Meet the Sullivans: August 2016

August 25, 2016

Strawberry Greek Yogurt Popsicles

Toys.

Treats.

These two little words are like magic with our sweet little four year-old boy. Anytime a tantrum is pending, and I just don't have it in me to negotiate, all I have to do is mutter one of those words, and we're back in action. I have to admit, I use the "treat" word a whole lot more often, since I have sneaky ways to make the treat I promise something that's actually pretty healthy too -- so this way we both feel like we're wining!


Last week we tried making Strawberry Greek Yogurt popsicles with our favorite Clover Organic Greek Yogurt. I've tried other brands in the past, but once I tried the Clover brand I haven't even thought about going back. We love the thick, creamy texture, and that it's just mildly tangy. And as a mom, I love that Clover is not only a local business, but that they hold their farms to rigorous standards, so I know that the milk and dairy products I'm feeding my family are of the highest quality -- that's why we #ChooseClo.


We also tried out their individual, flavored greek yogurts, and I am hooked on the peach and strawberry flavors. I highly recommend you give them both a try!



The ingredients that go into our Strawberry Greek Yogurt Popsicles are so simple, that you probably have them all in your kitchen right now.

Here is what you'll need:
INGREDIENTS
1 cup plain Clover Organic Greek Yogurt
2 cups strawberries, huled
2 tablespoons Clover Organic 2% Milk
2 tablespoons agave
sliced strawberries, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Place strawberries, yogurt and agave in a blender and pulse. You want to do this until it is just combined, but not over mixed. You may not need all of the agave, since the strawberries can be pretty sweet all on their own, so I recommend taste testing your mixture.
2. Add a tablespoon or two of milk if you feel like the mixtures is too thick. You want it just smooth enough so that it is easy to pour into the popsicle molds.
3. Fill each mold until it is almost full, and then lightly press your sliced strawberries into the molds.
4. Cover and freeze for a few hours, or until the mixture is hard. Enjoy!

If you have popsicle molds on hand, great! If not, you can use small paper cups, or ice cube trays. Small silicone trays, meant for freezing baby food, work well too. Just cover whatever container you decide to use tightly with plastic wrap, and then insert popsicle sticks.

Owen was thrilled with his special treat, and LOVED how creamy these popsicles are! And I LOVE that I can make his special treat healthy and nutritious too, even if he doesn't know it! 

What are your favorite ways to sneak extra fruits and vegetables into your child's diet? Have a sneaky way you trick them into thinking they're getting a treat, when you're actually having them do something that's good for them? Share in the comments below! 

This post was sponsored by Clover, but as always, all opinions and thoughts are my own.



August 24, 2016

Lately: Ball games, Legos and Crawling

How is it that it's Wednesday already? And I'm just getting around to a little weekend wrap-up and a taste of what's been going on around here with us lately...


You guys, our house is being over taken by Legos. I'm not even kidding. Not only does Owen (and Keith, and me) love building with the Legos, but he is also addicted to Lego sets. And of course once he's built one he wants it to stay together forever and is heartbroken if it breaks. Where am I supposed to keep all of these things? And as he gets older the sets just get bigger and bigger too. I see a shelf in his room as being the best solution, but for now he's taken over one of mine in the living room.

I've started wearing Luke again! Not that I stopped, but he was so content in my arms or in the stroller, but now he wants to get around more so this is a nice little happy medium. When I wear him facing out he feels like he's doing the walking, so he stays content. He is getting seriously heavy though, so I can only wear him for short periods of time.


Last weekend Keith's employer had a free day at the San Jose Giants game -- which is the minor league of the SF Giants. We invited some of our friends, and tailgated before the game, and then went in to let the kids play on the bouncy houses and slides before having dinner. I'm a little ashamed to admit I didn't see a single minute of the game because we never made it to our seats. It was really fun, nonetheless!
How happy and adorable are these kids? It's just the greatest when your friends' kid become your kid's friends too -- makes for super fun parties and play dates!

Luke has changed so much in the last week. If you follow me on Snapchat you've seen that he's crawling, and now he even has his first tooth. He is into EVERYTHING and is already making frequent trips over to the television to push on all the buttons. Baby proofing is in full effect. Owen is learning to get up and run when he sees Luke coming after his toys.

I'm loving all the back-to-school stuff at all the stores and seeing everyone's cute pictures of their kids on the first day school! I picked up some more workbooks for Owen at the $1 spot today, and we've got a date this weekend to do some school shopping for him.

Hope you and your's are doing well!

August 22, 2016

Dinner Made Easy + Baby Ruth Cookie Bar Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NestleSchoolDays #CollectiveBias
Owen goes back to school in just a couple short weeks, so our family is gearing up for much busier mornings!

For most of the summer we tried to stay home in the mornings as much as we could before venturing out in the late morning. We loved this because it let Luke take his morning nap in the crib, let Owen play, and let me catch up on things around the house -- like prep dinner. The witching hour with our usually sweet 8 month-old makes dinner prep nearly impossible, so I try to either get started on dinner prep (chopping, mixing and measuring) in the morning while we're home, or make something fast and easy.

By Friday I am DONE with cooking and need a little break, so we try to do something quick and simple.


One of my favorite quick and easy dinners is throwing a frozen pizza in the oven and making a green salad to go along with it!

Last week we picked up DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizzas™ from DIGIORNO® Pizzas at Safeway and a STOUFFER'S® Family sized Lasagna to help make our evening stress-free. I also grabbed a bag of NESTLÉ® Fun Size BABY RUTH® to make a special treat for after dinner -- you can find that recipe down below!

#NestleSchoolDays Sweepstakes
 

Want to make your dinner time a little simpler too? Make sure you enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win a $100 Safeway gift card! Maybe you'll want to make these...

BABY RUTH COOKIE BARS
INGREDIENTS
1 box chewy brownie mix (+plus ingredients required)
1 bag peanut butter cookie mix (+plus ingredients required)
1 bag NESTLÉ® Fun Size BABY RUTH®, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat your oven according to package directions. The cookie mix and brownie mix I picked had different temperatures required, so I set my oven to a temperature in the middle.
 
2. While the oven preheats you can grease your 13x9 brownie pan, and set it aside. Then mix your brownies according to the directions on the box. Once you have your batter mixed, spread it out evenly in the grease brownie pan.

3. Now mix together your peanut butter cookie mix according to the package directions, and set aside.


4. Next unwrap all of the chocolate bars and chop up the Baby Ruth's. The unwrapping part is always Owen's job, and I have to pay him in chocolate, so we lost one or two along the way! Add the chopped candy bar to the cookie mix and mix until well blended. You'll probably want to use a hand, or stand mixer for this part!

5. Now you can drop chunks of the cookie dough on top of the brownies. You don't want to make the cookie layer cover the brownies completely. Let some of the brownie batter peek through -- it makes for a really pretty, marbled look when your bars are finished baking.

Bake them for about 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bars comes out clean. 


6. Once they are done baking, let them cool in the pan until they are completely cooled. Loosen the edges of the pan with a spatula before taking the bars out of the pan, and then cut them into squares. You will totally ENJOY these!


We sure did! 

And the pizza and lasagnas hit the spot too! Can you believe that pizza crust is cheese filled? I mean, holy cow! 

So now you tell me; how do you make busy school nights easier?

August 18, 2016

This and That

I can't believe we're in the final weekends of summer. I feel like I just got into a routine with swimming, and sunscreen and all that, and now it's time to change things up again and get into back-to-school gear.

The weekend, to me always starts on Friday. We had plans to meet our friend at an indoor play place in the morning. I had to wake Luke up from his morning nap so we'd be on time, and I hate doing that, but it was worth it because we had a lot of fun!

Luke loved the baby area, and watching all of the other kids, but he really wanted to get in the big play gym and see what was happening. It was just too crazy to take him in there this time! Owen had a ball with his friend and his friend's friends, and we even went for lunch at Oracle together after. A great start to the weekend!


We finally made it up to Keith's sister's house in Folsom for a visit! We drove up Saturday morning bright and early. The boys were both great in the car --praise the Lord for that -- and we didn't even have to make a single stop on the 2 hour+ drive.

If you read my blog, you know how much Owen loves his cousins, so getting to spend all day and night with them was like Disneyland for him. The play with him, and dote on him, and I barely see much of him the whole time. He is quite literally having too much fun to need his mama when his cousins are around. He got to play in the pool all day on a giant inflatable rubber ducky, catch little tree frogs and eat way too many snacks and treats.

All that to say it was a great, and all too quick trip!


In the afternoon I ventured out with just Luke to see if I liked the under-bed storage unit that goes with Owen's bunk bed. This is a terrible picture, but you can see what the drawers would look like. There are six drawers, so it would add a ton of additional space for them in their room. The only draw back is that the ladder for the bunk bed leans against the bed and might block two of the drawers. It's on sale right now and includes free delivery and installation, but I'm torn on if I should buy it or not. What do you think?



That's what's been going on here! How are you and yours doing? See where I'm linking this post up HERE!

August 16, 2016

SO Many Walls + a Giveaway!

We're about six months from moving, and when I have trouble falling asleep at night all I can think of is how I am ever going to fill all the wall space up. I know it sounds silly, but hear me out. Since everything in our new home will be brand new, and never lived in before, I'm kind of afraid of putting holes in the walls, so I just want to get it right the first time and not have to change things later.

All I know right now it that I want a gallery wall similar to the one below somewhere on the main floor. 


Other than that I don't have too many new ideas for how I want to fill up all the new space. I'm not in a huge rush though, because while I want our home to feel lived in, I also want everything we hang on the walls to have meaning to us, and not just be space holders.

That is why I was so excited when the nice people from Canvas Factory contacted me about reviewing and giving away one of their beautiful 16x20' inch canvas prints!


I decided to have my print made of an adorable photo of Owen and Luke that I honestly don't think I will ever tire of looking at. I love the colors and the expressions on their faces, but mostly I love the way it captures the bond they've formed. Look at the way Owen is smiling as he snuggles up to Luke's cheek, and the way Luke is holding on to Owen's head. I mean, ALL THE HEART EYES for this photo, especially now that it has come to life on the canvas print.

For a few days it has been sitting on a table in our entryway and anyone who comes through the door comments on how beautiful it is. I'm not locked in on where I'll hang it in the new house, but I'm thinking it will go in either the playroom or the boys' bathroom.

If you'd like to enter the giveaway head on over to my Instagram account, comment on the photo you see above, and tell me where you would hang your canvas print if you won! I will pick a winner at random next week!

August 12, 2016

The Movies, the Coast and Everything in Between

We've had a great week, full of lots of fun! The weekend promises a ton more fun, but first, here's a little bit of this and that from the week:


// Owen and I had a little date together this week! My mom watched Luke while Owen and I went to see Finding Dory together. We had decided earlier in the week to make a little date and he was so excited to have time just the two of us -- and so was I. We don't get a lot of one-on-one time together, so it was really great to get to focus on just Owen. I'm hoping t make our mommy / son dates a more regular activity!

//Luke and Owen are quite the hams together lately! Owen always makes Luke belly laugh by doing the littlest things, and then Owen starts laughing hard after hearing Luke's laugh, and then Luke laughs more -- and of course I'm just dying from all the cuteness. I just love their love for each other it makes me truly happy to see much joy they find in each other.

//After O had SO much fun at VBS this summer I went ahead and joined MOPS for the coming school year. I have a friend from O's preschool who goes and she has nothing but wonderful things to say about it. I'm really looking forward to it, and at the very least it will keep me from visiting Target a couple times a month.

And now that I'm a part of MOPS I'm receiving their emails, and in this week's email there were a few links to some really great articles. I swear they read my mind with 8 Ways to Make "Special Time" With Young Children More Meaningful and Learning to Play. All week I have been yearning for some one-on-one time with O, but it has been hard to find it. I have a difficult time "turning off" from all the things that need to be done around the house, so on Thursday I planned a special date for just Owen and I.

//My Grandpa, Owen and Luke's GREAT Grandpa came for a visit this week. We love when he can make it over to chat and see the boys and I. My grandpa is 90 1/2 (that half is important!) years old, and I love hearing his stories about when he was a young salesman, in the military or just about his life when he was younger. He's a great storyteller and I wish I could record them all!

 // We celebrated our SIX year wedding anniversary last weekend! We took the boys along with us out to Half Moon Bay for lunch on the coast. The weather was perfect, not too hot or cold, and the boys were angels at lunch. And the food wasn't bad either -- actually it was great! Keith and I shared the beer sampler and both had crab rolls.

So that's a little taste of what's been going on with us lately! What's new with you?

You can see where I'm linking up HERE!

August 11, 2016

10 on 10 : August 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, August 10th, 2016!


Luke had an awful night of sleep the night before, and was up for the day at 5:30am, so Keith skipped his workout and took the boys downstairs when they woke-up so I could sleep in a bit. You know you've got a really sweet husband when you don't even have to ask him to do this and he just does it without hesitation.

Most mornings I hit the ground running and try to tackle as much as I can around the house before Keith leaves. We had the house keepers coming (cue harps!), so there was a lot of straightening up to do. Luke went down for his nap around 8 o'clock, so around 9:00 I finally got a chance to have breakfast, and make my plan for the day.


After Luke was up from his nap we headed to the gym. The boys went to the childcare - Luke in the baby area and Owen with free reign of the main area or the "big kids" area. He loves that he can go into the exclusive area meant for the big kids. I did my usual Day 2 weight routine, which is a variety of excersises Keith put together for me + 30 minutes of cardio. Gotta get those steps on my Fitbit!

At one point I was outside stretching and I looked over the balcony and I could see Luke outside being wheeled around in a little car with another baby. It was SO cute to see him out there enjoying his time!

After the gym we checked out the newly remodeled Beresford Park. We had plans to meet friends there, but they were sick, so we went on our own. I remember playing on the old structure that was there when I was a kid, and I brought Owen there a few times, but the old structure didn't seem safe.


The new remodel is great! Lots of climbing and adventure for the kids, lots of spots for parents to sit and watch, but not much shade. I carried Lukey all around the park and he loved the swings. I can't wait to go back again sometime with Owen and Keith too so I can explore it all with O.

After a quick trip to Target, we came home to some exciting mail: the Ikea catalog, which I always love flipping through for ideas, a new book for Owen and The Bourne Collection movies that Keith and I ordered on Amazon.

 
For dinner I made Chicken Burger Stacks. It's pretty much a chicken burger with slices of baked sweet potato instead of a bun. Add a slice of tomato and avocado and you have a healthy, and delicious dinner! 

After cleaning up dinner we all went up for the boys' bedtime routine. I laid Luke down in his crib so I could get his room ready, and I turned around to see him pulling him self up to standing!!! This is the first time he's gotten all the way up into standing position all on his own, so we were all really excited to see it. I called for Keith and Owen and we all cheered Lukey and he was really proud!

After the boys were asleep Keith and I retired to the couch to watch The Bourne Identity and relax. I took a screen shot of my FitBit app screen, because this was about the time I decided to throw in the towel on getting any additional steps. We watching the first hour of the movie and then Luke woke up again, so I went to soothe him, and decided to go to bed after. 

And that was our day! It was fun, productive and busy -- just the way we like it!

August 7, 2016

Great Fun at Great America!

If you grew up in the Bay Area there is no doubt you've been to Great America! As a teenager it was THE place to go in the summer, and I begged my parents to buy me a season pass almost every year. Fast forward 20 years and now I'm taking my own children there for some good family fun!


Last month we were invited by Great America to visit the park and attend a parent blogger event to hear all about the fun and exciting things that will be happening at Great America in the coming months and years!

We had so much fun exploring the park during our visit! One of our favorite spots was Planet Snoopy, because there were so many fun things for Owen to do and see there.

Owen loves roller coasters, but he's not usually tall enough to ride them, so I was excited to see they had a kid roller coaster that he could go on. 

Keith was excited to check out their newest attraction, Mass Effect: New Earth, a 4D holographic experience that has received rave reviews from guests and the tech world alike! Owen was just under the height requirement, so only Keith got to ride, but he said it was really fun and way different from anything else in the park!

Owen's favorite place in the park was Boomerang Bay Water Park, which is also quite possibly the BEST spot in the park to go if you want to cool of and relax a bit! We met up with some friends and let the kids run around, play and splash!



At the blogger lunch they told us all about lots of the fun things in store for Great America, like starting this year Great American will begin hosting Winter Fest, a new winter must see in the Bay Area. They're going o have a 60 foot tree with nightly tree lighting ceremonies, Santa's workshop, live reindeer, baking cookies with Mrs. Claus, and SNOW! That's just a small taste of all the exciting things in the works at Great America!

Here area a few photos of what Winter Fest will look like:



We are SO excited to check it out this year!