August 12, 2018

Summer Family Room

Today, I thought I would share of few pictures of our summer family room. You know, just in time for the end of summer. I always come back to an outdoors/mountains theme in here because that is what reflects what we enjoy doing during the summer. Our DIY wooden flag always feels right over the mantel at this time of year.
Other than the sectional (Ikea Farlov), nothing is new in here. I have collected most of these pieces though the years and take them out each summer.
Truth be told, I am still getting used to the sectional in here. It isn't my favorite as far as furniture arrangement is concerned, but it does seat x-box playing teenagers comfortably so there is that. I guess a sectional is a good choice for this stage of life. It takes a lot of throw pillows to cozy up this space. Said throw pillows repeatedly end up in a heap on the floor - all summer long.
Also, the rug situation in this space is a mess! I am looking forward to adding a new area rug that my mom recently passed down to me for fall. The current rug is a tough indoor/outdoor rug that can handle damp dogs and teenagers, which are both filling this space in abundance right now. Yes, Dax, I am referring to you!
Anyway, I hope the new-to-me rug will cozy things up more. Of course I am already planning fall - it's my favorite season to decorate for! :)
I always enjoy adding seasonal touches to our gallery wall and I continue to add to it all summer long as we find new items on our adventures. A neighbor recently told me that her family would never choose to buy a vacation home because they prefer to spend their money traveling and seeing new places. And I could totally appreciate that perspective. But, for us, there is so much to explore in our beloved Adirondacks. We are truly still finding new spots continually - just within a few miles of our family cabin. I do think it is important to see new places too and I am very much looking forward to visiting Maine at the end of this summer. Do you prefer to mostly vacation in the same place or try to always see new places?

So there you have it. A family room that is VERY lived in by a family. Including 2 big and hairy dogs. I hope you enjoyed this "real life" glimpse of our imperfect family room.

August 9, 2018

Thank You and an "Old School" Blog Post of This And That

Hello friends and thank you so much for the comments and e-mails from my most recent posts. I have to say that there have been times when I have felt like this blogging thing had run its course for me. It is hard to keep up with all of those polished and shiny images seemingly everywhere on social media and easy to think my home (and life!) isn't quite up to sharing. But then you all reach out to me in a way that makes me remember that it is all about the community. Not about perfect homes or people. But about real people who share the love of home and family (and dogs too!). Thank you for that. I needed the reminder.
I'm not really sure why it took me by surprise as the stress of Billy's retirement was mounting for weeks (months, really), but his actual retirement day and the days since hit us hard. We were humbled by the kindness of many of his co-workers and the time they took to let him know that he mattered to them.
 In between Billy's last days of work and before he starts his new job, we have been spending as much time as possible in the mountains this summer. Everything just seems to flow easier in the mountains.
I've added some fun camp inspired decor to the family cabin. It's nothing fancy but I just adore this house in the woods and the memories we have made there.
I keep a pair of scissors in my Jeep to stop and snip some wildflowers along our back road travels.
And display them throughout the house in various containers.
There's this little ice cream spot in the Adirondacks called Donnelly's that sells one flavor of homemade ice cream (twisted with vanilla) each day. They make the ice cream in a machine that is a half a century old. It's fun to watch the schedule on Facebook to see when our favorite flavors will pop up. It is the truly the best ice cream I have ever tasted. When we visited last week, the flavor was blueberry. Yum!
We also happened upon a roadside ice cream stand at Wilcox Dairy's farm in Vermont. We are familiar with their ice cream because we buy it at our local general store in the ADKs. 
Billy enjoyed a cup of farm fresh ice cream on his 50th birthday in lieu of cake. Have I made you hungry for ice cream yet? :)
It's been a simple summer, just what we needed. We love to kayak on quiet ponds. There is just something about being at water level, alone with the sounds of nature, that is tremendously comforting. Almost transcendent.
It helps to have strong boys to carry the kayaks in.
We've spent lots of time just hanging out with our pups.
And relaxing by the lake.
It seems like sometimes the middle child gets overshadowed by the older and younger siblings, but this summer we have spent a lot of quality time with our middle guy, Kyle. He just turned 17 and recently acquired his driver's license. He will be a senior in high school this year and is planning on becoming a high school history teacher (yay!). We visited the Robert Frost trail in Ripton, Vermont together this summer. The poems are displayed among a beautiful trail in the woods, right near Robert Frost's summer residence.
Of course I had to take a picture of my favorite poem that the title of this blog references, Nothing Gold Can Stay

I also want to share a quick update about my mom for those of you who have been following along for a while. It has been three years since her devastating stroke and she recently started driving again! She was offered the opportunity to take driving lessons at a nearby hospital with a stroke rehab program and they have her back behind the wheel, with just a few modifications necessary for her car. It is such a huge step for her in regaining her independence. What an inspiration she is to never give up hope - no matter what the doctors might tell you. She works hard every single day at getting better and she continues to do so, little by little, amazing us all.
Lastly, I can't wait to share our latest project. We gave our 10 year old kitchen island a makeover with some trim an paint. Below is a "during" shot. 
It's looking great and we are putting the finishing touches on it this week. Then I just need to get it photographed so I can share it with you all.

August 4, 2018

Our Split-Level Summer Kitchen

The small-ish kitchen in our split level home was very ordinary when we moved in, but I am so glad I made the decision to add the triple windows over the farmhouse sink when we DIY-ed this kitchen 10 years ago. I have had so much fun styling these windows through the seasons and years! I think the summertime is my favorite time at the sink.
I picked up a dish rack at HomeGoods earlier this summer and there is just a simplicity about washing dishes by hand that reminds me of childhood. Of Grandma hanging the sheets on the line to dry. I think returning at least a little bit to your childhood is what makes summer such a special time of year.
Our kitchen island is currently undergoing a makeover that I will share the reveal of soon. In the meantime, she served us well in her prior state for many years. It was just time for a change. 
And because I took so long to get this post written, I also have pictures of changes I made more recently to the sink windows. I added some yellow and white gingham "curtains" made from a Sur La Table dish towel for a cheery look. The 3 small wreaths and the grow sign are all Target Dollar Spot finds.

I don't bake too much in the summer, but have been enjoying some recipes from the Magnolia Table cookbook. Below is the lemon pie - the perfect dessert for a summer BBQ.
I am looking forward to sharing the changes to our kitchen island soon. I hope you are enjoying the rest of your summer.

July 29, 2018

A New Chapter

At 7 am this morning, my husband will walk out of police headquarters for the final time as a police officer. 25 years over just like that. Where did the time go? It was a good run. Most importantly, he is in one piece, something to be extremely thankful for in the climate of law enforcement today. Career wise, he served both our community and his co-workers with a dignity and kindness that has become increasingly rare these days. And he (almost) always did so with a smile on his face.
On a more personal note, it seems our whole lives together have revolved around his job. When I met him, he was a recent college graduate and working hard at getting hired in law enforcement while working as a lab assistant in a local hospital. His dad was also a cop and so it seemed to be in his blood from an early age.
He began the police academy the same week he turned 25. As soon as I finished college a couple of years later, we were married.
This was his first "official" picture. So young and full of promise.
We renovated multiple houses top to bottom while raising our 3 baby boys. By working lots (and lots!) of overtime, he made enough money so that I could stay home with our kids - something I never took for granted and will be forever grateful for. We dealt as best we could with his constantly rotating shifts. Our boys missed their daddy's presence on weekends, holidays and - most of all - on the regular evenings when his seat was empty at the dinner table. So we eventually saved enough of the profits we earned from all that sweat equity and remedied his absence by buying a fixer upper in the town where he worked so he could stop home on his breaks. This very fixer upper that I have been blogging about all these years. :)
We had originally planned on Billy working 30 years here and then moving on after our youngest completed school but you know what they say about the best laid plans...
The word retirement seems to conjure up thoughts of a life of leisure but that is not where we are headed just yet. With 2.5 kids to still get to and put through college, we are very much still in the midst of raising our family. We do have an opportunity to make some changes in the next year after our middle guy finishes high school and our youngest graduates from middle school, but we are just not sure about that right now. Billy will be beginning a new job in security in a few weeks. He will still be working nights and weekends. Turns out, we are so used to having time off together during the week, that we actually prefer that schedule. Go figure!

Billy also turns 50 this week. And we celebrated 22 years of marriage. What a week! What a journey it has been!! Oh, and I should also mention that our oldest boy (the little boy in the picture below) is in college studying criminal justice (what else?). Life just has a way of coming full circle, doesn't it?
Thank you, Billy. Thank you for always putting our family first, no matter what. I will never forget how you have provided for and supported our family as it grew all of these years. The loss of sleep and willingness to always work hard did not go unnoticed or unappreciated for one second. Congratulations on a job well done! Onward!!

Thank YOU so very much for reading this little blog and continuing to be a part of our journey. I hope that now that we are settling into this next chapter, we will have more energy and time for house projects. The stresses of uncertainty coupled with job hunting definitely zapped our creativity for a while. I am happy to say I have a to-do list a mile long and lots of ideas swirling in my head!

July 26, 2018

Summer Blues (and Whites!)

Hello! Anybody still there?? I seem to have found a bit of my blogging joy again. I must admit that I was worried that it would never return. But, much like my home decor, life is full of seasons and I have found it best to just go with it. So here I am. How is your summer going? I thought today I would share some pictures of our summer decor before summer is completely over. I added lots of touches of blue and white, a perennial favorite for sure.
I picked up the blue and white check curtain panels at Christmas Tree Shops. The prices on their curtains are unbeatable. Especially when you like to change up decor as much as I do! I think these were just under $10 per panel. I only have 2 panels because I never actually close these curtains in the summertime.
Recently, Billy ran into a neighborhood deli to pick up lunch while I waited in the car. To my surprise, he snuck into the florist on his way back to the car. He was carrying the prettiest bouquet of hydrangeas for me. He said he saw them through the window and knew I would love them because they were different than the ones I usually buy for myself at Trader Joe's or that grow in our yard. Yes, he's certainly a keeper. :)
They have dried beautifully and it seems I will be able to enjoy them all summer.
I added a blue indoor/outdoor rug to our front entryway. I painted the walls in here this blue almost 10 years ago and I still love it.
 I have some fun new stuff to share in our kitchen soon too!  
Until then...Anybody up for a game of fetch with a golden retriever that is still damp from swimming in the pool? I fear our house smells of wet dog all summer long because the dogs sneak in a swim in the pool any chance they get.
Or perhaps a nap? Naps and tennis balls - 2 of Dax's favorite things. :)
Thanks for stopping by!