Wednesday, September 28, 2011


My camera is still missing, but I think I am getting some pretty good shots with my phone. I haven't started decorating for fall yet, that will have to happen after I get back from my trip, but I have spread out some of the decorations from Emily's party until I know how I want to arrange everything. It has been fun looking at all the blogs and the fall and Halloween decorations. Do we like to decorate or what?! I saw a front porch idea that I love and I am getting anxious to do my mantel differently. Fun, fun, fun.
This is a small slab of granite that I picked out for my counter tops. I didn't want anything with speckles or a muddy color, so this worked out perfect. My back splash is white tile, so I've picked up that and my cabinets are unfinished pine, the goldish color in the stone. My back ordered kitchen island has a black and white marble top, so I think this is going to compliment it. Today the fabricator is coming to measure and then we will have it in about 10 days.
After I nearly lost my lunch over the first quote we got on the kitchen, we decided to do things ala carte. We found a Kohler sink at Home Depot on sale and bought it. We also got the fixtures and garbage disposal {online}. A carpenter has one of my cabinets and is trying to match it up with new panels. Then I just have to wait for my island. Oh, we are getting a new dishwasher, too, as it's my only appliance that isn't stainless steel. I am excited to show you pictures because I have always avoided that since some of the cabinet doors had cracked and snapped off. It was really unsightly and I think I got the burner under The Husband lit by announcing I was going to have a Christmas Party with all of his friends and colleagues. ;-D
Anyone need sunflowers? I have 18 of them scattered around in various places. And all the bean jar candles. Those I may just wrap red ribbon around and use for Christmas.

So, I think I am ready for Vegas...just a little laundry and a trip to the drugstore for sample sized products. Two of the wives can't join us, one of whom I became pretty good friends with, so I'll be wandering around the casino alone most of the time. The Husband plays poker, sometimes at other hotels. I don't mind, it just gets a little boring. We all meet for dinner and sometimes a show. I'm not sure if we are seeing anyone this year.

I went to my doctor yesterday and I have bronchitis. I figured that from the 10 minute coughing fits. So I have antibiotics and I should start to feel well soon. Thanks so much for your well wishes.

Now I'm off to de~clutter my counters so the guy can get to them to measure. How would a vase of sunflowers look sitting on top of a toaster? :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011


Saturday was a gorgeous day for a graduation party. It rained a bit in the morning and then it was sunny and hazy...that perfect sort of fall day. Emily {the graduate} had specific ideas for her party, a sunflower theme. We had three large tables under a tent and 2 big vases on each table along with assorted squash and gourds. I made the candle holders with empty salsa jars filled with beans and a tea light candle {as shown in my last post}. We had a lot of salsa left so that is what we munched on with plenty of chips.
The Husband hung up white lights under the tent and everything looked magical.
A small table was set up to hold refreshments. The Husband made his specialty, Sweet Tea with lemonade and vodka.
We kept the color scheme in brown and golds.
The night before the party Emily made red velvet cupcakes, {recipe from the Food Network}. These were honestly the best cupcakes I have ever had. She made forty, and they disappeared in 10 minutes. The cupcake stands are from Marshall's.
Aren't they pretty?

It really was a pretty evening. I wanted to scatter some of those faux fall leaves on the tables, but we didn't have to bother, leaves floated gently down and landed softly {in the food}. And the walnut trees serenaded us with the plonk!!! of falling tennis ball sized nuts. No one was hurt, thankfully. Most importantly, my girl had fun and everyone joined in!

This is a crazy week in Blondieville. I have a cold and I'm trying to get ready for Vegas on Friday. Since it's affecting my asthma, I have to go to the doctor tomorrow, but better safe than sorry. We have people working on the kitchen {that is a whole other post} and I was having problems with the Internet, which is now fixed. I'll be back later in the week with more on the kitchen and to say goodbye before we take off for Sin City. :-)

I'm joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


This is the mess I awoke to today, a leaking kitchen sink. The cabinet underneath would have been destroyed if it weren't for the bin holding cleaning supplies. So everything had to come out and be rinsed off and now I have to call a plumber. That's okay, he is Irish and sexy. Oh, and remember the clogged garbage disposal I had? It managed to clear itself out on it's own. I am wondering if it cleared a path for the leak. Woe to me. And I saw my first mouse of the season.
Plans for going to the lake were dashed when we realized all the work we had to do here to get ready for Emily's graduation party. The hedges and mulberry bushes were so overgrown it looked like a forest in the backyard. The Husband tended to them like a true lumberjack and I weeded the garden beds.
Can you believe how much was cut down. The neighbors next door must be enjoying the sunlight! ;-D I was thrilled while pulling weeds to find plants and flowers I forgot I had. The Sedum is just now turning a deep blush, and I have a ton of those elephant ears plants {I can never remember their name}.

So a lot was accomplished last weekend in between the Notre Dame and Bears game. We treated ourselves to dinner out after all our hard work, The Pit, one of our favorite spots. I had the Greek sausage, Texas toast and pasta salad. I think I then went to bed at 8:00 p.m., a very satisfied girl.
I took a few shots of the patio after I had it all spic and span. I have a lot of bird houses and some I just display because they are getting so old. I have an old chippy baker's rack on my patio, that I love to decorate for the season. Almost time for some pumpkins and gourds.
These boxes would look pretty with some dried or faux flowers in them, but I cleaned out my stash and need to restock. I feel a trip to Michael's coming on.
Yesterday was busy, a hair appointment, grocery shopping and a trip to Target with Abby. I am making some decorations for the party tables and saw a cute little candle holder someone made on a blog. I would give the blog credit but it slips my mind. Sorry. Anyway, I bought about 6 jars of salsa and 10,000 pounds of pinto beans. I poured all the salsa in a big container and soaked the labels off the jars. These jars are shorter so you don't have to use so many bags of beans. In went the beans and I tied a piece of raffia on and popped in a candle. Voila!
I am really an all thumbs sort of person, so I was quite proud of myself.

So, our party is next Saturday, I am doing a lot for it as Emily is working and Abby is at school most of the day. I don't mind, I am SO proud of her graduating. We are supposed to have great weather in the 70's. We've have tents and tables coming and we are going to decorate with my candles and vases of sunflowers. The food is being catered by the same restaurant that did my son's wedding. Pulled pork, smoked chicken, beans and rice and all good Southern food that we don't often find here in the upper Midwest.

Next week we leave for 5 days in Vegas. I have already done my prerequisite shopping online, torn between the hot weather and the cold casinos. It's all so confusing, even though we have been going at this time of year for what seems like forever. I'll keep you posted on my plans and of course, everything that goes wrong or gives me a headache. See you soon! :-)

I am joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I'm happy to be back in a new frame of mind, happy again and just letting the good times roll. After I wrote my pity party post the other day, I got to work organizing and cleaning my house. The Husband came home and asked if the cleaning ladies were here that day {I have 2 girls come twice a month}. I guess I did a thorough job, especially in his Man Cave Corner...think laptop, Nook, notepad, coffee cups, cigars and ashtray, and basket of Fantasy Baseball magazines. I did everything but the laundry, but as some of you'll still be here tomorrow. Thanks so much for your support and if you took the opportunity to vent as well, I hope you feel good now.

My camera is still MIA. I hope I find it at the lakehouse tomorrow. If not, maybe it's time for an upgrade. ;-D. I was able to get some good shots with my cellphone and I thought I'd share the recent rearrangement of my summer mantel. Given that I am a total summer girl, I haven't hauled out the fall stuff. Not just yet.
I took away some beach pictures I had up here and added some mercury glass votive holders to give a little sparkle. It's definitely candle time with all those juicy berry and apple pie smelling candles out now. And the flickering light looks so pretty early in the evening now that it gets dark so much sooner.
I've had these dried hydrangeas for months and they have faded from pale green to pink. Since I don't grow hydrangeas myself, I ordered them dried from a farm through eBay. It's pretty cool, you can get lavender, peonies, whatever you'd like. In a few more weeks I will add some fall decorations. I've been getting so many ideas from blogs and magazines. My biggest love has been burlap pumpkins that I have seen in Etsy shops, and lighted branches, which I hear Kirkland's has on sale.
My reading frenzy continues. I finished Maine. It had an ending that wrapped things up pretty well, but still left you hanging a bit. I liked that, sort of made me think. This is the author's second book and since I liked it so well, I ordered her first book, Commencement, from Amazon. In the meantime, I picked up this book at Target and I am really loving it. It's a beach read but really well written and it moves along fast. This weather just makes me want to curl up at night and read, sort of the way it motivates some to bake. At least I don't get the calories, although this story is set in a bistro and the food is outstanding.

After reading Maine, I suggested to The Husband that we check out the upper east coast on our springtime vacation. He countered with Quebec City. I think I need to brush up on my French.

The temps are in the mid 50's today. I am wearing my heaviest sweatshirt since it seems just crazy to turn on the heat when I had the A/C on earlier in the week. After my shower this morning I put cocoa butter oil on and it sucked right in. My skin is the first sign that colder weather is on the way.

Tonight we are going to look at stone for the counter tops. We received our first quote on the kitchen reno and it left us speechless to say the least. We have another estimate scheduled for Monday. I really dislike this whole process, it frustrates me and I don't like that. Hopefully all the decisions will be made in the next week or two.

Thanks for stopping by and I will see you next week! :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Have you ever thought your life could be a reality show on television? This occurs to me quite often. 99% of the time that I sit down to write a post, I have no idea what I am going to say. I can practically see you guys opening up my blog and scratching your heads, "Where is she going with this?" Well, I usually post around my pictures because my camera is really my window to my world. And I had lovely pictures to share with you this morning from my weekend at the lake. But, as I type, I realize I try not to look around me when I get up in the morning...I pour a cup of coffee, forever grateful that we have some, give it a few generous heaps of Coffeemate French Vanilla creamer and sit down to read blogs or maybe write a post. Today I went to get my camera out of my purse camera. I really dug around a while for it because if you have ever seen my purse, you would know that I could pack a weeks worth of clothes in it and still have room. No camera. It has to be at the lake. No camera, no pictures, no post. What would I do?
I grabbed my cell phone and thought, there has to be something I can take a picture of, make a pretty vignette and join a party maybe. I looked around and realized it was post weekend {we came home yesterday}. I was in the land of semi~adult children. As I mentioned earlier, I head for the coffee pot with blinders on and after I have blogged and had what I feel is my only connection with the adult world, I look around, have a little pity party and start the clean up. Post Weekends are always bad because I'm either not here or I do very little if I am here. Cleaning and fluffing that is. So I told myself this morning, after a mere 6 hours of sleep, that I would post and keep it real. I grabbed the cell for pictures, only to find the battery was dead {and yeah, I have a few important calls to make}. After I scratched my head and swore a bit, I gave it a little charge and started snapping pictures. So... welcome to my reality show.

I took pictures in black and white to soften the blow. Above is the corner of my bedroom and underneath it all is a pretty quilt rack with pretty blankets and quilts we love to curl up with. Except Abby existed solely in my room for the weekend, eating and drinking and watching The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills. I'd love to be on that show except I would be the one without make up and an apron on. After arriving home late yesterday and putting my bag in my room, I tripped over a half dozen water bottles and paper plates and attempted to re~fluff the bed, my sanctuary. With the crumbs and dog hair, I needed a broom...on the bed. After making the bunch a delicious dinner of pasta, shrimp, salad and bread {I add this so you can join me in the "Why's}, I crawled into bed.
They made their breakfast and lunches for school I saw this morning. I knew exactly what they had and would be eating. Maybe that's why they leave it out..."See, Mom, a balanced breakfast and everything on the Food Pyramid."
I'll let the pictures do the explaining, I am almost ready to delete this but I'm on a roll. When they were small, it was so much easier to feed them out of the jar, wash their faces and toss the remains in the garbage. I used to keep their toys in a pretty wicker basket in the corner of the room and now I'm looking at 3 open laptops, several remotes and a few cell phone chargers in the outlets where I usually have my Glade Plug In's.

To further the scope of my reality world, I know for sure that downstairs I have at minimum, 11 loads of laundry. The garbage disposal is stopped up and not running {do I call a plumber or an electrician?}and I haven't heard from the carpenter since last week {don't people want work?}. I have a ton of weeds in the backyard and hedges to be trimmed, with a graduation party looming over me in a week and 1/2. The kitchen garbage is overflowing and I am getting ants in the dishwasher. Finally {maybe}, Layla pooped in the bathroom. Close, but no cigar.

I know I can sound like a Pollyanna. To take this conception further, let it be told that I had an idyllic weekend at the lake, the skies were clear, the birds were singing and I hummed as I made The Husband lunch with home grown tomatoes and grilled chicken. I sipped wine while I watched him skim along the bay in the kayak and I was at peace. Then I came back to my reality world.

I can sing the praises of my kids, but I won't. Today is a pity party. Through my tears I told Abby, yes, she could use my car because she was out of gas. And yes, I told Jeff, it was no big deal that he hadn't returned the tux from the wedding two weeks ago even though it is $20.00 per day late fee. For the most part I have a gentle voice and a smile on my face. I think it has nipped me in the a**.

Feel free to vent as much as you want in your comments. I would love the company. ;-D

Friday, September 9, 2011


This is sort of a shaggy little picture of my shaggy little flowers. We had a bit of rain last night and this morning so I suppose it wasn't the best time to take pictures. I am amazed at my pots of impatiens though, they look like a carpet of flowers going up the steps.
Yes, there are pots under those blooms. I blame it on the rain. We have been so fortunate to have had it at least once a week. I also used Miracle Grow potting soil and the little pellets when I first planted them. When these die off after the cold settles in, I fill the pots with pansies and add some mums.

We are getting ready for Emily's graduation party on the 24th and today was the day we were going to trim the hedges, so that sort of shagginess, I apologize for. Just too rainy. I won't even share pictures of my back yard, oh my, this rain makes the weeds take off as well as the flowers evidently. If it weren't for the party, I'd let everything die off, but it is going to get a big clean up and I suppose it will be a little less weedy next year. Are you about burnt out on your gardening at this time of year? I start out with such enthusiasm but right now the ivy is choking out the oregano that choked out the chives and basil that choked out the morning glories. What a tangled mess I have.
This is a perennial I have in front of the house and I am wondering if anyone knows the name of it. It comes back every year and I don't remember planting it. I think it may have been a stray seed or something. It gets bigger every year and usually blooms in late August and September.
I think it's pretty but I just don't know what the heck it is. Is anyone familiar with it?
My little picket fence containers line the ledge of a bay window. I caught a squirrel frolicking in them the other day. This is where I line up pumpkins in the fall, they must have keen memories.
Remember I told you that I planted a climbing rose at the lakehouse in July. Well, it took off and climbed up the trellis like crazy. Last weekend The Husband took a picture of my first bloom. Isn't it a pretty shade of pink? I am really doing the happy dance. I thought roses were hard to grow. I want to thank Tracie from Fishtail Cottage, who gave me so much advice about roses and even checks up on how mine are doing. Bloggers. Aren't they the greatest?

So this is what is blooming around here. Other than this, it has been quiet. Just a lot of reading and cooking some bigger dinners {I feel that fall/nesting syndrome coming on}. News on the kitchen remodel: The carpenter is stopping by today with two sets of hinges to pick out for my cabinets {I am going to take some better pictures of the cabinets as they are, or aren't now...doors are missing, well stored away after falling off the old hinges}. Next week we are going to a place to look at stone for the counter tops and I was in touch with William Sonoma about the island. It is not available until November 13th, so I am ordering it and I should get a call after that date for delivery. Hopefully I will have it by the holidays and I can say I am done with the kitchen.

I hope you had a good week. Up to the lake we go tonight after popping in to a party for a little while. I am perusing the lake newspaper to see if there are any fall festivals or activities going on. It should be fun! Have a great weekend! :-)

I am joining Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Hi everyone. What great weather we are having here. It's 66 degrees as I type...a little cool but perfect in the sun. The windows are open and the breeze is blowing in. Milo is loving it. The air is hazy and dry and though the leaves haven't changed colors, I can feel fall just around the corner. Have you started to decorate yet?

Things sure are quiet around here. I spent a whole weekend alone while The Husband was up at the lake. He left Friday to go to the Notre Dame game on Saturday. Notre Dame is just a half hour from the lakehouse. He called Sunday and said he was going to stay another day and just putter around and enjoy the quietness. I agreed, I said I was enjoying the peace and quiet and could use some down time. Actually I was bored out of my skull. Abby had gone to visit her boyfriend at his school for the weekend. Emily was at her boyfriends house and Jeff was also in Michigan. The hardest thing was sleeping alone in the house. Am I a baby or what? I am SO used to having someone here, I was restless and on edge. Milo growled a few times during the night and that unnerved me more. I was happy when the sun came up. How are you with spending a night or two alone? I don't know if I could get used to it.

I am in the middle of two books, just reading like crazy. Maine is a story of three generations of women that spend a few weeks at the family cottage in Maine. "By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other." It really is a great read and I keep sneaking in a few chapters every chance I get. The last book I read was set near Seattle; these books have made me realize how little I know of the upper East and West coasts and has me thinking about our vacation next year. A few quaint towns or an island, it sounds heavenly.

The kitchen renovation is going slow. The carpenter is looking for hinges that will work for our cabinets and we are supposed to be out looking at counter tops, but haven't yet. This week is flying by with the holiday being on Monday. The island that I spoke of in my last post has a marble top, so I am looking for granite that has a marble look. I'm not in favor of a dark or busy pattern. In addition to what we are doing, I am going through all of my dish cabinets, sorting through what I want to keep. I want to at least start out with an uncluttered kitchen, but I don't think it will stay that way.

Labor Day was fun if not a little cold. We went to a BBQ and stayed inside most of the time. I made a fruit dip with frozen margarita mix, orange juice, powdered sugar, cream cheese and Cool Whip. It was really good and I think it will be a mainstay next summer. Let me know if you want the directions.

Back to the lake I go this weekend after 3 weeks not being there. The Husband seems to have had a marvelous time there without me...doing a little gardening, reading a Nook book, renting a movie ( that I am sure I would not have stayed awake for), and slept like a baby. He probably rearranged my furniture, too. So, that's all I have for now. Let me know what you did over the holiday. And tell me a secret: Can you sleep alone in your house?!! :-)

Friday, September 2, 2011


Look, I have been featured in the Williams Sonoma catalog! Actually I cut and pasted (as in with scissors and Elmer's Glue} a picture of myself and carefully inserted it in this picture. This is the kitchen island I want and I want it bad. In the cartoon bubble, (this picture will enlarge when you click on it), I expressed my desire (note: I wrote Pottery Barn in error) for this piece, especially given that I have put up with, have been loving him for the past 25 years. Yes, Our anniversary is in December. And if I order it soon, I may have it by then. Now isn't this a clever idea? So I suggest you do the same. Play cutouts with your old photos and whatever your heart desires, just paste yourself in or show yourself holding it. The Husband got a kick out of it and I am pretty sure I will be ordering it in a few days. Isn't it a gorgeous piece?
The other night we had a carpenter come out and give us quotes for our kitchen. You might notice that I don't share many pictures of is slowly falling apart. The custom pine cabinets have become brittle and doors have cracked right off the hinges. Apparently our hinges were popular in the dinosaur days. There are spaces between the doors and the knobs are outdated (I'm just really tired of them). And we need new counter tops, of the stone variety.
So next week I am on a mission. The carpenter has been hired and repairs will start while I look at counter tops. I'd really love wood (too much maintenance per The Husband), or soapstone (not enough shine), and I really haven't seen a granite that I have fallen head over heels for. But it's all exciting and I can't wait to share pictures with you as this unfolds.
I won a giveaway from Barb at The French Elements. This set of Bobbi Brown makeup brushes, which the girls promptly tried to steal from me, and...
...and a pillow and 2 tea towels that Barb made. She sells them online in her shop, so visit her blog and see some great French inspired treasures. I also won a can of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and already have a project lined up. Thanks so much, Barb.

This has been the sort of week that has ebbed and flowed. Some days were very relaxing and I didn't even get out of the PJ's, others I ran errands all day. The Husband left today to spend the weekend with his brothers up at the lake. They are going to the Notre Dame game tomorrow. Are you a football fan? I can live without it. After this weekend I will be back up there again and I am looking forward to seeing the trees change color and feel fall in the air. Can't wait. The Husband will be home Sunday and maybe we will invite the kids over for a concrete plans. Tell us what you are doing this holiday weekend! :-)