Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Exterior Paint Colors

I read somewhere that when you are trying to pick paint colors that it's best to pick one piece of inspiration that you can build around and that is exactly what we did when picking the exterior paint colors.  The entire color scheme was designed around an antique frog door knocker that I got soon after we bought our home!

I find paint colors to be fairly overwhelming, especially on the exterior of a house where it's not easily repainted (or inexpensive!).  When I first started thinking about what color to paint our exterior, I thought I would stick with the same color we painted the garden shed and chicken coop, Ballet White by Benjamin Moore.  However, once I painted a piece of siding, I realized it was a little too stark and I needed something a little warmer.  I borrowed my friends paint deck and started narrowing it down but it was very overwhelming and confusing.

Finally, I called in a designer friend and she gave me a great piece of advice.  She said that when in doubt it's always a good idea to try to match the mortar of whatever stone/brick you are painting around.  In that vain, we decided to go with a warm white called Elmira White.  It's one of the historic colors from Benjamin Moore.  In the spring, we will paint the rest of the siding to match the new addition but for now it will be a bit of a mix up!

I originally wanted to keep our green shutters, we are Frog's Hollow after all, but I've decided to go with a bit more of a black/green.  I love the classic look of black!  Again, the shutters will get painted in the spring.

When we were in England this summer, I absolutely loved some of the doors I saw!  They came in all sorts of colors and they appeared to glow!  I've read up on how exactly they get the doors to look like that (it involves specific paint, lots of different steps and lacquer).  Needless to say, our painter, while very good, wasn't ready to go to that length!  I did find a really lovely color that I love though!  It looks like patinaed copper.  Both the kitchen door and the mudroom door will be this color.  I envision pink roses spilling over around the door...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Tree Trimming

Most of our house feels as if we are living in a disaster zone (butler's pantry, kitchen, dining, bedroom and bathroom are all cleared out so that we have boxes, furniture and misc. stuff everywhere) so we can't do our traditional decorating for Christmas but, of course, we have to have a tree!  I'm so thankful the library is put together enough, though our dining room table is stuffed in there, to be festive and bright. 

For dinner, we had a cozy soup served with pull apart bread in the shape of a tree. 

Grace made this beautiful Gingerbread Cake. 

This year, Harris got an ornament to represent Rosie and Grace got a suitcase since she has such wanderlust!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Barn Loft and The King's Sofa

I didn't go up into the barn loft until after we had purchased Frog's Hollow, but as soon as I did I had visions of a teen hangout space (that is until a friend told me that lots of drinking happened in barns when she was a teenager!). 

Our barn is very rustic, with lots of holes in the siding, humps in the floor and absolutely no conditioned space.  However, since we don't have a finished basement the loft is the best place we have to put a few recreational items.

The number one problem to be solved was access.  There was a hay loft ladder that Harris and Grace used with no problem but it wasn't ideal and it certainly didn't lend itself to carrying anything in ones hands to get to the loft.  Last spring, Al built us stairs to the loft.  They are steep and narrow but sure beat nothing at all!  Harris still uses the ladder though :)

We have a sofa up in the loft that we affectionally call the "King's Sofa" and naturally there's a pretty good story to go with it..

Last spring, I went to an estate sale with my friend, Gretchen, who immediately fell for this modern, super duper long, white, pleather sofa and ottoman.  However, she had no use for it, but then she found out it was only $80!  $80!  So naturally, she decided someone needed to have it and therefore it somehow made its way into our barn loft.  And for $80 it couldn't be more perfect for our space!  Getting in the loft was also an adventure...

Bryce has his dart boards up in the loft and Marilyn gave the children a ping pong table. Also, a colleague of Bryce's was moving and gave us an awesome air hockey table.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Renovation Update

The kitchen addition is moving along now at a brisk clip and it's getting very close to being finished.  While I love creating our own space, something I've come to realize about myself is that I enjoy it happening at a leisurely pace.  Picking everything out at once is rather stressful to me and I find myself questioning myself more often than I think I normally would.  Plus, it doesn't give me the opportunity to just "come upon" that perfect chandelier (seriously, I can't find a chandelier for the dining room that I like).

It's also time for some renovation honesty.  When they first framed out the addition, I went through a complete freak out.  As in, there was crying, gnashing of teeth, texting of friends and family, etc..  You see, it looked to me as if we just slapped a box onto the back of our house. 

I think I panicked because we put so much time, thought and effort into the design and the best way to keep our home functional for us as a family, while also honoring the age and the history of the house, so the idea that we might have messed things up completely undid me.   Everyone talked me down by explaining that once the finishes started going in it would look 1,000 times better, and it does.  It's not perfect, it is clearly an addition, but I do think that it was the best option to bring this house into modern day living.  Historic homes are lovely and have their place, but we have to live in ours and the best way we knew how to do that was bringing the kitchen into the heart of the home instead of squeezed in on the far side of the house.

The best thing that came out of my meltdown was the addition of a  window on the east side.  We realized very quickly that it was a giant blank space and needed to be broken up with a window.  It meant losing a wall cabinet but the payoff was well worth it. 

The cooper roof and gutters, the siding with a bead on the edge and the windows have indeed made a big difference.  I think landscaping will also contribute greatly to helping the addition blend in.  While the roof looks flat, it's not.  It has has a slight pitch and is a beautiful copper though no one will ever see it unless they are in Harris' bathroom, bedroom or the stairwell! 

Monday, November 13, 2017

When Al and Marilyn Visit

I love this picture of everyone getting direction from Al

Last week, my in-laws left after spending 5 or six weeks with us.  They usually come and spend time in the fall and spring.  During the time that they are here we get more done than any other time combined!  Al works like crazy while here and we are so appreciative of all that they've helped us get done here at Frog's Hollow.  Here's a quick overview of some of the things that were started, finished or are on going that they worked on.

Al built me a chicken coop, or chicken palace as he likes to call it!  We can't wait to get chickens in the spring.

The little barn is a work in progress (more on that later) but Marilyn painted windows for it and Al worked on digging out the floor of the barn to make it easy to store equipment in the back half.

Marilyn worked on cleaning up a stone wall that was falling apart.  She and I have high expectations that the wall will be put back together as it's charming even if it's not needed.

Plus, a million little things such as fixing Grace's bed where the leg broke off, putting the trim on Harris' new bathroom cabinet, working on chipping up many of the fallen limbs on the property, forging a new trail in the woods, the list goes on....

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Harris' Birthday (Cake)

Last night we celebrated Harris' 13th birthday with his Grandparents, Aunt Delita and Uncle Bill and his cousin, Brendan.  When I asked him what he would like for dinner he responded, without missing a beat, ribs!  Ribs have always been his favorite and so we ordered a slew of ribs and made all the sides which worked out perfectly!

Our house is rather torn up right now with plastic zip walls and random crap pretty much everywhere and I couldn't figure out where 10 people were going to find a place to sit and eat messy ribs!  Therefore, we set a table up in the barn and were all able to eat together.  Plus, the kids could go play in the loft afterwards.

Since Pumpkin Pie has always been a favorite of Harris', I made a Pumpkin Pie Cake for his cake this year.  To make it a little dressier, I added homemade flags and wrote his name and age on two of them.  I love how festive it turned out (and it was tasty too!).

P.S.  Harris finally got that trampoline...

Monday, November 6, 2017

Harris is 13!

It's official, I have two teenagers in the house.  The good news is that I like them both!  The bad news is that I'm feeling as if I really, really want to slow time down.  Today, Harris is 13 and we couldn't love him more or be more thankful for the laughter and craziness that he brings to our family.  Here's my annual top ten of where Harris is now...

1.  Harris is the toughest kid I know.  He's never liked attention when he's hurt, but I'm still in awe of how he handled himself when he cut his forehead open.

2.  He absolutely loves to do trampoline.  He takes a once a week trampoline class and can't wait to go back (he's been off for 8 weeks due to his forehead!).  He still asks for a trampoline every birthday and Christmas.

3.  Even though he has changed schools, his best friend is still his friend from when he was 2.  Matthew and Harris still love to hang out, go to youth group together and jump on the trampoline whenever they are over at Matthews.

4.  He is on the verge of being obsessed with Harry Potter.  He's read the books multiple times and has now started listening to all the books over and over again.  While I love it, of course, I would love for him to read something else once in a while!

5.  Harris loved watching Anne with An E on Netflix so much that he read the book, Anne of Green Gables.  I love that he had no qualms about carrying around a flowery book as he made his way through it.

6.  He's still super affectionate.  If he and I start watching something at opposite ends of the sofa he's usually laying on me by the end of the movie/show.  He also tries to sneak hugs in on Grace every chance he gets.  The only problem being that he doesn't always know when enough is enough!

7.  He still likes to have multiple blankets on his bed and makes a cocoon for himself every night.  In fact, we wonder if that is part of the reason he fell and hit his head.  Did he get tangled up in the blankets, trip and fall?

8.  He's full of joy.  The other day, I looked out the window to see Harris running from the cottage to the house and he was jumping and skipping the whole way- all by himself.  His teacher also tells us he brings a lot of joy to the classroom!

9.  Harris isn't super complicated; he likes to have fun and be with the people he loves.

10.  He finally got that dog of his and he's pretty sure that Rosie is the best dog one could ever have.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween 2017

Halloween was a bit different for us this year in several ways.  First, I had one that didn't trick or treat at all.  I suppose Grace is really a bit old for it anyway, but she didn't have a choice as she had play practice for the school play until 10pm anyway.  Secondly, this was the first year that neither child had a costume made by their Grandma. 

Months ago, Harris decided that he wanted to be the Joker from Batman.  No amount of cajoling/pleading/guilt tripping/begging could convince him otherwise (I can't stand the Joker- he's totally skeevy).  Trying to piece together, or put the time into making, the costume seemed a bit silly since it was so easy to buy online and so that's what we did.  In the end, Bryce ended up doing Harris' makeup and I have to admit that I thought he looked good (as good as the Joker can look!).  It is, after all, a time for kids to dress up as they want! 


Grace did have the opportunity at school to dress up and so she went as a pig in a blanket.

Also, I did manage to make a Halloween treat from this months Martha Stewart Living.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pumpkin Carving

This past Saturday we had our annual pumpkin carving.  This year, we held it outside by the barn and it worked out perfectly as we had a lovely weather day for it! 

Al and Marilyn are here for a visit and my Mom joined us also. 

Bryce carved a another frog, next year I'm going to start the hunt early for a big green pumpkin!

The children have been carving by themselves for several years (with a little help here or there) but this year they outdid themselves with Harris being particularly proud of his Snoopy and small accompaniment, Woodstock. 

Grace went with a Ghostbusters theme (probably because we had just watched the first episode of Stranger Things 2). 

Marilyn carved a pumpkin and my Mom separated all the seeds from the mush so that we could roast them.  We used some on the salad that we served with pumpkin and gruyere soup.

And cider doughnuts for snacking rounded out the day!

(this wasn't even posed, as I was taking the picture Bryce grabbed one and ate it!)

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