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Scattered Sundays

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Jack’s school had called me twice on Tuesday letting me know he was in the health room with “significant ear pain”. We had just been to urgent care on Sunday where we were told his ears were clear.

As a former hypochondriac myself, I have a very hard time extending empathy to my dramatic boy. Every performance he thinks he is mastering is something I had already done before. 

I finally decided to pick him up, and once we got Bennett from preschool, we hit the road for the pediatric urgent care 30 minutes away. We were flying down the freeway when I asked Jack if he dropped a hardcover book on the floor. He hadn’t, but we had both heard a loud BOOM.

And then my “low tire pressure light came on” and Jack, who had already been whimpering and playing it up the whole time, just lost his mind.

I drive a Subaru and I am able to monitor the tire pressure for each tire, so I kept driving hoping to get to a Les Schwab Tire store that I knew was about seven miles away. I made it four or five miles before I was just too nervous to keep driving on the tire.

I pulled over to a safe parking lot off the freeway and was going to change the tire and then Jack started acting like he was going to die. And the Oscar goes to…

Our pastor’s family lives about five minutes from where I was, so I called his wife because we are also bonkers good friends outside of church. The timing was perfect and she had just gotten home and flew over to get Jack. 

I quickly wrote an “I give this woman permission to sign for my son” note on the back of one of Bennett’s coloring notebook pages, and gave her my insurance card and wished them both luck.

In the meantime, I called the tire place and they said they could be there in 10-15 minutes. Yes, I can change a tire (see below), but I assumed this tire was so screwed up that I was going to need a new one for sure. I thought they could just bring me a new one. I didn’t think about the fact that they would need the car at the shop to balance it.

Once we had realized the tire blew while I was driving, I started freaking out a little bit on the inside. If you have an AWD vehicle, it is recommended you replace ALL tires at once. My tires are only seven months old so the thought of shelling out for all new ones made me want to cry.

The guy came and changed the tire and then Bennett and I flew to urgent care to get to Jack. Guess what? No ear infection. I wanted to murder him at that moment.

The doctor spent a solid 10 minutes explaining to Jack (not me, which I thought was great because kids love when they are treated more maturely) what a healthy ear looked like and what his was showing.

He did have some fluid back there but it wasn’t bad. The doctor classified it as “a non-ear infection that could turn into one”. Very plainly, he told Jack that treating kids for little things with antibiotics is going out of style (yay!), and then (my favorite part) said “if you lived in Europe, you wouldn’t be treated for this at all and would be sent back to school”. LOVE THAT.

We then rushed over to Les Schwab before they closed, and I almost open mouth kissed the guy when he said they had repaired the tire and it was totally fine. Oh, and there was no charge for the fix. 

Because it is a Pacific Northwest company, I know most of my readers don’t have a Les Schwab tire in their towns. And I’m sorry for you. We have been Les Schwab customers since I was little and they have a cult following in this area. Their motto is “doing the right thing since 1952” and they always treat their customers right. Always.

As to me being able to change a tire, well, that skill goes back to the winter of 1997. My sister and I were downstairs watching TV on a Saturday. It was snowing buckets outside but we were both in shorts (mine were Umbros soccer shorts) and T-shirts because the pellet stove that was also in the basement was pumping out heat.

My dad was out fiddling around in the garage and yelled for my sis and I to come quickly! We threw one our Adidas slides (remember those horrible sandals with those massager things on the footbed?) and ran out to find my Dad in the driveway standing next to our 1989 Ford Taurus with snow falling hard around him. He announced, “and now we’re going to learn how to change a tire”.

We looked at him like he was insane and turned to go into the house to change our clothes. My dad stopped us and said “nope, you’re going to learn how to do this wearing those clothes and in those sandals”. And we did! 

His thought was that if we could learn to change a tire while freezing in the snow in sandals, we could change a tire in ANY situation. This was also how he taught us how to drive a stick shift – we had to stop and start 10 times going up our insanely steep hill without killing it or rolling it back more than a foot or so before we were allowed to drive in general traffic.

Oh, and this same psycho (I say with extreme love) once pretended to flood the engine of our boat while we were in the middle of the Puget Sound and screamed for us to get our life jackets on and to get to the stern (back) of the boat. And my friends, that is how he taught us to prepare for a waterboard emergency. 

It’s freaking amazing that I don’t live my life constantly worried we’re all going to die. Unless of course, we’re on the beach at the ocean. 🙂

Inspired by my friend Brandi from the blog Stay Snatched, I have started sharing my workouts on Instagram stories. The goal is 30 workouts in 30 days and I started documenting on February 2nd or 3rd.

Through this process I have consistently had three questions pop up in my DM’s: 1) how do you work out so damn early? 2) how can people find time to work out when they have office jobs? 3) what are you using on your skin because it’s looking pretty good.

Answer to question one: I wake up early regardless if I am going to work out or not. It just makes my days more productive and I think the simplest way to make mornings easier for our family is if I am showered and ready to go AND have 30-60 minutes of work time before anyone else in the house wakes up.

Also? I do NOT have wash and go hair which means I don’t want to have to take two showers a day. It’s just easier to work out before my morning shower.

Answer to question two: When I had an office job, I woke up at 4:15 three to five days a week to work out before getting ready for the day. Yes, it sucked. I hated starting the workout each and every day, but was always glad I did it in the end.

I had a desk job at a company with multiple buildings. To get steps in and movement, I would often walk documents over to other buildings instead of relying on-campus mail.

I would also take quick 15-minute walks for breaks that we were entitled to but rarely took. Someone in the smoke shack at work once gave me a snarky comment about taking my break, so I simply just said “this is my walking smoke break”. The ladies in our main office called it “Sarah’s faux smo”.

My building had five floors, so I would take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. And even though I had a printer in my private office, I would often send my print jobs to copiers at the end of the hall or even on another floor. I would also use the bathroom on another floor just to give myself an additional excuse to take the stairs and move.

During nice weather, I would eat at my desk and then walk during my allotted lunch break. During crappy weather, if I just wasn’t feeling it, I would read. 🙂

Working from home has allowed me to be more flexible with my walks, but working in an office setting never prevented me from finding a way to get up and move. It just forced me to get more creative.

Answer to question three: Awwww, thanks so much. My skin was looking busted AF after the holidays because of the sugar orgy I was on. Reducing sugar has helped get my stupid adult acne back in check. But I also use products that I love and are safe and effective.

For washing my face at night, I use Sweet Almond Oil because I follow the oil-cleansing method. Yep, I clean my face with oil. It’s lovely, especially in the winter when skin can get sooooo dry. A bonus is one bottle of almond oil will last me over a year, and I can also use it in my homemade chapstick and lotion bars.

I just rinse my face in the morning in the shower unless I have been working out and need some actual cleansing. The facewash I really love is this one from Acure. It’s super clean and vegan if those things matter to you. It’s also bonkers affordable and you can get it on Amazon or even at Target.

Every other day I use this gentle scrub from Acure and it makes my face feel super smooth! I use this daily moisturizer/SPF from Kiehls (if you order online, make sure you’re signed up for ebates because they offer cashback from Kiehls) and it lasts me 9-12 months. For super dry skin days, I use this serum which is stupid expensive so I only use it once a week or so.

At least once a week I am still using the Differin gel that my dermatologist recommended last spring. I find it effective but pretty drying so I can’t use it daily. And I am also still taking the oral med spironolactone every day. Nothing like having the skin of a 13-year-old in your late 30’s.

I spent one very hurried day this past week reshooting photos for three old recipes. There is no better feeling than cleaning up old crap and improving on some very very old and terrible photos.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be updating those old posts (some don’t even have printable recipe cards!) and sharing them with you all. I can’t wait because I’m so proud of the growth in my photography as well as actually making cooking directions clear. 🙂

Bennett’s birthday is later today and around noon I will be tempted to cancel the party because my house is so clean. Happens every single time we host events. 

We’re going pretty simple with food – Costco sandwich trays, a veggie tray I put together, chips and salsa, pita and homemade hummus, and a watermelon in the shape of a shark stuffed with other fruits.

One day a few weeks ago, Bennett was “writing” a grocery list and I asked him what was on it. He said, “a watermelon for my birthday party in the shape of a shark even though it isn’t watermelon season”. Hard to argue with that, even though February watermelon is so gross that the chickens will probably end up eating most of it.

He also requested a sloth cake. Apparently, at four, he has not learned the lesson that Jack learned years ago – I CANNOT DECORATE CAKES. My cake decorating usually involves frosting a cake and then sticking one of their toys on top of it and declaring it “a Star Wars cake”.

Thankfully, our friend Anna (of the urgent care rescue fame) does amazing work with fondant and seemed to whip this little sloth face up in under 30 minutes. It would have taken me 30 days. And so much swearing.

I then used this frosting tip (trying to do fancy frosting? who am I???) to try to create “fur” around the face. Yeah, it looks like Bennett did it, but I tried! And the cake itself is good so I have that going for me.

Bennett is not much of a chocolate fan and requested white cake with “sloth frosting and syrup”. Which I translated as “homemade yellow cake (I have used this recipe for years) with cream cheese frosting, and a layer of strawberry cream cheese frosting in-between”. I then also made yellow cake cupcakes with chocolate frosting because the sloth cake was not nearly enough for Troy’s giant family.


Hey, are you signed up for our email list? If not, get on that ish! It’s all content, no spam. I send one curated and helpful recipe from my archives every Tuesday, and then on Sundays you get a mini wrap up. All in your inbox which is easy peasy. You can sign up here and you’ll also get a copy of our real food pantry essentials shopping list.

What I’m Listening To This Week

I somehow stumbled onto a podcast called Spawned and the very first episode that auto-downloaded to my phone was an interview with author Peggy Orenstein and it’s called “On Boys and Sex“.

Hooooooooo boy, I’m glad I listened to it but man this will never be comfortable thinking about having to talk to our kids about this stuff! I sent the link to Troy and his question was “ok, but do they tell us how to not make it weird”? 

The author wrote the book Boys and Sex: Young Men and Hook Ups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity. I’m now on the waitlist for the audiobook at my library.

A few months ago I listened to this piece about talking to kids about sex and consent on our local NPR station. It’s a must-listen for parents in my humble opinion.

As the parents of two boys, I feel like we have an extra responsibility to raise young men to respect others when it comes to dating/relationships. The NPR story has great examples for talking to even young kids about consent (in a non-sexual manner. They used sharing pizza as an example), and I am constantly reinforcing to both boys when they’re fighting “no means no and stop means stop the first time every time”.

Now that this generation of kids is being raised by social media, it’s sooooo important for us to be honest and direct with them. But…I still want to crawl into a hole and die. One of the great things I took away from the podcast was “promote the healthy and name the toxic”.

What I’m Reading This Week

I’m still working my way through In Fields Where They Lay by Timothy Hallinan. This is the sixth book in a series I really love, but I have had the hardest time getting incredibly excited about this particular tome.

You can find my previous “what I’m reading this week” recommendations here.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Long-time reader Louisa left this five-star review on our Air Fryer Pretzel Bites Recipe {Pin this recipe}:

Yum! I made these for a Super Bowl snack last night. I just made half a batch and I regret it because they were awesome. I loved how chewy they were and how quickly they came together. I suspect that I will make these again soon as a side to soup.

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Chocolate Strawberry BarkLearn how to make this incredibly easy Addicting Chocolate Strawberry Bark. A simple homemade candy recipe with chocolate and freeze-dried strawberries that makes a decadent treat or the perfect handmade holiday gift. {Pin this recipe}

A pink plate with strawberry and chocolate bark

Air Fryer Buffalo CauliflowerZesty Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower is a delicious appetizer, side dish, or snack! Thanks to the air fryer, this easy buffalo cauliflower bites recipe is simple to make and cooks in only 9 minutes. No air fryer? You’ll find oven baking instructions as well. {Pin this recipe}

A piece of buffalo cauliflower dipped in a small bowl of ranch dressing

Whole Wheat Cheddar Bay BiscuitsThese copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits From Scratch are a tasty addition to any dinner. An easy one-bowl recipe that beats boxed mix every time. {Get the recipe}

homemade red lobster cheddar bay biscuits in a basket with a blue linen

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

The Virgin Mojito is gracing the #1 spot again today. Here are the rest of the top six (and they almost all scream “Super Bowl”):

  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Pickles  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Trader Joe’s Whole30 Shopping List  {Pin this shopping list}
  4. Whole30 Beef Stew  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Blended Iced Coffee {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Air Fryer Tofu with Instant Pot rice and veggies (this was supposed to happen last week but we had so many leftovers we skipped it).

Tuesday:: The boys want tacos, and I’ll be adding some pureed lentils to the Butcher Box hamburger to stretch the amount of meat we will use. We’ll have salad and leftover Instant Pot rice on the side.

Wednesday:: Oven-Fried Gnocchi and Veggies. I’m reshooting the photos for this post and we already have everything for it in the fridge/freezer/pantry.

Thursday:: A new recipe I am photographing on Wednesday. 

Friday:: Sandwiches for soccer

Saturday:: Leftovers before soccer.

Sunday:: Family dinner

What We Bought This Week

Trader Joe’s: $94.30. Most of this was for the birthday party. I don’t usually love TJ’s produce (soooo much packaging), and 95% of it was out of season, but it was convenient and saved me a trip to multiple stores. We can’t win them all.

What are you having this week?

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8 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I’m making a last ditch effort to use up some of my VA education benefits. One of the classes I’m taking is Human Sexuality. I’ve been sharing what I’m learning with Emma. I find if I remind myself is just a natural part of life, talking about it is easier. Basically, imagine you are explaining how an engine works, or how the digestive system works, or how the Death Star works. Teaching our kids that talking about our bodies and sex is normal and NOT taboo will make them less secretive about trying to find answers to their questions and curiosity.

    Glad you didn’t have to replace all 4 tires!

  2. Former hypochondriac right here ???? you would never believe that of me though would you ???? sounds like you have a great doc and I wish we had your tyre company so so bad!! 

    Also love your dads life lessons! My mum taught me to change a tire in her power suit and high heels. I always thought she was a bad ass for that. Not so sure if I’d be able to do it though…

  3. I go to the gym at work twice a week before work and in the summer I run on Saturday mornings, I find the trick to it is packing my bag the night before and laying out my gym clothes next to the bed so I just have to roll out of bed, put my gym kit on and go. It works most of the time…

    “no means no and stop means stop the first time every time”
    I did a session with my girl guides a couple of years ago and covered non-sexual consent (because they complained they’d covered sexual consent a lot in school). There are so many aspects to consider, from hugging/sitting on a friend (so common with girls!) to medical/financial consent (you scribbling that note for your friend to take Jack). I think that sometimes the emphasis is too much on sexual consent when kids/teens aren’t faced with that day to day, building the idea of consent from day to day interactions hopefully feeds into the sexual stuff.

    • Ha, yes to “most of the time”.

      There are so many aspects to consider. You’re 100% right! In that NPR story, they talked about a friend leaving their house and the mom saying “go give your friend a hug” and the other mom said “only if she wants to”. I come from a very huggy family so it’s something I have never once considered.

      So much food for thought!

  4. I agree your skin is looking amazing and someday I’ll be able to workout before work but now… ????.  I finally bought an air fryer and will be working through your recipes after starting off with Buffalo chicken tenders that were a hit. My hubs had part of his colon removed after a crisis of diverticulitis in October and he is committed to healthy eating. (Never too late I guess).  I’ll let you know my progress with air frying and mastering your instant pot recipes.   People at work are probably getting tired of me telling them your recipes have details for both machines. 

    • Your poor husband (and thus poor you)! I hope he is feeling better and healing well. You’re right it is NEVER too late to start eating healthy and I really hope it helps him.