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Five simple things


This week was hot! We stayed above 95 degrees all week and had to keep a constant run of our air conditioners upstairs and downstairs. I'm pretty tolerable of hot temperatures, my southern blood, probably, but even I was saying it's warm. Here is what our week looked like:

Saturday: On Saturday we headed out to The Mr.'s work and enjoyed their yearly Family Day. There was a tour of the facility where they make airplane parts for Boeing, the military, and other metal fabrications for companies like Pratt & Whitney. It's always a great time for us and we get to see where The Mr. spends 80% of his week. *GASP* In the late afternoon on Saturday we headed to the Benton County Fairgrounds to da Vinci Days. I have to say that da Vinci Days is definitely a science geeks playground. Kinetic energy and engineering at its best!

Sunday: We decided to finally look into purchasing a raft to float the river before the summer is over. We have talked about it for several summers now and this year is going to be the year. More on this later. We also changed out the jet ski tires and moved it from the backyard into the garage. Now that we sold the 8x4 train layout we have a lot more room to work with in the garage and the jetski fits perfectly in there. We are still needing to replace the seat on it and hopefully by next summer it will be fit to hit the water. The Bean also got a new lifejacket, and an ore to go with the river raft. He is pretty pumped to hit the water soon!

Monday: Was a slow day, but The Bean and I covered a lot in the classroom. Keep in mind with homeschooling we never really take a summer break. At the end of the day when The Mr. got home we all took off on our bicycles and rode 2.88 miles. It was a pretty warm ride with the temperature being 98 degrees. With it being that hot we sweat a lot, but it was a good workout. My favorite part of exercising in a hot day is as much as you sweat that shower afterward is heavenly!

Tuesday: We all got eye exams and all of us had to have glasses. Of course, The Bean and I have had eye glasses for many years now, but The Mr. had to get ones this go around. He will have to only use them during long drives in the car, working on long projects, and other tasks that could cause his eyes to fatigue. I feel like all three of us are going to look pretty cool in our new specs. I won't miss a beat with sharing once they are picked up in a few weeks.

Wednesday: We definitely had to water a lot on Wednesday. The temperature high for the day was 102 here and even our poor ducks were feeling the heat. The Bean and I worked on homeschool work, Hardy spent the day inside with us, because if it's too hot for us, it's most certainly too hot for a little doggy.

Thursday: Another slow day because of the heat. The Bean and I organized the backyard and watered everything again for the second day. I feel like we soak everything down and a few hours later it's all dry again. It's extremely dry here in the Valley, too. We have fires burning in random areas around the state and I am always fearful that the field behind our house might catch a spark from something random. One reason why I like to make sure our yard is nice and wet each summer.

Friday: The Bean and I headed out to run errands and while out I picked up a small shade umbrella to place inside the run area of the duck's house. Now they can enjoy their pool in the late afternoon without the hot sun beating down on them. The duckies really liked it and sat in their pool for most of the afternoon. We also had another afternoon of watering plants and making sure all the animals had cool water to drink. So hot here and our air conditioners are working overtime. As hot as it gets here it's nothing compared to Arkansas heat, so it's tolerable.

For the rest of the week, here are five simple things that made this week good.

1. This little leaf and the arm it clings to...

With the hot weather The Bean has been playing in the water as if he was a little kid again. Even though he is 14 he still is a little boy at heart and we love it!

2. This message about simple things...

I've seen this truck before, but each time I see it I am reminded that the simple things in life are all that matter.

3. This sweet duck...

Have to do a single duck spotlight on this sweet girl. Her name is Fern and she is the sweetest Mallard duck. We've been told that your own animals take after your own personality. If that's true then their temperment should speak volumes of their owners. 

4. This hot doggy...

With the heat being bad this week this little doggy has been spending a lot of time indoors with us where he belongs.

5. Mightynest for July...

Mightynest this month was laundry stain stick and laundry powder. The stain stick has already removed a lot of stains I couldn't previous get out and the laundry powder smells like lemonade. The best part with Mightynest for me is the fact that every time I order from the company 15% goes back to my home state of Arkansas to the school I graduated from. I worked with the PTO president for a couple of days setting it up and they are already gaining $118 straight from Mightynest purchases I've made. It's a great program and you get such great items each month. Hurry and signup to get on the list for August so you can change the way you live and help give back to your school little-by-little. Sign up here.

A few more things:

Building something that will last.

Think of toys in a different way.

These nightstands ♥.

UV Sungear. Simple, smart, sun protection.

• 25 Magnificent Facts About Oregon.

• 'Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race' 

Hookah from Alice in Wonderland, or something more?

What's your neighborhood's walking score?

Looking for a more modest swimsuit?

Yoga for kids. Give it a try!

Have a good weekend!

Road trip: Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon

On a weekend of not doing anything, or having anything planned when you live in Oregon means, you either head to the coast, or head out on a daytrip somewhere. Most days in the summer months are taken up by time spent in our own backyard, but the zoo was calling us. The last time we went to the Oregon Zoo was when The Bean was about four-years-old. We were definitely due for a trip. Of course, it was a sweltering 98 degrees when we went, but thanks to the zoo putting up many water misters it helped take away the heat of the day a bit.

Being such a hot and humid day we headed straight to the otter, sea lion, and seal cave. It is mostly underground and the temperature of the area is a tolerable 70-75 degrees even in the dry summer heat of Oregon. The sea lions diving in and out of the water was such a treat to watch, as well as the otters crunching on ice cubes on the other side of the tank.

Such a pretty area with the blue from the lights and water. It's one of our favorite spots at the Oregon Zoo.

The Oregon Zoo's newest elephant Sampson. He sure put on a show for us and we got a lot of great shots. Elephants are such incredible beings. We loved how calm, collected, and extremely patient the trainer was. We didn't catch her name, but she is definitely living her best life right now being an elephant trainer.

Crossing over this wooden footbridge took us right to the bear's den. These are black bears that are prevalent here in Oregon. They are good swimmers, climbers, and can run upwards of 30 miles an hour.

Mountain goats where along the other side of the wooden footbridge and the babies were definitely bringing a crowd of kids. Even though it was so hot that day, close to 98 degrees, these little goats were having a ball jumping back and forth over logs, rocks, and even the older goats.

The Bean, always looking like the tourist with his camera and hat. ♥ (Go Hogs!)

Inside the Family Farm barn they had domesticated animals such as common goats, cats, pigs, and a few chickens running around. 
...And a few ride ons for the kids.

The next section was the leopards, tigers, and birds of prey area. As hot as it was most of the large cats were laying down in shaded areas in their enclosures. 

It's interesting to know that Condors wouldn't exist today had it not been for zoos and their conservation and recovery efforts of the birds. The Oregon Zoo has taken great strides in helping keep the Condor numbers up. These are California Condors and the Oregon Zoo has done its part in bringing the numbers up since they were the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1973.

The enclosure to these eagles gave you a front row seat with no net, or barrier, keeping them from swooping in toward you and landing on the same walkway we were standing on. It was a great up close encounter to these birds of prey. Unfortunately, these eagles were picked up as wounded birds and can't be released back into the wild. They seemed pretty content with their living quarters and seemed to enjoy having their pictures taken. 

Next up was the penguin exhibit. We just happened to have visited their enclosure during feeding time and it smelled fishy, but we had a lot of fun in this enclosure and the seagulls and penguins definitely put on a show. 

By the time we were heading out a lot of the animals were going to sleep. We happened to glance into the river otter and the meerkat on the way out and they were both already snoozing.


A lot of the park benches throughout the Zoo had cute bronze sculptors on them that drew your attention in. These one of the "Lunch thief" was one of our favorites.

You can find out more about the Oregon Zoo here and also more about their animal rehabilitation programs here, as well as their conservation efforts here. One last thing, if you'd like to support the Oregon Zoo you can find out how and where your money actually goes right this way here.
Find ways to support other zoos, too. Even ones in your own area!

Au Naturale

A helmet saved my brother's life

This post is easy to write, yet hard to put into words. Easy in the fact that a helmet while riding a bicycle should be something that comes as natural as grabbing your keys when leaving your home. My dad taught us at a young age to always wear a helmet while doing sports activities where your head could possibly be injured in some way or another. That lesson has carried over for all three of his kids as we have gotten older. And it's a good thing that is has.

On the hard aspect of writing this post is the fact that my brother could have ended up with permanent brain injuries, facial disfigurements, or even worse-It could have ended his life. But none of that happened because all in all, as the title of this blog posts says, "a helmet saved my brother's life."

My dad, my nephew, and my brother, had gone for yet another bicycle ride on a nice Arkansas afternoon. The day was a good day to grab their bikes and take off on a ride to enjoy nature, and the great things during this time of year that Arkansas has to offer. Near the end of their bike ride is a dirt track for BMX and other trick bike riders in an area called, Cedar Glades Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. My brother's main bike riding is either road bikes, or mountain biking on trails, so to him this was a fun group of hills to ride over and have a good time finishing out their ride for the day. My brother's confidence got the best of him and he decided to give the dirt/rock track a try on his mountain bike. He was riding over 20 miles an hour on a downward slope of rocks and hit a hill that he didn't see ahead of him. Taking that dirt hill too fast, he lost his balance, was thrown over the handlebars of his bicycle, and came crashing down onto the dirt ground with full force and momentum from his still traveling body. This "crash" resulted in him hitting the ground first with his head, knocking him unconscious, and with the left-side of his body having no control-after.

Our dad and my nephew, Ryan, watched helplessly as he came crashing to the ground. The fall ended up knocking my brother unconscious for about two minutes and when he woke up he had no memory of where he was, or why he was there. My dad describes the fall as something he hopes he never has to see again for the rest of his life from anyone-He thought the fall my brother took onto his head had killed him instantly. 

The result of the bicycle crash left my brother with a broken collar bone, a concussion, large cuts on the left side of his face and body, scrapes, and large bruises. The doctor treating my brother told him that had he not been wearing that helmet he most certainly would have greater injuries, maybe irreparable injuries to his head and neck. And the worst part is, had he not had a helmet on the doctor told him it could have killed him.

My brother is healing up well and doesn't have any lasting impacts from his crash. His collarbone put him out of commission for awhile and he was really bummed that he couldn't go swim his laps in the community pool each week. Talking to him he is in high spirits about the wreck and we are glad to know that the helmet he was wearing protected him and did its job and took the brunt of the fall-as it's supposed to.

My brother was wearing a Trek helmet at the time of his wreck and contacted the Trek company to tell them about his wreck and that their helmet saved his life. Trek was so gracious and supportive of my brother's accident and they were so pleased to hear that it was their own product that became the barrier between good news and bad news for our family. Trek told my brother how amazing it was to hear that the helmet did its job. They were so moved by his story that they sent my brother a new helmet, some accessories, and also asked if they could share his story.

We have all decided to share his story and make it a point to tell people, "Your head, face, and brain are an important part of you. Don't risk it-Wear a helmet always!"

Grafomap.com - Custom maps and posters

Road Trip: da Vinci Days

da Vinci Days is a festival in Corvallis, Oregon, that focuses on science, technology, kinetic energy, art, math, and engineering, and takes place on the third weekend of July. It's free to the public and operates on donations. Community members and Oregon State University students team together to bring this even to the Benton County Fairgrounds each year.

Founded in 1989, the festival continues to excite and engage people of all ages and backgrounds. Inspired by the "left brain meets right brain" genius of Leonardo, da Vinci Days is a canvas for you to celebrate your own creativity and innovation. da Vinci Days exists to showcase our community of artists, engineers, teachers, and visionaries, while supporting the economic development and vitality of Corvallis and Benton County.
We love the fact that science is being brought to the forefront in the area and this year we decided to join in the festivities this year at da Vinci Days. The best part of the festival is the kinetic bicycle and other structures that race along paths in Corvallis during the Graand Kinetic Challenge.

(The video above is not mine, it belongs to Danugirl1)

“To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” -- Leonardo da Vinci  

The Bean got to use kinetic energy to power a water sprinkler through pedaling a bicycle. The racers on their kinetic vehicles would pass in front of the water sprayers as part of the finish of the race. 

Five simple things


Gardening, gardening, gardening has been on the front lines this week. We've been babying our garden a bit more because of the hot temperatures. Our peas and tomatoes have been coming in one-by-one and they are delicious! Holding out for the blooms on the cucumbers, yellow squash, and the zucchini to slowly turn into nice fruits soon. The Bean has been "grazing" in the garden each day for lunch and I just love how we can walk out our back door and grab a snack. Here is what our week looked like:

Saturday: The Mr. and The Bean replaced the brake pads on our "road tripping" car. They took a little more than an hour to replace them, but I found it to be a great opportunity to see The Mr. in his teaching element. It takes someone special to be able to actually teach something to a child. Patience, know-how, and the one ability a lot of people lack-even actual teachers-the ability to listen to the one you're teaching and hear how they are perceiving the lesson. I always praise The Mr. on this ability alone. More on this below.

Sunday: We took a nice day trip to the Oregon Zoo. Not a lot of people out and about on a Sunday, so it was nice to walk around and see the animals without a lot of people crowding our views. If you follow me on Instagram you can check out the "summer" highlight to see a lot of great shots from this trip.

Monday: We fertilized our roses this week. Our go-to rose fertilizer is from a small company based out of Eugene, Oregon, and it works nicely for the roses we have.

Tuesday: We sold the train layout this week. A hobby shop owner from La Pine, Oregon, came and purchased it along with a lot of the scenery and layout items. We aren't too sad to see it go, but it is a bittersweet moment. In our process of downsizing, it just didn't make the cut. We are excited to gain a large part of the garage back though and The Mr. is happy to have space for equipment we may need for the bus build in the future, too.

Wednesday: The three us met up and played a nine-hole-round of golf with a coworker of The Mr.'s that's moving to California. The Mr. is extremely sad to see him go, but definitely will stay in contact. The golf game was played at Mallard Creek here in the Valley. Great course and well maintained. The Mr., The Bean, and I stayed up late to make three pounds of meatballs to freeze overnight for a going-away party for the coworker leaving for California. It's my own recipe that will be shared on the blog soon. They are a two day process and on Wednesday night we got a headstart with them and mixed and formed the meatballs, browned just the outside and then froze them. We finished them up on Thursday night to take them to the going away party on Friday afternoon.

Thursday: The Bean and I spent Thursday cleaning up the yard a bit, deadheading flowers, herbs, and vegetable plants, as well as watering everything thoroughly and picking what was ripe in the garden. Our raspberry plants, blueberries, and strawberries continue to give us fruits. We also harvested all of the garlic, braided them, and hung them to cure for a week. When The Mr. got home that evening we placed the frozen meatballs in the large crock pot along with the BBQ sauce and placed them on warm overnight.

Friday: The Mr. woke up to head to work and put the meatballs on low for the day. We met him around 11:00 a.m. for the going-away party and the meatballs were perfectly cooked through. It was a bittersweet moment for The Mr. He has gotten to be great friends with this coworker, but we made promises to him that he will be our first road trip we take in our converted bus.

So for the other part of the week, here are five simple things that made this week great!

1. This bumblebee...

On our recent day trip to the zoo this bumblebee wasn't part of the animals on display, but I couldn't help but give him a bit of attention. He was a busy, busy, little bee

2. Yogi Surprise Lifestyle Box...

Have to always give a shout out to Yogi Surprise and all of their great items. This is the Lifestyle box for July. Loving the Aloha hip pouch. You can get on the list for August here and get a $10 credit towards your first box. (Use coupon: REFTE219XWUDJ)

3. This House Finch...

The Bean rescued this poor, scared, House Finch from the mouth of the neighbor's cat this week. The House Finch was a female and spent all day in our bathroom sink recovering. Once she was ready to be released she let us know by flying on top of the bathroom clock. The Mr. was able to pick her up and we released her promptly outside shortly after. We were so glad she was able to take flight pretty well.

4. This herbal shampoo bar...

We've almost completely made the switch from liquid shampoos to bar soap instead. We really like the shampoo bars that contain rosemary essential oils in the mix. We are trying to transition completely to bar soaps because it's less waste, but it is a work in progress.

5. And lastly, this Instagram story post...

Regardless of where this was posted originally, I stand by it 100%. Raising children in this day in age is hard work, but raising them with values, and respect for everyone, no matter who the person is, is a great task. I am proud to say that The Mr. and I have taught our child that respect comes in all forms. We have taught him that people that feel they are better than others, those that can't seem to work past minor issues in life, and those people that always make a small issue a larger one, are people that haven't found themselves in life. We have taught him that loving everyone, no matter who they are, is a feat in itself. Living a non-judgement life and always being the person others can count on, is what matters. Living a simple life, being someone you love and understand is more important than a lonely life on the inside of always trying to stay on top. We have also taught him that he is not required to bend and fold for other people and never ever let others treat you less than what you are. No matter what life brings, always, always be the person that makes others question their own life and want to live better. The Mr. and I are still learning what's good and what's bad and in the long run there are some people and some things that will hurt you. We have taught our son that it is okay to cry, show emotion, and be the person you think you should be no matter how many come in and out of your life to bring you down. Disappointment in part of life, but it doesn't have to change you, or break you in the end. And whatever you do, tell people that want to tear you down to f-off. Your life is more important to the ones that love you with no conditions than those that want to rip you apart out of their own misery. In the end, we are giving the world a child that will become a great adult that will rock the world with his knowledge, love, and be the kind of adult that will shake up the way the world is currently. Kick ass, Skylar! You are the one!

A few more things:

Do Sun Salutation correctly.

Oregon swimming holes aren't like Arkansas swimming holes.

The Bird Machine.

Guerrilla gardening.

The most expensive perfume in the world.

Still living the frugal life?

A new look at GOOP.

Tobacco free California.

• Top 10 tips for new bloggers from original blogger, Jorn Barger.

What type of vegetarian are you?

Have a nice weekend!