Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Motherhood Together Mommy & Me Classes

I received a discount to participate in their classes but all opinions are my own.

When I had Jake I joined a new moms group at the hospital where I delivered.  Every week I would get out of the house and spend time with other moms who were going through what I was going through.  After the group we would walk over to BJ's and have lunch on the patio.  Some weeks, this group was what kept me going.  It was such a lifesaver for me and I knew I wanted to join it again when Luke was born.  I was devastated to find out that the woman who ran the group left the hospital and so they stopped holding it.  Even though I have a lot of friends with kids, none of my friends have kids the same age as Luke.  They all had their kids closer together than we did.  While my girlfriends are great, sometimes you need to talk to someone who is going through the same thing.  Sometimes I don't want to hear, "oh I remember that," I want to hear, "Oh my gosh, that is the worst, I'm dying right now with _______ too!"  Like most moms out there, I was going a little crazy in the first few months and I knew that I needed to find a mom's group.

Then one day I heard about Motherhood Together.  Three lovely ladies, Alex, Chelsea, and Bianca, met in a moms group with their adorable little ones, now toddlers.  They also realized how valuable having a community of moms and a place to go every week was so they decided to create Motherhood Together.  It was exactly what I needed.  Their 8 week classes meet once a week for an hour and half.  Some of the sessions have a guest speaker and others have a topic.  What every week has in common, is a safe space to be with other moms where you can vent about things that are making you crazy, share the moments that are bringing you joy, and most importantly of all make friends for yourself and your adorable little one.

One week the speaker was a sleep specialist and I was so excited.  Jake was a phenomenal sleeper so I assumed that I had sleep training all figured out.  Um, not so much.  Luke is a completely different person and in no area is that more clear than when it comes to sleep.  Having a sleep specialist there to give advice and answer questions was exactly what I needed.

Another week the wonderful Crisanta from Infinifoto came and did mini shoots for each of us.  You can never get enough pictures of your little ones, and honestly, professionals get paid for a reason.  These pics are so much better than what I can take.  That being said, she also gave us some tips to help improve our own pictures.  (In honor of this post, Josh finally relented and allowed me to share a pic of our littlest man.)  Look at that face!  There aren't even words. 

We also got to hear from lactation consultant extraordinaire, Jen from Milkalicious (such a great store for nursing mamas) and we got to play with Discovery Toys.  In fact, I liked Discovery Toys so much, I decided to sell them myself but that is a topic for another day.

Motherhood Together is the perfect resource for Orange County mamas whether this is your first baby or your third (or second, or fourth, you get the idea).  Having a place to go every week is just what you need.  It is the perfect venue for making new friends because the classes aren't too big.  It may not seem like it, but I'm actually kind of shy.  In a big group it is hard for me to put myself out there and make friends.  Have a smaller, structured group takes away that pressure.  Plus, no one cares if your baby has a blowout, spits up everywhere, or has a meltdown.  We're all in it together.

In fact, we're all in it together is the idea behind Motherhood Together.  It's that idea of supporting one another even when you don't do things exactly the same that makes these classes so wonderful.  There is no judgement, just support.  On top of all of the wonderful features I've mentioned, you get to know the lovely ladies who created Motherhood Together.  They are such amazing mamas and while they each do things a little bit differently, they couldn't be closer.

Motherhood Together has new sessions starting all of the time, so even if you don't see one on their site that works for you, I encourage you to reach out to the ladies.  If you are a mama with a baby (or babies) under a year old Motherhood Together is for you.  I know you are super excited about Motherhood Together, but get even more excited because Alex, Chelsea, and Bianca are so amazing that they are offering a 10% discount to all Imperfect & Fabulous readers.   Just send the girls an email before you pay and they will contact you with details about how to get your discount.

I received a discount to participate in their classes but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Grandma's Honey Cake

Today is Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year.  It is traditional to eat apples dipped in honey or honey cake to ensure that you will have a sweet new year.  I figure the sweeter the better so we will be doing both.  I'm not sure where this recipe came from.  It is simply in my recipe binder under the heading Grandma's Honey Cake.  I have a multitude of grandmas that this recipe could have originated with and while I'm unsure of who gets the credit for this one, I am sure that credit is deserved.  Honey cake basically tastes like a spice cake.  It is dense and spicy and sweet. 

Start out by dissolving some honey in some hot coffee.  Oddly enough, neither Josh nor I like coffee.  I always keep those individual instant packs of coffee in my baking cupboard so that when I have a recipe that calls for a cup of coffee I can "brew" one.  Back before I got smart enough to do this, I would drive through McDonald's and buy a cup of coffee for this cake.

In your mixer beat together sugar and vegetable oil.  Add in three eggs and beat until combined.  Zest and juice a lemon and an orange into the batter.  Drop in some orange marmalade too and mix it all together.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and your spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice).

You are going to alternate adding in the dry ingredients and the honeyed coffee, starting and ending with the flour mixture, until the batter is combined.  

Pour the batter into a baking pan that has been sprayed with baking spray.  My original recipe calls for an 8 1/2 x 12 inch baking pan.  Jake wanted to give a little honey cake to his teacher so I made a bundt cake and a mini loaf.  My pans were a little overfull so if you are going to go this route I would make two mini loaves and a bundt.

Bake at 325 for 45 minutes to an hour (about 30 - 40 for the mini loaves).  My bundt got a little overbaked because Luke took his own sweet time nursing and so I couldn't pull the cake out of the oven when my timer went off.  It was still delicious, just not quite as moist as usual.  I solved that problem by drizzling lots of extra honey on top.  I like to do this anyway but I was a little more generous with the honey this time.  Whether or not you are celebrating Rosh HaShanah, this honey cake is the perfect way to bring a little extra sweetness into your life.

Honey Cake
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbls. lemon juice
  • 3 tbls. orange juice
  • 1 tbls. lemon zest
  • 1 tbls. orange zest
  • 2 tbls. orange marmalade
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  1. Preheat oven to 325 and spray a large bundt pan, a rectangular baking pan, or two loaf pans with baking spray.
  2. Dissolve honey in hot coffee then set aside to cool.
  3. Beat together oil and sugar.
  4. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add lemon and orange zest, juice, and marmalade.
  6. Sift flour with the rest of the dry ingredients.
  7. Beat in flour mixture and coffee mixture a little bit at a time, alternating between the two.
  8. Bake for 1 hour.  Turn cake out onto cooling rack, turn it right side up, and cool completely.

I'm linking up with Thrifty Thursday, Pin Junkie, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Creativity Unleashed, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Best of the Weekend, Link Party Palooza, Weekend Potluck, Pinworthy Projects, Saturday Night Fever, Show Stopper Saturday, Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Craftastic Monday, Busy Monday, Monday Funday, Two Cup Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Mad Skills, Weekend Social, and Lou Lou Girls.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What I Wore - T-Shirt Dress

Is it Fall yet?  I'm so over this heat!  Thank goodness for dresses.  They are the best way to look pulled together when it is hot outside.  No layering, no coordinating, just one article of clothing, a pair of sandals, and you are on your way.  I bought this dress when I was pregnant with Luke along with the Emerald version seen here and here.  I was hopeful that it would still work after I had him, and I'm happy to say that it does.

I love a good T-shirt dress.  It is just as comfortable as throwing on your favorite t-shirt with the added bonus that it's an entire outfit.  This outfit helped me to survive yet another hot September day in Southern California.  Hopefully soon I will be posting outfits with sweaters and boots.  Until then, I will be getting a lot of use out of my dresses.

Dress - Banana Republic Outlet - old
Sandals - Target - old 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Adult Pineapple Whips

As a Southern California resident, I have been to Disneyland a lot of times but I have never tried a Dole Whip.  Every time I saw the long line for the Dole Whips I thought there was no way that a frozen pineapple drink could possibly be worth waiting that long for.  At a recent birthday party for my friend's daughter they served copycat Dole Whips and I quickly realized how wrong I had been.  The best description I can give to those of you who have never had one is a milkshake that tastes like a pineapple creamsicle.  It was unbelievably delicious!

After finishing my cup (well, my first cup) the other parents and I agreed that the only thing that could possibly improve the pineapple whips was to make it an adult beverage.  The idea stuck with me and when I recently saw an ad for the Pineapple Malibu Rum I knew that I had the perfect pairing.  Now I just needed an excuse to make them.  Luckily one quickly presented itself.

I have to admit that I love the Bachelor.  I know it isn't exactly the highest quality TV but I love (and watch) all of its iterations; Bachelor, Bachelorette, and Bachelor Pad.  When I started to see ads for Bachelor in Paradise I could hardly wait for it to start.  Once it started I was excited to find out that a couple of my mom friends watch it too.  We usually text each other commentary as we watch but I decided to invite the girls over for a moms night in.  In honor of Bachelor In Paradise I decided to make "Paradise" Pineapple Whips.

These pineapple whips spiked with pineapple Malibu were the perfect themed drink/dessert to enjoy while watching Bachelor in Paradise.  They are so delicious!  If you have little ones like me who want a treat, make the pineapple whips and save some for yourself.  Then, once the kids go to bed, add some pineapple Malibu to order, a Malibu floater if you will.

Not only are these addictively delicious, they are super easy to make.  Start out by pureeing some frozen pineapple with pineapple juice, and a little bit of both lemon and lime juice.  Add in some vanilla ice cream (I used light to make it more figure friendly).  Stick the mixture back in the freezer for a couple of hours.  Personally, I like it a little bit more liquidy so I can just slurp it up delicately sip it through a straw.  If you are like me, just don't stick it back in the freezer.

When you are ready to serve, pour the frozen mixture into glasses and top with a shot (or two if you are feeling extra sassy) of Pineapple Malibu.  Use a straw to stir it in and then enjoy.  Pure pineapple vanilla delight.

Adult Pineapple Whips
  • 16 oz. frozen pineapple chunks
  • 12 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 4 cups vanilla ice cream (slightly softened)
  • Malibu Pineapple Rum
  1. Blend pineapple chunks with pineapple, lemon, and lime juices.
  2. Stir in vanilla ice cream.
  3. Return to freezer for 2 or more hours.
  4. When ready to serve, spoon into glasses and top with a shot of rum.

I'm linking up with Pin It Thursday, Pin Junkie, Creativity Unleashed, Best of the Weekend, Weekend Potluck, Link Party Palooza, Best Recipes, Pinworthy Projects, Show Stopper Saturday, Saturday Night Fever, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Craftastic MondayBusy Monday, Monday Funday, Tasty Tuesday, and Tasty Tuesdays.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What I Wore - Geometric Print Skirt

I know that for many of you, Fall weather has begun, but here it is over 100 degrees.  You read that right, over 100 degrees.  It has been disgustingly hot so I try to wear the thinnest, coolest things I own.  This skirt may be black, but it is an incredibly thin cotton so it is actually pretty cool.  I had a mommy & me class so I needed something that was long enough to allow me to sit on the ground without giving everyone a show.  This skirt is a perfect length for that.  It's actually super old, one I used to wear back when I taught first grade and needed longer skirts for the very same reason.

A tank top and sandals were the only things I could stand to wear along with it.  I am so ready for the weather to cool off.  What are your go to outfits when the heat is unbearable?

Tank - Loft
Skirt - GAP - old
Sandals - Target - old 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Frosted Peanut Butter Chewy Bars

My stepmom and I share a deep and abiding love for peanut butter.  On our recent trip to England she mentioned these amazing Frosted Chews that she makes.  They are similar to a Rice Krispie treat except that they are made with peanut butter instead of marshmallow.  As she started describing them to me, I knew that I needed to make them ASAP.  I also knew that it wouldn't be a good idea for me to have an entire batch of these in my house because I have zero willpower (as you already know if you regularly read my blog).  Luckily, I had a potluck coming up and these were the perfect treat to bring.

Not only are these amazingly delicious, they are no-bake which is a huge plus during these horrendously hot summer months.  Add in the fact that these are make-ahead (and can even be frozen) and we have a winning dessert!

These Frosted Peanut Butter Chewy Bars are super easy to make! Start out by bringing equal parts sugar, corn syrup, and honey to a boil (stirring occasionally).  If you prefer, you can use just honey or just corn syrup instead of a combination of the two.  Once your sugar mixture boils, take it off the heat and add in some peanut butter, stirring it together until it is all nice and melted.  Y-U-M!  Control yourself and don't eat it yet (well, maybe one little taste, I won't tell).

Stir in your cereal of choice.  I used Kashi Go Lean because that makes these a health food, and I'm all about health foods obviously.  I actually really love Kashi Go Lean.  When I was pregnant I used to mix it with cottage cheese and eat it for snack.  I highly recommend it.

Anyway... back to the bars.  Once you have completely coated the cereal with the peanut butter mixture, press it into a 9 x 13 inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.  I used a deep cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Stick this in the fridge to cool while you make the frosted part of this addictive little treat.

In case you can't tell how deliciously peanut buttery these are, here's a closer look.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine some chocolate chips and some butterscotch chips.  I used a ratio of 2 to 1 chocolate to butterscotch so it wouldn't be over the top sweet but if you like things super duper sweet, go ahead and do half and half.

Microwave the chips in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted.  It took me 1 minute.  When I pulled them out of the microwave after the 2nd time they still looked pretty solid, but once I finished stirring, they were perfectly smooth and melted.  Remember, you can always put them back in to melt more, you can't undo it if you go too far, you'll just have to start over, so I like to err on the side of caution.

Take the chews out of the fridge and use a spatula to spread the melted chips over the cereal mixture.

My "frosting" didn't reach completely to the edges but that is okay.  When you cut them into bars, just cut those parts off and thriftily pop them in your mouth.  It will be our little secret ;)

Cool completely before cutting into bars.  I prefer to eat them cold, but they are just as delicious at room temperature. If you have any leftovers (wow, you have amazing powers of restraint) freeze them and you can eat them straight from the freezer.  Mmm, mmm, mmm!

There is honestly no way to describe how unbelievably addictive and good these Frosted Peanut Butter Chewy Bars are.  The crunch from the cereal, the sticky sweet peanut butter, and the smooth chocolate and butterscotch topping combine to make a dangerously delicious, no-bake treat. 

Frosted Peanut Butter Chewy Bars
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups Kashi Go Lean (or cereal of your choice)
  • 2 cups (12 oz.) chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) butterscotch chips
  1. Cook sugar, honey, and corn syrup in a large pot over medium heat until it boils, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat and add in peanut butter, stirring until melted.
  3. Add in cereal and stir until evenly coated.
  4. Press into a 9 x 13 inch pan lined with parchment paper.  Cool in fridge.
  5. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring well after each until melted and smooth.
  6. Spread melted chips over cereal mixture.  Cool completely before cutting into bars.

I'm linking up with Creativity Unleashed, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Best of the Weekend, Link Party Palooza, Weekend Potluck, Super Saturday, Pinworthy Projects, Show Stopper Saturday, Saturday Night Fever, Munching Mondays, Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Craftastic Monday, Busy Monday, and Monday Funday, Mad Skills, Lou Lou Girls, Create Link Inspire, Tasty Tuesday, Two Cup Tuesday, Wonderfully Creative Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, Whimsy Wednesday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Create It Thursday, Pin It Thursday, Cook It Craft It Share It, Project Stash, and Showcase Your Talent Thursday.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Style Wish List For Fall

So, I had planned on doing a "What I Wore" style post today, but we ended up being super busy this weekend.  Then I was going to have Josh take pics of me on Monday but life got in the way.  Monday I fully experienced what it means to have two kids with activities.  I dropped Jake at Kindergarten, Luke had Mommy & Me (All of you Orange County mamas I will be posting about the great Mommy & Me I've been doing in a couple of weeks.), picked Jake up from Kindergarten, fed the boys, then Jake had a swim lesson followed by soccer practice.  Also it was about one million degrees with one thousand percent humidity so outfit pics just weren't happening.

Anyway, I decided that instead I would share a couple of my style wishes with you.  Since I've decided to take a year off from teaching I need to seriously cut back on my shopping (not that I usually do that much of it) so I've been doing a little window shopping online instead.

There are two key pieces that I've been wanting to add to my wardrobe and Fall is the perfect time for them.  First on my list is a pair of brown riding boots.  I have a cognac pair that I love, but sometimes a dark brown pair would just go better.  These are a few I've been drooling over:

'Vallera' Waterproof Boot

'Simone' Riding Boot (Women) (Nordstrom Exclusive)
'Abigail' Riding Boot

I've also really been wanting a big cognac bag for a long time, and since the Louis Vuitton Never Full bag is NEVER going to fit in my budget I have been browsing for a good alternative.  I've narrowed it down to the J. Crew Downing Tote and the Madewell Transport Tote

Downing toteThe Transport Tote

They are both so pretty and seem like they would be great substitutes.  If you have one of them, please let me know what you think!

Are there any items on your wish list for Fall?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Refrigerator Oatmeal

Today is Jake's first day of Kindergarten.  Even though he has been in school for the last two years for preschool and Pre-K, there is something different about Kindergarten.  I feel like it marks the beginning of losing my baby.  I know I'm probably being dramatic but I'm sure all of you moms out there can understand.  Once they are in school the importance and influence of their friends and teachers increases as mine decreases.  It is an important part of growing up, but it still breaks my heart.  Sorry, I'll stop my pity party now.

With school starting we are back to needing to streamline our mornings.  As Jake is an incredibly slow eater, one of the most important ways I can get us going in the mornings if to have his breakfast ready the night before.  This way he can start eating ASAP while I am taking care of Luke.   This overnight refrigerator oatmeal fits the bill. Not only is it super easy to make and ready to go with no effort in the morning, it is cold.  Jake loves oatmeal but he doesn't really like hot food (I never heated his milk or baby food and it backfired in that he prefers cold food).  Ready to go in the morning, something Jake loves, and I don't have to cool it down for him; win, win, win!

Start out by mixing together some oats, chia seeds, and cinnamon.  I use regular old-fashioned oats, not quick oats.  Add in equal parts fat-free Greek yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, and skim milk.  Squeeze in a little bit of honey and stir it all together.  If you don't have Greek yogurt, you can use regular plain yogurt, just decrease the amount of milk.

Jake loves raisins so I add some of those in too.  At this point it will be very liquidy.  Don't worry, the chia seeds thicken it up.  Cover it and stick it in the fridge overnight.  In the morning your oatmeal will be ready to go.  If you want it a little bit thinner, just add a splash of milk before eating.

This makes enough for Jake for three breakfasts, but for an older kid or an adult it is probably just enough for two days.  I'm pretty sure there's no good way to photograph cold oatmeal, but don't let the way it looks deter you from making it.  This overnight oatmeal is nutritious and delicious.

Apple Cinnamon Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp - 1 tbls. honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  1. Combine oats, chia seeds, and cinnamon in a container.
  2. Add yogurt, applesauce, milk, and honey.  Stir together until well combined.
  3. Mix in raisins, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Stir before serving, adding a splash of milk if desired. 

I'm linking up with Tasty Tuesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Cook It Craft It Share It, Wonderfully Creative Wednesday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Pin It Thursday, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Pin Junkie, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Best of the Weekend, Weekend Potluck, Best Recipes, Pinworthy Projects, Creativity Unleashed, Show Stopper Saturday, Link Party Palooza, Saturday Night Fever, Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Craftastic Monday, Busy Monday, Monday Funday, Lou Lou Girls, Two Cup Tuesday, Mad Skills, and Create Link Inspire.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What I Wore - Back to School

So... today is the first day of school for my school district, but not for me.  After a lot of back and forth and soul searching, we made the decision that I would take a leave of absence from teaching this year to stay home with the boys.  I'm super excited to get to be a full time stay-at-home mom for the year, but it was an extremely tough decision.  I was really sad as I packed up my classroom and realized that I wouldn't be welcoming a new group of students to spend the year learning with me.

To take my mind off of school and help me focus on the amazing family we have built, we decided to spend the long weekend at the beach as a farewell to summer.  It was just what I needed.  There is just something about the beach that makes you slow down and focus on what matters.  As I looked at my boys and listened to the waves crash on the sand I couldn't help but feel incredibly grateful for the life that we have built.  I mean look at that view!

Today, as my fellow teachers start their school year, I am thinking about them and feeling incredibly lucky to get to stay home with my boys.  This is not something I would wear for the first day of school as a teacher, but since I don't have my own first day of school this year, I can be as casual as I want.

These jeans are as close to boyfriend jeans as I can get.  As boyfriend jeans rose in popularity, I tried to get on board, but I just couldn't do it.  No matter how many pairs I tried on, they just weren't flattering on me.  They made me feel bigger than I am and that is the exact opposite of what I'm going for when I get dressed.  To achieve that same casual vibe I picked up this pair of AG straight leg jeans and cuffed them.  Since cuffing can cut off the leg, I added my wonderful wedges to elongate the leg.

In the past I have shied away from horizontal stripes because I felt like they made me look wider, but as I've really tuned in to my own style, I have come to embrace them.  They are such a classic look and always make me feel pulled together.  So here is my not so back-to-school look: cuffed, straight leg jeans, wedges, and horizontal stripes.

 Top - Loft - old
Jeans - AG - old
Wedges - Charles by Charles David