Meet the Sullivans: December 2012

December 30, 2012

2012, Looking Back.

This has been the best year of my life! So much has changed in our lives this year--our family grew and so did our hearts and responsibilities. We are different people than we were a year ago, and probably better for it.

So much happened in 2012...



We impatiently awaited the birth of our sweet baby boy. If you'd like, you can read his birth story here. I also made a resolution I didn't come close to meeting. Keith went back to work in February after spending 5 whole weeks on paternity leave, and I shared with you the things that made our new parent days so much easier. Meet the Sullivans got its own custom web address--no more .blogspot.com for us. 

Owen experienced a few firsts, riding in his BOB stroller like a big boy and dining out at a restaurant and his first Easter. I shared where I find my kitchen inspiration and what's in my purse. We celebrated my first Mother's Day and Owen wore his dad's Baptismal gown at his own Baptism. Owen rolled over and went for his first swim! I recorded and shared my very first vlog and finally shared my Household Binder. Owen continued to challenge us with his less than desirable sleeping habits

We celebrated the 4th of July with friend and Owen turned 6 months old! I shared what a regular week day was like for O and I. Owen started pulling up in his crib and soon after, everywhere else. We celebrated our two year wedding anniversary.

I shared with you my favorite slow cooker recipes and the greatest jeans I've ever worn. I finally got around to showing Owen's nursery off on the blog--only took me nine months! We dressed O up as a lion for Halloween. We sent our first family Christmas card and celebrated our first Christmas as a family of three. I can't believe 2012 is coming to an end. 2012, you have been so very good to us.

Cheers to 2013! 
I have a great feeling it is going to be another very exciting year!

You can see my 2011 and 2010 recaps too! 

December 28, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Just what you've all been dying for, a Christmas Day recap! I'm kidding, but you know I just have to share! This was the best Christmas I've ever experienced. Owen doesn't quite know what's going on yet, but just having that sweet boy around made it magical.

Some of the stocking stuffers that didn't fit inside Owen's stocking. I have to say, he is not the only one enjoying his new Pantone Colors and Little Blue Truck board books! Both are new favorites. He also really likes his Nuk Active Cup, because I think he feels like a big boy when he drinks from it.

I promise we were all happy Christmas morning, even that unhappy looking little guy who is struggling to get off our laps.

I really had to coax Owen into being interested in his stocking. Once I did some brainstorming and got rolling on buying things to fill it I couldn't stop. There were shape shakers, little people cars, a stuffed dog, snacks, socks, a tie and more!

The most popular toy under the tree Christmas morning was his new corn popper push toy from his cousin Holly. He just loves hearing it pop but hasn't figured out the right way to push it himself, so he just lifts it and carries it around.

We took a break halfway through Owen opening his gifts to have breakfast. I made Overnight Egg Nog French Toast, which was fantastic! I will make it again sometime only with one less egg and a little longer cook time. I like my French toast crispy.


After breakfast and O's morning nap he finished opening the rest of his gifts. My favorite is the Anywhere Chair Santa brought and his is probably the Fisher-Price Farm his Grandma Sullivan gave him.

In the afternoon we joined the rest of my side of the family at my Grandpa's house for drinks, dinner, gifts and dessert.







Do you see that? He is smiling for the camera with us! Adorable.

December 27, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

What a lovely Christmas Eve we had! How adorable are my two men? From the moment I knew I was pregnant I began thinking about how I would dress my boy / girl on Christmas Eve for Mass. When we saw this hat and tie at Janie and Jack I almost died from the cuteness. He was such a good boy and pretty much kept the hat on the entire time.

We went to an early Mass at 4 o'clock, but it was still very packed.

Before Mass began we took a few pictures. Owen was so good the entire time. He loved looking at all the people and kids around him. I think the sights and sounds were interesting to him too. When Fr. Mike spoke the first time Owen got really still. He loved the stained glass wall next to us.

Toward the end he did require a little snack. He just sat in the pew between us and ate his puffs from my hand. Keith and I joked that he thought he was at the movies and needed some popcorn.

After Mass the whole family came together for dinner. The menu:



We kept it simple (and fun!) this year and had a panini bar. Thank you Kendall for the ideas and the printables! Everyone enjoyed the spread and the kids have been saying they want to make it a Christmas Eve tradition.


Our niece Natalie made this beautiful cake for dessert.

These are just some of the cookies we spent the better part of Sunday baking.



Owen with his cousins Amanda, Jessica and Holly.


Owen and Aunt Kelly.



All the men + Owen's picture since he was already in bed asleep waiting for Santa to come. 

Christmas Eve is always so much fun and SO exhausting. I'm usually totally tired by the time everyone leaves and we go to bed. Tomorrow I'll be back with a Christmas day recap. 

December 26, 2012

Creme de Menthe Brownies

It still hasn't set in with me that Christmas is over. Family has gone home, and Keith is back to work for the week. I guess the reality should set in as I look around our home and see opened packages, things to return and the other remnants of a busy holiday. We had a fantastic First Christmas with Owen. Having a baby in the house really brings the extra magic to the holiday.

I'll be back with a recap tomorrow, but until them here is an A-mazing brownie recipe I made for my friend's Christmas party over the weekend. I hope everyone is recovering nicely from all the Christmas fun!

Ingredients

Brownies
1 cups (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 (10-ounce) package Creme de Menthe baking chips (recommended: Andes)
Shaved Creme de Menthe thins (recommended: Andes)
Chocolate frosting

Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.

Using an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, mixing well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Gradually stir into butter mixture. Fold in mint chips. Spoon into greased pan. Bake for 35 minutes.

While brownies are baking, prepare frosting. Combine butter, cocoa, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and milk in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until dry ingredients are moistened. Beat at high speed until spreading consistency.

Remove pan from the oven and allow brownies to cool in pan on wire rack. Spread with chocolate frosting. Top with shaved mint thins.

recipe source: Paula Deen 

December 20, 2012

Peppermint Chocolate Mousse Trifle

Chocolate and peppermint have become my favorite Christmastime flavor combination this season. It might be that I suddenly like peppermint bark, which I never have before. This trifle is a little fancier than the ones I've made before (Brownie Oreo, Patriotic, Peanut Butter Cup). One of the layers is a white chocolate mousse, that I highly recommend doubling!



for a printer-friendly version click here.

2 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 cup crushed peppermint candy cane, separated
12 ounces bag of white chocolate chips
1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Trader Joe’s Chocolate Peppermint Loaf mix)
1 large box chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cups whipping cream + 2 tablespoons sugar, whipped (for topping)

Directions
1. Make and bake the cake in a 9x 13 glass pan according to package directions. Allow to cool completely.

2. To make the white chocolate mousse. First, prepare an ice bath-- take a large bowl, fill it halfway up with ice cubes and then fill it with cold water. Set aside. In a small saucepan, take 1 cup whipping cream and bring it a boil. In a food processor or blender, place 12 ounces of chopped white chocolate in and add the boiling cream to the white chocolate. Blend/process this until it's smooth and combined. Pour it in a bowl, and PLACE THIS BOWL in your ice bath (but you don't want any water seeping in, so proceed with caution!). Allow to cool- 20 minutes or so.

3. While the white chocolate mixture cools, whip another 1 1/2 cups of cream until soft peaks form. Slowly FOLD this into the white-chocolate cooled mixture. Also fold in 1/2 cup of crushed peppermint candy. Gently stir until it's all combined, cover with wrap and allow to refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

4. Just before you are ready to assemble everything, make your pudding according to package instructions- it should "gel" up within 5 minutes or so. Set aside.

5. For the topping, whip the 1 1/2 cups whipping cream and sugar together until peaks form.

Using a large glass bowl, layer as follows:

Chocolate cake chunks
Chocolate pudding
White chocolate mousse (that has been chilled in the fridge)
Chocolate cake chunks
Chocolate pudding
White chocolate mousse
Whipped cream (the very top)
Peppermint shavings (topping)

For the cake I used:
And for the garnish I used this: 


Happy Thursday, friends! 

December 19, 2012

Owen is 11 months old!

Dear Owen,

This week you turned 11 months old! It is hard to believe there are only weeks left until your first birthday. I feel like I just gave birth to you, but when I watch you play and explore I can see clearly the brave, friendly and curious big boy you're becoming!


You are walking all over the house ...and at lightning speed! You are barely crawling anymore. You're very proud of yourself, and we are too! You really seem to like being able to carry things with you from room to room. There is no item you consider "too heavy" to try to lift!

You've said ma-ma and dada a lot lately and even in a way that make sounds like a real word.

You got a new stroller and you're loving the view it gives you! You're very happy sitting in it with a snack cup of Cheerios while I get errands done.

You've started wearing shoes! We bought you an adorable pair of Stride Rights. You were so cute the first few time you wore them--you walked like a little doe on his feet for the first time.

Your favorite toys are anything that makes noise or is not actually a toy. You've realized your Mater push car has a trunk and you like to open it to see if there are any toys inside.

You have the sweetest personality and you love to share your smile (and Cheerios!!) with anyone who looks your way. You've been called a flirt by many women while we've been out shopping.

Stats for this month:

Weight: I'm guessing you're still around 22 lbs. That's what you weighed when we took you to the doctor for your cold two weeks ago.

Health: You've finally recovered from your very first illness. You had a cold that took about 3 weeks to completely disappear. The doctors think you had two consecutive ones. 

Diaper: Size 4 Huggies Snug & Dry

Clothes: 18-24 months

Food: You nurse about every three hours during the day, sometime less, sometimes more. I guess it all depends on your appetite that day. You eat three meals a day in the high chair. Breakfast is usually yogurt, toast and a fruit pouch. Lunch is usually cheese, a organic chicken meatball and another pouch. For dinner you eat whatever we're having for dinner.

Teeth: 6 teeth with one on the way!

Sleep: You've been doing pretty well with sleep lately! (Knock on wood) Last night for example, you went down at 8pm and slept until 5am. At five you nursed back to sleep and then slept until 8am! This has been happening frequently for the past week. You take a morning and afternoon nap. Each can last anywhere between 30 minutes - 2+ hours.

Owen, we love you so, so very much. Our love for you grows with each day! We are excited to celebrate your first birthday with you next month, but we also want to freeze time and keep you this little forever! I'm excited for you to continue to learn and grow, but I also want to keep you as my sweet little cuddly baby boy forever.

xoxox Love,
Mommy

Still need Christmas cards?



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December 18, 2012

Chalkboard Frame + Art DIY

I don't consider myself to be a crafty lady. I like to be creative and I enjoy making things myself, but I'm not really any good at re-creating the cool crafts I've seen. My version usually ends up looking like the reject version made by someone 1/3 my age. 

THAT being said, I am really proud of one of my latest attempts at being "crafty"!


It started like this: I was at Marshall's buying some frames. Did you know Marshall's is the greatest place for frames? It is. They are cheap and usually pretty cute. Anyway, I saw these beautiful, colorful, bold frames and Instagramed them. 

My friend Nicole then sent me a link to an Etsy shop where someone was selling said frames as chalkboards. I saw it an though I can do that. So I tried.

I had bought one of those cute frames in white, but it turns out the glass is glued to the frame. I would have had to use painters tape around the frame and spray the glass while it was still in the frame. I wasn't willing to risk ruining the frame, so I decided to take this frame I already had and try it out. I had a free printable in it, and it just wasn't merry enough for me.


This stuff is magic! I'm obsessed with spraying anything and everything. 

Easy, peasy!

Wait 24 hours for it to dry completely and then rub with chalk. 

And then put the glass back in the frame and TA-DA you have a cute little chalkboard.

What you do with it next is all up to you, but I decided to use a few Pinterest resources to jazz mine up a bit.

I used these DIY instructions from Indie Craft Parade blog and this Chalkboard printable from nest of Posies to create my design.

The instructions are really pretty simple. After rubbing chalk on your chalkboard lay your printable of choice over your chalkboard. Using a pencil trace over and / or color in the words or pictures on you printable.

The photo below is me coloring in the lettering in the paper I printed my design on (it had a black chalkboard background too). This kind of cramped my hand and took me some time, but I think the end product was worth the extra work.


When you're all done tracing you can remove the printable and you will see the design you trace pretty faintly, but good enough for you to re-trace with chalkboard markers. I used these that I bought at Michael's, although I asked Santa to bring these Chalk Markers, so hopefully he comes through.



And here is another look at the finished product. I'm really happy with it and I'm excited to have made it myself and to find new ways to use it in the future!


Do you have any ideas for easy / fun crafts I can accomplish during nap time? Please share! 

December 15, 2012

Calling all last minute Christmas shoppers!

Calling all last minute Christmas shoppers!

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-Mugs
-iPhone Cases
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They even have Erin Condren planners!!! You know how much I love those!


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