Meet the Sullivans

May 18, 2015

Lately

Oh hey! Life has been so busy lately, and Owen has pretty much stopped napping, so time is precious these days, as is rest. But I still miss this space though and I know that someday I'll miss these updates, so here's what we've been up to lately.

Owen started swim lessons again a few weeks ago and this time I don't have to be in the pool for the class! He does so much better without me in the water with him and I'm able to see all that he's learning. How happy does he look to be in the water? And it helps that he adores his teacher!


Two weeks ago we took Owen to a Giants game. We got to the ballpark way early and checked everything out (and snacked on popcorn and garlic fries) and after a full lap around the park O was begging for me to hold him. By the time we made it to our seats he was asleep in my arms. The game hadn't even started yet! After he woke up he enjoyed the game and sat nicely the whole time.

I finished reading The Wedding Gift in one week and recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Kitchen House. I've moved on All Fall Down now, but haven't been tempted to pick it up too much, but I'll let you know what I think when I finish it. 

Owen's interests in toys are changing a bit. He still loves to play pretend with his dinosaurs, Star Wars figures and Army men, but he's becoming more interested in building train tracks and with Legos lately. And no Lego Duplos for this boy, he only wants the tiny ones meant for big kids. It's so fun to watch him create!

We've finally gotten around to making a garden bed in the backyard! Big HUGE thanks to Keith's brother Kevin for making it happen, because I don't know if Keith and I would have done it on our own. Right now we have a cherry tomato plant and Italian green beans and this morning we're heading out to buy a few more plants to add!

Yesterday Owen had his first Tiny Treks kid's hiking class. I organized the outing for our Mothers Club and I have to say I think nit was pretty successful! A while back I signed O up for a Summer session with Tiny Treks and after watching him yesterday I know he's going to LOVE it! 

That's all for now! Hope to be back again soon! 

April 17, 2015

Hey friday!

Almost a whole week of silence over here, yikes! I don't know the last time I went this long without blogging. I'm here though, and we're all doing great, so no need to worry or wonder what's up. It's just nice to take a little break every once in a while. Don't get me wrong, I love to write this blog, but sometimes it feels a little more have-to than want-to, and that's when I know I need to step back a bit.

Anyhow, happy Friday!


/ one / This weekend we're going to attempt to make our own raised garden bed. I've done a little research and so far the instructions from this Sunset magazine article seem like they'll work the best for us. Wish us luck! I'll let you know how it all goes.

 
/ two / It was almost in the 70s here yesterday and all this sunny warm weather has me excited for Summer, so I bought two dresses this week! The Tribal Print Maxi ($12.99) and Kimono Maxi Dress ($24.99) -- both were a great deal! I'll be living in them this summer.

/ three / 3 yrs and 3 months is  really fun age! I'm just enjoying our little guy so much everyday and I feel really fortunate to be home with him. He asks so many questions, tells stories and enjoys almost anything we're doing together!

/ four / I've been seeing tassel necklace everywhere lately and I really like them for summer with a simple tee or cute dress. I searched Pinterest for a DIY and found this Five Minute Tassel Necklace tutorial. Seems easy enough, so I'm going to give it a try, and if it's a success I will share the results!

/ five / We've got zero commitments this weekend and I'm thrilled! I love being at home with my people and I can't wait to have the weekend here so we can just do whatever our hearts desire! Print source here.
 


Today I'm linking up with...

Friday Favorites at Momfessionals
Oh, Hey Friday at September F A R M 
High Five for Friday at Bright on a Budget
Friday Favorites at The Diary of a Real Housewife
Five on Friday at Hello! Happiness//A.Liz Adventures
//Carolina Charm//The Good Life Blog
Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour
Friday Favorites at Meet @ the Barre

April 10, 2015

April Stitch Fix Review (Box #6)

After taking a a little break between Stitch Fix boxes #5 and 6 during Lent I'm back to show you what came in my most recent box!The box arrived on our doorstep on Good Friday, but I held out until Tuesday to try it all on and make some declensions.


If you're wondering what Stitch Fix is, or how it works... It's a personal shopping service, and all you have to do to get started is fill out the Stitch Fix Style Profile and our personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You can buy what you like and return the rest! The styling fee is $20, and if you pick something from your fix that fee is applied to whatever you decided to buy!

If you've never tried Stitch Fix before I highly recommend giving it at least one try. It is so much fun! And if you do decide to sign up please use my referral link --- thank you thank you!

When I opened the box and saw the pieces chosen for me I wasn't thrilled, at first. There were a pair of shorts, something I rarely wear and a a handful of other items that didn't appeal to me right off the  bat. After checking out the outfit suggestions made by my stylist, I decided that for this fix I would try and re-create the outfit suggestions on the cards to see if I could actually picture myself wearing the pieces with what I already have.  

Item #1: Finnegan Roll Cuff Chino Short by Dear John ($48) - I'm not a fan of shorts. They're super cute on most people -- I just do not like them on myself. I wear them every once in a while, but they have to be the right length. these were way shorter than I'm comfortable with. Verdict: Returned

 
Item #2: Becky Cutout Detail Top by Skies are Blue ($44) - This top fit fine, and I didn't dislike the color, material or print, but I just wasn't excited about it either. It felt very similar to tops I've owned before, so I decided against it. 

I tried it on with the Pomelo Analisse Anorak Jacket I bought from a past Stitch Fix box, my Baxley Zipper Detail Skinny Jeans from my last box, and a pair of taupe booties like the ones shown on the card. Turned out to be a pretty cute, casual outfit. I'll have to remember the combination the next time I get dressed in real clothes! Verdict: Returned


Item #3: Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top by Laila Jayde ($58) - I really did not think I'd like this sweater. Because? 1. it's a sweater and we're on the verge of Spring 2. the color is more Fall to me and 3. the dolman style has never appealed to me. But then I tried it on and fell in love. I knew I was keeping this one for sure. 

I tried it on with some similar pieces I already own, and even though the outfit is very "fall" I was convinced I had to keep the top. I've worn it twice already this week! Verdict: Kept!


Item #4: Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress by Pixley ($68) - I requested a dress I could wear to the park with Owen and then transition to a date night, so I assume this is what they thought would work. I liked the dress (cut/style/color), but the material is just too stiff to wear around with a 3 year-old.

I paired the dress with gold sandals like the ones pictures, but didn't have a gold bag, so I just added the gold tone necklace I received at the Stitch Fix event I went to last month. Looking back at the pictures the dress is pretty cute. Maybe I should have kept it? Verdict: Returned

Item #5: Robyn Teardrop Branch Necklace by Bancroft ($34) - Cute necklace and like the branch style design, but I just wasn't crazy or excited about it. Verdict: Returned


SO, what would you have kept? I usually only let myself keep one thing from each box, but sometimes it's hard to keep to that limit. It is so much fun seeing what they send each month. The pieces I've picked from my fixes over the last year have become some of my favorite staples! So, if you decide to sign up please use my referral link!

You can see a few of my other Stitch Fix reviews here:

April 9, 2015

Thirsty Thursday | Creamy Pineapple Smoothie

Everyone in our house loves pineapple! I buy one most weeks at the store and we always have some frozen pineapple in the freezer to throw into smoothies. The flavor always reminds me of tropical drinks on the beach -- maybe that's why I like it so much? Not only is pineapple delicious, but it also has many health benefits! They:

1. Are an anti-inflammatory food.
2. Lower the risk of macular degeneration.
3. Are high in Vitamin C and are a rich source of Vitamin A and beta carotene.
4. Can help to alleviate nausea.
5. Help to aid in digestion.
6. Are a natural diuretic.
7. Help to strengthen bones.
8. Promote detoxification of the body naturally.
9. Help to maintain healthy teeth.
10. Help to ease sinusitis.

source

Now let's get to that delicious smoothie recipe I promised you!


This smoothie is perfect on a hot day as an afternoon treat! I think O thought it was a milkshake!

Creamy Pineapple Smoothie

INGREDIENTS
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 banana, frozen
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut water
ice

INSTRUCTIONS
Purée all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Drink immediately or pour into popsicle molds and enjoy later as a popsicle!
 

My behind the scenes shot for this week is O trying to spray me with water at the sink while I made our smoothie!

What is your family's favorite fruit to add to smoothies?

April 8, 2015

Easter 2015



We had a great Easter weekend! On Saturday we drove up to Folsom to Keith's sister Teri's house to celebrate Easter with his family. The drive wasn't terrible, but it took about 3 hours to get there when it should have only taken about 2. Owen's expression describes how we were all feeling in the car despite our smiles!


I made and brought a (too)-gigantic carrot shaped version of this Caramelized Garlic Cheese Spread.



When we finally made it up there we had a nice time looking for bugs in the backyard, saving bugs from the pool and watching everyone in very competitive games of tether ball! We ate dinner and then O started falling asleep on the couch snuggled up with his cousin Natalie, so we decided it was time to head home.  Luckily B was able kept O awake in the backseat for most of the drive, but he finally fell asleep about 5 minutes from home. He was an easy transfer though and didn't even bat an eye when changed him before laying him in bed.


Sunday morning O was up bright and early, before the Easter Bunny even had a chance to put his basket out or throw some eggs on the lawn. We managed to keep him busy with the contents of his Easter basket while EB took care of business outside.



He was the happiest little guy when he saw the colorful eggs on the grass outside! There is nothing greater than watching him get so excited! It's the sweetest! 


It was pretty wet and gloomy here on Easter, so we didn't stay outside long. O wanted to open each egg as he found it and I felt bad that I wanted to rush him. Kids really know how to slow down and enjoy special moment, and I think we're the ones who put the pressure on them to go go go.

After our egg hunt we got ready for church. It was a beautiful Mass and Owen did so well. we haven't been able to sit through and entire Mass for a while. We usually end up in the vestibule by the Gospel and have to leave completely after Communion, but on Easter we stayed the whole time. Owen loved when all the children were invited up to the front of the church to listen to the homily and sat attentively through it.



After church we returned home for brunch. I put together Easter Bunny Shaped Cinnamon Rolls, eggs sausage and fruit for us. The cinnamon rolls were so easy and cute! Here's how to make them:

Easter Bunny Shaped Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 can refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
  • 12 chocolate chips (eyes)
  • 6 pink m&ms (noses)
  1. Start by removing the cinnamon rolls from the package. Place 4 cinnamon rolls on large lightly greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Unroll remaining 2 cinnamon rolls and slice the strips of unrolled cinnamon roll in half. Fold each section in half to create a thicker section of cinnamon roll dough. Form it into the shape of ears and pinch the dough to secure the ears to the bunny head.
  2. Firmly press 2 chocolate chips on top of each roll to form the eyes and an m&m for the nose.
  3. Bake according to package directions.
  4. Cool completely, frost and decorate the ears.  
We all had a little rest during nap time and I spent way too much time on Ancestry.com trying to piece together my family tree.


Later in the afternoon we went over to my grandpa's house, which is only a short drive away, for dinner with my side of the family. We did a little egg hunt, ate and talked.


We brought the appetizers, including these Antipasto Skewers!



Dinny (my sister) made chocolate cupcakes from scratch with homemade chocolate butter cream frosting for dessert! Everyone was raving about them at the table while Owen quietly devoured his. You know it's a good cupcake when some of it ends up on your forehead! 



I snapped pictures of these photos of my grandparents that hang in my grandpa's hallway along with dozens of other family photos. I'm hoping to have as many photos in my family tree as I can. Not  all of them have names on the back so I have to depend on my grandpa, mom or aunts to tell me who they are.




April 3, 2015

Beginners Guide to Teaching Bike Safety

Spring Break is here and it's a great reminder that the long, fun-filled days (open space and schedules) of summer are right around the corner! We've gotten used to our busy schedule, so the extra time we'll have in the summer is going to take a little getting used to. I've been jotting down ideas for activities to keep us busy, places we want to visit and things I want to teach Owen this Summer.

Summer Camps are a great way to keep the structure of a school year routine while still allowing children to have the fun freedoms of Summer. Last month I had the pleasure of getting to know more about the camps offered by Avid4 Adventure! They focus on giving their campers and students confidence and a sense of empowerment when it comes to exploring the great outdoors.

One of the activities at the top of our list is getting Owen on his bike more often. You may remember the balance bike that we bought for Owen when he turned 2? He's really into riding on it now that he and Keith have spent time together tinkering with the wheels and riding their bikes together. One of my main concerns with any activity for O is his safety.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Rohan Shahani, Avid4 Adventure’s regional manager. He gave us some great tips on biking riding for the little ones (you can find those below) and explained more about their camps and some of they great places they recommend to visit in the area!


Tips for Bicycle Safety and Confidence:


Helmet Safety! If the helmet fits properly, and the strap is tight enough, it should be hard for your child to fit the strap up into mouth. shake test.. helmet should not shake much, should always cover their forehead. Teach your child they must always wear a helmet, even when they're just touching the bike!

Seat Height! A good rule of thumb to help you get started is to have your child put their hands on their hips and lower the seat to that height. If the bike seat is at the correct height, your child will be on their tippy-toes when they try to touch their feet to the ground. Lowering the seat makes it easier and tends to make kids more comfortable, but that also means that pedaling will be more difficult.

A Good Start! Biking on something semi-soft (like a dirt pathway) and with a slight decline is a good place to start with little ones. The soft ground will make any falls easier to recover from and less scary, and the slight decline will help they get and keep going.

Walk to Ride! Start them off by asking them to walk along side the bike, then walking with the bike while straddling the seat, followed by sitting on to ride.


Stay Positive! Use positive and encouraging words to build confidence and discourage fear of falling. When they stumble or fall, say things like "You're working so hard to learn!" or "Wow you're so brave!" or just "You're doing a good job!"
 
Build Confidence! Teach safety, confidence and independence with the ABCDE's of bikes:

Air. Squeeze the tires and make sure they’re properly inflated.

Brakes. Make sure they are engaging and not rubbing. Spin the tires, then squeeze/push on them. Make sure they fully stop the wheel.

Chain. Check for rust, dirt, and proper lubrication. If need be, spray some chain oil (NEVER WD-40 – makes it sticky!) on a small part of the chain, then cycle is across the cogs. Hold a cloth against it to remove any excess oil while the chain is moving.

Derailleur. Make sure it’s working! Spin the pedals and change some gears. Avoid changing gears while the bike’s chain isn’t moving – it’ll lead to the chain falling off.

Everything Else. Look for any loose parts, seats, dangling bits, or weird noises. I put the front tires between my legs and twist the handlebars back and forth to make sure nothing’s going to come loose there, then pick up the bike (really!) and bounce it on both tires. If anything moves or falls off, I start this check over.


Now we're all ready for a safe and informed Summer on our bikes. We'd like to give a huge thanks to Rohan Shahani and Avid4 Adventure for all the helpful tips!
 
If you're like me and you're looking for some ideas to fill the summer with check out the Avid4 Adventure blog for some great tips and ideas for adventured with your kids! 

Saturday Spotlight

April 2, 2015

Thirsty Thursday | All-Natural Homemade Margaritas

Hello! I'm back with another edition of Thirsty Thursday, where I show you how to make one of my favorite drinks! This time of year when the weather starts to get warmer I'm all about the classic margaritas.

Anytime I slice open a lime the scent takes me back! It reminds me of an ice cold margarita, hot nights and barbeques with our friends! I love margaritas, but the sugary calorie filled store bought mixes make them much less desirable. So over the weekend I decided to try and perfect making my own mix.

This all natural homemade margarita mix uses only 4-ingredients + the addition of your favorite tequila.

All-Natural Homemade Clemintine and Lime Margarita

INGREDIENTS makes one serving
  • 1/4 c fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 c fresh clementine juice
  • 1/2 c cold water
  • 1 1/2 shot tequila (or more if you're in the mood)
  • 1/4 c agave nectar, or to taste
  • ice
  • extra limes and clementines, sliced (for garnish)
*** 1/4 cup of liquid is equal to a standard size shot glass***

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Squeeze the lime and clementine juices into a cocktail shaker, add water, tequila, agave. Check to see that you like the balance of sweetness and tartness, and adjust it to your liking. 
  2. Add 1-2 ice cubes and shake tequila mixture. Layer ice and sliced clementine and lime piece. Pour contents of cocktail shaker over your glass filled with ice.

This recipe I listed above is for just one cocktail, but this could be easily doubled. Although you'll have a lot of limes to squeeze. I use my Citrus Squeeze to juice the limes which makes the whole process much neater! No sneaky seeds slip by and my hands don't get as sticky. Don't try subbing the fresh limes with store bought lime juice, it just will not taste the same.
  


And a little peek from behind the scenes. This is what it really looks like when I'm trying to get a good shot. The light outside is best, and outside at our house there are lots and lots of toys. I thought you might get a kick out of this! 

Now go make yourself one of these delicious margaritas! It's so simple!


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