Meet the Sullivans: April 2012

April 30, 2012

Totes Adorbs

Totes Adorbs - (adjective). Abbreviation of "Totally Adorable." Used when one sees something that causes squealing, clapping and overall giddyness due to something being of extreme cuteness and/or adorableness.
example: "Aw omg! The kitties in the pet shop are totes adorbs!"

My sister Kathee has got me saying this popular culture term all. the. time. I think of it every time I look at Owen, the cute little bundle of joy I am lucky enough to call my son. Totes Adorbs is the title for this post because, well, he was just totes adorbs at the park on Saturday! 

It was a sunny and not too hot day, so we packed up and headed to the park with sandwiches. 
Lookin' all hip with his hat on sideways. Such a cutie pie!

Although I love the "shorts" he's wearing I'm not sure if they look more like long shorts or short pants?

Having a Boys Club meeting in the shade, which gave me a minute to take two bites from my sandwich.

Owen is just 3 months old, but insists on spending most of his day standing or walking (which is really more like stomping!). He is just itching to get around on his own. The kid is a mover!

This picture just makes me want to squeeze him! Like I said, totes adorbs!

Take Note

With all the generous gifts we've received lately for our little guy I've been writing tons and tons of thank you notes. I'm kind of addicted to buying them and have acquired quite the collection. On our little trip to Target this week I spotted these cute ones by Mara Mi.

There were so many designs and colors to chose from that I had a hard time deciding which one I wanted most. I had to keep myself from buying them all. I finally decided on the pink since most of my purchases are boyish blue now. The coolest part? You can personalize the stationery at home using the templates on their website!

They also make adorable gift bags, party invitations and paper party goods. Some of my personal favorites:
Retro Kitchen Clipboard Pad + Pen here

Green / Gold Sea Horse Blank Note Card here

Hello Magnet Set here

Just thought I'd share!

April 26, 2012

Artichoke Crusted Chicken & Roast Brussels Sprouts with Bacon + Garlic

Pinterest makes me so hungry! These two tasty recipes were found one afternoon while I was menu planning. They both sounded great and really went well together. The plus is that you don't need many ingredients to make this delicious meal. 

Artichoke Crusted Chicken
For a printer-friendly version click here.

2 six-ounce chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (I used canned artichoke hearts, but frozen ones that have been thawed would be fine)
1/3 cup grated white cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper the chicken and then sauté each chicken breast in 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat, for about 8-10 minutes, flipping once, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Set aside.

Mix together the mayonnaise, artichoke hearts and cheddar cheese until evenly distributed. Spread the mixture over the sauteed chicken breasts, and then broil at 400 degrees for about 3 minutes. Do not take your eyes off them — broiling can lead to burning faster than you can imagine. When the cheese is melted and bubbling and the tops are golden, remove and serve.

Serves 2.

Recipe credit: Sugarlaws

Roast Brussels Sprouts with Bacon + Garlic
For a printer-friendly version click here.

1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed well
2 slices thick bacon, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 450°. Position the oven rack in the top third of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet or a 9x13-inch roasting pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Cut the Brussels sprouts into quarters. (Be sure to cut lengthwise through the root ends to keep their shape intact.) Spread them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, and add the chopped bacon and minced garlic. Drizzle the olive oil over the top, toss to combine, and season with salt and pepper.

Place the baking sheet on the top oven rack, and roast the Brussels sprouts for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through the roasting time. They should be crispy on the outside and tender inside. Toss with the red wine vinegar and serve while still warm.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

Recipe credit: Kitchen Fiddler

April 25, 2012

Around here lately.

1. Owen was talking up a storm this yesterday. He has lots to tell you! He seemed so serious at some points, but I know he's enjoying being able to express himself. Please ignore all my talking though! 

2. I'm so excited for the Picky Palate cook book to come out in October! I pre-ordered mine from Barnes & Noble for $18.30 (which includes tax + shipping) Tuesday morning. Jenny Flake has some really fun, pretty simple and crave worthy recipes. Some of my favorites: BBQ Ranch and Chicken Cheddar Pizza Roll em' Ups, S'mores Stuffed Brownies, Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls. And I can't wait to make this Classic Cheesy Chicken and Rice Soup really soon.

3. I've been working on making a Home Organization binder. I'll be using some of these templates from I Heart Organizing and I'll be making some of my own. I'm just trying to figure out which categories will be most useful to us and what things I'll need to complete it. I also need to figure out which binder will work best for us: one of these, this one or one of these. I'll share the completed product when I'm all done with it!

4. My sister and I took Owen to Gymboree for a Play & Music class yesterday for the first time. He had such a great time and was really interested in all the other babies. This was his first experience with so many other babies and I can tell already he is going to be a very social and outgoing kid. He has been so talkative lately and was chatting up a storm the whole time--it was pretty cute! I enjoyed meeting some of the other moms too. We'll be going every week!

5. My friend Jackie invited me to do a Children's Book Exchange and I jumped at the chance. I sent it to a few fellow mommy / mommy-to-be friends, so we'll see how it all goes! I sent the sweet little girl who was first on the emailed list I received the Caldecott winning Madeline book Madeline's Rescue. Madeline books were a favorite of mine growing up! 

I'm linking this post up with This Kind of Love today for What I'm Loving Wednesday

April 24, 2012

Just a little conversation

Our bedtime routine with Owen has been going so well lately. I can see it is working well for him because his sleep is really improving!

He has started doing this really cute thing when I'm feeding him his last meal before the bed. We go upstairs after his bath and he and I sit in the glider together while he nurses. I usually rock with him a little and maybe read a little on my Kindle, but lately Owen has other things in mind!

He's started having little conversations with me while he eats! He drinks a little, pulls off, looks up at me smiling, coos, gurgles and goes back to eating. He repeats this through his entire feeding. Keith says he doesn't blame him for wanting a little dinner conversation! It is so sweet and makes putting him to bed difficult because I just want to keep that adorable kid up with me all night chatting away!

Herbed Chicken Parmesan

Last week I was flipping through some of my older cook books reminiscing about some of my first kitchen experiences. I found this one and it was like a walk down memory lane. 

This Cooking Light recipe (HERE) is one of the first dinners I made for Keith when we started dating, so it holds a special place in my heart. It's such a familiar recipe, I could probably make it blindfolded. Keith really likes it and usually requests it when I ask what he wants for dinner. I think he would eat it twice a week if I were willing to make it that often! 

It's pretty simple and effortless and I usually have all the ingredients in the pantry and fridge. Even if you don't have the exact ingredients you can easily sub them for similar options like I did. The ingredients and directions below are how I made it this time. To see the actual recipe click the link up above.

For a printer-friendly version click here.

1/3 cup Kraft grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 pound chicken breasts, cut in half
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups jarred pasta sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 slices provolone cheese, quartered

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Combine Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Place egg white in a shallow dish. Dip each chicken tender in egg white; dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. I used my beloved Pampered Chef Coating Trays, which make steps like this so easy! 

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook a few minutes on each side or until done. Transfer chicken to an oven safe baking dish.

Combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, pasta sauce, vinegar, and pepper in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; vent. Microwave sauce mixture at HIGH 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. 

Pour the sauce over chicken. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Parmesan and top each piece with provolone. Bake until the cheese melts.

On this night I served it over rigatoni because that is what we had in the pantry, but it really tastes great with any kind of pasta--even orzo! Delizioso!

I'm linking this post up with 33 Shades of Green today for Tasty Tuesdays

April 23, 2012

Organization: Scarves

When I was teaching there were mornings when I would wake up and not want to get out of bed and get going--don't we all have those days? But I bet very few of you were wishing you could stay home and organize a closet! Nope, that's probably just me in that category. I never actually did stay home to organize a closet of course (that would have been ridiculous!), but I really wanted to. 

I love to clean out drawers, closets, etc. It's weird, I know! 

Well, last week I saw this on Pinterest and couldn't wait to organize my scarves! I buy and wear a lot of scarves. I'm afraid that some day they'll go out of style, aren't you? Before this project they lived in a messy tangled pile inside a bin on the shelf in my closet. 

This is the easiest little project because all you need is a HANGER and SHOWER HOOKS. I bought mine at Target for under $2. 

You simply attach the hooks to your hanger and then loop your scarves through the hooks. TA DA! Now you have all your scarves right at your finger tips and you can see them and don't have to worry about folding them!

And now...This is my messy closet. I had a walk-in closet before we moved and I sure do miss it. Next on my organization to do list is to color coordinate. Right now those hangers are a mess! 

April 20, 2012

Taco Pasta

This dinner is awesome. It combines two of my favorite comfort foods: tacos and pasta. 
It is as good as it sounds! 
I altered the recipe just a bit by upping the amount of cream cheese and sour cream, and adding some salsa. 
With the TJ's brand of taco seasoning mix and salsa this dish has a nice little spiciness to it. 
*chunky salsa not pictured.
* QUICK TIP: Lots of recipes call for chopped onions and Trader Joe's sells bags of chopped onion...just keep the bag in your freezer and you'll always have onions chopped and ready to go! 
Taco Pasta 
For a printer-friendly version click here.
1 pound ground beef or turkey
8-12 ounces medium pasta shells or other small dry pasta shapes
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, drained (if making this for kids you might want to use just plain diced tomatoes)
1 packet (4 tablespoons) taco seasoning
4 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup salsa

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the ground meat over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the meat is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet. Once the meat is cooked through, mix in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit if it is still too thin.

Toss in the cilantro right before serving for some fresh color and flavor. Serve with a green salad.

Recipe credit: The Girl Who Ate Everything

April 19, 2012

Owen is 3 months old!

Dear Owen,

This week you turn 3 months old! Every day you look more and more like a little boy to me and less like the newborn we brought home just a short time ago. You are so sweet and happy and your smile is the most true and genuine thing I have ever seen.

Stats: We don't have a doctor's appointment this month, so I can't say for sure what your weight and height are but according to our scale you are 14lbs 2oz.

Clothes: You are all done wearing 3 month clothes and have moved onto 3-6 month or 6 month clothes. I mostly dress you in jammies when we're at home, and only put you in outfits when we're going out.

Eating: You are nursing every 2.5-3 hours during the day and your nighttime feedings vary depending on how long you sleep.

Sleep: Your sleeping habits have really improved! Maybe because you've been sleeping in your crib in your own room (since you were 11 weeks and 5 days old). There have been several nights in the past week when you've only woken up once, usually around 3 or 4 o'clock. When you do wake up I nurse you in the glider during the night when you wake up and you go right back to sleep so easily. We've been putting you to bed earlier too, which must be helping. You wake up around 7:30 or 8 every morning and I change and feed you and we go down stairs and you play a bit on your play mat.

Activity: You've been rolling yourself from side to side lately when you're on the play mat or on a blanket on the floor. You like to lift your legs up in the air. One time I was watching you on the monitor and you almost rolled yourself from your back to your tummy.

You are talking and gurgling up a storm. Mostly you like to chat with us when we're changing you on the changing table.

You've recognized your mom and dad and follow us around the room with your eyes when someone else is holding you.

You stay up for about 1-2 hours at a time before napping again, so you take a few naps each day. In the last 2 weeks I've been trying to get you to do all your sleeping in your crib when we're home. You seem to get your best most uninterrupted sleep in your own room. 

You've been tolerating tummy time a lot more lately. We began this month doing tummy time in front of your crib on the floor with the boppy and some toys. Last week I started putting you in your crib for tummy time and you like it so much more. You almost look like you're thinking about crawling. I'm wondering where you'll be at by next month!

Here's a video of you being absolutely adorable during tummy time! 

Your Aunt Kelly helped me dip your cute feet in some blue paint to keep in your baby book! You were okay with it but started to fuss a bit but when we cleaned your feet off with warm water you turned back to our happy little dude again. 

This is just a cute picture of you sleeping on your Daddy after he came home from work one day. You were quite comfortable.

We took you for a walk in your stroller all strapped in like a big boy. We thought you might like it more than being strapped into your carseat, and you did the first time, but you weren't as happy the second time. You're so curious and observant so I really think you'll love walks some day. I'm still trying to figure out how to get you to enjoy the stroller! 

Although you aren't used to your stroller yet you have taken to liking being carried in the long as you're facing forward. Here you are with your Daddy facing front for the first time. He took you out in the backyard to shot some hoops. He can't wait until you can play too! 

I've started taking you for morning walks this way. You look so darn cute in your hat!  

You came out to lunch with me for the first time with Aunt KC. We went to Urban Bistro and you were awake most of the time. You were happy sitting in your carseat, which really surprised me! You just smiled and hung out until we were all done eating. Last week I took you to lunch with me with Granny and Aunt KC at a sushi restaurant and you were great then too! You're an awesome baby! 

We went to the mall and had your picture taken with the Easter bunny the week before Easter. Your Aunt Kelly and cousin Natalie came too! You were so good, but seemed a little confused. I'm sure next year will not be as easy!

Your first Easter egg!

We celebrated Easter and you came to Mass for the first time! Daddy bounced you in the far left aisle when you got a little fussy and then you fell asleep in my arms in the pews. You even came up for a blessing during Communion and got to meet Father John (he married Mommy and Daddy and will baptize you).

 You love to stand up like this and you always look so proud when you do. We know we can get smiles out of you like this. You stomp your feet and look all around and talk and say "Ahhh!".

You found your hands long ago but have decided you really like to eat them ALL the time! You often try to fit your pacifier and both hands in your mouth at the same time.

Watching you grow is so exciting and rewarding. You are a strong and sweet baby boy and your mommy and daddy love you so so so much! 

Mommy (aka The Milk Lady)