Thursday, May 18, 2017


Hello!  It feels like we are well into summer after the long, warm spring we had.  I've been beating myself up for not jumping into the gardening as fervently as I've done in the past, but every day comes with its own set of rules.  Everything I have coming up in the gardens are perennials like this clematis.  The past two years I've had my ivy choke it out so I've been pruning a lot.  And then I guess you can count the lettuce and spinach I planted a few weeks ago.  That will be ready to make some yummy salads with in another 2-3 weeks.  

Given that we are at the lake every weekend and I have little Madelyn here on Mondays, I don't have a lot of time to just go out and get dirty.  I have my patio table and chairs out but everything needs a good cleanup.  I feel exhausted looking at it. makes my heart ache that we've had all of these great sunny days and I could use an hour or two getting some vitamin D and watching my dogs bask in the rays.  I just have to get to work to turn it into my little Shangri-La.   

I've talked a little about the work we are having on the front of our house; a new porch, sidewalk and driveway.  Newly painted gutters and shutters, new sod and bushes.  One huge project that's going to go on for weeks.  The porch starts next week.  We decided on 'piece by piece' stone and we have a great guy, a master mason, designing and doing the job.  I've yet to get quotes on the driveway, etc.  I'm going to have to do more walking surveillance in the neighborhood.  Bushes, hedges,'s all a mystery suddenly.  In the meantime our house looks haunted.  I've always prized how pretty my porch looks with all my clay pots of impatiens every summer.  The gorgeous ivy and blue shutters making it look like a home in the south of France  Well, this may be an exaggeration, but you get my sentiment.  Anyway, something ate my lawn in spite of my dreadful and copious use of pesticides and fertilizers.  The porch was crumbling so bad I stopped getting creative with pots and window boxes.  Every time it rains I get mud puddles in the driveway.  This is very embarrassing for someone who takes pride in every bloom and blade of grass.  Just hanging in there.   

On the flip side, things at the lakehouse are moving along swimmingly.  After losing two summers with the repairs on the house, the beach was so overgrown with weeds and grass, the water filled with muck and mud and weeds, it was a huge endeavor to clean it up.   It was sort of cool though because of the lack of activity on our property, it became a haven for the blue herons and swans.  We've been seeing them here and there, but before long they will know the gig is up.  Long story short, we hired a small company that we used years ago when The Husband was sick.  It's fittingly called The Beach Boys.  The truckload of sand is delivered and then wheelbarrows are used to dump it in the water.  We go out about 15 feet so when swimming, your feet are touching a sandy bottom.  And then the beach speaks for itself.  I can't wait to sit there with a good book and sunscreen.  

The Husband surprised me with this table and chair set he ordered from Hayneedle.  It's our new favorite website.  Great prices.  I have to say I like it.  His main concern was more seating for our ever growing family.  I'm okay about him choosing it (behind my back.  Ahem.), but I have the fun job of picking out seat cushions and an outdoor rug.  I'll share when I get them in.

In this shot you can see the side of the Summerhouse, or guest house, in the background.  I have yet to go in there to De-bug, De-cobweb/spiderweb, De-stinkbug.  Lots of scrubbing and airing out.  Do you see the little front porch on it?  It's so stinking cute.  It's not very much a guest house, we do have two twin beds that fold out, they are behind closet doors.  But I have wicker furniture, a comfy rocker, a small drop leaf table and chairs, a few lamps and a TV.  There are screened windows all around so it's heavenly to escape there to read or just chill.  At night it's a place to get away from mosquitos.  The ceiling fan can also be switched to fan out heat on colder days/nights.  I'll take some pictures soon.  We've had this little place for over ten years, I think I've shared pics before.  

What would a post be without a little blurb about Miss Mad?  She took her first plane ride to Seattle last week.  4 1/2 hours.  Emily said she was great.  Emily was also drinking Bloody Mary's.  Mike had work and his brother also lives there so they stayed with him.  Em brought back some fabulous cooking oils from Pike's Market for me as a Mother's Day gift.  She knows me.  And she has some for herself.  She has always been interested in cooking but now that she's home more to make meals, she's exploring much like I did.  And speaking of Mother's Day, she and Mike had a little barbecue Sunday and we all had a ball.  Two new mothers in the family!   

Madelyn and I had our day together yesterday when Emily worked.  She was fighting a cold and was getting worse as the day went on.  I held her most of the day as when she seemed really sleepy, I'd lay her down and she'd immediately wake up crying.  I'm just so attached to her.  We were hot and sweaty (85 degrees and no air conditioners yet), but I held her and smelled her and kissed her in spite of us sticking together.  Turns out she has an ear infection.  Emily was beside herself.  Sad that babies (and pets) can't tell us what is wrong   We just do our best.     

The Husband went to the lake alone last weekend, I just chose to stay home feeling like I have more to do here.  I sort of relish my time alone, too, which is odd because I'm home alone all day.  So I stocked up on some good food and wine, and had a real movie marathon Friday and Saturday night.  More later.  

I needed a few things from Target last week and of course, had to browse through the book department.  We no longer have any bookstores in my immediate area.  There is a Barnes and Noble about 40 minutes away.  So I picked up two books I absolutely didn't need.

Beatriz Williams has a number of novels...I wish I had started with her first because some characters reappear in novels.  I read The Secret Life of Violet Gray, and just loved it.  Williams has a great way of mixing the past and the present, and creating memorable characters.  She truly knows her history which makes her writing almost non-fiction.  And did I say her characters can be incredibly laugh out loud funny?  Just a nice mix in this novel.  Can't wait to start this one.  Another nice shout out, she's on Instagram and I happened to leave a comment and she responded.  Love that.  The real deal.  

The other book, The Girls in the Garden, sold me by reading the jacket and reviews.  Hope it lives up to my expectations.  And I hope I can find some time to sit down with one of them...and the stack I already have.  

I may be biased but I think my dogs are very photogenic.  Mostly because they are often doing stupid things or looking a little more human-like than we care to think.  This is Layla's chair.  I'm not kidding.  She and Milo each have their own just as The Husband and I do.  The Bunker's.  


A sweet blogger wrote that she likes some of my random recommendations and thoughts, so I thought I'd give you a few every now and then.  Nothing categorized (Who? Me?).  So here you go...

Weekend Movie Marathon When The Husband Was Away

Friday night:  Dear John with  Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried.  Typical Nicholas Sparks tear jerker, but jerk it did.

The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen and the great Betty White.  I thought this would just be another mediocre RomCom but it was really good.  Good storyline and fun.  And I never knew Sandra Bullock had such a nice shape.  Sigh...

Confessions of a Shopaholic with Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.  I love all of the books in this series by Sophie Kinsella.  They are hysterically funny and the Brits do humor right.  Isla Fisher is a wonderful comedian and I'd love to have her hair.

Please don't judge me by my shallow movie picks, it was Friday night and I was a woman on my own.  Did you think I was going to watch Phycho or When a Stranger Calls?

Saturday night:

Sabrina with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond.  No, not the classic.  Shoot me.  This was okay.

Friends With Benefits with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.  Cute, funny and a relevant storyline in spite of what the name implies.

Wedding Crashers with Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughan, Rachel McAdams.  Alright, I know I've lost all credibility here but this was really a good movie all around.  I thought it was going to be like one big bachelor party and in the first 20 minutes it does seem pretty raw (lots of bad language).  But then a traditional story line ensues with great acting and it tugs at your heart.  This version had what seemed like 10 minute long commercials every 20 minutes.  Eternity, but I was determined to watch it until the end.  


Abby was here Sunday and we were going to watch Lion.  That would have been a real awakening for me after indulging in mindless pleasure for two whole nights.  She fell asleep early and I binge watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  :-)


A quick meal I want to make that fits in with my love of one dish meals (bowls as they are called in some trendy spots):  The Mediterranean Bowl.  It consists of any sort of grilled meat or firm fish (or none),  sliced zucchini and eggplant, tomato, red onion, couscous, feta cheese, green olives and a sprinkle of olive oil and red wine vinegar.  S&P as desired.  Mouth watering.


While we are in the kitchen I have some trivial drivel on some shortcuts I take as I'm inherently lazy in spite of being a perfectionist.  

I love a clean stovetop but don't like to clean it.  When I have to brown or saute foods that splatter oil, I spread a sheet of foil next to the skillet.  Toss it out when you're done and no clean up. 

At the end of the day I like to clean my kitchen sink out by squirting a few drops of liquid dish soap and scrubbing.  This cuts grease like charm.  No chemicals or products you hate.  

I'm weird about bathrooms.  I've heard that your kitchen sink has more germs than your bathroom sink but  I'm not convinced.  I keep disinfectant wipes in the vanity below the sink and use them every single morning.  I'm careful to wipe the faucet handles, the pump dispenser of the liquid soap and the flush handle.  Very obvious why. 

I wish I had another tidbit but as I said, I'm pretty lazy.


Some quotes I wrote down and immediately forgot.

Praise the effort, not the outcome.
The biggest goal is to move on and not keep making the same mistakes.  Nope, just new ones.  
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
The problem is trying to fill up everyone's cup because yours is empty.

I did not write down the sources but heck, we'd forget that, too.  

See you all soon!

Jane x


CJ said...

Love your outdoor seating area, it looks so pretty and green (and sunny!) there. Great that you have the guest house as well to sit in in the evenings. I hope little Madelyn is all better soon, it's tough when they're not feeling well isn't it. She does look adorable in that picture though. Good luck with the work on the front of your house, I shall look forward to seeing it when it's all done. The clematis is gorgeous, not something I've ever managed to grow, but I do love them. Hope you have a lovely weekend Jane. CJ xx

Susie said...

Blondie, You have a busy life. I loved the new table where your bigger family can gather. So sweet of your husband to think of it. Your flowers are always pretty, so I know you are a gardener. Poor baby Madelyn, I know the heartache of not knowing when our children(babies) need to be to the doctors. It's not easy being a mommy...well no matter what age our children become. Hope you got to relax watching movies and reading. You are a great cook. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

The new outdoor dining set looks great. Looking forward to seeing it when you add your touches to it.

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

I really enjoyed this post! So many good bits of info. I love your new table and yep, you'll still have the pleasure of finding pillows, etc. for it. Fun! Your grands are so adorable and I know you treasure all the time you get to spend with them. I also get sucked in to those movie marathon days. And Wedding Crashers..yes! Owen Wilson is one of my favorite Texans. :)

Brenda Pruitt said...

I sure enjoyed catching up with your life. I think every woman likes some time of her own. Nothing wrong with that!

Stacey said...

You've been very busy! Going back and forth between home and the lake plus caring for sweet Madelyn keeps your hands full. I'm impressed that you are still cooking! I love a good home cooked meal but will confess that it's one of the first things to go if I'm overwhelmed.

The problem is trying to fill up everyone's cup because yours is empty....I'm going to think on this a little. It's so true!

Rita C at Panoply said...

Jane, I just love your posts. It's like honing skills to play mental ping pong. I can't possibly remember everything you wrote about and comment on each, but those that really stick out - Madelyn is adorable, and I loved the comment on Emily drinking the BM's, lol. Beach Boys - great name for the human dredgers of the beach. All those home projects.....all I can say is have a pitcher of BM's on hand, count on twice as long and at least 50% more than planned. :O Speaking of bm's....I'm the same way about bathroom anything. I clean my bowl and sinks, handles, etc. numerous times in a week, same with the kitchen! Wedding Crashers - great movie. Don't know about the rest...I barely have time to watch my DVR'd tv programs week to week. I think we still have Christmas Hallmark movies unseen, and I know Valentine's Day movies.
Have a great weekend. Thanks for the fun thoughts.

Lynne said...

Such a great post . . .
I ❤️how you write a story and include
many of the "bits and pieces" going on in your days, week, life . . .
Refreshing . . .
The back and forth from city home to lake home . . .
Sweet Madelyn . . adapting in life with granny, or on an airplane . . .
plus the difficult moments of sniffles and ear infections. . .
And then there are movies, books, quotes .. .
gardens clay pots flowers and more.
And for sure, goofy doggie pics too. . .
Plus new beach sand . . . can't forget that!
Delightful . . .
I love getting to know you.

podso said...

That's a great table your hubby chose for you. And I do something similar to the tinfoil trick and washing the sink with dish detergent. As for your movie nights, I'm impressed you can watch three in one night! (I'd be dozing).

Scribbler said...

I am like Rita -- I can't remember to the end of the post all the things I was thinking "uh-huh" because I totally relate. That is the cutest baby -- they should put that face on the baby-food jars! I think if it were mine, I would a sign that said "Private" on the door of that cute little summerhouse, and I would never let anyone else in there! It would be mine all mine. The table and chairs are wonderful, and I am sure you will fluff them up spectacularly. I just read a book I think you would like: Anita Shreve's new one THE STARS ARE FIRE. I hated for it to end.

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

I've heard of hayneedle and seem to recall browsing on their site not too long ago. Very nice table Jane. Hubby has good taste!

So you watched three movies in one night?! Either you started early or you're like me and stay up late :). I've seen all those movies, Lion too. What makes that one so compelling is it's based on a true story. I think you'll like it.

Oh, and kitchen sinks are wayyyyy dirtier than bathroom sinks ;)

Maddy is beyond cute!


baili said...

i liked the place you choose to live ,it is fabulous!!!
i loved the glimpse of your porch and details of you furniture.
Madelyn is cutest and most adorable baby i have seen!
i can feel you concern about making the surrounding more beautiful but i think by the time all will be okay you should take care about your health and stamina first,if you will stay fine energy will come out to be invest automatically .
these books and movies sound interesting .

baili said...

I really liked the table set ,it is very charming

Poppy said...

Although tiring, having two homes that provide different comforts (and luxuries!) is a win-win situation, no doubt about that. I remember when we were building, here, in the village, I would so look forward to escaping lessons and the noise and pollution of the city to relax and recharge in the natural beauty, fresh mountain air, and SPACE of both our new home and the vistas. Your lake house, and especially, your summer house/guest house (that's where I'd be!) must gift you with similar feelings. ENJOY!

Madelyn is a cutie patootie and her soft, baby skin is probably the ONLY skin you'd cover with kisses, regardless of the hot and sticky weather!:)

Isn't it just the sweetest thing when a girl's guy surprises her with beautiful presents? Your hubby was so thoughtful to buy that set, smart choice!

Have seen all the flicks you mentioned except for Lion. Your 'review' of each could have been written by me.

Have a wonderful weekend, Jane!


ann said...

Hello Jane. I've been lazy at commenting lately; too much stuff going on, I guess. I always enjoy your chatty randomness of your life. We have snow today. Can you believe that ? It started noonish yesterday after several hours of heavy rain. We probably won't get anymore more moisture now until who knows when. It will hot and dry. Nor does it look like a winter wonderland; more like ruined spring. Stay well.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I really enjoyed reading your post as this is my favorite kind...snippets of bloggers everyday lives. Plus the movie and book titles are fun to hear about and I always love getting new recipes to try out.
Love the new table and chairs...your hubby did a great job! I'm not sure I'd let mine pick out something like that. lol!
About the movies...The Proposal is one of my favs, I laugh everytime I see Betty White, I just adore her...The Wedding Crashers is another good one...I liked Sabrina, but it wasn't a Wow as I thought Harrison Ford was a little too serious in this role.
Little Maddy is just adorable!
Okay, I'm off to another garden center before it rains again to get a few perennials to replace those that didn't survive the winter.
Have a wonderful weekend!
xx Cheryl

Sarah said...

Always fun to catch up with what you have been up to. I know you love the time at the lake, and adore the days that you have that sweet, precious Madelyn. Lucky, lucky you! And lucky little Madelyn to spend time with you!
Enjoy the weekend!

Kim said...

It's always fun to see what's going on in your world, Jane. You sound very busy with simultaneous renovations to two homes, babies and movies...some of my favorites, btw!! Enjoy that lake house!

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Love the table and chairs that husband bought, they look terrific and with your cushions, it will really be pretty. I also like your little guest house, looks so cozy.

Sounds like you keep really busy and your Monday's with Madelyn sound so grand. You should start keeping a journal about Matty, I think it would make a wonderful book.

Always love your posts as they are filled with so much,catch up, movies, books and food recipes.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


Unknown said...

Miss Mad, Layla and Milo pics, love! Excited to see The Lake House coming together, you're going to have a wonderful summer with your growing family. That is major work you're doing in front of your house, it'll look very beautiful when it's completed. I love the move The Proposal, laugh out loud in the theater when it came out and even Wedding Crashers too.
Kathleen in Az

Theresa said...

It looks the Lakehouse/beach is ready for me:) My Husband and I are both retired, spend lots of time traveling together... shhhhh don't tell, I relish my alone time too:) Have a blessed day dear Jane, HUGS!

Karen said...

Our beach is SOOO much rockier than yours... maybe we should hire some beach boys of our own!...

Linda said...

Dying to see inside your guest house!
Maddie is sweeter every time I see her!
Have a great week Jane!
Linda :o)

It's me said...

Maddie is so cute ❤️ Lovely week love Ria x

20 North Ora said...

Hi Jane. That Maddie is just precious! Love your new table and chairs. Sounds like a perfect weekend to me.

Have a good week.


Vee said...

Ahhh your lake home must be a delightful place to get away. It certainly is lovely there and the new table...well, dare I say that your husband did a great job?! Enjoy all the improvements that are being made. It is wonderful to have the funds that allow them. Be blessed.

Claudia said...

Your granddaughter is so lovely! What a beautiful girl. You're busy and I envy you your lake house. Have a wonderful time getting it all spiffed up and ready for the summer!


Kathleen Grace said...

I love the table and chairs your husband picked for you! And knowing how you agonize over decorating decisions (don't we all?) I would call it a win that he went ahead and chose one. He did well and you still get to add the color with cushions. Winning!
Madeline is so adorable, I swear she just gets cuter every day! And guess what? I'm joining the granny brigade this November! Eeeeeeek! I am so excited! I haven't announced it on the blog yet but I just had to tell you. Now when I see your pretty grandbabies I can dream a little about having one of my own ;)

Melanie said...

Can't wait to see the progress going on at your house with the new porch, sidewalk and driveway. We need all that done, too but first things first. Our new windows are coming in 2-3 weeks.

I really like the table and chairs your hubby picked out - good job!

Maddie is adorable. How are your other grandchildren doing? Hope you're having a good week!

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Hi Jane. Love your writing! Little Maddie is just sweet! That is all there is too it! What a doll and Layla, in her chair, so adorable. My brother and SIL had a special chair for the dog they had years ago. They drug that eye-sore around to new houses and old. All chewn in spots and raggedy. That dog loved it though and they loved that dog. That is what we do..Lake house is so pretty and love the new table and chairs. How inviting that will be when you get rug and cushions. I'm glad we don't have the same amount of work that you do on the porch, BUT, I bet you are through with yours before we are!! We seem to move so slowly!..Happy Wednesday..Judy

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

You have such fun posts. I always have a book or two....and now several movies to add to my list of things I want to do. It's fun to have some time to yourself. Have you watched Ever After? I could watch that over....and over! Enjoy your evening sweet friend. Hugs, Diane

Unknown said...

You've been busy as usual. I've done some work outside too, and my hubs is at the lake alone, and I'm here. My grandson and his girlfriend are here tonight. They will spend the night. Tomorrow, they are going to do their wedding registries, and choose the tuxedos. The wedding will be July 22. They are moving to Tampa. He has a church job there, and she has a job teaching kindergarten. I hope they have a good marriage since the first one was a failure. Hoping and praying.

Good to know you and your family are well. Have a nice long weekend!

La Table De Nana said...

Litte Maddie's perfect face♥
I love the set ..saw it all decked out on IG..what a spot you have there..

I like alone time too..I don't know how I saw people every day for almost 30 yrs..sometimes a whirlwind.
I LOVE being alone..doing my own thing.
I read the Girls In The Garden..but had to go see what it was about..on reading spurts..I read too many and they get lost.
I am on a no reading spurt lol w/ my own garden:)

Too busy..

Watched those movies:)
If they are on CDN Netflix..we have probably watched them..some we girls had seen Bad MOms at the cinema..after 10 minutes we turned it off.
So bad..sorry but so bad..

Are you a Bloodline fan? It's baaack:)

Maggie said...

So enjoyed catching up with the latest from Blondie's world, I wish the Senior Partner would buy me a new table and chairs behind my back!
Little Miss M is looking so cute, I hope she's feeling better now.
Bon weekend, my dear.

Helen Philipps said...

Loved reading this post Jane...more pages from your journal for us to enjoy! The house renovations will be so lovely and worth the inconvenience and the wait...have been through plenty of those times here too! Lovely pic of sweet little good she is....those baby-loving times are magical. And thank you for the movies, books and food inspirations. Have a wonderful weekend.
Helen xox

Elaine said...

I think your husband did a great job choosing a table. It looks fantastic! You will make some wonderful family memories at that table by the lake.

Hayneedle is my new favorite too. Love World Market too. Hayneedle has some cute small space furniture which is just what I need in my condo.

Fun to have a movie marathon night/weekend. My fave to watch is Chocolat. I watch it over and over again. So visually pleasing, cute story and that music! Love it.

I can't believe how your family has grown since I started reading your blog. Your granddaughter is adorable!! And your dogs are photogenic!

Rebecca Nelson said...

I have so missed reading your posts. All the more grateful to be RECLAIMING my OLD LIFE and not looking back while forging ahead.

Love reading about the changes you are making to your home. I also LOVE reading how you sometimes love to have time alone to do things you love to read and watch movies, etc. I do too. Not that I don't LOVE being with my Mr. AGP Man...I do. But I also love time by myself to regroup and refocus.

I'll be back again soon now that my life is my own again...and I'm almost well.

Love to you~R

Anonymous said...

It was nice to see all your arrangements. I would usually enjoy having dinner with some movie:)

Rue said...

Wedding crashers is a guilty pleasure of mine ;)

Whether or not you think you've been lazy, it doesn't seem like it. You're too hard on yourself, darlin'.

Madelyn is so damn cute! I'd love to squish those cheeks :) And yes, your pups are very photogenic :)


Preppy Empty Nester said...

Hi Jane... I love Beatriz Williams too. Also interested in hearing what you think of the other book, too. I saw Lion and enjoyed it but I LOVE RHBH. I can understand you getting completely attached to beautiful Little Miss Mad - what a cutie pie and it's so difficult to see a baby not feeling well. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate when it comes construction. I bet you can't wait when it's over and you can enjoy everything! Hope you have a wonderful week and you didn't catch the sweet baby's cold. One more thing... you have great taste in movies.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Your post about your lovely lake house brings back lots of memories of our years spent at our lake house in Maine. We were always there from Memorial Day to at least Labor day. I'm so happy that you are feeling so much better and can enjoy your time near the water.