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Five simple things


This week was amazing! It's been a great week since last Friday. I didn't post a "Five simple things" that day because, we were all on baby watch with my brother and sister-in-law. We welcomed a new, little member to the family, and I am a proud aunt once again.

This is the first baby for my brother and sister-in-law, and they-and the rest of the family-are tickled pink with joy. Little Henry James was born at 11:42 p.m. Arkansas time and was 7.3 pound, 20-inches long. He is perfect and we are so thrilled for my brother and sister-in-law and the start to their little family. (check out the little red wagon of flowers we sent them in the last picture-cute right? you can get them here) So not that anything can top that news, here are a few other things that made this week great!

1. These boxes.

Yogi Surprise is always one of my favorite things to get each month and each box just gets better and better with items. This month was no different in it's contents and I am loving each and every thing the Lifestyle box and Jewelry box contained. You can get your own box here.

Grab a subscription for the coming months. Trust me, you'll love it!

2. This tree.

Have you heard of Shoe Trees? They are pretty interesting and some of them are actually useful. This one was located on the outskirts of Redmond, Oregon, and was started in 1997.

3. The fair.

The Mr. scored some free county fair tickets and a parking pass from work and the three of us headed over and enjoyed the day. We had only planned to be there a few hours, but it ended up being all day and well into the evening. We were all worn out by the time we rolled back home, but it was a blast!

4. This fridge.

We said goodbye to our old refrigerator this week and bought a new one, finally. We've had this same refrigerator for the past 10 years and it was time for an upgrade. The ice maker and water dispenser in the front was never used due to not having water hookup in the house we live in, so ultimately it was a waste of space for us. We decided to downgrade to a smaller refrigerator and one that matches our oven that we purchased about a year ago. It works perfect in the space and also goes along with the minimal efforts we are working toward. We love it!

5. Pizza nights

Last but not least is this pizza dough. We have been finding more ways to cook at home and bring in less waste into the house, so I have mastered a great go-to pizza dough recipe and if you like pizza like we do, I think you will love this recipe. 

Basic Pizza Dough:
Makes two 12-inch pizzas

2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups organic whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon quick yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons organic sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

In a stand mixer or large bowl, mix the flours, yeast and salt. Warm the water to 110-115 degrees, which feels hot to the touch. Add the oil to the water. Mix the water into the flour mixture, kneading until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. I use my hands for this because it's just easier. It should be soft and pliable but not overly sticky. If it is sticking to your fingers, add a little more flour. Knead for a few minutes, then place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and place near but not on the stove. Let rise for at least an hour. Freeze the remaining, or use right away.

Heat oven to 425 degrees
Cut dough in half and use the dough at room temperature
Sprinkle a good amount of flour on a working surface
Roll out dough and if you're good, flip into the air, to make a round 12-inches
Place onto a baking stone, or pan, or if you're lucky, a wood-fired pizza oven, add your toppings, and bake 12 to 15 minutes

-Toppings we enjoy:
Good ol' pepperoni and mozzarella and cheddar cheese blend
Roma tomatoes, basil, garlic, and mozzarella cheese
Chicken breast, Parmesan, mozzarella cheese.

Have a great weekend!

Road Trip: Over the Cascades

For National Ice Cream Day we decided to take a short trip over the Cascade Mountains, have some ice cream cones in Sisters, Oregon, and make a day of it in Eastern Oregon. We started out just driving and seeing where it took us, but ultimately we ended up exploring the area for most of the day.

Our first stop took us to BJ's Ice Cream Parlor in Sisters, Oregon. We also planned to grab a cone on this road trip because it was National Ice Cream Day-(July 16). The boys stuck with mint chip, while I had to mix it up a bit with some salted caramel flavor.

We stopped along the way at the lookout point for Mount Washington. The trees in this area are still recovering from the B & B Complex Fire from 2003. The fire started due to lightning and ultimately scorched over 90,000 acres of land in the end. This season of summer in the Willamette Valley has been quite a scary one so far though. We've had a few grass fires, house fires, and brush fires already this summer, but hopefully, we will get some rain relief soon. Unfortunately, it won't be anytime before it hits over 100 degrees here I'm afraid.

We headed next to the Head of the Metolius River just outside of Bend, Oregon. The river seemingly comes right out of the side of the mountain here and the view of Mount Washington isn't bad either. 

I have to mention the trustworthy chipmunks here. There were peanut shells scattered around, so apparently they are so trusting because they get fed regularly by visitors. I have to admit, we would have fed them too had we brought any food along with us. 

Beautiful day too!

Our next stop was the Shoe Tree along US 97 headed north. You'll have to read about this Shoe Tree here. Roadside attractions are the best!

We ended the trip with a huge burger from the Bend Burger Company and let me tell ya, if you have Bend, Oregon, on your bucket list this place is a definite MUST! The picture above was part of my story on Instagram, so it has the boys and the location tagged. If you don't follow me on Instagram, what are you waiting for? We take a lot of fun, little, road trips here and there and we'd love to share them with you. You can follow me here. And for the curious, The Mr.'s Instagram, and The Bean's Instagram.

Five simple things

So since I skipped last Friday posting about the "Five simple things," we are going to post for the last two weeks. In all honesty, The Mr. had the fifth off after the Fourth of July and it threw my entire week off. When he gets a day off during the week it feels like it's a Sunday to me and therefore I am behind in my thinking for the rest of the weekend. But anyway, we did have a nice time with him having that day off and it was a great day for us to be able to relax and enjoy the day. The Mr. and The Bean put on a great fountain show and we displayed old glory all over the place. The rest of the week was fantastic and this past week was even better, so here are the things that made this week-and last-great!

1. The flag, of course.

We have an ecclectic collection of U.S. flags at our house and the two posted above are our favorites. The one on the left is from an old trunk we bought at a yard sale about 15 years ago, before we moved to Oregon, and it has been proudly flown every year for various holidays. The one on the right is one that was flown on the Navy aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise. It's a great flag with history and we are so proud to fly her still.

2. Lavender honeybees.

I mean really, is there anything more amazing than watching a honeybee suck nectar from a lavender bloom?

3. This moment.

Good ol' Baz. Still going strong after 17 years and loving/living life to the fullest. 

4. Dirt pile.

It's gone! It's finally gone! And we have the driveway back. If you don't follow me on Instagram and know the story well, what are you waiting for. Check it out here!

5. July book.

Check out this month's book selection: Thirteen Ways of Looking
by Colum McCann. -Find out more here.

Happy birthday, America!

Hope your Fourth of July was great! Here's what we did...
We here at the South North South house, or as my son likes to refer to it, "The Thicket," blew up the neighborhood with fountains. The Mr. had July 5 off so I wanted to make it a day where we spent some time together at home, doing nothing. We did just that and we all were in need of some down time. It seems the last few weeks we have been running and going and we all, even today, are wanting to take long naps. Maybe by this weekend we will have caught up on some much needed rest.

With our Fourth though, here in Oregon you can't have anything that leaves the ground and nothing that explodes. Boring right? When we lived in Arkansas we were blowing things sky high and the best part, you could even shoot fireworks off throughout the year. But then again, it wasn't as dry in the south as it is here in the north. Oregon, however, if snakes and sparklers are your favorite things then this is the place to live! The Mr. ended up buying the packaged fireworks that are always way over-priced, but he thought, it's the Fourth and we never do this, so let's mix it up a bit. So he brings home this...

...and he is going to light them with his "homemade" blow torch. See I told you, blowing up the neighborhood.

Before the fireworks went off, PITA was sitting with us all calm and collected, but once the bangs happened, he wanted to go hide in his blanket. I really do hate this time of year for our doggies (and other animals) they just don't understand what's happening. We let PITA get all snug in his blankets before starting and Baz-the older one-went deaf a few years back and it was the best thing to happen to him when it comes to this holiday.

Before we shot off some fireworks, I ran to the store to pick up a few things for dinner and this view of the sun setting was kind of magical. I couldn't help but snap a few shots from the car.

The Bean made our sidewalk all festive for the day and I couldn't help but share his creativity. I just love what comes into his head sometimes.

Almost is a shame that it will disappear over the next few days.

Hope your Fourth of July was amazing!
Happy Birthday, America!

A visit to the Willamette National Cemetery

The Mr., The Bean, and I took a drive through the Willamette National Cemetery this past week. We always wondered how the view of the Cascades was in this area and boy, were we in for quite a delight. The grounds of the cemetery are maintained by the government and only military personnel and spouses are buried here. The grass, bushes, flowers, and even the view is spectacular. It really is a nice place to show honor to the men and women that gave their all to give us what we have today. The Mr. and I were so pleased to be able to show The Bean this area before Fourth of July. It really put the entire holiday into a different light for all three of us.

Views of downtown Portland from the west side of the grounds.

View of Mount Hood from the south end of the grounds.

View of Mount St. Helens from the north end of the grounds. 

There is an area near the entrance that you can look up a grave. There are so many men and women buried here that the areas are marked off in sections. And this view is just one of the sections. It's really heartbreaking how many people have lost their lives due to war, but at least this place gives them the respect they truly deserve.

Oregon Korean War Memorial Wall

Honoring the men and women (nurses) from Oregon that served in the Korean War.

It's a beautiful area. If you have a bucket list, you might consider adding this one to it.

Out of respect, I did not take pictures of the graves-any that show up in the background was purely accidental.