Tuesday, November 29, 2011


It's a very blustery day in Chicago, hang on to your hat. It's not cold though, in the 40's and there are rumors of snow. We shall see. I'm hunkered down with my coffee and laptop and thought I'd do a quick post.

First up, I received the most wonderful gift in the mail yesterday from Maggie of Normandy Life. Many of you know her and I am one of the lucky ones. She did a post on making chutney a few weeks ago, and I commented that I had no idea where to start and had never tasted it before. She kindly emailed me and asked if I would like her to send me a jar from her homemade stash. Of course! So it winged it's way from France to here and I am the lucky recipient of not only a jar of Spicy Apple Chutney, but she included a sweet card, a little tote bag and a box of deliciously fragrant soaps that she bought in Paris! Is she not the best? I can't wait to try the chutney. She advised me that it is good along side cold cuts and meats and also cheeses, some of which she recommended. I am so touched and thankful to have such a sweet and generous person like Maggie in my life.
Time marches on and I have no tree as of yet. The Husband said he would take it under advisement. What was I thinking...that I could put up a live tree prior to December 1st and it would live to see the holiday? So I have been busying myself with other holiday duties...er, fun, such as writing out my Christmas cards and doing a little {lot} shopping. I have to say that I am 60% finished and I am going to start wrapping gifts today. I didn't go out on Black Friday, but I did take advantage of Cyber Monday. When there is free shipping, you just can't beat shopping online. I know this makes me sound like an efficient little elf, but believe me, after a week or two of the boxes arriving, begging to be wrestled open and wrapped, I start to lag behind and I'm up on Christmas Eve to all hours wrapping. All my ideas for handmade gift tags and stamped paper fly right out the window.
Our wedding anniversary is December 14th...25 years. Wow, I have been with The Husband longer than I have been without. We have a little trip planned to celebrate. Next weekend we are off to St. Joesph, Michigan to stay 2 nights at The Belvedere Inn and Bistro. It's right on Lake Michigan and this harbor town is known for it's quaint shopping and dining. I couldn't download any better pictures than this, as the site had one of those pesky little slide shows. I'm really excited and I promise to take lots of pictures.

So that's about all I have going on now. I'm late but I am joining Marty from A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday and Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday. Thanks so much for hosting ladies. And to everyone...have a wonderful week! :-)


Sonia said...

What lovely gifts you received..I think fellow bloggers are some of the nicest people. I love reading Maggie at Normandy Life and her home is lovely...read Sarah's post and the visit she had with her on their recent trip to France. Happy Anniversary and have a wonderful trip...stay warm!!
Miss Bloomers

Theresa said...

Wow, you are a lucky lady to receive such sweetness in the mail! Love the cards! Hope you get lots done and have an awesome trip for your anniversary!

I am coming your way mid-2012:) Perhaps I can get to meet you!


My Grama's Soul said...

Good morning Jane... Congrats are in order for your anniversary...sounds like you have a wonderful little outing planned to celebrate.

I've never had chutney either.....I'm going to try it one of these days. LOL

Stay well sweet lady,


Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

What wonderful gifts! We get a live tree, we go to a tree farm and cut it ourselves, so it is fresh. We put it up the day after Thanksgiving and it last until New Year's day without dropping needles. We just make sure it is watered every day. Getting them fresh makes all of the difference.

Have fun on your anniversary trip!

Sonny G said...

thats such a great gift Jane.

Happy Anniversary~!


Anonymous said...

Hi Jane! Oh, how sweet of Maggie to send you some of her chutney! So nice to receive gifts from our friends. Well, you're certainly ahead of the game with your shopping. I always mean to shop online but just never do. I do have some gifts bought already! Stay warm! We're in the high 50s and for our little island, that's cold! :)
Be a sweetie,
Shelia :)

Debbiedoos said...

Yum Jane! How sweet was that? Blogging friends are such gems to us! Very cold here too Jane, not Chicago cold, but for the South, pretty darn chilly. Stay warm and enjoy the day.

Anonymous said...

what a lovely gift, now thats a true friend.Have a greast celebration of your aniversary, I have been there its such a lovely place, great gift shopping,

Crystal Rose Cottage said...

That is so sweet of your blogging friend! I will have to check out her blog. 25 years....that's wonderful! It will be 40 for us next year. I was only 19 when we got married and the time has gone so fast. I don't have my tree up yet either. I am trying to get motivated...just haven't felt very well for the last few days. Enjoy your chutney!~Hugs, Patti

Honey at 2805 said...

What lovely gifts!

Congratulations to you and the Hubs on you upcoming wedding anniversary! Your "honeymoon" getaway sounds wonderful!

Barb said...

Hi Janie, I like your this and that post. Keeps me up on your life.

Your little anniversary getaway sounds wonderful. Have a great trip.

You are ahead of me on the shopping. I don't start until December. Can't believe I do that to myself. Yikes.


PAINTORDIG.blogspot.com said...

What nice gifts! I bet the soap smells heavenly.Glad you are getting away for your anniversary, that is always nice.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

First of all...you are so exactly right about the lovely women we meet on our blogs. They are all must plain amazing. What a lovely thing for her to do! It always, always amazes me at how gracious our blogging friends are. Of course, YOU dear Jane, are one of them! Always gracious, always helpful and kind. :)
Hugs and love,

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Jane,
Happy eary Anniversary! What a nice trip you have planned. I can't tell you when was the last time Mr. Sissie and I have taken a little trip together, so I think it's very nice you are doing something special. Of course we've been together for 37 years!

I haven't done any Christmas shopping. I'm not sure where to start because everyone on my list is so hard to buy for.

You asked about the garland on my mantle. I bought it at a little shop last year. It's all glittery and pretty. I bought several strands for our big Christmas tree, but since we didn't put a big one up this year I used it for the mantle.


Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

It's been very blustery here as well, at least the sun in shining today that's a plus. I haven't even thought about Christmas cards yet.. girl you are good... in case I forget Happy Anniversary!! It's a milestone!! Mr. P and I'll be married 34 years the 29th.. where have the years gone? hugs ~lynne~

Amy Chalmers said...

Oh jane, send the cold weather east will you? It was 70 today in Boston, and tomorrow will be a rainy day...where o where are the snow flakes so I can get in the spirit to shop and decorate??

Julie Marie said...

Hi Jane... how sweet of your friend to send you those gifts!... I LOVE chutney and have not made it in years... your anniversary getaway sounds so nice!... it is cold and blustery here today too... enjoy your time staying warm and cosy sipping coffee and relaxing... xoxo Julie Marie

Lori said...

What a nice gift Jane. Congrats on 25 years ~ I just know you will have the most wonderful week-end! I will be bringing my tree in on the 10th ~ I figure 3 weeks is pushing it! Happy Tuesday. xo

Olive said...

How sweet of her to send the chutney. I make cranberry chutney every Thanksgiving and will never open a can of cranberry sauce again. Have a lovely get a way weekend with your groom. hugs♥O

Ricki Treleaven said...

Maggie is the *sweetest* LOVE her! Happy Anniversary!!! I hope y'all party down.

Enjoy your trip!

Ricki Jill

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

What a wonderful present from France Jane.....you will really enjoy the chutney. Coming from France, I just know it will be delicious.
You are doing well with your Christmas preparations.....I have most of my presents but, we don't start to put up our decorations until mid-December....traditionally, you seem to do it a little earlier than us. When I decorate our house for Christmas, I shall probably do a post.
Enjoy your couple of days away and tell us all about it when you return.
....oh, and a very Happy Anniversary to you both. XXXX

Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads said...

Bloggers are the best people in the world! How nice of Maggie to send you some chutney! I made some pear chutney this fall. We had some with our Thanksgiving dinner. I bet that French soap is divine! Happy Anniversary!

Melanie said...

Hi Jane ~ how awesome is it that you received gifts in the mail, especially all the way from France! It sounds to me like you're being plenty efficient enough with the shopping already. Even though my family stopped exchanging gifts after my oldest son passed away a couple of years ago, I still buy gifts for my hubby and other son, and also my two nieces. (My friends and I don't exchange gifts anymore either.) I haven't even started!

I'm familiar with St. Joseph - I've been through that town, and I also have an online friend who used to live there, so I've seen pictures (beautiful!) and have heard all about it. You'll have a wonderful time!

Paula@SweetPea said...

What a sweet friend to send that chutney all the way from France. Bloggers are simply the best people!

Enjoy your trip and be sure to take pictures to share with us!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

60% done is good, Jane! I pick things up here and there, but then again, I don't have much to buy anymore. The kids I give money or gift cards now ~ they appreciate them more, so the baby is the main one I buy gifts for. I try to limit that even and just put money in the 529 I opened for her last year.

xinex said...

How nice of Maggie to send you those wonderful presents, Janie. I thought I recognized the Fragonard box. We toured the Fragonard Factory when I went to France for the first time a long time ago, 1993 to be exact. Happy Anniversary and enjoy your trip. It sounds really nice...Christine

Debi said...

You have been quite busy getting a lot of your Christmas stuff accomplished. I haven't even started, but I do have the tree. What a nice treat to receive from Maggie. Very sweet. Looks like you and the man of your life are planning a nice anniversary get away. Stay warm. I hear there might be snow in the N.C. mountains this week also.

Babs said...

How lovely to receive pretty gifts from Maggie.

Gypsy Heart said...

What a kind gesture and such lovely gifts! I will be anxious to know what the chutney tastes like.
I have my tree up but that's it for now.

Enjoy your trip! Sounds like a fun place to be.


Lori E said...

Chutney is so versatile.
You can spoon it over some Camembert or Brie cheese rounds and then bake them or microwave them to serve with some lovely crackers or breads.
I have to say I went to a fake tree years ago because I wanted it up for a long time.
I cut fresh greenery to use around the house for the scent though.

Maggie said...

Hi Jane
I'm so relieved that the package arrived safely and undamaged!!
Happy Anniversary too!

Tina said...

How special to receive such lovely gifts, Jane!! I hope that you and your husband have a wonderful 25th Anniversary...how incredibly special. Enjoy your weekend away ~ xx

Sue said...

Wow...treats from France, how cool is that? My husband loves chutney. We actually buy it in Michigan...cherry chutney! I keep thinking that maybe this year we should try a winter trip to Michigan, but I'm so afraid of the drive and the risk of ice/snow that I'm not sure. The pictures make it look so pretty in the winter!

That is a big anniversary. On our 25th, we had a Christmas party (our anniversary is Dec. 28th) and didn't tell anyone it was our anniversary. The only clue was I had the dates written on a small fancy cake and some napkins near it from our wedding. No one knew until they got ready for dessert. We handed out music collections from the year we got married. It was really fun. This year will be 37 for us!!! We really did get married way too young. I've almost been married twice as long as I was single!

As for the pup...pictures are here:

Lynne said...

Ok...one of my faves... turkey with a teaspoon full of chutney on a croissant!

What a lovely and thought-
filled gesture by Maggie! Not surprising because you are a great blog friend!

I thank you for introducing me to Maggie's blog, Jane. She is delightful to read!

Oh...what a lovely get a way ahead for you and the Husband...25...a milestone to Celebrate BIG!

Susan EvelynAndRose said...

You're keeping busy Jane! How sweet of your friend Maggie to send you that yummy chutney.
Have a wonderful anniversary with hubby - wow, 25 years! Splendid!
- Susan

Cass @ That Old House said...

Hi Jane!
Thanks for admitting you are up on Christmas Eve, still wrapping presents. Me, too! Are we seeing a pattern here? :-)


April said...

Wow...I love everything you won, Jane...you lucky lady! I got all of my cards addressed today to send out tomorrow...one more thing off the list! Your upcoming trip sounds like oodles of FUN!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Happy Anniversary! What great and generous bloggers are! Enjoy your lovely gifts!

Jacqueline said...

Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary. That sounds like a fun trip, enjoy, enjoy! It will be just beautiful this time of year.

How fun to get the gifts in the mail. She went all out. Have fun getting ready for Christmas - hope the tree gets up soon!

Tricia said...

What a sweet gift. I don't think I've ever tried chutney either. I've been busy with my Christmas stuff too, but I'm not nearly as far along as you are...I tend to do most of my shopping online. Happy Anniversary to you! Hope you have a wonderful getaway ♥

d e l i g h t said...

Those are some great gifts! I would love them all. Here in Tucson it is very windy right now...it must have come from your way! Have a wonderful anniversary trip!

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

Don't you just love it when someone goes out of their way to do something so thoughtful?? It just always touches my heart :)

Sounds like a wonderful trip planned! We are TRYING to plan a trip to Nashville to shop and see the Rockettes and it seems that something else is going on EVERY weekend!! I must persevere!

And I am NOT done with my shopping! I am jealous that you are ;)

Have a great week!

Lou Cinda

Town and Country Gals said...

what a lucky girl you are to have such a good friend, that's some nifty stuff she sent you! Congrats on your anniversary, sounds like you are going to have a wonderful trip at a fabulous place! It makes me miss living in Green Bay at the lake! It's so beautiful up there!
So cool you you got to visit Ashville, isn't one of the most beautiful places, I can't wait to go back!
P.S. Love your card, mittens are some of my favorite things, I make some every year as gifts and to sell, will be posting pics soon.

Unknown said...

This is such a great gift!!! i love it! Anything from Paris is fun!
I am so happy for your Anniversary coming up! So cool!
Have a super day!
Super windy here.

Karena said...

Jane an early Happy Anniversary. Your trip will be so special!

Isn't it wonderful to receive a special gift full of surprises in the mail?!

Please Come and enter the 1st of Twelve Days of Holiday giveaways! It is stunning!

Art by Karena

Teresa@1800 Farmhouse Rd said...

Hi there Blondie, I'm a little behind checking out my favorite blog's, as usual. What a lucky and fortunate girl you are to receive such a sweet gift in the mail from another blogger. I have never heard of it either, so you will have to let the rest of know how wonderful it is. Your anniversary trip will be here before you know it, and we will be counting on lots and lots of pics!

Honey at 2805 said...

Hi there! I'm stopping back by to say thank you for linking this lovely post to Potpourri Friday!

Barb said...

Hi Janie, you keep popping into my thoughts today.

Sending hugs,

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

What a nice post Jane!
And Happy Anniversary too!
Your ahead of me in Christmas shopping etc.
Dan and I have had the flu and really are still recovering.
What lovely gifts too!
Hoping we can get back together sometime soon too.
Hugs friend,

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Jane...

Awww...Happy Anniversary, dear friend! It sounds like you have a lovely time and trip planned! Best wishes and many blessings for the best anniversary ever!

Well dear friend, I know that you were ecstatic to receive such a sweet gift from Maggie! She is such a dearheart...a sweet lady for sure! Mmmm...bet her spicy apple chutney is delicious!

I just wanted to stop by to say hello and see how you were doing. I sooo enjoyed your visit and sweet note! Thanks for stopping by, dear friend! Ohh boy...it's fixin' to get really busy...isn't it?

Warmest Christmas Wishes,

Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

Love the gifts! Have a fabulous time on your anniversary trip!

Charlene said...

OH LUCKY YOU!!!!!! I would love to go there. I think I saw it in Victoria Magazine! And Happy Anniversary! 25 years is wonderful! I know what you mean about longer with than without... We married when I was 16 & he was 20 (Imagine!!!!) & 40 years late... LONGER WITH! Here's wishing another happy 25! HUGS!

Sarah said...

If Maggie made it, I know it's delicious. She is the sweetest, dearest friend. I hope you two get to meet someday. Perhaps we can arrange a Chicago trip. ;-) I've never spent any time in Chicago, so it's on my list.
Enjoy the season. ~ Sarah

Sarah said...

Back to say, "Happy Anniversary" and have a great trip.

Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

HI Jane. Lucky you to get such lovely gifts! I have never had chutney either. I have seen it but never bought any. I actually don't have much shopping to do anymore. Our children usually just want a gift card and I get a FEW little gifts for others but that's it. I WISH I had more to buy for cause I love giving gifts. Your trip sounds GREAT! I hope you have a wonderful time. I remember when I thought, we have een married longer than not. We celebrated our 44th in Nov.!!!!! XO, Pinky

Laurel@ChippingwithCharm said...

Lucky you! Happy Anniversary...your getaway sounds wonderful! Laurel

Faded Plains said...

How sweet of Maggie...doesn't the kindness of bloggers amaze you sometimes.

Nancy's Notes said...

Congratulations! I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time celebrating! Look at you, so far ahead of me with shopping! I need to get with it!

Rebecca Nelson said...

Oh wow...such a great gift. I have had chutney for 20 years. :( I noticed the anniversary of your sister's passing came and went...bless you. That must have been a hard day!

Glad the left over are gone. Bah! Love the food. Hate exercising to keep the pounds off when I eat too much of it! :( :( :(


Nancy said...

Jane! Congratulations on your anniversary. Really - in todays world that is quite an accomplishment so it's great you guys have such a special weekend planned. I'll be back to see your house all decked out. xoxo Nancy

Anonymous said...

It's funny....this is the third time this week I've heard about Maggie, so I went over to meet her. Fabulous home she has! Love your Christmas cards Jane. Mine are sitting on the kitchen table. Wonder how long they will sit there before I actually work on them? Your anniversary trip sounds divine. 25 years is a big big deal. You should get some big time jewelry. Tell the Mr. I said so. :) xoxo

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

How sweet to receive those gifts all the way from France!
I love shopping online too. Free shipping is the best.
Happy Anniversary! Hope you have a wonderful trip!

The Summer Kitchen Girls said...

You ARE the luckiest girl...that chutney looks yummy...and soaps from france are the best!! Sounds like you will have a lovely weekend - do enjoy it Jane! No tree for me either at the moment....carpets get cleaned on Monday....so, maybe Wednesday? We'll see!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane! Thanks for popping in to see me. No, I've had those plates up for many years! Glad you like them. Have a wonderful weekend.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia :)

Donna said...

Congrats on your gifts! How fun! And a big congrats also on your anniversary! I'm from Michigan (though we are now living in WA), and adore Lake Michigan, have a wonderful getaway!!

Claudia said...

Maggie is such a sweetie! I love chutney and like you, have no idea how to make it.

No tree here yet, either. We also get a real tree and want it to last to New Year's, so we hold off.

Have fun in St. Joe's - at least that's what my brother-in-law called it. His family is from that town.

And happy anniversary!


Anonymous said...

Such a sweet gift from a sweet blogging friend! Your Anniversary plans sound lovely - hope you have a wonderful time!

Ceekay-THINKIN of HOME said...

Happy Anniversary! sounds like a fantastic trip! Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

We love Lake Michigan! Belvedere sounds wonderful!

Happy Anniversary!

Mary Ann Pickett said...

Same with me...been with my husband longer than not after 26 years...I still love that guy. He is in the kitchen making a fab dinner right now and just brought me a glass of wine. It is supposed to get in the 30's and 40's over night here in California...really cold for here.

Happy anniversary!!!

Elaine said...

Congrats on 25 years and enjoy your trip to the Inn. I'll bet it is beautifully decorated.

What nice gifts you received from your friend!

Between You and Me said...

praise GOD for your marriage!

I've met some of the nicest people in blogging...my friends who don't blog laugh at the thought of having a genuine connection with women from all over the world whom I've never met....but it's legit. It really can happen!!!

I'm happy for your friendship with Maggie!