Happy Homemaker Monday (Jan. 9, 2017)

Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather:::
It’s freeeeezing today! Actually, not so bad right now. When I got home from running errands in was in the mid-20s, but this morning when the boys were getting on the school bus it was 2°F.

On my reading pile:::
I have How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS in transit and it should be at the library tomorrow.

Last week, I heard Joe Donahue’s NPR interview with David France, and as someone who grew up in the 80s when living with the threat of AIDS was becoming our reality… well, I knew just had to read this book.

On my TV:::
I’ve just been watching random shows on Netflix: Lockdown, Rescue Mediums, Border Patrol… nothing that’s really grabbing me, though. I am thinking of giving Longmire a shot. I heard that was really good.

On the menu for this week:::
Monday – Chicken Tikka Masala, rice, salad
Tuesday-Saturday- OK, go ahead and laugh but Drew and I are doing a 5-Day Nutrisystem. We have done this once or twice before and truthfully, I had really great results! I use it more as a “reset” because it helps me visualize my portions better. I have lots of leftovers and quick meals for the kids — they certainly won’t starve! Maybe I should write about my Nutrisystem experience. When Drew first wanted to try it a couple years ago, I scoffed at him, but went along and was really surprised.
Sunday – Chicken drumsticks, mashed potatoes, veggies

On my to do list:::
checkmarkChange the sheets on the kids’ beds

checkmarkClothing donations — Actually drop the bags off!

checkmarkWork on the craft portion of an upcoming blog post (so excited to work with ProFlowers!)

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Lately my knitting needles are calling me louder than my crochet hook. For now I’m just whipping up dishcloths to get my chops back, but later this week I think I just may finally cast on for my 40th Birthday Shawl (nevermind that I turned 41 last fall, LOL)! I purchased this kit at Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool back in 2015. I’d love to be able to wear it to the festival this year!

On the Forest Floor

Looking around the house:::
Not so bad, actually. We did a lot of tidying up yesterday. The kitchen table has a few piles of stuff to put away, as does the island. But overall things are under control for once!

From the camera:::
I put up this quick book display at the library on Saturday. I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I found it on Pinterest. Nevertheless, it cracks me up!
Library Display

Something fun to share:::
Do you love the book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats as much as I do? It is one of my favorites! I was so excited to learn that the illustrations will be adapted into a set of Forever stamps this year. I think I may have to buy a bunch to use on my Christmas cards. Love, love, love! 

15896131_1474920082519390_1605137407975527201_oImage source: USPS

What I’m wearing today:::
Jeans, long-sleeve tee, heavy Hershey’s hoodie, purple and black polka dot knee socks. Obviously I went for warmth & comfort over style!

One of my simple pleasures:::
Years ago I was an avid scrapbooker (some of you may even remember). Of course, it became really hard to find the time after I had more than one child, and then of course it was kids plus work and well… there just weren’t enough hours in the day. Over the last few years I’ve really enjoyed creative planning (stickers, washi tape, etc. in my weekly planner). Well, this year I’ve decided to mash up the two. For Christmas, Drew gave me a Big Happy Planner, and I’m using it as a memory planner. Yesterday I sat down at my craft desk for a while and it was so nice to relax and work on my scrapbook. I think this will be a manageable way to capture all those little moments and memories that happen over the year. I’m so excited about it!

Memory planning

Linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday!

Welcome, 2017!


Happy New Year, everyone! I don’t know about you, but I am very glad that 2016 is behind us. I’m sure there will be plenty of challenges in the months ahead, don’t get me wrong, but there is something about flipping that calendar page that seems to bring hope and a little bit of positivity.

So, I hope everyone enjoyed fabulous holidays. Ours were very good, though I rang in 2017 feeling unwell. Saturday morning I woke up feeling under the weather, but rallied for work. I got home afterwards and pretty much crashed. Fell asleep watching TV around 9:00 or so and around 10:15 I just went to bed. All day yesterday I felt horrible — aching body, aching head. It should go without saying that I didn’t do much at all. Thankfully today I am feeling a bit better.

Since it’s the first Monday of the year, I think it’s a good time to jump back into posting Sandra’s Happy Homemaker Mondays. I always enjoy hopping around to other blogs and reading everyone’s entries. So let’s have at it, shall we?

The weather:::
It’s cold and gray out there this afternoon, and there’s a warning for freezing rain overnight. The kids go back to school tomorrow, but now I wonder if there will be a delay due to ice. We will see!

On my reading pile:::
One thing I did manage to do yesterday was spend some time with Overdrive on my tablet. One of the great things about living in New York is that anyone in the state can get a library card to the New York Public Library. Their collection, as you can imagine, is much bigger than my library system! It’s fantastic for audio books and e-books. I downloaded a bunch of new cookbooks to look at and also The Dinner by Herman Koch. I thought it sounded interesting!

On my TV:::
Netflix has a bunch of new shows that are right up my alley, but so far today I haven’t watched anything. The kids want to watch “Weird Science” so I guess that’s what we will do this afternoon!

On the menu for this week:::
Looks like I need to sit down and figure out my meal plan!
Monday – Chicken Fajitas
Tuesday – Pork chops, broccoli rice, salad
Wednesday – Rotisserie chicken, potatoes, green beans
Thursday – 
Friday – 
Saturday – 
Sunday –

On my to do list:::
Do we even wan to go there? Good grief I feel like it’s endless… update my holiday notebook, clothing donation, reorganize my crafting area, clear out old paperwork… I could go on and on.

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I’m working on some new dishcloths. I like to start the year with a fresh supply, and they’re quick and easy projects. I also have to make another Messy Bun Hat. I sold quite a few during the holidays, and I love making them!

Looking around the house:::
Lots to put away. With the kids home on vacation, things have gotten a little out of control!

From the camera:::
Nothing to share this week, but I’ll get back into it. I miss taking photos with my real camera (not just my phone).

Something fun to share:::
Hmm… not sure I have any ideas today.

What I’m wearing today:::
Just a long sleeve t-shirt and flannel pants. Saw no reason to get dressed today, LOL!

One of my simple pleasures:::
Eating fresh berries. Oh, they are so good and Aldi had blackberries on sale last week so I just devoured them. 

Well, Laura is asking me to make some popcorn, so I think I will do that, make myself a cup of tea and then pick up my crochet for the afternoon. Wishing you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous year ahead!

Bits of October


It’s been over a month since I posted – yikes! Well, October was busy and I’m still kind of in a funk. This has been a really hard year and we’ll just leave it at that for now. I’m really hoping that by the time Jan. 1 rolls around things will finally be going our way. Stress is just exhausting.

But life does go on, doesn’t it? I thought I’d just share some photos from the last month to try to jumpstart my blogging mojo.

So. Let’s start with some crochet. I have actually been hooking up a storm. I finished over 10 dice bags for my husband’s Kickstarter project (one of the premium rewards includes a dice bag), I’ve been going dishcloth crazy, and I finished the C2C blanket I made with the new Caron Cakes yarn. This color is called “Rainbow Sprinkles” and I love how bright it is. I do still have to finish the border, though.

C2C Blanket with Caron Cakes Yarn

C2C Blanket with Caron Cakes Yarn

I love it so much, and thanks to the 20% wool content is is very warm & cozy.

One day Drew and I took a walk through Ferncliff Forest. Every so often I feel the urge to attempt climbing the fire tower again. I am really afraid of heights, so I don’t know where this desire comes from! Needless to say, I did not make it this time, either. I froze halfway up the second flight of stairs. It was a gorgeous fall day, though, and I loved being in the woods.


I also had my birthday! Yes, I turned 41. It was much more enjoyable than 40. Thanks, Starbucks for the free birthday coffee! Pumpkin Spice Forever!!!

Birthday coffee!

We also all enjoyed some delicious cupcakes with emoji decorations. How can you not love emojis? So fun!


The next day we had our first snowfall! It was beautiful and now we probably got at least half of the snow we got last year. I hated our snowless winter and I hope that this coming year is not a repeat.

First snow 2016

First snow 2016

First snow 2016

Last weekend Laura and I went to visit my parents up in Massachusetts. We had a great time! We got to surprise my niece at school and watch her class’s fall play (so cute!), we went trunk-or-treating, we went thrifting, and I also got taken out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants — Rovezzi’s in Sturbridge, MA. Oh, it is always so good and this was no exception. Laura enjoyed dressing up and going to a “fancy” restaurant, complete with cloth napkins, LOL!


We started with their eggplant rollatini, which is THE BEST I have ever had, anywhere.

And the for my entree I chose stuffed chicken in a Gorgonzola cream sauce. It was absolutely delicious!

And then, of course, we came to Halloween. This year was a little different. Last year was Jake’s last year trick-or-treating. He felt very out of place around the little kids, he said, and I can relate. So he still went into town with us, but instead of going house to house he hung out with a couple friends. Laura ended up going with a friend at the last minute, so it was just me, Drew, and Noah (who dressed as a banana). Actually, he made out like a bandit with all the candy. He didn’t have anyone slowing him down, LOL!


For the most part, the village really gets into the spirit of things. Some of the houses are elaborately decorated, and the fire station goes all out too. This creepy skeleton was hanging off one of the ladders. It totally startled me!


And that brings us to where we are now. November! These last few months of the year always fly by so quickly, don’t they? Well, I’m going to try to be better about keep up with my blog. I love going back and reading old entries and I really need to keep documenting our life (along with sharing recipes, and crafts of course)!


Do April Snow Shower Bring May Flowers?

Happy Homemaker Monday

LOL, for two days in a row in April, we have woken up to snow! I guess we will find out if snow showers have the same effect as the traditional April rain showers. All the schools around here cancelled today, which is actually fine by me! The kids have been tasked with doing some organization in their rooms. Since it’s a “free” day, we might as well make good use of it, right? 

April (snow) Showers

I also realized it has been forever since I linked up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday. No time like the present, right?

The weather outside is::::
Snow!!! Yes, seriously. Welcome to spring in the Northeast. I can’t say I am too surprised. I will always remember the April Fool’s Day Blizzard of 1997 — snow this time of year is not really that uncommon, and it is short-lived so I get to enjoy the beautiful view knowing it will melt quickly. We had a couple inches yesterday morning and it was all gone by the afternoon.

On the breakfast plate this morning::::
I has some blueberry granola and vanilla Kefir with a cup of coffee, of course.

As I look outside my window:::
The snow is still falling and it looks very peaceful. No complaints here.

Right now I am::::
Sipping a cup of chocolate-covered cherry flavored coffee (it is so delicious) and hanging out with Jake while he eats breakfast.

As I look around the house::::
It’s the usual Monday chaos after the weekend. Actually, it’s not as bad as usual since I did a lot of cleaning on Saturday morning. Shouldn’t take too long to get in order.

On today’s to do list::::
checkmark laundry – fold and put away
checkmark vacuum/steam mop
checkmark general tidying up.

Happening this week::::
Monday… Snow day!
Tuesday… D. has some doctor appointments so he is taking a personal day. Maybe we’ll get lunch out.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday… Just the usual for the rest of the week

Currently reading::::
“Abandon” by Blake Crouch. I actually wanted to start the “Pines” series, but the day I went to get it from the library, it had just been picked up for a hold (grr…), so I decided to give this one a try. I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. It goes in between modern day and the late 1800s. I’m not typically a huge fan of historical fiction, and definitely not Western-type stuff but I have to say this has me really intrigued!

On the TV today::::
Netflix added the 5th season of Bob’s Burgers, so I will probably watch and episode or two of that.

On the menu this week::::
Monday – Baked drumsticks and potatoes, zucchini
Tuesday – Meatballs & spaghetti, salad
Wednesday – Kielbasa grinders, chips, salad
Thursday – Chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, broccoli
Friday – Pizza night
Saturday – ?
Sunday – ?

What I am creating at the moment::::
I’m working on crocheting a bunch of drawstring bags for a Kickstarter game my husband is currently working on.

New recipe I tried or want to try this week::::
I’ve been in a bit of a recipe rut lately and haven’t tried anything new in a while. Maybe this afternoon I’ll get my cooksbooks out and find a couple things to try over the weekend.

Favorite photo from past few days::::
I took this photo this morning. My forcythia are just starting to bloom, and here they are covered with snow!

April (snow) Showers

Hope you all have a great week ahead!

Feeling Restless


Do you ever get this way? I feel like March is kind of a month of general restlessness for me. Winter is pretty much over (certainly the novelty is, anyway). Spring hasn’t quite happened yet. There may be a little taste of warm weather, but here in the Hudson Valley it is usually fleeting. That is certainly the case this week! Yesterday was deliciously warm, almost near 80! Today was still warm, though rainy. But we will be back into the 40s before you know it. It doesn’t stay nice enough to really get a good start on outdoor projects or major spring cleaning. So there are all these things that I want to do, but can’t. The grass is brown. The leaves haven’t popped at all yet. It’s just kind of a month of “ugh.”


I also feel antsy because I’m anxiously awaiting my calligraphy workshop on Saturday (which I can’t wait for), and (finally!) the kids’ spring break the week before Easter (which I also can’t wait for). And Easter is so early this year, too! It just makes everything feel weird. So I decided to redecorate my blog. There may not be flowers outside, but darn it I’ll make sure I have them in my header, LOL!

Anyway… Sadly, I didn’t even get to really enjoy much of the nice weather yesterday. I was stuck getting new tires for Drew’s car.


At least I got some knitting done while waiting around for hours. (I’m on a dishcloth kick at the moment.) It helped me block out CNN, which just ran the same stories over and over and over again. This summer will mark six years since we pulled the plug on cable and I can’t say I miss it too much.


Oh, but speaking of television! Of course, we have Netflix (and Amazon Prime, but I find Netflix has more that interests me). I’ve been looking for a new show and today I finally found one — “The Returned.” How have I never heard of this show before today? It is right up my alley — moody, eerie, mysterious. I’m three episodes in and absolutely hooked!

I’ve also been feeling a little nostalgic lately, looking through old photos and thinking about how fast time passes. I’ve also been rereading some blogs that I used to read ages ago. Some are still active, others haven’t been updated in years. It also makes me long for the way blogging used to be — it was much more community-oriented and you actually made blog friends (!) instead of just hopping over for a single post. It was a good incentive to blog more and capture more. I’ve kind of been failing big time on my goal of taking more photos, keeping a memory journal, and of course, blogging more. I think I just get so wrapped up in perfection. There’s so much competition out there,don’t you think? Often it’s in our own heads, for sure. You’d think that by 40 I wouldn’t worry about it so much! Something to work on.


Well, I suppose that’s all for tonight. Time to start getting the kids wound down for the evening. Have a great night (if anyone is even still reading)!

Hello March

Hello March

I must sound like a broken record, talking about how fast time flies, how busy the days are, and how I can’t believe (yet again), I haven’t updated with a decent post. So I’ll promise (yet again) that I’m vowing to get back to it, LOL! Must be a first-of-the-month thing, right? Spring is just around the corner, and it’s a great time to start and re-start good habits.

As for me, I’m coming off of some kind of cold or virus. Saturday afternoon, all of sudden, it hit me. It was weird, I can almost pinpoint the time I started feeling sick! Body aches, a headache, and I just could not stay warm. I cozied up in my rocking chair next to the roaring wood stove wearing a long-sleeve tee, a heavy hoodie, my bathroom, and a fleece blanket and I was still shivering. A cough decided to show up as well. Ugh. Sunday I just took it easy and started to feel better. Yesterday morning I was well enough to run a few errands, but in the evening the achiness returned. Still, nothing like Saturday.

Today I’ve just been catching up on things around the house, and not trying to do too much because I need to shake this. I caught up on the family’s laundry, and got things tidied up. I’m already itching to start some spring cleaning and switch into spring decor, but I need the temperatures to warm up a bit first. I’m growing weary of the cold and so very ready for some spring temperatures.

I also snuck in some calligraphy practice before the kids got home from school. I’m trying to be more deliberate and critical, and working on my letterforms (today I practiced full-pressure strokes) instead of just writing out pretty words.


A photo posted by Carol Bancroft (@carolwrites) on

It’s really the only way to improve. Think of it like barre exercises for ballet dancers — unless you fully understand each pose, you can’t exactly put everything together and expect it to be beautiful. Does that make sense? Next weekend I’m attending a workshop down in the city and I am really looking forward to working with two talented teachers and really diving in and studying Engrosser’s Script. I already know it’s going to make a big difference in the quality of my work.

Well, I think I’ll wrap this up and get to work on some crochet. I didn’t exactly keep up with the Mood Scarf I started last month, so now I’m just finishing it up using a stripe pattern. I love how it’s coming out — very simple, but sometimes that’s OK.

Striped scarf

Think I may just have to make a cup of tea and have a slice of berry pie for dessert, too!

Berry pie

Hope you all have a great evening!


End of January? Already?

Woah, wasn’t it just Christmas? And here we are, the first month of 2016 done and dusted. That’s just crazy. And try as I might to have been a better blogger, well… LOL! We know how that goes. I’m going to attempt something different for February though and try to make blogging part of my evening routine. Hopefully that will help.

I also am going to try to get back on track with my “Freebie Friday.” I’ve had a number of people write and tell me how much they liked what I have up here already, and if I’d consider adding more freebies. How can I say no to that? So I will tell you that I already have this week’s totally free planner sticker printable queued up and ready to publish on Friday morning. I won’t say what it is, but I will say that I use these particular stickers a lot and I am hoping they will be useful for a lot of people!

OK, so what else can I tell you? Things have been moving right along and I have a busy week ahead putting all the finishing touches on our Cub Scout Pack’s Blue & Gold Banquet. So hard to believe that Noah will be serving up the pancake breakfast with the rest of the Boy Scouts a week from today! I think I have everything under control, but I’m sure there will be something that goes askew. There always is.

I have just started playing around with the Silhouette Cameo I got for Christmas. I’ve made a couple sheets of planner stickers, but because my printer really needs the ink changed, and I am really lazy about doing it, I have not done too much with that. Today, however, I attempted my first HTV (heat transfer vinyl) project! I wanted to make a Valentine’s Day-themed shirt for Laura. I wanted to keep things really simple for my first try (i.e., no complicated designs to weed out the extra vinyl). I just purchased an image from the Silhouette store and hoped for the best. It’s not perfect, but she loves it and I was just happy it all basically worked out!


As for crochet, I picked up my Stitchation afghan from two summers ago. I have to get this finished because it is now a thorn in my side. I have invested so much time into it already that I just need to work up the last few squares and put it all together. Also, for February, I’m going to be making a mood scarf. I didn’t purchase the kit because I have a lot of stash yarn, so I will be using that. Tomorrow I’ll share my colors with you! (See? I’m giving myself a reason to blog.)


I also, on a whim, because I was in a bad mood the other day and needed shopping therapy (LOL) I purchased on clearance at Michael’s… a Happy Planner. I know, I know! I have been an Erin Condren girl for years. What would possess me to do this, especially since I am pretty happy with the hourly layout I’ve been using since December? Well, I am considering switching for next year because of the disc system and all of the fantastic accessories MAMBI has for this planner. But when I found out that they are releasing a punch (tomorrow, actually), I thought it was a game changer. So, for the $8.00 it cost me, I felt it was worth it to get a feel and see if I really want to jump ship. I’ll be using this planner for February. 


OK, well this is getting long. January was kind of a blah month. I’ve missed the snow. I have been eating a ton of junk food. And I’m still relying too heavily on my iPhone’s camera. I have some pretty lofty goals for February, but I’m ready for it!