Friday, April 29, 2011


I've been enjoying shopping for my upcoming vacation. Any excuse to shop is okay with me. I mentioned that I bought a few dresses, so today I was hanging them, deciding if I should whip out the old iron and thought I would share a few with you. These were a great bargain at Old Navy. I also bought 2 skirts. Don't you find them more comfy than shorts?

Last night I tried my best to stay up for the royal wedding and made it until 4 a.m. The highlight of my evening was seeing David Beckham arrive and shopping online. I bought some capris and a few T shirts and sweaters. When I got up this morning {and watched videos of the wedding and cried a bit}, I did a little more shopping for bra's and undies. Can I say that online? I am just so excited about this trip I can't keep my mind straight. We haven't been anywhere since New Orleans lasts summer.
This is me. I mentioned before that I was going to have my hair straightened with a keratin treatment. I had it done yesterday {it was painless], and I am loving it. The product is actually still in my hair...I can't wash it for 2 days. And I can't put so much as a bobby pin in it or it will leave a crimp. Now, this treatment is not the same as the Brazilian blowout, as some of you have asked. It is supposedly better and lasts up to 3 months. Then I am back to the Shirley Temple look. Some have asked why I would want to change. I guess we want what we don't have. And this is going to shave a lot of my getting ready time everyday. That really is what it is all about for me.
These are the products I have to use. Did you know that clarifying shampoo gets rid of all the build up of shampoo, conditioner, hairspray and pollution, and leaves your hair like new? News to me. I usually buy what is on sale.

Have I told you that I am meeting 2 fellow bloggers in Asheville? Penny from The Comforts Of Home and Penny of Lake Lure Cottage. Yes, two Penny's that live there. Penny on the lake has invited all of us for lunch and a boat ride. Isn't that sweet? I am so excited to meet both of these ladies, we are going to have so much fun.

Other than my shopping expeditions, not much else is new. Tomorrow we are definitely going to the lake as I have to get my bathing suit. It is supposed to be 74 degrees. I don't know if our boat has been dropped off yet from the marina where we store it over the winter. We also have 2 new additions to our shoreline this summer...kayaks! The Husband bought two last weekend. I really hope this helps me to get in shape for my son's wedding this summer. Fun times ahead.

I hope all of you have a nice, sunny, warm weekend! :-)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Have you noticed that I have been posting more often? I guess because I am less busy, which doesn't make for a really interesting post. Oh...come summer. Fun~busy. But I am not going to complain about wanting summer to come because it seems like spring just arrived. And along with it, a lot of rain. I cut these daffodils a little while ago and you can see that they are spattered with mud. The ground is saturated. Thus, no playing in the garden, which means I will not be getting any vegetables until around August. Okay, this may turn into a complaining post.
I hope everyone had a good Easter. It was a busy day, I cooked and cooked and cooked some more. Thankfully, Emily decided to make a quick potato casserole and that saved me a lot of grief in not having to peel, boil and mash potatoes. Have you ever had the hash brown potatoes with corn flakes and butter on top? It sounds so...American. It's SO good though. And I didn't make cupcakes with cute little marshmallow bunnies on top as The Husband made a trip to Costco and came home armed with desserts. He was so proud of them, you would think he had made them himself. Have you ever seen how big their pies are? Goodness.
I thought I was going to paint eggs by myself Saturday night, but when I told the girls, they tripped over themselves getting to the kitchen. I got to color one lousy egg, that would be the bright pink one in the foreground, which I think turned out pretty good for someone who is all thumbs. Abigail had a heck of a time blowing the eggs, getting yolk everywhere and dropping them a few times. After she got bored, Emily prettied them up. Aren't they cute?
She spent a long time on this egg, using thread and flowers and buttons. I'm going to save it.

My red twig dogwood is in full bloom. I remember ordering this from Burpee a good 20 years ago. Those are yellow and orange daylilies all around it. In between are bleeding hearts, columbine and astillbe. It's very shady in this corner of my yard.

We have a busy couple of weeks ahead. I have to go through all my summer clothes to see what is presentable to bring on vacation and then I need to supplement the wardrobe with a few items. We have Mother's Day coming up and that morning I am in a cancer walk~a~thon with a brunch afterward. We also have a communion coming up and a trip to the lake because I left my bathing suit there. The Husband hates pools, but I plan to spend a serious amount of time there on vacation. He can go fly fishing. And I have an appointment Thursday to get my hair straightened with this new process my girl uses. I'm so excited. Goodbye, Shirley Temple. Hello sleek and no hours spent blow drying and straightening and hair spraying. It'll be a new me.

I'm so sorry for such a long, boring post. Very random as usual. I'm off to do laundry and some housework...I'll spare you the details. I'm joining Marty for Table Top Tuesday. Visit her blog at A Stroll Thru Life!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


We really had a great day yesterday. The Husband took the day off from work and we headed west, about 50 miles, to visit Joy from Savvy City Farmer and her Shop The Shed event. You might remember we also went last fall. I took gobs of pictures and I have posted a few {ha ha} for your pleasure.
I'll keep the dialogue to a minimum so you can just look and dream.
Okay, I have to disrupt the silence. Look at these shutters. Don't you love the color? I wouldn't change them a bit.

Me again...I am thinking of putting some ivy plants in my birdbath. They will stay watered and look beautiful. Great idea.

There were a lot of plants for sale and set up in cute vignettes. I bought a beautiful pot of baby tears.

The Husband warned me not to get any ideas about furniture, but I really fell in love with this little piece.

Tents were set up to protect everyone from the pouring rain. These pictures were taken in the shed.

I came away really wanting to start potting plants...the gardening bug is really biting.
Joy's daughter Angela, from Parisienne Farmgirl makes the best macarons. I bought a dozen and as you can see, there aren't many left. Aren't they pretty?

You might remember that Joy and Angela's homes are features in Fifi O' Neill's book, Romantic Prairie Style. It really has been nice getting to see them at the Shop The Shed sales. There will be another one in September. Maybe I will leave The Husband at home and buy some furniture.

I think I'm ready for Easter. Ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and corn. The whole family will gather for dessert in the evening. I am making cupcakes and cheesecake. And I have a few new appetizer recipes that I will share with you at another time.

Wishing you all a wonderful and blessed Easter! :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I wrote last time about the Mexican market I visited and how Emily and I planned to make a family feast with all the great food I found, and Sunday, that's how we spent our day. Had I known years ago that my first born daughter and I would be cooking along side each other in the kitchen, loving every minute of it...well, I'd have been ecstatic. We really had a good time and Emily has really become quite the chef. She. Is. Good.

I was in charge of the flank stank which I pounded out to tenderize and then marinated in lime juice, olive oil, cumin and garlic. I then layered chorizo sausage, poblano pepers, cilantro and chihuahua cheese over the meat and then rolled it up jelly roll fashion. Tied with kitchen twine, I baked it for an hour and when it was cool, sliced it into little pinwheels. There is a definite lack of pictures here because our hands were always busy and full of messy gook.

Emily cooked the beef riblets in a sauce that she found on the Food Network, a sweet and spicy concoction that had me whimpering when I tasted it. I am going to have to do my own searching online for the recipe as she's not sharing. Little devil. I think the sauce would go well with pork and chicken. After cooking it in the crockpot, she removed the bones and although the meat wouldn't shred, she was able to pull it apart into small chunks and we had it on soft corn tortillas with the sauce, sour cream and cheese.

In addition to this, I steamed tamales and Em made quesadillas. For appetizers, we had nachos, chips and guacamole. Somewhere in the middle of all this, Emily made Irish Soda Bread, in keeping with our own heritage.
In setting the table, I had some bright dishes, but all of my napkins were pretty bland. I think a shopping trip is in store. Emily found some fabric she had from school and fashioned some napkins in red, white and black. Aren't they cute?
The whole gang was here and despite the pretty table, we all ate standing up, walking around and trying all the dishes, laughing and just having a great time. It was truly a fiesta!
Don't you just love the cover of this book? The recipes are pretty wonderful, too. I won it in a giveaway by Sharon Lovejoy who has a great blog called Sharon Lovejoy Writes From Sunflower House And A Little Green Island
Sharon also sent me these cute little note cards she illustrated and some lettuce seeds. If you go to her blog you will see what a wonderful artist and writer she is and stick around for a tour of her magical garden. This is good reading. Thank you so much, Sharon!
I'm off to the grocery store with my list for Easter. I love shopping for holidays, knowing that I'll spend the day in the kitchen and then we will all gather around the table to celebrate and enjoy each other's company. These are the best of times and I am so grateful.

In spite of the rain and wind and gloom, I've had a good week. I do hope it warms up though. I like the sun out on fact, I can't remember one that wasn't sunny as far back as I can think. I'll be coloring my eggs on Saturday. No wee ones to help me, but I love it just the same. My best eggs were made one year when I left the eggs in the dye and went to take a shower. When I came out, they were so brilliant, it hurt your eyes! My sister thought they were fake!

Enjoy the rest of your week and I will be back again before Sunday! :-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011


When it has been cold and rainy for days, sometimes the best thing you can do is get out of the house. We braved the blustery winds and met a couple for dinner in a little town close to home. Having been to this restaurant a few times, I had always wanted to check out the Mexican market next door to it. Do you ever wander down the aisles of the ethnic foods in the supermarket? I love doing that, wondering how everything goes together to make a meal foreign to me. Well, I had a blast in this little market.
Soon I had my little basket loaded to the brim with tamales, peppers, cilantro, chipotle sauce and chorizo sausage. In the meat section I ordered some beef riblets and a big cut of flank steak. In my head I was putting together a Mexican feast for dinner today.

Emily is gong to cook the riblets very slow in the crockpot in a sweet and spicy sauce used for tacos. She has become quite a cook and relies heavily on recipes printed out from the Food Network. I am going to marinate the flank steak for a few hours and then stuff it with sausage, poblano peppers, cheese and cilantro. Then I'll come up with a spicy sauce to pour over it. Pictures of our fiesta to come, and recipes if you want {if you trust me, I'm not using any}.
Surprisingly, the restaurant next door to the Mexican market is an Italian Trattoria. The restaurant, Island's Cafe, is named after the town, Blue Island, just a short drive from the south side of Chicago. It's a cosmopolitan mix of Italian and Mexican ethnicity. It also has some fabulous antique stores that I always mean to stop into one day.
The pictures get dark here, I'm still not that great at taking pictures in low light. You can see how small and intimate the place is. We went with another couple and had a great time. I had veal scallopinni on a bed of sauteed spinach and cheese. Oh, heaven. And I forgot the picture.
Here is The Husband and me, happy for a dinner out. We really had a good time.
And yesterday I received a little gift from Home Depot... rototiller. If it weren't so wet out, my garden tilling would be underway. But we have to wait several days until the ground dries. I never thought I could get so excited over a machine. And The Husband is excited that he has something to till the beach with. I'll refrain from showing you pictures of the progress of my seedlings, but they are growing like mad. Soon I can put them in bigger pots.

I hope all of you are having a great weekend. Did you do anything fun? I'll let you know how this dinner turns out here in Kitchen Stadium, and I'll take some pictures. See you next week! :-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


It's a gorgeous day here, it just hit 50 degrees and I plan to spend as much time outside as I can. It smells so fresh; I have all the windows open, I'm having another pot of coffee and I think even the dogs are smiling. Spring can do that, you know.

It was a gorgeous weekend here, too. It got up to 83 on Sunday, which is very strange for the Midwest this time of year. Everyone and their grandmother were out, but Emily and I amused ourselves shopping. We went to Target to look for a runner for the bottom of the stairs and came out with everything but the runner. I think that warrants a trip back, don't you think?
The yard clean up was done yesterday and everything looks neat as a pin. The Husband went out looking for a new rototiller for the garden on Saturday and the type we want is not in stock at Home Depot, so we will be ordering one online. I am really anxious to plant my garden this year, I have my seeds and I need some plants. I am even going to try my hand at strawberries here and blueberries at the lake. I know we have a few frosts to come, so I will be good to go up until May 1st, then it starts to get late in the season and I'm might not have any vegetables until August.

My red twig dogwood is blooming and I cut some branches to bring inside. They almost look like forsythia. I planted this guy when we first moved in and it is a monster now. My daffodils and tulips are just getting ready to open...finally.
The little seeds that I planted 10 days ago are coming up nicely. Well, the chives and sweet peas are doing well and the rosemary and basil are a bit behind. I feel like a little kid with a science project. This will amuse me until I can get out and get my hands in the dirt. It's all about patience, I guess.
So there we have it for a little gardening post. I'm linking up with Tracie at Fishtail Cottage for Cottage Flora Thursday. She has a great blog, you should visit her. Especially if you love your garden. Do you love your garden? :-)

Friday, April 8, 2011


Hi everyone. I am just popping in with a quick post before the weekend. I'm not sure yet if we are going to the has been raining for the past two days but Sunday is supposed to be in the 80's, rain or shine. As much as The Husband and I would like to get our projects done up there, the actual thought of pulling out the paint cans and brushes doesn't really leave us with a lot of warm and fuzzy thoughts. So, maybe we are procrastinating. We are wondering if maybe we just need a quiet, relaxing weekend up there just taking inventory of what needs to be done. :-)

We celebrated daughter Abigail's birthday yesterday at a Japanese restaurant, the sort where you all sit around a big table and the chef comes and cooks on a big hibachi grill. Fun, fun, fun.
The blur of his hands show how fast he is working. I've always wanted to be able to chop as fast as Rachel Ray but now I have upgraded my goals. And I want to be able to twirl my knives and pop an egg in my hat.
I had steak and calamari, but of course, forgot to take a picture of it. It also comes with miso soup, salad, noodles and rice, and for dessert ice cream and cookies. My fortune read, "Much love is coming your way". I like that.
This is Abby and her boyfriend, Tom, who came home from school for the occasion {her birthday, not the dinner...but who knows}. Our present to her was a Coach purse and you can sort of see her holding it in the picture and she looks happy. Later she told me she wanted the one with the long strap. I really thought I had got it right this time, I'm notorious for getting almost the right thing. The one with the long strap is $20.00 cheaper, so I get a refund and that's fine with me.
From Tom and his family she received this gorgeous Vera Bradley tote and cosmetic bag, perfect for when she visits Tom at school. I'm a little jealous, not owning one Vera Bradley item. Okay, I'd prefer the Coach purse. Which would you rather have?
I rarely get good pictures of Layla...I'm not sure why. She is a lot cuter in person. Milo is just so darn photogenic. But I want you to take a look at all sweet eight pounds of her. Because...
...this is what we have living in one of our trees in the backyard. Actually there are two of them making a nest. It's hard to see the face, I was standing {cowering} next to my car when I took this picture. I think it is a falcon. We have had them for the past couple of years, but never a nest. Rumor has it that the mayor of Chicago decided to bring some of these guys in to control the pigeon population. What I am afraid of is that it is going to reduce my pet population by half. I know a lot of you live in the country...I am wondering if you have to deal with hawks and big animals and how you do it with small pets. I doubt one of these are going to swoop down and carry Layla away, but don't they get a bit testy when they have a nestful? At the lake I don't worry much because most of the wild animals stay in the woods next door, but here...I'm worried. Am I paranoid?

So anyway, this is my short post. The week has breezed by. I started shopping for my trip to Asheville. I am assuming it is going to be warm, so of course I have to pack away some of these winter clothes, go through last years summer clothes and supplement. So far I have done the supplementing at the mall and Old Navy. Oh, the cute sundresses they have. I am in love. I could wear one everyday. And the wedge heeled sandals, totally impractical for walking and sightseeing, but they are so cute! What do you wear on vacations? Do you choose style over function?

I hope you all have a good weekend. Any plans? I hope the weather is good where ever you are. See you next week! :-)