Monday, August 28, 2017


Hello, friends!  Time is flying but I r-e-f-u-s-e to say the same over-said words, "Summer has flown by!"  Time flies and it drags.  I'm finding that living in the moment doesn't necessarily make things slow down, but it gives me the satisfaction that I'm moving, doing, being and feeling.  I used to really be hard on myself for things like sleeping late; it's a luxury I didn't always have, and sometimes when the sun has been up for a while and the dogs are ready to start their day, I feel I've wasted some quality time.  Truth is, I can pack a lot into a day.  I multi-task, but not in a frenzied way.  I'm just as focused working in the early evening as I am the early morning.  But I've made changes.  I really like  having my coffee in the rocker at 7:00 a.m., watching the birds flying to and fro around the feeder.  Maybe I'm becoming a day person.  So if my summer is "flying by," I've been cruising with it. 

Emily and I made a trip to HomeGoods last week when I was home a few days and it was so fun.  I miss that when I'm gone.  That little Madelyn is sitting up, so she can sit in the front of a cart.  She's so fun to be with.  She's crawling and pulling herself up to stand while holding on to something.  I'm sure she will be walking soon.  She's such a joy.  Anyway-I wanted a few things for the lakehouse.  In the past, other than for the 4th of July, I have never decorated, as we don't spend a lot of time there in the winter.  I've never felt the desire to switch things around much.  I thought of how my Great room is mostly coastal blues and whites, and decided I'd just deepen things to navy and toss in some orange and rust for fall.  I don't know if it was serendipity or that I was onto a popular idea, but I found throws and pillows in just the colors I had thought of.  I also picked out some fall candles.   

I have quite a bit of fall decorations stored away, and last year I never even opened the bins.  I had bought some pumpkins and gourds and used them inside, and never felt like adding to it.  Now I'm excited to bring some of those cute little pieces to the lake.  I'm hoping to get some Autumn going without cluttering.  Hmmmmmm...

If you follow me on Instagram, and beware - you get a more blow by blow version of my life -I was invited to a luau at the lake by way of an invitation hanging from the side mirror of my car.  It was a cute pineapple cut out attached to a lei with the date, time and place.  I had absolutely no idea who it was.  Turns out a very nice woman across our little cove was inviting all of us living on it to a Hawaiian themed party.  We signed a guest book as a way for neighbors to contact us, there were additional lei's for the men, and flowers with clips for the ladies to wear in their hair.  The decorations were perfect, Hawaiian lanterns and thatched umbrella's over tables.  We played a few silly games which made us loosen up and get to know neighbors who had been around us all along.  Karaoke, dancing, and a photo booth (complete with a box full of props like feather boas and fancy hats) had us hysterical.  

Names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.  And that is not me!

Jane's Hawaiian Salad

There's a good possibility that I'm the only person in the world who has not made Hawaiian Salad.  When we were invited to the Luau I thought it was a novel, if not obvious idea.  And I couldn't believe I could like any food with marshmallows in it.  I searched and found a recipe I liked and tweaked it a bit.  I'm sure there are a zillion ways to make this and let me know what you do differently.  Daughter Emily uses a can of fruit cocktail in place of my fruit and the cherries make it colorful.  

I may be late in the game as we are headed into cooler weather but I wanted to share, and it may be something you'd like to make if you are having a Labor Day bash!

16 oz. bag of mini marshmallows
11 oz can of Mandarin orange segments, drained
8 oz. pineapple chunks, drained
1 medium banana, sliced
1 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. whipped topping.
Sprinkle of cinnamon 

Mix the first six ingredients together gently but thoroughly.  Fold in the whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Chill at least 2 hours.  

Back home two weekends ago, The Husband and I went to see Idina Menzel.  What a wonderful show!  Her voice is amazing and the show seemed more like a musical than concert.  She has a sparkling personality but she's no diva, she never made a change of clothes and there wasn't a glitzy stage setting.  There were a lot of children in the audience dressed up as Elsa from Frozen.  When Menzel sang "Let it Go," from the Disney movie, she encouraged the children to come on stage.  So many of them knew every word to the song, and it was a delight to hear them sing.  This was one of the best birthday presents from The Husband.  

We stayed at the Knickerbocker Hotel as we usually do as it's in the heart of the Gold Coast and Magnificent Mile in Chicago.  We were running late, so there was no shopping.  I had heard of a restaurant called Fig & Olive and made reservations days before.  It exceeded our expectations.  We ate on the rooftop and the weather was absolutely perfect.  I managed to remember to take a snap of our appetizer, prosciutto and melon on arugula with some sort of vinaigrette.  Whipped goat cheese was there to smear on these tasty bites.  For dessert I had chocolate pots de creme for the very first time and I was beside myself!  It was a fantastic weekend.

Sometimes I feel spread so thin between the two houses.  In the city we had a new driveway and porch done a few weeks ago.  The sidewalk will be paver stones, so it's a separate job yet unfinished. Then we have landscaping and sod, as well as new paint on the shutters and peak.  I also have to pick out plants, shrubs, bushes and then exterior light fixtures.  I'm going crazy.

At the lake we have a mason patching up our huge stone chimney.  Our paver patio, which is quite large, has become buckled due to the chipmunks burrowing.  We have to get an exterminator and then have it redone.  Our storm doors were ruined by the heavy winds that caused them to bang open when we weren't there.  And sadly, I'm finding exterior damage to the house and guest house from the moist lake air and the brutal winters.  I start to feel so content that inside my home I have everything I could ever want, and then I take a walk around the property and I'm overwhelmed with the work that's needed, as well as the cost.  You just have to do what you can and keep chugging along.  

So other things going on in Blondieville:

I have some sort of head and chest cold and terrible sore throat - maybe strep?  I'm just napping a lot and taking Advil.  Had to miss watching Miss M today.  Sniff.  

Started watching the short movie series on USA, The Sinner, with Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman.  It's very dark but compelling.  I have one more episode to go.  Also catching a few Housewife shows, and Hallmark summer movies.  I heard there will be 132 Hallmark Christmas movies this year.  Oh, how will I get anything done?  I've seen a few specials on Princess Diana as we come upon the twentieth anniversary of her death.  And I got roped into watching the TLC American Murder Mystery: The Scott Peterson story.  This one I could never watch alone.  Or at at least at the lake when I'm alone.

I wish I could say I was reading something interesting but actually I'm poring over The Best Punctuation Book, Period.  What I've been thinking and now pretty much know for sure, there a very few rules for writing in this day and age.  There are particular editing styles and there is a specific for news media and business style writing.  It's quite interesting and although I've plugged along on my blog for many years, I can't afford mistakes when writing professionally.  And as far as the column writing goes...I'm coming along well, trying to stay two weeks ahead of due dates.  

We are preparing for Labor Day and a houseful of guests.  A manageable amount which makes me happy as it doesn't turn out to be an assembly line of meals.  I'd like to try a few new side dishes.  

Do you have holiday plans?

Like all of you, my heart goes out to the devastation going on in Texas and Louisiana.  Please continue to pray and lend support in any way you can.

I'll be back soon!



Linda said...

What a nice cozy chat! I just love visiting with you and often pour myself a nice glass of tea and stay a I have done this evening. I think you are a lot like me - we are slowing down a bit after so many years of running around fast and furiously! I told Ruth Ann I feel like someone's been chasing me with a butcher knife! These days - not so much! And I'm grateful for that!
Loved all your pretty photos and went back to take a second look!
Enjoy your wonderful life, Jane! I love reading about it!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

My gosh, you are busy, busy, busy! However, I think that is very good. We all have to keep moving, moving, moving.

I know what you mean about walking around the outside of the house and seeing all the things that should be done. Mother Nature has her way of undoing what you fixed/replaced only last year (or was it five years). I now know what needs to be attended to in the near future, probably next spring, and the list will probably get longer. All the problems seem minor though in comparison to what is going on in Texas. I have a home to fix and there they have nothing than the wet clothes on their backs. It is heartbreaking to watch but also heartwarming to see all the people who are putting their lives on the line to help others.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

It sounds like you have been having a great summer - except for the cold and house repairs. I have a niece coming from Georgia this Saturday for a visit with her hubbie and two children. Other than that, no other plans.

Mary said...

Jane dear, lovely to hear all the news - you have certainly had a busy summer. Like you, we have much to get done around the cottage - keep putting things off as it's so hard to get help, people just don't even show up to look and give estimates.

Life goes on though and despite the downs there continue to be plenty of ups, one just has to sometimes make them yourself and forget about relying on others!
We're off to D.C. for the coming weekend - always enjoy visiting our old haunts even though it's changed so much since we lived there in the sixties!!!

Love to you and A - hope all the family are well and that you get over that cold/bug thingy.
Hugs as always - Mary

Kim said...

Jane, it's always great to catch up with you! Looks like you have been enjoying the summer. I can imagine how hard it must be to be split between two houses. There's lots of upkeep with both. We had talked about the idea of a vacation home once, but we have a pool and live at the beach, so my husband said, "for what?" But I still love the idea of getting away...away from the day to day of real life and I don't love hotels. I like to settle in and eat my own food. I hope you feel better and enjoy those shows! I have been binging on old movies with my mom. It gets addicting!

It's me said...

I Will is so good....enjoy the week love Ria x ❤️

Unknown said...

I can understand why you like Summer, beautiful days at home and at the Lake House. Opposite for me, so tired of summer, hot! 110 today, with September around the corner. But I have a home that still stands, unlike other people's homes from the devastating flooding from Harvey, I'm grateful. Enjoy your last summer days with family and fun neighbors:). Kathleen in Az

Karen said...

I've actually never made that kind of salad and my initial response is -gah!- however, I know it's popular so it must be tasty. I might even give it a go some day.

I cannot believe how fast this summer is flying by - truth!

CJ said...

Home maintenance is never-ending isn't it. And looking after two properties must be hard, especially when you're devoting time to your writing career. It's been a bit overwhelming here this week after coming back from holiday, the garden had romped away and the laundry mountain, oh the laundry mountain. Everyone helped out in the garden (this almost NEVER happens!) so I am feeling calmer now. Your birthday treat sounds fantastic, glad you had such a lovely time. Sorry to hear you're not very well, I hope you're all better very soon. In the meantime look after yourself. CJ xx

Brenda Pruitt said...

Sounds like you're living life to the fullest, my friend! And that's what you should do. Let yourself sleep late!

Rita C at Panoply said...

I find your summer journal really interesting, Jane, especially toggling between the two homes. I keep wondering if it's really what I'd want, but when you talk about the ongoing maintenance, I have my answer. You birthday celebration sounded really special - Happy [Belated] Birthday to you. I think the sore throat/cold stuff is already going around. My sister, a niece and a friend have all had it this week.
Love your nesting at the lake, and the party - how fun!
I think the punctuation book would be something I'd like. I'm sort of picky about that, even now, after parochial school, writing for business in my career (financials - no flowery words!), and even now for blogging. I write posts in advance just so I can go back and re-read for proofing. I hate it when I miss something, especially in a leading paragraph that goes out in email....grr.
Enjoy these last days of summer this coming month. There'll be plenty of days of fall to embrace its season too.

Unknown said...

Hi Jane, I enjoyed your post, it is just like receiving a letter. CJ said something in her comment that is right on and that is the home maintenance is never-ending. The more we have, the more we have to take care of. But, Jane, please don't exterminate the chipmunks!
They eat various types of seeds as well as fungus, helping to spread the mycorrhizal fungi that live around tree roots and are critical to tree survival. I checked out a chat group about chipmunks burrowing under pavers and people swear by getting unwashed dog hair from groomers and dropping down the holes. The other thing that people say works is to drop clumping used kitty litter down the holes. Now, I don't think you are the kind of lady who is going to go around getting used kitty litter from your neighbors, but I haven't seen a chipmunk once since I got a cat that has a cat patio through the window. Chipmunks have to live, too! I'd rather have trees then pavers, I think. I'll shut down my hippie tree- hugging opinion in a second, Jane, but please don't believe those exterminators for one minute if they tell you they are driving them into the next county and dropping them off at someone else's place. They kill them.

podso said...

It was good to catch up with your newsy post. I'm glad you have had a good summer and I hope your cold or whatever it is flies on by quickly! Madelyn is about to walk soon! Then a whole new chapter opens in your life, but what fun to take a walk with her!

Lorrie said...

A fun and newsy post, Jane. Summer is coming to an end and it seems like it just began. I hope you feel better soon - summer colds are no fun at all. What a great neighbour to throw a party for everyone.

Scribbler said...

Those little chipmunks are awfully cute, but they do wreak havoc. We seem to attract them wherever we have lived. There is a neighborhood cat who roams around, and every now and then, I think he might thin the population. We love watching them play, but I had to stop throwing out bread crumbs for the birds when my heat and A/C man told me "You have the fattest sleekest bunch of chipmunks I have ever seen!"

Your summer at the lake sounds like it has been restful and a time of deep reflection. Nice of your neighbor to throw a luau! Most people keep to themselves nowadays in neighborhoods, and it is often a pleasant surprise to find a neighbor you really like as a friend. About that salad: never heard it called Hawaiian Salad but except for the banana and the cinnamon, my mother made this constantly when I was growing up. She and her friends called it "5-cup salad" and I think we had it every Sunday for at least 10 years. If someone died, it was a go-to for taking to the bereaved, along with a main dish and a cake. As a newlywed way back when, I served it to a guest from New York, he carefully picked out the marshmallows, saying politely that he had never seen anything like this!

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

It's nice to hear that you are taking the summer slow and easy. I try to do that but it doesn't always pan out. Can't hardly imagine that little Madelyn is sitting up already. What a sweet and cute age. You lucky girl making a trip to Home Goods. Got some pretties. Hope you start to feel better..Happy Wednesday..Judy

Junkchiccottage said...

Hi Jane,
So glad you are enjoying the summer. This summer has flown by. Glad you are enjoying that sweet Madelyn they grow so fast.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend.

Unknown said...

Sounds like you are having a good summer. I'm feeling better from my ailments, thank God.

We just had to have a new roof here in the mountains, and a new garage at the lake. It's always something, but like you, I'm glad to have a roof over my head and dry clothing. So sad for the folks in the hurricane's path.

Hope you have a good weekend!!


Jill said...

Hope you are feeling better soon! It seems summer flew by so quickly! Enjoy the rest of your week! :-)


Katie Mansfield said...

I think i had strep this summer. Summer sickness is not fun. The luau looks fun so does the salad. I bet keeping up with two houses is challenge. I look forward to seeing some of that fall decor.

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

I would be sad to say goodbye to the Lake House for the season - it looks so peaceful and restful there. So nice to have one last summer party there to meet some new neighbors, too. The Hawaiian salad looks oh, so yummy! I do like the little touches of autumn you brought inside with the pillows and throw. Sorry to hear that you are battling strep - that is one bad thing about parties. You never know what you are going to go home with. Yes, houses are certainly very needy. There is always something to repair or re-do. Sometimes I fantasize about renting. In Paris, of course! haha! Your evening out with the hubs sounds wonderful. Hope you are starting to feel better for the Labor Day party. xo Karen

Bluebird49 said...

I always have thought it would be great to have to homes. I'm thinking it would just be one more messy home than the one I already have. Since my health problems--I cannot keep up and it's depressing. Hubby will go pick up something to eat--but was never taught to cook, and has NO interest in learning. Using a microwave is about all he can do. (To boil water to make a picture of tea!) My sister-in-law "raised" my oldest brother much better. He can do anything and everything she can---and with no complaints.

What's wrong with me!

I loved all your pictures of the lake--it's beautiful, and it's too bad you have had winter weather problems up there. I know you hate to think f that..but it's all just about new inside! I wonder how hard it is to get up there in the winter..but then I just thought. You have to go up and turn off the water, and get it ready for winter, don't you?

I'm glad you posted a nice warm chat!

Susie said...

Sweet Blondie, I have missed you. I loved your color choices. Your friends look to be having fun. I am glad you are squeezing the best out of life. I know your g.daughter must put happiness in your heart. I love every picture or hug I can get from all our young ones. I loved that salad you made. I know you must have enjoyed your wonderful time with your charming husband. I love that area of Chicago. Yes, owning a home, or two , there's always somethings to mend, fix or change. Blessings to you, xoxo, Susie

Lynne said...

True it is . . . things inside seem to be grand . . . or okay . . .
and then a walk around the house outside and the calm vanishes.
How daunting it must be when you have a cottage AND a city house . . .
My mantra has had to be this year, due to some cantankerous back issues,
"Everything is just going to be fine!"
Or my short mantra version . . . "bit by bit!"

Little Miss M puts my heart in a tickle . . .my oh my . . . I am smitten!

Looking forward to seeing photos of city house, new porch and such . . .
and all the golden, warm touches you have planned for the cottage . . .

I enjoy your story like, conversation, endearing musings. . . pages/chapters.
I feel I am sitting near you and we are enjoying our chat . . .

Happy autumn days Jane . . . sweep those sniffles away . . .
Love ~

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

My summer feels like a blur - most of it was getting my son ready for college. Don't you just love when Home Goods actually has what you're looking for? Love your story about the kids on stage with Idina Menzel! Hope you are feeling better soon, Jane! Take care of yourself!

Debra@CommonGround said...

Each time I read one of your posts I'm amazed at all that you do, and get accomplished. I'm so glad you're feeling like getting some Fall going this year. Last year I think we were both feeling like doggy-do and it seemed overwhelming to drag out bins of seasonal "stuff". The party sounds like so much fun, what a great way to meet your neighbors. LOVE that warm weather fruit fluff, my mom called it "Ambrosia", I guess like the food of the gods, ha ha. Problem is I could eat the whole thing by myself... totally love marshmellows! As for the chipmunks, are you sure it's not moles that are doing the damage? I've lived around chipmunks for years and never seen them do that kind of damage. I totally adore them, but we don't have them here at the new house. Have fun with your littles, they'll be grown before you know it. xoxo Deb

Donna said...

Hi Jane,
The laua sounds like lots of fun. When I was a little girl that marshmallow "salad", and many variations of it, was very popular! I love prosciutto and arugula, yum!
Thanks for visiting my blog post, it has been a long, long time since I posted and I've missed blog land. And I agree that we need to find more ways to help those in TX. My heart is broken for them all. Have a good weekend!

Deb from frugal little bungalow said...

Jane I always enjoy reading your long, newsy posts and this was no exception.

How fun that Hawai theme party sounds and reading your posts over the summer it is certainly clear that you have had a wonderful time at the lakehouse...

Sarah said...

You always seem to be going full steam ahead. Slow down and take care of yourself so you can knock that nasty cold.
There are many things around our home that need attention. I spot something frequently. Finding someone who will come fix things is an issue here. No one wants to just do handyman work. ;-)
Take care and hope your Labor Day is fun.

Kit said...

I hope you are having a wonderful time this Labor Day. And that all your family are gathered all around you. :) Kit

Anonymous said...

Sounds that you had a wonderful time with every one:). Have a nice day!

Maria Elena said...

Sounds like you have been busy. Hope you feel better. I am dealing with the same thing now. Horrible sore throat. I am glad you have had such fun at the lake house. I can't believe summer time is almost gone! Have a wonderful week, Jane!

Melanie said...

How nice that your lake neighbors invited everyone to a Hawaiian themed party - bet that was fun! I hear ya on the non-stop home repairs and re-do's. Same thing going on here. Can't wait to see the new front area of your house. I've heard of Fig and Olive...oh my, that food looks and sounds delicious. Hope you had a good Labor Day weekend.

Suzanne said...

Glad that you enjoyed (are still enjoying!) summer. I've been trying to live in the moment myself. We'll see how I do now that fall is fast approaching!

Love Affair with Food said...

How awesome that you are still enjoying the last of the summer. I've done a summer Europe tour so no new plans as yet!

Art and Sand said...

It sounds like you've have a great summer.

Pam - @diy Design Fanatic said...

Wow, your summer sounds like it's full of fun! Wonderful!

Kelly said...

So sorry to hear that you're under the weather. I hate a sore throat with congestion! Those kinds of things hang on (for me) for awhile too. I don't know how you do it taking care of 2 homes! My mom has that same situation and it stresses me out to hear about the time and money spent to go back and forth to keep them maintained. I think we'll just keep one house and rent one when we want. 😜 I'm sure it's a great investment though! It's also fun to have an extra house to decorate too!

baili said...

I wish you a better health my friend.

Life teaches lot with time ,either i used to be so hard on myself and my brain always sounds as yelling at me if i want sometime for myself but gradually weak health conditions made me realize that world will not stop if i slow down for while or take sip while feel to have it in my mouth.
Glad that little angle is sitting now.
you have beautiful and cozy house.
it always feels great to be home again,this show sounds exciting.
Salad looks yummy

Lidy@FrenchGardenHouse said...

Jane, you have a fun, fun life. I hope you feel better soon, dear friend. A head cold is just yukkie. I hope you get to spend time babying yourself and watching Hallmark. I'm going to watch your "dark but compelling" after I finish with The Good Witch. :)

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Doreen@foxdenrd said...

So much going on I've neglected visiting, but now have a few minutes before the poop hits the fan again :/

That salad reminds me of something a friend made that uses very small pasta. I think all the other ingredients are identical. I've always loved it, but even though it's delish it's never a hit because it doesn't look as good as it tastes. Maybe I should try your version.

It's funny you mentioned that about Idina not changing. A couple of weeks ago Diana Ross was at tanglewood and changed about 20 times!

There's a Fig & Olive in NY that we've been to a few times, but not for at least two years. It was very good but I remember the drinks were waaayyyyy overpriced.

After we sat next to Jessica and Justin that night in the city we looked up The Sinner lol. We didn't want to pay to watch it though, cheap as we are :)

Hope you're feeling better!


(Sarissa et al were here for Labor Day weekend, but have long since returned to Singapore.)

Pam - @diy Design Fanatic said...

We were glued to Irma's path and prepped early when it was supposed to come through Charlotte with 50-70 mph winds. Our neighbors were in the Bahamas and got stuck somewhere and just arrived home yesterday. Thank goodness Irma slowed down and took a path west of here and didn't cause as much trouble there as expected. Sounds like you've been busy squeezing every last wonderful second out of summer!

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