Thursday, March 24, 2016


Happy Spring!  It truly feels like it here in the Midwest.  Yesterday was 65 degrees yet for some reason I was feeling a little lethargic.  I had bought some of my crabgrass/grub killer/fertilizer Sunday and wasn't looking forward to hauling those huge bags out of my car.  I nearly broke my back putting them in the cart at Home Depot and then my hatchback.  But it was warm and sunny with a prediction of rain.  Since my hoses are stored away, I really wanted to count on Mother Nature to water this stuff in.  So I rose to the occasion and got it down and as we speak, the rain is pouring from the skies. Now that's perfect Mother Nature love. 

I wanted to share a book I recently ordered from Amazon.  Do you have Amazon Prime?  You pay a set fee once per year and then all of your items are shipped free.  I love it.  I get all of my books there (and that works as there are so few bookstores anywhere around me now).  I also get a variety of other things.  The upholstered headboard for the guest room bed was delivered free.  :-D  Anyway, this book is so sweet, homey and inspiring, I've had a few minutes here and there to explore.  I'll let you know what I think later but if you want to check it out, as well as the reviews, you can go to Amazon.  

I'm going to post a few pics of my bunny collection as I write about other irrelevant things.  Above is a stuffed fabric bunny wearing a snappy little vest and holding his lunch and for the life of me I can't remember where or when I found him.  I think it had to be at an end of season sale, maybe Marshall's.  He's huge and I found the perfect spot for him to sit on a chair in my living room.

I've been crazy busy since my last post in that I wanted to get a current and timely blog post out to you guys and I also had a newspaper article due the 18th.  I write my column much like my blog, as if I'm talking to a group of people.  But for the newspaper I try to give more tips and tried and true experiences with my forays in cooking, gardening and all things lake related.  I don't believe I will ever have a post that has a title that starts with, "How to...".  And I will never do that to the country folk that read this newspaper.  Imagine me writing about the apple pie recipe I use when there are so many readers who have recipes passed down from their great, great grandmothers?  Silly.  I try to inspire with newer recipes, stretching the imagination.  This month I shared some of my spring cleaning ideas as well as a recipe.  I love writing and this wonderful little job I have.  It will be so great to get back up to the lake and ask my neighbors if they read the column.  As so many of us are on first name basis, it will be a great way to get an honest opinion.  Yikes! 

Simple bunny in the bathroom

Speaking of the lakehouse, it's been all about demolition, electrical and plumbing lately.  We picked out what we wanted for the baths and sent that on to the contractor.  I'm guessing that after this comes the dry wall, trim and floors.  We went with wide plank dark stained maple.  We have also ordered the new appliances and I've gotten all my paint colors chosen.  Tomorrow we are going to a cabinetry shop in downtown Chicago and I'm hoping to find the reclaimed wood that I want for my upper open shelves in the kitchen.  I'm very excited about all of this but I really can't imagine the end  coming soon.  I have to continue to be patient.  

I didn't bring out all of my Easter/spring decor.  I have limited space.  I spread out what I had over the whole house including the bathrooms and guest/Abby's room.  I didn't want to overload anything. And I've mentioned how creepy all of those staring eyes can be.   Ha!

I find it hard to change tradition and for years we've had the same holiday dinner menus.  There have been occasions where I've switched up recipes, for example my simple sweet potatoes.  I found a recipe that took them above and beyond my norm with maple syrup and walnuts.  A big thumbs down and a lot of whining.  One year Emily made the mashed potato casserole and added cream cheese and you would have thought the world ended.  This year I decided to do the tried and true but throw in some new ideas in addition.  No one will miss their favorites and maybe they will like my new dishes and request them for years on.  Or not.  

This guy is on my coffee table and if I can possibly say I have favorite, this may be it.  I love the sassy pose, sweet face and floppy ears.  :-D  I've been meaning to apologize for my pictures of late.  I get so harried when I want to post that I simply snap away with my cell phone.  And its also convenient to use it when out and about.   I'm going to do my best and dust off my good camera and be a little less sloppy.  

So my Easter menu this year is as follows and I added an asterisk after the new recipes.

Spinach salad with feta cheese, red onion, hard boiled egg and poppy seed dressing **
Chilled strawberry soup **
Ham with honey glaze
Mashed potatoes
Scalloped potatoes **
 Glazed carrots with parsley **
Rolls and butter


Hot Italian Dip with crackers and veggies **
Buffalo Chicken meatballs **



Trifle with Pound Cake and White Chocolate Pudding and Berries **
Three Chocolate layered Brownies


Signature Cocktail

Champagne with a scoop of Mango Sorbet **


The Bunny above sits on my mantel.  Its made out of a soft linen and is very huggable.

Bunny figurines on a ledge in 2nd the bathroom.  Little Girl Bunny lost an ear somehow and I can't find it to glue it back on.  :(

I've set the bar very high many times with my menus and have sincerely told you guys about my failures.  But you learn that way.  I suppose I might eliminate some of these dishes if I'm running short on time but I have every intention to try and with some planning, make many things ahead of time.  First, I'm sort of happy that there will be only nine of us...we can all fit around the table.  Secondly, I always find that making a ham is so freeing as opposed to making the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey.  A no-brainer and no gravy...yay!  I usually make the ham early and keep it covered.  A half hour before dinner we carve it and keep it in the oven at a gentle 250 degrees.  I pour a lot of pan juices over to keep it from drying out.

The Gardeners~

Again, since we have a smaller group I can set a pretty one will be balancing plates on their laps in the living room.  So I can make a nice table setting while everyone is relaxing with appetizers in the living room.  The temps are supposed to be in the 40's so maybe we will have a fire.  I plan to have the soup and salad first and the rest as a buffet.  My memory was jogged for the Chilled Strawberry Soup when I read a blog posted by Rita at Panoply.  She did a beautiful spring tablescape and mentioned the soup.  The Husband and I had it at a B&B in the Shenandoah Valley two years ago.  I absolutely loved it and planned to make it one day.  Totally forgot.  I'll give you links for all of these new recipes in my next post.  

Abby is on spring break from the school she teaches at next week.  I hope we can get out to do some fun things when she visits.  I put this little angel bunny on her bed.  She'll always be my baby.  Abby, that is.

 I've done a bit of shopping for our trip to Vancouver but it's been difficult not knowing the weather.  I have a weather app on my phone that includes that region and they always seem to be about 5-10 degrees lower than Chicago.  I'm beginning to think flat shoes and cropped pants won't be a reality.  I'm good though...we are quite cold here until May so I'm going to have to forgo the T shirts and light sweaters and stick with what I'm wearing now.  I simply can't afford to pack the wrong things.

I wanted to show you guys a picture of Emily's living room.  She used to have taupe vertical stripes on this long wall which were quite cool.  Recently she decided to make a change and painted the stripes a soft blue/green color.  She wasn't happy.  She tried a few more colors...just along the edges and finally decided on this shade.  I think she called it Coffee Bean by SW.  I thought she was really brave, at least for me and my color phobia.  As an interior designer she has a keen eye and vision many of us don't have.  This is why she is so successful in her field.  Most of all she knows what she likes and can put a room together perfectly.  Anyway, I'm loving this.

The light changes and the color takes on putty shade.  It looks beautiful with her furniture and pieces.  She is not tied into any trend.  She goes with what she loves and knows what works.  I have gotten so much advice from her and I truly believe my home, with her help, is a reflection of what I love and can't be defined by any 'style'.  I truly enjoy decorating books and the many shows on TV that show how spaces can be transformed.  It's all food for thought.  I have a nice collection of decorating books and I pick up any one of them from time to time and get inspired by ideas I hadn't thought of before.   There is no 'one way' to do anything and fresh ideas are in abundance if you really keep your eyes open. :-D

So...that's all I have this week.  It was a busy week for sure.  You know that I do the light therapy every Monday and Tuesday.  Last week I had a teeth cleaning appointment with my dentist and as if a miracle occurred, the hygienist had to cancel.  I joked with the receptionist that this was sort of a happy thing but it seemed she didn't share that feeling.    

 Easter dinner grocery store trip is next after a shower.  It's thundering and there are huge puddles everywhere, maybe I don't need one!

I want to give a little mention to a few people who have commented recently on my posts.  First, Anonymous.  You gave me such kind and caring thoughts on my skin problems and followed up a second time.  Please know I appreciate it and hope you come by often.  Also, Kathleen George in Arizona.  I have no way to reach you but I want to thank you for your visits.  You really 'read' my posts and leave such great comments!  If you have an email address, please let me know.  

Enough for today.  If I don't get back soon, I wish you a happy and blessed Easter!


Thursday, March 17, 2016


Hello, everyone and Happy St. Paddy's Day.  Have you noticed my green font?  I'm not crazy about the color green, at least in my clothing, paint colors, my clothing...did I say that?  I own nothing green.  We celebrate this huge, huge day on the Sunday before the actual March 17th here on the Southside of Chicago.  Our parade rivals the one in Downtown Chicago big time as we are predominately an Irish Catholic neighborhood.  So many from "over on the boat' as we say of  the Irish who leave family and friends behind to join relatives here in Chicago.  In the past I've posted pictures of our parade and the traditional dying of the Chicago River to a brilliant green.  And as always, rest assured people, it's vegetable dye and wouldn't harm a carp.  

Loving my carnations.  My grocery store (yes, Jane was haunting the grocery stores again this week) had a deal...3 bouquets for $12.  I hopped on it.  They were huge bunches.  Carnations, or mums, last SO long.  Change the water often, it gets a little smelly. :(

I had enough of those carnations to make a vase for my coffee table.  I am always sort of amazed at how this glass table looks like an optical illusion when I take photos.  Everything seems to be floating on air.  Then you can see my rug underneath and I always wonder if I missed picking up a few wayward cracker crumbs or peanut shells that someone may notice.  

I love candy dishes filled with chocolates.  I'm pretty much over my sweet faze and I like when my kids come by and scoop a handful up.  I'll be known as that crazy old Mom/Grandma that always had candy.  

And the last of my three bouquets are these white mums.  I'm in flower heaven.  Even better, I am seeing so many new green shoots in my yard.  Daffs, tulips, day lilies, crocus and hyacinths.  We had a very mild winter here however, and the last time this happened my spring plants such as these came up very stunted.  I didn't think the bulbs would ever bloom nicely again.  Here in the Midwest they really need a good 6 weeks of very cold temps, even a few freezes.  I'm wary of what might actually be my spring garden.  Fingers crossed for the best.

A new sign.  I think it's darling.  I'm a little embarrassed to say I have not yet brought up anything spring-like from the storage.  Not one bunny or egg.  I'm on the go and when I'm not, I feel like doing absolutely nothing.  I will get to it tomorrow as I really have nothing planned for once.  The Husband thinks I should schedule appointments and errands in one or two full days.  I, on the other hand, like to spread them out over the week thinking its good to get out every day.   I don't simply do one thing, I throw in a few errands and my little trips to the store (I know---I'm insane).

At the risk of boring you as far as the never ending skin issues, and this might just wrap it up, I am so improved.  I started the photo light therapy at a dermatology clinic in a suburb nearby.  Actually, it's 20 minutes away, I sit in the waiting room about 15 minutes and the time spent in the area where I get the 'rays" is 45 seconds.  But I'm not complaining.  I no longer have the horrid rash or blotches, nor the hive like symptoms on my face and neck.  The spots where I scratched like crazy and drew blood are healing so well.  I feel hopeful each and every day.  2 days a week...a little over an hour of my time.  Thanks for listening to me and weighing in on your problems with eczema or someone you know, and your ways of dealing with it.  We're helping each other.  :)

I am really getting excited about our trip to Vancouver.  It's been over 10 years since we've been there. My brother-in-law met a lovely girl visiting Chicago who lived in Vancouver.  After a long distance relationship he moved there and they were married.  Of course we were all there and what a great time it was from the wedding to the reception at the Vancouver Yacht Club.  Yeah...a great way to celebrate the marriage and our first trip to this incredibly beautiful place, but little time to explore.  We re meeting up with Jack when we visit and we are so looking forward to that.  I'm planning to meet a blogger friend (or two) as well and I want to thank these ladies for giving me some great tips on what to pack, wear, see and explore.  And my friend, Lynne, from Dreams On 34th Street who lives in Seattle ...she's given me a wealth of info.  Thanks, Lynne!!!

I have pretty much all I need.  The weather is up and down there.  Layers.  And a trip up to Whistler in the mountains...iffy.  As per usual I overpack but I'm really trying to plan ahead and stay clear of that. Yes, I know it won't happen but give me credit for trying.  Above you can see a pair of flats I found today.  Are they not cool?  They certainly go with the basic black I wear every single day.  Can I say slimming?  The clothes, not the shoes.  Although the shoes may help.  Mentally.  

Lastly, a picture of Elsie all decked out for the Southside Parade this past Sunday.  Sadly it rained like  cats and dogs.  But Kevin and Mary Clare soldiered on with a huge golf umbrella.  You can't stop the stubborn Irish!  Elsie is looking a little skeptical here but I know she had a great time.

My son, Kevin, MC and little Elsie all bundled up.  Mary Clare's mom, Peggy, you know partner in crime/Elsie's other grandma, had a brunch the morning of the parade (she lives about 4 blocks from the route).  It was delicious and so fun.  A wonderful spread of pastries, egg casseroles, sausages and bagels.  And of course, mimosas.  We had a great time with little Elsie, and Katie (MC's sister) and Kevin's little girl Margot toddling around and making us laugh. Katie's little girl, Cecilia, born just before Christmas is precious.  How full our family has become.  I skipped the parade...I'm not a fan of crappy weather unless I'm on a shopping spree (!) and I'm not totally Irish--I have a bit of German on my mother's side.  Her maiden name was Doll (imagine if her name was Barbara what she could have been called for short).  Terrible.  The food in Germany I am sure is wonderful, but when my grandfather visited and cooked, and he was the one who cooked in the family, it was so bland.  I sincerely think it was his way, I have no inclination to insult the Germans for anything.  I'm sure I would totally enjoy a visit, in fact my sons went to Cologne to stay with friends when they were in their early teens.  

Long story short.  Parade Sunday.  I left the brunch with Abby and her boyfriend Tom and we went to a restaurant a few blocks from home and met up with Tom's (huge) family.  So fun.  I had two glasses of wine on top of two mimosas at brunch and all I wanted to do was go home and take a nap.  But corned beef and cabbage called and that's what I worked on once home.  Me and a huge pot of coffee.

As I write it's still Wednesday.  I have no plans to make anything remotely Irish, German or even Italian or Guatemalan.  Maybe we will have Corn Flakes for dinner.  

Jane x

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


It's been a busy week, some business and pleasure combined.  That's the way it should be, balance.  I still have a ton of doctor appointments everywhere I turn.  Blood tests ordered at my last physical in December (gulp, a wee bit late) done a few days ago.  A Bone Density test which I should have starting getting years ago.  The annual gynecology appointment which I actually reschedule twice.  I'm just very uncomfortable with that sort of thing.  I think I once wrote that I'd rather go to the dentist.  So now the waiting for the results and to schedule the mammogram and then wait for that.  Just not a breezy sort of thing for me.  Geez, isn't it great to start reading a blog post that is filled with such uplifting thoughts? 

On Monday I had a great time with Emily doing a little shopping.  We haven't gotten together in so long.  She does a lot of work on her days off, meeting with clients and doing design work.  When she is in the showroom she needs to be available to customers and potential clients.  It was great to get out together.  We went to HomeGoods.  I didn't need one darn thing for myself, in fact I'm trying to organize the space downstairs where I keep all my seasonal stuff.  I did need to get a birthday gift for a friend and Emily found a gorgeous and huge pasta bowl and picked out some fancy pasta, olive oil and jars of sauce.  She is so creative in picking out gifts like this.  I would have simply bought the bowl!  

I also became a little nutso in picking out essentials for Abby's new apartment.  I have to backtrack a little.  Her lease with her three girlfriends in their coachhouse ends in a month.  They are parting ways after a fun filled year together and she and her longtime boyfriend, Tom, have decided to take the leap and get an apartment together.  It will be on the Northside.  They are hunting for a place right now.  Each of the girls will take what they brought.  I know she and Tom have a lot of shopping ahead picking out furniture, rugs, curtains...all sorts of major pieces.  We know there are baby showers and wedding showers, but sadly there is no such thing as 'living in sin' showers, so I hit the kitchen aisles knowing that wouldn't intrude on her particular taste and style and it would check off a few things on her list.  I had a ball.  Coffee cups, towels, napkins, a cute canister and all sorts of spoons and spatulas and those crazy things you never think you need until you need them.  She was quite touched.  I got my retail therapy done and didn't add anymore clutter to my own home.

Except this cute bunny you see above.  Just one.  One per year.  Truly.

This bunny banner was found in the dollar bin (but one of the $3 bargains) at Target a few weeks ago.    It was sort of funny, I didn't like the way it was hanging and I mentioned it to The Husband.  The next morning I got up and he met me in the living room, excitedly pointing to the bunny banner.  "Look, Jane!  I think I solved the problem.  I pinned the middle bunny up higher and now it looks like they're running and leaping!"  How clever.  He was so darned pleased with himself.  I have to bring the rest of my spring things upstairs when I get a chance.  I'm a little afraid I'm going to wake up one morning to find everything rearranged.  

We've had some nice warm weather here but also our fair share of gloom.  I guess when the spring-like temps tease us, it's harder to accept the cloudy rainy days.  Today was dark and misty.  Warm enough to have some open windows but a little too damp and humid.  Funny how the weather affects our moods.  Is it just us women?  We seem to talk about the weather a lot on our blogs.  For me, playing with vignettes here and there helps me focus on things I can control, ways to bring some prettiness indoors.  I try to find inexpensive bouquets when I can, especially just before spring arrives when it feels like we haven't seen a living thing in months.  To the left you can see a little jar.  I made some cuttings from a Baby Tears houseplant and I really hope I get some roots.  I love this plant dearly.  Spring.  Growth.  ;-D

Playing a little on the kitchen counters.  I'm really lucky to have a lot of space and I guess I will never be the type to have clean, sleek counters.  I think I just like to be surrounded by what I like.  Things rarely make sense...I mean a box filled with all sorts of string?  And the dog treats right smack next to my flour and sugar canisters?  Yep, that's me.

I promised the recipe for Roasted Chicken Provencal.  I was just too pooped to write it out in my last post but I hope I left you with a good teaser.  This goes together so quickly and easily yet it would make for a wonderful Sunday dinner.  I'm having a love affair with chicken thighs.  I've never cared much for dark meat but I really love how it stays so moist and tender when cooked in a broth or sauce.  The key is to trim the fat very well.  In this recipe the whole garlic cloves turn soft, fragrant and melt in your mouth with each bite, as do the shallots.  Never think French cooking is terribly difficult.  Some of my favorite recipes are all about simple ingredients meant to be savored and remembered.  

Roasted Chicken Provencal

8 skin on chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
2 T of sea salt
1 t pepper
1/2 to 3/4 c flour
3 T canola oil
2 T herbes de Provence (easily found in your grocery with the spices)
1 lemon halved and then quartered
8-10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
4-6 large shallots, peeled and halved
1/3 c white wine

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Season chicken with S&P.  Put flour in a shallow dish and lightly dredge chicken in it, gently shaking to remove excess.

Swirl the oil in a large roasting pan and add chicken.  Pour the wine over the chicken thighs and surround them with the lemon, garlic and shallots.  Top with the herbes de Provence 

Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.  Baste with the juices and then lower heat to 350 and bake another 25 minutes.  The skin on the chicken should be browned and crisp.  Remove to a platter and spoon the juices,  lemon, garlic and shallots over.  This is delicious served with a light salad and some good French bread.  

Let me know if you try this.  And if you have any questions, ask away.  Its a real winner!


I have to get to bed early.  A visit with a friend early and after, my first appointment at a dermatology clinic nearby where I will start light therapy for my skin.  Its not the dangerous sort of rays you have in a tanning bed and it helps heal the rash and its inflammation.  I'll have to go 3 three times a week but it's only about 20 minutes away.  I've been on the meds almost 2 weeks and I'm just starting to see some improvement.  The side effects are pretty much gone other than a bit of feeling chilled after it first kicks in.  Nothing bad, the headaches are gone, too.  Fingers crossed.  

Our trip to Vancouver is fast approaching.  We leave on April 8 and come home on the 13th.  We have a busy itinerary,  a cocktail party the night before The Husband's presentation, then two free days of shopping and our hotel is smack in the middle of the best shopping area.  We are also driving 2 hours north to Whistler, a beautiful town waaaaaay up in the mountains.  While neither of us ski we are looking forward to staying in the village which looks like something straight out of Switzerland.  I'm so excited!

 Not a great picture but this is where we will be staying overnight in Whistler.  It's right in the village as we have no need to be near the ski lifts or anything remotely unrelated to shopping and dining.  ;-D

I'm off to bed now.  Thanks for visiting.  See you soon!

Jane x 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


I'm so happy to be back earlier than usual.  I didn't think I had much to share but I think most of you know by now I can take a small event in my life and run with it.  I thought this would be a slow week, I would loll around and get further in my book, take a nap here and there...just sort of take advantage of some free time and the many weekly errands and what seems like a zillion doctor appointments. Nope, keeping the Ponderosa clean and running smooth requires a lot of time and energy.  With yet another snowstorm predicted tomorrow, I made a trip to our corner grocery for a few small things and I treated myself to these tulips.  I really love yellow flowers, from tulips to roses to daisies.  I decided to change out my dining table with an old metal tray and a cute little wire container with jars that have flower frog lids.  I love how yellow compliments blue.  These placemats are pretty beat up, I've used them on our patio table outside and they've been exposed to the elements on more than one occasion.  Okay, here I go with the running dialogue. ^^ 

I also pulled out some dessert/salad plates I use for Easter dinner.  Why not display them?  I've had this linen tea towel for a couple of years.  Sometimes I see cute irresistible ones when I'm at my favorite stores but I really love this baby with embroidered carrots.  So these are on my kitchen island.  I think I found the plates at Pier 1 several years ago.

I talked about seeing a new doctor in my last post for my really out of control eczema.  It's not easy to talk about.  It's unsightly, up and down my arms and legs, my chest and now on my face.  A very, very red inflamed mess.  It goes from itching and burning to being so sore.  But my post brought a few fellow sufferers and one anonymous person to comment on their struggles with this affliction.  For those of you who have zero issues with regard to this disease, scroll on down.  I just wanted to share what I learned at this appointment with a doctor who specializes in eczema.

Above you can see his beautiful office.  Its not far from the business district of Chicago where buildings are being rehabbed left and right.  Look at that wall of shelves and the light fixtures.  I just couldn't resist taking a few snaps!  And the doctor, Peter Lio, M.D. was sincerely THE best.  He has dedicated a huge amount of time researching and treating eczema and you don't find too many physicians like this.  

With one look at my sore, red and inflamed skin, he didn't hesitate to tell me I was suffering from an auto immunity deficiency.  In my own online searching I had pretty much known this.  For so long I thought my problem was a result of pets, using fragranced laundry soap, burning scented candles, you name it.  I was grasping at straws in my desperation.

A look at auto immune disease:

Auto immune disease develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, decides your healthy cells are foreign. a result your immune system attacks healthy cells.  It can affect one or many different types of body tissue and changes in organ function.  The skin is the body's largest organ.

That said, the doctor put me on a very potent medication mainly used for individuals after organ transplants so the body doesn't reject the organ when the body might attack the healthy cells.  It's a little scary taking this drug.  There are side effects.  In the days I've been taking it I have had tingling and extreme cold in my feet.  Headaches as well.  I never get headaches and I'm taking Tylenol every 6 hours.  Small price to pay for what I'm going through.  It takes awhile for the medicine to kick in so my skin remains unchanged at this time.

I was also advised to use CereVe healing can find this at any drugstore.  It's on the expensive side but well worth it.  My skin was so bad and every topical product I used caused incredible itching so I gave up.  This works to an extent. For those of you who wrote that you have eczema here and there, this would be a great start for healing.  Photo light therapy will start 3 times per week.  And with the inflammation I currently have, I need to take a ten minute bath several times a week with lukewarm water mixed with a 1/2 cup of bleach.  Yes, sounds scary but it's much less than the chlorine you would encounter in a pool.  This kills staph and toxins that may get into my system.

That's the long and short of it for now.  For those of you who commented on your own skin issues and some of your remedies, thank you.  I would highly recommend the CereVe ointment.  It protects and nourishes the skin with mineral oil and hyaluronic acid among other ingredients which helps the skin retain moisture.  I'm taking a Probiotic supplement to kill the bad bacteria internally.

Let me know if you have any questions.  There are a few more steps I'm following but I don't want to talk much more about my journey.  I pray I get results soon.  So far little has changed but I trust it will.  This doctor is incredible.   

After my appointment, and The Husband was so nice coming with me, we Googled some of the restaurants in the area, and there were many.  We decided on this French bistro called Troquet.  It was outstanding.  Not a huge menu but different and delicious and I loved the casual atmosphere.  Although there will be many restaurants to choose from this up and coming area close to the business district in the city, I think we will make a few return visits here.


We had a few funny conversations in my last post when I wrote about my fancy grocery store.  I was there Saturday for my 2 weeks grocery shopping and it was a perfect time to get some shots to share.  As The Husband has been working from home a lot lately, he was feeling a little stir crazy and offered to come along.  Very strange indeed.  I mentioned the piano player to you guys.  Well, here he is.  

There are a few little cute areas like this fine chocolate bar.  The also offer popcorn and the smell, like in a movie theatre, has your mouth watering.  In addition to the cool areas I mentioned last week, there is a sushi bar, and in the meat/seafood space, a person who mans a huge grill and will cook up steaks, burgers, fish--whatever you've bought to bring home and  devour.

This is the international aisle (of three) that I really love.  You can truly find anything you need for a recipe here.  Love it.  Couldn't get a better picture of the countries from which they supply hard to find ingredients...I have to get a little more sneaky.  lol!

And finally the bar.  I was pretty clueless why there was a bar in a grocery store as were you guys.  Well, I have a whole new perspective on it now.  When we arrived The Husband and I grabbed our own carts.  I told him in no uncertain terms that I wasn't going to tolerate or pay for his random purchases of Hostess Cupcakes, Doritos and 8 bottles of apple juice because they were on sale.  So we went our separate ways.  After my shopping was done, I strolled up and down aisles trying to find him.  No luck.  I pulled my phone out of my purse to call him and found a minimum of eight texts, most of them, "Where are you Jane?"  "Call me Jane."  "I've been looking everywhere for you, Jane."  So I called him.  Where are you?  Sitting in the bar naturally.  Ah ha.  Now I know why it's there.  "Hurry up, Jane.  I have a drink lined up for you".  As I stood in line while the gal rang up my groceries, I instinctively put on my lipstick. After all, I was having a drink with my love.  I would have brushed my hair, too, but you know it was a grocery store after all.  I do have my limits.

I finally broke down and bought curtains for Abby' room/guest room.  Gosh, curtains are so expensive.  As much as I want to finish up this room, its the last thing on my list of priorities.  I had a set of curtains picked out at Target.  At $24.99 a panel and needing two panels per window, it made me shudder.  I put them back.  And then on my trip to Marshall's last week I found not only curtains I loved but they were in packages of two panels for $19.99.  Wow, a half price difference.  The rods were a steal at Home Depot.  I wanted black as the drawer pulls on the dresser I painted are black.  I never thought I would ever buy anything black but I'm finding it to be a really nice contrast with my neutrals.  How about you?  I also switched out some of the pillows to blue/green sort of patterned pillowcases I've had forever but never used and they went perfectly with the throw that I had in another room.  

We had a minimal amount of snow last week, but it came down more like sleet and was pretty dangerous for people driving.  And then we had a huge storm warning yesterday but it, too, amounted to more slippery roads than usual as the temps dropped.  And we now have another snowstorm predicted for tomorrow.  We'll see.  Its also supposed to get below freezing tonight so we might have those terrible roads again.  The irony is, we had warm temps just a few days ago, and by warm I mean mid 50's.  I wanted the dogs to get some exercise so I decided to do some backyard clean up.  So many tree branches, large and small.  I made a huge pile but was too lazy to haul them out to the curb. Ha!  And I picked up dog do do that had accumulated over the past 3 cold months.  Nasty job.  But Milo and Layla are just ecstatic to have me in the yard with them.  They ran and jumped and frolicked and sniffed their way along the ground which no longer had that covering of snow or lack of scent due to the cold.  They have both gotten so overweight. I can't wait for warmer weather to get them (and me) in shape.     

A sure sign that they are out of shape is that after we have a little fun in the fresh air, they collapse like they ran a marathon.  

Oh, how they love their soft throws.  Spoiled for sure. ;-D

I'm one of the many who loves Pinterest.  95% of what I Pin is recipes.  If you ever see something you like on this blog, just hover over it and click on the red Pin image.  Very much as I do with cookbooks, I have good intentions to make new dishes.  And then it becomes a forgotten memory.  A few weeks ago I was feeling a little stuck with the unimaginative dinners I was making and decided to sit down and pick out 3-4 recipes to try in the following week and when I went to the store, I would pick up any essentials I needed.  So far I've made three new recipes since Saturday and they have all been hits.  Above is a Roasted Chicken Provencal which was unbelievable.  I took this photo before I popped it in the oven so you could see the vivid colors of the shallots, whole garlic cloves and lemon.  The skin on the chicken turns crisp and tasty and the best thing?  I thew it all together in about ten minutes and it cooked in the oven about 50 minutes with very little help from me.  Alas, I feel like this post is way too long and I'm feeling that dreaded headache coming on.  I'll share the recipe in my next post.  You are going to love it.   

I'll end here.  Did you watch the Oscars Sunday?  Very interesting.  I think Chris Rock handled the huge elephant in the room very well.  And The Voice came back (as well as Blindspot which I love) and I'm getting a huge kick out of this season with the bantering of Adam, Pharell, Christina and Blake.  They are so much more playful and funny and the talent of the contestants is incredible.  Do you watch?  And I missed Fixer Upper last night so I'm going to have to replay that.  Totally love that show and how Chip and Joanna relate with each other.  As the lakehouse is being built from wall studs to sub floors up, it's interesting to see demolition and the beginning to end progress.  

That's it for now.  Have a great remaining week, and thanks for visiting! :)

Jane x