9/7/16

My Summer Bucket List: An Update


You remember that Summer Bucket List I told you about?  Well, I thought I'd give you an update on my progress since summer is unofficially over.

So here was the list of things I wanted to do in no certain order (with the updates in red):

1. Hike part of the Appalachian Trail DONE....and had a trip planned for August but had to postpone. For sure, going again in the spring!

2. Hike all of the waterfalls in north Georgia in a weekend (per FB post by Explore Georgia)  Hiked 2 of them...couldn't seem to find time to devote a whole weekend to it.  Will def make a goal to do the rest!

3. Do a zip line in a woodsy setting (yes...I said woodsy...I want to feel like Tarzan)

4. Eat at the Mennonite restaurant in Montezuma, Ga. (I don't know why I haven't already?) Planning

5. Re-paint our kitchen walls/ pantry door (that door pains me every time I look at it!) DONE

6. Day trip canoeing/tubing the Ocmulgee River with friends/family - Had trip planned to "Shoot the Hooch" instead, but company had rented all their canoes.

7. Screen in our back porch and beautify it (now that I don't have cats....bless their hearts) Unexpected changes in our budget kept this from happening, but in the plans before next spring!

8. Read more books (social media has occupied me for so long now, I don't read like I used to...and that bothers me.  There's just something about holding that paper bound book in your hands and getting lost in another world). Read "A Walk in the Woods" and Grandma Gatewood's Walk...should have read more....but progress!

9. Go paddle boarding

So at least I accomplished some of the things I planned.  Any time I put something in writing, it makes me more accountable.  In addition to writing out my summer bucket list, I've also been planning out one physical activity each month for me or my family to do to stay active and healthy and that's been alot of fun!  In October, we'll be doing a 5K for Halloween in Atlanta and will be dressed as super heroes!  Fun!  I'll be sure to share lots of photos!

I've also thought about planning out one thing each month to celebrate and either cooking a special meal or dish or setting a special table....or both. Life is so much more fun when we find things to celebrate and enjoy and we don't have to wait on holidays to do so.  Celebrating the "little" things also breaks up the day to day mundane tasks of everyday living.  And let's face it, since there's always something to be thankful for, we can always find something to celebrate.

9/5/16

Day Hiking: Stone Mountain and Cherokee Trail


If you've never visited Stone Mountain, it's definitely something you should put on your bucket list!  When you catch that first glimpse of the Confederate figures carved into the stone, it literally will take your breath away!  I'm always in awe each time I've seen it.



Although I've been to Stone Mountain several times, I've never actually hiked up the mountain to the top.  Scott did years ago as a teen and Dillan has a few times in recent years.  So when I made out my summer bucket list, hiking Stone Mountain was a must. 



We arrived around 9:00 that morning, but it was already very crowded.  We had a hard time even finding a parking spot.



It's a pretty neat hike.  Not that difficult of terrain, until you get closer to the top, but it's definitely a good hike.



The last leg of the hike is the steepest part.  There are even hand rails in that section to help you pull yourself up if needed.



Almost there..............



Made it to the top!



What a view!









This was a neat little spot on the very top.  Dillan said there's been water there each time he's gone.



We carried a picnic lunch to enjoy when we made it to the top and then headed back down.

Gum Tree




We noticed on the map that there were other trails there to hike as well, so we looked for the Cherokee Trail near the bottom and started following it.









It was a nice change to be hiking in the woods like we are accustomed to....and hardly any other people on this trail.









We had to cross a railroad track, so Scott gave us a quick lesson about the type of work he does when he's on the track for CSX.






An old homestead in the woods.....












Took a little break and Dillan tried out his new ENO again.



Nice views of the mountain from Cherokee Trail......



Scott tried out the ENO too.......






The trail wound around parts of the park as well.  I had no idea the park was this big.









An old moonshine still.......



When you get closer to the end of the trail, it winds back through the park with a view of the beautiful carvings in the side of the mountain.



After hiking the mountain and Cherokee Trail, we had gone 5 miles. Good workout!  Then we headed back to Dillan's to rest a while before dinner.  After dinner, we headed to Marietta Square so they could do a little Pokemon hunting.




We tried Bubble Tea........and then headed back to Dillan's for the night.









Originally, our plans for this weekend were to be back on the AT to do our second section hike.  But Dillan had a wreck a couple weeks before and we were pressed for time to find him another car.

We went to Atlanta early that Friday morning and found a car he liked and could afford by that afternoon.  Because we were able to take care of all that on Friday, we decided to enjoy our Saturday and at least get in a good day hike somewhere.

I'm still amazed at all of the great places in the state of Georgia to hike.....especially around the Atlanta area.  If you've never been to Stone Mountain to see the laser show or hike the mountain, you should definitely go.  I bet the view from the top of the mountain is beautiful in the fall as well!  Go check it out!

8/29/16

KITCHEN UPDATE: Gray...the new neutral


A couple of weekends ago, we finally got around to painting our kitchen. After 8 years in our home it needed it, but it was also the first step to my plans for a fun, budget friendly update.


When we built our home, I chose to upgrade the standard oak cabinets to a beautiful maple with a glaze to age them a bit. I chose a stain/glaze from a sample cabinet that the builder had in the model home, but never went to the cabinet makers to see what a full kitchen would look like. I don't know if it's because of that or if the builder made a slight mistake with the stain, but the color did not turn out exactly like I wanted....almost...but not exactly.  That, combined with the dark stained trim we used in the kitchen and throughout our home, I've never been completely happy with the results.  I don't want to paint the cabinets and although I love our dark stained cabinets in our bathrooms, I feel like dark cabinets in this kitchen would make the space feel too small. 

So when I decided it was time for a new paint job, I looked real hard at the situation and realized my original choice of paint color was probably not helping the color of the cabinets.  The original color was called, Gaucho and it was a cool tan color.  So I made the choice to go with gray...the new neutral.  I'd already painted the living room, foyer, and master bath in gray a couple of years ago and have loved it!

After getting some sample colors, I chose Pebble Gray, a satin paint by Glidden and Scott and I painted the entire kitchen area in a day.


I love our "breakfast room" area of the kitchen. It's also right next to the dining room, so when I have large family gatherings, we all still feel like we're sitting together in the same room.


One of the things that I hated the most about the kitchen before was that the pantry door was also done in the same dark stain as the rest of our trim throughout the house.  It really clashed with the actual cabinets, so when we painted, I decided to paint out the pantry doors and add new knobs to help define the area a little more.  I love how it turned out! That ugly pantry door has disappeared into the background.

Here's a before pic of the pantry door: Yuk!



I have alot of cabinets in my kitchen, but one thing I've grown to love is open shelving, and I wanted to add some while doing this update.  I felt like the perfect spot for shelves would be on the wall at the end of the bar.  Scott and I went to Home Depot and purchased shelf board.  They cut the board into 3' lengths for me and I purchased my favorite Satin Heirloom White paint by Rust-Oleum for them to keep the room light and bright. Adding a little more metal to the room, I chose black metal shelf brackets from Home Depot as well.


Scott sanded the shelves a little to smooth out the ends and I was able to paint them all in one evening.  Within minutes of Scott hanging the shelves for me, I had them all decked out in some of my cute and eclectic decor. I'm so happy with how it turned out!



The little wood shelf that holds my egg cup collection was also painted with the same Heirloom White as the shelves and my egg cups really stand out now and the plates look great against the lighter great wall!


The pie safe also got a new look.  I originally picked out a Robin's Egg blue color, but quickly realized it was too much!  It looked like the Easter Bunny had a piece of his own furniture delivered here!  After white washing it in the same Heirloom White paint, it turned out perfect as well.


The original blue print for the house showed this desk area as another cased opening into the living room.  We already had one opening into that room, so I quickly and wisely chose to make this area a desk space for the kitchen to pay bills or look up recipes.  There are also overhead cabinets in this space which give me more storage.  We used to have a desk top computer in this space, but I now use a laptop in my office area of our bedroom for everything.  I thought about making a coffee bar here, but decided that Scott still needs a space from time to time when he uses his laptop.  This is the perfect spot to house his laptop as well as office supplies, electronics, and Lucy's treats. I'm thinking about putting a meal desk chair here like this one from WayFair, but I'm using an IKEA chair I already had for now.


I would love to extend the back splash up the wall under these cabinets, but decided it's too expensive right now....plus, I still love being able to hang my decorative plate and cute kitchen cow in that space.

I'm finally happy with my kitchen and feel like it suits my overall taste.  I love a French Country Farmhouse look in a kitchen with a few eclectic details. My mom made my black toile curtains for me when we moved in and I'm still happy with them.  Nothing says French Country to me like toile and chickens...and I have both in my kitchen.


A few more before and afters:

BEFORE


AFTER


BEFORE


AFTER


BEFORE


AFTER


Updating my kitchen was on my summer bucket list. It's so nice to know it's done before time to start decorating for the holidays.  Now, if I can throw a coat of paint on my master walls and order that bedspread I've been eyeing, I'll be done with the inside of my home - for a little while ;)