Meet the Sullivans: October 2015

October 26, 2015

CuriOdyssey | Reflections and Perceptions |

On Saturday we had the pleasure of attending CuriOdyssey to see their brand new Reflections and Perceptions exhibition! Reflections and Perceptions is a sensory exhibition where kids explore their visual and tactile perception. Through interaction with ten exhibits kids experience reflective, refractive, diffractive, optical and translucent materials as well as unusual textures. Kids will learn while they play that perception of materials can be bent, fractured, flipped and distorted.

We had so much fun getting to see all the new exhibits and visiting some of our favorites!

There were a handful of politicians in attendance to help unveil CuriOdyssey's big plans for expansion! We got to see Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Senator Jerry Hill, Supervisor Carole Groom and San Mateo Mayor Maureen Freschet and hear them share their own experiences bringing their children and/or grandchildren to the science and wildlife center.

After the opening we hit up a few of our favorite exhibits before checking out all the cool new ones!

Owen loved touching the Tactiles in wood frames that now line the wall. They contain materials that create different tactile sensations and he loves running his fingers down the line of frames. The materials are meant to surprise those touching them when compared to their appearance.

One of my favorites were the Optiles, which contain a variety of transparent materials that "influence the passage of light". Not only are they really neat to look at and for kids to discover, but they make for beautiful art too!

We all had a great time playing with the Social Kaleidoscope, which reflects reflects whatever is on the opposite end, even faces, as a repeating pattern, and as the tunnel revolves, the patterns rotate and change. It was also super fun trying to get a neat picture of Owen playing with it!

This is Owen playing with the Pixelated View! This large mirror comprises 2,7000 small, square mirrors. The reflection changes as the distance to the mirrored squares changes from blurry to more pronounced. It brings pixilation to life. By adding motion, the image becomes more defined; the visual sensors in your mind make the image more coherent.

I'm pretty sure we'll be spending the majority of our future visits playing in this hall with all the fun mirrors! Owen loved running past this one over and over again to see his reflection!

The Objective Perspective exhibit is essentially a giant a kaleidoscope! When a viewer looks through the tube, he materials seen in the wheel appear to be repeating geometric patterns.

Concave Warped Reality The images the mirror reflects are different than the average mirror because the curved surface alters the path of flight. Images appear flipped.

And of course, we had a ball playing at all of our regular spots as well! 

The sand and water table where we usually spend about an hour! The children use the sand and various pieces of plastic pipes to redirect or stop the water. Owen is really into textures and sensory play, so this is really popular with him. And it's usually a spot filled with other kid's to play with, so he loves it.

Gears and Gadgets is another spot we always end up playing! Children move different gears and gadgets at various stations to help move a few plastic balls through the machine.

And although he loves checking out the snakes that call CurOdyssey home, his heart truly belongs to the river otters. They're always really active, swimming around their habitat and bouncing off the glass!

We just absolutely LOVE CuriOdyssey! We've been members since Owen was about a year old and we visit often, usually once or twice a month. We feel really lucky to have a place like this in our area where we can visit, learn and play any time we want!!!

October 23, 2015

Gilroy Gardens Halloween Scary Boo! & Spooky Zoo

A few weeks ago Keith and I took Owen down to Gilroy (about 45-60 minutes from our house) to have some fun at Gilroy Gardens! Gilroy Gardens is a family theme park with lots of rides and attractions for little ones, and parents too. This time of year they decorate and transform the park for their Halloween Scary Boo! & Spooky Zoo and we went down to check it all out!

The park is open on weekends only right now, and I recommend getting there as soon as they open to maximize your time there -- there is so much to see and do!

Gilroy Gardens is home of the Circus Trees, so there are a lot of beautiful trees and plant all around, as well as tons of shade! It was a warm day when we went. The entry way into the park is gorgeous and they had a bunch of Halloween and fall displays lined up along the walkway. Owen loves stopping to check each one out, since he's become quite the spooky decor connoisseur.

Our first stop at is always the carousel. Can you tell he loves them?

The scavenger hunt and both mazes were his favorite parts of the park that day. At the front of the park they give you a copy of the scavenger hunt with a map and pencil. There are simple questions and pictures to be drawn at various points in the park, as well as a spot or two where the kids can trick-or-treat. Once you complete the hunt and answer all the questions you can pick up your treat bag at the exit near the petting zoo!

The Kiddie Hay Maze is perfectly age appropriate. Owen whipped through it a light speed about 3 times! He really really really loved dashing through the much spookier Pinnacles Scary Maze rock maze.

We also rode the steam engine around the park!

Since it was a warm day, we ended our day there with a little time in the Splash Garden water play area. I wasn't planning on it being open, so we were ill prepared without water shoes, a towel or bathing suit, but we weren't going to let that stop O from cooling off and having some fun.

After lunch we were all pretty tuckered out. There was still some more we could have done, but we had a long drive ahead of us and an expiring 3 year-old who needed some down time.

If you have time, I highly suggest you go before it's gone for the year. It was so much fun!

And my readers save $20 OFF General Admission to Gilroy Gardens with this exclusive coupon®ionid=460


I was not paid for this review, but we were given free tickets in exchange for sharing our experience with you. As always, all opinions are my own.

October 19, 2015

The Weekend

Hello there and good morning! The weekend has come and gone again, and here we are left with Monday. Keith took Owen to school this morning, so I'm feeling like a bona fide stay-at-home mom this morning because I made them breakfast and kissed them goodbye in my bathrobe, coffee in hand. I have big plans this morning including Michael's, some studying and Trader Joe's. Anyway, here's our weekend...

On Friday after school Owen and I met our friends Lisa and M at the St. Paul's Nursery School fun faire to play all the fun games. Since it's put on by a preschool all of the games are completely age appropriate and appealing to little kids between 2-5. Owen loved the fishing game, mostly because it meant winning little sticky skeletons as a prize and he also loved climbing through the maze they had set up on the play structure. He had a pumpkin sugar cookie at the end, and got his face painted -- he was happy as a clam!

Saturday was spent at home hanging out and taking it easy. My mom and sister came by in the late morning and we played with Owen, had lunch and watched a movie. Owen's teacher had this little pumpkin + shaving cream sensory activity out earlier in the week, and Owen loved it, so we recreated it at home. I added a little food coloring to the shaving cream for some extra fun.

Saturday night Keith and I had a date night! It's hard to believe we hadn't been on a date since our anniversary at the beginning of August, but it's the truth. We went to a new to us Chinese place, Little China Kitchen, and then to see The Martian. I never finished the book like I wanted to, but Keith said the movie was a good adaptation of it. Matt Damon was really great, and while it had the potential to be really sad and depressing, there was a great amount of dry humor mixed in to make it light. It's a good one to see if you're looking for a movie!

On Sunday we were supposed to be up bright and early, and out the door for the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, but I woke up so exhausted that I couldn't fathom doing it and then dealing with the crowds, etc. We decided to skip it this year, which was a little bummer because we haven't missed it in about 10 years, but I'm glad we did because we got a lot done instead.

I made some headway on my list of things to do before the baby comes ans bought the Graco Pack 'n Play Playard Snuggle Suite at Target we have on our list because they had a good deal on it Sunday morning in the ad. I checked my breast pump to make sure it's all still in working order. I'm going to have to borrow one from friend since one side of the pump has no power. Pumping one side at a time would be time consuming. I also ordered the baby his little coming home outfit!

We also made it to Costco right when they opened, which made shopping a breeze. We had lunch, Owen took a nap, I took a nap, Keith watched football and then Keith and Owen went to the gym to play basketball and came home to ride bikes with our neighbors before dinner.

See? We got a ton accomplished!

I cooked rib eye, rosemary potatoes and zucchini for dinner, which everyone gobbled up.

After dinner we watched half of Aladdin on Blue-ray! Owen loves all the songs, especially when the Genie is involved. Aladdin was actually the motivating force behind getting Owen to take a bath (hates going to take one, but loves it once he's in, and then doesn't ever want to get out!). We told him we'd make it a Aladdin bath with blue water like the Genie, gold coins from the Cave of Wonders and we'd wrap him in a magic carpet (his bath towel) at the end. Super creative parenting right there!

After Owen was asleep we stayed up a little later than usually to fit watching The Walking Dead in before we went to sleep. It was a really really action packed episode and it went by so fast!

And THAT was our weekend! How was yours?

October 16, 2015

Friday Five!

Another week has flown by, and we have another fun filled weekend ahead of us! Here are my five...

| O N E | Owen and I did a little crafting Thursday afternoon and it was a really good time. About 50% of the times that we decided to do art it turns out to just be a huge mess with Owen quitting halfway through, but this one kept his attention and he only needed minimal assistance from me. I got the idea for this adorable little Candy Corn art project from Natalie!

| T W O | We're really into Legos right now! One of our favorite things to do together (maybe mine a tad bit more than his) is create robots and spaceships out of all the pieces from our collections. When we saw this Lego Trick or Treat Halloween set this week I knew we couldn't leave the store without it. Of course, I do most of the assembly, but Owen helps where he can, sorting and retrieving the pieces.

| T H R E E | I almost thought I would make it to Halloween without buying a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins, but I thought WRONG, because I actually didn't even think twice about throwing this bag in my cart at Target yesterday. Oh, well!

| F O U R | One of my favorite dinners to make for my family is a Roast Chicken ( <-- that's my favorite recipe), because I know everyone will enjoy it and it's just the best kind of comfort food. I usually use the leftover chicken the next night for something else, and this time I decided to give making my own chicken stock a try to use for chicken noodle soup. You guys, it was SO good! It was easy to put together, but took a couple hours to simmer and such. Here's the recipe I used!

| F I V E | Keith and I started watching Project Green Light last week! I was reluctant to start it since it's never appealed to me before, but I gave it a try and we're really enjoying it! Not surprisingly there is a ton of drama that goes into making a film with finding a location, actors, making compromises, etc. Have you watched it before?

And that's it from me! Owen and I are off to school and then a preschool fun faire today! I hope you have a great weekend!

Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife.

October 15, 2015

The Stella & Dot Signature Engravable Bar Necklace

Disclosure: I received this necklace for free from Stella & Dot in exchange for writing this review. As always, all opinions and thoughts expressed here are my own.

It's that time of year again, the few months leading up to Christmas when we all start worrying about finding the perfect Christmas gifts for our loved ones! I probably spend way too much time over thinking and over analyzing the gifts we give at Christmas. I always wonder if the gift we're giving sends the right message to the recipient and expresses how much we care for them, and thought about them when we were buying their gift. Gifts needn't be extravagant or costly, but thoughtful, and hopefully, unique. Of course there is always the easy way out, a gift card, but I try to avoid giving gift cards because they feel so impersonal.

My favorite kinds of gifts to give at Christmas (and receive!) are personalized ones! Engraved photo frames, custom note paper, monogrammed make up bags, embroidered blanket throws, and engraved jewelry, to name a few. Stella & Dot offers a wide variety of beautiful jewelry that you can customize to say anything you want! They have necklaces, cuff links, bracelets and charms.

When I was deciding what I wanted on my necklace I had a hard time deciding because the combinations and options are endless! You could put...

Your Initials
Your partner's first initial + your first initial
Your last name
Your first name
Your dog's name
Your monogram
Any special number in roman numerals 
Child's name
Child's initials
Alma mater
Your company's name
Birth date
Wedding date
...I could go on and on!

Like I said, I had a hard time deciding what to put on my Signature Engravable Bar Necklace, a piece of jewelry I'd likely be wearing everyday for a long time. I thought about putting Owen and Baby #2's first initials, but I knew I'd want to wear the necklace right away, and we're not ready to give his name away yet, so I decided against it until after he's born.

The next most obvious choice was our wedding date, August 7th, 2010 or 08.07.10! It's was a very special day to us, of course, and after five years of marriage and nearly two children later, it's a nice reminder of the day we said "I do!". It's also special because we share a wedding date with my parents, who were married on August 7th, 1976.

The Signature Engravable Bar Necklace is $59 and comes in silver or gold, and all engraving is complimentary. I love that I can wear the necklace alone, or stacked with other longer necklaces!

So now I want to know, what would you put on YOUR necklace?

October 13, 2015

Weekend Recap

The weekends this time of year are so packed! Our weekend was full of fun, which is just the way we like it!

On Saturday I took Owen to our friend Sienna's birthday party! Keith was working, so we went on our own, but we still had a really fun time. You know what's the best? When your friend's kids become your kid's friends, and you can all have fun hanging out together. I love that right now Owen is so independent that I don't have to stay on top of him at a party like this. I just sit back and watch him run around having fun with all his buddies.
I'm pretty sure this was Owen's first time getting to hit a piƱata and he loved it! He was so excited to get to swing at it and for when all the candy and surprises came pouring out. He actually did a really great job swinging at the pinata too, and made a few swift whacks.

On Sunday Keith and I took Owen to Gilroy Gardens for their Scary Boo! & Spooky Zoo! It was SO fun and cute, and I'll share more about it later this week.

And of course, The Walking Dead is back, so after Owen went to bed on Sunday night we watched the season premiere! I thought it was really great, although I didn't like how choppy it felt as they bounced between the scenes from the past and present. Can't wait to see how Rick and his crew are going to handle the heard of walkers next week!

And on Monday we met our friends at Lemos Farms in Half Moon Bay for some fun! We looked around at all the pumpkins, scarecrows and Halloween things, rode the train and some little coin rides. Owen was thrilled to be there and actually stopped to smile for the camera, which almost never happens! He was just in his happy place there with us, his friends and all the Halloween decorations! 

After the pumpkin farm we all headed to the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company for lunch. Owen said as we were walking up to the restaurant that he loves that place because they have the best french fries and chocolate milk! It was a perfect fall day, not too hot and not cold, so we were able to sit outside. It felt like being on vacation!

So tell me, how was your weekend?

October 12, 2015

11 Cool Toys for Preschool Aged Boys

I know what you're thinking! It's really early to be thinking about Christmas, but I'm trying to get us in gear and ready for the holidays before the baby is born, so I've compiled a list of some great toys for Preschool Aged boys (or girls!), all of which would make great Christmas gifts!

Some of these toys are things we already have and love, and that I would recommend to any friend. In our house, we have so many toys (and I haven't even pulled out the baby toys yet!), so this year we're focusing on QUALITY over quantity. Every toy we have out, and in regular rotation, should be something that gets quality playtime from Owen, meaning he plays with it often and he's really attached to it.

11 Cool Toys for Preschool Aged Boys

I've broken down the list into three categories of the kinds of play Owen seems to like the most: active play, building and imaginative play. This helps me make a great list of toys we can guarantee he likes since they're expanding the ways he can play what he already likes to do!

Owen doesn't need any encouragement to get up and run around, but sometimes it's nice to have a little direction. We have a balance bike for O, which we've loved, so a regular bike would replace that. 
9. Bike

Owen is really into building objects and tearing them down right now. We own the Hot Wheels Track Builder already and we have a lot of fun making race tracks all over the house. I think the rest of these toys would be a great addition to our collection. 

We already own the Volcano Island, and we've gotten some great mileage out of it, so I had to add it to the list for those of you who have dinosaur enthusiasts too.

I could easily double or triple the size of this list and fill it with all the toys Owen has been eyeing at Target and Toys R Us! 

What toys do your kid's get quality playtime from? 

October 9, 2015

Friday Five!

Hello, Friday! I spent last weekend sick with the flu, so it feels like forever since the last time we've had a real weekend. This week and last week literally just melted into one extra long week for me, so I'm super excited for a weekend with my people!

Here's my five!

| O N E | If having the flu last week wasn't already enough, I also sprained my ankle this week. How? Well, my sweet, potty trained (!!!) boy sprayed a little too much air freshener out into the entryway after using the bathroom and I slipped on it when I went to check on him.

It hurt like heck! I've never sprained or broken anything before. Anyway, luckily it was the end of the day, so when I got done being in too much pain to walk and crying, we just watched a show, and then Keith came home and examined me (how awesome it is to have a PT for a husband), iced me and all was fine. I'm still limping around a bit, but it's healing up. October has not been a good month for me so far!

| T W O | I made these Mummy Quesadillas for O last year (back when he would still eat melted cheese!) and they've been featured in a round up of Mummy Themed Halloween Treats for Kids on Red Tricycle. There are some really cute ideas included in the collection, so go check 'em out!

| T H R E E | Halloween is right around the corner, and I think we've finally locked Owen in on his Halloween costume. We've purchased THREE costumes this year, with the first two being for dress up, although we'd hoped he might use one for his costume. In the end Keith and I jumped the gun and ordered him a Peter Pan costume because he absolutely loves the movie and thinks PP is the coolest. We were worried he would say he wanted to be something else because every time someone would ask him he would make something new up, but after trying on the costume he's all about it. Whew! Next year we'll wait until well into October to make a purchase.

| F O U R | I had my regular visit with my OB yesterday to check on the baby's progress, etc., and everything is going very well! She had me stop going to my regularly scheduled ultrasounds (because of my high-risk status due to a low PAPP-A result) because he's growing so well. What a relief that is! And I also have to admit it is nice to not need to drag Owen with me along on extra doctor's appointments, especially since I'll be going every 2 weeks for the next month. Also, I must note that this was the first time in either pregnancy that I had not gained an ounce since my last visit. Cue the fireworks!

| F I V E | Did you see my post yesterday? I created a cute Fall Scavenger Hunt Printable to share with you! Owen and I had so much fun going on our nature walk to collect all of the things, and we'll be doing it again soon since he keeps requesting it. If you're looking for more fun was to stimulate your little one's growing brain check out the First 5 California website where you will find a wealth of knowledge and free resources to help you! There are videos from the President and First Lady, a free kit for new parents, tips on selecting the right preschool and an Activity Center filled with fun things you can do with your baby, toddler or preschool to exercise their brain and enrich their day! 

| S I X | And I just had to come back and edit this and ad a 6th to my 5 to share that I just saw there is a Little Blue Truck's Halloween book! Did you know? I don't know how I didn't see this sooner, but we're definitely going to go check it out at the book store or get it on Amazon today! 

We have a full weekend ahead of us! I hope yours is a great one!

Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife.