Meet the Sullivans: June 2014

June 30, 2014

Monday Morning This & That

We spent Thursday and Friday afternoons rehearsing for and celebrating our friends' wedding. The venue was perfect, the bride gorgeous, the groom the happiest I've ever seen him and the party rocking! I love going to weddings, not just for all the fun, etc., but because it is such a great feeling seeing everyone in attendance (especially the bride & groom, and their families) SO completely happy!


My friend Jen and I had our hair done for the wedding at a blowout place and I was so disappointed. I haven't paid to have my hair styled (not counting the times I've had it colored and cut) since my own wedding, so I forgot how frustrating it can be to pay someone to do your hair and have them do a terrible job. I think I could have done a better job myself.


I (finally) bought a pair of the Kendra Scott "Ellie" drop earrings I've been eying forever with the hope I would wear them to the wedding, but I ended up wearing a pair I already had and decided to keep the Kendra earrings anyway since I'm in love with them!

We spent a lot of time apart from each other this weekend and I'm so happy that Keith was off Saturday-Monday this weekend so we could make up for lost time. We spent Saturday recovering from all the fun we had, yesterday we made it to church in the morning before heading to a really fun Kid's Zoo and Park (more on that later this week) and today we're spending the majority of the day at the gym & pool.

You're probably wondering what that photo above has anything to do with any of this. It's just part of a cute little story I want to document so I can remember it someday, because it had my heart melting.

Thursday morning I picked Owen up from the childcare after my workout and as we were leaving we passed the vending machines. Every once in a while Owen will ask for a snack from the machine, but I never let him buy anything because I don't want to set an expectation of buying things from there every time we pass, and I always have snacks for him in my bag anyway. But on Thursday I was feeling guilty because I knew we'd be leaving him a lot in the next two days, so I thought I'd let him pick something. He looked at all the snacks for a little while before pointing to the Chex Mix and saying "I get that one? For B!". Owen calls Keith's mom "B" (her name is Barbara) and she likes Chex Mix and she and O snack on it together sometimes. I was just dying at this point because I thought it was so sweet that he could pick whatever he wanted and what he anted was to bring something home to give to his grandma later that night. We promptly purchased the Chex Mix and I let Owen get himself some cookies too. Moments like that make me feel like we're doing a pretty great job raising our little boy!

Happy Monday, friends!

June 25, 2014

Pool Day Essentials


Summer is in full swing and we're spending many days each week poolside. Owen loves the  water, and loves getting to play with the other children in the kiddie pool at our gym. I love that we get to be outside expending all of our energy before nap time! With all the time we spend swimming you'd think we'd be permanently waterlogged!

The things I pack for the pool change from year to year based on Owen's needs -- last year he was too small for floaties and didn't do much playing in the water--, but there are some essentials that are here to stay! (for at least another couple years!) So here are some of our favorite pool day essentials that we just can't swim without.


1. wet skin sunscreen spray - Since I can't get Owen out of the water without a huge fit, Wet Skin SPF is a MUST if I want to keep his fair skin protected. The big plus is that it's a spray too!
2. dive darter's fish - He's not afraid of dunking himself in the water and he loves to go swimming down to the floor (of the 1 foot deep kiddie pool) for his toys!
3. puddle jumper - Most of the time Owen is sans life jacket, since it's better for him to be aware of his capabilities. But when we go in a big pool or the pool is really busy, I feel better knowing he's extra safe.
4. rashguard - He hates wearing this shirt, but I make him. He'd hate a burn even more!
5. cloth swim diaper - These are required at our pool, and now I swear by them. No more 10lb water filled swim diaper.
6. swim trunks - I'm so glad I stocked up on multiple pairs this year since we're swimming day after day after day! There are some cute ones on sale at Old Navy!
7. keens - I swear by these shoes for Summer time! They give support, while also being waterproof and protecting their toes (unlike flip flops) -- and they're machine washable!
8. bucket hat - He loves wearing hats, and when we're in the hot sun it's a must for our blonde haired, blue-eyed boy.
9. wet bag - We recently got one of these in our Citrus Lane box and we love it! No more wet clothes soaking everything else in our bags!

Now I just need to designate a bag to be our pool bag and we'll be all set. I've been using a diaper bag as my gym / pool / diaper bag and the constant shuffling of all our stuff is driving me batty! When heading to the pool what do you always make sure to pack?

June 24, 2014

4th of July Recipe Link Up

Fireworks! Rocket pops! Red, White & Blue! Family! BBQ! Festivals! Potlucks! I love the Fourth of July, and it is right around the corner! Owen and I even put out our festive American flags early last week for the occasion!

Owen and I love spending the afternoons outside while we wait for daddy to come home. On hot afternoons, right after nap time we usually head out back to hang out in the shade and play with water. I usually buy popsicles for us at  Trader Joe's, but with the 4th coming up, that I wanted to make some fun red, white and blue ones for us to enjoy.

The really great thing about making your own popsicles is that you can make them as healthy or indulgent as you want. I only added a little bit of sugar to the strawberries! I used our Tovolo Rocket Pops mold, but you could also used dixie cups to make smaller pops! 


Ingredients

Red Layer 
1 cup sliced strawberries 
3 tablespoons lemonade, chilled 
1 teaspoon sugar

White Layer 
1 container (6 oz) thick & creamy vanilla yogurt
3 tablespoons lemonade, chilled

Blueberry Layer 
1/2 cup blueberries 
1/2 cup lemonade, chilled 
1/2 teaspoon sugar 
Directions
1. In blender, place red layer ingredients. Cover; blend until smooth. Spoon 2 tablespoons mixture into each of 6 (5-oz) paper cups. Cover cups with foil; insert craft stick into center of each pop. (Or fill ice pop molds according to manufacturer’s directions.) Freeze about 2 hours or until frozen.
2. When first layer is frozen, remove foil from pops. In small bowl, mix white layer ingredients until smooth. Spoon about 2 tablespoons mixture in each cup over frozen layer. Return foil to pops to support sticks. Freeze about 2 hours or until frozen.
3. Meanwhile, in blender, place blueberry layer ingredients. Cover; blend until smooth. When white layer is frozen, remove foil from pops. Spoon about 2 tablespoons blueberry layer mixture in each cup over white layer. Return foil to pops to support sticks. Freeze at least 6 hours until frozen.

And because I couldn't resist, here are some super adorable popsicle things I wouldn't mind getting my hands on!!!


June 23, 2014

A Berry Good Time

It's officially summer! I didn't make an official "summer bucket list" for our family, but Keith and I have a mental list of activities we want to do and places we want to go as a family this summer. There is so much happening around these parts that we could probably find something new and fun to do each weekend, all within a 45 minutes drive from us. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I LOVE living in the Bay Area!

Sunday morning Keith mentioned how fun it would be to go strawberry picking, so we decided to pack up and head out to Phipps Country Farm in Pescadero. We called ahead and found out that there would be no strawberry picking because of the drought we've had in California, but that there were plenty of olallieberries!


In typical coastal fashion, it was a bit overcast on the coast, but the drive down Highway 1 was still beautiful. Pescadero is literally a one stoplight town, they really only had one hanging from a wire, and there is a big giant flag pole in the middle of town.


Phipps Country Farm is a cute little place to do berry picking, shop for local produce and visit farm animals. Berry picking is free for children under 5 or over 60, and costs $3 for all other people. The price per pound for the berries is $3.50. You can also buy carrots (10 cents each) to feed the donkey, which you bet your behind we did!


The farm has a lot of charm, including lots of old rusty tractors and a collection of chainsaws. Kind of creepy, but also sort of neat. If you know me, you know I love old things.








Don't you love that black and white picture of Owen? That's the face he made each time he ate a sour berry, which was often since he insisted on eating the white or red ones.

We took home around two pounds of berries, so I'm flash freezing them to turn them into jam or spread of some sort latter this week. We'll see if I get my act together enough for that though!


That donkey sure loves (and expects!) his carrots from passersby! On our way out to the fields he trotted over to the fence and grunted a bit, as if to say, "Where are my carrots? You know that's the deal, right? You walk by, I get carrots.". We got him a few on the return trip. We spent some time checking out the other animals... pheasants, a turkey, roosters, chickens, goats. The turkey seemed aggressive, are they always that way?


After visiting the farm we were all feeling pretty hungry, so we ventured back up Pescadero Creek Road to the main street, Stage Road. There were a few cute shops with crafty things in them, and one or two little bakery / deli type places. We'd heard great things about the Artichoke Garlic Herb bread from Arcangeli Grocery Co., so we stopped in to pick some up. I also bought a Meyer Lemon EVOO and a Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce. 



The Artichoke Garlic Herb bread was out of this world amazing! It was fresh out of the oven when we bought it, so it was really warm on the inside and perfectly crunchy on the inside -- with tons of artichokes inside too. We'll definitely be back for more someday!



We spent some time causing general havoc and chaos along the streets. Sorry to all the people we (by "we", I mean Owen) almost tripped or knocked over during our fun. I think someone put sugar in his bread. The Downtown Local coffee house is one of the coolest, and  kind of unexpected, places down there. They have coffee (duh) and all sorts of neat vintagey, antiques inside and some cool spots to sit and enjoy your coffee, like the leather chair Owen sat in. 


We had lunch at Duarte's Tavern per recommendation of their olallieberry pie! I tried their cream of artichoke + cream of green chile soups mixed together (per the recommendation of Yelpers) and they were incredible! Keith had the tri tip sandwich, which he said was good. Owen had grilled cheese. We loved the pie too!

We were all stuffed and ready for naps following our long, fun day! We love exploring our area!
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PS! I'm guest posting to day over on Running from the Law as part of Sara's Photography for Mom's series! I'm sharing some tips & tricks that I've learned in the last few years to get good pictures of my kiddo, so be sure to swing by and check it out -- and while you're there check out the rest of the posts in the series. I've already learned so much from what the other moms have had to share!

June 20, 2014

FIVE on FRIDAY

Hooray for the weekend! The week went buy really quickly, but I'm not complaining because we have a weekend ahead of us with NO PLANS! The last few weekends have been packed with parties and celebrations, so we're so happy to have a weekend to ourselves with nothing on the agenda!

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

ONE - Yesterday during nap time I got some of our Fourth of July decorations out -- can you believe it's only TWO weeks away? -- and when Owen woke up from his nap he discovered them in the dinning room. I told him all about celebrating the 4th and that there will be fire works, so he asked if we could go outside and put the flags and wreath out. He's a boy after this mom's heart! We put the little flags in the ground and he asked "where da fireworks, mommy?!". Hopefully he doesn't mind waiting a few weeks to see them!
TWO - My June Stitch Fix box arrived this week! I always look forward to seeing what's inside and taking a few minutes to try everything on. 

From left to right: 

-The aqua dress was pretty, but I don't need something like that right now. It would be great for a bridal or baby shower if I were going to one soon. Status: returned
-The peach dress was awful. I fit like a potato sack. It had no shape at all. Status: returned
-I'm keeping the scarf because I love infinity scarves and I like the color and print. Status: keeping!
-The blue tank had a cute print, but the arm holes were too long. You could totally see my bra, so I decided to send it back since I knew that would bother me. Status: returned
-The black top was really cute, but I talked myself out of it because I didn't want to spend too much, but now I'm thinking I should have kept it! Status: returned

There were quite a few cute things in this month's box, but I only decided to keep the scarf. I have never kept more than one thing in my boxes, not just because some of the items seem overpriced, but because I haven't really really loved enough of the pieces to keep them, so I've decided to put my subscription on hold for a few months. I'm thinking I'll try it again in the Fall when the seasons change and the selection is different.

THREE - I included this Shrimp Cobb Salad in our menu for this week, and the results were great! I ended up just seasoning the shrimp with the Cajun Mrs. Dash, baking them for 7 minutes at 400, and then making the rest of the salad as normal, and topping it with Panera Balsamic dressing instead of making the dressing suggested in the recipe. We loved it so much that I'm thinking of making it again next week, but this time I will make sure I buy pre-shelled & cleaned shrimp. Cleaning those suckers was disgusting!

FOUR - My Aunt Kathy and Uncle Vince gave Keith and Owen matching Giants hats and shirts for Father's Day. I thought it was so sweet of them to think of them! My dad and Uncle Vince were really good friends. Vince was like the brother my dad always wanted, but never had, and this thoughtful gift totally reminds me of my dad. This is something he would have absolutely bought for Keith and Owen, and he probably would have bought a set for himself too. I can't wait to get them in their outfits and take a picture!

FIVE - A few weeks ago we had lunch at Fenton's and I ordered a Vanilla Diet Coke and it was fantastic! So much better than the kind you buy in a can at the store. The next day Keith and I picked up a bottle of Torani Vanilla syrup and I've been adding a little to my diet sodas every once in a while. They're a real treat -- luckily I only have soda twice a week! 

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! 

June 18, 2014

Easy DIY Polaroid Photo Keychain

I spotted this cute little Father's Day craft in Disney's Family Fun magazine a few weeks ago and decided to make it for Keith as a part of Owen's gift to him for Father's Day. I'm really not very crafty, although I try to be, but I was pretty pleased with the outcome of this little craft!


There are so many different people who you could make this trinket for... you could use a team / class photo to make this for coaches or teachers, make one for your grandparents... or even do something totally type A and overly organized and have a different key chain for every key you have with a corresponding picture of the item on the key chain.

Anyway here is our little Father's Day craftyness...



Here is what you will need:
1. First crop a photograph to 5 square inches. I cropped my image into a square using iPhoto and then inserted it into a Word file where I was able to size it down to a 5x5 square.

2. Lighten the image as needed. Colors will get darker during baking, so it's best to pick a picture with a light background.

3. Print your photo on a sheet of Shrinky Dinks.


4. Trim the photo, leaving a 1-inch border at the bottom and a 1/2-inch border at the top and both sides.


5. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions for the best way to print your photos based on the printer you have and how to adjust the ink and color levels (if needed).

6. Using your hole punch, punch a hole in the top left corner of the picture.



7. Place picture on a foil line baking sheet and then into a preheated 275-300 degree oven. It feels really strange putting a picture of your child in an oven. Some part of my motherly instinct didn't feel right about this part!

8. Set the timer for 3-5 minutes and watch as your picture shrinks! After the paper lays flat (it might curl a bit during the baking) let it bake for about 30 seconds more before removing from the oven. Remove paper from the tray and press flat with a pad of paper to keep it flat while it cools (approx. 15 seconds).



9. Attach key ring and you're done!

June 17, 2014

Father's Day Weekend

What a long and fun filled weekend we had! I'm really glad we don't have too much happening this week because I think we all need to recover from our busy weekend. So here's how it all went down...

The weekend begins on Friday, right? I think so!



On Friday morning we drove out to Pleasanton to meet up with a bunch of our friends to play. A few of my best friends from high school and I all have (first born) boys really close in age -- isn't it neat how that worked out? Only two of us live close to each other and the other two are in NJ and Southern California, so the last time we got the boys together was over a year ago! (We took the exact same picture last year with the boys in the same exact spots!)

The boys are in birth order from left to right. The first two, Noah and Dean, are just days apart, then there is a 8 month gap before Owen was born and then Nico was born few weeks later. The other three boys also each have a little sister. I think it will be totally insane if we have a girl when we have a second child someday. I'm so glad we can all share in motherhood and go through all the same things together. It's also really nice always having a close friend (or 3!) to call when you need advice.


On Saturday my sister and I went to the Giants game! We had awesome seats in the Club Level! It's too bad the Giants lost -- they were so close to having that win. Keith was there too, but in a different section with some friends celebrating a Bachelor Party.





The highlight of the weekend was when Sunday rolled around and we got to celebrate our favorite man! We tried our hardest to be quiet and let Keith sleep in for a while. When he came downstairs I put together a family favorite, Mickey Mouse shaped Pumpkin Spice waffles. No secret recipe here, just a box of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Waffle & Pancake mix I had stashed away for such an occasion.


After breakfast Keith opened his gifts from Owen. Owen knew exactly what to give his Daddy for Father's Day: a big bottle of Game of Thrones Fire & Blood Red Ale, a Sports Authority gift card, Keith's favorite candy and a key chain with his picture on it!


Owen and I work hard on getting that key chain juuuust right for Daddy! I'm hoping to share how we made it tomorrow.


We had most of the day free, so we asked Keith how he wanted to spend the day. He's pretty much the most easy going, selfless guy we know, so I wasn't surprised when he said he just wanted to take Owen to the toy store to pick out a new toy and play at the park. We decided later that the weather was too cool and windy to play at the park, so we picked up Owen his cool new dinosaur toy instead. I'm not sure who is enjoying it more, Owen or Keith!


Owen and I are so lucky to have Keith! He's an amazing, fun, warm and loving father and a thoughtful and sweet husband. We couldn't ask for more!