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Scattered Sundays

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Pheeeeeeew. Slow news week, right? Oh boy. How are you guys doing/holding up? How is life? Tell me all about it. Do you have toilet paper?

I have received many emails/DMs on Instagram/messages on Facebook asking how to stock two weeks’ worth of food for people who don’t can or have a garden. My friends, I’m honored that you trust me to help you with this. And help you I will. I’ve been training my whole nerdy adult life for this. 🙂

First and foremost, don’t buy stuff you don’t need/won’t eat! Depending on where your mindset is right now, chances are you may want comfort food. Try your best to aim for healthy comfort food (which, ahem is exactly what I share on this blog!), especially if being home means not moving/working out as much.

Check out these posts on our Pantry Essentials and this one on Freezer Essentials. Use it as a jumping-off point, tailoring it to what your family likes and needs. Make a list of what you already have and start from there. Oh, and remember that you can totally roast frozen vegetables. That keeps us all in veggies without filling the crisper with things that may go bad.

Some of our favorite online ordering options are:

Maybe it’s just me, but when things get scary, acts of service are always the way to calm my brain. Call your neighbors and check on them. Don’t know your neighbors? Now is a great time to introduce yourself (with an air high-five)!

I’m always nervous for small business owners during these events. If you have the means, buy a gift card to a favorite local place NOW to help their cash flow to account for people reducing their spending. Find out what your local school district’s plan is for feeding the kids who rely on free and reduced lunch. Offer to help. Let’s take care of each other.

Jack’s school is now closed for six weeks. As of now, Bennett’s preschool is still open but I’m sure it is only a matter of time. My brain is not letting me think about working with them both home for 6 weeks, especially when all these sick males have already screwed up my work schedule for the last SEVEN weeks. 

Everything is still in flux with Jack’s schooling. They were sent home with a packet on Friday with the instructions that they should complete it. Because of parity, none of the coursework can be new, mandatory, or count against their grades. We have many many rural families who don’t have computers let alone access to the internet.

I don’t think Bennett’s school will be providing us with any curriculum (“practice not picking your nose for 3x a day”?). I honestly don’t know what is happening, but I do sincerely regret the fact that I don’t drink.

“I want to do the acid and base thing mom”. Love that my 4 yr old is interested in acid…

I did a poll on Facebook asking how I can support you during this time. The idea of a freezer/pantry cleanout was still very popular. There were other requests that simply aren’t feasible or in my wheelhouse.

I worked super hard over the last two weeks to get ahead of the game and was feeling pretty confident about the rest of spring. Now…that’s all kind of wonky.

On one hand, I really do want to help meet current needs. On the other hand, I simply can’t pivot everything and just create new content out of thin air. When you see a post on the blog, over 30 hours of research, testing, photographing, and work has gone into it to make sure it is right. I have a post coming out in a week that I am super proud of and have been working on for well over a year ago. 

Busting out new posts simply because it seems popular without knowing that it is tested is not something I can get behind. Especially now that I no longer have three full-time workdays a week without kids at home. Until this week, I had been photographing three recipes a week and that is five straight hours of super constant work and movement. And that’s a hard-pressed day when I’m alone.

If you’re really interested in getting your prep on right now without waiting for me, Once a Month Meals is offering a free download of 20 recipes you can prep for the slow cooker or Instant Pot in one hour. You can snag yours here.

So, I ask for patience over the next few weeks. We’re all in new territory with this ish. I heard a comment this week that said “now is the time to pass out grace like candy”. Amen.

I bought Bennett some of this art paper to help keep him occupied. And by the time six weeks is up, I may use it to build myself a fort outside and I will live there forever. In silence.

Two weeks ago I had downloaded a “Couch to 5k” app to start building some stamina with running. And then all three boys were sick and things got pushed aside. So now we’re doing it together as a family. Poor Jack has to work hard to not just keep running when we’re at the “walk stage”. Bennett is livid that he has to be in the stroller but his righteous fury doesn’t stop the fact that he’s too little/dumb to not run into traffic along our route.

Why is it the kid who didn’t have to exercise at all is the grumpy one?

Should we change topics? Yes? Something funny? Ok! This is a long story but you need to know all the details to understand why I still snort every time I think about this memory.

When I was in third grade, I bought a birdcage with a stuffed bird in it from my neighbor’s garage sale. I really wanted a pet that wasn’t a dog or a cat and this little stuffed bird became my buddy. Eventually, my dad got worried about my sanity and took me to a pet store to buy a gerbil.

We brought (it) home and I named (it) Pippy. After a few weeks, we really wanted to know if Pippy was a boy or a girl. I was like nine and my sister was in sixth grade, and let’s just say neither of us were specialists in determining animal gender.

Given that sixth grade used to be when sex ed started, along with kids being dumb and talking about things on the playground that they don’t understand, my sister totally had the answer to our gerbil gender determination dilemma.

If you have ever had a gerbil, you know that you can safely pick them up by the base of their tails. I need you to know this so that you can picture what my dad saw as he rounded the corner of the hallway to see Pippy, upside-down being held by its tail while my sister had a hairdryer on low aimed at my gerbil’s junk.

(please note, I am laughing so hard I am crying right now writing this) My dad bellowed “what in the hell are you doing”??? To which my sister said that kids at school had told her that if a boy gets hot, their “things” get bigger. So naturally, we just needed to get the gerbil hot (with a hairdryer) to determine if it was a male or female. Duh. Basic science.

My friends, that right there is the case for not only sex ed, but biology being taught accurately to our children. 

Here’s my promise to you. During the next few weeks/months, when things seem scary and big and uncertain, simply think of “gerbil crotch” and I guarantee you’re going to find a way to smile.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Brenda left this five-star review on our Fried Cabbage and Bacon {Pin this recipe}:

This was amazing!  I thought it sounded great, but my husband had concerns – he doesn’t like onions. He said he didn’t even notice the onions and he kept going back for more!  I will definitely make this again and again. Thanks!

an overherad photo of fried cabbage with bacon in a skillet

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

How to Segment an Orange and Other CitrusLearn how easy it is to segment an orange in this step by step tutorial. You too can make gorgeous clean-cut wedges of delicious citrus to use in salads, desserts, and snacks. {Pin this tutorial}

a bowl of segmented citrus with minced mint

DIY Garden TrellisLearn how easy it is to build an affordable and easy DIY Trellis for your fruit, vegetable, or flower garden. Simple cattle panels create strong and long-lasting garden trellis archways that you can use year after year. {Pin this recipe}

A DIY trellis covered in green bean vines

Air Fryer Pizza RollsDitch the storebought snacks and make your own Air Fryer Pizza Rolls at home! Baked, not fried, these pizza rolls are ready in only 8 minutes and can be frozen for a quick snack. You’ll also find oven-baking and skillet instructions in the recipe card. {Pin this recipe}

A pizza egg roll being dipped into a small bowl of marinara sauce

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

My Virgin Mojito is #1 again, so let’s take a look at the other top recipes.

  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls (non-air fryer instructions are included)  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Pickles (non-air fryer instructions are included)  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Instant Pot Beef Tips (non-Instant Pot instructions are included)  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Instant Pot Matzo Ball Soup (non-Instant Pot instructions are included)  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Rice (non-Instant Pot instructions are included)  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Whole30 Beef Stew (I meant to make this a week ago but it never happened) and salad.

Tuesday:: Bacon and Egg Rolls, aka “fancy breakfast dinner” + fruit + salad for us and cut up veggies for the boys.

Wednesday:: A new recipes I’m working on (hopefully)

Thursday:: Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana (Jack’s request)

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night

Saturday:: Another new recipe I’m working on and photographing (hopefully)

Sunday:: WHO KNOWS because I may have taken a lit match to my house and walked away.


What Are You Having This Week?


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43 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. There is so much suck out there at the moment, but there is so much good happening as well! We’ve sucked big time at immersing ourselves into our community this time around, and it’s driving me crazy that I don’t know how to help those around us.
    So, I share as many good things through FB as possible, while adding in some of my personal positive vibes.
    Thank you for being such a great member of your community!

  2. Sarah, you walk the talk. I am on self quarantine because of age and health issues. Thank you for shopping for me!!!
    A guide line I just read reminded us all to wash your produce.
    Lots of hands touch them. ???? Love ya lots. MIL

  3. I laughed so hard at the “gerbil crotch” story. Thank you!! ????????????

  4. I have already hung a homeschool schedule on the fridge for my kids to start tomorrow.  Which may be all shot to hell on Wednesday as my district just informed us that we should be ready to possibly report to school then so we can start up the distance learning for our students.  I am the speech therapist serving grades 2-12 for my (little) district so this should be interesting!

    Aside from academics and arts and crafts, we will be FaceTime calling my mom, who lives nearby but is over 70 and immune-compromised, thanks to her RA treatment.  She has always had at least a 2-month supply of TP in the house as long as I can remember and she tends to keep a full freezer so she will just need (virtual) company.

    We plan to stop in at our local micro-brewery for cans of beer to bring home and I’m sure we’ll get take out from our little Thai place one day this week.  I feel very fortunate to have a steady paycheck and I am going to try to help out where I can to make sure others aren’t hit so hard!

    • Are you working now? Are things still in flux?

      I love that you’ll be able to “visit” with your mom while keeping her safe. Something that might be fun for everyone is having the kids develop a dance or play. They can act it out in front of your mom’s window!

  5. You have me LOLing at “gerbil crotch”. OMG. Hilarious! thank you for sharing!

    We just went full remote so I may save my ironing for…tomorrow!

    Given how TP shortage has overtaken my instagram, I counted my TP this weekend and I have 4 new rolls of good stuff and 2 rolls that came with the rental (I’m in temporary housing as I’m on assignment in the midwest temporarily).

    OTOH, I’m soaking my sister’s move out beans that were “best by” 2018…

    • Ugh, ironing. No amount of being at home would make me iron. LOL.

      Beans are always good! Do you have an in Instant Pot handy? IT will cook them like a boss!

  6. Our big kids are out too but the daycares are allowed to be open. I’m sending Viv until I can’t. They’re doing fever checks every morning. So from the time I check her before walking out the door I’m going to worry that she will have developed a fever by the time we’ve arrived at daycare. My work is allowing an adjusted schedule so that I can be at home during the day then come in for a chunk of time at night. Luckily, one of the vice president’s also has to be the primary caretaker during the day so he is also following this schedule. He said I just have to get the work done and isn’t enforcing a strict time commitment. 10 hours with the kid(s) then another 8 at work, no thank you.

    I’m still belly laughing at my husband’s reaction to the flu swab. That will sustain me through these tough times.

    • Ours is also doing the temp check and any illness must be cleared for 72 hours without meds before they can come back (normal protocol is 24 hours).

      I’m glad that the VP is in the same boat. That doesn’t often happen and it will make it easier for the employees to function!

  7. Let’s take a breath and calm down with no talk of burning down the house. My Mother could remember the Influenza epidemic of 1918, so remember that our children are watching how we handle this–even the TP hoarding. And yes, I’m that old–an old Granny who worked outside the home for 42 years while raising a family. Unless you are a leader of a country, you can handle taking care of your small corner of the world. While I may not have small children, I am worried about my retirement funds disappearing in the stock market. We all feel vunerable right now. I hope you have a support system of friends/family to help out, but also please be concerned for the hourly worker with no childcare or the Mom of a special-needs kid or the laid-off. Some practical meal planning ideas I used when I was employed: *freeze a quantity of PNBJ sandwiches so kids can feed themselves; *mix a batch of those RaisinBran muffins from the 198O’s that keep in the frig for 6 weeks (I’m sure Sarah can tweak these to be healthier); *keep veggie burgers in the freezer & buns; *boiled eggs in the frig are so versatile. Your women ancestors went thru wars, depressions (both kind), and epic natural disasters. We as women are good at this.

    • I know you’ve been reading a long time, so I’m confused as to why you would think I wasn’t joking about burning the house. And to how we are modeling this event to our children, I took them with me while we checked on multiple elderly neighbors (from their porches), asked if they needed anything, and gave them my number so they could give me their grocery lists and I could shop on behalf of them.

      We’ve also encouraged people via instagram to purchase gift cards to local small business to help their cash flow, and have done that ourselves for multiple businesses.

      We’ve also volunteered to deliver food to kids in our district who are on free and reduced lunch but can’t come to the pick up locations. Our school district is VERY rural and many kids are out in “the boonies” and have to spend 45-60 minutes on a bus to get to school. Those kiddos won’t be able to just swing by to pick up a box lunch.

      We’re all in this together.

  8. “I honestly don’t know what is happening, but I do sincerely regret the fact that I don’t drink.”

    Do you still have that moonshine tucked away?? :O) You may need it!