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Scattered Sundays

Growing up, I was in the kitchen a ton. I really loved it and even asked for a cookbook for my fifth birthday.

At a pretty young age, I was allowed to make dinner for the family a few times a month. It likely would have been more but I always made a giant mess in the kitchen. 🙂

I realized this week that while the boys help me in the kitchen, Jack’s cooking skills are sorely lacking. I’m always in the kitchen because it’s my job and I hate the flow of our kitchen so I’m constantly telling everyone else to GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN.

Well, this has to change, so Jack and I committed ourselves to a new challenge that needs to be accomplished by the end of the summer. It’s called the Ten by Ten. Let me tell you all about it!

By the end of the summer, he needs to learn basic skills by cooking nine recipes by himself, with my supervision. My Type-A self who hates messes and watching people struggle is already in knots about this. But that’s my thing and I’ll manage it for him.

But, seriously, my butthole is already puckered.

But why only nine recipes if we’re calling it the Ten by Ten? Because he needs to create the 10th recipe all on his own!

We’ve already identified a few of the recipes he will tackle. We chose them based on things he likes to eat, things I feel comfortable with him making, and recipes that contain skills that are transferrable to all kinds of dishes.

These are what we have decided on so far. I had to steer him away from learning to make all desserts. 🙂

  1. Whole Wheat Pancakes
  2. Homemade whole wheat pizza dough which obviously he’ll want to make into pizza
  3. Taquitos. I don’t have a real recipe for this. I make a bunch of chicken in the Instant Pot (like in this recipe), heat tortillas that I have wrapped in damp towels in the microwave for 1 minute, and then roll the taquitos. I cook them in a little avocado oil in a cast iron skillet for a minute or so on each side. It’s a non-recipe recipe but he wants to learn!
  4. Hard-boiled eggs. He randomly decided he loves hard-boiled eggs and wants to learn to make them in the Instant Pot. If you have a pressure cooker, here is the method I use.
  5. Scrambled Eggs. We make a batch of make-ahead scrambled eggs and use them all week.
  6. Whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. They’re truly more chocolate chip than cookie. The other ingredients just basically bind the chocolate chips together.
  7. Apple Jacks (which you might know as Stovetop Cinnamon Apples). These have been a favorite snack of his since he was 8 months old.

Jack is a lefty, so teaching him some skills is totally ass-backward for me. He has a kid-knife from IKEA (it’s a lot like this one) but I feel like by this age I was using adult knives, so we’ll see.

I wish they made knives just for lefties, but I’m not sure if that actually is a thing or necessary. Any input from the lefties in the group would be appreciated.

I have had the privilege over the last six weeks of being a beta tester for Six-Figure Blog Academy, a course created by Kate from Root + Revel. Her blog is bonkers successful and she finally put everything she knows into a course format. 

The course is now out of beta and is open for enrollment if you know of anyone who wants a proven roadmap to running a blog. The module on email marketing alone is worth the entire course.

This is the course I wish I had when I started out. Instead, I screwed around for eight years and wondered why my blog wasn’t growing.

Look for my upcoming course “How Not to Blog”. 🙂

If you are interested in Six-Figure Blog Academy, enrollment for new attendees closes Tuesday, July 30th. Ready to do this? You can sign up for Six-Figure Blog Academy here.

Has been wearing all of Jack’s old soccer cleats all week.

Thank you all for your long torso swimming suit recommendations last week! Hands down, the most highly-recommended brand was Land’s End, and lucky for me, they were having a mega-sale. Even better, there is 2% cashback from ebates.

I ordered an excessive number of suits to try on in the sanctuary of my own home. I landed on this suit in purple (aka “smoky grape”) but am going to go up a size because it turns out it was not a long-torso suit and is a bit snug in the shoulders. Damn my broad Nordic ribcage and shoulders!

What I like about it: clearly well made. The quality is obvious compared with the Target suits I tried on recently. There are structured bra cups to give the girls a nice lift. The rouching (is that a word?) is quite flattering.

What I don’t like about it: the butt cut. (Dibs on butt cut for a band name.) I don’t find the cut exceptionally flattering, but oh well.

Jack had soccer camp this week, and I was once again reminded that this child’s natural athletic ability did NOT come from me. If he wasn’t my exact twin, I would guess he was swapped at birth.

The head coach of the camp mentioned he would like Jack to coach the younger kids in the morning next year and then practice with the older kids (13-17-year-olds) in the afternoon. I explained he was only 10 and that shocked the coach. He said he still wanted to make it happen.

For anyone who has been reading my blog for long knows that Jack had a super rough start to both school and sports because homeboy can be incredibly aggressive. I think he was the first kid in his kindergarten class to get his card turned to red on the third day of the school year.

Many of you might recall my public emotional breakdown after I was destroyed on Facebook for taking away dessert for two weeks. That seems like so long ago, and also just yesterday at the same time.

Sports were challenging and he was constantly getting the whistle blown for his conduct. I used to tell him I didn’t care if he was good on the field but I did care if he was a bad sport.

It was only last year that he took a turn towards displaying good sportsmanship. And games went from something we dreaded, to a real pleasure to watch.

^all that is partial mom brag but also a story for all the other parents out there who have their own “Jack”. The kid who shows up to the playground and all the sudden the other parents “need to be somewhere”. The kid who we were convinced we’d need his college fund for bail money.

I see you there frustrated parents. I get it. You’re doing a great job and one day it will click, that acidic feeling in your stomach will go away, and school conferences will no longer result in a bout of panic diarrhea.

One day it won’t feel like you’re screaming into a jar. It won’t always feel like you’re trying to swim against the riptide.

Until that day comes, I’m here if you need to talk or e-vent. We’re all in this together.

What I’m Listening To This Week

This week I am binging 22 Hours. Recommended by a friend and by a reader last week, this gripping story walks you through the final 22 hours a family endured while being held hostage and then ultimately murdered.

Light stuff. 🙁

It is done well, despite the super heavy topic.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Sara (though I want to call her Sarah) left this five-star review on our tutorial How to Cut a Peach in Only 15 Seconds:

Super helpful and simple. So happy to have this process explained to me in easy language- made my stressed mom brain and breakfast plate are both appreciative!

a bowl of sliced peaches with mint

{Pin this tutorial}

And hey, while you’re at it, cut up a bunch at once and then read this post on How to Freeze Peaches.

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Easy Healthy Meal PrepEasy Healthy Meal Prep is the ultimate guide to tips and tricks for prepping and serving healthy meals. Quick and efficient weekly meal prep is your secret weapon for speedy weeknight meals. Discover time-saving meal prep ideas and delicious family dinner recipes.

two glass containers with meal prepped food and forks

{Pin this tutorial}

Eco-Friendly Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner –  Learn how to make the best Eco-Friendly Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner! This non-toxic all-purpose cleaner uses vinegar and essential oils to help you clean your house without harsh chemicals.

a bottle of homemade all-purpose cleaner on a wooden tray with essential oils, lemon, and fresh mint

{Pin this tutorial}

Dill Pickle Relish {Canning Relish}A simple and easy recipe for canning amazing Dill Pickle Relish. This tangy dill pickle relish is perfect for anyone new to canning. Enjoy it on burgers, hot dogs, in potato or chicken salad.

Three jars of homemade dill relish with cucumbers and a pepper

{Pin this recipe}

Gluten-Free Mug Cake {Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake}This Gluten-Free Mug Cake is rich and chocolatey without any grains or dairy. A decadent chocolate mug cake that is ready in under two minutes, you’ll love how quickly you can make this microwave souffle. Open your pantry, grab a few ingredients and whip up a paleo mug cake today!

a gluten-free mug cake in a white container with mint and strawberries

I’d like to give a special shout out and thank you to long-time reader Erin who was a recipe tester for this mug cake! She reported the flavor in the two bites she got was great before her three-year-old swooped in and finished it.

{Pin this recipe}

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

Yes, yes, my Mojito Mocktail is still #1 and the Trader Joe’s Whole30 Shopping List is still #2, but everything else in the top 7 screams “suuuuuuummer”! Except for #5. That one screams “back to school”. Why are all my posts screaming?

  1. Canning Peaches  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Homemade Peach Ice Cream  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Zucchini Chips  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Nana’s Cucumber Salad  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Zero Waste Food Storage  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

If you’re looking for some help with meal planning, we highly recommend MomablesMomables emails you a weekly meal plan, shopping list and prep list for $10 a month. It rules.

Monday:: Jack wants to make taquitos, so we’ll have that and salad.

Tuesday:: Troy is grilling something from Butcher Box. And we have corn and veggies from the farmer’s market.

Wednesday:: A dinner from Momables that I was going to make last week. But it was so (Seattle) hot out that I didn’t want to cook. We ended up grilling something from the freezer instead.

Thursday:: Jack is making pizza with our homemade whole wheat dough. Plus salad or grilled veggies.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: TBD

Sunday:: Family dinner


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26 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I remember how rough it was there for a while. You are an amazing mom and it’s been awesome following along on Jack’s growth. How awesome that his soccer coach sees so much potential in him!

    Hope this helps Jack.

  3. I think that’s a great idea. I just told my almost 9 (yikes) year old he needed to start learning how to cook. He can already do some basics but I agree, teach them early.

    I’m a lefty and no, they don’t make left handed knives. Scissors, yes, even pens because ballpoint pens actually don’t work like they should for us.

  4. The Ten before Ten sounds awesome. I taught the eldest nephew how to make his dad a gin and tonic last year, it’s a family life skill but cooking would be much more useful! I’m left handed, but after reading this realised that I mostly hold the knife in my right hand because I’ve learned to adapt to the right handed majority. I can use my left for cutting things up though and find that my sabatier 20cm chefs knife is perfect either hand. ('s-knife-20cm/p230843678) It is stupidly expensive so maybe not for Jack just year (in my defence I’ve had all of mine about 25 years) but Jack might find a 15cm knife more comfortable. The thing to really watch out for is space. As a left hander, the thing that I find right handers don’t think about is giving my left side enough space to move comfortably. One of my closest friends and I met and bonded because as lefties, sitting next to each other in class meant we weren’t constantly bumping elbows! If you can, when you’re demonstrating something, have him watch you from opposite not beside you. It sometimes makes more sense if I’m watching someone do something opposite them.

    • Haha, life skills in your family, I know that one well!

      Troy’s sister’s husband is a lefty and we always stick him and Jack together at dinners.

      I love the idea of demonstrating things opposite of him! Great tip; thank you.

  5. Lefty here. Just make sure the knife has an edge on both sides. If the edge is only on one side it’s a right hand knife and a lefty can’t cut anything straight. Was gifted a wonderful set of knives once, with every knife you can imagine. All of them only had the edge on one side, never could use them

  6. Lefty here! I’m fairly certain my dislike of cooking is related to just how difficult cutting stuff up is for me. Are there special knives? I don’t even know. I love food writing, curate our Pinterest boards of recipes, and leave most of the cooking work to my husband ????

  7. Oh, I am the saaaame in the kitchen. I grew up loving to cook, and bake, and since my mom didn’t like to cook at all she was delighted to pass that job on to me. So I was usually in the kitchen alone, unless we were making Christmas cookies. Now I get twitchy about cooking with somebody else, especially if we’re making something I make really well. It’s a control thing, and so sadly my boys aren’t inclined to work in the kitchen with me because I tend to take over. Must work on that.

    • I think “twitchy” is the perfect word for how I feel in the kitchen.

      It’s 100% uncomfortable for me to let him in there and do this thing, but he gave me a big hug today and said “thanks for letting me make dinner Mom”. Worth it.

  8. Oh, Sarah. Always writing directly to me.GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN is my catch phrase, but for me it is because cooking dinner is my de-stress time. Earbuds in, people out. This of course has lead to the following: a daughter who loves to bake because frankly it is not my jam, so I happily gave it to her, a son heading to college who only makes grilled cheese (for the record though, he makes THE best grilled cheese) and a 10 year old that can only make oatmeal, eggs, quesadillas, and grilled cheese. You inspire me to do better, as always. I’m telling Dyl that Jack is learning so he has to as well ????

    • It’s a constant refrain in our house Jenn. It’s hard for a tiger to change its stripes.

      I think D and J would make amazing cooking show co-hosts. Since they both like to run they could call it “speed cooking”. 🙂

      What are your son’s grilled cheese secrets?

  9. Kudos to you for teaching Jack how to cook. My son learned some cooking skills in Boy Scouts – he had to be the cook for the entire troop on a couple of camping trips, and also had to earn the cooking merit badge for the Eagle rank. But I wanted to take it further. I mean, not everything is cooked over a camp fire or on a grill. I always assigned him extra chores during the summer, and one year, decided that he had to make dinner for the family one night a week. It was up to him to choose the menu, then cook and serve it. There are still a few things I want to teach him, like how to make a pot of spaghetti sauce, but he’s pretty self-sufficient in the kitchen now. He’s even made me brunch for Mother’s Day a couple of times.

    • That’s awesome. Nice work Mom. Love that you have to discern that not everything is cooked over a campfire. Such male thinking and I know Jack would be like “ok, this is it. This is all I need to know”.


    I got these for a friend’s twins. I think they were a success, but not sure whether they would a) be available or b) be big enough for Jack.

    • Jack has had that exact knife since he was three. Too funny! Bennett uses it now.

      The IKEA kid knives are actually as sharp as real knives but smaller and designed for a kid’s hand. And they have a little guard between the blade and the handle.