Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Hoping everyone is alive and well.  I'm curled up with a warm throw watching the Ladies of London, hence, it's not too hard to write a post at the same time.  A good movie...well, that's when I get behind in blogging.  

I wanted to share a great family get together we had at the lake this past weekend.  I applaud The Husband for planning it, he is super excited about getting the kids together for some activities up north other than just holidays.  Everyone was there except Jeff and Deirdre...their baby is due in early February and they felt it best to stay close to home.

Here's a shot of the happy group looking like they scaled Mt. Rainer.  Emily took the picture and I was down in the warming shelter with little Madelyn.  As you can see, there wasn't much snow.  That didn't stop us.

Ready.  Set.  Go...

I can't tell you how hysterical this is to watch.  The screams and laughs are what made it worth being out in 26 degree weather.  Having two year old Elsie experience something so new like this...watching adults act like kids, must have been incredibly amusing for her.  Kevin took her down the other side of the hill which wasn't as steep.

  She is a real Midwestern trooper and she's not letting go of her baby either.  She never complained of the cold and is a true daredevil on top of it.  I'm amazed at how fearless she is. 

I wanted so bad to hop on a sled...I can be pretty adventurous but I was worried about my back.  My doctor really planted a seed in my head that if I didn't work on getting in shape and do the exercises I learned in physical therapy, I'd have a lot of limitations.  I knew I was nowhere near ready and I had visions of my lower back held together by screws.  And let me add, while going downhill is fun and a little rough, walking back up dragging a sled is pretty unappealing as well!  

Emily wanted to have a little fun, too, so I snuggled with Madelyn in the warming shelter, which wasn't so warm.  There was a huge stone fireplace but as we were the only crazy people there due to the lack of good snow, it wasn't lit and we didn't feel it was safe to leave a burning fire.  I was fine however, and Madelyn slept through it all.  Any chance to have that little peanut in my arms is good enough.

The fresh air and a long leisurely lunch at a nearby ski resort made Elsie very tired.  She took a nap but daddy woke her up after two hours so she'd have a normal bedtime.  I love how Mary Clare and Kevin have a tight schedule.  She was still a little cranky but was content to watch a few Mickey Mouse shows on an iPad.  

This is the first time she was at the lakehouse.  She settled in naturally and I can't wait for summer when she can play outdoors on the beach and in the water.  Still, this weekend wasn't too shabby.

Madelyn had a good 'ol time, too, although she won't remember it.  She was just there to make us smile and love her.

I was so excited to see the newly upholstered furniture.  We had found a really fantastic family owned business in a nearby town to redo three pieces we couldn't bear to part with.  When they were finished we gave the people the code to get in the house.  We have cameras inside so we can be pretty confident in situations like this.  

This is one of 2 glider rockers we have had forever.  They are so comfy, I love to sit and read in them, rocking the whole time.  Or just fall in a trance looking out at the bay.  

This is the settee we bought at the same time as the gliders.  The camel back makes it quite unique.  All of these pieces were in super shape; when one lives in a home that gets used on various weekends and 2 weeks in the summer, the wear and tear is minimal.  This is another really comfy piece.  You can't stretch out on it but we have a nice little conversation corner here, not to mention the dogs love to lie here and watch out the windows for anything that moves.  

I'll share better pics later as I have an end table I'm going to bring up from here and a sweet nautical lamp.  We also have curtains, blinds and maybe someday, artwork.  Hmmmm....if only The Husband and I can agree.

Maybe all of this cold weather talk has made you crave a warm, comforting meal.  Yep, I'm giving you a recipe for my very own tried and true stew and I promise, if you make this version you will never go back to the one you've been doing.  As always, you can substitute veggies and seasonings.  Let me know if you try it and love it like we do.  

Jane's Beef Stew

1 lb. beef stewing meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 c. flour
2 T veggie oil
1 c red wine
3 c. beef broth
1 c each chopped onion, celery and carrots
1 medium red potato, cubed
1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed
S&P to taste
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried thyme
2 t. cinnamon
2 t nutmeg
1 bay leaf

Toss the stew meat in a large bowl with the flour while heating oil in a large oven proof pot or dutch oven.  Brown the cubes on all sides over medium high heat, turning when meat loosens from bottom of pot.  Remove to a plate and set aside.  Carefully add the wine and stir, scraping up bits of meat off the bottom of the pot.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Add the meat, veggies and spices and continue to boil 5 minutes.  Stir well, cover the pot with a lid and place in preheated oven at 325 degrees for 2 hours.  Remove and adjust seasonings to your liking.  Serves 4.

Hover over the pic to Pin if you wish.  You will love this!  In this particular stew I used some Brussels sprouts sliced in half.  Use up what you have in your veggie bin or just switch things around as you prefer.

I'll be darned, but even though we now have Internet at the lake I continue to read one book after the other.  I read a great review of this book in People magazine and ordered it on the spot.  I'm halfway through and savoring it.  Since I'm not so great at reviewing books, check it out at Amazon.

See ya soon!

Jane x


CJ said...

What a fantastic weekend, it really looks like everyone had so much fun.

Kathleen Grace said...

Oh those beautiful grandbabies! How do you put them down? The last time I went sledding my girls were about 8-12 years old and it had been a looong time since I had been down a hill. I remember we laughed so hard because I screamed my head off all the at down the hill. I'm not a fan of carnival rides, never been on a roller coaster, so sliding fast down a hill was pretty exciting for me. If I ever get grandkids, (please God!), I imagine I'll be in the warming shed too. Lol

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I have not been sledding for years! It looks like it was a great weekend.

Decor To Adore said...

Oh I just adore seeing all your darling littles. The soup sounds so yummy. Have a wonderful week!

Primitive Stars said...

Morning Jane, what a fun snowday, looks like a great time. We used to go sledding when small, was so much fun!!!!! Love the settees rest looking.....yummy soup for this time of year, blessings Francine., ,

Unknown said...

The wonderful start of making new memories at the Lake House with the little ones:). Beef Stew, Comfort food at its best! Kathleen in Az

Art and Sand said...

When I saw the snow day pic on Instagram, I thought how fun it looked. We are a family of skiers, but haven't skied in a few years due to the extreme drought. This year is a great snow year, but we don't have any plans - ski lift passes are now $151 a person per day!

Your newest addition is adorable.

Leslie Harris said...

Jane I love your snow pictures and that one of Elsie watching Mickey Mouse on an IPad is priceless. Wow. They really do grow up with computer screens now, no wonder technology is so second nature to the younger generations. (And why it's not to me :) ) today it's a gorgeous sunny day here before it gets "cold" again (poor me it drops in low 60s) and i might get a post out too. Love to you and your wonderful family!

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Oh what a fun weekend with family. Looks like everyone had a terrific time sliding down the hill.

Your stew sounds really good and will save the recipe for when I have to make a good warm meal for family.

Loved the post and all the great things you talk about.

Please take care of your back, as the Dr is correct, if you don't take care of it now, you will have nothing but problems for the rest of your life. Believe me it's not any fun.

The babies are so pretty and I know how much you love them. Just think another one on the way. How fun is that. Your Christmas's will be so much more fun with them, in fact all of the holidays will be.

Take care and enjoy the weekend.


Susan Freeman said...

I miss the snow and so enjoyed seeing your family enjoy sledding. So many happy memories everyone will have! I am curious about the book you are reading and will head over to amazon. Take care of your back and do your exercises. It's really so important, and you don't want to be missing any of the fun times with your family.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Jane,
Looks like your family really had fun enjoying the snow. I really miss snow days, but I guess we traded it off for warm weather and sunshine. Still miss it though.
Love your furniture redo's. I always find it hard to give up my favorite pieces and re-upholstery is a great way to save them. Thanks for the yummy stew recipe.
Also, you look beautiful in your side picture. Love your hair.


It's me said...

Wowwww Greet snow weekend glad you enjoy....but may spring begin Ria x ❤️

podso said...

Looks like a fun weekend and the sledding reminds me of what kids do here in the south--a few snowflakes and out come pieces of cardboard or whatever they can put their bottoms on to slide on hills. I like the newly recovered furniture colors. etc.

NanaDiana said...

Looks like you had a great weekend with all the kids. How exciting that you have a new baby coming soon! Look at how big those kiddos are getting and how cute they are. I am glad you were able to get to the lakehouse for something beside a holiday. xo Diana

Vee said...

Good food, wonderful family, great location, fun activities all equal memories. It won't matter that not everyone will remember them...good experiences build. It is crazy, but that cover alone makes me want to check out the book. Stay cozy!

Melanie said...

What a fun weekend with the family at the lake! The grandbabies are going to have wonderful memories of spending time there on weekends. I can't believe Elsie is two years old already. Wow, time flies. Love your re-covered furniture - looks like this place did a great job. Your stew looks yummy with the Brussels sprouts in there. I make my stew much the same way as you do. Will check out the book you're reading on amazon. I've been reading a lot lately, too; have three books going at once right now!

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

You're so fortunate to have so many little ones to love on Jane :).

I didn't realize your back was that much of an issue, but I don't blame you for being cautious. Too much to risk!

They did a wonderful job with the furniture, and the fabric you choose looks perfect. I'm sure you're so happy to have your lakehouse up and running again.


Scribbler said...

I know you are thrilled to have your house back! I love the shots of the babies -- of course -- especially the one where Elsie is watching her iPad. I am sure that beef stew will warm up any cold day very well!

Rita C at Panoply said...

Aww, Jane, I am so, so happy for all of you. It's been a long, tough road, but the rewards look to be there now. Makes me wish for wanting my family together more than we actually do. It can be so much work...I just need to relax into things, and not stress over wanting everything to be perfect. I'm a little ocd like that, therefore knock myself out trying to do it all. It's way more fun when it's impromptu like you all've done. Happy times! Your grands are beautiful little angels.

Deb from frugal little bungalow said...

The grand girls are just adorable! Sounds like such a fun weekend and the furniture looks wonderful! :)

ann said...

So much fun. It is good to see the baby out in the cold fresh air. She is such a sweet little dear. I imagine that you are enjoying her very much. The furniture looks wonderful, all fresh and clean. I know exactly how you feel about blogging. I haven't posted this week simple because what is there to write about. Snow? Everyone has snow or they have flown to Florida to get away from it. We are dealing with the after effects of a rare Colorado ice storm yesterday. Schools are delated start. I am staying in today. Perphaos I can squeeze out a post. Stew looks really delicious.

Ginene Nagel said...

Jane, what a great treat for the adults to have as much fun as the kids. What joy you have in your life with children and grandchildren to love and a good husband. Now, if you could get that back situation to improve.

Jill said...

Sounds like a great weekend! And very wise for you to not sled...

Linda said...

Oh that does look like fun, Jane!
And those wee girls are so cute..and getting big!
The Ipad can be a life saver for different than when our kids were little!
Here's to many many more fun family outings at the Lake House...
Linda :o)

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Looks like fun...I think! I've gotten so soft that I'm not sure about those cold temps any more. LOVE the precious baby photos...just want to pick her up for a snuggle. And I'll put this book on my reading list! Hugs!

Maria Elena said...

What great family time! The girls are sooo adorable! :) Take care, Maria

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic time with your family. I really like the idea of putting Brussels sprouts in your stew…a nice taste and added color.

Leslie said...

Winter fun at it's finest!! Looks like it was a blast. I love the photos. Your stew sounds good, funny thing is, I kept going back and forth from the recipe to the photo ~ thinking, they have to be Brussel sprouts. lol. then of course I read that you put them in. I need to try this.

Unknown said...

What a great weekend! I know you enjoyed the time with your family. Your grandchildren are beautiful! Have a happy weekend!

A Joyful Cottage said...

You are a blessed woman, Jane. Your grandbabies are adorable. I've been making a lot of stews and soups lately. One of the simple pleasures of the season. Hugs, Nancy

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Sounds like a fun family weekend, and I would have been an observer and not a participant in the sledding, too. Watching isn't nearly as hazardous to my health. lol!
I will have to check into this book. It sounds like a good one. Also will be trying the stew recipe. I love stew but I haven't made it yet this winter. We've been eating a lot of soup.
Your new upholstery looks great!

Carla from The River said...

Fun, Fun!
I love your family time.
I see on your sidebar 21 Pilots ... my boys have me hooked on the group. I love the song Stressed Out.
Love, Carla

20 North Ora said...

Jane - Looks like a fun time was had by all. Your babies are so precious. So nice you are getting to enjoy your lake home again,

Have a great weekend,


Celestina Marie said...

Hi Jane, WOW it looks like great fun with your family enjoying the winter fun. The sweet little ones are adorable. Love the pics. Your newly recovered furniture pieces are gorgeous. Love the lines of these pieces and they look so comfy too.
The book looks like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by and your kind comment. It's great to be back and trying to catch up with everyone and everything. haha. Have a nice weekend ahead. xoxo

Kim said...

I would be inside snuggling with babies, too, Jane!! I am more of an inside kind of snow bunny!! ;)

Kit said...

What a fun gathering you had! Lovely to get the family all together for sure. We have had a ton of snow, but a little too cold for sledding. Besides I am more of a sit on my sofa and sip coffee and look out at the snow kind of girl. Tho the rest of the family are skiers and snow boarders. We had more today and expecting more tomorrow. I will snuggle down in the house and enjoy. Have a great weekend! Kit

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

Always nice to get the family together for a little fun, Jane! I can't remember the last time we went sledding - it must be at least 10 years now. Maybe now that my kids have kids, they will want to go again. Your little grands are just the sweetest and I would be cuddling that precious darling inside, too. Your stew sounds wonderful and I like the idea of adding Brussels sprouts. I actually have some in the fridge. The upholstery turned out beautiful :) I really like your choice of fabrics. Thanks for the book recommendation. We are expecting snow tomorrow. I will be so happy when winter is over. Hope your weekend is cozy and warm. Hugs xo Karen

Jen Kershner said...

What sweet memories you are making! It's good you are listening to your doctors and working on your health! I could stand to do more of that myself. Your little cuties must make each day brighter! Such little dolls.

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

I can't get over how cute little Elsie is clutching her baby doll! Adorable! Looks like everyone had a great time making memories. :)

Preppy Empty Nester said...

So you get your book recommendations from People too! That's the first page I look at! Then I go through the pages and soak up all the Hollywood gossip. You guys have a lot more fun in the snow than we do. Your grandchildren are darling! Have a good week, Jane and hope your back is better.

baili said...

i loved seeing you guys slipping on the ice .i can hear the carefree laughter and feel the fun you had while doing all this kid stuff as sometimes in life it is important to let your inner child be free and play around freely.
your daughter is soooper adorable little angle and i can imagine how much she must be enjoying fun by her elders!

your dish is so inviting but can i use chicken instead of beef

bj said...

Thanks so much for stopping good to see you.
Your grands are adorable...the snow looks too cold for me...but looks like they all had a fun time...

Theresa said...

Brrrrrr, sweet babies and snow:) Love your furniture! Great to have a comfy spot to read:) Enjoy your day dear Jane, BIG HUGS!

Poppy said...

Hi Jane

Your granddaughters are ADORABLE!! They seem to have taken after your entire clan, fearless and fun loving, braving the cold!

The cabin sounds like THE place to be during your cold and windy Chicago winters. You've done an excellent job of prepping it for the season, I see.

And what better than comfort food to get you by during those freezing temps, but beef stew. Yours, almost identical in ingredients to the one we make in our family, looks scrumptious; love all the herbs!

Happy Tuesday; stay warm!


Dewena said...

Oh to be Elsie and discovering the joys of sledding in the snow for the first time! I loved it so much. I went 3 times to PT last week for my back that was injured unpacking day after day along with a terrible cough during the time. Will keep it up for a month and hopefully remember to keep up the exercises afterwards. I know it must be hard when there's so much to do, Jane, but will pay off in the long run. I'll expect you to nag me about it too!

I have written down both the movie--is it on On Demand, I wonder--and the book. Love recommendations from women I suspect of being soul sisters!


Anonymous said...

Oh Jane what a wonderful and fun time had by everyone!! The furniture is awesome...and looks as comfy as you describe. Lastly, I am glad you decided to listen to what your doctor said about your back. I have a bad one...did I ever tell you? Yes, do stretches EACH & EVERY morning...stretches that I learned in PT. That is one reason I go to the gym and take Tai Chi..:)JP

Bluebird49 said...

I love that cozy spot next to the windows! I will bet you kind of like having internet at the lake now, and I'm sure it will be a big draw for the kids now. Winter and summer fun there, huh!
Is there a new grandbaby to go with your other cuties?

Please take care of your back. Even if I never have another fall, I'll never really quite recover to where I was before. It's hard to get up by myself now. At least I can get up off my knees now, but it's nearly impossible to take a bath instead of showers, now!

Helen Philipps said...

Lovely to see your sweet little grandbabies Jane! And what a fun time you all had on the snowy weekend. Your newly upholstered furniture looks wonderful and reminds me I must get one of our favourite old sofas is so comfortable but looking worn! I always love to hear what you are reading, and add them to my list. Happy February!
Helen xox

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

What fun, I can imagine how hysterical it was...great family memories! Precious, precious grands, how blessed you are.

Benita said...

I'm so glad that everyone had a great time! The amount of snow looks like what we normally would get in Alabama or Texas, but everyone behaves as if it were 3 feet deep! We love snow when we can get it and enjoy every last bit of it! The stew looks delicious and I've pinned it to give it a try...perfect cold weather comfort food! Those babies are absolutely adorable and I know you enjoy snuggling with them every chance you get!! Hope you are doing well! Love and hugs!

Curtains in My Tree said...

What a wonderful family get together. I love seeing your beautiful baby girl, especially watch an ipad LOL
There is nothing like grand children
Your newly covered furniture is very pretty.
I'm a reader also so thanks for showing your book selection
Guess I said same thing everyone else said about your wonderful family time. stay warm

Susie said...

Blondie, I almost missed this post...I know I am late ..LOL. I love how your family made a fun time. The babies are adorable. I really like the fabrics you chose for the upholstering of favorite pieces. Wishing all of you blessings, xoxo, Susie

Anonymous said...

Hi Janie! Oh, those little sweetnesses just steal my heart away! They are adorable! What a fun day you all must have had. Happy Valentine's Day to you and thank you for popping in to see me.
be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)