Friday, January 2, 2015


Now, going backward to July seems a little odd, right? lol!  Well, here we are with our 4th of July celebration at the lake.  This is our biggest summer party and some of our guests actually stay at a motel in the next town as we can exceed the  16 people we are able to put up  in our lakehouse.  I have fun jazzing up the patio...I reuse the same patriotic decorations every year.  My favorite trick is to color the water in my Mason jars with red and blue food dye (and regular old water for the "white") and stuff them with our daisies which are usually blooming like crazy by July.

Not many recipes in this post so I'll just share a salsa recipe I tried to perfect over the summer.  I had an abundance of tomatoes, mostly from my neighbor, Susie, at the lake.  Find the basics here.  It's a winner. 

Most of you know that every year we meet up with my blogger friend, Cindy and her husband, Dan.  Cindy writes the blog Applestone Cottage and they live in Northwestern Wisconsin.  This summer we met in Madison, WI.  About 3 hours from Chicago, I was surprised that The Husband and I had never been there before.  What a great city!  So pretty, clean and plenty to do.  Sadly, we only had the weekend but we just  enjoyed the heck out of it.  I say it every meet someone through blogging and it's like you've met your soul mate.  I have that with Cindy.

Anyway, this was fall, things were winding up at the lake and I was thinking of that word, "GROW", which you may remember from my last post was used as my "word" for 2015.  Maybe it's the time in my life...maybe I just want to take advantage of all the great opportunities for adventure and experiences I have at my fingertips.  Well, this is not a post to reflect can read my thoughts on this subject here.  And I had several bloggers that warmly suggested a few books I might want to read.  Several recommended A Year By The Sea, by Joan Anderson.  I gobbled it up.  My friend, Melanie, had read it several times.  I truly hope the coming year is one in which I reach for the stars and climb a few small mountains.  

We relaxed, shopped, ate, took a few day trips and most happily, met up with my good friend and fellow blogger, Mary, from A Breath Of Fresh Air.  Here we are with her husband, Bob, at our favorite Asheville restaurant, The Lobster Trap.  Mary and Bob are from Raleigh, but had coinciding plans to be in our neck of the woods so it worked out grand.  Such fun.  Mary, I love you!  And're not too bad either! :)

I really love to get inspired by food I have in restaurants, and Asheville has the best of the best...restaurants and food!  I had a simple sandwich for lunch one day at The Grove Wood Cafe  came home and duplicated it.  No recipe involved here...just a nice layering of hummus, avocado, sprouts, tomatoes and red pepper on good bread.  This is my version here that I couldn't wait to replicate. Find the details here.   

We were back home and Thanksgiving arrived quickly.  I had fun with a pretty table this year.  I found some colorful and inexpensive salad plates at Pier 1, and they gave the table a very vibrant autumn feel.  Everything else just seemed to fall into place.  We had  most of the kids for dinner and the extended family for dessert as per usual.  Always fun.

I hadn't planned on it but I tried a new grocery store that has a sensational cheese section.  I wrote in my Thanksgiving post that I set up a little area on my kitchen island with a variety of cheeses I had purchased along with crackers, bread and fruit.  It was such a hit.  Forget any other appetizers!  But I did make this baked cheese dip that was out of this world and everyone wanted the recipe.  Very simple but there is just something about the combination of cheeses and spices and served piping hot out of the oven.  You can find the recipe here.

These are your everyday Mason jars with a coat of Modge Podge (available at craft stores), then sprinkled with Epsom salts.  I decorated the rims very simply with tattered ribbons of drop cloth,   grapevine and faux berries.  You can use whatever you have on hand.  Then just plunk a votive candle down inside.  Very pretty.

I had a lot of inspiration in putting together these stockings for my kids and their partners.  Go to my original post to read about it.  I was so chuffed when the girls huddled around on Christmas morning to see them,  to see their names!  I stamped them on rounds of cedar found at Michael's, and The Husband had drilled the holes that I threaded twine though to attach them to the stockings.  The stockings were custom made by Southhouse Designs.

Again, love to all of you!

Jane x


20 North Ora said...

Jane - enjoyed your year in review! You had alot of activity this year. Glad your surgeries are over and done. Hope 2015 is a great year for you snfd your family.Judy

Bluebird49 said...

Another lovely post of the past year, Jane...and is it my feeble mind, or is that a new picture of you on your sidebar? Its really lovely, as well as the one at the bottom of the post. Such a good pictures of a soft, lovely mom and wife--and soon to be "Grammie"--or whatever Ellsie will decide to call you! We are Meme and Pop to ours, even though my son was so into having David call us Grandfather and Grandmother! See how long that lasted! ha!

Have a beautiful year, Jane. Oh--along with all the others, I so loved the picture of Autumn in the Great Smokies! I haven't seen them in many years. Trudy xx <3

Lori E said...

Isn't it nice to look back and see everything that has gone on over the past year.
I think we can surprise ourselves with all we have accomplished.
So nice that you have been able to meet up with some of the regular bloggers.
I'll bet your flower bed looked amazing.
Looking forward to February when your new baby girl comes along. You are far too young to be a grandma!

Pondside said...

What a wonderful time of life you're at Jane. I enjoyed reading this re-cap of your year. You must have quite a sense of accomplishment from all those projects! 2016 will be an exciting year with a baby due in the family. I wish you all the best of this fresh, new year!

Mary said...

Happy New Year dear Jane and A!! For you two lovely friends we wish good health, much joy, peace, happiness, a sweet baby granddaughter to hold and hug, travel to fun places, some time on the waters of the world, and all the many blessings you deserve.

Thanks for including us in your 2014 review. It was extra special to meet up with you twice last year! Here's to the next time - may it be sooner rather than later.

Much love from us both - Bob hugs you, I hug A - raising a glass to you both and your family for a wonderful year……and keep blogging!
Mary xoxoxoxoxoxo

Theresa said...

I enjoyed your look back on 2014 and I'll be here to see what you get into in 2015:) It was a great year and I am excited for the New Year! Have a blessed day dear friend, HUGS!

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Jane this is the best year in review that I have read!! I love looking back and seeing all that we accomplished. LOVED the monogrames you made for the stockings! Glad to hear your surgery went well and your hands are feeling better! I know your looking forward to next month when you get to meet your new granddaughter!! Wishing you all the best in 2015!!

podso said...

I see you made those little frosted candle jars. Weren't they fun? I can't get over what a full year you have had filled with so many good things. (by the way it's nice to see my husband isn't the only Paul Bunyon)
You did such a great job of recapping your year. You have some big events coming this next year and February will be here before you know it, Grandma!

Kathleen Grace said...

It's always kind of fun to go back through the year's posts. I tend to forget about some of the things I blogged about, which reminds me again why blogging is such a good idea!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

My friend, I enjoyed each and every picture and every word!

Those stockings??? Adorable!

Loved the flowers at the lake, the new shower curtain from Target in the bath, the new "old" chairs you found for the lake, the new grand-dog and especially the new baby to come!

Am SO relieved you are through that surgery and healed. PTL I loved seeing you enjoying yourself in NC with bloggy friends and in Wisconsin with our buddy Cindy and her DH. I miss her online more than I can say, but I understand. I have had to vanish from time to time. Loved the Fourth of July with the red, white, and blue jars of daisies. Just loved reading this whole post.But most of all, I love you! xoxox

Thank you for always sharing your life with us, Janie, and for being a steadfast and true friend through the years. I hope we are going to be able to hook up this year. I would love that!

Love to you and yours for a blessed 2015!


Sheila :-)

Primitive Stars said...

Loved your Year in review Jane. Was a lot of fun, thanks for sharing, Francine.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh wow, what a fun year. Lots of travel and meet friends, that makes it perfect. So glad you and Cyndi found each other. Can't wait to see her when she gets to Phoenix.

Susie said...

Blondie, I loved looking back with you. You had some real wonderful fun times . Some tough times with the surgeries. When you said your husband loves lumber does my Ted. I have helped him stack and carry wood and have keep the fireplace going lots of days. But I do not saw or split. I only did sawing on a limb that knocked Ted off his ladder and broke his collar bone. That is also when I did lots of wood carrying. LOL. Blessings to you and yours for a fabulous new year filled with adventures and fun. xoxo,Susie

Lulu said...

You had a very full year, and I did enjoy sharing it with you. Here's what the new year brings, and I hope we latch onto all the opportunities it affords.

Unknown said...

Wishing you and your sweet family a fabulous 2015! Thanks for your visits and comments throughout the years. I appreciate hearing from you. Love your Christmas crafts you've shown. So pretty! Have a great weekend!

jp@A Green Ridge said...

Happy New Year...t sounded like a great year and forecast of things to come!...:)JP

Junkchiccottage said...

Jane you had quite the year. Glad you are better with your carpel tunnel and I look forward to sharing friendship and lots of fun inspiration through our blogs in this coming year. Happy New Start to the New Year.

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

You had some wonderful things happen in 2014, and some not so much. I suppose that's the way most years go, but let's hope 2015 won't bring with it any surgeries or the passing of any good friends.

I'm glad I read this just before eating dinner because if it was after, I'm afraid I'd have to eat again! Some of these recipes and pics make me hungry :/.


Linda said...

Loved every word and every photo!!! I envy you all that firewood!!
Happy New Year! Now onward!!

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Dear sweet Jane, connecting with you in 2014 in Blogland has been ever so enjoyable. I can not promise this comment will make complete sense because my flu has turned into acute broncitis and I'm feeling ill and perhaps this poet is writing stupid right now!!!

Part 2, oh how I adore the month of July. Hot days, long evenings, meals of casual creativity. Tuto as a pup was OMG fluffy cute and adorable.

Speckled Hen Inn (love the B&B name) I wanna go!!!
Loved your September reveal with the pink cake announcing your sweet baby's grand. So cute!!!

I loved your rainbow mums but never found any in Philadelphia. But gotta say I love the dark purple pansies that last after Halloween up until a deep frost.
Reaching high Jane??? you picked us and delivered us stars from above ... Kiss kiss for your brave face through CT surgery. Thank you for your wonderful expression from your heart and I look forward to enjoying 2015 blogging with Blondie.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your Year in review, such a beautiful home you have and second home,best wishes in this New Year!

Sunflowers With Smiles said...

Wow Jane you have had a busy year, I must say. So nice for you to have met blogging friends too! Happy New Year!

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Oh Jane I so enjoyed your 2014 review. Sounds like you had quite a year. So glad that you are over your hand surgeries and your hands are on the mend.Your lake house sounds so fun and relaxing.
Now you have the baby to look forward to - how fun is that. Your first grandbaby - your going to love being a grandmother.
So glad that you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years.
My son and granddaughter spent Christmas with me. Kelly and I had such fun decorating sugar cookies. She is growing up so fast and I treasure every minute I have with her.
Wishing you and your honey a wonderful 2015.
Hugs my dear friend.

Melanie said...

I really liked looking back with you at your year in review. It'll be exciting to see what's coming up in this new year, especially with your first grandchild coming! Here's to a healthy, amazing and fabulous new year.

Sarah said...

Jane, it's fun to look back. You had a busy a year.
All the best for 2015. Happy New Year!

Julie Marie said...

Hello Jane... your year certainly was filled with many special moments and friends and family... love seeing all of these photos once more... that fish on the tree is so cute!... I also love that you are looking ahead, reaching for the stars... Happy New Years to you... and I hope you "grow"... xoxo... Julie Marie

Suzanne said...

You have had quite the year! I so enjoyed this post. Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful, prosperous, and happy New Year. xo

TexWisGirl said...

i'm gonna go back and catch part 1, too. love the wooden fish on the tree that sorta looks like an old snowshoe. :) sweet grand dog!!! congrats on grandbaby. :)

Carla from The River said...

Hello Jane,
It has been fun to get to know you.
I am excited for 2015. So many fun things in store. :-)

I am glad your surgeries are over, I remember the pain you described in your posts. Ouch!

Best to 2015!

My Little Home and Garden said...

You packed a lot into 2014, Jane. It sounds like you've spent some time reflecting on what you would like from our current year. I'm still reflecting too!


June said...

I enjoyed this so much Jane. You have a rich life my dear. I really enjoyed seeing the many things you accomplished in 2014. Wow girl---you go!!!
Sending all my love in 2015!!!!!!!

A Joyful Cottage said...

I'm glad your hand is healing, Jane. The pink and purple flowers are beautiful. That combination is my favorite, too. Ellsie is an adorable name. How exciting to have a new grandbaby! I love it! I'm glad we met this year in Blogland. I look forward to more inspiration this year. Hugs, Nancy

Betsy Brock said...

Love your 2014....lots and lots of wonderful stuff!

Thinking of you and your hubs....prayers and hugs!~

sarah said...

What a nice recap of the year! I absolutely love the flowers in your garden because the photo just looks amazing! You must have had fun with your blog friend! Have a Happy New Year!

Penny said...

What a lovely post Jane. You had a full year. So glad the surgeries are behind you. We look forward to seeing you in Asheville in June. Hugs, Penny

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

What a lovely post and a great look back! I remember all those loads of wood your hubby kept bringing home! So funny! You should be well stocked for this winter! Happy 2015!!!

Linda said...

Hi there Jane....
I finally got over here...
Read both posts....what a delightful feast for the eyes!
Your photos are great....and the recipes! Awesome!
We seem very much alike in so many ways....
I am also a February gal....spend it in Florida!
Were we following each other last February? your your cottage.... is a love in here♥️
Have a great week Jane....
Linda :o)

Stonecropsister said...

Hi Jane,
You have had quite the year! I hope your hand is better now, it must have been difficult to deal with something like when you are such a busy person! Its great that you have so many pictures of the normal, everyday things, I just love seeing your words come to life. It gives me a glimpse into your home and family, and you sure have a wonderful life. Reading both parts of your year in review, it makes me realize I should do the same, and concentrate more on positive, rather than just having a moan about my weight. Have a good week! xx Nancy

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Jane,
What a great year, so many things to look back on and celebrate!
And yes I look forward to our New Year plan for 2015.
Right now it seems like this cold is just kicking my but. Boy it's easy to forget just how bad it can get.
Dan and I just bought tickets for Phoenix the first of February. I have to say I've been there enough to last me a life time but as long as my son is there we'll be going too.
We were minus 34 with wind chill this morn. Just watching the weather..totally sucks. That new grandbaby of yours is coming soon. I am excited for you all.
I am sure we can figure out a good time to get together in the next few months or so.
Big Hugs friend...stay warm.

Sonia said...

Happy New Year Jane! You did have a busy and wonderful year and I enjoyed looking back at all your pictures. Of course I love your new garden beds with all those plants in the colors your sister loved. Nice to have a reminder of those we love!
Hoping we have another fun and eventful year. Always enjoy my visits to your blog!
Miss Bloomers

Lynne said...

Oh what a year it was...
I am over the moon excited for the year ahead for you and your family, Jane!
Are you still heading out west in February!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Wow! I don't know how you put all that together. It must have taken quite a while. But certainly looks and sounds like you had a wonderful year indeed! Hope that hand is okay now. Best wishes and happy new year, Tammy

Jen Beaudet said...

What a busy year you've had! Great new photo of you! That's really cool that you were able to make a real life friend from blogging. I hope your new year is the best yet! Jen:)

Donna@anangloinquébec said...

Happy New Year Jane and all the best wishes for you in the year that lies ahead. Grow is an interesting "word" of inspiration. It is something that we probably all hope to do throughout our days, months and years but really it requires a certain pro-active behavior on the part of the individual. And then sometimes, we need to reflect on our lives to realize that it has already happened, we just didn't recognize that growth, too high of expectations or a shift in focus perhaps. I hope you grow in all the ways that you desire this year Jane.

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Jane, you had such a wonderful year and I so enjoyed reading this post. Love your pics, projects, food, family and friends. What a blessing of a time you had and so glad your surgeries are behind you too.
Now you have the little one to look forward too and that will be a highlight for 2015.
Wishing you a very happy new year filled with many joys.

bj said...

Dear are just the cutest thing. I loved reading all about your year...I think I have that carpal thingy...same things going on with my hand. bummer...
Going to make that cheese dip you made...
Hope your new year will be one of the best.
love, bj