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!

 

The Week I Turned 40…

 

A photo posted by Carol Bancroft (@carolwrites) on

It’s true. I turned 40 last Monday. Eek, right? LOL, honestly it was painless. I’m OK with it (it’s certainly better than the alternative, right?) And truthfully, I had a spectacular day and a wonderful week. Since I never got around to posting on my actual birthday, I thought I’d just do a recap of my entire, awesome week! Actually, let’s start with the prior weekend. I actually went into my blog archive vault. Yes — there’s a vault! I have my pre-Wordpress archives stored there and I decided to look back at 2005. This is the entry from the day I turned 30:

Sweet 30 
Am I goofy to be totally excited to be turning 30? Well, so be it! So far I'm having a happy birthday, indeed! Jake made me a fantastic card and gave me some earrings. Drew gave me an absolutely gorgeous necklace, handmade by the woman I did the lookbooks for last fall (Drew maintains her web site, too). Photos later. I got to take a shower and wash my hair AND shave my legs. Plus, I actually got to do my hair this morning and put on makeup, woot! The boys and I are leaving shortly for a Halloween party. And the dusting of snow melted (as I knew it would) and the sun is shining and it's a perfect fall day!
Oct 26, 05 | 10:31 am

It was a perfect fall day this year, too! Glorious sunshine, cool temperatures. I don’t think I would change a thing if I had control over the weather. Although I didn’t get to sleep in, I was surprised first thing in the morning. As you all know, I’m a pretty quiet person. I joke that I’m a “professional homebody” and I’m so glad my husband gets that. So there were no surprise parties or big to-dos. Instead, he told me that he had arranged for me to have a quiet spa day — he’d made the appointment and all I had to do was show up! Again, he knows me well. He made the appointment because I’d never do it for myself. So sweet! Pedicure

Spa DaySo yes, I had an indulgent morning: massage, facial, manicure, pedicure. They even gave me a glass of champagne since it was my birthday! The rest of the day was nice and relaxing. Drew and the kids made me dinner and then we had caramel apple cake. (Please excuse how I look here, LOL! I was not about to put on makeup after my amazing facial.) I got a few other goodies, too: a new bag, candy (ha — look at the emotions on the Snickers bars), and someone thought he was being funny with the large-print word search book. My birthday!

Birthday GoodiesTuesday was back to the grind! I did some grocery shopping and opened up orders for Christmas elf hats. I have two that I am finishing up so I’ll share photos once they are done. Wednesday I started working on hat orders and did work around the house. Thursday I met my parents for lunch at O’s Eatery up in Chatham. I’ve driven by this diner probably hundreds of times, so I was excited to finally try it out, and it did NOT disappoint. I was hoping to order their deluxe fish sandwich, but they had run out of the cod. I was a little bummed, but happy to learn that their fish is delivered on Fridays, so in the future, I know when to go! Instead, I had a grilled chicken sandwich with pesto, mozzarella, and roasted red peppers. SO good! I also got a cup of their split pea soup — delicious as well. I will definitely be going back there.  Diner

My mom also gave me this beautiful afghan for my birthday! No one appreciates a handmade gift like another crafter. She made it with Simply Soft and it is so smooshy and cozy. I think I’m going to have to fight the kids for who gets to cover up with this one in the mornings, LOL!

Friday night we had some friends over (OK, Jake had some friends over, mostly) for an outdoor Halloween movie party. It got so cold, but the kids had fun. We showed a Tales from the Crypt episode and Transylvania 6-5000. Nothing too creepy.

Party ListSaturday, of course, was Halloween. We went out to lunch and ran errands earlier in the day and then went out Trick-or-Treating in the evening. This was probably Jake’s last year for ToT — sad as it is, at some point you have to stop. He’s actually OK with it. He felt a little “old” out there with the little kids, he said. Kind of a coincidence given his costume, LOL! Halloween 2015

Yesterday was a quiet day at home. I made Zuppa Toscana. Drew made a big pot of Marinara. We watched movies and were generally lazy. But today it’s to business! I have so much cleaning to do and things to take care of. I think I’m going to fortify myself with one more cup of coffee and then start tacking my to-do list!

 

A photo posted by Carol Bancroft (@carolwrites) on

Hope you all have a fantastic start to your week!

Thanksgiving 2014

thankgiving 2014

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here in the Northeast, it was rather eventful… the first major snowstorm of the season hit, complete with travel tie-ups and serious power outages. The snow started on Wednesday morning, and as I suspected, the library opted to close so I didn’t have to go in to work. Drew’s mom and aunt came up in the morning, as well, in order to stay ahead of the storm.

thankgiving 2014

For most of the day we watched the snow fall. (We ended up getting close to a foot!) The kids were excited and built a snow man and snow fort in the afternoon. We had all just settled in to start a movie before dinner when everything went silent. Yes, the wet, heavy snow (or an accident… or who even knows) caused the power to go out. At first we were hopeful it was temporary, but soon we realized that we wouldn’t be able to use the oven to make dinner. So while I was gathering candles and oil lamps, Drew got out the propane grill and camp stove so we could get everyone fed.

Outages were widespread and I began to get worried about what would happen for Thanksgiving. Would I be able to cook? We came up with a plan B, just in case. Luckily, the mashed potatoes and stuffing were already made. We could easily warm those on the wood stove. We figued we could cut up the turkey and cook it in the Dutch oven outside if we had to. We all went to bed, not knowing what to expect in the morning. Luckily, our power came back around 1 AM. I was incredibly thankful! Some people in the area are still without power.

Thanksgiving day was very nice. I was able to cook the traditional dinner after all — no fire pit cooking was necessary! I think everyone enjoyed the meal — we were sure full! I made roast turkey, sour cream mashed potatoes, green beans with slivered almonds, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, cornbread, and cranberry sauce. My mother-in-law brought the cranberry-sausage stuffing. For dessert we had apple crisp — simple, and just enough!

thankgiving 2014

After the dishes we washed, and turkey bones were simmering to make stock, the kids and Drew’s mom played board games for a while. I did a bit of crochet, and Drew started to put up the Christmas tree. I think we’ll decorate it tonight.

thankgiving 2014

Today I did some more cleaning, and I’m just taking it easy. No shopping for me today! There’s nothing I really need and I just don’t have the patience to deal with the crowds. I used to always enjoy going out on Black Friday, but in recent years it has gotten way too crazy. Nope, not for me anymore. I think I’ll spend the rest of my day off working on craft projects and making some turkey soup for dinner. Some down-time in front of the fire seems pretty perfect to me!

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?

First Day of School 2014!

 photo backtoschool_zpsc0524758.jpg

I know for most of you, the first day of school is a memory already. But unlike a lot of other areas, we don’t go back in August… it’s always the Wednesday after Labor Day. In other words… today! And for us, it was an important day because our littlest started Kindergarten!

But let’s start with the oldest. Jake is in seventh grade. No longer the youngest kids in the middle school — hooray! I remember when I was in seventh grade (not in a middle school — just a regular classroom back then), our teacher had a foozball table in the corner of the room, he picked his nose, and was known for various quips that I still remember (such as “There is no ‘noise’ in Illinois!” — he’d get aggravated when people mispronounced it). Ha! I think he’s looking forward to getting back into his intramural clubs, though. 

jake

Noah is in fourth grade this year and actually has the same teacher that Jake had, so I know what to expect (which is kind of a nice change). He’s looking forward to seeing all of his friends again, and I think he’s looking forward to being in class just in general.

noah

Of course, for Laura, school is pretty much old hat. She loved preschool last year (and has several of her pre-K buddies in her class). And she spent two weeks at day camp this summer, so I’m not worried about her in full-day K. (Although for the first few days, the little ones are dismissed early to ease the transition).

laura

waiting...

the bus!

It was very sweet watching Noah let Laura go in front of him to get on the bus. I think it’s going to be a great year!

 

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!

A Birthday, Rain, Cats, and Lavender

 photo AC__0033_AC438-Country_Lane_zps38ffa840.jpg

Hello friends! It’s a wet, humid day here in the Hudson Valley. I don’t mind the rain, but I could certainly do without the mugginess. Is it awful that I’m already starting to look forward to autumn? It hasn’t even been all that hot this summer, and I do remember how I froze all last winter, but… I’m kind of ready for sweaters and fires and general coziness. That’s just me, I guess!

So, first things first… a very happy birthday to my mom today! We called her first thing in the morning and the kids all sang to her. Hope you’re having a great day, Mom!

I’m trying so hard to remember to post more often. Really, I am! It’s not that I don’t think about my blog it’s just that I’ve found myself choosing other things in my spare time. Usually watching a show or working on my Stitchcation blanket, which is oh-so-slowly coming along. The squares that use the FPDC and FPTC stitches take me so long because I have to hook them up ever so carefully or else my stitch counts end up way off. But after tonight I should be half-way there. I seriously doubt it will be finished in time for the end of the challenge (Labor Day), but oh well! It will definitely be finished for my birthday in October. 

Back in June, a friend and I both bought lavender plants at the Country Living Fair. Mine was absolutely flourishing! I was so happy! And then… I overwatered it. Let me tell you, I have learned that lavender does not like a lot of water. It went from healthy to ill beyond repair sooner than I could make it right. I was bummed because it smelled so wonderful. I confessed to my friend what I had done and we laughed over it. (Hers, incidentally, looks great!) How sweet is this: as a thank-you for taking care of her cats while she was away, she gave me a huge, healthy, new lavender plant! It is just gorgeous. I promised to be more careful with this one!

Let’s see, what else is new… Oh, I’m so disgusted with FedEx SmartPost. Back in July I took advantage of a sale on a summer sticker bundle that ErinCondren.com was having. It was some summer-themed repositionable sticker sheets, markers, the new coil clips, and a lotion sample all in a pouch. I had a bunch of referral credits, so I decided to treat myself. I also picked up the original sticker sheets. Here’s where I made my mistake: I decided to save $2 by not using FedEx Ground. Oh, friends, I have learned my lesson. The package was shipped out on 7/29. The last tracking update was from somewhere in Maryland on 8/1. My EDD was last Friday, which came and went. After dealing with “FedEx SmartPost Trace Research” team, they could not locate my package anywhere. It’s just lost. Vanished into this air. I know the issue will get settled, but it’s so frustrating that a company whose business is delivering packages loses them. 

Well, I guess that’s about all… Tomorrow is Jake’s birthday. How can he be 12 years old already? I remember when he was a colicky baby I read this saying somewhere (I’m sure you’ve all heard it too): “The days are long, but the years are short.” How true that is!