Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Hello, friends.  I hope all of you are off to a great week.  Our high temps are cooling off as we speak but a nice breeze has been so great in keeping us cool and making being outdoors tolerable with 90+ degrees.

Taking a walk around the Ponderosa today I had my camera in hand while I randomly watered some pots of flowers.  I've seen these little herb boxes on many blogs, I have had the set for quite a while; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.  This summer they are all up on the brick around my patio.  There are so many things you can do with these boxes.  So this is one.  I'll share the others later.  The Husband constantly harps that our house is going to crumble down if I hammer in one more masonry nail. 

Thought I'd zoom in on a few things.  This basket holds a mismatch of outdoor essentials.  I love these colorful citronella candles found at Marshall's.  I try to use citronella as opposed to an air spray or bug repellent applied to the skin.  If I do use a body spray I try to find the gentlest.  Right now I'm using Cutter Skinsations (no promotional deal going here).  It has Aloe and Vitamin E.  The key I believe is to wash it off once you head in.  Many find these repellents to be unsafe but I prefer to lean toward the lesser of the evils and West Nile Virus is something I never want to have.  

I have some Asiatic lilies blooming near my herbs.  Gosh, they really make me smile.  They look like they are virtually painted in watercolors.  You can see there are many more buds to open. 

As you know, I LOVE my chairs.  In fact I am really looking forward to getting up to the lakehouse just to hunt down more.  This wrought iron chair holds a special place in my heart.  A few years after we moved here we literally had some strangers show up at the door and tell us they were the children of the original owners.  We were as excited as they were.  All they really wanted to see was the backyard where they had so many fun memories.  One of the things I could never part with when we moved in was this lone chair (and it only has three legs).  I kept it propped up in a corner of what I call my Woodland Garden.  The two daughters saw it and nearly cried while remembering the matching table and second chair, a bistro set I imagine.   So I keep it, adorn it every spring and love it. 

The latest in Blondieville.  Son Kevin turned thirty~three on Friday.  We went to dinner at a favorite steakhouse nearby.  Most of the kids had Friday night plans but Kevin, Mary Clare, her mother, Peggy (my partner in crime) and The Husband had a great time.  This is the cutest picture of Kevin and MC.  They had a sitter for Elsie so I hope they painted the town red later on!

We spent a glorious weekend with long time friends Zeke and Jill at their new home on a lake southwest of us.  They bought it to use for weekends and then took the plunge last year to move in full time.  They had retired but after several months of contemplating this new chapter of their lives they decided to take part time jobs.  Jill has forty some years as a nurse under her belt   Going from working in a hospital to a medical clinic has had its challenges but she takes it in stride.  I truly admire how she takes the bull by the horns but is also very honest and humble at the same time.  I could stand to learn a lot from her.  I hope we see these friends more in the future, we lost touch as raising kids took precedence over most thngs and it's so good to reconnect.  

We spent much of the weekend cruising on their pontoon with a few other friends, sharing great meals cooked on the grill by the menfolk, wiling away the time on the deck.  Jill took me for a ride around the lake by car.  It's a heavily wooded area and we saw groups of deer munching the vegetation along the road.  They would stare at us for a second and then bound into the woods.  This was awesome for me as I've only seen a handful of them in my entire life and then only from a distance.  All in all, this was just the remedy for The Husband and I who continue to miss our lake life tremendously.

Daughter Abigail finally finished up teaching last week. Amazing how some schools go so long.  Her guy Tom also finished up so they have a whole 6 weeks of fun together.  They have so many cool things to do near their apartment on the Northside but they also love to come down here (the Southside) to enjoy the pool at Tom's family's home a few blocks away.  Abby loves being outside as they live on the third floor of their building without a balcony, and she also spends a lot of time with Milo and Layla, she misses them so.  To think she was just thirteen when we got Milo, it really is a special relationship.  This is a picture of her playing with Layla on the back steps but I also wanted to sneak in a picture of those outdoor lights I bought at Target last fall on clearance.  We had more than we needed and so we hung them in a swag pattern.  I love them along with the solar lights I have here and there in my garden borders around the patio.  At night I really have no use for the porch light or spot lights, thus, fewer bugs.  We do have the 'flight of the bats' around dusk.  They swoop and dive for about 5 minutes eating up the flying bugs.  I used to enjoy watching them from the safety of my patio table under the umbrella until one decided to fly under and whizzed inches from my head.  Now when I sight the first few I make a hasty exit to the house.  ;-(

The bed along the house is doing great.  The pink clematis have died off for now but will be back.  I wish I had the names of the varieties.  The purple ones are doing well.  I have bunches of cosmos planted here and there to fill up space.  In a few weeks I'll hit some garden centers to find perennials on sale to add and fill in spaces.  Still, I may continue to add cosmos every year...I simply love them and their fluffy leaves and how they sway in the wind.  

I know, this looks like one full plate and it is, The Husbands at dinner tonight.  But trust me, this is just one simple recipe that I wanted to pass on and it is for the Parsley Glazed Carrots.  I came across the recipe around Easter, we all loved it and then tonight I wanted to make it again and had to pull the ingredients out of my head.  

I cook fresh veggies every single night.  It sounds time consuming but you can easily do it while you are at the stove working on the other parts of your meal.  The only veggies I don't prepare are peas (I get them frozen).  I don't have the patience to shuck them.  I think that jazzing up your veggies makes them more tasty and you tend to add more to your plate, a great trick to get those nutrients.  And oh, I got to use some fresh parsley I have growing in abundance!  So, very simply:

Parsley Glazed Carrots

4 cups carrots (sliced in half and then cut lengthwise very thinly into long spears)
S & P to taste
1/2 t sugar
1/4 cup water
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T butter
2 T fresh parsley, chopped


Add all ingredients except the butter and parsley to a sauce pan or skillet with a tightly fitted lid and cook over moderately high heat for approximately 7-10 minutes.  Toss frequently in the last 3 minutest prevent burning.  Remove from heat when they are lightly charred and tender.  Toss with the butter and sprinkle with parsley.  Serves 4-6.

The beauty of this recipe is that the small amount of sugar caramelizes the carrots, and the bit of charring makes for a crispness and earthiness that is softened by the butter.  I hope you try this as a side dish.  It really is delicious.

After our mini vacation at the home of our friends, the dogs were more than happy to see us.  Arriving home at 8:00 p.m. Sunday night we had just enough time to enjoy the last of the sun and play a little fetch with the rubber ball that Milo has yet to chew into shreds.  He tires a little more quickly but I still try to keep him active and in shape.  Isn't that what we are all supposed to do?  And then he is content to lie in the grass and sniff the warm summer breeze.  My favorite memories will always be the outdoor ones.  My dogs are always happiest there and I simply can't wait to get back to the lake and see them run wild.  And that's coming soon.  More on it later!

Have a wonderful 4th!  Celebrate and sparkle!

Jane x


Jill said...

Such a lovely post with so many great things! I love old chairs too I have several and the stories they tell. How neat those children came back to visit after all those years. Always great to connect! I make veggies with every meal too. :-) Have a wonderful evening.


Terra Hangen said...

I saved the carrots recipe to try. You are blessed to have friends with homes on lakes.

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Jane friends with a lake house, you must of enjoyed your mini vacation with them. How's your Lake house remodeling progressing? Love seeing your flower gardens and enjoyed your photos. I love rainbow carrots will try your recipe with them. I always enjoy your journals and catching up with your life in blondieland.

Deserae said...

How fun to be able to enjoy your friends lake houses!!! I loved the story about the sweet little garden chair. We have a lot of visitors stop by our home and share stories with us. It is always so much fun to hear how they loved living here. Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!!!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I was wondering if you got up to your lake house, but I see that news on that is coming soon.

I definitely will try your carrot recipe, maybe tomorrow.

Linda said...

Loved 'chatting' with you because that what a visit to your blog/journal feels like!
Thank you for the carrot recipe. I love cooked carrots and more often than not, I make candied carrots with butter, spices and brown sugar. These are fine for fall and winter menus but yours sound perfect for the warmer seasons!

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Jane, lots of fun visiting you. It's like sitting down for a chat. Thanks for sharing the carrot recipe. I love glazed carrots and this is a good one to try.
Have a wonderful week and great 4th of July!! xo

Kathleen Grace said...

We need to thin the carrots in the garden, so this recipe is just in time for me to try it :) I love the story about the chair and your garden looks lovely!

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

I love that you love the outdoor space you have created. I can see why your daughter loves to come home!

Kim said...

Jane, I am the pickiest vegetable eater, but that recipe has caught my attention. I am off to pin it, because it is on the menu tonight!! Thanks!!

Penny @ The Comforts of Home said...

Sounds like all is well in your world! Those carrots sound great.

Susan Freeman said...

Your yard looks so much better than mine right now. The Texas hot summers are not great for flowers :-( I am anxious to try your carrot recipe. I am one of those who just adores parsley!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Gypsy Heart said...

I'm so hungry looking at that beautiful plate of food! I love carrots and will definitely try this recipe ~ thank you for sharing! I'm sure you thoroughly enjoyed your lake visit. Sounds fun and relaxing. I think the herb boxes are great! And it's really ok to use the nails. :)

Have a fun and safe 4th!


Beatrice Euphemie said...

Hi Jane, happy belated birthday to your handsome son. I'm sure you are asking where the time went - my youngest is turning 34 this year, too. Love seeing all the blooms and sweet daughter with her missed pets. Your friend's beach house sounds wonderful. It's so important to hang on to those old and dear friends after the whirlwind of raising kids is over. There's a certain understanding when you've lasted through it all. The recipe looks so good, too. Happy 4th!! x Karen

DUTA said...

I like the picture with daughter Abigail sitting on the stairs, playing with Layla. There's a soft, sweet tenderness about it.
Thanks for the tour of your lovely patio and garden.

podso said...

I really enjoyed catching up with you with this post. Summer looks so pretty in your area. Here there seems to be an overcast glaze of heat. You need to come visit me if you like deer. I remember how exciting it used to be to spot a deer in the woods or alongside a road … but now we see them every day at least once if not twice, a gang of 6 or 7 and two babies come through our yard and see what they can eat (devour). They are beautiful creatures and they get quite close to us without freaking out and that's a little scary.

Lorrie said...

What a lovely catch up post. The lake looks so cool and welcoming - it's warm here, today and I'm complaining! Love the herb box, I haven't seen them before.
I cook vegetables every night, too. There are so many wonderful things to do with them. The parsley carrots sound delicious.

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Good Afternoon Jane,
Just look at how Summer is slipping by us and before long it will be Fall, which truly won't bother me one bit. July and August are such high heat months in the state of Texas.
Your outings on the lake, with friends, and family sound so lovely and gosh this meal looks gourmet to me. Just bet it tasted so wonderful.
I see we share the same color of cosmos!
Aren't they the most delightful little flower and truly they live the motto of" bloom where you are planted!"
Have a lovely evening, Jane.
Sending love and warm thoughts too!

Susie said...

Blondie, I loved reading of your mini vacation.:):) Your son and his wife make a cute couple. It is good for them to be out together. Glad you had a fun time. Your flowers are very pretty. I could have cried reading about the girls who saw the chair you saved. Bless your heart . Once a really old fellow and his daughter came by my daughter's house and said they lived there and just wanted to see the old oak tree...which is the biggest in that neighborhood. They said the house looked near the same as when they lived there....but the next year it was all torn down but one wall and a two story home was built. I was glad they saw it again before that happened. :) Blessings to you, hope you are loving this bit of cooler weather. xoxo, Susie

20 North Ora said...

Jane - I always enjoy hearing about your days. Glad it's cooled off some for you. It's still awful hot here in Oklahoma with the heat factor over 100. But, it is suppose cool off and some rain this weekend.

Flowers look great.


Chippy White Cottage said...

Thanks for the recipe! Looks yummy! Furbabies love us so, and are so excited when we return! I'm back to blogging at a new blog home after a much needed break when life through me a curve ball. I hope you can come by and check out my new blog...and I'm so glad you were out having fun today!!!

Cottage Blessings,

Carla from The River said...

Hello Jane,
I always enjoy hearing about what you are up too. You do such a good job writing about it. :-)
Thank you for the recipe. Yum!
Happy 4th of July,

Maggie said...

Hi Jane, great to catch up with your news as always. So glad you had time to relax with your friends, I know you must be missing your weekends at the Lake this year. The herb box planted with pretty flowers is charming, love the old chair, I have a couple of ancient wooden ones in use as plant stands in the garden too.
Have a great 4th!

Unknown said...

Great post Jane.
Sounds like a great get away for you two.
And happy birthday to your son!
We need to plan something soon.
Hugs friend

Lisa said...

Happy Belated Birthday to Kev! Sounds like he had a great one! I love your lilies Jane! They are gorgeous! I'm going to see if they will grow in Texas. And thanks for the yummy carrot recipe!

Primitive Stars said...

Morning Jane, love the lake pictures, I wish I could move out there. ...your patio is beautiful, love the flowers too. ...recipe, looks yummy, thanks for sharing.Blessings Francine.

Jen Kershner said...

It sounds like your summer is off to a great start and your things around your place are looking great. Love that story about the chair!

Elaine Foley said...

Love those little boxes so cute! I saw them on Décor Steals, kicking myself I didn't buy them.

How nice for your daughter and her beau to have 6 weeks off together. What a fun Summer they will have!

Sweet story about the chair. Glad you kept it!

Leslie said...

It's always a nice visit when I stop in to your blog. Everything looks so nice. Hope that you are enjoying summer!!!!! Those carrots look amazing. ( I can't believe that you cook fresh veggies every night ~ I'm inspired)

Mereknits said...

Sounds like you are having a really wonderful summer.
Enjoy the 4th weekend,

It's me said...

Happy summer Jane ...love Ria x ❤️

Nancy Crowley said...

Hi Jane,
Since I started at the new job in North Vancouver, I've not time to do much besides drive, work, drive, cook dinner, go to bed. I see your posts come in, think of you often. I hope you are well. I read your previous post as well, I like hearing about even the littlest things in your day, your writing is wonderful, I feel like i am with my sisters, whom I miss a lot. I don't expect you will see or hear much of me in the next little while with this job, but I wanted you to know that I am always going to come back here to your blog. xx Nancy

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

Always nice to visit here. Sounds like that weekend was exactly what you needed, missing your lakehouse so. The carrot recipe looks and sounds delicious! Have a great holiday weekend :)

Theresa said...

Happy 4th to you sweet friend! Your garden is gorgeous:) I know that you all enjoyed your time with friends at the lake! It won't be long until you are back in your house, won't that be a happy day? Have a blessed weekend, HUGS!

susan said...

Looks like life has been good lately, Jane. Your week-end at the lake sounds wonderful - there's nothing like re-connecting with old friends. Love the glazed carrots - I make them too, using brown sugar instead of white. They really are delicious.
Love the garden and all you special little touches.

Jody and Stan said...

Jane, Sounds like a wonderful summer you're having! Loving all the photos and wishing you and your family a Happy 4th!!
Hugs, Jody ♥

Dewena said...

I enjoyed my tour around the Ponderosa--that sure took me back to weekly visits with the Cartwrights!

I just have to use a little Cutter Natural here after the noseeums were eating me alive. In TN it was ticks and chiggers so noseeums aren't as bad as them. I do love your wrought iron 3 legged chair. Everyone used to have them on their patios when I was growing up, sure wish I'd saved a few pieces, especially the beautiful tables that had glass tops.

I'm glad you had your delightful lake visit with friends, and I look forward to hearing about your return to your lake!

Happy 4th,

Bluebird49 said...

Happy 4th of July weekend, my friend! I know you're missing the lake, I am sure it was fun relaxing with friends who live on a lake. ;)
I've always loved carrots, especially roasted, but in the summer, the oven temps make kitchen so hot! I want to try your recipe.
I'm still a bit weak---3 weeks in hospital, and a nurse told me it takes 7 days to recover from 1 day in a hospital bed--so I guess there's reason I'm still slow and unsteady!
I hope all of you are well!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

I love old chairs and had started quite a collection while in the States. Now I have a different type of collection, mostly wooden and from India. :) Looks like you had a lovely weekend away reconnecting with old friends. Being outdoors and communing with nature is a wonderful thing. Just so dang hot here right now and seems for the second time this week that we have dusty weather again. My plants are really so pitiful. My hibiscus barely hanging on with the afternoon sun beating on it. Must see if I can move it to the other balcony where it may fare better. Have a wonderful 4th!

xinex said...

Beautiful patio, garden and growing family, Janie! Happy 4th!....Christine

ann said...

Hello Jane. You have been very busy. I always enjoy reading about your garden with all of the interesting details that you add. I like the carrot recipe. We planted carrots and again this year they failed to germinate. Yes, it does take time so shell peas. I sat on the patio in the cool breeze, turned on iHeart radio on the iPhone and listened to the Creedence Clear Water station oldies as I shelled and got lost in thought. Still took a while. Hot here too. Windy this morning. Have a good week.

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

You know, Jane? Popping in and reading your blog posts is like visiting a cherished neighbor - just a little of this and that and I feel delightfully caught up! : - )

Hope you continue having a wonderful summer. I posted some good news recently. : - )

Hugs! ♥

Still Woods Farmhouse said...

Hi Jane,
I know you must have enjoyed catching up with friends at the lake. The photo looks so peaceful. If your daughter is like many educators I know, she will soon be back in her classroom getting ready to decorate for the upcoming school year. Encourage her to take time to enjoy her 6 weeks. They go by so quickly. I retired June 24 as a psychometrist and began nursing duties on June 27! Hubby had a total knee replacement and now I am busy with Mr. New Knee...but was able to sneak in a little blog reading while he is on a motion machine. Enjoy your summer!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

Melanie said...

Your place is looking good with all the pretty flowers...Cosmos are one of my faves. Fun that you had that nice visit with your friends. I know you miss being at your lake house. Hope you're enjoying your summer, so far and that you're feeling better with your back. xoxo

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Hi Jane, nice to get caught up with you. I seems to be busy either designing blogs or working on a project. Such gorgeous flowers. I wish they were in bloom year round. The carrots look great...Fresh veggies in the summer is always a treat. Have a wonderful weekend. xo

Kelly said...

Your friends lake house sounds wonderful. There's something magical about a lake house! My dog's favorite place is outside too. He loves to chew on sticks and carry them around and play with a tennis ball. Unfortunately, his vision is fading so he has trouble fetching now. But he still manages to run around the yard fine. Happy Birthday to your handsome son! You don't look old enough to have a child in their 30's. Hope you had a great 4th of July.

Traci said...

The lake looks so pretty! Sounds like so much fun riding around on the pontoon boat. My mother-in-law cooked fresh corn over the weekend & I'd forgotten just how good fresh is! I'll be making a trip to the fruit stand soon.

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