I hope everyone is having a great week and that you're gearing up for the weekend before the BIG weekend! I have been stocking up on 4th of July decorations here and there for the past few weeks. We have such a nice bash at the lake that I add a little more to the patio every year. I'll share some of the stuff I've found later, from paper lanterns to banners. We have a store close by called Deals. Do you have one of those? Very much like the Dollar Tree. The prices are great. I bought separate packages of paper plates in red, white and blue, fifty in a pack, $1 each. Oh my.
So it was back at the lake last week and all I had left to do was clean up the little Summerhouse (or guesthouse), and that only took an hour. We hung out with our neighbors a few houses down, they are sort of new friends, They moved in about three years ago but it's hard to get together with having company or missing each other while on boat rides, etc. Finally Diane and I exchanged phone numbers so we can text each other instead of yelling across the bay and over a creek, "Come on over and have a beer!"
And this is what's blooming in Michigan. These are my Eden roses that are supposed to be climbing up the arbor but instead are flopping all over. I need to pick up some of those fabric ties and coax these pretty roses upward.
I planted this, spiderwort, last fall and to be honest, when I saw it this year I thought it was dying. The leaves are chartreuse colored and really pop in the garden.
And then they get these deep violet flowers. I think I may plant some here in the city...I just love the colors. Are any of you familiar with it? Does it spread well?
I forgot the name of this rose, my climber (who also needs some directional advice). It's doing very well after last summer when something microscopic was nibbling on it's leaves.
With my extra time I made a pretty little tablescape on the patio. We grilled on Saturday as it was turning to dusk and just as The Husband was taking the food off the BBQ, a storm blew in that almost took everything off the table. Chicago and northern Illinois were hit much harder by this storm. Abby had girlfriends over and they made a beeline for the basement when the wind picked up. My friend Melanie from Comfy House posted pictures of the damage in her area northwest of us in Illinois. And that's just how the weather has been around here for the past few weeks. It can be sunny and bright and then 15 minutes later, the skies darken and a storm blows in. One thing that is constant is the humidity. Though we rarely go over 80 degrees and the nights are cool, the humidity just hangs in the air making it feel warmer. Well, enough complaining, I'm happy it's not a drought.
One of the first things I did when we got to the lake was take away the lounge chairs and the palm tree that The Husband had added in front of my new gallery wall. This looks much better. We have some shingles we have to paint and patch but I am loving my new wall.
I don't think I've mentioned much that across the road from us are woods. Back in the day The Husband would take the kids and our old dog Shadow out into them during the winter to explore. In the summer the poison ivy is rampant. Do you know that even if your dog walks in it and brings it into your home or yard, you can catch it?
As I said earlier, there is a creek that divides us from Diane and Tom's house so we take the road. Here is The Husband doing God knows what. Our house is just around that bend on the right and the lake just beyond.
We arrived home Monday morning. Tuesday was son Kevin's birthday and his wife, MC, had told us he had been wanting a bike. He told us he was stopping by after work so I pushed The Husband out the door at around 4:00 p.m. to go buy a bike before Kevin got here. He was back in an hour and we lugged it inside. And promptly a pedal fell off. So back in the car and to the bicycle shop it went. Hubby was back and with the bike as good as new (don't ask me why we were so compelled to have it in the living room, now that I think of it we could have just had it on the sidewalk!). Anyway, Kevin walked in and in his usual fashion didn't notice it for 5 minutes. I'm sure he SAW the bike, it just didn't register that it was in our living room!! He was super happy. He wants to get in shape so this might be the ticket. The whole family, including Papa, went out for dinner at a nice steakhouse that has been here since the 50's. Papa has had a standing Friday night date there for the past thirty years. It was fun.
So back in Chicago, I worked in my garden between thunderstorms. I painted this old cabinet (or maybe it was a nightstand) a long time ago and never had a place to put it. I never liked the color too much either but I'm finding it works well on the patio to store my birdseed. And speaking of my adventures in feeding birds for the first time, I'm still filling the feeder everyday, which is no small feat as I have to stand on a rickety chair and unhook it way above my head. Sometimes I'm cruel and let a day go by and once I refill it, they are back in less than 5 minutes. Do they smell it? I just looked out the window and there are about 10 sparrows eating the seed off the ground inches from a baby squirrel doing the same. Harmony!
This is the first year I've planted cleome and it's just starting to bloom. It has a very spidery look when it's mature. My SIL used to grow it around her built in pool where the sun beat down and it would reach five feet high. And it drops seed and sometimes re~blooms the following year which is really odd for the upper Midwest. I'll share a picture once it's further along.
Enough flowers! I had Abby and Tom for dinner last night. I didn't fuss with a table setting but I wanted to show you this Turkish towel I found in Asheville a few weeks ago. It's the orange and white thing I'm using as a runner. The girl in the shop said people were using them for everything.
My everyday dishes and the infamous Pottery Barn napkins that I sold my soul for. My daughter calls them my "hippie napkins". Anyway, I made flat iron steaks. Have you ever had those? They're long and flat and come out melting in your mouth although there is little if any fat on them. I wish I had pictures. I also made Smashed Baked Potatoes by The Pioneer Woman. I peel and cut Idaho potatoes in 1/4 inch rounds, spread them out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (the key is the parchment paper that keeps them from sticking and ripping to pieces). Season and drizzle with olive oil then bake until tender. Mash each round with a fork and then you can serve or in my case I like to let them go under the broiler for just a second to brown the tops. Steamed broccoli with shaved Parmesan and corn rounded it all out. Next time, pictures!
Okay, I'm in the home stretch. If there is one thing I will break my diet for, it's melon. It wouldn't be summer without it. Honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon. On a low carb diet you can really only have blueberries and raspberries, so I feel some guilt but heck...it's fruit. Better to cheat with fruit than a chocolate cake (which isn't a bad idea either). Oh, and a generous slice of prosciutto wrapped around the melon is the ultimate. Heaven. My friend Snow always brings the cantaloupe and prosciutto every time she and her family come to the lake. She cuts her melon in big long slices and wraps and winds the ham all around. You need a bib!
And speaking of Snow and hubby Craig, The Husband and I were invited over to their place for dinner tonight. They live just up the street but we never seem to get together as much as we want. Snow is a real estate agent and Craig is a busy lawyer. Anyway, they just added on to their deck off the back of their house and want to show off a little with dinner al fresco at sunset.
And this leads me into concluding this never ending post with, "What shall I wear tonight?" Old Navy is having a HUGE sale, but you have to go online as most of these dresses are not in the stores. And there are tons! So I have this one...
...and this one. I'd like to pass myself off as this headless woman but I still need to shed a few more. By the time you read this I will have probably been there and worn it but which do you like the best? I'm loving nautical stripes. And I'm loving maxi's because they are comfy and light and forgiving in all the right places. Dress them up or wear them at the lake. I cleaned out the Summerhouse in one, barefoot and cool. I have some light cardigans in case it gets cool. And I'll take pictures tonight!!
Tomorrow, back to the lake. I think I'll decorate for the 4th this weekend as people will be coming as early as Wednesday night. Abby grabbed one of my new flags yesterday and popped it into a potted plant on the front porch. I told it was too early and she wisely said, "It's never too early to be patriotic!"
I may hitch a ride with someone depending on The Husband's work schedule. And this year he is eagerly planning the 2nd Annual Rocky River Kayak Trip. Just for the adventurous types. I will be on my (imaginary) hammock sipping a Bloody Mary.
Happy Weekend! :)