Wednesday, January 8, 2014


It seems like I haven't posted in ages yet I have so little to talk about...but don't worry, I'll find something.  What a frozen world we have been living in.  I'm sure you have heard all the horror stories about the Midwest and now the upper and lower East coast are going through the same.  This is a picture of a frozen lake Michigan in front of the Chicago skyline.  My friend Cindy let me borrow it.  Brrrrrr.  Fortunately we were stocked up on food and had everything we needed to amuse ourselves with.  Knowing there were homeless people, as well as people without heat that had to seek out shelter, we were so fortunate.  Nevertheless, our house is drafty and we wore layers.  We avoided going outside except to shovel the snow.  Neighbors helped neighbors.  It was very humbling.  At our worst we were 15 below zero.  We are now up to 12 above and getting warmer bit by bit every day.

The Husband has been working from home quite a bit.  He has a suburban office (actually just an office he leases from our insurance company) just 10 minutes away besides his downtown office.  This is really convenient for meeting with clients that would rather not make the trip into downtown Chicago.  So he has been working there and at home a lot in the past few months.  I think I now understand what a wife goes through when her hubby retires.  I know it must be difficult for both the spouses, but this is my beef (and blog!).  He's at odds with what to do in his spare time and spends a little too much time with his nose in my business.  Do you know, he answers my cell phone sometimes!  Really!  The nerve!  Like it's the house phone.  He seems to have taken over.  For example, we have these sweet Polish ladies that come in once a month for a really deep cleaning.  When he was working downtown steadily, he barely nodded at them as he walked out the door in his suit with his briefcase.  Well, now they all sit and  chat and he offers them coffee and they are just so tight!!  The last time they were here he peeked his head around the corner of the bedroom door and said, "We can't find the vacuum cleaner."  We????  And he's been taking a lot of baths, at least one a day.  He had to take baths after the discomfort from his surgery in July, but I really don't see that this is necessary now, he just seems to like them.  When I notice a bottle of Calgon lurking nearby I will really lose it.  I want my MAN back.

Around 4:00 p.m. Saturday, we were both lying on our bed.  We were napped out, TV'd out, read out, small talked out, and finally I sat up and said, "We are going to drive each other crazy if we don't get out of this house!"  So off we went to our favorite restaurant just a few blocks away.  Fox's Pub.  A change of scenery and some fresh (frozen) air.  Sometimes that's all it takes.  We came home and I went to bed.  He hopped into the tub.


Layer 1/2 of a large bag of shredded hash browns in a casserole that you have sprayed with Cooking oil.  Over that make a layer of chopped onion and green pepper (about 1 cup).  Then layer 1 cup of cheddar cheese over that.  Salt and pepper lightly between layers.  Repeat, ending with cheese.  Mix together 8 eggs and 1 cup of milk and pour over layers.  Bake at 350 for one hour.

Now, you can be veeeeery creative with this by using your own favorite veggies, cheeses and even bacon or sausage.  Think of your favorite omelet.  I love jalapenos in mine.  The crock pot recipe is the same only twice the ingredients.  That's great for a crowd like I had for brunch.  I hope you try it!


The living room looks pretty stark, doesn't it?  I usually keep it pretty neutral in the winter but I was reading a favorite blog and this sweet lady said that she was going to add some bursts of color to her home to contrast with the dull colors outside her window (Hello, Balisha!!).  I like that idea.  I thought I might add some pops of one color, I was thinking of sort of an aqua blue.  So I'm shopping the house and I may pick up some candles from Target.  Decorative and useful.

And I'm really excited...The Husband is so susceptible to falling for the domino effect, I almost feel a little guilty.  If you look at the above picture of the bare Christmas tree, just hiding behind it is a small table with our teeny little 32 inch TV.   This living room is treated much like a family room since it is open to the dining area and kitchen, so we like a TV in there (although for years we didn't), but we didn't want or have room for one of those big screen deals.  We have that in our family room which is on the whole other end of the house.  Well, I spotted a beautiful corner cabinet entertainment sort of center at the store Emily works at.  The Husband liked it and mumbled something about going with a larger TV now that we would have the proper cabinet.  Okay...And then Emily emailed us the matching coffee table and end table.  Score!  I knew once we painted and got the new chairs last year that we would soon get around to the right furniture.  The coffee table is an old wobbly thing I  found on Overstock years ago, and the TV actually sits on an ancient LL Bean nightstand.  We are so with it.  Anyway, I'll keep you updated.

I thought I would add a little randomness here, I know, that's very surprising.  In celebration of, and  not to be one left behind in our annual January craze to simplify, organize and purge, I found some simple tips in HGTV magazine and I thought I would pass them on to you.  These are some of the things you might not think to toss or recycle:

~old bent wire hangers
~socks with no match
~broken umbrellas
~last year's holiday cards
~used notebooks and scratch pads
~dried up cans of paint
~random mugs
~old hairbrushes and combs
~candles with burned down wicks
~pens that are out of ink
~dead batteries
~old spices
~unidentifiable chargers
~paper grocery bags
~old makeup
~food storage containers with missing lids
~old florist vases
~outdated business cards
~perfume you don't wear anymore
~broken small appliances
~old pots and pans

I hope this was helpful.  Personally I like to do my organizing in the fall.  Things are usually in pretty bad shape after spending months of mainly outdoor activities.  It's also easier to drag things down to the curb on trash day without snow and sleet, or make a trip to the Goodwill center in good weather.  But then again, by January, it's usually time to do it all over again!

I hope you are all staying safe and warm.  What a way to start the year! :)



Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

I'm going to try that egg dish - sounds yummy :-)
Today felt like a heat wave at 12 degrees!

Coastal Cottage Dreams said...

Hi Jane, I am glad your back is better. And the crock pot recipe sounds great, I love making things in the crockpot. I have been making a lot of soups to keep warm in this cold weather. Have a great week!

Art and Sand said...

I was cracking up as I read about your frustrations with your husband. My husband is a professional artist who works out of his home studio. He went to full time art in 2006 and had his routine set. Then I retired last June. He paints less because he wants to play all the time, but I want some "me" time. His feelings are hurt if I want to go to the antique shops all by myself. I think now he is finally getting it. This morning I went antiquing and ran errands. When I got home we ate lunch and then went for a bike ride along the beach. He was happy that I gave him some time and I was happy to get my own time.

Can't wait to see your new corner cabinet.

Stay warm in your crazy weather.

Debby said...

Blondie you are so funny. I know you are trying to be serious but it is still funny. I think my husband will be like "Art and Sand's". He probably went through some life changes experiences before and after his surgery.
We have had the cold and snow but not like you have. The cold got to our family with frozen pipes, new furnace, and one still having heating problems......all three houses. I'm not complaining because I like winter. But it's not fun without water or heat.
My house looks so empty too as I have taken down the decorations. I'm sure it will fill back up soon.
Stay warm and cozy.

Cozy Little House said...

I'm just gonna tell ya, I've heard from MANY women that when the hubby retires, (and I don't know if yours is near to that yet) he's suddenly into everything. Ya can't get anything done. He's underfoot all the time. So get ready. I think this is why a couple living in side by side duplexes would be great. I loved your randomness!

Julie Marie said...

Hi Jane, that is some photo of the lake, wow!... I know it has been horribly cold and miserable everywhere... makes me crave Spring even more so... we are in the midst of yet another blizzard right now... love the photo of Layla and Milo!... they have the right idea!... Tessy doesn't even want to go out in this either... that's funny about Al and your cleaning ladies... guess I didn't know you had cleaning ladies... I have never had any... I'm too picky about how I want things done... so I do it all myself... glad you are getting a new tv and the furniture you want... and I am really happy to hear your back is still good!... also, Jack and I are both retired, and being so works out just fine for us... we each have alot of things we do on our own, him with his buddies, me with my sister and the girls... but we never seem to get on each others nerves... I think it's because he is so easy going... nothing phases him... he's really mellow... well, hope you can stay warm and cozy... the food you post always looks so yummy!... xoxo Julie

Something Nice and Pretty said...

You had it a lot worse than us, we got down to -3 thank goodness it seems to be over and it's a balmy 25 tonight.
We are both home together now and sometimes I can't wait for him to leave to go to the store or visit his friends just so I can be by myself for a while! You made me laugh Jane...thanks.

Kathy Moreland said...

It has been cold here in the South as well! We are at the lake, and it has been below freezing, like 18 degrees. That is extremely cold for here. It was 7 degrees at our home in the mountains. It's supposed to warm up this weekend. Hopefully!! I've thought about you when I've heard the temps in Chicago, and Michigan, etc. Brrrrrrrr!

Your egg dish sounds wonderful. Glad to hear you are better. Take care!

Stacey said...

Love the idea of the aqua in your room. Your husband stories just crack me up! My husband works at home. Every day at lunch he watches Gunsmoke while he eats. I have never turned the TV on during the day so sometimes it makes me crazy. If he starts wanting to take baths, I'll know I'm in trouble. :)

Nancy's Notes said...

Jane, I love your humor! So enjoyed the randomness, got a kick out of it all. Have made a similar recipe, it's easy as pie and good. I have to say having a hubby around takes adjustment! I did crack up reading about your hubby! We have our own schedules in the daytime and then it's nice to have something new to chat about in the evening. Loved the list you shared, I'm in purdging mode right now! Oh, how fun to have a lake house!

Stay warm.

Sarah said...

It's been cold here for Texas, but nothing like what you are having. Just a look at that frozen lake makes me shudder. My husband and I have both been retired since the 90s. It takes some adjusting. '-)

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Of course living in SO CA our weather is noting like you have been having. I understand what your saying about your time. I live alone and I would be up the wall as I need my time - sometimes I don't even want to answer the phone.
Looking forward to seeing your new TV cabinet.
Stay warm and hopefully the weather will get warmer soon. I won't tell you what we are expecting this weekend.
Have a wonderful warmer weekend.

Wanda said...

A woman after my own heart. We retired 6 years ago, and yes, he gets into my business..HaHa.

On Thursdays ~ it's Wanda Day and I take off after breakfast (make my dearest a sandwich and put in frig) and sometimes it's the Mall, sometimes a movie, sometimes Desconso Gardens and read a book. I'm home in time to make dinner...but it feels like a mini vacation .

So glad your back is better. That casserole sounds really good.

NanaDiana said...

I de-Christmased and finished up today, actually. I got everything carted down the steps and I hope to spend tomorrow sorting and organizing for next year- much like you did today. What a mess but it will be nice when it is done.

I am glad your back is better and I hear you about the hubs and about a messy daughter! Amazing how much alike so many of our lives are on so many levels.

I am also decluttering as I go along this winter- it feels good! xo Diana

Betsy Brock said...

Ah...I loved this. You are so funny! I still need to take down our tree....

20 North Ora said...

Glad your back is on the mend! Don't overdo! I have a few plants I'm keeping alive - barely. Don't know if they will survive till spring or not. We've been lucky with all of the horrible cold weather we've had, that we can still get out some. The main roads are clear.

Take care.


Lulu said...

You are never at a loss for words....I love it! Some weather you've be enduring, a very good time to enjoy comfort food. Stay inside so you don't risk slipping now that your back is doing better.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Answer YOUR cell phone, and "Where can WE find the vacuum were two of the things that sent me over the top (still giggling!) Also a reminder that I need to go see Balisha!!!
I haven't been blogging much at all and visiting was not on my list of things to do lately either. I am so far behind I'll never catch up.
We saw that picture of the frozen lake on the evening news last night.
I've lived with three retired husbands now...hmmmm..I wonder if that's what's wrong with me?!
Take good care, Jane.

Lynn@Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Poor Milo! I give him points for making his own path, I used to have to shovel the grass for The Brat! Stay warm Jane, hopefully we'll be back to more seasonal weather very soon:@)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I cannot believe the lake. We have been hearing horror stories of the cold, but that scares this beach girl to death. I would be totally lost. And I worry about the homeless.

It is chilly here this morning, but I had the AC on in the car some yesterday. Also the heater. We are betwixt and between,

I loved this post, tough, Janie, and laughed my way through it... particularly the DH looking for the vacuum with is good buddies. LOL

Stay warm, my friend.



The Quintessential Magpie said...

Though... not tough. The IPAD rides again.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Though... not tough. The IPAD rides again.

Karen said...

That recipe looks quick and easy, not to mention yummy. Thanks for sharing.

Aqua shades will be a great accent to your neutrals!

As for the retirement thing... I have years to be before I will deal with that, however... I have the same concerns you do. *sigh* And my husband is a micromanager... I'm sure he will have alot to say about how I've been doing things around the house while he's been working.

Primitive Stars said...

Morning Jane, happy to hear the back is better......Yummy recipe, have to give it a try sometime.....Blessings Francine.

Theresa said...

Oh girl, that is a gorgeous picture! Tell your friend to send it to a magazine! My Hubby and I are both retired and have found a way to make it work:) He stays out of my BUZness and I stay out of his! He is a runner and jogs every day for about 4 hours, that keeps him busy:) I have been cleaning out also! It feels SO good! Have a blessed day dear friend, HUGS!

Shirley said...

Hi Jane, I am catching up this morning before I go out the door. It was to cold to work my one day a week Monday so I am doing it today. I think I would be nuts if my hubby was home all the time with me not working. I need my "me" time for my health. I carry my cell phone in my pocket so he wouldn't be able to answer it. I am glad you are feeling better. Have a wonderful day and stay warm. Hugs and Prayers from Your Missouri Friend.

podso said...

So glad your back is better. I laughed out loud at the husband section. It is a big adjustment to have a husband at home. Mine works from a home office and now that I'm home more, it is interesting. Maybe when he retires he can take over the deep cleaning!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Things are starting to warm up a bit here in Ohio, too, Jane. I think we have a high of 24 today. : ) I am glad I am not the only one dreading retirement. Sometimes my husband works from home {as he did the past several days} and it's always, "what are you doing?". I know we are going to have a problem once he does retire; either that or I'm going to have to get a job!

Kathleen Grace said...

I'm glad your back is better, back pain just stops you in your tracks! I'm still trying to work up the ambition to take down the rest of the Christmas decorations. I left them up past the usual take down date for a family party that had to be cancelled because of the storm and now I'm in the January doldrums. I always have a hard time finding anything to post about in the dead of winter. No energy, just the need to nap!
The new furniture sounds wonderful, I can't wait to see it:>)

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

For the Husband:

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

I can't imagine having the kind of weather you have had recently. If it gets below freezing for more than a few hours, we have to wrap the outside faucets and let the inside faucets drip all night to make sure the pipes don't freeze. Thankfully that doesn't happen but once every 4 or 5 years. I like the idea of adding aqua to your room. It's a nice, cheerful color. :) I'll have to try that casserole. I love breakfast for dinner too.

Barbara F. said...

I thought of my Chicago and Mid west buddies often during this deep freeze. It was cold here too but we had gotten rid of the snow during a one day warm up we had and then the deep freeze. I am pretty much still a prisoner here but it is 29 degrees now, so I think I will venture out. Happy that you did not lose power, that is a nightmare. xo

Marigene said...

Jane, happy to hear your back is doing better...and that you aren't frozen solid with that nasty cold spell.
You will get used to your hubby being just takes time and lots of patience!
Have a wonderful week.

Lori said...

Glad to hear that your back is better and that you got all of Christmas packed up for another year! It has been bitter cold here as well but suppose to get warmer over the weekend into next week ~ here's hoping! Hope your "man" comes back soon xo

Susan EvelynAndRose said...

Hi Jane, so happy to hear your back is feeling better and you're excited about projects for 2014. I was cracking up about your description of hubby's spare time and how he's bonding with the lovely Polish ladies. You are so funny!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to know that your back is better…just don't over do with your organizing. I liked your tips, there are some there that I need to do. You gave me a chuckle talking about your husband and your housekeepers "we can't find the vacuum" had me laughing out loud. Stay warm and think of spring. :)

Val said...

"Retirement: Half as much money and twice as much husband," as the saying goes. I found my mom a sampler with that on it a few years ago, and she still laughs over it. That may have also been the year their anniversary card depicted a man looking into a fridge filled with nothing but sticks of butter and asking, "Honey? Where do we keep the butter?" :)

Hang in there!

June said...

I love reading your posts Jane. I fell that i'm sitting at you kitchen table and we are just chatting away the afternoon. I would love to have you as my neighbor! We could put our husbands off on some errand together to get them out of our way and just enjoy ourselves :)))))
You guys have really been hit hard this winter. We on the other hand have had nothing to speak of at all. I hope you continue to be safe in all of this Jane. You have been in my thoughts.
I want to thank you for how much you blessed me yesterday with your comment. It meant so much more than you will ever know.
much love from me...

Beth said...

Our weather has been about the same as yours - today is warmer with precip. Imagine it will be heading over your way soon since you are only about 6 hours east of us. That's funny about your husband and the cleaning ladies! Take care and stay warm.
xo Beth

My Little Home and Garden said...

It's warming up here this weekend, which should deal with any remaining ice that has built up in the neighbourhood.

Your recipe sounds very tasty, especially for a winter's day.

Thank you for dropping by my blog earlier.


Balisha said...

Always fun to read a post from you. You always have so many things going on.I just reread this and think that I might try that recipe. Sounds good.I hope your back eases up soon. Nothing so debilitating as a sore back.
Have a great weekend.

Cindy @ Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home said...

Your dish sound so good!!! Stay warm and have a great weekend...

Traci said...

I can't imagine that kind of cold weather! Last week when it was in the 20's I thought I'd freeze to death! My dad is retiring in March & my mom is "concerned". She thinks he's going to spend all of his time in front of the tv. That casserole sounds amazing!

Carol said...

I just had to chuckle over your comments about your hubby being around so much. Retirement for us happened in late August of 2011, about a month after we moved to our current home. We did the move in early August, but The Man continued working (& lived in a hotel) until the end of the month. I got most of the unpacking finished by the time he was here permanently. The first year of retirement was pretty easy, because we had lots to do just getting settled and doing the whole new home-thing, plus exploring our new area of the state. Since then, it's been "bumpy" at times. I never lack for things to do, but The Man needs motivation. Hence, my "Honey-Do" is never-ending! I think it is very important to keep them busy as it seems really difficult for most men to make that transition from working every day to not having to answer to anyone and feeling a lack of purpose. The Man will sometimes complain that I always have something for him to do, but in the next breath, he talks about his need to be busy. Start working on that "Honey-Do" list now, Jane; you will be providing your hubby a great!