Air Fryer Taquitos are packed with tons of flavor. Baked, not fried, they are perfect for fast dinners and cook in only 9 minutes! No air fryer? You’ll also find oven-baking methods in the post. {Pin this post}

a plate of air fryer taquitos topped with cilantro, tomatoes, and guacamole


You can tell it is late summer when 80% of the top five posts are about preserving.

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8 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. “I’m also giving away cucumbers and zucchini at soccer practice like it is my actual job.”

    I did not heed a neighbor’s advice and planted way more mini-cucumber seeds than I should have. At peak I was snipping a at least a dozen a day, which is alot for two people! Then came a curcurbit bacteria and wiped everything out. 

    My three Black Cherry Tomato plants have churned out more than 300 gems, and they’re still going strong. I gave serious consideration to learning to can, so I checked a Ball book out from the library AND joined a Ball Canning Community group on social media, mostly to lurk. That group is hardcore! They’re canning things called “Carrot Cake Jam” and making faux Zucchini “Pineapple” chunks. We decided instead to put a freezer in our basement where I can now store all the freezer jams and bags of homemade sauce.

    • It’s always kind of a relief when the bacteria comes!

      I didn’t even plant these cucumbers – they were all volunteers. So hard to imagine this many cucumbers from 3 orphaned plants that were growing by our house.

      Having a basement freezer is the best. Canning people can get INTENSE. I recommend starting with something super easy that also contains sugar (like apple butter) so that you can figure out the rhythm of canning without the fear of making sure the ph levels are balanced.

  2. Hi Sarah,
    I’ve been wanting to can shelf stable caramel topping and I was wondering if you had a how-to for that? I looked through you canning oeuvre, but didn’t see one. Do you think you might do a recipe for that in the future?
    I really enjoy following your blog. Thank you for all your hard work on behalf of all your readers!
    Take care,

    • Hi Robin, I don’t have a caramel recipe and honestly I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable developing it.

      I checked the Ball canning website and they don’t have a normal caramel sauce recipe listed, which makes me think it’s not something that’s possible for home cooks/canners.

  3. I have fought the rebranding of the fanny-pack to “cross body bag” as well. It’s just a rebrand! It’s so trendy, you’re just following the crowd! And then I needed something for while we were hiking and couldn’t find the small backpack, and found the ancient fanny-pack and pulled it out (but it was too small to do cross body)…and yeah, was reminded why it was perfect. Now I’m eyeing your link because it would be nice to do a small cross body one when hiking, it looks way better than the fanny pack. *sigh* Yep, I’m being influenced.

  4. Hi Sarah – I rarely post comments (as you know!), but I want you to know I look forward to and read your Sunday email every week. Thank you for taking the time to always share what’s helpful, amusing, entertaining, touching, and powerful. I am not a recipe-reader, but I love that I have access to other parts of you and your life – especially when they touch so many of my own – apart from your enormous skills (writing, photography, gardening, canning, web publishing) as a blogger. You rock!