happy holidaze

Early November is the start of the holiday season for us. M’s birthday is first on the list.


Thanksgiving at the beach with M’s family comes next.

My sister-in-law created a dish involving prosciutto and brussels sprouts. It’s the first time I enjoyed eating these little green balls.



A few people cooked tons of food.

Others lounged inside around the warm fire while it poured down rain outside.



I made pies.

Pumpkin pie

The last holiday celebration of November involved me cooking, cleaning, and cooking some more, and more cleaning. We had my family over on Thanksgiving day. I made turkey, stuffing, creamed onions, green beans, gravy, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and these satsuma vodka-tinis.



Guests brought sweet potatoes, apple pie, rolls, and fruit salad.

Here’s the recipe for the cocktail. It may help get you through the holidays with your sanity intact.

Satsuma Vodka-Tini
(from Cooking Light magazine)

1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup sugar
4 whole satsumas, peeled
3/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Combine the first four ingredients in a food processor and process until pureed. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a bowl or wide mouth pitcher, pressing to extract juice. Discard solids. Stir in 3/4 cup Grand Marnier and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice. Place 1 cup satsuma mixture in a martini shaker with 1/2 cup crushed ice. Shake. Strain mixture into 2 chilled martini glasses. Repeat procedure to make 10 cocktails. Enjoy in moderation if you have to drive this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

We headed up to my brother Matt's house in Santa Rosa for Thanksgiving. The day was great, they pulled off a great feast and fed 32 family and friends.
It was a fun evening full of great food and good times!
Mo (my sister-in-law aka Auntie Mo) and the turkey
Uncle Matt carving the bird
Ellie and her buddy Cousin Haven, me, and Lo
Mo and Stace
Great Grandpa, Poppi, Lynno (my uncle), and GG
Ellie and Uncle Matt, she loves her uncle Matt!
Crazy Face Elle
Yummy... Elle Cuddling with daddy
Cousin Athena helping Lola enjoy her Thanksgiving feast!
What a big Thanksgiving!
Ellie scarfing it up
Desert Time! Uncle Jeff (AKA the baby whisperer) and Grantie my Aunt Robin
The girls sure did enjoy their desert! Big day for these little girls.... nothing better than a Grandma's lap!
Happy Thanksgiving, Hope you all had a great one!

Black Friday
All the girls headed out to the mall to try and snatch up the great deals. We all slept in too long for the really good deals but we did catch a ride on the mall train as well as enjoyed a good lunch together!

Great Grandparents!

While on our Thanksgiving trip up to Northern California we got a chance to visit with the girl's Great grandparents on my side. It meant so much to me that my Grandparents got a chance to spend some quality time with our little girls.
Here are Great Grandpa and GG Koehler playing "kitchen" on the floor with the girls!
Yummy "GG's cooking"
Ellie, Mom, Lola, Great Grandpa & GG Koehler
We also got a chance to visit "Nana" Wonsetler my mom's mom.
Yummy "Nana's Eggs"
What a great time spent with great family!

Little T is as horrified as me at his habits !

Who taught him this ???

All I can say, is that it wasn't me. Not many guesses needed therefore !!

Catching Up On Our Activities (Take 1)

Here is the promised list of some of the things we've been up to during our blog down time.

We'll share some of our fall decorations posted just before I will be taking them down, woops! It just took so long to redo the site.We hung up this turkey, an old craft done by some of our friends...

...and cut out a rainbow of leaves to hang with apples on our tree, (which is getting pretty beat up and I do believe needs replacing now, not to mention the paint on the basement walls!)

Kaia rediscovered one of the cat masks we made for Mardi Gras and has been having great fun with it all over again. We bought plain masks and cut and glued ears on out of craft foam and painted, glittered, and bedazzled them.

We made a jumping cup frog from this tutorial. Kaia is still finding it a bit tricky to let go of both tabs at the same time, so he mostly crashes. She has great fun trying, though, and loves watching it launch when other people do it for her.

We discovered dry erase crayons! They are so cool. She's been using them on the windows and mirrors, too, and totally loves them.

My Mum showed Kaia how to make a wreath for our front door. Kaia selected the branches, and helped wrap the wire by dropping it through the center of the wreath for Grandma to catch and pull back around.

I started on a play quilt for Katalin. On this square the tree and sun are stuffed, the cloud is soft, fuzzy fleece, and the yarn grass is only attached (quite firmly) at the bottom so it can be twiddled and pulled. The shiny, green material is also scraps left over from making my wedding dress.

We also made bath stickers, these are so fabulous! They are cut out of sheets of thin craft foam and adhere with the surface tension from water when you dunk them. We found them here on Filth Wizardly and are completely smitten now. We started with the sun, some trees, bushes, flowers, and mushrooms and I brought the foam sheets and some scissors with us. As Kaia thought of things she wanted, I cut like mad.

I brought really crummy scissors since I knew they'd be getting wet and they were pretty difficult to work with, especially when Kaia wanted spiders. She didn't seem to mind, though. This spider ate the flowers off the bush.

The spiders needed hats and all manner of food to eat. Including, but not limited to; apples, cereal, grapes, pumpkins, and chips. After those, they proceeded to eat the rest of the scenery. Here they are finishing off the sun. They were incredibly hungry.

We ended with at least twice as many stickers as we began with. There will be many more to come, and I will be making sets for nearly all the kids on our Christmas list. It is hard to get out of the bath now. She loves them. They float and so are easy to skim off the top of the bath before draining, and then they go in a baggie for storage. Just be sure to leave the baggie open when the "stickers" are wet so they don't mold... and your spiders don't suffocate. ;)

With a bowl of water, you can use these practically anywhere. Windows, fridge, doors, etc. Kaia likes playing with them on our oven door while I do dishes.

I'll post another list of some more of our crafts in another day or two, then we should be all caught up. Take care!

Bouquet of Felt Flowers

Miss Kaia wanted to pick flowers to give her Papa when he got home from work. Alas, there are no flowers in bloom around our house, so I thought we'd try to make some. As these grey November days wear on, I am enjoying their splash of summer colour more and more. I think I may need to make some more to add to them. As this began entirely experimentally, I started with eight.

We brought out my bag of felt scraps.. the little ones I wasn't sure I should actually be saving but maybe could stuff something with. I have such a hard time throwing away any amount of cloth. Kaia picked out a couple colours - she wanted red and orange - and we set to work. I grabbed some yellow and greens for the leaves and flower centers as well and cut them all to shape. We went simple, I will try extravagant with the next batch. ; ) And layers, these would be fantastically fun with layers.

Fold each of your flowers in half and cut a very small slit in the center.
Do the same for your leaves, except make your cut toward one end of the leaf.

I had been planning on threading these onto green pipe cleaners, but when it came time, would you believe I couldn't find any? Absurd! (Also, one should probably gather their intended materials for a craft before getting half way done and finding one does not actually posses them.) In any case, in my search I did find cloth florists wire, which I did not know was around. It looks like florists wire wrapped tightly with thread and perhaps has a bit more class than green pipe cleaners, lol. Absolutely a nicer looking stem. They were quite long and I cut them in half.

Using a pair of pliers, twirl one end of your wire into a flat spiral and feed your flower and then leaves on. Once all pieces were on, I did also double back on itself the very bottom of the wire so there would be nothing pokey while being played with.

Although not yet done in this photo, I eventually added a dob of glue to the underside of the bottom point on the leaves and tacked them down so they would stay in place.

I actually quite liked the look of the cute little spirals and hesitated to glue on the yellow circles, but in the end I did. One little drop of hot glue in the center, pressed in place.

And your flowers are ready to be loved on, handed around, played with and gifted! She did excitedly present them to her Papa when he arrived home after playing with them all day, but the moment he set them down she stole them back. : )

They now reside in a little vase on her kitchen counter when they are not being played with. I think they look quite lovely.

This was a very quick and simple project with ample reward. Without a doubt we will have fun inventing more flowers and sharing them with our friends in the long, flowerless Winter.