Meet the Sullivans: 2018

May 16, 2018

Mother's Day Weekend 2018

Oh, hey! It's been too long since I've blogged, and I have totally neglected to write about our trip to Disneyland, which I really wan to get to, but in the meantime I'm here to talk about Mother's Day weekend. 

The weekend always starts Friday morning, right? Luke and I go to Junior Gym on Friday mornings, followed by whatever errands need to be done before the weekend. On this Friday we needed to pick up some things for Owen's t-ball team snack, and Luke ended up getting a lollipop (a "pop", as he calls them) AND a balloon. He was thrilled!

We picked Owen up from school later and were happy to hear that the class butterflies had started hatching! It made Owen's day to see them coming out of their chrysalises.

Owen's teacher uses a "scouts" behavioral reward system in her classroom where each child gets a turn being the "scout" and their job for the day is to watch their classmates for good behavior. At the end of the day the "scout" gives out rewards to a handful of kids. The reward is always a piece of card stock with either a poem / visual / activity related to what they've been learning in class. Not to brag, but Owen almost always comes home with one. He's a really good kid at school and a great rule follower.

On Friday the scout award was how to make a volcano, which of course we HAD to try. It was fun for both of us!

He also made me a cute card. In preschool the parents and teachers in the classroom helped the kids make their cards, and I could totally tell that this year Owen made this card allll himself. It was a little crooked and bent, but all the more sweet because it was all his. He was so proud!

I've been sorting through our storage boxes of photos and memories etc. and found this little card I must have made for my own mom many, many Mother's Days ago. The funny thing is, I do not remember my mom being a stickler for keeping a clean room. She usually cleaned our rooms while we were at school (oops, sorry mom), but maybe I felt guilty. 


I made it to HIIT Saturday morning for the 4th weekend in a row! I love this class, but the day and time doesn't always work for me, so I'm always really happy when I get to go. It is a killer workout.

 
Saturday afternoon we celebrated Mother's Day with Keith's mom! I picked up cannoli and spumoni from Romolo's for dessert. We barbecued, played in the backyard and hung out with everyone. We gave Keith's mom a beautiful succulent arrangement, but I forgot to get a picture.

I told Keith and the boys that all I really wanted on Mother's Day was to sleep in a little and then drink my coffee in bed, and that's exactly what I got. It was awesome and I totally loved it! They also gave me a pretty necklace (still waiting for it to arrive in the mail) and let me take a nap in the afternoon. 


My mom and sister came over for brunch later in the morning. I made a breakfast casserole and we had mimosas, smoked salmon, bacon and mini cinnamon rolls.

After brunch we all went to Owen's final t-ball game of the season, and he even got a turn being catcher! He had quite the cheering section with Luke, me, both his grandmas, two aunts and his cousin. He was too cute buried beneath all that catchers gear.


We all loved the experience of his first baseball season, and he'll definitely be back again next year for more. 



It was a GREAT mother's day weekend and I even got a picture with my two favorite monkeys!

April 3, 2018

Easter Things 2018

Compared to last year, Easter 2018 was really good to us! The sun was shinning, and not one of us was sick. Last year we all had the stomach flu and Luke had a terrible ear infection, so it wasn't too hard to top all that this year.


We dyed Easter eggs last weekend, and next year I'll definitely be buying one of those egg coloring machines to make it all easier on myself, because it was a MESS. Owen is great, and doesn't try to make a mess, but once Luke hopped on the counter we had colored water and broken eggs all over the place. They both enjoyed themselves and I'd say some good memories were made, but it took me 2x as long to clean up.



Friday afternoon after school I set up an Egg Scavenger Hunt for Owen and Luke in the house. I used these clues from the Melissa and Doug website. You could use the clue for any kind of indoor hunt, but to make them "Eastery" I put them in eggs. Owen had a lot of fun doing the activity and Luke just followed him around, and I'm pretty sure he though we were playing his favorite game, hide n' seek. At the end of the hunt they each got a prize, play dough and gummy snacks.


We also made Easter Bunny Munch earlier in the week just for fun. The recipe is from Liz's blog, Ellie & Addie. It's really dangerous having something like this laying around because it's so easy to grab a handful here and there. The kids loved it, and Owen liked getting some in his snack for school.


On Saturday Keith and I both took turns getting hair cuts (and a highlight for me). There's just something great about a fresh highlight that helps make you feel great! In addition to the highlight I also cut off 4 inches, and my hair feels so much healthier!

I spend so much money to have my hair highlighted that I try to go as long as I can in between coloring it and usually try to plan it around special events like holidays or celebrations. The last time I had it colored was for our family photos and now I'm going to try (try!!) to wait until my friend's wedding in October, but we'll see.


After haircuts and all that we took the boys out for a little hike and pizza! It's so nice that Luke is a little older now and beyond the toddling stage of toddler hood so he can keep up with us on a short hike, and enjoy his surroundings.



Saturday morning we had to be up bright and early to get Easter going so we could make it to Easter Sunday Mass at 8am. Owen was already rolling around in our bed, so we all went in to wake Luke up to see what EB had brought them. Luke was too groggy / sleepy to do any egg hunting, but Owen put some aside for him. Luke is so lucky to have such a thoughtful big brother like Owen.

After collecting eggs the boys dove into their baskets. I love filling their baskets with a combination of things they'll need or want in the spring and summer.

In Owen's basket: a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, magic tree house book, gardening gloves, bubble wand, sidewalk chalk, magnetic tic tac toe game set, kinetic sand, personalized smoothie cup and a digger shovel.

In Luke's basket: a Star Wars t-shirt, a few trains from Ikea, bubble wand, side walk chalk, gardening gloves, smoothie cup, ABC book, puppy dog pals and bath color drops.

The boys did so well during Mass, and we only had to spend a little bit of time chasing Luke around outside. Owen was bored, we didn't go to a children's service, but he was such a good boy! Afterward we went back to Keith's mom's for an egg hunt and breakfast.

Later in the day after Luke's nap we went to my grandpa's house for dinner and, you guessed it, egg hunt #3 of the day. We were swimming in the sugar at this point. I brought a Bacon Cheddar Ranch cheese ball as an appetizer - recipe below!

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball

Ingredients
2 8oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup bacon, chopped
1 packet powdered ranch seasoning
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced

*parsley for garnish and crackers for serving

Instructions
1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until evenly combined.
2. Using clean hands, form into a ball. If you want to cover your's in chopped pecans, crushed crackers or more chopped bacon, this is when you'd do that.
3. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers.

We managed to get a family photo, but neither of the boy's were in the mood for smiling nicely at the camera. I hope you had a lovely Easter with the people you love!

March 23, 2018

Friday Five: Perler Beads, Ikea and St. Patrick's Day

Happy Friday!

| O N E | We celebrated St. Patrick's Day last weekend with a big family dinner, and lots of good Irish food. I brought my usual Irish Soda Bread like I do each year. I made 4 loaves this year since our group was pretty big this year. What's pictured isn't even all of it, there were 1 1/2 loaves not pictured.



Owen worked on his leprechaun trap during the week leading up to St. Patrick's Day and we set it up in the kitchen the night before. Unfortunately, he did not catch a leprechaun again this year, but he wasn't too bummed because the sneaky guy left behind some chocolate gold coins instead. 


The leprechaun also left behind proof of his mischief in form of a green toy battle scene and green toilet water.



| T W O | My sister-in-law watches Luke for me on Wednesday mornings so I can help in Owen's classroom. I'm usually done helping early, so I'm left with a little time to run some errands. This week I went to Ikea with a list of items to aide in some spring organizing plans I have.


I picked up...

- an Algot drawer thing for Owen and Luke's closet
- some shelf risers for the kitchen
- bins for the pantry (they were on SALE for $4.50 and $2.79!)
- napkins because I always buy them when I go. I love their fun designs and low price!
- trains for Luke's Easter basket
- a set of mesh bags for luggage organization
- a plant and prints for a PTA Teacher Appreciation Day project
- Perler beads for Owen

I pretty much always buy napkins and straws when I go to Ikea, and it's always fun to see what new things they have.

| T H R E E |  The MVP purchase of my shopping trip was undoubtedly the Perler beads! Owen sat for over an hour and a half creating his designs. I have to admit, I'm pretty into them myself! Pinterest has some really cute design ideas.


| F O U R | My first Grove collaborative order arrived this week! Can you believe my whole order was $22.41? There is an offering going on (you can find it on Megan's blog, Honey We're Home) that will give you some free Mrs. Meyer's items with a purchase of $20 or more, so I jumped on it. I love the peony smell!

Get $10 off your first order by using my referral code!



| F I V E | My favorite snack this week, rice cakes with PB2, half a banana and a dash of cinnamon. Filling, a little sweet, the perfect snack with a cup of coffee in the afternoon!



Have any fun weekend plans? I just checked the weather and it looks like there is no longer rain being anticipated for the weekend, so we will probably be busy with t-ball practice and games as planned! Have a good one!

You can see where I'm linking up HERE!

March 19, 2018

Lately - T-ball, Trains and a Recipe

Where has time gone? I pulled these photos off my camera over a week ago to share here and now I feel like they're way old. A little this and that from what we've been up to lately.

Greek Burger Recipe. In an effort to eat a little healthier these days I've been trying to eat a high-protein, low-carb diet, not really a "diet" since I'm hoping to make it a norm. I'm not eating like this all the time, I still drink my International Delight coffee creamer every morning, and I still drink a glass of wine most nights, but otherwise I'm trying to keep my intake of empty calories low.

The dinner you see above, Greek Turkey Burgers, is one of my favorites right now. The burger has all sorts of good stuff in it with so much flavor! I top it with about 2 tbsps of homemade taziki or Good Foods Cucumber Feta dip.
Ballpark visit. We took the boys up to San Francisco on the train last weekend to visit the ballpark, eat lunch and ride the Coca-cola slide.  Owen started t-ball a few weeks ago, so we thought this would be a fun field trip for him. It's always neat seeing the ball park empty! We can't wait for baseball season!

Luke loved riding the train on the way up! Every time we stopped he would say "New choo-choo??", which means "more choo choo", but on the way back he was not as keen on it. On the way back he would get up at each stop and say "Allllll done!" He was pretty cute.

T-ball season is here! Owen's t-ball team had their first game last weekend! I thought Owen looked so handsome in his uniform and he really loved getting to play baseball with all the kids on his team. Keith is helping with the games and stays on the out field or dugout with the kids most of the game, which Owen loves. 

The snack parent for our first game really knocked it out of the park (get my joke?) with the snack! Each snack had a cute personalized tag, sunflower seeds, chocolate baseballs, a baseball toy, goldfish crackers and a cutie! I'm not sure I'll be able to top that when it's our turn! 




Soccer Camp. Speaking of sports, I'm signing Owen up for another week of Challenger Soccer camp this summer, since he loved it so much last year! Not only did he have a lot of fun, but it also got him moving in the summer and prepared for soccer season in the fall.

Here is a little more info about the camp: British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert's right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

REGISTER FOR CAMP & GET A JERSEY, BALL, T SHIRT & NEW SKILLS APP AND 20 FREE VIDEOS!
Enroll in the most popular soccer camp in North America! British Soccer Camps have programs for all ages and abilities and feature an innovative curriculum full of skills, drills, and thrills! Register now and you will not only get your free British Soccer game jersey (value $34.95) shipped to you for free immediately, but you will also get our brand new skill development App and 20 videos to help your child practice at home. Your soccer ball, T-shirt & poster will be given out at camp. USE CODE BSC18 at check out to get free shipping.

To Enroll: https://www.challengersports.com/british-soccer/

March 14, 2018

RECIPE: White Bean Turkey Chilli

This White Bean Turkey Chili recipe is one of those recipes I make all the time and feel like I'm always telling people about, because we love it, but I don't have the recipe written down anywhere.

It's pretty basic and the photos aren't gorgeous (sorry, nothing Pinterest-worthy), but this chili is GOOD and you should probably add it to your arsenal of family-friendly recipes. This is also one of those recipes I can make without measuring or checking a recipe, which I love, because who has time to do that! And it makes a ton, so there are always leftovers or enough to freeze.


WHITE BEAN TURKEY CHILI

Ingredients
1 pound ground turkey
1 (16 ounce) can diced no salt added tomatoes
3 (16 ounce) cans Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 ounce) can fire roasted green chiles
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 qt chicken stock
1 cup 2% colby jack cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions
1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom pot. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add the garlic for about a minute. Make sure the garlic doesn't burn. I like to add a little salt at this point. Kosher salt is my favorite.


2. Add the ground turkey and stir until it is cooked through and brown and crumbly.

3. Add the taco seasoning and stir. Sometimes a do a few shakes of cumin as well. Add the cannellini beans, diced tomatoes and stir to combine.



5. Pour in some of the chicken stock, but just enough to make the whole thing full, but not so much that it covers the chili -- you don't want it to become a soup. Now let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes or longer if you need to or want to. Make sure to keep an eye in case you need to add more chicken stock.



6. Add a handful (about a cup or so) of cheese and stir, then serve!

If you give this a try please let us know how it turned out for you and if you liked it! Enjoy!

March 2, 2018

Friday Five - Easter Decor, Another Soup Recipe and More

Hello, friends and HAPPY weekend! I am just so thrilled another weekend is here. The weather has been so gross all week -- really cold, pretty wet and all together pretty dreary, which has kept us at home a lot this week, so we're looking forward to getting out.


| O N E | I've been itching to organize all the things this week. I don't really have the time or energy to tackle huge projects like our walk-in storage closets, but small victories like color coordinating the board books in the playroom make me feel happy, even if they only end up lasting a day or two before Luke throws them on the floor.

Also, do you follow @lifeineneral or @neatmethod on Instagram? They are serious organization goals.

| T W O | I like to buy a giant bag of broccoli at Costco with grand plans of using it all before it goes bad (2-3 days in the fridge after opening, says the directions on the bag), and this week I was actually successful. We had it with salmon one night, can't remember the 2nd night and then on the 3rd night I made broccoli soup on the fly. We all (except Owen, he doesn't do soup) liked is, especially Luke, who LOVED it! Here's the recipe I kind of made up:

BROCCOLI & VEGETABLE SOUP

INGREDIENTS:
Half a bag of broccoli florets, washed
2 cups carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1- 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 handful shredded cheddar cheese
olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS: 
Heat oil in a large heavy bottom pot. Sauté onion until transparent, add carrots, celery and cook until softened, add garlic and cook until fragrant being careful to not let it burn.

Add broccoli and chicken broth, cover and let it steam the broccoli for about 20-30 minutes over medium heat. Once the broccoli is steamed and soft, transfer the soup in batches (broth and all the other veggies) to a blender. Add the beans to one of the batches and blend until the soup is smooth or chunky enough to your liking.

An immersion blender is super handy here, but mine broke and I haven't replaced it yet.

Add back to the pot and mix in a handful or so of cheese to make it a little thicker and creamier. Enjoy!

| T H R E E | The struggle with stuffed animals in our house is REAL. Owen loves them, Luke loves them, and when they play with them, they're all over the place. They've lived on the top bunk for a while now while I've been trying to figure out a better storage system for them. I've tried purging them, but Owen will inevitably remember which ones are missing...

Anyway, earlier this week I was watching one of those "how I clean my house in 30-minutes" videos on YouTube (I'm obsessed with these cleaning videos) and the family had a STUFF 'N SIT and I had to have one immediately. I mean, how genius!

It arrived Wednesday and it has solved all of my stuffy problems. The kids no longer need close supervision to get their stuffed animals down like they did and they're easy to clean-up, and out of sight! Oh, and it doubles as a pretty cute little bean bag chair in their room. I'm SOLD!

| F O U R | It sure doesn't feel like spring outside with this storm we're having, but I'm getting in the spirit of spring inside with our Easter decorations. I bought that cute rabbit for $3 at Target (you probably saw it there too, or own it yourself) and the tulip bulbs came in the vase and are around $8 from Trader Joe's. I thought they were pretty and that the boys would like seeing the below the surface-ness of the bulbs. I've kept them alive for a week, so things are looking good.

| F I V E | Weekend plans, etc. Tonight is family movie night, and Owen is asking to watch The Lorax, so it's going to be a good one. Sometimes it's hard to balance movies that both boys will watch. Luke only watches about 30% of any movie at best, and Owen often wants to watch movies outside what's appropriate for his own age range.  We also have a weekend full of t-ball activities with Opening Day and team pictures. And Keith and I have a date night set. I'm hoping we'll see Game Night, but I know Keith wants to see Black Panther. Have you seen either?

That's all for now. I hope you have a good one!

You can see where I'm linking up HERE!

February 23, 2018

Avid 4 Adventure Summer Camps!

It's been a cold, windy week here and we're all dreaming of the warm summer days we'll have in a few months. Owen is in a kind of year-round school, so his summer is pretty short. In previous years we've signed him up for a few camps, and this year I'll do the same, but we'll limit it to just two so he still has plenty of time to just "be" this summer. I made lists of the camps we've tried and tried to rank them based on price v. fun / benefit, and the Avid 4 Adventure camp Owen did a few years ago is at the top of our list!

My little Owen at Learn to Bike camp two years ago!
All the moms in a local Facebook groups have been talking about their favorite camps for various ages, and I always find myself chiming in to mention what an awesome time Owen had at Learn to Bike camp, and the fact that he actually learned to ride a bike there! We're excited to be sending him to Avid again this year for the Exloprer Camp at the Burlingame location. There are also new locations this year in Los Gatos, Campbell, Cupertino, Pleasant Hill.


There are a lot of camps available for a range of ages -- Avid is not just for the school aged kids. They have Discovery Camp for children going into Pre-K and Kindergarten and Learn to Bike and Tykes on Bikes for Pre-K and Kindergarten kids too.



If you're interested in signing up just make sure you do it before next Wednesday 2/28, because that is when the Early Bird Savings of $25 for Day Camps and $70 for Overnight Camps ends! Use code EARLYBIRD to get this discount. Learn more and sign up at www.avid4.com or call 800-977-9873!

February 20, 2018

10 on 10 - February 2018



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
 
A couple weeks ago I tried to document our day by snapping ten photos to show what we were up to. 
This is Saturday, February 10th 2018

Our Saturday morning started off bright and early, as it usually does because our boys don't sleep in, but on this day we were out the door early for Owen's first mud race! 


Owen ran the Burlingame Muddy Mile with Keith! This is them before the race when they were still pretty clean!

And them after their race! There was a mile run before all of the obstacles -- army crawl, rope swing, rock climb, etc. Owen said it was so much fun that he wanted to do the whole thing over again right then. I see more fun races in his future!

Luke fell asleep as soon as he and I arrived at the finish line to wait for Keith and Owen. I wished that he had been awake to see Owen do the obstacles, but it was definitely easier for me that he was asleep.

Owen helped clean his fish tank when we got home. We're supposed to do this every other weekend, but we didn't have time two weekends in a row (sorry, fish), so it was in real need of a cleaning that day. I think the fish and tank are the best birthday gift we've ever given Owen because not only do they provide him some entertainment, but they have also given him some more responsibilities at home.

While Keith and Owen cleaned the fish tank I put together lunch for Owen and Luke. Nothing fancy, but something semi-ballanced that I know they will enjoy. Anyone else feel like a short order cook most of the time? I want them to both like what they're eating, but most of the time the only thing that's the same on both their plates is grapes!

Keith went for a haircut in the afternoon, so the boys and I hung out at home and played. It seems like we're always rushing off to somewhere on the weekends, so it's really nice to stay in and just let them play with their (many, many, many) toys. In anticipation of Monday being the 100th day of school Owen and I counted out 100 Legos by grouping 10 groups of 10 and then we built a fort out of them.

After Keith came home I snuck off for a pedicure. It was lovely! I went with the orange-ish color, which is OPI My Chihuahua Bites. There was an open house in our neighborhood with the same plan as ours, so I stopped by that on the way home too. I always hope to get some ideas, but it was pretty plain.

We decided to take the boys out for dinner, so we tried ROAM burger in downtown San Mateo. Owen loved the blood orange soda, and we all thought the fry trio (original, zucchini and sweet fries) was aaaamazing! I had the French & Fries burger, which was great, but probably too heavy for me to get again.

Afterward we took the boys to Talbots Toyland for some toys. If I could chose I would buy all of their toys there. The prices aren't as low as Amazon, but the experience of shopping in a classic (dare I say old school) toy store is priceless. We always find something new to buy there. Owen got a venus fly trap kit and Luke got a Playmobil garbage truck, because he's obsessed with garbage trucks. Luke also loved the little playhouses!

And that was our day!