It really is feeling like fall here in the Upper Midwest. No more running out without a sweater or jacket, the flip flops are packed away and the boots are out! We had tons of rain last week, non stop gloom. I kept busy though. My little partner in crime, Miss Emily, flew off to Seattle with Mike to visit his brother. She texted pictures everyday. They had a great time (their plane just arrived back in Chicago) and I was happy to see them get away. They work so hard. I've only been to Seattle once and just for a brief time; we flew in and stayed two days and then rented a car to drive to Vancouver. Just a beautiful, beautiful part of the country.
I made a trip to Hobby Lobby and Michael's Thursday (and totally forgot which street each one was on so it took me 45 minutes instead of 15). I had come across a craft on a blog and I got so excited about making it that I nearly peed myself! Well, it's a Christmas craft and I'm still working on it...maybe I'll give you a peek in my next post. :)
This (above), my friends, is Hungarian Goulash and you can find the recipe here. This is one of our favorite comfort food meals here and I was even heating up bowls for the boys when they'd stop by (the key is to not tell them the name). I think I gave you the recipe last year, it's a stew that has a little kick of nutmeg, allspice and cloves that just takes it out of this world. Tyler Florence does not add these spices, but I do. And this recipe makes a lot of goulash so you'll want a good heaping tablespoon of these things. Also, he used potatoes for starch, I used egg noodles. Play with it. Yum! :)
Friday night was rain and gloom and cold and it's hard to leave one warm house to walk into the cold lakehouse at 11:00 p.m. So we set the alarm for 5 a.m. Saturday morning, which in my book is not much better, and we were there by 8. Alas, the rain never abated. While we were gone this week, The Husband had a guy come in and install a wireless thermostat for us so that we can now control the heat and a/c from wherever we'd like. Well, fiddling with that kept The Husband busy most the day. I sat and pouted over losing another day to the rain. Around 4 he saw my glum face and said, "Forget about that chicken and squash I bought for you to make." (puleeeeez) "Let's go to the bar for a burger and a beer!" And all was good.
Sunday dawned sunny, the lake sending up a mist into the cool air. The front lawn looked so pretty I didn't even want to rake!
Sadly, the flowers had to go. Go ahead, call me a Murderess. I don't know what I was feeding these things this summer, I lost the annuals in the city weeks ago. But I tossed them, poured the rich soil into my old veggie patch, and scrubbed the pots with a dry brush. The Husband lovingly stored them in the shed with all of my other decorative pieces and we bid adieu until next spring.
...while I sat on the cold wet beach on an old rug, plucking at the errant grass and watching the leaves scatter.
I have a rule. I never take anything from the lakehouse to bring home. Some things are just "meant" to be there. But I had to make an exception for this big old wooly throw. It is thick and soft and heavy and it has provided me with The Best naps anyone could ask for; in the dead cold winter in front of the fire, or in the summer, atop a cotton sheet when the a/c is making my sunburned skin chill. So it's here in Chicago with me for a few months. It won't get lonely here.
We will be back up soon, we have commitments here for the next three weekends but I'm sure we'll have a weekend to squeeze in before Thanksgiving. After all, we have all those truckloads of firewood!
If you've ever met Carol from Art And Sand, you will know that nothing matches her creativity and love of art and color other than her big heart. She made these banners and we all fell in love with them. So she had a giveaway and we could choose what we wanted her to spell out. I was a winner!! Thank you so much, Carol! Pay her a visit...she has a wonderful blog. :)
I have so many websites that I love to shop at and I love to share the wonderful things I find that I think are really unique. One of my favorite places to go to when I'm planning a casual party, especially one outdoors, is Smarty Had A Party. I bought some of their disposable dishes, napkins and serve-ware for a party at the lake a few years ago and I never received so many compliments. If you don't want to use good dishes, or even your melamine, these products will take your event up a notch and people will be loving you for your good taste! Below you will see the bamboo forks and knives I used for a backyard barbeque this past summer. And I keep these on hand for Abby to bring in her lunch at work (she gets the compliments, too). I was really, really surprised the other day when a box arrived in the mail and these cute disposable Leafware dishes were inside. Made from fallen palm leaves, they are just perfect rustic goodness for this time of year. Can you imagine a fall bonfire with S'mores piled high on these? Maybe to serve your goodies on at a tailgate party? And you know what? I've only mentioned this website because I really like it, I've never been asked to promote it. And this was their "thank you". A big thank you back at ya!!
And I almost forgot, I brought these home from the lake. My original ice skates, ca. 1991. I found them hanging in a corner of the garage and I thought I would be really all Pottery Barn-like and hang them on my front door at Christmas. God knows I can't stand on them now! lol!
And look what came today! Finally, after a month without a stove. I nearly threw the electric skillet and crackpot out the window! We decided on this model which was available right away as opposed to another we would have had to have waited weeks for. And honestly, I don't remember what the other model had that I wanted so badly. I love the little griddle. And it has 5 burners! I have a big stew bubbling away on it right now. I wanted to make a nice roast for my "first dinner", but I'm trying to use up that abundance of veggies I still have. Bon Appetite!
Tomorrow I have a very early appointment to get my stitches out. Normally this wouldn't bother me much except my hand took a turn for the worse and my incisions are infected. This started happening Friday so there wasn't very much I could do. I talked to my surgeon's nurse and since I don't have a fever or oozing, I'm good until tomorrow. I am such a baby...I'm praying this can be taken care of without the need for a sharp needle or stiff brush. My hand is so sore as it is, I can't bear the thought of anyone coming near it. And today I also scheduled my next surgery for November 10th. Gulp. To add injury to insult, this surgery will be on my left hand and yes, you guessed it, I'm left handed! I guess things are going to get worse before they get better.
I have some good days ahead of me, a few things that are very hush hush (!), but I will be back this weekend filling you in! :)