Meet the Sullivans: November 2016

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!

November 18, 2016

Friday Five!

What a week! I had to be out two nights this week, and not even for anything fun, and then Keith's been sick, and so is Luke, so I missed MOPS again. I'm just so glad it's Friday!

 
You have to try this recipe! I made Turkey Corn Chowder for dinner last Sunday, and it was fantastic! I bought a turkey breast at Trader Joe's and roasted it in the oven to use for the soup. When it was time to shred it up I put it in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment and the shredding was done in seconds. We had lots of leftovers, so Luke and I had it for lunch this week too.

Behind Behind Behind Why are there never enough hours in the day to do all the things we need and want to do? I am currently so behind in many areas of my / our life, and I wish I could just wash my hands of certain commitments. All I really want to do is play on the carpet with my kiddos and then watch shows with my husband after said cuties are in bed -- is that really too much to ask?

This isn't quite a favorite, but it is the truth. 

Do you ever feel like that?

First BIRTHDAY! I can't even believe it. Luke is going to be ONE in a couple weeks! We're having his birthday party right after Thanksgiving, so I'm trying to pull it all together. I planned Owen's birthday party for months, and I just started thinking about Luke's this week. I'm kind of scrambling to pull together a Woodland Winter ONEderland theme without losing me mind. At least I have his chalkboard made?!

IKEA! Luke and I went to IKEA this week while Owen was in school. We didn't buy too much, but we did pick up a new highchair for Lukey, place mats, gift bags and a new casserole dish for me. I could have come home with a lot more, but I tried to hold back. After we shopped we stopped for lunch at their cafeteria. Luke had the meatballs and he LOVED them! He could have sat there forever eating them. He's such a sweetheart :)

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer... I bought the tee on the right from Beadsbee Boutique off Jane.com last week and I can't wait for it to arrive. I love tacky / cheesy Christmas attire! I think they've since sold out of this style, but there are quite a few other ones that are just as cute.


That's all for now! Have a great weekend!

You can see where I'm linking up HERE!

November 17, 2016

RECIPE: Pumpkin Protein Muffins

Can you believe Thanksgiving is one week from today? That is crazy! It also means I better get to sharing this recipe for Pumpkin Protein Muffins before pumpkin season is officially over.

Pumpkin Protein Muffins!
I saw this recipe on the Mommy Trainer Facebook page and decided to give them a try. I'll be honest when I tell you these aren't quite up to par with a real pumpkin muffin, but if you're looking for something that will satisfy the craving for a (guilt-free!) baked good while also giving you some protein then you've found your muffin!

Pumpkin Protein Muffins!
I wasn't sure about including the chocolate chips, because I was trying to be all healthy with this one, but I threw a few into about half of them and they made a HUGE difference. I used milk chocolate chips, although if I had dark chocolate I would have given those a try instead.

Pumpkin Protein Muffins

INGREDIENTS
2 cups of Kodiak mix
1 egg
1 cup of low-fat milk 

1/2 cup of peanut butter protein powder
1/4 cup of apple sauce 
3/4 pure pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup dark or milk chocolate chips
cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir until blended, but do not over mix.

2. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

3. Cool, and enjoy!

Pumpkin Protein Muffins!
Pumpkin Protein Muffins!
I was able to find the Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes mix at a local fine foods store, but some Target's carry it too. If yours doesn't, then you could always order it on Amazon.

Pumpkin Protein Muffins!
And this isn't quite related, but I wanted to show you how I store all of the "leftover" muffin papers. I always end up with a few random ones, and I saw this idea on Pinterest for storing them. It keeps them from getting smashed and it's kind of fun to mix and match them.

Pumpkin Protein Muffins!

If you'd like to see more of what I've been cooking lately 
you can follow me on INSTAGRAM and search my #colleenskitchen16 hashtag!

I hope you're having a great week!

November 13, 2016

10 on 10 : November 2016 + $300 Amazon Giveaway!

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 Thursday 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 Thursday, November 10th, 2016!

The time change was last week, so we've been up super early all week. This has been the WORST because it also coincided with Keith's new schedule at work which has him out the door by 7am every morning.

We got an email from Owen's teacher the night before saying that someone in his class had Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, and since we have had that before and it was a NIGHTMARE, we decided to keep Owen home from school. So, this is quite different from our regular Thursdays.

It wasn't until 8am when I was putting Luke down for his first nap that I realized it was a 10 on 10 day! 


While Lukey napped I staged and took photos for a blog post I wrote last week about What's in My Diaper Bag. Owen likes to get involved anytime he sees me doing this, which is really sweet, but it also takes a little extra time

Luke's nap ended up being on the short side, so when he woke up he was a tad cranky. We quickly remedied that situation with a few rounds of "peek-a-boo" (works every time!), and then all was right in the world again.

I fed the boys lunch and then packed us up for a quick trip to Target and Costco. It is no small feat going to either store with both boys in tow, and doing both in one outing exhausts me. I think the hardest part is that once we're home and I've gotten us all back in the house I also have to go back out and unload everything too.

When we pulled up to the house there was a package on the doorstep, and I was so thrilled to see that it was my new gym shoes!

And this sweet angel fell back to sleep on the way home, so our task of unloading the car was much easier. Owen helped me bring everything in and then we played a few numbers games I made for him before deciding to play in the back yard for a while.
 
Luke's second nap was thankfully much longer and he woke up really happy! He's been a walking machine lately (with the help of his push car) and wants to do everything his brother does!
Keith gets home earlier now that he starts so early, so to kill a little daylight we went on a short walk before he made it home. Most of the time Luke will stay in the stroller on our walks, but if we are idle too much he'll want to get out and I end up holding him most of the rest of the walk. Owen loves to stop and watch ants and find good sticks, so Luke ended up in my arms after a block or two.

I was able to put Luke back in the stroller for the walk home, but only because I offered him a banana applesauce pouch. Thank the Lord, because he was killing my back.

Keith came home, ate dinner with us and then took of to see Dr. Strange with our nephew while my sister-in-law hung out with me and the boys. It's always nice to have not only the extra help, but also the good company!

After he boys went to bed I worked on my diaper bag blog post and then hit the hay! 

And that was our day!
_________________________________

Also, before I go I have to share that for the next week, I am teaming up with Annie from Home of Malone's and 16 other fab bloggers to give away a $300 Amazon gift card to celebrate Annie's blogiversary! It’s the perfect opportunity to get yourself {or someone else} a wonderful gift for the holidays! The more ways you enter, the better your chances are! The giveaway ends on Friday, November 18th, at midnight. Good luck and be sure to check out all of these fab blogs!

Hosted By:
headshot-annie

The Lovely Co-Hosts:
4-year-anniversary-collage-3
 

November 11, 2016

What's in My Diaper Bag ... Just the Essentials!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BacktoBabyBasics #CollectiveBias

It's been quite some time since I shared what we pack in the diaper bag, and boy has in changed since my "mom of one" days! When Owen was a baby I packed so much every time we went out. I wanted to be prepared in case of any kind of emergency, big or small, but over the years I have learned to tone it down a bit, and save my sanity, not to mention my back! Diaper bags can get really heavy!

Now that I'm packing for two kiddos I still like to be prepared for whatever challenges and needs might come our way, but I have learned to only pack the necessities.

The trick to having everything you need, but not having to carry it all is to keep a stash of diapers (I prefer Huggies Diapers), Huggies Natural Care Wipes and changes of clothes for the kids in the trunk of your car. I figure that if one of them really needed a change of clothes, which doesn't happen very often, we can always head back to the car to get them. This saves me a lot of space and weight in the bag, but still gives me piece of mind.


Now, let's get to the part where I tell you exactly what I keep inside my bag...


T O Y S - I keep one toy for each boy in the diaper bag at all times. If I don't clean the bag out often I'll end up with 2-3 for each of them by the end of the week, so I try to clear it out each afternoon to keep it light. Luke is teething, and everything is going in his mouth these days, so his toy is usually a teether. Owen usually brings something with him in his hands, but I like to have a mini figure or car in the bag for him in case we have to do some waiting somewhere.

W A T E R S - My boys are big water drinkers. If either of them is a little cranky a little water usually does the trick, and I know it does for me too, so I always have mine as well.

F I R S T  A I D  K I T - I bought this little kid's first aid kit when Owen was two and I have continued to restock it with fun bandages, antibiotic ointment and the such over the years. I can't tell you how many times I have be so thankful to have this on had.

C H A N G I N G  S T A T I O N - This is an absolute necessity in my book! I love that I have all the things I need to change Luke, like Huggies Diapers, Huggies Natural Care wipes, antibacterial hand wipes, antibacterial hand spray, diaper cream, organized in one nice neat little package.


S N A C K S - Next to the diapers, this might be the next most essential thing on the list! I pack fresh food for them if we're doing more than a quick drop off or trip to the store, but I try to keep a couple easy options that don't spoil in the bag so I don't have to repack it every morning. Both boys like apple sauce pouches, and Owen would live on kid's energy bars if he could, so I always pack those. I also keep a treat or two (honey sticks and lollipops, currently) in there too in case I need to bribe O or buy some time with him.

E N T E R T A I N M E N T - You never know when or where you'll get stuck waiting for a bit, and with kids in tow even 5 minutes is a loooong time. Bubbles are an easy way for me to keep both my almost 5 year-old and almost 1 year-old entertained, as is the sidewalk chalk. They also make me kind of like the "fun mom" at the park!

M Y  S T U F F - And of course I need to fit all of my things in the bag too. I always have my keys, wallet, phone, compact, lipstick, sunglasses, a notepad and pen. I used to keep my planner with me, but it became too heavy. Now I use the notepad for jotting down lists, ideas and to do's on the go.

I picked up diapers and wipes on a recent trip to Babies "R" Us. Every once in a while I'll shop at the baby section in our Toys "R" Us, but nothing compares to the actual Babies "R" Us store! They have everything you need to prepare for a new baby, and the selections are endless. I found myself longing for the baby days again as I strolled the aisles with Luke. It seems like there is always some cool new gear to use that I haven't seen before!



And then it got me thinking about when I was a new mom shopping and preparing for my first little baby. I took all the baby classes and did so much research about what to buy, and what brands were the best. The best class I took was one Keith and I took together about baby care. They went over the basics like bathing, diapering, soothing, etc. It may sound like obvious stuff now, but at the time it was a great piece of mind.

Babies "R" Us is currently offering Baby's Basics Classes, so if you're a soon-to-be parent you should check them out! These classes are hosted by a local community medical partner and cover how to care for a baby during the first 6 months of infancy –from bathing to diaper changing and beyond!

You can find a class near you HERE!  bathing to diaper changing and beyond!

If you'd like to see more creative and fun baby related ideas check out the Huggies #BacktoBabyBasics social hub!

So that pretty much sums it up! I try not to carry too much, but still be prepared for any of my little guys' needs -- it's a delicate balance! What do you pack in your diaper bag? Share in the comments below!