Thanksgiving 2013

Our Thanksgiving celebration was pretty damn awesome, I have to say. We hosted as we have for the past few years, but this time it was super special because we got to meet the littlest member of the family – and the current titleholder of The Most Chunkalicious Thighs in Existence. Here she is with our oldest, who is so good with babies:

Our menu had most of the usual dishes, plus a butternut squash soup Steve had tried in Napa and wanted to recreate. It was my favorite part of the meal.

Other than cooing at the baby.


I forgot to include poached pears in the menu, it was something Steve tried a couple of years ago and it was a hit, so he makes it every year.

Seriously, our little cousin could feed a family of four for a week with one of her thighs.

We are not having any more kids so kindly allow me this temporary baby-insanity. Happiest baby ever. Mama J, you are doing a great job!

I hope your Thanksgiving – or your Thursday if you did not celebrate – was a good one. I do not partake of the brick-and-mortar Black Friday craze, but I will definitely be checking out online sales – are you braving the crowds to get a deal?

Ukrainian dinner

Steve’s coworker and her friend came over last night to cook a wonderful Ukrainian dinner for us. I had met them a couple of months ago at the appreciation event for Oracle Open World, which Steve’s company attended. There was food galore, drinks for all and some skinny guy singing:

Our new friends decided to share their culinary expertise and make delicious, traditional food for us:

They treated us to borscht and Russian salad – which in Russia/Ukraine they call
Olivier salad, after the Belgian chef who invented it in Moscow. I love hearing about the origins of names of food, in Peru we also have something called “ensalada rusa”, i.e. Russian salad, which was very, very similar to what we enjoyed last night. Also, because you need to know this ;D nutmeg in Ukrainian is muskatnyy̆ horikh and in Spanish it is nuez moscada. Muskatnyy̆ moscada, similar word roots.

The borscht was, for me, the highlight of dinner. It was so fragrant, so complex in taste, so full of texture, that I’m sorry to say Steve isn’t going to find any of the leftovers when he gets home tonight. We also had some roasted chicken drumsticks made by Steve (our oldest LOVES drumsticks), all-American apple pie, and I made some cupcakes, which we decorated with the colors of the Ukrainian flag in honor of our wonderful guests/cooks.

So thank you, gracias, and spasybi to our Ukrainian friends, for a wonderful evening and amazing food!

Is it too early?

Because I am already planning my 2014 house revamp projects, starting with the living room.

The main change would be that we currently have three large, framed pieces of art on the main living room wall. They are very difficult to photograph because they are sculpted paper, so the artist took a large piece of very thick handmade paper and formed a picture molding the paper with high relief techniques. Also, my living room is super dark, so the prints reflect every single light I have to turn on in order to get a picture. But i will show you a corner so you can see what I’m talking about:

They are beautiful and actually do a good job of filling up the large wall. However, I’ve been staring them for about a decade. And the whole black and white thing doesn’t really fit our house.

Et voila, this is what I have come up with. Our current sofa is a very, very dark burgundy, but when we replace it in a few years, I’m considering a brown/grey tweed kind of fabric.

2014 Living Room v 2.0

Our (future) new sofa would complement all the colorful accessories included in the mood board above. And our pets, because let’s face it, they spend as much time in the living room as we do.

I am ready for a week full of adventures with my boys, who have vacation time until December 2nd, and am planning many afternoons cozied up with them and a hot coffee drink – have a wonderful weekend!

Gifts from Paper Source

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love Paper Source. I’ve framed a good number of their gift wrap and also used it for various crafts. During a recent visit to my local store, I made note of some items that would be lovely gifts:

paper source gifts

Clockwise from top left, then center:

– I love this chevron paper, it has the requisite holiday red, but the green is a mossy shade and it also has gold – the perfect holiday palette.
– My oldest is always arguing with me about who loves who more, so I might get this frame and settle this argument once and for all 😀
– These holiday tea towels are a delightful pop of color for the season. Such an easy and relatively inexpensive way to change the decor in the kitchen.
– Gee, I sure wish that this adorable prism phone case also came in a Galaxy S4 size! It is a little frustrating to see about 90% of the cool styles be only for iPhones.
– This pale turquoise and gold frame is just gorgeous. I love how ornate it is, and at the same time it looks like it’s decades old. I have been lusting for it for months and might finally get it this holiday season.
– We’ve actually given this cutting board as a gift – it is perfect not just for the “obsessive chef”, but also for someone who is learning how to cook.
– For those of us caught up in the fox trend, here is a sweet set of glasses. Maybe to toast in the new year?
– And last but not least, some lovely Downton Abbey-themed tea. I’m still not over Lady Sybil (sob).

I can’t believe it’s already November 20. It seems I wait so long for summer to be over and then fall rushes through in a snap. It is only 5pm as I type this and it is already dark outside. How is your holiday shopping going?