Wednesday, October 28, 2020

ALL THE BEST OF FALL IN CHICAGO & MICHIGAN

 


A-mazing Acres, Edwardsburg, MI

 
Well, hello!  Where have you been?  Last time we met up it was August!  Let's forget about that, summer has ended, I had a last hurrah at the lake for five straight weeks.  Total solitude and visits from The Husband most weekends.  I think it made up for getting up there and rolling so late in the season due to our quarantine and then hesitation to venture out.  Everything outdoors is now stored away, the house is spiffed up and there is no sign of crumbs or sand.  I'm not sure if our January sledding weekend will take place, we aren't going to take any chances of catching a cold, the flu, or the virus.  

We celebrated fall and all things fall not only in the city, but at the lake.  Emily, our designer daughter, had a "Special" in her business for fall porch styling.  She had a good number of requests and jobs.  Each and every one of the porches, of all size and shape turned out fun, festive, and reflective of the homeowner's taste.  She worked her bum off!  You can visit her website, Curate Design Studio to get a peek at what they do.  She does virtual design consultations for those who are outside Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. She's also on Instagram at Curate.Studio.Chicsgo.  I may be partial but I love her Stories!  Informative, fun, and full of hands on advice and tips anywhere from styling a shelf to creating a gallery wall.   



Diamond Lake, MI

I have never grown zinnias myself but I have memories of being very young and my grandfather leading my sisters and I around the backyard where he grew them all along a picket fence as a tall border.  

One day in early September I was taking Poppy for a walk at the lake.  I was admiring the zinnias growing around a mailbox near the road.  It may have been serendipity, but the lady who lived there happened to pull in her driveway and walked over for a meet and greet (and have Poppy maul her with sloppy kisses and tail wags!).  We chatted about the zinnias.  She told me that she let the seeds fall and they came up again the following spring.  She also kept a few seed heads to scratch into the soil and then lets  nature take its cue.  This is going to be one of my many new projects in the garden next spring- growing tall, blowzy zinnias.  And I'm going to do a raised bed for tomatoes.  We were gifted with so many tomatoes this summer that we were eating them every way possible and there was not one tomato forgotten, they were that good!  Any new ideas for your gardens next spring?




Our little Madelyn is quite the little dancer and loves to pose for the camera.  She really has a gift.  She's been modeling for a children's clothing line, Sprout and Berry.  If you have kids or grandkids, have a peek. Such cute clothing!



Sprout and Berry


This dress is so, so cute.  Mad has the modeling moves down, although this could be her reaction to being told to sit still! 😒

Fall Decorating


City House Porch, Chicago, IL



My porch, courtesy Curate Design Studio



Fall Fun!



Diamond Lake, MI

So many pumpkins, so many choices.  Pansies are my choice of flowers in the fall, they can make it past a frost or two.  I've heard they are actually called pansies because they can't stand the heat of summer!  Mums are spectacular but need a good watering every few days, if not everyday. As rainy as it might be in October, the flowers are so dense they don't get the hydration down to the roots, hence the watering. In the Midwest we simply can't grow anything until the spring bulbs pop up so there's none of those relaxing days in the garden.  Living here all my life, I'm envious of those of you in warm weather areas, but I'm very much emotionally attached to Chicago and appreciate the evergreens and the haven they provide for those bright red birds, the cardinals!

  

Cousins:  Madelyn, Elsie & Patsy


The grand girls were up for our "Fallin" weekend.  Little Lucy didn't make the cut for some of the action pics.  My daughters dressed the girls in these matching outfits and the colors really made it easy to watch them when we went to the pumpkin patch, which was  pretty much like a small county fair.  They also had cute little silk pajamas and after their bath in our big free standing tub (they used a green bath bomb and claimed they were bathing in a swamp!), Emily and Abby brushed and braided their hair and they fell into bed exhausted.  Such a memorable weekend.


                                                    Recipes


Individual Chicken Pot Pies

  I usually make these after Thanksgiving with leftover meat and there's always leftover meat!  But I recently made a whole chicken and thought I'd used the light and dark meat for these.  Puff pastry makes it super easy and fast.  Ramekins can be too small, so these crocks worked well.  Just use any type of oven proof bowl or crock you have.


2 c cooked shredded chicken
2 T butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium red or yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed small
1 1/2 c frozen peas and carrots
1/3 c flour
1 c chicken broth
3/4 c milk or cream
1 T dried thyme
1 T dried tarragon
S & P
1 sheet of puff pastry*
1 egg, beaten

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the onion.  Cook over medium heat until softened and translucent, stirring often.  Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes.  Turn up the heat and add the flour, whisking until you have a thick roux.  Slowly add the broth and milk, stirring until bubbly.  Add the chicken, potatoes, peas and carrots, and dried herbs, and let simmer about 5 minutes.  Taste a spoonful of the mixture and add salt and pepper if needed.  While this is going on, lay out your sheet of puff pastry on a floured surface and gently roll out about an inch or so on all sides.  Using a knife or pastry wheel, cut the pastry so you have four even squares.  Ladle the chicken mixture evenly in your oven proof bowls and gently press a piece of pastry on each one, pressing down along the edges with a fork to secure in place.  Brush each one with the beaten egg and make an X with a knife in the center fo the steam to escape.  Place the bowls on a sheet pan and place in a 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is a pretty golden brown.  Enjoy!
*Please note that you need to take the puff pastry out of your freezer about 30 minutes before using.  If it's too soft it will be sticky and difficult to work with. 





 With my thoughts leaping ahead to cooler days with all the cozy scents of fall in the air, I'm dreaming of pies, muffins, chunky cookies, and quick breads, I decided I had to give you one of my favorite cookie recipes that is definitely for grownups.  I love these in the afternoon with a cup of Joe or tea, or maybe a few after dinner just for that last sweet bite for the day.  Of course you can keep them in your cookie jar for the kiddos, but if you know they're there, they might not be around long!  

This recipe comes from longtime favorite blogger, Julie Blanner, and credit for this photo goes to her as well.  I did write it out myself rather than provide a link.


Caramel Cheesecake Cookies

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1 bag of caramels

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Combine  cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla.  Beat in mixer until fluffy.
Gradually add the flour and graham cracker crumbs.

Roll a somewhat large ball of dough, about the size of two cookie scoops.  Make a hole into the center with your thumb and insert a caramel.  Gently roll back into a ball.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and continue with the rest of the dough.

Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and press each cookie with the bottom of a glass that has been buttered.  Press gently and give it a bit of a turn.  Return the pan to the oven for an additional 3 minutes.  
You can serve these warm but if you can't, 10 seconds in the microwave will work.  Yields 24 cookies.  




Happenings...  

So other than  running around pumpkin patches with the kiddo's and enjoying fall and some cozy time in the kitchen, much more goes on behind the blog.  Lots of ups and downs, but I really don't do a lot of, 
"Why me?" Not because I'm a Martyr or comparing myself constantly to others who are much more worse off, its more because I'm used to the barest of normalcy in my life--I say this with a little giggle but if we had a timeline going for the past few years, and my blog is proof positive, I'm always an accident not ready to happen--but happening!😂



In mid September I was happily plugging along, giving the lakehouse a good end-of-year cleaning, doing some additional planting and mulching in the yard, and just soaking in this pause in time, a sort of yawn if you will.  Most people leave the lake for the winter just after Labor Day, even those with year round homes so everything seems to slow down and become mellow.  I felt so much more content in enjoying my morning  coffee on the front porch with Poppy and Layla.  We took long slow walks down the quiet roads and I started making fires inside in the evenings. The three of us just sat on the couch hypnotized and peaceful.

And then one afternoon (drumroll) I walked out the service door to the garage, arms full with a dozen things, and missed the bottom step.  Down I went, it felt like slow motion.  I felt like a pretzel when I landed on the garage floor, my legs all twisted under me.  I could feel the pain in my right leg and instinct told me to get it out from under my bum and it was excruciating as I maneuvered this.  Whew!  I sat and thought for awhile, Layla was scurrying around under the boat and trailer (she was one of the things I was carrying as I was on the way to  a last minute appointment getting her into a vet).  I knew I had to get back in the house and I also knew my right leg was messed up and the pain was getting worse.  Well, I won't make this any longer...I hope.  I bumped my way up the steps on my rear end, was able to open the door, and then crawled into the kitchen.  Oh, and my good ten minutes of thinking was crucial, I dragged my purse, with my phone in with me.  I mean, actually had a plan.  But there was no one to call, the lake people had gone home.  It was just me and the dogs.  This is beginning to sound like a screenplay for a movie.  Okay, I crawled to the fridge to get an icepack, then realized I could pull myself up by using the drawer of the freezer and the countertop just across from it.  No small feat as I couldn't put weight on my right leg. And then I thought another five minutes or so--these things need to be multi-tasked. I needed to get into the great room and then I would not be able to get anywhere else.  I grabbed the icepack, my phone, a water bottle, and a bottle of wine, and then did a hop until I could reach a dining room chair and then used that to get to the couch and collapse.  The ice pack numbed my lower leg which was like a balloon, and the wine went down really well, too. The dogs and I were able to get through the night other than me and the chair making a run to the powder room.  





 
The Husband was up the next morning.  This man has saved my butt more times than I can count.  He once had to rescue me when I was down in Key West and had a little trouble with...er, the law.  He drove form Michigan to Chicago, caught a flight to Miami, and drove two hours to Key West to bring me back home.  But that's a story for another blog post.  

So, I have a fractured tibia.  I'm growing new bone as we speak.  I am following doctor's orders to the letter, I want to dance again. And I mean that.  And run.  And play hopscotch with my grandkids.  This party ain't over yet! 🥳🥳🥳.  Oh, Layla finally made it to the vet, she had to have nine teeth pulled (and not from being flung across the garage), and to the tune of what would amount to a down payment on a new car.  


In other news, we are getting new wood floors in part of our house, this will be a fine mess.  The Husband has one more case yet to bring to a closure and he will really and truly be retired.  I consider him reeeeeeeally retired because he is underfoot every single day.  He spends most of his time researching the Civil War, just when you think there was nothing left he didn't know, his coin collection, which takes up a lot of room and seems useless to me since I can't use it as actual currency, and new properties to invest in, preferably in Tennessee where you don't have to pay property taxes and we would most likely have to take up full residency.  But he's still underfoot.

I actually deleted the last part of this post which makes for a whole new post coming soon.  I promise it won't be "all about me."  

I hope all of you are well, physically and mentally.  It's going to be a long winter, hard on those of us who want to be near family and friends but risk too much health wise.  I have been managing to get out to do my grocery shopping, the pharmacy, doctor appointments 🙄, but I sure would love a trip to Target or TJ Maxx!  That's a thing of the past with this new wave of the virus on top of flu season.  I feel my life with The Husband hasn't changed too drastically In this pandemic.  Other than family parties, get-togethers, and holidays, we have always pretty much stayed at home and chilled doing our familiar comfortable things.  We actually make popcorn and watch a movie once in awhile on a Saturday night.  I love to cook so we sit down for dinner every evening, we may order out once or twice a month.  I like to do my online shopping, in fact I'm working on Christmas already and that's a rarity!  But we have a tight budget with him retiring.  we both enjoy reading and watching the news together.  He does his thing on his iPad and I do blogging, Instagram, shopping, and Googling all my medical issues on my laptop.  We play with the dogs a lot.  

This has been a lot to read, my friends, I know.  If you made it this far you deserve a medal!  I promise to catch up on your blogs.  I reached a point after being non existent here for two months, that it would be odd to pop in on you and then you'd come back here to something you read way back when.  

I leave you with this...

Our Lucy June and her dog Rusty~~






Yuck!!!!!


Jane xxx

29 comments:

Theresa said...

Welcome back! I am happy to hear that you enjoyed your time at the lake but OOPS to the fall:( Hope you heal well and quickly. Thanks for the recipe, WE love chicken pot pie at my house. Cute pics of all of the little ones, that last one is too precious... the look on her face is priceless. Enjoy your day dear friend, don't stay gone so long and take care of that leg. HUGS!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I will definitely try to bake those cookies.

Sorry about your accident. I have some colossal falls myself, but with time, I have bounced back, somewhat whole, but unfortunately, not wiser. I have always pushed myself to get things done and prove that I am still capable.

Your girls are adorable and I love their outfits.

Good luck on your husband’s retirement. As long as he keeps himself busy, you will be fine.

Debra@CommonGround said...

whew, it's been too long! your girlies are too cute, and those outfits!! your photos are priceless, Jane. I had to laugh about researching all our problems and health junk; good grief where would we be without the info? I've found I just cannot depend on the doctors, I've had to be even more proactive than before. Please take it easy on that leg, and good luck with the retirement. We're in the process too. fun. xoxo

Billie Jo said...

Hello! SO nice to see you here. I so enjoyed visiting with you, with the exception of reading about your accident! Thank you for sharing the recipes. They both look delicious. Stay safe and cozy. I am doing much the same here, which is beginning my Christmas shopping online. : )

Dewena said...

Jane, your night of being alone after your accident just horrifies me! You're the one who deserves a medal for bravery for that. I have to stop myself or I could be imagining all sorts of things that could have happened during that night. It makes me realize the truth of my husband cautioning me to take my phone with me everywhere I go around the house and garden, which I hate to do. But it sounds as if you are managing to accomplish so much despite your injury. I have a feeling that nothing keeps you down very long. That's good news about a new era of retirement for your husband! You two will have so much fun once this blasted virus has gone away but your cozy times at home now sound wonderful too. His passion for Civil War research is so cool! And those sweet cousins! They are all so adorable! I signed up for emails from the children's clothing line but the link to Emily's Instagram account didn't work. Perhaps you can fix it? Please take care!

Vee said...

Oh dear! What a nightmare for you and Layla. Glad that you both are on the mend. You know, I was really enjoying myself reading this post until that moment when... The grandgirlies are adorable and I enjoy hearing about their antics and adventures. Here's to better days ahead!

Anonymous said...
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Lorrie said...

So nice to read this chatty post, Jane, but oh my goodness, you are a brave woman to get yourself set up for the night alone with a broken tibia! I'm glad you are on the mend. Such a talented daughter and cute grandgirlies you have. I hope you heal well.

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

Am I the only one dying to know about your trouble in key west? You’re such a tease! Maybe this is one more thing we have in common? 😂😉

Lynne said...

It is always “the best” to visit your posts.
News, information, delightful photos of the littles,
city house, lake house, foods, recipes, style, and more
and a terrible fall . . . not FALL terrible,
a “flying fall” with arms full, doggie too,
missing the step into the garage.

And the best, about a visit with you . . . REAL

(please . . . a blog visit to me will leave you empty.)
I keep promising myself to “get on with it!”

“Mister Irish” loves Chicken Pot Pie . . . Thank You
Be kind to that tibia . . . and all of self!!

La Contessa said...

NOW THAT WAS A FUN READ!
TERRIFYING ENDING.........HOWEVER!
I think when I started READING YOU you had broken something???
YOUR GRAND DAUGHTER is ADORABLE!
THOSE COOKIES SOUND AMAZING!!!!!!!
YOU ARE FULL OF INFORMATION!
KEEP US ENTERTAINED!!!
BIG HUGS TO YOU..............XX

Bluebird49 said...

The girls are just delicious!
I am so sorry you tell and admire your thinking in that ride situation. Now darn it, Jane,I want to hear about Key West -- and every detail!!☺ I don't get out any, so you must take pity on me and entertainment me more.
Nothing going on here,cexcept..OH! Covid! Almost forgot that!
And the election ads are driving me nuts! Nothing ever seems to change no matter who gets in, so goodness, stop with the ads and the Robocalls!
I loved your beautiful pictures, and your post is never too long because you write so well, dear.
I do hope full on retirement will be good for you two. We've got 10 years of it under our belts Ed retired at 62, because he could not, would not wait.) So...it's been interesting. It's not bad, but I will just say my life changed as dramatically as it did when we had our first child. (Take from that what you will!) I don't like to talk so much, he never stops talking; I'm fine having somw alone time, guess who isn't; I like to read, he likes to watch tv and tell me about the show in real time. Yes, he is still alive and I love him dearly and he puts up with me somehow!
Start on that Key West story now kiddo!
Oh, our oldest grandson, Rob, and his wife are expecting zgain. Henry turned two in June, Connor is 10 months and there will be a third in about June! Yes, they planned to have three at least, and wanted them close. They are so cute.
David's Crohn's is under control right now,and if I could talk my dear Kat into eating more than a morsel of food a day! Okay, I'm sort of exaggerating, but..she is 13.
All the grands would be in great shape if I didn't worry about her seeming obsession with NOT eating, but her parents will have to deal with that. 😊
Great to see your newsy post. I really miss hearing what's going on with you. Well, except when you fall all by yourzslf, dear. Try to avoid that in the future! 😯I'm
Have an interesting Halloween, if you all are allowed to have one. I am a bit tired of pandemics!
💕

Bluebird49 said...

Sorry for the typos and completely weird words---- this Kindle has a spell check that I'd like to kick in the,well, wherever it might help! It comes up with the most otherworldly things, and I always forget to check before I post! 😮 Argh!

Jeanie said...

Good grief, girl! What a time of it. I'm so sorry you are laid up with the foot -- that had to be seriously scary. Well done with the crawl to the fridge and smart move, getting wine, ice and I hope a remote, too. I hope the recovery period isn't too long or too painful.

Till then it was a great post, telling of wonderful things and good times. Yes, I'm longing for Target too. Not happening. Neither are toddlers. But as I say, I'd rather be around to see them next Christmas or watch them play soccer when they get in grade school than visit now, though I'm missing the bonding.

The porches look terrific! Your daughter is very talented. And thanks for the recipes, too!

Scribbler said...

Your daughter does great work! I enjoy looking at her IG posts. Chicken pot pie is the best, and this version looks delish so I am saving that and the one for cookies. I hope your ankle is about mended. I do NOT envy the process of getting those new floors. That is why I don't have any. Tennessee is a beautiful state, but I am not sure you would find it a good fit as a lifelong Northerner.

It is always fun to read your posts.

Naomi (Angel Numbers) said...

I went over to your daughter's website. She is indeed a very talented designer. Hope you get okay soon. Regards Naomi Archangel Raphael Prayers

Helen said...

Hello!! I had wondered where you were and what was happening in your life ~~~ WOW and now I know. Things were going along swimmingly as I read this post (especially that truly amazing cookie recipe) until I arrived at the horrific news of your fall. I cannot imagine how you made it until your husband arrived! Brave Lady you are! So, dear Jane, no more walking down steps with loaded arms. That’s an order. Continue embracing life as I know you do ....
love,
Helen

It's me said...

Hi Jane...i’am so sorry to hear from your accident... hope everything will recover soon....what a nice picture from those three cousins girls...like that cookies cheesecake you make...and owww sweet little model in her cute dress...love her....please stay safe darling love from me Ria 🍀💕🍀

Kit said...

How does the mending go? I am sorry you had such a spill. I always figure some day my hubby will find me at the bottom of the cellar stairs, with a pile of decor scattered all about....lol I think we try to multi task too much. You have a Happy Halloween! Quiet one here with Covid numbers up but we will watch movies and have a bit of fun! Kit

Terra said...

Oh Blondie I so enjoyed all the happy things you shared about your beautiful summer place on the lake, your cute little girl modeling clothes, those recipes and then your surprise ending which turned dark. I am glad you crawled and scooted your way to safety and your hubby came to your rescue. Then you hinted about your run in with the law years ago, now that sounds interesting. Be a good girl and follow doctor's orders so your leg heals, I know you will.

Melanie said...

Your grandkids are so adorable! And that chicken pot pie looks and sounds delicious. That's something I haven't made in awhile. Definitely need to put that on the list for this fall/winter. I knew about your fall and break from IG. I am so sorry; it's always something. I hope that you heal soon. Do you have to go to PT?

Karen thisoldhouse2.com said...

Jeez you sure know how to fill a blog post!! I love this post , but not the tragedy of the mangled leg, that had to be really scary too, being alone to deal with it immediately. AND.. now you KNOW I really want to hear about that brush with the law! LOL....

Sarah said...

Jane, I can't imagine getting through the night with the pain you must have experienced. Thankfully you can laugh about it now.I've always admired your sense of humor! Fun to catch up. Take care and get that leg healed and healthy !

Jen Kershner said...

Your grand girls are so dear! I was on pins and needles reading your story about your fall! Oh Jane, if it's not one thing, it's another! Heal well, friend. And hunker down and stay safe this winter.

The Crowned Goat said...

So much fun to catch up on all that you've been up to, Jane! I can't believe you had such a crazy fall. I know firsthand how painful that can be so I'll definitely be praying for a full and complete recovery. it sounds scary! Love seeing all the girls and your trips around town to the different pumpkin patches. They're beautiful! Sending you big hugs and hope your holiday season is a special one. I can't believe we're it's almost time! CoCo

Little Wandering Wren said...

Wait you kept your fall to the end! I'd had led with this story - oh no, I hope you are well on the mend? You have a talented family I am following your daughter on Instagram & love the photos of your granddaughters. You have all been busy!
Wren x

Decor To Adore said...

While I love seeing the gorgeous photos of fall in your neck of the woods the photos of the three girls in their Halloween hopping joy is delightful. The photo of the bulldog kiss made me laugh out loud!

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Okay, I'm ready for my medal! Not only did I make it all the way through, I enjoyed every word. Of course, I'm way late on reading this. Grandkiddos are adorable. The cookies look amazing. By now, I hope your leg has improved. I am dreading the winter, and this new wave of Coronavirus. I think it's way worse where you are than it is here in the northeast. We are hoping to drive down to Florida in January but waiting to see what's going on there re: covid. Hopeful about the vaccine but it will take a long time for enough people to get it. I won't be first in line, though. I will get it when my comfort level allows. I hope they make some big leaps in therapeutics in the meantime. Stay well, Jane! Happy almost-Thanksgiving!

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Hi Jane... Welcome back Jane. You have been missed. Great post. Btw... I ordered the water bottle and I'm going to mention it on my blog. Of course, I am giving you all the credit. I need to get back on the water train again. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!