Country Living...Island Dreaming

September 29, 2016

Take Me Away - September Recap

Finally, the temperatures here in the northeast are cooling down.  Most of September felt like summer around here.  Not that I'm complaining.  I love summer but I love the change of seasons too.  I am definitely loving this fall weather!

Now that September is coming to and end, it's time to look back on what you shared for September's Take Me Away Party!  Our next party will take place on Friday, October 7th, so get those travel posts ready!  In the meantime, let's look back at the trip reports everyone linked up in September...

Susan from Our French Oasis loves summer like I do.  She is fortunate enough to live in France where to weather is glorious and the sunflowers grow in abundance.  
Summers in France - My French Oasis blog

Susan shared beautiful photos of the beaches and countryside.  I'm envious of those extra long mid summer days there.  How l would love to use that time to bask in the sun!

And Susan obviously knows how to embrace outdoor living.  Come join her and friends in an al fresco breakfast feast!
France - Breakfast with Friends - My French Oasis blog

Not only does the food look amazing, but she makes the whole meal look so easy with her simple recipes and relaxed attitude.  This is the way to entertain!

From there we head to Montana where Pam from Everyday Living takes us away to "Big Sky" country...
Montana travel report - Everyday Living Blog

Come tour Triple Creek Ranch - voted one of the top 100 hotels by Travel and Leisure magazine.  You just might want to become a cowboy...or at least live like one for awhile!

The tour continues at this gorgeous Montana hideaway with more breathtaking scenery...
Triple Creek Ranch - Montana - Everyday Living Blog

Horseback riding, archery and oh those mountains!  A trip of a lifetime!

But how many times in your lifetime do you get caught in a tropical storm?  Pam from Everyday Living experienced one on a trip to the gorgeous island of St. Maarten!
Taken by Storm - A Week in St. Maarten - Everyday Living blog

Luckily, the weather wasn't bad for her whole trip and she managed to make the best of a scary situation by enjoying time with friends.  Speaking of scary, how you ever seen how the planes land in St. Maarten?  Be sure to check out her pictures.  She caught some incredible shots!

Back to France we go, but this time with Sandy from You May Be Wandering.
Les Puces - Paris Flea Market - You May Be Wandering blog

Sandy took us away to the amazing Paris Flea Market!  If you love antiques, this place is a must see on your next trip to Paris.  It looks more like a boutique than a flea market and I am sure someone could get lost there for hours.  Be sure to read her important tips if you plan to visit someday!

From there, Sandy took us even farther away to the fascinating Kyoto, Japan.
Quintessential Japan - Kyoto - You May Be Wandering blog

Read about how she experienced classic Japanese culture while enjoying her stay at the luxurious Ritz Carlton.  Enchanting gardens, breathtaking photography and valuable tips...truly a trip to remember!

Once again, thank you to everyone who linked up their inspiring travel posts!

Remember to join us next week 
on Friday, October 7th
for our next Take Me Away Party!

Linking to:


September 27, 2016

A Fun Halloween Tradition in our Neighborhood

In our neighborhood, Halloween isn't just about trick-or-treating.  We also participate in an annual tradition of spooking the neighbors!

Each year, during the month or so preceding Halloween, a mystery ghost starts the yearly spooking by leaving a goodie bag (or basket) on two neighbors' doorsteps.  They ring the doorbell, drop the bag and run!  Then it's up to those two neighbors to each put together two more goodie bags and continue with the spooking a day or two later.  And just so everyone knows those neighbors have already been spooked, they each hang a ghost on their front door.  Sounds like fun doesn't it?

Please note, this post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links below.  

Here is a goodie basket we received a couple years ago.  As you can see, sometimes a neighbor will get very generous!
Halloween Treat Basket - Tips to "spook" your neighbors
That year, our mystery ghost included goodies for the adults as well as the children.  What a surprise to find a bottle of wine sitting on the doorstep!  How often does something that fortunate happen?  Although, it's not necessary to be this elaborate with the treats.  I mean, it can get costly putting one of these baskets together!  The main goal is to have fun and to make Halloween a little extra festive around the neighborhood.  
You've Been Spooked - a great neighborhood tradition for kids and adults

If you are interested in starting your own neighborhood spooking tradition, I listed some ideas from what we have used in the past.  I tried to find similar products for your convenience.  For example, I have seen pumpkin baskets like the one above at Michael's Craft store.  But if you want to go a different route, you could try this - pumpkin candy bag.

Obviously, you could just fill the basket with wine and candy and be done.  Or you could get creative and add some of these...

Pumpkin carving tools and accessories - Halloween goodie bag ideas
I mean, who doesn't need carving tools for Halloween?  Here are some more - similar carving tools and also these which include patterns if you want to get creative!  Don't forget to add some light with these - flashing strobe light or LED tea lights.

Coloring books and other creative treats for Halloween goodie bags
We received these funny, little notepads one year but I also found similar Halloween notepads along with these really cute coloring books.  Halloween pencils are easy to add to the goodie bags and are great to pass out at school Halloween parties.  Halloween stickers are also a fun and inexpensive way to go!

Glow Bracelets and other Halloween essentials for goodie bags
Everyone needs glow bracelets at Halloween.  These were from Walmart but I also found these - similar glow bracelets and also sets that come with neckaces.

Halloween paper products - ideas to fill gift bags
It's always convenient to have extra paper plates and napkins!  I found these similar and traditional Halloween napkins but I also thought  these would be a funny option!

Halloween cooking accessories - ideas to fill goodie bags
Adding cookie cutters to the goodie bag is another creative and inexpensive idea.  I found these - similar cookie cutters and these - cute mini ones. I couldn't find the exact ghost spatula anywhere but I thought these were a cute substitute.

Plastic spider - and other cute ideas to fill Halloween gift bags
You might want to finish your bag with scary spider!  My kids always love these.  I found this - similar one or you might want a bag of tiny spiders instead!

Whatever you choose to put in your bag, I hope you have fun spreading Halloween cheer around your neighborhood!  

Oh, I almost forgot, this is a website with similar spooking instructions!  They have a few versions along with some helpful tips!

Will you be spooking your neighbors this year?
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!

How to spook your neighbors this Halloween - great ideas for goodie bags!

Linking to:
DIY by Design - Fall into Fall Party
A Savory Feast - The Wednesday Showcase
Seeking Lavender Lane - The Creative Circle
Imparting Grace - Grace at Home
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
The Craftberry Bush - Inspiration Gallery
From Gardners to Bergers - The Handmade Hangout
Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else
Pieced Pastimes - Saturday Sparks
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend
My Pinterventures - Halloween Blog Hop and Giveaway
The Sits Girls Sharefest
Inspiration for Moms - Inspiration Monday
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
DIY Showoff - That DIY Party
Cedar Hill Farmhouse - The Scoop
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Inspire Me Monday
A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday
Homestories A to Z - Tutorials and Tips Party
The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday
The Turquoise Home - Work it Wednesday
The Newlywed Pilgrimage - Moonlight and Mason Jars
Poofing the Pillows - Thoughts of Home Thursday
Two Chicks and a Mom - Funtastic Friday


September 24, 2016

Decorating with White Pumpkins

Happy first weekend of fall!  Finally, the weather has made a turn and we are experiencing some cooler temperatures.  Suddenly, I am really in the mood to decorate!

For the past few years, I have been decorating with white pumpkins as they have really become a favorite for me.  This year is no different.  I haven't found too many yet but I am scouring every farm stand I can!  Let's take a look back at the times I have used white pumpkins over the years.  (You can click the link below each photo to take you to the full post.)

White Pumpkin Table Setting - Ways to decorate with white pumpkins

White pumpkins always manage to make it into at least a few table settings in my home.  I have used both real and artificial.

Thanksgiving Table Setting using white pumpkins

I have used them to decorate the foyer...
Fall foyer vignette using white pumpkins

On the coffee table in the family room...

Last year, I displayed some in my kitchen...
Subtle autumn accents - using white pumpkins in fall decor

I like to keep them out throughout the fall and into Thanksgiving...
White pumpkins in fall decor

They are subtle enough to mix in every room...
Fall decor ideas using white pumpkins

And I always love to use them on the fireplace.  This was last year's mantel...
October mantel - fall ideas using white pumpkins

And just this week, I shared my mantel for this fall...
Fall mantel with apples and white pumpkins - decorating ideas for white pumpkins

I would like to find some larger white pumpkins this year but so far the only large ones I have seen are orange.  We usually use orange ones on our front porch and then carve them once Halloween approaches.  Hopefully, I will find more white ones to use in my fall decor.  

Do you decorate with white pumpkins?
Have you had trouble finding them this year?
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!
Decorating with White Pumpkins for Fall

Linking to:


September 22, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Vermont 2008

On this first day of fall, I thought I would share some old photos from one of our many family trips to Vermont.
Vermont Foliage

My boys were practically babies then...
Boys playing in the leaves on our trip to Vermont
These photos were taken at Billings Farm, a working dairy farm located in Woodstock VT.  The whole property was breathtaking and meticulously maintained.  I would love to take the boys there again when we head up to Vermont in the next few weeks.  I wonder if they will remember playing together in the leaves.

Vermont farm scene - boys climbing the fence
Do you think they will still enjoy climbing the fences to see the animals?  Well, since they are 10 and 12 and almost as tall as me now, I would say no.  Sadly, they will probably ask to bring along their devices this time.

Boys playing in the fall leaves
It just seems like yesterday when something as simple as playing in the leaves was the highlight of their day...sigh...

Fall leaf pile
Time really does fly... 

Vermont in the Fall - Billings Farm, Woodstock, VT
I'm looking forward to enjoying the beautiful Vermont scenery again.  If we are lucky, we could be there during peak foliage season this time!

Fall Hayride - Billings Farm, Woodstock, VT
I doubt the boys will be as excited for a hay ride this time around.  Maybe I will make them do it anyway!

And while I'm at it, I have to make them pose with the Vermont cow cut-out at the Cabot Cheese store again!  They will definitely be taller than the cow this year...
Cabot Cheese Cow
Sorry boys but this is what we do when it's not ski season!  Seriously, where does the time go? 

Here are a few other Vermont posts if this has peaked your interest...

Have you been to Vermont in the fall?

Linking to these parties:


September 18, 2016

Fall Mantel with Apples and White Pumpkins

We are finally getting some cooler days so I thought it was time to update my mantel for fall!  After all, this is only the second year we've had this stone fireplace.  I have been eager to play around with it a bit...

White Pumpkins on Fall Mantel

My son and I stopped by a farm stand yesterday and picked up these cute little white pumpkins.  They are always one of my favorites for fall.

Apple Art on Fall Mantel

I dug around in the basement and found this framed fruit print which used to hang in my dining room.  Months ago, I decided that this would be the year to finally repaint my red dining room.  I didn't see any point in re-hanging this art since I plan to go for a different look in there.  Have I repainted the room yet?  Well, no but I really plan to do it soon...I swear...

Fall Mantel with Apples and White Pumpkins

I added a bit of greenery in white pots to pick up the white from the pumpkins and mat on the artwork.

Basket of Apples - Decorating the Mantel for Fall

I had these small fruit baskets from Michael's Craft Store so I decided to fill them with apples to go with the artwork.  I am loving the selection of apples in the stores lately.  They are always so much better when you buy them in season!

White Pumpkins - Part of my latest fall mantel decor

Apples and pumpkins...sure they go together.  Why not?!!

Stone Fireplace Decorated for Fall

I already had some red in the family room so the apple theme fit right in.

Rustic Mantel Decorated for Fall with Apples and Pumpkins

I might change things around in October but I think this works fine for September...kind of an early harvest type of look.

Apples and Pumpkins on Mantel - Stone Fireplace Decorated for Fall

Before long we will be building some roaring fires in here.  I am sure my boys can't wait!

White Pumpkins for Fall - the latest mantel decor

But for now, we'll just enjoy the cute white pumpkins...

Rustic Stone Fireplace Decorated for Autumn using apples and white pumpkins

Like I said, this is our second year with this stone fireplace.  If you would like to see last year's fall fireplace click here - October 1st Mantel.  I also decorated our old mantel many times over the years.  You can see some of those posts here - Four Mantels for Fall.

Have you decorated your mantel for fall?

Enjoy your day!

Linking to:
Inspiration for Moms - Inspiration Monday
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
My Pinterventures - Merry Monday
Creatively Living - Monday Funday
Coastal Charm - Show and Share
Cedar Hill Farmhouse - The Scoop
A Stroll thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Inspire Me Monday
Homestories - Tutorials and Tips Party
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesday
A Savory Feast - the Wednesday Showcase
DIY by Design - Fall into Fall Party
My LIfe Abundant - Wonderful Wednesday
My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies - Brag About it
A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday
The Essence of Home - Share Your Style Party
Poofing the Pillows - Thoughts of Home Thursday
Domestic Charm - Creative Circle Party
Craftberry Bush - Inspiration Gallery
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else
Chic on a Shoestring - Flaunt it Friday
Pieced Pastimes - Saturday Sparks
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend
The Sits Girls - The Saturday Sharefest
The Everyday Home - Share it One More Time
Finding Silver Pennies - Sunday Link Party
DIY Showoff - That DIY Party
Imparting Grace - Grace at Home
From Gardners 2 Bergers - The Handmade Hangout


September 13, 2016

Adding More Plantation Shutters

Over the years, we have installed plantation shutters in a few of our rooms.  And by "we" I mean, we have had them installed professionally.  I wish we could go the DIY route to save some money but I am a bit nervous about that!
Plantation Shutters in the Bathroom
The bathrooms were done first, for privacy reasons.  We used the "polywood" type in here so we won't have to worry about the moisture wrecking them.

Plantation Shutters over the tub
I just love the way they look over the tub...Although, they would look much better if I had a free-standing tub instead of this monster jacuzzi.  Unfortunately, that is a battle I will not win in this house...

We also have plantation shutters in our downstairs guest bathroom...
Guest bathroom with plantation shutters
I love the way the shutters filter the light on this bright side of the house.

When I remodeled my home office, we also added them in there.
Home Office with Plantation Shutters
I used real wood ones in here since I don't have to worry about moisture or many dirty fingerprints.  I am the only one who opens and closes them.  For the most part, this space is free from those messy boys.

Home Office - Plantation Shutters and Dash and Albert Rug
I love the way they give the room an island inspired feel.  This was always the look I envisioned for the space and I feel that the plantation shutters really finished the room!

Ever since we completed our kitchen renovation, I have wanted to tackle the family room - starting with the windows.  The wood blinds have been in there for years and they really don't do much for the room.  Basically, they block the glare when you are watching TV...but they don't even do that very well!  They are falling apart and just look messy all the time.
Open Kitchen to Family Room
For the past year, I have been checking prices and waiting for plantation shutters to go on sale somewhere.  Finally, the company I used for my bathrooms, Sunburst Shutters announced a sale!  (No, I am not being compensated to mention them.  I have just used them in the past and was very happy with the company.)  The sales rep came out yesterday to measure and I ordered the shutters for the six windows in the family room.  They should take 4-5 weeks so I will give you an update once they arrive.  I am so excited to be moving along with this space!  

Do you have any plantation shutters in your home?
Plantation Shutters - a classic look that works in almost any room

Linking to:
My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies - Brag About It Link Party
Coastal Charm - Show and Share
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesday
My Life Abundant - Wonderful Wednesday
DIY by Design - Sizzle Into Summer Party
Poofing the Pillows - Thoughts of Home Thursday
The Essence of Home - Share Your Style
Seeking Lavender Lane- Creative Circle Party
Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend
Pieced Pastimes - Saturday Sparks
The Everyday Home - Share it One More Time
Inspiration for Moms - Inspiration Monday
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
My Pinterventures - Merry Monday
A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday
A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday
Craftberry Bush - Inspiration Gallery

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