Country Living...Island Dreaming

October 16, 2017

Some Blog Updates

Happy Monday Everyone!  I am starting out the week by installing a new blog template!  Yay!  Yeah, I know, it's about time, right?  I am installing everything myself so things might look weird for a day or two while I play around with the details.  Have a great day!


October 5, 2017

Take Me Away Link Party - October 2017

Welcome friends!  It's time to link up those travel posts again.  With all the horrific events in the news, I think we could all use an escape...

Take Me Away Travel Link Party

Let's get started with the October party!
  • Please link up to 3 travel posts you have written (new or old - as long as you haven't shared them at the Take Me Away before.)
  • Please include a link back to my blog.
  • Please don't link ads or giveaways (affiliate links are fine, though!)
  • By joining the party, you give me permission to share your post/photos on social media and this blog.
  • Please Pin from the original source of the photos.
  • Please visit and comment on as many links as you can...after all this is a party!
Once again, we are off!  Take Me Away!


October 3, 2017

Take Me Away Recap - September 2017

Well, October is here and since this Friday will be the first Friday of the month, be sure to swing by with your travel posts to join our Take Me Away Link Party.

First, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to everyone affected in this senseless tragedy in Las Vegas.  It feels like the world is falling apart...

As always, you linked up some amazing places last month.  Let's take a look back at September...

Susan from Our French Oasis shared her Staycation with us...

Well, to answer the title of her post...Yes!  When you see what a gorgeous area of France she lives in , you will understand why she took a staycation!

Then Pam from Everyday Living took us on a stroll through beautiful Savannah...

Join Pam as she explored one of the largest National Historic Landmark districts in the country!  Between the viewing the stunning architecture and learning about the rich history of the city, this looked like a day to remember!

Just a little north of Savannah is the seaside town of Myrtle Beach, SC where Our UnSchooling Journey Through Life took her family...

Spacious beachfront accommodations with pools, kid friendly activities and water-slides!  What a fun place for a family to enjoy a vacation!

Our Unschooling Journey also shared her field trip to the botanical gardens...

A beautiful day exploring the gardens along with the added bonus of seeing the the special fairy garden exhibit!

Our Unschooling Journey and her boys also enjoyed a family outing on a steam train and river boat ride...

What a fun journey down the Connecticut River viewing the scenery and learning the history of the area!

And for more history, join Carole from the blog, From My Carolina Home in Lexington, Kentucky...

Carole shared her visit to the Keeneland Racetrack and grounds.  If you are a horse enthusiast, you will love this!

And I know you will love seeing Carole's pictures of this summer's eclipse!...

Carole shared her views (and amazing photos) of the eclipse from Table Rock Park in South Carolina.  A truly awesome day!  

It was nice to look back on a day where the whole country gathered peacefully to experience a memorable event together....Prayers for Las Vegas.

Thank you to everyone who stops by each month!  Whether you are here to link up your own posts or to read others, we always enjoy having you!

Please remember to stop by 
this Friday, October 6th
for the next Take Me Away Link Party!

Looking forward to seeing you then!
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!


October 1, 2017

Fun Places to Spend a Fall Day and A Few Recent Happenings

Happy October everyone!  As soon as the calendar flipped to October, the temperatures instantly cooled down.  It finally feels like fall around here!

Actually, the weather has been lovely for the past month, just warmer than usual.  I have been trying to spend as much time as possible outside.

Just the other day, I enjoyed a girl's day out in Princeton, NJ with one of my best pals.  Our first stop was the farmer's market on Witherspoon Street.  Don't those apples look scrumptious?  I think I need to find a good apple pie recipe!

It was the perfect day to stroll though the stores in Palmer Square, the shopping area across from Princeton University.

And I discovered my new favorite store, Homestead while we were there!  Let's take a look inside...

Furniture, home decor accessories...

And tons of rugs!  I could have spent all day in there!  I plan to go back because they sell beautiful barnwood tables which you can customize.  I think this will finally solve my kitchen table dilemma!

After a morning of shopping, we stopped for lunch at Agricola, a delicious farm to table restaurant.

I loved the decor in there with its rustic farmhouse feel.  Our lunch was so fresh and flavorful.  We are already talking about going back with the husbands for dinner.  Then we will be able to sample some of the unique cocktails listed on the menu!

Check out the fun lighting...

And speaking of fun lighting, I loved this one at the J.McLaughlin store we stopped in on the way back to the car.  Love that store.

Another cute town to visit this time of year is Frenchtown, New Jersey.  It's located right on the Delaware River and has the sweet charm of an old river town.

My dad was in town that day so I met him for a casual lunch down the street.  I have heard the Frenchtown Inn is supposed to be good for dinner so I will have to check it out one of these days.

On another day, my son and I were across the river in Pennsylvania so we decided to stop at Ringing Rocks Park in Upper Black Eddy...

We were unprepared when we swung by that day.  You are supposed to bring a hammer so you can tap the rocks and here a ringing sound.  Luckily, we borrowed a hammer from a nearby couple.

If you want to hear some of the rock sounds, pop over to Uncovering PA website and watch the quick video.  It really is a neat place and no one really knows exactly why some of the rocks give off a ringing sound.  Fun for kids!

Yes, this blurry cell phone photo above is a picture of a black bear.  We spotted him on the ride home less than a mile from my house.  I don't want to meet up with him when I am out walking Rosie!

Speaking of Rosie, she has been enjoying the cooler temperatures.  She loves having the windows open as much as we do!

And the cooler temps have gotten me in the mood to decorate for fall!  I shared my fall console table recently and I just added the clock above.  If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my stories.  I was undecided as to where to put the clock but most of you, along with my son voted for this space.  After obsessing over each spot, I decided you were right, so up it went.  One decision to cross off my list!

I picked these sunflowers up at a farm stand but they didn't last as long as I had hoped.  They were dropping yellow dust all over my counter after only a few days.  The ones I had last year lasted for weeks and weeks...but I think they came from a florist so they were probably treated with something.  Anyway, they looked lovely with my blue and white porcelain in the foyer!

And that wraps up my recent fall happenings.  Bring on October - it's pumpkin time!

Where have you spent your fall days?
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September 23, 2017

Family Favorites - An Easy and Delicious Banana Muffin Recipe

Well, Fall has officially arrived!  You would never know it around here, though.  The temperatures have been in the 80's and will continue to be warm for the next week.  I have started decorating a little, which feels strange with the air conditioner on, but what can you do?

Easy Banana Muffin Recipe

You can bake muffins...that's what you can do!  It's that time of year for comfort food, plus it's always fun to run the oven on a hot day!

Fall Baking - Banana Muffins

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen me baking muffins in my stories...exciting stuff I tell ya!  Anyway, I thought I would share the recipe with you!...

Baking Banana Muffins

Easy Banana Muffins


1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)


Cream together the 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/2 cup sugar.  Add 2 large eggs and mix.  Mash 4 ripe bananas and add 1 tsp vanilla.  Add that mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and beat.  Mix together 1 tsp of baking soda and 1/3 cup of buttermilk and add to batter.  Slowly add 1 1/4 cup of flour and stir in the nuts.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes.  (23 is about ideal for my oven)
(Makes about 2 dozen)

You can also use this recipe to make banana bread:
Follow recipe above.
Fill a standard loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

Sometimes I add a cream cheese frosting.  The muffins are nice and moist on their own but the frosting makes them more cupcake-like!

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 cup of confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extra
Beat all ingredients until fluffy

Note:  You can add more sugar to make it sweeter but this is the combination that seems to work for us.

Fall Comfort Foods - Easy Banana Muffins

Easy Banana Muffin Recipe

If this recipe looks familiar to you, I realized I posted it a few years back.  Of course, when I reread it, I noticed I typed "flower" instead of "flour".  It's nice to know that silly mistake was sitting on my blog for like, 3 years!  I also had the cooking time as 10-12 minutes when it should have been 20-25.  I apologize to the thousands of people out there who actually used "flowers" or under-cooked their muffins.  I hope no one got salmonella from the raw eggs...I have gone back and corrected those little typos and made sure I proofread this version.  Just looking out for you, my friends!

What are your favorite comfort foods?
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!
Linking to:
Pieced Pastimes - Saturday Sparks
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend
Starfish Cottage - Sundays at Home
Finding Silver Pennies - Silver Pennies Sunday
DIY Showoff - DIY Party Time
Inspiration for Moms - Inspiration Monday
Life and Linda- Dishing it and Digging It
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
Marilyn's Treats - Over the Moon
My Pinterventures - Merry Monday
Coastal Charm - Show and Share
The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday
April J. Harris - Heart and Soul Link Party
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Inspire Me Monday
Cedar Hill -The Scoop
A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday
Cupcakes and Crinoline - Project Inspired Party
Sweet Parish Place - Totally Terrific Tuesday
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
My Life Abundant - Wonderful Wednesday
DIY By Design - Fall into Fall
Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Craftberry Bush - Inspiration Gallery
Two Chicks and a Mom - Funtastic Friday
Imparting Grace - Grace at Home
From Gardners to Bergers - The Handmade Hangout


September 19, 2017

A Festive Fall Vignette on the Console Table

Well, I finally faced the fact that summer is over so I started pulling out my fall decor.  One of the first places I decorated this year was the console behind my new sectional sofa...

Fall Decorating with Velvet Pumpkins

I am still working on the family room but I managed to decorate this little spot for now while I make other big decisions like which rug to buy...

Console Table with Fall Decor

I like using neutrals in my seasonal decor but always end up throwing in a little orange for fall!  The orange velvet pumpkin was the only new thing I bought this year.  I found it at TJMaxx if you are looking for them.

Shelves with fall colored accessories

I even swapped out the summer colored cookbooks for a stack of fall colored ones to coordinate with the orange velvet pumpkin.  

Fall Vignette in Seagrass Tray

I always like using trays to group my accessories together.  This seagrass one has made its rounds in practically every room.

Fall Decor on Console Table

The stack of white bowls carry the white down to the lower shelf to keep things bright.

Seagrass Baskets for Napkin Storage

And I used a row of seagrass baskets at the bottom to coordinate with the tray.  These also hold my supply of napkins.

View into White Kitchen

Here is a view from the other side where you can see into the kitchen.

Open Concept Kitchen and Family Room

As you can see, I haven't added too much in there yet.

White Stove Mantel with Fall Decor

Just a few things on the stove mantel - a couple velvet pumpkins to match the one on the console along with some more bundles of wheat.

Wheat Bundle and Orange Velvet Pumpkins

Last year, I used real white pumpkins but I kind of like the pop of orange up there with these.  Although, once I find some white pumpkins, I might end up changing this area again.  We'll see...

White Stove Mantel Decorated for Fall

White Pitchers and Orange Pumpkin Vignette

So the decorating has begun!  Remember, fall officially starts this Friday!

Fall Vignette with Orange Velvet Pumpkin

Have you started your fall decorating?

Here are some sources to help you shop.  Please note that this post contains some affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking my links (at no additional cost to you.)

Velvet Pumpkins - TJMaxx but I also found this set of four velvet pumpkins
Faux White Pumpkin - Michael's Craft Store.  If they happen to be sold out, check out this set of white pumpkins and gourds.
Seagrass Tray - Homegoods or this set of seagrass nesting trays
White Pitchers - Homegoods usually has a supply but this porcelain one is cute too.
Wheat Bundles - Homegoods but if they sold out, you could go with these wheat stalks or this wheat bundle.
Seagrass bins - Pottery Barn but these seagrass bins are similar and the price is better!  And these cute ones fold for easy storage.
Lanterns - Pottery Barn or Pier One (I forgot which one!)  These pretty lanterns are very similar.

Have a great day!
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!

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