A Tale of Two Suburbans

Our family of five people, two dogs, one cat and a chicken is in need of something larger than our car. Sure, it’s fine for everyday driving, but for long trips or anytime even one of our pets needs to come along, things get a bit…snug.

This guy takes up a lot of room.

So, we bought this at an auction:

The Zombie truck.

It’s a little rough, but it runs and can haul people, pets and supplies from Home Depot. It’s missing the third row seat and needs a few other parts to be perfect. Instead of buying them piece by piece, we found a parts donor for it for less than the parts would be individually. The problem with that is, minus needing a paint job, the donor is in excellent shape. The interior is spotless, and the transmission was recently rebuilt. It just won’t start.

Beckett approves of Suburban number two.

Because Suburban number two was obviously well cared for, we’re attempting to diagnose the problem and repair it. That would allow us to retire my car completely. Which is good, because, as of yesterday it’s broken down in my driveway. Luckily it’s not too difficult of a problem to fix this time. It’s more expensive to maintain, though, and I’m not so sure a major repair isn’t in it’s near future.

Replacing ground wires on Suburban number two.

Our first attempt at troubleshooting involved replacing the ground wires. We had high hopes, since a faulty ground left us stranded in a previous Chevy truck, and it’s one of those easy to overlook problems. Alas, either that’s not it or my mechanic skills aren’t up to par. Luckily we have a few more relatively simple fixes to try before we get to the hard stuff.

Easy All in One Instant Pot Meal

When my kitchen was torn apart, I had to get creative with cooking. One of the easiest meals I did was Chicken Korma with broccoli and rice.

This is more of a how-to than a recipe. You can really use however much of the ingredients based on how much food you need and your pressure cooker’s size. For my family of five with two little appetites, I used about four chicken breasts, three cups of rice and water, one jar of sauce and all the broccoli I could squeeze in and around everything.

To make it super easy, I started with a jar of Korma simmer sauce from Aldi. You could easily substitute any store bought or homemade sauce. I also used frozen chicken breasts that I keep on hand for last minute meals.

I used an old rice cooker pot for the rice. Any heatproof container that is big enough to hold the rice and cooking liquid but small enough to fit in your pressure cooker’s cooking pot would work.

I put the chicken and broccoli under and around the rice pot. Then I filled the rice pot with appropriate amounts of rice, water and salt.

The Korma went on top of the broccoli and chicken, and I added about half a cup of water just to make sure there was plenty of liquid.

Finally, I set the whole thing in my pressure cooker and cooked it with the “Rice” setting. My electric pressure cooker is a Go Wise brand. Recipes for the Instant Pot brand usually work as written for mine, so I assume that setting would work for the Instant Pot and other similar pressure cookers.

Here is a terrible picture of the end result. I promise it tasted better than it looks. A homemade sauce would have been healthier, I’m sure. When you are strapped for time or having to make do without a fully functioning kitchen, though, it’s lots better than having to rely on fast food.


We have had so much rain lately that even my rain-loving self is starting to get waterlogged. Luckily the weather has also warmed up so it’s no longer a stinging cold rain.

I have the little two enjoying some sensory play that’s a less messy than their usual mud. I only have so many towels, and laundry still has to happen.

In between rounds of cleaning up mud, I finally launched my essential oil roll-ons. I’ve been studying essential oils for a while to make sure I was completely comfortable with their usage before sharing them with you.


That is for a single essential oil of your choosing. I blend them with your choice of coconut, olive or sweet almond oil. I also offer custom blends and my own blends. You can find the complete line at SubEarthan Cottage here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MySubEarthanCottage?ref=seller-platform-mcnav&search_query=Essential+oil

Children’s Messenger Bag

This morning I made a messenger bag using Merriment Design’s Kid-sized Messenger Bag Free Pattern and Sewing Tutorial. The size is also nice for a small messenger-style purse.

Her tutorial is awesome, so I’m just going to share the minor change I made. Instead of making a fabric strap, I used some webbing I had on hand. Not only did that save time, but it allowed me to make the whole thing with two fat quarters. You could also use a thick ribbon, upcycle an old belt or an old purse strap for the handle.

I like using a light colored fabric for the lining in most bags I make. It makes it easier to find whatever is inside.

The fabric is from a fat quarter bundle I found at Tuesday Morning. I always find fun things in their sewing and craft section.

Catching up

I can’t believe it’s Valentine’s Day and I never even wished my readers Merry Christmas or Happy New Year. I hope everyone reading this had both, if you choose to celebrate.

Ours was typically eventful. Living in a house built in 1937 with a few precarious additions means most school breaks and weekends are spent working on the house. Christmas break involved tearing out the back wall of our kitchen, moving our back door, and adding a counter and storage to another wall. Why?

Well, this, for one. See the floor joist that’s not really supporting the exterior wall? Yeah.

The fun surprises don’t stop their, though. About the time Christopher got the kitchen wrapped up, he worked out something he had been puzzling over regarding the attic.

The 2x4s are original. Notice the odd spacing? Apparently whoever did the kitchen CUT OUT every other 2×4 from the attic roof supports and used them in the attic above the kitchen addition. That explains why there were notched, original to the house 2x4s above the kitchen. Upon working that fun fact out, Chris promptly replaced the missing 2x4s with 2x6s.

I have loads more to say about our ongoing home repairs, but today is my Beckett’s sixth birthday, so that will have to wait.