First Snow of the Season

First snow of the season

It snowed last night! Around 9:00 I was leaving a friend’s house and was excited to see a dusting on the ground and flakes falling from the sky. Funny, isn’t it, how it just takes a couple months for us to go from “Ugh, more snow?” to “Yay! It’s so pretty!”

First snow of the season

When Laura walked down the stairs this morning, she immediately gasped and asked if it was Christmas! So cute, right? Noah was hoping he could play in the snow after school, but I explained that it would most likely be melted by then (and for the most part it was). Nevertheless, it was a lovely start to the weekend.

First snow of the season

First snow of the season

First snow of the season

First snow of the season

I realize that I basically take the same photos year after year when it snows, but… somehow it just always seems new. Maybe it’s just me. I am sure that by the end of January I will be longing for warm days, but for now I am very content to bundle up, sit in front of my fire, and enjoy dark, cozy evening.

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{More Catch-Up} R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

I’ll be honest here: as a pre-teen (because “tween” did not exist in the late 80s), I was a Christopher Pike girl. Chain Letter got me hooked. But my husband has a crazy love for R.L. Stine that didn’t start until he was in college. It’s a long story involving his band, someone’s girlfriend and R.L. Stine’s book The Girlfriend. We had a huge box of Fear Street novels in our attic, our boys both enjoyed the “Goosebumps” series, and Laura likes watching the likewise-named TV show on Netflix. So the excitement level at our house when I learned that R.L. Stine was coming to Rhinebeck was seriously off the hook.

At first, Drew hemmed and hawed a little. I love going to author events. Sometimes, though, the reality of who that author is can disappoint. There can be an attitude that shatters your image of how awesome they are. But I convinced him :-) So after the Sheep & Wool festival back in October, we headed over to Oblong Books for this super-cool Halloween event! R.L. Stine is rebooting “Fear Street” and has been making the rounds to promote his new book.

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

I’ve been to a lot of signings in my day, but this was certainly one of my favorites. Stine didn’t just read from his new book and answer a couple questions. He told stories. Stories about growing up. Stories about how he thought of book titles. He took tons of questions from kids in the audience. He connected with everyone there. And not only that, but he was willing to sign anything that people brought up. Sometimes there’s a limit, sometimes it’s just the author’s latest work. But R.L. Stine signed a stack of books for us (including some really old twist-a-plots that Noah adores).

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

Drew told him the story involving his band, his friend’s girlfriend, and the book. Mr. Stine seemed amused.

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

The kids had such a great time, and what a thrill to meet such a prolific writer! 

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

Thanks, R.L. Stine and Oblong for hosting an event that my kids (and husband!) will remember for a long time!

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{Catching Up} Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool 2014

 photo NYSsheepwoolBanner2014_zps113a4d49.jpg

You might think that as an avid crocheter and sometimes-knitter who lives right here, I’d go to the famous NYS Sheep & Wool Festival (commonly referred to simply as “Rhinebeck”} every year. Well, truth be told, the crowds often make me rather anxious and the traffic near the fairground can get snarly so it’s been a while. This year, however, was different. I found out that one of my oldest blogging friends (who lives on the complete other side of the country), was going to be there. No way was I going to miss my chance meeting the lovely kadyellebee!

I don’t remember if Kristine and I originally “met” on a wedding planning e-mail group, or via our blogs, but we’ve known each other since probably 2000. No matter, it has been a very long time of knowing someone online. Kristine noted that we knew each other long before either of us picked up a pair of knitting needles! Needless to say, it was an absolute thrill to meet this lovely and talented lady. Kristine is as sweet in person as she is online and I hope someday our paths will cross again!

Kristine & Me!

It was an absolute perfect day to wander around looking at lovely things. I visited some of my favorite yarn shops, felt lots of beautiful wool, and was inspired by so many of the designs I saw. I didn’t spend too much money this time around. I felt a little overwhelmed by the variety of colors and weights and my head just spun as I wondered what to do with it. However, I did fall in love with some of the yarns from Maple Creek Farm. 

Their gold-flecked yarns drew me in, and I ended up purchasing a hank of silk/superwash merino in this gorgeous shade of red. (The needles were a freebie!) I also picked up a felted stress ball that smells deliciously of peppermint, a vintage hankie (50 cents! How could I say no?), and a quilted sachet made from vintage fabrics. 

Rhinebeck Haul

It was definitely a fun day out and maybe I’ll even go again next year :-)

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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

Adirondacks

sunflowers

birthday

halloweencarol

Halloween

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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?

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Influenster #VitaVoxBox

#vitavoxbox from Influenster

Is there anything better than opening your mailbox and instead of seeing bills and junk mail, finding a package full of goodies to try out? I think not! I was super excited to be chosen to receive the #VitaVoxBox from Influenster and over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying out all the goodies.

In case you missed my unboxing video on YouTube, here it is:

I have to say, I was most excited about the First Degree burn cream. I’m a klutz, and I often work around hot things (the oven, stove, my glue gun… you get the picture). I had the opportunity to give the First Degree cream a try the other day when I was making hair bows for Laura. Like a fool, in order to see if my glue gun was hot, I touched the metal part. (It was late, I was tired, and obviously not thinking). Immediately I put a dab of the cream on my finger, massaged it in, and felt some relief. Good stuff!

The SoftLips Cube is OK. Honestly, I am not a big fan of SoftLips products, and I have never tried one of these cube-type of lip balms before. It smells and tastes wonderful, though! And since my five-year-old always wants to share my “lipstick,” the cube works out great because there is nothing to roll up or down or make a big mess. So it gets a thumbs-up from me for those features.

Playtex Sport FreshBalance tampons. What can you really say about tampons? They work well, though I find them a little too scented.

Bikini-Ready Gummy Vitamins were an interesting product. It’s hard to say much about them because it was a one-shot sample, but they tasted like candy (though there was an odd aftertaste) and definitely gave me an energy boost.

The Pure Leaf sweet tea was tasty. I will give some of their other flavors a try.

And finally… the Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future serum. I haven’t tried this out yet, but I plan to this weekend. I’ve been neglecting my skin care routine in general, so one of my goals now that school is back in session is get back into a daily regimine.

So there you have it! have you received any Influester #VoxBoxes? If you’re interested in signing up, email me and I will send you an invitation! It’s so fun. You write some reviews, take some surveys, and get to try out products.

FTC: These products were sent to me compliments of Influenster for testing and review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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{Recipe} Marinated Butter Beans for your Antipasto Platter

Marinated butter beans

When we have parties, my favorite appetizer to prepare is an antipasto platter — delicious savory treats, piled high on a platter, and shared family style. Add some crostini or baguette to soak up the vinegar and oil from the various foods and you’ve got a treat that will please everyone. The time may be over for summer BBQs, but as the holidays approach, so will entertaining opportunities!

My typical antipasto platter includes cured meat (usually pepperoni or salami), fresh mozzarella, olives, roasted red peppers, maybe some artichokes or pickled asparagus… really, whatever I have on hand. Last month I got the idea of using beans on the antipasto tray I prepared for the boys’ birthday party. Not sure how or why that popped into my head (possibly they were talking about a bean salad on an NPR program about picnic foods that I was listening to as I drove). I threw this recipe together for Marinated Butter Beans and they were a huge hit! Not only were they delicious on their own, but they added zing to a tossed salad and bulked up a pasta salad, too. You may have seen marinated butter beans at the deli case or in the “olive bar” area of your grocery store, but why pay those prices when you can make it yourself for a whole lot less? 

Marinated Butter Beans
A tasty addition to your antipasto tray
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Ingredients
1 15-oz. can of butter beans
1/4 c. olive oil
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. capers
1 Tbsp. minced onion (not dried)
1 tsp. diced red pepper
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
pinch of salt
Instructions
In the bottom of a mason jar or a bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, capers, onion, red pepper, Italian seasoning, and salt. Drain butter beans and rinse well. Add beans to the jar and stir to coat. Refrigerate the beans for at least a few hours, or better yet, overnight.
Notes
Add to your antipasto platter, salad, or just enjoy as a snack.
Pure Sugar http://puresugar.net/
 

For more yummy recipes, head over to Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Cooking Thursday!

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