How to Relax for Free

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One thing that’s really been helping me relax and get well has been so simple (and free!) – just getting outdoors, taking in the fresh Carolina air, and enjoying the natural beauty all around me.

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I haven’t been interested in doing much over the last couple sick days (in face, I’ve barely left the house), but I did try to take a couple minutes here and there to just go in my backyard and check out how the plants are doing.

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I’ve enjoyed seeing how the herbs my mom gave me are doing.

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Watching how herbs from last year that I thought would die during the winter have come back full force.

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Checking out how the plants I’ve not placed around the yard are doing. I hope they like their new home!

(my mom told me that my dad liked to plant the little blue flowers for his mom)

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These two strawberry plants are awaiting a project this weekend. I’m hoping to find some strawberry pots for them.

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But most of the plants I purchased with my mom at the farmers market are now in the ground and hopefully spreading their roots.

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We have a lot of shady areas in the back yard, which makes plant buying a little more difficult. I love how the pink leaves on this plant bring in color without flowers.

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My squash seeds are really growing now! I’m hoping to have squash I can actually eat in 2-4 weeks.

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I’m hoping this baby lavender plant does well – there are a few lavender recipes I’ve been wanting to try!

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And look here – future banana peppers!

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My square foot garden – oh how I’m loving watching you grow and grow.

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These tiny flower buds are forming on the tomato plants. I’m hoping for cherry and green zebra tomatoes in 1-3 weeks!

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My tri-color green beans are coming right along. Only a couple of the seeds didn’t sprout, so I planted new ones. They’ll be up in no time.

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A gorgeous lemon thyme.

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And tarragon! We’ll see how everything does where I put it. *fingers crossed*

Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up in every day life and forget to pay attention to little details. But, there’s something so peaceful in just being outside, feeling wind blowing around you, hearing birds chirp. I’m really enjoying watching my plants grow and take shape…seeing flowers bud and bloom…watching seedlings develop fruits. Every day, I see a little something different. ;)

But, you don’t need your own garden or yard to take in nature. Go for a walk, look at your neighbors plants (the ones in public view, not the ones in their back yard! lol), notice the details in a single flower, visit a park. Get thee outdoors, breathe in that wonderful, fresh air, and get omm with nature.

How do you relax for free?

Get Well Eats

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I’ve been under the weather still for the last couple days. *sad face* Thusly, my eats have been pretty boring. Here are some of the things I’ve been noshing on…

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oatmeal…with that raw cacao I picked up awhile back!

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Earthfare turkey burger, steamed broccoli, and onion rings (can ya tell hubby made dinner? lol)

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A TCL staple – fried cage-free egg with rye bagel

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Mom’s Get Well Soup (chicken and rice) and lots of hot tea.

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Did I mention my Mom’s Get Well soup?

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Oh and here’s a photo of the plants my mom and I picked up this weekend – lots of herbs and pretty plants.

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And I’ve been working on a little something-something in the kitchen. Any guesses what it is?

What’s the one thing you eat over and over again when you’re sick? I think I eat my Mom’s Get Well Soup more than anything. You?

Flowers at the Chic House

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Spring is really on the way and the flowers are in full bloom. Check out some of these gorgeous blooms!

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We really lucked out the previous homeowner liked gardening so much.

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We have so many flowers all around – azaleas

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heirloom azaleas

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heirloom tulips

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things just keep popping up out of the ground.

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Any day now it will be time to plant something new – my vegetable garden! Tomorrow’s looking good if I can take a long enough break from work. It is Earth Day after all!

Are you planning to do anything fun for Earth Day? Last year I planted my very first vegetable garden (click). I’m thinking it could become an annual tradition!

fANNEtastic Outing

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Thank goodness for a long weekend! Hooray!

Thank you so much for all the birthday tips and suggestions yesterday. If you have any to add, please feel free!

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Lookie who I got to hang out with today – it’s Anne P of fANNEtastic food!

But first, we had breakfast:

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Coffee, fried farmers market egg and coffee cake.

The morning was going well till I discovered something truly freaky!

(If you’re squeemish, you may want to skip over the next 3 photos quickly)

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My twitter friends can probably easily guess what this 5 foot monstrosity is.

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It’s a freakin SNAKE SKIN! Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww! :(

This totally caught me off guard today when I saw it in my backyard. Sooo freaky! I just hope it’s a black snake since those are the good ones.

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Enjoyed a nice, giant yerba mate for a little pick me up in one of my favorite mugs. I adore the flowers on this mug…

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…and especially the ones on the inside, which you can see once you’re done with your tea.

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Lunch was another pantry raid. I didn’t do so hot planning lunch meals this week, so I relied heavily upon my well-stocked pantry.

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Add in some udon noodles, frozen broccoli, soy sauce and sesame seeds and call it a day. Not quite as good as my 3, 2, 1 Veggie Noodles (click for recipe) but it was great, especially considering the convenience factor.

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I snacked on some Dakota toast with Justin’s chocolate PB later.

***

Then, I rushed out the door to zumba! And guess what I wore?

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So, did you guess right about my zumba top yesterday?

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If you guessed I cut it, you guessed right! I was pretty nervous about cutting so much of my shirt off, but it turned out ok.

I was in such a rush today, I didn’t get any photos, but I promise to share some later. ;)

Anywho, enjoyed an hour of zumba tonight! So fun, so energizing and just the right thing to get my weekend started off on the right foot!

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After zumba, I took a quick shower and met up with Anne, Caitlin, Brittney, Greg (not pictured), Sarah, TK, and Kristien at Big Daddy’s

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I got a small spinach salad with bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, blueberries, feta, walnuts and balsamic.

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And Nick’s Patty Melt with sweet potato fries. I managed to eat about half of everything and saved the leftovers for hubby.

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We even got a quick tour of Kristien’s new office! It looks fabulous!

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Then it was time for froyo!

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I got tart plain, taro, fresh fruit, coconut and of course…mochi cakes (which I convinced some of the others to try)!

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Then it was time to go home and give Bailey and hubby a big hug and kiss.

***

If you need a good laugh, here are two hilarious web sites you must read…go now:

:lol:

What are some funny web sites you’ve seen lately?

60 Percent Local Plate

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My yard and garden surprise me every day! It seems like there is always something new going on.

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We have these tall leaf plants that started sprouting big, bright, beautiful red flowers!

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Check out the beetle on this one. Apparently the beetles really like this plant – I saw a few of them on there.

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I feel so lucky the lady who lived here before us liked plants because plants are expensive! It would cost us a small fortune to add all the plants that were already here. I didn’t appreciate that when we were house-hunting but I sure do now!

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My cherry tomato plants are going crazy popping up lots of little green guys everywhere.

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I think I could eat all the tomatoes my garden is currently growing in a week. I think I may need some more square foot gardens next year.

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Baby and future tomatoes!

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Baby green zebras.

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And I spotted something really cool over the last couple days…

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baby green beans! Look at that tiny one near the top!

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And I’m so glad my dahlia plant is looking nice and happy. At least I think blooms = happy plant. I love these little pink guys beside the dahlias.

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I whipped up some pan-seared scallops for dinner.

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On the side – sauteed squash, local zucchini and onion, plus some of the rosemary asiago foccacia purchased at the farmers market earlier. I had a 60% (guestimate) local plate!

I’m still new to cooking scallops so I haven’t really figured out the best way to cook them. I found a fabulous Ellie recipe for grilled scallops online, but tonight I went simple – seasoned with salt and pepper, topped with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end of cooking. Sadly, they were a little gritty?? Not sure what that means but I heard it could be the fish monger and I should try to get diver scallops? What are your scallop cooking tips/tricks?

The squash was tender and lovely. I almost could have stopped cooking them early – I like them a little crisp tender.

The foccacia was really tasty. I re-heated it in the oven for a fresh-baked taste, then drizzled it lightly with EVOO and added a sprinkling of salt. Is anything better than fresh-baked bread!?

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I met up with friends from earlier for dessert at TCBY – Caroline, Moi, Kath, + Sarah (plus Karen and Matt, not pictured)

I was a little late joining the group because Google Maps totally failed me. It said the froyo place was really close to my house so I didn’t allot enough time for commute. Oops!

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For my froyo I got pistachio and white chocolate mousse. On top – nuts, coconut, and chocolate syrup.

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The star of the evening was the brownie Kath gave me to top my froyo – so yum!

We enjoyed some fresh air outside. The night was so hot, my frozen yogurt didn’t stay frozen long. A lot of it melted before I could finish it, but I still slurped it up. I definitely think I like Yoforia better (more flavors and better toppings), but I did really enjoy something Yoforia doesn’t have – the pistachio flavor! Plus, dessert with friends is always an awesome time.

I leave you with a fun video:

I saw this on TV today and it was too cool! I hope they get their own Vegas show! Good luck Fighting Gravity!

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