Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Goals



This time last year, we were excitedly awaiting the arrival of sweet Ryan and counting down the days until we would get to meet him. My #nelsendays2014 post from the week before Ryan arrived gave a look at what we did as we waited to meet him.

And now, one year later, it's hard to believe we're getting ready to celebrate his first birthday! What an amazing year it's been. We can't imagine our lives without him!

Today I'm sharing my goals for July, but first, here's a look at how I did with my

1.
Order Ryan's Party Invitations
I am so excited about his invitations and party theme. I'm stuffing the envelopes and mailing them out today! Can't wait to celebrate that sweet boy.

2.
Shop for summer clothes
J. Crew Factory online is having a huge sale right now- extra 50% off everything plus an extra 20% off that!
I ordered these shorts and a few other things from their sale and think I may be going back today to get just a few more items!

3.
Read Paper Towns
I loved The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska by John Green but this book was super disappointing. I'm really surprised it was made into a movie. The plot seemed far-fetched and honestly just not that interesting. It was a struggle to finish. Did anyone else read this? Am I crazy or did you feel the same way?!

4.
Sell items on eBay and Craigslist
I'm carrying this goal over to July. It's the strangest thing, but I've been having terrible luck with new eBay-ers winning my bids and not paying! Grrr. So this goal will stay on and hopefully I can get those few things sold and paid for. ;)

5.
Update Pictures in Frames
Dare I say I'm getting pretty good at the picture-updating thing?! I am loving the site mpix.com for printing pictures. The quality is great, they're super fast, and shipping is only $3.95.  Plus they print 4x4 also. Love this site!


Okay, now on to my

1.
Sell (and have someone pay) for items on eBay
Third times a charm?! Let's hope!

2.
Read Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

I need a great read after last month's miss. So this month, I'm picking Elin Hilderbrand's Beautiful Day. A blogger I read- Shay Shull- recommended this book in her June book review. She ordered four more of Hilderbrand's books after finishing this one, so I'm thinking it will be a good one. ;) I'm also very intrigued by another book she recommend called Bread and Wine. It's not one that I would typically pick up and read, but she loved it so much, she said it may be her pick for best book of 2015, decided in June. SO, I figure it's worth a read!


3.
Update flower pots and plants
We have a few plants that need to be replaced and a few pots that need to be refreshed with summer flowers. I'd also love to pick up some new pots and stands for the patio.

4.
Buy Patio Furniture
I'm eyeing a set from Home Depot and waiting to see if it goes on sale after the 4th. We're looking for a set with 6 swivel chairs (most sets just come with 2). If you have a patio set you love that has six swivel or rocking chairs, I'd love to know where you found it!

5.
Garage Goodwill Run
We're storing some things in the garage right now that we are not using and I don't see us using any time in the near future, so I want to pile up those things and take them to Goodwill. I don't like to have things sitting around if they're not going to be put to good use! And I just love a good, clean, organized space. :)


That's it for my July goals! Are you guys working on anything big this month?!


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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June's Favorite Finds



Well somehow we've reached the end of another month already. This year is flying by!

I'm joining in with Elizabeth from Sam and Scout this morning to share my favorite finds for June. We'd love to hear what you're loving too!


I have a new favorite pasta recipe. And I don't speak those words lightly. We had this for dinner last week and I shared the recipe the next morning. It will definitely be a new staple in our house!


And what's a good pasta without a great wine?! This Mirassou wine is my new favorite red. We've tried their Cab and Pinot and love them both.

I realize this is super random, but since I'm starting with my favorite things in the food category, this has got to be on my list. I am NOT a mustard or honey mustard fan, but THIS brand is delish! We use in with our cheese and crackers as an appetizer before dinner.

These crackers:
plus this cheese:
plus a squirt of Woeber's honey mustard =  perfection.

Or if you want a different taste, switch out the honey mustard for a drop or two of Trader's Joe's Balsamic Glaze:

Either way makes a tasty little pre-dinner treat.

And for one last favorite in the food category, this popcorn from Costco is ridiculously good.
Just trust me. Sweet and savory perfection.

Another new favorite find from Costco this month are their 4-pack of disinfectant wipes:
These smell great and can be used on the bottom of the Swifter. They're my new go-to, quick-cleaning wipe.


And speaking of cleaning, I bought this resolve carpet cleaning system off of Amazon recently and LOVE it. Our house is all hardwood and tile, but I use this on the three rugs that we have and it gets up the dirt and Tally-hair that the Roomba leaves behind. And it goes without saying that the Roomba should be on my Favorite Finds list EVERY month- that thing will never lose its luster.
You can find the Resolve cleaner here- currently $15 off!- and the Roomba here- currently $40 off!


Ryan loved drinking out of my Camelbak so I recently bought him his own. I love that they make kid-sized ones! My camelbak is my favorite water bottle. I feel like I drink so much for water throughout the day when I drink out it. 

You can find the kid-sized ones here, and the one that I have here


My friend Laura was wearing this super cute cross-body bag when we met for dinner last week and it made me realize I need to NOT travel with my diaper bag when I'm sans-baby. And even when I'm with Ryan, I love the idea of having my own things in a separate bag that's easy to throw on and small enough to stay out of the way.
(It would have been way cuter if I got a picture of HER wearing the bag- but hopefully this gives you the idea)

Anyway, it's on sale right now and I am definitely getting one for myself! It comes in four different colors, but I'm not super adventurous with my accessories, so I'll be getting the one shown here. You can check out the other colors and orders your here.

And lastly, I've been looking for a tankini to have as an option for pool/beach days when I don't necessarily want to be in a two piece. I was feeing frustrated with how expensive the darn things are until I found this one at Marshalls with matching bottoms for $24.99. BOOM! I also found a super cute cover-up for $16.99. So if you're looking for a new suit or cover-up, check out Marshalls and/or TJ Maxx. They have a great selection and way better prices than the department stores.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Caprese Pasta & Parmesan Roasted Zucchini


I planned to share a few of our recent meals today, but last night I had the chance to cook completely from scratch and came up with the yummiest recipe!

Making up recipes as I go is something I used to do all the time before Ryan was born and something I should make more time for now. Last night Ryan went down early and Matt and I were just hanging in the kitchen while I cooked, and it felt like old times. I love making things up as a I go and seeing what can happen with a recipe. Sometimes the outcome is not ideal, haha, but last night- it was GOOD!

If you've followed this blog for even a day, you know that I am a pasta-holic. Usually, I cook some sort of meat as a side for my meat-loving hubs, but last night, it was all pasta and we were both a-okay with it.

So enough of the build-up, here's the recipe!


Ingredients:
3/4lb rigatoni
1 sweet onion, diced
2T butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 container grape tomatoes, halved (1pint)
1 cup red wine ( I used Woodbridge Cabernet)
1/4 tsp salt
2T heavy cream
1/2 cup pasta water
8oz fresh mozzarella pearls (I used these)
fresh parmesan (I used Locatelli... because it's the best) ;)

Directions:
Saute onions in butter on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until onions are slightly brown. Add garlic, simmer for 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes and wine, reduce heat to low (still allowing a low simmer) and cover for 7 minutes. Remove lid and burst tomatoes (I use a potato masher for this). Add salt and heavy cream. Allow to simmer on low while pasta cooks.

In a large pot, bring heavily salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente. Before draining the pasta, remove 1/2 cup of pasta water and add to the sauce.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Cover with sauce. Add in mozzarella pearls and stir just long enough to warm them but not long enough that they melt (less than a minute).

Garnish with lots of fresh parmesan.

The longer this sauce simmers, the better it tastes! Also the tomatoes and type of wine you buy really determine the flavor of the sauce, so don't skimp on either.

Also, I was kicking myself for not adding fresh basil to this, but after tasting it, I'm actually glad I left it out. The sauce was sweet and robust from the wine and tomatoes, and sometimes those little basil leaves just get it the way of a yummy bite. ;)


For the vegetable, I made a new zucchini recipe that was so super easy and is now my new favorite way to eat zucchini!


Ingredients:
1-2 sliced zucchini
1T butter
Cavendar's Greek Seasoning (looks like this and found with the spices)
Parmesan

Directions:
Melt butter. Using a basting brush, spread butter over zucchini. Sprinkle with Cavendar's. Grate parmesan on top. Roast on 400 for 15 minutes.


Hope you guys enjoy these recipes as much as we did last night! Today we're off to Charleston for the weekend. We love a good road trip- especially one to visit friends! 

Hope y'all have a great weekend!

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

#nelsendays2015 weeks 23 & 24


We are loving some sunny days around here! Although I'll be honest, I'd love them more if those 90 degree days came with a cool breeze. Walking in the afternoon is getting HOT! 

We've had a busy couple of weeks, but that's how we like it I suppose. Here's a look a what we've been up to!

Day 155:
We love when we get to spend the day with Nonna and Papa!

Day 156:
National Donut Day and Ryan's first trip to Dunkin' Donuts. It was kind of a big deal. ;)

Day 157:
Love these boys and ballpark days- I see lots more of these in our future. ;)

Day 158: Hiking is hard work. :)
Day 159:
Car shopping for Matt- Ryan voted Ferrari... and then he found out the price.

Day 160:
Lunch and shopping date with my favorite little man!

Day 161:
Music Camp! Ryan came with an entourage. Our family represented a large percentage of the people in the room- HA! Love them so.

Day 162:
Music camp again with Mimi!

Day 163:
Found a car (a more reasonably priced one ;) ) for daddy!

Day 164:
The original 3 showing off the new front walk

Day 165:
Great Nanna and Great Grandpa visited for the weekend!

Day 166:
I hope this buddy always loves bath as much as he loves being nakey.

Day 167:
Morning snuggles with his two biggest cousins. :)

Day 168:
I thought Ryan would enjoy learning how to make a marinade if he got to squish the ingredients in the bag. He was in to it for a second and spent most of the "lesson" taking out everything from the cabinets. :)

That's it for our last two weeks! This weekend we're heading to Charleston to visit sweet friends and their little ones. We can't wait!

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