Vacation: Poconos Mountains Weekend

We slipped away last weekend for a long weekend with my brother-in-law and his family in the Poconos.  At the outset, I have to say I had pretty low expectations.  Although I have one friend with a house there, I heard many not so great things about the casinos, dirty lakes, and general dumpiness of this area. On tope of that, I generally prefer the beach but I like the mountains and lakes (after all, I grew up in the Adirondacks!).  BUT, I am happy to say we had a great time, the weather held out, and our house worked out well.  I think we'll go back again next year for a few more days.

Here are some pictures of the house we rented on Lake Harmony.

Having a bear on the wall was slightly disconcerting but we got used to it!

We got a lot of use out of the kayaks at the house.

The kids did a lot of swimming in the lake.

And fishing.

We went to Hickory Run State Park for a few hours on Saturday morning where we checked out Boulder Field - crazy!!  

And took a short hike to Hawk Falls where we watched people jump into icy cold water! 

In the evenings we hung out on the deck and played a lot of air hockey and pool in the basement rec room. 

My kids learned about the Game of Life from their patient cousins!

And enjoyed a couple of really nice sunsets.

On Sunday I took the kids to Bear Mountain Butterfly Sanctuary. Worth the trip if you are in the area.  We spent an hour and a half learning all about butterflies. The kids loved it!

The best part about the weekend was watching my kids have a great time with their cousins in the great outdoors.  I'm so glad they have great role models as teens.

Any great vacation locations that you would recommend?  


Summer Mantel

It's only halfway through summer and I am finally getting around to blogging about our summer mantle.  Whoops.  I still think the wall area around the TV needs some work so I am going to be doing some heavy pinning over the next few weeks to figure it out.  Check out my other seasonal mantels here.

I seem to have an unintentional bird theme going on.  I don't actually like real birds so maybe this is how I compensate.

 Here's a shot with the ottoman which has coordinating blue-green colors.

And for fun... here's how it looks in the evening (while watching Property Brothers).

Are you still doing any summer decorating?  I am going to work on getting my dining room cleaned up after a summer of craziness.  I also need to get some new plants for my potted plants outside. They are all nearly fried after so many 95+ degree days this year.


Linen Closet: A Bargain Find

As luck would have it, I hit up a couple of great neighborhood yard sales over the past few weeks. Neighborhood yard sales are my favorite and almost every neighborhood in Arlington holds one each year including ours. I love that people who would not normally hold yard sales decide to throw some stuff on the lawn - usually that's the best stuff with great prices!

Back to the story... you may remember that a few weeks ago I reorganized our kitchen storage closet with some Elfa door organizers, making it a better use of space for our family.

They were a bit pricey but ultimately worth it for a closet we use daily.  Wouldn't you know I stumbled on another Elfa door organizer in a yard sale. It didn't have a price so tried to play it cool and act like I really didn't know what it was. The guy selling it explained how it worked and then the price... $10!  I basically threw money at him and ran down the street with it.  It sat in my basement for a few weeks while I pondered the possibilities. I thought about our master bathroom linen closet but I like to keep our bathrobes there.  The next best possibility was one of our two hall linen closets which are original to our house.  I guess I never photographed these before but I probably should at some point!  I still think it's amazing that in a house where the original bedroom closets could barely hold hangers, would have not one but two decent linen closets!  Priorities were clearly different in 1940.
It took Handy Hubby about 3 minutes to take down our large ironing board (which we almost never use since installing our beloved built-in ironing board), and install the new organizer.

It's certainly not a magazine worthy transformation but it is certainly better than what it was before. All of that stuff on the door was thrown on two shelves and the floor of the closet.

It was probably originally used in a pantry for spices and oils because the baskets are skinnier but there are about 8 of them so it doesn't bother me!
Now we have a bunch of extra closet space.  I even cleaned up the stuff on the floor which is now completely empty.  In the long term, we may put a plastic hamper in here for bathroom towels. Our kids use our bathroom most of the time now so their towels generally end up in there.  
I even found a bag of brand new beach towels which I had completely forgotten about!  We go through  a lot of beach towels between pool trips and school water days twice a week for both kids.  We love poncho towels for the kids which make it so much easier for them to walk without tripping on their towels.
Now I just need to do some hard core reorganizing in this closet and it's companion which holds all of our every day guest bath towels and sheets for the kids beds and the den (which still lacks an actual bed!).

For other posts about my closets, click here. For other organization posts, click here.  

Linking to: Southern Hospitality


Master Bedroom: Built-in Reveal

It's finally done. Although I have already declared this the worst documented project in the 3 year history of my blog, it was all worth it.  In the end, these projects are not for the blog, but for own enjoyment and use (although Handy Hubby may think differently).

So, without further ado, here it is...

And here's where we started as a reminder.

The styling was not very thoughtful but I grabbed something that I had nearby and that worked with the colors in our master - cream, blue, gray-green.  I'm not going to lie - I did carefully choose which books to put in here based on their color - not their content!

The hardware is from the Martha Stewart line available at Home Depot.

Once again Handy Hubby out did himself. I love the Shaker-style doors that he made.  Also the crisp white paint which matches our trim, makes me less itchy to paint another large piece of furniture in there. Handy Hubby will flip out if I even mention painting more wood so I have to keep those dreams under wraps!!

Hope you had a great 4th of July. I loved having the 4th in the middle of the week - most people were on vacation but we were here.  We were also fortunate to have power when a lot of people in Northern Virginia did not. Thank goodness for small miracles!!

What fun projects are you working on?  Are you taking a break for summer?  I think this is our last large project for a little while but you never know!

Linking to: A Bowl Full of Lemons, Primitive and Proper, Miss Mustard Seed, Savvy Southern Style