Saturday, January 31, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Today was one of those days where I woke up with a smile on my face. Actually it is Wednesday (I'm posting early for privacy purposes :-) and although I am thankful for today, I will still be thankful for today tomorrow (does that make sense?).
Thankfully, The Husband and I had time to spend together this morning even though we did not get up until 7:00. It was very nice of him to stay a little longer to have a little coffee and talk. I have appreciated him a tad more this week since he just arrived home from Naples Monday night. He was there for a golf tournament to benefit The Make A Wish Foundation and it went very well. As some of you may know, our son Kevin is positioned down there for the winter golf season so The Husband's trip was beneficial (and coincidental) in seeing Kevin again since we were down at Christmas. They had a really great time together when they had the chance and I am so happy for Kevin because I think outside of work he is quite lonely. But he will be back home in the spring and we might just pay him another visit over spring break. So...I missed The Husband! He was tired when I picked him up from the airport (he had to switch planes in Orlando) so he simply ate the nice stew I had made ahead of time and dropped. I didn't think I would miss him so much and although the girls were not home much and it was pretty quiet around here, it was really a longing for his company! Sometimes that feeling ebbs and flows when you have been married as long as we have but it was definitely flowing this past weekend! So we had a nice chat and it was a nice way to start the day.
The girls were both buzzing around the kitchen together at breakfast and I don't think an unkind word was said. That is par for the course (I must have golf on my mind). I think every mother wishes their children always got along but Emily and Abby are polar opposites. But they made me proud this morning and maybe surprised themselves...
After I dropped Abby off at school I snuck around to the front doors to deliver a special "secret" envelope to the office. She is going on a Kairos retreat this weekend at an "undisclosed" location (somewhere on the Illinois/Wisconsin border) and the letters are from The Husband and I which will be read at the Friendship Ceremony. She is so thrilled to be going. Many of the other senior girls (she attends an all girl school) have gone on the retreat but they are sworn to secrecy. Can you believe a teenage girl keeping a secret? Anyway, we wrote our letters last night telling Abby how special she is, how proud we are, what she means to us...I had tears in my eyes as I took a mental walk down memory lane. This is my baby, my last child to go to Kairos and soon she will leave the nest. It is such a paradox of happy and sad feelings. I will need a lot of support from you guys next fall when she leaves for college. But I skipped a little coming out of the school anticipating her hearing our letters. I can really run on and on when writing (who me?) so I know she will feel special and loved.
Today I had another reason to be thankful, the cleaning ladies were here when I got home!! I love it! Two days a month I don't have to make my own bed and you all know I love a made bed. I love these two woman. They work soooo hard to make me happy and to support their families both here and in Poland. Although we don't always understand each other (language-wise), we have a great rapport. I get a tad annoyed when they polish my dresser with windex but I still offer them coffee anyway.
Then it was off to get my hair done. Gosh I love having someone wash my hair!! I turn into mush! And I got really daring (for me anyway) and had two inches lopped off and my bangs cut. The husband will be so surprised if he doesn't mistake me for a boy first! So I was very thankful for my bravery and that it looks o.k. but I haven't tried to put it in a ponytail yet and that would be a travesty because that's my "bad hair day" disguise!!
After that I came home to a shiny clean house and put a nice roast in the oven since I had nothing to clean! And now I am just sitting here reading my favorite blogs, drinking hot cocoa and smelling that wonderful aroma! Ah, life is good. Did I mention the sun was shining today? The snow on the street has started to melt. I almost thought I would see a robin! And that I was thankful for.
So these are just a few little things I am thankful for, but they sure add up. I will definitely go to sleep with a smile on my face, the same way I woke up!!
Happy Thankful Thursday everybody!!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
!) Above picture is pretty self explanatory. I had a brief career in modeling when I was twenty. Success was never an option because I am only 5'2. I did however grace the pages of some obscure fitness magazines wearing aerobic wear and was on two pages of the JC Penney Winter Catalog. Whooo!!!
2) I am fifth in a family of seven. One brother, five sisters. My brother was the oldest and went away to college when I was 11 years old. We girls were left to torture our poor father. He is now 81 and we fawn over him and make up for all that cruelty!
3) As a child I hated sweets. My only "candy" was raisins. 2 years ago I discovered chocolate and I blame my good group of friends called "hormones" for turning me on to this decadent treat. I'm really trying to lose these friends and their bad influences but I think they are going to hang around a little longer.
4) You might call me an animal rescue person. Years ago a squirrel had it's leg caught in the chain of my son's bike lying in the driveway. Try as I might, I could not free the struggling squirrel and suffered many scratches & bites. I finally retrieved a kitchen knife and (close your eyes if you are squeamish) amputated it's foot. I was observed for signs of rabies that I thankfully never developed and for years we have seen a three legged squirrel scampering around our neighborhood. (This is a cross-my-heart true story!!
5) My favorite treat is raspberries & whipped cream. To make: get a small dessert dish, fill with about 1 inch of Reddi Whip (you have to use Reddi Whip. Forget Cool Whip-it is an impostor that should be banned from all supermarket shelves). Layer approximately 1 handful of raspberries, cover with another generous layer of Reddi Whip. Enjoy. Remember, the ratio of whipped cream to berries is 3-1. Feel free to add whipped cream as desired. If no raspberries are available, the whipped cream is fine by itself.
4) I am a killer at Trivial Pursuit. My mind is filled with endless trivial information and I am rightly proud as all good blonde's should be.
5) I am a wonderful gourmet cook and quite modest about it. (!!) I was once an assistant chef at a popular Italian restaurant in Chicago. I was relegated to making salads and was fired when I suggested we blanch the broccoli for a more colorful appearance.
6) Although I live on a lake for most of the year, I am afraid of water. Had a bad experience water skiing once and also...cannot swim.
7) Have a dreadful fear of insects with hard shells; June bugs, crickets, cockroaches, ladybugs...
8) Have to sleep on 3 pillows, (my choice)
9) Have to sleep with 2 dogs on top of me (not my choice)
10) Love to make and can salsa and red sauce from my vegetable garden.
11) Was featured in local newspaper for the above
12) Was nominated for the Excellence in Writing Award at the University of...but lost out to a guy who wrote an essay on aeronautics...
13) After years of getting up at 6:00 a.m. with the children, I became a late sleeper. I am now so grateful to God that I now get up at the crack of dawn to watch the sun come up.
14) I am 80% hearing impaired. I wear hearing aids and read lips. I rely on closed caption to watch T.V.. This is a degenerative disease I was born with and although the prognosis is not good, I am so grateful for the hearing I have left. I would also like to break the stigma that hearing disabilities are only for the "old folks". Every day that I can hear my family talk, and hear the birds sing is a blessing!
15) Foods I abhor: beets, liver, catfish. This list could change if anyone were able to make something with these items that I might tolerate.
16) My mother's maiden name is Doll (German) I always thought it would be cool if she were named Barbie and her brother Ken! (or maybe: Whata) (!!!)
17) Speaking of names, my husband is French and our last name is very common in New Orleans. No further clues!
18) I majored in Art & English
19) I once had 14 cockatiels in my house that I hand fed and raised from babies, products of two very romantic parents I bought not knowing their sexes!
20) Both of my daughters weighed 5 lbs at birth but were extremely healthy!
21) I am a very reclusive person but have an outgoing personality. Go figure.
22) Passions: cooking, gardening, reading, journaling, shopping, traveling, being at the lake, being with my husband & children and dogs, adding to the list!
23) When I was 22, I took a two week vacation to California with only myself. Saw & did a lot of stuff and got to know myself very well!
24) Have been married more years than I have been single!
25) Am absolutely loving blogging. It has given me the opportunity to share of myself with others and get to know so many amazing people. My wish is that we all meet in person someday!
So here it is. I have bared my heart & soul and I suppose there is no further guessing about this strange blonde blogging person. Or perhaps not...we'll see
Friday, January 23, 2009
I call this post my "quest" as I did not realize I had so little pink in my home although I am a very feminine gal and love romantic pastel touches. So I scouted around, room after room like a spy with my trusty camera (not so trusty actually as I can't figure out how to work the blasted thing). "Emily, What is this lightning bolt for?" "It's the flash Mom." O.K. So off we go:
We are going to start with a couple of quilts on my bed. I love old quilts and I have been collecting them over the years from various antique stores in all sorts of small towns in the midwest. Unfortunately, my kids love to crawl under a soft, broken-in quilt at every given opportunity so I have them carefully packed away. Yes, I know this breaks the rule of practicality, but someday I will bring them out again. And display them behind glass!!
This is my favorite and most "broken in" in quilt. I call it a "napping quilt", and although I don't take naps, this would be the quilt I'd use. The dogs, however, adore naps and this one is a favorite. I am realizing I may love dogs more than kids as you can see, I have not packed it away. I have folded it over so you can see the reverse side which is pink and white gingham. Makes me almost want to nap which is very un-blonde of me.
I thought this was a closer view, but it must be something wrong with this beastly camera! I promise to read the instruction book as long as it has more diagrams than words. If possible, note the tiny rosebuds on reverse side.
I also have a blue quilt on my bed to accommodate any stragglers, but it is blue so I won't go in to detail.
Today I went to Jewel, our grocery store chain, and came upon these beautiful primrose, potted in the most pathetic containers. They were crying for a home and a re-potting and fool that I am, I took two home with me. At $1.00 a piece they had better live. Hit the jackpot with this pink one...
...but I have to say that yellow flowers always melt my heart. I think they give a garden a little pop in a most gentle way. And I think yellow flowers can be paired with any color. Sorry the photo didn't turn out so well. Will bring camera in to shop tomorrow for adjustments.
Here we have spider mums. These happened to be the last to stay on from a rather gorgeous bouquet I received a week ago. Add to that the time it took to transport them from a warmer region of the country, it's a miracle they are alive at all!! :-)
Moving along, I have a photo of a tray with a sugar bowl and creamer that Emily gave me one year for Mothers Day. It brings a tear to my eye when I remember her saying; "I couldn't afford the teapot". She made her money babysitting and I knew the gift shop she went to was very expensive. I keep this set on display always.
While I was going through the house griping that I didn't have anything pink, it was pointed out that both of our bathrooms are pink. How funny the way things slip my mind! I didn't think it proper to photograph the entire room where we, err... do private things, so I just took a picture of a darling little cabinet we bought at Target to hold some essentials. Em assembled the whole thing and though it wobbles a bit, it serves the purpose. Note the pink floral lining of the baskets. The bathroom is also painted by means of using the top two coordinating colors on a paint chip card (can't go wrong with that!) with a white chair rail dividing the two colors, which are a sort of blush pink. We have some pink restraint in this bath as this is where The Husband does his private things in addition to the women of the house.
We move on to the second bath which is quite an oddity and I pray that some day my fellow bloggers will inspire me to be courageous and act on my impulses to change it. But first, the wallpaper. It is a trellis design with pretty detailed roses. A little whimsical I think. I used this wallpaper to feminise a bath that the previous owners did some strange things with (to put it mildly).
The walls surrounding the entire bath, excluding the tub and shower are paneled with this rough pine. I think they were trying to give it a sort of "rustic" look. Maybe said previous owners were cow hands. I have waited and waited for a sign to come to me that I ought to whitewash this wood and bring it up to a real shabby, shabby chic look. Please fellow bloggers , give me a sign. Also, prod me , as I am inherently lazy.
You will see that I tried to feminize this room as well by papering with florals and putting in not only a pink marble vanity top, but the floor is pink tile (sorry, no picture) and the shower has blush colored wall tiles. This is the girls' bath but they rarely use it as the water pressure is very low. The tub is pristine.
A quick tour through Abby's room. It is a menagerie of color but I think pink is the predominant color. I love girls. Little girls , teenage girls, girlfriends. We were just born to be pink from the day we were born and swaddled in pink. Why was that anyway? Do any historians know? Why weren't we wrapped in fuchsia or aqua green? Our homes would have taken on a whole new realm!
My Abby. The activist. She has walked in the Why Me? 3K walk every year since she was thirteen to support funds for breast cancer. She is involved in an organization to save the whales that are being slaughtered with the nod of the Japanese government. She has also, without any regard for her safety or good hygiene, rode the dolphins in a smelly pool while vacationing in Mexico. She is one spunky teenager!
Need I say more? (Note pink bag).
I never knew I had so much wallpaper. This was from back in the day where you wallpapered everything! And I did! This is a close-up of the walls in our den, or library if you will. I was in my Victorian mode. I like that I mixed pastels with darks. Very daring for me. :-)
Last but not least is a wreath with dried roses. I don't wish to offend anyone but I do not want anything plastic or silk in my home. Dried flowers or arrangements are the only thing that get past my door. Personal preference.
So there you have it for Pink Saturday. I have exhausted all the pink in my home unless I decide to start pawing through my cabinets and cupboard. I'm sure there is a plethora of forgotten dishes in there. We'll see.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Last night The Husband and I were sitting quietly reading our respective books, when he got up, stretched and yawned and said "How many times did you think of me today?" To say I was dumbfounded would be putting it mildly. Where did this question come from? How could I respond honestly with no thought or preparation for such a loaded question?!! So I did what any smart blonde would do and said, "You're overtired. Go to bed." And then I proceeded to sit up way past my bedtime pondering this question.
I have been going around lately with a satisfied grin on my face, thinking that I have discovered the art of living in the moment. I have convinced myself that this enlightenment has come with age and experience as well as a keen sense of self. But I now think I have been missing something here. Doesn't living in the moment mean having thoughts of our loved ones other than the norm; "I hope he gets to work safely, I hope he has his gloves, I hope he doesn't get too stressed out at the office today, I hope they have the ice cream he likes at the store today..."
I say my prayers every night, thanking our Lord for all the blessings He has given me and I ask that He watch over all my loved ones. That is all well and good but The Husbands question has forced me to think more outside the proverbial box. I need to stop the worry which does no good for anybody, and start thinking about things such as his warm smile when I say something funny, or the way he moves his head back and forth as he reads sentences in a book. The way he gets me in a bear hug when we are laughing hysterically over something. These are the things I should stop and think about and include in my day. Not just thoughts of my husband, but all of my loved ones. I am sure it will bring a smile to my face and have me humming a little as I go about my day.
So on this Thankful Thursday I want to thank my husband for coming up with this question (that I still have no idea from where it came or why). I am thankful it provided me the insight to examine how and how often I hold my loved ones to my heart each day outside of my prayers. I will now go to bed at night and not only thank God for blessing me by giving me this wonderful man to spend my life with, but also for giving me the ability to ponder the messages given to me and act on them. My days will be so much more fulfilled.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I LOVE this wallpaper and hate to see it go. It is the bathroom you run to right off the patio when you have been out on the boat all day drinking beer. I bet there have been many sighs of relief heard within those walls! :-) The beach chairs make me smile as well as the kites and the sailboats remind me of the Sunday morning regatta which is just glorious to watch. Fun, fun wallpaper, goodbye. :-(
We had a great weekend. After looking at some of the new work we took Resident Carpenter out for a sandwich and a beer at our local tavern. He then got on a Greyhound to go visit a friend in Pennsylvania and I think it was the first time we've had the house alone in about two years!!
We have so much more to do. Renovations will be done by March 1, and then I have all the fun shopping to do: towels, linens, area rugs, art work...Oooh yum!!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Well just for giggles I downloaded some pictures and I think the ones I snapped this morning qualify as pink, so I'm posting them for anyone who visits.
Above is a picture of my baby boy, Milo. He is a rat terrier (very much like a Jack Russell). He loves to sleep in cozy warm spots and this morning The Husband and I shared coffee in front of the fire before he went off to work. Milo curled up like a baby and in no time was off to dreamland. Note there is some pink in my couch, just a little. I love pink, but I love a lot of colors (they go along with my multiple personalities) ;-) I do favor pastels though, with a few punches of bright hues here and there. The couch is fading a bit but I like that, flowers fade too!
While I was stoking the fire I took a picture of my favorite chair. The bright early morning sun made it look so pretty. This is my favorite spot to curl up and read, it's very comfy and right next to the fireplace.
Hopefully I will have my act together to participate in some of the theme days next week. They look like such fun and I enjoy seeing what my favorite people post.
Tomorrow we are off very early to the lake. I'm so looking forward to it as I have not been there since last October. Our resident carpenter finished our outdoor work and moved inside and it has been quite a mess. New hardwood floors were put in throughout and he had to replace the huge windows in the great room as the seals had broken and gases had turned them yellow. Though that work has been done I still hope to get some before and after pictures. I really look forward to summer when I can post pictures of the outside. That was a big job, extending our patio out to a retaining wall and building a little guest house. I also started a little English garden and am so psyched to start adding more to it. I will come home Sunday with some pictures that I will take this weekend. We plan to just stay in, keep a fire going in the fireplace and the big old wood burning stove we have, rent some movies which I haven't done in ages, and maybe pop out for dinner. There definitely will not be any long walks in the woods or iceskating because of the cold but it will be good to be back.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and though it is starting to sound monotonous, stay warm! :-D
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I have given myself the title of Weatherbunny err...meteorologist ??? as I have posted 3 pictures of our winter weather and snow in the short time I have been blogging. And I am not even very seriously bothered by the weather having lived here all my life. But, it is dreary January and there is not much else for one to do but look out the window. Next I'll be saving rubber bands and stray pennies! But I am thankful that we are all warm and safe, that Chicago has warm shelters and food for the homeless or less fortunate who could not have heat, and that the news consistently reminds us to check on our elderly neighbors and friends. It is a good feeling to see your community come together in a time of need. I am indeed thankful today.
One last blast from my Arctic world:
I took a shot of my backyard this morning (you can see it is waaaay back in the distance, no way was I walking any further in that snow!!). That is our picnic table and recycle bin, frosted like cakes. I'd say about 7 inches of the white frosting. Believe me, the dogs were not romping around in that stuff this morning, I had to give Layla (all eight pounds of her) a little nudge out the door to do her thing.
I have heard that people are going outside with thermoses of boiling water and whipping it up into the air and it freezes on contact and crashes down like ice. Also, children go out and blow bubbles and they freeze on the wand like big glass balls. Wow!
Now I want to give thanks for two other happenings since I last made a post. As you must have seen from my sidebar (I also have a billboard out on Route 59), I have won two awards!!! :-)). The first Lemonade Stand award came from Susan at A Summer Daydreamer. Susan is not only a beautiful person, she is smart and creative and very computer savvy. She has certainly helped me out with some of her technical blogging tutorials! She had won her award after only about a month of blogging (and acquiring about 80 followers, if I'm off Susan, let me know). She participates in all the weekly themed blogs (her tablescapes are gorgeous!) and on top of that has found time to put together Outdoor Wednesday. You can go to her blog to get all the info on this if you wish to participate. I think it is going to be a big hit! The general rules when you receive this award is to pass it on to 10 other people that have "turned lemons into lemonade". I am going to take exception to this rule as since I have been blogging for only a short time, and while I feel all of my fellow bloggers are deserving of this award, well...I just haven't followed enough or have been followed enough (?) to really pass this award on to ten people. So I am giving this award to Laura at Shorehouse Chic . Laura is a real "Jersey girl" and she and her husband bought a fixer-upper on the Jersey shore a year ago. Her blog chronicles the adventures of their rehab/reno tales. Laura is a thrifty bargain hunter but the majority of my admiration goes to the fact that she can rewire a lamp!! What else is the girl capable of? I highly recommend you visit her blog. She is smart and funny and gives of herself to many charities and causes. She is definitely someone you will want to get to know. After receiving the Lemonade Award it is recommended that you give blog love back to the person you received the award from and then pass the award on to 10 fellow bloggers. Congratulations Laura!!
My second award is from a sweetheart of a gal, Sheila of the Quintessential Magpie. I can write for hours about Sheila ...well you all know I can write for hours about anything!! But Sheila was always kind enough to comment on my posts and when I started to follow hers, I immediately sensed that beneath her great humor and creativity lied a very warm, peaceful, spiritual woman. Her posts are LOL to read most of the time and in a lot of ways I feel we have been friends for a long time. I hope none of you feel that way because I want to have her all to myself! ;-). This award has been deciphered as meaning that the recipient "invests and believes in proximity" with the hope that "when these ribbons are cut, even more friendships are propagated". I hereby pass this award on to Carrie at Buzzings of a Queen Bee. I came upon Carries blog recently. She is a young wife and mother in Denver. She is, like all of us, a bargain and thrift hunter and pursues all avenues to create with what she has found or been given (read about her new sewing machine)! As a mother she is always on the go and her days are filled to the brim. Her writing is incredibly warm and light hearted and for any of us who are mothers she is quite the example of how we can improve by running, juggling, multitasking and writing blogs. On top of this, Carrie is two short weeks away from having her second baby!! She has a lot of blogger friends and I can certainly see why and that is why I feel this award is so fitting. So give Carrie a visit and share in her preparations for new baby Carrie-style! This award should be passed on to 8 people deserving of the award and I believe Carrie has quite a following to choose from. Blog love should also be sent back to the person the award was received from. I just luuuv that! :-D
Lastly, I promise I will not let so much time go by between posts, hence they will not be so wordy, to put it mildly. That said, I will conclude with a short synopsis of our last holiday party!! Since the Irish side of the family was spread all about over the holidays, yes, some even in Ireland, we concluded the last of the Christmas celebrations here last Saturday night. Blondie has not mentioned that she is recovering from a back injury suffered in an undisclosed airport around Christmas as she only has herself to blame for it (although she might file suit against a third party known only as Mr. Large Suitcase). And so I have kept in secret of my heart many days over the last 3 weeks spent flat on my back, popping muscle relaxants and pain pills, and on the days, or moments that I could get up, I could only speak gibberish and was promptly sent back to bed. For that reason I have not been blogging much so as to not confuse you with the details of my holidays in a little village in Bali...Soooo, I very quickly discarded my happy pills and began preparations for this final party. The old back was not doing too well on the day of said party but I was determined to pull it off , but mostly I wanted to get really buzzed on some wine after being abstinent since Christmas. Yes, New Years Eve was a quiet night sitting in front of the TV eating sandwiches and drinking pop, not so much as one glass of champagne at midnite. :-( So anyway I wanted to show you my little buffet, in particular the beautiful plate of prosciutto and melon that I made:
That's it in the forefront and that is pretty much how it looked at the end of the night. I don't know if this was due to unsophisticated tastes or that the potato chips were just darn good, but that was a waste of my energy. Another thing I made was inspired from a picture I saw in the February issue of Romantic Homes on page 50. (By the way, that was a great issue with so many bloggers and online shop owners we know or know of highlighted on their ideas of romance). In the interview with Libby Langdon there is a picture in the collage of what looks to be a pottery type planter filled with ice holding glass containers of veggies. I thought, what a neat idea. So I attempted to pull it off:
You must fill those clear plastic drink cups with assorted vegetables, and I stress that you do this first as the ice will flip and tip them over. Then just toss some ice all around and voila!! I thought a votive candle would look really pretty in it but we had some kiddies there and I knew they would maul the vegetables first. Oh yeah, the dip goes in the middle which is a good idea as it also stays cold and no one goes home poisoned by spoiled mayo and sour cream.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The following is a closeup. I was hoping you could see the crackle effect. It is so precious and so much more than I expected in every way. I would suggest that you drop everything immediately and go to her website or blog. Her creativeness and warmth comes through in all she writes and photographs.
I think I am going to order some bulbs to force in it until springtime brings the outdoor variety! (another Snowflake Thought :-). I am a firm believer in online shopping and I have convinced many a nay sayer to my way of thinking. Foremost, not only will you find very original items, but if you are shopping perhaps Macy's or even a catalogue (L.L. Bean, Ballards, what have you), you will see the complete inventory as opposed to what you see on their floors. To become a saavy online shopper, always, always, always read the dimensions. Use a tape measure to compare the dimensions to something else in your home if you have a hard time imagining the size. Always save the packaging for returns and take advantage of free shipping which a lot of larger merchants are using in this competing market. And finally, nothing, nothing is better than getting a package delivered with a new treasure inside.
If you have snow, have some Snowflake Thoughts this morning. If it is warm by you, bask in Sunshine Thoughts. And do it with a great cup of Joe, maybe from Keurig. (No, I do not work for them!!)
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Please don't tell anyone. Have you ever noticed that when someone sees that you have more of just "one" of something, they think you are starting a collection. I once had a ceramic rooster (oh no, another bird) in my kitchen and slowly I started getting gifts, a rooster picture here, a rooster figurine there... until I said no more roosters! Has that ever happened to anyone?