Country Living...Island Dreaming

January 30, 2012

We Be Jammin' (and some drink recipes!)

Saturday night,
while the kids and I were reminiscing about the Caribbean,
we found some great Apps on my IPhone!

I downloaded the
"tune in" App
which gives you access to radio stations all over the world!
We chose some Caribbean stations of course!

It was wild hearing Reggae
straight from the Caribbean
on a January night in New Jersey.

Then we went to the computer and
viewed some webcams from the Caribbean.
Since it was night, it was hard to see
but we found a great one to watch during the day:
(Meads Bay in Anguilla is one of my favorite beaches!)

We even checked out this Disney Cam. 
It is actually a "simulated live web cam"
because it was previously recorded
but they change it from daytime to nighttime
so you can really imagine being there.
It was fun to see the castle all lit up!

All this virtual globe traveling
got me thinking
about one cold, snowy January night
back in - wow...probably 1995 or so.
I was at my boyfriend's (future husband's) condo
and we were wishing we were in the Caribbean.
We had traveled to St. Martin together
the previous year.

We then got the bright idea
to call St. Martin to find out how to make a
BBC (a banana drink we had there).
After much research, we were able to secure the phone number to the hotel where we stayed.  The hotel was called La Belle Creole  (and was completely destroyed years later in a hurricane and never rebuilt).  Anyway, we got a hold of the bartender and we were practically jumping off the furniture with excitement.  My boyfriend (future Mr. C.) told the bartender we were calling from New Jersey and would like the recipe for the BBC.  The bartender then proceeded to announce to the guests at the bar that he had someone from New Jersey on the phone calling for a drink recipe.  There were cheers and commotion in the background as the bartender read us the recipe:

One Banana
1 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
1 oz Cream de Coconut (Coco Lopez)
Mix in a blender with ice

 photo from

When we hung up we were so excited!  We dashed out and purchased the ingredients, then stopped off at the video store and rented the video cassette of Cool Runnings.  (The movie about the Jamaican Bobsled team).  We rushed home, pulled out the blender, and with Bob Marley playing on the stereo, we mixed up some delicious BBCs!  I think I even went overboard and wore sunglasses and shorts!  We enjoyed the movie and laughed all evening about how funny it was to actually call the bar in St. Martin! 
Cool Runnings via

Over the years, we have modified the BBC recipe
and have made it as follows:

1 oz Baileys
1 oz Dark Rum
1 oz Banana Liquor
1 Banana
3 oz Coco Lopez (Creme de Coconut)
1 cup of ice

Mix well in blender.
(This version is a bit stronger!)

But if the kids want to join in,
you can make a non-alcoholic version:

1 Banana
1 cup of Vanilla Ice Cream
3 oz Cream de Coconut
Splash of Pineapple juice
Blend with 1 cup ice and enjoy!

You can play around with the quantities to get the right taste.
I am sure there are also plenty of versions online
with and without alcohol.
And you won't even have to call a Caribbean Island for the recipe!
(Unless you want to!)

So the kids enjoyed scanning the globe for webcams and music
but the funny thing is,
this is almost normal for them.
In the days where we can go to their school's website
and watch a school assembly
from that afternoon,
or rewind a TV show as they are watching it,
or Skype friends who live far away...
Nothing is unbelievable to them!
I couldn't help think about when
we had to actually work to find out something.
We are so spoiled now,
with practically every single thing we want
on demand.

But I am not complaining.
After all, I wouldn't be blogging with you
if it were still 1995!
But sometimes I wish things were a little simpler.
(Yes, I am getting old!)

if you are in the mood for a little escape,
check out some of the Apps or island webcams...
or forget all your worries and throw together a fun tropical drink!
Of course, a frozen drink in the middle of winter
may not be the best idea in the world,
so you might want to turn up the heat!

How do you escape on a cold, winter night?
And if it is warm where you live - I am so jealous!

Linking to:
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
At the Picket Fence - Inspiration Friday


January 26, 2012

Exterior Shots

We have had some recent robberies in our area.
As soon as I heard this I went into complete paranoid mode
making sure all the windows and doors
were locked,
setting the alarm every time I left the house
even when I walked out to get the mail...
well, not really - but practically!

I tend to jump to conclusions a bit.
So whenever I see a suspicious car
or something doesn't seem right,
I call the police.

I have no problem calling them.
Even if it ends up being nothing.
I would rather be safe than sorry.

The other day my friend mentioned how worried she has been since she heard about the robberies.  She said one day she saw someone taking a picture of her house and she felt really uncomfortable.  Now of course at that point I actually felt guilty.  No, it wasn't me taking the picture of her house, but I thought about how many times I have taken pictures of people's houses.  Not to stake them out for a future robbery, but because I liked the style of their home, or their front door, or the color of their house. I didn't tell her this,
because after all, no one really knows I have a blog.  I think most people don't even know what a blog is!

But it got me thinking...
How would I feel if someone took a picture of my house?

Honestly, I think if I saw someone doing it, I might run out and ask if I could help them or something.  I would be annoyed or worried that they were planning a robbery or something.  Heck, I might even call the police!  I don't even post a "full frontal" of my house on my blog because I am worried that some lunatic will figure out where I live from it! 

Now, I do live in the country
and it just doesn't seem normal
to take a picture of a stranger's house. 

Having said that,
I have taken my fair share of house pictures
over the years!
Vacation homes at the beach.
I guess it was ok, since I did stay there!

But I didn't stay here!
Oh I wish!
As you can see by the quality of this photo,
I have been taking pictures of strangers' homes for years!

Now, if they are in a city or town,
it seems ok to do for some reason!

And it's totally fine
if the house is a historic landmark.

Or if the owners are fictional characters!

Then there's the drive by shots.

Snap the picture and drive...
ensuring a quick getaway
so they don't shoot you!

But then there are some houses
 that are just begging to be photographed!
(Do you think the president minds?)

Look at the green lawn...
Oh I wish it were summer!

Do you take pictures of stranger's houses?

Would it bother you if someone took a picture of your house?

Linking to:


January 24, 2012

A Roundabout Way To Get My Office Back

We have a room off of our kitchen
which has been the playroom for the past 8 years.

Follow me...
Make a right at the open door.

Why is it almost empty you ask?
Because for the next year or so,
this will be the puppy's room!
(Wow, that sounds insane!)

As you can see,
there are still some remainders of the playroom.
The rest of this stuff still needs
to be brought down to the basement.

You see, when the kids were really little, it made sense to have a playroom right off the kitchen.  Their toys could be in a defined area, yet while I was cooking, they could be close enough to supervise.  It was convenient yet also annoying because the room was always a mess.  I would constantly be closing the door when people would stop by because close friends and family usually come through the garage and would have to walk past the disaster.  But we all loved this space.  The boys would build train layouts on the floor, we would play games, read...I am tearing up thinking about it now.  The only furniture in there was the bookshelf you see, a little table and chair set, a couple lamps, a toy box and at one point a chair and ottoman which we moved to the basement to make more floor space.  It was such fun space to hang out.  We had half of our basement finished a couple years after setting up this playroom so they had both spaces but I think they preferred this room.  (I would too since there is not a glimpse of natural light in that basement!) 

Back in the pre-child days, this room was my office.  I had all my books in here, my computer, photo albums...basically all my "toys".  My husband uses one of the bedrooms upstairs as his office because he likes to be tucked away from the household chaos.  So, when my first son was born, I was happy to turn my room into a playroom and give up some of my space...(hence my messy, unorganized closets!)

This room has definitely taken a beating though!  The carpet is pretty worn and there are probably several hundred nicks in the walls from the various toy throwing and horsing around. 

So here's where my plan comes in...

Since I want a place a little out of the way to put that dreaded dog crate and little "play yard" for the puppy, I thought this room would be perfect...I know what you are thinking - White carpet?  Is she crazy?  Well, yes, but that is besides the point...I am putting down some kind of floor covering over the rug around the crate and in the little fenced in play yard.  (Probably something hideous like a plastic mat or linoleum or something).  Anyway, the puppy will use this room and an area in the kitchen for awhile until she gets full reign to destroy the rest of the house. 

As she gets older
and doesn't need the crate anymore,
this room will make the transformation back into

We have already discussed ripping out the carpet
and putting in hard wood floors at that point.
My husband is on board with that idea,
so now I have all this time to plan the room!

I am so excited because I can start from scratch.
The room is 11'4" X 12'10"
(not counting the little doorway area).
I am already starting to measure potential furniture!

Here are a couple ideas.

But at this point I have no real idea of what I want to do.

There is a lot of time to plan!

In the meantime,
the kids have already started getting used
to having all of their toys in the basement.
And the Wii is down there
so that is there main concern these days anyway!

But I must say, I am sad
that this room won't be their playroom anymore.
I actually cried about it Sunday night when we cleared it out.
It represents my kids getting older
and I am so not ready for that.

Sometimes I wish I could freeze time
because they are so sweet and precious now.
Sometimes I wish they were little forever!

Maybe I am the one who really needs this puppy!

Anyway, that is my long term plan for the room.
It will be awhile before you see any changes.
But I may have lots of planning posts to come!

Have you changed the purpose of any of your rooms?

Linking to:

January 22, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Yesterday morning we woke up to snow!

We ended up getting about 6 inches
and the kids were thrilled!

the slide is a lot of fun in the snow!

And today,
we visited the puppies!
How can you not fall in love with that face?!!

They were so much fun!

I have been getting mentally ready to bring the puppy home around February 11th.  But today the breeder informed me that the pick up date would be February 4th!  A whole week earlier!  Ahhh!

What have I gotten myself into?

What are you doing this weekend?


January 20, 2012

Blogger Annoyances

This is just a quick post because I am running out the door
to meet some friends for breakfast.

I just wanted to know if anyone else
is having problems with leaving comments on other blogs?

For the past week or so,
my computer freezes when I try to leave a message.

It doesn't happen on all blogs,
just a few here and there but it is really annoying and I don't know if it is
my computer,
or something else?!!

Has anyone else been having this problem?

One blog recently mentioned it and said to download
Google Chrome - which I did.
But that didn't seem to help.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Or is it just me?

If anyone has problems leaving comments on my blog
please email me so I can try to figure out what is wrong!


January 19, 2012

Quick Change

On New Year's Day
I tore through the house,
packing up every last speck of Christmas decor
so I could start out fresh for the new year.

Then several days later,
I noticed I still had this hanging in my bathroom.

But I left it
because I hadn't decided
what to put in the frame.

Now here we are in mid-January
and I cannot have this thing on my wall anymore!
As cute as it is,
it was time to go!

But rather than commit to a photo
or worse yet, attempt to do something crafty...
I decided to go simple
until I came up with a permanent solution.

Can you see it through the glare?
It's a quote from a song.

Not much better of a shot...

"Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowin wind thru my hair
Only worry in the world
Is the tide gonna reach my chair"
- Zac Brown Band

Yes, I thought a nice little beachy quote would work well in there.
Maybe that little subtle hint would have pushed my husband over the edge
and he would have agreed on a Caribbean vacation.

Which reminds me...
is officially

It is not happening this year.
I guess my hints weren't obvious enough
(and neither was the begging and pleading - LOL)

Oh well.
He did make up for it
 with those great Seinfeld seats last weekend!

I hope you enjoyed my masterpiece of a wall hanging.
I just blow myself away with creativity these days.
What amazing thing will I come up with next?

While you bloggers are out there
ripping out walls,
refinishing cabinets,
painting furniture...
I am typing up a quote and sticking it in a frame.
Brilliant, I tell you!

Have you made any subtle changes this week?

Linking to:


January 18, 2012

Decision and Delay

Last week, I discussed the possibility of
painting the door to my garage black.

Not only did you all agree it was a great idea,
but I also decided it was the right thing to do.
Thanks for your advice by the way!

My plan is to start with the garage side of the door.
I will leave the inside white and maybe decide on that later.

So today, I drove to the Benjamin Moore store
to pick up the paint and supplies.
I told the guy what I was planning to do
and he told me the paint to buy.
Which by the way, was not low VOC
but he said that would be the best paint for the job.
My door is metal so I guess the paint he suggested would adhere to it better.
Anyway he also told me
that I should wait until SPRING
to paint the door!

Apparently, the paint needs time to cure at above 50 degrees.
Unfortunately, we won't be seeing those temperatures
for quite some time now!

So, I guess this project will have to wait.
I must say though, I am so glad I went to Benjamin Moore
instead of one of the big retailers that sells paint.
I couldn't exactly picture them telling me to wait
or even knowing I should wait for that matter!

I love the fact that the Benjamin Moore guy was honest
and wasn't just concerned about making a sale!

I guess I will just work on one of the other million projects on my  list.
But thanks for the advice on the black doors
and expect to see the change this spring!

Have you put any projects on hold recently?


January 17, 2012

What Happened?

I have never claimed to have a green thumb.
In fact, I am quite terrible at taking care of plants.

Yet, I was amazed
at how long these plants in my bedroom have held up!
A miracle, huh?
Look at the palm back there...
how green and vibrant it is!

Oh, but things have changed!
Now look at it!
What happened?
It was doing so well
and now it has followed the footsteps
of so many plants in my home.

Now I could just replace it
with one of those palms I keep seeing
in every food store for $19.99 or so.
But the palm I had was a more expensive
Bamboo Palm
and could tolerate low light,
or so I thought.
What I need is a palm that can tolerate

So, rather than take a chance on another palm
which I am sure will be doomed from day one,
I was thinking of a different idea for the corner.

A screen...
Plantation Shutter Floor Screen
What do you think of this one?
It's from Pier One.

It has that island shutter look.
And it's not alive!

I am just not sure how it will look behind that chair.
Or do I even need anything back there?
Any ideas?
I am open for suggestions!


January 15, 2012

Seinfeld in Philadelphia

Some of you may know that I am a
HUGE Jerry Seinfeld fan! 

I think he is the funniest person on the planet.  I still laugh hysterically when I watch a Seinfeld episode, even if I have seen it many times.

And let me tell you, I was laughing hysterically last night!

Mr. C. and I had a night out in Philadelphia to use the Seinfeld tickets he bought me for my birthday.  Jerry was doing two shows at the Academy of Music and we had tickets for the 9:30 show.

I had never been the Academy of Music before
 but the inside was quite impressive!
It reminded me of a New York Broadway theatre.

I loved the gas lanterns outside too.

But what I loved most,
were our 2nd Row seats!
As you can see, I could barely contain my excitement!

We weren't supposed to take pictures during the show.
Although, I was laughing too hard the whole time
to even think of my camera anyway!

But at the very end,
I snapped a quick photo!
I had to..
Jerry, you are amazing!

I have seen him do a lot of interviews recently...
He also did some stand-up on Letterman and guest co-hosted Live with Kelly a couple times, so I was a little worried I would recognize too much of his routine.

But that didn't happen!  His material was fresh and his observational humor was going strong!  I only recognized a few small remarks here and there.  But I can honestly say I enjoyed every single second!

I also had some great laughs from Seinfeld's warm-up comic, Larry Miller, who is best known for the movie, "Best in Show."

Since the show was at 9:30, we had dinner beforehand at a restaurant called Time.  It was more of a late night bar type of place but the food was good and they had a great jazz band.

They had this big crazy looking chandelier over the bar,
and of course clocks all over, hence the name...Time.

Not much of an entrance,
but I had to do a quick pose.

Later we stayed at the Westin
which is known for their "Heavenly Bed".
My husband was like,
"Why are you taking a picture of the bed?"

But we didn't get to spend much time in it because at 1:30 a.m. the fire drill went off and we had to evacuate the building! So in our pajamas and coats, we descended down the 15 flights of stairs to the freezing outside.

At first, Mr. C. didn't think we needed to evacuate but I insisted.  I take fire alarms very seriously.
Above the floor number sign on each landing was the sign, "North Tower".  And if you are from the New York area, you know that is a bit too reminiscent of a certain tower where not enough people evacuated.  I didn't want to take any chances.

Luckily after a little while we were able to go back in and take the elevator back up.  Of course, at that point, I couldn't sleep and probably didn't fall back asleep till about 4:30 am.

But the weird thing about it was right before I went to bed (the first time) I pictured us evacuating the building because of the fire alarm.  I swear to you I thought about this!  But then I figured I was just worried about being away from the kids so I forgot about it...until the alarm really did go off!  Strange huh?  These kind of things happen to me all the time.

I wrote a couple posts a while back:
where I list a few coincidental situations.

At least this time it ended up being nothing!

But overall, even with the interrupted sleep, we had an incredible night out.

I highly recommend you see Jerry Seinfeld if he comes to your town!

Do you have any Seinfeld stories?
How about any psychic stories?

Linking to:


January 12, 2012

Black Doors

Lately, I have been loving the look of black doors.

But right now,
all the doors in my house are white
except the front door.
And I love the black there.
(No, my wreath is not on the door anymore,
I just didn't feel like going out in the rain to re-shoot!)
But as you can see,
the interior of the door is white.
But if I paint the front door.
I would probably have to paint the two closet doors
and that might be too much black.

So instead, I am thinking about the door
 that leads to the garage.
Now there is no denying that this baby is in desperate need
of a good paint job (and cleaning!)
We use this door to come in from the garage everyday
and it has become one of those things that we don't even see anymore.
I guess it is so ugly that I pretend it is not there.
But it is.
And it will be changing!

I LOVE this interior garage door:
Garage black door!
I love the numbers painted on it too.
If only my garage looked that good! via

Or this gorgeous one.
Black door
I love this whole entryway! via

So I am thinking, I might start there.
Oh, did you notice that our garage still has non-painted walls?
My silly husband thinks it makes the house look new.
Get over it dear!
We have lived her for 13 years.
We are not fooling anyone!
But I am sure after I open the can of worms and
paint the door black,
those walls won't be far behind!

I am also considering painting
the interior side of the door black.
It is at the end of the hall
 and might look good in black.

But would I have to paint the surrounding doors black too?
Decisions, decisions...

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