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Scattered Sundays

Does anyone else feel like they’ve lived 18 different lives in the last seven days? From Halloween to the time change, and then of course election day, it has been a week filled with lots of living.

I’ll tell you this – my house is now very organized and has been extensively deep cleaned. Stress has always caused me to binge candy and rage clean. I could serve Thanksgiving dinner off of my bathroom shower right now. Shower turkey for everyone!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that many times mail-in votes take A LONG time to count. I think there is a solid chance that people now believe me. 🙂 I would like to send a shout out to the family of Steve Jobs to thank him for making a phone that will hold up to refreshing three different news sites 51,981 times a day.

a boy in a dinosauce costume and a kid in a Jason mask

Bennett successfully made it through his first week back at preschool. He’s there all day, three times a week. He had been super excited for weeks to head back, but the morning of, he was getting sad and a little weepy.

He couldn’t tell me why he was sad, but I think after nine months of having his emotional support human (Jack) around at all times, he was feeling nervous. Seeing his friends at drop off helped, and I got a “bye mom” when it was time to go in. I also may have bribed him with the promise of having a piece of Halloween candy on the drive home. Allegedly. 

Due to precautions, kids have to be dropped off and picked up outside (which I appreciate). He bounded out of the door that afternoon with a big smile to see Jack waiting for him.

Friday morning’s drop off was BRUTAL. He did so much crying and feeling all the feels. Change is hard for everyone, especially the littles. He did this for a few weeks at his last school and he LOVED his last school. I know it’s a phase but boy howdy it’s not fun.

It may be overkill, but when we get home from picking him up, our routine is: take his clothes off in the garage (he’s already washed hands before leaving the classroom and has used hand sanitizer in the car), washing hands, and then hopping into a bath.

I have been spraying down his car seat with Lysol which is so hard to find it stores it might as well be a spotted owl feather (<—1980’s deep cut for all the PNW readers).

Masks are mandatory for all adults at school, but it is optional for kids. Bennett prefers to wear his and he’s been doing great about keeping it on except when he eats. Well, that is self-reported by him. Ha!

The first day he was at school none of us knew what to do with ourselves. I got SO much work done, Jack did his online schooling and didn’t have anyone to fight with, and Troy accomplished some projects he had been wanting to do for months. It was bizarre and so pleasant.

Without little eyes following everything I am doing, I pounced on Bennett’s messy room like a puma. One of his many nicknames is “The Squirrel”. He has always been a collector and stasher of things.

He loves things so much that he once stole a quart of maple syrup from Costco when he was 13 months old. And yes, I went back into the store and paid for it when we found it UNDER the shopping cart cover. At the time this post is being published, my comb has been missing for three weeks.

He is also one of six boy cousins and is the recipient of over a decades worth of hand-me-downs. This child has STUFF…but almost nothing he owns is new.

On day two of school, I attacked his room with glee. I ended up packing five garbage bags of stuff to donate to Goodwill and one bag of trash. I removed this giant book basket he had in his room that was stored next to his bed. It was so heavy that he could never access the storage drawers under his bed and thus things just piled up around it.

He has a big bookshelf in his room, so all the books from the bin went onto the shelf. The basket got moved to my dad’s room (where we initially stole it from in the first place…) and the whole room suddenly felt so much bigger. And now he can access his storage and his little art table that belonged to me and my sister when WE were kids.

My plan going forward is to remove one or two bags worth of items per week. I need things to disappear slowly so that there is not a squirrel uprising. Jack has been threatened with instant and painful death if he mentions the toy purge to Bennett.

a messy kid's bedroom

Demo on Sunday went fantastic…until it didn’t. Ha. My father-in-law and brother-in-law were greeted with coffee and donuts and a very excited foreman (ME).

The day started with the water being almost impossible to turn off. At one point, Troy pulled a pipe under the sink that was attached to the sewer vent (did you know sinks have sewer vents?), and our house filled with a smell that can only be described as decaying yeti.

After trying for over an hour to get the water turned off under the sink, Troy and my brother-in-law finally just turned it off at the street. That meant I was in a house FULL of boys and was the only one who saw a problem with no water, no toilet flushing.

Once things got moving, it went pretty smoothly. Despite my best efforts to rehome everything we could, we did end up renting a dumpster. Our old range went to a family in need who only had a broken oven at home.

The majority of our cabinets went to my uncle who is rebuilding a workshop in his own garage. The fluorescent light tubes got recycled at the hardware store, and the frame from those lights are going to be repurposed into a frame for a floating garden cover.

And yet, we still did have to scrap a lot of stuff. I’ll be 100% honest in saying that throwing things off our deck and watching it smash into a dumpster was SO.MUCH.FUN. Demo was a freaking blast.

2 photos of a room

Left: before
Right: after

I got to smash a few cabinets with an ax and took down the drywall on the wall separating our living room and kitchen. Hitting a wall with a hammer and ripping drywall off with your bare hands should ABSOLUTELY be part of any CrossFit, workout, or therapy program. I’ve never smiled harder.

After I got the one half off, we all pushed the other side of the drywall off in two sheets. So fun! I even kicked it and gosh that was a blast. The REAL fun began after that and I used a sawzall to cut the studs in half and we then ripped them out of the floor and where they were attached to the dropped ceiling.

a woman in a blue shirt using power tools

In my deepest desires, I wish I could share the absolute joy with each and every one of you of seeing the space for the first time with that wall down. If I could bottle that feeling into a vitamin, this world would be a place filled with peace and understanding.

We were cruising along until I tore up the old flooring and laughed at the hideous linoleum that was underneath it. Since my parents bought the house in 1988, this floor has been carpet, parquet, and pergo. We had no idea that linoleum was under all of that.

an ax on brown flooring

You can even see what appears to be remnants of brown striped wallpaper. Barf!

And then I hear my father-in-law pick up his phone and say “hey google, when did they stop using asbestos in linoleum”. Oh, farts. We stopped with the floor and were focused on bringing down the dropped ceiling. And then…

Troy stuck a screwdriver up thru the ceiling and a few pieces of blow-in insulation fell down. The insulation was right on top of the ceiling with zero barrier! When the addition to the house for my parents got added on in 2015, more insulation was blown into the attic but it had been mixed in with old stuff too.

So, we stopped the demo at that point, got an asbestos test kit, and mailed off samples that afternoon. We paid for rushed processing and as of the writing of this post, the sample hasn’t even been tested. I think this was a challenging week to try to use the mail.

Now we’re in a “hurry up and wait” pattern (a pattern that many many people were in this week!). We can’t do anything until we know if any of the remaining demo tasks need to be handled by experts. Very much a first world problem.

a wall under construction

The future view from the kitchen

But, the plumber is still coming tomorrow to move the pipes and put in a new hot water heater (bye-bye college fund for the boys). Our water heater has been on the brink for a year and it just makes sense to do it all at once.

My dad kept saying “the water heater isn’t that old, I put it in when your sister was a teen”. Yes, Dad, my sister who is now in her early 40s…

We are incredibly blessed that my dad has a full kitchen in his apartment in the basement. We’re not without a kitchen during the process, which allows us to weather the inevitable bumps and delays. And because we can take our time and do it right, we can do most of the work ourselves, thus saving money.

If you want to follow along with any videos or photos I’ve been sharing, hop on over to Instagram and click on the black circle that says “Kitchen Reno” under my photo.

a red tree

In the Garden This Week

I think I’m going to have to shelve this topic until spring. I’m not sure how many times you want to read “I picked lettuce and still haven’t planted garlic”. 🙂


The change in weather has me wanting to stick close to home and snuggle up in front of our woodstove. Thanks to Thrive Market, I can stay warm, cozy, and safe by ordering our groceries online.

Thrive’s selection and prices are fantastic, and I love that our favorite pantry staples came right to my door (and with free shipping!). Avoid the stores and try Thrive Market for free! And if you have kids, I have it on good authority that their boxes are the best ever for forts.

If you are in the military, a teacher, or a member of a low-income household, Thrive Market offers free memberships with application.

What I’m Listening To This Week

Slight change of plans for just this week – I’m going to recommend two TV shows!

1) The Queens Gambit on Netflix is a visual and dramatic treat. It’s about chess (and no, I don’t care about chess), growing up, addiction, and so much more.

When I suggested it to Troy, he was skeptical, but halfway into the first episode, he was HOOKED.

2) If you need something happy, joyful, and that makes you smile, Ted Lasso on Apple TV is so good. It’s the best part of 2020. It’s pure heaven. You can get two weeks of Apple TV for free and can easily binge the whole first season at that time. And yes, I talked about this last week. But it’s so good that it’s worth repeating.

What I’m Reading This Week

I’m almost halfway into The Huntress and am enjoying the book. It’s not the addictive read I was looking for, but I’m glad to have had something to escape into this week.

My only complaint about downloading Kindle books is that most don’t show how many pages there and what page you’re on. My Type A brain wants that data.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Paula left this lovely five-star review on our Air Fryer Fried Green Tomatoes {Pin this recipe}:

This was our first experience eating green tomatoes, and we were instant fans. The combination of the crunchy coating with the tang and firm texture of the tomatoes produced a scrumptious dish that we’ll be making often, as we had a bumper crop of green tomatoes this fall! Thank you, Sarah, for another great post.

a hand dipping a fried tomato into a bowl of red sauce

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Free Printable Thanksgiving Checklist – A user-friendly printable Thanksgiving checklist for all type-A planners. No matter what the holiday looks like for you this year, this Thanksgiving checklist helps you get ready with manageable bite-sized tasks. I’ll also note that even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, this list is great for planning any holiday meal.{Pin this checklist}

A hand cracking an egg and cooking

Canning Cranberry Sauce – By Canning Cranberry Sauce, you can enjoy this delicious traditional holiday dish all year long. Learn how to can cranberry sauce for fuss-free holidays. You’ll also find freezing instructions if canning is not your jam. {Pin this recipe}

3 jars of homemade canned cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries on a white board

Instant Pot Beets – Make tender and nutritious Instant Pot Beets in under 20 minutes. This recipe will teach you how to cook delicious Whole30 and paleo beets in a pressure cooker. {Pin this recipe}

sliced pressure cooker beets on a plate with a fork and herbs

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Canning Apple Butter – yep, there is still time to make some this season!  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Potatoes – crispy and packed with so much flavor.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Garlic Parmesan Rice – it goes with everything!  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – so simple, so tasty, and freezer-friendly. {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – I think everyone was searching for fast and simple meals this week.  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Instant Pot Tortellini (so freaking easy, the boys love it, and we’ll be able to make it even with a plumber here all day) and salad.

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Wednesday:: (this was supposed to happen last week but didn’t) Instant Pot Korean BBQ (I use the instructions from Instant Pot Teriyaki Beef but with a jar of this Korean BBQ sauce) and Instant Pot Jasmine Rice (I have some in the freezer) with salad.

Thursday:: Whole30 Tomato Soup, salad, and garlic bread.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: TBD


What are you having this week?


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11 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I can’t believe you watched the Queen’s Gambit without first reading the book. I thought you were a nerd (lol)! I just finished it and it’s excellent. Hoping to watch the series over Thanksgiving. 

    • Ha, sorry to disappoint and lose my nerd cred. But I had no idea it was even a book!

      • I only found out that it was a book in reading about the show. The book was a great read-highly recommend even if you, like me, know nothing about chess. However I haven’t seen the show yet so can’t speak to how much the show ruins the book. 

      • Yep, I know nothing about chess. Even after watching the show. LOL.

        I’ll have to see if the library has the books.

  2. My parents normally live about 5 hours from me, but they’ve moved in with me for a month or so while they get a “surprise” kitchen redo… their dishwasher leaked and destroyed the floor and a couple of cabinets (and they decided to go ahead and recarpet the living room while they’re at it!). But – their last flooring project was some sort of vinyl just laid on top of the 1977 linoleum, so this week we all got to see one last picture of the gorgeous 70s floor that went into every single house in the neighborhood…. 🙂

    I’m a little bummed now that none of us got to sledgehammer anything… 🙂

    • I seriously question everyone who made decorating decisions in the 70s. It’s all so so hideous!

      Good luck to your parents (and you) and I wish everyone a smooth and fuss-free reno. We’re running into a lot of supply chain issues. I hope they are able to get what they need when they need it.

  3. Par for 2020, our hot water heater was replaced in May and both of our AC units went out in July (and those are a NECESSITY in Alabama), plus had a surprise roof repair in September. I told my husband we are never moving after what we’ve put into this dang house this year.

    So excited to see the kitchen progress pics, we did our countertops and backsplash 2 years ago but since we are the slowest renovators ever, we haven’t gotten around to painting the cabinets or changing the floor yet. Maybe next year.

    • Oh nooooooooo! Dumb question about roofs in the South. Are metal roofs popular down there? They’re gaining popularity up here but are much more expensive. They are built to last 50 years, and I’d have to think they’re stronger against hurricanes and all the terrifying storms y’all (<---see what I did there?) get. Painting cabinets seems so painfully tedious. I wouldn't have painted them yet either. My front door that I primed to paint in um...April is still just covered in primer.

  4. College funds can be rebuilt! Pat yourself on the back for getting the new water heater. When I was a teen our water heater quite literally burst into flames (thankfully it was located in a cabinet in the middle of the kitchen, so the crackle and black smoke were seen quickly). After that I added “water heater fire” to my list of reasons to not sleep in the nude.
    Good luck with the continued reno, I wish you no asbestos and smooth sailing!

    • 1) that is terrifying
      2) why was the water heater in the kitchen?! I’m so intrigued!

      • So, we had a mid-century house with circular layout, the bathroom shared a wall with the kitchen and they put the water-heater between them in a closet. Great idea for quick hot water to your sinks, little awkward layout wise.
        We did a kitchen reno in 1996, the kitchen had a remodel in the 1970’s. Tomato soup red counters, avocado green appliances, and golden pine cabinets and to top it all off, orange/red/gold/green indoor/outdoor carpet that was glued to the old linoleum with some industrial grade black tar goo – it was a looker. I wish I had pictures of it.