What’s New Around Here

Forsythia

Well that week flew by, didn’t it? I don’t even know how it happened, but here we are… Wednesday again!

Spring flowers

Last Friday morning I got my 2nd COVID shot (Pfizer vaccine), and it wasn’t that bad. About four hours after the shot I got the same dull headache at the back of my head, and the sore neck I got after the 1st shot. I powered through work and by the time I sat down at home around 5 PM I realized how tired I was.

Shot #2 - Done!

The next day I felt really good when I woke up, but halfway through the morning I started to feel tired and slightly achy. If it wasn’t a Saturday I definitely could had pushed myself, but since it was the weekend I just took it easy and drank a lot of water. By Sunday I was my old self again! I went grocery shopping in the morning and spent the afternoon crafting.

This first half of this week has been a blur! Monday I was really busy at work, editing and submitting a grant. Yesterday was Drew’s birthday. He used a Lowe’s gift card to get some plants for the side of our driveway. We started working on this area last year and are trying to really fill it in with shrubs and flowers.

For dinner he wanted chicken marsala from a local restaurant so we ordered that to-go and just relaxed in the evening.

This morning I caught up on laundry, washing extra blankets that we probably won’t need again until the fall. I made tortellini soup for lunch. I have just been craving lately and since we had some spinach that really needed to be used up, it was the perfect excuse!

Tortellini Soup

After that I ran a few errands with Noah and Laura. I went to pick up my prescription (sigh, not there — our medical practice is really dropping the ball when meds need to be re-upped), dropped off some clothing donations, grabbed a few items at the store, and then we swung by Stewart’s for a treat — an ice cream cone for Laura and hot dogs for Noah, who had skipped lunch (knowing we were going to Stewart’s).

Once we got home I threw together a fajita marinade for chicken tenderloins, prepped corn for tonight, and made a delicious banana bread with dark chocolate chips. Oh, I can’t wait to grill a slice for breakfast tomorrow!

Banana bread

Yup, it was a busy day! But the good kind of busy. After all that, I just sat down to relax a bit and enjoy my day off. I finally settled on a blanket pattern for this yarn that has been staring me down for months. Nothing exciting — I just decided to do a C2C pattern. My reasoning is that there’s really no guesswork involved. Once I use half my skeins, I will start decreasing and that will be that! It’s also what I consider a pretty mindless pattern — one that I can work on while watching TV in the evening. Maybe once it’s done I’ll add a more intricate border. We’ll see.

New C2C lap blanket

Dinner came together quick, and it was delicious! I had scored some of the Elote seasoning from Aldi and was excited to try it. The corn was definitely spicy! I’m not sure if it was everyone’s cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it.

Chicken fajitas

Well, I guess that catches us up! Drew is finishing up the dishes, and that’ll be about it for tonight. Hope you all had a great day!

February Funk

It’s that time of year… spring is close, yet seems so far. We’re all getting tired of being cooped up in the cold weather, tired of sweeping up sand and road salt, and just… well… tired. It’s the end of February.

And it’s not just me, which is comforting. Seems there are quite a few people out there who also are experiencing a lack of motivation and general feeling of blah. That’s a technical term, you know.

Helping me rise out of it, though, is something new that I recently purchased. Ta-da!

new camera

I’ve been researching cameras for quite some time. I bought my last camera, a Nikon D40 that served me very well, over 13 years ago. And over those 13 years life has changed a lot! I wanted something a little more sophisticated than a basic point-and-shoot, but I really didn’t want another DSLR (at least not right now). Well, this Lumix fits the bill nicely! It’s referred to as a “bridge” camera — exactly what I wanted. And oh boy, is there a lot to learn! The features are really impressive, and I am still amazed that I can send a photo from the camera to my phone via WiFi! I’m feel like my passion for photography has been reinvigorated. I’m going to try to carry it around with me because, well, you never know when you’re going to see something that strikes you.

Another thing I’m doing is going through my books. We’re hoping to having a book sale at work in late spring/early summer, so that’s always easy way for me to pass things on. I have so many cookbooks, most of which I’ve picked up at other book sales, and some of them can definitely go in the donation pile.

Craft-wise, I haven’t been doing too much aside from collecting a lot of ideas! Noah did ask me to make him a hat in a new color, so I started on that. It’s just simple HDC ribbing, so it’s perfect TV crochet.

crochet hat

That’s just a quick little update from me! Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

Lazy Wednesday

Hello, all! Thought I’d pop in and say hello. Actually feeling a little under the weather today — nothing concerning, just some tummy discomfort. As I get older some foods really seem to bother me and as much as I hate to admit it, coffee is one of them. If I don’t have something to eat along with my morning cup of coffee, it just doesn’t set well. I skipped breakfast today, so… After having lunch I started feeling better but I’m still kind of meh.

Check out these moths we saw on our small shed yesterday. I looked them up and I am pretty sure they are Blinded Sphinx Moths. Drew caught them in the act, and by the time I got home from work only one (what I believe is the female) was still hanging around. They were so big and honestly could easily have been mistaken for leaves. Amazing!

https://flic.kr/p/2joThvF
mating blind sphinx moths

Not too much else to report. I did get a new menu board to replace a chalkboard I had in our kitchen. In case you don’t know, Joann is having a pretty great clearance sale right now (it’s heaven if you like Happy Planner products!) and I scored this dry erase board for under $3! There were sets of calendar clings, and I was sure to grab those too because they’re so cute. Drew drilled holes at the top and added the screw eyes so we didn’t have to remove the hooks and then patch the wall. I love it!

https://flic.kr/p/2joPi8g

Another thing I’m loving is the new Paul Tremblay book! I am a slow reader when I’m enjoying a book — I tend to linger on the pages and savor the words — but I think I’ll finish it by the end of the week. It is a little odd reading about quarantines and pandemics while we are living in one, but in a way that’s what makes it even more compelling.

https://flic.kr/p/2joPi3X

The weather is still so hot and humid. I sound like a broken record, I know.

I did finish my crochet candle mat, and I really love it! I’m going to work up another one and then I will share the pattern. I have it all written out, I just want to make sure my instructions are correct.

Well, I suppose that’s all for today. Nothing great for dinner tonight – just Italian grinders and tater tots. Feeling in a cooking slump at the moment. Nothing sounds good, and I don’t feel like standing over a stove either. Come on, cooler weather! Even a few days of relief would be welcome!

Catching Up

last vinca

Once again, life has gotten busy! You know how it goes. Oh my goodness, where to even start? It’s not like too much has been going on. Just lots of everyday life kind of stuff. Over the last week I’ve been busy with copywriting work, which has been wonderful! At this time of year a little extra money is definitely welcome.

I’ve also gone a little crazy with some new Erin Condren orders (thanks to referral credits)! Last month they had an amazing sale — 25% off anything on their website. I had been thinking about purchasing a horizontal planner to use as a daily journal, so I went for it. Now maybe your’e thinking, Carol, didn’t you buy a horizontal back in June, then decide to sell it? And you would be right. I immediately regretted it, but the deal was already done. So, after thinking long and hard I decided to purchase another one. I also picked up a couple new covers and extra folders. 

new erin condren goodies

My other purchase, just yesterday morning, was the new hourly planner. I am really looking forward to this for 2016! Earlier in the year, there was a customer survey with several possible changes. An hourly planner was one of them, and I was all for it! I’m looking to simplify my planning, so this should work well. I absolutely love my washi and stickers, but I’m craving a little more order, especially as our family gets busier. So I’ll save my crazy decorating for my journal and keep it simple in my planner. At least that’s the plan.

 

A photo posted by Carol Bancroft (@carolwrites) on

Of course, I’m also thinking about my favorite holiday — Thanksgiving! It kind of snuck up on me this year. Hard to believe it is next week! Once again, I’ll be happily hosting it. I need to start my list of dishes and hit the grocery store. 

The kids are great. Report cards should be out any day now, and judging by the work they have brought home I have no worries at all! Laura started Daisy Scouts and seems to love it. Of course, two of her best friends are also Daisies, so I’m sure that has something to do with it šŸ˜‰

This morning I went for a mammogram. Oh, the joys of getting older! I suppose it’s a rite of passage for a 40-year-old woman, though — right? It actually wasn’t horrible, and I know it’s so important. Everything is normal, so it was nice to leave the appointment knowing that. Plus I got to wear this awesome “spa” robe, LOL!

oh hey!

Otherwise, I’m just doing my thing! I have to get back to a couple crochet projects I started. I’ve just been tired at night and zoning out in front of the TV. The time change earlier this month kicked me on my rear, like it always does.

Well, I ought to attack the three overflowing laundry baskets that are currently staring me down. Oh! And if  you’re a tea lover, be sure to check back tomorrow. I have a review going up that I think you’ll enjoy! Have a great day!

 

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

mums

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!

sparklers

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 šŸ˜‰ 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?

Almost a Teen

So hard to believe that 12 years ago yesterday I became a mom for the first time! This 9lb 6oz. baby came into the world and forever changed our lives.
Jake - August 2002

Jake - Fall 2002

Jake’s a baby no more, that’s for sure! My middle schooler loves Doctor Who, Boy Scouts, Magic: the Gathering, composing songs, playing XBox, writing stories and drawing comics…. oh, and eating! I always thought that TV shows joked about teenage boys eating their parents out of house and home but I am learning how true it is!

Jake's 12th birthday

We started the day with presents, and the birthday boy’s breakfast. Then we went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse, where he got up on the saddle and the waitstaff did their thing. He didn’t seem the least embarrassed! (And yes, he did eat that entire burger – I felt full just looking at it!)

Jake's 12th birthday

Jake's 12th birthday

We picked up some Boston Creme donuts on the way home for a special birthday dessert. We are having parties all weekend, so everyone will enjoy cake then. Jake is just as happy with the Boston Cremes, I think šŸ˜‰ They are his favorite.

Jake's 12th birthday

Next up: the teen years. I am so not ready for that so I think I’ll enjoy 12 as much as I can!

Let’s Catch Up!

knick knacks

Good afternoon, everyone! Another month has slinked away, hasn’t it? Hard to believe August is here. I have not forgotten about my little corner of the Internet, but believe me, the last month has been filled with activity (and a little stress… I’ll get to that). I have had time to do quite a bit of reflection, and I really want to get back into posting her regularly, so hold me to it, okay?

All right, first let’s just get to what the stressful situation was. As some may remember, I have a thyroid nodule. Four years ago, my journey with thyroid disease began. Things have been stable. I take my levothyroixine, I feel great, and I get an annual sonogram to check on my thyroid nodule(s) (one came and went!). Last December one of my lymph nodes was enlarged, so my doctor had me repeat the test in June. In June, it was still inflamed and the radiologist recommended an MRI.

Well, I kind of freaked out a little bit. It could be nothing — it could be just regular inflammation associated with my Hashimoto’s, it could be because I had a sore throat, or… obviously it could be something a lot more scary. My insurance wouldn’t agree to an MRI, and after a month of my doctor’s office going back and forth, the insurance agreed to a CT scan. I had no idea what to expect, I had to go to a facility I’d never been to before, Drew was going to be out of town… but somehow I kept it all together. I had my appoinment last Thursday and I have to say it was not at all scary. The tech and the nurse were great. The IV contrast was kind of freaky (as soon as it goes into your veins you feel as hot as if you were standing in the desert — so weird!). The entire appointment took last than an hour (including waiting).

In Saturday’s mail came my results from the imaging center. Thankfully, Drew was back from Kansas by that point. Shaking, I opened the envelope and was so relieved as I read line after line of “Unremarkable.” Never have I been so thrilled to be “unremarkable!” The last line said it all:

good news for me!

What a huge relief, and a heavy weight off my shoulders. A scare like that really makes you put things into perspective, though, trust me. I spent so much time thinking about what’s really important in my life… things I could let go of, as well as things I want to hold on to. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it to many people, and certainly not blogging about it until I knew the outcome. So that happened. And it’s over!

Aside from that, July was a busy month with camps for the kids. Drew spent a week in Kansas City for work. And I kept on plugging away at my Stitchcation Afghan. I’m a little jealous of the ladies who are done. I am just about half-way there, but I’m just taking my time and enjoying it. (Though honestly there are a couple stitches that I will be happy to never do again.)

stitchation squares

Oh! I also got about 6 inches of hair cut off on Friday! With everyone out of the house for one reason or another, I took the opportunity to head to the salon and get a long over-due hair cut. I love it!

justme

 

Ever since I attended the Country Living Fair in June I’ve been thinking a lot about style. There were some women there who had the cutest outfits and one of the things I decided among all this summer soul-searching is that it is high time for me to break out of the jeans-and-tee-shirt “uniform.” In high school in college I always loved clothes, makeup, and doing my hair. That really hasn’t changed but with little ones I didn’t have much time to put forth a great effort. But with all three a little bit older, and certainly come September when they’ll all be in school, I can eek out a little more time everyday to put myself together.

Are you still with me, or have I bored you away? LOL! Anyway. That’s the story from here! What have you all been up to this summer? Are your kids going back to school yet? Fill me in on what’s new with you!

hello, summer vacation!

flowers

summer planter

Our summer vacation official began last Thursday when Noah finished up his last day of 3rd grade! To celebrate, we set up the sprinkler and I made chocolate chip cookie sundaes. I was so ready for for school to be over with, and I know the kids were, too.

Ah, summer… Lazy days, ceiling fans, roses, lemonade, all that good stuff. But let’s keep it real, kids. There’s also poison ivy, mosquito bites, humidity, and plenty of bickering. It all evens out, you know. But the first few days of break have been pretty good, I will admit. The summer will be broken up by various camps and day trips, and I’ll do my best to keep my kids from getting too bored (while at the same time keeping my sanity).

Yesterday Drew drove Jake to his first camp of the year. The local Lions Club generous sponsored him for a week of NYS DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) camp. What a great opportunity! He will spend the week learning about wildlife, natural resources, and outdoor skills. This is right up my Boy Scout’s alley and he settled in quickly. This week Noah is at Cub Scout day camp, and he was beside himself with excitement! It should be a great week for both of them. 

It’s been ages since I linked up with Sandra‘s Happy Homemaker Monday, so no time like the present, right? 

As I look outside my window::: It’s a little cloudy, but really comfortable out this morning! The heat and humidity are supposed to rev up as the week goes on, so I’ll enjoy this while I can.

Right now I am::: Trying to decide if I want to run some errands today or save them for later in the week.

Thinking and pondering::: About an upcoming test I need to have done after my last thyroid ultrasound. I’m not too worried about it, but I just want to get everything done and over with already.

On my bedside table::: Oh, it’s just a mess right now. Lotion, medication, a water glass, various knittle needles and crochet hooks. I need to get it all straightened out and re-organized.

On my tv this week::: Not too much. There really hasn’t been anything getting my attention on Netflix lately.

Listening to::: Laura giggling as she watches “Poppy Cat.”

On the menu for this week:::
 M: leftover pizza
 T: BBQ chicken
 W: London Broil
 T: Leftovers
 F: Hot dogs/hamburgers
 S: ?

On my to do list:::
— Drop off registration forms for rec camp at the town clerk’s office
— Drop off clothing donations
— Dust/Vacuum
— Bank deposit
— Work in garden (cut some things back, plant some perennials and annuals)

Happening this week:::
Day camp for Noah, 4th of July, picking up Jake on Saturday. Not much else, which is fine by me!

What I am creating:::
I think this week I might dig my granny stripe blanket out of the closet and start working on it again.

My simple pleasure:::
Crossword puzzles – I’m obsessed with them lately!

Homemaking tips:::
Rubbing a lemon on your stainless steel sink will help remove hard water spots.

Looking around the house:::
Things definitely need tidying up. After giving the kids a little slack over the weekend as their summer vacation began, there are plenty of toys and crafts that need to be put back in their places.

From the camera:::
My blueberry bush that the kids gave me for Mother’s Day actually has some blueberries!
baby blueberries

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

This Week

Country Living Fair 2014

Ah… the school year is finally winding down. The last few weeks have been so busy! Four concerts, Field Day, Court of Honor, and Preschool Graduation (just to name a few) have kept us on the go. But summer is actually in sight!

Today was Laura’s preschool graduation. What a sweet ceremony her school put on! Drew wrote and performed a song with the kids — abosultely adorable. She was in tears the other day because she’s going to miss school so much. I reassured her that most of her friends with be in Kindergarten with her in the Fall. “But it won’t be the same!” she said. Awww… So bittersweet.

Laura's preschool graduation

Last weekend a friend and I went to the Country Living Fair here in Rhinebeck. I will have to do an entire post just on the fair because it was SO much fun. Next year I think I’ll opt for the two-day pass and get my mom to come on one of the days. So many pretty things and creative ideas. But more on that soon.

My crochet has been tucked away for now, just because there hasn’t been the time for it. But I have been busy in the garden planting blueberries, rhododendrons, various perennials… My dad was able to get me some lilacs another lady had dug up, so tomorrow my parents are bringing those down and I’ll get them in. I adore lilacs and just pray they take so I can have blooms next year!

Hope you all have been well. I miss my little corner of the bloggy world!

Goodbye, May

vintage flowers

What can I say? May was kind of a crap-tastisc month. It started out with a car accident. One of the boys had issues at school. I ended up quitting a job that I really liked (and no, I’m not going to get into it here — suffice it to say, some people just make really bad decisions). And I probably gained like 10 pounds thanks to stress eating.

Suck it, May. You’re so over!

But I’m going into June with a new attitude. A focus on myself… my health, my creative pursuits, doing the things I love, and being with the people I love.

 

That’s the plan.

 

I’m going to cook, clean, crochet, knit, garden, decorate, watch movies, paint my nails, do yoga, do more of what makes life enjoyable. While the kids don’t get out of school until the end of the month, I am totally looking forward to summer. Outside movies, picnics, trips to the zoo, nights at the drive-in, playing tetherball, reading books, lazying at the lake. It’s going to be awesome.

As for today? I delighted in the mundane. I shopped for Laura’s birthday party. I started doing some cooking. I cleaned a little bit. Tonight Jake has a BBQ and dance at school, so I’m going to pick up a pizza and some wine on the way home. Originally I thought we’d eat outside, light a fire in the chiminea, and maybe roast some marshmallows with Noah and Laura. But given that it’s currently raining I think things look more like a living room picnic and a movie, and maybe brownie sundaes for dessert.

Go with the flow, right?

2014 has kind of been kicking my ass. Here’s hoping the second half is a little more chill!