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Scattered Sundays

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Here’s what my children now know about how to tape and mud drywall: Dad goes into the kitchen, realizes within 3 minutes that he doesn’t have the right supplies, drives to the hardware store, comes back, realizes the new supplies also don’t work, boys accidentally learn a new swear word, dad leaves for the hardware store again. Mom cleans at night and says “all this dust is making my butthole pucker”. Repeat.

Poor Troy tackled the mudding and taping solo this week. He started on Monday and Bennett didn’t have school and Jack was in virtual school all day. We realized there would be no way we could both work on the mudding and keep Bennett out of there. 

So, Troy did it and then we realized how terrible of a job it was so he just kept doing it solo for the rest of the week. I’ve been involved in every step of the process so far, but I was thrilled to sit this one out.

a room under construction

My skill set is very much geared towards demo and not actual detailed work. “Measure once and cut 15 times, and then just cover the hole in the wall with a picture” is my motto.

We were super blessed to have an entire week of sunshine. Even if it was cold outside, the plastic sheeting and solar gain through the windows kept the room nice and toasty. This allowed the mud to dry quickly, meaning we didn’t have to wait multiple days in-between coats.

Troy finished up three coats of mud by Friday, and the sanding got serious yesterday. That was fun to clean up! Starting Tuesday, we’re going to texture some of the new walls and ceiling. We have to texture one wall in the dining room and that ceiling so that it matches now that the space has been combined.

On the plus side, most of the new walls will be covered in a tile backsplash, so we don’t really have to texture or paint those. That will save us some time and keep things moving along at a pace I am calling “moderate sloth”.

a boy with 2 star wars legos

So apparently he’s just like 17 now.

This coming week we will hopefully be done with the walls and ceiling, and I’ll finally paint the front door (remember how I primed it back in spring? I just never finished that project. OY!). And then onto installing the cabinets and finding someone crazy enough to put the free countertop we got on for us and hack it back together.

Next up: the floor. Our linoleum does have 20% asbestos in it, so removing it would involve removing and then replacing the subflooring. The bid we got on that was $3,700. Um, no thanks.

The space on the floor where our old cabinets were are just exposed subflooring and are not even with the rest of the floor. We’re covering that space with some janky $.65 stick on tiles to bring everything as flush as possible. In 50 years when the next owners tear up the kitchen, they’ll be yelling what we were yelling during demo (“what in the hell were these people thinking”).

We’re then covering it with something called “uncoupling membrane” which honestly sounds like what happens to a marriage after a remodel. (we’re fine. That’s a joke).

The uncoupling membrane is holy crap expensive, but still cheaper than removing the contaminated tiles and then replacing the subflooring. We ordered our flooring tiles back in October and surprise, it turns out that neither of us knew how to properly measure for tile.

We can’t return the extra, but Troy assures me that my next husband will be game for replacing the master bathroom and laundry room floors in about two years. So we’ve got that going for us.

a boy in a sloth costume picking lettuce

The price of sloth picked organic lettuce has skyrocketed in recent months.

Have you decorated for the holidays yet? Almost all of my friends have been decorating since October or early November. Everyone is getting on board. 

We are die-hard fresh tree people, so decorating early is not practical unless we want a house fire in mid-December. Which for the record, we don’t. Just in case you were curious.

We’re headed to the tree farm tomorrow to chop that ish down. It will hang out on the front porch (considering our fridge is currently on the deck, this will make our house look even classier to our neighbors) to “de-spider” until we can decorate it on Tuesday.

Our living room is already full with storing “things” from the remodel, so I can’t wait to see where we’re going to find a place to put that tree. You know what we need? That bunk bed couch from The Lego Movie. That would solve a lot of space problems.

grass and rocks by the water

I’ve been taking the boys for walks around the neighborhood after dinner a lot this week. It’s dark by 4:30 pm these days, which means we can see holiday lights pretty early in the evenings. And why drive when we can wear the kids out walk around in the crisp air?

Bennett is obsessed with anything water-related and LOVES fishing (he asked Santa for a crab license), aquatic animals, eating seafood, and studying whirlpools. He lost his cute little mind when we found this Christmas crab trap.

a crab pot decorated with christmas lights

Bennett returned to preschool this week, and I’m cautiously optimistic that the needle has moved in terms of a fuss-free drop-off. Of the three days he attended, I only had to “de-barnacle” him once.

The other two days I got big hugs and kisses and a “bye mom, love you”. Fingers crossed that continues because I was dreading drop-off. I’ll take the wins where I can get them these days!

baby yoda's reflection in a christmas ball

Troy and I started watching Yellowstone this last week and I’m really liking it. It’s like The Sopranos…with cowboys. It’s a great drama and the acting is stellar. I’m not a huge western fan and don’t particularly love Kevin Costner, but if you like Yellowstone, check out the movie Open Range. It’s SO good!

We work our way through a series very slowly, and with Hollywood being shut down for months in spring, so many of our favorite shows haven’t returned yet. Our TV time is usually 45 minutes at the end of the day where we’re not dealing with the kids. We look forward to those moments of zoning out and it’s made better with a great show.

moss on rocks on the beach

The whole family has been playing a TON of Trouble lately. Apparently, per readers on Instagram, they either love or hate this game with a passion. But I will say this – it has improved Bennett’s counting and decision making skills pretty dramatically in only about two weeks.

He can visualize the board and is now moving his pieces without counting each step. He is also ruthless and will lie in wait for his brother’s pieces to take them down. So, counting is improving but so is his potential for psychopathy. 

2 people playing Trouble

I lost to those stuffed animals. Made me feel super smart.

The new chickens are settling in nicely and all have names. Baby Yoda (mine), Ooo-Tini (Bennett’s), Mandalori-HEN (Jack), and Bawk Holiday (Troy’s, joins Wyatt Chirp who joined our flock a few months ago) have integrated themselves into the flock with limited drama.

Troy and I need to catch the new ones and cut their flight feathers (it doesn’t hurt. It’s like giving them a haircut) because they’ve been hopping into the neighbor’s yard. Baby Yoda also has been jumping into our yard, digs up the lawn for a minute, and then waits at the gate to be let back in. Weirdest dog I have ever owned.


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What I’m Reading This Week

I finally finished Can’t Even and thought it was great. It wasn’t the typical “baby boomers ruined everything” case study. It discusses the fact that parenting and “adult” burnout has been around for a LONG time, but we’re now dealing with it 24/7 thanks to social media and constant online access.

People have always been stressed at work, stressed about being parents, and stressed about life. But when they left work, it was done for the day. Now, thanks to Slack, email, etc., you’re never “not on”. You’re always reachable and even when you’re relaxing, you feel compelled to share it on social media.

I will say this – this book is not telling you how to fix anything in your life. The author essentially says that individuals are not necessarily broken because it is the system that needs to be fixed. But the book was great and let me really nerd out on how societal changes over time have shaped our current landscape.

I jumped over to The Golden Cage next and finished it in two days. Great writing, very good plot (even though I knew where it was headed from the first page), with lots of suspense.

At the recommendation of a reader, I’m now starting The Lost Family – How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are. My grandpa was adopted in the 1920’s, so this topic is fascinating to me.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Pamela left this five-star review on our Instant Pot Beef Stew {Pin this recipe}:

Delicious!! And the baby loved it too. I added some frozen peas at the end for a little extra colour. Will definitely make this one again!

whole30 beef stew in a blue bowl with a spoon and a grey cloth

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Gifts for the Busy Home Cook – These Gifts for the Busy Home Cook will help you find the perfect present for the frantic foodie fanatic in your life. These 18 amazing kitchen tools will save them time and make cooking a breeze! {Pin this list}

How to Make Fabric Gift Bags – Learn how to make fabric gift bags. This eco-friendly Christmas and holiday reusable wrap is so easy, that the only challenge will be picking fabrics! {Pin this tutorial}

a black fabric gift bag against a white backdrop

How to Make Lip Balm – Learn how to make lip balm that works like a dream! This homemade chapstick recipe uses only five ingredients and can be made in just a few minutes. {Pin this tutorial}

containers of homemade lip balm with beeswax on a wooden board

Stovetop Candied Pecans – These two-ingredient Stovetop Candied Pecans are so simple to make! A batch of vegan candied pecans are perfect for salad, snacking, and holiday gifts. {Pin this recipe}

A glass bowl of stovetop candied pecans

Candy Cane Bark – This rich and delicious Candy Cane Bark is the ultimate simple holiday treat. Dark and white chocolate sprinkled with crushed candy canes is perfect for a quick no-bake dessert or handmade gift. {Pin this recipe}

Pieces of candy cane bark in a glass bowl

Confessions – everyone’s favorite post of the month.

A woman with a finger up to her mouth saying "shhhhh"

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

The Mojito Mocktail was on top again, so let’s take a look at the rest of the top posts. Once again, it seems like air fryer recipes were on fire this week. This is the air fryer we have.

  1. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – so easy to make and freezer-friendly.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Potatoes – crispy and packed with so much flavor (and a reader pointed out that she used them as the base for homemade nachos. Which makes her a freaking genius).  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – super easy and freezer-friendly.  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Fried Pickles – Making me wish I canned pickle chips this summer.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Turkey Bone Broth – new post to the top 5, but I love that so many people were looking to repurpose the finished turkey to make “garbage water” as Troy calls it. Garbage water = delicious nourishing broth made with scraps of things meant for the trash. {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

My fridge and pantry clean out continues. I have everything on hand for the recipes below and am slowly making some extra space in the freezer. Slooooooooooooowly.

Monday:: Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana and salad from the garden.

Tuesday:: Chicken satay, Instant Pot Jasmine rice, and salad.

Wednesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Thursday:: Air Fryer Taquitos, leftover jasmine rice, and salad.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: A new recipe I’m testing for January 2021. It’s soup. Of course. A tiger never changes its stripes.

Sunday:: Takeout to support a local small business.


What are you having this week?


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19 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. We have your Zuppa Toscana on the menu also! And I’m gonna make some jasmine rice to freeze. Anything special I need to know for freezing?

    I really enjoyed The Lost Family. After that I read They Went Left and it was fascinating to me reading a book about the Holocaust (fiction based on factual events) after learning so much about Jewish DNA.

    Your nature photos are amazing and make me want to go for a walk!

    P.s. sunset at 4:30 p.m. sucks big time.

    • I know you have some Stasher bags hanging around, right? Those are my favorite for freezing rice! You can put the rice in even while still warm and just shove it in the freezer. Then, you can reheat the rice IN the bag and it stays super tender and (the M word that I refuse to use). Plus, fewer dishes.

      That book sounds great! Adding it to the list.

      4:30 pm darkness does suck, but the payout is daylight in the summer until 10 pm. When we moved to Los Angeles it was May and I could not figure out why it was dark at 8 pm.

      • I do have Stasher bags! I’ve been trying to buy one or two each month. Zappa Toscana is in the IP now, so kooks like rice will happen tomorrow! Supper excited for quick rice. I love it with my eggs in the morning ????

        Daylight until 10pm sounds good about now!

  2. When I first read you were doing your own drywall I thought “we can use a vacation, let’s go!”  My husband was a drywall finisher for years before the Lord placed him in his current career.  In fact, he is spending his weekend taping our laundry room redo.  We bought a fixer several years  ago and have had many “what in the hell were those people thinking?” moments as we ripped out nasty carpet and lino. 

    I dread decorating for Christmas.  It’s just not my thing.  I want to wake up and have it all done and then the reverse.  My hubs is the same.  I had to do the nag thing forever to get him to hang outside lights.  Then a lightbulb came on, literally.  My adult son can use Christmas money and I need lights. He comes over, hangs my lights, gets a Benjamin and everyone is happy.  He also takes them down in January (part of the deal).

    I have a driving desire to go crabbing.  BUT, doesn’t that involve a boat? No thanks.

    I haven’t seen Yellowstone.  We don’t get the station it’s on.  My husband very much resembles Kevin Costner (he gets that all the time, lucky me) so I love all things Kevin.

    Your pecans are on my to do list.

    • I wish you had suggested that! We would have loved to host you and I’m sure it would have been done in a hot second compared to us. When Troy was 75% done with sanding, we found out our neighbor is one of the best drywallers in the area and barely charges people on our street for projects. DOH!

      I hate decorating too. I totally feel you and your dread.

      You can crab off of a dock. Set up the crab pot, tie it to the dock, and come back in a few hours. Bennett even catches crab with his fishing pole!

      Yellowstone can be watched on Amazon Prime (you have to purchase) or Peacock. We don’t have cable on our TV.

  3. I know the Hubs is a firefighter, but just in case….drywall dust is awful on furnace filters! Our remodel was in the summer, but my hubby took them out and used an air hose to clean them several times. Cheaper than replacing them, at least until the remodel was finished.

    We watched Yellowstone this summer, too. Beth is badass!

    • Great reminder, thank you! Troy did HVAC for a year (him getting laid off in 2010 was the impetus for starting this blog) and an HVAC friend reminded me about the vents. We stuffed them with old shirts before demo started and closed all the vents. We also changed the filter after the bulk of the remodel, but I’ll clean it out when the sanding is done. We’re also going to have the vents cleaned when all the dirty work is behind us.

      Beth’s hair and eye make up really bother me. I hope I get past that. And Jamie’s sideburns drive me bananas. I find them distracting and now that I have mentioned it, they make Troy made too.

  4. LOVE me some RIP. He is so hot.

    The first time I put on Yellowstone was during naptime while we were in Louisiana’s extended quarantine. They dropped an F bomb at 3 in the afternoon. ???? Needed to wait until that evening to try to see if was any good.

  5. My nephew was having meltdowns at drop off recently, it got so bad they were thinking he wouldn’t be able to go to school. My sister in law started dropping him off in her pajamas which totally worked. So weird. One of the staff gets him out of the car if he has trouble getting out of the car seat. He hates that his mom takes him to school is his pajamas even though it’s HIS FAULT haha. 

    • That is too funny!!

      I used to babysit a girl in the mornings and was responsible for dropping her off at summer camp. She would have a meltdown every morning getting in the car and getting ready for the day. One day I hauled her butt to camp in her jammies. She never pitched a fit again. 🙂

      • The school suggested it and she was so happy it worked. It seemed to make sense to him that she had to stay in the car since she was in her jammies, and it wasn’t even Jammie Day. Scandalous! 

      • I love it!

        We can’t do curbside drop off and Bennett would wear clothes full of holes if he could. So I’m not sure if this one would move the needle for him. HA!

  6. Ivan’s grandmother was also adopted in the 1920’s! She was found in the dressing room of a high-end department store with a note pinned to her clothes. Her birth mother was never found. Super fascinating!

    • Holy smokes, now there is a story! Hopefully, a “high-end” customer adopted her?

      I don’t know my grandpa’s adoption story, but I know he was days old when he was given up. The family that ended up adopting him basically did so for labor. When he was in high school he came home one day to find they had moved. Without him.

      • OY – this made my stomach hurt! I just can’t imagine going thru that!
        I’m hoping your Grandpa’s life got much better without that so called family. 

      • He had some pretty amazing stories about growing up. Life did get better, but even as an adult he had a shell around him that took a very long time to crack. We used to call him over and over on the phone (back when phone calls cost money which drove him nuts) until he finally said “I love you too” after we said it.

        By the time he passed away, his 4 granddaughters broke him down into a hugging, sharing feelings, and saying “I love you” kind of person.

      • That is so incredibly sad. I don’t see or understand how anyone can hurt or use children but I know it happens, and too often. 

      • Agreed. No idea how anyone could treat another human like that.