Thanksgiving: Cousin Love


A Party: Girlfriends, Food…Clothes!

Shoulda taken photo after the romantic candles were lit!

Can you see these ladies getting down to business in this last photo? One highlight of November was my girls party, with soups and cider and a clothing swap. Yes, we all brought a few bags of clothes from our I-never-wear-this-or-that-doesn’t-fit-quite-right pile and we swapped. One room was set up as a dressing room, the other for shopping, the music was loud, and we giggled the night away. It was seriously fun. Our house is big enough for parties and I love hosting them! I’ll definitely be having a spring party just like this one! 

(Note: Here are a few tips for a successful “clothing swap”. Make it big. Have many friends bring lots of clothes and there will be a range of sizes. Have displays and clothes racks ready. I prefer to have no rules on who shops when or what you can take. Set up a dressing room with full length mirror. Parties in a home are always more fun. Make it a true party with good food and drinks. Don’t be afraid to turn the music up in case people feel like dancin’! Whatever is not swapped will be donated to charity at the end of the night.) 

The soups were mexican chili and autumn gold soup with Michael’s cranberry sourdough and vanilla butter (new fav). 

Mexican Chili

1 lb ground turkey, browned
1 jar salsa, I prefer a chunky salsa
1 cup water
1 bag frozen corn
2 cans black beans, undrained
1 package Taco seasoning

Combine all ingredients in crockpot on low for 8 hrs (or high for 4ish hrs) OR whip up in a pot on stovetop and let simmer on low for 30 minutes. Enjoy with your favorite chili toppings.

Kids Rooms: Decorate!

“Kids and Baby Spaces” by Megan Biram
So I’ve got kids rooms on my mind. These are a few images with creative ideas that I’m thinking about. 

We had the best time with our families on this holiday weekend! Only three more weeks until Ababayeh has his long holiday and we’ll be celebrating Christmas break! 

I’d better help Hensley as Tegegne tries to get her into the dryer with him! She is laughing and loves his “brotherly play” but it must be highly monitored!

Happy Monday.

Tis The Season: To Window Shop

So, it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving and we are all full and happy and laid back out here at Big Sky Ranch. I’ve been “window shopping” + day dreaming = surfing the net (with my mama) and thought I’d share the fun with you!

Ready for drapery, floor to ceiling, in our home. I want a soft PINK, but will probably go white.

Need a wall giraffe? (I’m ready to decorate the kids rooms.)

Dipped serving spoons. Lovely gift idea.

Have stockings yet? My mom said she’d make me some from her collection of burlap coffee sacks!

These boots are made for walkin’. (Tried these on in Paris last year and I haven’t forgotten about them.)

Need a POP of color in your home? Aren’t those blue babes adorable?

Ever seen a spinning Christmas tree? (Need Christmas tree ideas for kids?)

Wreath making + this one = recycling an old book.

Tis the season to decorate the house for Christmas, take family photos and send cards, make gifts for loved ones, eat, drink and be merry! (Cozying up by the fire and drinking a chai latte was also a part of my evening!)

Good night.


Recipes: For Thanksgiving


  • 1 cup orange juice + zest of 1/2 an orange
  • Get Ingredient
    16 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • Staple Mark
    ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Staple Mark
    1¼ cups sugar
  • Staple Mark
    dash of cloves (very small dash!)

Put all the ingredients in your crockpot and stir carefully to combine.  Cook on high for 2-3 hours until the liquid is starting to get syrupy.  Refrigerate until ready to use!


1 cup heavy cream 
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the whipped cream, beat heavy cream on high speed in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Serve with the pie.


So, we are hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow and I thought I’d share a few simple recipes I’ll be using. We will also be doing the turkey and gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes (I mash mine with orange juice and bake it with green apples on top!). Michael will bake rolls, and the rest of the Joneses will bring the other dishes to make our meal complete! 

Yes, I did mention that I’m hosting. That probably means I should get moving here. 

Happy Day Before Thanksgiving. Remember to eat lite today so you can go to town tomorrow!



P.S. I must tell you that we will also be making vanilla bean butter…because it is to die for!


  • 1 stick 1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
  • 1 whole Vanilla Bean
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar


To make the vanilla butter, combine the softened butter, the caviar from the vanilla bean, and the sugar. Stir until totally combined, then spread into a ramekin and serve with the warm muffins. (Butter can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.)
And that’s a wrap, folks.