A weekend of fun & celebrations

In addition to our anniversary, last week we also celebrated a special young lady’s birthday! Laura turned 14 and we celebrated all weekend.

Friday after school, Drew took her to see the new Spider-Man movie, which she said was amazing!


Saturday was her actual birthday, and of course I had to set up a special birthday place setting for her. Candy and sugar cereal are a tradition in our house (though the appeal of sugar cereal seems to have waned for all three kids). I ended up making a breakfast ring with sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese and crescent rolls!

Her friend came over in the morning and they wanted to check out the “Vintage Vibe Market” over at the fairgrounds. Thinking it was going to be similar to how the Country Living Fairs used to be I was happy to oblige! The girls had fun, but honestly it was not quite what I expected. For the admission cost I thought there would be a little “bigger” if you know what I mean. I think only four of the barns were used for vendors. Maybe it just seemed “less than” because the weather wasn’t all that great.


Nevertheless, I still found a couple treasures: a funky pair of earrings and a baby crock to add to my collection. I have been looking for a small one and I probably overpaid on the one I bought but… $15 still isn’t too bad.



Saturday night we had dinner at a local diner and embarrassed my poor girl with cake and singing, LOL!

A sleepover followed, and then Sunday was donuts, volleyball, and s’mores to wind it all down.


And now it’s Monday already! Tonight is the high school academic awards ceremony, on Wednesday I have to go for some pre-op testing, then we wind down the week with the 8th grade semi-formal. Wishing you a great week!

Quick visit to Massachusetts

Since I am not able to see my mom for Mother’s Day, I decided to take advantage of my weekly Wednesday off and take a drive up to Western Mass. to visit with my parents. We had such a nice time! They came to visit for the high school musical last month, but there was still a lot to catch up on.


We went to lunch at this adorable little breakfast/lunch place nearby. I decided to try the chicken salad wrap special and it was delicious! It was full of dried cranberries and candied pecans and was absolutely delectable. I never make my chicken salad like this, so it really was a treat. The wrap was so huge I could only eat half. 

When Laura visited last month they went to this same restaurant on golumpki day and had to wait for half an hour! You can’t beat good Polish food, and I’d probably wait that long too.

After lunch we had to go over and say hello to the goats! I didn’t get a photo because they were just acting too crazy. We did not have any treats for them, but obviously that’s not what they thought!


Then we took a quick drive into town where they have flags up honoring Purple Heart veterans for Memorial Day. My folks had no idea this was being done until someone on a local Facebook group posted photos and they saw one with my great-uncle’s name on it!

Uncle Frank served in WWII and never really talked about it. After he passed away we learned a lot more about his time in the service and as a member of Merrill’s Marauder’s. Of course, after learning this, many of his health problems made a lot morse sense. It was touching to see him honored this way. We lived next door to him and my grandmother growing up (my grandfather passed away when I was a baby) so we were very close.

We chatted for a while on the back porch and then mid-afternoon I headed home. So glad I got to spend the day with them!




Happiest of birthdays to this guy right here! We have been together half of his life, which is hard to believe.

Since 50 is an important one, I wanted to get Drew a gift that was really just for him, not something I’d sneakily enjoy as well.

It’s tough buying for him but I decided on a caviar tasting flight. I do not enjoy caviar at all, but he loves it and this is definitely a step up from the lumpfish I get at Shop Rite! The set also came with blinis and crème fresh… the whole experience. Hopefully he will have fun trying the different types. He is so good to our family and I am lucky to have him as my best friend – he deserves something special!

Curtain Call

Today was the final performance of Noah’s last high school Drama Club musical! He played Prince Dauntless in “Once Upon a Mattress” and did a fantastic job! I will miss seeing him on stage here at the high school, but I’m confident other opportunities await!

Snow Days & COVID Testing

After days of the white stuff, we were finally able to get Jake COVID tested for school! Monday was obviously the big storm. (Well, obvious I guess if you live in the Northeast.) We got a good 18-inches of snow, maybe a little more. Everything came to a screeching halt on Monday. No school. No work. Even the urgent care centers and medical practices closed. A State of Emergency was declared preventing discouraging people from travel (there will always be those who don’t heed these types of things). 

Tuesday was not much better. There was still a lot of digging out to do, and while the urgent care center was on a delayed opening, they were not doing COVID tests. So that meant delaying again. FINALLY today the weather cooperated, and in a way it all fell into place since I did not need to take time off of work (the library is closed on Wednesdays). This morning I went grocery shopping while Jake had two online classes (yes, classes have begun even though move-in is happening Thursday – Saturday — doing the best they can). Then after a quick lunch we headed down to Poughkeepsie.

Truthfully, the whole thing was very easy. We had a virtual visit on Sunday, basically pre-qualifying him for the tests. There were a couple cars in front of us, and then a tech came up, verified Jake’s identity, went back to the pod and found his kit, swabbed his nose for both the rapid and the PCR tests, and then we just pulled into a parking spot and waited for about 20 minutes until the rapid results came back. (Yes, negative, which we figured since he hasn’t been anywhere, LOL! A positive would have been a real shock.) My anxiety had been going crazy because I tend to really stress over unknown situations, but now that I know the process, if we have to do it again it will be easy-peasy.

The PCR results will be available in a few days, but all we need for move-in is the rapid results, so we’re good to go. I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that there’s only a few days with Jake here at home! Drew will be driving him up, and I’m not sure if I’ll see him until May. Definitely something to get used to. But he is very excited, and I’m excited for him. He’ll do great, but I will certainly miss my first little bird to fly!

Summer Goals & Plans

So, I am not really a “bucket list” person, but I thought it would be fun to put down everything I’d like to do this summer. As the kids get older I am very aware of the limited opportunities for summer fun together. I also thought that by getting some of these goals down, it may make them more concrete and therefore actually happen!

I stole the idea from my friend Jean at So Not Organized – since I’m trying to blog more, she suggested I check out 30 Days of Summer on  her blog, and I do think if you’re stuck for topic ideas, you’ll definitely find some inspiration!

30 Days of Summer

Here in the Hudson Valley, the kids don’t go back to school until after Labor Day, so we still have two whole months ahead! I wonder how many of these goals I’ll check off at summer’s end?

Go to a drive-in movie
Go canoeing
Take a family photo
Attend the Dutchess County Fair
Eat dinner on the deck
Hike someplace new
Swimming at the pond
Enjoy outdoor movie nights with friends
Entertain “just because”

Home & Garden
Repaint the dry sink
Pull up and replant the cotoneaster
Completely declutter the master bedroom
Replace old pots, pans, and towels
Knit/crochet new dishcloths

Read three books that are not work-related
Revamp my blog (design, broken links, broken images)
Practice self-care Sunday

Cooking & Crafting
Make homemade ice cream
Can jam and/or fresh summer fruit
Make frozen lemonade pie
Enjoy fresh, local tomatoes sprinkled with salt and basil
Get menu plans organized for the fall
Update and reorganize recipe planner
Make frozen margaritas
Finish my Atlanticus blanket
Finish my River Rock blanket
Organize knitting & crochet patterns


Family Time at Woodloch

I am still coming down off of my vacation high. We spent a long weekend at Woodloch Pines Resort in the Poconos, and as always it was fantastic! In fact, with the kids being a little older now it was an absolute blast.

We have been going to Woodloch since 2007. Here is my review from our very first time there! I sound like a broken record, but time goes by so fast, and Jake and Noah were so little on that first visit. This time we let Jake have a room key just in case he needed to run back by himself! 

Last weekend was “Peter Cottontail Weekend” at Woodloch — the discount was great and there were a number of fun Easter-themed events. Laura went on an egg hunt and even got to meet the Easter Bunny.

Woodloch 2018

A new addition since the last time we were there is the Splash Zone. Oh my word — what fun! A spiral waterslide, spraying water, and every so often a huge, gushing surprise! And even better, the water is warm so no one (especially me) was freezing. The kids spent a lot of time playing in here!

Woodloch 2018

Another new feature is their 4-season ice rink. Yes! You could go ice skating in summer! The “ice” is actually synthetic, and it feel surprisingly close to the real thing. Ice skating was one of my favorite things to do when I was young, so I was thrilled to strap on a pair of skates! I was a little wobbly, but considering it has been over 25 years I was pretty happy with my abilities!

Woodloch 2018

We packed so much into every day — running around the indoor playground, snow tubing, bowling, racing go-karts… Never a dull moment!

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Another favorite part of going to Woodloch, at least for me, is Theme Night. Everyone dresses up for dinner, there are signature drinks, a character parade and meet-and-greet, and then later that evening a theme show in the nightclub. I love the singing and dancing and it was a great evening.

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Another highlight was participating in “Cupcake Wars!” We were given a tray of cupcakes, a large Rice Krispie treat, frosting “glue,” a few “secret” ingredients and fake money that is used to purchase extras like candy, fondant, and colored frosting. We were told the theme and had 30 minutes to complete our creation from concept to full-on display. We worked with another couple and had a lot of laughs putting together our masterpiece.

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

And let’s not forget about the food! Oh, the food at Woodloch! You never leave a meal hungry, that’s for sure. Soup, salad, entree, dessert… the worst part is deciding what you want to eat! As for the kids, it’s a great opportunity for them to try new things. One night we had a barley salad and everyone devoured it. That’s probably not something I would have made at home (until now), because I thought I was the only one who liked barley! We had a variety of soups like shrimp and corn chowder, potato pesto, and creamy chicken. Every dinner was amazing: salmon with zucchini noodles, bbq pork with smoked gouda mac & cheese, beef tenderloin and potatoes… I can’t even remember everything. And breakfast? Three words: Best. Bacon. Ever. And Scandanavian rolled pancakes with lingonberries. I’m hungry just thinking about them.

Woodloch 2018Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Of course, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. It was an all-too-short long weekend and nobody wanted to leave.

Woodloch 2018

Until next time, Woodloch!

Woodloch 2018


Woodloch 2014

saying "goodbye" to woodloch

Thanksgiving 2014

thankgiving 2014

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here in the Northeast, it was rather eventful… the first major snowstorm of the season hit, complete with travel tie-ups and serious power outages. The snow started on Wednesday morning, and as I suspected, the library opted to close so I didn’t have to go in to work. Drew’s mom and aunt came up in the morning, as well, in order to stay ahead of the storm.

thankgiving 2014

For most of the day we watched the snow fall. (We ended up getting close to a foot!) The kids were excited and built a snow man and snow fort in the afternoon. We had all just settled in to start a movie before dinner when everything went silent. Yes, the wet, heavy snow (or an accident… or who even knows) caused the power to go out. At first we were hopeful it was temporary, but soon we realized that we wouldn’t be able to use the oven to make dinner. So while I was gathering candles and oil lamps, Drew got out the propane grill and camp stove so we could get everyone fed.

Outages were widespread and I began to get worried about what would happen for Thanksgiving. Would I be able to cook? We came up with a plan B, just in case. Luckily, the mashed potatoes and stuffing were already made. We could easily warm those on the wood stove. We figued we could cut up the turkey and cook it in the Dutch oven outside if we had to. We all went to bed, not knowing what to expect in the morning. Luckily, our power came back around 1 AM. I was incredibly thankful! Some people in the area are still without power.

Thanksgiving day was very nice. I was able to cook the traditional dinner after all — no fire pit cooking was necessary! I think everyone enjoyed the meal — we were sure full! I made roast turkey, sour cream mashed potatoes, green beans with slivered almonds, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, cornbread, and cranberry sauce. My mother-in-law brought the cranberry-sausage stuffing. For dessert we had apple crisp — simple, and just enough!

thankgiving 2014

After the dishes we washed, and turkey bones were simmering to make stock, the kids and Drew’s mom played board games for a while. I did a bit of crochet, and Drew started to put up the Christmas tree. I think we’ll decorate it tonight.

thankgiving 2014

Today I did some more cleaning, and I’m just taking it easy. No shopping for me today! There’s nothing I really need and I just don’t have the patience to deal with the crowds. I used to always enjoy going out on Black Friday, but in recent years it has gotten way too crazy. Nope, not for me anymore. I think I’ll spend the rest of my day off working on craft projects and making some turkey soup for dinner. Some down-time in front of the fire seems pretty perfect to me!

Autumn Days

Autumn days

Ack! How is it already November? The days just fly by, don’t they? I find that now, especially since I am working every afternoon, time is a precious commodity. But things are great and we’ve been enjoying a beautiful fall here!

I don’t even know where to start catching up, so I think I’ll just post a few photos for now and try to get back on track with my blogging. I have several reviews that I need to get up (another Firmoo glasses review, TAZO chai, Chapstick, just to name a couple). I also ordered and received my 2015 Erin Condren planner, so I want to write about that (because there was a bit of a glitch this year — everything worked out just fine, though).

I haven’t been experimenting much in the kitchen lately. Because I try to do dinner prep in the mornings, meals have been simple family favorites: Zuppa Toscana, tacos, lemon chicken, meatloaf… pretty standard menu items. But everyone happily eats their supper so something must be going right! 

Hope all is well with you — if anyone is still reading this, LOL! It’s been hard to keep up with everything, but I’m trying my best. Here are some photos from the past month. Jake had his Court of Honor and received an award for outstanding first-year scout, we spent a long weekend in the Adirondacks, I turned 39 (!), and of course we celebrated Halloween! I had some fun with hair chalk and tried to be a little festive for work that day.

Merit Badges

Outstanding Scout






Finding My Groove

fall is here

Well, it has been a month of adjustments around here. The kids are adjusting to school again. I am adjusting to having all three kids in school all day. And I am also adjusting to a new part-time job. I wasn’t really intending on going back to work so soon after school was back in session, but a nearby library was looking for someone for weekday afternoons. I interviewed and got the job. 

I’m working a lot more more hours than what I had been working at “my” library, and it is much busier. The time goes by quickly, but the vibe is very different — definitely not as personal. It’s just taking some getting used to. Since I work afternoons and don’t get home until after 5, I’ve been trying to get everything I need to do done in the mornings — cleaning, appointments, phone calls, dinner prep. My husband telecommutes, so for now it all works. He is able to get the kids off the bus and get dinner going. 

I’ve been ridiculously emotional lately — I think all these changes are causing it. It is strange to not have any little ones at home during day, and I think that is the hardest adjustment for me. I definitely miss it. Luckily, they all love school so the fact that everyone can’t wait to go makes it easier. But there’s also the realization that baby and toddler days are officially gone. And while I know our family is complete, and I really don’t want any more kids, there is a little part of me that is very sad about this.

Stupid things set me off, like driving by our local Friendly’s and seeing that it had closed. I immediately got all teary, remembering how we used to go there all the time when Jake and Noah were little. When we first moved up here, dinner at Friendly’s and walking through the mall was our standard Friday night out. 

Change is hard, even for grown-ups, I guess. Everything just feels different. I can’t explain it and I probably sound like a fruitcake. But like the kids, I will adjust. It only takes time.

In the meantime, I’ve set aside my Stitchcation Afghan and I’ve been working on an infinity scarf. Believe it or not, the yarn is by Red Heart! It is so soft, and the colors are just beautiful. I think RH gets an undeserved bad name. Their yarns (even the SuperSaver) have really improved since I first started knitting and crocheting 10 years ago.

infinity scarf

Outside, it is definitely starting to look like fall. My burning bushes are turning red. Leaves are falling. The days are shorter, and the evenings are cooler.

burning bush


A couple weeks ago, Drew had the brilliant idea to take some extra bricks we had lying around and build a firepit. So on weekend evenings, we’ve been enjoying an outdoor fire (complete, of course, with roasted marshmallows). Saturday night we decided to do sparklers for no good reason other than that they are fun!


My parents also visited this weekend. Dad helped Drew paint the back of the house (it’s a huge project, let me tell you), and Mom cleaned up my front garden because she actually enjoys doing that 😉 It looks a thousand times better! I would have gotten around to it (probably), but I am very appreciative that she just did it for me. After my last bout with poison ivy, I’m still kind afraid to touch anything green without wearing a hazmat suit.

So all in all, things are good! My weepies, I’m sure, will subside. I am fortunate to have (so quickly) found part-time work that works with our schedule (because really, the kids are only home for about an hour and a half before I get there — it’s not THAT bad). And really things are just moving right along.

How are things with you?