Saturday, October 23, 2021


Lucy June, my Lulu

Hello friends.  I'm glad to be back so soon.  If you read my post from last week, which you can find here, you'll know that I've had a hectic year with many lows.  When I finally sat down and wrote and then read your comments after, a feeling of relief came out like a long sigh.  I felt again the community we have in blogging and in sharing our thoughts, feelings, recipes, photos, and all the good times and bad.  It was like getting a warm hug.  I began planning another post soon after and I'm looking forward to keeping it going. 😊

Above is a picture of Lucy, or as I like to call her, Lulu.  She'll be two next month.  This is Madelyn's little sister.  She is what a lot of people call a "Covid" baby, as in we didn't get to spend much time with her as we normally would have.  Now we are best buds and I love that she is all over me when I see her with her chirpy little greeting, "Hi Gama"!  My son also has a little guy going on two, Bobby, and he's the most sweetest  little boy with blonde hair and blue eyes.  I'll have to steal one of his pictures!

Abby, me, and Squall
Diamond Lake 10/16/21

And then as I mentioned last week, My baby, Abby, and her Tom, are having their own baby and she's due December 18.  So a Christmas baby rather than Covid.  I really can't wait to help her out, even if it's cooking and cleaning just to get them over that bumpy, no sleep, exhausting time.  And it will be so nice to get out of the house to do something more than grocery shopping, seeing doctors, and errands.  I truly missed my regular activities and energy while we were going through the pandemic, and then after the awful surgery and recovery.  Tom is a high school teacher, as is Abby, and his the school is basically three blocks down the street.  He's home at 3:00 p.m., so that's a blessing.  And then an entire summer off.  

We've had ongoing exterior renovations at the lakehouse since late August.  The wood front porch and balcony shown above had been slowly rotting over the past fifteen years due to the natural elements, especially harsh Michigan winters.  It actually took me three summers to find the right contractor.  People showed up and then never returned.  Others never showed at all.  And then there were companies we just didn't trust.  But finally I struck gold and although the tear down and rebuild was costly, it was a structural accident waiting to happen.  

If you look on my sidebar you can see that the cottage was previously painted blue.  How I hated that color.  One of my neighbors said she liked it, that it looked like a "Storybook Cottage", then I knew I had to jump on painting it.  I dreamed of a classic white home with black trim.  It suits the double A frame.  This is a dreary October photo which will change in the spring with the lights changed out, the front door painted, some new shrubs and flowers, outdoor furniture, and the sidewalk weeded and power washed.  Happy days coming soon!   

This is the lakeside of the house (above is the street side).  I love the sun these windows that let the shine in.  At night it looks spectacular from outside with the glow of the lights.  A boxwood hedge and stone wall separate a small yard and meanders down to our beach.  The covered patio is to the left and I'll get to that another time.    

And here we have the guest house, or as the kids always called it, The Little House.  It's basically my larger than normal She Shed, with a great porch for sitting and reading quietly, and a closer view of the lake where I can watch the geese, ducks, swans, and turtles pruning and sunbathing.  Inside are all the comforts of home; an old drop leaf table and chairs for my writing, some comfy wicker furniture, and a TV that gets little reception.  There are two small closets that open and twin size Murphy beds pull out.  With seven screened windows, it's like sitting or sleeping in a birdhouse or nest up in the trees!  I've shared photos of the inside but I'm going to switch out some of the cushions and pillows this coming spring for a different color scheme inside. 

On a different and sadder subject, and the most upsetting thing that rocked my world this year, was the passing of my brother about four weeks ago.  He had just been diagnosed with cancer of the chest wall, and was optimistic and in good spirits when he began chemotherapy.  He was in great shape as a life long athlete, baseball and football coach, in addition to his recent retirement from 47 years of high school teaching.  Three weeks after the first chemo, it was found it had damaged his  previously healthy heart and he died September 26 of a massive heart attack.  I still feel like I'm in shock.  That he's gone and how this wasn't in the game plan.  The days down near Louisville for his funeral, surrounded by his family, friends, colleagues, students,  young and grown men he had taught and coached over most of his lifetime, and my sisters, was so, so painful.  I can't think about him without tearing up.  So I'll end it here.  Rest in peace Bro.  

Roasted Tandoori Chicken

I mentioned in my last post that I was experimenting with some cultural recipes to get out of the same old routine and experiment with different flavors.  Indian spices and the combination of them really intrigue me and if you don't have the ones called for in this recipe, fear not, your regular grocery store has them stocked and you can get the small sizes if you don't think you'll be using them much.

In this photo (credit: The Modern Proper) you can see that a whole chicken was used in the recipe.  It has been spatchcocked, or the spine broken and removed to spread the whole chicken flat.  I did this once and although it worked, I need to brush up on my technique because it was difficult and the chicken looked pretty mangled.  Have you ever done this?

I adapted the recipe from the food blog The Modern Proper  and made some personal changes.  I used chicken thighs to retain that crispiness and juicy meat without all the work of spatchcocking.  I also used coconut flavored yogurt and it worked well.  And finally, I tasted the yogurt and spice blend and found I wanted a bit more cinnamon and cayenne pepper.  What a great juxtaposition.  If you make this, let me know and please share any new~to~you recipes in your comments.  

Roasted Tanddori Chicken

2 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, skin on, trimmed of fat
1/2 c Greek coconut flavored yogurt (or plain)
3+ T fresh lemon juice
1 T fresh ginger (about a 1 inch piece)*
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t ground turmeric
1 T chili powder
1-2 t cayenne pepper
2 t cinnamon
2 t cumin 
1+ t sea salt
A handful of fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, and dried spices.  Add in salt to taste.

Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet on top of a rack if you have one.  You will still get the crispiness without one.  Slather the yogurt mixture on the whole pieces of chicken,  I did this over the sink with a large spoon.  Place on rack.

Roast for approximately 45 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest part.  Sprinkle with additional sea salt and serve over fresh cilantro or parsley, reserving some to to lightly dust on top.  Serves approximately 6.

* I keep my fresh ginger in the freezer for about 6 months.  If using a small portion as required in this recipe, there is no need to peel it, simply grate if finely.  DO NOT attempt to cut a piece of frozen garlic with a knife, it's dangerous!  It's not hard, however,  to break off a chunk. 

Thanks so much for visiting and for leaving comments on my last post.  It made me feel a lot more positive in so many ways. 

Next weekend is the baby shower for Abby.  I'm in charge of the floral arrangements, cake table decor, and the funding! πŸ˜‚.  I am very excited and I'll be sure to take an excessive amount of pics to share in my next post.

Jane x


NanaDiana said...

I am so sorry about your brother...having lost my only brother (sibling) to a fast moving cancer, I certainly understand what you are going through.

The house looks great and the guest 'cottage' is darling. Miss my home and playhouse on the bay. xo Diana

Patti @ Pandoras Box said...

Sending condolences for the loss of your brother. Your home is so cute and I would enjoy the "little House", relaxing on that cute porch! Have a great weekend

Vee said...

So very sorry for your loss. You two definitely look like siblings. Yes, chemo can kill a heart very quickly. You and my doctor are the only people I "know" who have ever mentioned it.

And warm congrats on the new grandbabies. A Christmas baby is always very special.

The cottage looks wonderful. Anyone who was ultimately able to find quality help did well over this period of time. Most of us just suffered without.

A blessed week to you...

Lynne said...

Oh my Jane . . . You have had quite a year.
And now the sudden death of your brother,
how, sudden, sad, sorrowful . . .
I will be keeping you in my heart . . .

Loved seeing your granddaughter, excitement of the upcoming December birth
and I will look forward to seeing pictures of that blue eyed boy.

My cooking isn’t as exciting as yours, I will leave it at that.
I do make a scrumptious Pumpkin Bar!

Stay well and safe Jane, be tender with yourself.
I’ll be thinking of you . . .

Gypsy Heart said...

Jane, I’m so very sorry for your loss. It’s so sad that chemo does so much damage to the body while trying to cure the disease. My heart goes out to you.

The house is looking good! I know you’ll enjoy decorating it. You are so blessed to have so many grands. There’s no way life could be better…they bring so much joy!

I hope you’re taking care of yourself.

Lorrie said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your dear brother. I know you miss him very much. Hugs to you.

Your lake house looks spectacular - I can just imagine all the light coming in from those windows. Gorgeous!

The Tandoori Chicken sounds delicious. I've been experimenting with some Persian meals and am enjoying that, too.

Take good care,

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Jane, first, my heartfelt condolences on the passing of your brother. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him. My husband lost his brother last week. A tragic, shouldn't-have-happened-this-way-story.
Your house looks lovely in its new black and white paint. The ingredients in the chicken recipe sound very appealing - I may have to try it. How lovely to be surrounded by your grandchildren! And a new one on the way - what a Merry Christmas it will be!

Rita C at Panoply said...

Oh my God, Kane, I am so sorry for your brother's death. That's such a brutal way he had to die after beginning the already unimaginable feat of loving through chemo. I just can't imagine the pain I'll feel when a sibling of mine dies but I really feel for you and what you've endured with two. Sending you light, love, peace and prayers for a healing g spirit. I can remember your posts of celebrating with him in Louisville for a wedding. Hold those golden memories close.

Rita C at Panoply said...

*Jane. I apologize for my less than stellar finger typing on a handheld.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I am so sorry to hear about your brother. Your lake cottage looks great.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your brother. Your lake house looks like the most wonderful place for a get away. I thought a bit about what you said, regarding Covid babies. It will be interesting in the future, for those who are in that category, they'll bond because they are deemed "Covid babies" (like baby boomers, for example). Take care. -Jenn

It's me said...

Thanks for your nice email….love lulu…and Owww wish you live close by me…than I would ask you if I could use your little guest house with Leaf for a while….love from me … Enjoy Ria πŸ§‘πŸπŸ‚πŸŒ»πŸŒΎπŸ€πŸ§‘

mary scott said...

My heart goes out to you on your tremendous loss. What a shock you all have had to endure. Blessings to you & your entire family.
My mother had cancer, the chemo took care of the fadt growing cells, but not the slow growing. They tried a different chemo, but the echocardiogram showed heart damage from it. It had to be stopped and the cancer spread.

Jeanie said...

Oh Jane, I am so very sorry about your brother's untimely passing. That has to hit like the biggest gut punch ever. Big heart hugs to you and to your family.

Your little Lulu is a doll and I'm glad you are finally having time to bond. And it's fun to see the lake house. Boy, do I ever know what you mean about contractors. When we had our porch done, it was hard enough to get someone to say they would come give you a quote, much less actually show up. We finally ended up with the ones that came and it was fine, but not that fine! It looks terrific. I'm dreading having to go through it again in another year or so for a roof.

Thanks for sharing the good sounding recipes and again, it is so good to see you back on the blog!

jp@A Green Ridge said...

Hey Jane, so good to see you here and hear from you! Loosing a loved one is always so hard, soul searching...perhaps that's why it's so hard. Thoughts and prayers, as
(BTW my new blog address is:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I found this post! I wondered if you were still blogging at all even though I see you on IG. I have been mostly absent there, too. Your posts for some reason are going in my junk mail, as are others I do not want to miss. I don't want to miss, so I do scroll through before I delete thousands of them, but I guess I missed the one before. I did go back and read.

I will message you in a day or two on IG. Hang in there. You are a strong woman, and probably have handled all the adversities you mention far better than many of us would have.

Helen said...

I love reading your updates and copying your recipes .... I also live the 'young life' vicariously through stories about children having children. Ah.... those were the days. Happy Week to you.

Kim said...

Jane, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. I'm sure your heart just aches so. Sending you big hugs my friend. The baby talk is wonderful, all those tiny hearts and hands are a joy to be around. xo said...

Hello. So very sorry about your brother. Always hard to lose our family. Especially in these times. Happy for Abby! Take care. Kit

Susie said...

Blondie, I am so sorry about your brother's passing. HUGs to you. I see your family is growing with new babies. That can helps us in sad times. Blessings sweet girl, xoxo, Susie

Theresa said...

Love your lake house and the little house too! Your LULU is adorable and so happy that you get to spend more time with her. I know you are excited for the Christmas baby to arrive.

I am SO sorry that you lost your Brother. I lost 3 siblings in 5 months, 2 Sisters and 1 Brother:(. My heart still hurts and will for the rest of my days.

Sending HUGS and PRAYERS your way!

babs said...

So good to see you back here and on Instagram. Your cottage looks awesome. We did an addition and was fortunate to find a contractor that was super! The painful loss of your brother is something that’s so difficult to understand and embrace. My brother lived five weeks from diagnosis to death! Cancer. We still are reeling from his death. Miss him terribly. Sending caring thoughts! As for the crap year, you can only look forward..good things are happening. Surgery is behind you. Wishing you good health and healing.

A Joyful Cottage said...

Jane, I'm so sorry about your loss. I know how that feels, as I lost my oldest brother when I was 29. I'm so glad you have family around you, and good things like a new grandbaby to look forward to. That' so exciting. Lulu is adorable. The renovation of your lake house is stunning. Hugs.

Ellen D. said...

Glad to see you back posting again. Sorry for your loss and I hope happier memories shared with family will bring you comfort.
A new baby always brings hope for the future to a family, doesn't it? Enjoy the baby shower!

Sarah said...

Jane, I've always loved the way you write. I feel as if we are sitting side by side chatting. Lulu is adorable, and looks like her Gama!
Exciting that Abby is going to be a mom. I know you are in your element with all these precious littles in your life. I envy you.
I've already written about the loss of your brother, but let me say again how sad I am for you. I lost my older brother the year Monnie and I married. It's been 46 years, yet I miss him dearly.
Take care of yourself. I'm glad you are so much better and have these happy times with your darling family.

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

Hello, Dear Jane, I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of your brother. I can't imagine the loss - I've never had a brother, but I've always wished for one. He is so handsome and I hope his memory brings blessings to your heart. xx
Your lake-house looks wonderful with the new paint and front porch. I do love the white with black trim. My daughter just painted her house the same. It is so classic and it looks wonderful with the large windows. The little guest house is so charming and such a lovely place to relax and enjoy the views. I'm so glad that you have this special place to escape to.
Your sweet little Lulu is a doll and it is so exciting to have another little one soon to be born. The family just keeps growing and new memories created to continue the legacy.
The Tandoori chicken sounds so delicious. I will try this - I am in such a cooking rut, lately. So exciting about the shower. I hope that you have a wonderful time - can't wait to see the photos. Sending hugs xo K

Mary said...

You and your ever growing family have been in my thoughts dear Jane. So very sad that you lost your dear brother - just can't imagine how terrible this is for everyone.
Bob and I send love and warm hugs.

Red Rose Alley said...

What a treasured photo of you and your brother. Thinking of you, Jane, during this time of sorrow, and sending thoughts of comfort and love.


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