November 25, 2014

Gift Giving with TreBella Jewels

Is anyone else starting to feel the holiday gift buying anxiety yet? I sure am! I'm determined to have all our gift buying done by the time we leave for Disneyland in a couple weeks. I've been busying myself with lots of online browsing and shopping and I have something especially lovely to share with you today!


I'm not sure if you agree, but I think women are the easiest people to shop for. I love shopping for my mom, sister, girlfriends and female family members, because I feel like I can always find something they'll adore. Maybe it's because there are so many beautiful options out there, like all of the gorgeous jewelry available from TreBella Jewels.


I was recently asked to review this  Sparkling Black Spinel Diamond Tassel Necklace from TreBella Jewels and though it was perfect timing to share something like this with the holidays literally upon us. I love that the tassel necklace can easily be paired with a cocktail dress for a holiday party or date night, or even with a simple sweater and jeans for dinner with friends -- and there are so many colorful options available. They are all handmade, using natural stones.

There are plenty of pieces available in the under $300 range too, and you can give request a custom piece as well! Just tell them your price range and your vision and they'll work with you to create a lovely piece of jewelry to gift or keep.

And I'm so exited to tell you that TreBella Jewels has offered to give Meet the Sullivans readers 15% off when you use the code COLLEEN2014 at checkout!

Be sure to sign up for join the TreBella Jewels newsletter too -- they'll send you their 'product of the week', which includes special discount codes as well as reminders about our sales, and be sure to give them your birth date (don't worry they don't ask for the year)!  So they can send you a birthday offer on your special month!

You can also follow them on their social media channels on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date on their sales.


Happy shopping and gifting! 

*A special thanks to my sister for being my model! You can check out her blog @ The Pretend Cookie.

November 24, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: for the Family

Hey there! Happy Monday before Thanksgiving! Keith was at a class all weekend, but luckily he's off most of the week, so we can get lots of the work for Thanksgiving checked off our list. I don't know about you, but I've barely started my Christmas shopping this year. We've bought O a couple things and I've bought one thing for Keith, but I still have so many people to shop for.

Christmas shopping is so much fun, but it can also be incredibly daunting, especially if you don't know what to give! Keith comes from a large family -- 5 siblings total, + a spouse and at least two children per family, which puts us at 21 on his side of the family -- so each year we do a Family Gift Exchange, where we draw family names and each family gives the family they draw a gift instead of buying individual gifts for each person.

We love this idea, because it is so fun trying to find something that everyone will like and have fun with. We usually go with a theme to help center the gift. In recent years we've done movie tickets, and ice cream makers. Here are some other great ideas for families of all ages!



MOVIE NIGHT - What family doesn't love cuddling up on the couch to watch a movie together? Some of our personal favorites to give are: the Toy Story trilogy, Home Alone 1 & 2, Elf and now Frozen. Include candy, popcorn, popcorn bowls and a cozy blanket along with the movies.

OUTDOOR FUN - Coped up all winter long, we all dream of warmer days when we can play outside to our heart's content. Games and activities for the outdoors are usually something every member of a family can participate in, like ladder ball, bean bag toss or bowling

COLD TREATS - Make dessert a family activity with a Zoku Slush & Shake maker, ice cream maker or popsicle mold. You can include an ice cream mix, sprinkles or even some cute bowls to complete the gift.

KINECT - We have had the Kinect for about four years and it is a great activity to play with a group that gets everyone moving, involved and having fun! There are some great games that even younger children can enjoy, like Kinect Party and Kinect Sports.

AN EXPERIENCE - This is our favorite kind of gift to give and receive! A membership to a museum or theme park or one-day admission for the whole family! We've also give tickets to a movie paired with each persons favorite snack or candy, etc.

Tip: If you're local check our Favorite Toddler Outings for ideas for place to go and see.

GAME NIGHT - Many fun games for families to play together. Here are some of my personal favorite that even younger children can participate in: Apples to Apples Jr., Headbanz, Dropping Ball, Story Cubes.

Tip: right now lots of the board games at Target are buy 1 get one for 50% off.

WAFFLE IRONS - Sunday breakfast is something we all look forward to. We use this Mickey Mouse waffle iron at our house, but there are other fun ones that families are sure to enjoy, like hearts and zoo animals. Include some syrup, coffee, your favorite waffle mix and the gift is ready for giving! 

MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION - There are so many monthly subscription boxes (a service that sends interesting, new goods to your door each month) out there these days that you could easily find one to fit the liking of the family you're shopping for. We've loved Citrus Lane and Kiwi Crate, but Koala Crate and Tinker Crate sound like a great option for kids too.

Tip: Use PREVIEW60 to save 60% off your first month of any Kiwi Crate! This works on the Koala Crate, Tinker Crate and Doodle Crate too.

Put the gifts in a basket they can use for something else (toys, throw blankets, etc. ) HomeGoods and Ikea are great places to shop for these, or order a personalized tote with the family name on it.  

What are your favorite group or family gift ideas?

November 21, 2014

Five on Friday

Good morning and happy Friday! We've had a really nice week with some great rainy days and lots of fun, so we're ready for the weekend. Let's get on with it!

Still trying to decide what to make for dessert for Thanksgiving this year? Consider these 4-Ingredient Mini Pumpkin Pies! I promise they're really easy to make, and everyone loves miniature food!

It was pouring rain yesterday on our way home from school, so I promised O that after nap time we'd put on our boots and coats and stop in the puddles. By the time he was up the rain had almost stopped and the puddles were drying up, which of course kick started a round of O's favorite new questions, "Why?". Everything is "Why?" lately...

O: Why is the wind blowing the clouds?
Me: Because the wind is blowing.
O: Why is the wind blowing?
Me: Because the weather is changing.
O: Why is the weather changing?
Me: Because we're getting closer to Winter.

.... you get the idea! It's really sweet, and I know he is asking because he is interested in the world around him, so I don't mind answering "Why?" questions all day long, but I am running out of answers a 2 year-old can understand!

The time change is still having an affect on us. I had hoped it might work in our favor, the sun going down earlier = an earlier bedtime, etc. Unfortunately though, we're still not making it to "lights out" any earlier than 7:45pm and we've stuck to rising earlier, still up at what would have been 6 or 6:30am before the time change, which is actually 5 or 5:30. The upside to all of this? Getting to see a beautiful sunrise! That was the sky last Sunday morning. 

If you need me, I will be in the kitchen. The Whole 30 has me chopping, scrambling, baking and sautéing like a madwoman. Pretty much all I have done this week is shop for, cook and plan our meals -- which is quite possibly the most challenging part of this challenge. Today is day 5 and the thing I miss the most is chewing gum, which we weird because I would have thought I'd miss toast, cheese or coffee creamer. I'll give a more detailed rundown next week.

I saw this article from the  NY Times this week about what children around the world eat for breakfast and it actually made me feel pretty good about O's eating habits. We always try our best to give him a well rounded breakfast (and lunch, snacks, dinner) but sometimes it seems really oddly matched, i.e., cheese stick / bacon / apple and peanut butter. Well, according to this list, having a variety of flavors is pretty normal for childrens' breakfasts around the world.

And I'm linking up with a whole lot of people today! 
Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife!
Momfessionals
Friday Favorites with A Little Bit of EverythingMomfessionals, and Grace and Love.

November 19, 2014

Fall with eShakti

The weather is finally cold here in California (by a Californian's standard), which really makes me want to spend all day, everyday in warm comfortable clothes! I'd love to be able to live in sweats and tee shirts, but alas, we must leave this house once a day, so I have to find a great balance between comfortable and presentable.

I was recently asked by eShakti to review one of their pieces, and as soon as I saw this jacket I knew it would be perfect for me -- just long enough to wear with leggings! Have you shopped on eShakti's site? They are the only online women's fashion apparel company offering sizes 0-36W & custom clothing. Yes, you read that right custom clothing -- it isn't just for celebrities, real people can have it too, and not for an outrageous price either.  They offer a wide variety of dresses (holiday, wedding, special events and even casual), jackets, tops, sweaters and skirts that are fully customizable to your liking.


On the site you'll find a basic design for all items, which you can then alter by changing the length, sleeve length, collar, neckline, etc. You can also leave it as is and just have the piece made to fit your specific measurements.


Like I said, when I saw this jacket I loved it, so I decided to keep the shape as it was shown, and just customized it to match my measurements. Ordering was really easy -- they walk you through the proper steps to get your correct measurements, and I was actually able to do it all myself, although they recommend having someone help you. 

My item arrived about 10 days later and it fit me just as I'd hoped! I love wearing it with leggings and boots or booties, but it would also be pretty cute with jeans or the right dress (with boots)! Overall, I had a fantastic experience with eShakti and would absolutely recommend to you for the next time you need to buy a dress or sweater. 


Have you ever ordered a piece of clothing from eShakti or had something custom made? Learn more about eShakti's custom products at Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

November 18, 2014

4-Ingredient Mini Pumpkin Pies

This is my go to Fall dessert when we're entertaining. These are small enough to satisfy the craving for something sweet and easy to just grab -- no serving knife or cutting required. What I really love about them though is that with only 4 ingredients they are so easy to throw together.

I made them this week, even though we are currently in our first week of Whole 30, because Keith's co-workers are having an office Thanksgiving potluck lunch. It wasn't so hard to making them knowing we couldn't have any, but having them sit there in the kitchen all evening after I made them was torture. Looking forward to Thanksgiving so I can have some!


Ingredients
Makes two dozen.

1 can pumpkin pie filling
1 5oz can evaporated milk
2 eggs
2 packages prepared pie crust (the kind in the rolls, not the shells)

Instructions
Preheat your oven according to package directions. Lightly flour a cutting board and unroll one pie crust and start cutting out your mini pie crusts. I used a regular drinking glass that's radius was slightly larger that the size of the muffin tin holes. I was able to get 6 pie crusts out of each roll of pie dough -- save the scraps if you'd like to create a cute design for the top. I used the scraps and a set of holiday pie crust cutters I bought on Zulily, similar to these from Williams-Sonoma, to create the design on top.   

Press each mini pie crust into the cups of a standard muffin tin. (Do not grease the muffin tin)

Mix together the eggs, pie filling and evaporated milk. For easy pouring put your batter in a large measuring cup and pour about 1/4 cup filling into each prepared crust. Bake according to package directions or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the middle pies comes out clean.

Let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes or more before removing them from the muffin tin. They should come out easily, but you can use a butter knife to loosen them if they get a little stuck. Serve with whipped cream!



What are you serving for Thanksgiving this year?
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