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Scattered Sundays

This was the week of hard, manual labor. I’m now at the point where my bruises have bruises. Each time I get in the shower I discover new shades of blue, purple, or green somewhere on my body. There goes my modeling career!

I’ll be honest that I assumed at least 15% of our kitchen remodel budget would need to go towards marriage counseling. In everything we do, I am the gas and Troy is the brake. Our ideas/speeds are vastly different. But knock on wood, it’s actually been a ton of fun working together.

a woman with insulation falling around her

We had a huge potential issue with the layout of the kitchen last weekend, and we both stayed calm and figured it out. And how did we figure it out? We called my father-in-law and made him come over and consult. He’s the best!

I am an instant gratification kind of person. I will yell at a microwave for being too slow. I write “make to-do list” at the top of my to-do list just so I can mark it off. This has been a slow process. I knew it would be, but I think everyone who knows me is shocked I haven’t lost my cool over issues (yet).

And the mess. Ohhhhhh, the mess! But I am immensely grateful and excited that after nine years of planning and budgeting, this is finally happening.

Monday we got the asbestos test results in the world’s most confusing email. The insulation in the ceiling was safe, but our linoleum was 20% asbestos. Delicious, delicious asbestos! As my brother-in-law said, they used to put asbestos into everything but baby formula.

The days are starting the blur together, but at some point this week Troy and I took the dropped ceiling down. Holy crap on a cracker, that was A MESS. Troy was not a fan of the process, but I thought it was great fun. Plus, we get to open a Build a Bear franchise when all is said and done.

a room full of insulation and dust

My father-in-law joined us once the ceiling was down. He examined the framing that was installed for the original builders to drop the ceiling, and he couldn’t believe the amount of extra time and money it took to put that thing in.

It was actually harder for the builders to drop that ceiling than to keep it the same height as the rest of the house. We also found old cigarette butts in the walls. Oh, the 70s. You made zero sense.

Troy bought N95 masks for the insulation project. I’m not sure if they were meant for children, but they felt so small. By the end of the day, my ears felt like they were going to fall off. It hurt so much! My heart and gratitude go out to the actual medical professionals who have to wear these daily.

I have seen people making stretchy headbands with a button by each ear. This allows people to loop their mask elastic over the buttons and give their ears a break. If you’re a mask maker, I’d also look into making and donating these “ear savers” to medical professionals.

2 men cutting into a board

Troy and my father-in-law are the precision experts who know what they are actually doing. I’m here for the grunt work and have been given jobs where I can’t mess things up too much. And I’m good with that!

I spent hours removing nails from the headers that were put up to support the beams to drop the ceiling. It was super physical overhead work, but I learned a lot. I mean, I can’t use my arms anymore, and I fell asleep sitting up while playing Sorry with Bennett later that day. But I learned a lot.

2 windows in the side of a house

I will say this – I’m pissed that women’s jeans don’t come with a hammer loop. I can’t tell you how many times I was juggling a hammer and a nail puller thingy (<—-technical term) and had to keep putting them down.

I ordered a pair of “lady” work pants from Duluth Trading over a month ago. They were too short so I exchanged them for something else, but due to the current pace of the mail, I assume they are coming via sloth delivery. A month!

We had an end of days style rainstorm this week and the whole house sounded like it was a nature sound machine. With no insulation or ceiling in the kitchen, the rain and wind sounded SO loud. It was peaceful to listen to, but I almost peed the bed 400 times.

a woman in a facemask

This hat was from a movie Troy worked on with Tara Reid back in 2002.

Bennett had his second week of preschool this week, and drop-offs were brutal. Again. His teacher has assured me that once we leave he is fine and has a great day. He’s done this at previous schools, but I am looking forward to it no longer being an issue.

Troy and I are aligned in that I’m the only one who can take him to school. In every parenting pair, there is the hard ass and the sucker. Troy is the sucker and would definitely bring Bennett home instead of making him stay at school.

I tried making preschool-appropriate memes of his stuffed animals for him to take with him to school, thinking that would make him smile. It was not a success and drop off was just as tough. My friend Anne jokingly told me it is because I didn’t work hard enough on the memes. Brat.

a picture of stuffed animals in a kid's lunchbag

My friend sends her kids to a school that has a “one kiss and one hug” rule, and I think that is what I need here. But Bennett goes to a Montessori school so that would never fly with the staff. Basically, I think I need to be able to dropkick him into the door and run. Parenting in 2020 is a blast.

We had the plumber here this week and with two hours of work left for him to do, my mother-in-law called me. My sister-in-law’s blind old dog had gone missing when someone who was working on their house left the back gate open while they were at work. The dog had been wandering for at least seven hours before anyone knew.

My sister and brother-in-law LOVE their dogs (I know everyone says that, but they really do) and just had to put one down a month ago. The family was in an “Avengers Assemble” mode and my mother-in-law asked if we could come help.

I told the plumber what was happening and he told me to lock up the house and he’d run out of the garage door when he left if we weren’t back yet. He has his own old blind dog that had recently gone missing, and he totally got it.

We got to my sister-in-law’s and it was such a sad scene. Jack, Bennett, and I headed out to search the woods and yards on their little road. Due to his small size, Bennett was in-charge of crouching down and looking under porches and patios.

I’ve mentioned before how Jack is my “rage quitting” kid. Things come easily to him and when they don’t, he gives up. After searching for the pup for 15 minutes, he said it was hopeless, the dog was probably dead, and we should just give up. He was also being a jerk to his little brother. 

I knew he was scared and sad and that it was manifesting as giving up. I told him I was scared and sad too, but that when you’re in an emergency your two choices are “keep it together or give up”. I told him I wasn’t one to give up, especially when his aunt’s beloved dog was involved.

We walked around and trespassed a ton. I drove the busy road in front of the house and talked to UPS and mail carriers. I pestered everyone I could find in their yard, and wandered through yards in empty homes, praying I wouldn’t surprise an anxious homeowner.

It got dark and my sister-in-law told us to go home. On the drive home, Jack was still in a mood. I told him that I was sad too and when there was an outcome to this situation, I fully planned to fall apart and cry. But since we were still in search mode, I wasn’t giving up hope and my only plan was to remain calm. And pray.

We got a happy phone call later that night that a neighbor about 1/4 mile down the road had actually found the pup that morning. He had been safe and warm inside all day. We cried happy tears during dinner with relief.

2 boys petting a dog on a couch

The boys wanted to go over right then to give him hugs and kisses, but we weren’t able to until yesterday. Bennett even made him a card to celebrate the good news. Please note, my brother-in-law is an actual veteran…but it is the dog who gets thanked for his service. Ha!

a veteran's day sign


Vesta Precision is having a wicked awesome sale thru Christmas Eve for 25% off sitewide. We own Vesta’s vacuum sealer (and love it) and they also sell sous vide machines and supplies.

You can see our Vesta vacuum sealer in action in this post on how to freeze potatoes.

What I’m Listening To This Week

After mainlining political news during election week, I needed a good old school true crime cleanse. I’ve been going back through the old episodes of Dateline podcasts and have been enjoying just zoning out and listening to the melodic tones of Keith Morrison.

You can keep your PSL and photos of boots in leaves. I’ll take my Dateline basicness.

What I’m Reading This Week

I finished up The Huntress and very much enjoyed it! It was a nice escape novel. Now that the perfect stress storm of kitchen demo and the election are over, I’m returning to some bummer non-fiction that has been recommended.

I started Can’t Even after hearing the author discuss it with the hosts on Pantsuit Politics. I’m not very far into it yet but I love the author’s writing style. (You can see a list of all the books I’ve read in 2020 here).

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Elaina left this lovely five-star review on our Whole30 Pot Roast post {Pin this recipe}:

Despite being a long time reader, this was my first time making this pot roast. Ohemgeeeeee this was beyond perfect. I had a 2.5 pound roast so I cooked it for 51 mins (my not so scientific time adjustment). The meat was tender and juicy. I took one of the chunks and shredded it for two people. I fried the veggies in an actual ton of butter after they cooked to make them super crispy.  I’m off to my food coma after I bookmark this recipe. 

a grey plate with shredded whole30 pot roast, cut carrots, potatoes, and a bowl of horseradish,

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls – Make perfect Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls in under an hour! These ooey gooey no-knead cinnamon rolls can be baked in an air fryer or a traditional oven. {Pin this recipe}

a knife with frosting and a tray of cinnamon rolls

The Best Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes – These Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes will help you have a delicious and low-stress turkey day. Recipes include easy appetizers, sides, desserts, and freezer dishes. {Pin this list}

9 photos showing Thanksgiving dishes

Frozen Roasted Brussel Sprouts – Save time and money by making Roasted Frozen Brussel Sprouts part of your weekly dinner rotation. It’s so easy to whip up this frozen brussels sprouts recipe for a fast and healthy side dish. You’ll be amazed at how affordable, simple, and delicious it is to roast frozen vegetables. {Pin this recipe}

a grey plate with roasted frozen brussel sprouts topped with minced parsley

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

The Mojito Mocktail is back on top (non-drinkers were getting LIT this week), so let’s take a look at the rest of the top posts.

  1. Air Fryer Potatoes – crispy and packed with so much flavor.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Canning Apple Butter – yep, there is still time to make some this season!  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Garlic Parmesan Rice – it goes with everything!  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – unlike the storebought ones, these will not destroy the roof of your mouth.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – so simple, so tasty, and freezer-friendly. {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: (this was supposed to happen for the last two weeks 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.

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Wednesday:: A new recipe I’m working on for the blog, plus Garlic Parmesan Rice and salad.

Thursday:: Using up one of the bags of chopped frozen veggies I prepped in October to make Instant Pot Chicken Gnocchi Soup. We’ll serve salad on the side…and maybe bread.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: TBD. If all else fails, we have organic hot dogs and tater tots in the freezer + salad on the side.


What are you having this week?


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20 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I’ve said it before and will bore you by saying it again: you’re a fantastic writer and a born storyteller. You make my laugh, feel like crying (I’m stoic like that… or just old), and learn things. Another great post for Internet Eternity. Keep up the outstanding work and the hope. You’re an inspiration to many of us ‘silent ones.’

  2. Also, you should work on your memes.  Like, just a little bit of effort here would go a long way.  ????????

  3. I cannot wait to visit your build a bear workshop!  At my work, we’re not allowed to wear ear savers – they pull the mask away the tiniest bit, which is why it’s more comfortable, but allows in potential respiratory droplets.  Alas.  I assume anyone working with potential Covid patients can’t wear them.  But good for the rest of us! 

  4. Can’t Even was so good! I am technically a Xennial but related to so much of it (to be fair I read a book about GenX midlife crises earlier this year and that was good as well). I’ve followed the author on FB for a couple of years and she always posts the most interesting articles.

    My oldest kid would have hysterics at BOTH school drop off and pickup. Like, kid, pick a lane. Both isn’t fair. It took a year (!!!) for him to get over it. Hopefully B will learn to cope with the transition soon. It sucks to leave an upset kid.

  5. Yay for kitchen progress! And I am so happy the pupper was safe and warm and returned home.

    I just finished “The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are,” by Libby Copeland and it was fascinating! Lots of geeky technical stuff, ethics to consider, crimes to solve, and mysteries to unravel. I loved it!

    Emma hated pre-school so much. She cried at drop off, did great at school, then would sit quietly in a corner once she was home so she could decompress. She’s 14 and still has a hard time being dropped off anywhere ???? Damn social anxiety and massive introverted personality.

    No clue what we are eating, but we found a local friend that will let us have our Butcher Box delivered to their house and it should be here this week. I am so EXCITED!!!!!

    • That book sounds great! I just put a hold on it at the library. If you liked it, you might like the podcast “The Murder Squad”. One of the hosts helped use familiar (sp?) DNA to catch the Golden State Killer. They talk a lot about DNA.

      Sweet Emma has always been such a little introvert. Thankfully horses don’t mind, right? 🙂

      That’s great news about the Butcher Box hook up!

  6. So excited to see the end result!! #jealous ???? Did you add windows I can’t remember…  your small batch cinnamon rolls inspired me! I made some but with bananas instead of cinnamon, and coffee glaze on top. An homage to my gran and grandmother. I’m going to have to work on it till I get it right. My dough didn’t look nice and “cinnamon rolly gooey chewy” like yours do. 
    So glad they found the doggo!  I can’t help but wonder, How do the chickens act in bad weather? Do they run around clucking like maniacs or do they hide in their chicken house? 

    • Yep! We added a window to match the one we previously had behind the sink. The new sink location is under the new window…hence the expensive plumber bill. Moving pipes is $$$$!

      I love the adaptation of the cinnamon rolls! Did you use mashed bananas? Did you use instant yeast or active? That might account for the difference in how it looked.

      Chickens just huddle together in their coop when the weather goes bonkers. We’re a pretty temperate climate, but there are a few weeks each year that we wrap their coop in a tarp (it’s really classy) at night and turn on the heat lamp. Their coop is open with mesh sides. It wouldn’t work in colder climates, but it’s fine here.

  7. Yay for amazing kitchen progress!  You are going to be SO happy when it is done.  We had ours re-done almost two years ago (not as big as your reno.  New floors, counter, backsplash and paint) and I am STILL so pleased when I walk into it.
    I am also so glad that there was a happy ending to the dog search.  There are still good people around, despite what the media tries to tell us.  
    I love your little notes for Bennett.  That is so sweet.  Hopefully drop-offs get better quickly.
    I am very excited about the cinnamon rolls.  I tried to scale down the overnight recipe, but some measurements are just too odd, scaled down as small as I did it.    I am currently losing weight (only a few pounds, but it is a start), but I feel like these buns will make a great treat and am looking forward to trying them next weekend.

    • Yes! Meeting those good people helps keep my faith in humanity.

      Don’t discount your efforts! “Only a few pounds” adds up over time! And doing it slowly usually means you’re doing it in a sustainable way.

      • I am not discounting my efforts!  I have only been trying, in earnest, for a short while.  You have to start with one, then two etc. 🙂   I just didn’t want to make it sound like I had already lost a lot.
        Because I try to keep from going out these days (Ontario’s numbers are climbing ant an alarming rate) I don’t get to see many good people in action.  I need to rely on stories like yours and things like Buzzfeed lists.  

        After re-reading how pleased I am with my kitchen…. I need to go tidy it.  I DID go out today for groceries and the last of the ‘I need to shop for it in-person, not order it’ Christmas gifts and it looks like several stores barfed in there!  Clothing, toys, ornaments, non-perishables, wipes, laundry basket full of reusable bags…..  EVERYWHERE.

  8. My husband and and I work similarly to you and Troy. We have very different styles but we make a very harmonious and effective work crew (with me chewing on the inside of my cheek and thinking “C’mon, let’s just get going!” Silently). I actually think working on projects together makes us a stronger couple; we problem solve together and celebrate together when it is done. We renovated our kitchen about 12 years ago and we have a picture of me, looking like a manual and brandishing a reciprocating saw. Good times!! Renovation always takes longer than you think it will but it will be wonderful in the end. I am looking forward to seeing pictures!

  9. So excited for your kitchen! Can’t imagine how slow the process feels. 
    Thanks for the smiles today. 

    • It’s made better by the fact that we can use my dad’s kitchen downstairs. If we were washing dishes in the bathtub and eating takeout every night, it would feel very painful!