Mika is Three!

Mika has the most clearly defined little personality of all the kids.  She is just HAPPY.  Like gloriously so.  She laughs, jokes, smiles, hugs, kisses, giggles and plays all day, every day.  She’s got a huge vocabulary and she uses it to tell us all the different ways she loves us.  It is the cutest thing.

Mika has a little bit of a fashionista in her (no idea where she got that) and she likes to do 3 or 4 (or 10!) costume changes a day.  Whenever she puts on a new outfit she goes and stands in front of the mirror and looks at herself from all her different angles then points at her bottom and declares, “that’s my butt!”

Mika can’t wait to go to preschool.  She starts in about a week.  Ever since we went and did the tour, when I’m getting the kids ready for school in the morning she lets us know that she will be going to preschool soon and that all her friends will be there.  She’s got her backpack all picked out and (probably) her first day of school outfit planned.  Where Aiman and Sofia can be a little bit reserved and shy, Mika is outgoing and sociable.  She’s made friends with all of Aiman and Sofia’s little classmates and runs around the park saying hi to kids and trying to get a hug if she sees an opening.

As awesome and happy that Mika is she’s also deep in the Terrible 2s/3s right now!  She is very stubborn and is happy to throw a tantrum to get what she wants.  We’re trying to see her through this period by the time honored tradition of ignoring her outbursts, although that usually just causes another, even angrier outburst! Luckily her tantrums are short lived and relatively rare, and her generally amazing nature keeps our annoyance to a minimum.

Mika has grown so much in the last year.  Her personality just gets bigger and more awesome every day and I can’t wait to see the kind of kid she grows in to.

Happy Birthday Mika Jane!  We love you too much!

Posted in Mika | 5 Comments

Pies Pies Pies

I’m not a huge believer in New Year’s resolutions, mainly because I have no will power and rarely follow through.  But this year I made a resolution that I am happy to report I have actually had some success with.  Healthy eating?  Working out?  Spending more time with the kids?  No, no silly … my grand 2016 New Year’s resolution was to finally make a decent pie crust.  This is a noble endeavor really, what problem can’t be solved with a perfect pie?

I consider myself a pretty decent baker, my decorating skills leave something to be desired, but everything always tastes good.  Pies were always my Achilles heel though and it pained me deeply.  My crusts were always cracking, soggy, shrinking messes — just a failure everytime.  Over the years I have tested approximately one and a half million pie crust recipes but couldn’t find one that consistently worked.  This year I finally hit upon the all-butter crust from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds book (a great pie cookbook for those that like delicious but slightly weird pies).  The crust is the usual butter, flour, salt business, but adds a generous amount of apple cider vinegar for flakiness and tang.  I am positive I have tried other cider vinegar crusts before, but this is the first one that has consistently worked for me.  I am in love with this recipe and have made probably 10 pies this year using it.  I have had great success for everything except crusts that require par-baking (I’m still working on that one!)

I’ve made a pie probably every other week for the last 4 months or so (I’m fat is what I’m sayin) and I’ve been really really happy with the results.  My presentation continues to need tweaking and I still have some crust cracking issues (that sounds vaguely gross, but you know what I mean!), but I can finally bring a pie to a party and not hide in the corner with shame.  I consider that a success.  Some recent pies posted to Instagram.  (I can’t figure out how to make these images smaller, bear with my poor interneting skills)

When you are practicing pie crusts, 1/4 of a strawberry pie is acceptable for breakfast. #pie #strawberries #sugarforbreakfast

A photo posted by Kristina Fredericks (@kristinafred) on


Early spring strawberry pie.  I got the basic idea for the filling from Four and Twenty Blackbirds, the recipe called for a shredded baking apple which releases pectin so you can use less binding agent (flour, corn starch, arrowroot), which means your pie is less goopy (technical term).  Genius.

A pie a week is reasonable right? This week its blueberry, strawberry, lemon. Early summer in a crust! #piesfordays

A photo posted by Kristina Fredericks (@kristinafred) on


Insta description says it all.  This was one of Riaz’s favorites.

Mid-week pie spent a few minutes too many minutes in the oven, but we'll power through. #pie

A photo posted by Kristina Fredericks (@kristinafred) on


This was a straight blueberry pie that we took to a dinner party.  It was a huge hit.

Continuing total pie domination. Plum pie with lattice work. #pie

A photo posted by Kristina Fredericks (@kristinafred) on


Very very tart, but with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, totally divine.

Father's Day request…apricot pie for breakfast.

A photo posted by Kristina Fredericks (@kristinafred) on


Yummy and expensive.  The farmer’s market apricots were nearly $4 a pound and this recipe called for 3.5 pounds!!  I guess a $12 pie isn’t too much, but I’m a cheapskate.

The quest for the perfect pie will continue since I’m still having problems with single-crust pies and also because … you know … pie is good.

Posted in She Cooks | 2 Comments

June Gloom

In L.A. we have this thing called June gloom where it tends to be a little overcast and cooler through the entire month of June.  I am a huge fan of June gloom because I am a vampire that hates the sun.  Anyway, this year we haven’t had so much June gloom as June scorching heat, so I’ve got some serious heat-induced rage issues happening right now.  This weather does NOT sit well with my Alaskan make-up.  I need me some rain and 50-60 degree weather, stat!  I’m blaming the heat for my non-existent energy levels and my inability to focus on much of anything lately.  I need to figure out how to re-set my brain.  I’m open to suggestions!

Despite my blahs, I have been mixing things up on the craft front over the last few months.  And since I can’t seem to blog unless it’s about birthdays or knitting, I’ll just stick with what I know.

I finished the body of my Girasole, and I LOVE it.  I started the knitted on edge and found the instructions completely confusing.  I figured it out after two evenings of knitting and re-knitting (and re-knitting) and now I’ve got it (finally!)  I read that the knit-on edge takes an eternity to finish, so I know I’ve got a ways to go, but I have really loved knitting this shawl and I can’t wait to finish it.

Looking remarkably like a hat for a giant. Wun-Wun where are you when I need you! (GoT reference for the win!)

Looking remarkably like a hat for a giant. Wun-Wun where are you when I need you! (GoT reference for the win!)

I put the Girasole down for a while so I could crochet a blanket for a friend who is expecting.  I messed up the pattern and have one point that is just flat wrong and very noticeable, but I would literally have to undo the whole thing to fix it, so it’s going out mistakes and all.  Anyway, it’s the mistakes that show that it’s handmade, right?  Right??!!??

Spot the missing point!

Spot the missing point!

Because I can’t be satisfied with just 2 projects on the go I started up this little sweater for Mika with some yarn I picked up when my local yarn shop closed its doors.  I don’t usually like the look of garter stitch, but this sweater is adorable and totally suited to Mika.  It’s going to be huge on her so she can wear it for a few winters, which is always what I’m looking for since there are only 5 days a year in Southern California where a sweater is warranted.

I noticed that I have a little mistake on the i-cord edge, but I think the buttons will mask it and I’m clearly all about mistakes lately!  I’m currently eye-balling these gorgeous cedar buttons from Wooly Moss Roots.  It’s hard to justify $25 for buttons on a toddler’s sweater, but when she grows out of the sweater I can just take the buttons off and re-purpose them, right?  Someone make me feel better about this purchase because I really want them!

Mika's Red Sweater

And finally, I’ve been thinking about learning how to embroider (my transition to 75 year old grandma is almost complete!)  Inspired by the lovely lady over at My Bit of Earth, I ordered this little owl embroidery kit that seemed fairly easy and cute and I’m looking forward to giving it a go.  I haven’t started yet because I’m intimidated, but I’ll find the mental fortitude eventually!

We’ve got plans to do a bit of camping this summer.  I am positive it will look nothing like the camping I did up in Alaska as a kid but I’m really looking forward to getting out of the city.  I’m hoping some nature will help get me out of this rut and spur on some non-craft related blogging!

Linking up with the Yarn Along.

Posted in She's Crafty | 3 Comments

Sofia is Five!

The title of this post should really be, Sofia is a bad ass.  It doesn’t matter how old Sofia is, she is ready to dominate the globe tomorrow.

This has been a huge year for Sofia.  She started Pre-K in August.  It took her a few months to warm up to the idea, but she totally loves it now.  She runs to class every morning, is eager to do her homework in the afternoon and has totally excelled at all her early reading and math skills.  She started the year not being able to even identify her letters and numbers.  Now she is just right on the cusp of reading.  Riaz and I are insanely proud of her.

If this year’s little recap video tells you nothing else it has to be that Sofia is freakishly strong.  Like, Hulk strong.  There is nothing Sofia can’t climb, can’t swing on, can’t turn into an obstacle course and can’t totally dominate.  She’s a beast.  I don’t know if she will decide to play an organized sport and I don’t know what that sport she will choose, but whatever she decides to do, she will crush it.

Sofia’s best friends continue to be her brother and sister.  She is friendly with the kids at school but has a bit of aloofness in her.  Her teachers inform me that it took her a good four months to crack a real smile in class.  She’s fearless and dominating but also a total observer, she likes to sit back and watch what is happening before jumping into the mix.  I really love that quality about her.  She is the farthest thing from reckless and the mix of alpha dog with a touch of caution is going to serve her well.

Sofia is the spitting image of her dad and grandma  Since she looks absolutely nothing like me I can say without ego that I think she is one of the most beautiful girls in the world.  Her olive skin, blonde curls and rosebud lips are just the best and I could look at her all day.

Sofia is the perfect middle child.  She’s competitive but not mean or aggressive about it.  She idolizes her brother and is loving to her sister. Sofia is just an all-around awesome human being and we all love her too much.

Happy Birthday Sofia, you are awesome!

Posted in Sofia | 1 Comment


Aiman is seven!  It doesn’t even seem possible. Aiman is a full-fledged kid now.  He loves Pokemon, playing games on the iPad when he’s not supposed to, running fast, feats of strength and math.  He is still the sweet, sensitive (sorry 17-year old Aiman reading this in the future, but it’s true!), charming, handsome boy he’s always been, but now he’s also reading, losing teeth, doing pretty complicated math, hanging out with his friends, asking me difficult life questions I don’t have the answer to and occasionally being a goofy kid.  He makes us so proud every day.

Aiman has really come into his own this year.  He struggled with reading and writing at the beginning of the school year but sometime after Christmas his teacher says that it was like a switch got flipped and he caught up to all his classmates and then some.  Riaz and I floated out of Aiman’s most recent parent-teacher conference just so happy with the amount of work he had put in and the effort he had shown.  I think the quality I love the most about Aiman is that when he sets his mind to a task he works really hard to achieve it.  It is so awesome to see.

Aiman maintains his deep and abiding love of Mika.  I often find them sitting on the couch, cuddled up, watching whatever is on T.V. and sharing a bowl of grapes.  It is adorable.  Aiman and Sofia’s relationship is more complicated.  They fight often, but are also best friends (though they would never admit it!)  Aiman and Sofia are V.E.R.Y. competitive and if there is anything that Sofia can do better than Aiman it is only a matter of time before he is off practicing whatever that happens to be until he can say that he is the best.  I say the words “it’s not a competition!!!” probably 5 times a day, but it doesn’t matter, everything is a competition to them from who eats dinner faster, to who can get dressed the quickest in the morning, to who  is better on the monkey bars.

We feel so lucky to have Aiman as the oldest sibling.  He’s a hard worker, he’s empathetic, he stands up for his sisters and is just an all-around awesome person.  The girls could not ask for a better big brother and we could not ask for a better son.

Happy Birthday Aiman!  We love you too much!


Posted in Aiman | Leave a comment

Christmas Blankets!

I’m only a month late posting about the kids Christmas blankets.  I blame … Christmas, and New Year’s and January blahs.  You know, the usual.  I made Aiman’s blanket in an attempt to learn how to crochet.  I really love how it came out, but some of the joins are already starting to come apart.  I’ve had to do some not so pretty fixes, but its all part of the learning process!  Aiman loves it and that’s what matters most.

Aiman's Blanket

Revelry notes are here.

After I finished I got to work on Sofia’s blanket.  All the joins seem strong, but there is a bit of wonkiness due to some of my squares not being the exact same size.  But who notices wonkiness when wrapped up in a blanket anyway!  I love the cheerful brightness of this blanket.  It suits Sofia perfectly.

Sofia's Blanket

Ravelry notes here.

Finally, Mika’s blanket which was just simple granny stripes, but is still probably my favorite.  It’s not particularly exciting to crochet, but the effect is adorable, warm and squishy.  Mika loves it.

Mika's Blanket

Ravelry notes here.

Since Christmas I’ve been working on my New Year’s resolution to myself to actually make something that is for me.  I know, I know .. I’m selfish knitter.  I’m making Jared Flood’s Girasole, which is actually quite an easy knit and is so beautiful.  I’m using wool Riaz got me for my birthday from the lovely people at Woolfolk.  I’m using Tynd 01 and it’s crazy beautiful and so soft.  I highly recommend.

Girasole(Taking decent pictures of in-process circular shawls with LOTS of lifelines is not an easy task!)

I’ve had to rip back my work a few times due to a wandering mind, but it really couldn’t be an easier knit.  I am excited for the finished product!

Finally, I’ve joined my first ever crochet along.  This Vibrant Vintage CAL (which is kind of a mouthful) is fun.  I decided to do it primarily because I really love the insane border on this blanket.  We’re only on week two which means I’ve made 4 squares.  Not quite blog-picture worthy yet!

So, I guess that’s it!  This was a monster update on the crafting front.  To appease the fans of my crazy kids, here you go:

The Kids

Joining up with the Yarn Along.

Posted in She's Crafty | 3 Comments

A Quick Update

I was getting into a pretty good blogging habit there for awhile, but then things at work got real busy and my brain decided to stop functioning during off hours.  Riaz is going to the U.K. for a week in October for the Rugby World Cup and even though I am going to be a 24-hour a day single parent for little while I CAN’T WAIT!  I need a break from work y’all.

Instead of thinking, I’ve been crocheting my face off.  Aiman’s granny square blanket is almost done but I ran out of the yarn I need so am in a holding pattern while I wait for UPS.  I got started on Sofia’s simple granny stripe blanket and even though its super basic, I really love it.

Granny Stripes

Somewhere along the way I decided that this blanket’s personality suits Mika better than Sofia and decided to switch owners.  I’m going to make a slightly less busy variation of this for Sofia and I think she will love it.  With how quickly the granny stripes are coming I think I will definitely be able to get all three blankets done by Christmas.

On a completely unrelated note, Sofia was drawing a picture of her family for school last night and said, “mom, this one is you, it has a big head.”  I only cried myself to sleep a little last night.

Joining up with Yarn Along.

Posted in She's Crafty | 7 Comments