Monday, October 29, 2018


Hello.  Trick or treat?  Are you ready for it?  So far our weather has been pretty creepy; cold, windy and rainy.  Just perfect.  Halloween is pretty busy in my neighborhood, younger couples have moved in with lots of kiddos.  Its kind of cool to pass on that baton.  Every year I spend more time than I need to making individual treat bags with a nice mix of candy, creepy fake spiders, snakes, some pencils, erasers, stickers--whatever I can get as cheap as possible at the dollar store. ;-D. But seriously, if you've ever had to wedge yourself in your front door, your dogs wanting to maul anything on the other side, while your outstretched arm holds a 15 lb. candy bowl that's breaking your wrist, you'll get my way of thinking.  It doesn't matter if its a three year-old or twelve year-old, they will hem and haw for 15 minutes before choosing one tiny piece of candy. Well, I've learned and so I make these little bags.  And so now I stand, wedged in the door saying, "Just take one, they're all the saaaaaaaame!"  

The picture above is the hydrangea mania going on in the floral department at my grocery store.  Apparently you can now get a dead flower for $7 a stem.

I thought this was worth including, also in the floral department.  Succulents are all the rage lately, and just to prove how hardy they are, these were shipped fresh from Arizona along with an unfortunate bird that couldn't quite tolerate the 125 degree temps. 

I don't decorate as much outdoors for Halloween anymore.  I think its really an all or nothing thing.  I drive past homes with life size skeletons, tombstones with funny inscriptions, and huge webs with black furry's all too much trouble for me, but I get that people like to do it.  I like to decorate just for fall now, but in years past, I'd get haystacks, mums, scarecrows, pumpkins--and the squirrels would demolish it in a day.  And I have a new mantra:  Remember--what you put up today, you'll have to take down tomorrow.  I'm just saving my energy for Christmas.  But please note those four little pumpkins on my window ledge.  They're not there anymore.

I had Miss Mad over last week for an afternoon of baking.  She is really loving it.  She is so, so absorbed in the whole process.  We made chocolate chip cookies, fudge, and candy.  The candy is simply melted almond bark on top of a waffle pretzel and then adorned with sprinkles and candy corn.  If you'd like to see more pictures of this, and a little bit of everything else, you can visit me on my Instagram feed.  

Last Saturday was her birthday party.  She actually turns 2 on November 10, but Emily wanted to keep the party outdoors.  It didn't work, it was cold and windy and we all congregated indoors.  My mother in law always used to say that she loved crowded parties because it made for more conversations.  I sort of agree.  

I'm not going to share any pictures because Emily put a lot of hard work and a personal stamp on everything.  The theme was a Puppy Pawty.  Madelyn is in love with all things Paw Patrol.  Snacks were served in decorative dog bowls, peanuts butter sandwiches for the kids were made in the shape of dog bones by using a cookie cutter, and there was a large basket filled with stuffed puppies for the kids to rescue/adopt.  It was all very cute.  And the adults had a great time, too.  She served Italian beef, Italian sausage (and no, we aren't the slightest Italian, its a natural on the Southside), and pulled chicken.  There was a nice array of side dishes and desserts as well.  

Being on Instagram can open you up to new or new-to-you brands and companies.  I check out products when a person I follow makes a recommendation and sometimes offers a code for a discount.  I just wanted to share a few of the products I've been enjoying and I'm so happy to have learned about.  I am not getting compensated at all.  Promoting brands and being asked to join seasonal or themed blog tours just doesn't happen for me.  

Anyway, I am a tried and true fan of Antique Candle Works.  This was a little business that was operating out of the home of one of the gals in a small Indiana town, and they created these delicious soy-based candles.  And then word got out.  What impresses me most is that I can burn one of these candles for about an hour and the scent fills not only the room I'm burning it in, but surrounding rooms.  I'm not saying its strong, but I was astounded when I would burn one in the Great room at the lakehouse and it would scent that huge room with the 19 foot ceiling, as well as the kitchen and powder room.  You would think I had 3 candles going!  They are competitively priced, but you can check out what you'd like by trying the smaller smaller sizes before moving on to the larger ones.  You will also get a sample or two in your package.  Enough.  Check out their website, sign up for emails, they have a lot of surprise sales.

Another great brand I learned of from Instagram feeds is a popular one that is getting a lot of buzz.  Its a company called Grove Collaborative and you can read about it here.  When you are thinking about doing your part in reducing waste and using natural products, you can find perfect choices from cleaning to storage to personal health and hygiene.  I can't tell you how satisfying it is to fill in the blanks on products I need to stock up on, and then find a box on my front porch filled with what I need for the month.  In knowing that the products are natural, I feel good about washing little Madelyn's dishes or a surface on which she plays, and she's not going to come in contact with anything harmful.  Some of these products can be found in your own grocery store.  I did a quick check on the Mrs. Meyer's dish soap and found that it was $1.00 more than what I pay on Grove.  So...check it out!

Lastly, and possibly the best decision I made was to join a vitamin prescription program with a start up company called Take Care Of.  And again, I saw a few sponsored posts on Instagram and I was curious.  Do you have a hard time remembering to take vitamins?  I can't tell you how many times I've bought a multivitamin or several specific vitamins based on what I had read would be helpful to me (and they are not inexpensive), and then forget about them.  

To get started on this new way of thinking about supplements, I took a short survey on the website involving my lifestyle, health, and fitness.  Its tabulated and a list of vitamins, minerals and specific supplements, some natural, is given.  I was impressed.  Since I started receiving my monthly supply, I am definitely happy with how I feel, how easy it is to remember to take them everyday, and I even got The Husband to try them.  The individual packets come in a box with a dispenser.  On each packet (with a happy hello!) is an uplifting quote or inspiration.  There is something personal here, and I feel its about the self care movement that maybe I've been late on.  Another nice thing about the company, you get an email before your monthly box goes out asking if you need to push the delivery date off for a week or so.  They know we aren't always on the ball taking meds or vitamins, so you don't have to worry about getting more boxes than you can keep up with.  I would say that you at least check it out.  Take the survey.  I have to admit, based on my issues, I take eight supplements a day, The Husband takes two.  Insert eye roll here.  

I took a little trip to Target the other day.  I actually felt more pulled there if you know what I mean. I needed something to transition from between flip flops to boots.  And of course, I walked out with two pairs of booties.  I have to say, here in the Midwest, you find yourself in boots almost every day, whether it for rain, snow and slush, or for warmth.  I really needed the black ones, but totally fell in love with the brown suede.  And don't laugh, again, an Instagrammer actually recommended them and said they were very comfortable.  And she was right.  I've worn them twice and I love them.  I'm always a little anxious about comfort and not falling on my face with a higher heel, but if its chunky, I'm fine.  And I love being taller. ;-D

I happened to hear about these fleece lined leggings.  I have some very worn out, knit leggings that are no longer acceptable to wear out of the house.  And for our cold winter weather, fleece sounds heavenly.  The best part?  They are $7.99.  I haven't worn them yet but I'll give you my opinion when I do.

And my final purchase was a few plates and bowls from the Hearth and Home collection by Joanna Gaines.  I had been tossing out dishes with cracks and chips left and right.  I really like that I mixed up my dishes at the lake, its fun and I can never choose a favorite.  So I've hung on to the old dishes I have here and added a few of these.  I really like the larger soup bowls.  I also picked up a few smaller and deeper bowls, but these are really nice for soup or stew.  And this was dinner Saturday night.  I have a terrible cold and for some reason we always order Chinese food when I'm sick.  This is Won Ton Soup and Hunan Chicken.  

Not much else is new.  I've had a rash of bad luck lately, and that's not counting the same old eczema rash.  I backed into a white van at Home Depot.  It was actually a Home Depot van, unoccupied.  It was in their pickup lane and there were a dozen of contractors around.  They sort of smirked when I got out to look. Nothing wrong with the van, my SUV had some white paint lines from the white truck.  When I got home I realized it wasn't paint, it was actual scratches in my black paint.  I have a relative who does body work so I need to get it in for a little sanding and paint.  I also need to get the hole in my windshield repaired from the rock that hit it while I was driving home from the lake recently.  

The last worst thing that happened to me was I spilled a half cup of coffee all over my Mac.  I was devastated.  I Googled what to do and the best thing was to blot it and then turn it over like a tent for a few hours.  I heeded the instructions and that evening tried to start it and nothing.  I don't know if I was being hasty, but the next day I went to Best Buy and bought another one.  I actually got talked into the Mac Pro, which is smaller than the Mac Air except for the screen, there is no frame so they are the same size.  I have to admit it wasn't the easiest getting used to the different size keyboard so I apologize for any typos.  

Finally, I was going to share a recipe, but I'm not sure if you guys can see the Pin button when you hover over the picture.  I don't on my computer, so if you can just give me a yay or nay, I'd appreciate it.  I've been cooking up a storm from a few new cookbooks which I will share next time.  

This post has been spread out over three days.  I just can't get organized.  I want to ask that we all continue to pray for peace and human kindness in these turbulent days.  Remember to vote, no matter which way you lean.  And finally, a big happy heavenly birthday wish to my sister, Leslie.  Let's continue to push, donate, and pray for cancer research, which is where it all starts.  

Jane x