Celebrate National Strawberry Shortcake Day at Macy’s Ala Moana

Summer is here! Ok, maybe not officially but the temperatures and our upcoming travel plans sure have me feeling as if it is.

One of my absolute favorite summer traditions is attending the Strawberry Festival in my grandparent’s small town. Three days of crafts, parades, and wholesome fun make for a happy mama. Oh, and all the strawberry shortcakes that you can eat don’t hurt either 😉

I’m still about a month away from stuffing my face with my favorite small town strawberry shortcakes so, to hold me over, I decided to make my own version of the iconic summer dish. 

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I’m not always a fan of a really sponge-y cake that gets soggy once you add toppings, so when making strawberry shortcakes at home, I prefer to use a biscuit as the base. This time, I started with a chocolate biscuit (cut into star shapes for a little extra flair), added a layer of juicy, ripe strawberries and topped with a drizzle of my homemade marshmallow whipped cream. 

YUM

Tuesday, June 14th is National Strawberry Shortcake Day and this year I’ll be celebrating with Macy’s. Across the country, local chefs will be visiting select Macy’s locations and demonstrating how to build their perfect version of this American classic. Sounds fun, right?!

If you are on O’ahu, come join me at Macy’s Ala Moana! The event is free and the demonstration begins at 2PM. Not in Honolulu? Check here for an event near you. (While the Honolulu event does not require an RSVP, some do – make sure to check early and reserve your spot!)

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If you can’t find an event near you, make sure to check out this recipe for “The Most Amazing Strawberry Shortcake You’ll Ever Make” by Johnny Iuzzini, award-winning pastry chef and member of Macy’s Culinary Council. Shoot – even if you can attend one of the events, make this recipe. Slow roasted strawberries with a vanilla-creme chantilly?! I’m drooling…

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This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

How do YOU like your strawberry shortcake?

Transitioning from 1 child to 2

In the weeks leading up to Simon’s birth I spent a lot of time (ah, time – I still had some back then) thinking about how life would be with two little children. Looking back, I wish I would have spent less time worrying and more time singing to my belly…or catching up on laundry…or doing absolutely nothing…so I wrote a little letter to one-child Natasha to ease her worries 😉

Lyla and Simon

Hey past-self! 

I know you are afraid that you can’t love another little body as much as you love Lyla, but I promise, you can. I know, I know every mom says it…but that’s because it’s true. The second that Simon Earl is born, you are going to feel your heart double in size. 

Speaking of him being born, I know that you are not looking forward to doing the whole labor and delivery thing again. Sure, your first experience was a little crazy, but this time will be much less eventful. Yes, it’s going to hurt – bad – but the pain is temporary and the reward so worth it. I know that you are debating whether or not you are going to get an epidural this time. Spoilers: you don’t. And it’s fine. So stop fretting about it and just trust the process. You have an awesome doctor and an incredibly encouraging husband.  The first words out of your mouth will be “He’s perfect. I’ll do it again” and when it’s all said and done you will weirdly look forward to doing just that.

Newborns sleep a lot. So much so that for the first two months you almost think that the whole “two under two” thing is overrated. Enjoy this time. Don’t get cocky. Spend Simon’s sleepy time snuggling your first born and when she’s sleeping too? Catch up on Hart Of Dixie while you still can. 

Once Simon is out of the “sleep all the time” phase, things get a little harder but it’s nothing that you can’t manage. I know you are wondering how you will ever manage taking two kids anywhere by yourself but you do it. Everyday. It’s really a non-issue. Simon is kind of just forced to go with the flow and you are all happier because of it.  

Sleep deprivation isn’t nearly as devastating the second time around. Thank goodness, right? Simon is going to spoil you with sleeping six hour stretches at night for the first couple of months but don’t get too comfortable. He will start waking every 2-3 hours wanting to nurse, and still will be at six months with no end in sight, but you will manage.

In the beginning, you are late to everything. No matter how prepared you think you are, you will always forget something. It’s going to make you feel crazy and scatterbrained. It’s going to irritate you more than you would like to admit. Eventually, you get it together – you even make it to Simon’s six month well-visit 20 minutes early! 

Right now, you can’t imagine how sweet it is watching your babies interact with each other, and I can’t try to explain it to you either. It’s simply the best. 

Speaking of being the best – that newborn smell? MAN you didn’t realize just how good it was when you had Lyla. As soon as you have your baby boy in your hands you won’t be able to get enough. For the first couple of weeks (ok, months) you will stay up at night after nursing him and just hold smell him. For hours. No shame. I’m actually pretty envious of you right now. Take a sniff for me, k?

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but breastfeeding hurts just as bad the second time around. Bummer, yea? But you will stick with it and Simon will thrive. He’s a big, healthy boy. 

The hardest part about transitioning from 1 child to 2? Missing your husband. Alex is an amazing dad (duh, you already know that) and is so great about sharing the parenting load. Having just Lyla, you still have a lot of time to spend together. Meals, diaper changes, bath, bed time – it’s always two against one, you have so much time to spend together as a family. Once Simon enters the picture, a lot of “divide and conquer” happens. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. You miss him. A lot. But it gets better, I promise. 

There are so many unknowns right around the corner. So many emotions to feel. In the next few months you will experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. You are going to fall more in love with your husband. You are going to grow in your faith. You are going to gain a deeper respect for your own parents. You are going to be encouraged and you are going to be let down. You are going to have days when you feel like Mary Poppins and days where you feel totally unprepared to be a mother. 

I know that you are scared now, but try really hard not to be, k? Becoming a mother of two is going to be the best thing that has happened to you since becoming a mom for the first time! You are going to learn and grow SO much. Your life is going to be richer than you can imagine. 

Rub that belly for me (I miss it already), soak up your Alex and Lyla time and make sure you pack your hospital bag when you go to Auntie’s for Thanksgiving – you have an 8lb 2oz turkey on the way! 

Love, 

Older, wiser you

 

 

 

Dearest Husband

Dearest Husband, 

God knew just what he was doing when he put you into my life. 

He knew I would need a cheerleader. Someone positive and encouraging. Someone to continuously push me forward. 

He knew I would need someone low-key. To keep me balanced. To help me slow down. 

He knew I would need someone funny. Someone to crack a joke when I am taking things too seriously.

He knew I would need a teacher. Someone full of knowledge, ready to dispose it onto me. 

He knew I would need someone easy-going. Someone to put up with my whimsical ideas and grand plans. 

He knew I would need a partner. Someone who will pick up my slack without a saying a word. 

He knew I would need a rock. Someone to anchor myself to when the seas got rough. 

(Almost) ten years ago when we first said “hello” on the football field at California Lutheran University, I didn’t know you were these things. (I just thought you were cute).

I didn’t know I needed these things.

But God knew. 

And I am forever grateful. 

Thank you for being my person. Then, now and always. 

I love you. 

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P.S. We need more photos together 😉