{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!

{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 :-)

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

A Day at the Fair

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I’ll be up front with you: I’m not one of those people who lives for the county fair. In fact, the last time we went was, oh… about six years ago. I looked back through my photos and it was 2008. Laura wasn’t even born yet! Typically, the crowds and traffic make me anxious, but this year Jacob got free ride tickets for moving tables around with the scouts. So we decided to go this year.

And you know what? I actually had a graet time! Yesterday we went around 3:30, we didn’t hit traffic (yes, believe it or not, even though we only live 10 min. from the fairgrounds it IS possible to get stuck in horrendous traffic), we got a great parking spot… everything just worked out.

We started in the arts & crafts builing and I was so happy to see that one of my friends did exceptionally well in the culinary category. She won best overall, as well as several specific awards. Then… imagine my surprise to see a blue ribbon on someone else’s fair entry… Laura’s! The kids actually did the barnwood painting at day camp in July and if parents agreed to have the project enter the fair, it was done. I believe she is the first Bancroft to win a blue ribbon in the Dutchess County Fair. (Though truth be told… next year I am seriously considering entering a few entries into the knitting & crochet categories).

photo 2 (1)

Of course, we walked through the 4H barns and ran into some familiar faces. I didn’t take any pictures but oh, were those piggies cute! And the chickens… if I were not concerned about wolves, foxes, and bears I would definitely have some backyard chickens here. But for now I will just admire those at the fair.

The kids had a great time on the rides. Noah surprised us and said he wanted to go on this ride that swings you way high… like almost over the top. A bit reluctantly, I said OK, and well, he certainly learned that he is more like his mom than his dad when it comes to carnival rides. Nevertheless, he made it through and got off with a smile. That’s my guy!

Dutchess County Fair 2014

Laura loved the carousel. (And the up and down motion of the horse was about all I could take — yes, I am a total wuss, LOL!). She went on a few other kiddie rides and had a great time.

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I am happy to say we did really well when it came to fair food. There were so many tempting treats: fried dough, tempura, pizza… lots of bad-for-you, but oh-so-good treats.

photo 1 (2)

Drew and I got gyros for dinner (which were absolutely delicious and worth every overpriced cent), and the kids got burgers or hot dogs. Later on, everyone got to pick a treat. Drew got a chocolate-covered banana, Noah got a walk-away sundae, Jake got a candy apple, Laura got cotton candy, and I got a fresh-squeezed lemonade.

photo 3 (1)
It was definitely a fun way to spend a Thursday evening.

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Guys, last year I had to miss out on the debut of the Country Living Fair here in Rhinebeck at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. We had events that entire weekend and there was no way I could eek out the time to attend. But this year? I wrote it in my planner as soon as I found out the dates and I was not going to miss it again!

The weather was absolutely perfect for a day of walking around and being absolutely inspired by all of the creative ideas I saw. The fairground was transformed! I had just been there for CamporALL with the Cub Scouts, but it didn’t look anywhere near as pretty as this. Check it out — buntings everywhere! And I swear they were misting the scent of lavender and cinnamon because everything smelled wonderful.

Country Living Fair 2014

Obviously the vendors want you to buy their wares, but I couldn’t help but steal a few ideas for finished products that were out of my budget. This “Pickles” sign was one of them. The sign, while super cool, was not coming home with me for over $100. And while I doubt I could do a perfect lettering job, it still provided some inspiration.

Country Living Fair 2014

I loved these chairs with the ragamuffin strips hanging down the sides — kind of like a prim tutu, isn’t it?
Country Living Fair 2014

Here was another project I thought I could replicate with a shabby frame, some ticking, an old BINGO card, and a cute vintage image:
Country Living Fair 2014

And who knew that if I could safely take down a hornet’s nest I could not only use it as a home dec accent, but I could also charge $35 for it? (But I have to admit — it does look cool.)
Country Living Fair 2014

Here are a few more “this and that” photos of pretty things:
Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

I am already excited for next year! I’ll have one more Country Living Fair post this week all about “glamping.” I’d never heard that term before, but if you love the idea of cute caravan/camper decor… just wait! These ladies had more style in their tiny little campers than I do in my entire house, LOL.

Snow Day

snow day

You’d think that after living in the Northeast for my entire life, that snow would be boring by this point. But you know what? That first real snowfall is still so exciting and beautiful and I just stare and think about how magnificent nature is.

I really am so lucky to live in the most gorgeous part of the country.

snow day

snow day

snow day

snow day

snow day

Saturday Catch-Up

poet's walk pavillion

Hey everyone! I know, I know… it’s been a quiet week. My MIL took the boys to Maine earlier this week, so I guess I’ve been on vacation of sorts too. Things just weren’t on schedule, you know? We were going out more, I was being a little bit lazier… but I guess that’s the beauty of summer, right?

They came home on Friday morning and had a great time! They walked on the beach, swam in the hotel pool and had a ton of fun. Meanwhile, we kept things pretty quiet. We did go to the Indian buffet (Laura was obsessed with the mulligatawny soup!)

laura

We kept things close to home on the 4th of July. We grilled burgers and watched movies. Nothing too crazy.

I finally (finally!) got my new crock pot. Oh yes, I definitely needed an appliance lift. As I mentioned, my old slow cooker died. Today I broke in my new one with sauce, turkey meatballs, and Italian sausage. Sure it’s great using the slow cooker when it’s cold, but it is a life saver when it is hot & humid — no heating up the kitchen!

new slow cooker

This morning we headed over to Poet’s Walk Park in Red Hook. Although it’s a very popular place to hike we’d never been there before. We all had a great time!

This is the bridge I drive across several times a week to go… well, pretty much anywhere (Walmart, Target, Michael’s, Dollar Tree, any and all fast-food restaurants). I love getting the different perspective! That’s the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains you see in the  distance.

kingston-rhinecliff bridge

I also decided to step WAY out of my comfort zone and plank in public. I’ve been doing the 21-day Plank With Bex challenge. I started out at around 58 seconds 12 days ago. Today I was up to 2 minutes 10 seconds!!! It’s amazing to see how much progress you can make in just a few days — so awesome!

planking at poet's walk

Ugh, as for tonight, I’m just trying to keep cool. It has been ridiculously hot & humid lately. Hate it! I started a granny stripe blanket and I love it and I need to blog about that, too. But honestly? I think all I’m doing this evening is drinking ice water (actually, chewing on ice) and vegging out to whatever we put on Netflix.

Tomorrow Jake has SCUBA (seriously, he does the coolest stuff with his Boy Scout Troop! We absolutely made the right decision when weighing the two different troops in town). Then we need to head over across that bridge and get house stain at Home Depot. After that, who knows? Lake? Sprinkler? We shall see…