Meet the Sullivans: February 2014

February 28, 2014

FIVE on FRIDAY

It's a rainy, stormy, wet morning here. I love the rain, and we really need it here in California. We're planning on a morning of fun with our playgroup and then an afternoon trip to the mall to get our energy out. The thing about rainy days in a place like this is that there really aren't too many places you can go to run around, so we've got to be resourceful!

I'm linking up with the sweet and fabulous ladies behind The Good Life, Carolina Charm, A. Liz Adventures, and Hello Happiness for 5 on Friday today!

ONE
I have an appointment this weekend for an hour long massage all by myself. I cant wait to just lay there for 60 whole minutes. I will probably fall asleep! I'm finally using a gift certificate I was given when I was still teaching -- the one I almost lost when I lost my wallet -- so glad I'm finally making myself use it.

TWO
I spent nap time yesterday getting something spicy together for a Thirsty Thursday post for next week. Betcha can't guess what I made!

THREE
Getting dressed in the summer is so much easier than it is in the winter! I'm in love with this Felicity & Coco Printed Maxi for the summer.  I love how they've styled it for a casual look with flat sandals and long layered gold necklaces, and I think it would be just as perfect with some chunky wedges or a tie chambray button down. Going to make it mine!

FOUR
I made Kale Chips last weekend thinking they might be something Owen would eat and he totally gobbled them up. They were simple to make and they're a great way to get him to eat more greens. If you have a picky eater you should try these!

Directions:
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
 FIVE
Little victories! This energetic boy might not be too willing to go down to bed at night, but for the past FOUR nights he's been sleeping through the night! This is a huge thing for us -- he has never slept through the night for more than two nights in a row! So while I wish he'd go down a bit easier for us, I'm just thankful for and appreciative of the full night's sleep we're all getting! 

Happy Friday!

February 27, 2014

Toddler Sleep Conundrum


Would you believe I have spent nearly an hour each night rocking Owen to sleep for the past week? I almost can't believe it myself when I finally leave the dark cave that is his room each night and glance at the clock to see that an hour has passed.

But do you want to know what really stumps me? How he can easily fall asleep in a crowded, very loud, very bright Mexican restaurant in the middle of the day (pictured above!), while sitting up in a highchair across the table from his very favorite friend.

How is it possible that he can't seem to wind down and get sleepy while rocking to sleep in his mother's arms, in the dark, at the end of the day, after all the bedtime rituals (and his new Cloub B Constellations Turtle), but he can fall asleep easily in a loud restaurant? I'm so confused.

Well, at least he has been sleeping through the night for the past 3 nights...

February 25, 2014

What on Our Menu This Week

If I'm going to share the menu for the week I usually like to have it up by Monday, but there was no time for blogging yesterday. We had a really fun (read: busy) weekend, so all of our to-do tasks fell on Monday. We worked out, each had dentist / doctor appointments, grocery shopped, Keith and a hair appointment and I made it out for a pedicure and we cooked a great dinner. Whew, it feels so good to get so much taken care of in one day!

Here's what I've got planned in the kitchen this week:

BREAKFAST
 

LUNCH


DINNERS





 Lettuce Wrap Burgers with sweet potato fries

I think the dinner I'm most excited to make this week is the Pulled Pork Sandwiches. I had a craving for them this weekend and now I can't stop thinking of them. And I've got a little something I'm going to try out this week involving jalapenos and tequila. If it turns out the way I hope I will be sure to share! 

What is the meal you are most excited to make this week?

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Please please take minute and vote for my Kitchen Short Cut on Golden Grain Pasta's Facebook page. I've been in the lead. but right now it's only by 12 votes. Help me keep a good distance from the person in the #2 spot. I am so very grateful for your support!!

February 21, 2014

FIVE on FRIDAY: health & fitness

Hallelujah, it's Friday!! I'm linking up with the sweet and fabulous ladies behind The Good Life, Carolina Charm, A. Liz Adventures, and Hello Happiness for 5 on Friday today! Today my five is all about some of my most recent health & fitness habits! 





- one -
For the last few weeks I've actually stuck to my goals for working out. I've been making it the gym 3-4 times a week, and have been including weight + cardio. What I really like is that it's been easy for me to stick to -- I thrive when I have a plan of action, and a list! -- and I'm really happy with the little changes I'm beginning.
For each exercise I'm doing super sets, meaning there is no rest period between sets and I'm moving straight from the (for example) first set of lat pulldowns right into the first set of bridges, and then back to the lat pulldowns for the second set, and so on.

Here's an example of day 2 of the program Keith designed for me:

-Warm-up on cardio equipment (usually elliptical or running): 5 minutes

-3 sets, 12 reps each:

Lat Pulldown ---> Bridges 
Seated Rows ---> Side Steps with band around legs or Side-Lying Leg Lifts 
Biceps Curl (using dumbbell + standing on a single leg) ---> Roman Chair Knee Lifts
-Cardio: 30 minutes (stationary bike, running or arch trainer)


- two -
I am thisclose to pulling the trigger on my first lifestyle tracker purchase. I been weighing the pros and cons of a few brands (mainly the Jawbone or the FitBit), all week. After asking around most people seem to have had a good experience with the FitBit, so there you have it.

- three -
It would be pointless to be making extra effort in the gym without trying to make our meals reflect the same goals. I made this Caprese Quinoa with Chicken earlier this week, and it was pretty good! I'm obviously not 100% on the clean eating bandwagon, and if you follow me on Instagram you know that's true, but on a regular basis I've been cutting out extra starches, sugars and fats. Not completely though!

- four -
The most difficult part of making it to the gym in the morning is not a lack of motivation -- it's getting myself and Owen ready and out the door together before 9am. Every morning I pack my gym bag with my headphones, water bottle and all the things for showering afterward, as well as all of the things Owen will need while we're out. It's a lot of stuff! And all the while making Owen's breakfast and trying to take care of a few things around the house before we leave. I'm usually beat even before we make it there!

- five -
I know this isn't directly related to health & fitness, but I just signed up for my first Stitch Fix (Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. You tell them your style, size, and budget preferences, and they send you a package of stylish goodies to try on at home. Each Fix™ is unique and hand-picked just for you)! Come on, we all know one of the greatest parts of getting fit / losing weight / toning up is feeling better in your clothes and buying NEW ones! My first "fix" won't come until the end of March, but when it does I'll be sure to tell you what I think!
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A little blog news: We're joining up with some of our blog friends again in March for another swap / link-up, but this time we're inviting everyone to join us! It will be a recipe swap, so if that sounds interesting check back on March 3rd for more details!


February 20, 2014

DIY Elastic Hair Ties

I love to shop at Anthropologie. The store always smells lovely, and the clothes are beautiful. Last time I was in the store browsing around I saw those cute elastic hair ties I've been seeing everywhere. You know the ones I'm referring to, right? I was shocked when I picked them up and flipped them over to find they were selling them for 10 for $16. I love Anthro, but that seemed like a lot for a handful of hair ties-- especially since I lose them all the time!

So, I decided to make some of my own...


After doing a little Pinterest / Google research I found that fold over elastic sells for about $1 a yard (which will make roughly 3-4 hair ties), and you can buy a variety of colors, patterns and textures. My favorite place to purchase them from so far is Etsy, but you can buy them from Amazon and lots of other online retailers.


To start I purchased 10 or so yards in various colors and patterns. I wish I had bought some in metallic gold and silver too -- next time! Honestly, the hardest party was picking from all the variety.


For this project you'll need: 
5/8 inch fold over elastic
scissors 
a standard piece of printer paper, for measurement


To make a pony tail: use the length (the longer side) of the printer paper to measure out your elastic. Don't pull the elastic tight or stretch it when measuring, you want it to just lay normally across the paper.

To make a headband: follow the same steps, but measure the elastic to 18 inches using a ruler or tape measure.


You'll want each piece of elastic you cut to be about 11 inches long (the length of a standard piece of paper). I cut mine a little shorter since I have fine hair. If you have really thick hair you'll want yours to be a tad longer.  


Simply fold the elastic in half to the ends measure up evenly, and tie them together in a tight knot.


I've heard some people say to singe the ends with a lighter to keep them from fraying, and you can totally do that too if you're concerned they'll fray. 


I think they make a nice little gift too to accompany any gift. Stretch them onto a piece of cardboard for nice presentation. They're an easy, inexpensive and FUN addition! The headbands are great for wearing to the gym too.

February 18, 2014

Valentine's Day in Photos

Since Valentine's Day fell on Friday this year it was a pretty routine day for us. Keith headed out the door to work, per the usual, and Owen and I went to the gym. We had my mom and sister coming over around lunch time, and I still needed to pick up some things for lunch, so we stopped by a few stores to pick up what we needed.


On our last stop I picked up a few cookies from an Italian bakery nearby and Owen picked out his own little petifour. He saw them in the display case and asked really sweetly for one ("Mommy? Have that? Pleeease? Peeeease?!" nice enough for a toddler). He picked an all chocolate heart shaped one and shook the little box that held it on the 5 minute drive home. He ended up only taking a small bite, but he was so excited to have one all his own, so it was worth it.

Let me just pause from the Valentine's Day details to share a nice (but long winded) little story:

As Owen and I walked from the bakery to our car on Friday my wallet fell out of my pocket (or my bag, still not sure where I put it). I didn't notice it was missing until the next morning when I was leaving to meet friends for brunch. We searched everywhere, the car, the house, the trash, the refrigerator (I would not put it past myself to have put it in the fridge with the rest of the stuff in my shopping bag), but it was no where to be found. We went back to all the store I visited to ask about it, retraced my steps and finally just figured it was gone. I was so sad since I had gift cards to a few stores and one for a massage, my ID which is a pain to replace, credit cards, etc. all inside. Anyway I thought it was gone, and then Sunday afternoon I got a message from a woman on Facebook. Turns out a nice older lady found it in the parking lot, went to the address on my ID (where we no longer live), and then told her friend about it, who suggested they search for me on Facebook. I could not believe this nice woman went to all that trouble to find me and return my wallet. We were able to get in contact and I was able to pick up my wallet at her house. I brought some cookies from the Italian bakery for her, but really, I feel like I owe her more for being a kind, honest and generous person. Anyway, that was a true blessing this weekend.


My mom and sister came over and we all hung out and played with Owen and had lunch. We gave them a little token Valentine's Day gift of DIY elastic hair ties (more on that this week), nail polish in their favorite colors, a lollipop and a sweet homemade card made by Owen.


In the evening when Keith came home we had dinner (crab cakes I picked up, roast potatoes and zuchinni) and Owen opened his gift from us.


He wanted a sand mill (he calls it his sand MILK) since last summer! 



We gave him mini chocolate M&Ms (chocolate, gasp!), the Snuggle Puppy book, a sand mill for the park, chalk, crayons and washable markers (probably a HUGE mistake on my part)!


Later after Owen went to sleep we just collapsed on the couch like we usually do, but we also had a slice of the carrot cake I made for Keith. We love carrot cake, but pretty much no one else we know does (except for all those cool people on IG!), so it was a real treat, since I always try to make a crowd pleaser. We were thisclose to having a carrot cake wedding cake, but didn't because it would have been weird in August.


Saturday night we celebrated Valentine's Day with a quick little date night at San Mateo Prime. Can you believe we had not gone out to dinner just the two of us since Fall? And yes that is my huge steak. Total "cheat meal" right there. I really just use it as a way to eat horseradish, which I LOVE. We also had martinis and it was amazing.


If my calculations are correct, this was our NINTH Valentine's Day together! I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day with the people you love!

February 17, 2014

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue...

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day with the people you love! We had a great little holiday and a fun weekend, which I'll get to later this week, but today I want to show you something fun we all did this year with the kids.

This year we got kinda crafty for good 'ol Valentine's Day and whipped up + sent, and received some really sweet Valentine's for some of our blogland toddler friends!







 Our incredibly simple little cards were team-crafted by Owen and I. 

I bought the plain red folded cards and washi tape in the dollar section at Target. Owen used his fingertips dipped, in blue and red paint, to make the roses and violets (which are actually blue, and not violet, as they would have you believe) on the card, and then I added the green stems, words, etc. He also helped add the finishing touch of red chevron washi tape to hold the card together.

Ashlynn and Kenley at Strawberry Swing and Other Things
Hudson at The Girl in the Red Shoes
Blair at Nat Your Average Girl
Harper at Veronika's Blushing
Lex at Hello Erin
Owen and Claire at Dear Owen
Owen at Meet the Sullivans
Arden at Sunflower State of Mind
Sofia at Hello Newlywed Life
Caroline and Carson at Hello Happiness
Mac at Running from the Law


These moms and kiddos are all so much more creative and stylish than I! Check out all of these cute cards made by our friends. Owen and I enjoyed seeing one pop up in our mailbox every few days leading up to Valentine's Day. We've loved all of them! A huge thank you to Erinn for coming up with this cute idea and for organizing the whole thing! It was a lot of fun for us all.


The mommies didn't get left out either! Natasha sent me a really cute pink themed gift with some adorable things! Thank you, Natasha! Head over to The Girl in Red Shoes to see what I sent Julie!

February 14, 2014

FIVE on FRIDAY

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I'm linking up with the sweet and fabulous ladies behind The Good Life, Carolina Charm, A. Liz Adventures, and Hello Happiness for 5 on Friday today!

Team Teddy - Teddy is the 10 month-old son of Mary and Alex Fish who was diagnosed with Menkes Syndrome last November. Babies with a typical case of Menkes do not live past three years. Teddy has a typical case. Teddy's mom knew something was wrong with her sweet boy even before he was diagnosed, but he went undiagnosed because so many doctors are unfamiliar with this disease. If we can raise awareness, more children will receive treatments early on that can save their lives. If we spread the word, we CAN help stop this diseases.

So, we're joining a bunch of other bloggers today to spread the word about our new little buddy Teddy Fish, #teamteddy and Menkes disease in hopes of raising awareness and eventually finding a cure. Click HERE to read more about how you can join us in spreading the word.
(I'm sorry this sweet little guy wouldn't crack a smile for me yesterday! He was concerned with the ants marching on the concrete.)

Buried Baubles - Have you seen how Bauble Bar does this amazing thing called the Buried Bauble? This deal is not to be missed! Every Friday and Monday they mark down a piece on their site to $10 or $20 (respectively) and send you an email telling you the clue. I've learned the secret to finding the item on their sight is to type the secret keyword into the search field on the site. On Monday I bought the gorgeous Neon Neptune necklace below, and I'm praying it makes it here before tomorrow night for our Valentine's date! 
 
Kitchen Shortcuts - A few weeks ago the people at Golden Grain Pasta  contacted me about competing in another one of their Facebook contests. This time they've asked contestants (and anyone who wants to enter!) to share their favorite kitchen shortcuts. There are a TON of ways I like to take shortcuts in the kitchen, but the one that stands out to me the most is using a pizza cutter to quickly slice up quesadillas for Owen. It's not a groundbreaking idea, but it saves me time and the quesadillas come out looking pretty great! I hope you'll take a sec to vote for my shortcut on Golden Grain's Facebook page! Simply vote-up to once per day-on your favorite shortcut from the ones they've collected, and you are entered to win one of six weekly drawings for $100. Good luck!


Guest Post - I'm guest posting on my friend Emily's blog, Dear Owen, today! She recently had her second child, a beautiful baby girl named Claire, and she also has a handsome little guy named Owen! I'm sharing all about how date nights have changed and how we make them work now that we're parents. I hope you'll stop by and see what I have to share!









Happy Valentine's Day! Love, Owen! - We're spending the night together as a family with a little dinner at home and then tomorrow Keith and I get to have a date night to celebrate! We can't wait to have a nice dinner out together -- it's been months!
 
Have a great weekend! What are your plans?

February 12, 2014

Favorite Romantic Comdies and Dramas

Romantic comedies and dramas (some people like to call them Chick Flicks, which I think kind of gives them a bad name) are on my long list of guilty pleasures. That's a total Catholic thing I think, finding guilt in everything, so yeah, my list of "guilty pleasures" is long.

Keith refuses to watch them with me, although he has given When Harry Met Sally a try (doesn't remember it), so, I often watch them when I get the time to myself to watch a movie, which is almost never, which makes the times I DO get to watch them even more indulgent. I don't love all romantic comedies or dramas, but there are a select few I could watch over and over again.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite with you! In no particular order...


1. Dirty Dancing -There's dancing and a great soundtrack -- what more can a girl want? And I love the time when it takes place (the early 1960's), and the whole forbidden love thing, and the DANCING! I still wish I could recreate that pink dress and wear it out somewhere with those silver shoes too. I know I'm not alone there. 


2. How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days - I just love how embarrassing Kate Hudson's character tries to be in this movie! It is so fun to watch her do all of the dating no-no's women have been told to avoid and just cringe as she executes them one-by-one.

3. Waitress - I don't really know why I like this movie, but I think it's all the interesting pies she makes. They actually sound so good to me, and I love to cook and bake, so it's all fun! I actually found this forum on Taste of Home's website where someone details the ingredients for the pies. The Marshmallow Mermaid Pie is on my list of things to bake.


4. Bridget Jones's Diary - I read the book before I saw the movie, and this was one of those rare times for me when I thought the movie actually lived up to the book. Romantic comedies usually tell the story of a clumsy, yet gorgeous woman, and I really like how "real" they made Bridget Jones. She's not perfect, but she's still beautiful and bright! And British people are funny.


5. Pretty Woman - It's a sort of gritty Cinderella story, right? And a total classic.

6. The Notebook - I love the time period when this movie takes place, and the drama that unfolds when these two fall in love. Another great forbidden love / star-crossed lovers movie that's just perfectly executed!

7. When Harry Met Sally - The batner in this movie alone is what makes it so fun to watch. Meg and Billy talk so fast that I think I find something new to laugh at each time I get to watch it. And that one scene still makes me feel so uncomfortable and makes me laugh all at the same time.

Now it's your turn! What are your favorite romantic comedies or dramas? Leave them in the comments below!