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Scattered Sundays

The day I have dreaded for the last nine months is here – school is out for the summer! 🙁

Day one we hit up a park with three of their cousins and found a banana slug. So pretty much living our best lives.

If you work from home and have kids, you’ll know the pain, frustration, and lack of patience that awaits me over the next nine(ish) weeks. My butthole is permanently puckered at this point and for the near future. Maybe I should start a walnut cracking business.

Jack is doing two week-long day camps this summer, and Bennett will be in one more preschool camp (so far. hopefully there are more).  And we’re going to Canada in July to see my blog wife Katie and her family!

The rest will just be pure survival mode I think.

Last week I alluded to something big happening, and now I’m excited to finally share it with you!

Troy and I FINALLY sold our property!

We bought almost three acres back in 2007 at the very tippy top of the market. We were still living in Los Angeles at the time and purchased this property with the idea that we would come home and build a forever home there.

What is it that they say about best-laid plans?

The economy tanked when we moved back to Seattle in 2008. The company I worked remotely for told me they were eliminating the work from home option two months after we moved. Then Troy couldn’t find a job and once he did the industry was so bad he was laid off three times in less than two years.

And then he decided to become a firefighter which was a four-year journey that was so incredibly expensive in terms of finances and emotional capital.

The property was amazing – next to a lake, it had a salmon stream on it, ATV trails, and just gorgeous green belts. But eventually, it became this thing that was a symbol of a direction our life was no longer headed. And we have been trying to unload it ever since.

As I said, we bought at the top of the market and put a ton of money down when we purchased it. Between the down payment and the monthly payments since then, there is no price we could have sold it for that would recoup that.

We tried to sell it through various agents for years but there were no buyers. Finally, early this spring I left a note on the next door neighbor’s home telling them we were going to relist it in April and if they wanted it we would sell it for $5k less if they wanted to do a for sale by owner situation.

You could imagine my surprise when they emailed within a day and said they were interested! As these things do, the process took so much longer than expected, but we closed this week at last.

We lost our shirts on this sale, but sometimes, the most important thing is closing the door to a chapter that is just dragging you down. Onward and forward at this point.

Packing a fire extinguisher and blanket like the good firefighter wife that I am.

With two road trips coming up this summer, I finally buckled down and bought things I swore I would never purchase. Seat organizers with screen holders. If we were sitting next to each other right now, you could palpably feel shame emanating from my body.

We have a very old family ipad that I actually won from my old job for doing the most edits on a company-wide document (yes, I’m a giant nerd) and a six-year-old Amazon Fire (can you believe they used to be $250??) that I bought when Jack had his tonsils taken out.

And with Bennett’s current level of assholeness (it’s off the charts, because #3yearoldsareevil), I think I’m just going to be ok with some screen time in the car. Jack will read books and Bennett is fine too and we got him this no-mess coloring tablet, but the screens are there to prevent me from choking them both out.

Felix, our UPS guy dropped off a box this week that I don’t remember ordering. Apparently, when I was researching this Zero Waste Food Storage post, I put different items in my cart so I could remember to include them in the post.

And during that process, I somehow left these Mod Family silicone lids in my cart and accidentally bought them. Oh well, they’re amazing! I used them on Friday for making communion bread, AKA No Knead Bread.

The pantry and freezer challenge is officially on, but it’s not too late to join! We started this morning and it will run through the 29th. Rules are your own to make, and the only goal is really to help you get creative with using up what you have already.

Click here to join!

My shameful secret this spring is that I just could not give two craps about the garden. I know!! I’m in a season of business growth and am not interested or motivated by tomatoes.

We have lots of established plants like raspberries (related: How to Build Raspberry Supports), blueberries, strawberries (related: Vertical Strawberry Planter) and garlic (related: How to Plant Garlic), so stuff is growing, but new stuff? Meh.

I finally got tomatoes planted this week, but instead of my normal 18-25 plants, I did 12. I’m not planning on canning (related: Canning Whole Tomatoes) too much this summer and that’s ok. We all have seasons in our lives and this season is just going to be a little less produce-centered for me.

Thankfully, I did have some help with getting the chicken crap compost spread in the planting areas. And yes, it took 15,917% longer with his “help”. 

I told both boys last week that once school was out, they were on their own for making their breakfasts. During the school year, we have my nephew before and after school and he eats breakfast at my house. He takes a medication where he never feels hungry, and thus his breakfast needs are different than my kiddos.

I can’t make him a special breakfast and then tell the boys they have to eat something else. And thus, school = me making three separate breakfasts. And swearing under my breath.

But summer breakfasts are all on them! Bennett and I made some Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes this week to freeze, and he was pretty pleased with himself for heating his own breakfast up. We also made smoothies to go with his pancake.

There is always some cooked bacon (related: How to Bake Bacon in the Oven) or sausage (related: Whole30 Breakfast Sausage), and precooked scrambled eggs (related: Make Ahead Scrambled Eggs). Bennett asks me how long to microwave it, so we’re going to go ahead and call it a math lesson too.

Three-Year-Olds Be Bonkers

Troy had training at work today for dealing with patients with mental health issues who are in crisis mode. All the signals that someone is escalating and the tactics for handling it are all the things that every three-year-old I know does.

Screamed in his sleep all night, woke up at 5, and passed out 30 minutes before I had to take the big boys to school. NEAT

What I’m Listening To This Week

NERD ALERT! This week I’m listening to Inside Star Wars. This is another great podcast from Wondery (they also did Over My Dead Body and Gladiator)!

Honestly, I don’t love how they tell the story of how Star Wars came about, but the story itself is so interesting that I’m loving this. Apparently, they also have an Inside Jaws podcast that I might check out.

Troy worked in TV and film for almost 10 years, so hearing the behind the scenes stories from major productions is just fascinating.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Nikki left this five-star review on our Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes Recipe:  {Pin this recipe}

Being a person who’s never been a fan of pancakes, I gave these a try in hopes of feeding the rest of my family a heartier pancake. Because I am also not a fan of cooking more than one meal at a time, I gave these a try as well. I’m not kidding when I say these are in a regular rotation of breakfast for dinner at our house, AND my teenage son requests them for breakfast! I actually prefer them with “fake buttermilk” (milk+vinegar) rather than actual buttermilk. That’s a great thing considering I very rarely have buttermilk on hand. I love making these pancakes “extra” by adding blueberries (frozen ones work great if you don’t have fresh!). These are definitely a fave at our house! 

If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll see that Bennett and I actually made a batch of these pancakes on Instagram live. And Bennett very sagely informed everyone that eggs come from “chicken’s butts”.

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

If you don’t like/care about jam recipes, the next few weeks are going to be very disappointing for you. I published a jam recipe this week AND have two more coming up in the next two weeks. GET READY!

No Cook Raspberry Freezer Jam {Low Sugar}Super fresh tasting, this Raspberry Freezer Jam is beyond simple to make. Just three ingredients and 20 minutes (including clean up!), and you’ll have homemade raspberry jam in a flash. This raspberry freezer jam recipe is low-sugar and requires no canning skills. Your whole family will love this no-cook raspberry jam.

jars of homemade raspberry freezer jam with lemon and mint

{Pin this recipe}

Gluten-Free Crisp {Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp}This gluten-free crisp is the best Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp you’ll ever eat! So easy to make, this rhubarb crisp captures all the amazing flavors of summer in one delicious dish. Made with a to die for gluten-free crumble topping, this crisp can also be made dairy-free or vegan.

a overhead shot of a gluten free rhubarb strawberry crisp

{Pin this recipe}

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

I’m leaving the Virgin Mojito and Trader Joe’s Shopping List off the top five this week because frankly, we’re all sick of seeing them!

Instead, I’m bringing up a few posts that are close to breaking the top five…and three of them involve peaches!

  1. The Ultimate Homemade Peach Ice Cream Recipe   {Pin this recipe}
  2. How to Bake Bacon in the Oven   {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Zucchini Chips  (also includes non-airy fryer instructions) {Pin this recipe}
  4. Canning Peaches  {Pin this tutorial}
  5. How to Cut a Peach in 15 Seconds  {Pin this tutorial}

Meal Plan

We’ve been testing out Momables and love it! The boys were super happy with all the dinners we have had from the meal plan. Momables emails you a weekly meal plan, shopping list and prep list for $10 a month.  But…this week is the Pantry and Freezer clean out challenge, so we’re not following the Momables plan.

Monday:: Instant Pot Lentil Soup (non-Instant Pot instructions included) and biscuits (savory, not cookies for my overseas readers). This is a perfect pantry clean out kind of meal!

Tuesday:: Rainbow veggie pasta and kale salad (I have kale in the garden thanks to some starts from aunt and uncle)

Wednesday:: Paleo Roasted Chicken, Air Fryer Asparagus, and some skillet fried potatoes. I found a random potato plant in the garden and yanked it.

Thursday:: Paleo Chicken Pot Pie Soup made with leftover chicken from the night before, and Crack Bread (in the spirit of the challenge, I’ll make baguettes instead of buying them).

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Homemade Ramen Noodle Bowls because I have everything, including potstickers!

Sunday:: Family dinner


What are you having this week?



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24 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I decide that I’m going to use stuff up from the freezer. Then I do my online shop and they have Flash Sales with 50% off stuff. Lots of it is weird and rather less than wonderful, but when I see meat items or meals I can stash for DD (who isn’t cooking much for herself at the moment thru CFS) I can’t resist! But I will do my best.

    I’m D14 of Whole 30 at the moment, so constantly shopping for more fruit and veg. I do have some frozen veg I should use, stuff I shoved in the freezer so it didn’t waste when we went away.

    DD and I use the silicone lids a lot. One day when we had company hub made capairiñas for everyone. I put one over the glass, someone took it down the road to her ground floor flat and shoved it through the window!

    Maybe my goal for the week should be a freezer audit? At least that way I won’t purchase too many duplicates.

    • I think your best is all that we’re hoping for in this challenge! And a freezer audit sounds great.

      How is it going? You’re about to hit the stride where you get more energy and are supposed to have “tiger blood”. Troy experienced that but I did not.

  2. Good luck with the summer holidays! I’m doing a freezer challenge this week by default, I was away for a couple of days last week and have a horrible cold (there’s nothing quite like hearing your chest rattle!) anyway I got back home yesterday and there was just no way that anything like food shopping was happening. I managed to unpack and do laundry and that was quite enough!
    Gardening and the bug for it ebbs and flows so enjoy your easy year! We’re having really weird weather this year and everyone’s a bit meh about it. The garlic was terrible (rust, white rot and leaf miner!) and everything is behind, so I’m not expecting great things.

    • Feel better Nic! Personally, I think summer colds are the cruelest because it’s supposed to be the time of year when we’re outside and feeling great.

      Boo for the weather. I’ve never had issues with garlic before. I think I would be devastated.

  3. I miss pancakes ????
    But Keto is helping the baby weight come off. 
    This week I’ve got Keto fish taco bowls, Margherita portobello mushroom pizzas with bacon, kielbasa and cabbage cooked in bacon grease with bacon bits, Parmesan fried fish, and my cheat day we’re ordering pizza but I’m gonna balance it with a salad. The hardest part of Keto is remembering to pack a lunch/snack for work. 

    • There has to be a keto version of pancakes, right??

      • I tried some with almond flour but they were grainy and unappetizing. I’m gonna try coconut flour next time. And I’m using a different sweetener so that should help as well. Might have to locate some sugar-free chocolate chips to make them worth my while

  4. Thank you as always, for finding and sharing the humor in reality. My mom used to say we have to laugh to keep from crying (‘borders on hysteria, I know). Now I have those lids in my cart. Yes, we must honor the seasons in our lives. Wise.  Hugs, 

  5. I know that feeling of needing to get out from underneath something. My dad’s house is still hanging over us but it’s been hard to find the time to get everything done on it. One last thing and we can put it up for sale. I’m glad y’all found closure.

  6. I haven’t made any dinner meal plan for the upcoming week (yet), but I dug a whole chicken out from the depths of the freezer today to do a ‘beer can’ chicken for dinner.  I also found a bag of oats in there (I keep them frozen because I found bugs in my oats once -so disgusting!!) And I will be prepping jars of instant oatmeal using those and any dried fruits and seeds I locate in the pantry. (1/4 cup quick oats, 2 tbsp ground oats, a pinch of salt, and sugar as desired is the base.  Then add in any dried fruit, chia, flax, seeds, nuts, etc. that you want.  When ready to eat, treat it like a commercial packet -pour it into a bowl and add boiling water)
    So far, those are my only clear-out challenge plans.

    You may not be thrilled with Bennett slowing you down as he helps you, but he sure looks happy doing it!  You are definitely doing something right.

    Have a great time when you are in Canada!  Creeping Katie’s blog, I assume you will be on the West Coast to visit her.  I’ve never been there, but I hear that it is beautiful out that way.  

    • Love homemade instant oatmeal!

      I’ve never made beer can chicken but I hear amazing things around it. Do you bake yours or do it on the grill?

      Yes, they’re outside of Vancouver. It’s such a pretty area, but I’m biased because it looks like Seattle to me.

      • Our beer can chicken was done on the barbecue.  So, I thawed the chicken, made the side and the sauceset the table AND cleaned everything up after.  And hubby plopped the bird on the gizmo that holds it upright with a partial can of de-alcoholized beer under it and put it on the barbecue – but he gets ALLLLLL the credit for making dinner…   (Can you see me rolling my eyes????)

        I’ve got a friend who lives on an island in BC and he posts photos all the time.  It looks gorgeous out there! 

  7. I admire the plan not to over-produce in the produce area this summer, makes sense to me to change it up!

    Dylan’s nutritionist suggested alllll the colors of the rainbow this week so I bought a little bit of every vegetable to roast or stir fry.  + some garlic chicken sausages, steak, chicken, hot dogs to go with.  Boys will eat hummus and pita, turkey roll ups and probiotic yogurts for lunch, per usual in the summer.

  8. I’m excited about the pantry challenge. I’ve organized my freezer with a bin of ‘we need to eat this food now’ and I’ll work my way thru it. Included are several packages of Zaycon meats and, since it’s been a long time since they closed their doors, it’s time for it to go!

    • Ohhhhh, I love the filtering system for using things up first. Have you thought of any meals you’re going to make?

      I never ordered from Zaycon, but I know it was big for a while. I had no idea it went out of business. When did that happen?

  9. Hooray for unloading property! We (mainly I) decided to stupidly buy a house during a housing bubble, and right after we bought it the roof started leaking. (Pro tip: if you’re renting and the asshat landlords tell you they’re still going to try to sell it while you’re living there, just let them and find another place to live, don’t buy it in panic at the thought of turning around and moving again. BE YE NOT AS STUPID AS ME.) Anyway. the neighborhood went downhill and the house just had so many issues that it was impossible to sell until my husband sunk a lot of time and we sunk a lot of money into it and we STILL lost a ton of money. It was still worth it to be free of it.

    • Oh, and I hear you on the garden sloth feelings. I only planted this year because our landlord gave us seeds he didn’t need, so I have onions (which are actually fun and easy to grow, radishes (turns out nobody, including me, really likes them), some lettuce and two tomato plants. The boys planted some pumpkins in hopes of a big pumpkin harvest. And that’s it. I’m not sure what it is this year, but aside from keeping up with the decorative stuff (because we rent and our landlord lives next door), and planting onion sets I’m just not feeling like a farmer.

      • The poor radishes! I planted them for two years and also realized no one eats them.

        How is the “pumpkin patch” going?

    • Oh my, how stressful for you all! I’m glad it is behind you. And, if you’re like me, it will be a life-long lesson for you and you’ll never make that mistake again.

  10. is your nephew on a methylphenidat-treatment? that minimizes the hunger in german patients too, thanks for your blog, this is my first comment , reading it as a pharmacist on sunday duty

    • I’m not sure what the name for his med is!

      Thanks for commenting and I think it’s very appropriate that it was about a medication. 🙂