Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Great Outdoors

Maybe it's because we have a dog now, or maybe we've just been wanting to get out of the house more, but either way, Chris and I have logged a lot of hours outdoors lately.

Canoeing in Marathon
One of our more recent outdoor excursions included a canoe trip down in Marathon, NY. We spent just over 4 hours paddling down the river with Ripley chilling out in the middle of the canoe.
Ripley is still not a huge fan of water, but he loves to be outside, so he was game for the trip. And luckily, he's not heavy enough to tip the boat.
Along the river we found a rope swing that was just too tempting for Chris to pass up. Had to give it a try.

Camping in the Catskills
Our other weekend trip took us down to the Catskill Mountains with some friends for a little camping. The trip was, um, a little disorganized (we had to set up our tent three times over two nights because we didn't have a proper place to stay and got kicked out by a ranger once). But it was very pretty! And we made some really yummy meals, including some steak fajitas that would be a damn good meal cooked in a kitchen, let alone out in the woods.
Yep. There was a hammock.
We ended up setting up camp not too far from this very pretty little waterfall (which is why we got kicked out. lol)
We also went on a crazy hike that took us 3 miles up a mountain. Climbed to an elevation of 3600 feet. Personally, I'll take sea level any day, but it was nice to be outside and with friends.
And there was a pretty view at the top!
You can't see it very well in the picture below, but Ripley is wrapped up in a blanket in my lap. What a tough pooch.
This was the view we woke up to on the second morning. Not too bad!
And here's our rough and tough little guy, curled up in one of our sleeping bags. What a life.
Next up on our outdoor adventure list, maybe a drive-in movie? Chris is going on a big fishing trip to Lake Ontario with his dad and brother soon, so that'll definitely fit the bill. Definitely looking forward to seeing what sort of adventures the rest of the summer brings. :-)
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Finally Cleaning Up That Paint I Spilled

One of the funny things about DIY is that sometimes your project isn't about tackling something NEW. Sometimes, it's about fixing your last mistake, again.

Remember when I painted the back porch and added trim and got it looking so pretty ... only to spill a huge amount of grey paint on the wood floor?
Well, that's how it looked for months and months and months. I just had no idea how to fix it or what to do about it.

But then, this weekend, I was finishing up two end tables that I had sanded down and painted for my boss. The little scrap of sand paper was still on the counter, and as I was walking outside, I noticed and suddenly a light bulb turned on in my head.

The back porch is unfinished wood. I think it was pressure treated, but it doesn't have a stain or finish on it at all. Why not sand it down? So I tried a little experiment with that little square of sandpaper...
And it worked! The paint came off!
That's when I decided to bust out the big guns. Well, actually just my palm sander, but definitely more heavy duty than a sheet of sandpaper.

And I gotta say, I am so thrilled. Just look at that beautiful floor!
I even removed the paint drops that were there when we moved in and the ones I made since we've been here. This floor is better than ever now!
Isn't she a beautiful little porch now?

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Visit from the Dolens

A few weeks ago, Chris's brother, Mike, came out to visit us with his wife, Erin, his two kids, Jackson and Emma, and his two dogs, Miley and Lou.

It was a full house, to say the least. But we had a great time and did a lot of fun stuff. I lovegoing to the zoo, so obviously I suggested the activity right away. And everyone loved it! Jackson's favorite animal was the tiger, and Emma was head over heels for the 7 elephants that live at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.
And of course, Mike and my favorite exhibit was the Dip N Dots stand. Jackson enjoyed feeding it to his daddy.
Although the baby pattas monkey and mommy were pretty awesome to watch. That little baby just hung on for dear life while the mom jumped around and went about her business. 
After the zoo, I guess Emma wanted to be in a zoo cage too.
The dogs didn't get to go to the zoo, but they had a fun time chewing treats and wrestling in the backyard together.
The next day, we went to Destiny USA to check out Wonderworks. Chris and Erin felt bold enough to hit the ropes course!
Jackson became an astronaut. Seems a little confused about how that happened...
And Chris made some of the biggest bubbles I've ever seen.
Not too bad for a quick little weekend visit. Thanks Mike and Erin for making the trek out to see us! We loved having you and hope you had a nice time!
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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Parade of Homes 2014

Over a month ago, Chris and I went to the 2014 Syracuse Parade of Homes. And I'm finally getting around to blogging about it. Oops. Summer can be so busy!

Anyway, I'm organizing the pictures by categories because, well, I wanted to. Lots of great ideas in these houses. Chris and I were pleasantly surprised that most of these houses were cheaper than last year's houses. Most were between $350K and $500K, which is a lot less than last year's $550K to $900K homes. None of them are even remotely affordable for us, but it did seem like the decorating in these homes was a little more down to earth and affordable than last years.

The neighborhood was very cute. These houses were on a little circle road that would be a nice and quiet place to live. Some of them even had a little river flowing behind them that would be so nice to sit in the backyard and enjoy.
This one was our favorite house all around.

Cute Accessories
One of my favorite things about Parade of Homes is when the decorators have some fun and use really special, funny, interesting, or just plain beautiful accessories in the rooms. Here were a few of my favorites.

It's my doggie statue! He was in last year's Parade of Homes as well. Chris tracked him down and bought one for me for Christmas. Love that little guy!
The mirror slides open to reveal a jewelry cabinet.
I'm in love with the raw edge of this wooden counter.
A giant birdcage and a live bird? That's gotta be the most exciting accessory ever.
Only costs $12,000.
Actually had some little cotton poms on it to make it 3D.

Who doesn't love peeking into a nicely decorated bedroom? Especially the adorable children's rooms. So cute.
Chris's favorite room in all the houses.

So many beautiful kitchens!
Love the windows over the sink.
Hidden pantry room that looks like a regular kitchen cabinet when closed.
Check out the lighting in this kitchen and dining room. Love the clear glass pendants.

The next three pictures are from my favorite kitchen. Love the light grey lower cabinets and the white upper cabinets.

Sun Rooms
A sun room is the newest item on my future house wishlist.

Living Rooms

Feather prints on the walls.

Other Rooms
You know, when you just have so many spare rooms in your house and you think, "Why not use a whole room just for watching movies?"

Dog washing station! I want one!
This was the game room with chalkboard paint on the walls and a movie theater room through that doorway.
Hope you all get lots of inspiration and ideas from these pictures! I know I sure did when I toured the houses. Totally recommend this event to anyone looking to build or just update their home.