Tuesday, September 30, 2014

FALL BEAUTY & SOME COMINGS & GOINGS


If you happened to hear from me over the weekend, you'll know we didn't go to Las Vegas as planned.  We had (and still do) a big mess at both of our airports due to an incident where an employee at the nearby FAA location sabotaged major radar equipment.  So our flight, among hundreds others were cancelled.  I did however, get an earlier reprieve from going when The Husband found out two other wives had to cancel and it was turning into more of a "guys trip".  That made me happy.  I think The Husband would have had a bit more fun that way...he knows I'm not crazy about this event.  

So, I've had some crazy/busy time since last week as well as some wonderful relaxing "down time".  Have to love that.  I got together with Emily on Thursday to run some errands. She was very excited, telling me about a garden center that had "rainbow" mums.  She knew I didn't want to get mums yet, I don't want them to be faded by mid October!  But she dragged me to this cute little place that I never knew of called Olivia's Garden.  And I'll be darned, we bought mums!  At 6 for $42.00, how could we resist?  Aren't they the prettiest?  








I did a lot of cooking on the grill with not having a stove or oven.  That along with an electric skillet and the microwave. I went to the grocery store on Friday not quite acknowledging I was stoveless.  I did know (or at least thought at the time) that The Husband would be gone for 4 days straight and I didn't want to subsist on junk food.  I had seen a recipe in one of those BH&G Celebrate magazines, which I showed you in my last post,  Cornbread Stuffing. Nope.  Have never made it although I can bet many of you have.  It was insanely good, insanely easy (okay, I baked it on the grill outside and that took some thinking).  But in a nutshell, you can make your own cornbread or use a mix, crumble it up.  Cook up some breakfast sausage and red onion.  Add that along with some fresh spinach and fennel seed.  Toss it together gently and put it in a casserole dish.  Drizzle with with about 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and bake at 325 for 45 minutes.  I have to admit, this was sort of fun to make on the grill.  I don't think it added anything to the flavor, I just sort of felt like a pioneer woman!  Ha!  We just loved it and I think I'm going to have it as a side dish on Thanksgiving along with our regular old dressing.  

I wonder if I could live without a stove like Brenda?  I was craving homemade iced tea yesterday and realized I could actually boil the water in the microwave.  Genius!  And Abby made egg sandwiches last night in the electric skillet that were very good.  I'd consider cancelling Sears except I really want that dishwasher fixed, I'm not that much of a pioneer!










When The Husband left for the lake Sunday morning, I started to have second thoughts that maybe I should have gone.  I was feeling anxious and a little stressed out understandably.  I puttered but I just couldn't shake off this weird feeling that I didn't want him so far away.  Years and years ago, when the kids were very young, he was gone overnight and in the middle of the night I woke up in a panic attack.  A really big one and I did not see it coming nor did I ever forget it.  If you've ever had one, I wish you peace. Fear feeds on fear and it's a bad place to be.  I get twinges of those feelings when he goes away, which is rare.  And I felt those twinges Sunday.  I decided to get into a book, I'd been reading all of my monthly magazines as a little fix because I didn't want to devote hours to a book (and when I start one, I can read for hours on end, usually finishing a whole book in a day or two evenings).  I came upon this one in my Nook library.  Coincidentally, this book was suggested to me by Balsiha at Simply Balisha.  She's a real dear and she wrote about this in a comment on THIS post I wrote about finding my inner peace, learning to survive on my own, being independent.  This book is a memoir of sorts of a woman who has raised her children, is ready to embark on the "second half" of her life and believes she is in a rather shallow marriage (for lack of better words.   I'm giving you my take on this, you can look up the book if you'd like).  So, she escapes to their little cottage on Cape Cod and she spends a year on her own.  She learns to face her fears, get by totally on her own, take chances, live out some of her dreams and for the most part, from what I got out of it, she learns to embrace change, live and love the journey, and  to put her desires first and foremost after 30 years of marriage and children.  This is a truly enlightening book.  I came away with so much from it.  When I have more time I'll tell you more of what I learned from this book as well as the author's website.  And ironically, as I lay in bed Sunday night, all snuggly and warm in my PJ's, with the dogs snoring next to me and the book open...finally feeling a little more calm and relaxed that my guy wasn't lying beside me, I heard a loud banging on the front door.  I ran and looked out the window while Milo and Layla danced and barked crazily.  And there he was, with all his bags and leftover fast food.  I was astounded...to the lake and back in one day?  Why?  "I just had a funny feeling without you there, hon.  I just wanted to come home to you."  My heart melted.  I slept like a baby that night.  Still, I worry about the next time.  There will be a next time.

I'll close now with some happy and exciting news.  We are off to Asheville the first week of November.  I am so excited to see the mountains in the fall.  With a whole week there I am making definite plans to go hiking and see the gardens at The Biltmore Mansion in all of their glory.  We subscribe to a North Carolina publication and I am going to check out all of the events and activities going on.  We are so lucky to have the refund from the airlines or I don't know that we'd be doing this.  I am beyond thrilled.  

I have to get ready for the arrival of the repairman, and I suppose I have no good excuse not to make dinner tonight!  I will post again this weekend before the dreaded surgery Monday.  :)

Jane xx

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BABY NEWS & GIVE ME A HAND!


Now I know you are all anxious to know about that little "gender revealing" party my son Kevin and Mary Clare were having last Friday.  I have a short video (I actually had to crop it to fit so you get the reveal but not the shots of everyone clapping and screaming).  And...you have to watch the video to find out if they are having a boy or girl!  Here goes:


video

 



 

So, Emily and I hit up Homegoods and she found some mercury glass pumpkins and gourds and I found that darling sweater for Layla.  She also had to return something to Old Navy and I found a pair of "Boyfriend" jeans I liked.  I was thrilled to bring them home and try them on only to find they were too big!  Yes, thrilled!  So I have to make a trip back and exchange them but I will be the happiest customer in the store!  The trips to the gym are paying off!



 





After days of texting Emily, "Will you be my hands?  I don't want to be handless!"  I went to my doctor yesterday and yes, the CTS is "marked", but I will have the surgery one hand at a time, the first one will be on October 6, that's about a week and 1/2 away.  Then I can have the other hand done as early as 2 weeks later.  I am so relieved, I really thought I was going to have to type my posts with a pencil poking out of my mouth!  Ha!  I can guarantee, they won't be long posts, and that's not just a threat!  And the housework?  Hmmmm...I'm wondering what The Husband looks like in an apron. 

And so now I am in the "I'm losing my mind" stage.  I never put the office back together as I want to paint it.  I'm halfway finished packing up and donating books in my den so I can start to redo that room.  I'm trying to transition my summer clothes to winter.  I need to reseed and fertilize the front lawn as well as plant some mums I bought last week at Home Depot.  Our oven died the other day, it looks like it may be the computer panel and although I love it dearly, The Husband thinks we've had it way too long.  So we have been ordering food in for a few days and I had to give my apples to Emily, no pie making happening here.  Oh, did I mention we are leaving for Vegas in three days?



We will be home Tuesday and I will be back in touch.  I can keep up to date with emails and comments on my post via my phone.  Oh, I wanted to thank you for all of those nice comments about keeping my blog the way it is.  I definitely plan on doing that.  If anything, I was thinking along the lines of shorter, more frequent posts...moving on to subjects I generally run out of time to write about.  We'll see, but I am truly flattered by what all of you had to say.  

Jane xx

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

TOMATOES TO APPLES AND EVERYTHING ELSE UNDER THE SUN


A big glitch in the whole process was getting the furniture moved out.  I did all the little stuff...lamps and accessories and what not.  We don't like to ask our sons for much...they both work and have homes of their owns.  Anyway, the furniture got moved out, the carpet put in and then we sort of stalled as to who could help bring the furniture back in!  The Husband and I don't like to ask for help, so...a few of my rooms were filled with a coffee table here, an end table there, a sofa table buried under lamps here and pillows tossed all around...for 6 days!  And of course in the middle, we had the plumbing problem which led us to use the back bathroom that then led us, mostly turning sideways to fit, into that far removed back bath.  Okay...the cute Irish plumbers finally made it on Monday.  Friday didn't work and we had to be at the lake for some other obligations.  All in all, it's a done deal.  My cute Irish guy recommends we put a new line in as we have really bad tree root in the plumbing lines.   "In 'foive' years it will be a mess"! Can I stand it?  The guys, not the roots.



Oops, I forgot about my picture that guides me through my posts so I don't go off on tangents (like I just did!), I found these chairs at a little thrift shop in town.  Originally $7.00 each, I got both for $10.00!  The guy is good...he's making a go of it.  I have that small picnic table I painted white in the spring.  It has 2 detached benches.  I always thought it would look cool with a bench on one side and two chairs (like these on the other side).  So...I am going to do three painted navy stripes down the middle of the table,,,something like you'd see on a grain sack...then paint the chairs navy.  Does that sound good?  I'm psyched!  And the extra bench...hmmmm?






As you know, you can find tons of recipes on Pinterest, and I have a few Pinned myself...but then I came across the book that Penny from The Comforts Of Home gifted me with when I was last in Asheville back in May.  Oh, Penny, I'm sorry that I have just now started leafing through this.  And I found this recipe for baked apples in a jar with the crust pressed over.  Isn't this just the best?  I want to make these this week for Susie and Mike, who gave me all the tomatoes and beans.  They won't have to fight over who gets the last piece of the pie! You can also make a regular  8 inch pie with the dough and ingredients but I just happen to have these jars!!  Yes!  If anyone is interested in this book, let me know.  It is written so sweetly by a girl who bought a house that just "happened to be on a farm".  And then it all began. :)










   So here is a pic of my granddog,  Rusty.  Remember him?  He is quite a Facebook celebrity according to his mother (my daughter Emily)  Everyone loves Rusty and you can see why!  Here he is falling asleep next to Mike while he awaits ONE tiny bite of that breakfast cereal!  Nope. Mike's not sharing and Rusty seems to have lost all hope waiting.

And that sullen face leads me to some not so great news.  I'm not one to complain (I can hear my family laughing hysterically).  I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome two  weeks ago after about 6 weeks of symptoms (pain, numbness and tingling in the fingers of both hands and weakness of both wrists).  I also have "trigger" finger in both pinky fingers which is a bit more separate.  I think there are some of you who have had this or know someone who has, so I'm not going to go into that.  I had an EMG today (not fun and I have a very high tolerance for pain).  I get the results tomorrow. Anything above mild will involve surgery.  Blah, blah, blah surgery.  It's the recovery I hate.  6 weeks of recovery...no using your wrists or hands.  Dear God!  No hands?  I will keep you posted.  In the meantime, I wear these really attractive gloves...geez, I can't describe them...sort of wrist bands that resemble fingerless gloves that wrap around half my hand (with a hole for my thumb) and half of my forearm, secured by Velcro.  Apparently moving the wrists at night causes the most pain and is common with those with this condition. Let me vouch for that.  In the first stages I actually paced around the house and cried, not knowing what this was and what I should do.  We (The Husband and I) thought it would get better before worse.  Silly.  I get my results tomorrow.  It looks like surgery with six weeks recovery (as I have been told).  Honest to God...my biggest worry is that The Husband will pack up and leave me if he has to "assist" me in the bathroom.

   

I am not a Fashionista!  Well...maybe I am, I do love shopping for clothes,  Heck, I like jewelry and purses and shoes as well.  I do. That's me.   I follow many fashion blogs and Pin lots of outfits I'd love to put together.  I don't need much for Vegas...the casinos are cold, really cold.  And the temps vary from year to year  We almost always go in October.  One year it was 115 degrees and a few years ago it was cold and actually snowed!  I think I brought that on...I'm pretty talented like that.



Okay...you have probably fallen asleep.   I went a little above and beyond my usual narrative and commentary.  I always hope that you get to know me a bit more with every post...that you see a sort of rhythm in my life...season to season...in my recipes and decorating.  That it might tell a sort of story in the end.  I so enjoy writing.  I will never believe that I will fit into a certain category such as cooking, decorating, crafts; what have you.  But I have had discussions with my good friend, Brenda, from Cozy Little House.  We go back to 2009.   I asked her for a good critique of my blog...what I might do to get out of what I see as a rut of stringing you along on my day to day living,  For goodness sakes...who cares about my day to day life?  So, I hope to be making  some changes soon.  I hope you will offer your thoughts.  

One last thing!!!  My son and DIL will be finding out  whether they will be having a girl or boy on Friday.  I wish this were a short story...Ha!  MC goes to the doctor Friday for an ultrasound.  He writes the sex of baby down and puts it in a sealed envelope.  MC brings this to her baker.  He makes a cake with a pink or blue filling and frosts it in white,  We will be having  a small party at their house Friday night and they will cut into the cake for their big surprise and for all of us to see and celebrate!!  Isn't that cool?   I just may make a little video!  Shhhh...  :)

Talk to all of you soon! :)

  Jane xx

Friday, September 12, 2014

AN OVERDUE TOTALLY RANDOM POST


Yesterday I was running errands and drove by a brand spanking new Deals store that I wasn't aware of.  Yes!  My car nearly steered itself into the parking lot.  This was double the size of our usual one and it was so clean and well stocked.  I found these little lanterns that were darling and just a buck a piece.  I also stocked up on Halloween pencils, erasers, stickers and spider rings that I love to throw in the big candy bowl for the trick or treater's.  I just loved walking up and down every aisle and seeing all the bargains.  Usually I shop at Deals for my cleaning supplies but I didn't have a list. so this was just a little fun on a rainy morning and didn't cost more than $15.00.





1 c olive oil
3 T Balsamic vinegar
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 T of apricot preserves*
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T finely snipped chives 

*I used the preserves to make the stickiness you need to coat the meat.  You can actually use any type of jam or jelly, or even honey.  

I cut two chicken breasts horizontally, from side to side so it's as if you are opening a book.  Cut all the way through so you have four thin pieces. Put them in a zip lock bag with 3 tablespoons of the marinade, work it in and then refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. Divide the remaining marinade into two small separate bowls.  When you are ready to make the chicken, spray your grill pan and turn the heat up to high.  Spread the chicken pieces out on a cutting board and use one of the bowls of marinade for brushing on the breasts.  Grill each side on high about 3-4 minutes, basting with the marinade as it turns a nice golden color.  Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  Wipe down grill pan when cool.  Lightly butter the bottoms of four English muffins.  Place on grill and toast over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

 To assemble the sandwiches, I made a small bowl of mixed baby lettuce and tossed it with the marinade I had reserved in the last bowl.  Be sure this marinade has not come in contact with any of the uncooked chicken, this should have been set aside.  Place a chicken breast on the bottom of the toasted English muffin, add a nice handful of the mixed lettuce and top with the other half of the muffin.  We had these with chips but they would be great with soup as well.  

This is really very simple, I just sort of walked you through it.  The main point is you have a nice marinade to use three different ways.  Next time I will double the recipe and store half of it in the fridge for another day.  I'm sure it's good on all sorts of things.  Hope you try it!




Hand sewn by Pamela of One Paisley Pig, it's chock full of every sort of necessity you may need when out and about.  Kris from Junk Chic Cottage introduced us to Pamela last week, she had ordered a bunch of these cute bags for a group of ladies and even had a sweet giveaway.  I just had to order one for each of my daughters.  They can be tucked in your carry~on bag for a trip or you can have one in your desk drawer or glove compartment.  There are 40 items alone in this cute little thing, from first aid items to post it notes, pens, tweezers and paper clips!  These would make great Christmas gifts, too.  Emily and Abby loved them!  Check out Pamela's website if you get a chance.


As I write this I'm in a real pickle.  Funny, I can just sit here tapping away while disaster is all around me.  The Husband woke me up about 5:00 a.m. to tell me the toilet and bathtub was clogged.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I'll call the plumbers at a reasonable hour.  Thank goodness we have another bathroom.  All was well in my world.  I got up, had my coffee and took my time.  When ever I call those cute Irish plumbers, they are usually at the door in 15 minutes, so I thought I would get my day started first.  I straightened up the house, started the dishwasher and threw a load of towels in the wash.  As I stood in the bathroom doing my hair and make up, I heard  gurgling noises and turned to see black water bubbling up in the toilet.  The tub was making the same babbling brook sound as it, too, filled with the putrid stuff.  Egad!  I ran for towels, opened the windows and lit a brand new pumpkin candle I was saving.  I called the cute Irish plumbers and left a message.  I got everything cleaned up. luckily the toilet didn't overflow onto the tile.  I finished getting ready and was heading back to the family room with my coffee to write this post when my bare feet made contact with a wet floor in the hall.  I opened the bathroom door to see more black water spilling out of the toilet and this time I had to stop the flow with about 6 bath towels.  Double Egad!  Now I did an emergency call to the cute Irish plumbers. I think it was the washing machine usage that broke the camel's back. So I wait.  And I'm finished here so just imagine me and my big bottle of Clorox having quality time in the bathroom as you read this.  

If all goes well we will be on our way to Michigan in a short while.  A big fire in the wood stove and some coffee with a shot of Bailey's will be in order, I'm sure.

Happy Weekend!

Jane xx

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

SHORTER DAYS AND A FALL MANTEL







 










Yesterday morning it felt good to be on my own again and I decided to change the mantel a little.  I normally wouldn't start to get into fall so soon but I had a real beachy theme going on here all summer long and it really looked out of place.  So I just removed all the blue ocean hues and starfish and gathered up some things with deep colors.




I love this sign.  It's from one of those flash sale deals.  I'm not always crazy about them but I have gotten a few really unique pieces from Antique Farmhouse.  





Gosh, I wish I had something to complain or lament about!  Just life as usual here.  This weekend we will be back to our regularly scheduled program at the lake, which I believe will be one big chill party! :)

Jane xx

Joining Weekend Retreat at AKA Design.  Please visit!!