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Scattered Sundays

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How was your Halloween? Ours started out lovely with two families joining us for dinner (frozen homemade pizza and Vegan Butternut Squash soup for our vegan friends).

The weather was perfect and the kids were in high spirits and having a great time. Then, of course, I had to go and ruin it by doing the worst thing a parent could ever do on Halloween…

I made Bennett put on his sweatshirt. I know, I’m an animal.

Jack is all about looking cool and wearing things that he doesn’t hate, so he was Jason from Friday the 13th (no, he’s never seen it) last year. And just to make his life (and mine) easier, he decided to wear the same costume again this year.

When we bought the mask from Amazon last year they accidentally sent us four of the same mask. And they were not interested in taking them back so we’ve been sitting on four Jason masks for a year.

Bennett changed his mind a thousand times over the last few weeks (knight, ninja, ninja with a machete, ninja with a Viking sword, kitty dragon, the evil nun again) and decided an hour before we left the house that he too wanted to be Jason.

One of the benefits of having approximately 423 boy cousins is that we never buy new clothes and have access to a ton of pre-loved costumes. He pulled on some hand me down jeans, put on two hand me down shirts, picked out a hand me down sweatshirt, and I packed some hand me down gloves into the stroller.

It was about 39 degrees by 6 pm and he was shaking with cold. He declined the sweatshirt and agreed to wear gloves at first. By 6:30 I had to “lovingly insist” that he put on the sweatshirt.

And then the night went to hell.

He sobbed for a solid 30 minutes but because we were with a group we couldn’t just leave. And because all the other kids were getting candy, he insisted that I come up to each door with him. By this time he had taken the mask off so he was just a sobbing child in jeans and an (evil) sweatshirt. When people asked what he was, I simply responded “a nightmare”.

86 days…

That is how long we have until Bennett turns four and his soul returns to his body. Not that I’m counting or anything… 🙂

On the plus side, Jack was a FREAKING dream. We were with three little kids who were three and four, and Jack totally took charge of all of them. He held their sticky little hands when they were scared and walking up to the doors, made sure they all got their favorite candies, and would patiently help them down slippery or steep front steps.

The other parents we were with are counting down the days until he can babysit.

He is also starting to learn that when a certain look comes across my face (moms, you know that look. Where your face is screwed up so tightly you could definitely crack walnuts with your butt) it is time for him to tap out and not engage with his crazy brother. He’s been spending a ton of time in his room reading and staying out of the fray.

I know we’ve talked about his love of graphic novels before, and I know some people don’t consider them “real” books. But here’s the thing…books are books. If your child is reading, you’re winning. Just let them read what they want and be glad.

And as if they are “real” or not…Jack’s reading scores came in and he is in the 91st percentile nationally for reading comprehension (<—slipped in mom brag). Graphic novels count my friends!

If your kiddo is similar, I have some new recommendations for you (the old list is located here)! Not all of these are graphic novels, but Jack has been loving The Last Kids on Earth Series, the Ifunny series, Secret Coders series, Hi-Lo series, The City of Ember, the Percy Jackson series, allll the I Survived books, Legends of Orkney series, House of Robots, and (a graphic novel for tweens about Japanese internment camps) They Called Us Enemy by George Takei (Sulu from Star Trek). And hands down his favorite books are the Nathan Hales Hazardous Tales historical graphic novels

We are officially in that weird season after Halloween but before the (American) holidays really get started. Jack keeps reminding me how many days until Christmas. In previous years that would make my butthole pucker. Now I’m like “cool, whatever”. 

Book fort

Are you one of those people who goes all out for the holidays? I’m not someone who gives two craps about decorating but the boys are. Every single thing we put out is for them. I just see it as more clutter and things to dust around. Not that I actually dust. 🙂


Are we already connected on Facebook? Did you even know I have a Sustainable Cooks Facebook page? Come join us over there for fun and silliness.

What I’m Listening To This Week

My friend Brandi and I are officially obsessed with The Million Dollar Badass/Hello 7 podcast. They’re changing their name to Hello 7 shortly, so it might show up in your podcast feed as either of these names.

I am nowhere near that income level, but I love learning from people, especially women who are way more successful than I am. Plus, the host, Rachel, has the best laugh ever.

If you like business podcasts, check out my favorite podcasts about blogging.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

I’m actually going to highlight two five-star reviews I got back to back on the same recipe – Chicken Gnocchi Soup {Pin this recipe}:

From MireilleSarah, this was so so so good. My husband is sick and when I saw this on my RSS feed, it felt like kismet! I usually make soup that’s just a bunch of old-ish veggies that I blend at the end, which I do like but tastes a little same-y, and this one was amazing. Creamy and the gnocchis felt like silk on the tongue… I served it with crack bread and it was just heavenly on this autumn night. Thanks for your great work

From AngelaI kinda whined about having to actually stand and cook this soup, but HOLY HELL! Eating it was like if a hug from your grandma came in soup form! Very, very good AND I can freeze half and have it again in 3-4 weeks when nothing sounds good and it’s cold as shit outside! I’ve basically eaten nothing but your soups for like a month now. I have no intention of stopping until spring 

a bowl of chicken gnocchi soup on a grey plate with a white napkin

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Confessions – everyone’s favorite post of the month!

Whole30 Tomato Soup –  Fresh and healthy, this Whole30 Tomato Soup tastes like a bowl full of summer! Use fresh or roasted canned tomatoes with dried basil for a creamy and delicious gluten-free tomato soup. This creamy Whole30 soup is perfect for anyone looking for a vegan tomato soup recipe or dairy-free tomato soup recipe. {Pin this recipe}

a bowl of tomato soup with creme fraiche

How to Make Brown SugarLearn how to make brown sugar in under five minutes, with only two ingredients. Make this brown sugar recipe at home, and never run out of this crucial baking ingredient again. {Pin this recipe}

homemade brown sugar in a glass bowl with a spoon

Cheesy Garlic BreadTransform a simple baguette into Cheesy Garlic Bread with the best homemade garlic butter spread. This easy cream cheese garlic bread recipe lets you make delicious and affordable garlic cheese bread from scratch. {Pin this recipe}

cheesy garlic bread and marinara sauce on a plate

^Here’s a fun fact about the photos in this recipe. I reshot it this week because I hated the old photos (you can see them here) and as I was chopping parsley I was just a hair away from chopping off the tip of my finger. Instead, I sliced off most of my fingernail but didn’t graze the skin. Once I realized I wasn’t bleeding, I was pissed that I had to pick fingernail out of the parsley so it wouldn’t ruin the photos.

Thanksgiving Checklist with free printableA user-friendly printable Thanksgiving checklist for all type-A planners. If you’re hosting, this Thanksgiving checklist helps you make sure food, cleaning, and other details aren’t overlooked. {Pin this checklist}

And for my eternal happiness, a reader named Jessica actually used her home laminator (did we just become best friends Jessica??) to laminate this checklist. And because she rules, she sent me a photo of the finished product!

Aunt Barbara’s Old-Fashioned FudgeAunt Barbara’s Old-Fashioned Fudge recipe is so easy to make in under 20 minutes! Made from scratch with rich chocolate and marshmallows, you’ll love this creamy chocolate fudge recipe made with condensed milk. Learn the secrets to create a non-grainy chocolate fudge for the most delicious dessert you could imagine! {Pin this recipe}

a hand reaching for a dish of chocolate fudge

And yes, that is Jack as my hand model! I paid him in fudge. Not sure how to declare that on my taxes…

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Mojito Mocktail  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Canning Pears  {Pin this tutorial}
  3. Canning Applesauce  {Pin this tutorial}
  4. Whole30 Beef Stew  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Instant Pot Orange Chicken  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday::  Jack’s making taquitos, rice, and salad.

Tuesday:: A soup recipe I need to reshoot the photos for because I hate them!

Wednesday:: Crispy Oven-Fried Gnocchi and Veggies (the best sheet pan meal ever)

Thursday:: Homemade frozen pizza for the boys. I will be at a Portland-area blogger event!

Friday:: Troy and Jack will be at school for a dad event. B and I will eat leftovers.

Saturday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night

Sunday:: Family dinner

What we Bought This Week

Butcher Box: $129

It’s hard to see everything in there, so I wrote it down (you’re welcome):

  • A three-pack of organic chicken breasts (related: all my chicken recipes)
  • 6 packages of organic grassfed ground beef
  • 2 packages of boneless pork chops (we use these for sheet pan pork fajitas)
  • 2 packages of their sugar-free bacon (related: Whole30 Bacon Brands)
  • 20 oz of NY strip steaks
  • 1 package of premium steak tips

Butcher Box is now offering free 10-14 pound Thanksgiving turkeys to all new customers who sign up before November 17th!

Butcher Box Turkeys are 10-14 lbs, all-natural (no basting ingredients, no artificial ingredients, minimally processed), animal welfare certified and never ever given antibiotics.

Get your Free Thanksgiving Turkey Here!

Costco: $58.12



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15 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. kitty dragon that’s cute. Yeah in our town they wanted to postpone Halloween because rain was forecast. Uh, no. That is not how this works. In a town about a half hour away,, the town council voted on Tues. to actually postpone it. Get some ‘nards, people. Your child won’t melt. Around here most ppl wait and watch from their stalker-ish car anyway. We used to plan our costume around a coat. Such a pain but hey, that’s life in the northeast.
    I wouldn’t mind decorating for Christmas if ppl would tell me what to do with all the stuff I have to move (my artful vignettes and in some cases, furniture) in order to PUT the decorations and tree up. And if I could have some help w.o the complaints if I’m too tired to do it. (“Mom, where are the decorations???” “Wait, you want me to WHAT?”)

    • Exactly – get an umbrella and sack up! Jack and I have trick or treated in the pouring rain when he was little. There were so few people out that most of the homes were just pouring their candy into his bag. He cleaned up that year!

  2. Where did you get the shirt that Jack is wearing in the picture of him with the instant pot? My son would love one of them.

  3. You just made me laugh so much! I shared your thanksgiving checklist with my sister cause she’s like you and loves to have everything planned out. I need to try your soups! I have made the gnocchi sheet pan a lot though. Pretty sure the hubby is starting to hate it lol. May start trying to share my menu and such to my own blog so expect lots of extras views from people who follow me(really there isn’t a whole lot but who knows). 

    • Gotta love a planner! And yes, my meal plan posts are my most popular of the week. It didn’t start out like that but it has grown over the years. Give a try. 🙂

  4. You had (even with a meltdown) a better Halloween than us. Gotta love simple, but effective costumes!  We love to go all out with our decorations, then get in costume and roam the driveway to give out candy (Hubby on stilts as an 8′ tall Grim Reaper) but it was POURING all day and most of the night.  We had a grand total of 31 soggy kids.  (normally it is more like 100).  It was a total bummer.

    I’m a little bit on the fence with the graphic novels.  Yes, they ARE books and reading is good, no matter what (age-appropriate thing)  they are reading.  But I also like the idea that they use their imaginations to ‘see’ the pictures and characters.  Side note: my daughter loved the Percy Jackson  books until the first movie came out.  She disliked the movie so much that it soured her on the books (Twilight did the same thing -she is 21 now, that was age appropriate for her-  except she kept her Percy books and has gotten rid of everything Twilight)  I hope that doesn’t happen with Jack.

    All three of us love the gnocchi meal you’re having this week.  I have to be VERY careful about not overdoing this one because hubby gets tired of things when I make them too often. But he won’t be home for dinner Wednesday, so I am adding it on that night!

    I love Christmas, but I don’t like anything in my house going out until after the Toronto Santa Claus Parade (Nov 17 this year) and our tree doesn’t go up until about the first weekend in December.  My full sized Christmas Story leg lamp that I got last year will likely be out Nov 17 though!

    • <3 Fra-jill-ay. Must be Italian.

    • That’s a total bummer! We’ve had some horrible rainy Halloweens but have mostly lucked out in the last few years. Rain definitely makes it a bit less fun.

      In thinking of the 5 kids I know who love graphic novels, most of them have extremely vivid imaginations. I’m not sure if that is because of all the images they see when they read, or if they read graphic novels because they’re naturally imaginative. Who knows!

      I was part of the big sister little sister program when we lived in California and I took my little sister to see Twilight (she was 14) and omg I wanted to leave so badly. I never read the books but I can’t imagine they’re very good if those movies are what came out of them.

      Is the parade all Santa Clauses or just one whom is the highlight of the parade?

      It’s a major award!

      • I enjoyed the comments here!

        Maybe I shouldn’t question the graphic novel/imagination thing.  The kids are imaginative AND they read.  Total win.
        I was part of a big sister type of program too!  I still talk to my ‘little sister’ 30-something years later.
        I didn’t hate the Twilight books, but the movies sure are bad.  We borrowed each one from the library as they became available because I *had* to watch them (like watching a car crash), but didn’t want to pay to see them.  I kept hoping they would get better, but they didn’t.  They did a terrible, terrible job with them. 

        The Santa Claus parade is the big deal when Santa arrives in town.  Being Toronto, it is a BIG deal.  Loads of fancy floats (that are sponsored, so they reflect the theme of the sponsor.  Like, a Nintendo float would have Mario on it) , clowns and marching bands.  It is a lot of fun to be there and even a lot of fun to just watch on TV.  The very last float is Santa.  And once his float has passed, Christmas BEGINS (for me, at least).   And I will dig out my ‘major award’ that, sadly, did not come in a crate.

  5. Your how to make brown sugar recipe was how I found you 3 or 4 years ago and was the first recipe I had made of yours. Still make it today. Thank you!