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 😉

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 😉 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 😉 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!

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!

Spring Break

Yet again… more time passes between blog posts than I’d like. What on earth is it about this year? I feel like there just isn’t anywhere near enough time to get everything done.

Sigh… Anyway! We are on spring  break this week and I could not be happier! At this time of year I am just burned out. Tired of driving around. Tired of activities. Tired of that face you have to put on when you see other parents from school. (Don’t laugh — you all know what I mean. Sure, there are parents you are friends with and hang out with and love to see. But then there’s everyone else, LOL…) So yes. I am happy to have a week without obligations.

The kids and I went up to my parents’ last weekend. Poor Drew was sick with a horrible cold, so we left him home to rest. It was great seeing my family, and the kids all loved spending time playing with their cousins. We had an early Easter of sorts, complete with a delicious turkey dinner and an Easter egg hunt. Needless to say, the kids all had a blast!

Monday morning we got home and I worked in the afteronon. Yesterday a ton of library books came in for me — yay! I always feel like I won the lottery when there’s a big stack waiting for me.

library books

I was desprately craving Polish food. The craving was partially brought on by being in WMass for the weekend and partially by a conversation about kielbasa that I had at work Monday afternoon. It wasn’t the greatest, but as the saying goes, I did the best I could with what I had. For something different, I sauteed onions and topped the pierogis with onions and sour cream as I’d seen many other people do. Meh. It was OK but in the future I will stick to melted butter and breadcrumbs like my Babci always did. For me, that is traditional. And it certainly is tastier.

polish food

Today I’ve just been puttering around the house. Of course, we also woke up to this scene:

snowy april morning

Yes… snow! It poured all day yesterday and I am surprised any stuck. There was a huge temperature drop, though. I ran to the grocery store yesterday afternoon and it was 62 when I went in and 47 when I came out an hour later! Of course, it’s all melted away now. But it is still chilly enough to have one last fire going in the wood stove.

I have also been excitedly waiting for the arrival of my UBP14 prize! I won the Magic Bullet system from Jen over at PoorPaleo! Guys, I remember nursing Noah in the fall of 2005, watching this infomercial in the wee hours of the morning. I was riveted. I wanted a Magic Bullet so bad. But I had a blender. I had a food processor. It was a want, not a need. But to win one? Oh, this was the universe’s way of telling me that one really belongs in my kitchen. And look how excited I was to get it!

new magic bullet

The kids were psyched too. They are always asking me for smoothies, but I hate dragging out the blender. I think this is going to work out great!

I guess that’s about it. I’m trying to get out of my blog funk. I’m constant fighting with myself internally over how much is oversharing… should I try to blog more recipes or craft ideas (sticking to a niche)… or should I just write what I want? I know. There’s no right answer. And really, it’s my space I should do with it as I please. I don’t know why I find this to be such a struggle. It shouldn’t be.

Well, I’m off to finish up some laundry and get dinner started. Nothing fancy tonight, just some Creamy Turkey & Wild Rice Soup and sandwiches or salad (letting everyone choose). Hope you all are having a wonderful week! And I think I’ve finally got my  mojo back, so my ramblings here shouldn’t be so few and far between.

Sleepy Saturday

There’s nothing like a solid three hours of sleep to get you refreshed and ready for the day, right? Sigh, of course I’m being sarcastic. Laura had a later bedtime than usual last night, which naturally resulted in a very poor night’s sleep. I’ve always laughed at people who suggest letting kids stay up later in order to get them to sleep in later. Sure, at Jake’s age this works. But not for the wee little ones. At any rate, after two hours of going in an out of her room, consoling, pleading to go back to sleep, I gave in at about 3:45 a.m. and took her downstairs.

I’d hoped that some TV might relax her back to sleep but nope… it wasn’t until I was vacuuming (yay for white noise!) after lunchtime that she started snoozing on the couch. So yes. I’m tired.

I got lots done this week, though, and it flew by. One of the projects on my list was sketching out my stash-buster blanket idea. Quite a while ago, I was inspired by this gorgeous quilt from Pippa Patchwork that I originally saw on Pinterest:

 

As I am hardly a quilter, I thought this would be a great solution to my growing stash of odds and ends from various crochet projects. I thought of doing a granny square blanket or a stripey blanket, but this design really “wow’ed” me. Simple enough to work on while watching TV, but I think it has a nice, modern feel.

I whipped out the graph paper to figure out how many squares I’ll need.

stash-buster blanket 2013

And I played around with various colors, picking out 10 that I loved best for the largest squares.

stash-buster blanket 2013

stash-buster blanket 2013

This project is hugely different for me because I don’t think I’ve ever combined so many different colors all at once. I suppose all those years of following Lucy from Attic24 are finally having an effect on me!

So I am slowly (oh, so very slowly) plugging away at my first single-crochet purple square. I need to keep up the momentum 🙂

Well, I think it’s time to get up and bake a dish of brownies for dessert tonight and make my house smell even better than it already does. I’ve got two crock pots going: one simmering a pot of chicken stock, and the other cooking up a delicious pot roast for dinner tonight. Drew and Jake have been at the Eskimo Run for Cub Scouts all day and I know when they get home they’ll be cold and hungry.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Christmas Home Stretch

holiday scents

OK, are you guys all ready for Christmas? I am about as ready as I’ll ever be. The pillow I’m working on for Noah might not be done in time, though 🙁 If that’s the case, I’ll give the boys their handmade gifts on New Year’s Eve — I just need a couple more days. But maybe I’ll rally tonight and get it done, who knows?

Anyway, today I’ve just been puttering around the house. I folded and put away a few baskets of laundry, made homemade pizzas for lunch (Hawaiian for the kids and Chicken Cordon Blue for Drew and myself), and finished up some last-minute gifts.

thread

secret sewing

piles of yarn

The kittens had the right idea, I think 🙂

sleepy kitty

Drew took the boys to the comic store for a while this afternoon and brought home dinner, which meant no cooking for me! So I think I’m going to indulge in a cup of tea and a cannoli and see how far I get on that pillow.

sweet dreams

Sweet dreams!

A Fantastic Birthday Weekend!

I know everyone is focussed on Hurricane Sandy right now, but I’m distracting myself with other pursuits (creamy chicken noodle soup, poached chicken, brownies… you know, the important stuff). What a way to wind up my birthday weekend. That’s right — I turned 37 on Friday! I had a great weekend filled with friends and family.

My parents came down on Friday and we always have a great time. For dinner I got my favorite veggie pizza and made a salad. I also had a ginormous chocolate mousse cake (so good!) Then Drew lit off a few fireworks in my honor, LOL…

my birthday :-)

The kids made me very sweet homemade cards and picked out thoughtful presents, including nail polish, chai tea, and prosecco. (I think that maybe Daddy helped them with that last one!)

Saturday was a trick-or-treat extravaganza! I’ll talk about that more on Halloween, though. And yesterday Drew’s mom and aunt came down for lunch. His aunt made me the coolest scarf! I want to look up how to make it before I blog about it though. But it’s lovely and I can’t wait to show it off.

And now I’m waiting to see what this storm brings! School is closed today (as is most of the Northeast in general, it seems), so I think that after lunch I’ll pull out some crafts for the munchkins and try to get in some crochet, myself. Which reminds me — I need to print off a few patterns before the power inevitably goes out!

To all in Sandy’s path, be safe! Here’s hoping for the best!