Sunday, January 28, 2018

SNOW FILLED DAYS AT THE LAKE & SOME WARM AND COZY MEALS


No Fuss Buffet

I love you ladies, and I know you won't frown on me when I say that I have 3/4 of my Christmas decorations up.  Still.  In fact, I think most of you will say, "Who cares?"  You guys are great like that.  I think I have truly entered this new year with a huge, "Who gives a care?" sort of mindset. That, on top of that disgusting virus that absolutely nails me, has me feeling C'est La Vie. 

***Since I wrote this, I'm happy to say I packed up tons, and only have a tiny bit to bring to the dungeon...er, basement. 

Okay, truth be told, I did feel bad about the lack of desire to be purposeful, to have all that Christmas stuff packed up by January 1.  But I blamed the virus.  The Husband wasn't so convinced.  We were ordering take-out dinner, I was very much in my P.J.'s all day, and we were out of toilet paper often.  I was to the point of jumping out of bed in the morning, throwing dishes in the dishwasher, pulling on sweatpants and a top, making up the bed, and climbing back in with a book and the dogs next to me.  All of this set the stage for the possibility of The Husband coming home early.  "Just catching up on my reading, honey."

******
We took a sledding trip up at the lake in mid January, and I stayed on an extra ten days.  I thought I could finally sleep forever with no guilt.  Ironically, the virus had run its course, and I was refreshed, and had nothing to hide.  Amen.  It was cold, rainy and gloomy during that time, but it was a good reset for me




Brooks & Madelyn
  

It was a fantastic family trip.  Three of the kids and two grands.  Madelyn had started walking two months before.  Brooks, about 3 months younger, finally made a huge go of it to keep up with Mad, as well as claim some toys or the occasional cookie or cracker.  He's walking like a champ now.

So we sledded- not, me to be truthful, and hung out in the warming house.  Another group created a nice fire in the huge stone fireplace.  I had packed a huge tote bag with coffee, Baileys, water, beer, wine, and snacks.  Sadly, it was just 26 degrees, and after a few runs down the hill, we had to admit we weren't up to those temps.  We headed off to a small ski resort for lunch, and it was so fun.  We were seated next to a huge window that looked out at the bigger ski hill, and the snow came down in heavy flakes.  There was a small stage with a country singer, who played 'Cryin into your beer' songs.  Brooks and Madelyn were infatuated.  



Patio at Lake, 2018

The young guy who takes care of our lawn cutting in the summer, also does snow plowing in the winter.  I called him and he cleared our long driveway and did a house check.  As you can see we had inches upon inches of the white stuff.  He shoveled a path to the patio doors.  He's also a bit of a handyman to make extra bucks in the winter (he owns a farm, I have to ask what that's all about), and he did some long awaited stuff for me.  If you know who Zayn Malik is, they are twins.  :))



Lakehouse, January, 2018

I had found this mirror, which looks like it was set in an old port hole.  I had been waiting since summer to get an idea--or a sign--of where to put it.  Emily suggested the wall going up the stairway.  I never wanted to put anything there, especially something heavy like this.  I think of all the people who come to stay, lugging their bags and whatnot down, and bumping the wall.  Finally, I had Gavin hang it in this spot, and I'm am beyond delighted.  Its perfect here.  And higher, which made me feel better.  I posted this pic on my Instagram, and so many commented that they thought it was an actual window.  I LOVE one of a kind pieces.



Great Room, Lakehouse, 2018

This is another find that goes back waaaaay back.  I found it on Ballard Designs.  Instant love.  The picture in the catalog and online showed it with two cut glass (or crystal) liquor decanters behind those rails.  It was definitely for a dining room area for me.  We have a huge open Great room, so I wanted it near the harvest table and kitchen.  At ninety pounds, with instructions for hanging, The Husband found every excuse in the world to not hang it.  Step in, Gavin, during my recent stay.  It wasn't easy.  A wall plug broke, so he had to make a run to the hardware store.  It took both of us to hold it up to see if it was level, and then line it up.  It's so cool!

I went to two antique stores in Dowagiac, determined to find decanters.  The owner kept leading me around to apothecary jars.  Remember when they were the big deal in the blog world?  Then came Mason jars.  Another overused item.  No decanters, but I did find two old bottles in tinted glass that will become perfect vases for the daisies I grow in the summer.  

Ultimately, I want on Amazon and found the perfect ones.  They are here, but I'm going to wait and show you when I get everything just so.

This wall stretches all the way down to the wall of windows, as you'll see in the next photo.  I have some pictures from way back hanging right now.  In my mind, I wanted something lake-like, as well as country-like, as we are surrounded by both. 

I ordered framed prints from one of my favorite websites, Art.com.  They have a huge amount of prints to choose from, and it's so easy to narrow down your searches by categories, and then there are several options as far as frame type.  No affiliation here, I've just been so please that I can find what I want without a lot of going from website to website.  Again, I'd rather show you what I chose when its up.  Hey, Gavin!!



Lakehouse Great Room, 2018

Looking out at the fog the day before I left.  The lake and our bay were frozen solid.  Ice fishermen, and even snowmobilers were on the lake.  It's been awhile in seeing that, so its proof positive what a cold winter thus far.  

On the left side in the photo, you'll see the wall I am referring to when I write about the art prints.  They've arrived here in Chicago, but I don't think I'm going back to the lake for about two more weeks.  I'll share when they are up on the walls.  I know---its hard to be patient about these things.  


Creamy Chicken & Gnocchi Soup

I bought a new fancy smancy slow cooker.  I loaned my older model to Abby, and she loved it.  I told her to keep it because I felt it was time to upgrade.  Last week I searched recipes on Pinterest, added the things I didn't have in my fridge or pantry on to my grocery list, and have everything I need for three meals.  Alas, my mornings are consumed with writing for the papers, and wandering around considering if I can put off a shower another day.  I'm serious, the virus is really draining me, and if I can play my violin a little longer, I have something in my already whacked out back doing something to a nerve.  At least I can escape the pain by sleeping.  Check.  Check.  

I had also Pinned some one pot meals and this one, pictured above, is a hack from Olive Garden.  Follow the link here.  Pretty simple to make,  and super filling (mostly with calories).  You may want to counter effect the deliciousness with a bland salad.  




Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Bake

I Pinned this recipe from one of my fave food bloggers, Marie Rayner.  Her website is The English Kitchen.  She recently published a cookbook which you can find here.  This is an incredibly delicious casserole that goes together easily.  I substituted a few ingredients, as I had them on hand.  Still, the flavors of Marie's recipe came through in such a comfort food sort of way.  Put this on your winter meal repertoire, and give her blog a visit.  Find the recipe here.

*****

So that's it for now.  I promised a blog post on Instagram (click to find me here), more to keep me on schedule.  I downloaded pics and wrote over a few days.  I'm off a week from the columns, so I'm trying to put together another blog post right now.  Do you agree that they are too long?  You can be honest.  I know it's difficult to comment on all the different ways my writings cross the board.  I'm determined to fix that.

We are almost on to February.   From that month on to about April, I get a little stir  crazy.  But--I have no excuse not to flood your email accounts with my ramblings!

Stay warm and dry!

Jane x 

46 comments:

CJ said...

Poor you with that virus, I am glad you're feeling better now. I had a virus over New Year and to be honest I still feel tired at times. Love that beautiful mirror, what a great find. Love the image of Brooks and Madelyn gazing at the singer of sad songs, that made me smile. Have a good week Jane. CJ xx

Maggie said...

Hope you can shake off that virus soon, it's been hanging around far too long. Loved seeing what's new at the Lake house, what a wonderful place to go to relax and find some peace and quiet. Off to check out your recipe recommendations now, stay warm, dear lady.

Preppy Empty Nester said...

So glad that you are over your virus. I think I spent 80% of January in my PJ's. Your mirror looks great. Can't wait to see the rest of your finds. Darling pics of your grands. Have a wonderful week.

Theresa said...

Well, I am sorry that you had the virus but what a nice place to have it:) I love your lake house, the view and the decor is perfect! THOSE two cuties are adorable. Walking? Wow, how time flies! Have a blessed day dear friend, HUGS!

NanaDiana said...

Glad you are feeling better and the virus is waning. Love the shots of the lake house. Those two pieces are perfect--both of them. I bet you are champing at the bit for summering up there, too.

Have a blessed Sunday- xo Diana

laurie said...

gosh that virus really knocked you down, I'm so glad you are feeling better! Those babies are so beautiful and its so much fun when they start to explore the world , more running after them when they get mobile ( walking ) but so much fun. Everything looks so beautiful at the lake house and by the sound of it you have found a great handi man!! A keeper for sure!!
Marie is such a wonderful blogger, I have her cookbook and its wonderful!You can never go wrong with Marie's recipes,, she is the absolute best.

Vee said...

Other than the virus, it sounds like a dreamy month. Anytime January is described as you have here, is a good thing. Your grands are adorable!

(I had no idea that apothecary jars and mason jars are out. What next? Cloches? 😏)

Susie said...

Blondie, Oh my goodness those adorable grandbabies. You need to get lots of photos of them. :) I love your beautiful lake house. You did well with those wall hangings. Don't you love having someone you can trust to tend to the house while you are away? When you show your good cooking, it makes me hungry. :):) Blessings to you sweet girl, xoxo, Susie

Stacey said...

I have to say, I admire your ability to rest! That's not something I can do unless I'm just dying but then again...maybe you felt that way with the virus. So glad you got that guilt free time at the lake. How nice to be uninterrupted!

Your family adventures sound like so much fun! I hope when my sons are married with children that they will be close by so we can experience all of it.

Keep those posts coming, my friend. :)

Silver Willow said...

Yeah, I had something that resembled either the worst cold ever, or the flu without a fever. It knocked me on my butt for a full week; five of those I slept through entirely. Weak for another week after that. We were a full week late getting our decorations down, and I had to power through/pace myself to do them THEN. So no judgments here.

Glad you had a great little vacation later, though!

Mereknits said...

So many people I know have been really ill. Many of the parents of the kids I see have been sick for weeks. My own husband has had this sore throat thing twice and he is NEVER sick. I hope you feel better, it is so draining to be ill because it zaps whatever energy you have. The lake house looks fabulous as usual. So glad you had fun with the family. Now get better!

Jeanie said...

Jane, it looks so lovely! Peaceful and a wonderful spot to recuperate from the Michigan Crud. Or was it the Chicago crud? Either way, not fun at all. I'm glad you're on the mend. I can see why the "porthole" mirror was getting raves. It looks great in that location.

I'm a little envious, being at the lake. We close our cottage in October and head back up in May or June, depending on life at home. I can't say I'm a winter girl at all but I do miss the peace of it!

Marie's blog is great. I printed that recipe too! And the chicken/mushroom casserole!

Gina said...

Jane, I love your lake house! Even in the Winter, it looks like such a welcoming retreat!

Three cheers for Gavin! I love the porthole mirror. I think you choice the perfect place to hang it, too. I really does look like a window.

It's me said...

Hi Jane...What a cute couple Brooks & Madelyn.....so sweeeet .....have a Nice week ...love Ria x ❤️

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Your lake house is looking wonderful. Love that porthole mirror. It does look like a window!

Lisa said...

Im glad your feeling better. I managed to escape any illness so far.
Your fixns look delicious and those babies are the cutest ever!!
Lisa

Debra Oliver said...

oh, I'm so in love with your lake house; those stairs and that round mirror! it really looks like a window, and then the great room with that wall of windows, so beautiful! Get plenty of rest, Jane. that comes before anything else, and don't feel guilty about it. xoxo

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Love your new wall decor! We have been doing projects at the lake now, too...

Sarah said...

Jane, the current virus going around seems to knock one down. I think rest is about all one can do to fight it off, so I say sleep all you need to. The lake house looks so fresh and inviting. You've done a terrific job! I love the port hole mirror where you placed it. It's a great touch for a lake house. It looks like the perfect family retreat......and those littles are about as cute as they can be. I know the give you much joy! Take care and don't over do.

Rita C. said...

Jane, I love seeing more of the lakehouse. The port mirror and that one in the dining are fabulous. 90# wow! Brooks and Madelyn....oh my, you have a wonderful gene pool, they are so adorable!
This flu is so, so frightening. One of my older sisters is in the hospital, lives alone, no family within 8 hours drive, and she went in to the ER with pneumonia, nearly septic yesterday. Not completely out of the woods yet, so I would covet your prayers.

Linda said...

Never long enough!!! Keep writing! I love every word!

Kathy Moreland said...

Hate to hear you have been sick. So far this winter, I've done well. I think I had enough last July to do me for a while.

Things here are moving slowly, but maybe soon this will all be over and I can relax. Hope you have a fabulous week!!

Karen Ann said...

Ugh, sure hope you're feeling better soon. My Fibromyalgia has flared with all this cold weather and barn work, but it could be worse, I tell myself, so I am thankful for all that is good. Some days are harder than others, but it is what it is.

Have you tried Olive Garden Minestrone soup recipe? Delish!

I love seeing more of the lakehouse too - your renovations are just beautiful. I'd have a hard time leaving it, would probably just move in and tell the family they know where to visit! LOL...



SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

It takes a long time to get rid of some of those nasty bugs! Rest is the best thing. Snow is pretty but I'm pretty much over it now!

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

Those babies are adorable!!! And your lunch at the ski resort sounds perfect with those views. There's something so comforting about watching snowflakes gently make their way to the ground. You're making me want to get my slow cooker out again. :)

Linda said...

Hey Jane....love reading your ramblings...seeing your gorgeous Lake House, and those sweet grandkids...
Won't be long til we can enjoy warm breezes by the lake...
Enjoy your week...
Cheers!
Linda :o)

Kim said...

Jane I always enjoy your posts. It’s like we’re sitting across from one another catching up. Glad you’re feeling better...and love the mirror placement! Perfect!

Lynne said...

Darn, damn virus stuff . . . zapping many this January . . .

Love the port hole window mirror . . . like really, really . . .
And the dining room piece . . . looking forward to seeing it with the decanters. . . your choice.
I am sure the wall will be of great charm . . .

Would write more but I am already late
whipping up a dessert for tomorrow.
Baking at 10:30 doesn’t sound fun . . .

Loved our snow days earlier in the month . . .
Roller coaster rain fog warmth cold really cold more snow face us again . . .
I need a few more pretty, quietly falling snowflake days . . .
love ~

Leslie Harris said...

Jane I hope you’re well now. I actually came down with a hacking cough right after a had a flu shot. Funny thing is it’s been so long since I’ve been sick, I hope it wasn’t that shot. I always love hearing about your family .. the babies are SO adorable. You’ve got your Lakehouse looking so beautiful, perfect spot for the porthole. How nice to have a fixer upper guy to help. I’m off to take some NyQuil...:)

xo
Leslie

handmade by amalia said...

You are an inspiration to me, Jane, you have a gift of focusing on what is important in life and not fussing about the rest.
Amalia
xo

Pamela said...

Everything looks beautiful Jane. Love the new mirror and those grand babies are just adorable as can be! They always brighten my IG feed.

Sonia said...

Your lake home is lovely! I love the porthole mirror in the staircase. It does look like a window. I'm inspired to try to find something like that for our staircase. Your soup looks so good! Stay warm. I'm almost through putting away decorations..but not going to stress about it. Glad you are over the virus..we had it here too and took a couple weeks to shake it! Stay warm and well!

Ricki Treleaven said...

Jane, your grandchildren are so beautiful! Wow, I'd spend all my time playing with them and taking pictures.....so I can understand why you still have Christmas up! ;P

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Love your rambles, Jane - it always feels like I've had a good girlfriend visit over a cup of coffee, or maybe a glass of wine :) I'm jealous that you found a good handyman.....I need one of those. Love the mirrors - they look great, and wow - I didn't realize your lake house was as big as it is. Perfect for the family. Those little grands are just precious as can be and all the recipes sound so good. I'm sorry that this virus has you feeling so blah, but there is something so healing in a good hibernation this time of year. I've been feeling so sluggish and have to push myself to get moving. It's the lack of sunshine, I think. Sometimes I'm surprised that I get anything done - I go through spurts. As far as the Christmas decorations - I'm almost ready to throw mine all out next year and just put up a Charlie Brown tree. Every year it gets sparser and sparser and I get happier and happier. Hope you are feeling a bit better by the next visit to the lake. Looking forward to seeing your new art and decanters. xx Karen

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Your grands are just adorable! I thought I'd commented already but have discovered some of my comments aren't "taking" once I hit publish, so I came back to check. I remember saying the last time I tried that I loved the porthole mirror and at first look I thought it was a window. Love your beautiful lakehouse, enjoy your getaways there! xx Cheryl

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Hi Jane. I have to say that those little grands are really the cutest things ever! Hope you are feeling better and I really did think the mirror was a window. Great spot for it. Love the other one too..Keep feeling better and have a great weekend..xxoJudy

Mary said...

HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY dear Jane - hope your day is full of fun and the year ahead will be the best ever!

Great post - glad to see all is going OK and hopefully you are no longer feeling sick or in pain!
With much love from us both as always. XX

Kathleen George said...

How can you not want to just be with your Grandbabies all the time, adorable picture:). Love the Lake House during winter, beautiful! Warm food and good reads with cuddling pups, that's alright in my book:). You take care of your immune system, the flu is scary!
Keep warm, Kathleen in Az
Here in Az Spring is sprung way way to early, fear of the hot temps coming to soon.

Kit said...

I love your new mirrors. The house is looking great. :) Kit

Dewena said...

I have a weakness for mirrors, especially odd ones. I love yours! I really love seeing little changes at both your places and reading about all the different things going on in your life. So please, Jane, keep rambling on!

And I hope so much that you will feel completely better soon, both with that virus and your back problems. I was sick with a three week virus beginning Dec. 27, RH before me. You just think it's never going to end but eventually it does.

Pam - @diy Design Fanatic said...

That chicken and gnocchi soup looks delish! I hope you've recovered fully. I just heard about a supplement that helps with immunity. Look it up on Amazon and read the reviews. I've ordered some and have it on hand if I start coming down with the flu. Quite a few people on chemo take it. http://amzn.to/2EGsxo8

Michele said...

Hi Jane - what a nice post. Glad you're feeling a little better.

Love what you did with that awesome mirror - perfection.

Your food looks delicious - now I am in the mood for a nice hot soup!

Have the sniffles, just started the last couple days. Hope it goes away - I have been relatively healthy this winter. I think I am the ONLY one - and I think it's cuz I had the flu in October. I think my antibodies were my armor - the epidemic flu going around has
devastated my city!

Hugs. ♥

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

Wow - what a January you dad! Those little ones are so darn adorable! Oh my goodness! ♥

Kellie Ljungholm said...

Jane, I love your beach house! It is so beautiful!!!

Kellie Ljungholm said...

oops, I meant to say LAKE HOUSE!!!

Kathleen Grace said...

I'm so sorry you struggled with the virus, but so glad it isn't that horrid flu that is so rampant. Scary stuff! I don't blame you a bit for feeling like getting some rest, and when you are ill, that really is the best thing to do. You grandbabies are soooo so cute! What beautiful eyes they have. Becoming a grandma this winter made me appreciate the fun you must be having. Isn't it wonderful?
Love that round mirror on the stairs, I thought it was a window too, and the shelf in the dining area is so pretty, I look forward to seeing the decanters.
As you can see, I am busily catching up with my friends, I have been extremely lazy in the month of January, I pretty much just took it off. Hope you are feeling better by now :)