I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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Archive for January, 2012

January 26, 2012

19 weeks

So, weekly belly shots might be a little ambitious. How about every so often belly shots?


The bangs are being grown out. Thank you to the wise previously pregnant with bangs ladies who pointed out that NOW would be the time to grow them when my hair is growing approximately 1/4″ per day. (As evidenced by v. long hair above, that desperately needs to be cut.)

I can’t put my finger on it, except to say that I just feel it more this time. Last time I breezed through pregnancy with nary a twinge until the very end. This time it’s slightly more of a slog. But perhaps my expectations weren’t realistic and this is just normal.

Lots of tiny baby kickings already! It’s true! You really do feel the kicks much earlier the second time around. It’s pretty fun.

And Dashie is going through a particularly happy and excited phase right now. I mean, he’s always been a pretty happy guy, but he’s pushing even his limits. It’s adorable. And he loves his Ostheimer animals, btw. The giraffe makes a perfect tunnel for one of his little trains.

(Tee: Whetherly, Jeans: J Brand maternity jeggings in black… so you can’t really see them.)

January 25, 2012

To Austin, Texas

A very quick trip to Austin over the weekend for The Cream… It’s such an awesome city, you guys. I was feeling a little gutted that we didn’t have more time to wander the streets, eating and shopping, and taking it in. I cannot wait to go back for a family vacation. It seems like such a great family city.

I ended up with only photos of the Hotel San Jose (which was spectacularly perfect) and setting up at Mercury Hall (which is a super charming venue, btw). Here they are, because it’s what I did last weekend.

The city is so full of textures and colors and hand-painted signs. It’s such a genuine place, it seems. We loved it.

And the event was gorgeous, as always. Those poppies are from Liz of the Nouveau Romantics. They were insane, as were all of her flowers. And she’s such a nice person. Hi Liz! So fun chatting with you.

January 20, 2012

How to make homemade almond milk

Here’s a little secret about making almond milk… you don’t actually need a Vitamix. Some of you commented that making almond milk was a great reason to buy one. It IS. It does make it much easier and fancier. But I’ve been making it for years with a regular old Oster blender and it works fine.

So, that being said, I thought I’d share my recipe. The one thing you do need is a nut milk bag. Some people claim you can use cheesecloth, but don’t bother. You’ll have grainy almond milk and it will be so frustrating to make that you’ll never do it again. So first, order one up online. The one I have right now is my second, and I actually bought it from Vitamix before I had one. I figured they would probably have the best one since you know, they’re Vitamix. The first one I bought years ago from a random raw foods website and it was just okay, and then eventually split open in the middle of the main operation. My new one is big and fabulous and strong and makes the whole process super easy.

Raw Almond Milk

1 cup raw almonds
4 cups filtered water + more for soaking almonds
sweetener of choice – maple syrup, agave, cinnamon, etc

Soak 1 cup of almonds overnight (or all day) in a bowl of filtered water.

Strain and rinse soaked almonds (they are delicious at this point, try one!). Dump them into your blender with the 4 cups of filtered water.

Blend on high for 5 minutes.

Place the nutmilk bag in a bowl (preferably in the sink), and empty the blender into the bag.

Squeeze the milk through the bag into the bowl (kind of like, I assume, milking a cow?). The almond meal will stay in the bag and you’ll be left with just the yummy milk.

Now rinse the blender and the lid. Pour the milk back into the blender and add the sweetener of your choice. I usually add a few tablespoons of maple syrup, maybe a squeeze of agave, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt. Blend again for a minute.

And that’s it. Yummy milk that’s actually better the next day once the foam has settled and the flavors have mixed together. I’ve been adding it to coffee and tea, eating it in cereal, and drinking it by the glassful through the day.

If you DO have a Vitamix of another high capacity blender, you can up the portions of almonds and water so you end up with more milk. I usually use 1 1/2 cups of almonds and 6 cups of water. This fills the Vitamix to capacity, which honestly is a huge plus with this type of blender. So much more space! I used to have to blend the milk in batches, which just made the whole process longer and less streamlined.

You can also use the same formula to make milk from different nuts. I’ve make brazil nut milk before and it was delicious too. Make some this weekend!

January 18, 2012

Ostheimer wooden figures

Oh I love these little guys. Erin of Bird and Banner posted about Ostheimer wooden figures years ago, and I’ve saved the link to Wooden Wagon diligently in my bookmarks since then. I came across them again the other day while I was searching for another old link, and realized it’s time! I can buy them! I have an almost two year old who loves animals and figurines! (Almost as much as trucks.)

Erin (who btw just welcomed her third child – a sweet little boy! – into the world) told me that she actually bought most of her Ostheimer before she actually had kids. This is a brilliant idea. Because when you don’t have children, it’s very easy to rationalize buying a tiny $15 wooden figurine from time to time. So smart, Erin!

So for those of you who love these, and want them for your eventual children… maybe get started now. I just started our teeny collection and I tell you, I wish I had all of them all at this moment. But I think it’s going to be a process. As Erin also said (this is the post where I essentially quote Erin’s email), the hope is that my children can eventually pass them on to their children. So if it takes a while, that’s okay.

The Wooden Wagon also has all sorts of other great natural fiber and wooden toys. Definitely worth a visit.

January 12, 2012

Loves of late

My dream kitchen in Martha January.

These simple candle holders from Commune Design and Adam Silverman/Heath. (Also these leather coasters.)

This circus themed collection at Baby Gap. Took much restraint not to buy SOMETHING. (Waiting for the sale, obvs.)

Estella NYC stripey tees on super sale. I love them so much! But they run small, so beware.

Beautiful flower prints from Kari Herer.

These new undies have definitely replaced Hanky Pankys in my book. Seamless is so the way to go.

These Chilewich utility mats have appeared in three rooms in our house. I love them. (Also love Grounded in Encinitas! Super cute, modern store.)

And current must-have every day? Homemade almond milk. I’m not sure it qualifies as a craving, per se. But I was very out of sorts the other night when I didn’t have any for my after dinner treat. I love you Vitamix.

January 11, 2012

16 weeks

Some of you have already figured me out, but here’s the official announcement… Baby #2 is on the way! It’s the great baby influx of 2012, if you live my life. So many women I know are pregnant, and all due within a few months of each other. I know it’s just my age and place in life, but it feels like there’s something in the water. Something very good and very amazing and very lucky, when it all comes down to it.

Last time I was pregnant I was reluctant to turn this space into a mommy blog. PWWAAAHHAHHAAHAA. Of course this is a mommy blog! I’m a mama. So many things you just don’t know the first time around (and probably the second too). So this time I’m going to be all up in the pregnancy business, including (I mean why not, right?) weekly belly shots. They’re sooo satisfying on other people’s blogs, after all. And it’s so fun dressing a growing belly. It is so NOT fun dressing a post-partum body. Oh lord, I’m not looking forward to being fat for a year again. But whatevs, I get a baby.

Hopefully this explains my complete lack of posting for the entire fall. This time around, I was sick for the first few months. Not crippled with nausea or anything, but feeling very not well at times and generally meh at others. Which does not for extra energy make. And certainly doesn’t lend itself to being creative or caring about much in general. Plus I couldn’t cook because all food was repulsive, particularly anything with “fall flavors”. Ughh those were were a tough few weeks. I spent the better part of October and November eating strictly grapefruit. Luckily I’ve come out of that and only have a few lingering aversions to manage.

When you consider that I did a total of 35 sit ups in between pregnancies it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that I seem to growing much faster this time around. Those muscles were just waiting for good old relaxin to give them the go ahead to hang out. Which in some ways was very weird… last time I had months and months of mental preparation before I had to start negotiating a belly, this time I immediately looked pregnant. As in strangers asking about due dates and family and friends guessing before I could tell them. But in other ways it’s been fabulous because I didn’t have to endure months of looking thicker and thicker before I actually started to look preggo.

I’m also so much more sensitive to the world around, which I don’t remember last time. Like tearing up when I’m listening to NPR, not because it’s sad… just because it’s interesting. Pregnancy is strange and marvelous and mysterious all at the same time.

Trying not to freak out about the reality of having two children. And not sleeping again. Oh I’m so scared for the tiredness.

So, here we go.

(PS. What do we think of the bangs? I’m considering growing them out again, even though I’ve only had them for like 4 months. They require so much maintenance!)

Shirt: J. Crew. Jeans: Paige maternity jeggings, baby! (I love them.) Scarf: oldie but goodie from Madrid, circa 1999.

January 6, 2012

This year…

I’d like to…

Start knitting. Again. If you can count my stint in elementary school and junior high. I love sewing, but they’re not the kind of projects you can start and stop and start and stop. Knitting, however, seems like you could just pick it up after dinner for a long time and eventually have something pretty that you’ve made. I can’t help it. I have the crafting gene and I feel so much better when I’m making something. In a perfect world I’d have a stocking or two made by the time next Christmas is here. I think that’s a reasonable goal, don’t you?

Those emails from Purl srsly kill me. And we have a great knitting shop in Santa Monica where I’m sure I can spend all sorts of money on beautiful yarns.

Not work when I’m not supposed to be working. Part of this will be facilitated by moving my office out of the living room and into our freshly remodeled garage, which is like more exciting than I can express. Having your email up on a giant computer in the main room of the house does not make for focused playtime with your darling son in the evenings. And part of this will just be letting go of things that aren’t finished for a few hours before he goes to bed. It’s FINE for things and people to wait. Fine.

Plant fava beans. This needs to happen stat. I think I’m going to clear the beds this weekend and go for it.

Make real meals and eat at the table. We are in a nasty pattern of eating on the sofa whilst watching movies and other more embarrassing things on TV. I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this on the internet. Maybe it will help me actually motivate to change? We’re lax because Dashiell is in bed by the time we eat (except on the weekends) so I don’t feel guilty about setting bad examples for him. But I DO feel guilty about perpetuating bad habits for us.

Clean out my wardrobe, for reals. I have sooo many things that I haven’t worn since I was pregnant with Dashiell. It’s been over two years (counting the pregnancy), I’ve made it back down to my normal size, and I still haven’t worn so many things. Time for a major purge. Those mini dresses… they might not ever see the light of day again, sadly.

Digitize our music library. As much as I resist complete takeover by technology at times, it’s time to convert. We don’t listen to most of our music because it’s on CD and who wants to go rifling through CDs when you could just play what you have on your iPhone? My parents gave us a new fancy receiver for Christmas that lets you connect wirelessly to any computer in the house and play music from iTunes. Plus it means that we won’t have to keep a place for all those CDs in the house. I love less stuff.

MAKE DASHIELL’S BABY BOOK. This should really be number one. The poor child is going to think we didn’t care about his arrival on this planet. I have like 300 photos ready to print and another 8 months of his life that I still need to go through in my iPhoto. I swear I will never forgive myself if I let this slide.

Plus the normal feel good intentions that so many of you have been posting about. I love all of those too, but this list is practical. And do-able? I need tangible things to accomplish sometimes. We’ll see.

Hat image from The Purl Bee, fava image from What Katie Ate.

January 5, 2012

Broccoli cheddar soup for January

One of the only things left in the garden out back is (actually, was) broccoli. A whole row. Beautiful little crowns. Barely any aphids. To celebrate my first successful broccoli harvest, I wanted to make something pure broccoli. I nearly made Heidi’s Double Broccoli Quinoa (which is very very delicious and I highly recommend it), but once I’d washed and dried and weeded out the very flowering parts of my crop, there wasn’t really enough for broccoli pesto and broccoli in the dish. So plan B… a yummy broccoli soup. Even though it’s be 80 degrees in LA for the past few days. Ugh, winter! I was just settling into you.

This is a combination of Heidi’s broccoli soup and one I found on Epicurious. It turned out rather deliciously, as evidenced by the pitiful little bit left in the fridge this morning. Apologies that there isn’t a better photo of the steamy bowl covered in croutons and cheese. Just imagine it, pls.

And it’s super simple! The most complicated part: whether to use my new immersion blender or my new Vitamix. My life is so hard sometimes. (Immersion blender won in this case, fyi. They are so handy!)

Broccoli Cheddar Soup for January


3-ish cups torn rustic bread
a few T olive oil
1 T whole grain mustard
sea salt


3 T butter
3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced

a few springs each of fresh tarragon and thyme, minced or torn or however you like to do it
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
4 cups water or homemade veg stock
4-5 cups broccoli florets and stems, in smallish pieces (maybe more, if you happen to have extra)

1/4 c cream
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (plus more for garnish)
1 T whole grain mustard

sea salt
black pepper

Prep the croutons: whisk whole grain mustard with olive oil and salt, then pour over torn bread in a small bowl until well coated. These only take 10-15 minutes, so you can roast them now at 350°, or wait until you’re ready to serve.

In a large pot, heat olive oil and butter, then add onions, shallots, and a bit of sea salt and black pepper. Saute until soft and yummy smelling. Add garlic, thyme, and tarragon if you have it. Saute a few more minutes until the flavors have mixed. Add potatoes and toss around until well coated and just starting to soften. Add water or stock, and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender. Taste for salt and pepper and add more if you like. You know how salty you like your food! (Salty, if you’re moi.) Add broccoli and cook for a few more minutes until just tender, again. Now remove from heat, add cream, a bit more salt if necessary, and stir.

Using an immersion blender (bonus!) or regular blender, puree the soup until smooth, adding the cheddar cheese and mustard as you go. (Make sure you do this while the soup is still hot so the cheese has a chance to really mix with the rest of the soup. If it’s slightly chunky, I think that would be delicious too.

If you’re not ready to eat it, as I’m normally not since I tend to start dinner around 4 and then leave it until Dashiell is in bed at 7, let it rest and reheat it when you’re ready to eat. Dress with a handful of croutons and a bit of cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper.

It’s really quick and really yummy. My one addition would maybe be like twice the amount of broccoli so it’s REALLY broccoli flavored. But alas that was all I had, so I just went with it. Also, I might just double the entire recipe because we managed to eat nearly all of this in one sitting last night. And leftovers mean no one (ahem, me) has to cook the next night.

January 4, 2012

Catching up

How about a big post recapping the last few weeks? THEN I’ll really start posting again. I will.

We had a long and relaxing trip to San Diego for Christmas. Spending time with the whole family, at three different houses, and seeing friends we haven’t in a long while. Mostly I have pictures of Dashiell in his pajamas, but no one ever ties of those, right?

Early Christmas morning. He still loves to push things, more than anything else.

Adorable bear slippers from my parents (“bear shhhooos”), rivaled only by these Hanna Andersson buckaroo PJs from Brock’s mom (on super sale, btw!).

Someone spent all of Christmas day in his PJs. And found real bulldozers (boo-dah-dah!) near Brock’s dad’s house.

We got to spend a little time with this muffin, and her mom and dad. Though I was horribly sick and couldn’t hold her. Which sucked.

A gorgeous evening at the beach with Brock’s bro turned positively gloomy in the space of 10 minutes when a monster fog bank rolled in. It was kind of neat.

Dashiell loves this mushroom bowling set from our friend Carol. He doesn’t even care about the bowling part yet. Lining up the mushrooms in a row is plenty good.

Making Molly’s red lentil soup with lemon, after having it for lunch at Jora’s house last week. It’s so simple and delicious, and a big hit with Dashiell. Will be part of a weekly rotation for a while, I think.

And now we’re back, enjoying soups and homegrown broccoli and watching the winter flowers from the kitchen window, and looking forward to all the possibilities for 2012. I love this time of year. I used to find it sort of sad and depressing… so much quiet after a month of festivities and all. But now I find it more inspiring than ever. Definitely already been to the Container Store, already cleaned out toys (aye the influx of toys at Christmas!), cleaned out drawers, piled up things in the garage to craigslist. I’d love to have all of January each year just to get things in order.

Dashiell has spent the last two weeks learning literally like 200 words. It’s amazing. Everyone says that one day it just clicks, but you think… huh. I don’t see that. And then one day all the sounds come together and your baby is talking. Putting two and three words together even (though they’re a little garbled much of the time), and it’s so neat.

Here’s to hoping that we all have a big year. See you soon. Promise.