September 10, 2020

A Reluctant Return to Our Regular Routine

 

Hello friends! How was your summer? We hid in the mountains as much as possible and got lots of work done on the cabin there. It was very hard to pack up and come home to NJ but our youngest started back at school last week and so it was time. We chose to start the school year with a hybrid schedule which means he is in school 2-3 mornings a week as opposed to fully online learning. It was a hard choice for us, not so much for him. Like many high schoolers, he is very social and the need to have more time with his friends outweighed any other factor. With the infection rate still somewhat low in our area, we decided to give it a go - for now anyway. We will see how long any version of in-class school can last in our pandemic world. I am glad that he was at least able to start the year this way having met his teachers and learning first hand what their expectations are for the year. Our middle son is fully online for college this semester and that seems to be going well for him. He too would prefer to be in class, but his school chose to put all their effort into online learning and, so far, it seems like a good choice, especially at the college level. He's a strong student and I know he'll do well. His girlfriend went away to school and is currently in quarantine in a nearby hotel after being exposed to the virus by her roommate.  She's a very smart and responsible kid who worked so hard to get a scholarship to go to this school and it's heartbreaking to see her have to struggle because others didn't choose to follow the rules. This virus is so much about us all taking care of each other and it is disheartening just how many Americans have failed to learn that lesson.

                        

We spent a lot of time working on our cabin but we also took time to explore. It is easy to stay socially distanced in the mountains. Billy and I joke that we were made for quarantine - the things we enjoy most are the things everyone else seemed to be "discovering" this summer. So we explored our favorite ponds by kayak.



And we also explored via a new-to-us canoe that a friendly neighbor put at the edge of their property with a "free" sign on it. We'd been planning on buying canoe so we could take Dax along on more adventures. Our lucky day! Or should I say, Dax's lucky day?


                            

  

The best days of the year for me are always when all my boys are together at camp. My greatest hope is that the bonds they have formed here will last their whole lives. (Note - Dax is only sitting on the ATV for the picture and we all wear helmets when we actually ride.)




I always love a good tree lined driveway and I thought this one near Lake Placid was exceptional. Can you imagine that being the path that leads you home? What a dream.


Also in that same area, I think I found the inspiration for the song Fields of Gold. I could almost hear Eva Cassidy singing it (have you ever heard her version? It's so hauntingly beautiful and it moves me to tears every time I hear it, especially considering her untimely death).  


The next few pictures are of Vermont.


We visited Vermont in the earlier part of summer when our neighboring county in Upstate NY was still allowed. Vermont has some of the strictest Covid guidelines in the nation and it's worked very well for them. By the end of the summer, there was an outbreak in a nursing home in the county our cabin is located in so we were no longer allowed to cross state lines and we were grateful to have gotten our Vermont "fix" for this summer back in early July.


Can you tell I love red barns? I am always on the hunt for them in our travels and it's fun how they seem to pop out at you when driving the backroads.


2020 had been a year like no other. There have been dark days and it seems inevitable that there will be more in the future. I think it's so important to talk about because I do think many are feeling that way too.  But there have been great days too. I took a break from most social media and I have to say I've been content with a quieter life. I have been begun decorating our NJ home for fall, slowly, and I will begin posting to Instagram again soon.


I have so many pictures to share of the changes we have made so far at the cabin so I will be going though them and writing a few posts to document our journey. And, of course, there will be the usual fall decor posts. I hope you stay safe and well.

July 4, 2020

Red, White and Blue Decor

Happy Fourth of July weekend, friends! We are home in NJ and have plans to hang out by our pool and BBQ, just a quiet day and I'm looking forward to it. I do have some patriotic decor pictures to share with you today. Let's start in our kitchen.
I've been collecting so many of these pieces through the years and it is fun to pull them out and put them together for holidays. I haven't been shopping for home decor so this is all stuff I already had. I found the banner at Sur La Table last year and the adorable dish towel at a gift shop in the Adirondacks a few years back.
I like to pull out a cookbook and display a fun page that coordinates with the holiday. I enjoy reading and collecting cookbooks and this allows me to appreciate them a little more. Some of my favorites are by Susan Branch, Mary Engelbreit and Roxie Kelly. I found a few of Susan Branch's seasonal books (Autumn and Summer) at a used book sale last week and it made my whole weekend! I now have copies of those books to leave at the cabin.
I added some red check plastic plates to the hutch. I love mixing colors and patterns like these. The banner on the hutch is from the Target Dollar Spot last year.
I made the wooden flag that is hanging over our fireplace many years ago. I take it out and display it every year.
This year, I also brought some of my collected things to decorate the porch at the cabin. Yes, I am forever transferring seasonal things between the 2 houses but I enjoy it so it's not really a burden. Although my family might not agree when they help me pack or unpack the car! I keep my seasonal items like these on open shelving in the unfinished part of my basement. That way I can see everything and "shop" my shelves. I keep Fall and Christmas in bins in the attic. I wish I had enough room to keep that stuff in the basement too because it's so much easier too see what I have.
This year is different in so many ways. No big parades, parties or fireworks for us. But I hope you find a way to add some joy to your day this weekend. Happy Birthday, America! Let's all make a wish for better days ahead.

July 2, 2020

A Cabin to Call Our Own

 

My love affair with the Adirondack Mountains began soon after I met Billy and he brought me to his family's cabin that they co-owned with friends for the first time. I had travelled to the area with my parents growing up, but we stayed in the very commercial village of Lake George, which isn't anything at all like the parts of these mountains that you find when you venture just a little further north.  

Boreas Ponds in North Hudson, NY

It would be hard to imagine the story of us without this place. Billy asked me to marry him in front of the fireplace here, every one of our three baby boys came here within their first weeks of life and we've celebrated countless birthdays, holidays and anniversaries here in these mountains. Perhaps even more importantly, it has also served as our safe haven when life gets hard, as it inevitably does. I can distinctly remember finding peace here after the death of my father, in the rare days we snuck away following my mother's stroke, after the deaths of our beloved dogs who lived many of their best days here and, most recently, during the pandemic. I think that even if we keep coming here for the rest of our lives (as is the plan), we will never tire of exploring these mountains. There is always someplace new to discover. Or a familiar place seemingly transformed in different light. Or us ourselves, equally transformed in a new season of life.

Cabin in Autumn

My mother and father-in-law generously offered for us to treat this cabin as our own and we certainly took them up on it through the years. We have wonderful memories here with my husband's side of the family, and also with my own parents, brother and our many friends who we were able to share it with thanks to their kindness. Every one of those memories has made this place what it is. We will be forever grateful to the gift that they provided to our family as time at this house. Our family is closer because of our time here together.

Cabin in Winter

So, a couple of years ago, when it began to feel like it was time for Billy and I to buy our own piece of Adirondack Park to share with our own young adult children as it had been shared with us, we thought about all the things we loved about this house and set out to replicate it as much as we could. We looked at fixer-upper cabins and finished cabins and property to build a new cabin. But, like the story of the 3 bears, each was just too big or small. None felt just right.  


 
Around the same time, Billy's parents and their friends began to feel that the upkeep on their house was becoming too much of a burden in relation to how often they could use it. To our surprise, they offered to sell it to us. We happily agreed on the spot. In the words of our youngest son, there could be no better house for us, this one is totally perfect. He was referring to the fact that this house sits right on the snowmobile trail that is his year-round playground but he was totally right in that you just can't buy memories like we have made here and that's what truly makes it the perfect house.

Real Estate Closing in the Time of Covid

And so, on a recent Thursday morning during the 3 month shutdown of the NY metro area thanks to Coronavirus  we attended the closing for our new old cabin. We joked that of all the things we've accomplished in innovative ways thanks to the lockdown, purchasing a house at a drive-thru closing will probably remain the most memorable. 

Front Porch in Spring

 The house needs work which we have already begun in earnest. We've started on fun projects like the kitchen and decorating which I will share more about soon, but there are also lots of necessary, not-so-fun jobs in our near future like painting the exterior, tree work and a whole new electrical system to name just a few. Fortunately, we have lots of experience working on houses and we are happy to have our boys' help now that they are older. They will be investing in their own future through sweat equity and hopefully learning some skills for their future houses.

Cabin Kitchen

We've been thinking about what we should name our cabin, or "camp" as properties such as this are often referred to in this area. We came up with "Camp Lucky Dog" because our dogs, along with the dogs of our family and friends, are such a fun and integral part of being here. We simply can't imagine Camp without them!

Dax welcoming you to Camp!

More than anything, we are grateful. Grateful to have a place to escape to that we love so much. Grateful for generous parents who have shared everything they worked so hard for with us. Grateful that our kids (and hopefully our future grandkids!) will continue to come together and make memories in this special place. I hope you'll enjoy following along on our journey both in our NJ home and, now, at our family's cabin in the woods.

June 17, 2020

Early Summer in Our Kitchen & Living Room


Adding fun items to my kitchen is one of my favorite hobbies! Fortunately for me, I have plenty to choose from on the shelves in our basement since I haven't been able to shop in any of my favorite thrift stores or HomeGoods this Spring. Hopefully soon! 

June 15, 2020

A Couple of Fun Features - Cottages and Bungalows Magazine and My Photo in a Book!

Hi Friends! It seems like we are on the downside of the Covid-19 mountain (for now anyway) and I am very much looking forward to life beginning to feel a bit closer to normal again. Things have been slowly re-opening here in NJ with non-essential retail starting up next week along with outdoor dining. I think we might be the very last state to do so but there was certainly good reason for that. I don't really miss eating out, we much prefer to hang out here at home, but I do miss HomeGoods!! And thrift/antique stores - there's just no online substitute for those. I realized that I never shared a couple of fun things that happened just as the world was falling apart.
Our home was featured in the Spring 2020 issue of Cottages and Bungalows! It was an exciting day when this issue arrived! I was in great company - lots of great ideas in this issue.

April 17, 2020

Hello from NJ and Some Spring Decor

Hello friends! I have received many lovely messages asking for more blog posts and you all have convinced me to take the time to put some thoughts together here once again. Thank you for that encouragement and for checking in with me. I had been posting much more regularly on Instagram but have hit pause on that over last couple of weeks mainly because I don't want to minimize this difficult time in any way. So many are struggling in so many ways, whether it be with health, finances or emotional well-being. I have many conflicting emotions and thoughts every single day and posting pictures of our home feels a bit insensitive and frivolous compared to the work that our friends who are health care workers and first responders are doing. Here in Bergen County, NJ, just across the Hudson River from NYC, we are fighting a fire that is still raging with this pandemic. So far, thankfully, our family has remained well. My husband continues to go to work (he's a retired police officer who works in security for the state) and our son volunteers as a firefighter in 2 towns. We are being as careful as possible to limit any other exposure but these are stressful times indeed and it is overwhelming to think about how different out lives will remain for the foreseeable future.

With all that in mind, we are all spending more time in our homes than ever before. I had decorated and photographed our home for Spring before this all began so I have some pictures to share with you. I hope they add even a small amount of brightness to your day. Let's start in the kitchen today and then I will put together a few more posts that include the other spaces in our home.
Farmhouse sink in cottage style kitchen with spring decor - www.goldenboysandme.com

January 14, 2020

New Year & Winter Kitchen

Hello friends! I hope your new year is off to a great start. I put away all the holiday decor and, while I was at it, organized all of the storage areas in our basement. I purged a bunch of stuff and am feeling much more ready to begin the new year. We also packed away my mom's Christmas stuff AND at the cabin. Phew, I am SO glad the holidays are over!