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Scattered Sundays and Meal Plan

I’m not quite sure how we have gotten through life without a woodstove. We are having fires almost every evening now and it is the best thing ever! Last week Jack had a soccer game with snow still on the ground. I started a fire that morning and coming home to a warm and cozy house after freezing outside for an hour was such a blessing. I love it. Troy loves it. Jack loves it. Bennett hasn’t expressed a viewpoint.

Troy took this picture while I was driving. Don’t worry, no photos were snapped while behind the wheel!

The stove we got is an Evergreen Lopi and is from a Washington State company. It is such a nice and efficient stove. We can burn all day with only nine pieces of wood (TWSS). At the end of last year, I got some of these fire starters on crazy clearance through Azure Standard and they have been wonderful. My friend makes her own fire starters and sent me some info on the process. I think we’ll give that a shot when these run out.

With the stove, we finally found something useful to do with the sheer amount of paperwork Jack brings home from school every Friday. Holy smokes, third grade is like a production studio for junk mail.

We purchased a cord of wood this week and spent the late afternoon and much of the evening stacking it. In total style.

Troy built this fake wall on our porch this week.

We used to have this little firewood rack thingy there and he didn’t want us to have to keep refilling it all winter. By building the wall, we can stack the wood higher and deeper (and OMG TWSS) and thus refill it fewer times. I demanded requested a space to store all the “kid crap” that always accumulates on the front porch – chalk, bubbles, sand toys, etc.

The space at the bottom right will eventually hold a tub with their junk treasures. For now, I’m sure it is used much like the various common rooms at Hogwarts by the horrible rat that tried to kill me last week

It is no secret how I feel about the availability of health insurance for anyone who wants/needs it. I haven’t hidden the fact that I believe the ability to see a doctor when you need to is a human right. And not having your family be forced to declare bankruptcy over an appendix surgery shouldn’t be a luxury. November is open enrollment month for the healthcare exchanges, and the advertising budget to let Americans know that has been slashed. That is a whole different story. But guess what? I’m giving it some free advertising right now! The Affordable Care Act is not perfect. Sure isn’t. And I wish that our representatives and senators could stop acting like children and fix the flaws with it. Until that happens, we are left with working with an imperfect system. Open enrollment ends December 15th for 2018 coverage.

My friend Kendra does marketing and has been talking to me about doing live video on Facebook. If I were to start doing those, what kinds of topics would you all like to talk about? Like a Q&A? Should I sing? Scratch that. No one wants that. And nobody deserves that.

Jack started running club this week at school and loves it. Weirdo. It is for third, fourth, and fifth graders and they are all training for a 5k in early December. Jack said they all start together by running a lap. Then they head back to the gym to get some water and wait for the group. Then they did it again and again for a total of six laps. They had running club twice this week and did the same drill each day. And every lap on both days, Jack came in first. Even amongst even the fifth graders.

While I’m proud, I’m also thankful he looks exactly like me because otherwise, I would wonder whose freaking kid he is! That kind of speed just isn’t right. If his plan to go to college on a full-ride Nerf, Captain Underpants, and Minecraft scholarship falls through, perhaps he could look into a track or something. 🙂

We had some fun this week with our posts! I hope you were able to read them all – there will be a quiz later – but if not, here is your weekly recap.

Home Fries – Cast Iron Skillet Potatoes. These are so good, so crusty and so perfectly garlicky. They can easily be prepped the night before to make for a speedy weeknight side dish.

home fries

Best Podcast Part III. And a big announcement. Did you read the announcement? 😉 Any guesses as to the new name? <— friends who know what it is, please keep your lovely traps shut.

best podcasts

Healthy Baked Potato Soup. This recipe has Instant Pot and stovetop instructions. Someone on Instagram even made a version of it in her slow cooker! And I’m not going to lie. I feel really proud of the photos of this soup. If I randomly came across that picture online, it wouldn’t make me cringe. Taking pictures makes me so uncomfortable and twitchy. It is my least favorite part of food blogging. My favorite part you ask? Oh, you didn’t? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. It is when someone makes one of my recipes and likes it. Or they try something new and they like it. Or their family loves it. Or any mix of those things. It makes my freaking week. It makes me fist bump myself. Which is incredibly awkward and strange.

baked potato soup

Printable Thanksgiving Checklist – a step by step checklist for getting ready for the big day!

thanksgiving checklist

About once every three weeks, my friend Elaina likes to remind me that the photo of myself in the sidebar of my site (or down the screen on mobile)…kinda sucks. A gentle “when are you getting a new photo” text will randomly appear on my phone. It makes me feel super pretty. 🙂 Troy’s cousin is married to a makeup consultant with Younique. She likes doing makeup. I don’t. She is great at taking photos. I’m meh. She can apply lipstick without making me look like Pennywise during allergy season. I cannot.

Elaina can finally relax because Erica is making me look like a grown-up later today and taking new headshots for me. It’s not going to make me feel awkward at all. Nope. No, ma’am. I won’t feel wooden and like Katniss on the first night of the tribute presentation. Oh crap! I have to pick out some clothes or something nice to wear, right? So, that’s a firm no on a paint-spattered shirt and chicken boots?

Last week on Facebook I started something called “Humble Brag Sunday” and shared that I was really good at starting fires. Not like Drew Barrymore good (<— where my children of the 80’s at?), but decent. This week I’m sharing that I’m pretty proud of how well-read I am with the news. My book reading is lacking lately, and my tv watching is dismal, but I find many snippets of time throughout the day to read a lot of news from many different sources.

What is your humble brag this week?

We’re all anxiously awaiting the arrival of some friends this week. Kristina and her daughter Poppy are visiting us for three nights. Bennett and Poppy are facetime buddies and we’re looking forward to having them hang out in person. Kristina is married to a vegetarian but is a carnivore herself. You’ll notice our menu is a bit meat heavy this week, cause we’re feeding our friends allllllllll the meat. 🙂

Meal plan time!

Monday:: Puffed Pastry Sandwich Bake. This was supposed to be on the menu last week and I totally forgot and accidentally made paninis. Whoops. Roasted veggies on the side.

Tuesday:: Veggie and pasta soup with biscuits. This was supposed to happen last week, but I forgot we had Jack’s soccer party.

Wednesday:: Troy’s amazing hamburgers, home fries, and salad.

Thursday:: Instant Pot Beef Stew, biscuits, and salad.

Friday:: Popcorn and movie night. I’m making pepperoni and sausage pizza for the grown-ups and anyone else who wants it.

Saturday:: Dinner with our neighbors.

Sunday:: Family dinner

Smith Brother’s Farms – $19.93

Costco – $57.63

Price excludes the bath mat. That was from a different budget.

Fred Meyer – $45.25. The pumpkin, peanut butter, and brown sugar were for Thanksgiving baskets at church. The rice was the Friday freebie and will also be donated to church.

Local butcher – $26.17 (no pictures, because why show a bunch of meat?)

What are you having this week?

Making this recipe or others?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #sustainablecooks. I can't wait to see your take on it!

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6 comments on “Scattered Sundays and Meal Plan”

  1. I love reading your blog. My humble brag, I just made chocolate pots de creme with orange. And omg, they turned out amazing!

  2. From a former pro photographer I can tell you that you are getting very good at using natural lighting and your pics are looking fabulous!
    If you have a flash for your digital camera you can buy a cheap hood/difuser for it for foolproof nice lighting.
    https://www.amazon.com/Altura-Photo-Universal-Collapsible-Speedlight/dp/B01ERRQ802/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1510498605&sr=8-5&keywords=canon+flash+and+hood
    Something like this may become helpful to you.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074C7KRW5/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_14fcAbMC0VVGA

    • That is so sweet, thank you! I found the footstool of our couch is randomly the best place to take pictures.

      I do have a flash, but am doing better about not taking photos at night. I’ll totally look into a hood though because sometimes I can’t avoid evening pictures.

  3. I loved your potato soup! I used left over mashed potatoes that I didn’t know what to do with (they had minimal butter/milk added during mashing so still felt good about the lightened version and I only added 1 cup milk at the end) and I also added a leek to the onion sautée at the beginning, such comfort food. You and I should start an “I love soup so much I could marry it” club
    I agree, photos of that dish were spot on.
    The photo of the boys is cute too, how many times would you say that quilt they are using has been washed? One of my concerns about quilting is there are pretty quilts that you use as a bedspread and don’t ever wash (besides maybe paying for dry cleaning once in a while…which I don’t want to do) and then there are kids quilts like your adorable ones that need to be washed if sweet, sticky, sweaty kids will be using them, haha. So how do yours hold up to that?

    • How smart to repurpose the mashed potatoes, and the leek sounds like a delicious addition.

      I would totally start an I love Soup So Much I Could Marry It club! We need shirts.

      The quilt probably gets washed once a week. Last week it was washed three times because Bennett’s nighttime diaper leaked on it.