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Scattered Sundays

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I was washing the dishes this week and heard the chickens FREAKING out! Troy and I ran out to investigate and found a raccoon in the chicken yard.

Troy and I took off towards the coop and Bennett came flying behind us with a Captain America shield and Thor hammer ready to battle the raccoon. Never get between a superhero boy and his chickens.

We chased the raccoon off and thankfully no chickens were hurt. Sadly, the raccoon headed down to the house a few doors down and killed some of their chickens. It was so sad.

Our house is surrounded by two homes with SEVEN barking and yappy dogs and not one of them caught the raccoon. If I have to listen to loud dogs all day, every day…the least they can do is chase off a chicken murderer.

Our coop is large and we have expanded their fenced area over the years, so they have quite a bit of space to dig, scratch, and sunbathe during the day. The fence is only designed to keep them in and not really to keep anything out. In seven years we’ve never had a predator take one of our ladies.

A raccoon trap has been purchased but we haven’t caught him yet. The poor chickens are stuck in their coop until we capture that rotten trash panda, and they are NOT happy about it! Each time I come to give them snacks and try to buy their love back they squawk and me, and one even screams!

Screaming? And I get it – nobody likes being “cooped” up with others. But you don’t get to scream at me on day TWO of quarantine. Chick, please. I’m 10 weeks into this with two crazy boys. Pace yourself.

a pink and green flowering bush with lots of petals on the ground

Are you ready to strangle your kids? Are camps closed in your area this summer? My friend Kat, who is one of the most incredible and creative people I know, has created an online option for her amazing kid’s theater camp. If your kids are looking to be entertained this summer but are stuck in the house, they’re going to love this camp!

Jack and I went to the eye doctor on Thursday and hooooo boy it was not a fun experience. We needed masks which I was fine with. I randomly realized a few years ago that I have mild claustrophobia. To wear a mask I need to mentally pump myself up. It’s almost like labor anytime I have to put it on.

The exam room we were in was really hot which was not helping me with the mask situation. And then they put that eye thingy up to my face (“which is more clear, option 1 or option 2″…whatever that thing is called) and I almost straight up lost my dang mind.

Jack is my overly-anxious kid. He easily gets stuck in his head, but getting out of there is harder. I constantly try to figure out how to get the point across that it is ok to just be 11. He doesn’t need to take on the troubles of the world, and sometimes we just need to take a few deep breaths and wait for our thoughts to sort themselves out.

I decided that there was no time like the present to demonstrate how it is ok to be stressed without shutting down. I started vocalizing what I was feeling and talking Jack through exactly what was going on. When that eye thingy was up in my face I told him “Jack, inside I am freaking out right now. It’s like there is a badger inside my chest and I want to fight everything”.

And then the tech did that thing where they put numbing drops in your eyes and then touch it with a little pressure gun thingy. As a contacts wearer, that one didn’t bother me as much but I still talked about it knowing Jack was next in the chair.

He did GREAT even though I could tell he was very uncomfortable and nervous the whole time. Whenever he started escalating, I would ask him a math problem and have him solve it in his head. Numbers calm his little nerdy brain and we both survived! 

We each took a shower when we got home and put all our clothes directly into the washer. Up next: the dentist for both boys in the next month or so. And Bennett never had his four-year check-up (from January!), and Jack also needs his well check. By the end of the summer we’ll probably only be three months behind on medical appointments. 🙂

a boy in a darth vader mask with a light saber

Movie night this week was Bennett’s first showing of The Empire Strikes Back

Somehow I over-extended my thumb last week and it was pretty much unusable for three days. I either did it with garden work or by holding my water bottle in a super weird way while jogging. I guess this is what 38 looks like? Hurting yourself with a shovel or some water? Do I just give up on life now?

I logged four runs for the couch to 5k this week and it was a mixed bag. Last Sunday my run was doomed from the first step I took. I knew immediately it was going to be a giant stinker.

I was feeling sluggish but even though I was not actually tired, I stopped FIVE times. The app glitched at one point and cut five minutes off of the training. I think robot Constance actually felt empathy for me and just threw in the towel and ended it. An act of mercy for sure from my benevolent robot overlord.

4 photos showing running times

The other runs were much better and I finally entered the final week – week nine. I was able to complete 5k on week 9, day 1! My pace was all over the place this week but I did it and that is what matters in the end.

I have realized a few things about what makes a run more successful for me. One: I run better in shorts/running skirt. Two: I run better when it is cooler (duh) with a slight drizzle. Three: My best runs are when I am listening to a Dateline podcast. Will run for donuts. And true crime.

I am still doing the final training run on Wednesday, May 27th and you still have time to donate to our fundraiser for Feeding America to celebrated the end of this process. My pain will be someone’s gain. For every $1 we raise, 10 meals are provided to those in need. 

We have already raised a whopping $900 (THANK YOU!) in two weeks, which means 9,000 meals. That blows my mind and makes me pee just a little bit in excitement. There is still time to donate if you’d like. You can find the fundraiser page here.

Based on your suggestions, we started The Last Kingdom on Netflix a few weeks ago. We’re on episode six. It takes us forever to get through a series with hour-long shows. Apparently, it’s like eleventity thousand episodes long so I think we’ll still be watching it for months. Which is how long each and every day seems to last lately.

How are things going for you and your family? How are you holding up? Life sure is weird and stressful right now. Sometimes it feels like a bad dream. It makes me nervous for so many people that I love.

I hate my mask. HATE it. But I don’t wear it for me. I wear it for the people who need me to wear it because their immune systems aren’t strong enough to deal with this. I wear it for healthcare workers, for grocery store employees, for hot firefighters, and for my neighbors who are at risk. And for you. Masks suck. But you don’t. I wear it for you.

In the Garden This Week

I took the boys to get a load of woodchips this week. Going to a giant garden and gravel center with front loaders and fork lifts is cheap but exciting entertainment for sure. For the last few years, we have been able to get free woodchips but that source dried up this winter. Going from free chips to these “fancy” playground play chips is like going from a 1997 Dodge Neon to a Tesla.

Only gardeners will appreciate this statement, but the purchased chips are so easy to work with. They don’t have splinters, they’re bonkers easy to scoop and they don’t trash the back of the truck. It takes very little to make me happy, and nice woodchips make me very happy.

a garden with light yellow woodchips

Why woodchips? They are like an insulated blanket for the garden. They keep the soil warmer during cool nights and cooler during hot summer days. And during the hot and dry days of summer (yes, it gets dry in Seattle!), it helps the soil retain as much water as possible. I do put the chips OVER our soaker hoses (we have this kind) so the water goes directly into the soil and stays there.

I need at least another truckload of chips to cover the blueberry bush region of our garden, plus the blueberries under our kitchen window. Hopefully that field trip will happen this coming week so I can be DONE with this task.

On Sunday night I snuck to a local fruit stand to pick up some cucumber starts (gardener to normal English – this means baby plants) to plant in Bennett’s garden while he was in the bath. I posted his reaction on Instagram and let’s just say this child is THRILLED with having cucumbers!

a small garden with cucumber seedlings

Housekeeping

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What I’m Reading This Week

I finally finished Becoming (amazing book!) and picked up Educated by Tara Westover this week. I don’t know all of the plot yet, but so far it’s about a girl who grew up in Idaho with an end of days prepper family. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. You can see all the other books I’ve read in 2020 here.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Lindsay left this five-star review on our Cold Start Instant Pot Yogurt {Pin this recipe}:

Made this, will make again. I made 3 quarts and strained it down to just shy of 2 quarts. Since half the time I can only find UP milk anyway this is way faster than going through the whole boil~cool~inoculate~incubate process. Thanks Sarah!

Two glass jars of yogurt topped with berries, granola, and mint

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Cinnamon Pretzel Bites With Apple SyrupWhip up a batch of Cinnamon Pretzel Bites for a quick and fun treat! An incredible homemade low-sugar apple syrup is the perfect dip to go with these delicious bites. {Pin this recipe}

A plate of cinnamon sugar pretzel bites

Healthy Ranch DressingCreamy, tangy, and packed with flavor, this homemade Healthy Ranch Dressing is ready in just 5 minutes. Made with pantry staples and ingredients you can actually pronounce, yogurt ranch dressing is also kid-approved. {Pin this recipe}

A glass bottle of ranch dressing in front of a bowl of salad

Crispy Air Fryer Green Bean FriesCrispy Air Fryer Green Bean Fries are a delicious appetizer or snack. Baked, not fried, these crispy green beans are simple to make and cook in only 10 minutes! No air fryer? You’ll find oven-baking instructions too. {Pin this recipe}

green bean fries being dipped into a small dish of dressing

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. Air Fryer Potatoes – as always, non-air-fryer 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:: Fried Gnocchi and Veggies. We have everything in the pantry/freezer for this.

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Wednesday:: The final test and photographing of a new recipe that I’m excited to share soon!

Thursday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Jack really wants to make homemade taquitos. I’ll pair it with black beans from the freezer and a batch of Parmesan Garlic Rice.

Sunday:: Lentil Soup and bread on the side.

What We Bought This Week

Costco: $211 (some of the stuff below wasn’t for me and is not included in the total). Big run this week for my sister and us. This was my first trip to Costco since March and it made me sad. I miss wandering around Costco and eating samples. First world problems for sure. I will say that I was uber-impressed with their safety precautions and how they were managing social distancing. 

a car trunk full of groceries

Local small farm: $11 for salad greens. No picture. It’s salad greens. Use your imagination.

 

 

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10 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Hey I made an awesome discovery the other day!! About the whole claustrophobia thing! So, I made a mask with fabric I got a while back at Walmart, and it is very heavy weight. I would judge it to be upholstery weight. I backed it with super cheezy quality gingham. I used a pattern shaped like a shield, which I believe you do too. (Some hospitals and I think the CDC have simple, rectagular-shaped instructions. I did the more involved shield-type.)
    While I have not had any trouble with the rectangular mask “inhaling” towards my mouth, I do have claustrophobia with the masks – and the heavier weight fabric made… almost like a … “pouch” by my nose/mouth area that was way more comfortable.
    So my takeaway is (ha! corporate America) — try to find yourself some upholstery-weight fabric. I could still breathe just fine, I promise you. Obv I’m not talking like suede or denim or the like! Also, I used ties that were at the corners and went to the back of my head. Having that adjustability is sure nice. I didn’t like it when I made one that the ties went through the up-and-down “tunnels” on the short ends and _then_ went around my head. Not as useful.
    Maybe let the chickens run around in the daytime and bait the raccoons at night? Man, they are fearless.
    Your pretzel bites and ranch look delicious. : – ( I still haven’t gotten to try the granola bars. On my list. Sorry.

    • Ah, I totally get what you’re saying. I’ll need to look through my fabric stash and see what I have!

      We let the chickens out from 8a-4p one day but it just feels like tempting the trash panda at this point.

  2. Here things are opening up, and our church is starting Mass again, this week! So excited. We spent today making cloth masks for everyone to wear. And we built a bed for one of the kids. Like, from scratch, because my husband is awesome like that.

    On a different note, whhyyyy do people need that many dogs? Why? One is bad enough (in my opnion). Seven dogs between two houses just seems excessive.

    • I hope it is a great service! Are the attendees limited?

      The bed sounds amazing. Very productive. 🙂

      Gah, I wish I knew about the dogs. We actually like dogs very much. But not that many, especially if you don’t train them.

  3. Ours is probably not the quarantine story to write. No one fell ill with the virus; no income was lost. We do not know anyone affected by the virus or by a lost job. Our college student returned home early; and our 20-something decided to ride out quarantine while he waited for his new boss to reopen the field office (he will be transferring to) with us rather than in his (tiny) flat in a “Hot Spot.” The dog may have borne the worst of it, with three walks each day and endless attention; the poor thing is exhausted from the love.

    Recognizing that we are fortunate in these regards, we paid-it-forward in the only way we could best contribute. Take Out Tuesday in support of local restaurants occasionally became Meals Out Monday and GrubHub Thursdays (and sometimes Fridays); we purchased restaurant cards for healthcare workers, first responders and a longtime friend who manages a grocery store; and paid it forward to services that we use that had to close during the stay-at-home. I grocery-shopped for our (age) high-risk neighbors when needed; and purchased supplies for another neighbor to make masks because I lack the gene to even sew on a button. Essentially, what I lacked in physical abilities I made up for with Venmo whenever the occasion arose.  This is not intended to be braggadocios; I am only writing about how we weathered the stay-at-home.

    Our governor did not extend our state’s stay-at-home order. We do not live in a state the media cares about; and the least affected regions of our state began opening a month ago (our county included). My hairstylist reopened, and counting the days until my mane was tamed was like counting down to Christmas. I tipped her triple. Our state parks followed a week later; and with mild weather each weekend now dawns with the excitement of an opportunity to hike, absorb the fresh air, and otherwise be in the great outdoors. 

    A neighbor and her children went strawberry picking (’tis the season where we live) and delivered two quarts to our doorstep in a delicious gesture. We nom-nomed a bunch, and then I followed your kick-butt Strawberry Freezer Jam recipe for the rest. The first jar was entirely consumed with breakfast the following morning. Feeling emboldened I purchased blackberries from the grocery and made a round of freezer blackberry jam, as well. Lots of smiles around the breakfast table. 

    • We’re very similar to your story in the first two paragraphs, especially the small business support and helping those that we can.

      Things are slowly starting to open up here but it is county by county at this moment. My sis is in your shoes with the haircut, though hers is so thick I do believe our stylist will get carpal tunnel on that cut alone.

      Your strawberry delivery sounds wonderful! Hoping that bounty brings you many mornings of joy. 🙂

  4. Yeah Sarah for pointing out why you wear a mask, you good person.. the poor chickens.. dang them raccoons .. but even more sorry you have neighbors who let their (7) dogs incessantly bark .. ugh..we have that near enough but your houses aren’t very far away from each other.. must drive you mad.. going to the eye doc..wow that was such a great Motherly and wonderful thing to help Jack and yourself to get through that. I’m gonna  try to donate to your running for meals program..Well … keep in doing your thing good human.. Aloha..stephanie

  5. Oh no I missed Bennetts reaction to his garden.

    My strawberry towers already have lots of blossoms and green strawberries. BTW everyone is jealous of my strawberry towers, so many thanks for your how to.

    • Yahoo, that’s awesome Nicole! I will say ours are now two years old and I need to add more straw and soil to all three of them. Things have settled down over the years and they need a refresh.