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Scattered Sundays

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Welp, our Thanksgiving has officially been canceled. We had plans. They were good plans. Oh, the plans we made. There would be masks, social distancing, Bennett out of preschool for a week leading up to the big day. Plans, plans, plans.

As you know, tell God your plans and watch him laugh.

Troy’s grandma lives in assisted living and they were told they could go home for Thanksgiving. We were so excited to be able to spend the holiday with her at my in-law’s with my sister and brother-in-law. 

Then Sunday or Monday(?), our governor asked residents to please not have Thanksgiving with those outside of your household. We all debated (“but, rates are still pretty low here”…”we’ll be safe”) but ultimately decided to just scrap the day and try again in spring. 

And it sucks. I’m not going to lie. It sucks big hairy donkey butt. But, my in-law’s missed Thanksgiving and Christmas last year after my mother-in-law came down with what turned out to be pneumonia that lasted for MONTHS. Her adorably asthmatic self landed in the ER on Christmas morning because she couldn’t breathe.

It sucks to miss Thanksgiving again, but I want to have more holidays in the future and don’t want to get anyone sick. Not my MIL with asthma or Troy’s 94-year-old (!!) grandma. It sucks, but it’s just not worth the potential for harm.

And of course, I could go on and on about how if we had prioritized the most-vulnerable in our society (kids, elderly, small business owners/employees, and essential workers without benefits), we could all probably be together this year. And I could throw out the “if people took things seriously and thought about others, we could all probably be together this year”.

And I could even talk about how this whole situation was entirely predictable and preventable and that our priorities are absolutely upside down. Oh wait, I guess I just did. 🙂

a hand holding 4 eggs

I never get tired of finding these in the coop!

Troy as a first responder is an essential worker, and he has been working even when everything shut down. My ability to work from home and keep the kids home for most of it (Bennett started back at preschool three weeks ago) is a privilege.

The fact that we don’t have to worry about losing income or making painful daily choices that could impact our family is the definition of privilege. Being bummed that we can’t have Thanksgiving is a freaking privilege. 

We don’t live our lives in fear, and that is a privilege. I still (takeout) local donuts and coffee every Sunday to support small businesses while we watch church from our couch. We get takeout twice a week to support small businesses. All privileges! So, this year is on pause, and that sucks donkey butt. But, it’s ok and we’re ok.

When we told the boys everything was canceled, they were super bummed. They haven’t seen their grandparents a lot since March, and I know that lack of outside interaction is messing with both of them emotionally. Everyone is feeling ALL the feels a lot these days in the Cook house.

I offered to make a full Thanksgiving for just us, but…I asked if they would rather just do an epic movie night with all appetizers and desserts. I’m so thankful that they enthusiastically jumped on that idea. It will be less work for me, and making a huge feast in a borrowed kitchen did not sound like my idea of a good time.

We have a turkey from Butcher Box in our freezer and it will just stay there until we’re all able to gather together and truly enjoy the day. And god willing, the kitchen will be done by then. 🙂

a work site in an empty room

Not much has changed since last week. That old flooring is still awesomely bad.

The end of last week we finished up with plumbing and electrical and then waited for our electrical inspection. They came out on Tuesday and…we didn’t pass. Argh!

As he was standing there and telling me what else he wanted done, my brain was working overtime trying to figure out if I was supposed to bribe him or something. Like “wait, is this how this works? Am I supposed to do something here”? Then I realized I wouldn’t do that and this was not an episode of the Sopranos.

It was a long 24 hours, but we got everything they want fixed. They came back on Thursday and had MORE CHANGES. But praise the Lord, he approved us to start doing the drywall and insulating. That is great because we’re COLD AF with a bare shell of a room.

Troy and I are insulating the walls and ceiling on Monday. Something neither of us has ever done, so I’m grateful that my father-in-law will be on hand to advise. We now wear masks 100% of the time when we work together and keep the windows and doors in the room open for more ventilation. Even though it makes it cold AF in there, fresh air is better than nothing.

And then, Saturday…we tackle drywall. It will definitely be a new experience for us, but doing it ourselves is great for the budget. And I’m thrilled that the space isn’t too large because I hear it is pretty awful work. Yay.

a room with plastic sheeting

Do you like what we’ve done with the place?

On Tuesday night I saw that IKEA had the final cabinet we needed in stock. But they had just one. One. I tried ordering it for curbside pick up but it wouldn’t let me. I started calling IKEA at 9:55 am the next morning and at 10 am they picked up and reserved that cabinet for me!

When I got there and paid for it, I told them it was the last thing I needed after 2.5 months and 10 trips. I then asked the guy (shout out to xxx at IKEA Renton who has been so helpful) where the confetti cannon was. And I let it be known I expected the staff to do a choreographed dance. They did not deliver.

There were organizers, drawer liners, and other things I had been considering during my previous visits. My plan had been to make a detailed and organized list (you’re shocked, right?!) of what we needed once the kitchen was finished and I could actually see where everything was going.

Instead, I realized that I didn’t want to put one more toe into IKEA for at least six months and who knew what would be happening with the ‘rona and shopping restrictions whenever we actually finished the kitchen.

I ran through the kitchen section with a cart like I was on a type-A version of Supermarket Sweep. Did I buy drawer liners and bins that we probably don’t need? Likely. Can I return anything we don’t use within 365 days? Definitely. IKEA, thanks for the stuff, but we’re officially on a break.

kitchen items in a shopping cart

A few years ago, Troy built a really cool firewood storage on our front porch (you can see it here). It looks like it was always there, and allows us to nicely organize the wood without it looking trashy.

It was almost empty this week, so I let the kids watch a show on TV, and I spent some time refilling it. We have a really small property and have some firewood in a free shed we got five years ago, and the rest in a woodshed that Troy and my father-in-law built from pallets (you can see it here). So it’s all scattered and requires many trips with a wheelbarrow to fill up our porch storage.

Troy said he watched me on the cameras while he was at work and said it was pretty hot knowing I was doing chores that he wouldn’t have to do later. Keeping the magic alive, right? HA!

a stack of firewood on a porch

If you enjoy physical activity AND are Type A, might I suggest stacking firewood as a hobby.

The wood stove is a godsend right now in beating back the chill from a part of the house not being insulated. We all look forward to our nightly fire and it makes our home cozy personified. It’s been one hell of a year, but a warm fire and a snuggle on the couch, while we watch the Mandalorian, is an excellent reminder that there is still much to be thankful for.


We got our monthly order from Thrive Market this week, and as always, my kids were thrilled with the boxes for building forts.

Thrive delivers amazing food and home items (and yes, they have toilet paper…) right to your doorstep at fantastic prices. You can sign up here to try Thrive out for yourself. And build a fort!

What I’m Listening To This Week

I love podcasts (spoiler alert), but when I’m in the mood for music, I turn to my “cooking and cleaning jams” playlist on Spotify. You can listen to my playlist here for free even if you don’t have an account.

What I’m Reading This Week

I’m still slogging through Can’t Even. It’s a GREAT read and there has been so much (nerd alert!) fascinating historical observations about the GI bill, community makeup, and societal changes. But it’s still a non-fiction book and I’ve also been passing out early this week, thus my reading time has been reduced.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Sherry left this five-star review on our Easy Instant Pot Chicken Chili {Pin this recipe}. Oh, and as a reminder, there are non-pressure cooker instructions in the post too!

Made this tonite – mashed an entire can of beans (so, more than a C), used goat cheese instead of cream cheese (cause I had it), and forgot to put in the 3rd C of chicken broth and it was perfect. Very easy, very tasty!

A white bowl of Instant Pot Chicken Chili with lime and cilantro on a white board

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Easy Healthy Sugar CookiesThese are the best homemade soft Healthy Sugar Cookies ever! This simple recipe has a life-changing hack to make the sugar cookie dough so easy to roll out. {Pin this recipe}

healthy sugar cookies on a cooling rack

Instant Pot Asparagus Save time and money by making Instant Pot Asparagus for a quick and healthy side dish. It’s so easy to whip up this perfect pressure cooker asparagus in a flash. No pressure cooker? You’ll also find non-Instant Pot cooking methods. {Pin this recipe}

a plate of asparagus with a fork and a lemon wedge

Whole30 Bacon BrandsThe most in-depth list of Whole30 Bacon Brands on the web! Read about ingredients, tasting notes, and where to buy compliant bacon. Sugar-free bacon doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless and there are many delicious Whole30 approved brands you’ll love. {Pin this list}

A heart made out of bacon on a white board

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

The Mojito Mocktail is back on top, so let’s take a look at the rest of the top posts. It seems like air fryer recipes were on fire this week. This is the air fryer we have. Tell Santa you need one.

  1. Air Fryer Potatoes – crispy and packed with so much flavor.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – so easy to make.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Fried Pickles – I want a batch of these ASAP.  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Canning Apple Butter – yep, there is still time to make some this season!  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Garlic Parmesan Rice – it goes with everything!  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: A new recipe I am working on for the blog.

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Wednesday:: Instant Pot Lentil Soup (to use some of the veggies I prepped and froze in October), homemade garlic bread, and salad from the garden.

Thursday:: Appetizer and dessert Thanksgiving

Friday:: Dairy-Free Quiche and salad from the garden.

Saturday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night (moved by one day to avoid two nights in a row of blatant pigging out +I don’t want to cook after a day of drywalling <—-ifs that the appropriate verb for doing drywall?).

Sunday:: Takeout to support a local small business.


What are you having this week?


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13 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Re: IKEA, congrats on the cabinet and on the visit moratorium! Felt the relief just reading. Re: privilege, thank you for the reminder and the list. Helpful and humbling. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  2. My kids are iffy on turkey but we are having one anyway so my Louisiana-born husband can make a vat of gumbo with the leftovers. Our closest family is 8 hours away so we usually have thanksgiving alone anyway, but I have scaled down and simplified the menu this year. However, our school district gave us the entire week of thanksgiving off this year so I have to try to entertain 3 kids all week as a cold snap hits Alabama. Wish me luck.

  3. I’m sad for you, but proud of you for making tough choices.

    I picked up three books from the library this week: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Way to Cure Everything, by Lydia Kang, MD and Nate Pedersen, and for fiction, They Went Left by Monica Hesse.

    • I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a tough choice. It was a sad choice, but not tough.

      I’ve read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks years ago and it is fascinating!

  4. I’m sorry your Thanksgiving plans got cancelled.  You have a great attitude about it though and I love your alternate plans.  Mostly, I love that you let the kids make the choice about them.  That is great parenting!  What is the movie line up?
    Toronto is back in a 28-day lockdown starting tomorrow.  Only essential stores are to be open (grocery, pharmacies), and getting together, even within our ‘social circles’ is prohibited.  Our Thanksgiving was last month, so that is one less worry for us, I guess.
    This sucks.   I look back and laugh at the way we thought that extending spring break by two weeks would fix this.
    The kitchen reno is exciting!   I HATE drywalling.   You may already know this, but when it comes to the mudding, less is more. Two, or even three light coats is way, way, way better than one big one.  If you slather it on real heavy, you will have to sand A LOT.  My unsolicited advice for you.
    My fingers are crossed that the rest of the reno goes super smooth and is on time (hoping for early is unrealistic)
    I skimmed your playlist.  I don’t recognize well over half of those songs!

    • They are still fighting about the movies, of course. 🙂 They each get to choose one.

      I’m sorry to hear about your lockdown. I saw the PM’s press conference. I hope you all can pull out of this spike.

      Thanks for the drywalling tip! I know absolutely nothing about it, but my FIL has built a few houses and will be on hand to guide us. But I will keep you in mind when we get to that point because I’m a “go big or go home” kind of person and could see myself just slapping it on there.

      The playlist is very ecelectic. 🙂 I don’t know half of the bands either. Spotify has recommended some great songs to me from people I would never have been searching for.

      • *I* don’t even listen to the PMs press conferences!!!!!  
        The lockdown won’t last forever. It doesn’t even seem as strict as the first time.  My family will survive just fine.  This one will be easier than the last one because we have been expecting it and slowly stockpiling necessities in preparation.   Plus, personally, everything isn’t as terrifying now.  We know more this time around, so it isn’t as scary. 

        We just did a very small area and had to drywall the ceiling.  He was super careful with the mud (he learned through experience!!) and, although a couple spots took three skims of mud, there was VERY little mess because there was not a lot of sanding needed.  We hate drywalling almost as much as we hate painting.  We have lived in this house for almost 18 years and STILL have not painted the living room/dining room!  And that area we just did……  That was also previously untouched! LOL.  The living room/dining room  and the main bathroom are the only rooms left that have never been repainted, although, my parents were the previous owners and painted the bathroom in a colour of my choosing shortly before selling.   Both are on the to-do list. (with no specific time frame).
        Keep on having fun with your kitchen!!!  And I hope the boys pick good movies.  When the kids lived at home we did ‘movie nights’ and rotated who got to choose.  I saw some movies I never would have watched.  Some I enjoyed (like Mean Girls) and some I thought were a total waste of a night.  

  5. It encourages me to hear that you are scaling down Thanksgiving. We did the same, but here in Alberta, Canada, many did not. Ever since our Thanksgiving in October, our Covid 19 numbers have been on a sharp and frightening rise. We were doing so well. I was hopeful that we could have Christmas with family, but that is looking increasingly unlikely as the numbers here climb to over a thousand new cases each day. I am trying not to be bitter, but the lack of concern for others and the unwillingness to listen to the epidemiology experts is truly frustrating. I too am privileged. I have not lost my income. I can put food on our table (and stock in my pantry). I am trying to focus on that. Happy Thanksgiving, whatever form it is taking in this unusual year, and stay safe.

    • I wonder if your spikes are related to Thanksgiving or just seasonal? Because we haven’t had Thanksgiving yet and our spikes are probably higher than yours.

      “We were doing so well” is what I’ve been saying each day when I look at our climbing county rates. It’s discouraging.

  6. Our plans blew up too but I’m okay with it. We’re experiencing a huge surge in our area but I know our family members are careful. We regularly host an open house and everyone we talked to said yes. (They don’t usually) I told everyone how many people would be here and I would understand if they weren’t comfortable. My aunt and in-laws backed out then my nephew had been in contact with a confirmed positive. So now we’re back down to people we’ve alresdy been in constant contact with. It’s for the best and I’m cool with it. I told my husband I’m still making the food and we’ll have leftovers forever.

    • I’m glad you’ve made the decision that keeps you all safe, even though it sucks! I’m sorry for your spike.

      I think if the boys were big Thanksgiving eaters, I would find a way to make a full meal. But they are not and only care about the rolls and desserts. I am making a small batch of stuffing just for Troy and I, and I have cranberry sauce in the freezer that is only for me!

  7. We are still doing full Thanksgiving here. My husband is a food guy and nothing lights his fire more than the full turkey day feast. So our little family of 5 will be knees deep in turkey and your mashed potatoes and all the fixings for a week at least. As much as just doing apps and desserts would be so much less work for me (I am so jealous of you!) it is my favorite holiday too-something about family and abundance of food makes me all gushy inside. 

    • If the boys cared about the actual meal, I’d totally make one. But they don’t and the amount of leftovers would be staggering.

      Those mashed potatoes are my definition of comfort food! I should make a scaled-down version for us soon.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you all!