2015 in Review

Happy new year!

How is it possible that another year has come and gone? But I guess that’s the same question we ask every year, isn’t it? Well, 2015 has been an interesting one for us, and sadly I didn’t document anywhere near as much as I wanted to. Luckily I do write down a lot (okay, everything!) in my planner, so I can use that to help recap. Let’s take a look back!

January – Laura enjoyed a winter tumbling class, and Noah’s Cub Scout den placed 5th at the Eskimo Run (kind of a big deal since there were only 3 of them). We went up to Lake George for a quick overnight.

February – Our very snowy winter continued this month and lots of events had to be rescheduled. Jake’s Boy Scout troop went on their annual winter campout in frigid temperatures (there was no snow shelter building this year!).

March – More snow! It didn’t seem to stop this year. I guess the major event in March was when I sliced off the tip of my finger while cutting onions on the mandoline slicer. It has since healed, but still feels a little numb. And while I haven’t tossed the mandoline, I haven’t used it since!

April – Finally, the weather started to get a little warmer. Noah raced in his very last Pinewood Derby and came in 1st place! The Boy Scouts canoed in Wappinger Creek race, as usual, and Jake and his partner came in last for their Troop (and thought it was hilarious). Drew celebrated his birthday, and we also got the unfortunate news that his job was going to be “defunded” at the end of June.

May – We were all a little stressed over last month’s news, but hopeful about an interview Drew had at the beginning of the month. The kids all had their spring concerts in school. Jake went on a band trip to see “Something Rotten” on Broadway. We went camping with the scouts and marched in the Memorial Day parade.

June – June was a full, fantastic month! We were relieved because Drew got offered the job, and we were able to relax. We celebrated our 14th anniversary and Laura turned 6. The kids all had pink eye. The kids all finished up the school year with fantastic report cards. I stopped working at the library since Drew would soon be back to working in an office daily (after telecommunting for almost 10 years).

July – We started the month with a vacation to Plymouth, MA which was so much fun! I am still convinced that I had a paranormal experience at the John Carver Inn! We stayed home for the 4th of July and took it easy. Drew started his new job as Creative Director on the 6th. Noah and Laura had a blast at the town’s Rec Camp. Jake attended another week of DEC Camp at Camp DeBruce and had a fantastic time. Laura also participated in Library Camp where she made tons of creative projects.

August – The month started out with Drew and Jake both attending Boy Scout Camp in the Adirondacks. Laura, Noah, and I went up to my parents’ house for a few days while the guys were away. The boys celebrated their birthdays — Jake turned 13 and Noah turned 10. I attended HarneyFest with my friend (hello, tea heaven)!

September – We started the month with one last quick getaway up to Lake George. Then it was back to school! We are now in 1st grade, 5th grade, and 8th grade. Jake participated in Battle of the Books again. I started doing a little freelance copywriting and copyediting again.

October – It was another camping weekend for scouts at the beginning of the month. It was cold and rainy — not the best weather for it! Laura lost her first tooth. I got to meet two long-time blog friends at the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival! I also celebrated my 40th (gasp!) birthday. Halloween was fun and we Trunk-or-Treated at a local church and also trick-or-treated in the village on Halloween.

November – We finally got the rest of our house painted! I love our sage green house now. It is much more “country” looking to me. Noah’s class went up to Howe Caverns and Jake’s science project came in 2nd place at a school science event. Laura officially became a Daisy Scout. We enjoyed Thanksgiving with Drew’s mom and aunt. My parents came up for a visit that weekend, and we had a great time.

December – And here we are! I feel like this month was an absolute blur — so many activities and events! From teacher conferences (both stellar) to school concerts to the holiday it was non-stop. Noah had the fantastic opportunity to sing with his school chorus at The Fisher Center at Bard College. There was lots of carolling and scouting events. Drew came in 2nd place at his office’s ugly sweater contest (I crocheted a ridiculously big Christmas tree for his get-up). Christmas was fantastic! As usual, we spent Christmas eve with Drew’s family and that was fun. Christmas morning we opened presents and ate a big breakfast before heading up to see my family in the afternoon. Everyone was spoiled for sure (especially me — I got a Silhouette Cameo, so stay tuned for lots of craft projects in the new year)! But it was so much fun.

I don’t know about you, but I always feel lost during the days between Christmas and New Year’s, LOL. I’ve slowly been putting away Christmas stuff and looking forward to some serious cleaning once the kids are back to school. Tonight we will be celebrating with friends and tomorrow hopefully just watching movies and enjoying a day off.

Thanks for those of you who have stuck with my blog over the last year. I know I have NOT been great about updating regularly but it’s definitely one of my resolutions for 2016. So stay tuned!!! It’s going to be a great year!

{Recipe} Black Currant Tea Vodka Cordial

Black Currant Tea Vodka

If you are looking for an easy, last-minute gift or something interesting to bring to a holiday party, have I got the recipe for you! A while back I tried a fig tea vodka my friend brewed. It was delicious and I put the idea on my long to-try list. Last month I gave it a shot, and the results were fantastic.

First, let me give you the recipe.

Black Currant Tea Vodka Cordial

12 oz. of vodka
1 silk sachet of Harney & Sons Black Currant tea
1 oz. (or more to taste) simple syrup

Pour the vodka in a mason jar and add the sachet. Cover and allow to steep for 8-10 hours. Remove sachet and dispose. Add simple syrup to your desired sweetness. Store in a cool, dry place (I prefer the freezer).

Black Currant Tea Vodka

First, a note on the vodka…

While you don’t have to use your Stoli or Grey Goose for this recipe, I would not recommend anything too harsh. Sobieski is my go-to vodka. First, because it’s Polish, and second because I think it’s good quality for a reasonable price.

Second, notes on the tea…

I think it’s really important to use a high-quality tea when making this flavored vodka. You will definitely notice a difference between a cordial made with good ingredients vs. one made with cheap ingredients. That being said, Harney is one of my favorites and I don’t think their prices are crazy. Are they a little pricer than some of the grocery store brands? Yes, but trust me — it’s so worth it. And you don’t have to mail-order them anymore. I’ve seen the sachets at Target and Stop & Shop. That brings us to why I prefer using the tea sachet. I find that the sachet allows you to brew more than just a single cup, so it’s perfect for a “pint-ish” of vodka. I’ve also used the sachet with 8 oz. of vodka and it worked fine, too. I’ve never tried this with loose tea, though I’m sure you could do it. You’ll just have to strain everything out.

Feel free to experiment with other flavors of tea, too. I’ve also made tea infused vodka using Hot Cinnamon Spice and that was really yummy.

Na Zdrowie!

Christmas Week

Happy Homemaker Monday

Can you believe that Christmas is Friday? I can’t either. Seems like it was just Thanksgiving. Since then I’ve been pretty busy and I have also been curbing my time online, but I am certainly ready for the holidays and blogging again. Since it’s Monday, I decided to link up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday.

The weather outside is::::
Can I just sum it up in one word… strange? Seriously, this month has been so odd in terms of weather. Currently it is about 46 degrees out and cloudy, but on Christmas Eve it is going to be in the 60s. Ugh! I really want some brisk winter weather and a dusting of snow. But it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting it.

On the breakfast plate this morning::::
I skipped breakfast this morning, which is very unlike me. Just had a couple cups of coffee before I ran out to get my thyroid bloodwork done and finish up some Christmas shopping.

As I look outside my window:::
It’s gray and cloudy. 

Right now I am::::
Thinking about getting the fire going again. With this not-quite-cold, but not-quite-warm weather, I just can’t get the temperature of the house right.

As I look around the house::::
Oh, I have so much tidying up to do. The kids had an Advent Celebration day at church on Saturday and the kitchen is covered with glitter and feathers from all of their crafts, plus little bits of paper from crafts they did yesterday. I think this afternoon I am just going to focus on sweeping, vacuuming, and a quick 15-minute pick up in the kitchen and living room. 

On today’s to do list::::
checkmark thyroid bloodwork (done!)
checkmark teacher and bus driver gift cards (done!)
checkmark groceries (done!)
checkmark sweep/vacuum/steam mop
checkmark clear kitchen table and island
checkmark wrap gifts

Happening this week::::
Monday… errands
Tuesday… Christmas baking
Wednesday… Kids’ winter break starts
Thursday…..Christmas Eve with Drew’s family
Friday….Christmas Day with my family

Currently reading::::
Nothing at the moment. I’m going to start making my list of books I want to read in 2016, though!

On the TV today::::
I just started watching “Making A Murderer” on Netflix and wow, it is incredibly interesting so far. I think we need to watch some more holiday movies this week, too.

On the menu this week::::
Monday – Homemade pepperoni deluxe pizza, tossed salad
Tuesday – Brats, potato wedges, sauteed zucchini, split pea soup (I’m trying out a new recipe)
Wednesday – Baked chicken breasts, lemon cous-cous with spinach, broccoli
Thursday – Christmas Eve (Dinner at my MIL’s)
Friday – Christmas (Appetizers and Chinese food)
Saturday – ?
Sunday – ?

What I am creating at the moment::::
Thinking about crocheting some coffee cup sleeves to go along with the teachers’ and bus driver’s gift cards.

New recipe I tried or want to try this week::::
Over the weekend I bought a couple new cookbooks at Ollie’s, and I have so many recipes flagged. The only one I’m trying out this week, though, is a split pea soup recipe from a Gooseberry Patch cookbook.

Favorite photo from past few days::::
This is actually from a couple weeks ago. My sons’s chorus had the opportunity to sing in a performance at Bard College. This was my first time visiting the Fisher Center, and it is such an amazing space. The kids were fantastic!

Bard Rehearsal

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::
I know that Christmas can be a hard time for so many people, and for a variety of reasons. I’m trying to keep all of those people in my thoughts. 

Musical Gear for the Holidays

One thing that’s kind of nice about the kids getting older, is that their musical interests make it easier to find gifts. Of course, that goes for my husband, too! While looking for a bass amp to gift one of our sons, I noticed that D. was also doing some research on the best home recording software. He already has a pretty sweet set-up, but tries to stay updated on the latest and greatest products. He has less time right now to record, so I know he wants to make sure he uses that time in the best way with equipment that won’t frustrate him.

This entry was posted in Misc.