Relaxing Weekend

It was nice that I did not have any plans this weekend except for the dentist on Friday. I spent some time each day outside working on our yard. I try not to do too much at once though. Yesterday I planted my tomato plants that my mom gave me. She grew them from seed this year.

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I’m hoping I did not plant them too close together. I plan on building a raised vegetable garden this year so it is ready for plants in the spring. Until then, I just had to find a spot for these tomatoes. Our ground is very rocky though, so it takes me a long time just to dig this small hole. Around the tomatoes, you can see all of the rocks I had dug up to make the hole.

Today, I planted a couple hostas. I have already planted around 12 groups of them, but I still have more to put in the ground. I’m just going to try to plant a few whenever I get the chance. I also have a couple of lily plants that my brother gave me last weekend for my birthday that I still need to find a spot for. I love getting plants from people, because, when we bought our house last year, there was only one plant (a hydrangea) on the property. Eventually I hope to have a lot of garden beds full of flowers. Spending time outside also puts me in a good mood and helps me feel accomplished even if I only have the energy to put one plant in the ground.

Besides spending time outside, I also baked a loaf of banana bread. The house smells really nice, and I might need to have a piece tonight even though I made it for breakfasts for the week. I’m not patient when it comes to fresh baked goods.

I also had a great dinner. So far, this is my favorite way to make salmon.

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My husband has been doing all of the dinners lately. In the warm weather, he loves using the grill. He isn’t a fan of salmon though, but I prepared myself a piece, and he put it on the grill for me while he made himself a cheeseburger. I put the salmon in tin foil sprayed with cooking spray. I drizzled it with lemon juice and sprinkled it with a little Mrs. Dash and parsley. Lastly, I topped it with a couple slices of tomato and folded the tin foil around it. In another piece of tin foil, I put some sliced yellow squash. Travis cooked them on the grill for me. This is my favorite way I have made salmon so far. The slices of tomato kept it really moist. I think I will have some banana bread for dessert.

Starting December Off Right!

I woke up to a thin covering of snow, the perfect start to a festive December. My Christmas cactus also seems to be aware of the month, because I have my first bud. I can’t wait to see it when it opens.

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My mom gave it to me a month or two ago. Knowing nothing about cacti, I have been afraid of over or under watering it, but I must be doing something right seeing it has a single pink bud.

With Christmas coming, I have been craving cookies lately. I am currently making some Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip. Yum!

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I should probably stop eating batter and start making myself some real dinner now. Here is the recipe from Betty Crocker for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies where I added a cup of chocolate chips:

I made almost 4 dozen.

2/3 c sugar

2/3 c packed brown sugar

1/2 c margarine, softened

1/2 c shortening

1 t baking soda

1 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla

2 large eggs

1 c flour

1 c raisins

1 c chocolate chips

3 c oats

1. Heat oven to 375*F

2. In large bowl, beat all ingredients except flour, raisins, choc chips, and oats with mixer. Stir in flour, raisins, choc chips, and oats.

3. On ungreased sheet, drop dough by tablespoonfuls.

4. Bake 8 minutes or until light brown.

Adventures with an Aloe Plant

My mom gave me an aloe plant last weekend along with a Christmas cactus, my first house plants in our new house. One of the leaves of my aloe plant had broken off in the move, so I wanted to make use of it.

Here is my aloe plant:

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I think it is great to have such a useful plant. I didn’t have a sunburn or anything, but using the aloe on my face still felt really nice, and my skin was very soft afterwards. Here is the leaf before I sliced into it with a butter knife:

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I just sliced it in half the long way. Then I scraped out the aloe gel into a container. The empty leaves still had a little aloe in them, so I just rubbed them on my face until it was used up. I left the aloe on my face for 20 minutes before I hopped in the shower and rinsed it off.

I found this video very helpful in learning how to use my aloe plant:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HFCnSAiUJs

The owner of this video also has a blog with other natural beauty tips:

http://daniellebeautybliss.wordpress.com/