Monday, August 16, 2010

Money-Free Weekend #4

Last weekend was so busy and full, that this will be only some of the highlights. Matt, the hard working banker, had to put in a half day of work. I kissed him goodbye and then did some cleaning. The whole time wondering, how does the house get so dirty during the week? We hardly spend any time in it! At 9:00, three of my girlfriends showed up for a money-free spa party. I asked everyone to bring something for breakfast and some spare spa and bath products. I organized the products on the counter and made a little gift basket of samples I've seemed to accumulated over the years. We soaked our feet, and gave ourselves manicures. Then we ate a delicious healthy breakfast. It was as much fun as the spa, and much cheaper. Not to mention, I got my bathroom closet cleaned out in the process!

When Matt got home he changed and we ate lunch. Then we packed up our camera and headed up to Ceasar's Head. When we go there, the parking lot was under construction. We weren't sure we'd be able to make to the overlook, but we asked permission to cross the construction site. Two rangers came out to watch Matt, Henry and I struggle up the sandy hill. Every once in a while they would call out a suggestion. It seemed to take a very long time to cross that parking lot. It was a hazy day again, but we still got some breathtaking views of the mountains. And our plant pictures seem to benefit from the overcast conditions. We experimented with different settings on our camera and tried to take pictures of all striking plants we saw on our hike.

We started driving back down the mountain just before the rain that had been threatening all day poured down with vengeance. On the way home, we stopped at Walgreen's to get some of our pictures developed. It was still pouring rain, so we got absolutely drenched getting out of the car. We squeaked our way through Walgreen's, and took about twenty minutes trying to figure out how to use the picture developer thing. While our pictures were being developed, we ran over to the grocery store where I had to pick up some apple cider vinegar ($3). Then we went to pick up our pictures and got, if possible, even more wet. We were very happy to get home and get in some dry clothes. After dinner we finally got a start on our nature journal. We had a journal we'd purchased when we were dating but never used; so with that and all my scrapbooking materials, all we needed were our pictures ($7). We pulled out some field guides and started to identify some of the things we'd found. Right before going to bed we watched a movie we'd been wanting to see for a while.

Sunday afternoon we took a picnic lunch to Jones Gap - probably our favorite place in the mountains. We spent the afternoon hiking and continuing to experiment with our camera. After the rain, the river was swirling down the rocks more loudly that usual and the green glowed in a hundred shades. Matt and I were talking about the C.S. Lewis story in which someone's memories of trees are solid green balls on crudely imagined trunks and the grass is just a solid green mass with no detail or variance. Exploring Jones Gap on a day like yesterday makes me overwhelming grateful for the mind of God to envision and create so many different aspects of green! Just before we left, I took Henry out on some rocks in the middle of the river. I love watching him navigate the rocks and seeing him jumping around like a baby mountain lion.

When we got home, we worked on yet another project I've been wanting to do for a while. Even though the Hawaii trip is our Christmas present to ourselves, my dad told me that it could not be our present to everyone else. And since I condone and try to live a sugar-free lifestyle, I've been collecting ideas for Christmas goodies that do not resemble cookies, fudge, or caramel corn (ok, I'll take caramel corn). One of the ideas was for hot pepper vinegar. Between Matt's garden and his dad's garden, I had a huge paper grocery bag of beautiful red peppers. We heated apple cider vinegar, arranged the peppers in quart jars, then poured the vinegar over the peppers. (Some of you should not look too closely at this pictures - it could be your Christmas present).

We had another great weekend! I was so happy to get to some of the projects that have been on my list for months, and we spent most of our time outside - no complaining that we "didn't do anything." Thanks for reading and sharing your comments. I'd love to hear what any of you have been doing on your weekends!


  1. Your peppers are stunning! (I'll admit to being partial to caramel corn, though, especially after being diabetic!)

  2. RIP Elizabeth's blog.

    Wherever did you disappear off to?


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