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Scattered Sundays

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I need your help! And you’re like “hey, seriously this early in the day and post girl? I haven’t even had my coffee yet”. Yeah, sorry. Here’s the thing. I need your help…please?

As I mentioned a few months ago, this fall we’re planning/hoping to remodel the 1970’s dumpster fire that is our kitchen. I’ve made an Excel list of brands that I want to investigate for the planning phase. My goal is to find companies that have sustainable practices/products, look great, and are affordable.

We need/want: cabinets, new stove/range, and backsplash options. And yes, we’ll also be hitting up Habitat’s ReStore for a look-see!

Here’s where you come in: I need your recommendations for products you have used and have loved. I trust you all so much and would LOVE first-hand suggestions!

Remodeling the kitchen has been my dream for eight years, but our timeline and budget have been moved up for two big reasons. One, we got some gorgeous free countertops from a friend that was remodeling their house. And two, the blog is starting to take off and actually earn a decent income. That’s nice after basically writing for free (or at a loss) for over eight years.

And I suppose the third reason we’ll be able to remodel is that Troy will be our general contractor…and my father-in-law still loves me enough to help. The fact that he even talks to me after being “volun-told” to help with um, our chicken coop, installing wood floors, hauling a free shed I got 40 miles, building a woodshed out of used pallets, our hall bathroom, and four windows. Among other things. Someone remind me I need to make that man some cupcakes.

Troy was home (man) sick this week, so basically I punished him by making him handle all the drop-offs and pick up at school for the boys. Jack is open enrolled so we have to provide transportation twice a day. And Bennett’s preschool is like a 40 minute round trip from our house. By making him do all the driving, I CRUSHED my to-do list for this week and got to work out every morning.

But he got me back by snoring so loudly because he was congested, that I had a 45 second moment of time Monday night when I contemplated whether it would be worth murdering him or not. He likes to joke that with all the true-crime I listen to, plus my attention to detail, I could 100% get away with offing him. At least I think he’s joking. Perhaps he’s nervous? He should be…

The snoring never got better. Bennett has a daybed and sleeps on two IKEA mattresses stacked on top of the bed frame. In my midnight “I can’t sleep and it’s Troy’s fault” rage, I was able to yank the bottom mattress out from under Bennett without even waking him up.

I’ve spent the week sleeping on this mattress in the living room, far away from Captain Snore. His life is safe…at least until the kitchen is remodeled. 🙂

Bennett and I got out into the garden this week and planted our peas to kick off the (almost) spring planting season. Bennett insisted on doing all the work himself, and it took a few deep breaths (I’m just not a patient person), but we got through it. He likes to run out there every day to check to see if things have started growing yet.

I was searching for a greeting card I knew I had bought recently, and I came across this gem:

When Troy was in his early 20’s, he did something called “print work”. He basically had some photos taken and then the agency would put them in a catalog for brands to purchase. We’ve found his face in so many places, from this Pearl Vision ad, the cover of his cousin’s college catalog, to a billboard my friend saw in Pennsylvania for a new luxury apartment complex.

About 13 years ago, his cousin called to tell us Troy’s face was on a passion party website. I guess she was planning a bachelorette party for someone and BOOM there is her cousin’s face on the screen. The company was using his face as “Jake”, the advice columnist for their blog. Troy was blogging before me!

In the same box where I found Troy’s brochure, I also found this incredible photo from my 13th birthday. I didn’t choose the thugg life. The thugg life chose ME.

And yes, everyone on Instagram was DMing me asking when Jack had gotten a perm. The poor kid never stood a chance of not being my male double.

Thanks so much for weighing in last week on another pantry/freezer clean out challenge! It sounds like we’ll do another soon, and for two weeks instead of one. I’m thinking probably the last two weeks of April, but as soon as I know for sure I’ll let you all know.

I did get a jump start on it and defrosted our garage freezer this week. Simply because it was getting untidy and the shelves were icing up and it was starting to annoy me and my Type-A tendencies. I found lots of good stuff and it is going to be inspiring meals for weeks.

Troy and I started watching Hunters on Amazon this week. HEAVY. We’ve been slowly making our way through Schitt’s Creek and have finally been finding our groove with it. I’m enjoying it much more now that Chris Elliott is barely on screen. So now, we’re balancing funny sarcastic humor between episodes about hunting Nazis. Balance.

With Troy home sick, we committed ourselves for two nights to finally watch Knives Out, and I loved it. I knew I would, and Daniel Craig is on my list of freebie celebrities (you can have Chris Evans and his sweater. Meh), and I love watching LaKeith Stanfield in anything. “LaKeith reads the phone book”? I’m there. Wait, do they still have phonebooks?

Jack is starting a biography project for school and all the subjects the kids choose need to have played a role in the Revolutionary War. Based on his favorite graphic novel series, he chose Nathan Hale. In addition to One Dead Spy, we also got this book from the Graphic Biography series for his report. Bless his teacher for approving graphic novels as a resource!

I know we’ve talked about graphic novels hundreds of times, but in case you missed it, I’ve rounded up a list of the best graphic novels for kids, and tweens here.

My friend (and a blog reader like you!), Sherrie is participating in Inspire Atlanta through the Atlanta Women’s Foundation (AWF) and their mission to be a catalyst for change in the lives of women and girls. Inspire Atlanta is a community leadership program for a diverse group of women who wish to serve the women and girls in need in their community. 

Through their Women’s Pathway to Success Program, AWF has helped provide access to job training, financial training, microenterprise development, and childcare assistance to over 1,000 women living at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines in just six-months, with over 53 new business and 43 new jobs created. If you’d like to help their current fundraising efforts, please consider donating here. (100% of donations go directly to AWF)


Butcher Box is back with their most popular promotion of the year – free ground beef for life!

ButcherBox Ground Beef is 100% grass-fed, grass-finished and raised free from antibiotics and added hormones. It is also humanely raised and certified pasture-raised. Get the best deal through my affiliate link here.

What I’m Listening To This Week

As a podcast (and true crime) fanatic, finding out that Dateline now has podcasts has been life-changing (thanks Angela!). In the nerdiest way possible.

But THIS episode which is about a current case of those two missing kids from Idaho was BANANAS. I’ve followed this story in the news, but apparently I only knew about 10% of the whole story.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Marina left this five-star review on our Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins {Pin this recipe}:

These are VERY good! In love with the texture, so airy and fluffy, not dry at all…Amazing for whole wheat! I skipped the chocolate and added chopped dates, raisins and walnuts plus a dollop of peanut butter in the middle of each muffin. Also skipped the sugar, they still tasted wonderful. Will make these very often. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe ❤️

a muffin tray with a fluffy healthy banana chocolate chip muffin in focus

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Chocolate Vegan Ice CreamIf you’re looking for the best Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream, you’ve found it with this simple and delicious recipe. You’ve never had a dairy-free ice cream that is this rich and creamy! {Pin this recipe}

3 scoops of chocolate vegan ice cream in a white bowl

Homemade Seed TapeThis tutorial for homemade seed tape is an awesome DIY money-saving gardening hack. This seed mat project is so easy that even anyone can plant tiny seeds like carrots, lettuce, herbs, or spinach. {Pin this recipe}

Confessions – Everyone’s favorite post of the month!

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

My Virgin Mojito is #1 again, and for the first time in months, our Whole30 Trader Joe’s Shopping list is out of the top five!

  1. Instant Pot Beef Tips – this post went BANANAS in some Facebook groups last weekend.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – you’ll find skillet and oven-baking instructions too!  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Pickles – you guessed it, non-air fryer instructions are also included.  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Potatoes – do I even have to tell you that there are also oven instructions in this recipe? 🙂  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Whole30 Beef Stew  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Lentil soup and biscuits

Tuesday:: I found a whole chicken during my freezer defrosting adventure, and now that we have a bigger air fryer (we upgraded to this model a week ago), I’m going to try this Air Fryer Whole Chicken from Cook it Real Good. I’ll pair it with some veggies, and some Crispy Air Fryer Ranch Potatoes.

Wednesday:: Steak from our recent Butcher Box order and a new side dish recipe I am working on. I should probably make a fresh batch of Cilantro Chimichurri to go with it. Woot-woot!

Thursday:: Air Fryer Tofu, Blistered Shishito Peppers, and rice.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: I’m retesting my Whole30 Beef Stew recipe to see if I can lower the cook time without impacting the flavor.

Sunday:: Family dinner

What We Bought This Week

Thrive:: $118.77 (savings of $55.20) – We still have plenty of toilet paper from the last order (thanks for your concern), but I always order more to keep a stash. The fruit pouch was a freebie (will be an emergency car snack), as were the diapers (I’m giving them to our church). One of the things of coffee is for Troy’s aunt who fell in love with it at Bennett’s birthday party.

I bought those protein bars to have as emergency adult car snacks. I tried one once the box arrived, and honestly, I’m not a fan, but into the car they go!

Want to try Thrive for yourself? This link will give you a free 30-day trial as well as 25% off your first order. They’re now offering 1, 3, or 12-month memberships. With the public going bananas in actual grocery stores (Costco is a madhouse these days) due to virus fears, it is nice to have a shop at home option that keeps you out of the fray.

Azure Standard:: $0 (I had some credits). Check out this post for a list of our favorite Azure products. Lots of seeds for homemade seed tape (a good project next week for little hands), organic marinara, raw cheese I wanted to try, and emergency kid car snacks.

My boys love Zbars, but only the Iced Oatmeal type. I never buy them at Costco anymore because they don’t want the chocolate ones (fools!) and then I end up eating them. I like that I could buy a 12 pack of the flavor they do like, and I love that they don’t get melty in a hot car.

Trader Joe’s:: $32.15


What are you having this week?



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18 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. This is MIL. FIL says your strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting would be great.????????

  2. I know you wanted sustainable ideas, but these are the two pointers I would like to pass on: Whatever you do no matter how short on space you are DO NOT put the microwave over the stove! We remodeled our kitchen 9 years ago and it was the worse mistake ever! Well maybe not ever, but close enough.  Make sure you get soft close drawers, we did and we love them.  

    • Way ahead of you with the microwave! We have VERY low ceilings in our kitchen and there is no room for a microwave above anything!! My dad has the soft close drawers and they’re amazing!!

  3. Would you be able to do a write up about Thrive?  I’m wondering how much it’s worth it with comparison costs. Also, what do you get there vs. Azure Organics?  We don’t have a Costco or Trader Joe’s near 30 miles of us so that’s not a regular option. Just curious what benefits there are besides our local co-op and Kroger (like your Fred Meyer).

    • I’d love to know more about what you’re looking for in the post. Like would you want me to pick say 30 items and compare them across Thrive, Azure, and Amazon?

      I have something kind of like that for bone broth and you can find a price comparison chart in this post:

      Something like that?

      • Yes, I think so!  Maybe 30 items from your pantry checklist, or if you won a gift card to each place, hypothetically, what would you buy at each place?  Basically, I’m trying to find the best overall online spot 🙂

      • It won’t be anytime soon if I’m being honest. My posts are scheduled out for the year, so adding anything requires removing something. And my photos are shot for the next month. 🙂

  4. Hey, I just wanted to let you (and your readers know) that thrive also offers free memberships to low income families/people. If you aren’t low income you can donate to gift memberships. If you are low income you can fill out a quick application and get a year membership. Not sure if they accept food stamps or not. 

    • The Thrive Gives membership is not just for low income but also teachers, military, and first responders!

    • Yes, it’s so cool! And like Erin said above, they also extend it to teachers and military.

      The last I saw, they were trying to petition the government to allow for food stamps to be used on their site. I don’t know what, if anything has come of it.

  5. I really admire that you are looking for sustainable resources for your kitchen remodel. Kudos to you! I will be interested to see the materials you eventually use. 

  6. We just watched Knives Out last night! I loved it. The family was so vile! I had to keep reminding my kid that “only the bad people are swearing a lot, remember that!” Very Agatha Christie-esque, and Benoit Blanc is my new favorite detective. They’re making a sequel, possibly a franchise around that character.

    • They were the WORST! They did such a good job making Jaime Lee Curtis look like a washed-up rich socialite. That fake tan was horrid on her!

      Troy mentioned they were doing a sequel. I can’t wait!

  7. I am so jealous of your ability to start getting seeds in! Are you really pretty well done with winter? We have so much snow still. On the plus side, I got to spend two hours at work this week clearing off company cars and moving them so that their parking spots could be plowed. I love it when I get paid to exercise! Still working on clearing the snow at home and knowing that the snow forecast for this week will be hard to deal with as we already have so much so I’m focused on easy cozy meals this week.
    Sunday – Lentil/quinoa sloppy Joes with homemade sourdough bread – I am also excited to try your apple pie egg rolls for an evening treat tonight!
    Monday – Veggie pizza with white bean salad
    Tuesday – I work late so unless the dinner fairy visits breakfast for dinner of some kind
    Wednesday – 5 cheese ravioli with marina sauce blended with white beans and broccoli
    Thursday – I love the sound of your Air Fryer Tofu, Blistered Shishito Peppers, and rice.
    Friday – deconstructed stuffed peppers with lentils/quinoa
    Saturday – Peanut Stew

    • Only peas at this time of the year, but some carrots, beets, and greens will go in within a few weeks. Potatoes can typically be planted mid-March…but I don’t grow them. Our last frost date is typically the first week of May, but cold-hardy things can go in earlier. Our nightly temps right now are like 33-40 F.

      I would love the snow clearing work task too! I hope you got a nice cup of cocoa when all was said and done.

      For Wednesday, do you add broccoli to the side or is it blended in with the marinara??

      • When we have ravioli we serve it in a bowl top it with sauce and then plunk the broccoli to top of the sauce. It’s one of our favorite meals as it is fairly healthy and quick.