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Tomato Cucumber Salad

With the end of the summer season coming to a close, it's about the time of year where I figure out how to use the remaining tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden. One of the quick and easy recipes I've come up with the last two years is a tomato and cucumber salad. It's a delicious and healthy way to incorporate a few vegetables, especially if you're needing to use several at once that could possibly go bad before using them for individual dishes. The best part of having a garden in your own backyard is being able to walk outside and get whatever you need for a certain dish. 

This year's garden we grew tomatoes (cherry, Roma, and beefsteak), cucumbers, nasturtium, pumpkins, zucchini, yellow squash, onion (red and yellow), watermelon, butter lettuce, cabbage, and peas. We had good results from a few crops, but others not-so-much. We have come to the conclusion that they aren't getting enough sun each summer. So, we are going to move some things around next growing season. 

Our tomatoes and cucumbers did well and with that overabundance, I created this summery dish. Here's how it's made.

  • Four to five medium to large tomatoes (any kind), diced into bite-sized pieces
  • Four to five small to medium cucumbers, sliced and then cut in half
  • Black olives, whole, cut in half
  • Three to four pickles, diced small
  • Four to five tablespoons olive oil
  • Splash of vinegar, to taste
  • Two tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
Add everything to a large dish and toss. Refrigerate for up to 30 minutes before serving. Eat right away, or store for up to three days in an air-tight container. It's delicious the following day, too!

Sometimes Wants (Summer '23)

 These are the summer time, "Sometimes Wants," that have caught my eye lately.

1. 2.

3. 4.

5. 6.

7. 8.

9. 10.

  1. Lately I've taken to seeing a lot of spice racks change their jars out for ones that are more uniform and minimal. Although we purchase organic spices, and all of them come in glass containers anyway, it would be nice to have some that look cohesive in the cabinet. I have had my eye on these lately, because they have bamboo lids and come with labels. I am also liking these from KonMari, as well. The black bamboo lids look sharp.
  2. You can never have enough good quality cotton t-shirts and these are so soft and comfortable. They come in three colors, but the company makes a lot of great cotton items to add to your wardrobe and clothing rotation. I've replaced a lot of my lesser quality cotton shirts with these and I love all three colors and sizes from XXS to 6XL. FYI: They are perfect for yoga sessions and working out, and if you size up about three sizes, they are great for sleeping in and lounging around, too.
  3. This was a pricier purchase for me this season, but one that I will be making again. These are some of the best lip balms I've ever used. They are smooth, classy, and feel great on the lips. They are just under $50, and are 16 ounces each. I've been using them now for about two months and I love them a lot. The colors I have are the Clear, Translucent Garnet, and Sheer Rose, but will be purchasing the Clear, Peony, and Tomato soon. The Clear along is a great lip balm to just have on hand, too.
  4. I have been using these pot brushes for everything lately. We've been cleaning up areas on the bus and these have come in handy to get into small cracks and crevices to really get the grime out of them. We recently finished placing insulation is the wall areas and these little pot brushes came in super handy to be able to clean the small areas before putting in the insulation sheets. I've also been using these around the house to clean and scrub appliances, floors, and even walls.
  5. Been rethinking how I ship things lately and the amount of waste that goes into packaging items to ship through the mail. I recently found these biodegradable shipping bags. They come in a 50 count package and are perfect for smaller items being shipped. They are compostable poly mailers with eco-friendly packaging that break down over a short period of time. The company also makes other biodegradable packaging and other items that make me feel just a bit better about doing my part of the environment.
  6. Looking at light puffers lately and I fell in love with this longer puffer from Everlane. It's a nice color for fall and can be worn clear into June here in the Willamette Valley. It's comfortable and does a nice job of keeping even my legs warm on road trips. Comes in black, as well and is made from 100% recycled polyester material. Easily packs up and can be worn alone or in layers, I just love it. It comes in XXS to XL and tends to run a bit larger.
  7. Along with going more eco-friendly in our house, I have found better ways to help the environment, while not compromising my cleaning habits. We have been using better sponge options lately and these are great. They are all natural, biodegradable, made with hemp/sisal plant, non-scratch, chemical-free, and odor free. With a bit of elbow grease, they really get the job done. I use one for about three weeks with my regular daily cleaning routine and toss them in our compost bin. They work for household cleaning, as well as dishes, and countertops.
  8. We are still loving our Daxlena Safeparty Firepit Mat and when Summer Solstice hits we always know it's time to break it out for the season. With having the school bus now when we go camping, it has definitely come in handy no matter where we end up. We loved ours so much we ordered two more to use in different locations. We use it under anything hot to save the surface of what's underneath. We also use it in the sand and on our lawn when needed, as well. It's a great addition to your camping box, or just to use every day at your own home. Check out my blog post on the Safeparty Fire Pit Mat here.
  9. These notebooks were a random find while working with some Amazon affiliate companies recently and they are perfect for what I needed at the time. We are planning a big trip here soon and I'm hoping we can document the trip in our own words in a notebook. These pastel colored notebooks will be just the right thing for that. I can't wait to be able to get back and read what all of us put in our notebooks about our trip. These come in the pastel colors pictured, more bold colors, and vintage colors and are 16 to a pack.
  10. We've taken to coffee scrubs lately and not to discredit the companies that make quality coffee scrubs, but some are way overpriced. We found a good recipe, after some trial and error, that works for us and have been making it now for about three months. It's a simple recipe that has ethically-sourced ground coffee in it, coconut oil, sugar, and a bit of essential oils. The essential oils we change out depending on the season and whether we want to mix it up for a more uplifting scent. We create about a pound at a time and separate it into 20 ounce containers. We keep one of the 20 ounce containers in the shower and use it at least three times a week. The coffee we use is from Ethical Bean Coffee and we love that their coffee is better for the environment and the farmers that grow and harvest it. They carry whole beans and ground. If you're a coffee drinker, this a great brand to add to your morning brew.
Happy Summer Solstice!

Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

This recipe has pretty much become a go-to for holiday snacks in our house. We sometimes make them before we take off to go camping, or before the weekend begins. They can be made up ahead of time and placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator and popped into the microwave, air fryer, or oven for a short time to warm them back up, because they are best served hot.

  • 20-30 jalapeño peppers (seeded and cut lengthwise in half) **use gloves for this**
  • 3-4 (8oz) blocks of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of jalapeno juice (this adds some additional spice to the mix)
  • 10-12 jalapeno seeds (more or less to your own spice tolerance)
  • Cooked bacon (entire package)

Mix cream cheese, onion powder, pepper, salt, and seeds together in a bowl and fill each jalapeño shell with mixture. Be sure to overfill to your desired amount. Cut bacon into small diced pieces and sprinkle on top of cream cheese mixture. 

Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until the tops are browned and bacon becomes crispy.


Nuts and Seeds Banana Bread

  • 1/2 cup melted salted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground or grated nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (not imitation)
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup, or more of seeds and nuts (peanuts, pumpkin, flax, sunflower, almond, cashew, chia)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), and butter a loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the ripe bananas and melted butter. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Then add in sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour last.

Pour the batter into greased loaf pan and sprinkle 1/2 of the nuts on top. Halfway through baking, sprinkle the remaining nuts on top and finish baking.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing.

This recipe is customizable in so many ways. Instead of bananas, try canned pumpkin, zucchini, even watermelon. Instead of nuts, add raisins, cranberries, currants, blueberries, or even strawberries. The possibilities are endless. We have tried all different ways to incorporate foods into this recipe. It should be called, "Everything in the Cabinet Bread."☺ I hope you enjoy it, because it's a huge favorite in our house! If you give it a try, let me know by tagging me on social media. I would love to know what you think of it, or if you added something fun.

Five Simple Things (April 7)


Here are five things this week.

1. This Kid.

Starting his first day at college. Paint me proud, but also paint me sad. Having only one child makes it hard to see him growing up. He is going to do amazing things and I am right here cheering him on as his biggest fan. You are awesome, Skylar! ♥

2. These Donations.

We adopted Hardy from Safe Haven Humane Society almost twelve years ago. He has been such a wonderful, little doggy, so we try to donate to them whenever we can. It's our way of saying thank you and also giving back to them.

3. This Subscription.

Kinder Beauty has introduced me to so many great beauty and selfcare brands that I get excited each time the boxes come in the mail. My favorite product from this month's box is the Purfect Liquid Face Mask. I'm a sucker for any kind of face mask, and this one is perfect for Sunday Selfcare.

4. These Cameras.

And they all face our neighbor's house. Things are a bit weird over there lately, so we have at least a few "eyes" on them while we are gone during the day. The brand is Premier Smart and they come with hardwired and wireless. There is an app for them and you can also save videos and pictures, if needed.

5. These Ducks.

Skylar and I had lunch along the Willamette River this week while he was in between classes. We didn't expect it to start raining, but we also didn't expect to see a team of ducks surround us when we were leaving, either. They wanted to come home with us. ☺

One last thing:

The view of No Rain the bus outside of our house is still so awesome. You can always see what we are up to with the bus under the page "No Rain" the Bus at the top of the blog.

Positive affirmations this week:
Part of mental health issues with people is thinking that they always have to have everything. The big house, nice cars, the top job, the top pay, the best kids, the best looking spouse, the best body, the most of everything - but what people don't realize is, the only thing we need is what we already have and be grateful for that. The mentality that has been hammered into our heads as we get older is affecting people on a bigger level than what people realize. People will always think that their life isn't enough unless we change the way you have been taught. We have been conditioned to think we need more, and when we get more, we need more than that. Life isn't a race and it definitely isn't a competition between each other. The only person you should be in competition with is yourself. Every day be a better person than you were the day before. Happiness can't be bought and you most assuredly won't find happiness in people that make you feel like you and your life aren't enough.
You can do this!🌈
Have a nice weekend.

Five Simple Things (March 31)


Here are five things this week.

1. This Plant.

It is thriving in its new location.

2. These Cupcakes.

These chocolate/coffee cupcakes were just the right treat this week. 

3. These "Eyes."

Skylar found some awesome LED push lights (IKEA KAPPLAKE LED lights) that would great for his Star Wars display.

4. This Kitty.

Eleven has three modes - Sleep, Eat, and Chaos.

5. This Sentence.

I've been learning French for 450 days now on Duolingo, and I can now introduce myself, talk about the weather, and tell you I like to surf.

One last thing:

I wasn't sure how this picture would turn out, but I love how my car looks against the darkness. Almost seems mysterious.

Positive affirmations this week:
Having positive affirmations around your home is a great way to keep yourself on track for helping with negative self talk. I have ones on my bathroom mirror, my office, my shower, my refrigerator, and the mirror by my front door. I have thought about adding one to every room of my house and moving them around once a week to keep the energy going. These below came from Dae as part of their 12-month mantra kit, but you can easily write them, or your own down on a sticky note or small piece of paper and stick them wherever you need that added reminder.
You can do this!

Don't forget to observe Earth Hour tomorrow.

Have a nice weekend.