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Scattered Sundays and Meal Plan

A very special veteran’s day to those who have served and those who have supported their spouses and partner. We’re surrounded by the military here in Western Washington and I never cease to be amazed at the hard work and dedication I see daily. Thank you!!

You know, I love my kids, and my husband, and my family and all…but sometimes you people are the highlight of my week. True story. Lots of sappy emotions and hearts and moonbeams. And unicorn farts. I love you punks.

Each week at church our pastor does a little 5-minute message just for the kids up on stage. This last week he gave them all a sunflower seed still in its shell. And he told them that going home and planting that baked and salted sunflower seed likely won’t result in a plant growing.

Pastor Adrian said there is so much anger and hate in this world and it would be naive to think we could all find peace and get along. But what if we did plant that seed and what if maybe, just maybe a plant grew against all odds. It was a really great message that I think the adults enjoyed even more than the kids.

So, what are you going to do this week to help plant the seed of joy in someone’s life? Where can you help the impossible become possible? What kindness can you show someone?

I may have had a growth spurt

Did you know that back in high school I was in (junior) ROTC? And as if that wasn’t “cool” enough, I was also the company commander my senior year. That makes me head nerd.

And back then I was fit AF. Except for the sit and reach which I couldn’t do because when you’re six feet tall, touching your toes is a long freaking ways away. Anyhoo, I could do 75 pushups and over 100 sit-ups in two minutes (two minutes for each exercise. Not total).

Today, I would rather get a pap from Edwards Scissorhands than ever set foot into a gym I’m happier shoveling chicken shit onto my garden beds or hauling 45 pound staw bales into the chicken coop. And most importantly, walking my hilly neighborhood with Bennett and my favorite podcasts in my ear holes.

But those tasks are not super-targeted so I recently made the commitment to myself to start doing more “workout” things.

I now spend about 5-10 minutes once a day doing 55 sit-ups, 50 squats, 35 push-ups (I started at 25 and have added 1 per week), and 50 scissor kick thingies. <—-technical term. And I have to say, I can totally notice a difference. I have a bit more energy, I can tell I’m more toned, but most importantly, I feel strong. I like strong. Strong is rad.

All my upper latitude readers say “heyyyy”.

We (finally) finished up the updating of our basement space. Before our house got remodeled to make an apartment for my parents to move into, we had a ginormous daylight basement. After all, was said and done, we retained about 100 square feet of the downstairs.

The disgusting rental house carpet that was down there was stained from previous renters doing god knows what. And when we put in wood floors upstairs there was a weird plywood gap covered in staples between the carpet on the stairs and the beautiful floors at the top. And um, it was like that for three years.

So, Troy did some over-time and we finally bit the bullet and had new carpet installed (six years later…). All the bookshelves and other items down there were in the garage for two weeks, and the boys went nuts with the empty space. They would be down there for hours at a time just kicking the ball over and over against the wall. Sorry Dad.

When it came time to put everything back in, Troy and I had the mind meld of “we need to keep this space really sparse for these gremlins”. So, we rearranged, got rid of a ton of stuff (so many books and toys donated to our newest little cousin!), and did a total purge. And these boys of ours couldn’t be happier. My dad could probably do without the ball being slammed into the wall for 60 minutes straight, but we’re all dealing with it.

One of the things we rediscovered with the clean out was this preschool game called Count Your Chickens. It’s a cooperative game which means you work together and no one technically wins. It was recommended to me by Jack’s Montessori preschool teacher because he was sooooo competitive in class.

We played it exactly once when he was four because he thought he was losing (no one wins or loses) and chucked the board across the room like a Real Housewife flipping a table during a drunken dinner party.

Sigh. That kid’s early years were rough for all of us.

Well, Bennett has now latched onto this game and wants to play it all the time! It is good for kids who can count to 10 and are willing to sit still for 10 or so minutes. He doesn’t always play it correctly and needs some help from time to time, but he adores it. It’s a “highly recommend” from our family to yours. Assuming your family has toddlers.

The brand is Peaceable Kingdom and it looks like they have lots of other preschool games. No table flipping required.

Soccer is over for the year and it was a great season! Jack’s team had an amazing record with three ties and seven wins. Jack played so well (mom brag) this year and was the primary scorer for his team. This was the first year he played without any attitude and it was such a freaking pleasure to just enjoy watching the game.

He was invited to try out for a select traveling basketball team for winter (based on his performance during last year’s basketball season) but he randomly decided he didn’t want anything to do with basketball for 2019. Which is fine with me because it would have meant a ton of travel and it was almost $600 for the season! Barrrrrrf.

So, instead, he is going to take parkour classes at our local gymnastics place once a week. This will be the first-ever winter since he was five where we don’t have practice and games three nights a week. We’ll see how it goes!

Comment/Review of the Week

This week’s reader spotlight is Christine who left a five-star review on our Crispy Oven-Roasted Butternut Squash recipe.

I’m not fancy enough to have rosemary just laying about the house, so I omitted that ingredient and it was still awesome. We roast veggies all the time (and by we, I mean my husband because he’s in charge of cooking), but dinner prep fell on me tonight and I needed to look up temp and time and saw this recipe. The garlic cloves really elevate it from “dump bag of squash and throw in oven until cooked” to a real special side dish. 

Christine, I’m thrilled this recipe helped you rock your dinner like a total boss; nice work! And I’ll share a little secret with you. Six years ago I bought one of those little rosemary Christmas trees from Trader Joes for $8 and I planted it in my garden. That sucker is still growing in there today and I have to trim it back at least three times a year because it keeps getting huge!

That little $8 tree grows all freaking year and keeps on chugging even when covered in snow. It was a nice little investment for a lifetime of free rosemary.

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Baked Brie in Puffed Pastry With Roasted Garlic – Looking for a delicious and easy savory appetizer? Baked Brie in Puff Pastry With Roasted Garlic is creamy, packed with flavor, and a sure-fire hit at your next party.

baked brie in puff pastry with a plate of crackers and rosemary

The 15 Best Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes – These 15 Best Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes will help you have a delicious and low-stress Turkey day. Recipes include easy appetizers, sides, desserts, and freezer dishes.

Homemade Vanilla Extract – How to Make Vanilla Extract – Making your own Homemade Vanilla Extract is so simple and makes the best handmade gift. This recipe uses vodka or bourbon and can also be made in the Instant Pot.

three bottles of homemade vanilla extract with a dish of vanilla beans

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Instant Pot Sous Vide Egg Bites Recipe {Starbucks Knock Off}
  2. Chicken Pot Pie Soup
  3. Jalapeno Poppers Dip
  4. (coming in like a dark horse – let’s welcome a newcomer to the top five) Classic Virgin Mojito Recipe
  5. How to Make Chapstick (this post is definitely seasonal and starts ramping up around this time. And blows the eff up around Mother’s Day!).

Meal Plan

Last week I mentioned I was working on a new Instant Pot dish. Well, it is freaking tasty but the details just aren’t worked out yet. It turned into some weird chicken mush and there is no way I could possibly declare it perfected. Or take photos of that. Yikes. I’ll keep trying!

Monday:: A(nother) new recipe I am working on. Hope to share it will you all soon!

Tuesday:: A type of lasagna that I love and desperately need to update the photos on the recipe. I’ll be sharing it with you all in December!

Wednesday:: Breakfast dinner so I can finish up testing a new recipe that is my white whale. Been trying to make this sucker for years!

Thursday:: Homemade ramen. One of Jack’s favorite meals and something I love because a) it’s soup and b) it takes 10 minutes max.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Appsgiving! An entire meal made of appetizers at my sister’s house with my extended family for an early Thanksgiving.

Sunday:: I have no freaking clue

What We Bought This Week

Costco: $68.46. Troy took the boys to Costco and sent me a photo cause he knew I needed it for the blog. To all the people out there in new relationships, know that when the newness and excitement of love softens, there are moments like this to prove what real and lasting love is like.

Fred Meyer: $37.88

What are you having this week?

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13 comments on “Scattered Sundays and Meal Plan”

  1. I love making vanilla extract (that smell!) I’ve thought about making other extracts but was worried they wouldn’t turn out. Have you ever made almond extract? I’d love a tried and true recipe for that!

  2. I have fewer people coming to Thanksgiving than ever before yet this year is stressing me out. I think because there will be more people in the kitchen…helping…or whatever. 
    I am making everything possible beforehand just to keep my sanity. Thanks for the idea!! 

    • Are you worried about leftovers or is it just hard to cook for fewer people? People in my tiny “one-butt kitchen” drives me bonkers. It is so stupidly laid out and I basically spend the whole day asking people to please move. It starts out politely but does not maintain that level for very long.

      What is on the menu?

  3. Yay Jack, great job on the soccer season! If your looking for cooperative games that would work for Jack now, we like Forbidden Dessert.
    We are having BBQ chicken with rice, roasted fish and veggies, and english muffin pizzas this week.

  4. I would love to know what apps were served at Appsgiving. Planning on doing something similar around Christmas and need some inspiration.

  5. I’m in college level education. I have been setting up a basket of necessary items: hair ties, packs of tissues, lotion, and plan to add pads and tampons as well. Our students are so busy I’m just hoping to get their backs when they need it.
    I also gave one of our TAs a gold star (they LOVE the gold stars!) and a gift card for a coffee on us to recognize how well she handled a cheating situation and how awesome she was teaching some more senior faculty how she caught them.
    My department is super supportive of both and that feeds me! It’s just nice to take care of each other. <3

  6. Hi Sarah,
    I just wanted to add something for the Rosemary topic up there! When we cut our Rosemaries back, I keep all the smaller, softer needles (dont know how else to call them), put them in a food processor with salt and a bit of lemon zest and make a rosemary lemon salt. We fill that in little jars and give it as part of our christmas gifts and most friends always request one for the next year! We love the salt when we make homemade french fries, roasted vegetables and trout!
    … also Appsgiving sounds awesome!! Have fun!

    • Oh my gosh, Barbara, that sounds freaking amazing! I’m so doing that next time I have some lemon peels.

      I throw the rosemary into the chicken coop to make it smell like…not a chicken coop.