Dads

MOMS Orange County

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[Sponsor]

“We believe every baby deserves the chance to be born healthy.” – MOMS Orange County CEO Pamela Pimentel, RN

Moms-Orange-County Local nonprofit, MOMS Orange County is changing lives – those  of the born and unborn by giving families the resources, information and support they need for the healthiest pregnancy possible.

The Importance of Prenatal Care

Many of us were likely over informed on every aspect of our pregnancy.

We read up and studied every topic having to do with pregnancy.  We knew the importance of prenatal vitamins. We had supportive partners that attended lamaze classes. We anxiously awaited every doctor’s appointment to learn more. We avoided sushi and pasteurized cheese. We did kick counts. We knew about proper nutrition.

For those fortunate women like me, our pregnancy was set up for success to give our babies the best chance for a healthy delivery.

But for many women, right here in Orange County, that is not the case.

Many women in low income communities are at-risk for unhealthy pregnancies because they don’t have access to prenatal care, or even know where to go to get the care they need during their pregnancy.  These women might not have easy access to a computer to read up on pregnancy information. Many are in abusive relationships and don’t have supportive partners. Often their living situations are overcrowded and stressful. Or, they are isolated by a lack of transportation.

MOMS Orange County gives these women hope. 

I had the opportunity to tour the MOMS Orange County facility in Santa Ana last week and I was touched beyond words by the work they are doing for these women and their families.

MOMS Orange County provides services to more than 3,500+ pregnant women annually in underserved communities at no cost.

If a woman does not have the means, but is motivated to participate in their programs, MOMS Orange County will support them during every stage of pregnancy and throughout their baby’s first year.

Services include in-home visits, access to prenatal care, referrals, health and developmental screenings, education, classes and workshops to educate moms on all aspects of pregnancy and parenthood.

Breaking the Cycle 

An involved dad is important to the overall health and well being of the family.

MOMS Orange County believes and research shows children with involved, caring fathers have better emotional outcomes, higher IQs, better linguistic and cognitive capabilities. They are often also more emotionally secure, confident and have better social connections.

But many MOMS Orange County families are Latino and come from a culture where traditionally the fathers are not involved in pregnancy and child rearing.

Juan Diego, the Director of Health Education at MOMS Orange County, works with dads to break this cycle and teach them the importance of bonding with their baby.

juan diego

He estimates up to 90% of the dads-to-be he works with had poor emotional connections and relationships with their own father.

He wants to change that, and these dads do too. They want to be better fathers to their own children and better partners to their wives, but many don’t know how.  He gives them the education and encouragement needed to do so.

Workshop for New Fathers 

Juan Diego (incidentally the only male employee!) leads a Workshop for New Fathers in Spanish which focuses on giving men the tools and information to inspire them to be involved when their babies arrive.

The dads are able to ask questions and learn in a supportive environment.

I had the opportunity to witness one of these workshops in person and it almost brought tears to my eyes.  To see the dads holding babies, and the way the babies interacted and looked at them said it all. Total adoration.

baby

In the Workshop, Juan Diego stresses the importance of their role, and covers the topics of infant safety, diapering, burping, swaddling, feeding, holding, soothing, and bathing their new babies.

Here he is giving a demonstration on the importance of never shaking a baby or playing too rough.

infant safety

Perhaps though one of my favorite parts of this workshop was watching the dads talking together in small groups holding infants.  As moms, we have so many opportunities to talk with other parents. Many times the dads don’t have the same opportunities.

dads

The MOMS Orange County Difference  

The positive difference MOMS Orange County is making in women’s lives can be measured in more ways than solely the words of love and appreciation shown by their families, their results are trackable.

Of infants born to mothers in MOMS Orange County’s in-home Maternal Child Health Coordination program:

85% reach a gestational age of 37+ weeks, have a healthy birth weight and spend no time in the NICU

92.5% of babies are on track for achievement of developmental milestones

97% on on track with their immunizations

It’s a beautiful thing.

Get Involved  

To learn more about MOMS Orange County, visit www.momsorangecounty.org.

Hooray! It’s a Tiny Giveaway! 

In celebration of all dads and dads-to-be, MOMS Orange County is generously giving away a $300 gift certificate to www.fodada.com. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cute DIY Father’s Day Gift Ideas

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DIY Fathers Day Gift Ideas from Kids

For anyone looking for some cute DIY Fathers Day gift ideas from kids, I’ve rounded up some of my Pinterest favorites.  These are super adorable and super easy to make!

1. Book About Dad

Image and idea found on www.themeasuredmom.com

free-printable-book-about-Dad

This free printable Father’s Day “book” template is perfect for kiddos who are old enough to draw their daddy some fun pictures…and write about what they love most about him.

2. Daddy Tackle Box

Image and idea found on www.redtri.com

daddy tacklebox

I saw this idea and thought it was adorable!  Pick up an inexpensive plastic container with multiple sections, and select candy that resembles anything fishing-related (Swedish fish and gummy worms are my favorite!).  A yummy treat for dad…and a cute spin for daddies who love to fish. A daddy “tackle” box!!

3. I’m hooked on Daddy!

Hooked on Daddy

Speaking of fishing, isn’t this precious?!  I’m little biased since my son made this at preschool.  His preschool teacher had each child dip their hand in orange paint and carefully make a print on a white ceramic tile.  And since (at the time) this was the “3s and 4s” class, she finished up the masterpiece by painting the hook and ocean…plus added the “I’m hooked on daddy,” with my son’s name and date.  My husband LOVED this!

4. Daddy Ties

Image and idea found on www.thecraftingchicks.com

Printable-Daddy-Ties

This is a great way to not only make daddy a new “tie,” but also have your kiddo fill out one of those cute surveys about their daddy.  I loved this presentation.  Plus this site offers it as a free printable!

5. Daddy Art Frame

Idea and image found on www.itsysparks.com 

Daddy Frame Art

You can pick up one of these three tier frames pretty inexpensively at Target or Walmart.  Choose a finger paint picture (or really any art your child has made) and crop it to fit in the first photo spot.  Add your kiddo’s picture in the next space, and finally write a personal message, or print this super sweet poem for daddies (found on the site) and put it in the third spot.  Add any stickers or writing to the matte part of the frame, and voila!  A great keepsake for daddy!

6. “A Chip Off the Old Block”

A Chip Off the Old Block

This is another favorite project from our preschool, back when Elizabeth was little.  Her teachers got a smooth piece of wood and made a “chip” in the wood block. Then each child got to paint/decorate the wood.  Next, they had each child wear something that represented their daddy (for us, of course, was his favorite Wildcats sweatshirt!), printed the picture, and hot glued the picture on the wood block.  The final touch?  A sweet little “Chip off the old block” print-out.  My husband still has this in his office.  Such a cute idea!

7. “Play Ball” Mason Jar

Image and idea found on www.hometalk.com

play-ball-mason-jar

This is so fun for any sports loving dad…you can decorate a mason jar to look like a baseball (pictured above), a basketball, a football, a soccer ball – the sky’s the limit!  For a little extra pizazz, add sporting tickets to an upcoming game!

8. New Daddy Survival Kit

Image and idea found on www.lifewiththesweetmans.wordpress.com

New Daddy Survival Kit

I LOVE this idea for new dads.  Check out the site for details on what to put in this gift basket – they suggest adding a little attached note to each “survival” item…some are cute, some are hilarious!  Great for new dads or dads-to-be.

9. Father’s Day “Scrabble” Frame

Image and idea found on www.zitzmanfam.blogspot.com

Scrabble Frame

Talk about simple…and cute!  Pick a frame you love, print a picture of your kiddo(s) that you love, and hot glue scrabble letters to the frame.  You can spell out any message you want…”I love you,” or “You are my hero,” or “Super Dad.”  The possibilities are endless. Done and done.

10. Kid-Made Scribble Mug

Image and idea found on www.iheartartsncrafts.com

Scribble Mug

Last, but not least, this site walks you through how to make a “scribble” mug.  If you have coffee or tea loving dad, this would be a great DIY gift idea!  Check out the site for step-by-step instructions.  Love this!

Do you have any favorite DIY or easy Father’s Day crafts that you’ve had success with?  If so, please share below!  Let’s show all of the daddies out there some love!

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Juicy Holiday Gift Guide – FOR HIM

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Disclosure: We are a part of the Amazon Affiliate program and all links in this post are affiliate links. No difference in price or shopping experience to you, but if you purchase a small percentage goes to support our blog. Thank you! 

Amazon holiday gift ideas for him

Typically holiday gift ideas for him are the hardest for me, but we found a lot of great ideas on Amazon so today’s post is on Amazon holiday gift ideas for him.

Click here for our Amazon holiday gift ideas for her, for little girls, and for little boys.

Links below correlate with the images above top to bottom, left to right. Happy shopping!

Amazon Holiday Gift Ideas for Him 2014 

1. Culina BBQ set 14 pcs Stainless Steel in Easy Stow Aluminum Carry Case

2. #1 Silicone BBQ Gloves

3. Patagonia Chacabuco Pack – 32L Black

4. Casio G-SHOCK 30th Anniversary Collaboration Series

5. Dad’s Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time

6. Dancin Dogg OptiShot Infrared Golf Simulator

7. Herschel Supply Co. Charlie Nubuck Leather, Brown, One Size

8. UGG Australia Men’s Ascot Leather Slippers

9. Jockey Men’s Tall Flannel Sleep Pant

10. SOG EL-10-CP Contractor I Knife

11. Fenix LD12 G2 125 Lumens Compact EDC LED Flashlight use 1x AA Battery with Free Holster, Lanyard & 1 LumenTac AA Battery

12. The Godfather (Widescreen Edition)

13. Brookstone – Perfect Drink App-Controlled Smart Bartending

14. Citizen Men’s AW1361-10H “Sport” Stainless Steel Watch with Brown Leather Band

15. The North Face Summit Series Radium Hi-Loft Jacket

16. Good&god Vintage Pu Leather Briefcase Shoulder Business Laptop Messenger Bag

17. Libbey Craft Brew Sampler 6-Piece Beer Glasses Set, Clear

18. Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-1/2-Inch Charcoal Smoker, Black

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Get Your Grill On [Giveaway!]

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Brined pork chop recipe

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the National Pork Board 

Nothing makes me happier than the official arrival of grilling season.  In sunny SoCal we truly can grill year round, but I particularly love spring time when we can embrace the arrival of even warmer temps, lighter nights and weekend BBQ’s with friends firing up the grill while the kids run around.

To celebrate, I have an amazing grilling giveaway today from the National Pork Board and Kroger‘s which includes:

$250 Kroger (Ralph’s) Gift Card
Two Grilling Prep Trays from Williams Sonoma
Tong/Spatula Set
Grilling Mitt & Apron
Basting Brush
Digital Thermometer

Hello ultimate Father’s Day gift (enter below!)

Susanne and her husband recently had my family over for a Sunday afternoon barbecue to test out a new brined pork chop recipe and let me tell you, she makes a TOP chop! Hopefully this post inspires you to invite some family or friends over to try it out for yourself.

But before we get into the recipe (which you have to try – total crowd pleaser), I wanted to share a current contest going on where the winner gets a $15,000 backyard makeover!

#ChopGriller Contest 

Do you think YOU have a top chop?

In only 140 characters, enter the reason why you think you make the best chop in the neighborhood in the #ChopGriller contest by May 16th, 2014 and you might be grilling in the backyard of your dreams!

The winner will receive $15,000 toward a backyard makeover, a summer’s worth of free pork and a Large Big Green Egg® in Mahogany Table, Custom EGG® Tools and Big Green Egg Organic Lump Charcoal.

Click here for #ChopGriller contest details and to enter.

Chop Shoppin’ 

Susanne has been on a mission to help me learn to cook for some time now, so I joined her at our local Ralph’s, the ultimate source for barbecue essentials, to get some tips on shopping for her menu, which was to include brined New York Pork Chops, grilled peaches, cous cous and a balsamic Burrata salad.

suschops

There were prepackaged chops in the refrigeration section and also chops available at the butcher counter.

The National Pork Board adopted several new cut names last April to match the names of familiar cuts of beef for easier identification and preparations. For Susanne’s recipe, we went for the prepackaged New York Pork Chop, a boneless cut, formerly known as the Top Loin, or Center Cut.

The prepackaged chops were thinner than the ones behind the counter, so Susanne opted for the thinner variety.

Ralph’s had it on sale at $2.99/lb which means we got 9 New York Pork Chops for only $9.30! Very inexpensive way to feed a group, right?!

Susanne’s New York Pork Chop Recipe 

To infuse the most flavor into the chops, Susanne made a brine for the chops to marinate in for a couple hours before cooking.

Any lean, dry meat, like a pork chop is a great candidate for brining, which enhances flavor and adds moisture.

brining

Pork Chop Brine Recipe

9 New York Pork Chops

1 c brown sugar

1/4 c apple cider vinegar

4 T Kosher Salt

2 T garlic powder

1/2 T black peppercorns

1 T allspice (whole)

2 T dried marjoram (or dried thyme)

2 t dry mustard

1/8 t red pepper flakes

ice cubes

Pork Chop Brine Instructions 

1.  In a medium saucepan bring all ingredients to a simmer (except pork chops and ice cubes- ha!)  Stir until sugar and salt has dissolved.  Remove from heat and pour over ice cubes to cool.

2.  Once cooled, place New York Pork Chops in the liquid and refrigerate, brining for 1-2 hours.

3.   Remove New York Pork Chops from the brine, pat dry with a paper towel,  lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub with a touch of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Grill It Like a Steak!

Grilling a New York Pork Chop is very easy, you simply grill it like a steak!

Susanne cooked them on a medium heat grill, and turned a total of 4 times, for 2 minutes every turn, to give them the nice grill hashmark.  The length of time you want to cook depends on the thickness.  Click here for an easy cooking times and temps guide.

When you’ve finished grilling, cover the pork chops with foil and let them rest for 3 minutes before serving.

chops

Here is my husband who was the inspired “SUS Chef”!

grilling

Important note: you don’t want to overcook pork or it will be too dry.

The recommended internal temp for our chops was between 145°F degrees (medium rare) and 160°F degrees (medium) followed by a 3 minute rest time, so Susanne was careful to monitor the temperature to take them off the grill at the right temperature.

A good digital meat thermometer is essential when grilling pork.

145

Then it was time to grill the accompanying peaches.

Grilled Peaches Recipe 

4 peaches, quartered, pit removed

2 t maple syrup

2 t balsamic vinegar

2 t brandy (or sherry wine)

2 t Extra Virgin Olive Oil

salt + pepper

fresh basil, rinsed and torn for serving

Grilled Peaches Instructions

Toss the peaches the rest of the ingredients about 15 mins before ready to grill (except basil).

Grill until just browned and caramelized, turning frequently to maintain the structure of the peach.  Remove from grill and return to the balsamic/maple liquid.

grilled peaches

And look how pretty it turned out to serve on a platter family style with some fresh basil leaves…

familystylechops The meal was served on a bed of cous cous with a refreshing salad of crisp greens with Burrata cheese on the side.

The whole group, including my two picky kiddos, gave it a thumbs up!

girls

Crisp Greens Salad with Burrata Cheese Recipe

Mixed baby greens (we chose one with baby kale)

2 packages Burrata cheese (drained from liquid, dried with paper towels)

1/2 thinly sliced onion, marinated in red wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar to remove the over whelming onion taste.

whole almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

balsamic vinaigrette (you favorite from the store or make your own!)

plateoffood

The entire meal was light and perfect for a warm afternoon.

The combination of the sweet peaches with the brine flavor packed a flavorful punch.  All of the flavors on the plate played so well together, it was fun mixing different ingredients on the plate to make each bite a little different.  Creamy Burrata and crunchy almonds with a bite of pork and peaches- YUM!

Happy grilling from our families to yours!

BBQing

 

Grilling Giveaway! 

One lucky winner will receive $250 Kroger (Ralph’s) Gift Card, two grilling prep trays, tong/spatula set, grilling mitt & apron, basting brush and digital thermometer! Good luck and happy grilling!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the National Pork Board. We also received the above grilling giveaway items to assist with the writing of this post. 

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Father’s Day Gift Guide: Ideas For Every Dad

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Today I’m rounding up fun and unique Father’s Day gift ideas because there’s no question that finding the perfect gift for our favorite guys can be quite challenging. Whether your special guy is a sports addict, an adventurer, a techie, or the family grill master, our Father’s Day Gift Guide has you covered.

5 Unique Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Personalized Iphone Case, $59
Find your favorite family photo and turn it into the best iphone case a dad could ask for. This super cute idea from Erin Condren keeps dad’s favorite people close to him all day long.


Craft Beer of the Month Club, $37.75/mnth [affiliate link]
Give the gift that keeps on giving with a subscription to the craft beer of the month club. It’s no secret that craft beer is having its moment to shine lately, so why not join in on the fun and get dad 12 new craft beers to try every month.


Blue Prints of his Favorite Stadium
, $185
My hubby is a huge Boston Red Sox fan and has done everything in his power to make sure our son follows in his footsteps – very successfully I might add. These blue prints of sports stadiums make the ultimate son to father gift.


Monogramed Steak Board and Carving Set
, $69.95
If your guy takes his grilling duties seriously, this monogrammed steak board and carving set is the ideal gift. And, I promise your friends and family will be wildly impressed at your next backyard BBQ.

GoPro HERO3: Black Edition, $382.89 [affiliate link]
This is for the dad who loves capturing his adventures. GoPro’s wearable cameras are a huge hit with everyone from professional athletes to TV producers.  What’s more fun than getting dad a gift that allows him to document his favorite activities and share them with his kids. He’ll truly love this one!

 I hope these ideas help make shopping for Dad a little easier this year. Do you have any special plans for Father’s Day? I’d love to hear how you plan to celebrate Dad in your family!

 

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