Meet the Sullivans: February 2016

February 29, 2016

Stitch Fix Review Box #9

My first post-baby Stitch Fix came last week, and I was really excited to see what was going to be inside! I haven't done much shopping since Luke was born because I haven't wanted to buy a lot of clothes for my current size (I'm about 5lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight), so I was hopeful I'd find something cute in this fix.


If you're wondering what Stitch Fix is, or how it works... It's a personal shopping service, and all you have to do to get started is fill out the Stitch Fix Style Profile and our personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You can buy what you like and return the rest! The styling fee is $20, and if you pick something from your fix that fee is applied to whatever you decided to buy!

If you've never tried Stitch Fix before I highly recommend giving it at least one try. It is so much fun! And if you do decide to sign up please use my referral link --- thank you thank you!

I love seeing how they style the pieces. Or how they suggest you style them. I had some similar pieces to what they showed but didn't have the time to pull them all together like I have in the past. Next time!

 
Item #1: Collective Concepts - Shaye Shirt Dress ($88) - I actually liked this dress. A pattern this bright and busy is usually out of my comfort zone, but I thought the cut was flattering and the color too. But alas, I do not have a need for a dress like this right now. I have no events coming up and I spend most of my days doing house work and playing on the floor, so I just could not justify this purchase. Verdict: Returned


Item #2: Loveappella - Benete Back Slit Knit Top ($54) - I was not impressed with this top. Spring is here in California, so I'm already over wearing dark wintery colors. It was nothing special. Verdict: Returned

Item #3: Market & Spruce - Brandey Criss Cross Back Ribbed Knit Top ($44) - Another underwhelming piece. The back was kind of fun, but the overall tightness of this style isn't really my thing, and it was quite short. It hit just over the button of my cords. I also like tops with a little room in the waist these days. Verdict: Returned
 
Item #4: Dear John - Marson Wide Leg Jean ($78) - These jeans were a top contender. I only let myself keep one thing from each box, which can be hard sometimes if I really like more than one thing, which happened this time. The color of the denim was really dark, and I actually loved the trouser style, which isn't always flattering on me because of the pockets that flare out. They were really comfortable too and the waist was a perfect fit. I only returned them because I would only wear them with a heal, and I don't wear heals often at all. If these came again in another box (does that ever happen?) I would keep them. Verdict: Returned


Item #5: Market & Spruce - Alan French Terry Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan ($68) - I've seen this cardigan in lots of other people's fixes and pinned it to my Stitch Fix board on Pinterest, so I was happy to see it made its way into one of my boxes! I know I will get a LOT of use out of it, so it was a non-brainer of a choice!

Verdict: Kept!

Overall this was an okay box since I really liked 2 out of the 5 things inside. Next time I will try to be more specific about what I want to see in my fix and I'll probably wait another 6 weeks before I order another one. What are your thoughts on the items I was sent? Would you have kept anything?


If you'd like to see what I've been sent in some of my past fixes...

September '15
April '15
January '15
June '14
May '14
March '14
_____________________________________________

The winners of the $20 Safeway cards from last week's giveaway are: Elena I., Starla B., and Marcie C.! 

Congratulations! I sent you each a Facebook message last night! 

February 25, 2016

Hey, Friday!

We've had such gorgeous weather and lots of fun this week that I'm almost sad to see it come to an end! Here's my quick little five..
one. These two boys light up my world! How is it possible to love two little beings SO much? Our days are hectic, even if we've got nothing going on, but I feel so fortunate that I get to spend them with my children. And also? Thank goodness for the weekend!


two. Rocksbox sent me another box filled with beauties last week! It was perfect timing too, because I needed something cute to wear for Luke's baptism. I usually only let myself keep one item from subscription box services. Can you take a wild guess which ones I picked? Yep, that's right... the Kendra Scott earrings! I justified needing a second pair because these are not only a different color, but they are also quite a bit larger than my other pair and therefore satisfy the need for a different "look"!


three. Not that anyone thinks my life is perfect, but behind the pretty (read: staged) photo of a recipe, there is always a huge mess just beyond the frame. Case in point? The photo above. Just thought I'd share a little slice of reality with you all on this beautiful Friday morning!
 
four. Last week at Costco I stopped to check out this Coconut Coffee because I'm all about trying new (food and drink) products, especially if endorsed by Costco. A few other shoppers and one employee commented on how great it is, so I decided to give it a try. It's really good! Pretty sweet and pretty creamy too. Definitely much healthier than the International Delight creamer I usually buy.



five. I'd love to find the time to make these Salt Dough Eggs with Owen! I'm hoping to get my act together next week, and if I do I'll share our creations!



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

How to Pick the Right Summer Camp for Your Child

Summer may seem like a long ways away, but it will be here before we know it! The long, hot days of summer can be extra long when you don't have activities planned for your kids, so most of the moms I know start planning their summers (vacations, camps, daycations, field trips, etc.) before spring time. We've decided to sign Owen up for a few summer day camps this year to give him some extra enrichment and to give me a little one-on-one time with my little guy, Luke.


Having never attended summer camp myself, I didn't know what to expect when looking for and researching summer camps. Here's the process and questions I considered as I searched for the right camps for Owen.

Is your child happiest indoors or outdoors? Our son loves to be outside playing in the dirt, grass and trees. He is absolutely at his happiest when he can run, yell, play and jump. I know he wouldn't thrive in a camp environment that would require him to sit still or spend too much time inside, so I chose camps that will have him outdoors most of the day.

What are your child's interests? Obviously you wouldn't chose drama camp for your painfully shy little one, but consider expanding on some of the things that have piqued their interest, even if they are slightly out of their comfort zone. Owen has been really into riding his bike when we get him on it, so I know that bike camp will help cultivate his interests and skills.

What is your availability and the schedule for the camp? Pull out your calendar and spend some time researching the availability of your chosen camps, and compare them to your other summertime commitments. A lot of the more desirable and popular camps fill up early so it's important to know  when registration opens up so you can get a spot in the camps of your choice. You may also be able to save a little if you sign up early -- the "Learn to Bike" camp we've signed up for offers early bird pricing!

What are the costs and fees? Some camps are out of this world expensive, but there are others out there that are more reasonably priced. You really just have to do some research to help you weigh the cost v. benefits of each camp as it pertains to your family.


use code: EarlyBird to save $25 per day-camp session!

I'm really excited for Owen to try Avid 4 Adventure's brand-new "Learn to Bike" camp designed just for preschoolers! He has come a long way since his first bike lesson last year, and I just know he is going to learn so much. The camp is only a few hours, so I know he'll get plenty of time to have fun, but he won't be away from us for too long either. Campers are encouraged to bring their own bikes, but can always borrow one from the camps fleet. I'm so excited for my little adventurer to try his first summer camp!

What camps are your children trying this summer?

February 23, 2016

Recipe & Giveaway: Rosemary Chicken with Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

For me, chicken breasts are one of the hardest things to cook with. They're easy to use and all, but I find it difficult to make them taste really good and not get dried out. Tell me I'm not alone with this struggle! We eat chicken a few times a week and I'm always on the look out for new recipes that our whole family will enjoy, so I thought I'd share a favorite of ours with you today!



I buy organic chicken whenever possible, and usually go out of my way to buy it at a good price, so I was thrilled to learn that our local Safeway is now selling Foster Farms Organic Chicken! I love that
Foster Farms Organic Chicken is:
  • California grown, family-owned
  • Free range
  • Fed an organic vegetarian diet 
  • Non-GMO Project Verified 
  • American Humane Certified 
  • USDA Organic Certified
I mean, would you expect anything less from the chicken you feed your family?! Now let me share my recipe...

Rosemary Chicken with Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

Prep time: 
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary
Instructions
1. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken.
2. In a 2 cup measuring cup, combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
3. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF.
4. Heat the avocado oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides for 2-3 minutes per side. Don't worry if the chicken isn't cooked completely, we'll finish it in the oven. Remove the chicken to a plate.
5. Reduce heat to medium, add the onions to the skillet along with the chicken broth mixture. Using a whisk, scrape the bottom of the pan so all the brown bits are loosened. Let sauce reduce for about 8-10 minutes or until about ⅓ cup of the sauce remains.
6. When the sauce has thickened, remove from the flame, add the butter and whisk until it melts completely. With the skillet off the flame, add the heavy cream, whisk to combine. Place the skillet back over the flame for just 30 seconds, DO NOT allow the sauce to boil. Remove from heat, add the chicken back into the pan and drizzle the sauce over the chicken. Place the skillet in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Top with chopped rosemary and serve warm with additional lemon slices.

recipe inspired by little spice jar.

I served ours with quinoa brown rice and roast broccoli! It was a huge hit with all of us! If you give it a try let me know what you think!

Also, Foster Farms will be demoing its line of Organic chicken at Bay Area Safeway stores on weekends from March 2 through May 8.And wouldn't it be nice to get your hands on some free ingredients to cook with? Well, you're in luck because today I'm giving away THREE $20 Safeway gift cards! Just use the widget below to enter! The winner will be announced Monday, February 29th!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway
 This post was sponsored by Foster Farms, but all opinions are my own.   

February 12, 2016

Friday Five

Good morning my friends! This has been a busy and long week, and I'm so glad we have a three day weekend ahead of us! I'm hoping to squeeze a nap in at some point. I've got big goals.

one. My older child truly appreciated my fruit kabob making efforts when I made these for his class valentine party earlier this week. Every since he has been requesting heart shaped strawberries, and while I know I'm making more work for myself, at least he's asking for fruit and eating everything I give him!

two. For Valentine's this year Owen gave his class little dino's on a cute little card. I downloaded the printable, ordered the dinosaurs from Amazon, tied those suckers on and BOOM they were done! Owen was very proud bringing them to school and giving them to his buddies in class.

three. I signed back up for Rocksbox last week and my first box arrived yesterday! If you don't already know, Rocksbox is a premium jewelry subscription that carries brands like Kendra Scott, Jenny Bird & Loren Hope. For $19 a month they send you jewelry based on your style and wishlist. You get to wear and enjoy the jewelry for as long as you like and send it all back when you're done, or keep the pieces you like. So fun, right?

I can't wait to show you what's inside my most recent box!

If you decided to sign up I'd love for you to use my referral code colleenbff109 at check out!

four. It's Lenten season, which means I'm on the look out for healthy Friday night meals for my family. It's so easy to just order pizza every Friday, but then we'll be 20 lbs heavier by Easter. Last year I rounded up these 8 Meatless Meals for Lent, which I will definitely be making again this year. Have any additional ones to share?

five. We are having Luke Baptized next weekend! We're so excited for him! I wanted to have him wear the same outfit Keith and Owen each wore when they were baptized, but it's too cold for him to wear it this time of year, so I ordered him this cute outfit instead. I'm hoping to find some time this week to make cross shaped sugar cookies for favors.


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

February 11, 2016

10 on 10 : February 2016

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month! 

{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}
ten on ten button
 
Yesterday was the tenth of the month, so I tried to document our day by snapping ten photos to show what we were up to. This is Wednesday, February 10th, 2016!
The day started off pretty hectic! On Monday, Wednesday and Friday Owen has school at 8:45am, so we need to leave the house by 8:25am to be on time. On this day we also had the house cleaners coming which means we're shoving things in closets and drawers so they can do a good cleaning. I also had to remember to bring the snack we signed up to bring for the Valentine's Day party and then give a school tour.


After I dropped Owen off at his class I had ten minutes to grab a coffee before meeting the families coming to tour. Philz Coffee opened near school, so Luke and I swung through there and I inhaled a Larabar on the way back to school. The tour went great, and I hope all the families decide to apply to our wonderful school!

We finished up in time for Luke (still asleep!) and I to join Owen's class for their Valentine's Day party. There were heart shaped and pink everything!

Quick pic with my big boy on the way out to the car! His teacher told them to wait to open their Valentine's until later and I was proud of Owen for listening. He was in such a good and sweet mood after a great day at school. I love this kid! 

The tree in front of our house, and all the other ones in our neighborhood, are blooming! Another sign that spring is right around the corner. Although, some more rain here in California would be really great too.

Luke was STILL sleeping, so I made Owen and I a quick lunch. He had toast, pecans, cheese and melon. I had avocado toast with a fried egg and melon. Hit the spot! After lunch Owen opened his Valentine's from his classmates. He was very interested in who gave which Valentine and spent a good amount of time appreciating each one. It made me happy to see how much his friends' cards meant him!

Luke woke up in a great mood! We hung out and played in the living room. Owen has become increasingly better at playing independently while Luke and I watch him. I love listening to him make up scenarios with his toys while I nurse Luke. We also played around on "SnapCHAP", which is what Owen calls Snapchat. He loves the filters! My username is colleenpsulliv if you'd like to follow along!

Luke went down for another nap in the afternoon, but this time I swaddled him and had him sleep in his crib so he could get some solid rest. I let Owen watch a short movie (a Land Before Time spin off) so I could do some work on the computer writing acceptance letters for next year's Preschool class. Then we played play dough.

When Luke woke up we pulled out the paint to make some hand and foot prints for Valentine's Day cards for their grandma's. Owen LOVED getting to paint Luke's foot with red paint! Luke was easy going about the whole thing and just smiled at us. He's such a sweetheart!

Owen was feeling crafty after so he asked to do more painting. I convinced him watercolors would be more fun than regular paint so we could avoid a big mess and I could make dinner. I strapped Luke into the Ergo, but he only lasted 15 minutes in there.  I spent the rest of the witching hour bouncing back and forth between holding him, laying him on the play mat to play or strapping him into the Mamaroo so I could cook dinner. Dinner time is bananas here!

Wednesday was also Ash Wednesday (we missed our ashes this year), so we had fish taco bowls with sauteed cabbage. They were great and will be on regular rotation here! After dinner we played a little Eye Found It before bedtime for Owen. 

Bedtime is also bananas right now! I nursed Luke while Keith read to Owen, brushed teeth and got him in his pajamas. Then I handed Luke off to Keith so I could stay with Owen while he fell asleep. When I came downstairs Luke was still awake so the three of us hung out for a bit until Luke was sleepy enough for bed. This is our routine most nights. 

It was a busy busy day!

February 4, 2016

Luke is TWO Months!

Dear Luke, 

Earlier this week you turned 2 months! You've changed and grown so much in the last month, and as cliche as it sounds, I just want time to stop. I'm not ready for you to be out of the newborn phase, and move into full babyhood just yet. 

You are a mellow, easy going baby boy, and your cries are the saddest thing because I know you're truly unhappy when I hear them since they're far and few between. Every week you revel more of your personality, and I'm already starting to see how different my two boys will be.
 

Stats: 22.5" height (73.81%) and 12 lbs 4.4 oz weight (50.03%)

Clothes: I pulled out the 3 month and 3 - 6 month clothes to wash for you this week. You're so long that the 3 month pajamas are getting snug in the leg.

Eating: You're still a great eater! You go a little longer between feedings now, maybe like 2 1/2 or 3 hours. You scream when you need to burp, but calm down right after. I love feeding you, and it's probably our only little bit of alone time.

Sleep: You sleep in our room at night in the co-sleeper, and take a few naps during the day in the car seat while we're out, in my arms and sometimes in your crib upstairs. You give me a long stretch usually between 4 to 6 hours, followed by a couple 2-3 hours stretches. Bedtime is whenever you fall asleep anytime between 9 or 10pm.



Health: You are a healthy growing boy! You've been congested for the last week, but it doesn't seem to bother you much. We use a humidifier, snot sucker, saline drops and an oil diffuser to help make you more comfortable. We're also keeping a close eye on how your head is positioned. You prefer to turn your head to your right when sleeping, and you have a flat spot to prove it, so we've been switching your head to the left in hopes of balancing it out.

You had a rough time after your 2 month shots. You fell right to sleep after calming down from the shot, but when you woke up a couple hours later you were screaming in discomfort. We did some leg stretching to help the medicine circulate and you felt a little better, but I decided to give you some medicine to help with the pain. Hoping the 4 month shots aren't as rough on you!

Activity: You're tolerating tummy time a little more these days. You're no longer happy being held cradle style in our arms unless you're ready to sleep. You prefer to be held upright so you can get a good look around. You're always so happy on the changing table and it's one of my favorite spots to chat with you. You're a big smiler and cooer, and loooove being sung to. Some of your favorites are Itsy Bitsy Spider, Adele's "Hello" and "Happy Birthday".

Outings: Since daddy went back to work last month we've been going non-stop! You go everywhere with us from school, to the park, to Costco, pretty much wherever we need to go. Starting this week you'll be joining Owen and I in his classroom while I do my co-op duties.


Sweet sweet Luke, you light up all of our lives! I'm so lucky to be your mommy. You were the missing piece of our family and I can't believe how much you've made me heart grow.

xoxo, Mommy and Daddy

February 2, 2016

Owen is FOUR!

A couple weeks ago our Owen turned FOUR! It's hard for me to believe that I gave birth to him four whole years ago. The years have gone by too quickly. This has been a huge year in terms of physical growth, milestones and maturity for our boy. He's been growing inches upon inches, nailed potty training and became a big brother. I rarely see the "baby" in his face anymore, but when I do it gets me a little emotional. He's our sweet, spirited, smart little boy and we love him SO much!


Being around and playing with other kids is Owen's absolute favorite thing! He adores his cousins, aunts and uncles, and chats with them like they're his peers. He has a best buddy at school and lots of other friends who he asks about often. He is happiest when he gets to play with other kids his age! He is very good friends with all of our friends' children, and also makes his own new friends almost anywhere we go. If it were up to Owen, he would have friends over to play at our house everyday.

He listens well to other adults, but is still pretty stubborn at home. If he wants something from us he is going to use his whole bag of tricks to get it. There is also no pulling the wool over this boy's eyes! He is always listening to what we're talking about and doesn't miss a beat.

Owen is in three year-old preschool three days a week. We are part of a co-op school that we absolutely love, so I get to work in Owen's classroom alongside him. Owen enjoys being at school with his teachers and his peers, although he really is a homebody and loves to stay home and play with his toys.We've seen so much growth in him as a student this year and the way he interacts with his peers. He is also currently doing Taekwondo, which he's been in for 7 months, and had earned his orange belt.

He surprises us all the time with the things he says and remembers! He is great at expressing his feelings and getting his point across. He always listening to us when we're talking and usually chimes in with a question or comment. He asks me A LOT of "why" questions and loves hearing stories about family members when they were kids.

When we say grace before dinner Owen always throws in a little "a mommy" at the end after we say our final amen. He says it's because we say "Father, Son, Holy Spirit" and he wants to include mommy too. Sweet guy :)

Owen rarely naps anymore, although I think that on most days he could definitely use one. If he doesn't nap he's in bed between 7-8pm unless he falls asleep before then. We invested in an Okay to Wake clock for him after Luke was born to help him stay in his bed all night. He was waking up and coming into our room (something he's been doing for months). I used to bring him back to his bed and stay with him there until he fell back to sleep, but since I'm up at least 2x now with Luke, Keith has been going back to his room with him. Sometimes there are tears because he really wants to stay in our bed or at least have me come with him. He's responded pretty well to the clock in terms of staying in his bed until the light turns green. We've been periodically moving the timer forward (we started at 6:45am) with a goal of getting him to stay in bed and sleep until 7:30am (eventually). At bedtime he brushes his teeth and goes to the potty, then we read a book in his room if he's not too tired, then it's lights out. 99% of the time I'm the one who stays with him in his room until he falls asleep. He likes to drink his milk (yes, bad, I know) and rub my arm as he drifts off to sleep. I don't mind it at all because I love our time together. 

Owen loves to be read to and to pretend to read. He has a few favorite books memorized and likes to read them to himself. He can recognize his first name and spell it (most of the time).

He loves his little brother and always wants to hug him and talk to him.

He sings to himself and makes up his own songs.

When we go for walks we don't make it very far because Owen would usually rather look for bugs and check out his surroundings than rush.

His newest favorite food is salmon! He also loves pecans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, lots of fruits, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, string cheese, cheddar cheese, hot dogs, french fries and sweets! And milk, he still loves to drink milk and asks for it many times throughout the day.

He's LOVES playing Super Heroes, Transformers, cars, Star Wars action figures, Legos, dinosaurs, board games. and many more!

Some pictures of Owen through the year! 

 January
 February

March


April
May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Sweet sweet Owen, I ask you all the time to please stop growing, but you keep getting bigger and bigger! You often tell me that you want to stay a kid forever, and although that would be fine by me, I don't think we have a choice in the matter.  I thank God each day for making me your mommy. You brighten our days, super cutie!

xoxoxo Mommy