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Scattered Sundays

Snowpocolypse has ended, but the effects of Seattle’s biggest February storm system in 70 years lingers. The snow started on Friday the 8th and our (very steep) hill wasn’t plowed until Thursday the 14th. Everyone is working around the clock to clear the snow, but no county or city around here simply has enough infrastructure to handle this load.

The kids were home all week from school. All week. ALL WEEK. 

The first few snow days started out fun with sledding, snowman and fort building. By Wednesday, I realized that Jack Nicholson’s character from The Shining was simply a misunderstood parent.

I have an amazing snow vehicle and Troy has a 4WD truck, but man, hills are no joke in the snow. The city tore up our road last summer for a new stormwater system and when it was repaved they put 4-inch berms on each side of the street. The berms are necessary to stop homes from flooding because when it pours, water rushes down our hill so fast and it overwhelms the system.

But let me tell you, those berms were my nemesis in the snow. I ran out to get chicken food (#priorities) and a few grocery staples one afternoon and even though streets and parking lots weren’t plowed, my Outback did great. I made it up my icy hill just fine but it all went to shit when I stopped on my hill to wait for the garage door to open.

After it opened, I tried to turn into my driveway and could not get up and over that berm. Couldn’t do it! And then suddenly, my car started sliding backward down my hill and my brakes were essentially worthless.

I went to school is very snowy (but flat) Eastern Washington and delivered pizza in that snow in a Honda Civic. I’m very comfortable driving in the snow. But I’ll tell you, when my car finally stopped sliding, I was picking my cloth seat out of my crack.

My car did a thing where it spun a bit and then I did a 3-point turn and got it pointed downhill. I was able to head down the street and then went up and around other streets to come down my ski slope of a hill. My car did great and I was able to finally get home. Phew!

Our neighbor grew up in Buffalo, NY and has a Jeep that he takes off-road. And even he was pretty overwhelmed by driving the hills. It took him two hours to get gas for their generator when the power went out.

The boys kept complaining about snow on their necks and in their coats (a valid complaint), so one morning I whipped up these little fleece collar things. When I used to ski, we called them “turtle furs”. No clue what the cool kids these days call them. You can wear them as a hat, neck warmer, and face guard.

These are the dead eyes of a mother who lost her soul to her children during a snowstorm.

The blizzard fleece was leftover from a quilt I made Jack years ago, and all together they took about five minutes for four of them. I think if we lived in a place where it was cold more often, I would probably double the thickness or even put a thin and flexible piece of quilt batting between the layers.

Through it all, we had plenty of food, supplies, and wood for our wood stove. Our kids were annoying (sooooo annoying) but well-fed and warm. 

By day two of no school, it started really weighing heavily on my heart thinking about the families who rely on free and reduced lunch in our district. My mom and my mother-in-law taught at the two lowest income schools in our district, and I know that population well. There is no safety net for those families. And the communities are so rural that they are probably still waiting to have their neighborhoods plowed. Running to the store even if they had the means was simply not an option.

When we got the “school is closed on Thursday” message on Wednesday afternoon, I swear I was going to cry. I couldn’t imagine having kids home that were also hungry. I ended up sending our superintendent an email asking how we can help those families. I was highly impressed by a response that came almost 20 minutes later.

The school district was arranging meals and they were going to be distributed at our local food bank. Our super let me know that they needed volunteers. I called, thinking it was a great cause and an awesome opportunity for Jack and my nephew to give back and have their privilege checked.

Sadly, they didn’t get back to me. But I told Jack about it and he said he wanted to help anyway. So, we’re going to look into volunteer opportunities for him.

I know our school district teams up with our library system to provide sack lunches during the summer. Churches and community groups in our district provide to go bags of shelf-stable food for kids to take home for weekends that are meant to supplement the food they might get over the weekend.

But I feel like extended surprise absences like this need some sort of game plan. Does your school district have any plan in place for feeding kiddos during extended absences? I really feel called by this and am motivated to act.

Not much else happened this week since we were pretty much at home most of the time. I did take advantage of Jack being around during the day and forced him to do some hand modeling (you’ll see those photos later this week). 

Reality check: Bennett is whining in this photo because I wanted him to give his dad a kiss for the picture. I just happened to capture a pause mid-meltdown.

My friends who made it to Costco and other grocery stores between storms said all the parents were stocking up on booze. There was quite a bit of day drinking happening in the Seattle area this past week. I don’t drink, but I made up for it in carbs and sugar. There was a near constant supply of Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate on tap. We made it dairy-free for Jack using Califia Farms, my favorite almond milk (I buy it at Target).

Oh, my, do I feel sluggish. All that sugar and no walks (some sledding) meant I am so out of it. Looking forward to some exercise soon!

I was not above turning to electronics to keep the kids out of my face (we had three movie nights in a row because I was done talking and listening), but there was a lot less TV happening during the day than I expected. A few things we turned to that kept the kids occupied:

  • Jack loves the graphic novel versions of the Hardy Boys.
  • He’s also obsessed with the books in the Last Kids on Earth series.
  • He’s read the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales books about 10 times each. Seriously.
  • Bennett got this book for his birthday and loves it. 
  • Kinetic sand is seriously fun for all ages (my MIL adores it) and the kids will play it unsupervised for at least 30 minutes before a fight breaks out. That gives me so much time to eat hidden candy in my closet.
  • Bennett got these magnetic tiles for Christmas, but Jack is obsessed with them and will build for an hour.
  • These Snap Circuits are so freaking cool! Jack got them years ago as a gift and they are still beloved. They encourage creativity, problem-solving, and are STEM-focused.

Troy and I did our fair share of TV watching when the kids went to bed. We watched Russian Doll on Netflix, The Girl in the Spider’s Web (got it at Red Box), Close – Netflix (if you love action with a plot, this is great!), and started watching Southland (Hulu) from the beginning.

I have loved Southland since it was on TV almost 11 (12?) years ago but when we cut cable I lost touch with the show. I was excited to find it on Hulu and forced convinced Troy to start it over with me. About 10 minutes into the first episode, he said “ok, you’re right. This is a really freaking good show”.

Yeah, it is!

Comment/Review of the Week

This week’s comment of the week came from Sharon who made our Paleo Salmon Cakes.

I used 2 cans of salmon and dialed back on the other ingredients as well. These are now my go-to salmon cake recipe! I’m now sad I didn’t have more salmon to make a full recipe and have some leftovers. Thanks so much for this keeper!

paleo salmon cakes on a plate with chimichurri and tomatoes

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes {Whole30, Vegan, Dairy-Free} – Creamy, fluffy, delicious, and with lots of zip, these Wasabi Mashed Potatoes take a class side dish to the next level. These comforting horseradish mashed potatoes are an amazing recipe that will be a new family favorite.

a bowl of wasabi mashed potatoes with potoatoes and a dish of horseradish

{Pin this}

Whole30 + Paleo Frittata {Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Keto} – An easy and healthy one-pan breakfast or dinner, this Paleo Frittata is dairy-free, Whole30 compliant, and keto-friendly. Packed with veggies and hearty sausage, you’ll love this baked frittata for fast meals, meal prep, and leftovers.

a paleo frittata in a cast iron skillet with greens and onion

{Pin this}

Paleo Muesli – Grainless Granola {Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free} – Crunchy and naturally sweet, this coconutty Paleo Muesli is a hardy and delicious grain-free breakfast. An easy recipe using dried fruit and maple syrup, these delightful paleo granola clusters are also vegan and dairy-free.

a glass bowl of paleo muesli with blueberries

{Pin this}

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Instant Pot Sous Vide Egg Bites Recipe {Whole30, Paleo, Dairy-Free, Keto}
  2. Virgin Mojito Recipe
  3. Whole30 Potato Soup {Whole30, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free}
  4. Paleo Chicken Pot Pie Soup {Whole30, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free}
  5. Best Ever Trader Joe’s Whole30 Shopping List

Meal Plan

Monday:: Leftovers from Sunday dinner

Tuesday:: BBQ pulled pork, coleslaw, and spicy sweet potato fries.

Wednesday:: Paleo roasted chicken, Instant Pot Whole30 Mashed Potatoes, and salad.

Thursday:: Homemade Ramen Noodle Bowls

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: New recipe I’m working on!

Sunday:: Family dinner

What We Bought This Week

Our milkman couldn’t come this week due to the snow, and we basically ate from the freezer and pantry. Barely made a dent!

What did we eat? I made breakfast sandwiches, Whole30 Beef Stew, a chicken soup that was just odds and ends of veggies, leftover chicken, homemade bone broth, and a version of Crispy Oven-Fried Gnocchi and Veggies with what we had in the freezer and pantry. And because there isn’t already enough soup in this world, I made Whole30 Tomato Soup.

What are you having this week?



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25 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Lemon, garlic and some sort of vinegar is always good base for salad dressing. One of my very favorites starts with those very ingredients. I’ll have to give your Lemon Tahini dressing a try.

    Also Califa Farms almond milk is my very favorite as well. As far as almond milks go, it is among the creamier of them.

    I thought about you and your family these past couple of days (I even tagged you in an IG post regarding the snow in the Seattle area). Do you still love snow as much as you did before this recent dumping?

    My son’s school district was approaching the limit to the number of snow days this year. There were already rumblings about having to tack on a few days at the end of the year (or otherwise cancel some already planned days off) because of all the time off. We had a polar vortex that resulted in temps 20-30 degrees below zero, an ice storm, and a ton of snow. I just learned however, that if the state declares an emergency- which it did – the snow days don’t count against the school district/students. So we are back on track…for now… unless we aren’t out of the woods snow-wise yet.

    When it would snow really good here when I was younger, my bestie and I would cut classes, hop into her old Oldsmobile Cutlass with bad shocks and bald tires, and head up north to go skiing. One time, we did not one but multiple 360s on an overpass, and ended up facing the wrong direction in oncoming traffic. You want to talk about clenching!

    I hope you still love snow.

    I hope you are able to find a good fit for Jack volunteering. I love that he wants to do it.

    • I didn’t see the tag on IG. What a bummer because now I am curious. Yes, I still love snow so much. But, my friend (who grew up in Colorado) and I have decided after two days it is more fun without kids. HA!

      State of emergency rules apply here too, but the fine print says you still have to make up the instruction time somehow. I think some districts are adding a Saturday class, some are adding a few minutes to each school day between now and June.

      That sounds like a terrifying experience you had! I bet you never cut class again.

  2. Thank you for making me think. We have sudden closures all the time due to tropical/ sneaux weather. I’ll have to see what our school system does.

    I’m making your ramen tonight. We’re predicted to be 77 degrees Thursday. Went to our first parade this weekend and it was hot and muggy. Today, 55.

  3. Not even gonna lie, I have a tub of kinetic sand. It’s good stress relief!

  4. I scrolled over the pic of the turtle fur and when I read the text with that pic I noticed it was you, thought you had Jack as your turtle fur model. Had to scroll back to double check.

    Hope you can find a nice volunteer job for Jack.
    Here (the netherlands) we don’t get lunches from school, everyone has to provide their own. And we haven’t had a snow day in ages (can’t even remember if we ever had one).

    • Yep, he is my little twin for sure. I should dig up a photo of me at 13; it’s eery.

      So do the schools not serve hot lunch even if you pay? Our schools provide hot lunch for purchase, but if you fill out an income report at the start of the year, some families qualify for free or reduced lunch. The lowest income families get a free hot breakfast and lunch M-F. Jack packs his own lunch four days a week and we let him buy on Wednesdays because it is pizza day. We pay full price for lunch.

      The federal government provides this service and waaaaaay back when I believe it was implemented to help US farmers with excess commodities to sell. The lunches used to be pretty disgusting and super unhealthy but they have improved in recent years. At the very least, for someone families, it is two meals they don’t have to provide for their kiddos during the week.

  5. I was five years old when the Blizzard of 1978 hit us (we lived in Northwest Ohio) and amazingly, we never lost power, so we had TV–not TV as my children reckon it, but enough that occasionally we could be tamed by Mr Rogers or Captain Kangaroo. Still, I vividly remember my mother sometimes just bundling us up and asking us, “Dig me a tunnel to the mailbox so we can get the mail when it’s delivered!” And damn if we didn’t dig child-sized tunnels through the door-high drifts. AND WE LOVED IT. We’d stay out there for hours. We built igloos and made “snow burgers” and WE ATE THEM. Then we came back inside and spent two hours thawing out.

    Kids these days don’t know how good they have it, with the Netflix and on-demand Internets. Darn kids.

    • Right?! After 9 am (maybe 10 on Saturdays), it was either go play outside or watch golf or reruns of MASH.

      I love the tunnel digging! Those memories are the best and ones that stick with us forever.

      • Oh gosh, MASH! That was one of our favorites, mostly because Klinger was from Toledo, just like us. When my brother went off to college, he had a hard time convincing people that Tony Packo’s was real restaurant–he had to bring place mats and coasters back to school to convince them. They thought it was “just made up for the TV show.” We ate there practically every week, especially when my Hungarian uncle came to visit. Good times.

      • It came on right after cartoons so I have watched plenty of episodes of it! I was too young to really understand all the nuances but I know my parents loved it too.

  6. I think I would have been cleaning a mess, not picking the seat cloth out of my ass if I slid like that!  We get lots of snow in Toronto, but I avoid driving in it if at all possible. Partly because I am not super confident and mostly because I don’t want anyone to hit me.
    As far as I know, the schools around me do not fed kids lunches.  They do have something they call the “snack program” which gives the kids healthy snacks every day.  Sadly, many days the snacks are hardly touched (like on the day that cut-up oranges are the snack)  Samosa day is a HUGE hit though.  I don’t know who supplies the snacks, but the school has no say in what food they get.  I babysit a couple of 10-year-old-twins and they do not participate in the snack program any more (which is free, but donations are welcome) because on most days they do not like the snacks.  And these kids are the type to choose fruit over chips and candy, so it isn’t because the snacks are healthy.  Last year, when they DID participate, they would often bring me their string cheese because they don’t like that either, but they know I love it.  I won’t buy them, but I love them.  
    I love that Jack wants to volunteer at such a young age!  You are raising a young man with a VERY good heart.  Remember that when he gets on your nerves. 😉 
    Your Costco sells BOOZE????????  I wish they would do that in Canada!  I barely drink, but it would be handy to not have to go to a separate store to get something to drink.
    I have left the tab for your sweet potato fries open.  If I get my act together, they may be Tuesday’s side dish.

    • Not gonna lie Ange, it was pretty intense.

      Can kids buy lunches at your schools? Only some kids qualify for free and reduced school lunch. It is based on income. Any other kid who wants to buy hot lunch pays the full price or brings their own.

      My boys would give you their string cheese too; neither of them like it!

      In the US, booze sales are based on individual states. Costco and other grocery stores used to sell wine and beer, but you had to go to a state-run liquor store to purchase hard alcohol. I know when we were in California you could buy hard alcohol pretty much anywhere. A few years ago there was a state initiative (the voters get enough signatures to put an issue on the general ballot for everyone to vote on) to do away with state-run liquor stores. It was largely supported and (wait for it)…Costco! It passed, and now you can buy more than beer and wine at any store.

      • We are supposed to get more snow and freezing rain tomorrow evening.  Maybe the schools will close Thursday! (I doubt it though!)
        Ah, maybe cafeterias are the difference.  There are no cafeteria in our public schools that I am aware of.  (well, the elementary ones.  I believe high schools have cafeterias).  All elementary kids who stay for lunch bring their own lunches from home.  And they must be peanut and nut free, which really limits choices. (For good reason!  Don’t think I am complaining about allergies!)
        I will happily accept ALL the cheese strings!
        Our Walmart stores recently started selling beer.  I find that very weird.  We have a place here, appropriately named “The Beer Store” which used to be the only place to buy beer. Walmart really is one-stop-shopping.  Groceries, toiletries, cleaners, clothing, tires, furnace filters and beer! (and their prices are pretty good, too)  
        Oddly, in Newfoundland (we go every summer) I noticed that you can buy alcohol at the GAS STATIONS. They call those shops “Liquor Express” or something similar.   I think that is a TERRIBLE idea.   Don’t drink and drive, but you can grab your booze while you fill up your tank.
        I drink so little that Costco probably wouldn’t even carry what I like anyways, even if they DID sell alcohol. 
        No sweet potato fries will be happening today.  My husband and I took turns being sick this weekend (yesterday was a holiday, too) and we both still feel kind of crappy.  And neither one of us usually ever gets sick.  Shittiest long weekend ever.  Groceries will be purchased tomorrow, no matter how I feel.

      • I hope everyone in the household is on the mend!

        If there is no cafeteria, do kids eat lunch in their classes? Our cafeterias are in the gym and there is usually a kitchen attached to the gym for heating the food the kids will be served, doing dishes, etc.

      • Thank you for the well wishes.  Hubby and I are pretty much back to normal, but my daughter was up eeeaaaarrrrllllyyy this morning with it.  Poor baby.  Even when they are 20, it breaks your heart when you can’t fix things.  She is netflixing right now and I brought her the only thing she wants at the moment.  Flat, warm gingerale.
        Aaaaaannnnnd I forgot to get sweet potatoes when I was out. I have no idea why they were not written on the list.

        The kids eat in the gym.  The caretaker sets out big tables just before lunch for them to sit at to eat.  There is no heating of food, other than a microwave that gets wheeled in that the kids can line up to use.  Apparently that is a huge waste of time though because of the limited amount of time they have in the gym.  If they can’t use the gym for some reason (school photo day, or an election of any sort -our school is the voting station- then the kids get to sit on the floor in the hallway.  My daughter HATED that, the girls I babysit love it.  Weirdos. (I adore them)

  7. The cool kids still call them turtle fur (it’s a brand) and we use them a lot in CO!  Though mostly we use the kind that is like a balaclava now that goes under a helmet and then down the neck!  

  8. I live in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) so apocalyptic snowstorms are pretty much expected a few times a winter, however my kids have never experienced the joy of a snow day! The schools here never shut down because of a fear of some kids having no where to go should their parents leave for work earlier than they do. The schools are always kept open as a sort of refuge. It also can get very cold so a child with no where to go could be in serious trouble. As my kids school was practically in our back yard, Id dress them in snow gear and we’d walk/wade ver.
    I grew up across the country in Montreal and we had tons of snow days and I never heard of any child being left out in the snow so I’m not sure why Calgary worries but there it is.
    We did have the last week of school canceled 5 years ago when we had massive flooding (it was nuts) but never for snow…my poor kids.

    • I think that used to be a bigger concern, but in the event of a big snow storm or natural disaster, they actually announce school closures the afternoon before. That way parents can make arrangements. There was one snowy day when it wasn’t announced until 6:45. That was back when I was working and my sister and I used the same before-school daycare. We got there only to find out they were closed! But we still had to go to work. Thankfully my in-laws jumped in and took both boys for the day.

      Was the flooding a result of snowmelt or just intense rain?

  9. So, I live in SD, & a few weeks ago we were down to -60 degree windchill & like 8 inches of snow. I homeschool, so my kiddos are already stuck with me but LAWD, being stuck IN the house for daaaaays is not fun. Every time there’s enough sun & “warmth” to clear/dry the roads…it freaking snows again. I like winter but I am done this year. Bah humbug. 

  10. I’ve been thinking about you all week wondering how you were faring. 
    I honestly don’t know how our local schools handle hungry kids. I don’t have kids so it’s off my radar. 
    BUT today is practice random acts of kindness day so you HAVE motivated me to do SOMETHING. Not sure what but I will do a RAOK before midnight 🙂