Country Living...Island Dreaming

November 27, 2014

White Thanksgiving

Wishing you and your families a 
Happy Thanksgiving!

As you can see, 
we have a white one here in New Jersey!


November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Vignettes

Before I run out to the store to pick up the rest of my Thanksgiving ingredients, I'd like to share a few Thanksgiving inspired vignettes around my home...

This is the coffee table in my living room.
The sunflower basket shows up in different places every year:

I added this subway art to my foyer.

 As you can see, I changed it a bit in here.
Here is what the table looked like about a month ago - Fall Foyer
(I know, I just can't leave things alone!)

 This rustic pumpkin is on the kitchen table.
Obviously it will look a bit different in here on Thanksgiving Day.

This fall vignette is in my guest bathroom.

 I made the "artwork" on Picmonkey.
I always like to change what's in the beadboard frame.

Last year, I used some subway art in here.

 The pub table is all set for a game of chess.
Gotta keep those cousins entertained.

And basket of pumpkins sits on the console table in my family room.

Here is how my house looked last year:

And now I have stalled enough!  I am off to the grocery store to brave the crowds of Thanksgiving shoppers..And the pre-snowstorm shoppers!  Yes, snow is in the forecast for tomorrow....looks like a white Thanksgiving around here!

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Linking to:

November 22, 2014

Sniffles and Giggles

I have started out my weekend with a nasty cold....Ugh.  I just knew I would get sick.  My kids have had colds over the past few weeks and then I stayed out until 3:00 am last Saturday night.  Yes, 3:00 am...I haven't done that in many, many years.  My friend had a 50th birthday party at her house and a group of us neighbors partied it up until the wee hours of the morning.  And I only had one glass of wine the whole night so it was really just the lack of sleep that wore me down.

Anyway, this week I started to feel a cold coming on.  And now I am just feeling miserable.

I plan on brewing up a pot of my old stand-by chicken soup.  My son requested this when he was sick a couple weeks ago and I must say, it's very soothing for a cold.  This is the basic homemade chicken soup recipe I follow. - All - Homemade Chicken Soup except I usually add garlic cloves and some spinach or kale.  I also like to throw in some elbow macaroni, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top and toss in a few croutons.  It really turns into a meal with all the extras.  I only wish I had frozen some last time so I don't have to go through all the trouble to make it again!

Unfortunately, with this cold, I had to cancel my birthday celebration dinner tonight.  We had plans to meet one of my oldest and dearest friends and her husband at one of my favorite restaurants.  I just called her to cancel and she was as understanding as always.  I am so thankful for our wonderful friendship.  She is one of those people who I don't get to see very often because of our different schedules but when we are together, we are always able to pick up just where we left off.  We never feel the need to apologize if we have to cancel something because we both have kids and understand that life can get crazy.  We plan to reschedule our dinner next weekend and I so look forward to seeing them both!

It helps me to have a few laughs and positive thoughts when I am not feeling well so I have been scrolling through my Quotes and Funny Things Pinterest Boards.  Reading then all definitely puts a smile on my face.

And I got a real giggle when I watched a funny video someone shared with me on Facebook...If you are a dog person, (a golden retriever fan in particular), you need to click over to the link below.  Watch for the golden in the video and if you are familiar with their personalities, you will enjoy a good laugh!  Click here - Huffingtonpost - Golden Retriever Dog Fails Obedience Test.  This has Rosie written all over it!

Speaking of Rosie, she spent an afternoon at the groomer this week.  My little girl is all ready to help host Thanksgiving!  Now I just have to get better so I can cook that turkey!

Enjoy your weekend everyone!
What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Linking to:

November 19, 2014

The Bouqs

The Bouqs Company provided my with a bouquet of my choice in exchange for an honest review and invited me to become an affiliate.  I only link to products and companies I truly recommend!  This post contains affiliate links.

Don't you just love the way fresh flowers
can brighten up a room?

Pink Roses
A nice pop of pink on a cold, windy day
definitely adds good energy to a space.

These gorgeous roses are from The, a new company who ships fresh flowers directly from a volcano in South America!  

For a $40 flat fee (that includes shipping), you can choose one of their 40 "Bouqs" (aka bouquets simplified).

I was impressed with their packaging
and the way they listed the instructions right on the box.
Even someone with a not-so-green-thumb, like myself
couldn't mess this up!

As you can see, my roses arrived in perfect condition.
I chose the "Desperado" Bouq...
because I can never have enough pink in my world!

I always forget how much I love having fresh flowers in the house!

And I always forget to use this crystal vase from my wedding!
These elegant roses gave the perfect excuse to bring it out!
My wedding flowers were pink by the way...ahh memories...

Pink perfection!

And after a couple days,
they are opening up beautifully!

I can honestly say that I am very impressed with The Bouqs and the quality of their stunning roses! Do yourself a favor and check out their website and browse through all the beautiful "Bouqs" they offer.  Not only will you love their selection, but the cute names of each Bouq will crack you up - "Good Karma", "Hot Lava", "Milkshake"...

And speaking of cracking up, when you click over to The, watch their video under the "How it Works" tab.  I love a company with a sense of humor!  And I love a company that is eco-friendly as well.  You can read all about that when you hop over there...

Have you bought any fresh flowers lately?

*Disclosure:  The Bouqs Company provided my with a bouquet of my choice in exchange for an honest review and invited me to become an affiliate.  I only link to products and companies I truly recommend!  This post contains affiliate links.

Linking to:


November 18, 2014

Kitchen from a Showhouse

Over the past few months I have shared some photos from the Mansion in May Designer Showhouse.  For some reason, I never got around to showing you one of my favorite rooms in the mansion...

You are going to love this kitchen!
Now I think I want to paint my mantel black!

Gorgeous island...
and check out those lanterns.

And THIS stove and hood.
Amazing right?

Aren't the cabinets beautiful?

The kitchen was designed by
(and my iphone pictures just don't do it justice!)

Be sure to visit their website to view more of their exquisite kitchens.

And even though the Mansion in May Designer Showhouse tour has been over for some time now, you can still check out their website HERE to learn more about the mansion.  They have recently updated the website to include before and after photos of each of the rooms!  

You can view the before and after photos of the kitchenHERE.

What do you love most about this kitchen?

Linking to:
A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
DIY by Design - Fall into Fall Party
The NY Melrose Family - Whimsy Wednesdays
A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday
Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson - Share Your Cup Thursday
From My Front Porch to Yours - Treasure Hunt Thursday
Nancherrow - Fridays Unfolded
Craftberry Bush - Inspiration Gallery
Chic on a Shoestring - Flaunt it Friday
Pieced Pastimes - Saturday Sparks Link Party
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
Coastal Charm - Show and Share
Sand and Sisal - Inspire Me Monday
Cedar Hill - The Scoop


November 15, 2014

A Quaint Country Town

The other day I took my mom out for her birthday lunch in the scenic town of Sergeantsville, New Jersey.  Sergeantsville is located in southwestern Hunterdon County, NJ.  I actually lived nearby until I was about four years old!

Sergeantsville NJ
Can you understand why she chose
 this charming and sentimental place for our outing?

Just west of the picturesque village you will find the last covered bridge still standing in New Jersey...
Sergeantsville Covered Bridge

Last Covered Bridge in NJ

Covered Bridge in Sergeantsville NJ
Isn't it beautiful?
I would love to come back here when it's covered with snow!

Sergeantsville Inn

We enjoyed a delicious lunch in "the library" at the historic Sergeantsville Inn.  It was so special to spend some leisurely time sitting by the fireplace, catching up with my mom.  I can see why she loves this place so much.

It was also wonderful to drive through this beautiful area of New Jersey.  Not much has changed over the years.
Country Road in Sergeantsville NJ
Such a lovely place to be in the fall!

I was disappointed to learn that last year was the 40th and final year of the town's "Thanksgiving in the Country" house tour!  What fun it would be to attend something like that!  You can read more about it here -

Have you been to any places that haven't changed over the years?

Linking to:

November 14, 2014

Preparing for the Upcoming Holidays

What a crazy and exciting time of year!  Don't you feel like you are bouncing all over the place in preparation for the upcoming holidays?

Here are a few ideas and links that work for me and might also make your life a bit more organized for all the festivities!

We host between 20-25 family members for Thanksgiving every year and for the past couple of years I have been sending Evites.  It might sound kind of impersonal but for our family, these invitations work the best.  I always cook the main dishes but several people always chip in with desserts, side dishes, etc.  With the Evites, they can specify what dish they will bring right in the response.  So easy and convenient for everybody...

Here are some of the Thanksgiving choices on
Many of the invitations are free and are so easy to use!
(No, I am not being compensated in any way to mention them!)

I already sent my Thanksgiving Evite invitation for this year but now that I am thinking of it, I should have added my disclaimer that "I am not responsible for any dishes or utensils left at my house after Thanksgiving is over!"

I am the absolute worst when it comes to returning dishes.  My family always thinks they are doing me a favor when they say, " Oh don't worry about it, I'll pick it up next time I see you."  Well, let me tell you, if you leave a dish behind at my house you are never going to see it again!  I start out with good intentions of setting the dish aside with a sticky note on it.  It goes into a cabinet and then if I am lucky enough to remember to bring it out when that person comes over, the person always says, "Oh, that's not mine."  So then I end up with various dishes that no one ever remembers owning and then these mystery dishes makes their way to the basement and disappear into a black hole never to be seen again!

Sure, if I were a better hostess, I would personally deliver the dishes back to the rightful owners myself but with my luck, I would still hear, "Oh, that's not mine" anyway!  So basically, if you come with a dish, you leave with it, period!  Really makes you want to come to Thanksgiving at my house, doesn't it?....

Anyway... another preparation I make for Thanksgiving involves ordering a fresh turkey.  With our massive crowd, I can't take a chance on randomly finding the right sized turkey sitting in the store, so I always put my name on the list at my local grocery store for a 26-28 pound turkey.  I know, huge - right?  But it makes things easier because I know I will be able to get one large enough.  I always buy fresh, not frozen because thawing out the turkey just adds extra steps to my whole Thanksgiving process.  I've done this for some many years, that I have a good system I don't want to mess with!

This past year, I have started using a Grocery Store app to organize my lists.  This helps so much because I just add an item to my phone every time I think of it and I can also check them off as I buy them!  The only bad thing is, I look like I am walking around texting while shopping.  So if you see me in the store, I am checking off items on my list - not texting!

I like to get as much done in advance and one thing I always need to do is polish my silver.  I don't like to use harsh chemicals so I go with a more natural approach...
There are a few "recipes" for doing this, 
but here is the one I use every year:

I always have a few standard recipes to fall back on.  Actually, who am I kidding?  I basically make the same recipes each year because the family expects Thanksgiving to be a certain way.  I would destroy our traditions if I changed the menu too much!
But it is always nice to use recipes passed down in the family.

I haven't even thought about how I am decorating the tables this year but if you want to see some of my past Thanksgiving and fall tables, click on the links below:

Turkey for Ten
Country Thanksgiving for Four
Fall Table for Four
Fall Table Setting
Black and White Fall Table
Fall Table Setting with Apples

And we all know that as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, we will be jumping into those December holidays!

If you want to make sure your kids (and you) don't miss those favorite holiday specials on TV, here is the schedule for ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas.

Chip and Co - ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas

I don't know about you, but I  must see The Year Without A Santa Claus every single year or Christmas is just not the same for me!  That Heatmiser cracks me up every time!  ..."Because he's too much...da da da da...daaaaaaaaaaaaa...da!..."

So hopefully, these little tips I use can help you out in some way.
How are you preparing for the holidays?

Linking to:

November 8, 2014

Christmas Mantels of the Past

I always wait until the day after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas and I NEVER go shopping on that Black Friday!  It ends up being a great day for me to pull out the decorations.

I have started thinking about how I will decorate the mantel.  I think I would like to do something a little different this year.

Here are a few of my Christmas Mantels from the past....


2010 again 
(with some changes)
(more details HERE)

(more details HERE)

(more details - HERE)

What are your plans for decorating this year?

November 6, 2014

Something's Gotta Give

I am officially the last 
home-design-loving-blogger on the planet
to finally see the classic movie,
Something's Gotta Give!

The other night I watched it on demand and loved it!  I already knew that I would swoon over that gorgeous house, but I am always hesitant to invest any precious time in a movie.  I actually treat my DVR like a Pinterest board.  I waste time practically every night saving movies to my "favorite" file but I rarely go ahead and watch them.  But this time I did and it was so worth it!!

How many times have you drooled over this room?

You know, the movie was made in 2003
and I wouldn't change a thing in that house.
So classic and timeless.

And so was the movie!

In my opinion, no one else could have played the lead roles better than Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton.  Those parts just had to be written for them - so perfect!  The humor was laugh out loud funny at times - (loved the Viagra in the hospital part) and the story-line was sweet and just so engaging...all set in a beautiful place.  What more could you want in a movie?  This has definitely made it to my list of favorite movies to see.  Now I understand what all they hype was about!

And don't even get me started on Keanu Reeves...sigh...I basically love him in every single part he has ever played.  So cute, and charming, and did I mention cute?  He is one of those people that if I met in real life, I would just die.  Pass out...fall down, hit my head and have to be taken to the emergency room!  If you remember, he played a doctor in this movie so of course he would have to be in that emergency room to take care of then I would just pass out again.  Yeah, I love Keanu Reeves...

Anyway, what was I talking about?...

Oh yeah, the movie!  I understand why the house/movie set has been a design inspiration for so many.  I loved every room and practically went back to rewind parts just to get a better look at the furniture!

As I was picturing myself in that house, sitting at that desk, I realized Diane Keaton's desk is very similar to the one I planned on buying for my office.  Here is the one I ended up with...
Mine is a bit darker,
but you can see by this post here - Desk Shopping
that my original idea was to go with a similar look to hers.

Notice the blue and white stripes in my rug?...I think I must have been subconsciously copying the Something's Gotta Give house!  Between the dark wood of the desk, the creamy colored walls, the striped rug...


November 1, 2014

Clocks in My Home

With Daylight Savings Time ending tonight, I thought I would take you around my house to see some of my clocks...

This clock is the Alexander Martinot Clock from Ballard Designs.
It hangs in our conservatory, 
otherwise known as the pool table room.

 I purchased this clock from the Big Clock Store.
Right now it sits on a shelf also in the pool table room
because I never really decided where to put it!

This Howard Miller clock hangs on the wall in my kitchen.

And this one from the Threshold collection at Target
hangs in my laundry room.

I seem to go for a similar look in wall clocks
because I also like these...

Lanier Wall Clock

Station Wall Clock

Threshold Oversized Wood Wall Clock

and this one might look nice in my office...

Manor House Blue Clock
(Yes, it's navy but kind of looks black here.)

Remember to set your clocks back tonight.
Spring ahead, fall back...

Daylight saving time begins the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.  - source Wikipedia

Did you know that Daylight Saving Time is observed in most areas of the US except Arizona (not including the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, and the overseas territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands?   source - Wikipedia

Yeah, I am just a wealth of information today.
I hope you have a good TIME tonight!

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