Country Living...Island Dreaming

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Is everyone else experiencing a chilly Thanksgiving?
It was about 28 degrees here in NJ when we woke up.

I wanted to stop in to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
This is how our table looks this morning.
It is a revised version of my Fall Table Setting
that I showed you last month.

With the extra leaf in the table, the card table extension on the end
and the extra folding chairs,
I couldn't make the table as pretty
(not enough chargers or place mats).
But it is set for a huge family dinner
and that it what Thanksgiving is all about!

I hope you all are enjoying the day with family and loved ones.

I am cooking up a storm...
well actually I did most of it already or I wouldn't be on here,
but that turkey still has to go in!

My husband is in charge of keeping the kids busy most of the day though.  It has always been tradition to run/walk the local Turkey Trot but with these chilly temperatures, everyone bailed out on that plan!

I will though, be sending my husband on his annual last minute run to the grocery store.  Every year, I realize I need an extra ingredient or two so I send him out with a little list so he can wait in line with the rest of the husbands.  He secretly enjoys this and he always comes home with some silly story about how crazy it was or he couldn't believe how many people he ran into.  Even if I don't really need something, I send him out in search of something just so he can partake in his annual tradition!  

Anyway, once again, enjoy your day!

I am feeling so thankful for my wonderful family and friends and
I am thankful for all of you
and this crazy fun blogging journey!

Cheers Everyone!
- Shelley


November 26, 2013

Aunt Lillian's Corn Bread

If you are looking for an easy Thanksgiving side dish,
I have a great recipe for you!

Every year someone in our family makes the corn bread
passed down from Aunt Lillian.

Her cornbread has always been a Thanksgiving tradition
and I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Aunt Lillian's Corn Bread

1  8 oz. box of corn muffin mix
2  beaten eggs
1  8 1/2 oz can of cream corn
1  8 1/2 oz can of corn (drained)
1  cup sour cream

Mix all above.  
Add 1/2 cup melted butter.  
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes in a greased pan.
(very moist)

My sister-in-law is bringing the corn bread this year...but next year I may work on a GMO-free version!  

This corn bread was just one of the many family recipes
that my sister-in-law copied down for me.
She included it in a family recipe book
given to me at my bridal shower.
I have referred to this book countless times over the years.
After all, you really don't want to mess with family traditions!

I better get back to work...
Right now I am in the midst of
Thanksgiving-preparation-craziness around here.

I just finished polishing the silver using this method- HERE
and I am starting the cranberry sauce in a few minutes.

Do you follow the same recipes each year or do you mix it up?

Linking to:


November 25, 2013

My Statement Chair and the One Kings Lane Decor Resource Center

I was recently contacted by a representative from One Kings Lane asking me to help introduce their Home Decor Resource.  Of course I was thrilled to help out!  I love their website!  The Home Decor Resource is a new design tool that explains different styles of furniture.  You can browse through each category to research a piece of furniture you might already own or even use the site to learn about different styles and periods.  I spent a significant amount of time over there perusing through the examples of statement chairs.

I have a few favorite chairs in my home but one of my favorite "statement chairs" is located in my living room.  I purchased the chair from Ethan Allen about 14 or so years ago and I think it reflects a mixture of styles.  From looking at the One Kings Lane guide, I could see that the curved arms, graceful lines and solid square back reflect the styles of the Empire and Neo-classic periods.   It even has a bit of a British Colonial look and works with the tropical/traditional style that I attempt to carry throughout my home.

I love the classic, curved lines and the way the dark wood compliments my other furniture.  I like my rooms to feel  traditional yet still reflect hints of the tropics although I didn't want to go "all island" in my house.  After all, we live in New Jersey and I didn't want to feel like I was walking into a tiki hut every time I came home.  This chair works well as an accent to my living room without being too overwhelming.

I think the chair compliments my seagrass chairs too.

Originally, I was going for even more of a British Colonial style
like this one from a Caribbean resort.
(The chair in our suite at the Regent Palms - Turks and Caicos)

I had already bought the Ethan Allen chair by the time I saw this one but this chair definitely reflects the look I was after for in my living room.

Anyway, it was fun searching the various categories in the Home Decor Resource.  Not only did I learn a few things but I enjoyed browsing through their inventory of pieces to purchase!  If you have questions about the style of an existing piece in your home or are just curious about the history of furniture, you should check out the One Kings Lane Home Decor Resource.  You might learn a few things!

Do you have any statement chairs in your home?


November 22, 2013

Friday Food Focus

We have reached the letter "W" 
in my alphabetical list of GMO-free foods.

This week, Rosie is going to recommend her favorite GMO-free food.
(What?  I never said this list was strictly for people!)

My darling doggie recommends 
She was being a bit of a diva on the day of the photo shoot.  
Note that smirk on her face!
Actually, I think she is trying to tell us how much she hates GMOs too!

We started using this brand about a year ago
and Rosie loves it.
I love it because of the healthy ingredients
and of course because the formula we buy is GMO free!

I have great respect for Wellness for responding to the current concerns about GMOs.  They are on a "GMO-Free journey" just like I am!  Currently, their dry products contain GMO-free ingredients and according to their website, they are working towards guaranteeing GMO-free ingredients for even more of their products!

After all, we should do all we can to keep our precious pets healthy!

What kind of dog food do you buy?

*Once again, I am not being compensated in any way to mention this brand.

If you would like to see more of my GMO-free list,
please click on any of the links below!



November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Touches Around the House

We host Thanksgiving each year
so I am used to preparing for a crowd.

While I still have a lot of shopping and planning for the big turkey day,
I had some time to put a few Thanksgiving touches around the house.

Ballard Shelves - Sonoma Bookcase decorated for Fall
I added some fall-like pieces to my 
Ballard Shelves.

Sonoma Bookcase decorated for Fall

I did a quick switch on my mantel.
Fall Mantel with Round Mirror
I just took away the jack-o-lantern and replaced it with a black lantern.
Brilliant I know - lol!

And I swapped out my Zac Brown lyrics
for some Thanksgiving subway art in the bathroom.
Thanksgiving Subway Art
I found the printout on Pinterest
 but I can't seem to find the original source now.
Sorry about that!

 I threw some white mini-pumpkins in a basket for the kitchen table.
Basket of white pumpkins

And I hung a little scarecrow on the interior of the front door.
Scarecrow door hanging
So far Rosie hasn't discovered it.
She is too busy stealing our socks!

Are you preparing your house for Thanksgiving?

Linking to:


November 15, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Is it Friday already?!

This week we had our first real taste of colder weather in New Jersey.
All the leaves have fallen off the trees
and it finally has started looking and feeling like November around here.
We even had a few flurries earlier in the week!

On days like this, it's nice to start the day with a warm breakfast
so this week, the kids and I tried a new (to us) GMO free food

We just popped a few in the toaster, poured on some syrup
and breakfast was served!

Needless to say, this was not a difficult food to get my kids to try!
They were delicious!

Not only does Van's make an organic GMO-free line
of waffles, but they also carry many gluten-free products.
Go check out their website!

*Once again, I am not being compensated in any way to mention this brand.

If you would like to see more of my GMO-free list,
please click on any of the links below!


What have you been eating for breakfast?

Thanks for stopping by!


November 13, 2013

Cozy Winter Pillows

Now that that temperatures have dropped,
I feel the need to add some extra coziness around the house.

I recently purchased two of these white cable-knit pillows
from Joss and Main
to go with my already super-cozy Pottery Barn 

I love the way they warm up the living room.

 Before we know it, there will be snow out those windows...brrrr...

Time to snuggle up!

Did someone say "snuggle up"?

This is one of the out-takes for the Pottery Barn Pet Contest I entered on
Instagram.  I felt like this picture looked a little too posed so I went with another.

Go check out all the cuties and read about the Instagram contest on the 
Pottery Barn Facebook page.  Scroll down and see if you can find Rosie.

Yeah, this is the second time in the past week I have mentioned Instagram.
It's new to me and I am just learning how to use, fun, fun!

How are you keeping warm today?
If you are lying on a warm beach somewhere, do share!


November 8, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Welcome to the Friday Food Focus
where each week I travel down the alphabet
highlighting GMO-free foods.

We have made it to the letter "U"
and this week I tried something new to me:

I was a little hesitant since the words "gluten free" 
don't usually scream "enjoyable" in my world.
Let me tell you - I was pleasantly surprised!

These bars were chewy and delicious.
They are a great snack to grab when you need a little boost,
like during that late afternoon slump.

With the mixture of oats, nuts and chocolate chips,
I felt full and nourished while satisfying my chocolate cravings!
Even my 7 year old fellow chocolate lover couldn't keep away from these bars!

 Yummy...GMO-free and gluten free...
What more could you want in a granola bar?

*Once again, I am not being compensated in any way to mention this brand.

If you need more of my GMO-free list,
please click on any of the links below!


What are you munching on for snacks?


November 7, 2013

One Room Challenge - The Office {Reveal}

After six weeks of transforming
 an old playroom/dog-room into my office,
I am proud to say that I am finished!
(Well almost - Plantation shutters take a while to come in!)

Blue and White Office Reveal
I am sure the shutters will help with the morning glare a bit.

Home Office - Reveal
 I can't believe at one point
I didn't think this Dash and Albert rug wouldn't work in here!
It has now become one of my favorite things!

Home Office with White Bookcases - Reveal
 And speaking of favorite things,
I think the Ballard lantern just makes the space!

White Ikea Chair - part of home office reveal
I just picked up this Ikea Ektorp Jennylund chair yesterday!
Nothing like waiting until the last minute.
If you follow me on Instagram (all 2 of you)
you saw me ironing the slip cover last night.

Home Office Reveal - One Room Challenge
The paisley pillow from Etsy - Making Fabulous
 arrived a couple days ago.

Blue and White Home Office Reveal
 It was fun pulling blue and white things from around the house
and from storage.  So nice to have everything out where I can see them!

Desk and White Bookcases in Home Office Reveal
 This is where I blog now.

Orchid in Home Office Reveal
And of course I must have a pink orchid.
I hope it lives.

Potted Palm
Speaking of living...
Am I insane for buying all these plants?
Well, these palms where only $7.00 on sale at Lowe's.
I bought the woven pots at Ikea yesterday.

Shelves in Home Office Reveal
This side of the room still needs some work.
I need to hang some artwork and deal with the shelves a bit more.
I brought in the hibiscus plant from the deck.
It's getting too cold to keep it outside.
(Not like I would do any better with it in here!)

Home Office at Night - One Room Challenge
Here is a nighttime shot.

Home office with lights - One Room Challenge Reveal
 I really need those shutters to come in.
It feels strange sitting in front of the windows at night.

Entrance to Home Office - Reveal
So once again, here is the entrance to the room.

Do you remember what it looked like when I started?
Home Office Before (with new hardwoods installed)
This was after the hardwood floors were installed.

But you might remember what the entrance looked like
after my darling doggie attacked the carpet...
Before - thanks to the dog -
What a nightmare!

Island Inspired Home Office Reveal - One Room Challenge
I guess the room has come a long way!

Golden Retriever
 And I think Rosie approves!

Thanks again to 
for hosting the One Room Challenge!
My Family Room

Please stop by her blog to check out all the final reveals.
I think I will be over there all day!

If you want to view my progress from each week,
please click on the links below.

And here is a recap of my sources:
Wall Paint Color - Benjamin Moore Bone White and the trim is Decorator's White
Bookcases - Howard Miller by Ty Pennington - repainted Decorator's White (by me!)
Slip Covered Chair - Ikea - Ekrorp Jennylund Chair
Paisley Pillow on Chair - - Making Fabulous
Plants - Lowe's
Accessories - my own, Homegoods, Marshall's

Now I guess I am on to the next project!
What are you working on?


November 4, 2013

Blue and White on the Shelves

I am slowly pulling out pieces

Here is a quick peek
of some of the shelves.
The large vase was a wedding present, the small blue vase was a gift from my mom and the artwork was purchased on our first trip to St. Martin.  The rest are just various pieces I have acquired over the years.  The plant is new and will most likely die soon if I am the one in charge of keeping it alive!

Here are some various books that fit in with my blue and white colors.  The large photo is a picture of the kids being silly in front of the Rum Point sign in Grand Cayman.  The little photo is my darling kitty who lived to be almost 20.  The vase is a gift from my neighbor.  The plate is from an antique shopping trip with friends.

On this shelf we have another plant waiting to die a slow death.  The little blue pitcher is from my dear friend who I have known since kindergarten!  The candle holder is from Hobby Lobby.

These blue spheres were a steal from Christmas Tree Shoppe at $1.29 a piece!
The big shell is from Homegoods.

 This blue and white tea pot was a gift from one of my dearest friends
while on a trip to Hong Kong.

And more art from St. Martin,
an antique plate and some travel books to remind me
that I desperately need another vacation!!!

These shelves have come a long way...
Here they are before I painted them Decorator's White.
It was quite a project but I am SO glad I did it!

I am still in the process of moving things around
 so stop by Thursday for the final installment of
the One Room Challenge to see how everything turns out.

In the meantime, I am linking this post to:
Have a great week!


November 3, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Ooops, I missed Friday again!
Halloween threw me off...
and that time change...
yeah, that's what did it!

So, it's Sunday and I am just getting to the 
Friday Food Focus.

If you are not familiar with this series,
each week I travel down the alphabet
highlighting a Non-GMO brand
that I have tried.

I had trouble finding the letter "T"
this week but then remembered my tea collection.

I drink an assortment of teas
and one of the brands I love is

They produce of huge selection of wellness teas
and teas for just about any symptom or ailment you can come up with!

Many of their teas are organic/GMO free 
so I would say this brand would qualify for my list!

During cold and flu season I stock up on the ones that boost your immune system
which reminds me - I need to get shopping!

This is one brand that is easy to find
 in most grocery and health food stores
 so you have no excuse not to give it a try!

*Once again, I am not being compensated in any way to mention this brand.

If you just can't get enough of my GMO-free list,
please click on any of the links below!


What kind of tea do you drink?

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