Happy Spring! It truly feels like it here in the Midwest. Yesterday was 65 degrees yet for some reason I was feeling a little lethargic. I had bought some of my crabgrass/grub killer/fertilizer Sunday and wasn't looking forward to hauling those huge bags out of my car. I nearly broke my back putting them in the cart at Home Depot and then my hatchback. But it was warm and sunny with a prediction of rain. Since my hoses are stored away, I really wanted to count on Mother Nature to water this stuff in. So I rose to the occasion and got it down and as we speak, the rain is pouring from the skies. Now that's perfect Mother Nature love.
I wanted to share a book I recently ordered from Amazon. Do you have Amazon Prime? You pay a set fee once per year and then all of your items are shipped free. I love it. I get all of my books there (and that works as there are so few bookstores anywhere around me now). I also get a variety of other things. The upholstered headboard for the guest room bed was delivered free. :-D Anyway, this book is so sweet, homey and inspiring, I've had a few minutes here and there to explore. I'll let you know what I think later but if you want to check it out, as well as the reviews, you can go to Amazon.
I'm going to post a few pics of my bunny collection as I write about other irrelevant things. Above is a stuffed fabric bunny wearing a snappy little vest and holding his lunch and for the life of me I can't remember where or when I found him. I think it had to be at an end of season sale, maybe Marshall's. He's huge and I found the perfect spot for him to sit on a chair in my living room.
I've been crazy busy since my last post in that I wanted to get a current and timely blog post out to you guys and I also had a newspaper article due the 18th. I write my column much like my blog, as if I'm talking to a group of people. But for the newspaper I try to give more tips and tried and true experiences with my forays in cooking, gardening and all things lake related. I don't believe I will ever have a post that has a title that starts with, "How to...". And I will never do that to the country folk that read this newspaper. Imagine me writing about the apple pie recipe I use when there are so many readers who have recipes passed down from their great, great grandmothers? Silly. I try to inspire with newer recipes, stretching the imagination. This month I shared some of my spring cleaning ideas as well as a recipe. I love writing and this wonderful little job I have. It will be so great to get back up to the lake and ask my neighbors if they read the column. As so many of us are on first name basis, it will be a great way to get an honest opinion. Yikes!
Simple bunny in the bathroom
Speaking of the lakehouse, it's been all about demolition, electrical and plumbing lately. We picked out what we wanted for the baths and sent that on to the contractor. I'm guessing that after this comes the dry wall, trim and floors. We went with wide plank dark stained maple. We have also ordered the new appliances and I've gotten all my paint colors chosen. Tomorrow we are going to a cabinetry shop in downtown Chicago and I'm hoping to find the reclaimed wood that I want for my upper open shelves in the kitchen. I'm very excited about all of this but I really can't imagine the end coming soon. I have to continue to be patient.
I didn't bring out all of my Easter/spring decor. I have limited space. I spread out what I had over the whole house including the bathrooms and guest/Abby's room. I didn't want to overload anything. And I've mentioned how creepy all of those staring eyes can be. Ha!
I find it hard to change tradition and for years we've had the same holiday dinner menus. There have been occasions where I've switched up recipes, for example my simple sweet potatoes. I found a recipe that took them above and beyond my norm with maple syrup and walnuts. A big thumbs down and a lot of whining. One year Emily made the mashed potato casserole and added cream cheese and you would have thought the world ended. This year I decided to do the tried and true but throw in some new ideas in addition. No one will miss their favorites and maybe they will like my new dishes and request them for years on. Or not.
This guy is on my coffee table and if I can possibly say I have favorite, this may be it. I love the sassy pose, sweet face and floppy ears. :-D I've been meaning to apologize for my pictures of late. I get so harried when I want to post that I simply snap away with my cell phone. And its also convenient to use it when out and about. I'm going to do my best and dust off my good camera and be a little less sloppy.
So my Easter menu this year is as follows and I added an asterisk after the new recipes.
Spinach salad with feta cheese, red onion, hard boiled egg and poppy seed dressing **
Chilled strawberry soup **
Ham with honey glaze
Scalloped potatoes **
Glazed carrots with parsley **
Rolls and butter
Hot Italian Dip with crackers and veggies **
Buffalo Chicken meatballs **
Trifle with Pound Cake and White Chocolate Pudding and Berries **
Three Chocolate layered Brownies
Champagne with a scoop of Mango Sorbet **
The Bunny above sits on my mantel. Its made out of a soft linen and is very huggable.
Bunny figurines on a ledge in 2nd the bathroom. Little Girl Bunny lost an ear somehow and I can't find it to glue it back on. :(
I've set the bar very high many times with my menus and have sincerely told you guys about my failures. But you learn that way. I suppose I might eliminate some of these dishes if I'm running short on time but I have every intention to try and with some planning, make many things ahead of time. First, I'm sort of happy that there will be only nine of us...we can all fit around the table. Secondly, I always find that making a ham is so freeing as opposed to making the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey. A no-brainer and no gravy...yay! I usually make the ham early and keep it covered. A half hour before dinner we carve it and keep it in the oven at a gentle 250 degrees. I pour a lot of pan juices over to keep it from drying out.
Again, since we have a smaller group I can set a pretty table...no one will be balancing plates on their laps in the living room. So I can make a nice table setting while everyone is relaxing with appetizers in the living room. The temps are supposed to be in the 40's so maybe we will have a fire. I plan to have the soup and salad first and the rest as a buffet. My memory was jogged for the Chilled Strawberry Soup when I read a blog posted by Rita at Panoply. She did a beautiful spring tablescape and mentioned the soup. The Husband and I had it at a B&B in the Shenandoah Valley two years ago. I absolutely loved it and planned to make it one day. Totally forgot. I'll give you links for all of these new recipes in my next post.
Abby is on spring break from the school she teaches at next week. I hope we can get out to do some fun things when she visits. I put this little angel bunny on her bed. She'll always be my baby. Abby, that is.
I've done a bit of shopping for our trip to Vancouver but it's been difficult not knowing the weather. I have a weather app on my phone that includes that region and they always seem to be about 5-10 degrees lower than Chicago. I'm beginning to think flat shoes and cropped pants won't be a reality. I'm good though...we are quite cold here until May so I'm going to have to forgo the T shirts and light sweaters and stick with what I'm wearing now. I simply can't afford to pack the wrong things.
I wanted to show you guys a picture of Emily's living room. She used to have taupe vertical stripes on this long wall which were quite cool. Recently she decided to make a change and painted the stripes a soft blue/green color. She wasn't happy. She tried a few more colors...just along the edges and finally decided on this shade. I think she called it Coffee Bean by SW. I thought she was really brave, at least for me and my color phobia. As an interior designer she has a keen eye and vision many of us don't have. This is why she is so successful in her field. Most of all she knows what she likes and can put a room together perfectly. Anyway, I'm loving this.
The light changes and the color takes on putty shade. It looks beautiful with her furniture and pieces. She is not tied into any trend. She goes with what she loves and knows what works. I have gotten so much advice from her and I truly believe my home, with her help, is a reflection of what I love and can't be defined by any 'style'. I truly enjoy decorating books and the many shows on TV that show how spaces can be transformed. It's all food for thought. I have a nice collection of decorating books and I pick up any one of them from time to time and get inspired by ideas I hadn't thought of before. There is no 'one way' to do anything and fresh ideas are in abundance if you really keep your eyes open. :-D
So...that's all I have this week. It was a busy week for sure. You know that I do the light therapy every Monday and Tuesday. Last week I had a teeth cleaning appointment with my dentist and as if a miracle occurred, the hygienist had to cancel. I joked with the receptionist that this was sort of a happy thing but it seemed she didn't share that feeling.
Easter dinner grocery store trip is next after a shower. It's thundering and there are huge puddles everywhere, maybe I don't need one!
I want to give a little mention to a few people who have commented recently on my posts. First, Anonymous. You gave me such kind and caring thoughts on my skin problems and followed up a second time. Please know I appreciate it and hope you come by often. Also, Kathleen George in Arizona. I have no way to reach you but I want to thank you for your visits. You really 'read' my posts and leave such great comments! If you have an email address, please let me know.
Enough for today. If I don't get back soon, I wish you a happy and blessed Easter!