Archive | lifestyle

making memories

over the weekend, we made the first of our annual trips to the christmas tree farm as a family. which was really just a glorified trip to the petting zoo. adam doesn’t care about christmas trees or presents, and he’s absolutely terrified of the man in a santa costume, but he can not get enough of the petting zoo.

i know he’s too young to remember these moments, but i certainly won’t forget them any time soon. and it’s really got me thinking about all of the family traditions we will get to create together over the years. oh man, parenthood has turned me into a big ol’ sappy mess! insert happy crying emoji here.

adam is wearing the most adorable cat shirt that we received as a gift from electric collective, a handmade cycling cap from niko’s naptime, sweater by neige , and osh kosh jeans.



Tags:

1

family recipes: mexican hot chocolate

i’m kinda cheating with this latest post in my family recipe series because even though we grew up drinking mexican hot chocolate, we never actually made it from scratch. our real “recipe” would normally consist of buying up a box of abuelita from the grocery store, chopping up a few cubes, and whisking it into some warm milk in a saucepan. there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing just that, but over the weekend, my sister and i decided to try out our own “healthy” rendition of this childhood favorite.

“healthy” mexican hot chocolate

2 cups milk or milk-alternative of your choice
2 – 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder*
2 – 3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of sea salt

simply pour all of the ingredients into a saucepan on medium heat and whisk until warm! for this recipe, i really like using an almond/coconut milk blend, but if you wanted something really rich and creamy, then go for whole milk. we also tried adding various other spices beyond just cinnamon, but found that if you start adding things like nutmeg and cloves, it really starts to taste more like pumpkin spice. that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but after tinkering with the recipe quite a bit, i personally prefer to keep it simple.

*a note about the cacao: we tried this with unsweetened bakers cocoa and it just did not taste like the mexican hot chocolate we grew up drinking. i think that using real, raw cacao powder (or nibs that have been ground to a powder in a food processor) is the most important element of this recipe. it’s what will give you that strong, slightly bitter flavor that is associated with the drink.

oh, and i think i may have cancelled out the healthy part of this recipe but adding a big dollop of homemade whipped cream. you gotta live a little, right?

Tags:

5

a scene from last week

i caught a few snapshots of adam with his great-grandparents when they came over for albondigas last week! it is such a special treat to be able to watch him interact with them, he really does have a special bond with them.


4

family recipes: albondigas soup

it’s the time of year to celebrate family, so i’ve decided to share some of my favorite family recipes for the month of december. i grew up on mexican food, with all of the recipes being handed down from generation to generation on my mother’s side. and as soon as the weather gets chilly, we all start craving a pot of caldo (soup) to warm our bones. albondigas (meatball) soup is one of my ultimate comfort foods. in fact, after adam was born earlier this year, i asked my mom make a giant pot for me, and it was literally the only thing i ate for at least a week after i got home from the hospital. i just didn’t have the stomach for anything else. she would serve me a warm bowl of soup with a rolled up tortilla, and i would be in heaven.

last week was grey and rainy, so it was the perfect time for us to practice our family recipe. my sister and i made a big pot of soup under my grandmother’s supervision so that we could share the recipe with you. mind you, this is a recipe that we’ve all committed to memory, we eyeball the measurements for all the ingredients, and each of us tweaks the recipe to our own personal taste. there really are no rules, especially when it comes to making soup! i’m offering you the base for how we make it in our family, but feel free to add or subtract whatever ingredients you prefer.

albondigas soup

for the meatballs

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup brown rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped mint
garlic salt, pepper, and cumin to taste

for the soup

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup rice
1 tbsp crushed garlic
cumin to taste
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups of water
1 small can of tomato sauce
2 cups cubed red or yellow potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
green beans or any other vegetable you prefer!

garnish (to taste)

cilantro
green onions, chopped
oregano

after prepping all of your veggies and meatballs, coat the bottom of a large pot with a thin layer of olive oil. saute onions until translucent, then add crushed garlic and saute for another minute before adding the cumin. finishe sauteing for another minute, then add the vegetable stock, water, and tomato sauce, and bring to a boil.

once the soup is boiling, carefully drop in the meatballs. let boil for about a minute before adding in the vegetables. reduce heat and allow the soup to simmer until all of the ingredients are tender, about 30 minutes.

serve with cilantro, green onions, and oregano to taste. then warm a tortilla and enjoy!






Tags:

5

handmade holiday: soaking salts and milk baths

the holidays can be stressful, you guys. every year, i feel totally chill– until the day after thanksgiving, when i suddenly realize that i have about a million gifts to give, and my already monumental to-do list seems to quadruple in size. add a baby to the mix, and i can become a bit of a scrooge. but this year, instead of allowing myself to become overwhelmed, i decided to simplify. instead of trying to fight the holiday crowds over silly little trinkets, i decided to partake in a handmade holiday. yes, i still have plenty of holiday shopping to do, but making the bulk of my gifts has already lightened the load tremendously. so over the next couple of weeks, i’ll be sharing some of the holiday diy projects that i’ve been making along with the help of my sister.

first up, a collection of luxurious milk baths and soaking salts. since having the baby, i’ve been making an effort to set aside some chill-out time to soak in the bath about once a week, so i already have my own little stockpile of soaking ingredients in my cabinet! they can all be found at your local health food store, and the recipes are really simple, with many of the ingredients being easily interchangeable. the only real investment comes in the form of the essential oils. some bottles run upwards of $25 a pop, but you only use a few drops of each, so there will be plenty leftover for your own concoctions. plus, the act of simply slowing down and making something was rather therapeutic, and felt a lot more meaningful to me. probably because making these soaks is basically one big aromatherapy session in itself!


the shopping list

pink himalayan sea salt
pink sea salt
red hawaiian sea salt
grey celtic sea salt
epsom salt
baking soda
powdered coconut milk
powdered buttermilk
powdered honey
essential oils (i used vanilla, lavender, ylang ylang, grapefruit, orange, and a “relaxation blend”)

soaking salts

1 cup sea salt
1/2 cup epsom salt
1/4 cup part baking soda
5 – 6 drops of essential oil

i should probably start out by saying that you don’t need to get himalayan pink or celtic grey salt for these. i think they are said to have special therapeutic properties, and that may be true, but i mostly went with them because they come in pretty colors. regular old sea salt and epsom salts will still do the trick. my personal favorite mix of essential oils? lavender, grapefruit, and ylang ylang.

milk bath

1 1/2 cups powdered milk
1/4 cup powdered honey
1/4 cup epsom salt
5 – 6 drops of essential oil

for this recipe, we tried two different soaks, one made with coconut milk and the other made with buttermilk. the coconut milk obviously has a very strong coconut scent, so we mixed in some vanilla to compliment it. the end result basically smells like cookies. the buttermilk is more neutral, so this one is a good option if you want to use essential oils that might not go as well with coconut. we mixed it with grapefruit, orange, and vanilla.

Tags:

6

at the apple orchard

we’re spending time with family for the holiday, so i thought it would be fitting to leave these here. some photos from a recent trip we took to the apple orchards in oak glen. adam’s great-grandpa proudly held him in his arms and showed him around. we ate apple cider donuts and drank warm apple cider, and got to watch adam as he squealed in delight over the animals at the petting zoo. and funnily enough, we didn’t get any pictures of apples!

adam is wearing: hat handmade by niko’s naptime, american apparel baseball tee, gap sweatpants, old navy sneakers


Tags:

3

little lion

my poor little baby was having a rough time teething last night, but he was still a good sport and let us dress him up like a little gentleman lion for halloween. our neighborhood here in redlands takes the festivities very seriously. we live in the downtown historic district, and several main thoroughfares close to traffic to accommodate the over 17,000 trick-or-treaters who flock to the area to get a look at the fantastic halloween decorations and haunted houses lining the streets. that and the candy, of course. it was actually a little too hectic for my taste. we walked down the street to let adam look at all the excitement, but the crowds were so large that we decided to go back home to enjoy the lighter trickle of kids passing by.

Tags:

1

making necklaces

calivintae_com_0164

i’ve never really had a huge jewelry collection, but since adam was born, i’ve really had to pare down my already sparse collection. most days, i can really only get away with wearing dainty rings that won’t snag on baby blankets. a bit of consolation came in the form of this cute necklace by mama and little, but it really only fueled my desire to find more baby-friendly jewelry that doesn’t look like it was, well, made for babies. i started browsing around online and collecting various baby-friendly beads: food grade silicone beads in subtle colors, unfinished wood beads, break-away clasps, waxed cotton string. and i finally got to experimenting with some designs a couple of weeks ago at a ladies craft night with rubyellen, melissa, and lauren. i made a couple of designs that evening, and then a few more later that night at home. and since then, i’ve become a necklace-making machine! i’ve already ordered more unfinished wood pieces, and am patiently waiting for a shipment of eco-friendly, natural baby paints by natural earth paints so that i can try my hand at painting baby-friendly wood beads and bangles. i’ve even concocted a natural beeswax wood finish to protect the paints once they arrive.

i like the look of them, and adam has been happily teething on them when i hold him in my arms. he does this silly little singing voice while he chomps on them. and i feel good knowing that my jewelry doubles as an awesome baby toy, made with unfinished wood, food-grade silicone, and waxed cotton.

calivintae_com_0153

8

adam’s apple

as much fun as i’ve had keeping a record of weekly adam photos, i think i’ve finally decided to move on from the rigid structure of it. especially now that the holidays are here and we’ve been documenting all of our activities with so much fervor! so from now on, i’ll just be posting without the constraints of a week-by-week numerical structure, and will just be sharing some of my favorite photos as we go along. i’ve never been good about following “the rules,” even when i set them for myself!

so here’s the latest photo of my little guy at 9 months. i can’t even keep track of how many weeks old he is anymore! on this particular day, we took a quick drive up to snow line orchard in oak glen to enjoy some fall weather and bundle up in sweaters. adam isn’t quite old enough to go apple picking, but he did get a kick out of his teeny tiny apple!

wearing: unisex bandit in hazel grey courtesy of petite soul, hello onesie courtesy of hello apparel, weathered brown handmade moccs courtesy of freshly picked.

Tags:

2

up and away

it’s been a month since i started using the up system by jawbone, which means it’s time for me to share an update about how it’s been working out. i have to admit that i was a little skeptical about how a simple little bracelet could really do anything for me. i mean, it’s essentially a really fancy pedometer, right? well, yes and no. it records your steps during the day and your sleep at night. but the interesting part is what happens once the data is collected in the up app (which, by the way, you can use to record your information even if you don’t have a bracelet).

when i first put it on, i was a little concerned that it would somehow make me feel bad. i didn’t really know how much i walked in a day or if my activity was up to snuff. and i have a baby and, you know, a life. sometimes these things are out of our control, and the last thing you need to hear is a little voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough. but much to my surprise, it’s actually an incredibly helpful tool. instead of telling me that i needed to reach some unachievable goal in order to be healthy, it began recording my activity and smartly creating incremental goals to help me inch towards higher goals. i wasn’t getting enough sleep at night, so it would give me a mini challenge now and again, providing me with a suggested bed time that might help me get the sleep i need to function during the day. it even provides tips and tricks to help you get a better night’s sleep, and links to relevant studies about sleep. i was skeptical that these tiny suggestions would really have an impact, but after a month, i’m actually getting better sleep! for the first time since i started using it, i’ve been reaching 100% (or more!) of my goal.

and even more interesting than that: over time, the data gets smarter. the app started to look for a correlation between how much sleep i get at night and how active i am during the day. and wouldn’t you be surprised to know that since i’ve been getting more sleep, i’ve been way more active during the day? no, i haven’t suddenly become a marathon runner, but i am very surprised to say that a funky little bracelet and a smart little app have actually been helping me to make some pretty positive lifestyle changes. so while my one-month challenge is over, i won’t be giving up on up any time soon.

see all of my posts featuring up here.




this post is sponsored by jawbone. thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!

Tags:

5

.