Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

Scattered Sundays

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

In the “before times”, going to a tile store on a kid-free Friday would have seemed like a boring afternoon. Now? It’s what we call date night around these parts.

A card of tile samples

The big one on the left (to the left, every tile you ordered in the box to the left)

After dropping our butthole kids off at my in-law’s, Troy and I hit up some tile and home improvement stores. We picked out/ordered some big items for the kitchen like tile for the floor and backsplash.

As a reminder, “we” salvaged free quartz counters from a friend’s tear-down last new years. That would be the “collective we”, as in Troy and my brother-in-law. I’m thankful for that for budgetary purposes and not having to spend more mental energy picking things out.

Are you ready for a little kitchen remodeling news? Yes? No? Could not care less?

As of now (knock on wood), it looks like demo will start on November 1st. My sister, upon hearing that news, sent me a GIF of the Kool-Aid Man busting through a wall. That is exactly what I plan on happening. Cannot wait to start busting crap up!

My lovely father-in-law had been planning to help but busted his shoulder in August and it doesn’t seem to be improving much. I told Troy I’ll step in as “help”, but that I’m investing in a pair of “lady Carhartts” because he has like 19 pairs of work pants and I only own a pair of scrubby old yoga pants.

I’m not sure what tasks I’ll be helping with since I’m naturally a “cut 15 times, measure once” kind of person, but I’m willing to try anything. 🙂 I feel like tiling might be fun…?

2 boys in sweatshirts with leaves over the faces

I am constantly amazed that Jack’s legs can support a human.

Let’s talk TV! What are you watching? What should we be watching? What’s new out there?

Troy and I get about 45 minutes a day for TV so it takes us an eternity to get through anything. We finished up Perry Mason (very good but very dark, and definitely trigger warnings about deceased children), and are watching The Boys, the latest season of Fargo, and Ted Lasso. Please note, Ted Lasso is the best thing that has happened in 2020.

We’re used to only watching series that have already finished, so it is odd that all three shows we are watching are releasing episodes weekly. Waiting for episodes seems so 1999.

We have also seen a few episodes of Pen15 and it is pretty hilarious. But I’m not sure if either of us is committed to it. With time in 2020 being a finite source, we try to only watch things we LOVE. 

It has been a pretty wild news week in the US. I woke up at 5:15 am on Friday morning to 28 texts and it seems like a news and social media storm that has not let up.

I wish everyone impacted a full recovery. This virus is still so new and no one knows the long-term effects of having it. And I will also throw out another plug to please wear your mask, wash your hands, and social distance when you can. Science is real and so is the impact of this virus.

Japan has 126.5 million people (US is 328.2 million) and has only had 1,590 deaths from Covid. 1,590!! Clearly, there are things we can do to kick this virus in the ass, get our kids back in school (maybe just my kids??), and get businesses and the country opened back up. It doesn’t have to be like this.

If anything good comes out of this, I hope it is that people acknowledge the virality of what is happening. As a country, we have blown so many opportunities to come together to fight this together.

Honestly, I don’t see anything bringing us back together to collectively tackle this, but I believe in the 1% possibility and I hope we can work together to get things back to normal.

(awkward segue because there is no other way) Welp, we finished Whole30 (Lite) yesterday. Or rather Whole28. My birthday is tomorrow and we celebrated with my lovely inlaws yesterday.

And if ever there was a year to have exactly what you wanted to eat on your birthday, it is 2020. And this year, that meant pizza from an incredible local place and an ice cream cake that I ordered for myself. Can you tell?

an ice cream birthday cake with green icing

Troy and I started this and the plan was never to be uber-strict. We didn’t police our condiments, we ate tofu once a week, and we used a splash of real creamer in our coffee every single day. The goal was to take a break from the habits that we got stuck in for a bit too long. And I think we both achieved what we set out to. 

I never experienced the sugar detox rage that I did last time. Oddly enough, Troy was the one who had a hard time cutting out sugar. We both went through a super weird phase after a week where we were not hungry at all after breakfast. The food I was making was great (in my not so humble opinion), but we were just not remotely hungry.

Troy instantly started to feel better as he cut out the snackier foods. He slept better, his decrepit old man body didn’t hurt, and he had a ton more energy. Annnnnnnnd, just like last time…nothing changed for me. 🙂

The working theory is that my baseline energy is what others feel when they cut out crappy food. My normal is other people’s great, AKA, I’m a human Jack Russell terrier.

But, 28 days later, and I feel strong and my clothes fit the way I want them to. And we ate a lot of yummy food. So that’s all positive. Last year I put together this Whole30 meal plan if you are interested in seeing what kinds of things we were eating.

Troy wants to keep going because he feels so great. But with some caveats. It’s hard for him to stick to a good plan when he is at work. They make shift dinner together and it often involves lots of things that aren’t the healthiest options.

On the other hand, I very much want to stop eating so much meat, which Whole30 seems to necessitate. Multiple times during the month I was like “I need beans or lentils”! Relying that much on meat for protein is not sustainable in my eyes (or budget).

So, the plan we think we’re going with is eating pretty consistently Whole30 for breakfast and lunch and then dinner is a wild card. I legit eat the same breakfast about 350 days a year so this is nothing for me. And I do plan to eat ALL THE SUGAR I want on Sundays.

Who knows what will happen. But I do know I enjoyed eating a butt-ton more veggies than I normally do and definitely want to keep that going.

a lamp near a computer and glass of iced coffee

Yes, I am using an empty box to raise my laptop. Follow me on Pinterest for more home decor ideas.

How do you know that you’re almost 39? You get excited about a daylight lamp for your desk so you can do computer work at 5:15 am without eye strain. At least I can jump out of bed in the morning without anything hurting. For now.

But seriously, the lamp rules. It has 10 settings and can go from cool to warm and different intensities. And it was really affordable.

a boy in the woods holding a stick


Bennett has become obsessed with Candyland in the last two weeks. Jack never got into it because he was so competitive that board games were a torturous affair. I can’t tell you how many times I had to say “you can’t be GOOD at Candyland. It’s all luck buddy”.

Bennett wants to play it all day, every day. I’ve bribed Jack with chocolate chips to play with him because Troy and I just couldn’t take it any longer. I do remember loving Candyland when I was younger, and I’m starting to think my family members were hiding when I was walking around with the board hoping for a pickup game.

Troy found a Candyland cartoon on youtube, and Bennett has been watching that during his allotted electronics time. It’s better than those stupid unboxing toy videos that he also likes. The parents who started those channels for their kids need to be arrested.

But, here’s my ask. What other board games do you recommend for 4.5-year-olds? If you say Mouse Trap, I will stab you. We have lost every marble for Hungry Hungry Hippos, and Hoarder Bennett will not be able to keep all the Mouse Trap pieces together.

a boy on a porch with Halloween decorations

Bennett has been yapping about Halloween decorations for months. Both my boys love to decorate and I’m 100% “meh” about it. During my work time one day this week, Troy and Bennett really did a number on our front porch.

We bought a giant spider was the Habitat ReStore, the light-up ghost is something baby Bennett fell in love with at a garage sale a few years ago, and the rest are just some things that Troy picked up at the dollar store.

He made “eyeball soup” out of pan from his kitchen, and painted “blood” on the rock with what I am hoping is washable paint. Bennett was SO pleased with himself. And I was thrilled I didn’t have to do anything.

You’ll notice some of the photos in this post have an orange tint to them. Yep, some wildfire smoke was back this week. This time it was from Northern California but the air quality here never got above 50. Continued prayers and thoughts for everyone still impacted by the fires. I feel like this is going to be a very long fire season.

a boy in pajamas in a play kitchen

I’m taking Jack to the dentist this week. This poor child has already had six teeth pulled because his mouth is so crowded and his adult teeth were growing in so crooked because there was no room. He is actually missing three adult teeth (they’ll never grow in) and he STILL doesn’t have enough room in his mouth.

Well, he has two baby teeth that aren’t even loose, and yet the adult teeth are coming through the gums. Sideways. The appointment this week will be a consult, but if he does need anything pulled soon, I am requesting they knock him TF out. If you can picture a cornered honey badger fighting a wolverine, that is a glimpse of what it was like pulling the previous six.

In the Garden This Week

That’s it. Stick a fork in it, the blueberries are done. Oh, there are still hundreds and hundreds of berries on the bushes. But they’re done.

We had a few days of epic rain and all the berries got super mushy during the process. They’re not salvageable for humans, but I am the most popular bird fast-casual restaurant in the neighborhood. I’m like Chipotle for the avian community.

During that rain the raspberries also got gross, but they’re still putting out NEW berries, so those ones are safe. For now.

We had our first harvest of fall lettuce and it was delicious! A good gardener would have saved the names of the types of lettuce. I am not a good gardener. It’s green and tasty and free. That’s all I need to know.

a strainer of lettuce near a raised bed with lettuce

I am hoping that with shade cloth and a hoop system, we can keep picking lettuce over the winter. The neighbor’s tree finally being gone is making this whole season an experiment.

The tomatoes are still ripening and we’re going to milk that process as long as possible. Many split and were ruined during the rain, but it is what it is.

I ended up canning a dozen jars of pears on Monday and we have already busted into one of them. The boys haven’t had canned pears in a year and were too excited to wait. I’ll be picking up another case at some point in the next week or so.

canned pears on a towel

I’m snagging a case of apples later today from a local orchard. Bennett and I will make dried apples while Jack is doing online school during the week. My dehydrator will be busy this week!

And if we get sick of drying apples, I might can a few jars of applesauce. We’ll see. It’s a pretty exciting life we’re leading right now. Try to keep up.

I also started laying landscaping cloth and bark down on my dad’s planting area. It’s been a weed-covered nightmare for years and it’s time to just cover it up and maybe start again next year. Personally, I vote 40 blueberry bushes, but might be overruled. 

bark on a garden strip


Fall is a great time to start stocking your pantry or freezer with bone broth. It makes for incredible meals, and when the inevitable “first sniffles of fall” show up, sipping broth can be an easy heat and eat comfort food.

It’s affordable to make your own (related: How to Make Chicken Bone Broth, How to Make Turkey Bone Broth), but if that’s not your jam, check out my post on where to buy bone broth.

The guide includes various places to purchase, comparing prices per oz, coupon codes, protein, and sodium information.

What I’m Listening To This Week

Listening to the podcast Unfinished: Short Creek over the last few weeks has been fascinating. It covers a small community at the Utah and Arizona border where members of the FLDS have settled.

Unlike previous examinations of this area, I love how the hosts treat the community with respect without enabling.

What I’m Reading This Week

I started The Color of Law this week. It’s a hard but important read. I have a BA in Criminal Justice which required many courses in political science and sociology. I thought I knew the history of housing discrimination and red-lining in this country, but whoa boy, I knew nothing!

This book is eye-opening and informs so much about how cities were developed over the last 100 years. This one is going to take me a long time to finish because I get so mad that I want to throw my Kindle.

Honestly, I want to stop reading it. But I realize that getting to put down a book that makes me uncomfortable is pretty much the definition of privilege. I don’t like the book, but I don’t have to live it. Which it makes it all the more important that I finish the damn book.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Carie left this five-star review on our Instant Pot Beef Tips and Gravy {Pin this recipe}:

This was a great recipe! Easy to prepare, ingredients that are usually in any kitchen, and delicious. My only disappointment is that there aren’t any leftovers! 

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Air Fryer Butternut Squash – Crispy and perfect, roasted Air Fryer Butternut Squash is a fast and delicious side dish. You’ll love that they’re Whole30 compliant, vegan, and vegetarian and packed with so much flavor! No air fryer? You’ll find oven-baking options as well. {Pin this recipe}

a white plate of butternut squash on a wooden board with a fork and herbs

What to Can, Eat, and Preserve in Fall – Fresh produce in fall is abundant and perfect for preserving for the long months ahead! Learn what to can, preserve, and eat in fall, as well as delicious recipes for seasonal produce. {Pin this guide}

multiple photos of fall produce and dishes

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

  1. How to Can Pears – I canned 12 jars of pears in an ultra-light syrup this week and boy oh boy they’re tasty. {Pin this tutorial}
  2. Crockpot Apple Butter – Make this and your house will smell like heaven. Oh, and it tastes good too.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. How to Can Applesauce – yep, it’s fall!  {Pin this tutorial}
  4. Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Rice – I LOVE this reader favorite.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Instant Pot Beef Tips – welcome back to the leaderboard!  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

With Whole30 behind us, I am SOOOOOOOOO excited to eat some meat-free meals this week!

Monday:: Air Fryer Tofu with a big garden salad and a little bit of rice on the side.

Tuesday:: A new vegetarian soup recipe I’ll be debuting in a few weeks. I’ve made it multiple times and I’m so excited for it to get in my belly. Salad from the garden on the side.

Wednesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Thursday:: Butternut Squash Soup with a few cheese tortellini thrown in. Salad on the side.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and big salads for movie night. Hurray for a return to popcorn for grownups!

Saturday:: TBD

Sunday:: Family dinner with my sis’ family. I’m thinking baked potato bar with Butternut Squash Chili.


What are you having this week?


As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

29 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. We did a lot of Orchard Toys games when the first nephew was that age, the second one likes dressing up and running around so we don’t play so much but we do Sonic the Hedgehog monopoly, uno and bingo as a family. I want all the kitchen updates! And thanks for the lamp recommend, I have one on my new desk right now and my eyes are so much happier now!

    • We played Sonic…but that just involved Jack running around the house very fast. HA!

      I saw your new desk on IG! It looks like a nice setup and it is NOT THE KITCHEN TABLE anymore. Hurray! Glad you like the lamp. I’m typing with mine on right now.

  2. We are finally home! The air quality has been crap, but we are still glad to be here.

    We had Emma knocked for the last set of teeth she had pulled. So much better. She’s been asking for an ortho appointment because her wisdom teeth are coming in and jacking all her teeth up. Which means she’ll be getting more teeth pulled. Fun times.

    Now that we are full time in the camper, I have to figure out how to get our butcher box delivered! Might have to bribe a local friend.

    Meals this week are spaghetti and meatballs, fish tacos (with the salmon burgers from BB), English muffin pizza, and baked potato bar.

    • I can’t remember but is she getting braces eventually?

      Why wouldn’t BB deliver to the camper? Or do you mean you don’t have a place to store it? Move one of Jared’s bikes and get an extra freezer. HA!

  3. When my younger brother was little he loved hi ho cherry-o. It’s a good counting game! Chutes and ladders would prob be appropriate! We also have dragon wood but we call it dragon boner around these parts. My bigger kids don’t like to play it with Valentino, though. He is Bennets age. But I think if they weren’t being jerks he could totally play it with them. But it is made for older kids. Valentino likes connect four as well. And all the kids love playing chess. I don’t know how, but they all learned it! Uno and slap jack or other card game. He might be able to learn solitaire which would be awesome because he could play it by himself! You’ve got a lot of great suggestions for games in the comments. I would love if you ever had the time to compile and review or just compile! That would be sweet! But I know you’re a busy mama ❤️

    • I completely forgot about Hi Ho Cherry-O!!! Ha at Dragon Boner!

      We have a dice game we play that most of your kiddos could also play. It’s called Left Right and Center. You only need 3 dice and 6 sticker letters (we got ours at a hardware store in the sign section). I’ll talk more about it in my Sunday post next week. It’s really fun and the set up is about $2.