Kristin Eldridge Photography specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography servicing Long Beach, Orange County, and Los Angeles.

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December 2011


Giving Baked Goods for Christmas [In the Kitchen]

The other day I posted a picture of the gifts the kids gave their teachers for Christmas on Instagram and Facebook.  I had a few requests for recipes and details, so I thought I’d share!

I picked up this ADORABLE Martha Stewart packaging at JoAnns when I was there buying supplies for Jake’s party.  They always end up putting her stuff on sale as it gets closer to the holiday.  And I loved the design on this one.  Really cute details and inside the box each of the scalloped mini boxes came out and had printed paper for lining.

Inside the box was four mini-boxes, so I decided to make four different treats.  The first is quite easy (well, actually most of them were easy!)…white chocolate dipped oreos.  There’s no real recipe…just melt white chocolate chips in the microwave and add a little vegetable oil to make it smoother.  I laid my cookies out on waxed paper and then dunked them into a bowl of the white chocolate so both sides were covered and let them dry.  We sprinkled them with crushed candy cane before they dried.  The kids enjoyed crushing the candy cane with my rolling pin!

I used a brownie mix (shh! don’t tell anyone it was a mix) and fancied it up with cheesecake swirls.  Just make the brownie mix as directed and spread it in the pan.  Then mix a softened 8 ounce block of cream cheese with an egg and 1/3 cup sugar.  Put dollops around the brownie pan and then use a butter knife to swirl it.  Then just bake as directed.  Cheesecake brownies!!

Next up is the round shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate and candy cane.  I love Barefoot Contessa’s shortbread recipe.  Here’s the link to it:  Shortbread Cookies

I used my biscuit cutter to make rounds, then after they were cooled I went through the same melting chocolate process and dipped just the ends of these cookies then sprinkled them with crushed candy cane.

Last is my mom’s toffee recipe.  This is a holiday must-have at our house.  And I’m warning you…it’s addictive.  I’ve posted about it before on the blog with the recipe, so click here for the Toffee Recipe.


Winter Snow Party: Part 2 [Long Beach Photographer]

Okay now for the finale…the FUN!  Here’s the birthday boy:

And it totally RAINED on our party.  But, that didn’t stop people from having fun.  And thankfully it didn’t last the whole party.

This lame mom forgot to pull one of the cupcakes I made for a candle and a birthday song and they were all gone!  So, I quickly threw some ice cream dibs into a snow cone cup so Jake could blow out a candle and have a wish. 🙂

Making snow globes…  We also had Ice Age playing for those that wanted to come inside.  It was a great idea…especially for the littler party goers.

The pool was PACKED with kids!  (And yes it looks like we lost the one in the pink bath suit…she’s just snorkeling 🙂

The other really really fun element of the party was the photo booth.  We put out a white background and just grabbed the kids as they got out of the pool.  I had a basket of hats and sunglasses to choose from and a bag of fake snow.  I LOVE how they all came out.  Kids are so much fun to photograph!!

My sweet friend Shelly took this one of our family!


Winter Snow Party [Long Beach Photographer]

A few summers ago Brent plunged into icy water for a fundraiser…a polar-bearing event, per say.  The kids were thrilled about the whole concept.  So, much so that a few years later Jake insisted on having a pool party for his December birthday.  We normally have smaller celebrations for the kids’ birthdays, but every once in a while, it’s fun to do a big bash.  We went all out with Jake’s icy theme.  Except when it came to the pool.  It was so warm that even though it rained during the party, the pool was packed with swimmers!

I loved the details of Jake’s party, so I wanted to share that part with you first.  I also did a photo booth and took a lot of pictures of the kids having fun, so that will come in the next post.

I bought some 36″ balloons and put some of my ribbon scraps to use.  I made the mistake of renting a helium tank to save a little money.  Trying to tie these guys off has left my fingers about 2 inches shorter than they used to be.  Best to leave that job to the experts.

Okay…so another fun part was the food.  Here’s the table display:

The pendants were from previous photo shoots, so it was nice that they matched with the theme.

I tried to go ‘homemade’ as much as possible, with the exception of these SNOWBALLS from Cost Plus World Market.  They’re basically white cheeto puffs.  Yum.

So a few notes about the food:  I made hot dogs and my ‘team’ of helpful family wrapped them all in parchment paper and blue bakers twine.  We served them with homemade chili and all the fixings.  There were snowball shaped pb&j sammies for the kids.  (cut with my round biscuit cutters)  Of course the cheese puff snowballs and homemade popcorn added to the white theme.  I made Amy Sedaris’ vanilla cupcakes with my own cream cheese frosting.  I love minis…they look so cute with toppers.  The toppers are Martha Stewart snowflake punches hot-glued to toothpicks.  Instead of the traditional rice krispy treats, I let the ‘batter’ cool and little the scooped it into balls for my mini paper cups.  I added a few other white sides like vanilla marshmallows and yogurt pretzels.

The snowmen were made by the kids (with our help) and given as favors at the end of the party.  I found the idea on pinterest.  You basically skewer marshmallows, then paint them with karo syrup then roll into sparkling sugar.  Mini oreos and rolos make the hat, then we piped the rest of the details with frosting.

I’m in love with the vintage style sodas, so we had a big variety of those…along with waters.  And I love the paper straws from Garnish! (that’s also where the paper snow cone cups are from)

I set up a snow globe table for the kids that were finished swimming.  Another pinterest idea.  It was a huge hit!


To Sum it Up:Newborns, Elaine et Lena & Room Seven [Huntington Beach Child Photographer]

A few weeks ago I was up to my eyeballs in cute clothes and babies!  I had a slew of newborns come through and photographed a few lines of clothing for Little Skye Children’s Boutique.  How can a girl complain…I love my job!

Baby Coco came with her big sister all the way from NYC.

And here’s my crew of adorable little girls modeling for Little Skye (brands are Elaine et Lena and Room Seven Spring 2012)!

And my tiniest model…love her!


Chicken Tortilla Soup [In the Kitchen]

It’s all about the toppings.  I mean, the soup is pretty good, but what really makes chicken tortilla soup is the toppings.  There’s a huge variety of recipes to choose from, but this time I went with one from The Pioneer Woman.  I’ll include the recipe copied from her site at the end of the post.

Once you load everything into the bowl, the soup gets a little lost, so I thought I’d start off with a picture of the steaming bowl of broth, chicken and beans.

First come the fats…sour cream and cheese.  Light sour cream is really good, but light cheese is a pathetic version of cheese. 🙂

Then, comes the kick!  Red onions, tons of cilantro and chopped avocado.  Now we’re talkin’!

The original recipe calls for corn tortilla strips to be placed underneath the soup, but my family likes crunchy tortilla chips on top.  I found a new brand at Cost Plus World Market that I LOVE.  Xochitl Chips…they’re SO good.

My friend Maggie taught me to put my chips in the oven before serving.  Just a few minutes at 350 make you feel like you’re in a restaurant.  I bought these with no salt and added sea salt (I love the nice big chunks of salty) before I baked them.  It brings the oils back out of the chip and makes you feel like you can’t stop eating them.  But, that’s another story.

Pioneer Woman Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 1/4 cup Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches
  • _____
  • Sour Cream
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
  • Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Cilantro

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)


Holiday Traditions: Naples Lights [Events/Community]

I’ve been talking recently with friends about Christmas traditions.  The things you do with your kids that they look forward to every year.  For our family, it’s a trip to Naples.  All the waterfront homes go all out with lights and decorations and it seems that every person in driving distance makes their way through the canals.  You always see someone you know and you talk about which house you’d buy if you won the lottery.

Here’s a few iphone pics I snapped of our favorites…

My ‘lottery’ house.

See those little gondolas off to the side?  16 years ago tomorrow Brent proposed to me in one of those.  Cue the awwwws!

And this person went a little nuts.


To Sum it Up [Long Beach Baby Photographer]

Here’s a little rainy day sparkle for you…

A cute baby boy in the bucket I just can’t get enough of!

And one of my most favorite photo sessions ever!


Style Findings: Kids Storage Ideas [Long Beach Photographer]

So, today I wanted to share with you something that has worked to help keep us a little more organized.  If you’re a mom of little kids, you know they’re natural tendency is to be hoarders.  They have a million hobbies and collectibles.  Not to mention the ‘prizes’ they seem to endless come home with.

Instead of keeping a pile of all the items mentioned above, I decided to search for storage containers that would not only be useful, but also aesthetically pleasing.  One of the things I love is my vintage soda crate.  I bought it at a flea market for $10 and I filled some of the spots with canning jars and others I kept open.  We’ve filled it with pencils, markers, paint brushes along with miscellaneous items like the lanyards they are working on right now.  The kids know where to put their items and it keeps their room nice and tidy!


Lunch: [In the Kitchen]

I’m sure there are way more exciting things to blog about, but let’s get practical.  What are you eating for lunch?  If you are like me and work from home, lunch can end up being last night’s leftovers or a weird assortment of nibbles on various things from the fridge.  When I’m making a conscious effort toward my health, I’ll make myself a salad.  It’s just a manner of minutes at the cutting board and I’m always excited about tossing in different ingredients.

Today’s salad, was spring greens topped with avocado, pear, cranberries, gorgonzola cheese and toasted pine nuts.  Nothing extravagant, but worth the effort.

What are you eating for lunch today?  And if you’re into greens like me, what are your favorite salad toppings?

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