Thursday, August 20, 2015

Blueberries for the Goetting's

This was our first time blueberry picking so naturally we went to our favorite farm Treworgy Orchards. There were very few people on the farm so we had the fields to ourselves! We ended the day picking vegetables in our garden and dreaming of what we could make with the blueberries.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Riverview Cemetery

As I mentioned in this post, I have a thing for cemeteries. My whole family does. We love them partly because we enjoy history and partly because some of us (*ahem* younger sisters) believe they are haunted. We might be the only family that has ever camped in Yosemite Valley and visited the cemetery. Did you even know there was a cemetery there? Well you do now.

I love reading the epithets, checking out the grave designs, and imagining what the people were like who are buried there. New England cemeteries are particularly fascinating. They are incredibly old and therefore contain a variety of epithets and designs.

There is a tiny cemetery down the street from our new home. We enjoy taking walks down there. It is a lovely, peaceful place with a few little mysteries. Who is Lydia and why is her grave shaped like an elaborate cradle? Why are some of the oldest graves in a line in the back of the graveyard? Why do some of graves only have initials? What did the several Civil War veterans experience?

If you are curious this website will take you to a list of all the graves in the Hampden cemeteries.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Top 10 Travel Hacks

I do a lot of traveling and have therefore developed quite a few of my own travel hacks. Here are some of the most useful:

1. Make copies of all of your important documents. 
Have a set of copies in your suitcase. If your purse/wallet/fanny pack/whatever is stolen you will still have copies of all your identification.

2. Keep an extra pair of clothes and other necessities in your carry-on just in case. 
You never know if your luggage will be lost or if you will be stranded in a random city. If you have some extra clothes and a few toiletries, you will be far less inconvenienced.

3. Bring your own water bottle. 
Airports are expensive. Bring your own empty water bottle and fill up once you are past security.

4. Hit up the Dollar Tree or other dollar store for travel-sized toiletries. 
Places like Target charge an arm and a leg for tiny bottles of shampoo. Go to the Dollar Tree or other dollar store first. They even carry clear bottle travel sets.

5. Use a potholder to store your hot tools.
Waiting for your flat iron to cool before packing is annoying. Go to the Dollar Tree, pick up a pack of potholders and sew them in half. You will never have that problem again. Here is a good tutorial.

6. Use an old medicine bottle to store bobby pins. 
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman looking for a bobby pin will never be able to find one. Use an old medicine bottle to stop this problem. This is a great tutorial. I personally covered an old bottle in Dollar Tree washi tape.

7. Use Dollar Tree containers to store items like cotton swabs. 
The Dollar Tree is great for containers. I bought a pack of two containers that were originally meant for lunches and use them to store my cotton swabs and cotton rounds instead. Works like a charm! I also use these containers to store bracelets.

8. Use a make-up sponge or wedge to store earrings. 
Never lose or tangle up your earrings again! Make-up wedges are awesome for storing earrings.

9. Bring extra baggies. 
I always bring a trash bag or cheap laundry bag for storing dirty clothes and extra plastic baggies just in case something starts to leak or breaks.

10. Use a daily pill case to store medicines. 
Use a cheap daily pill case to store pain relievers, allergy medicines and anything else you can think of. You won't need to bring a huge bottle of medicine and you will save money by not buying travel sizes.

I hope you found this list helpful! Please let me know if you would be interested in additional travel (or other) hacks.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Week in New York State: Niagara Falls and St. Lawrence University

Last month I spent ten days in New York State for a conference. We got to explore new areas and check up on old familiars.

The conference was in Canton, but we all flew into Rochester (about a 3.5 hour drive) so we could meet my grandparents who live in northwestern Pennsylvania at Niagara Falls (about a 1 hour drive). Once in Niagara Falls we decided to take the "Maid of the Mist" boat and get closer to the falls. This was a lot of fun and we definitely got wet!

We did not stay too long in Niagara Falls because it was kind of dirty and tourist-y. A waiter at the Hard Rock Cafe told us that the area around Fort Niagara was much nicer and worth seeing. My mom and I definitely want to check that out next year.

The rest of the week was spent in Canton, New York, home of St. Lawrence University. St. Lawrence is a tiny liberal arts college. The college was established as a seminary school in 1856, but is now denominational today and is known for training the area's teachers. It is a gorgeous campus with numerous late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century buildings.

Via U.S. News Education

We decided to do a little exploring while at the conference. One evening my mom, sister, and I drove to Ogdensburg which is connected to Canada by a bridge. Right before we left we checked out the trails near the Grasse River on the SUNY Potsdam Campus.

Photo of the St. Lawrence Causeway taken by my Mom

See you next year, Canton!

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Ultimate Red Sox Experience

One of the perks of Christopher's job is the opportunity to work with major computer companies. One of these companies invited us for a presentation and game at Fenway Park!

Our day at Fenway started with a presentation in one of the Press Rooms. We then got to catch fly balls while the Sox held their batting practice. We stood in the outfield and tried to catch balls or wait until one of the players was nice enough to roll one our way. It was seriously awesome.

We then had a private tour of Fenway and a buffet dinner near our seats. We ended the day watching the game and cheering for a victory.

It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am so happy we got to do it!

Monday, July 6, 2015

4th of July Weekend

Lately all Christopher and I have wanted to do is spend time at home. We love our new home and have really enjoyed BBQ-ing and exploring our backyard. During the 4th of July weekend we mostly stayed at home. We had been invited to go to a party at our friend's camp, but traffic on Route 1A (the highway that goes to Bar Harbor) was insane.

On Friday night we BBQ-ed in the backyard, roasted s'mores on our firepit and lit off some sparklers. We lied down on a picnic blanket and gazed at all the massive, ancient maple trees in our backyard. I cannot wait to see the riot of color in the autumn.

On Saturday I threw on some red, white and blue and did a little bit of yard sale-ing. There were not a ton of yard sales, but I did manage to score some pretty awesome finds, including some Christmas decorations. We have a much bigger space to decorate this year!

Christopher, Freckles and I then took a small hike through the Bangor City Forest.  It was gorgeous and the weather was perfect. After our hike we hopped on over to Gifford's for our favorite ice cream.

When we got home we climbed down toward the river. One thing I love about our home is how we have a little slice of the Penobscot in our backyard. It is so peaceful.

I hope you had a safe 4th!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Our House-Buying Story Part III

The closing of our home was scary, but worth it. Our real estate agent put in an offer to the seller. We actually chose our real estate agent thanks mostly to our gut feelings. She had been one of the first to respond to me on Trulia. She got us into homes we wanted to see super quickly, always responded to us in a timely manner, and seemed like a real go-getter. We are so thankful she was our real estate agent.

The seller countered our offer. We put in another offer, asking the seller to cover a certain amount of closing costs. They agreed and the process began.

We put in an earnest deposit. This typically runs $500-$1000. This money signifies that you are serious about the home and takes it off the market. This is money you receive back at closing. 

The entire process took about two months. We had an inspection of the home during the month of May along with a mold test. The inspection is not required, but is definitely a good idea. They typically run $300-$500. Tests like radon and mold are extra. We went with an inspector that our real estate agent recommended. The inspection allowed us to create a list of items we wanted the seller to fix and alerted us to any problems in the house. The seller is not required to fix any of these things, but ours thankfully did so. If the seller agrees to fix the items, they are put in the contract and the seller must fix the items before the closing date.

After our inspection, there was the appraisal. The appraisal was conducted by our mortgage lender and assured us that the home was worth what the seller was asking. Everything in our inspection and appraisal checked out. We continued to sign a bunch of paperwork and waited for our closing date.

The day before closing we walked through our home to make sure the seller had fixed everything in our agreement. On the day of closing we walked into law office, review our contract, signed our final paperwork and walked out with the keys.

Every home-buying process is different. Ours was incredibly easy thanks to our fantastic mortgage lender, awesome real estate agent, and co-operative seller. Find people you trust, do your homework, and go with your gut. We love our home and cannot wait to create memories here.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who helped us move!