Monday, October 24, 2016


Hard to believe we're nearing the end of October already. I've actually seen a couple of bloggers mentioning Christmas. That stopped me in my tracks. I still feel like we've barely gotten into fall. Christmas is the furthest thing from my mind right now. I know it's only two months away, but I hate the rush into the commercialism. I also prefer celebrating one holiday at a time. Thanksgiving seems to get pushed to the side.

This weekend we went to a friend's Halloween party. These are her two granddaughters. Aren't they just precious?

Brian held the little one for a few minutes. He looks pretty comfortable in his role as "grandpa". ;-)

The wonderful evening was topped off by our beloved Cubs winning the National League Championship! Brian's been a Cub's fan since he was a little boy. To see the Cubs now heading to the World Series is a dream come true for him.

I love October in Illinois. The weather is all over the place: it can be rainy and gloomy for several days in a row; warm and sunny with endless blue skies; or just downright cold. Most mornings I have to turn the heat on to get the chill out of the house, but a couple of hours later, the house will be warm from the sun, so the heat goes off and the windows get opened. We relish the warm, sunny days because we know they're fleeting. Sunday was one of those perfect days, so we took advantage of it and went for a walk in the State Park.

I love the way the gentle autumn light filters through the trees and casts a golden glow everywhere.

There's a lot of milkweed in the park and the pods have burst open and are scattering their feathery seeds.

 Our walk led us to a lake, where we sat on a bench for a little while, enjoying the peacefulness while we closed our eyes and turned our faces to the sun.

 The maple tree across the street is at its brilliant peak of color right now. Rain is moving in later this week, so I know by the end of the week, this beautiful tree will be bare. 

Walking around my yard today, I was surprised to see all the plants and flowers that are still hanging in there, despite some frosty mornings. Mums are still blooming...

and so is the mexican tarragon in the herb garden. Chives and mint to the left in the photo are still thriving, too. Though mint is practically indestructible. 

 Russian Sage still has its pretty purple flowers...

The clematis surprised us by giving us one last bloom a few days ago! 

Zinnias are hanging in there, too.

I did a big grocery shopping today and came home to make October Soup. Are you familiar with Alicia Paulsen's blog, Posie Gets Cozy? If not, prepare to be delighted with her blog if you go over there and take a look. Alicia made up this recipe and it looked and sounded good, so I gave it a try. Oh. My. Goodness! This is a must-make. My house tonight still smells like that wonderful, warm, heady concoction of simmering soup on the stove. The three of us loved this hearty soup. Brian and Tim raved about it and went for seconds. Enough said. You can find the recipe in this blog post. The only changes I made were to add a few stalks of celery in with the other sauteed vegetables, and I also cut the quantity of red lentils down to one cup. (The recipe called for two cups, but I didn't want the soup to be that thick. As you can tell by my photo, one cup was plenty. It's up to you!) Oh - and I also used nitrate-free kielbasa. 

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


  1. Lovely post, captured fall in all its spendor here in Illinois.

    Yep. Its a little early to start Chrismtas...I've been in a few stores, Homegoods and Pier 1, and they have discreetly kept that stuff off to the side...don't want to hurt falls sales I think. Still, I like to pick out a few things here and there as I totally don't go there when I'm focused on gift shopping, baking, wrapping, etc. That where I find my real joy!

    Love your pics...Brian is very handsome!


  2. I too enjoy the simmering scents of a well made soup, stew, chowder or chili simmering on the kitchen stove bubbling with goodness and nutrition.
    Here you are all pretty with Fall happenings in Illinois and I sit here in balmy 85 degree weather, watering my cabbages! I would trade your glorious Fall day for my cabbages any day in October...

  3. Too early for Christmas! I love your photos, Melanie. And we're so excited for the Cubs! We'll be watching tonight and cheering them on.

  4. Well, those are just the sweetest Halloween babies! I'm with you, I don't like rushing the holidays, either.

  5. Beautiful post, Melanie. Congrats to the Cubs!! When our kids were young, we lived in Wheaton and loved going to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs play.
    Mary Alice

  6. Great post Melanie ~ lots to enjoy. That recipe looks oh so yummy. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Fall to you and yours ~ FlowerLady

  7. October is a beautiful month in Illinois. Like Brian, Chaz (my hubs) has been a huge Club fans his whole life. His father also love the Clubs. He's been torture his whole life for being a Club fan instead of a Sox fan. He was so excited when they reached the world series and right now the first game of the series is on. Yeah Clubs!

  8. Thanks for the lovely photos. Congrats to the Cubs!!

  9. Oh, my friend, I am also so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers!!!!

  10. I recognized that maple tree across the street from you, Melanie, as I remember you always give us your annual fall report on it! It looks like it's in its peak right now; gorgeous colour!

    Your soup looks very appetizing and perfect for a crisp and cool autumn day. Must give it a go. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy weekend,


  11. I used to visit Posey Gets Cozy but somehow lost her over the years. Her photography is amazing, I remember. Will follow your link to her and definitely try this soup, like you, I think I'd prefer less lentils.

    The little Halloween lady bug and kitty cat are adorable--hope I got their costume identities right!

    The fall colors there are so lovely, even those that are getting past their peak.

    Happy Halloween,

  12. Beautiful autumn pictures! I love the light at this time of year!

  13. Enjoy your beautiful, comfy world Mel... everything in your blogs, do speak of comfort, love, home. It feels good here. Sending you a magical hug over the Halloween winds...


  14. I enjoyed all of your scenic photos and those little girls are adorable. I haven't visited the Posie blog for ages...I'll hope over there :)


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