Hello! It feels like we are well into summer after the long, warm spring we had. I've been beating myself up for not jumping into the gardening as fervently as I've done in the past, but every day comes with its own set of rules. Everything I have coming up in the gardens are perennials like this clematis. The past two years I've had my ivy choke it out so I've been pruning a lot. And then I guess you can count the lettuce and spinach I planted a few weeks ago. That will be ready to make some yummy salads with in another 2-3 weeks.
Given that we are at the lake every weekend and I have little Madelyn here on Mondays, I don't have a lot of time to just go out and get dirty. I have my patio table and chairs out but everything needs a good cleanup. I feel exhausted looking at it. Still...it makes my heart ache that we've had all of these great sunny days and I could use an hour or two getting some vitamin D and watching my dogs bask in the rays. I just have to get to work to turn it into my little Shangri-La.
I've talked a little about the work we are having on the front of our house; a new porch, sidewalk and driveway. Newly painted gutters and shutters, new sod and bushes. One huge project that's going to go on for weeks. The porch starts next week. We decided on 'piece by piece' stone and we have a great guy, a master mason, designing and doing the job. I've yet to get quotes on the driveway, etc. I'm going to have to do more walking surveillance in the neighborhood. Bushes, hedges, plants...it's all a mystery suddenly. In the meantime our house looks haunted. I've always prized how pretty my porch looks with all my clay pots of impatiens every summer. The gorgeous ivy and blue shutters making it look like a home in the south of France Well, this may be an exaggeration, but you get my sentiment. Anyway, something ate my lawn in spite of my dreadful and copious use of pesticides and fertilizers. The porch was crumbling so bad I stopped getting creative with pots and window boxes. Every time it rains I get mud puddles in the driveway. This is very embarrassing for someone who takes pride in every bloom and blade of grass. Just hanging in there.
On the flip side, things at the lakehouse are moving along swimmingly. After losing two summers with the repairs on the house, the beach was so overgrown with weeds and grass, the water filled with muck and mud and weeds, it was a huge endeavor to clean it up. It was sort of cool though because of the lack of activity on our property, it became a haven for the blue herons and swans. We've been seeing them here and there, but before long they will know the gig is up. Long story short, we hired a small company that we used years ago when The Husband was sick. It's fittingly called The Beach Boys. The truckload of sand is delivered and then wheelbarrows are used to dump it in the water. We go out about 15 feet so when swimming, your feet are touching a sandy bottom. And then the beach itself...it speaks for itself. I can't wait to sit there with a good book and sunscreen.
The Husband surprised me with this table and chair set he ordered from Hayneedle. It's our new favorite website. Great prices. I have to say I like it. His main concern was more seating for our ever growing family. I'm okay about him choosing it (behind my back. Ahem.), but I have the fun job of picking out seat cushions and an outdoor rug. I'll share when I get them in.
In this shot you can see the side of the Summerhouse, or guest house, in the background. I have yet to go in there to De-bug, De-cobweb/spiderweb, De-stinkbug. Lots of scrubbing and airing out. Do you see the little front porch on it? It's so stinking cute. It's not very much a guest house, we do have two twin beds that fold out, they are behind closet doors. But I have wicker furniture, a comfy rocker, a small drop leaf table and chairs, a few lamps and a TV. There are screened windows all around so it's heavenly to escape there to read or just chill. At night it's a place to get away from mosquitos. The ceiling fan can also be switched to fan out heat on colder days/nights. I'll take some pictures soon. We've had this little place for over ten years, I think I've shared pics before.
What would a post be without a little blurb about Miss Mad? She took her first plane ride to Seattle last week. 4 1/2 hours. Emily said she was great. Emily was also drinking Bloody Mary's. Mike had work and his brother also lives there so they stayed with him. Em brought back some fabulous cooking oils from Pike's Market for me as a Mother's Day gift. She knows me. And she has some for herself. She has always been interested in cooking but now that she's home more to make meals, she's exploring much like I did. And speaking of Mother's Day, she and Mike had a little barbecue Sunday and we all had a ball. Two new mothers in the family!
Madelyn and I had our day together yesterday when Emily worked. She was fighting a cold and was getting worse as the day went on. I held her most of the day as when she seemed really sleepy, I'd lay her down and she'd immediately wake up crying. I'm just so attached to her. We were hot and sweaty (85 degrees and no air conditioners yet), but I held her and smelled her and kissed her in spite of us sticking together. Turns out she has an ear infection. Emily was beside herself. Sad that babies (and pets) can't tell us what is wrong We just do our best.
The Husband went to the lake alone last weekend, I just chose to stay home feeling like I have more to do here. I sort of relish my time alone, too, which is odd because I'm home alone all day. So I stocked up on some good food and wine, and had a real movie marathon Friday and Saturday night. More later.
I needed a few things from Target last week and of course, had to browse through the book department. We no longer have any bookstores in my immediate area. There is a Barnes and Noble about 40 minutes away. So I picked up two books I absolutely didn't need.
Beatriz Williams has a number of novels...I wish I had started with her first because some characters reappear in novels. I read The Secret Life of Violet Gray, and just loved it. Williams has a great way of mixing the past and the present, and creating memorable characters. She truly knows her history which makes her writing almost non-fiction. And did I say her characters can be incredibly laugh out loud funny? Just a nice mix in this novel. Can't wait to start this one. Another nice shout out, she's on Instagram and I happened to leave a comment and she responded. Love that. The real deal.
The other book, The Girls in the Garden, sold me by reading the jacket and reviews. Hope it lives up to my expectations. And I hope I can find some time to sit down with one of them...and the stack I already have.
I may be biased but I think my dogs are very photogenic. Mostly because they are often doing stupid things or looking a little more human-like than we care to think. This is Layla's chair. I'm not kidding. She and Milo each have their own just as The Husband and I do. The Bunker's.
A sweet blogger wrote that she likes some of my random recommendations and thoughts, so I thought I'd give you a few every now and then. Nothing categorized (Who? Me?). So here you go...
Weekend Movie Marathon When The Husband Was Away
Friday night: Dear John with Tatum Channing and Amanda Seyfried. Typical Nicholas Sparks tear jerker, but jerk it did.
The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen and the great Betty White. I thought this would just be another mediocre RomCom but it was really good. Good storyline and fun. And I never knew Sandra Bullock had such a nice shape. Sigh...
Confessions of a Shopaholic with Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy. I love all of the books in this series by Sophie Kinsella. They are hysterically funny and the Brits do humor right. Isla Fisher is a wonderful comedian and I'd love to have her hair.
Please don't judge me by my shallow movie picks, it was Friday night and I was a woman on my own. Did you think I was going to watch Phycho or When a Stranger Calls?
Sabrina with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond. No, not the classic. Shoot me. This was okay.
Friends With Benefits with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Cute, funny and a relevant storyline in spite of what the name implies.
Wedding Crashers with Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughan, Rachel McAdams. Alright, I know I've lost all credibility here but this was really a good movie all around. I thought it was going to be like one big bachelor party and in the first 20 minutes it does seem pretty raw (lots of bad language). But then a traditional story line ensues with great acting and it tugs at your heart. This version had what seemed like 10 minute long commercials every 20 minutes. Eternity, but I was determined to watch it until the end.
Abby was here Sunday and we were going to watch Lion. That would have been a real awakening for me after indulging in mindless pleasure for two whole nights. She fell asleep early and I binge watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. :-)
A quick meal I want to make that fits in with my love of one dish meals (bowls as they are called in some trendy spots): The Mediterranean Bowl. It consists of any sort of grilled meat or firm fish (or none), sliced zucchini and eggplant, tomato, red onion, couscous, feta cheese, green olives and a sprinkle of olive oil and red wine vinegar. S&P as desired. Mouth watering.
While we are in the kitchen I have some trivial drivel on some shortcuts I take as I'm inherently lazy in spite of being a perfectionist.
I love a clean stovetop but don't like to clean it. When I have to brown or saute foods that splatter oil, I spread a sheet of foil next to the skillet. Toss it out when you're done and no clean up.
At the end of the day I like to clean my kitchen sink out by squirting a few drops of liquid dish soap and scrubbing. This cuts grease like charm. No chemicals or products you hate.
I'm weird about bathrooms. I've heard that your kitchen sink has more germs than your bathroom sink but I'm not convinced. I keep disinfectant wipes in the vanity below the sink and use them every single morning. I'm careful to wipe the faucet handles, the pump dispenser of the liquid soap and the flush handle. Very obvious why.
I wish I had another tidbit but as I said, I'm pretty lazy.
Some quotes I wrote down and immediately forgot.
Praise the effort, not the outcome.
The biggest goal is to move on and not keep making the same mistakes. Nope, just new ones.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
The problem is trying to fill up everyone's cup because yours is empty.
I did not write down the sources but heck, we'd forget that, too.
See you all soon!