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Scattered Sundays

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On Monday morning I woke up with the expectation that I was going to take photos for the blog. Instead, I checked the IKEA website for the inventory that is still missing from our kitchen order. And lo and behold, a bunch of stuff was in stock!

Troy was headed to his parent’s for the day to start putting together our cabinets, so I rallied the boys and prepared myself to survive IKEA with those two buttholes.

Turns out: if you don’t let your kids go anywhere for nine months, IKEA is like Disneyland. They had the BEST time and were so well-behaved!

They were running around and squealing at all the model kitchens (I still do that), and I think their heads exploded in the kid room section. Jack kept saying “this should be what my room looks like” until I pointed out that it was meant for three kids and thus he would have to share his room with two small children.

I loaded up our order while they ate IKEA pizza and chips in the backseat of Troy’s truck.

a text conversation between a husband and wife

We then headed to my inlaw’s to drop the stuff off and found that Troy, my father-in-law, and brother-in-law had put together six cabinets already! We are still missing the bases for five cabinets, so everything is at a standstill until those items come in.

I also snagged an incredible appliance deal on Thursday! I ordered our dishwasher and oven through Costco but they have been out of stock on induction cooktops for over a month. My business bestie, Katie has convinced me to go with induction, and Costco’s supply chain was just not working with my timeline. #firstworldproblems

Instead, I headed to a local appliance chain to see what kind of deals I could find. They had a clearance section and I asked the lady working there if there were any induction cooktops. She said no, and I headed down to look at the regular ones.

Within 40 seconds, I heard her yelling and running down the stairs telling me she did find one. Turns out it was a pro-grade GE Monogram 36-inch induction that had been a floor model. This cooktop’s full-price was almost as expensive as ALL of our cabinets.

a text conversation

Get you a friend who is this excited for you.

I got it for more than 50% off with a 5-year warranty and a free griddle! It is currently tucked into bed in my sister-in-law’s childhood room at my inlaw’s house.

I cannot wait to cook with it. And in honor of the saleswoman who saved me a boatload of cash and gave me one hell of a deal, the cooktop shall henceforth be known as “Bonnie”.

a cooktop in a box

Jack was a rockstar on Wednesday at the dentist! We saw the orthodontist on Tuesday and he gave the all-clear to pull all seven remaining baby teeth. It was supposed to be eight, but he randomly lost one on his own before the appointment.

We were mentally prepared for seven, but a few hours before the surgery, our dentist called. She said that if we removed all of them, the anesthesia process would be more involved and everything would take longer. And the molars still had strong roots and everything would be more tender.

We decided to just do the three teeth up front and let the molars (hopefully) work their way out eventually. We’ll see. This kid and his dang teeth. By the time we’re all done with this, his ortho will be driving a Porsche with a license plate that says “Jack’$”.

The good news is, five minutes after his first adult tooth grew in, we knew he was going to need braces. And thus, I started saving money when he was in kindergarten. I’ve been squirreling away $20 per paycheck for six years now. Slow and steady buys the brace(s).

The actual procedure was SO simple and fast. They took him back without me, but thankfully, our favorite rockstar hygienist was there to keep him calm. I sat down, powered up my Kindle, had read three pages, and then the dentist came out.

I figured she needed me to come back and tell him to sack up, but she handed me a little container with three of his teeth in it. It was THAT fast. 

I went back while he was coming out of it. I had planned to take a video of him (even though he begged me ahead of time not to), but he was probably 80% normal and just seemed sleepy. He did tell me he was in a pixilated vortex, and when he started spouting nerd stuff, I knew he was fine.

From the time we checked in until we were in the Dairy Queen drive-through, a whopping 28 minutes had passed. He took it easy that afternoon and had a little pudding, and ate the dairy-free potato soup I made for dinner.

His mouth was tender for a few days but he was mostly back to normal on Thursday morning. Given his anxiety levels, paying to have him knocked out was the best money I have ever spent in my life. 

He is questioning a lot these days and decided to test the Tooth Fairy by hiding his teeth in his room. I’m happy to report that she was able to locate them and left him a nice prize for all he had been through.

a boy in a BB8 costume with a stuffed shark

No, you’re not on Molly. This is a rave with a shark DJ and BB8.

We recently made the incredibly tough decision to send Bennett back to preschool in November. We must have gone back and forth 30 times before I even emailed the school to see if there was availability. And then when we found out there was, we still had the hardest time making the final call.

Bennett has been incredibly lonely lately and has gone from playing fine by himself to needing constant attention. And when he does things on his own, all his games are played solo with his stuffed cat. He even made her a raised bed garden this week (painted it, hammered it together, etc.). He needs human friends.

a boy shoveling on a lawn

We’re all on edge, everyone is grumpy, and the kids are miserable. There is so much fighting. And even though we currently think this is the right decision, we’ll never truly feel comfortable no matter what we do.

He has the potential to be there full-time, but we are sticking with the three days a week he had been doing in “the before times”. That gives him a great experience with friends and allows us to get work done on the kitchen (and the blog) while still spending time with him.

Our school district may start phasing kids back in some time in November. It will start with kindergarten and first graders, and assuming things go ok, they’ll add two grades in every two weeks. There is the possibility that Jack may be back in school for two weeks before winter break.

With the middle school model that a lot of districts are adopting, it would be two in-person days a week, and three online. And they would bring only the sixth graders back before winter break. The seventh and eighth graders would start back in January. Can we all just agree that having an entire school to yourself for two weeks is absolutely the way middle school should ALWAYS start?

a family of 4 in a car

Last Sunday our church had its first “parking lot” service. You could sit outside your car in a mask (no one did because it was sprinkling rain) or stay inside your car and listen to the service on the radio, AKA “Smooth Lutheran”.

Online church has been fine, but I miss my church family so much. I miss hugs, I miss seeing people in-person, and I miss that feeling of community. The parking lot service was further proof of how badly we miss “the before times”. Bennett was hanging out his window waving and smiling to everyone, and seeing everyone just filled my heart with something I needed very much.

I will say that all three boys were confused as to why they had to wear pants to church after nine months of watching from the couch. 🙂

They are hosting a socially distanced Trunk-or-Treat this year with sanitized “candy chutes”. I think that will solve our issue as to whether we do a whole neighborhood trick-or-treat canvas. I think attending the church’s event will give the boys something to enjoy.

2 bottles of homemade vanilla extract

It is time once again for my seasonal nagging reminder to encourage you to start your homemade vanilla extract NOW if you want to give it as holiday gifts. I have one bottle that is 12 months old, and I started another batch on Thursday.

This post walks you through how to do it (you can even jumpstart the process in the Instant Pot) and you’ll also find free cute printable labels to print at home for gifts. These are the vanilla beans I am currently using.

a boy in a dino costume

In the Garden This Week

The tomatoes are officially done. That’s fine with me at this point. I picked all I could before our last rainstorm and then froze them for later. Maybe I’ll can some tomato soup whenever the kitchen is finally done. Inaugural canning project? Sounds like something that cool kids do. Right?

We are picking salad from one of our raised beds every few days. Fresh salad is incredible and other than the $5 investment for the seedlings, it’s free salad! We’re starting to give some away to neighbors and that is almost as fun as eating it myself.

Coming up this week: FINALLY finishing laying landscaping cloth and bark in my dad’s planting area. And I need to clean out another raised bed (coughslackercough) and plant my garlic.

I never ended up canning applesauce from all those free apples this past week. My schedule/plans got totally thrown off with the impromptu IKEA trip. Thankfully, the apples look like they’re holding up just fine so I’ll be able to process those mofo’s this week.

The peaches and pears I canned are dwindling faster than I expected. They were easy for Jack to eat after his procedure, so I just unclenched my prepper butt and let him eat as much as he wanted. Who wants delicious home-canned fruit in February? Well…I did. But oh well.


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What I’m Listening To This Week

I finished the eight-episode series Bunga Bunga this week. From Wondery, “Silvio Berlusconi was the charismatic multi-millionaire real-estate mogul who set out to up-end the Italian political order. With his wealth, charisma and connections he became one of the most powerful men in the world until two words helped bring him down: “Bunga Bunga.” This is the incredible true story of the rise and fall of Silvio Berlusconi” (source)

This was fascinating and entertaining and not remotely appropriate for little ears. 🙂

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Long-time reader Sydnie left this five-star review on our Paleo Chicken Pot Pie Soup {Pin this recipe}:

I just made this and ate two bowls! And I live by myself, so I have leftovers to last me through the weekend! Looking through the comments, I’m going to try throwing in some turmeric next time – that sounds awesome too. This went together really quick – the only bad part (for me) was dicing raw chicken (because raw chicken grosses me out). This is so good, and so easy. Thank you for helping me cook!!

a bowl of paleo chicken pot pie soup with carrots and potatoes in the background

I did leave her a tip to cut the chicken in a bowl with kitchen shears. I too HATE cutting raw chicken and kitchen shears make it tolerable, and they are dishwasher-safe.

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Zero Waste Food Storage –  These Zero Waste Food Storage ideas are items that can help reduce your family’s plastic use and trash output. Learn about awesome products that can keep your food fresh without breaking the bank. Check out our favorite glass, stainless steel, cloth, and BPA-free kid-safe products. {Pin this list}

Healthy Apple Pie PancakesA delicious family favorite, these healthy Apple Pie Pancakes are super fluffy and kid-approved. Warm apples, cinnamon, and whole wheat make these pancakes irresistible. {Pin this recipe}

A stack of healthy apple pie pancakes with a slice cut out

Creamy White Bean SoupA big bowl of Creamy White Bean Soup is a simple, delicious, and affordable “whole meal” kind of dish. This vegetarian bean soup has an amazing and flavorful creamy broth paired with tons of veggies. You’ll find both Instant Pot and slow cooker instructions in the post. {Pin this recipe}

a spoon in a bowl of vegetarian soup

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 – taking a canning break from these 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 – Hey, hey you. This recipe freezes well. You’re welcome.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Crispy Air Fryer Potatoes – this post has been out of the top five for months! Welcome back you crispy beautiful side dish.  {Pin this recipe}.

What We Bought This Week

Our Butcher Box order came on Thursday. We have selected an every other month option, and I added a bunch of “add-ons” to this order. Something in my gut just said “let’s stock the freezer a bit more this time”. I even got a free-range turkey.

Butcher Box’s current offer is free lobster and filet mignon in your first box. If you sign up, make sure you’re also a Rakuten member (formerly ebates) because they’re currently offering 4% cashback for ButcherBox.

a box of meat from Butcher Box

Meal Plan

Monday:: Fried Gnocchi and Veggies. I have SO MANY odds and ends of frozen veggies to use up. It’s an occupational “hazard” of testing and photographing frozen veggies so I can teach you how to freeze ALL THE THINGS.

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Wednesday:: A new recipe I am testing out for the blog + Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes + salad from the garden.

Thursday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: A new recipe I am testing out for the blog + salad from the garden.

Sunday:: Dinner with my sis and family.


What are you having this week?


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8 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Ooh, I need to go back and look at your reply to my chicken comment! Anything to make raw chicken less gross. The leftovers of that soup lasted me a few days, and they were SO good.

  2. Ants. We are having ants this week. Sigh. Just bought a bunch of food storage containers that hopefully will seal well enough to keep the ants out.

    For actual food- nachos, grilled chicken with veggies and potatoes grilled in foil packets, salmon and rice, and the standard GF mac and cheeze Monday (kiddo picks a protein and veggie to go with, then is in charge of cooking it all) and freezer meal friday.

    So excited about your kitchen and new oven!!! I was pretty excited when I found some cookie sheets today that will fit in the toaster oven AND they were made in America!

    • Oh nooooooooo to the ants! I hope you can get a handle on them.

      Dinners sound good and I love that you have a standing meal each week. I am all for anything that takes the guesswork out of meal planning.

      Were they Nordicware? I have a ton of those and they’re made in the US.

  3. I finally found some gnocchi after looking in most of the grocery stores near me. That seemed to be a challenge for some reason! Anyway, I made the Instapot Chicken gnocchi soup and we ALL loved it. Other than cutting up the veges and chicken it is so easy to make and absolutely delicious! We will make this for guests someday when we can actually have visitors.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    • A friend of mine in Canada said gnocchi was hard to find in their grocery stores too! What is it about gnocchi right now?

      So glad you enjoyed the soup!

  4. I am so glad to hear that Jack’s procedure went well!