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Five Simple Things (March 10)

 Hello.

Here are five things this week.

1. This Weather.


The above pictures all happened on March 8. We got a large amount of sleet early in the morning and it sleeted off and on until around noon, to which a rainbow appeared shortly after and the sun stayed out for another few hours. It was unusual, but it seems to be the norm in this area now. After the March 8 weather, on March 10, which is below, we had a little bit of snow in the morning and then the rest of the day we got a large amount of snow that fell in a short bursts throughout the day. 

 

 
Skylar and I love to always see the snow coming down. We are like the delightful little kids running out to play without a care in the world when the snow starts to fall. It was not only a beautiful sight, it was also neat to see it falling at random times throughout the night.

2. This Moment.

My humidifier created some ambiance against my vintage lamp one night this week and I just loved how it looked. I love old history, and this moment sort of made me feel like I had gone back in time for a brief moment.

3. This Kitty.


She's always up to something that makes us laugh. If it's not her laying on the television area, to sleeping, to exploring her grass/water station, she's always doing something to make us smile. We just love her so much. With having Meia gone, we are glad to have another great cat helping fill that void from time to time. Meia's absence, as well as Milo's, is always felt, but Eleven makes that hole just a bit less painful with her personality.

4. This Box.

Another great hit from Kiwi Eco Box this month. Love these colored pencils, candle, and Eco Hero Handbook. Looking forward to utilizing everything in this month's box! You can sign up for the April box here and get $5 off.

5. These Washes.

Loving these Necessaire body washes. Skylar and I absolutely love the eucalyptus scent, and the bergamot is a close second, for sure. Definitely recommend these products. Necessaire also sells body lotions with the same scents, and unscented, and they are top notch! You can try the Eucalyptus here and the Bergamot here. You'll love them!

One last thing:

Lately we have not been feeling 100%, so this week a made a homemade immunity shot and we drank one ounce of it a day all this week and we are feeling a lot better. This is something I am going to start making each Sunday, so we have a shot every day for a week, especially when the weather turns colder and more people seem to be getting sick. This season, knock on wood, we haven't had any sickness pass through us, but it's always better to be prepared. Here's how it's made.

Turmeric Immunity Shot:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons ginger (chopped)
  • 1 orange (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 lemons (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
Pulse everything for 20-30 seconds in a food processor, or blender. I use a blender with a metal drive and it works great to grind everything up. Strain through cheese cloth and pour into individual two ounce bottles.(I use these) Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Drink an ounce to two ounces a day, which is about a shot glass size. If you don't use the one ounce containers you can store all of it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and just pour a shot glass size every day instead. 

 

Positive affirmations this week:

Unfortunately, when you start to get better, you're also going to get really sad. The hard truth of getting better means revisiting things we aren't comfortable with. During my therapy sessions there's many times I had to stop to reposition my mind in order to be able to talk about the hard things. One incident in particular took me almost three months to completely get my feelings, trauma, and emotional state out, because it was hard for me to get past the sadness. Overall, it's something that has to happen and it's the worst part of therapy. A positive with it is that once we get past the sadness you start to get better. It's true and it's such a wonderful feeling getting past that sadness. You can do this! You can get better! You are going to be okay! We are broken for a moment, but then repaired for a lifetime. Remember, you aren't your trauma. It happened to you, it doesn't define you and you are strong! ♥

Have a nice weekend.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Five Ways

Nothing is more comforting in our house than a warm chocolate chip cookie straight from the oven. I have about 20 different ways to make chocolate chip cookies, but these five are our most loved. 

#1 •Coconut-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2/3 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup coconut oil, solid
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
Cream together until light in color and "fluffy"
2 eggs (add one at a time)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix until well combined
In a separate bowl:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
Add dry to wet
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
(Makes three dozen)

***

#2 Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies:

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cubes butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tbs. honey
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups vanilla chips
Cream sugar, honey, butter, eggs, and
vanilla together until light in color.
Sift dry ingredients together until combined.
Add vanilla chips and drop by tablespoonfuls.
Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
(Makes three dozen)

***

#3 Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2 cups butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
5 eggs
5 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 package chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and eggs. Beat well.
Add dry ingredients together and add to 
butter mixture. Add chocolate chips and mix 
to incorporate. Drop by teaspoonfuls and 
bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Of course, all of these recipes are a bit different, but give the same result of a chocolate chip cookie. Bake all of them at random times and find out which one is your favorite. The quality of ingredients are important here with these recipes. Keep in mind, when you use lesser quality ingredients you will get a lesser quality cookie. We eat only organic in our household, and your tastes are geared towards what you eat on a regular basis. If you are not completely organic, change one ingredients in your recipes at a time when you cook or bake and eventually you'll be using all organic for certain recipes. Try on of these chocolate chip cookie recipes with all organic and see how you like it.

#4 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two baking 
sheets with parchment paper.
Cream butter until smooth and add peanut butter,
and both sugars, beat well until combined.
Add eggs and beat well. Mix dry ingredients together.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients gradually until combined.
Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Scoop small portions onto sheet.
Bake 15 minutes until just firm around edges. Don't overbake.
(Makes two dozen)

***

#5 Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies:

3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks melted and cooled butter
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 cups chocolate disks

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat butter and sugars until fluffy.
Add eggs, and egg yolks. Combine after each addition, but do not
over mix. Add vanilla. Combine all dry ingredients until combined and 
add dry to wet mix and mix well. Add in chocolate disks by hand.
Bake about 10 minutes until edges are just golden in color.

And lastly, since we can all admit that we eat some of the cookie dough before it reaches the oven, here's a better version of cookie dough that won't have the potential to possibly make you sick.

Edible Cookie Dough:

1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups (heat-treated flour)*
1-2 cups chocolate chips (depending on taste)

Combine melted butter, vanilla, water, and 
sugar until smooth. Add salt and flour to mix.
Mix thoroughly before adding chocolate chips.
Eat right away, or refrigerate for up to three
days. Try freezing into balls and dip in
melted chocolate.

*How to make heat-treated flour:
Heat by one cup at a time in microwave.
30 minutes at a time, stirring between,
Make sure the flour reaches 165-170 degrees
before removing. Or, place in oven at 300 degrees.
Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for about
five minutes. Check the flour in several places
to make sure it has reached 165 degrees.

Picnic-Style Potato Salad

 One thing is certain in our house and that's the fact that everyone in this house loves potato salad. But not just any potato salad, it has to be made right. There's a lot of different versions out there, but this version is by far, our favorite. And it's easy to make, which is a plus. I hate cooking, baking, all of it. I can't stand being in the kitchen longer than 10 minutes making anything to eat. So, the easier the recipe, the better. You're going to love this potato salad, and the best part is, you can add anything to it that your own family loves. Here's how it's made.


Ingredients:
  • 5 red potatoes (this recipe can be double, or tripled, just work in single recipe batches)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup dill pickles
  • 1 green onion
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons green onion dip mix
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or less to taste)
  • 3/4 cup minced parsley
  • 3/4 cup mustard (or less to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 
Boil potatoes for about 10-15 minutes. Drain and cool to at least room temperature. Chop into medium to small chunks, size depends on your preference. Chop hard-boiled eggs, pickles, and green onions. Rough chop the eggs, dice the pickles into small pieces, and chop the green onions into smaller pieces. Combine pickles, onions, mayonnaise, dip mix, vinegar, parsley, mustard, salt, and pepper together into a large bowl. If making a double batch, or triple batch, mix everything in separate bowls for each recipe. Add chopped potatoes to mixture and toss, then add eggs last. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
Enjoy!

 

Five Simple Things (March 3)

 Hello.

Here are five things this week.

1. This Snow.

The Willamette Valley got another light dusting of snowfall this week and the little feet prints across the lawn were just too cute not to share. From tiny Chickadee feet to large Quappy Duck feet, I just love it!


2. This Sandwich.

Shout-out to our local food co-op (First Alternative) for making the absolute best sandwiches. Nothing beats them!

3. This Before/After.

We recently downsized our main closet and ended up giving it a complete overhaul. This house is over 80 years old and a lot of the original built-ins and hardware still remain. We've tried our best to seek out period lighting, metals, and items that would have been put into homes back in that time. Unfortunately this house caught fire in the 80s, so we aren't sure exactly what was replaced during that time, but going back to when we "think" what would have been in the house during the 1930s has been a lot of fun. 

The first task was to remove everything from the closet and give it a good wash. Dust collects in this house quite easily, because the seals around the house need to be redone, but we do our best to keep the dust at bay by doing a weekly and thorough cleaning. It's become part of our weekly routine now. While cleaning out the closet, even though there's a lot of light in the area, Skylar put on a headlamp to really get into the dark corners of the closet.☺

Once everything was out and the closet was thoroughly cleaned, we began patching up holes and using plaster for other areas that haven't seen love in a very long time.


When we finished the patching and plastering, we then brainstormed what to do next. We decided to pull up the linoleum someone had laid at one point on the bottom of the closet and replace that area with clean plywood and sand it down to fit the bottom of the closet floor. We also scraped and sanded the back of the closet where the lower shelf meets the back of the closet wall. At one point someone had taken spray foam and sealed that area up. We scraped all of that away and replaced it with a bead of caulking, plaster, and a coat of primer.



We went with two different paint colors. For the back walls and the shelves we used Scandinavian Minimalist Line at Lowe's in the color of Morning Fog. For the trim, border, and surrounding walls we used the Industrial Refresh Line at Lowe's in the color of Greek Villa. We loved how it turned out and we have even incorporated the Morning Fog color, which I immediately fell in love with, throughout the rest of the house. We painted the open squares on the door leading to the room with the build-in closet, and are working on painting all the frames of the doorways with the same color. There is also a nook near the staircase that will get a fresh coat of Morning Fog, as well.

4. This Kitty.

When I lay down in the evenings and get situated, I can always count on Eleven to come and seek me out to lay down with me. She has become really attached to me since my surgery in 2020. It's odd how she didn't have much to do with me until she knew I was hurting and "sick." I love how she's opened up to me and shows her affection now. We really bonded over the almost six months it took me to recover. Now she follows me around and watches me to make sure I'm okay.

5. These Shipments.


These two shipments came this week and I always love getting mail, even as an adult. First was the Might Fix for this month. This little Fruit Buddy goes over fruits to help protect them from moisture and to help them last longer. It's the cutest thing over an avocado in the refrigerator. You can try Mighty Nest for free here. It's a great addition each month to help you switch your home to be more sustainable. 

The next box that came was our shipment from Misfits Market. We love this grocery subscription. When we are pressed for time and can't fit in a trip to the grocery store for pantry staples, it's a great way to help us out in a pinch. This month as be hectic and this week alone has been extremely busy, so this shipment has really come in handy. They have organic options that we love since going completely organic in our home. As you can see from the picture above, this haul was a good one! You can sign up here and get 10% off your first order from us.

One last thing:
With all the snow falling lately it's important to know how to make the perfect snowball, right? Per the instructions below, and the help of Elf, it's good information to have on hand. It's also the time of year where snow skiing picks up and ski etiquette is a good lesson to learn, as well. Both of these illustrations are from the ever so informative site The Art of Manliness. It's not just for men anymore


Positive affirmations this week:

Just a reminder, it's always better to check on someone than not. This is your reminder to give someone a call, or text that needs to be check up on. Always reach out to those that can't reach out for themselves. If you yourself are struggling, please reach out for help. My email address is in the "About" section on my blog. I am here, too. Let's keep each other afloat.♥

Have a nice weekend.

Our Cancer Scare

 A few years ago Skylar had a lump suddenly appear on his chest, like right in the middle between his rib bones. It was such an odd lump that we initially thought he might have been hit in the chest somehow and it was a scar. He has played baseball and been hit in the chest, as well as karate and there's been many times where he was hit in the chest by random pop flies, or Bahng Mahng Ee during combat with Taekwondo. Skip ahead several years to now. He started complaining of the spot around Christmas last year, saying how it was hurting him sometimes when he was in the shower, or barely bumping it putting his clothes on. I told him to let us know immediately if it started hurting worse and last week it did. It was hurting him so much so that he would tear up at the pain. Jeff made at appointment at a dermatologist right away and this week they were able to get him in for an evaluation. 

During his evaluation we learned that the lump was actually a cyst that needed to be removed. Of course that was the easy part to understand, the hard part was that the tissue needed to be tested to make sure it wasn't cancerous. His evaluation took place the day before Valentine's Day, so the office iguana was all dressed for the holiday and it was a nice thing to see during our stressful time there.

His next appointment to remove the cyst took place 15 days later and Skylar was nervous and so were we. I hate to see my baby in any sort of pain and the anxiety we all had was pretty high. We knew this was a routine biopsy, but this was our first time going through something like this. Skylar brought the stuffed "Swells" dog that we all take to serious operations or procedures for comfort. It does help when something familiar is near you, or in your arms. I used the same thing during my breast surgery in 2020.


The dermatologist numbed the area and cut open the area and removed the mass in a matter of 10 minutes. He cauterized the area and sewed it up and quickly as he removed it. The mass was a lot larger than we all expected and I couldn't help but cry watching Skylar go through all of that. It still is a bit emotional for us. Next we wait on the results to see if there's any cancer cells. Our hearts are still heavy.

We are just glad the first part is done and we can focus on positive thoughts until the results come in. We decided that we are not going to react until we get the results. We have high hopes that it will be negative, so we are focusing on good things right now. The iguana in the office was all dressed for Saint Patrick's Day coming up, too. So again, that was a nice distraction for us again.

When we got home I had made Skylar's favorite apple pie and it was waiting on him to enjoy. Jeff and I also got him all his favorite foods and drinks and he will be taken care of 100%. He said his chest is sore and burns a little, but overall he is tired. He has been sleeping a lot and we make sure he is comfortable while he heals.