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Scattered Sundays

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There is a special room in the bad place for someone who steals a birthday bike from a kid. And someone out there has a new after-life reservation after stealing Jack’s bike from our driveway.

We went to ride bikes this week and realized Jack’s was missing. And of course, the last person who had been responsible for putting it away was ME. I had unloaded them recently from Troy’s truck and left it out with the idea of putting it away later. Dumb mom move on my part.

I posted about it on our community Facebook group thinking maybe someone might see it and feel badly and return it. And you’ll never guess what happened!

We got it back!!! Within a few hours of my post, it had been shared about 50 times. I guess people are bored/wanting to help out a bummed out eleven-year-old.

A few days after posting it, someone commented that he had seen a sign the day before for a found bike. He wrote down the number and didn’t think much of it. He then saw my post and went back to check the “found” sign but it had blown away in the night. He responded to my post with the phone number and said good luck.

I called the number and it turns out a family a few blocks away had found it ditched in the bushes at the end of their long driveway. We were so happy! Jack wrote a thank you note, I gathered some flowers together, and put two rolls of toilet paper in a gift bag and off we went to claim the bike.

The family texted me later saying that the thank you gifts made their day and the toilet paper made them laugh. I think at this point in our culture, toilet paper can be considered currency.

A thank you note written by a child

We followed up on the Facebook page with a big thank you to the eagle-eyed man who saw the sign as well as the family who found it. I think people are desperate for good news and there was genuine joy in the Facebook group from strangers we don’t even know.

2 photos showing running times from a couch to 5k training app

I’m officially on week 8 of the Couch to 5k and I can see the end in sight! During my first run this week, I was convinced that I was going super slow. Everything felt off but I still felt really strong and that is what mattered most to me. It was only in the last few minutes that I started feeling fatigued. 

Considering I felt so sluggish, I was shocked to finish the run to find out I was only .07 miles off the pace from the last run. I joked with Troy that if I had let out a really big fart to propel me forward, I could have matched my previous time.

Like anything in life, the Couch to 5k method has fans and detractors. I’ll just say it has worked for me. When I started, I could run a mile but I felt like death at the end of it. During week seven when I had to run 25 minutes, I knew I could have kept going if needed. I wouldn’t call myself a runner, but I am definitely stronger and more confident than I was when I started.

Once I finish this, I feel like there needs to be a 5k to 7k training app. I’m not ready for a 10k. And it’s not a matter of “just” run a little further. I need the robot in my ear telling me what to do. “Oh, I should run my mechanical overlord? Ok”!

Like I mentioned last week, my final run is May 27th and I am turning it into a fundraiser for Feeding America. You all are awesome in a big way and we surpassed our fundraising goal last week! If you are still interested in donating, any amount is appreciated. Every $1 raised will provide 10 meals to those who need it. A pledge of $1 per kilometer is enough for 50 meals! You can still donate here.

This week I asked on both Facebook and Instagram for recommendations for running skirts made in the US. I got a bunch of great suggestions and was happy to see that almost all of them are female-owned businesses. Here are the companies that I checked out and that met all criteria I was searching for (I don’t earn a dime if you decide to order from any of them): Oiselle, Titlenine, Sparkle Athletics, Smash Dandy, and Kind Apparel

Why not just wear shorts or leggings, you ask? Great question. It’s getting too warm (for me) to wear leggings, and most shorts are either too short on me or have piss poor pockets. I WANT POCKETS. Clothing manufacturers, stop giving dudes all the pockets! You already gave them cargo shorts. They have options. But no friends.

In the end, I ordered this skirt from Smash Dandy for three reasons. One, a skirt I liked enough was on sale. Two, they are located in a town my friend lives in and it felt like supporting my friend in a roundabout way. And three, you could choose a longer length skirt for no extra charge. Being 6 ft tall, most skirts/shorts make me feel like I am flashing the world. I save that for the robots, thankyouverymuch.

My friend Anne sent me a surprise gift of this no-budge sports headband. I didn’t think it was going to work at first, but once I found where on my head it fit best, it was fantastic! It didn’t move the whole run, kept my turtle fur hair (superfine) out of my face, and it was a nice way to keep the sweat out of my eyes.

2 boys hammering nails into a board

At some point tomorrow I’ll be changing ad networks. You should not notice any disruption during the switch over, and the end result is meant to make both you and me very happy. For you: the new network is promising fewer ads and a better user experience. For me: I should earn more money with fewer ads globbing up the site. A win-win!

Ads suck (everyone agrees), but at the end of the day, this blog is a business. Most bloggers spend anywhere from $500-$1,000 a month to produce free content. Yep, everything you see is free and it costs me A LOT of money to produce.

a front loader scooping dirt

I went to the dentist this week because I thought I had a spot of thrush on my gums. It looked like one splot of cottage cheese. Who knew that I was actually an eight-week-old baby? 2020 is the year that makes no sense, so it tracks.

Each patient had to wait in the car and call when you arrived. They brought us in one at a time and we had to use hand sanitizer. The waiting room was free of seating and magazines. I wore my homemade mask and waited in the dental chair.

The stations were separated by dark material that looked like blackout curtains. It honestly felt like a scene from Detxer. The dentist came into my section, I showed him the spot on my gums and he said “hmmmm”.

You guys, he took a freaking pick and scraped it right off in .5 seconds! He told me it was a cold sore that had burst but not dissipated (baaaaarf). And then he asked if I ate a high amount of hot and spicy foods. Um…only like three times a day. Is that bad? 🙂

I was in and out of there in 10 minutes and felt like a total moron for needing to take up one of the valuable appointment spots. He said it was good to come in because if it HAD been something bad at least we caught it early. But yeesh, I felt like a ding dong.

a long view of a garden bed with tomatoes

For anyone keeping track at home, our front door is still primed and has not been painted yet. The idea of just pretending it looks better only covered in primer is starting to grow on me. 

I read an article that drive-in movie theaters were super popular right now since you can essentially social distance the whole time. But I need to know are these people who can sit through an entire movie without having to pee??? I’d have to bring an RV or wear an adult diaper to go to a drive-in.

Housekeeping

The version of my website you see is now 2.5 years old! Long-time readers might remember how I surveyed everyone asking about what you wanted/needed while I was having it revamped. The number one request was easy to access search bars and menus. It seems like a great time to show newer readers how to access all of them.

On a desktop, you can find them in the following places:

an example showing a search bar on a website

an example showing a search bar on a website

On mobile, you can find search bars in the following places:

an example showing a mobile search bar on a website

And on mobile, you can access all the main menus and recipe archives by clicking on the three little lines in the left-side corner. Fun fact: in website speak, it’s called a “hamburger”.

I have made my three most popular categories easy to access from this screen, but if you need more categories (breakfast, appetizers, etc.,) click on “recipe index” and you’ll see the whole recipe archive:

an example showing a menu bar on a website

As always, if you have any trouble finding something, just email me or send me a DM on Instagram. I’m here to help!

In the Garden This Week

I was so thankful we got rain on Thursday to give me an excuse to stop working in the garden for a bit. I needed a break! Last week I added another layer of pavers to our main area. Troy keeps joking that I should add a few more layers and then we can flood the garden and build a moat.

Now that I’ve made the bed is deeper, we needed more soil. I hauled all the dirt from our collapsing raised bed and dumped it into the main area. Then Troy built a new raised bed and I made a run to the topsoil place. We are lucky that we haven’t had to buy any soil or compost since we got the chickens, but this time it was very much needed.

With gyms closed, I have to tell you that there is no better workout than unloading topsoil from the bed of a truck. It’s like crossfit that grows your food.

This week, our other homemade garden trellis needs to be added to the new raised bed and the green beans needed to get planted ASAP. A zucchini will go in soon. Or at least I think it is a zucchini. Our neighbor’s extended family live in Greece and he brought me back some seeds two years ago. The seed packets are in Greek, and yes, I *could* use Google translate to see what the plant is. But it’s more fun to guess.

The peas have been SO slow to grow this year. I usually yank them out mid-June and get the cucumbers in but I’m not sure if that will work this year. Perhaps another trip to the garden store for more cattle panel fencing for yet another trellis. Between that and needing a load of wood chips, I think this is the week that Troy leaves me.

I also finished filling up the main bed and then we finally got the tomatoes planted. Troy put together these cattle panel tomato supports a few years ago with leftovers from the chicken’s fence. I wish I had taken photos of the process but it’s pretty self-explanatory if you want to copy for your own garden. 

tomato cages in a planting area

Raspberries and blueberries in the background to the left. Strawberries in the background to the right.

This week I decided to build a stand-alone herb garden in a place that gets fewer hours of direct sunlight. Most herbs will bolt (go to seed and therefore taste like crap) when it gets too hot. After two trips to the local hardware store (yay for local businesses offering curbside service!), I had a brand new paver planting space that I…HATED. 

Another trip to the hardware store (who knew you could return pavers?) and then off to the farm store for a galvanized steel tub. An excessive number of drainage holes got drilled in the bottom, and we had a ready-made herb space. The boys “planted” them (AKA, just put them on top of the dirt) so I had to wait until they were inside to fix everything.

a silver container planted with small herbs

I kept the pavers that had been directly against the soil since they were stained and I didn’t think they could resell them. I got home from the topsoil place to find Bennett had drawn a plan for his own raised bed garden and made a case that he needed a tiny space just for him. This child knows my triggers – planning and gardening!

The leftover pavers became a teeny planting area in the one space left in the yard that isn’t growing food. It’s really not an ideal place for anything, but he’s thrilled with it.

He ran over to me like 400 times thanking me so much for his garden. He also messed around with his seeds so much that he definitely prevented a single thing from growing there. I’m going to sneak out after he goes to bed one night this week and stick some starts in there and then just wait for him to discover that his seeds “grew”.

2 photos showing a before and after of a small garden planting area. One with a young boy planting seeds

The strawberries are changing from flowers to tiny green fruits, and the apple trees have started putting out the teeniest apples you’ve ever seen. The raspberries have wee little baby fruit. Good things are happening!

Strawberries should be ready in three(ish) weeks, we’ll be picking the first crop of raspberries by the end of June (they put out a second crop in September through early October), and apples in August.

What I’m Listening To This Week

I started the podcast “Wind of Change” this week and oh boy is it ever bonkers! The premise is finding out if the CIA wrote the 80’s hair ballad “Wind of Change” by the German band Scorpions.

Unlike most rumors floating around these days, this one is actually investigated by an award-winning journalist (and not your second cousin posting some wacky BS on Facebook…) during this eight-part podcast series. It’s fascinating! If you have a Spotify account (free or paid), you can binge the whole season at once.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Andy left this five-star review on our Homemade Honey Wheat Bread {Pin this recipe}:

They turned out great! Don’t think I can post a pic, but really lovely and suspiciously easy. I was like, it can’t be THIS easy. And then it was. Also, I did an experiment w one glass pan and one of your coolio cast iron pans I bought, and dude. The cast iron is FAR superior. Amazing release and perfectly perfect loaf. So double thank you for an easy recipe and the loaf pan rec. game-changers. I wanted to ask, can I increase the salt content slightly (maybe 1/2 t?) without affecting the bread chemistry? I do love just a bit more salt in my bread. {I had Andy email me a photo and that is what is shown below. Looks so good! And these are the awesome bread pans mentioned.}

2 loaves of bread on a tile countertop

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs The perfect simple breakfast recipe for busy mornings, Easy Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs are great for one or for a crowd. Learn the secrets on how to make this clean eating breakfast staple without milk; perfect for Whole30 or paleo lifestyles. {Pin this recipe}

A white plate with toast and scrambled eggs topped with chopped parsley

How to Make Chicken Bone BrothThis easy to follow tutorial teaches you how to make chicken bone broth three different ways. Homemade stock from bones can be made in a crockpot, Instant Pot, or on the stovetop, and has so many wonderful uses for meals and soup. {Pin this recipe}

two jars of homemad chicken bone broth on a tray with lemons and rosemary

Homemade Strawberry Ice CreamThe only thing better than local strawberry season is making Creamy Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream! Fresh, bright, and full of flavor, this is the best strawberry ice cream you’ll ever make at home. No ice cream maker? No problem! {Pin this recipe}

two bowls of homemade strawberry ice cream with mint and whole strawberries

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

The Virgin Mojito was on top again, so let’s take a little look-see at the other top posts of the week.

  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – as always, non-air fryer instructions are included in the post.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Rice – as always, non-Instant Pot instructions are included in the post. {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Pickles – as always, non-air fryer instructions are included in the post.  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Instant Pot Beef Tips – as always, non-Instant Pot instructions are included in the post. {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Pretzel Bites – as always, non-air-fryer instructions are included in the post. {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Grilled chicken, salad, and Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Rice.

Tuesday:: Vegan Butternut Squash Soup (I found some more squash in the freezer!), salad, and biscuits.

Wednesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Thursday:: New recipe I am working on!

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: A new recipe I tested last week and need to photograph.

What We Bought This Week

Thrive Market: $59.95. We love Thrive and its mission to make healthy food (and toilet paper!) accessible to everyone at fair prices. And between you and me, their boxes make the best forts. You can try Thrive for free for 30 days + 25% off your first order + free shipping by signing up here.

a box of groceries and toilet paper in a Thrive Market box

It might be hard to see in the box (what’s in the box man, what’s in the box? Noooooo <—name that movie). We bought: toilet paper, a lot of coffee, BacOut (cleaning item), a few boxes of Zbars, and multiple bags of guacamole chips.

Farmer’s Market: $19.50

lettuce, apples, and asparagus on a blue towel

Fred Meyer (grocery store): $238.39. This was our second curbside pick up order. I think our last one was almost a month ago, hence the large cost. Pre-pandemic: I would grocery shop 1-2 times a week for food for the blog and food for us. I could easily just grab what I needed and most weeks we only spent $30-50.

Now, I feel more inclined to buy 1-2 of each thing that we use the most (but I never take the last of ANYTHING). That keeps us out of the stores, reduces how often we ask others to shop for us, and we have the fridge/freezer space. But the big output of cash always shocks me a little!

groceries in the back of a car

What are you having this week?

 

 

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30 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. eee thank you for garden updates!!! 😀

  2. I’m internet-famous! How exciting. In other news, I just love love love your posts about your garden. They’re so inspiring. I started gardening about two years ago and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, but I’ve somehow managed to get accidental lettuce from seeds two years running, and it’s such a thrill. I get garden-envy looking at the mini-farm you’ve got going on.  This year I planted raspberry bushes because I couldn’t take being jealous of yours any longer every time I see them on here! 

    • Here’s a secret: nobody knows what they’re doing at first. 🙂 My garden is an 8-year work in progress and I highly recommend baby steps which it sounds like what you’re doing.

  3. You’ve inspired me to try Thrive out! I have been wanting to go to Trader Joe’s for WEEKS to get staples (and snacks, let’s be real) but it’s a little too long of a drive for me to be comfortable with it during ~these unique times~ so giving that a shot sounds like a good way to get what I’m looking for without leaving the house 🙂

  4. What a fun read and a great way to connect with your readers, Sarah! I will also switch to Adthrive next week, hoping to have fewer ads. I keep feeling overwhelmed looking at my own site. It seems your ads are live and working fine. Thinking about the switch makes me feel really nervous. I hope it will go smoothly with no issues.

    • Good luck with the switch Sophie! I will say it was pretty seamless. The only thing that took me some time was swapping out video codes. Feel free to email me if you have any questions!

  5. Hooray for getting the bike back!!!!!!  It sucks that it was taken in the first place, bur awesome that you got it back.
    You *almost* inspired me to garden this year.  I want the harvest, but not the work.  This year, since we are not going anywhere, I decided I was going to try with a few things.  Then I remembered we have bunnies in our backyard. (and we love the bunnies!) So I looked into how one bunny-proofs a garden and that idea went right out the window!  We only have a narrow area and the three foot fence recommended would make it impossible to tend.  My husband is going to make me a shelf of some sort so I can try growing some herbs out of bunny’s reach. I bought oregano, thyme, winter savoury (because that is IMPOSSIBLE to find around here, and a staple in stuffing, I’m told), basil, a couple of different mints, chives and parsley.  We shall see how long my black thumb and I can keep them alive.
    I hope Bennett’s garden surprises you and grows something wonderful!
    I have been lasting about three weeks between grocery shops.  We have saved quite a bit without all the impulse buying! Plus the less often I go out, the less often I have to wear the mask.  win/win!

    • Bunnies are not a big issue where I am, but a few blocks away they run wild! Herbs are delightful and can add so much flavor. Your weather is colder than mine, but my parsley and rosemary overwinter and remain usable as long as they’re not frozen. Mint comes back each year but dies back in winter. Make sure you plant mint in a pot as it grows everywhere.

      Three weeks between shops is great!