Meet the Sullivans: November 2012

November 30, 2012

Owen meets Santa

I hope you're not getting tired of seeing pictures of my adorable little baby boy, because I'm pretty sure there are tons more coming your way in the next few weeks! Christmastime is pretty much our favorite time of the year, so we are SO excited to be sharing Owen's First Christmas with him!

Owen met Santa at the Tree Farm the day after Thanksgiving and it went so well. We weren't sure this meeting would go as well, as the decor and overall setting is a little more intimidating, but these two hit it off once again! 

Maybe Keith and I are a little bias, but we think this might be the happiest / most adorable picture with Santa anyone's ever seen. How content and confident does that kid look sitting on jolly old Saint Nick's lap? It's like he knows how cool Santa is already and isn't scared at all. We'll see how next year goes though!


Owen asked for a new Maclaren umbrella stroller (DONE!) (just kidding, that one is for mommy!), some toys, a puppy, keys to dad's car, and extra milk. His grandma thinks he needs an iPad, but I think that would be a little much for someone who is only 10 1/2 months old, no? I mean, I don't even have an iPad.

Seriously though, you can expect to see Owen's Christmas list next week, in case you were wondering!


You know my first thought on seeing these photos this afternoon as I write this post? That kid needs some shoes. Earlier this week we got him some, so you can expect a post on that too very soon.

November 29, 2012

santa's tree farm

We don't waste any time moving on from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It is a Sullivan family tradition to cut down a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving every year. Here was our trip out to Santa's Tree Farm in 2011.

This year was so much more fun than any year before, because this year we got to have Owen there to enjoy all the family fun!

He got to meet Santa for the first time, and as you can see he is not one of those kids who screams at the sight of jolly old St. Nick. We didn't put him on Santa's lap, but he was happy listening to him and holding his hand.


I had to share this side-by-side comparison of last year's trip and this year's trip. I was super pregnant last year with little Owen kicking around inside my stomach, and this year I had the little sweetie kickin' around in my arms. What a difference a year makes!

He loves to explore, this little man, and he had a fun time touching and smelling the trees. I think it was a fun experience for him.



While we didn't have the whole family there this year, we did enjoy ourselves! It's a tradition we look forward to every year and it never disappoints.

November 28, 2012

lately

A quick nap time stream of conscious post with photos from my Instagram.

I've been enjoying the holiday / Christmas issues of all my favorite magazines. I'm always SO excited to see what Food Network magazine and Southern Living have in store for us. Have I mentioned I am unsubscribing from my former love, Cooking Light magazine? I've just fallen out of love due to their recipe choices. They're just not doin' it for me anymore.

I placed our order for Christmas cards from Tiny Prints this weekend. I'm so excited! I've always dreamed of the day I would be sending out a family Christmas card and it's here. Remember when I shared with you all the designs I liked for our cards? Well, I didn't even end up picking one of those. Ha!

What do you think of my new design? It's a pre-made design from Designer Blogs. I'm really happy with it. I tried so hard to do-it-myself and learn more about HTML and all that, but what I ended up with looked incredibly amateur. No surprise, right? I'm going to let the professionals handle it from now on.

Our tree is up! We went to the tree far, per usual, the day after Thanksgiving. {expect a post about that tomorrow!) Owen is not nearly as interested in it as I thought he'd be, but he is WAY into the cords of lights.

Owen got to meet Santa TWICE over the Thanksgiving holiday. Once at the tree farm and once when we took him to the mall to have his photo taken. We are all surprised by how well he did! Just look at that smile!!

These are really, really good. Have you tried them? You should. I think I finished almost the entire box all on my own. Yikes.

The stockings have been hung! Owen got his very own personalized stocking from Pottery Barn Kids.

We've finally figured out something that seems to be working and is keeping Owen away from all the boxes (xbox, kinect, dvd player, surround sound, cable box, etc) under the television. Keith and I went to Home Depot over the weekend with only an idea in mind. We walked up and down the aisles and ended finding a piece of what should be a shelving unit and some clamps. Whatever works, right?

That is most of what is going on with us lately. How about you? Have you decorated for Christmas?

thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving day started out with a Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Casserole (recipe courtesy of Brandi from Bran Appetit). We had two of our nieces and one of their friends staying with us, so I thought it would be smart to have a savory breakfast on hand to satisfy everyone's hunger until lunch. I'm thinking I'll make this again on Christmas morning along with a sweet breakfast casserole.


Owen kept himself busy all morning playing with his cousins and all of his fun toys. See that hand inside the hole? It's holding his right sock. He was stuffing his sock down the hole where the balls are supposed to go. He is just a funny little dude.

Did I mention that our hot water heater broke and that no one was able to come by to fix it / replace it until Monday morning? This mean boiling water and hand washing all of our dishes. It also meant freezing cold showers, or venturing to the gym to shower.

Keith used to play Thanksgiving Day football with all his friends, but in recent years the traditions has fizzled, so instead Keith made sure he and Owen played "catch" with the football.

While my boys did "guy stuff" I busied myself with food prep in the kitchen. 
I added the caramel and pecans to my Crunchy Caramel Apple Pies.


And packed up some cranberry sauce to take to my grandpa's house for dinner. (recipe will be on the blog soon)

Later in the afternoon we ventured over to my grandpa's house for dinner with my side of the family. Owen just loves being the center of attention. I don't know if I've told you this before, but the last baby in my family was my sister (picture behind O). 


My mom and O admiring the fact that he and grandpa were both wearing hats.



This is a blurry photo, but I just had to share a picture of Owen sitting in the highchair that my sister and I sat in for so many family dinners at my Grandmother's table.

Thanksgiving dinner! Notice the baby spoon on my plate. O enjoyed the sweet potatoes, a little turkey and some gravy soaked stuffing.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones too! Now, on to Christmas! 

November 27, 2012

monkeying around

My baby boy is a monkey. We've known this for a while. As soon as he discovered his feet he was trying to get them in his mouth, and he often grabs one foot with each hand and makes a high V with his legs when he's riding in his carseat.

He is so silly and it's one of the many, many reasons I love him so. His newest silly baby trick is standing on his head!
I'm not sure when or how he discovered he could do this, but I believe he does it because it is fun to look at the room upside down. I don't blame him--it is kind of fun! Go try it for yourself if you don't believe me.

I noticed today its become a ritual for him to crawl over to the spot where the kitchen tile reaches the dining room carpet and stand on his head with his head in the dining room and his feet in the kitchen. He's been doing it after breakfast and lunch and dinner right after I release him from his highchair. Does he do it because I'm usually in the kitchen cleaning up after his meals? I'm not sure, but it sure does get my attention.

November 25, 2012

family photo sneak peek

We had family photos taken a while back for our Christmas cards. Our engagement / wedding photographer took them for us at a park near where we live. I'm so happy with what I've seen so far! I can't believe how much Owen has grown since these pictures were taken--this was four teeth ago!





I'm not sure yet which pictures we'll use for our Christmas card, but I will be sure to share it with you once they've all been sent out!

xoxox.

November 22, 2012

thankful

I have so much to be thankful for this year (and everyday of it). I can't even begin to count our blessings. A few that come to mind when I think of the word thanksgiving: my husband, my son, our family, our friends, Keith's job, our warm happy home, the food we put on our table...

SOURCE
We celebrated with some of Keith's brothers and sisters and their families last night, as we usually do, since we can't all be together on Thanksgiving. This morning we've been watching the parade, cooking a breakfast casserole, drinking coffee and playing. My cranberry sauce and caramel apple pies are ready to go.

Oh yeah, and we've been boiling water so we can wash dishes since we discovered yesterday that the hot water heater has been leaking (and caused mold in the garage) and we can't get someone out to replace it until Monday. Yep, and we had 10 people staying here last night (and 17 for dinner). Oh, and thanksgiving dinner will be taking place here in about 6 hours.

So I am also thankful for hot water (when we have it), paper plates and a sense of humor.

We'll be heading over to my grandpa's house this evening as well for dinner with my side of the family.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

November 21, 2012

Broc-cauli Chowder with Bacon

***New Blog Design: You've probably noticed recently that I've been playing with my design again (for the last month or so) and totally messed it up. Last night I finally jumped ship and purchased a pre-made design. I'm really happy with it. I hope you like it too!!***

This soup is like the dinner version of the Green Smoothie. It's full veggies (mostly broccoli and cauliflower) and has pretty much no fat or oil. It's healthy and really filling! PS. The bacon on the top really is totally necessary. 


Recipe courtesy of Practical Paleo

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: Approximately 8 servings

Ingredients
4 cups broccoli, chopped and steamed
2 cups chicken or beef broth
4 cups cauliflower, chopped and steamed
4-6 cloves of roasted garlic
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
4 slices of bacon, baked and chopped

Directions
Using a blender (I used my emmersion blender and blended the soup right in the pot), liquefy the broccoli with half of the broth until smooth. Repeat the process with the cauliflower and the remaining broth. Add the roasted garlic to either of the batches before blending again.

Combine the soup purees in a large pot over medium heat. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring to combine the two purees. Add more stock, 1/4 cup at a time, if the soup is too thick.

Garnish with baked, chopped bacon.

Change it up: You can make the soup with just the broccoli or just cauliflower.

Now I'm off to bake some pies and help with Thanksgiving prep! I hope you're enjoying some time with family and friends and eating a TON!

November 20, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The other day at the nail salon I was reading a magazine article about how to jump-start your holiday shopping. I can't remember the name of the magazine to save my life, but I do remember some of the little tips they gave. Christmas shopping season is right around the corner has already started, so I sure hope we're all ready!


Here are some valuable tips on making the most of the gift giving experience: 

make an inspired list 
Start a master list of all the people you want to give gifts to this season. Use Pinterest to pin items you think would make great gifts (I have a "gift ideas" board on my Pinterest) or use the site to spy on friends and family to see what they might be lusting after. You can also book mark ideas on your computer, or create a holiday binder with a section to keep magazine clippings you want to remember.

set aside the mollah 
Start early and decide to forego "extras" like multiple lattes a week or take-out on the weekends. Set aside the money you save as a Christmas fund to spend on gifts. Come December you will be so relieved you did.

create a budget
I don't know about you, but I can get a bit carried away when I'm shopping for gifts. I have a hard time feeling like enough is enough for the people I love. I always want to add to gifts with say a movie I know they'd like to go along with the cozy blanket I'm giving them or a trendy nail polish to accompany the mai pedi gift certificate I know they'll love. It is easy to get carried away, that's why a budget ( I hate that word, don't you?) it a must during the holidays.

get crafty
I've always loved the idea of including a homemade item as part of a gift. Last year I made Cranberry-and-Lime Infused Vodka to give to a few friends, and this year I'll be making a few more gifts I've pulled from magazines and found on Pinterest. Often times when you make something in bulk it ends up costs way less per gift than it would if you had set a "limit" for spending. Plus, you get to give something creative that you've spend your valuable time and energy on, which to me is much more thoughtful than giving someone another bottle of wine or bath soap.

time your purchases 
We all know Black Friday is a big day for deals, but so is Cyber Monday. You can begin your shopping now in November and be all done by December if you take advantage of the great deals being offered early. I've read November is a big month for sales on electronics and in December many stores discount home appliances.

And, as a little extra help, I would like to encourage you to check out this board I made on Learnist all about Christmas Gift Wrap Ideas & Tips, because I really believe a great gift is only as spectacular as the way it is wrapped! It's all in the packaging, my friends!

November 19, 2012

Owen is 10 months!

Dear Owen,

This week you turn 10 months old!! I can't believe you're just two months away from being one year old. I've already begun to plan your birthday party!


You're walking. I can't even believe it. Your Aunt Kelly called it! She said you would be an early walker, and you are. It really started last week when you walked from the kitchen cabinets to me Monday morning. I'm so happy Daddy was there to witness it. We have you on video laughing as you walk because you're just so excited.

You've moved up to Level Three at Gymboree. We'll miss the friends you've made in Level Two until we get to see them again when they all turn 10 months too. There are so many walking babies in Level Three, so I think it will be extra motivation for you to keep walking!

This month you've started clapping your hands (mostly with your fists) and waving to people to say "hello". It's very sweet!

You're still really into dancing to music when you "feel the grove" hahah. We love watching you bounce to music and clap your hands. It is one of my favorite things.

You have been great at sharing. You always offer the toy you're playing with to other babies (and sometimes adults), although you usually steal it back after a minute or too. You also like to share your Cheerios and other foods with us.

You've discovered that you can feed Rocky from your highchair while you eat. It's usually one for you and two for him!

You are becoming a great eater, although you aren't loving vegetables in solid form. Breakfast last week was pumpkin toast with butter, yogurt and a few sips of apple sauce from a pouch. Lunch is often mac n cheese, cheese and Cheerios. For dinner I try to give you some of what we're having, but if its not something you can have or would like I offer you an organic chicken meatball...which you are always happy to eat!

Your laugh has turned into a chuckle. You laugh more and more each week. Eventually I think you're laughing will be uncontrollable.

Sleep is still not a priority to you. You nap twice a day (late morning and early afternoon) for anywhere from 30-120minutes. I can never tell how long you'll be down. Night time is still hit or miss. There were a few nights this month when you gave me a 6 hour stretch, but most nights you're put 2-3 times.

You are wearing size 3 diapers, but this will be our last box before moving up a size.

You wear mainly 12-18 month clothes, but can still wear some 6-12 month things we've already had.

You had your first kiss at Gymboree in Saturday! You and a little girl close to your age were playing on the equipment and with one of the bells that had hooked up. She started petting your hair on the back of your head and then went in for a kiss on the cheek. You smiled at her and kind of squealed with delight. Her parents and I thought it was the sweetest cutest little thing. And then she did it again! haha





A year ago I had no idea how much love my heart could be filled with, and I had no clue how valuable sleep was! You're the funniest and funnest person I know. You're sweet beyond description and you're my best little buddy.

I love you!

xoxox, Mommy

November 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Grannie!

Last week and over the weekend we celebrated my mom's birthday! Owen and I went to the school where she teaches Third Grade to visit her on her actual birthday and for her school celebration. 


Owen was even thoughtful enough to bring is Grannie a beautiful bouquet of Fall colored flowers. He is just so sweet!


My niece (Keith's brother's daughter) and her cousin are in my mom's students this year, which is really cool. The girls are a big help to my mom in her classroom and she just adores them.


Owen was so happy to see his cousin Megan! He loves all his cousins SO much and they are all so sweet to him.

Saturday night we had my mom over for dinner.

I cooked tri-tip, roast brussel sprouts and bake potatoes.

For dessert we had Cheesecake Factory cheesecake and sang Happy Birthday, of course!!

We love you so much mom! xoxo

November 14, 2012

Pumpkin French Toast

It was so easy to throw this Pumpkin French Toast together last Sunday morning for breakfast. You can really use any kind of thick bread, but the pumpkin flavor in the pumpkin toasting bread (from Safeway) really amped up the flavor I was looking for. Even Owen enjoyed these!


Adapted from Emily Bites

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
½ cup skim milk
¾ cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
10 slices pumpkin toasting bread

Directions:
1. In a large shallow bowl (I used a small-ish rectangular baking dish), combine the eggs, milk, pumpkin and spice and whisk together until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.

2. Mist a griddle or skillet with cooking spray and bring to medium-low to medium heat. Dip each side of a piece of bread into your egg/pumpkin mixture to coat and then shake off any excess mixture. Place the coated bread on the pan and repeat until the pan is full. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown and then flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. You will likely need to do several batches – don’t forget to re-mist your griddle with cooking spray in between!

Optional Serving Ideas: I did not include any toppings in the recipe (or the nutrition info) because I know everyone likes their French toast different. Whether you want to top these with maple syrup, butter, whipped cream, powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, fruit, light syrup, or chocolate chips, the choice is yours!

November 13, 2012

Popularity

Out of curiosity I decided to see what the most popular posts have been on our blog. Not surprisingly most of them are for recipes! 
#five: Hot Corn Dip









What is your favorite post the I've ever written? What would you like to see more of? Less of? Something new? I'm open to suggestions!