Meet the Sullivans: January 2017

January 30, 2017

Scenes from the Weekend

Well, the weekend started with one sick kid (Luke) and ended with the other one sick too (Owen). Despite all the sickies we still managed to fit a lot in and keep everyone happy and on the way to healthy.

I mean, do either of them even look sick? We spent Friday morning in pjs playing with toys and watching Disney Jr. Friday is the only morning all week when we don't have to be up and out for school, so we love to take it slow on Friday mornings.


After Luke's morning nap we went out to the park for a bit to get a little sun and fresh air before heading to the doctor. Luke mostly stayed in the stroller for most of the time we were there, which is how I knew he wasn't feeling himself. He did enjoy being pushed in the swing my Owen though!

We visited the doctor to find that he has ANOTHER ear infection -- his fourth one since the start of December. Last time it cleared up on its own, but this time we went for the antibiotics since it looked angry and he had many other symptoms. I'm glad we did, because on day two he already seemed 10x better.

Saturday morning I had Open House at Owen's school. I wore the Relaxed Peplum-Hem top I ordered from Old Navy I was telling you about. It's just a t-shirt material, but I love the style. I will definitely buy it in other colors -- the cranberry color is only $13! I ordered my normal size, but would probably size down next time.

 
After the open house I dashed home to meet up with Keith and the boys to go to Owen's first basketball game! It was so much fun watching the kids play. Some of them really know the game and they all seemed to have a lot of fun playing. They basically chase after the kid with the ball and surround him, ignoring the rules of the game. Owen had a great time!

Saturday night my mom and sister came over for dinner and we all just hung out. Luke was still cranky after not napping well. I was relived to have my mom and sister around to play with the boys etc. while I tried prepping dinner. We did "make your own" pizzas and everyone hung out and relaxed -- it was a perfect Saturday night!

Sunday morning we went to Keith's sisters to visit with his mom. We picked up (way too many) donuts on the way. Owen stayed to play for a bit while we took Luke with us to Costco. Costco with one child and two adults is SUCH a breeze.

We picked up all the essentials like milk, chocolate milk, packages of bunny snacks, etc. I also really like buying their pre-made dinners in the deli. I pretty much always pick up a tray of their stuffed bell peppers for an easy dinner.

The rest of the weekend consisted of naps for 3/4ths of us and lots of rest for Owen. He didn't have a fever, but he was really warm, no appetite, tired out and had the chills. He seems like he is all better this morning, but I'm keeping him home from school just to be sure.

Keith went out for pizza and to watch basketball with some friends so after I put the boys to bed I watched The Bachelor and ate Easy Mac for dinner. That show is such a train wreak! I can't imagine how any of those women truly think that this is the way to find love or a lasting marriage?! I know it has worked out for some past contestants, but I believe that is really rare.

Also, I just have to point out that I seriously need to up my photography game! Sorry for all these boring, blurry, bleak photos! 

Anyway that was the weekend! Hope your's was great!

January 27, 2017

Five on Friday

Good morning and happy Friday! We've had a busy week, so we're all really looking forward to the weekend. Here's my five...


1. Owen's first Basketball practice - Owen had his first basketball practice yesterday afternoon! Most of the kid's on his team are in first grade, so he is quite a bit younger than them, but he had a really fun time. We can't wait to watch his first game this weekend!


2. I'm no make-up professional, but I know what works well for me. I buy most of my make-up at Target or Ulta and avoid pricey products. My niece gave me this Anastasia Brow Definer for my birthday this year and I love it. It is truly an amazing product! I have never been successful in filling in or enhancing my brows and always end up looking like Groucho Marx. This brow pencil is practically fool proof. I never knew what a difference a defined brown could make in the over look of my face and make up!

My last drug store beauty favorites post form a few years ago was pretty popular so I'm considering writing another one about what I'm using these days. I have a few more favorites I'd like to share!

3. Kindergarten registration and school tour - Last week I registered Owen for Kindergarten and this week Luke and I took a tour of the school. I felt a little emotional walking onto the campus for the tour. It's by no means huge but for my little guy it seems like it is. It's hard to believe he is going to be in elementary school next year.

The whole registration process has been a bit of a pain since we have to register at the school in our current neighborhood when we know he won't be going to this school in the fall. I've been concerned that by the time we have all of our proof of residence in order after our move there won't be space for him at his school and he'll be sent to another neighboring school for the year, so I applied for a transfer from our current school to the school that will be in our new neighborhood.


4. Spring Shopping - It's been freezing and wet here and I'm over it. I can't wait for the long hot days of summer to be here. In the meantime I'm browsing all the cute spring clothes that are coming out. I ordered this dress from Old Navy last week for $20 and this relaxed peplum top for $13-- what steals! I just hope they look cute on and fit right. I'll let you know!

5. POPSUGAR sent me their January Must Have box to try and it came with these adorable little Instant Happy Notes. I keep them in a drawer near O's lunch box so I can pop one into his lunch when I send him to lunch bunch at school! They're not just for kids either, there are some that would be cute to sneak into your husband's bag or even your mom's purse. A sweet little way to sneak in some "happy" for the people you love!

You can use the code SHOP5 (which never expires) to get $5 off your FIRST Must Have Box!

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


You can see where I'm linking up HERE!

January 25, 2017

Our Home: The Finishes

We got some semi-unfortunate news last week that due to the rain we've been having here in California recently, the completion date for our house to be finished has been pushed out again... this time to June. First it was February / March, then April / May and last week they said June. I'm saying a little prayer that it does not get pushed out any further.

So while I sit here and fume over more delays I'm keeping myself optimistic by admiring the finishes we've chosen.

Our home is being built in brand-new community in our area by a building company, so the builders gave us all the choices to pick from. We are not making any upgrades and went with the "standard finishes" they offer. In all honesty, I liked having fewer choices and I really like everything we're putting in, although I would have loved to have white cabinets, which were an upgrade.

This is what an idea of what the layout of the kitchen will look like. This photo is one I took of the model this summer during the grand opening -- hence all the juice on the island. The pantry is on the wall on the other side of the island. Call me a dork, but I have already been planning out in my head where I'll keep spices / coffee mugs / sippy cups etc. 

Seeing the models before we picked our finishes was really nice. Some of the buyers had to pick theirs before the models opened, and I can't imagine making those decisions without seeing the layout first hand. The sales office was super accommodating too and let us in to see another almost complete home so we could see what some of the standard choices looked like in person.

This is the flooring, cabinet and counter top colors we chose for the kitchen. These will be the floors on most of the main level (kitchen, family room and dining), with the exception of the bathroom and toy room. The counters will be white quartz that has little flecks in it, which you can't see in this photo. I'm a little worried the cabinets will seem really dark, but I guess we could always paint them down the road if we really dislike them.

We had a choice of oil rubbed brozen, satin nickle or polished nickle for the cabinet pulls in the kitchen, bathroom and all the linen / storage cabinets throughout the house. I'm partial to the satin nickle because I think it blends well and doesn't stand out too much. I'm afraid of committing to anything too out-of-the-box in fear of tiring of it down the line.


Our home also comes standard with the range / stove / hood pictured, a dishwasher (in the island) and the microwave / oven in the cabinets. We'll have to buy our own refrigerator and washer / dryers. We're 99% sure we're going to go with a french door style refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom. We have to work around the space they left for the fridge.

If you have a fridge or washer / dryer you love I'd love to hear about it because picking them seems daunting!

We will have four bathrooms in our house (so much cleaning!) so we had a lot of choices to make there. Two of the bathrooms will have tubs and the other two will have standing showers. For the standing showers we went with the white quarts for the shower surrounds and counters, and the white square tiles on the floor of the shower. In the boys' bathroom there is a tub so they'll have white quartz counter and surround as well. Really the only difference we chose is the bathroom in Keith's "man cave" which will have a beige counter and off-white quartz shower surround.

This is pretty much what most of the bathrooms will look like as far as cabinets, counters and floors. I'm already considering painting the cabinets in the boys' bathroom a light gray, but I'm afraid I'll ruin them. I've never done much painting!

I don't have any photos of the carpet we chose, but it's a basic cream-ish color.

We made all of our choices months ago, and the good news is I'm not regretting any of them after making the final decisions. I can't wait to see it all come together once it's finished. I drive by about once a week to see if they've made any progress, because it feels like it's taking forever, and last time they had finally installed all of the windows.

There are a bunch of things we have on our list to buy for the house from the things we will really need to buy and of course the things we just really really want.

Thanks for sticking around to read me blabber on about all of this. As you can probably tell, I'm really excited!


January 20, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday my friends! We have another stormy, rainy weekend ahead of us here. The rain is doing great things for the drought we've been in for years, but I'm selfishly ready for some sun now.

Here are a few favorites from this week...


favorite new baby boy outfits - Fiream on Amazon - I shared this on my Snapchat earlier this week, but wanted to share here too. The preppy style and bright, bold colors remind me of Boden or something, and I found Luke a few really cute outfits.

favorite workout this week - YouTube Workouts - Luke has been taking two naps again this week and his first one is falling during my regular time at the gym, so I have been doing YouTube workouts at home. I did a Fitness Blender HITT workout and I tried a few fun cardio dance videos from The Fitness Marshall. Do you have any favorite workouts you do at home?

Also, don't be fooled by my breakfast photo up there... I don't usually have the time to make something like that and can usually be found having a Perfect Bar in the car on the way to school.

favorite moments this week - walks with the boys - Earlier this week was actually had some dry afternoons, so the boys and I went out for a few walks. Luke is not into being in the stroller, especially when Owen is walking and stopping to play etc., so I've taken him out using his walker. It really makes me smile to see him working his little baby body super hard to keep up with his brother. These two are quite a team when they're together!


Luke insists on riding on Owen's scooter. I think he'll want one of his own by next year! Photo credit to Owen for snapping this picture!


favorite kid's subscription service - The Story Box - We had the opportunity to try a new subscription box for kids this week and we really loved it! The Story Box was create by parents, Holly and Clint. Each The Story Box monthly delivery includes two books and reading tips for parents. The teacher in me loved the reading tips and that they were customized for different ages. If you're looking for some fun "happy mail" for your kids or a great gift, you should check them out!

favorite dinner this week - Chicken Tortilla Soup - I made this Monday night and it was fantastic! If you're looking for a quick and easy dinner make this using rotisserie chicken! This time I left out the rice and cooked it on the stove.

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



You can see where I'm linking up HERE!

January 19, 2017

Owen is 5!

Owen is FIVE! Well, that went quickly! The last five years have been the most eventful, fulfilling, joyful, fun, exciting years. Motherhood has completely transformed my life and I have one very bright little boy to thank for that.
We celebrated Owen's birthday lots this week! We had a family party with my grandpa who also celebrated a big birthday this month (he's 91 now!) on Saturday night with dinner, gifts and a delicious Chocolate Chip Chocolate Ganache Bundt cake. Grandpa Bob and Owen blew out the candles together and Owen devoured his piece of cake!

On Sunday we had a kid party for Owen with all his boy buddies from his PreK class. We had a jump house and some other activities that kept this kiddos busy, followed by snacks and cake. We had the party at the YMCA and they did a wonderful job with the whole event. I had never thought of them as a party location, but when I was trying to find a place last minute they came to mind, and I'm so glad it all worked out.



On Wednesday, Owen's actual birthday, he woke up to a birthday banner, more gifts, chocolate donuts and chocolate milk and balloons. In the evening we had fried chicken, per his request, and enjoyed birthday cake with Keith's mom, sister and O's cousins.

He got to be the "helper" at school on Wednesday and then today he'll celebrate with his other January buddies in the class round out the week long celebration!



Here is a little interview I did with Owen today to capture the person he is right now at 5:

How old are you? I'm 5!

What is your favorite tv show? Minecraft movies

What is your favorite thing about school? Outside time

What is your favorite toy? "Glow up wands"

What is something you're really good at? Playing! With mommy.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Army guy or Steve (from Minecraft)

What is your favorite book? Charlotte's Web

What do you take with you to bed each night? Elephant blanky

What is your best friend(s)? Johnny and Isaac

What is your favorite thing you did this year? "Go to Tahoe! And play with the Lone Ranger Lego set up there. I really liked that. And playing at the two creeks (beaches) with the crawdads and the one without the crawdads. That was my favorite!"

Owen,

You're at such a fun age right now! You have so many neat questions and curiosities, and you're truly just a really fun person. You are great company and you always keep us smiling and laughing with your clever and witty remarks. I'm so proud of the way you've taken to your role as big brother. You're quite thoughtful and conscientious when it comes to your brother. I've seen you put his needs and wants first on many occasions, and I know how hard that is for you to do. You have a big year ahead with our move and starting Kindergarten at a new school, so I'm excited to see where the year takes us. We love you to the moon and back, sweet boy!

xoxox,
Mommy

January 17, 2017

Weeknight Dinner: Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

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

Dinnertime is a battle in our house these days, from deciding what to make, to entertaining the kids while dinner is being prepared, to getting them to actually eat what I've made -- there is almost no easy part! Thankfully, Golden Grain® pasta has made the whole process just a little bit easier by helping me decide what to make.

I consider myself to be an experienced home cook. I've cooked tons of meals, of all varieties for my family, but unfortunately after so many years I'm lacking a little inspiration. Every week I try to come up with something new, outside of our tried-and-true favorites, so last week it was fun to let the Pasta Matchmaker quiz help me decide what to make for dinner!

I love that the quiz let's you tell whether or not you're cooking for a fancy dinner or for kids, what meat you'll be using, what the weather is like, etc. to really hone in on and find the perfect Golden Grain® pasta recipe for your family. When I took the quiz I shared that I wanted to use chicken in our dish, that I was cooking a casual dinner for my family, that I'm an experienced cook and that it was cool outside. 

Our recipe match ended up being Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole, which I was really thrilled with, because we love macaroni and cheese and I'll jump at any excuse to make it myself!  

The boys and I stopped by Lucky for the ingredients after school. Luckily you don't need too much to make this casserole and I already had milk, butter and flour -- so we didn't need to get much, which I love. We grabbed shredded cheese, Golden Grain® elbow macaroni, a rotisserie chicken and frozen broccoli, so we were in and out of the store in a flash! 

The Golden Grain pasta was really easy to find in the aisle with the pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese!

 Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients  
16 ounces Golden Grain® Jumbo Elbows 
16 ounces frozen broccoli florets 
2 tablespoons butter or margarine 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
2 cups milk 
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided 
2 cups cooked chicken, diced

Directions 
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. 


2. Cook pasta according to package directions; after 6 minutes of boiling, add broccoli cuts to pasta and continue cooking per package directions; drain and set aside.

3. Return hot, empty pan to medium heat and add butter. Once butter has melted, whisk in flour until blended well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Add milk and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture simmers.

5. Remove from heat and stir in 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, stirring until melted and smooth. Add chicken, pasta, and broccoli and stir gently to mix. 


6. Place in baking dish. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. 

I made two smaller casseroles instead of one large one so I could add red pepper flakes to one for Keith and I, and leave the other one plain for the kids.

7. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake, uncovered, for 5 additional minutes or until cheese is melted.

We loved this pasta dish and I know I'll turn to the Pasta Matchmaker again when I'm looking for dinner inspiration. Do you know what you're making for dinner this week? I encourage you to take the Pasta Matchmaker quiz to help you figure it out!

You can also participate in the Pasta Matchmaker Challenges, where you can put your own spin on a Golden Grain classic recipe and submit for a change to win prizes! Contest dates are as follows:

Challenge #1: January 1 – January 21
Challenge #2: January 22 – February 4
Challenge #3: February 5 – February 18
Challenge #4: February 19 – March 4
Challenge #5: March 5 – March 18
Challenge #6: March 19 – April 1

See what other people are cooking up in their kitchens on the Golden Grain social hub

January 13, 2017

10 on 10 : January 2017

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 Tuesday, January 10th, 2017! We have had a stormy week here in California, and Tuesday was the windiest and rainiest of them all.

Luke had been sleeping so well lately and this was the last night of all that fun. For about a week he was sleeping from 7pm-7am+ and just waking once, which is a dream for me. I woke up at 6am on this morning and checked email from bed, which is a luxury these days!

Owen was already downstairs with Keith, so I had a few minutes to grab the boys clothes, get myself dressed for the gym and make our beds. Keith leaves before 7am these days, so after he left for work I made breakfast for Owen and I. He had a waffle, sunflower butter and strawberries. I had oatmeal and coffee. We had a rare, relaxing breakfast before Luke woke-up.


Luke woke up around 7:30, so we all snuggled up on the couch while Luke had his bottle.  Afterward I got Owen dressed and loaded up the car to head of for school. This was one of the stormiest days of the whole year, so the drive to school was quite entertaining for Owen!


I'm glad I got this smiling picture of my sweet little guy before school! He loves school and I have a hard time stealing a kiss from him once we get inside because he always tears off to play with his buddies.


Nothing says class like taking a selfie in the gym bathroom! Luke and I headed to the gym after we dropped Owen off. He is not loving being in the rear-facing big boy seat these days. I think his legs feel a little cramped, so I got us to the gym as quickly as I could. It is going to be a long year until we can turn him front facing.



We spent almost two hours at the gym, so when we were done we headed back to Owen's school a little early. This was my post-workout snack: chocolate protein shake and veggies.

We got to school early so I could put some files in the classroom, but Owen ended up getting hurt right when we got there. I little fleck of a styrofoam ball fell in his eye when he was playing and it hurt SO BAD. He was crying and upset, but the teachers were able to help him wash it out a bit, or so we thought. I sat with him during sharing, but out of no where he started screaming in pain again. My poor little boy. We ended up leaving school and went to get an eye wash. I was really worried for him and it was storming like heck, and Luke was tired and crying. This is one of those moments where you wish your own mom was there to help you. Thankfully the teachers and other moms where so helpful. Long story short, he is all better now.

Since Luke was asleep in the car, and Owen was feeling mostly better, we went for In N Out to cheer him up. I'm really trying to stick to healthy eating, and it is super hard to skip fries, but I did. I usually ask for extra tomato and no cheese, but when I rolled my window down to order I was getting soaked, so I got a little distracted!


Luke took a short little car nap, so he had lunch when we got home. How sweet is that smile? Lukey had mashed potatoes, avocado and some veggies straws. I give him the veggie straws to keep him busy in the highchair and he just LOVES them!

While Luke ate lunch and Owen played I got our dinner prepped. That night we had Kale Caesar and Grilled Chicken Bowls for dinner. I've been loving all the recipes we've tried from the SkinnyTaste Fast & Slow cookbook Keith gave me for Christmas.

Since Keith goes to work earlier now he gets home a lot earlier too! Today he got home at 4:00, so I was able to have a pretty easy time cooking dinner and setting the table while he and the boys made a fort. The storm was really raging at that point, and it sounded like we lived on the ocean!
 
After dinner is was our usual routine of clean up, dance party, bath time, books, bottle and bed! Keith and I watched an episode of The Man in the High Castle and then went to bed. 

So that was our day... dark, rainy and full!

January 10, 2017

Our 2016 Family Photos

Late last year we had family photos taken with the lovely Carleigh of Sweet Poppy Studios for our Christmas cards. I had entered a giveaway on her Instagram for a  mini session with her, and I was so thrilled when I won. I felt like we hit the winning numbers in the Lotto!

The day we took our photos was one of the windiest and stormiest days that fall, so we were pretty worried about getting even just one good photo to use for our cards. You can't quite tell, but we were smiling in between being blown away. Carleigh went the extra mile for us in our session and in addition to the photos of the four of us she also got a few of the boys together and one really handsome one of Keith and Luke. 

I really liked what we all wore this year, and it totally turned out the way I imagined. How often does that happen? I had planned on Owen wearing the exact shirt we ended up buying at J. Crew for Keith, so our "look" was all centered around Keith's shirt and Luke's sweater one-piece. I'm a big fan of not being matchy in photos but having a nice amount of texture and detail.

This is my favorite photo of the whole bunch! My word those boys are adorable, if I do say so myself. I almost used this on the front of our card this year, but ended up putting it on the back and giving it framed as a gift and on ornaments.

Keith and his mini me. Everyone says they think Luke looks just like Keith did as a baby. He definitely has Keith skin tone, and handsomeness of course.

This is the one photo where Luke was smiling! Poor little guy was probably wondering what was going on!

And this photo is so cute because Carleigh took one of Owen just like this two years ago when she took our photos! My how he's grown! Still has that big, sweet smile though!


Now I just need to decide which ones to include in our gallery wall when we move!