Thursday, February 23, 2017

Natalie Grace- 12 Month Photo Shoot

Two days ago, our sweet ONE year old (it's still hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that she's one!) woke up from her nap right as Nonna was getting to our house. Ryan was still asleep, so I quickly dressed Natalie in a dress that I wore as a baby and outside we went for some quick pictures to document the 12 months that this sweet girl has been a part of our family.

Let me just say everybody needs a Nonna for their baby pictures. I literally snapped pictures for 3 minutes on our deck and 3 minutes by the flowers in our backyard (Nonna's idea) and we called it a wrap. Gotta love a happy girl who loves smiling for her Nonna... and an action setting on my camera that captures her blur without the blur. ;)

We can't wait to celebrate this sweet angel's first 12 months of life this weekend!


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Homemade Meatballs

As much as I love making new pasta and sauce recipes, I was never a big fan of making my own meatballs until now. And now I will never again before able to buy the pre-made, ready-to-cook ones from the grocery store! These take such little time, are full of flavor, and can be frozen for future meals. I am hooked, and I think you will be too!

*One of the biggest reasons I didn't love making homemade meatballs before was all of the raw meat rolling between my fingers. With this recipe, I used my KitchenAid Mixer on the lowest setting for all of the mixing, and only used my hands for the actual forming of the meatballs. It was much cleaner and faster!

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Progresso Italian breadcrumbs 
1 large egg 
1 teaspoon salt
1/8tsp Freshly ground black pepper
1tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound ground beef* 
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 clove garlic, finely minced

*I wouldn't go leaner than an 85/15 mixture on the meat- the fat is what helps gives these meatballs their flavor, and you can degrease at the end once they're cooked.


In a small bowl, pour the milk over the breadcrumbs, mix carefully with a spoon, and set aside. The breadcrumbs will absorb the milk and become soggy.

Mix the egg, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and parsley. Add the meat to the egg mixture. Mix on the lowest setting, being sure not to overwork the meat.

Add the onions, garlic, and soaked breadcrumbs. Mix thoroughly into the meat without overworking the meat.

Roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs until all of the meat is used.

Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. (Watch closely if cooking meatballs are made with lean meat.) The meatballs are done when cooked through and the outsides are browned, and when they register 165°F in the middle. 

I like to remove some of the grease with a paper towel before serving or freezing. If freezing, allow to cool completely before transferring to a freezer safe bag or container.

I like to serve them in my favorite sauce recipe over spaghetti, with meatball subs, or use them in one of my new favorite meatball recipes from The Novice Chef, called Meatball Bombs.

Hope you enjoy!


Friday, February 17, 2017

Natalie Grace- ONE

Natalie Grace, if every baby were as sweet, smiley, and easy-going as you, we would never stop growing our family!

You have brought SO much joy to our last 365 days. Watching you grow and get to know your family has been my favorite part of your first year of life. Watching the way that you look at your daddy, your brother, and Tally 😂 will never get old.

You are spunky, full of funny faces, and can already hold your own.

You are FAST. You inspire a different level of baby proofing, yet already seem to understand the things you're not supposed to do. Right before you're about to dump Tally's water bowl or attempt to eat his food, you stop and look at me with the biggest grin. You're a stinker and we love it.

When you wake up, we'll celebrate you with the traditional birthday breakfast of Mickey Mouse Waffles and then let you open your two gifts! We got you the Melissa & Doug cookie set because you love putting things in your mouth and these are certainly large enough for that ;) and a new book by one of my favorite authors, Nancy Tillman, You're Here for a Reason, because we never want you to forget that you were created for a purpose and are loved just the way you are.

Celebrating you today will be a highlight for all of us- maybe most especially your brother, who has adored you since before you were born.

We love you, Natalie Grace! Thank you for making our family even more complete than it already was. You sure are special.

sign created by Post Paisley Boutique

Pictures from the last month:

Music class!

First haircut and first time climbing the stairs

Before and after for her first haircut 😜

First trip playing at Ikea

First trip to the pet store!

First donut!

Birthday Eve dinner at Chick-Fil-A 😊💗🎀