Meet the Sullivans: May 2014

May 29, 2014

FIVE on FRIDAY

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

ONE
After weeks and weeks of searching, and quite a few failed attempts, I've finally found the perfect lip gloss -- NYX Cosmetics Butter Lip Gloss in Strawberry Parfait! I love the color, the texture and the price (under $6)!

TWO
Some girlfriends and I are planning a trip to Las Vegas in October to see Britney and to say I'm excited would be a major understatement! This trip, with a few of my closest girlfriends who I don't get to spend nearly enough time with, is a dream come true. That will also be my first night away from Owen, which has me a little nervous too.

THREE
I'm trying to mix things up a bit when it comes to lunch during the week. My go to is usually an open face turkey or tuna sandwich on toasted wheat, but lately I've been making more salads. My favorite this week was super simple, but oh so good... romaine, rotisserie chicken, roma tomatoes, avocado and a little bit of caesar dressing. What's your "go to" lunch?
FOUR
Owen loves bugs. He doesn't really love them in the house, but he loves watching them out in the yard. The other day we tried catching a few, but we were unsucessful, so I've been considering buying him some sort of bug farm or land. I think the ladybugs would be more entertaining to watch, but it will be more obvious when they pass away eventually. Which do you think is a better choice, Ladybug Land or The Ant Farm?


FIVE
And last, THIS. Have you seen this cuteness? I can't watch it enough. She has the best moves and I absolutely adore her!

Hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

Thirsty Thursday | Sauza Sparkling Margarita Watermelon Review

You might remember last year when I reviewed the Sauza Sparkling Margarita here on my blog. It was actually what started my whole Thirsty Thursday posts in the first place! I was so intrigued by the product and the idea of a effervescent ready made margarita that I just had to try it, and boy was it refreshing! So when Sauza contacted me to see if I wanted to try and review their new watermelon flavor I knew we had to give it a try!


Following the launch of the popular Original Lime, Wild Berry and Mango Peach flavors, Watermelon is the latest flavor to join the line of sparkling margaritas just in time for Summer! All Sauza Sparkling Margaritas use Sauza Silver Tequila as a base, complemented with Triple Sec, refreshing bubbles and are sweetened with delicious fruit flavoring.


Sauza Sparkling Margarita Watermelon has your classic margarita taste with the added sweetness of melon and a refreshing lime finish. Served ice cold or on the rocks, it pairs perfectly with a homemade salsa or guacamole on a warm night. It is a lighter and less guilty version of the newly popular ready-made beergaritas you can purchase in a can.

I hope you'll give this new watermelon cocktail a try next time you're looking for a great margarita! I'm hoping to be back next Thursday with a brand new cocktail recipe for you, but until then you can check out some of the Thirsty Thursday's from weeks and months past!


May 28, 2014

Around Here Lately

It's Wednesday morning (and it took me all morning and afternoon to getting around to publishing this!) and I'm just getting around to wring a recap of the weekend, whoops! I guess that's what happens when you spend three whole days enjoying yourself with shopping, friends and family instead of taking care of the daily tasks. I spent most of yesterday (in between the gym, swimming class, nap and the museum) just getting us back in working order after the long weekend.

FRIDAY


Friday morning started with a trip to the dentist for Owen. This was his first official visit, although I took him about a year ago for another issue, and he did incredibly well -- I might even be as bold as to say he loved it. The dental assistant, Serena, was fantastic with him. She spoke gently and in ways he could comprehend, and she was patient --more patient than I am, which is really any mother's dream. She showed him how to brush the "sugar bugs" off his teeth and demonstrated proper tooth brushing technique on a big yellow stuffed dog. Owen sat so nicely when his dentist, Dr. Spitz (he was my childhood dentist!) came in too. He is so attentive and well behaved for dentists / doctors / hair dressers / etc.

All of his teeth look great, clean and healthy. He has plenty of room in his mouth for when all of his adult teeth come in, so he may not need braces (he can thank his daddy for that -- Keith has a great smile). The only thing I'm a tiny bit concerned about is that he is missing one of his bottom incisors. Dr. Spitz says that it is possible that two of them fused together to make one of the teeth that he has, but he'll only know that for sure when he takes x-rays to see the roots, which he doesn't need to take quite yet. The other possibility is that he only has three bottom incisors, which is apparently kind of common and not very noticeable. He said we could have an implant, but we won't have to worry about that until he's much older, like in his 20's. I'm just trying to not worry too much about it right now.

I can only hope that all of our future appointments can go this smoothly!



After the dentist we swung by the park for a bit before hitting up Whole Foods! Owen loves visiting Whole Foods because they sell some of his favorite snacks ( mainly Barbara's Snackimals Animal Cookies). We also picked up a bag of goodies that was put together for us by the nice people there! Most of these items are new or on sale right now, so I'm excited to share them with you.

Inside there was: 1. Suja Fiji, which I'm having for breakfast this morning! It's so refreshing and tastes like vacation. 2. Fork in the Road Little Goodies, which Owen has been enjoying. Such a great, more natural way for him to enjoy his beloved hot dogs. 3. Epic protein bars that are gluten free, soy free and dairy free. 4. Sunny Baby SPF 30, which we used on Owen all weekend long. 5. Blueberry Handpies that didn't last long in our house. Best thing about these is that you can eat them with your hands. No forks required!

6. Last but not least, my personal favorite, made-right-here Lavender Almonds. These were absolutely amazing and I can't wait to go back and pick up some of the other flavors. They would be perfect to serve with other appetizers!

SATURDAY

We spent the morning shopping the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale with my mom and sister and having lunch. I found a cute top by Bobeaou, but they didn't have it in my size and color, so I had to order it online. Luckily they have free shipping!

After all that shopping we all (even Keith!) took naps. Owen napped for 2 1/2 hours! Woo hoo!


Saturday afternoon Keith decided he was taking care of dinner and decided to head to the store to get inspired. He returned with surf and turf to BBQ and a new cocktail recipe that might just be a lower-calorie substitute for my beloved Lemon Drop. I'll have to share the recipe sometime soon. I also had him pick up some strawberries and heavy whipping cream while he was out so I could whip up some Strawberry Shortcakes too. Needless to say, we were all stuffed to the gills after Saturday night.

SUNDAY


We spent Sunday at our friends pool enjoying the sun, water, company and cocktails. The kids all indulged in hot dogs, ice cream and cotton candy. This is the first year that Owen gets to run around and play with all the big kids at the pool and he LOVES it! We watch him like hawks though. Nothing scares me more, as a parent than a pool. We all had a blast, so much in fact that Owen played right through nap time. We ended up doing everything we could to keep him awake until 6:30, and thankfully we were successful. After putting him down for an extra early bedtime we watched the Mad Men season finale. Is Don going totally insane?


MONDAY
On Monday we headed out to the outlets to do some shopping. We were on a mission to find Keith some more shirts for work and a new pair of sunglasses. I was hoping to find a dress for our friends' wedding next month, but came home with nothing. Owen was, of course, the one who came home with the most. It is so easy to shop for toddlers! We, along with the rest of America, barbequed dinner that night. I was silly and only had three chicken breasts on hand, and now I totally regret not having Keith make enough to last us all week for lunch. Oh well, there is always next weekend! 

That's all for now! I'll be back tomorrow with a Thirsty Thursday post! Thanks for reading :)

May 26, 2014

South-of-the-Border Beans + Menu Monday

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

There's lots going on in this blog post today, so hold on tight! Hope you're feeling hungry!

My favorite easy meals to make are usually of the mexican variety. They're so simple since I usually have all the ingredients on hand. I cook a protein (chicken, beef in the slow cooker or ground turkey), top it with some black beans, chopped tomatoes, corn and avocado, throw on some salasa, sprinkle on the cheese and dinner is DONE! 

Everyone knows that homemade always tastes much better than store bought, right? Well, I've never made my own beans before, so last week I decided to give it a try. Plus, beans are a great, hearty side dish filled with fiber, which will keep you full for longer.

We really liked these beans, so I'm planning to make them more often instead of the canned ones. Someone also suggested making them in the slow cooker too, which seems like a really time efficient way to cook these. 


South-of-the-Border Beans        Makes 6-8 servings 

1 (16 ounce package) of dried pinto beans, soaked and drained
2 tbsp EVOO
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large jalapeno chili with seeds, cut in half lengthwise
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 32 oz carton chicken stock
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cider vinegar

In a large Dutch oven heat oil over medium high heat. Saute onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in spices; saute 1 min. stir in stock plus 3 cups water and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for one hour. Discard chili. Stir in brown sugar, 1 tsp salt and vinegar. Simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes or until beans are tender and liquid has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Beans may be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

To soak the beans: rinse and sort beans in a large pot. To 1lb. of beans add 6-8 cups cold water. Let stand overnight or at least 6 to 8 hours. Drain soak water and rinse before cooking.

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And on the menu this week...




 Turkey Taco Bowls



What's cookin' in your kitchen this week?

May 23, 2014

FIVE on FRIDAY

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

 one
My May Stitch Fix box came this week (you can check out my March box here!) and I'm having a hard time deciding what to keep! I love the jacket and the tank, but I can't decide if I should keep the scarf or dress. I don't need either right now, although I think they're still cute. I have to tell you that when I tried on the red dress Owen told me "You look funny, mommy!", so I'm definitely leaning away from that one! There was also a pair of white cropped jeans in the box, but I don't want to scare anyone with pictures of me wearing those!

From left to right:

Pomelo Analisse Anorak Jacket $88
Mariella Bali Print Scarf $78
41Hawthorn Bindy Fit and Flare Pointe Dress $78
Renee C Macklin Abstract Print Cut-Out Back Tank $48
(not pictured) Kut From The Kloth Rory Boyfriend Jean $78

What are your thoughts on these four pieces? What should I keep?

Please note the white hole punch mess all over the floor. Owen was content playing with them pretending he was a bulldozer while I tried on my wares, so I just let him be. Add that to your list of ways to keep a toddler busy.

 two
I can only imagine the intense love one feels when becoming a grandparent. It must be like a drug, because Owen has his Grandmas (Keith's mom is B and mine is Granny) wrapped around his tiny little fingers. Sometimes I feel really bad for him that he has no Grandpas around (both and no longer with us) to show him all the guy stuff, but then I remember how much love he gets from our moms and it feels okay. Hashtag: You know you've got your grandma wrapped around your finger when you've got her buying you chocolate milk in bulk!

 three
This Goodbyn Hero lunch box container came in our Citrus Lane box this month and I'm in love with it! I love that I can fit so much in it for a little lunch on the run! Owen really likes when I serve his food bento style and I like that it stays nice and neat! He also loves the "cookies" I make aka No-Bake Trail Mix Bites.

four
When I saw this recipe for Superba S'mores on Cupcakes & Cashmere pop up my reader this week I pinned it immediately. Keith looooves him some s'mores anything, and I must admit that so. do. I. Hoping to make them for his birthday in a few weeks!

five
Yesterday I was reading through the blog posts that linked up for the One Year and Beyond Series a few moms (like Ashley and Sara!) are hosting. Yesterday's topic was Mommy Guilt, and it got me thinking what I feel most guilty about. I came to the conclusion that the biggest mommy guilt I have is not slowing down enough to just BE with Owen. Yes, I am with him all day, everyday... but there is always laundry to be done, errands to be run, a house to pick up and dinner to be made. Last night I felt especially sad when I finally got dinner done and cleaned up and headed up to be with Owen before bed only to find he didn't even want me to rock him to sleep like usual (I'm usually THE person he wants a night). He wanted his Daddy. I felt really sad about not getting to do it. Anyway, today we're skipping the gym and any errands and I'm going to just watch ants with my boy all day. Dinner will have to figure itself out. 

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone! 

May 21, 2014

Sunshine in a Glass

We recently had the pleasure of getting to try some of Whole Foods Market's “Made Right Here” Juices with Amazing Grass! Their made-in-house juices get an extra boost this month from Amazing Grass Organic Green SuperFoods, and include fun flavors like Eye Opener, Triple Threat, and Kale Yeah! 



What we really like about these juices are that you can have them along with your lunch or before a workout for an extra boost of energy and the vitamins that you'd otherwise be unable to get from coffee or energy drinks. All without the full feeling of a smoothie.

The juices are made fresh early every morning and packaged up for you to grab and go. Each season the juices offered will change as the seasonal produce changes.

Right now these are the juices available at the San Mateo Whole Foods:



We sampled and enjoyed the freshness of them all! The Eye Opener is my favorite so far!

Owen's very favorite was the Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice (which they always have on hand)! Owen said it was so "yummy, yummy in my tummy!!" You can buy the Orange Juice ready to go OR go use the nifty Willy Wonka style machine for yourself to squeeze your own juice. The sweet lady at Whole Foods told me that once I tried their freshly squeezed OJ I would never buy the pre-packaged stuff again and she's right! It's the most amazing thing I have ever tasted. I know this sounds corny but it was like drinking straight sunshine from a cup!


In this short video you can see how neat the juice machine is. Owen loves helping me fill the bottles with Orange Juice! It has become a fun activity for us to do together when we visit Whole Foods.



I'd also like to point out for any local parents some of the other fun things to do in the Bay Meadows area:

Play at Paddock Park - a new fully-enclosed park in the community with a sandbox, bathrooms, two play structures, swings and a rope climbing structure.

MomDays (and dog days too)! - every Monday 3-5pm join the Bay Meadows community at Paddock Park for family-friendly shenanigans – live music, puppet shows, crafts – the events change monthly. Events for June will be added this week.

Park Place Fountain Stream - a fun place to let the kids splash around on a warm day! Located in front of Crunch Fitness. Be sure to bring a towel and a change of clothes!

You can also follow the San Mateo Whole Foods on Instagram and Bay Meadows on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

Whole Foods Market's regional and store buyers review and bring to market hundreds of products every month. Here are a few new items hitting Northern California and Reno stores in May 2014 - See more at: http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/news/new-in-norcal-may14#sthash.3A1pXhnm.dp

Our perfect little Monday? Cold juice from Whole Foods, time to splash around in the water and maybe even a stop to see what's happening over at Paddock Park for Momdays!

The Whole Foods Market's “Made Right Here” Juices with Amazing Grass obviously got this mama's (and Owen's) seal of approval! I was not compensated for this review, but we did receive the juices for free to review. All opinions expressed here are my own, as is my love for the fresh juices!
Whole Foods Market's regional and store buyers review and bring to market hundreds of products every month. Here are a few new items hitting Northern California and Reno stores in May 2014 - See more at: http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/news/new-in-norcal-may14#sthash.3A1pXhnm.dpuf
Whole Foods Market's regional and store buyers review and bring to market hundreds of products every month. Here are a few new items hitting Northern California and Reno stores in May 2014 - See more at: http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/news/new-in-norcal-may14#sthash.3A1pXhnm.dpuf

May 20, 2014

Wee LOVE Weelicious!

Part of my New Year's resolutions this year was to cook more recipe from the cookbooks I already have. You see, I'm a little addicted to collecting cookbooks. When I buy them I have every intention of making as many of the recipes as I can, but I usually only make one or two before shelving the book. I drive myself nuts with this, but the truth is I think I'll try a bunch of new recipes when I buy a new book, but somewhere during the page skimming process I loose my motivation and end up back with my tried and true favorites. 

I've been really good so far this year this year and I haven't bought a single book. Instead of buying a cookbook I think I'll like I've started borrowing them from the library first to make sure I like most of the recipes. One of my most recent "borrows" was Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh, and Easy Recipes.

In the time I borrowed it from the library we made 4-5 of the recipes in it, and I've flagged about 5 more that I would be making this week if I had the time! 

Our very favorite recipe we've tried so far is the Crock Pot Pulled Pork Tacos!

Crock Pot Pulled Pork Tacos
Click here for the printer-friendly version.

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 3-1/2 to 4 pound pork shoulder, rinsed and cleaned
  • 1 16 oz jar mild salsa (i used pace chunky salsa)
  • 1 package corn or flour tortillas

Preparation

1. Place the first 7 ingredients in a bowl and mix.
2. Place the pork shoulder in the Crock Pot (slow cooker) and rub all over with the seasoning mixture.
3. Pour the jar of salsa around the pork shoulder.
4. Cook on low heat for 8-12 hours.
5. Remove the pork to a plate and using 2 forks, shred the into bite size pieces (I like to remove the visible pieces of fat).
6. Pour a scoop or two of the juices into the pork and stir to combine (If you want to remove the excess fat from the juice you will use, pour it into a cup and refrigerate it until the fat solidifies and can be easily scooped out. Only the juices will remain).
7. Place the pork into the tortillas.
8. Serve with desired accompaniments.
So, along with my confessions about how in love I am with this recipe I also must confess that I decided to forgo my new year's resolution and purchased the cookbook for myself on Amazon! I decided that since I made sure I would actually cook from this book by borrowing it from the library first that it was a safe buy. And I would highlu recommend it to anyone I know!

Do you have a favorite cookbook I should check out at the library?

May 16, 2014

FIVE on FRIDAY

Good morning everyone! I hope your week went by quickly and that you have great plans for the weekend ahead of you! I'm linking up with the sweet ladies behind The Good Life, Carolina Charm, A. Liz Adventures, and Hello Happiness for 5 on Friday! Let's get this started...

1
We've been having a great time at Owen's twice a week swim class! His teacher is great, and she totally knows what she's doing with the little ones. A great teacher can make or break a class! The shower is a total obstacle course with a 2 year-old, but it feels a little easier than it was last year with a 1 year-old. AND I can not deny the fact that I look forward to O nodding off in the car on the way home once it's all over, which he always does after swimming! Yesterday it kicked off a glorious 3 1/4 hour nap! Can you believe it?

2
Our Citrus Lane box came yesterday loaded with totally awesome and fun stuff! I was truly surprised to see how much was inside when we opened it! Inside there was:

a handy Hero lunch box container by Goodbyn,
a couple cool sand toys from Hape, including a Track Sand Roller and a Parthenon Sand Mold,

We've been receiving our boxes from Citrus Lane for nearly a year now and each month we're SO happily surprised when the box arrives at our door and we open it to find all sorts of fun new gadgets, toys, books and snacks! When we see that box on our doorstep it becomes the highlight of our day! If you'd like to sign up for your first box you can use this referral link to get 50% your first box (and we'll get a credit toward our next box)!

3
It has been hot, hot, hot here for the last few days and we've been loving the excuse to play in the water! This boy really is the happiest when he's got the hose in his hands! Want to know how I got him to smile and look at the camera? I told him to spray me with the hose! I'll do whatever I have to do to see his smile!

 
4
Owen finally agreed to wear his cool retro sunglasses (green is no longer available, but the tortoise is!) yesterday on our way to the gym and he looked SO cool in them! Every time I would put my own glasses on the top of my head he would do the same. I think he felt just as cool as he looked!

5
I drew the winner for the BLACK + DECKER Pivot Vac giveaway and the winner is Nataly Carbonell! Congratulations Nataly and thank you to everyone who entered!!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! We've got festivals, a bridal shower and some family time on our agenda. See you on Monday!

May 14, 2014

Who's The Boss?

Owen loves to tell us he's the boss. I try not to make too much of it, because I really think he's just looking for a reaction from us. I don't think he knows what it means to be The Boss (aka mommy!) I don't remember how or when this whole thing started, but he basically does it because he knows it will kick start a discussion between us, and that it usually results in some laughs all around.


The conversation usually goes something like this:

Owen: I the boss, mommy!

Me: No, Owen. Mommy and Daddy are the boss.

Owen: Nooooo, I the BOSS.

(that part might repeat 2-3x depending how patient and playful I'm feeling at the moment)

Me: Alright. You can be the boss of the big boys, okay?

Owen: Awright, mommy!

Well, the other day Keith and I were watching Mad Men on DVR while Owen napped and this commercial came on, and we happened to watch it because neither of us remembered to fast forward the commercials.

The woman is a restaurant owner talking about how the Microsoft programs help her in owning a small business.



It's pretty funny, so when we heard the woman in the commercial (at about 0:25) say "I'm the boss" when the delivery man asks to see her boss, we knew Owen would catch it and we wanted to hear his reaction.

So when he woke up we played it for him to see if it would register when he heard someone else say "I'm the boss!". We played it for him and right away he responded with, "HER not the BOSS! Mommy and Daddy are da boss!"

So he IS listening! And I'm glad he knows who is really in charge here!

Have you seen this Microsoft Window commercial? I laugh every time I see it now!
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PS!!! Today is the last day to enter the BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac giveaway!


Our BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac has made my life SO much easier and cleaner! I can get in between all the little cracks and crevices inside, under and behind Owen's car seat to vacuum up the crumbs from his on-the-go snacks instead of pulling the whole heavy seat out and having to get my husband to reinstall for me. I am saving tons of time with this! Not only is the BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac incredibly convenient, but it's also super powerful. It was able to suck up all the sand from our recent day at the beach like it was nothing!

You can enter by clicking HERE and then following the prompts on the Rafflecopter widget.

May 13, 2014

Mother's Day Exchange


A few weeks ago I received an email from Karra, beautiful mommy to Rae and the voice behind Justus&Rae, suggesting a few of us mommies participate in a little gift exchange in honor of Mother's Day. Well, if you know me, you know the only thing better than receiving a gift is getting to buy one for someone else! Needless to say we were IN!

That's Jess and her adorable daughter Sadie!
The limit was set at $20, and we all shopped and shipped our gifts off to be delivered to our person before Mother's Day! We (Owen &I) ad fun shopping for our draw, Jess from Sadie Sky, but I was little intimidated, because what do you buy for a girl who has such impeccable style? I was a little afraid I would send her something she wouldn't like or that if I did come up with what I thought was a great idea that she would already have it. Gah! Luckily I came across a cute gift that I thought would be "COOL" not matter what! You'll have to head over to her blog to see what we sent her!


 

The day after we shipped our gift off I received a cute little package in the mail from my sweet, talented, funny, stylish, great-mama friend Erin of hello erin! I knew I had hit the gift exchange JACKPOT, because Erin always finds the best stuff before I even know anything about it! She's  one hip and amazing mom! Her adorable daughter Lex is a very lucky little lady!


She gifted me this beautiful Alex and Ani bracelet with an "O" charm for Owen! I LOVE it! It's really comfortable to wear and I adore the little "O" charm on it. Owen loves that it makes this little jingling noise when I move my wrist. I have worn it everyday since it arrived!


I love shopping for other people and I love seeing what kinds of this others give as gifts to get new ideas! Make sure you check out what the others mamas in our exchange, Ashley from Words About Waverly and Karra from Justus&Rae!