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


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I joined the movement of “what you put up, you must take down” and “less is more” a few years ago. Unfortunately, I start out with good intentions and then find myself back down in the basement hauling more things up. This year, though, with the down mood many of us are feeling, I am going to try to stick with the plan. I just don’t feel like celebrating. Maybe I will feel better after the elections.

It seems like everybody is going on Instagram. I don’t have the energy to get on any more social media. Besides, my granddaughters are on it and I don’t want to snoop on them. It is better that I know nothing.

Diane Mars said...

Hi there I do love the Vitamin idea I think I will have to check further into that.. and I hear you in regards to out door decorating none for me this halloween but Christmas will be a different story!

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handmade by amalia said...

We don't celebrate Halloween around here but I don't missing it, scary is not my style. An afternoon of baking, on the other hand, sounds like great fun :-) Nice to find you well and busy, Jane. Hope the stream of bad luck has run its course.

Stacey said...

Jane, my friend, I sure enjoyed this post!

I never decorated for Halloween excessively..I love Halloween but never was too much into the decor. Of course, the days when our kids were little are missed though! In our current neighborhood, all of the homes are on an acre or two. There isn't as much trick or treating here.

I'm going to order one of those candles. You are so right that they are well loved on Instagram.

Grove Collaborative is so popular too. I go back and forth about trying that.

My favorite thing to order and come to the door is our dog and cat food, and also the kitty litter! We order it from It's cheaper and someone else carries the huge bags for me. :)

Enjoy your moments with little Miss Mad. :)

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I, too, have stopped decorating for Hallowe'en. I used to do a lot when the kids were younger. We don't seem to get very many trick-or-treaters these last couple of years either. I may put something in the window, and I have a fake, plug-in jack o'lantern that I use. My days of scooping out pumpkin innards and carving my own are over! Those brown suede boots are great, and I have an almost identical pair of black ones. -Jenn

Lisa said...

The pawty sounds adorable! I'm sure your daughter had a lot of fun planning it! I know the Birthday Girl was thrilled! I will have to try Grove Collaborative. I've seen it around the internet but just never been too excited about ordering cleaning supplies. I'd rather receive things like books and clothes in the mail! LOL

Karen said...

I LOVE TARGET! Good thing the closest one is about 45 minutes away. That decreases my visits a little.

I like to do the treat bags too - One year I tried to just leave a bowl of candy out on the stoop for them to take what they wanted. Ha! The entire large bowl was emptied by the first group of about five tweens. They literally poured the bowl into their pillow cases. So, it's back to handing out individually for me.

What a treasure to bake with your little one... making great memories for all.

Susie said...

Blondie, So good to catch up with you. I liked seeing the pictures. The treat bag idea was really good. have used up my all time favorite candle. So I need to get a couple more. I like spicy florals. Blessings to all of you, xoxo, Susie

Dewena said...

Jane, I didn't see any Pin button. Pinning used to be so easy and now I have to look up instructions every time when it's been awhile since I pinned from blogs or even my own blog.

Miss Madelyn's party sounds like it was fabulous! Emily must be a great party giver, like her mother! Although I know from my own experience that our talented daughters surpass us. And that's okay, matter of fact it's wonderful. Especially when I too have turned the baton over to a daughter and 3 daughters-in-law--their turn!

I'm so sorry for your recent bad luck but I have a feeling November will be better, for both of us! That's my story anyway and I'm sticking to it. Thank you for passing along new things you're trying, new products. I trust you much better than Madison Avenue!

I hope your treat bags are ready for tomorrow night! No treaters here last year but we always buy one bag of candy just in case, and you know who ends up eating it then.

Love to you,

oldgreymareprimitives said...

Since you said you like recommendations. I have fallen in love with Beekman 1805 laundry soap. You use the tiniest amount you can imagine, and its all natural and I love the Sweet Grass scent. I'm also using their facial wipes like crazy and will put some in the girls stockings this year. While traveling last week I could just pop a wipe and wipe down my arms or face and feel refreshed and clean.

Kim said...

Hello Jane! Always fun to see you pop up in my feed. I'm with you...handing out candy is not my idea of fun. We literally get about 200-300 kids on a sunny Halloween. It's a nightmare. I can't do anything from 3pm on but hand out candy. I love your bag idea. I used to get all sorts of candy, too, but now I hand out lollipops! And I just peeked at your Instagram page. I am following you, but I haven't seen your posts in forever. Silly Instagram. Looks like Facebook is culling our feeds there, too...Have to get over and a like your posts so maybe they start showing them to me more frequently. Happy Halloween!!

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Hi Jane. I love going to Target but it is 27 miles away so can't get there as often as I like. I was there last when Fixer Upper things were just being added so would like to see what is new. We have anywhere from 250-300 kids come by for trick or treat so I just give those little individual candy bars out, one to each. Can't afford to do anymore with those numbers. The kids always seem satisfied though..Happy Halloween..Judy

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

We do decorate for Halloween with many grandchildren who are the age to appreciate it, but it is all down the day after Halloween! Fun post, Jane! Sounds like life is good!

Unknown said...

Baking and Birthday ( I know all about Paw Patrol ) for Miss Madd, the best of times:). I've scaled down on the Halloween decor, especially the outside and I have a couple doggies like yours, especially Zoe. Bella the chi chi loves the kiddies though;). Oh! Wait until the little ones go trick or treating!
Happy Halloween! Kathleen in Az

Junkchiccottage said...

Hi Jane,
I just bought a few of those candles in a little shop in Michigan. You are so right they make the whole house smell wonderful.
I decorate mostly for fall and not so much Halloween. I love to see the kids come in their costumes and it looks like we might have decent weather tomorrow for them. Happy Halloween.

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

I’ve never been a fan of Halloween decorations, but I do have fun looking at other people’s homes when they do it up right.

I’ve heard of Grove many times but hearing it from you is a strong enough endorsement for me. I’m going to give it a try.

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

My excitement for Halloween has also waned. But i do have a big bag of candy ready!

Theresa said...

I decorate for Fall and not Halloween because it lasts all the way to Thanksgiving:) Paw Patrol is all the rage with the kids these days. I know it was a wonderful party. I LOVE Target and will be heading that way shortly:) Have a blessed day dear friend, HUGS!

Scribbler said...

I enjoyed this visit with you as always. We no longer do Halloween, which is weird considering we met at a Halloween party 29 years ago! After the little kid violently threw up on our front porch and the husband's shoes a few years ago, we turn off the porch light and go out to dinner. We keep the house dark on the front, too. I guess I am getting rather curmudgeonly in my dotage. ��

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

I have been thinking about trying those vitamins, but I took the survey and couldn't narrow down what I wanted them to help with lol

Lorrie said...

It's Halloween here as I write. There's a big bowl of treats, but few takers so far. It's just 6:30 so I hope more come or our children are going to be mad at me because I'll give all the treats to the grands. I quickly carved a jack-o-lantern this afternoon and that's it for decor. I have a pot of mums on the porch for fall. You're right about what goes up must come down.
Miss Madelyn's party sounds so well organized and a lot of fun. How great that you get to spend time with her having good times in the kitchen. Making memories!

ann said...

Less is more! I bought one small bag, especially for the little boys next door and had three girls come first. Then the neighbor boys came and I turned out the lights and put the candy away. We live off the road with a tree line drive-way that is dark, so we don't get many kids. That's fine. I remember the years at the the house when kids showed up by the car loads and hordes kept coming it seem for hours. It was fun to see all the tiny kids, but the teens became too greedy and showed up more than once with pillow cases. I put of generic fall outdoor decorations that will last through November. On to Thanksgiving. Great finds at Target. I don't have an Instagram--yet. I keep resisting.Twitter? Maybe, too. Great pot, Jane.

Rita C at Panoply said...

I love hearing from you, Jane. I do not decorate for Halloween and I suppose I am the Grinch of the Halloween kind (witch, *itch, whatever). I just don't like all the kitschy stuff. That said, though, I DO know it is probably the best holiday (next to Christmas) for kids, especially those in school. The parades, the parties, the candy....they love it so much, and that makes it infectious. I don't have any littles, but I still cherish the memories of mine.
Your shopping sprees look productive and fun, and food is always fun to read about. Hope all is well for you. I'm not on IG so I hope you don't give up blogging! Happy November!

It's me said...

Hello Jane ......What a lovely post ....glad to hear from you again.....wishing you a happy weekend ....and enjoy everything you like love Ria x 💕

Mereknits said...

You have been busy my friend. I have been looking for ankle boots so I will check out Target, where I actually was today but did not check out shoes. I am a huge Target fan. Happy Autumn.

Jeanie said...

I see the pin button -- at least on your sidebar pix. Should go back and see otherwise.

A busy life. Love the treat bag idea and I don't dec outside for Halloween either, apart from a pumpkin or two by the door and maybe a wreath (but not this year -- I was just glad to get decent candy at 4 p.m. on the 31st!

And yes, Target calls me, too -- and now that I've seen fleece leggings, they are calling even louder!

Terra said...

Blondie you have been busy, that is ambitious to create the treat bags. I will check out the candle makers you recommend. I do like soy candles. Now you got me thinking about buying some boots!

Anonymous said...

Except for the few bad bumps all sounds well in your part of the world, I like your booties, and leggings, oh how I wish I could wear leggings, I have tree trunk legs lol, all my weight is on my legs 😕🙈 oh my,,, I’m going right now to follow you on Instagram because I have been wondering how you are!

oldgreymareprimitives said...

Jane I keep emailing you with no response? : (

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Jane, I could have written this post myself -- from the making of Halloween bags, to pumpkins that get eaten the day after I put them out, to the fleece leggings, coffee spilled on my mac, and yes, I've backed up into cars in parking lots. Oy. Glad you are enjoying making memories with sweet Madelyn!

Decor To Adore said...

Oh I haven't been to Target in a while. I might need to make a trip. But it might be dangerous! Love those boots!

Jen Kershner said...

Great tips and I am especially interested in the candles! So sorry about your little fender bender and your poor lap top. Sounds like we have been having a similar run of luck lately! Here's to new months and fresh starts1

The Crowned Goat said...

Sorry to hear about all the ups and downs you've had lately, Jane! I know it probably feels like when it rains it pours. You always have a great attitude about everything though. I'm just glad you're ok and were able to treat yourself with all those fabulous goodies from Target and have fun baking. Your treats make me feel like running to the kitchen. Let us know what you think of the tights and how you like the vitamins. It's amazing they're totally customized like that - love it. Sending you lots of hugs, CoCo

Paula said...

I am going to look into those candles, being in New England I am a long time devotee of Yankee Candle, but they are not what they used to be. Looking for seasonal scents that are soft but ones you can really smell, thanks for the heads-up. I know what you mean about decorating - I have become the same way, paring down is not necessarily a bad thing. I got on the Grove Collaborative bandwagon when there was a great promo price for a first order. Man, I do not go through any of my items that fast and a reminder comes every month that "my order" will be shipping soon. (When I haven't even ordered anything.) Apparently, they just keep recycling your original or previously ordered items and it gets very annoying and tedious to have to go into your account and remove all of them from your cart. I have found a number of their items at Target for the same price, or on Amazon where I can have free shipping with my Prime membership. I usually have to pay for a Grove order as I do not buy enough to get free shipping. It is a good source of finding helpful, natural and organic products, but has not become a regular shopping site for me.

Blondie's Journal said...

Hey Paula~~~

Not sure if you will be coming back by and I couldn't find an email address. I feel bad that you were getting items from Grove that you didn't need. I will say that it's a website that needs to be easier to get around. When I joined I received the first package it was a selection of products that overall represented the company. You can then choose how often you want which products, for example; paper towels every month or every 4 months. I get an email before my order goes out and I delete anything I don't want, change deliver dates, and add items. I have a customer service gal who texts me every month and she's always helped me out with questions. And I definitely hear you on finding the items elsewhere, My little stores in the country in Michigan do not carry many of their products, and there are some that I absolutely love and wouldn't change for the world!

I don't work for Grove in anyway, I just like to spread new info I find. And yes, I get you on Yankee Candles. I only buy them when I see them on clearance at Marshall's or Target. Bath and Body Works has some of the BEST!! But you will like ACW.


Linda said...

Hey, Jane! I am about to go to bed but I wanted to come by and say hi! I have missed some of your posts what with us being gone on a long vacation and then Life being so busy. I think of you often. Your little granddaughter can NOT be two already??? Where did those two years go??
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving! said...


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