eat! craft! live!

Baking, crafting, mama-ing and taking photos of it all. When I remember.


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No Spend 2019 – March

Well.

Good intentions, AMIRITE?

To be fair, a lot of my spending in March was due to a trip* to Washington, D.C. I took for work and which I’ll mostly be reimbursed for. Also it was tax refund time and while I never go wild when I get an unexpected windfall, I did loosen up the purse strings just a bit last month.

That said… Areas where I was successful:

  • Regular bills – they don’t change much, we’re thrifty with our energy usage.
  • Home & garden maintenance – I purchased some seed starting materials, but that was about it.
  • I also spent way more on my car payment this month, which is the general idea of spending far less in other areas – gotta get that car paid off! Between budgeting and tax refunds, I was able to pay more than 4x the usual car payment…plus the actual car payment. Woo!

And then there were areas I was less successful:

  • Groceries – somehow I ended up spending far more on groceries, despite being out of town for a week?!?
  • Clothing – a series of unfortunate (and fortunate?) events led me to be at Old Navy unexpectedly. *ahem* I went searching for one particular dress I knew was there and in the process picked up a few more items on clearance. So it goes. I also bought new shoes for walking around DC and I’m so glad I did – I walked 10+ miles one day!
  • Eating out – Spent loads in this category last month. Again, due mainly to being out of town…but not entirely.
  • I also picked up a handful of things in DC as souvenirs. A giant pompom (which delights me to no end) and enamel pin from Fibre Space. An enamel pin from the Library of Congress.

There were also some expected, but irregular, expenses, namely:

  • yearly car registration
  • 6-month car insurance policy renewal (I pay in full)
  • dance recital tickets

It wasn’t the greatest month, with regard to the budget, but it wasn’t terrible either! I’ve done some math and I’m hopeful that I will actually be able to meet my goal of paying off my car by the end of the summer. Fingers crossed and belts tightened!

*The trip was to the Digital POWRR Institute and it was amazing. The whole training was fantastic, the weather was perfect, the food was great, the Library of Congress was awe-inspiring, the museums were phenomenal…

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Operation Try New Restaurants: Shindig

grilled cheese & tomato soup

Amazing grilled cheese. Amazing soup!

While on my nearly-yearly trip to New York for Rhinebeck, we ate at Shindig in Woodstock one evening. It was super cute, and tiny, and I had a grilled cheese and tomato soup that were amazing.

Delightful.

The whole weekend is always a great time. Friends, food, fiber. Last year was no exception.

And now for some photos!

The most amazing buttons!

These button! My heart.

Baaaa!

Sheep. What we’re all here for.

Falling leaves

Falling leaves at the fairgrounds.

YOU ARE

You are here. At Jill Draper’s, to be specific.


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Operation Try New Restaurants: Danish Pastry House (and Popeye’s!)

In May, I was recovering from mono (fun!) when I went down to Tufts for a work event. During the previous week or two I had experienced such an awful sore throat and mouth pain (from the mono! fun!) that I had barely eaten at all. Even water was painful. The day I went down to Massachusetts started off no differently – I barely ate breakfast. (Did I eat breakfast? I may not have.) Around mid-morning, we were provided with the standard conference-fare-morning-snacks: muffins & yogurt & whatnot. I figured I’d try some and lo and behold I was actually able to eat something without excruciating pain!

And thus I ended up going across the street to the Danish Pastry House where the service was a little slow, the inside temperature was overwhelmingly hot, and my food was absolutely amazing. I think I got a salad and a little fruit tart, but I honestly don’t even remember. Also it is possible that I was so overjoyed to be eating solid food that anything would have been outstanding.

On the way home, I stopped at the Popeye’s at the highway rest stop because I’ve never been to Popeye’s. (Fried chicken joints are not A Thing I grew up around and still mostly don’t exist up here.) I had chicken tenders! And mashed potatoes that I’m pretty sure were instant! And gravy! And a buttery biscuit! The chicken was terrible but I’ve had it since and I think I got a particularly awful batch. Regardless, would not recommend, unless you’re on a road trip!


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Operation Try New Restaurants: New Haven, CT

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Oh, y’all. Back in March (yes, March! Again!) I went to so many new-to-me restaurants while on a work trip to New Haven. I was in town for the New England Archivists spring meeting (which was wonderful, by the way) so all the places I went to were new to me.

I picked Shake Shack for lunch because I’ve Heard Things about it. It was good, fine, tasty but nothing mind-blowing. I very much enjoyed my lunch. Crinkle fries!

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We had one dinner at Pacifico, where I dined solely on queso fundido since I wasn’t terribly hungry. I mean, if you can’t eat a dinner entirely made of cheese while on “vacation” then what are you doing with your life?

We had another dinner at Heirloom, which was truly wonderful. I chose some sort of soup, if I remember correctly, which the server really wanted to make sure I understood was soup. (I guess there were some issues where people didn’t quite get that?) It was delicious. You can’t go wrong at a place that serves this:

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I also opted for dessert – butterscotch pudding with a toasted marshmallow, sea salt & caramel milk jam. Oh, my heart. That was delicious. My zebras helped me eat it.

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Another lunch consisted of bubble tea (yum) and pad see ew (also yum) from Koon Thai, right near the conference center we were at.

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Zebras like Thai food too.

That evening I was lucky to be able to meet up with my sister (!) who lives near New Haven. It had been ages since we’d seen each other! I got to meet her partner, a Very Nice Young Man, and we got appetizers and drinks at the Cask Republic. It wasn’t my usual sort of place but my drink was great – some sort of fancy Moscow mule. Heck yes. (Zebras also like drinks.)

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From there we wandered rather aimlessly around town, looking for something for dinner. Most places had stupidly long wait times, but we found a table at Kitchen ZINC and ordered ourselves some kale! (And pizza!) It was a cozy little place with good food and good cider.

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Finally, on our last morning, we revisited a place we’d been to every day while there – Atticus Bookstore Cafe. This place was heaven. I got a fancy croque monsieur with asparagus that was incredibly delicious. This place satisfied my coffee needs every day, plus it was just such a pleasure to peruse. I ended up buying gifts for my kids there, as well as a few things for myself, and wanting to buy so much more than I could’ve carried home.

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Thus ends my culinary adventures in New Haven!


If you’re wondering about the zebras – they are the unofficial mascot of the Yale Center for British Art, which I visited while there. They also had a presence at the NEA spring meeting, where they were giving out these adorable little zebras. I got two for my kiddos, one of whom is now missing his legs. It was such a pleasure to visit a museum all alone! Highly recommended.

Another non-food honorable mention goes to the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. (See first photo.) It. Is. Amazing. You can visit this place! Don’t be intimidated if you’re not doing “research” – it’s OK! They have exhibits you can see and the facility itself is just breathtaking. Go. Now.

Finally, I wouldn’t be a proper knitter if I didn’t also give a shout out to Knit New Haven, where I snuck off to during lunch one day. It was a lovely little store with a nicely curated selection. I picked up a couple skeins of Spincycle Yarns in the most gorgeous pale blue/brown/multi colors. I’m in love!


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Day trips with children: Portsmouth Fairy House Tour

Travels with kids! Always fun, right?

*chuckles*

On a whim (or…reasons*) I decided to take the kids to Portsmouth on Sunday. I Googled “things to do with kids in Portsmouth” and, lo and behold! The Portsmouth Fairy House Tour just happened to be this past weekend! And my children are completely enamored of fairy houses! Win!

We had an uneventful drive down, with lots of the usual are-we-there-yets and how-much-more-highway-is-theres and please-be-quiet-mama-doesn’t-know-where-she’s-goings.

The arc of our trip went something like this:

What a beautiful day! Isn’t Portsmouth a cute town! I wonder where this fairy house tour is? I think we need to go that way… Look! Dancing fairies! OMG tiny dancing fairies! They’re so cute! So…where are the fairy houses? Oh, lunch, huh? Let’s go find our friends…

Finally find Strawbery Banke. Buy tickets. Get terrible map.

Let’s eat hot dogs! Yeah, you guys like hot dogs! Lady at hot dog stand: “We’re out of hot dogs for right now! I think there’s PBJ inside?”

Head inside. Find friends. Likely scare friend by thrusting map at her and begging for help deciphering it. There is not PBJ inside, but instead lots of delicious-sounding things I know my kids will not eat, especially not for $8.50.

Um. Food. We need food. And a better map.

Head back outside. Try harder to decipher terrible map. Finally get an inkling of what’s where. Event nearly over.

Look, guys, bubbles! Oh, now there’s hot dogs! Let’s eat! Yeah!

H stuffs a too-giant bite into his mouth, gags, spits it all out. $*%&^&#*

OK. Fairy houses! Look there’s one! Look, more! Look! Look! Look! E, “Oh! Mama! This one here must have slept late! We must be quiet so we don’t wake her!” This one is so detailed! OMG, dragonflies made of oak seeds! Tiny windows! Bitty chairs! This is amazing!

See a group of adult fairies I’m pretty sure are in drag. E, “Oh, mama, those fairies are so beautiful!”

Cotton candy cotton candy cotton candy cotton candy, mama, pleeeeease cotton candy! I buy cotton candy fairy floss. The kids turn blue.

Let’s head over to the gardens. Oh, fairy flowers! Let’s look at the water! Ooh, an island! Ooooh, a playground! Oooooh, mama, another island! Maybe it has four trees!

Remember, we have to walk all the way back to the car…

H staggers along. I finally pick him up. He’s a small largish warm inert lump. With wings. I can barely stagger myself, under his weight.

Let’s get going guys! Feel free to fall asleep!

They do. I only take a few wrong turns trying to get on the highway.

* * * * * * *

All in all, a really fun trip, despite the technical difficulties acquiring food and the terrible (really…awful) map of the event. It was a gorgeous day – bright blue skies & cool breezes. The kids were real troopers with all the walking we did – 5 miles! Tiny legs! No wonder H was about to fall asleep standing up by the end. Would definitely do it again, perhaps with a little more planning than just discovering it the night before, on my phone, while lying in bed. But the magic, wonder & awe on their little faces as they looked for fairies in the gardens? Priceless.


*Ingress. In search of 300 UPVs for September. Almost there!

 

In a giant fairy house.

Spreading her fairy-butterfly wings.

This fairy house was AMAZING. 

It had a tiny window!

E was TOTALLY convinced this fairy was real. And asleep. Perhaps my favorite moment of the whole trip.

Fairy dome.

Fairies gotta bank too.

Cotton candy bigger than their heads.