Meet the Sullivans: April 2016

April 28, 2016

Friday Favorites

Another week is behind us and it's Friday again, yay!! So, here is a list of five of my favorite things from this week!

Here we go...

DO A DOT ART MARKERS
I've been doing a Letter of the Week unit with Owen and I really wanted to buy the Do a Dot Art Markers to use each week in our mini lessons. They're $15.99 on Amazon, but then I went to Michael's and discovered there was a 50% off any item coupon on their mobile app! I snatched them right up! We used them last week to help him identify upper and lower case letter Aa, which was easy and fun for him! Hoping to share more of what we're doing in our Letter unit with you as we go along. 

CUTE BABY CLOTHES
We definitely have a TON of clothes for Luke because we have everything we bought for Owen, but that doesn't stop me from picking up some cute new stuff for Lukey too! I mean, styles change and he deserves some of his own things too, right? I ordered him this adorable reversible sweater from Gap last week. And I had to get something for myself and for Owen too :) Luke has already worn his a bunch of times!

2ND HANDS
Luke has discovered that he has a 2nd set of hands, also known as feet. He's been quite entertained by them all week so I have been purposefully putting him in outfits without footies and no socks so that he can play with his new little friends. He managed to get them into his mouth yesterday, but judging by the look on his face he didn't like how they tasted.


STRAWBERRY SEASON IS HERE!
I made Strawberry Shortcake last weekend and I've been dreaming about it all week. I'm planning to make something else involving strawberries this weekend and I've got lots of great ideas pinned on my Strawberry board on Pinterest.

And that's all for now! Have a great weekend my friends! 


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




April 25, 2016

Our Baby's Bedtime Routine

Some children are naturally good sleepers, and unfortunately my boys are not. When Luke was a brand new little baby we thought we got lucky with a naturally good sleeper, because he slept allthetime, and slept for long stretches at night. By about 2-months old he switched up his sleeping habits and started waking more frequently at night. I've been trying to work on a more consistent bedtime routine for him that will hopefully, over time, help him get to sleep and stay asleep longer. 


Here is our family's evening routine, with a main focus on Luke: 

6PM Keith gets home from work, and Luke wakes up from his last nap of the day. We have dinner together at the dinner table with Owen, and Luke is either in one of our laps or sitting in his bouncy chair near me. Sometimes we put him in his little seat on the table too, which he seems to like!

6:30PM Keith, Owen and Luke play while I clean up dinner. 

7PM Keith takes Owen upstairs for his bath, and Luke hangs with me. I usually lay him on a blanket and talk or sing with him or carry him around while I get things together for his bedtime routine. 

 
7:15PM Luke usually starts to show signs of being tired by now, so we start his bedtime routine.  

I give him his bath during the day, so at night I wipe his face, neck and hands with a warm washcloth before changing his diaper, and changing him into his pajamas. I prefer zip-up pj's right now since they make for less hassle during a middle of the night diaper change. Then I put him in his Halo SleepSack on top of the pajamas. 

We swear by the Halo SleepSacks and have used them for both of our boys from when they were newborns all the way to when they're ready to use blankets in the beds. It gives me great piece-of-mind knowing that my baby is warm and safe in their SleepSack when I put them into their beds. 

During the winter I use the Micro Fleece SleepSacks, but this Spring and Summer, when it's warmer, I'm using the new HALO 100% Cotton Muslin SleepSack.


Once Luke is all cozy and ready for bed I read him a story and sing a little song. After that I turn on his nightlight, his humidifier, turn out the lights, and turn on the white noise. We use an iHome iPod doc along with an app for the rain sounds in his room. Not only is it soothing for him to fall asleep to, but it also drowns out the other noises in the house. I nurse him in the rocking chair, burp him and give him his pacifier. He usually drifts off to sleep pretty easily. 

Bed time with him is a total breeze! Now if I could just get him to sleep longer at night we'd be golden! I'm currently getting up with him every two hours through the night.

If you have any tips for getting a baby to sleep for longer stretches at night PLEASE share them in the comments below! 

And here are some of the bedtime favorites our family swears by:

Disclaimer: I received the Halo SleepSack featured in this post in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

April 22, 2016

15 Kid-Approved Meals on a Stick

Something has changed in O over the last year, and I'm not mad about it one bit! He can no longer be classified as a picky eater!

He now happily eats salmon, carrots, a variety of fruits, cheese, nuts, milk and all sorts of vegetables. He's even become quite the adventurous eater too, asking to try new and interesting looking fruits and vegetables he sees at the grocery store, and trying new foods we offer him.

BUT... there is always a but, right?... The trouble is getting him to sit still long enough to actually eat all this great food. To help, I've added food stylist to my mommy job description, since making O's food appear fun and interesting it is often the best and most effective way to get him to eat his breakfast lunch and dinner.

Lately anything on a stick is a huge hit and he's been requesting kebobs on a regular basis, so today I'm going to share with you a few of our favorite kebob-style breakfasts, lunches and dinners!

15 Kid-Approved Meals on a Stick from Meet the Sullivans

I like to makes sure each of O's meals cover all the nutritional bases and contain a protein, some kind of dairy, something crunchy (his favorite!) and at least two kinds of fruits or vegetables. 

15 Kid-Approved Meals on a Stick from Meet the Sullivans Can you see how happy he is with his breakfast skewer? Thrilled! Now, not all of these kebob ideas cover all the food groups, but I balance out the meal by adding some foods on the side. 

BREAKFAST

LUNCH 
 
DINNER

And when the meal is all over and done its time to clean the dishes. Not my favorite part. I tell my husband all the time that I fee like I spend 90% of the day in the kitchen either prepping, cooking or cleaning. I can't tell you how thrilled I am each night when everything is cleaned up and the floor is swept, and I can turn off the kitchen light for the night -- the kitchen is officially closed at that point!


There are some things that can make this all a little more enjoyable, like when I have some helping hands to get the work done. O is usually more than willing to pull up a chair and do some scrubbing. He loves to use our Boon FORB Mini Brush to scrub the dishes, and I love having his help! How could clean-up be anything but enjoyable with such a cute scrubber brush? Not only is it adorable, bright and fun, but it also stores its own dish wash soap inside too!

If your dishwasher is anything like mine it is FILLED to the brim with dishes at the end of the day and the majority are children's dishware. To keep them all contained and from flying all over the dishwasher we have our Boon SPAN , which holds all of those toddler sized mini dishes and cups in place. It works  especially well when we have lots of sippy cups, tops and mini bowls to clean.

What are some of your kid's favorite meals? How do you make the clean up a little more enjoyable and easy? Share in the comments below!

Disclaimer - I received the Boon products featured in this post for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

April 20, 2016

Touch-a-Truck

We had a really nice weekend, and as always it goes by WAY too quickly! This weekend was the perfect mix of downtime, family, friends and a lot of fun.


On Friday morning Owen had school, which meant this cutie and I had some one-on-one time together.

Saturday morning we went to a Touch-a-Truck event put on by a local co-op nursery school. I have been wanting to take Owen to one for years, but we always ended up missing out on them because we had other plans.

They brought out around 10 or more trucks and vehicles (maybe a little more or less) for kids to explore, touch and see! Owen LOVES big trucks like so many kids his age, so this event was right up his alley!


There was a fire engine, highway patrol car and motorcycle, cement truck, tow truck, school bus, city bus, garbage truck, UPS truck and so many more!


The drivers and operators of the vehicles were around too to answer questions and show the children their trucks. Owen was probably most excited to see the fire engine and to sit on the motorcycle!

The kids were able to push some buttons and hold the steering wheel too. There were lots of horns being honked and sirens going off, and Luke slept through most of it! They had earplugs available for purchase, but we decided to pass on those since he was staying far from the actual cars.


The event was super fun and they had some fun little stations set up for water, a raffle, some cardboard boxes made to look like different trucks and cars (the ice cream truck was a huge hit with O!).  Owen loved racing around the mini-racetrack hey had set up with kid motorcycles, bikes, trikes and cars. Kids were cutting across traffic, ditching their cars in the middle of the "street" and driving the wrong way down the road. Children are the worst drivers!

This was such a fun event and you could tell the school really puts a lot of care and thought into planning it. It only cost $5 a person to enter, and the money goes toward the school. I'm sure it is their biggest fund raiser of the year! We'll definitely go back again next year when Luke is a little older and can enjoy the event too.

Have you ever been to a Touch-a-Truck event or something like it?

April 14, 2016

10 on 10 - April 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
Last Sunday was the tenth of the month, so I documented our day by snapping ten photos to show what we were up to. This is Sunday, April 10th, 2016!

Our day started at about 7am. Keith got up to get coffee and it woke me up. Luke has been sleeping so poorly and on Saturday night he only woke up twice, which is such a positive change. Since I got a little more sleep I decided to get up too. 

 While Owen and Keith watched an episode of a Spiderman cartoon I had my coffee, read an article about Ayesha Curry's new cookbook The Seasoned Life, and started planning our menu for the week. I'll share one of the recipes I make every week soon, but here was the plan for this week:
Sunday - Flatbread and kale salad
Monday - Baked Salmon, twice baked potatoes and a salad
Tuesday - "everything" salad with chicken kebobs
Wednesday - Shredded beef tostadas
Thursday - Bolognese over rigatoni and salad
Luke really slept in on Sunday! He finally woke up around 8:40, just in time to get ready for church. 

We have this really bad habit lately of being lazy on Sunday morning and winding up late to church, so this is my super quick version of "getting ready" when I'm short on time. Shower and then do dry shampoo, foundation and mascara. I put some butter gloss on in the car and I'm good to go.

 Keith got these two cuties dressed while I showered. Aren't they the cutest in their clashing plaids?

The boys were great during Mass, and Luke was finally awake at church for longer than a hot second! It was a donut week so Owen got his chocolate donut with sprinkles! I took this right before he covered his face with chocolate.

That little red string around his neck is the cross his uncle Kevin gave him. He's been attached to it all week. He says it helps him and God "fight bad guys together" -- no joke! His words, not mine!

We swung though Costco, which was a mad house, after church and bought allthethings.

Keith took Owen out for a hike in the afternoon and I hung with Lukey and did a little organizing in the garage. Then I got Luke ready to watch the Warriors game!

And of course Owen had to have his Warriors gear on when he saw Luke all dressed up!

For dinner we had beer and pizza. Well.... Keith and I did. Owen had chicken, nuts, carrots, a rice cake and water! We watched the Warriors win their 72nd game this season, tying the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the season record!


And then it was bedtime and all that for the boys. Keith and I watched Fear the Walking Dead, which is not nearly as interesting as The Walking Dead, and most of the time I think they make the worst decisions, but we're still watching it for some reason!

And that was our day!

April 10, 2016

Recipe: Quick & Easy Bolognese

Since Luke was born I've had to adjust my dinner time routine and my expectations about what I can make. I no longer have the time to cook new Pinterest-worthy meals during the week because the time when I'm cooking dinner is usually the hardest time of the day to be juggling both of my kids. But dinner still needs to be made, so I've started rotating a few healthy favorites that are really easy to make into our dinner rotation.


I also use some pre-chopped ingredients from Trader Joe's to make the process even easier. I always have a couple bags of their per-chopped onions and a few containers of their crushed garlic cubes in the freezer. 

Although Owen won't even try it, this bolognese is a favorite of Keith and of mine! My favorite way to serve it is over spaghetti squash, but sometimes I serve it over pasta too. It's pretty healthy and has lots of vegetables in it, so I feel pretty good about serving it.


INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 lbs organic grass-fed ground beef
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped 
2 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1 can organic dice tomatoes, undrained
2 cups store bought marinara
pasta or spaghetti squash 

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottom sauce pan (I use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven), then add the onion and garlic. Once the onions have begun to sweat you can add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until they get a little browned and soft, add the carrots and sauteed for a couple minutes. Move the vegetables to one side of the pan
2. Add the ground beef and stir until crumbly and brown, and then mix in the vegetables from the other side of the pan.
3. Now that the beef is cooked through you can add the can of tomatoes. Sometimes I add two cans if I want the sauce to be a little runny. Add the sauce now too. If I have wine on hand I add a little to give the sauce some depth and complexity. Bring to a low simmer and let it cook for at least 30 minutes, but more is always better. If it becomes too dry add a little chicken broth.
4. Add 2 cups, or a few handfuls, of spinach and stir it into the sauce until wilted. Serve over pasta.

Enjoy!

This recipe freezes well too and if your pan is large enough you will have an easy time doubling it.

April 7, 2016

Luke is 4 Months!

Oh Luke, you're growing up so fast already! Over the weekend you turned 4 months! You are more alert and social this month than you were last. When someone talks to you you study their face for a moment before giving them a full on smile. You love being in your jumperoo, and we can't believe you're already playing a bit. You enjoy standing on my lap or facing outward when we're hanging out.  It is amazing to me how much a little person can change in just a couple months!


Stats: You weigh 15lbs 7.4oz (47th percentile) and are 26 inches long (82nd percentile), your head is 43.3 cm (89th percentile). You wear 3-6 month, and some 6 month and 6-9 month clothes and size 2 diapers. 

Eating: I'm still nursing you on demand, whenever you make the mouth movements that show you're hungry.  We can't wait for you to eat solid food because you're always interested in what we're eating!

Sleep: You are now sleeping in your own room in the big crib! You have been having a hard time staying asleep during the night so we thought moving you into your own room might make it easier for you, no such luck there. You have been waking up 3-5 times a night, which is rough on both of us. I think it might be because you learned to roll over a couple weeks ago, and you're practicing in your sleep. Hoping you return to being a good sleeper soon.

Health: All is well in the health department! You have a little stuffy nose right now, but that is par for the course when you have a big brother around. You're still very drooly and your hands are your favorite toy to chew on.

Development: You are full on rolling! Though you only roll to your left! You coo and squeal and chat to yourself or whoever is talking to you.

Likes: Talking and being talked to. Being sung to. Eating your hands. Nursing. Your brother! And you're totally drawn to screens of all kinds, which we do not let you watch, although you try to crane your neck around to sneak a peek.

Dislikes:  I can't really think of anything you really dislike. You definitely don't like shots, but who does?


And because I always like to compare pictures of my boys at the same age I thought I'd share a side-by-side of Luke and Owen at the same age, and in the same chair. They look so much alike to me, only with different coloring. Size wise they were about the same weight, but Luke is 1/2 an inch longer.

Sweet little Luke you are such an easy going baby boy! You love to watch you older brother play and when he talks to you! I think you will be best buddies!

xoxo Mommy

April 1, 2016

Friday Five

Hooray, it's Friday! Another week has flown by and here's my five for this week...

one. I got a request to share the meals I've been sharing on Snapchat (colleenpsulliva) lately. I kind of have this secret dream of having my own cooking show, and I like to act it out on Snapchat sometimes. It's ridiculous, but fun. Anyway, here is what I cooked this week:

Tuesday - Baked Salmon with Seamed Broccoli and Cauliflower Rice
Wednesday - Lemon Chicken and Potatoes with salad
Thursday - My own take on Marinara with lots of vegetables and ground beef

You'll notice I skipped Monday, because I took Owen to the doctor in the late afternoon and ordered pizza on the way home.

two. I'm cutting my hair tomorrow! I've been growing it (mine doesn't grow very long) for a while and I'm just sick of it. It takes too long to dry and style, and I really need to have something easier right now, so I'm going to ask for something like this. What do you think?



three. Owen was on spring break this week and its been really nice! I was a little worried going into it that we would have so much free time and not much to do, so I planned out the week with lots of playdates. We stayed so busy that the week really flew by and now I'm kind of sad it's almost over.



four. And we definitely enjoyed our slow mornings in our pajamas too!


four.  I keep a box in Luke's closet so I can throw clothes in there as he grows out of them, and then pass them along. I've filled it up so many times, and every time I feel so emotional as I sort through them. Both my boys have worn those little outfits and it is SO hard to let some of them go! Slow down, babies.

five. Keith and I are going to movie this weekend and I cannot believe we haven't been on a date since October! We're planning to see Cloverfield. I can't wait!

Linking up with the usual Friday link ups...

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