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Five simple things


The Bean and I had quite a scare in the Smart Car last weekend. We were turning left off a two-lane highway and directly behind us was a large truck hauling old tires. The size of his truck must have blocked us from cars coming up behind him and while we went to finish our left turn another car came up on the large truck to pass him thinking he was either stopped, or going too slow. As I went to turn the steering wheel to the left to turn and hit the gas, the car passing him came up on us at a high rate of speed. I took my foot off the gas pedal and the car went whizzing by us. It gave us both enough of a scare that we just looked at each other with our mouths open. Lucky for us nothing happened, but it could have been worse. We are glad it wasn't, but I did learn to look back to the left one last time before making a left turn. This week I also celebrated my birthday on August 28. 41 years old and still feeling like I'm in my 20s physically and mentally. I am embracing aging and definitely felt the love this birthday. My family in the south really does make me feel special on days like this. My mom sent her normal card and I had phone calls all day wishing me a happy birthday, but my mom went an extra step and sent me, through overnight delivery, her homemade chicken and dumplings, homemade cornbread, and homemade cinnamon rolls. The Mr., The Bean, and I were literally blown away by what she did. I've been wanting her homemade food for quite awhile now, especially the chicken and dumplings, and this was the best gift ever! You haven't had real dumplings until you've had my mom's dumplings. (But I'm a little biased.)

Here are five simple things that made this week good.

1. This covered bridge...

Just another one of Oregon's beautiful historic covered bridges.

2. These smoky skies...

I thought about editing this photo and fixing a few flaws with it, but I decided not to in the aspect that it truly does capture how smoky it's been here in the Valley this season. Pink sun during the day, pink sunset in the evening, and a smoky haze that just sits and hovers. Hopefully the wind will pick up soon and help filter the air sooner than later.

3. These southern biscuits...

I've been really enjoying my cast iron cookware lately. This cast iron skillet above has been my go to this past two weeks and I've used it to cook everything from a roast in the oven to biscuits and gravy on the burner. You can get the same cast iron cookware that we own at Lodge Cast Iron.

4. This stainless steel cup...

Adding to our collection of stainless steel we added this stainless steel drinking cup from Klean Kanteen. We all have drank at least something from it so far and really like it. You can get these cups here.

5. This homemade brew...

We are on a kick and enjoying it a lot. We've created some new and exciting flavors like blueberry ale-and have also named our brews. (Deer Beers-Straight from the Thicket) -The Bean really likes the names and we are hoping to get better with our brew and possibly put it on tap soon.

For the curious, here is the book that got us started.

A few more things:

• Thanks to the Obama administration, there's still a microbead ban.

Do you products contain microbeads of plastic? (If they do, stop using them, or find out if the company has changed their ingredients.)

Need some new DIY ideas?

A fully biodegradable cat litter box. 

• Give Carbonara a shot this coming week.

A wonderful blog for curious minds.

• Getting ready for Day of the Dead. 

Vintage library cards.

Wild foods of the Pacific Northwest.

Hello POP Shop.

One last thing: Thanks Google for always making my birthday something special and less like an average day on the internet.

Have a nice weekend!

Five simple things


It's been a smoky week here in the Valley and the air quality is really unhealthy. The fires burning around the west coast have really taken their toll on these parts and the amount of loss has been some of the worst that I've seen since moving here to Oregon. Wildfires are common here on the west coast, but this season's wildfires have taken lives in their fiery path, including fire fighters working to contain the blazes. Along with the smoky air here it's also been an up and down weather forecast here, too. One day it will be 80-90 degrees and the next it doesn't peek over 70 degrees. We have definitely had a hot summer here and the 70 degree temps are welcoming, but this time of year is always strange in ways of the summer rounding out the season. With back-to-school it always seems strange to me that it starts cooling off before kids go back. In Arkansas it is always hot and humid when school started and I lost the luck of the draw when it came to back-to-school time because it always hit around my birthday. Which, by the way, is in six days. My sister, who is a third grade teacher in her twentieth year teaching in Arkansas, tells us that they are already on the second week of being back in school. Oregon schools don't go back until after Labor Day. Oregon and Arkansas always have the opposite going on, even with weather. While we are still waiting the hot days to come Arkansas is enjoying some much needed rain showers. Here in our home we are okay with the sunny, hot days, but we're daydreaming about snowfall, too. Here are five simple things that made this week good.

1. This little pouch...

We have all taken a liking to United by Blue and the wonderful selection of clothing/camping/outdoor equipment, but the one thing we are liking the most is their sustainability and conservation efforts. Some of our other favorites:

2. This lunch bag...

The Mr. was in need of some new lunch gear and this was just the ticket. You can get one here.

3. These ducks...

Always doing something to make us laugh.

4. Mighty Fix for August...

Perfect timing for this Might Fix of bug spray. We used it on our recent float trip and it was perfect in keeping the little critters away.

5. This Seventh Generation sample...

I recently received these Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes to put to the test in our home. I'm not really big on the single-use wipes because of the waste, but I can't pass up a free sample to test something from Seventh Generation. These wipes are just what they say, free and clear. They contain no perfume, dyes, and made for sensitive skin. They are a great alternative to the traditional wipes on the market and the best part is, these wipes from Seventh Generation are synthetic and chemical-free. I do wish Seventh Generation would work toward more environmentally friendly packaging though.

A few more things:

• It's almost football season, what's your fight song?

Waste-free kitchen towels. If you can sew a straight line you can make these.

Workout playlist from Peanut Butter Fingers.

Have a nice weekend!
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Five simple things


We have had a rough week. Last Thursday we said goodbye to our little kitty, Meia, and it's left quite a hole in our hearts. Last Friday I didn't feel like posting a "Five simple things" because of this and since Thursday all of us have been in grief mode. On Tuesday we got to see our precious cat one last time before she was cremated and it was heartbreaking. The Bean grew up with Meia always around, just like Baz and it's been so hard for him. Meia has been with us for almost 18 years. She was the first pet, along with her brother, Milo, The Mr. and I had when we first moved in together. She's been our "relationship" pet all these years, saw the passing of her brother, saw the passing of three of our pets before her, saw the arrival of The Bean, moved with us to Oregon from Arkansas, and was our little house cat. I can't even begin to explain how much she meant to us and how much she will dearly, wholeheartedly, and terribly missed by all three of us. Having lost two of our longtime pets in less than a year is incredibly difficult to accept. They were amazing animals and they have definitely left a void in our lives. Please take a moment to read my blog post dedicated to our sweet Meia here.

Here are "Five simple things" that made my week.

1. These peas...

Things are coming along nicely.
"In order to live off a garden, you have to practically live in it." 
― "Kin" Hubbard, American humorist (1868-1930)

2. This cottonwood seed...

They are everywhere and almost like snow.

3. Some river floating...

Two weekends in a row now we have floated some of the area rivers including, the Willamette River and the Santiam River. This is the first summer that we have floated these rivers and we have been having a blast!

4. This lid and Klean Kanteen...

This Klean Kanteen came with a plastic lid, I ordered a stainless steel lid to use instead. The plastic lid will be sold in a future yard sale we have planned before summer ends. The Bean has been using this stainless steel water bottle for his water and I think it's been filled at least 100x this week alone. You can get the same one here.

5. Lastly, our missed Meia.

We are really missing her and her sweet personality. Please take a minute to read about what a great cat Meia was here, and here

Sweet Meia

I feel like our hearts have been put through a test since last September. Not even being a year since we lost our beloved Baz and still not fully healed, we had another blow to our hearts. We let go of another one of our wonderful pets after almost 18 years.

Our sweet, loveable, little, Meia, left us on Thursday and we are all still emotionally numb. Last Friday I didn't really feel like posting for my "Five simple things" because most of the day we were all confused, hurt, and just lost. I felt like I kept hearing her little meow from under the bed and looking at her food bowls really broke my heart. The three of us took Friday off from everything and just used the day to grieve. The Mr. was able to go back to work on Saturday and keep his mind active, but The Bean and I really struggled. The Mr. said he took a few times throughout the day to excuse himself while he walked a hallway at work with tears in his eyes, or went to a back room at work to have a private moment to reflect on what great pets we've lost in less than a year and mourn for Meia.

Pets are such great companionship and Baz was all of our companions, but Meia was different. She was mainly my cat. She was Siamese/Persian and the runt of the litter she was born into. She was always so small and as The Mr. put it, "A forever kitten." I think that phrase defined her in a perfect way.

Meia was born in 2000 and came into our lives the same year in October. She was the only female in the bunch; With the other three being her brothers. My sister had lost her kitten, Max, a few months prior and had talked The Mr. and I into going with her to a pet store in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to find another kitty to help her get through her loss. We found the lucky foursome huddled in a corner of a cage at a pet shop in the local mall for $25 each. My sister talked The Mr. and I into taking two and she took the other two with the hopes that we could have them play together on random days and enjoy our kittens together. Unfortunately, after seperating the four they never bonded again together as a four and they were all really skittish in their behavior. Her two kittens, Cooper and Norman, became friends and our two kittens, Milo and Meia, became friends. Milo and Meia were colored the same, but were opposite in coloring. Milo was mostly dark gray with some white and Meia was mostly white with her dark gray ears and dark gray tail. She was definitely one of a kind in her coloring and personality.

Milo and Meia were such great cats over the next six years. They both would sit with me in our living room in Arkansas and eat cheese out of my hand and slowly they started trusting me and coming out slowly to socialize with us. We started letting them go outside more and Milo would climb trees, chase birds, and be a normal cat. Meia, on the other hand, never climbed a tree, was scared of birds, and would stay close to the porch and watch her brother play. She had moments where she would follow him through the woods, but shortly after she would come running back to the safety of the house. She wasn't a normal cat and we noticed as she got older in age, she always remained small like a kitten. Milo took care of her, though. Because of her being so tiny and not quite fully developed physically and mentally she needed him. He helped groom her, showed her where the food was, and also helped her in and out of the litter box from time to time. They were always together, running around together, and playing together, until Milo's kidney issues took him away from us in 2006. After Milo's passing Meia was lost. She didn't come out from under the bed for four days and she didn't know what to do after he was gone. It broke our hearts to see her grieving for him. I tried several attempts to get her to warm up to me and trust me again. I finally got her to come around after several days and she started opening up to me more, sleeping with me, and before long I became her person to help her get through life. 

She and I would sit together and just enjoy each other's company. She was such a great cat overall and over the years she started showing her great personality to The Mr. and The Bean. She would come into the kitchen when The Mr. was getting ready for work and talk to him while he made his lunch for the day. That is one thing Meia enjoyed, talking. She would sit and meow at us in different tones and tell us so many things.

She would sit in the windows waiting on all three of us, or one of us, when we left the house. She watched out for us and Baz. When we brought Hardy into the family she immediately showed him the first love. She loved other animals completely, but she thought dogs were great! She showed Baz and Hardy so much love throughout the years and they loved her in return. When Baz started getting sick she stuck by his side. She loved him and he loved her. She outlived all of her brothers in the end, with Milo passing first, then Norman passing in 2014, and Cooper following in 2016.


Meia was more than a cat, she was our sweet, little, friend that showed her love for us the older she got. She saw the arrival of The Bean and watched him grow up. She traveled from Arkansas to Oregon, moved with us all four times. We were hoping to have a full 20 years with her and have her take the next steps in our life with us. I don't feel that 17 years and nine months is enough for her, or any animal, and having her poor, little heart fail her in the end just isn't fair. Meia was one of a kind and deserved a better end to her wonderful life. She and Baz are missed so much by everyone that knew them both completely. Our family Christmas pictures won't be the same without her and the 17 years she graced our social media accounts, text messages, and paper photographs. Her presence is missed so much by us and our hearts are broken knowing she is gone. Pets give us so much in their life and in the end, letting go is the hardest part.

Her last picture on the way to the veterinarian to be euthanized. I enjoyed her cuddling with me and spending these last moments by her side. With years of loyalty a pet gives it is our duty to repay them and be with them until their final heartbeat.

We'll be seeing you, Meia.
Thank you for 17 years of loyalty and love.

Baby Meierz (October 20, 2000 - August 9, 2018)

The source of this is unknown, but this gravesite of "Dewey" sums up a lot of how I feel about my sweet, little Meia.

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” ― A.A. Milne