Seven for Saturday

Seven for Saturday

Welcome to this week’s Seven for Saturday!

I hope, if you celebrate the holidays, you are enjoying this holiday season!

1 ~Home for the Holidays 🎄

My husband spent 16 days down south battling the fires this month and returned home late Wednesday night. During those 16 days, he was on three of the six wild land fires but spent the majority of his time at the Thomas Fire.

The Thomas Fire is now the largest wildfire in California history at nearly 275,000 acres. This is a photo taken of Bill last Saturday by photographer Marcus Yam for LA Times. Seeing him in these horrible conditions was hard to take, especially when the fires were still raging.

Photo by Marcus Yam for LA Times

And this is a photo of Bill and his crew of 20 firefighters on 5 engines from around the Bay Area – Sonoma, Napa, Alameda, Novato, and El Cerrito.

What an astonishing fire season it’s been here in our state. I am relieved and elated that Bill and most of the other emergency personnel were released from the fires in time for Christmas. It’s been such a traumatic and sad autumn for many. For us personally, the holiday season has come at the perfect time. It’s giving us a big dose of merriment, cheer and distraction and it’s been a great excuse to get together with friends and family.

Others who lost loved ones, pets and property may not be in a celebratory mood, understandably. I certainly hope that 2018 is a year of healing and a return to some sort of normalcy for all of us affected in some way, which includes most Californians.

2 ~ A New College Graduate

I am delighted to tell you that my youngest stepdaughter, Tori, graduated from college! She finished up classes a couple of weeks ago and plans on walking in the 2018 graduation ceremony at Sonoma State University next spring. We are so proud of her! Throughout her education at SSU, she received all As and only one B+.

In a few days, she will be moving to Oregon to be with her boyfriend. Her dad and I are sad she’s moving out of state but also excited for her to start the next phase of her life. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye and I admit I am completely dreading it. But she can’t live at home forever, I guess!

3 ~ Gummies, Tonic, Turmeric

I’ve been keeping my mind occupied during this chaotic month by experimenting in the kitchen. I made raspberry lemonade sugar-free gummies using grass-fed beef gelatin and these molds. They turned out so cute! I like the flavor and the consistency but the sugar substitute I used – erythritol – gives me a stomach ache, even if I just eat one. I am going to try again with a stevia blend and see if that works.

I have been making a morning tonic in my Instant Pot that I enjoy daily before having coffee. I take a two-inch piece of french ginger and a two-inch piece of turmeric and slice them up – skins on. I add them to about 6 to 8 cups of water I poured into my IP.

I squeeze the juice of one lemon into the water mixture and drop the squeezed lemons into the pot. Next, I add 3 herbal tea bags – usually a chamomile or something that goes well with lemon. I set the IP on the “soup/broth” setting for 5 minutes, then vent once the cooking portion is complete.

When it’s ready, I strain out the chunks of ginger and turmeric, take out the lemons and tea bags and discard. I make a big batch of tonic so I have enough for three mornings. I store it in the fridge and just reheat on the stove when I wake up.

tumeric tonic

I bought a lot of fresh turmeric the other day and decided to dry some. I sliced about 10 to 12 roots with a mandolin, then dried them overnight in my dehydrator.  They really shrivel up when dried! I put most of the dried turmeric through my clean coffee grinder with the hopes that it would turn into powder. But when I used it in a smoothie, I realized it wasn’t ground finely enough and was gritty and chunky. I think I will send it through a food processor next to see if I can make it more tolerable.

I also saved some of the pieces to add to salads and soups. It’s a pretty mild flavor – neither sweet nor bitter – so it’s not going to influence the flavor of a dish much but it will give some texture and some added health benefits.

4 ~ Winter Photography 

I’ve decided winter is my favorite season for photography. I love the technicolor sunrises and sunsets, the frost covered vegetation and raindrops – if we ever get some rain around here.

Here are a few recent photos I took. I love being outside at dawn when it’s quiet and still. It’s a wonderful way to begin the day.

Ombre Sunrise

Frosty Winter Vineyard

Frozen Grapes

Sonoma Sunrise

5 ~ Passion for Pilates

Deciding to take private Pilates classes was one of the best decisions I have made for my wellbeing in a long time. I look forward to my lesson with Carrie Stillman of Mindful Movements Pilates Training every week – you may even say I have a passion for pilates!

During our last two sessions, Carrie had me try some new exercises that involved putting both my my feet into the reformers’ straps that I was previously putting my hands into. The leg exercises are my current favorite moves and I feel so energized and flexible afterwards!

I’ve already noticed an increased my flexibility and strength and my back and shoulder pains have diminished greatly. I have decided to continue my private lessons through January, at least, with plans to eventually join a class of 3 or 4 other students.

6 ~ Stella Carakasi Sale 

Stella Carakasi is having a great sale right now. Earlier this week, I bought this olive green jacket in black. I wear the green often but the color doesn’t always work with the rest of my outfit. It arrived yesterday and I love it! It’s ideal for our mild California winters and is made with their exclusive cotton/metal fabric which has a crinkled look, perfect for travel.

I also purchased a wardrobe essential – this tank top in black. It’s nice and long in the bodice and I like the thicker straps. I can wear it on its own when the weather warms this spring or layer a sweater or jacket over it this winter.

Sign up to receive emails from Stella Carakasi to keep up with their 12 Days of Christmas offers.

7 ~ Holiday Plans 

We are hosting Christmas again this year. Bill’s kids, dad, older brother, cousin and several other relatives will be joining us for Christmas dinner. We are having a ham and a beef roast as our main dishes. I am going to make pecan and apple pies and maybe something with a bag of whole cranberries I have in the freezer. Cranberry dessert recipes are welcome if you have one you like and want to share.

We’re also doing a white elephant gift exchange, which is always fun. I still have more wrapping to do and am waiting for a few more packages to arrive. I’d like to make some Christmas cookies too but we will see how much time and energy is left after everything else is done!


What are your holiday plans? Whatever you do and wherever you are, I hope you have a wonderful day!


Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. Clicking on them may result in commissions for me. 












  1. December 23, 2017 / 2:31 pm

    Love your photos and I am so glad Pilates is helping to reduce your pain. Thanks to you husband and all of the firefighters who have joined in the battle to stop this huge fire. We only had some smoke in Camarillo and thus were very lucky but so many were not and so much landscape/habitat has been destroyed. It would have only been much worse without the fire fighting efforts.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. KSL
    December 24, 2017 / 5:52 am

    Wow – so many things, but I really want to thank Bill, and all the incredible firefighters for giving so much of themselves, particularly this year. I’m so happy he’s home for Christmas and that you can have a wonderful holiday celebration. Congratulations to Tori as well.

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