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Scattered Sundays

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Oooph, I was that chick at IKEA this week who had to be reminded about social distancing! Doh.

I’m super consistent about wearing masks and am a giant advocate for people looking out for each other during this public health crisis. And yet there I was, about to be on the Karensinthewild Instagram account. I was mortified!

I was in the checkout line and they had yellow circles to stand on. The front two circles had nine feet between them, and the rest were six feet apart. I was on the second circle from the front and was distracted by a few baskets of “impulse items” that were alongside the lines.

I stepped off my circle to look at something about a foot in front of me. The woman on the front circle turned around and nicely but firmly said “please step back”.

My face instantly went hot (behind my mask) and I apologized profusely and jumped back to my designated circle like I was playing The Floor is Lava. In my defense, I was still eight feet away from her and therefore properly distanced. And also, I was distracted by gingerbread house cookie kits. Because I’m 8.

But, I took the advice I often give my kids which is “when a simple “I’m sorry will do”, sometimes it is just better to apologize than to explain the situation”. Hopefully, it was a situation that will help keep me on my toes in the future. And to have grace for people who might be creeping a bit too close to me.

I was able to snag about half of the items left on our kitchen cabinet supply list. They’re still very much out of stock on some of the base cabinets. This haul was a lot smaller this week than when I had to play Subaru Tetris last time.

The boxes are being stored in my in-law’s basement, and this week Troy will spend two days over there putting a few together. I say a few because we have no idea how long this process will take, and all the boxes are in a giant bundle. Troy is a very handy dude, but it’s still a ton of work and a new process.

We also had three plumbers come out this week to give us an estimate. The good news is we know the work will be done correctly. The bad news is, my kids can’t go to college. Yikes, who knew plumbers used solid gold pipes?

a skeleton in a carseat

This was my face when I got the plumber estimates.

I picked up chicken food and a flat of pears for canning from Azure Standard this week. You’ve heard me talk about Azure before; we call them to the online Costco for hippies. This post covers what we buy from them.

They recently announced they are planning to expand in the US, specifically into the Northeast. If you’re interested in seeing if they’re headed your way, check out their delivery map. If you’d like them to consider coming to your town, this form will allow you to submit requests.

a shark pumpkin

You all came through in a big way when I requested more board game ideas for Bennett! We added a bunch to his Christmas list, and I so appreciate the suggestions. A few readers asked if I’d put together a list of all the recommendations. Happy to!

Please note, I didn’t include any games that seem to be out of print or were extremely expensive. One smart reader reminded me that some public libraries do loan out board games to patrons. If you have a library card, check there first!

  1. Zingo – this was recommended AND we personally own it. It’s something we can all play and Bennett often plays it solo.
  2. Uno – recommended multiple times, but the issue of littles holding all the cards was mentioned by many people. I did find these “card holders” that are made in the USA and should help kiddos be able to play.
  3. Sonic the Hedgehog Monopoly
  4. Hi Ho Cherry-O
  5. Chute and Ladders
  6. Dragonwood – this recommendation came from multiple readers!
  7. Connect 4 – recommended by multiple people, and a game the boys play at my inlaw’s.
  8. Carcassone – recommended by multiple people.
  9. King Domino
  10. Sleeping Queens
  11. Outfoxed – this is a cooperative game, meaning there are no “winners” or “losers”, rather the players work together to achieve a goal.
  12. Hoot Owl Hoot – another cooperative game.
  13. Shadows in the Forest
  14. Don’t Break the Ice
  15. Pop the Pig – we have this one. Bennett won’t actually play it but does love to stuff that pig.
  16. Shark Attack – we have this one and bought it after Bennett played it at my sister’s house.
  17. Pete the Cat
  18. Pop Up Pirate

Another game we love is a little dice game that is called Left, Right, and Center. We used to play this as kids with my grandparents. It’s so fun, practically free, and can be played with large groups if needed. We do find that a minimum of three people makes it more fun.

There is an official store-bought option, but you can make your own for under $2. You simply need three dice and a few sticky letters. If you have paint pens, you could use those too. I used a $1 sheet of alphabet craft stickers from the hardware store.

Each of the three die (dice?) needs a letter L, R, and C on them, each on a different face. Everyone starts with three of something (we use nickels, wrapped candy, Lego, etc.). You roll all three dice and basically do what the letters tell you do. If you get an L, you pass 1 item to the person on your left, and same with someone on the right if you get an R.

If you roll a “C”, you put one of your items in the center of the table (we use a small bowl). You roll the number of dice that matches how many items you still have in front of you. So, if you’re down to one piece of candy, you only roll one dice.

The game continues until the last person gets their final item in the center. Winner takes all, but we usually just keep the items in the bowl until the next game.

Kids and adults love this game, there is ZERO skill involved, and it helps kids learn their left from their right. It’s really fun and low-tech.

a boy with a pirate ship

Troy found this pirate ship in someone’s trash pile. He cleaned it up and Bennett uses one of my bread pans to keep it upright.

Troy watched a news segment at work about canning being on the rise. He sent it to me like it was new information to me. Ha! My canning posts have seen a huge increase this year compared with last year. And you only have to look at canning supplies in the stores (spoiler alert: there aren’t any) to know people are trying new things.

Back in February when I saw where the world was headed, I bought a few extra boxes of canning lids. My rule has always been “don’t take more than you need, and taking the last of anything if you don’t need it just makes you an asshole”. But each shopping trip I would snag a box or two of lids. They were plentiful back then.

Fast forward to now and you cannot find anything in the stores. Manufacturing is backlogged and the huge increase in people new to canning has made it impossible to find supplies.

If you’re a first-time canner, I know it can seem frustrating to not be able to get your hands on what you need. Be patient because I think the canning supply chain will start sorting itself out shortly. Canning starts to slow down this month, and hopefully, people will no longer be purchasing new supplies.

Should you come across any, it’s great to think long-term and take what you might need for the next six months. But remember, don’t be a shelf-clearing dillhole.

This post goes over my list of canning equipment and I break it down between “must-haves” and “don’t bothers”. Many of the items can be found used (at least in the “before times”), so keep your eyes peeled for thrifted options.

If canning supplies elude you, I would also encourage you to try your hand at freezing your produce. Assuming of course you have the freezer space, my guide on freezing all the things can help you preserve many items. 

boxes of apples and pears in a garage

Speaking of canning, last weekend, my brother-in-law kindly picked some apples from his parent’s mini orchard for me. My sister said they would pick about 20 pounds, but when I saw the boxes, they’re much closer to 40-45. Who-hoo, free apples!

They’re a mix of tart and sweet, so rather than try to figure out what is what, I’m just combining them all to make applesauce. I might also whip up another batch of apple butter with a mix of their apples and the bonkers tart ones from our tree. Head’s up, both the applesauce and apple butter can be frozen if canning isn’t an option.

a boy in silly clothes with a mask

As 1 of 6 boy cousins, nothing he owns is new. But he makes his style HIS OWN.

On this coming Wednesday, we’re knocking Jack out and he is having 2-8 teeth pulled. Yep, he’s an orca. His teeth truly hate coming out on their own, and I think he has only lost four baby teeth “naturally”.

We have an ortho appointment on Tuesday morning and that will determine how many need to come out. Part of me is like “take them all let’s get the braces show on the road” and then part of me thinks “dang, that’s a lot of teeth to pull”.

a boy in a Home Depot apron with safety glasses

Can I tell you something that has brought me so much joy this week? Well, you’re on the internet so I can’t hear your response. Let’s pretend you said yes.

I have been aggressively unsubscribing from email newsletters this week. As a small business owner, I somehow get put on so many email blasts, mostly from PR firms announcing the new hot CBD product. I received one this week about how to use a pet psychic. Super pertinent to being a food blogger.

Rather than just deleting them from my inbox, I’ve been taking the extra 3 seconds and clicking that unsubscribe button. It’s so freeing. You know I love a good clutter purge! 

Yes, my blog has an email newsletter. And you know what? If it’s not bringing you joy, unsubscribe! 

So take a good hard look at your inbox this week and let the crap go. Even if it is my crap. 🙂 It feels fantastic!

In the Garden This Week

With rain in the forecast, I picked all the tomatoes I could on Friday. We’ll see how long I can tolerate them sitting on the counter before I can or freeze them. My guess? This afternoon. Clutter and I are not close friends.

Some of the plants are just toast, so I yanked them and threw them to the chickens. Happy, happy chickens.

Our beet, carrot, and spinach seedlings are doing really well, but who knows if they will mature enough to safely overwinter. In my next life, I need unlimited garden space so I can plant for the seasons.

The bed of lettuce is doing fantastic and I have given it a nice little snuggly blanket of straw. The greens are tucked in tight and ready for the crap weather that is inevitably heading our way.

What I’m Listening To This Week

Earlier this year I recommended the podcast Counterclock. It’s back for season two, and this time it is examining a case in North Carolina that is technically considered closed, but everyone is convinced the wrong person was convicted.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

I received this email from a lovely new reader named Shirley about our Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs {Pin this recipe} and I have to say, it made my week!

I could never make good scrambled eggs until I came across your recipe this past Saturday. Immediate family was here for a big breakfast and scrambled eggs were requested. I used your recipe and made the best scrambled eggs ever. Thanks so much. Received many compliments thanks to you. Can’t wait to try your other recipes.

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

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Easy Instant Pot Yogurt – Learn how easy it is to make delicious Instant Pot Yogurt. Real food, no fillers or additives – just simple creamy yogurt that you can adapt to your tastes and preferences. {Pin this recipe}

A glass jar of yogurt topped with honey and almonds on a white board

Air Fryer Chex Mix – Crispy, crunchy, and delicious, Air Fryer Chex Mix will be a huge hit! A delicious and fast treat, this small-batch Chex mix will become a snack time staple. No air fryer? We have alternative cooking methods too! {Pin this recipe}

a glass bowl with Chex Mix on a white board

How to Freeze Ginger – Learn all the tips and tricks for Freezing Ginger to save money and prevent food waste. A freezer stash of frozen ginger opens the door to amazing meals packed with flavor. {Pin this recipe}

frozen pucks of ginger with parsley on a white board

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Crockpot Apple Butter – Make this and your house will smell like heaven. Oh, and it tastes good too.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. How to Can Pears – I will be canning another dozen jars this week. {Pin this tutorial}
  3. How to Can Applesauce – I’ll be slowly canning more quarts of this myself over the next two weeks. {Pin this tutorial}
  4. Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Rice – I made this recipe on Tuesday and was so happy to be eating it again.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Instant Pot Beef Tips – so so comforting!  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Organic hot dogs, fries, and salad from the garden.

Tuesday:: Jack requested Quiznos (sub sandwiches), popcorn, and a bonus movie night because he can’t eat after midnight on Wednesday morning ahead of his procedure.

Wednesday:: Instant Pot Potato Soup (I can make it before we leave for the dentist and it’s nice and soft for sore mouths) and salad from the garden.

Thursday:: Air Fryer Tofu, Instant Pot Garlic Rice, and salad from the garden.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: Dinner with my sister.


What are you having this week?

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23 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Oof! I relate to this post on several levels. I am in need of replacement parts for my 20+ yo pressure canner, but certain parts are out of stock. I’m nursing along the sealing ring, soaking it in hot water and stretching it. I’ll keep checking over the winter to be ready for next year’s harvest. C’mon supply chain, sort yourself out already!

    My 15 yo daughter had oral surgery a week ago to remove all 4 wisdom teeth. She, too, was conked out. Yay, general anesthesia! She’s healing nicely but is sore and bruised. I’ll be sending Jack healing thoughts and hope he has a speedy recovery.

    • I follow Ball Canning on Instagram and they seem to be telling people that the supply chain will be back to normal in a few weeks. Fingers crossed!

      Wisdom teeth are no joke! Thankfully, these are baby teeth so the healing process is supposed to be a lot easier.

  2. Another board game recommendation (how did I miss the first round?!?) that our 4 yo loves: My First Castle Panic. It is cooperative, there are goblins, and we can add play figurines to add a dash of extra fun!

  3. I also saw the writing on the wall back in February. After moving to a new state a few years ago we never got around to replacing our old chest freezer that died in the move. Well luckily we snagged a stand freezer on a pretty great deal in stock at Lowe’s. We slowly stocked up through most of March and we have tons of veggies, fruits, bread, meat, and other essentials. It cuts way down on how often we have to leave the house. And since we have a 9 month old I am all for staying away from stores as much as possible. I have referenced your blog often on how to freeze veggies. I recommend the blog to all my friends who always ask how I managed to freeze different things. 🙂

    • A basement/garage freezer is the best insurance policy. I’ve pretty much always had one (even when in apartments) and I’m not sure how people eat/cook/prep without it!

      I’m so happy to hear my “how to freeze all the things” posts have helped you out. 🙂

  4. Take it from a mama who had twins who needed 8 teeth EACH pulled before they got their braces—these were the kids who gained weight when they had mono. Absolutely nothing stopped those two from eating….except having teeth pulled. I was unprepared for how much pain they had, and the pain meds given to them from the oral surgeon made them sick to their stomachs. We needed a lot of applesauce and pudding and they ended up needing Zofran to help with the nausea. Just want you to be prepared so you’re not scrambling that day to get meds/foods for Jack! Ice packs on their jaws helped also. Good luck to you guys!!

    • Gained weight from mono?!

      He’s had 6 teeth pulled already (2 at a time over 3 appointments) and was ok. But the anesthesia might make this time challenging. Good to know about the Zofran. We have a whole bottle of it because of his previous intestinal issues. He is the kid who always throws up Zofran, but we still keep it around just in case.

  5. Just unsubscribed. I had subscribed under two email account. Oops!!!! Can’t wait for kitchen remodel photos!

  6. I caught myself, a week or two ago, being *that* person.  I was just daydreaming while in a line and realized that I was way too close to the person in front of me!  I had a cart, and I was not right up her butt, but still…  Luckily for me, I was the one who noticed AND the line moved a bit so she moved forward without ever noticing me,  and I paid attention and stayed my respectful distance after that.  It is really easy to forget.  I tend to shop at off-times, so there aren’t a ton of people around and it doesn’t happen often.  Costco is the worst.  I have noticed that pretty much everyone is wearing a mask.  Most of those people are even wearing them properly.  But in our Costco, they seem to think that masks mean they can get close.

    My fingers are crossed that Jack’s procedure goes super smoothly and his recovery is quick and uneventful.  I like that you are indulging him the night before.  🙂 

    I have an amazon question for you.  I noticed that when I clicked on the game links, it took me to the Canadian amazon site. (hooray!)    So…. how does this work?  If I enter the amazon site through …. let’s say the ‘Connect 4’ link in this post, and from there, I roam amazon and purchase ANYTHING, you get a kickback?  Or do I have to purchase Connect 4?   I do not buy from them often, but I would absolutely enter the site via one of your links, if it works that way.  Even if you only get five cents from my purchase, it is still a nickel more than you had before.  And those nickels add up.  As long as you can’t see the embarrassing crap I might be buying. 😉 

    • Were you at a normal store or Costco? Cause I feel like the Costco carts are probably 5 feet long. At least in the US.

      I do not know the answer to your Amazon question. At one point I was part of a program called “Amazon One-Link” which allowed me to earn affiliate income from 9 different countries. But the process was a giant PITA and they only sent me program updates in the native language of that country (ever read terms and agreements in German?), so I just stopped using it.

      And I get a report of what people buy, but I have no idea who ordered it. And honestly, I don’t have the time anymore to look at the reports.

      • I was at a regular grocery store when I got too close.  Costco carts are huge here too.  And because I am going less often now, I seem to fill them up each time! (Mind you, there is usually a giant box of diapers in there, which takes up about a third of the space!)
        I’ll follow one of your links next time I shop on amazon.  And, if it is a gift for my Dad, I may ask you to peek at a report and see if the obscure book he will inevitably ask for is on the list. (Hopefully the obscure-ness will make it easy to see/locate?) Then we will know if us Canadians are any good to you! ???? 
        I hope Jack’ procedure goes well (went well.  Is going well.    whatever is accurate).

  7. If you pay by subscriber, you might want to look into different newsletter options. Like next to the newsletter for a new post, you could add a weekly one. That would be fine for me, I catch up once or twice a week.

  8. Hugs to Jack! Getting all those teeth pulled sucks! Emma had four pulled at once and it wasn’t pleasant, but it was better than going 4 separate times. She’s had her braces off for a year now and does a great job wearing her retainer every night.

    I love B’s style!

    Super excited for your kitchen project getting going! Can’t wait for you to have the kitchen of your dreams ????

    • Tell her to keep that up because my sister stopped wearing her retainer as a teen and by her early 20’s her teeth were trying to go back to “normal”.

      • Jared did the same as your sister and he Jared is the reason Emma has such a tiny mouth. I’m pretty sure he should have had more teeth pulled as a kid. He’s been talking about trying out Invisiline (or however its suppose to be spelled).

  9. I have two kids who didn’t lose teeth and each had to have 4-5 pulled at once. It was miserable. I hope Jack bounces back quickly!

    We did pudding (youngest was sick of that faster than I expected), applesauce, very mushy refried beans, creamy mashed potatoes, and lots of ice cream and yogurt. It took about a week before either of them were able to eat anything even resembling a texture. 

    Good luck to Jack! And I hope you get video of him all hopped up and goofy on his meds, because I didn’t get video of mine and I deeply regret it.

    • What is it with these teeth retaining kids??

      Jack is dairy-intolerant which limits our options. I’m looking at my canning stash of peaches and pears and am thinking they may not last as long into the winter as I assumed. Yikes!

      The boys love America’s Funniest Home Videos and their favorites are dogs and wisdom teeth surgery. So you bet your butt I’ll be recording him!

  10. Your blog is one of the ones I read all the time! I’m going to stay subscribed 😉