Wednesday, December 30, 2015


New Years Eve 2014/2015

I love doing A Year In Review, I think I've done a few over the past few years and they're always fun to reread.  Whether you use your blog to document moments or crafts or projects, how nice is it to have a little wrap up of what you accomplished in a year?  If you are a treasured friend to my blog or just visiting for the first time to listen to my normal drivel, this is a post for you.  In any event, I love writing and I hope you enjoy seeing something new or just having your memory jogged.  

The Husband and I usually have a really quiet New Year's Eve.  We've been known to go to bed before midnight only to wake up to neighborhood fireworks and even the clanging of pots and pans from porches (yes, we also did that when our kids were young, too---they loved their part in the celebrations!).  

For a bit of fun, I make a little spread, usually the standard cheese and crackers left over from Christmas and a few dips and spreads.  Last year I embellished our cheese board with cookie cutter cut cheese slices.  Sort of festive, don't you think?  Just today I invited the kids to pop over early if they were or weren't going out on the town, perhaps to get together early.  Today I made a wonderful Asiago and White Bean Dip that you can find later in this post, lobster cakes, and I have various cheeses and fruit along with some extra bubbly from Christmas.  Happy, Happy New Year from all of us here!

January--A Baby Shower

January marked the first of many  celebrations with a baby shower for daughter in law, Mary Clare. Emily and I did our best to make it an occasion for her to remember.  We do have catering for so many of our parties especially with restaurants on every corner.  For this we worked our little bums off making homemade sandwiches, spreads, various trays of savory bites and delicious sweet treats.  Some family members contributed to the menu as well.  Here is a photo of some of our spread.  I made a variety of small finger sandwiches, it was time consuming but fun and I learned a lot, especially about presentation.  We saved tons of money by purchasing items from The Dollar Store of all places, like these faux silver trays, which I washed up and saved, as well as cute little signs we picked up at Michael's to write the names of the different foods on.  I think we pulled off a successful party.  

Katie, Mary Clare, Nora and Mother Peggy...a beautiful family!

A much awaited birth

And then Elsie Jane arrived February 10, 2015.  Is she not the most beautiful baby?  Love, love, love.

February, Downtown Chicago

My own birthday is February 3.  Figures I'd be born in the most miserable month of the year.  Want to hear something crazy?  There are six girls (siblings) in my family. Two of us were born in February, two in August and two in October.  My parents couldn't have planned that if they wanted!

I like to spend my birthday in downtown (Chicago).  I love the Knickerbocker Hotel, we've been longtime guests, in fact my 40th birthday party was a surprise there.  Last year we had my birthday lunch at Ralph Lauren's restaurant, 4:00 tea at the Drake Hotel and a light dinner at our hotel.  We took a walk across the street at the start of a huge snowstorm (another perk of a February birthday) for cocktails, again at the Drake Hotel.  My kind of celebration!

Disaster at the lakehouse

Havoc ensued the first week of March.  A neighbor who keeps an eye on our lakehouse in Michigan called us one morning to tell us to get there quickly, a major disaster had occurred. We arrived to 
find out that a pipe in the wall of the upstairs bathroom had broken and that water had gushed for approximately three weeks.  You can only imagine the devastation we found.  The above pictures are of the hardwood floors we had just laid a few years ago.

The cabinets in the laundry/mud room completely fell off the walls.  Floors buckled and drywall was soaked.  Within days of the insurance company stepping in, walls were stripped down to studs as the house was dried out by industrial size fans and mold treatments were applied.  Every piece of furniture and decorative piece in our house was taken away in a moving van---not sure where. 

So here we are in late December.  After a lot of negotiating with the insurance company, demolition has started.  We missed a whole year at our place and the work is not expected to be finished for 6 months.  Very sad but I have to keep a perspective.  We were never without a place to live as some people are after a major flood or fire.  We were quite happy to find that spending a summer here in the city after 25 years at the lake wasn't so bad after all.  We kept quite busy.  No boating or kayaking, no long days daydreaming on the dock or bonfires in the evening.  But heck, we had a roof over our heads and in the long run, our lakehouse will be complete in a few months with nothing left to repair or redo for a very long time.  :)

Finally Spring

Spring arrived in April and my daffodil and tulip beds always makes me smile and think of new beginnings.  Each year I add a few more bulbs...I love to get out into the fresh air but truth be told, April in Chicago can still be in the 40's.  But we are a tough bunch!

By mid-May we are adding flowers here and there, I love my planter boxes.  This year I went for a bit of the blowzy feel.  So pretty.

I added a trellis to a brick wall along the back of my house and in spite of it being westward facing, my clematis grew beautifully.  I was so happy to see it bloom from June until September.  What a beauty!

It was a very sad and scary time when our Milo had a huge lump on his thigh diagnosed as a cancerous tumor.  The surgery was 'iffy' and very expensive but we love him so.  He made it through with flying colors and our veterinarian was very sure he got all of the tumor.  Once thought to be a fatty tumor by another vet, please consider getting another opinion.  Milo is doing fine but we keep a close eye on him.  As far as the cone he wore for two weeks, my heart ached but he survived !  :)

Oh---and how can we forget klutzy old me.  The last week of June I made the bad choice of climbing on a chair to turn off a ceiling fan.  The chair was on a hardwood floor and it totally slipped out from under me.  I tried to break the fall with my left arm.  The next day The Husband took me to a small random clinic where after X-rays I was told I had a sprain.  10 days later and after cleaning, shopping and preparing for a 4th of July celebration for 30, I was still in miserable pain.  I made an appointment with a specialist only to find I had fractured my arm in 3 places.  Could you hear me cursing?  This wrap came off and a cast went on.  After three weeks I started physical therapy.  6 months later I still have a lot of pain, especially with movement around the wrist area.  Once things calm down in a few weeks I may have it looked at again...just not sure it healed properly.

This is a gorgeous, healthy and delicious tomato salad.  Below you can find some of my concocted recipes and links.  It was a great year of making and sharing recipes.  These are some of my best loved and Pinned dishes.

White Bean, Asiago and Onion Spread

Last but not least was Elsie's christening.  Her gown was made with a piece of Mary Clare's wedding dress.  Isn't it precious?  It's hard to believe that little girl is now 10 months old.  We had a wonderful Christmas with her and all of our family.  I will share that in Part 2.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful, healthy and prosperous New Year.  I simply love and appreciate  all of you.  There are times when I feel that my time and energy for blogging is waning and then I remind myself that writing is my true love and that knowing great souls like yourselves make it all worth it.  

I'll be back next week with more from July to December.  I hope you've enjoyed this post, especially so many new friends-and you know who you are.  So many adventures many great memories behind.  And every day a new beginning.

Love to all and Happy New Year!

Jane x


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

It sure was an eventful year for you, Jane...wishing you a wonderful 2016 and hopefully a fun summer at your lakehouse, too!
(P.S. Love that idea of using cookie cutters on the cheese!)

Linda said...

I have been wondering how your lake house was coming along! Glad to hear the work is beginning! When my house burned in 1983 dealing with the insurance company was one of the biggest headaches!
Your year was chock full of activities! Blessings and a few sorrows. Wishing you a very happy New Year!

Gina said...

You certainly had a great year, Jane! Of course, there are always little challenges here & there for all of us, but that's to be expected I guess. Wishing you & your family a very Happy New Year! Elsie is beautiful!

Primitive Stars said...

Morning Jane, loved reading your year in review, what a year!!!!!! We have to take the good with the bad, always challenges thrown in the mix. Happy New Year!!!!! All the best Francine.

Anonymous said...

I remember all these happenings!!!
What a year you have had,,

best wishes to you and your family for the best year to come!

Julie Marie said...

Happy New Year to you Jane... you have had quite a year... so happy sweet precious Milo survived his cancer and is thriving and healthy!... much love, xoxo... Julie Marie

Linda said...

Hi Jane...
Totally enjoyed this post...I remembered everything!
Our NY's Eve plans have changed....oh well...
Sending best wishes for you and your family in 2016...
Linda :o)

Karen said...

What a year, Jane! Big Highs and low lows!... I totally missed your awful scenario at the lakehouse, UGH!.. you must have been horrified. That beautiful babe with my grandmothers name is just such a beautiful gift.

Happy, Healthy 2016 to all -

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Jane I enjoyed reading your blog in 2015 and look forward to your new adventures, family get togethers, Lakehouse progress and recipes in the New Year. But what I look most forward to is the opportunity to get to know you better through your blog postings and emails. Perhaps this year we will meet in person.
Love, happiness and health for you and your family in 2016.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Wow, I would say your 2015 was more than eventful. Hope 2016 is the Best ever.

It's me said...

Happy new from me x❤️

podso said...

Enjoyed your review--it was a big year for you in good times and hard times … but I guess that's life. Maybe 2016 will be quieter…wishing you all the best in the new year.

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Happy New Year Jane. Great post. I have really enjoyed reading your posts all year and look forward to 2016. I feel that I have made a friend in you and I wish for you only the best.
I know that you had a terrific Christmas with that beautiful little granddaughter.
Hope to get a post done this weekend, telling everyone about all my adventures in November and December.
Hugs dear friend.

Kim said...

I always love looking back, Jane, good, bad and in between. Looks like you've had your share of all three in 2015. I wish you nothing but the best in 2016...for you and your family. Looking forward to Part II!

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

It's been a busy year for you! I can't believe Elsie is almost one!!! Wow, time flies! Looking forward to reading about part two!

Laura said...

What a wonderful, life filled year you have had.
Happy New Year dear Jane!

You are one of the kindest , most supportive friends in blog land.


Kathleen Grace said...

Happy New Year Jane!

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

What an amazing year, but then again, you're an amazing person!

Happy 2016!!


Junkchiccottage said...

Jane you have had some wonderful things happen in 2015 the best being your granddaughter Elsie. I want to wish you and your sweet hubby a fun night. Terry and I do a quiet night too. Lots of appetizers to munch on all evening here too. May you have many more wonderful blessings in the new year. Happy New Year.

Bluebird49 said...

Honey, what a year you have had! Low "lows" ad high "highs!" You did a great job of this half of the review---can't wait to see Part II.
Not feeling great the last couple of days, so will write more soon. Just "holiday-worn", I think! :)
xxx Trudy

20 North Ora said...

Happy New Year Jane! Thanks again for the seeds!


Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Happy New Year, Jane! You've certainly had quite a year! I made my first trip to the city of Chicago in the beginning of November (just for a weekend). What a wonderful city to visit and I wish we'd had more than a weekend. So much to do and take in. We did do the Navy Pier and got lots of pictures.

I'm sure you are enjoying that little one. I have been enjoying our new little one as well as my special first one.

Carla from The River said...

Hi Jane,
You had a crazy 2015!!So much happened. Your life was always a going! I really admire how positive you stayed during some of the lows.
I wish you the best for 2016.
Happy New Year,

Unknown said...

Happy New Year! I've been reading your blog for awhile and just to let you know, love your writing and this is a journal for your family. Thank you for letting me have a glimpse of your family life. Everyday life. Please have another opinion about your wrist, to long with the pain.
take care, Kathleen in Az

Blondie's Journal said...

Kathleen George--I tried to send you a thank you and I couldn't get to your posts or email. So I'm writing this and I hope you pop back. I so appreciate those of you who visit whether there is a comment or not. And yours was so nice and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Jane x

Vee said...

Oh my, Jane, I knew about the lakehouse, but missed the broken arm. I think you are wise to have it rechecked. Hope that right now you are happily enjoying your New Year's Eve gathering. A Happy New Year to you!

Theresa said...

Great part I! I will be watching for part II:) Have a blessed New Year ahead, HUGS!

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Happy New Year!
I too enjoy reflecting on the year prior. So glad that you are enjoying family and that the new year will be bringing many new adventures!

Susie said...

Blondie, You had one of those , "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly " years. The Good is a new baby and love ones around, The Bad is the surgery you went thru. ...but hopefully with a good outcome. The Ugly absolutely was the damage to your lake house. I praying for you to have a wonderful new year filled with love of family and good healthy. Also hoping you will get to enjoy the lake house this spring. Blessings to all, xoxo,Susie

Sonia said...

Happy New Year Jane! I've been out of the blog world for several months...too long and I've missed all the great posts from the blogs I follow. My new job has taken over my time..but now my schedule should lighten up and I can get caught up! Always enjoy my visits to you!


Scribbler said...

I certainly hope your arm is healed properly -- it is miserable when you live with constant pain. You had quite a year!

Happy New Year!

Melanie said...

Nice look back at 2015, even though some of it wasn't good, like your broken arm and Milo's surgery. And the destruction at the lake house. Hopefully, this year will be better for you guys! Hope you had a good New Year's Eve...we had a quiet night in here. We ordered a pizza and binge-watched Broadchurch. Much love, happiness, and good health to you and your family for 2016. xoxo

Unknown said...

Hi Jane,
Loved reading your year in review...since I only found you a couple of months ago, it helped me catch up! ;)
I am so glad that Milo is ok now, and we would have done the exact same thing for our dog!!
And your arm, ugh! Dang it, I hope that over time the pain gets less and less!!
Such beautiful family photos too!
Wishing you the Happiest of New Years!
Hugs, Kimberley

Elaine said...

Wow a lot happened in just 6 months! Some highs and lows I see. Isn't that always the way it turns out? Glad you could turn the negative lakehouse debacle into a positive.

Rita C at Panoply said...

Jane, I loved this post! You've actually answered several questions I've been wondering about - the lakehouse, your wrist and Milo. Looking forward to the conclusion. :)

Jen Kershner said...

How fun to catch up on your year! Although you had a lot of challenges, you clearly have a lot of joys too! Btw, I love Chicago too although not so much in February! Last time I was there was a year and a half ago when we went for spring break and stayed at the Knickerbocker! It was a crazy bitterly cold and wet trip though and we ended up coming home a day early!

Debbie said...

What a great post, Jane. It was fun to review the past year with you, and see how far you've come, and the many blessings you've received over the months. I guess that's what blogging is all about.
Love to you...and a Happy New Year, dear one.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

You certainly had your ups and downs this past year. I'm wishing that this year is healthy and happy. Hopefully you will have your lake home finished for a wonderful summer.

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

What a year Jane, Goodness, you have gone through a lot. Here's to a wonderful and bright new Year. Love reading the years review. Cheers and hugs, xo

Lori said...

Love your recap ~ those spring flowers are making me swoon! Like every year we will get through the winter and those will be our rewards for sticking it out. Happy New Year Janie xoxo

Benita said...

Loved reading this and seeing how your year progressed! And the cheese cutouts were just too, too cute...what a great idea! Looking forward to the new year and your wonderful blog sweet friend!! Love and hugs!!

Lynne said...

Jane! Happy New Year!
I have been a bit scarce! Surgeries are always packed in Nov and Dec, and we had one amazing Christmas! There was an extra surprise party that was organized for Dec 28th . . . involving "a ring"!

Man, I have a few blog and personal friends that need to toss their orthopods! It's amazing that one cannot read an X-ray correctly. You should be healed and not experiencing pain! This stuff makes me crazy as I work in the medical field.

I hope 2016 is the year of reparation and complete healing for you with all of my heart!

chateau chic said...

I'm loving your recap of 2015. Before I forget...Elsie is so adorable...those cheeks!! I also appreciate your perspective on the devastation of your lake house. Yes, it must have felt like a nightmare, but as you said, you were never without another roof over your head. Staying home on New Year's Eve with your honey and tasty treats is the best!
Happy New Year, Jane!
Mary Alice

Stacey said...

Jane, you've been a busy girl but I think I've said that before. I love the way you journal your days with words. You are really a story teller. :)

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness. Highs and lows but that's life. I am glad that i found you
Your new follower from austria

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness. Highs and lows but that's life. I am glad that i found you
Your new follower from austria

Mary said...

Jane, you are so special - both here on the blog and of course in person!
Please let us know if/when you might be back in Asheville - if it works out we will come see you and A and have a
good time again. It may not be New Year's Eve but we can still make it a celebration!!!

Sending all the best wishes in the world that this will be a healthy, happy, full of joyful moments year for us all.
Love from us both -

Courtney@Golden Boys and Me said...

Happy New Year, Jane! I enjoyed reading the recap of your very eventful year. It is always a joy to see pictures of your precious Elsie. So wonderful that Milo did so well. And hopefully you will be making lots of memories at that lake house soon.

Stonecropsister said...

Hi Jane,
as usual, I'm late visiting my favourite blogs but I so enjoyed reading this. I feel like I am visiting home when I come to your blog, and by that I mean the place my heart is with my sisters, and brother, and Dad and mom when she was still with us. You blog is a familiar sweet spot in my life. When I read about your year, the ups and downs, it seems to me life is like a movie script. So many things can happen to the plot line, it's a wonder we're not all scared out of our minds on New Years Eve, knowing that we DON'T know what lies ahead for the year to come. Some days, honestly, i would just like to pull the covers up under my chin and stay that way for a week. I'm glad there is the life-affirming moments of having a baby like Elsie join the party. That sweet baby smell, and was there anything ever created that could be as soft as a baby's hair? On to Part two now! love ya Jane, pls come to Vancouver so we can meet and have a drink or two. xx Nancy

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