December 19, 2014

Oh December, You Are Lovely!

Today was spent cleaning up the place and enjoying the calm before the rush towards Christmas. I have Christmas music playing all day long on Pandora to get me in the mood, and to keep little Riki bird happy. He tends to go silent and looks a bit down if music isn't playing. So far he seems to like "Hipster Christmas" station, and especially loves Zooey Deschanel's voice hahah.
I went outside for a bit when it stopped raining to check out the progression of winter coming and changing the yard. I love taking photos of all the trees and yard, then seeing the change through photos. What was lush and dense in the summer, has now given way to a different color palate and stark branches. The grapevine is gnarly and void of any leaves, the persimmon tree is doing its thing that I love....natural Christmas ornaments out in the yard. Lots of birds chirping. Probably happy to finally see rain and singing for joy. In the morning I love seeing the humming birds drinking the nectar from the lemon tree blossoms near the window, and today I was lucky enough to see one perched high above on the naked branches. It came and went several times, and I was able to get him in flight, but just barely!
Monday we went to see my friend Christine in a Christmas music concert. Oh my goodness it was beautiful, and my friend is so talented with her violin! We loved the whole concert, and will certainly make a point of going next year as well.
Can't wait for the kids to be done with finals this week, because I'll have my little elf here to help with some last minute baking and merry making.
I had hoped today to look at some recipes for Christmas dinner, but I had to clean the oven after my pie mess :( Yuck! It took forever to clean, since I don't have a self cleaning oven. The oven cleaner didn't make too big of a dent, so I had to take out my trusty razor blade scraper. After an hour or so it was finally clean, but now I'm wiped out and just want to rest!
I need to wrap three more gifts and I'm done and ready for some fun. How about you?
I'll pop in again and maybe do a year retrospective. I haven't decided if I want to or not, but I know I'll do at least one more post before the new year.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas!

December 15, 2014

Holidays Around These Parts

Wow, Its the middle of December already?! I still have one foot back in Thanksgiving land! I like to go into the city at least once during the holidays, and usually I don't do very much shopping since that is just too stressful. I go in to enjoy the ambiance, decorations and lights for the most part. We happened to have had our 6 mo.  dental appointment last week, so it was fun to wander around Union Square after our appointments. We made a point of visiting the Williams Sonoma flagship store, because it just wouldn't be Christmas time without doing that, and snacking on the peppermint bark that they hand to you at the door!  It was also the evening before the massive storm that passed over the Bay Area! They hyped it up for the most part, but it did hit pretty hard farther north. The store pictures are of "Castle in the Air in Berkeley. I LOVE that store during any kind of holiday!
 It's really fun decorating a new house, and laying out all the familiar ornaments, but in a different environment than you are accustomed to. This house is more fun to decorate I think, mainly because it has more details to it than our last place. I was able to take out decorations that I didn't at the old place like  the faux garlands that I had from another house where we had a staircase! I had enough for both windows in the living room and a little bit for the kitchen.  Our new decoration acquired this year, is the carousel from Germany. We picked that up while in Munich this past July, its so sweet.  Our tree this year is a bit of a dud, although you can't tell from the photo! It must have sealed up before we got home, since it sure is on the dry side and losing needles already! This will be the first year that I can't wait to take it down, because I fear it might catch fire!! Hahaha.
I was busy this weekend completing a couple of cape orders, which is always fun. I was sweating bullets though, waiting for my wool order to come in time to make them, as my local source didn't order any red for the season! I was so happy when I got it in time and was able to complete and  ship the orders out today! Every time I make and send one of them, I feel as if a little piece of my heart goes with them, I truly love making them and always hope that the little girls receiving them will love them as much as I loved making them.
Wedding planning has already started in earnest. We already have a venue and the church lined up! The date of the Wedding will be October 24th. I'm sure these months will whiz by with all the planning. Next month Caitlin will start the dress hunt! That is going to be my favorite part I think. I'll share as much as possible with the planning.
Hopefully this week I can squeeze in some cookie baking. I'm not going to go too crazy with baking, but I have to make something :)
Hope everyone is having a great holiday season. Remember, try and not stress over silly things and the commercial aspect of it. In the end it just isn't worth the anxiety. Enjoy the small things....the music, food, and family!

November 30, 2014

Our Thanksgiving

Phew, that was fun and and exhausting! We had such a lovely day shared with some friends, who are expats from Germany, and of course cutie pie Caitlin. Cyrous came by later, as he had spent the day with his family. I kinda went crazy making desserts and in between doing so, decided I would do a whole floral arrangement. I had a lot of fun making it though, but man was I wiped out by the end of Thanksgiving day!  We usually eat later than most, since I can't even bare to get up early in the morning and start messing with a raw turkey. It makes for a more relaxed and even paced day for me and most of the time we invite people who are use to eating much later than what most Americans do on Thanksgiving.
I sure did have a blast using my new food processor for the meal. I really could tell the difference in quality and performance and I feel like I really made a good choice with it. The best part was how super lightening speed it was to whip cream, and next time I will keep a better eye on it, since it was almost butter consistency hahaha.
Our guests, who I mentioned were German, had never had Thanksgiving food. They couldn't get enough of it, and had many helpings, and enjoyed all the flavors of the meal. They really loved the pumpkin pie, which also they had never eaten! I'm glad we were the first Thanksgiving gathering that they had.
Next day was spent cleaning up the huge mess in the kitchen, because you know how it is, no matter who organized you think you are, that last few minutes of getting all the food on the table is a nightmare and always leaves the the kitchen in a big disaster!
Saturday we met Cyrous' parents to look at a venue for the wedding. It was beautiful, and hopefully this will be the space, because it has everything that we all need in a venue. Exciting times ahead with the planning. Can't wait for Caitlin to start trying on dresses, I think that will be my favorite part I think, and flower selections next hahah. I would so love to do the flowers, but know how impossible that would be to fit in.
While putting up my feet after a long Thanksgiving day, I checked my Etsy shop and someone had bought my last cape! This made me so happy, and has given me a push to get some more made up for the holidays. I kind of needed a break making them after the Halloween rush, but now I'm anxious to get some more completed.
I sure hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, I know we sure did!!

November 26, 2014

Baking, Cleaning, and Waiting for Thanksgiving

I'm really loving watching the back yard evolve in color and appearance. We have been enjoying all the fruits that the yard is giving us, and have played around with a couple of persimmon recipes to attempt to use the gargantuan amount that is out there. I think I'll leave the rest of them for the animals. I saw those ravens snacking down on them the other day when I snapped those photos.  Lucky for me, the gardeners have been picking up the dropped over ripe ones, so it doesn't become too messy out there! I have a question for you gardeners. Why are some of the citrus trees and bushes blooming right now in November? Are they confused with all the warmer weather we have had, or do they bloom more than once in the year? The plus side to all these blooms, are all the cute little humming birds enjoying the nectar out of them. I love seeing them buzzing around the lemon tree by my window.
The house is all spit shined and ready for our guests tomorrow. I feel like I have everything done and now all I need to finish up are the desserts, and my floral arrangement. I'm excited to play florist today, because I found some really beautiful flowers and I have some fun ideas.
I took out the new toy yesterday to make some pastry and it was a joy to use! It will be in heavy use, later today as I prep for tomorrows feast. I feel the splurge on this food processor was totally worth it.
I wish everyone a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your day and live in the moment, try and put down all those devices, and enjoy your guests.  Ok, maybe one or two IG pictures, but seriously, please try and detox from the devices on such a wonderful holiday!