Monday, May 24, 2010


Off we went to the lake on Friday as The Husband decided the take a three day weekend. It was raining, but that is the perfect time to sit on the covered patio or in the Summerhouse. I'll mention again that the Summerhouse is a freestanding screened in porch and it sits closer to the lake so it has some beautiful views out of the 8 windows (and a lovely breeze). If it gets nippy like it was Friday, the ceiling fan has a heater on it. While we were relaxing in there, The Husband suggested I set up the table and he would make some pub burgers, so I decided I'd look for some nautical things around the house.
I know this bottle isn't nautical, but isn't it cute? My neighbor Susie gave it to me. I lit an ocean blue candle...
...brought out some white wine with a sailboat on the label along with a starfish that I painted and glittered...
...and used some blue and yellow dishes, table runner and napkins.
This is the chippy table and chairs from The Worlds Longest Yard Sale that we went on last summer. I love the robin's egg blue seats. I am going to pop them off and paint the chairs chippy white.
We sipped some wine and true to his word, The Husband grilled our supper. I would have shown you a picture of his plate, but being the Man that he is, he piled it high with pork and beans and applesauce {lovely combo} and it all made a runny mess.
Still raining, I took some pictures of the new family of swans from the porch of the Summerhouse. Look at how their necks form the shape of a heart. And aren't the fuzzy babies precious?
Off they went after turning their beaks up to what was on our plates {!}.

I should have taken pictures, but all day Sunday The Husband worked on making me the most perfect garden plot next to the Summerhouse. Last summer I had a simple row of tomato and basil plants. Yesterday he enlarged the plot to about 12' by 12', maybe larger. It was full of stone and debris from when the area was cleared to build the Summerhouse and he cleaned it all out {I helped him bag a bit of it} and turned the soil over. It's perfect. I can't wait to decide what to plant. I have a ton of bricks and large stones to make a path and pretty border...I am SO excited. And, it's just around the corner from my English garden.

We leave for New Orleans in 2 days and I am so happy to see some new places and just get away. We are going to visit Christine from Christine's Home And Travel Adventures and spend one night as she and her husband John's guests. They live in Natchez, Mississippi, about a 2 hour drive from New Orleans. We may hit Baton Rouge on our way back to N.O. So... I have summer clothes to unpack from storage {It just started getting hot here in Chicago in the last week or so} and get my house clean for the semi~adult children to destroy while we are gone. I simply pray they feed the dogs and the parrot, clean up their dishes, don't leave hair appliances plugged in, don't spill sticky lemonade all over the floor {which I came home to this morning}, and keep Milo from killing the mailman. I need a toilet paper roll to write down
all my rules and reminders.

So Bon Voyage, my friends. I plan to come back with a lot of pictures! Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

I am joining Marty, our gracious hostess for Table Top Tuesday.

Monday, May 17, 2010


We finally made it up to the lake after being stuck at home with a zillion weekend obligations. We had gloomy weather on Saturday and I sat in the Summerhouse most of the time eating peanuts and surveying the lake with my binoculars. I can be industrious like that. But Sunday was warm and sunny and we (The Husband) cleaned up the patio and we had just the best day. This is a picture looking out at the bay from my seat on the patio. Our trees have become monsters but we really enjoy the shade in the dead of summer.
I'm taking you on a little tour inside before we go back out. This is the upstairs bath. If you remember when we were renovating, we decided The husband would remodel this bathroom, Emily had the powder room downstairs and the laundry room and I did the kitchen. So this is the bath that The Husband did. It was completely gutted to make room for a free standing tub by removing the linen closet...I'm not good with materials but he used some type of stone and trim for the walls and the floor is Travertine.
I think the whole thing turned out very European looking and so The Husband shopped the house for vases and flowers and candles and it turned out very nice. We aren't crazy about the wall color so he is going to paint it a cream color on the next rainy day. (I thought I staged things pretty nicely but I left my contact lens stuff out). I think he did a pretty good job. The bathtub is a lot of fun to play in.
This is a corner of the Great room that I am working on. Problem number one is that we have a Victorian settee and then two country style glider rockers. We are really comfortable sitting here and looking out at the bay, and I know the furniture styles clash, but it's going to be awhile until we change it. I am going to paint the end table but my problem is the table in the center that I picked up for pennies at a fleatique shop. It looks Early American or Colonial. It fits the spot perfectly set a drink or a book down, but I want to paint it. Should I keep it? Should I paint it white, blue, green, black? The weather is getting warm so I can start painting things I've been collecting all winter long and this is first on my list. I also measured the rug wrong and so I am looking for a round one to fit the space better. Nice round rugs are difficult to come by...everything is braided and I don't want that.
This picture was taken off the balcony of our master bedroom. Here you can see a small portion of the lake. Did I tell you this lake is huge? It has an island that I will take you on a tour of this summer. We live on the far west corner of the lake. It was only about 70 degrees out there and there were already some crazy boaters. Brrrr...
Can you spot the little dove nesting on one of the beams on the balcony. The copper top must have blown off during the winter and this little guy found the perfect place to make a nest. I am going to have to wait awhile to put my furniture out. He did allow for a few pictures.
This is on the covered patio, a nest of baby robins. We are gone a few weeks and all the birds moved in. There is an old saying that birds that build a nest attached to your house mean that there is love inside. I agree. ;-D
This little guy looks mean. I tried to get a picture of the mom and dad feeding them but they would fly away. There are four in the nest and thankfully none have fallen out. I have nursed many a bird in my lifetime and I swore I would never do it again.
We had an early supper of grilled chicken sandwiches with potatoes cooked with onions on the grill. Afterward, we sat on the patio and had a drink. I of course could not choose between wine or Pepsi. The summerhouse is in the background.
This is a view of my English garden. The boxwood needs a good crew cut. A lot of plants are coming up but not blooming. I also have some plants that I bought last fall on sale that made it through the winter that I have to plant. I love how the sun sets over the trees. That is our shed there, it matches the house and the Summerhouse so it looks like one big compound!
We had to leave Sunday night as The Husband has client meetings early in the morning {usually we stay until Monday morning} so that accounts for the grim look on Milo's face.

Before I go, I want to pass this recipe down to all of you. It is from the lake newspaper. It will be perfect for your Memorial Day cookout. Let me know if you try it.

Margarita Dip

Mix 1 8 oz. pkg of cream cheese, 1/3 cup thawed margarita mix, 2 T orange juice and 1/4 cup powdered sugar in a blender or with a mixer until smooth. Fold in 1/4 whipped cream and chill for 1 hour. Serve with fruit or pour over angel or pound cake for a dessert. Yum!!!

Have a great week! :-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Ta Da!! I found the color mode on my very complex {!} camera and I am good to go. These are my Mother's Day Flowers in all their glory and they have opened, too. Just in time for Tablescape Thursday. Please visit Susan at Between Naps On The Porch who hosts this event each week. I actually wasn't inspired to make this tablescape by the roses, but by the burlap runner I made. I was fiddling around with a piece of the fabric, thinking of making a window valance with it and it just wasn't happening, so I thought maybe it would be a neat juxtaposition with the flowers on the table and I think it worked. I also flipped over some paisley place mats to find a light brown backing and used them as well. Adding to my centerpiece are mercury glass candle cups. They look really pretty at night with the flame illuminating them.

I am using water glasses from the Dollar Tree, vintage Italian reproduction wine glasses from Napa Style and various pieces of silver plate picked up here and there.
Aren't these little cardinal S & P shakers adorable? There is a little family of the real thing living in the birdhouse next door. I love watching them.
My dinner plates and napkins are from HomeGoods and my salad plates are from Pier I. I'm not sure where I found the place mats and I bought the burlap at my garden center at Christmas.

These are little salt and pepper shakers that I bought at a local gift shop. They are so cute and they went with the napkins and color scheme so well, I threw them in as well.
Aren't they the cat's meow? They are about 2 inches high. I love them.

Well that is all I have today. Emily helped me fix that camera mode in about 30 seconds. What is it with kids that their technical world is so much more evolved than ours? Am I stuck in my ways...not wanting to learn? Well, I won't get all philosophical, it's time to have a feast...broiled chicken breasts, roasted potatoes, green beans and a tossed salad. Maybe I'll keep the camera out and join Foodie Friday!

Have a fabulous rest of the week. We are going up to the lake for the first time in a month. It is going to be in the high 60's. Whoo Hoo! :-)

Monday, May 10, 2010


I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday and thank you to all of the well wishers who stopped by. It was a beautiful sunny day here in Chicago. The day started out great with the whole family (except me because of an asthma flare up) going on a breast cancer fund raising walk at 8:00 a.m. sharp. Afterward, my sister in law had a brunch which was really sweet of her. I really hope to go next year. Everyone had a good time. The day went on to be so nice, I received these flowers from The Husband and kids. I am not trying to take artsy pictures again with this post, I am still stuck on the black and white mode with my camera and haven't had a chance to look at the book. For your information, the roses are white, red, pink and yellow. Really beautiful.
My oldest son, Jeffrey came walking in with these tulips. FYI...they are purple. Wow, this is terrible. I really need to look at the book. Only a blonde would post beautiful flowers in B & W!!

The day went on with Emily and The Husband making a wonderful dinner of shish kabob, Greek pasta salad and corn on the cob. Delicious. We waited for Kevin to get home from work at 8:00 to eat. I guess a lot of people golf on holidays and because they also like to wander in the Pro Shop, Kevin has to work a very busy day. And speaking of Kevin, he has a girlfriend and we just love her. Her name is Mary Clair and she came to dinner last night. A really nice Irish girl with freckles and red hair. Kevin and she adore each other. Whoo hoo...maybe grand kids are in my foreseeable future! The icing on the cake was that I received a gift card from the family to Marshall's. I didn't know you could get gift cards there. I am so excited to get out and shop!

I hope everyone had a fabulous day! :-)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I am so excited to say that my birthday trip to New Orleans is booked and we leave in two weeks. My birthday was in February but I wanted to go when the weather was warmer here and we could hop right in to summer. Sounds strange, I know. We are staying at an inn called HH Whitney House. Above and below are pictures from the website. If anyone has stayed there, give me your feedback. It really sounds like a nice place with 5 rooms and a courtyard with a pool. That sounds private and I like it. I also prefer B & B's over hotels, we always meet the nicest people.
Part of our trip involves renting a car and driving to Natchez, Mississippi to visit Christine from Christine's Home And Travel Adventures. It has been a year since we met Christine and her husband John here in Chicago and I can't wait to see her again! I will take a lot of pictures!
I apologize that these pictures are in black and white. I didn't mean for them to be. Somehow, that is the setting on my camera and I don't know how to change it. This is a picture of a plate I won in a giveaway from Mary at Little Red House. I have it on the glass table in my family room which we are in the middle of redecorating. I had been debating what sort of way I wanted the room to go, the kind of artwork I wanted, and when I put the plate in there, it hit me. I am going to go with a botanical theme. More plants and some botanical prints on the walls. I have heard of people designing rooms around one item or piece or color, but that has never happened to me. So thank you, Mary, for sending this beautiful piece of inspiration.
I also won this little dish or trinket that I am using in my newly painted bath to hold Q~tips. It is white and gold and the perfect size.
This is a closer view. Thanks again, Mary. The soap dish, dispenser and cotton ball container are from the Pottery Barn clearance page online. I am so hooked on clearance prices at these shops, I am starting to feel like an old pro. I finally found a Goodwill store near me, I shouldn't say found...I can't locate it even on the Mapquest!! It is really difficult in the city to find things because if you go too slow, you make other drivers angry and if you drive too fast, you may miss the place!! So I have tried twice and can't find it so I am going to call. I HAVE to see this place!!

That's all I have today. The Husband and I are off to La Fiesta for Mexican Food. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I went to a Bridal Shower today. The best part beside the wonderful food and the beautiful cupcakes for dessert, was the sight of the moonstruck bride and groom to be. I look at those faces, so full of promise, and their affection, so new but sure. And as much as I admired the new dishes and crystal and home decor pieces this lovely couple received, I also thought about what they were in store for. At one point, Matt (the future husband) was helping unwrap a gift and Jackie, ( the bride to be) announced very loudly, "If you break the ribbon, you will be pregnant with the child!". I am assuming all of you know the little shower game of a broken ribbon meaning a baby...

So I think we all take a little walk down marriage memory lane when we are at these functions (don't get me started on baby showers, I wanted 6 kids). So much promise, so much love. And then I came home...
These are not the shaggy shrubs they were an hour ago. They are done now after a long drawn out battle with The Husband to take care of them. This may not be a pretty post and it may be wordy for some, so you have your chance to escape now. I left for the shower and asked that The Husband please trim the bushes. When I arrived home, they were same and I found The Husband had gone off to his office downtown to work. Now tell me this not work that benefits the family as much as the work that puts the food on the table? And without exaggeration, I did all of the yard work up until a few years ago when we hired help, and I did it with four small children running around.
Looking at the loving couple together today.... I thought, will they have the same issues my husband and I have? Granted. we have settled in such a way that we don't have the same silly fights we used to have early in our marriage (and we thought they were very serious at the time). But was today silly? He came home, I expressed my disappointment, and he proceeded to work with Emily on the shrubs because God knows, we can't work together!!

Oh....I am just venting. I mean I am writing a post about yard work! What made me so upset is that I was putting away the extension cord and I twisted my ankle in an indentation, rabbit hole or what have you and his reaction was anger because I swore, as in said a bad word, instead of compassion for my ankle and scraped knee.
When we left for the bridal shower today, I told Emily humorously that the hardest part was seeing all the gifts of household items that we, who have been married forever, could use. But I was wrong. We need to keep that common respect, courtesy, love and caring in our marriages. Today wasn't a big example of this and I am not saying that I was perfect in this whole situation....there are always two sides.

So this is an entry into Blondie's Journal. What I meant for this blog to be. Have you ever been through something like this that made you wish you could start from scratch without all the weight of "who should, why should I? Blah, blah blah? I think I started out having a wonderful day. And now The Husband might be feeling bad because I cried when I fell in the hole. He is making reservations for New Orleans.