Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Welcome 2018!  I've been lolling around all day thinking about what I'd like to accomplish this new year.  And when it's 5 degrees below, lolling is a good thing.  Resolutions, not so much.  In spite of stocking up at the grocery store Sunday, with good, healthy food, how could I say no to Abby when she walked in last night with Culver's burgers?  With a mouthful of fries, she said, "You've got nothing to worry about, Mom, tomorrow I have to fit in a bikini."  And yes, the lucky duck is heading off to Key Largo for a wedding.  Eight days in the sun having fun.  And we here in Chicago, are stuck with no higher than fifteen degrees for at least another week.  

I have been meaning (and promising on Instagram), to post a Year In Review.  If I get this done by Friday, I will have fulfilled something I was only halfheartedly planning to do.  See that book above in the photo?  That was in my first post of 2017, a year ago.  And guess what, I don't know where the heck it is.  Furthermore, you can bet I didn't write one word in it.  I also picked up two magazines in the grocery store, one called Real Simple, and it was chock full of organizational ideas, "More calm, less clutter."  I was feeling really good until I started to fall asleep reading it.  Another was a British magazine aimed at wellness, kindness, mindfulness..blah, blah, blah.  I'm the sort of girl who thinks if I just keep buying a new shade of lipstick, it will magically transform my life.  But sometimes when you read articles cheering you on to a new goal, dream, inspiration, or way of living--you fully believe its possible, and 5 minutes later forget it.  

As much as I try to journal, write in notebooks like the one in this pic; keep a food diary, even make a grocery list, it takes time and discipline.  I wonder if I'm just in love with the idea of documenting stuff that will spur me on?  I get a great feeling of fulfillment when I see these little helpers, looking like they are going to transform my life.  I don't plan to micromanage everything, but I'm not a spring chicken.  I want to accomplish a lot, and I want to live life to the fullest.  I need to have a record of the checks and balances.  So, as I free write after skimming through some photos from 2017 that I feel could tell a story, maybe by the end I'll be able to figure out what it is that I want to do this year.  

Let's begin!

January 2017

Most of you know how ecstatic we were to be back in the lakehouse the fall of 2016 after the flood.  It was all about gratitude (and unpacking 147 boxes of our belongings).  January and the first few months of 2017 were all about adding new furniture and pieces (and believe me, we purged a ton), and re purposing some items we had.  I had a vision of how I wanted each room to look.  When I chose paint colors the year before, that was that was the beginning, and at this particular time, I was to carry out my ideas; a sort of garden room in the girl's old bedroom, and a salty sailor sort of theme in the boys room, as well as the loft.  It wasn't an overnight thing, and still isn't.  I add and subtract.

The Great Room was fun.  After twenty-five years of with the same dark furniture, we finally got serious and bought a new couch and love seat.  Same old rustic coffee table, a great Pottery Barn find that we brought from the city house.  It's about twenty years old.  The little table between the sofa and love seat is an old nightstand I painted.  I'm just so happy to have beachy colors; it's happy and bright when the sun shines through, and the cushions are so soft and squishy to sink into when you want to relax in front of the fire or read.  

As I went through my pictures I realized I hadn't shared a lot of photos, such as the mudroom or bedrooms.  I'll get on that.  

Our First Grandson

February was such a blessed month in that we celebrated the birth of our third grandchild, Brooks Patrick, on February 10.  Is he not precious?  Son Jeff, and his wife Deirdre, are the proud parents.  There's a more recent picture of him on my sidebar.  He is really a lot of fun; never sits still--much like his father, and has the beautiful eyes and smile of his mother.  

We also welcomed Patsy, later in May; daughter of son Kevin and Mary Clare, little sister to Elsie.  I've said before, we need to get more snaps of her.  Patsy looks very much like Kevin, while I think Elsie has her mother's pretty features and fun disposition.  I'll keep you posted!

Beef Stew

In the colder months I tend to cook a lot.  Sadly, I didn't post much about my cooking endeavors.  One of my favorite and most loved one-pot-meals is beef stew.  We know it's winter around here when I make it.  Feel free to add or subtract ingredients, omit the meat if you want.  The basics are a solid start for a great meal.  Find the recipe in this post.

Living Room, Chicago

As we were rounding the corner into spring here at the city house, we decided we couldn't toss out our beloved sofa, so we had it reupholstered.  It was old and faded, but I had hung on to it because I loved the pretty floral pattern---it actually looked better faded.  Finally I admitted it needed a facelift.  Reupholstering is a wise investment considering the cost of the same sofa at present day cost.  I really, really love how it looks and feels.  In fact, I'm looking at this photo and scratching my head--I miss those curtains.  We have something different now and I've never been truly happy with them.  Do I feel a change coming?

Sitting Area With a View, Lakehouse

Here again I have an example of how upholstery can make a big difference, but lets you keep the style of your pieces.  The settee is quite unusual but elegant with the camel back.  It's a juxtaposition with the country style glider rockers.  Still, there is nothing like sitting on one of those in the early morning (my fave is the one on the left), with a cup of coffee in hand, watching the birds come to my feeder and birdbath.  I found the ottoman for a song at Pier 1, and daughter Emily, a designer, who worked at a high end furniture store, was amazed by the craftsmanship and detail.  She felt the same about the furniture, which was covered by a family owned business here in Michigan.  The only other new thing we added was the 'eyelash' rug from Target.  It's no longer available.  It is so soft and durable, I wanted to have it in our master.  Alas, never coming back.  

Madelyn Elise, 4 months old

Need I say more?  As we transitioned into summer, she became our lake baby.  :))  Oh, how she loves the water.  We have to keep an eye on this little fish!


As spring arrives in the Midwest, we move away from heavier foods.  I particularly love preparing more seafood, interesting salads with artisan bread, and the quick, easy, and ever changing quiche.  There is no limit to the ingredients you can add to the egg mixture.  My recipe is light and fluffy, can be served hot or at room temperature (which makes it great for company), and goes well with a summery salad.  You can find my recipe here.  

May Tulips

Yay!  It's getting warmer finally and although its muddy and raining a lot, I get out into the garden to see my daffodils and tulips.  The green stems of my day lilies are poking up, and the forsythia is blooming.  Finally-- we can stop buying cut flowers!  Almost every fall I plant about 100 bulbs.  The old tulips die off and their babies mature, a little too slowly for me.  It sounds like a lot of bulbs but I plant them in groups of 10 to 12.  

I'm super excited that since we had the front of the house landscaped last summer, and had the porch totally redone, I can add some new flowers here and there.  And I'm going to add some no-fuss flowering shrubs to the backyard.  I'm just spread so thin with two homes.  Last summer the city house looked like the Addams family home.  Take a look at this post.

Master Bedroom at Lakehouse

I've read in design magazines and websites that couples tend to place their master bedroom last on the list to fix up.  It may sound like we care about every other spaces before ourselves, but I think it's all about the idea that our bedroom is private and off limits to company.  I hadn't done much at all with our bedroom, but in May I started spending weeks on end at the lake alone.  That gave me time to shop and really get the ball rolling on the house.  I really wanted our bedroom to be tranquil and cozy.  After all, I would be (and did) spending many nights there alone with just the hounds.  The bedding is from Target, the area rug from Overstock.  My lamps and a few other items were found at various stores and websites.  You can read more here.  The sliding doors lead to a balcony, and although I'm not going to give you a link just now, I fixed it up with an outdoor rug, sling chairs, tables, candles, and plants.  I loved reading out there before the sun set.  It has a spectacular view of that, as well as the lake.  

Bad, Bad Layla

Layla and Milo were great company over the summer when I was alone.  Milo is pretty much deaf, but has a mean bark.  Layla is fearless, but too small to do any harm to anything or anybody.  Let's just chalk them up to pals.  

They were happy as clams, but always getting into mischief.  Milo is off
leash, and chases any dog being walked past our house---a great icebreaker.   We also have renters next door, and he acquainted himself with every family, leaving a little 'gift' near their deck.  He tends to do this when he's excited.  I met a lot of new people this way, but also learned to keep plastic bags in my pocket.  

Layla has a tendency to roll in anything that has a funky smell, mostly dead birds or their droppings.  She sleeps in bed with me, so I really have to toss her into a bath ever now and then.  The kitchen sink works well.  Not sure if she likes it, but she sure smells better.  

Milo, Summer 2017

I love this picture of my boy.  Every evening about 8:00, we would head out to the patio for a glass of wine.  Milo would play sentry on the porch, surveying the bay for ducks, geese, swans, who knows.  I think I'm going to frame this one.  Good memories.  

Guest House, Lake

I didn't make any changes to the guest house other than a natural rug (the dogs had really snagged the previous wool rug), and faux wood blinds.  To the left you can somewhat see a closet door.  We have two of these and they hide Murphy beds.  Someday I'll get a picture of when they are down and made up for guests.  There's everything you need in here; a TV, heat, fan, and privacy.  We were thinking of calling it the Honeymoon Cottage.  The bad thing is there is no toilet, so you have to make a run for the main house in the middle of the night if need be.  

Getting the Beach Ready

It takes a lot of time and muscle to get the beach ready for summer.  Not only do we need a nice thick layer of sand upon which to sit and play, we spread the sand out as far as the end of the pier.  A lot of lily pads take over, and the bottom is mucky.  The Husband used to spend an entire weekend doing this himself.  Then a new company started up around our lake called The Beach Boys.  It was just what we needed.  It is a huge break for The Husband, and we've become great friends with the company owner.  He's getting more business that he can handle lately.  We are very happy for him.  


This is going to wind up Part 1.  I hope I didn't bore you.  I'm fighting a cold and spending a lot of time in bed.  Not too bad though, I vowed to get more reading done and I'm already half way through a new book.  

We had a great Christmas and a quiet but fun New Year's Eve.  I'll include that in my next post.   I'd also like to reflect on last year, and add some thoughts about what I'm hoping for in 2018.  

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful and deeply felt friendship.  All of you are my rock.

Cheers to a new year!

Jane x


CJ said...

Yes, it is a lovely photo of Milo, you should definitely have it framed, especially as it has such nice memories attached to it as well. The picture of Layla is adorable too. I completely understand what you mean about lists and notebooks and plans and things, I am very much the same. I have a brand new notebook standing by as we speak in fact. We shall see whether it gets filled... I'm wishing you and yours a very happy 2018 and I hope you have a very successful writing year as well. CJ xx

Stacey said...

Babies, and dogs, and a lakehouse...these are the things of great fiction! I think you have a storybook life there. :)

Happy New Year friend! Looking forward to more good stuff in 2018.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Your decorating is lovely and gives a sense of peacefulness. I believe in reupholstering rather than buying new. The furniture made today can’t compare to the quality of 20 years ago. I hate to throw out good pieces and if it can be reinvented, I will do that. Going though hundreds of material swatches is mind blowing though.

My get-up-and go has been waning also. Winter makes it harder. I am hoping that energy will return sooner than later.

Kim said...

Jane, I am like you. I buy blank notebooks and fall in love with the idea of recording thoughts and events and then leave the books blank all year long. I like peeking back though my blog (and other's blogs). I'm a visual girl and really enjoy the pictures ~ especially then the include babies, beaches and pups! Happy New Year!

Melanie said...

Here's to a joy-filled, more healthy New Year, Jane! If it makes you feel any better, I have the same book - The 52 Lists Project - and I've only written in it once. ;-)

Lisa said...

Cute babies and I love the lake house.
That beach!!! Ill take it! I love this idea! Happy new Year!

It's me said...

What a lovely to read your year.....have anice day....hope it Will be a good year for you 2018... filled with lots of love ....good health...and much fun and Ria x ❤️

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Sorry that you are starting out the new year with a cold. Wishing you a much healthier 2018.

deb said...

Happy New Year Jane!

likeschocolate said...

Not sure if she is going to be in a swim suit. Didn't Miami get snow today. Anyway, so happy you were able to move back into your lake home. It looks lovely. The stew looks fantastic and wishing you a Happy New Year!

Susie said...

Blondie, Good to see the pictures of your sweet dogs and sweeter babies. I know what you mean about being inside and stay warm. I am really very tired of this horrid cold weather. It's nice to rest a bit....but I like to get things done. Please be safe when out in this nasty weather. Stay warm, blessings to all. xoxo, Susie

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Great post and pics Jane. I totally enjoyed it. You certainly have darling grandchildren. Such sweet photos. Also, the lake house looks beautiful and I love your little beach. It looks like paradise. I'm looking forward to your next post. In the meantime, enjoy your week.

podso said...

It's terribly cold here too, and it's sticking around, and I have to say I love it. Reminds me of my Chicago childhood! Enjoyed your review--as probably with all of us, you had an eventful year. Your bedroom looks so peaceful--you did a great job. All the best in the new year.

Junkchiccottage said...

Hi Jane,
Love seeing your precious grand babies. They all are so beautiful with gorgeous eyes. Glad the doggies kept you company at the lake this summer. Love seeing Milo in that picture as the guard of your patio. To cute. Yep that one needs to be a keeper and framed. Hope he is doing ok.
Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

those babies are beautiful, the lake house is amazing and so is your home in Chicago,, I wish for you and your family good health and happiness!

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Your grandbabies are adorable! Your homes are both decorated so beautifully and I always love seeing your recipes. And trying several out! Love the photo of Milo and I agree that it is indeed frame-worthy. Wishing you a wonderful New Year!
xx Cheryl

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

I'm in awe of anyone who can organize their year in a couple of posts. I just don't have it in me. Once again, I'm doing my best to journal every day. It's something I start every year and never completely stick with. Wishing you a bright and sparkly new year.

handmade by amalia said...

What a year this has been, Jane. I enjoyed getting to know you a little and following your fun adventures. Happy 2018.

Rita C at Panoply said...

Loving your recap, Jane. Your lakehouse and your main home - I love how you set your furniture on angles. It adds a lot of interest. The chair poised behind the couch is nice too. I can only imagine the inner peace you must feel in the left glider at the lakehouse, drinking coffee and watching the birds. It won't be long....we just have to weather our winter. We know how. I'm one of those - don't hate - who write down most everything, but it could be considered micromanaging by some (ahem, my husband). I think in all honesty, though, he appreciates my organization, as it leaves him free from feeling that need. And leaves more time for him to read. :)
Cheers to a fabulous 2018, whatever it may bring.

Sue said...

OH! This was so much fun reading of your past year, you really had some exciting things happen especially the two new grand babies. Your homes are so lovely, always, I remember reading about the flooded lake house.

Thank you for your friendship and visits to my blog, wishing you much continued happiness in this new year!.

Karen said...

We're having a miserable weather day here - that snow bomb of a storm and winds - and the temps are about to drip wickedly again too... BLEH!...

Not a bad year at all for you!... love your neutral hues, too - I've been starting to swap things out to get the same effect.

Hope your cold is already on it's way out - at least it's not the flu, right?

Happy New Year, Jane xo

Simply At Home said...

I hope you feel better soon Jane. I have enjoyed reading your recaps. Have a blessed New Year.

Bluebird49 said...

I just can't seem to make resolutions or stick to lists. I used to get Real Simple, and it's got great pictures.. Soon it was a lot of ads, and my house could never look like the ones they displayed.
But your pictures are a reflection of you! Little vignettes that go with your writing. I loved seeing your lake house furniture is such a good idea for good furniture!
I'll be looking forward to more of "you" this year!

Theresa said...

Cheers to you in 2018! SO many pretty pictures from your 2017. Love seeing those little ones:) Nothing sweeter than grandbabies. Have a great day, I am heading off to look for a journal I bought during the holidays:) HUGS!

Anonymous said...

Loved looking at all of the pictures and reading your post! Cheers to a happy and healthy 2018 :)

Linda said...

Oh, my dear Jane...
What a year it has been!!!
All the best in 2018...
And Love
Linda :o)

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

A wonderful read, as always, Jane! It's amazing how much gets packed into a year (or, 6 months in this case), and how nice it is that you've captured it all in one place to look back on. Of course those grandkiddies win the prize,as far as highlights go! Looking forward to part 2! Hope you are feeling better!

Unknown said...

Yes, the grandkids, adorable:). Your doggies give you so much comfort, companionship and love:). And your Lake House, a beautiful retreat from the suburbs too. I was sick on Christmas but had a wonderful New Years Eve,complements from my neighbor with fireworks! Keep warm, Kathleen in Az

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

All your grands are beautiful! Such sweet babes! I love seeing pics of your home and lake house too. And aren't our pets great company? They bring such joy. Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Jane, your year in review was FULL, MEMORABLE, EVENTFUL, and FILLED WITH should be pleased and proud..:)JP

Andrea Nine said...

Oh my goodness. What precious new family additions. It’s going to be a grand 2018 pretty lady! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

baili said...

Oh i truly deeply loved these new little guests in the house .
best wishes to you daughter for her wedding !

this beef stew looks delicious !

Like brooke the little angle my younger son (now 14 though) since childhood can't sit still ,so much fun and mischievousness all the time :)

loved the summer food details here we too prefer veggies in summers and lots of fruit juices as summers are extrem here

Terra said...

Your dogs are cuties and I like the photos of them, and of your grandbabies. Since tough times for me in 2016 I have been writing in a journal every day, well, sometimes I skip a day or two but I go back and write down something. I give my dog baths in the kitchen sink since he does need an occasional clean up.

Kellyann Rohr said...

Oh Jane, we have more in common than just the blonde hair! I happen to LOVE Chicago, my favorite city, really, love everything about it. If I could my house would be decorated in a shabby chic sort meets cottage style meets romantic meets classic. Long story short, your decor is right up my alley. Oh and blondie? One of my old principals called me that all the time, in fact, he still does. So see? So much in common, lol!
So happy I stopped by.
Also, I read your dedication to your sweet sister. Tugs at my heartstrings, I used to work in oncology, I feel for you and the immense love you have for your sister. I am absolutely sure you have made her very proud and you've honored her in such a sweet way.

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

A wonderful recap, Jane - I enjoyed seeing all the sweet and precious babies (human and fur) and your wonderful decorating and cooking accomplishments. I particularly love the sitting area you have at the lake house - it looks so cozy and serene. I am like you - always wanting to get organized, but I can't seem to get organized enough to organize. Does that make sense? I have so many journals and inspiration books and planners.....Once in a while I find a use for them. Usually to just record random things! Yes, you should frame that sweet photo of Milo. I hope you are feeling better, my dear, and thank you for your lovely friendship. Here's to 2018 being a good year! xx Karen

Linda said...

I love each and every visit with you! Loved the recap Part I! Looking back, Jane, you truly accomplish a whole lot more than you think you do! Perhaps that’s the gift your blog is to you - proof positive of a Year well spent! Full of grace and gratitude. It really doesn’t get any better than that!

Sandi said...

Love all the lake stones in your decor. We had a fireplace similar to that when I was a kid, also in Michigan. Lexington, on the thumb. :)

Sarah said...

Wow, you had a full year. It's fun to read the review of 2017. Here's to a wonderful 2018, Jane!

Leslie Harris said...

What a nice recap of your year Jane I really liked seeing all the photos and hearing your review. Every time I come here it feels like a personal visit. I wish I had the patience to do a recap, maybe I'll try to step back after each month this year and make a few notes to myself. All the months seem to run together by the time I get to the end of the year, must be my age lol


La Table De Nana said...

Have a wonderful year:) To you and yours:)

Kit said...

Isn't it amazing what we get done in a year? No recaps for me, I am on to new things and new adventures....LOL Have a great January! :) Kit

Jeanie said...

Well, I signed up for alerts by mail and it says I already was signed up but I don't think I've been getting them because I didn't see this post or the one before at least. So, off to bloglovin I go to add you there! Sometimes feedburner is very annoying.

Rebecca said...

Your babies are precious and so are your pups! I love your Lake House!
Happy New Year, my friend!

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