Meet the Sullivans: May 2013

May 31, 2013

5 on Friday

Hey friends! I'm linking up again this week with Darci of [the good life], April of A. Liz Adventures, Christina of Carolina Charm, and Natasha of Hello! Happiness for 5 on Friday! Here are some things on my mind this Friday morning: 

1. I am so excited about the new Erin Condren Life Planners! They will be available for purchase Jun 4th. You may have seen my reviews for my last two planners (2011-2012 and 2012-2013), so you know I love their products! Erin made some great improvements on the Life Planner last year and she added some more great improvements this year too! I'm most excited about the space for logging exercise / meal planning / baby stuff.  I've been wanting a space like this in my planner for a while. I can't WAIT to see the new cover designs they developed this year!


I'm kind of loving the Paisley cover for my next planner. I have a set of EC Paisley notepads and they look so pretty. What do you think?



2. Did I tell you we're taking Owen to Disneyland this (late) Summer? We have never taken him anywhere overnight---and Keith and I love Disneyland and we've both always wanted to take our kids there "someday", and well, "someday" has arrived! I spend a lot of time running through scenarios and plans in my head to help me get us prepared. We still have months before we go, but I think I'll need that much time to collect / figure everything out. You can never be too prepared!

3. I thought I would be able to get through an entire post without talking about or showing pictures of food, but that obviously ain't gonna happen! This Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato has been tempting me from inside the freezer of my Safeway for weeks and after bailing on the cleanse I have ran full force into the arms of it. Seriously, if you haven't tried this stuff you have got to. It is that good. I'm curious about the other flavors. Do you have a favorite?


We tried Kevin & Amanda's Spicy Sausage Pasta this week and it was really really good. I made ours without the spice because I wanted Owen to try it. Keith asked if next time we can try it with the spiciness. I liked the flavors a lot and that it was a pretty quick dinner---you use one pot for the while thing!

4. Let's talk Television. Most of our TV shows are wrapping up for the Summer. The Office is over for good. We watched the Modern Family finale last week. I've considered watching the Nashville finale again, because it was so great.

We've still got Mad Men (so happy to see Betty and Don getting along long enough to enjoy a family moment with their son -- I almost cried because it made me so happy to see them be a family for just a few minutes) and Arrested Development just came back on Netflix with all new episodes. What are you watching? Do you watch any of these shows too?


5. I finished up the children's table and chair set I told you about last week. I'm so happy with how it all turned out! I'll be sharing some photos, the paint colors and sources next week.



Have a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend everyone!  I'm looking forward to spending some time with my sweet little guy and my handsome big guy too!


May 30, 2013

Owen's First Giant's Game!

Today we took Owen to his first San Francisco Giants game! I think he brought them good luck today because they took the A's 5-2 today in a series that they had been losing.

We got to the park a little early so we could find our seats and get Owen a certificate from guest services to mark his first ever Giants game. The weather was beautiful -- warm but not to hot, not a cloud in the sky and a little breeze going.

We managed to happily sit in our bleacher seats for almost two whole innings before we got up to walk again. The only fussing or tantrum throwing came when we had to take a bat from Owen and pull him from the children's ballpark so other children could have a turn.




Everybody loves the garlic fries! They're the best you'll ever have! So good, in fact, that they sell out.


This photo reminds me that I need to give Keith a few pointers for shooting in manual (notice that Owen and I are out of focus?)-- not that I know that much.





So awesome to see the World Series trophies up close! And we didn't have to wait to see them!

Our little slugger!

It was a fun experience for us all and Owen really enjoyed himself! We're all tuckered out!

May 29, 2013

Thirsty Thursday: Blood Orange Champagne Float

You know I like easy... That's what she said! Sorry, I couldn't help myself-- I'm going through The Office withdrawal.

But seriously. I do, I like when recipes are simple. Easy = quick, and when it comes to cocktails that just means you get to spend more time enjoying the cocktails with your friends than making the drinks themselves.

We had a great (cathartic!) ladies lunch last weekend. One of my dear, dear friends is moving to Southern California with her sweet family, so it was extra special to get to just sit around for a few hours, eat good food, drink great drinks and most importantly just get to talk! There is nothing more fun than just sitting around with my girlfriends like we did back in high school when we all first met!


Ingredients

Champagne, chilled
Blood Orange sorbet

Directions

Spoon a heaping spoonful of sorbet into each glass and top with chilled champagne. And, done!

SIDE NOTES:

*You could easily enjoy this same concoction with any flavor of sorbet that tickles your fancy. I contemplated picking up the peach or mango, but opted for blood orange knowing it would be a hit with the girls!

*If you're serving a larger crowd just spoon the entire container of sorbet into a punch bowl and top with a few bottles of champagne. 
 _______________________________________________________________________________

A few pictures from the afternoon: 

the secret ingredient

lunch!

honey-lime fruit salad

green salad

Hilary our hostess's, amazing pasta salad
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Keith, Owen and I are off to AT&T Park this afternoon to watch the Giant's play! 
This will be Owen's first baseball game and his first time getting to watch the best team in baseball!
GO GIANTS!

Mini S'more Pies

A few weeks ago I made the Mini S'more Pies I'm sure so many of you have seen on Pinterest [you can follow me on Pinterest if you'd like!].


My husband loves anything s'mores, so I made it when we had some friends over. I thought it would be a good idea to make one large pie for the adults to share and a set of 6 smaller ones, one each for each child. Well, I obviously was not using my brain, because the larger one ended up being really hard to serve.



It looks pretty in all the pictures I took, but when I went to slice it up it completely melted into mush. Still tasted fine, but I didn't exactly get the presentation I was hoping for.

Anyway, the mini ones are the way to go! They are the prefect amount of sweet and look so CUTE!


Source: Chef in Training

Ingredients 
6 mini graham cracker pie crusts they come in a package of 6
8 oz. cream cheese slightly softened
1 cup cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup marshmallow creme/fluff
1 tsp. marshmallow flavoring optional
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
mini marshmallows or bits optional

Instructions
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, cool whip, powdered sugar, marshmallow creme and marshmallow flavoring and beat until well combined.

Evenly distribute the creme filling into the 6 graham cracker pie crusts.

Pour heavy cream in to a small saucepan and heat on medium-high heat until it reaches a boil. Remove from heat and stir in chopped semi-sweet chocolate until it melts and combines evenly. Let it cool almost completely.

Spread equal amounts of chocolate ganache onto each pie to cover top.

Sprinkle with marshmallow bits if desired and ENJOY!

May 28, 2013

Weekly Bites

You guys, I am so embarrassed to admit that I have totally dropped out of the Dr. Oz Detox Cleanse that Keith and I were doing. I bought all of the ingredients and we made it through most of the first day before I just broke down.

I seriously could not fathom drinking one more smoothie in place of a real meal. I was DYING to chew something and have something solid in my system. I never knew how dependent I am on solid food, or how much of an appetite I really have. All day I could not stop talking about food and I couldn't enjoy any of the things I regularly like to do in my spare time (read blogs + magazines, check out Pinterest and Instagram, etc) because food would always pop up some how.

Anyway, I'm probably making this sound like a bigger deal than it is, but I really wish I could have done it, but alas, I am not cut out for that kind of diet. I think the pictures of last week's meals are excellent proof of that!

 
Monday : Gorilla Barbeque 
(we had such a heavy big lunch that dinner ended up being PB&J)

 Tuesday : Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers + Spinach Salad


Thursday : pre-dinner fro-yo instead of a post dinner dessert.
 
Thursday : Turkey Taco Bowls with all the fixings

Friday : Take-out Pizza + Spinach Salad

This week I'm trying my best to use up all the fruits and vegetables we bought for the cleanse. We're having another Spinach Salad tonight, but I'm really excited about trying Kevin and Amanda's Spicy Sausage Pasta later this week! I always hear rave reviews about it! I'm sure anything would taste good to me right about now.

May 27, 2013

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

We had these shredded beef tacos last week one night--we loved them. The smell of the dinner cooking all day in the slow cooker was so tempting and really boded well for what was to come.

I chose to keep the toppings simple because the beef has such great flavor. We had them on soft flour tortillas with fresh guacamole and a pico de gallo we picked up at the farmer's market. 

This is a fantastically easy and delish weeknight dinner option! Once we're finished with our cleanse this week I plan to make it for dinner again!



Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef (I used a boneless chuck roast)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (I love spice and used two!)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Flour tortillas
  • Favorite taco toppings (**ideas below**)
Method:
Whisk together the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix into the beef, covering each side evenly.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the beef in the skillet and sear on each side until browned. Add the diced onion and minced garlic on top of the seared beef in the slow cooker.

Remove the beef from the skillet and place in the bottom of a slow cooker. Leave the pan on the heat, and add in the beef stock to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and minced chipotle and whisk into the pan sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a 3-5 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Pour the pan sauce down over the onions, garlic, and beef in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Shred the beef and onions with two forks. Serve the beef in the flour tortillas, topped with your favorite taco toppings.

Some topping ideas include:
  • guacamole or avocado
  • fresh salsa
  • Mexican rice
  • grated cheese
  • fresh lettuce
  • tomato
  • onion
  • cilantro
  • squeeze of lime juice
Enjoy! 

May 24, 2013

Owen is 16 Months!

Dear Owen,

Last week you turned 16-months old! Your personality is shinning through and you're looking and acting older and older each day!



- Stats -
Weight: 24lbs 6 oz Height: around 32 inches tall 




- Sleeps -
Pretty well! You've been really only getting up once, if at all these days. There have been two times in the last week that you've fallen asleep before your nap / bedtime while getting your diaper changed. Right now you're on just one naps, an afternoon one and it's been around 2 hours. But it really changes depending on how you slept the night before, what time you woke up and what the morning was like. If we take a car ride in the later morning you will usually fall asleep in the car seat and then that would be your nap. But if we stay busy and active you'll push through the morning and wait to take your nap in the afternoon. 



- Loves - 
Cars and Trains! Being outside. Eating saltines. Playing with other kids. Swim class. Reading books. Drinking "baba"s. Taking baths. Helping. Talking. 


- Hates - 
When your favorite people leave the house. When anyone goes outside and doesn't bring you with them. Most food I cook. Most fruits and vegetables. Having your diaper changed. Having something taken from you (it's often something dangerous that you're not supposed to have).



- Says -  
You have been saying SO many new words this month! Hearing you say Ma-ma so clearly melts my heart each time. You know the word ba-ba will always get you a bottle full of milk. You love trains and say choo-choo all the time. You said octopus last week while playing with your magnets. And we try to get you to say Octopus but it always comes out App-ta-pu. Really the sweetest, cutest thing ever! Pretty amazing! You're really using your words to get what (or where) you want these days. Uppy means you want to be picked up. Out means you want out of your car seat / highchair / stroller / bath. And if you hear a loud noise sometimes you'll say "Uh Oh!". You say "Owl. Whoooo, whoooo". 



- Eats - 
You're finally at least interested in a few fruits. I always put some fruits or vegetables on your plate. You've started licking the strawberries I cut up for you and you've gnawed on a cantaloupe a few times. Over the weekend you saw your friend Jacob (he's 3) eating a banana and now you want to try them too! It's a start, right?!

- Does - 
Lots of running, climbing, clapping, reading, "talking", dancing and playing. You love to be a helper too. If daddy is fixing something, then you want a hammer to help him fix it. If mommy is in the kitchen, then you want some pots and pans to cook with too. If you see someone putting on their shoes, then you want to help them with their socks.



- Health -  
You had your first fever this week that started on Mother's Day. You were pretty miserable and just wanted me to hold you for almost two days straight. Your daddy and I were so sad to see you not feeling well. You were a pretty tough guy though and barely whined. We even took you to see the doctor, but it appeared as thought nothing was the matter. Luckily you recovered quickly.

And now that I saw your first molar poking it's way through your gums I'm pretty sure it played a major part in your crankiness last week.Your gums look so swollen, tender and red-- poor baby!

Owen you bring so much joy and happiness to each day! Your spirit and determination keep us on our toes! We love you so very much! You are a blessing to us all!

xoxo, Mommy

5 on Friday

I'm linking up this morning for a new series being hosted by some of my favorite bloggers! Every Friday Darci of [the good life], April of A. Liz Adventures, Christina of Carolina Charm, and Natasha of Hello! Happiness will be hosting a 5 on Friday link up. All you have to do is make a list of 5 things and link it up. It could be 5 things you want to check off your today list this weekend, 5 things you're loving lately or 5 things you're thankful for. You can really go in any direction!


1. Acro Yoga - Last Friday I was at the gym doing my regular workout before Owen and I went to his swim class. I was watching Kelly & Michael and they had this man and woman on doing Acro Yoga. Have you heard of it? I hadn't and I am so obsessed now. I've made everyone I know what the video. I am so impressed by it. I immediately tried to find a studio near us, and success! I did! Now I just have to convince my very skeptical husband to try this with me!

 

2. Ikea LATT Table Hacks - On Thursday morning I saw Erin of Strawberry Swing and Other Thing's Children's Table Ikea Hack. Well, I got a serious itch to make one myself, so I dragged poor Owen to Ikea after his dentist appointment. We picked up the Latt table and chair set (such a steal for only $19) and the Basic Train Set. I'm excited to get started on the table and chairs this weekend! These are a few I might use as inspiration:



 via

3. Detox Cleanse - Starting this Monday Keith and I will be trying out Dr. Oz's 3- Day Detox Cleanse. I'm not into diets, starvation and deprivation to be fit and healthy, but after reading Natasha's review it sparked my interest. Although I prefer a healthy, balanced diet to any fad I think this will be a great way to kick start more mindful eating--we've been enjoying outselves too much lately.

The cleanse consists mainly of smoothies and juices. I'm a little nervous about not having any "real food" for three whole days, so if you don't hear from me just assume I've collapsed somewhere from starvation.

4. Thirsty Thursday - I'm excited to have a regular blog topic going every week and I think this one is promising! If you missed my first Thirsty Thursday post yesterday be sure to check it out! The drinks could be anything from a blood orange martini to a peppermint hot chocolate--The possibilities really are endless!

5. The Weekend - I'm looking forward to a pretty mellow weekend with the family. We'll be seeing my mom on Saturday, I have a Ladies Lunch lined up for Sunday afternoon and Monday is totally free! I'm hoping we'll make some time for another fun Family Day!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, friends!

May 23, 2013

Thirsty Thursday : Sauza Sparkling Margarita Review

This is not a sponsored review--I just like trying new products! 

Who doesn't love a refreshing margarita on a warm evening? Especially good when paired with Taco Night too, right? I'm pretty particular when it comes to my margaritas. Sometimes I like them blended, sometimes I prefer on the rocks, but I have serious standards for the content on my drink.

I can't stand the standard too sweet taste of store bought margarita mix. I would rather squeeze limes myself to make my own mix, but it can't be too tart either. I waited my whole pregnancy with Owen to give Skinny Girl Margaritas a try and they did not disappoint. The balance of flavors is almost perfection, although I usually like to add some fresh squeeze lime juice and lots LOTS of ice.


My sister and I saw this at Target (of course!) last week and we were really curious about how it would taste. I've never heard of a bottled sparkling margarita before, and I feel like everyone is trying to come up with their own version of Skinny Girl--although I just learned that Sauza and Skinny Girl are owned by the same company. Oh, and there are Strawberry and Peach flavors too. I was so curious I just had to buy some! I just bought the standard flavor.

Here is my honest opinion: I would possibly buy another bottle of this for a party or something but it won't be a regular purchase. It is definitely refreshing, pretty sweet and I can still taste the margarita mix in it--you wouldn't want more than one glass at a time. I added lots of ice and some lime juice, but it didn't quite help. The sparkling sensation of this drink is what makes it stand out.

I'm thinking of making Thirsty Thursday a regular Thursday morning post. Sometimes it will be a wine review, sometimes a new drink recipe (not always alcoholic!) or just some fun drink ideas from Pinterest. What do you think?

Happy Thursday, friends!

May 21, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up (Part 2) | Gorilla BBQ + the Beach

Who has two part weekend wraps ups? The first one was getting too ling and I thought I would lose people's interest before I got to what I consider to be the most fun part.

On the weekend we usually have one day for "fun" and the other for "work". On our fun day we like to go on little day trips, check out parks in our area or do something adventurous. This Monday we decided to forgo our  tradition of only having one fun day and head out to try a famed BBQ place in our area, Gorilla Barbeque. Keith has been wanting to check in out ever since he heard it was on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.


Our plan was to get to Gorilla Barbeque early, since we've heard there are usually lines of people before it even opens, and then take our food to the beach. Our plan worked out exactly as planned and it was so much fun!

The restaurant is inside an old railroad car, although it just looks like a trailer in a trailer park. Word is it's called Gorilla Barbeque because the owner (a man who is very large in stature) grew up being nicknamed "gorilla" by his dad.

We definitely ate way too much. We each ordered the two meat meals, when we really could have just shared one, which we'll do next time. I had the pulled pork + ribs, and coleslaw + mac 'n cheese as my sides. Each meal (hate that word, meal) also come with beans on rice and corn bread. The ribs were really really good. The pork was fine, but more so just a vehicle for the BBQ sauce, which was perfectly vinegary. The mac n' cheese was the bomb--Keith thinks they might sprinkle it with crushed Goldfish crackers before baking it. We'll definitely be back sometime soon!

We couldn't have BBQ on the beach on such a beautiful day without a cold beer to share. We picked up a bottle on Maverick's Amber Ale made by our favorite local brewery. It was a combination made in Heaven.
 
 
You know what else is Heavenly? This sweet boy! Doesn't he look like a little surfer beach boy model?
 


Enjoying some beans + pulled pork from our BBQ.

He loved his first trip to the beach!