Monday, November 28, 2011

christmas - island style

to ring in the christmas season we headed down to hilo to watch the holiday parade annnnd so that i could have my first gingerbread latte of the season. (yes, i know the red cups and holiday drinks have been out for a month, but i refuse to drink them till after thanksgiving.) 

please excuse the iphone pictures. thanks.

this first picture cracks me this a 4th of july parade? 
heck no, he's eating a candy cane for goodness sake! 

proof, sticky sticky, proof. 

america, america...okay i will stop. i'm the only one laughing. 

alright, so maybe hawaii lacks some festive-ness around the holidays, but holy heck the sunset skies are just totally breath taking. 

my first of many festive holiday drinks this season...also i am sure this candy cane face will make several more appearances as well. 

rain or shine...i loooooove these guys! 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

farewell fall

since we leave in one week for our mainland winter tour i think it is time that i bid a grateful farewell to my favorite season. 

but first a couple notes; 

no matter how hard i tried, fall is just not the same in hawaii. 

BUT it wasn't  total bummer either. the big island has so much diversity and is such a beautiful place.

we managed to check off 13 of the 16 items on my fall bucket list. apple picking is impossible, cause apples don't grow next year i will change it to a seasonal island fruit that we might actually be able to pick. the hay ride just never presented itself, and well there is actually a "corn maze" at the botanical gardens...we just never got there and with our trip one week away, i am counting it as a loss. 

even still 13 out of 16 isn't too shabby. 

we enjoyed a very quite and cozy thanksgiving at out house. the weather has even been blustery, making our hawaiin mountain home seem like it is almost in the pacific northwest. we are thankful for this house, and for the blessing upon blessing we received this year. 

although fall may be my most favorite season, christmas is my most favorite holiday. so now that thanksgiving has had it's chance to shine, i am switching modes and in full swing to celebrate this beautiful season of joy, love, giving, and family. 

it's the most wonderful time of the year! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

i am thankful for...

turkey hand-prints that get a little bit bigger every year.

God's plan, although totally and completely humbling, it is always, always perfect. 

ten (yes, 10!) thanksgivings with my perfect soul mate, so very very thankful for that. 

technology that keeps us connected to all the people that we love. 

flavored coffee creamers that dress up my morning cup of joe. 

the unconditional love of our pets. 

getting to watch the sunrise over the pacific every single morning. 

active volcanoes that bring so much joy to my hubby. 

the support, love, joy, and silliness of family. 

friends that are really more like family.

watching coen grow and learn and try to figure this place out. 

seeing miracles up close and personal. 

belly laughs and temper tantrums, you can't have one without the other. 

our upcoming holiday trip to the mainland, i desperately need this trip. 

have i mentioned how thankful i am for my boys? they are my daily reminder of God's love. 

getting to live this life, be this mama, wife, sister, daughter, friend...i am blessed and my heart is full of joy. 

be thankful, be blessed, and enjoy who you are with today. 

and each one gave thanks 
for love and for living 
and they all had a wonderful, 
happy thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

clean cut

today the handsome boys in my life got snazzy new haircuts. 

yes, i know...i am a lucky mama. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

warm and cozy soup

okay, i am not trying to complain here...but once the sun goes down i have found my self freezing! seriously shivering cold, layered with blankets asking wes, "how cold is it outside?!"

his answer? 

68 degrees. 

seriously? are you sure that thing is right? check again. 

really, 68 huh? 

i guess it is fair to say that i have acclimated to warmer temps. wes makes me feel a little less crazy by explaining that we have such high humidity and the wet air makes it feel colder. but really, if 68 is the cold can it really be? 

all i can say is that our trip to the mainland is going to be a harsh reminder of what cold is. 

i can't wait. 

anyway, with this new found chilly-ness i have been in the mood for warm and cozy food and i just had to share this soup recipe with you. it is pretty easy and so so very tasty. if i am a house guest of yours this winter, i will make it for you...and hopefully you will also love it like i do. 

Italian Sausage Soup with Cheese Tortellini

1 pound Italian sausage 
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
5 cups beef broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red cooking wine
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian diced tomatoes
1 cup thinly sliced or diced carrots
1/2 tablespoon packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups green beans or sliced zucchini
8 ounces fresh tortellini pasta (can be found by the cheese...I used Buitoni)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. In a large pot, brown sausage. Remove sausage and drain. 

2. Saute onions and garlic in drippings. Stir in beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, tomato sauce, and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. 

3. Skim fat from the soup. Stir in beans and parsley. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add tortellini during the last 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top of each serving.  Serve with warm garlic bread. 

doctor fireman

since the whole splitting his head open incident over the summer coen's favorite game to pretend is, "doctor fireman." we think that since we took him to the fire station at the national park before we went to the emergency room, he is actually pretending to be a paramedic...but doctor fireman works fine too. 

he tells us to lay down on the couch, and then asks us, "what happend?" after weaving a good story of why we are hurt or sick he comes up with some crazy remedy to make us feel better. 

one night i for real cut my finger while i was cooking. i ran upstairs and yelled down to coen that i was getting a band-aid. his sweet little voice started yelling back, 

"what happened mama? i am a doctor fireman, i can fix you!" 

as i came back down the stairs he met me half way, with his fireman hat on and explaining to me not to worry because "i am a doctor fireman." 

bless his sweet soul. 

these pictures are from earlier this week when coen walked right up to a firetruck and made friends with the fireman. this guy was so great, he put coen in the truck and turned on the sirens. he answered all of coen's crazy questions and even gave him a new fire hat. 

watch out folks, we have a doctor fireman on our hands. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

around the campfire

the playgroup that coen and i started going to when we first moved to the island has expanded and grown into a wonderful opportunity for both coen, and myself! i am now leading the group with a focus on exploring creative arts...and having some fun along the way. as a shout out to my sjc peeps, the group is call hullabaloo, and it is just a crazy good time. 

this session our theme is, a camping we will go. here are some of our little campers all cozied up around the camp fire. 

for anyone who may be local, here is the info on our current session of hullabaloo: 

Wednesdays, November 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30    10:00AM - 11:00AM
 Hullabaloo: Art Classes for kids ages 18-24 mos. with parent or adult caregiver.  Creative education with movement, musical, visual and sensory explorations for our youngest keiki.  Instructor Jenni Thelen presents an array of interactive experiences for parents and children, with seasonal themes! 

go, dog. go!

last weekend we took coen to a musical production of go, dog. go! at the university of hawaii, hilo. this was the first time we have attempted something like this, and he did so good. he was totally in awe of the entire production and even laughed out loud when something was funny. both wes and i agreed that the best part of the show was watching coen watch the show. aren't we big softies. 

waiting for the show to start! 

meeting his favorite dog...he was feeling a little shy, but a promise for ice cream cured that. 

making good on my promise...yogurtland! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

pumpkin crumb cake

over the weekend i tried out this new recipe and mmm...mmm...mmm...was it a goody. the only thing i would do different is serve it with vanilla ice cream. 

go ahead and try it out, i bet you will love it too! 


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

  • 3 eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray or grease one 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Reserve 1 cup cake mix. In a large bowl, combine the remaining dry cake mix with 1 egg and 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix well, and then pat into prepared pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup white sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour over crust.
  4. In a small bowl, combine reserved 1 cup cake mix, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons softened butter. Crumble over pumpkin filling. Sprinkle nuts evenly over the top, if desired.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes.