Meet the Sullivans: August 2013

August 30, 2013

Five on Friday | Coffee, Christmas and Sand

Good morning!! I'm linking up this morning with Darci of [the good life], April of A. Liz Adventures, Christina of Carolina Charm, and Natasha of Hello! Happiness for 5 on Friday!


ONE - Last November when I discovered 100 Days Until Christmas e book I promised myself that I would download the book in 2013. If you don't already know about this e book: it provides a daily dose of inspiration and motivation to help you get ahead, then relax through the busy holiday season knowing that you are more prepared than ever! The "challenge" starts September 16th and I'm so excited to get started!



TWO - I'm on a homemade iced coffee kick this week! My favorite combo is this Donut Shop Coconut Mocha coffee (two k-cups on the middle setting per one drink) + a splash of my International Delight Coldstone Sweet Cream creamer + a splash of unsweetened almond milk + LOTS of ice. It's the ultimate afternoon pick me up!


THREE - Owen is so into bacon right now! My mom made some when she was over last week and he keeps asking for it. He wakes up now expecting to have it, so all week I've been making him bacon when we come down stairs. After he eats what I give him he'll ask me, "Mama? Mow Bacon?". It's too cute -- I just have to give him what he wants! Luckily I saw this bacon grease trick a while ago on Pinterest and it's been a life saver with all of the bacon frying I've been doing. Bacon grease is so bad for your drain, and I don't always have a thick can to pour it in.


FOUR - Owen is loving the beach! Yesterday my mom, sister, Owen and I went to the beach for a few hours. We had a great time playing in the sand and enjoying the weather. Owen loves finding little treasures (seashells, seaweed and rocks) and digging tunnels. He also had a blast rolling in the sand and dumping sand on his head. I'll be cleaning the sand from his ears until he's 30!



FIVE - I am not a jean person (I rarely feel comfortable in them), but I picked up a pair of the Gap Boyfriend Jeans this week and I must admit I'm kind of in love with them!





August 29, 2013

Thirsty Thursday | Apple Cider Sangria

Thirsty Thursday is back, my friends! I lost some inspiration there for a bit, but don't you worry! I'll be back every few weeks with a new fun drink recipe to share!


This week I'm here to share with you what will easily be your new favorite cocktail this fall! I imagine this being the perfect drink for a football party / tailgate or even a Halloween celebration. When Keith tasted it last weekend he said it tasted like Autumn in a glass -- not a bad description, right? I hope I'm making you thirsty!


Ingredients:
1 bottle (standard size) of pinot grigio
2 1/2 cups fresh apple cider*
1 cup club soda
1/2 cup brandy (use ginger brandy if you can find it!)
3 crisp apples, chopped
3 pears, chopped

*To make your own apple cider: Combine 2 1/2 cups apple juice, a few dashes each of cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. Bring to a low simmer and let simmer for 30minutes. When finished strain through cheese cloth to remove the residue from the spices.

Directions:
Combine all ingredients together in a pretty pitcher and stir, stir, stir. Refrigerate for an hour or so (or longer!) before serving. I bought the pitcher I use on Zulily during one of their home ware sales!

recipe credit: how sweet it is 


I could really go for a cold glass of this right now, and I think I'll be making this all through Fall!

Below I've linked up some of the things you might need or want to make this delicious recipe!


August 28, 2013

Fajita Quesadillas, SlimCado and Chips

If you know me, you know I love Mexican food! I rarely meet a burrito, tostada salad, taco, fajita, enchilada, margarita or tortilla chip that I do not enjoy. I could eat Mexican food everyday of the week -- no problem. That's why all three little topic I'm here to share with you today are all about Mexican food!
 
First, the SlimCado...

Have you heard of the SlimCado? I hadn't, but apparently it's been around for years. The SlimCado has 1/2 the fat and 1/3 fewer calories than a regular avocado. And although I thought it probably had to be some kind of processed fruit made in a lab it's actually all natural.

Anyway, I guess my Safeway just started carrying them or I'm just noticing them, but I picked one up the other day while doing our grocery shopping, because I always have to try something new when I see it! I Instagramed a photo of the SlimCado to see if anyone else had tried one and only one person had.


The SlimCado is huge! I took this picture so you could see how large it really is. It's probably like 3 avocados in one. I cut it open last night to make guacamole to go with our chips and quesadillas, but unfortunately I guess it wasn't ripe. I tired a bit of it for the flavor and I definitely think it tastes like a watered down version of the original.The grocer told me it should be ripe, so maybe this is just how it is? Hm.


Now on to the really good stuff...

I've been wanting to make these quesadillas for the longest time! They're so easy to put together, are fun twist on a really easy meal and they're a great way to use up leftovers if you had fajitas the night before. 

Fajita Quesadillas 

1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

3/4 cup  each sliced onions and red pepper strips

1/2 cup  salsa

1/2 cup  rinsed canned black beans

6 whole wheat tortillas (6 inch)

1-1/2 cups 2% Milk Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  
COOK chicken in large skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 5 min., stirring frequently.
 
ADD onions and peppers; cook 4 to 5 min. or until crisp-tender. Stir in salsa and beans; cook 3 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
 
SPOON 1/4 cup chicken mixture onto half of each tortilla; sprinkle with cheese. Fold tortillas in half.
Spray second large skillet with cooking spray. Heat on medium heat. Add quesadillas, in batches; cook 2 min. on each side or until lightly browned on both sides. 

And of course, what Mexican meal would be complete without tortilla chips!

We love tortilla chips and salsa in the Sullivan home, and I'm always looking for the perfect chip. I don't want a chip that's too salty, weak or so thin that will break when being dipped in to guacamole. And I like to know that the ingredients in what I'm serving my family are natural.


El Restaurante Brand Tortilla Chips are prepared using only the finest ingredients, the authentic Restaurant Style chips are made from specially selected, 100% yellow corn and come in 2 varieties, Restaurant Style Triangles and Crispy Rounds. They are all natural with no preservatives, no added colors, and no trans fats. These delicious chips are sure to liven up any snack or meal and go great with salsa, guacamole, and other dips! They are definitely our new favorite tortilla chip!!



Even Owen LOVED the CHIPS! He even asked for more "ships" after dinner! El Restaurante Brand Tortilla Chips are available in stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. If you'd like information on the snacks, or purchasing options, please visit www.elrestaurantebrand.com!

 

I was not paid for this review. The nice people at Tim’s® Cascade Snacks asked me if I'd like to sample their chips and do a little review. Since we love tortilla chips we jumped at the chance to try out this new item!

August 27, 2013

Tuesday Morning Mish Mash + a Guest Post

Hello everyone! Before I get into all the randomness I have to share with you I want to invite you over to Christina's blog, This Woman Cooks!, where I am guest posting today about one of my favorite Fall desserts! If you want to know what dessert Keith almost always requests head on over and see what I have to share today! I've made it over 20 times, so you know it has to be good!
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And now, a few photos from the weekend...

Have you seen these cotton candy grapes? They really do taste like cotton candy. Don't believe me? You'll just have to find them and try them for yourself! 

For the past two weeks our fridge has been so unorganized and I hate that. It ruins my morning when I wake up and can't find what I'm looking for in there as I try to make Owen's breakfast. I finally got it under control this weekend and my sanity has been restored. 

I got out before 7:30am on Sunday morning for my workout and it felt really good. I loved having the whole day ahead of us knowing I'd already done what I "had to" do. 

I made this salad on the fly Friday night for dinner and it was so good. It's just an herb lettuce blend, baked chicken (seasoned with garlic powder, Himalayan salt and pepper), fresh mozarella, chopped tomatoes and basil tossed with balsamic dressing and a balsamic glaze drizzle. Easy +  good = Great in my book. We're having it for dinner this week too.

We went to a friend's house for dinner Sunday night and had a lovely time (as always!). We love hanging with this family, and their daughter is so sweet to Owen. They were such little loves "chatting" and coloring happily in the playroom while the adults talked. Seriously, I walked in and they were having some toddler-speak conversation about babies and horses or something. We're no so secretly hoping that they get married someday!

HUGE N'Sync fan here. I was so happy to wake up Sunday morning, watch this performance and introduce Owen to JT's dance moves. I can't even start on the train wreak that was Miley Cyrus. I kept thinking about how her parents must feel watching their daughter act like that. I ended up fast forwarding it.

Have you seen this? I had to buy one yesterday at the store when I saw it. A "lite" avocado? Someone on Instagram mentioned that it tastes like a watered down version of an avocado, which doesn't sound good to me, but I'll try it and let you know how it turns out. The thing is HUGE by the way, like larger than a softball.

So, 4 out of 7 pictures / topics here today were about food. Are you surprised? You should expect nothing less from me!

August 25, 2013

Menu Monday!

You want to know why I love the start of a new week? Because I love a fresh start. I feel like I get the weekend to have fun, forget the laundry, the cleaning, most of the cooking, blogging and emails -- all of the obligation BUT by Sunday afternoon I'm itching to get things in the Sullivan Home back in working order. THAT is why I love Monday, because we start all over again with fresh food in the fridge, a schedule all outlined in colorful marker in my planner and (usually) a great menu of meals ahead of us!

Here is my plan for the kitchen this week:
6. Caprese Salad

What do you have planned in the kitchen this week? Do you have an easy, quick, healthy meal to share with me? Doesn't have to be groundbreaking!

August 23, 2013

Five on Friday - Donuts, my Cutie and a Video

Good morning!! I'm linking up this morning with Darci of [the good life], April of A. Liz Adventures, Christina of Carolina Charm, and Natasha of Hello! Happiness for 5 on Friday!

ONE - I feel really lucky that each morning I get to scoop a warm, happy, sweet, cuddly Owen up from his crib and bring him into our bed (after changing that very wet diaper, of course). We drink our babas (me- coffee, him- milk) snuggle and watch a cartoon before heading downstairs for breakfast. It's our routine and we love it. I love starting our day this way and it is my FAVORITE part of the day EVERYDAY. So, having said that I thought it would only be fair if you got to start your day off with some of Owen's cuteness too! Welcome.


TWO - If you know me, you know I am all about the pictures. I love taking photos (don't love being in them) and I like when I can get a "good" one, i.e. perfect lighting and an interesting image be it in color, focus, perspective, etc. A while back I downloaded a copy of Courtney Westlakes book The Spaghetti Shots and last night I finally started reading it! I like that it's pretty straightforward and even I can figure out some of the photog lingo.

 

THREE - I've been obsessed with donuts lately. I don't even remember the last time I had one, but I've been seeing everyone on Instagram eating them lately and it is driving me nuts. I decided to buy one of those donut baking pans (I know, I know. Real donuts are fried), so you can expecting some baked donut recipes from me in the near future!


FOUR - A few things I've read this week that I really enjoyed, thought was neat and just plain loved:

My Top 10 Foods I Want to Eat at Disneyland During Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend by Half Crazy Mama

Saving a Slice of Grace for Myself by Erin Carroll of The Blue-Eyed Bride

DIY Cupcake Liner Garland from Hostess with the Mostess

FIVE - In my opinion Anthropologie is killing it in the Fall sweater department. I love being in a warm sweater when it's cool out, but I hate that so many of my favorite stores (Gap, Loft, Nordstrom) just carry some really basic sweaters. I LOVE the feminine detail on these sweaters and I think they'd be perfect with jeans and flats or even boots. I'll take them ALL! Please and thank you.
clockwise from top left: tiered + ruffled / adelaide / peplum hoodie / parkside

I hope you have a great weekend!! 



 

August 22, 2013

Citrus Lane Box Review [August]

You guys! I am loving this months Citrus Lane box!!! From the moment we opened it I knew it was going to be a good one. I seriously love everything in it! Read more below for our review of each individual item.

The theme for this month's box is appropriately themed "Back-to-School", and even though Owen isn't going to school yet the items in this box fit right in with our current "season" of starting a new school year.


Item #1: Free Fab Kids outfit ($39.95 value) - I almost didn't believe this was for real when I saw it. A whole FREE outfit? Sign me up! And Fab Kids is so fun! How did I not hear about this before? You'll definitely be getting a review / recap of our first order!


Item #2: Ouchies Adhesive Bandages in John Scieszka Truck Town ($6.49 value) - Owen loves to put bandages on his "owies" and on all of mommy's "owies" too. And these ones have trucks on them! How fun!


Item # 3: 7" Dump Trucks Rubber Playground Ball ($9.95 value) - We're always in need of more bouncy balls in this house. The ball is the greatest toy ever invented! Am I right?! And this cool, bright one has trucks on it!


Item #4: Clean Well Natural Hand Sanitizer Wipes ($5.24 value) - A must have in the car at ALL times. I clean Owen's hands each time we get back in the car after being at the park, shopping or at Gymboree. We like the Clean Well brand too. 


Item #5: Octopus Opposites ($7.19 value) -We always love adding a new board book in to our collection and daily rotation! This one is loaded with great words and beautiful illustrations.



Item #6: Plum Kids Organic Fruit Straws ($3.60 value) - New snacks for the diaper bag! We've never tried these before, but we love Plum Organic Fruit Bits, so these are sure to be a new fave too!




Also in the box was this little cardboard print out of do-it-yourself bowling pins. I'm going to let Owen color them and then we can use them with our new playground ball! I think he's really going to enjoy this activity!


As you can see, Owen was already busy beautifying the bowling pins before we got everything put away!


If you'd like to sign up for a box follow this link and you'll receive $10 off your order (and I'll receive $10 off my next box too)!

Click HERE to see the review of our first Citrus Lane box.

I was not compensated, or given any products for writing this review. I just wanted to share our experience and opinions about the service with other interested parties, like you!

August 21, 2013

Gym Jams

I don't know about you, but I lose all motivation to workout without some REALLY good music. I am not one of those people who likes to just be alone with their thoughts while on a run, or chatting it up in the gym while lifting weights. NO thank you! I like to get lost and motivated by some of my favorite new and old songs.

See how much stuff we have to take with us to the gym whenever we go? THIS is why I NEED the music. 

I thought it would be fun to share with you today the songs that have earned a spot on my current Gym Jams (yep, total nerd right here) playlist. The songs on here are really new (Hello, Katy Perry's Roar and Lady Gaga's Applause are on constant repeat!), and terribly old (Billy Ocean) and out played (Rihanna's SOS), but they get me pumped all the same and give me that extra energy to keep on going.



My taste in music is probably pretty similar to that of a 13 year-old girl, and I'm okay with that, because it's what I like!

What kind of music to do listen to while working out? What music really gets you going?

August 20, 2013

Lately

The past two weekends have flow right by and I feel like I've barely had the time to blog about any of it. So, for the sake of making this blog a journal of our life, here are a few things I want to remember...


Dinner with my guys. I can't get over Owen mooching off Keith's sandwich. It's the cutest, and he was so happy! Those dimples just kill this mama.


Brunch with the girls + pedicures = a much needed time for the soul.

Dinner at House of Prime Rib for our our 3rd anniversary was perfection. I loved the old 60's era dark decor, the martinis, the perfect steaks and my handsome date! We even had time to go to the Wax Museum (which I just learned closed for good days later!) at Fisherman's Warf and a sundae at Ghirardelli. It was the PERFECT date night!


We have a future Michael Jordan on our hands. I know Keith secretly wishes I was 6ft tall so Owen would have the jeans to be huge, but alas, I only stand at an average 5ft5. When O wants to do a slam dunk he says, "Dada? Dunk? Hoop?"




We went to Cowell Ranch Beach yesterday and we all had the BEST time! Rarely is the weather in Half Moon Bay nice enough to be on the beach without pants and sweaters, so this was a beautiful and rare day weather wise. We all had fun playing in the sand, making sand castles, chasing birds and spotting seals and pelicans.