July 24, 2014

Vermont

I think I was in love with Vermont before I ever set foot in the state.  I have always been attracted to all things New England-y and so Vermont was included in that.  When I found out there was a ferry to Vermont less than 1/2 hour from our Upstate house, I had to go.  Vermont never disappoints.  We have visited every year since, usually in both summer and fall.
It's not surprising that our oldest boy, a Junior in high school this year, is considering a couple of schools in Vermont for college.  We decided to take a ride to them just to get a feel for the areas they are in.  We had to drive right past the Ben & Jerry's factory so we figured we would finally stop and take in this quintessential Vermont tourist destination.
Taking pictures wasn't allowed on the tour, and we visited on a Sunday so they weren't actually making ice cream that day.  We were able to see onto the floor where they make the ice cream and watch a video that showed the process.  They also showed a quick video of Ben & Jerry's story at the beginning of the tour.  All in all, it was quick and interesting.  Plus, they give you a free sample of the flavor of the day.  Our sample was "Milk & Cookies" and though we had never tasted it before, my whole family quickly became fans of this flavor.  We also learned that employees of Ben & Jerry's get to take home 3 pints of ice cream everyday, so now our youngest aspires to work there someday :)
Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory tour-www.goldenboysandme.com
The grounds of the factory are gorgeous and it is definitely a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.  The flavor graveyard is just up the hill and you can visit all of the discontinued flavors.

Next stop was Norwich University, followed by the University of Vermont.  Our boy got a good vibe from both impressive campuses.  I may have gotten sick to my stomach just at the thought of him going to college, but I tried to keep it to myself.  
Here's a shot taken from the ferry.  Those are the Adirondack Mts as we crossed Lake Champlain.
Adirondack mountains Lake Champlain-www.goldenboysandme.com
My love of all things Vermont continued when we returned home from vacation and I started (and quickly devoured finished) Chris Bohjalian's new novel, "Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands".   I am a huge fan of his novels, especially those which are set in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, an area that he lives in and writes so vividly about.  This novel is pretty dark and thought provoking, about the fallout from a nuclear power plant explosion that leads a young girl onto the streets of Burlington, VT among the homeless.  I highly recommend it.
 Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands 
I am currently reading yet another book, this one a memoir, about (you guessed it)Vermont.  I am only a couple of chapters in but I am already enjoying it.  This one tells the story of a family that fell in love with Vermont on a leaf peeping trip.  Instead of just writing a blog post about it like I am doing, the author actually picked up and moved her whole family there.  That's not a feasible option for us at this time so I am happy to be a voyeur in Emma Simpson's tale, titled "Mud Season".  
 Mud Season
Billy and I have become obsessed with looking at real estate in Vermont and New Hampshire on the internet.  We have no intentions of moving anytime soon, so it is strictly for entertainment.  Do you do that too?  I suspect other people do too, but maybe we are just a bit nuts :)

July 20, 2014

Featured at Town and Country Living

Hello and Happy Sunday!

I am very excited to have our home featured at Town and Country Living today.  I love reading through Jennifer's tours of homes.  She chooses such warm and inviting homes filled with tons of ideas, so I am incredibly honored to be included.  If you haven't already, definitely tour some of the homes in her Charming Home Series.

 

We are slowly getting back into a routine after vacation and I am already feeling pressure to get everybody ready for back to school...crazy!  All the of the school supplies are stocked in the stores and they are already picked over and crowded.  I thought that usually happened at the end of August?  Heck, when I was a kid we would run out to get the couple of items we needed after school started.  Now, my kids get detailed lists (including brands of scissors and calculators) that cost upwards of $100 plus for each child.  It seems out of hand to me?  Do your kids get detailed lists too?

I am just going to put that all out of my mind for the next few weeks and enjoy our summer.  I hope your summer is going great!

July 17, 2014

Our July Vacation in Schroon Lake

We are just back from 2 weeks away at our family's vacation home in Schroon Lake, NY.  It is always bittersweet to come home from a long vacation.  Of course, we missed the conveniences of our NJ home, like internet access, our dishwasher and our comfortable beds. But, there is nothing like spending time together at a slower pace.  No one is distracted by text messages because our cell phones don't work at the house.  I know our time spent in the Upstate house has made our family closer.  Billy and I are so grateful to his parents for providing us with this place to use.  Recently, at a casual family dinner, my mother in law was joking with us about playing the lottery.  She asked us what we would want if she won, because if she won, it would be all about making her kids' lives better...that's just the kind of great mom she is.  So we told her we feel like we have already won the lottery by having the Upstate house to use.  That's how special this house is to us.
Schroon Lake exit sign on the Northway in the Adirondacks-www.goldenboysandme.com
The busiest week of the year in the small town of Schroon Lake, NY is 4th of July week.  It is exciting to watch the town come alive in the days leading up to the holiday.  There is always a big parade and fireworks.  It's good, old fashioned family fun.  We loved this old fire truck in the parade.
Old red fire truck in Schroon Lake 4th of July parade-www.goldenboyandme.com
We took a quick family picture before heading out to the parade.  Our middle guy turned 13 on this vacation so now I am officially a mom to 2 teenagers-yikes!!  
We got to spent a good amount of time on our boat on the lake.  Schroon Lake is 9 miles long and surrounded by gorgeous mountain views.  We dream of having a cabin right on the lake someday.  I can almost see myself in that cabin with our grandchildren swimming off the dock.
Sea Doo jet boat with Big Mable towable on Schroon Lake in NY-www.goldenboysandme.com
I know that even if that particular dream doesn't come true, I am happy for the time we get to spend on the lake.  My parents had a small bungalow on a NJ lake when I was growing up so I have loved boating from an early age.  Boating is such a fun activity for the whole family.  Even the dogs love it.
Golden Retriever with red bandanna on a boat-www.goldenboysandme.com


Our house is up the road from the lake a few miles, on a mountain.  The trails and the woods near the house are also a favorite spot.  We like to swim in this creek.  The water is clear and cold and refeshing after the hike to get to it.



We also like to visit this nearby waterfall.
We also like to fly kites in a field down the road.  Flying a kite is just on of those simple pleasures, right?  There's nothing like it on a breezy day with bright blue skies and white puffy clouds.  That small white building in the picture below is a former one room schoolhouse.  
I have some more pictures to share of our day in Vermont and I also took some pictures of the inside of our house but I will save those for another post.  For now, I am trying to get back into the groove of everyday life around here. 

July 9, 2014

Shower Niche Tutorial

diy tall shower niche tutorial-www.goldenboysandme.com

One of our frequently asked questions is about how we built the tall shower niche in our Master Bath and if we are happy with it.   I am very pleased with the single tall niche.  Our shower isn't very big and this niche gives us lots of storage.  Also, since we didn't have room for a bench in the shower, the bottom shelf functions as a ledge to put my foot on for shaving.  Mostly, I like the added touch of the green glass tiles and the marble shelves to the white subway tiles.

July 2, 2014

New Gallery Wall & Corner Home Office

We don't have a room dedicated to home office space in our home, but I still like to have an organized space to work from.  I decided to carve out a corner of our Family Room just for this purpose.
Gallery Wall and Corner Home Office with antlers, Target cubbies and typography-www.goldenboysandme.com

June 27, 2014

The Start of our Summer

Our boys are finally finished with school after what felt like the longest June ever.  We have plans to have a very fun summer!  We got to put our boat in the lake for the first time this season and there is nothing like that first boat ride of the year.  

June 19, 2014

Gallery Walls

Gallery walls are just about my favorite way to decorate a space.  I like them to look collected and to represent the people who live within the walls.