Five Simple Things (May 28)

 Hello. 

This week was another slow week for us. I love how there's weeks where there isn't much to stress about. Stress and I don't get along. I don't think it gets along with many people. On Tuesday was the one year anniversary of the death of George Floyd. It is named the Day of Enlightenment for remembrance of his death. Even though we have these memorials, remembrances, and celebrations of life, it still doesn't address the issue of what's happening. I can't believe it's already been a year since his life was snuffed out in less than 10 minutes. He didn't die in vain and I hope his family has found some peace with it since then. More and more issues of racism are slowly coming out. Discrimination and racism are a huge issue around the world. I've been personally discriminated against. It makes you feel helpless and unwanted. I just don't understand. And, during this week we suffered another moment of crisis with yet another mass shooting. Anger and bitterness will creep in and take over if you let it. And, evil really does walk among us. On a more positive note, on May 26 was the Total Lunar Eclipse. It was early in the morning here, but we were up and ready for it. We had an amazing view of the Total Solar Eclipse here in 2017. It was something I was so happy to be part of and even more so for Skylar to be part of. For all you sky watchers, the Herbal Academy also did a blog post on foods you can make to celebrate the moon. Here are five things this week.

1. This Tour.

One of our planned trips is to camp out for a weekend at Yosemite (originally Ahwahneechee land). But, in the meantime we have been enjoying these virtual tours of the park. You can virtually view the areas of Diving Board, Tuolumne Meadows, Nevada Falls, Ahwahnee Hotel, Swinging Bridge, and Hetch Hetchy. We al pretty excited to plan something soon. You can take the virtual tour of these areas here.

2. This Reminder.

We've been trying to do out part more in keeping to a slower, more simple lifestyle in our own home. We have been buying more things that last, over just convivence. It's still a long road and a work in progress, but so far we are pleased with how far we've come. One of the biggest ones is our vehicles. Unfortunately, right now we can't make any chances other than not using them as much. There's still more to do, but we will keep on pushing towards that direction and stay the course. 

3. This Eclipse.


As mentioned above we watched the Total Lunar Eclipse this week on May 23. Although, we didn't get the best view here on the west coast of the United States, the Blood Moon was still beautiful. One of my favorite things is the moon and stars at night. Skylar and I got up early to be able to view it and got good views from our own yard, but ended up heading to a shopping center parking lot to get a better view without any trees obstructing our view. It was well worth it! We also were able to see Arcturus star bright in the sky, too, on May 23. Lots of things to see in the sky at night if you just look up.


4. This Doggy.

Because sometimes he needs his sweater on and comfort from me. He turns is getting older and deserves all the love. Hardy has been such a great doggy. He has a lot of Baz's traits in him, too from all the years they spent time together. I just love that about him the most.

5. This Sign.

If this sign doesn't sum up the majority in this town, I don't know what does. 

Positive affirmations this week:

Have a nice weekend.

Five Simple Things (May 21)

Hello.

We had quite a slow week this week and I like it that way. We were going to do a podcast episode, but decided to wait another week and put one out, on our regular schedule of podcasting. Two weeks off is a good amount of time to get things back into focus for us. I'll be honest, I just haven't had the energy to sit and research, write, or even record anything, not even the intro. Not sure what's going on, but hopefully I can get things back on track this coming week. I have enjoyed not having any tasks or responsibilities this past week, though. I didn't get outside much, but I did sort through things and get some things organized inside the house. We also painted the front vestibule area, and I am eager to share that soon. For now, we will enjoy a slow weekend and catch up on some "us" time. Here are five things this week.

1. This Car.

We love vintage and this car just gives off so much of the Downton Abbey vibe. We asked the lady sitting in the passenger seat if we could take a picture of the car and she was so thrilled that we were even interested in it. Skylar would love to have his first car being something similar to this one. 

2. This Videocall.

We were able to take a slow week, but also video conference with Jeff this week about a few things he was looking into for land options. The video call went well and came during the time that I was creating some chocolate dirt cups for our homeschool classroom week study on earthworms and other insects below the surface of the ground. Looking forward to hearing more about his land options he's found.

3. This Sign.

I love this sign. You can get one, too, for $15 from Pesticide Free Zone. But, you have to take a pledge to keep with the pesticide free zone in and around your home, office, or landscape. We took the pledge and are currently waiting on our honeybee signs and stickers. Excited to get them and use them on our new land.

4. This Cap.

I love when companies put positive quotes within their products. This bottle cap was from a LIVE Kombucha bottle, and if you haven't had this kombucha, you're missing out. Their LIVE Dr. Kombucha is my favorite. It taste like Dr. Pepper and I just love it. Right now you can get a 24 pack of these great kombuchas here

5. This Kitty.

She, like us, are ready for spring. We are looking forward to warmer temperatures and less gray skies. Hopefully this summer won't be as bad as last summer, and fingers crossed we don't get any wildfires close to our house this season. 

A few more things:
Ways you can start living more eco-friendly and actually save money doing:

1. Use cloth napkins.
2. Cook more at home.
3. Use your crock pot or pressure cooker.
4. Eat less meat.
5. Grow your own food.
6. Start a compost pile.
7. Stop using disposable utensils and opt for reusable.
8. Stop wasting food.
9. Use a toaster oven and microwave more than the oven.
10. Use low flow in the bathroom and kitchen.
11. Turn off the water while doing tasks.
12. Repair leaks in anything.
13. Use a pool cover.
14. Make your showers shorter. Opt for under 10 minutes and work towards shorter.
15. Change out your light bulbs.
16. Turn down the heat.
17. Get better insulation.
18. Carpool when you can.
19. Look into installing solar.
20. Unplug.
21. Buy more energy-efficient.
22. Fix things when broken instead of buying new.
23. Line dry your clothing, even in winter (inside).
24. Turn off lights.
25. Wash your clothes in cold water and for the proper water level. 
26. Have a yard sale and downsize, or donate, and get rid of junk.
27. Buy used or pre-owned before new.
28. Recycle everything you can and whenever you can.
29. Reduce your paper usage. (go paperless, and print less).
30. Make your own beauty products and skincare products.
31. Buy in bulk.
32. Create a capsule wardrobe. 
33. Create your own food stock instead of impulse buying.
34. Borrow tools before buying new (if you can).
35. Bring in or buy more house plants to help cleanse indoor air quality.

Have a nice weekend.

Lemon Cake

I can't cook. Period. Whatsoever. I used to be able to kind of "experiment" in the kitchen, but the last few years I've just lost all interest in even doing that. The only time I enjoy cooking, or baking, is when it's not planned. As in, spur of the moment type cooking or baking. One of those times was to make lemon cake. It went well, but there's a few things I would change in the future. I love lemon and the recipe I followed didn't give the lemon cake enough lemon taste.


Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter , softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon zest from about 4 medium lemons
2 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

2. Prepare your cake pans with vegetable grease (I use Spectrum brand). Be sure to get in the corners. Set aside.

3. Mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a whisk to combine all together. Set aside.

4. In an electric mixer, combine butter, sugar and lemon zest. Add the whole eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla. 

5. Incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients alternating between the dry mix and the sour cream as you add them together. 

6. If making one large cake, pour cake batter into prepared pan, if baking two separate cakes, divide the batter into each pan evenly. 

7. Bake about 20-25 minutes. Check the center with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.

8. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Lemon Frosting:

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
4-6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

1. Mix butter with electric mixers for about 1 minute, until creamy. 

2. Add the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix until creamy. 

3. For a thicker icing, add more powdered sugar, for a runnier icing, add more lemon juice.

4. Poke holes in the top of the cake in random places and drizzle your icing over the top. If a thicker icing issued, you don't have to poke any holes, just ice the cake normally.

Five Simple Things (May 14)

Hello.

What a week! We did some great things this week and are glad to see the sun, too. Skylar and I have had the windows open almost every single day and have enjoyed the sun peaking through. We mowed the grass, repotted some plants, and even have plans to give our deck and front walkway a new coat of paint. We also saw signs of life in the garden boxes, too. Some sunflower seeds made it through the wildfire season last year and buried themselves deep into the dirt. They are barely peeking the surface, but maybe next week I can share their progress. We aren't sure about our planting plans for this season, but we may do a few things, we are still deciding. Mother's Day was Monday and Skylar and Jeff surprised me with a metal lantern and a new doormat. The doormat was an extra, but I wanted the metal lantern. It's unusual and the more unusual the better when it comes to me. I like oddball things and this lantern is perfect! The doormat will be great for after the new coat of paint on the door step. I've also been looking into which protein drinks are the best. Since my surgery last year I've been using protein drinks to get the nutrients and vitamins my body needs. I've taken a liking to this brand for ready-made protein and this brand for powder to add to almond or oat mils, or even add to smoothies. It's the only brand I've found that doesn't disagree with my stomach. But, with that said, Here are five things this week.

1. This Radio.

Skylar and I watched Ghostbusters this week and we stopped on this radio and went on a hunt to try to find one. Unfortunately, we did not find this exact one, but we are not giving up hope. We are going to try to hunt one down. It's a Panasonic tape/am/fm jam box/boom box. Hopefully, we can locate it, or one like it. 

2. This Display.

Still loving my little F-it Village by The Little Red Door ceramics. She is so talented and even the tiny white house is awesome. 

3. This Kitty.

Just washed the bedding and a lot of clothing this week and Eleven found a comfortable place among the warm sheets and clothes. 

4. This Day.

The City of Raleigh has proclaimed May 25, the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, as a Day of Enlightenment. Even though, George Floyd had a criminal record and was on drugs at the time of his murder, he didn't deserve to die in the dirty street the way he did. It's good to know that the former policeman who took his life will be paying for it for the rest of his life. George Floyd's Day of Enlightenment is a good reminder that no matter what, you can't just take a life and it be forgotten. I wish Rodney King had been treated as fairly and could see this now. The Day of Enlightenment should travel through all cities, worldwide, and every black, Hispanic, Asian, Native, and even whites taken out unjustly by law enforcement, should be honored. 

5. This Contest.

Did you enter the IKEA Tiny Home Giveaway this week? It was a lot of fun and the scavenger hunt they sent us on to enter was a blast! You got clues that lead you to certain pictures on their Instagram page and those clues lead you to someone else's Instagram page, where they sent you on a scavenger hunt on their profile. Once you found the right image they gave you a letter. Once you had all of the letter, you enter the six-letter word and an small essay. Our fingers are crossed that we win. We would love to have the IKEA tiny home, but whoever is the winner, it is definitely a great prize. 
 The clues they gave are below:
 




 
My essay I submitted:
My family has been downsizing and minimizing our life for the past two years. We've changed our thoughts from items, such as plastic, Styrofoam, and even particle board, to more sustainable items. Items that are made with the environment in mind. We used to be the type of family that just bought things because others were buying them. Now with a more mindful approach to our purchases we feel healthier, and a bit better about helping the planet. We currently rent and are looking for land outside the city. Our dream is to own our own land and place a tiny home on the property. We would also like to downsize a lot more to live a more simple life. With land as our home base, this IKEA tiny home could definitely help us achieve our goals. Sustainability is something that we don't take lightly. Every purchase, every item, and every moment of our lives, we can live more sustainable for the planet. Change of habits is all it takes. And, if we can do it, anyone can!

We thank you for the opportunity to participate in the IKEA Tiny Home Giveaway.

Positive affirmations this week: "What's a positive quote that's helped you?"
Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what could be. 

Have a nice weekend.

Sunset Highway Drive

We took a short day trip along the Sunset Highway to Astoria and back. It was a lot of sights to pack into one day, but here's a quick recap of our trip. 






Along the highway is a place that has a lot of logging equipment and history of logging. Camp 18 also has a restaurant that features a lot of history of the area, as well.







We made it to Astoria and had lunch at the Astoria Co-op and watched as people were coming and going from the docks. There was a cruise ship parked along the bay front and the passengers were loading the boat for another excursion down the Columbia River headed towards the Pacific Ocean.


Museum where the Goonies did a shot of Mikey's dad on the porch as they rode their bikes past.

The jailhouse in the Goonies where the beginning of the movie takes place.

Old fishing piers along the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon.




Astoria–Megler Bridge that connects Oregon to Washington. Interesting enough, this bridge is all steel and is 14 miles long.

The end of the Oregon Trail in Seaside, Oregon, taking by Lewis and Clark in the 1800s.




This fountain was along Highway 101. I couldn't help by stop and admire it, especially with how it looked at night.