Monday, April 20, 2020


Hello friends.  How are we all holding up?  I'll have some specific questions at the end of my post because I feel that was a very interesting way to share our experiences during this pandemic in my last blog post.  I certainly don't mean to trivialize anything, my heart is breaking for those who haven't made it, or who are in the battle.  And of course, the family and friends who have all of this weighing on them.  It's darn serious business, but I appreciate how we uplift one another, especially on social media and through blogging.  Just when I was wanting to really limit it all, I find it's a way to stay in touch with family and friends from afar, and I feel a little uplifted that I'm not alone in my feelings and isolation.  

I've always been a news addict but I have found in the recent weeks that I can only take so much.  My motto for the better part of my life has been:  The more you know, the less you need.  In early February I was reading about the virus in China and then it's moving to Spain.  My niece was studying abroad in Milan and it drove me to follow the news incessantly.  Thankfully she made it home in time before the flying suspensions from Europe to the US in mid-March. And that's when I began to stock up on canned and frozen foods.  Some thought I was overreacting.   I then doubled up on dog food and laundry detergent.  I sincerely thought that if my health and freaking breathing problems were going to be jeopardized, I needed to be prepared.  I was following what foreign countries were finding out and doing well before the US got moving.

 After a certain point, specifically about a week ago, I really began to have a bit of a mental breakdown.  I was watching the news one evening and I saw the current statistics, or deaths.  And then it really flooded my mind, they were not just statistics,  these were people.  Human beings.  Innocent people who would never imagine their lives ending this way.  Their families not able to see them, comfort them in the end...I felt my breath quicken and my heart pound.  My safe little bubble at home started to deflate in the reality of what is here all around us, not just in the words of a newscaster.  I limited my news drastically, said tremendous more prayers, and made a true effort in letting trivial trials and tribulations go.  No, I'm definitely not a wholly changed person, but I really fear panic, anxiety and depression entering my life as it has in the past, and I'm not letting that happen.  And that is a story for another day.

I do miss the lake.  This duck and it's mate were waddling up next to my house here in Chicago.  I took the pic through my window.  We live a few blocks from a gorgeous college campus which has a pond.  Sometimes little flocks lose their way.  I really felt a tug at my heart in knowing that this is such a familiar sight at the lake.

My oldest son called me just prior to the time we were told to stay at home as much as possible and said that he thought The Husband and I should shelter at the lake in a less populated area.  The problem is that I clear out the fridge, cabinets, and pantry at the lakehouse of all food and perishables in late fall.  And yes, some of you don't know, this is a year round home, we simply don't go as much in the winter---the holidays occupy our time in the city, then it just becomes a little more enjoyable to stay and have access to restaurants, theaters, events, and being with family.  Come April, I'm a busy bee at the lake getting all the cleaning, organizing, food shopping, yard and patio work done, so a good rest up before is fantastic.  

Of course I have tons of help.  We've learned to hire out people who get our beach ready, deliver our boat from storage, and launch our wave runners after their shore stations are set up on the beach.  Blah, blah...that's just how it rolls.  A small price for months of fun and relaxation.  But again, I had stocked up this house in the city with food and paper products, I wasn't going to venture out to do it again in Michigan.  The Husband is also working at home.  He's partially retired  so I've gotten a bit used to having him underfoot. ;-D.  Still, it's an adjustment for all of us in different ways I guess.  

Easter was low key.  This is a tablescape from a few years ago.  I paid so much attention to detail; the  little gold bunny napkins rings, the tea light candles with little eggs, my good silver.  I had started to feel I was a little frivolous the past few years in how much I fussed over decor and table settings.  This  isolation has been a wake up call, and making a beautiful table is really a luxury and celebration, and makes for a memorable time.  I miss this.  

The Husband and I spent Easter Sunday alone, the first time ever, but no complaints.  As for everyday meals, we are across from each other at the kitchen bar.  What I lack in a pretty table settings, I makeup for in creating new and innovative recipes.  My saving grace has been cooking... more on that later.    

I've been wanting to share pictures of the bathroom redo.  I actually finished it about four weeks ago, but I really wasn't crazy about my photos.  It's one of two full bathrooms we have.  This particular one is in part of the house near the bedrooms and not used very much by company.  

I had been loving this type of vintage looking black and white flooring.  It really does remind me of original tile in older homes. Truth be told, I hadn't expected this tile and the black and white color to make me feel 'locked' into a certain style.  I wanted the original apron sink from the 1940's going back to when the house was built, as well as the white paneling. So what do your do with major black and white?  To me it was go vintage or modern and I wasn't sold on either.  Maybe this was a lack of imagination. I finally reached a decision with more than one route.  Mix it up a bit (which I do very much so in my home decor), and just leave everything else up to luck.

First off, I brightened up the paneling with a brighter white paint, and the area above with a darker gray than I originally had. Let me know if you want the paint colors. We have a glass block window which is pretty much standard here in older homes but not very attractive with the steel gray metal.  I painted around it in matte black and then sealed it.  Hard to see at night when I photographed it but during the day-- it's just lovely.  

Again, I kept the original cabinets, also custom made like the paneling.  The lights above the sink (which you really can't see) have Edison bulbs that I may switch out, but darn, I look pretty good in this golden light when I look in the mirror. 😂  Speaking of the mirror, I had been eyeing a gold mirror at Target, but every time I went or looked online, it was sold out.  I finally decided it might have been a little plain, I wanted something to be the star of the show.  So this mirror, surrounded by a verde gras frame from Anthropologie, was my biggest expense.  My faucet, shower, lighting, and cabinet fixtures are from Home Depot.  The marble countertop was a remnant from a local tile shop. Various decor pieces, some in a gold finish, others sort of rustic, were found randomly at places like TJ Maxx, Target, and Hobby Lobby.  

Finally, the shower curtain is a black and white stripe from the Hand and Hearth collection at Target, UI don't know why this pic turned out so voodo-ish but believe me, its striped.  I added a little rustic bench to keep it a little cottage-like.  And that's pretty much sums up the whole bathroom.  

As I mentioned, I'm cooking like crazy every night.  I try to use the food I order weekly from our grocery store.  I've always used fresh foods and I didn't want that to end with the sheltering down recommendations.  Some of our stores deliver within two hours, and it's a preferred method of shopping for them as it keeps the number of shoppers down and minimizes the employee's risk of catching the virus.  It's also providing jobs for more people. 

So as I said,  I've been using fresh foods as always, maybe with the idea that they won't be available at some point--and I admit, it's sometimes slim pickings. I was thinking about salads that both of my sister-in-laws have shared in past summers with strawberries and almonds.  I had blueberries and walnuts on hand and a bit of feta cheese.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and it looked very much like what I wanted.  I changed it  a lot of course, my dressing is made with what I had and to my liking as well as a few different ingredients. So finally, the bottom line is that the  basic proportions and photo come from this cooking blog.  I'm just not confident in taking food photos, so here is my recipe:


I had blueberries on hand that I wanted to use up.  And I always have all sorts of fresh greens.  I went through some recipes and found this picture but modified the ingredients greatly.  No cucumbers here.  I think you will like this.

5 oz. fresh baby spinach
3 oz. fresh blueberries
3 oz. feta cheese crumbles
1/2 c red onion, thinly sliced.
1 c walnuts, roughly chopped

2 T olive oil
1 half to 1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t. honey
1 t Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
S&P to taste

Make the dressing first so the flavors meld.  Assemble the salad.  Just before serving toss the dressing with the salad and serve.

Photo Credit:  Jane

Finally I have this.  I made it the other night for The Husband and I to munch on when we watched a movie.  I found the recipe a few months ago in either Country Living or Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  Again, I substituted a lot of ingredients.  I added more spices, and instead of corn kernel snacks (what the heck are those?), I used pretzels.  So use what you want but keep the proportions the same so your butter mixture coats the dry ingredients.  


1/2 c butter
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t smoked paprika (I only had sweet but it was fine)
2 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t dried thyme

8 c popped popcorn, lightly salted (equivalent to 1/2 c kernels in 3 T vegetable oil in a large pot)

1 1/2 c corn chips (I used Fritos)
1 1/2 c cheese crackers (I used Pepperidge Farm goldfish)
1 c sesame sticks

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a small saucepan melt the butter and then whisk in the Worcestershire and dried spices (it's best to mix all the dried spices together first and then add to butter mix.  In a roasting pan mix together the popcorn, crackers, etc.  Pour the butter mixture over and stir well to coat.  Bake 30 minutes being sure to stir well every 10 minutes.  I found that the butter tends to settle to the bottom and can brown so you really need to flip this stiff around!  Enjoy!

Finally, just some questions to find out how we are all doing, what's new, and perhaps start a little convo.  Let's get it out!

~~What sort of mandates or recommendations does your state have right now to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

~~How are you getting groceries, meds, and staying in touch with family these days?

~~What sort of hobbies have been your go-to during this time of sheltering?

~~What has been the biggest change in your life in the past few weeks, good and/or bad?

~~Have you been blogging more or less?

~~What are the first few things you will do when it's safe to get back put into public?

Sending safe and well!😘