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Scattered Sundays

After 40,789 conversations where Troy and I have talked ourselves into circles (and then more circles, and then concentric circles), it has been decided that Bennett won’t be going to preschool this fall.

Yes, I want to cry. Yes, I wish I drank. Excessively.

Did we make the right decision? Who knows. Are we happy with it? No. Would we be happy if we had decided to send him? No.

2020 parenting motto – you might have choices, but they’re all terrible.

Bennett doesn’t understand the concept of school years/terms, so we’ve just told him that hopefully, he’ll go back after Christmas. He just wants to be in school and see friends and people who aren’t us. I feel yah buddy. I feel yah.

Dear Lord, please let this be handled by January. Anyone feeling like their kids will always be at home? Like Bootstrap Bill in the third Pirates of the Caribbean where he is just part of the boat and says the same six things on repeat? I feel very much over all of it. 

I had a conversation with two friends this week who were both making school decisions for their kids. The consensus amongst the three of us was that we each keep looking around to figure out who the adult in-charge is. Only to find out it is us. None of us can figure out which dummy made the decision to let us be adults.

2 boys on a bridge at a park

I have gone through cycles of eating my feelings since March, and here’s what I know – food is delicious and sugar should be healthy. Feeling like I need a reset/fresh start, Troy and I are doing a Whole30 “lite” round starting September 5th.

We did a full, hardcore/follow all the rules round in May 2018 and it was a great way to reset our eating. The “lite” this time comes into play because I think some of the rules are super silly, don’t address my actual issues, and it involves eating WAY TOO MUCH MEAT.

Whole30 is fantastic as an elimination option to find out if there are certain foods causing you issues. It strips everything potentially “reactive” out of your meals and lets you add them back in slowly to see how you feel.

But when you know what your triggers are (me: delicious, delicious sugar, Troy: snacking and (delicious) empty carbs), it seems beetle-headed to have to remove everything again.

So, here’s what we’re allowing that are “against the rules”: 1) a tiny splash of creamer in our coffee. 2) we aren’t policing our condiments. If there is sugar in my ketchup, it doesn’t make me want to eat actual sugar or…to guzzle ketchup. 3) I may need to take a few bites of non-compliant recipes that I am testing during the month. 4) I will probably still make a batch of Air Fryer Tofu once a week. Soy is “not allowed” on Whole30, but soy doesn’t bother my system at all.

I’ve mostly scheduled my photoshoots to exclude needing test bites, but it may happen. This is 2020. Anything could happen. Potentially coming in November – how to build a Thanksgiving dinner around crickets!

a stuffed shark in a plastic box with a toy ax

Jack had middle school orientation this week and it was so well done. My hat is off to all the admin, staff, and teachers who made it happen. I sent a thank you email to the principal because I know what a dumpster fire the start of this school year must seem like.

In the email, I thanked him and his team for putting on a great event. I referenced “my son” in the email and never said his name. He responded (enthusiastically) and said he would pass on our appreciation and was so glad that Jack and I enjoyed the event.

That means he had to look up my email address in the school district system to find my name and then go into my parent account to figure out the name of my kid who was enrolled. I’m sure it took less than two minutes, but it was a great way to set the tone for “going the extra mile”. Coming in hot at the start of the year. Total principal flex and I’m here for it.

It was organized in 90-minute sections throughout two days based on your last name. We were there for the very first session and it was a breeze. They did an amazing job keeping everything moving with social distancing measures and tried to make it fun. As fun as getting textbooks can be.

Jack was so hungry to see kids who weren’t his little brother. He was able to say hi (from a distance) to a few kids from his elementary school, and we ran into my friend’s kids. A friend I met at this very school in the mid-’90s. Not sure how we have kids old enough to be there, but whatever!

Distance learning is going to be a hot mess, but we’ll do the best that we can. I think the fact that he’ll have daily digital check-ins with his teachers and other students will be a huge improvement from spring.

Spring was triage education with a weekly Zoom call. I felt for the teachers, students, and parents just trying to limp along. Hopefully, with a bit more experience under our belts, this will be something he will enjoy(ish). I’m still super confused by the “PE” course on his schedule but I guess we’ll find out more details!

On Friday he got his annual “not by mom” haircut from the lady who does my hair. He looks so grown up. I’m not sure I can handle it.

a boy in a blue and white shirt standing in front of a white shirt

My lovely friend Mary is helping organize this push-up challenge for Jake’s Dragon, a charity that is near and dear to her heart. The foundation raises money for families who have kids with childhood cancer. If you’re interested in signing up, you can do so here. This is an incredible cause in memory for an amazing young boy.

a boy holding a stuffed cat

I have titled this: 2020 in a nutshell

This week we got an email from the school district about purchasing school lunches during remote schooling. I have no idea how it works and didn’t really read it, because Jack has always just taken his lunch. But I was curious if there was a way to donate for kiddos who still needed lunch but couldn’t afford it.

I had a call with the nutrition people on Thursday, and you guys, in our district, it’s $2 a week to provide a daily lunch for a child that qualifies for reduced lunch. Kids are going hungry for lack of $72 a year.

My mom taught at a very low-income school and the kids who went without always broke her heart. And it’s impossible to learn at your full potential if you’re hungry. 

I just can’t right now with the idea of anyone in need. I got off the call and told Troy I wanted to punch ALL THE THINGS. Richest dang country in the world and kids are hungry because of $2 a week. We’re sponsoring a few kiddos for the year and I want to do more when we can.

Times are really tough and money is tight or non-existent for many families. If you’re in a position to give and are looking for a hyper-local way to help, call your school district’s nutrition office. It’s truly a situation where a little bit goes A LONG way.

In the Garden This Week

Something magical happened on Tuesday! A truck from the energy company showed up and started removing power lines from the house across from us.

And then a tree company showed up and in just an hour took down the horrible, dying, and garden-shading tree that has been the bane of my existence for nine years!! I love trees, but I have been plotting the demise of this one forever.

This tree was a dumpster fire and made fall/winter gardening almost impossible for us. Daylight in the Seattle area is grim during the winter (like 7-8 hours), and this tree blocked any sunlight for 6+ hours a day from November – March.

It also sheds (cedar poop as we called it) all over our yard and driveway. And it looked unhealthy and was very likely going to fall on OUR house when if it came down in a big storm.

I was at IKEA with my mother-in-law while it was being removed, and Troy sent me this to celebrate.

3 garden boxes with silly thought bubbles over there

This potentially changes everything for over-wintering the garden! I have some greens in one of the garden beds, and we need to get more topsoil to fill the other one. A big miscalculation on my part when I hit up the garden center last week. Whomp whomp.

Once the other bed gets filled I’ll be putting in seeds – carrots, beets, and more greens. It’s way too late to be planting these, but now with the giant sun-blocker down, it might just work! “It Just Might Work” is my gardening motto.


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What I’m Listening To This Week

I am shameless and love a good podcast about a cult mixed with true crime. So, Fair Game is a new podcast that definitely has my attention.

Leah Remini talks all about her escape from Scientology and the aftermath. It’s bananas.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Erin (loyal and diligent recipe maker and reviewer!) left this five-star review on our Paleo Salmon Cakes (one of MY favorite recipes on the site) {Pin this recipe}:

During 2020 we ended up with many cans of tuna hanging out in the pantry and I wanted to find something to do to make them delicious. Of course, I turned to Sarah for the answer. I subbed canned tuna in for salmon and these cakes were amazing!

a platter of paleo salmon cakes with cilantro and chimichurri

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

How to Make Vanilla ExtractMaking your own Vanilla Extract Recipe is so simple and makes the best handmade gift. There are even free printable labels for your own bottles! If you have a pressure cooker, I’ll even teach you to make Instant Pot vanilla extract. {Pin this tutorial}

three bottles of homemade vanilla extract with a dish of vanilla beans

Instant Pot Teriyaki BeefThis delicious Instant Pot Teriyaki Beef is an easy weeknight dinner that the whole family will love! Packed with flavor and a meal prep dream dish, you’ll find yourself making this pressure cooker dinner every week. You’ll also find skillet instructions in the recipe card if you don’t have a pressure cooker. {Pin this recipe}

a white bowl with rice and sliced beef on a white board

Confessions – Everyone’s favorite post of the month!

A woman with a finger up to her mouth saying "shhhhh"

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week 

That attention hog, mojito mocktail is actually #2, but let’s focus on the other top recipes. 

  1. Canning Peaches – because everyone wants to can something that looks like a tiny fuzzy butt. {Pin this tutorial}
  2. How to Can Pears – my nephew used to call these “candy pears” even though I use an ultra-light syrup. {Pin this tutorial}
  3. Canning Tomato Soup Base – Think healthy Campbell’s without 50 days worth of sodium. {Pin this tutorial}
  4. Canning Whole Tomatoes – One of the easiest canning projects for newbies and pro canners.  {Pin this tutorial}
  5. Dill Pickle Relish – because sweet relish is not welcome in THIS house! {Pin this tutorial}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Troy’s delicious burgers, fries, and salad (or grilled zucchini depending on the garden).

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Wednesday:: Instant Pot Tortellini and salad.

Thursday:: New recipe I am testing. I have to get it in before Whole30 starts!

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: Air Fryer Fajitas, rice (for the boys) and big salads for Troy and me.


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15 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Thought of you when I read this best true-crime podcast list. Some of them I had never heard of.

  2. If SyFy decides to make Sharknado 2020 (which would be pretty fitting) shark with a Viking axe could be the star!

  3. I seriously read the hair cut comment as “not my mom” since you’ve been showing/talking so much about how similar you looked 😉 

  4. Denver Public Schools gives free breakfast and lunch to all kids  who need it, you don’t have to qualify in any way.  We’re like 47th in the country (out of the 50 states) so no idea how we afford it, but am so thankful we do.  Congrats on the tree removal!!

    • That’s incredible! Breakfast is free for all kids in our district (not sure if that is a state thing or not), so that is something.

      The feds approved free meals for all kids through December, so it’s a start.

  5. Your Whole30 lite sounds a bit like what we decided to do during Lent. No sugary things/desserts, and we stopped snacking after dinner. We kept it up after Lent, and feel so much better. I added in intermittent fasting (basically just skipping breakfast) and that’s been great, too. After doing it all during the early days of the pandemic, we decided to risk a Sunday treat–a Klondike no sugar added bar–and while I know it’s got chemicals, it didn’t trigger any sugar cravings for me. I was all, “That was delicious” and went on with my life.

  6. I feel for all of the parents of school age children!! #2020bites

    Interesting fact about parenting-many of the things that kept me up at night didn’t matter to our now adult children, nor were they stunted for life. The things I was certain that I hit out of the park…yep, some of those were epic fails according to them. In spite of that, we all survived and they managed to turn out pretty dang good. So cut yourselves some slack, young parents!

    And as I have told my three for years, if you have any issues, pay a therapist $100 an hour to listen to you b***h about me just like I had to do about my parents. 😉

  7. How awesome you can assist in supporting other kids lunch accounts! Long ago.. way back in April when we got the ax drop of the rest of the year is out, not just the 3 week break, I reached out to the head of our food program and asked him to transfer the money I had put into my seniors account to one of his sibling… for this year. I shared this reminder on our local parent page and many moms reported OF COURSE they had just dumped a bunch of money on their child’s account for the last 9 week. The Payschools app our district uses directed parents to the food services manager to facilitate a refund. This started a wave of donations! For many it was just a transfer of money to younger sibling account.. but for the rest this was their last child in the district so they asked the manager to forward the funds to get accounts out of debt or to help a family he knew was in need!

  8. I’m about to make your dill relish today, 18 cucumbers is too many cucumbers! Our schools go back over the next two weeks, and will be in person, every parent I know is nervous, all of it feels impossible, so good luck! 
    Overwintering is fun, we’ve already got cabbages, kale, leeks and chard in. But are about to sow black radishes, pak choi and mustard. Winter is the time of the leafy green in our garden! If you were feeling optimistic (I know 2020!) you could maybe try some all year round cauliflowers for spring. We are also going for extra cilantro and winter density lettuce! Mostly I’m going to work on getting a productive composting system working. I would really like to stop spending all my money on compost!

    • Bennett would be happy to help you consume those cucumbers. 🙂

      I’ve never seen black radishes before. I’ll have to google those to see if it is an option. Though I assume our growing conditions are very similar.

      Do the foxes mess with compost?