Meet the Sullivans: 2016

December 28, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Hello there, my friends! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas with the people you love! We had a busy, fun and family-filled holiday weekend, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Keith was off work the week before Christmas, so we went up to the snow for a night and stayed over at my sister-in-law's house in Folsom that night. We spent the rest of the week finishing up our Christmas shopping, wrapping and holiday prepping. Luke's ear infection came back with a vengeance, so we stayed home a lot and baked cookies with family, cooked delicious food and drank lots of coffee. We even managed to sneak in a movie (Rogue One!) and a few naps too!

Here are some photos from the week...



This photo makes me laugh because this is what real-life is like. 90% of the photos I take of Owen and Luke look like this, although I usually share the ones like the one above it! 

Our tree this year! I decided after we decorated it that I wanted to add some garland to pull it all together, so I added a little deco mesh. I have to admit, I am not really a fan of how it turned out, but it did look festive. Next year I'll go with a fabric ribbon as a garland. 

My sweet boys all dressed up for Christmas Eve mass. They both looked super handsome in their ties. Luke wore a bow tie and Owen opted for a standard tie so he could look just like daddy.

We got all dressed up for church, took a nice picture and only lasted for about half the service because Luke was ready for his nap. I ended up driving him around the neighborhood to get him to sleep and then went back to pick up Owen and Keith.

We had a great Christmas Eve with family afterward! We stayed up way too late eating and hanging out. Owen took great pride in putting out cookies for santa and sprinkling reindeer food on the lawn. He was bummed to say goodbye to his Elf, Snow, and gave him a giant cookie as a farewell gift. 

The day after Christmas we went to the zoo because we felt like we really needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air. It was Luke's first trip to the zoo and he really loved seeing some of the animals.




We rode the train, saw some real life reindeer and played at the huge park they have -- likely the boys favorite part!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday, and that you're recovering well!

December 23, 2016

SNOW Much Fun at Soda Springs

Earlier this week we took the boys up to Soda Springs Ski Resort to play around in the snow! It's hard to believe that it took us almost five years to take Owen to the snow, but it was certainly worth the wait, because he had a grand old time. On the way up, as we started to see little bits of snow here and there, Owen said, "Oh my gosh, it's my first time seeing snow and it's so AMAZING!".

Soda Springs has a great little area called Planet Kids where children can enjoy tubing carousals, tubing lanes, ski/snowboard learning areas, snow volcanoes to climb and more, so it was the perfect place to bring the boy's for their first snow experience.

It took us about three hours to make it to Soda Springs, with just one stop along the way at Black Bear Diner in Sacramento for breakfast. Once we arrived we got all suited up, which takes a lot of work because of all the layers.

Luke was interested in what was going on around us, checking it all out, and really wanted to get down to crawl in the snow.

 
Luke had a ball crawling in the snow, and of course, tasting it. I tried to keep him from eating it, but he just could not help himself.
 

Owen had a blast tubing down the hill and running back up again when he was done. He and Keith built a little snow man and he would spontaneously throw himself down in the snow to make a snow angel. He was in heaven!
Luke enjoyed being pulled around in one of the tubes until we realized his behind was getting soaked from the melted snow poling up on the inside. He and I ended up hiking back to the car to change him, and then went on a hunt for one of his missing shoes. I think next year will be a much better year for Luke in the snow, especially when he can walk a bit more.

Once Luke and I made it back to Planet Kids Owen took a little break for some snacks. They have a bunch of chairs set out and some picnic tables around the snack shack, so we all took the opportunity to relax a bit and enjoy the Christmas music and beautiful scenery.


After a few hours we were all exhausted and ready to head out. After we gave the boys snacks and changed their clothes they both passed out in their car seats for a nap. We had such a fun time and will definitely go back again!

December 15, 2016

Gift Guide: A Few of My Favorite Things

How are you doing on your Christmas shopping so far this season? I'm happy to say that, with 10 days left until Christmas, and with the help of Amazon Prime and Nordstrom's free shipping, we are nearly done with our shopping list. I try to not overthink the gifts we give, and it really helps that Keith likes to help with the gift buying decisions too -- two factors that keep me from going overboard!

When it comes to gift giving for female family and friends I usually like to give some of my very own favorite things. These are some of my favorite gifts to give, not just for Christmas, but all year round.

glass ornament - We had these ornaments made for our moms this year for Christmas with a picture of the boys in it. The photos online do not do it justice -- this ornament is a show stopped on the tree and a keepsake for sure!

life planner - You know I love my life planner! I just ordered this very one for myself and I think they make great Christmas gifts for your friends who like to stay on top of their calendar. And right now they are 25% OFF!

infinity scarf - I have this very scarf in red and I wear it all winter long. Not only is it really soft, but it is so easy to wear and falls perfectly with little adjusting. It comes in a lot of nice colors and this price is nice!

pajama pants - I have these in red and they're SO comfortable! There also 25% OFF today with the code EXTRA!

skinny taste cookbook -Now, I have the first Skinny Taste cookbook and it is fantastic. So many of the recipes in it have become favorite of ours and I think I've tried almost all of the recipes in it. I can't say that about too many cookbooks! I just know this one will be great too!

santa mug - What says Christmas more than drinking egg nog spiked coffee out of a santa mug while wearing your Christmas plaid pajama pants?

amazing grace set -This has been my go-to gift for birthdays this year! Not only do I love this scent (I've been wearing it for years!), but the little caddy it comes in is the perfect size for a guest bathroom.


stackable bands
- What I love most about this set of rings is that you can wear them together as a statement piece or individually for a more understated and casual look.

wrap bracelet - Perfect for stacking, even when I'm wearing my Fitbit, which is a hard combo to make work.

Now, to my friends and family... don't be surprised if I gift you something from this list this season ;) What's on your Christmas list this year?

I received the product(s) mentioned in this post for free from Stella & Dot. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

December 6, 2016

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints, but all opinions are my own. 

I look forward to Christmas season all year long and one of the many reasons is sending and receiving Christmas cards from all of our family and friends, near and far! There is something about receiving a card by mail that social media cannot compare to.

I take great pride and care in the whole Christmas card process, from dressing our family for our photos to choosing the right photo, and of course, the right company to purchase our cards from -- Tiny Prints!


There were so many pretty designs to chose from, but I finally decided on Glorious Rejoice, one of the new glitter designs. It's difficult to see in these photos, but the silver and red specks are made of glitter, so the card gives off a festive glint, which I just love.


On the back of the card we added a picture of the boys! I was thisclose to putting this photo on the front of the card, but I figure Keith and I only have so many years left in us before we don't want to be on our Christmas card ourselves, so... I'm sure most people will display this side of the card when they receive it, because those sweet boys are just too cute to hide in the back!

We also went with ALL the bells and whistles to accompany our card this year! The custom printed envelopes (with return address on the backside!) saved me a ton of time and trouble. I usually address them myself by hand, but this year I took advantage of the wonderful service Tiny Prints offers and hand them print them for me. We also added on envelope liners and custom postage to round out the suite. I'm thrilled with the way everything turned out!

If you haven't ordered your cards yet it's not too late! You can get 40% OFF and FREE Shipping by using the code BESTSALE at checkout.


Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!


Our holiday cards from Christmases Past:
 2010 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

December 5, 2016

10 of My Boys Favorite Kids and Baby Books

Today is the second day of Amazon's rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas, 12 Days of Deals, and today's deals are all about Title Loves -- gifts in books and media, so I thought this would be a fun opportunity to share some of our favorite kid's books!

Our boy's are little book lovers! They'll listen to me read almost anything, but they really do have their own personal favorites. Luke loves a lot of the same books that Owen did, and it's no surprises, because they have great rhyme and story. Owen is into longer books now that have more words and less pictures. He is big into storytelling, so he always loves a great adventure story too!

Here are some of their current favorites...


National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Animals- This is a fantastic series of books! We have a few of these including My Big Book of Dinosaurs and First Big Book of Why. These books have so much great information and facts displayed in a family-friendly format.

Classic Characters of Little Golden Books- We have tons of stories in the Golden Book format! We love the classics, but there are also more current stories like Ninja Turtle and Star Wars. They're really inexpensive and make a great addition to any children's gift!
 
Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo- This is Luke's VERY favorite book right now. He smiles every time I read him the title and it is our choice bedtime book. The story is cute and the rhyme is addicting. I could probably recite the whole book! 

Peek-A Who?- This is a favorite of both our boys! Luke will sit and have me read it over and over again. This is one I'll keep for my grandkids someday! 

Magic Tree House- I read these books to my Kindergarten students when I was a teacher and I looked forward to reading them to my own children someday -- and that day is here!
 
Baby Touch and Feel- These are something I love to give to a new mom! My littlest guy will sit and marvel at the animal pictures and pet the doggy's fur. He can't get enough of these, and I always have one in the car for him.
 
B is for Bulldozer Board Book- This story takes readers on an adventure (and the alphabet!) as busy construction workers build, scoop, and dig their way from A to Z as they build a theme park!

5-Minute Stories- These books are great for bedtime stories for the 2-3+ set. We buy them at Costco whenever we see them, and they have them for a variety of characters; superheroes and princesses and more!

The Fort That Jack Built- Owen and I picked this up at the library months ago and we loved it so much! Owen loves to build forts and he really enjoyed listening to a story about a boy just like him.

The Little Engine That Could- Owen and Luke never tire of hearing this one, and I love that the story has encouraged Owen to whisper "I think I can, I think I can" to himself when he's tackling a tough task.


We also have a set of these Eeboo Tell Me a Story: Mystery in the Forest story telling cards, which are really fun for Owen!

Owen is really into making up stories to tell us, and having us make them up too. These cards are a really great pre-reading activity for young kids and they inspire some remarkable tales -- a great stocking stuffer idea! There are lots of different themes for all interests.

One last thing I have to share, just for today you can get $80 off Amazon Fire 16GB + Amazon Tap Bundle! 


What are your children's current favorite books? Let me know in the comments below -- we always love finding new books to love!
 

December 1, 2016

My ONE Year-old, Santa and Christmas Cards

Hello there! The weekend awaits...

 
| O N E | First things first, today our sweet little baby Luke is ONE! Poor guy is going to see the doctor today on his birthday, and will likely be getting shots. At least he has no idea it's his birthday, right? I'm going to make sure he gets another treat (he obviously loved his first taste of cake at his party!) tonight to make up for it.


| T W O | Owen and Luke paid Santa a little visit a few weeks ago! We were out with the boys and didn't plan on having their picture taken, but figured we'd better just taken advantage of the opportunity. Owen was game -- he has always loved meeting "characters", but Luke wasn't so sure about Santa. He reluctantly sat on his lap for a few pictures before giving him a second glance over his shoulder and then giving us the saddest face ever. Sweet boy tried his best to be brave! I think we got a pretty cute picture this year!


| T H R E E | Did you see my recipe yesterday for Overnight Eggnog French Toast? It is the perfect breakfast to serve up on Christmas morning. You must try it! 



| F O U R | Over half of our Christmas cards from Tiny Prints have been stuffed, sealed and stamped, and are en route to family and friends! I'm hoping to get the rest of them in the mail this weekend and share our cards with all of you next week!

| F I V E | I went to the Kindergarten information last night for Owen. First, I can't believe my baby is going to be in Kindergarten next year, and secondly, I can't believe how early in the year all the preparations get started.

I hope you all have a great weekend, my friends!

You can see where I'm linking up HERE!





November 30, 2016

RECIPE: Overnight Eggnog French Toast

This post is sponsored by Clover, but all opinions are my own. 

Christmas morning is my favorite morning all year! Watching Owen wake up and seeing him wonder at all the magic of Christmas brings me so much joy, and his excitement over it all is contagious. We usually have family visiting, so we all sit around opening up presents, drinking coffee, talking and enjoying the morning. On such a special morning, I like to have something special for everyone to have for breakfast, but I don't want to spend the morning in the kitchen, so a breakfast casserole is the PERFECT solution!

Overnight Eggnog French Toast made using @cloverstornetta eggnog!  (This post is in partnership with CloverStornetta) #CloverCooks #ad #colleenskitchen16
Add caption
This is a great recipe to put together on Christmas Eve, because the french bread really absorbs all of the eggnog if you let it marinate in it overnight! And it really only takes a handful of ingredients to make, and you probably have most of it on hand already.

The cast of characters...

Overnight Eggnog French Toast made using @cloverstornetta eggnog!  (This post is in partnership with CloverStornetta) #CloverCooks #ad #colleenskitchen16Overnight Eggnog French Toast made using @cloverstornetta eggnog!  (This post is in partnership with CloverStornetta) #CloverCooks #ad #colleenskitchen16 
We love the Clover's Holiday Organic Eggnog​ for its rich, creamy flavors and quality ingredients, so when I saw it was already available in stores I picked some up!

Clover's founding fathers used to craft their own private batch of brandy eggnog for the holidays. Each year they would hand deliver it to friends and customers as a personal thank you for their partnership. This special eggnog was never sold, but you can find the recipe on their website. I can't wait to give it a try this year!

Overnight Eggnog French Toast 

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup Clover unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons maple syrup
1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
8 Clover Organic eggs
2 1/2 cups Clover Eggnog
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Grease a baking dish with butter, and cube french bread and set aside.

  Overnight Eggnog French Toast made using @cloverstornetta eggnog!  (This post is in partnership with CloverStornetta) #CloverCooks #ad #colleenskitchen16
2. In a sauce pan melt butter, then mix in brown sugar and maple syrup. Stir the mixture as it begins to boil, then remove from heat and pour into greased baking dish.

Overnight Eggnog French Toast made using @cloverstornetta eggnog!  (This post is in partnership with CloverStornetta) #CloverCooks #ad #colleenskitchen16
3.
Place the bread cubes in the baking dish and sprinkle them with the cinnamon and nutmeg.

4.
In a large bowl whisk together egg, eggnog and vanilla.


 Overnight Eggnog French Toast made using @cloverstornetta eggnog!  (This post is in partnership with CloverStornetta) #CloverCooks #ad #colleenskitchen16
5. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, making sure to soak all of the pieces. Pour on a little extra eggnog if some of the bread is still dry.

6.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

7.
When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350°F.


Overnight Eggnog French Toast made using @cloverstornetta eggnog!  (This post is in partnership with CloverStornetta) #CloverCooks #ad #colleenskitchen16
8. Place baking dish in the oven and bake, covered, for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.


Overnight Eggnog French Toast made using @cloverstornetta eggnog!  (This post is in partnership with CloverStornetta) #CloverCooks #ad #colleenskitchen16 
Enjoy! 

You can by all means add some maple syrup on top or even some powdered sugar, but there is already SO much flavor in each bite, that it doesn't really require any extras.


Overnight Eggnog French Toast made using @cloverstornetta eggnog!  (This post is in partnership with CloverStornetta) #CloverCooks #ad #colleenskitchen16

Overnight Eggnog French Toast made using @cloverstornetta eggnog!  (This post is in partnership with CloverStornetta) #CloverCooks #ad #colleenskitchen16


What do you serve your family on Christmas morning? Do you have any family favorites I should try?

Be sure to follow Clover Farms on social media for more great recipes!

And don't forget to use the #CloverCooks hashtag to contribute to the Clommunity Cookbook when you share your favorite recipes on social media!

November 29, 2016

Steals and Deals We Fell For!

I'm late to the Cyber Monday / Black Friday party, but I though it would still be fun to share some of the steals and deals we scored over the weekend and yesterday!

Most of the things we purchased were on our list for the boys already or we felt compelled to buy them once we saw the prices drop.


Some of these items are still on sale, but the one thing I am really glad I jumped on yesterday is the booster seat for Owen. It's not really a Christmas gift at all, but we're going to transition him from his current car seat soon, and this one was on sale for $120 down from $170! What a steal!

We've purchased most of their gifts now, but I still have a few more things to buy for them. I like to give them an outfit and at least one book and an ornament each year, so I still have to shop for those. And I need to put their stockings together.

How are you doing on your Christmas shopping this year?

November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Are you still recovering from a fun holiday weekend like I am? We had a busy and fun-filled weekend with friends and family, so we're all a little tired today. Owen even slept in until past 7am!

Thanksgiving kind of snuck-up on us, but it was such a fun time with family!


We have had so much to be thankful for this year...

I'm thankful we live nearby all of our family and don't have to travel to see them.

I'm thankful for all of the wonderful family members we have been blessed with, young and old.

I'm thankful that we get to surround ourselves with so many loved ones on holidays.

And of course I'm so very thankful for the three men -- the big one and the little ones!

Thursday afternoon we got together with Keith's family for some Thanksgiving fun! We played kickball in the street (that's a tradition!) and played a really fun game of Saran Wrap Ball. I had never heard of the game before, but it was so much excitement and fun! Owen walked away with some cash, Star Wars socks and candy. He was thrilled!

Lukey got lots of love and attention too! He loves getting right in the middle of the group and playing along with all the big kids.

Late in the afternoon we headed over to my grandpa's house to spend dinner time with them. I brought pigs in blankets and chocolate pie. Something happened to my pie and it turned to liquid! I was so bummed. I've never experienced such a terrible kitchen FAIL like this one. Luckily my aunt had some ice cream and candy on hand so satisfy everyone's sweet tooth. I was so disappointed!

Dinner was fantastic, of course! My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is usually the stuffing, but this year I think my sister's kale salad was my favorite thing on my plate! Owen chowed down on carrots and turkey -- the only things on the table he would get near. He's not a fan of "mushy" foods still. When Luke woke-up from his nap he ate mashed potatoes, turkey, bread and stuffing. He's a HUGE fan of stuffing just like me.

On Friday morning Keith and Owen met up with some of his family at Santa's Tree Farm in Half Moon Bay. Luke was still asleep when they left, so I stayed home with him to get ready for his party the next day. Owen found the cutest Charlie Brown tree and wanted to take it home, but daddy had to say no. I'm glad he did too, because every tree in the lot was price at $80 this year no matter the size.

What a fun weekend! I'm always sad to see it end, although I am really excited for the Christmas season this year. I hope you had a great holiday with your family!

I'm putting together photos from Luke's 1st Birthday Party to share with you later this week!