Friday, November 28, 2014

Pictures with Santa!

On Wednesday, Matt and I made a last-minute decision to take Ryan for his first pictures with Santa. My parents were in town for Thanksgiving and Matt's mom was able to come meet us at Lenox mall for the big event. Because every first with a first child is a big event. ;)

We dressed Ryan up in his cute Christmas outfit that my mom got for him and the five of us headed over to Lenox to meet Matt's mom.

Finding a "good Santa" was kind of important to me because the Santa that my mom always took us to growing up looked so real. And when he passed away two years ago, there was a big write-up in the AJC about him and his long standing role as the Santa at Phipps mall. So I actually tried to Google search pictures of the Santas at different malls around us (without much luck I have to say) and decided we would just head over to Lenox to give their Santa a try. (I already knew that the new Phipps Santa was a no-go... way too skinny looking for a "real" Santa! ;) )

So when we got there and saw him and then found out he had been there for 17 years, I was sold. And then when we stood in line for less than 10 minutes I was definitely sold!

Proud Mimi, Nonna and Papa!

Ryan was hilarious. When Matt set him on Santa's lap, he settled in with his right fist up by his cheek like he was pondering his list in his mind. 

And then I jumped in to get him to smile and he just lit up with the biggest, sweetest, happiest smiles!

Here are the professional ones we got:
Sweet buddy!

My heart was so full. I just felt so happy being there with our families and watching our little boy make the first of many memories with Santa. I still can't believe he's ours.

And by the way, he's 4 months old today! Fastest 4 months of our lives.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

#nelsendays2014 Week 47- Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for this year and can't wait to celebrate this day with our little man.

Yesterday, we took Ryan for pictures with Santa! My parents and Matt's mom joined in on the fun, and fun it was. Ryan was so smiley and happy, and we were over the moon with joy. I can't wait to share the pictures tomorrow!

Here's a quick look at what we've been up to this week:

Day 323: I always love looking at these baby buns in the mirror before bath, so this night, I decided to take a picture of them. And right after the picture, I felt a warm trail running down my robe- ha! That's what I get for trying to capture the moment I suppose. ;)

Day 324: Our niece gave us the best surprise and came early! She is beautiful and perfect in every way. We can wait for her to come home! You can read more here.

Day 325: Ryan working on his first craft. ;) This mama does not do crafts. In fact, crafts make me nervous. Seriously, they do. If it weren't for my friend Andrea, this would not have happened at all- but it turned out SO cute so I'm sure glad she helped me through it! ;) 

Day 326: Love these two so :)

Day 327: Praising God that our sweet niece got to be held by her mama! She is doing so well and getting stronger every day! This picture makes me melt.

Day 328: Whenever I move Ryan to a new spot in the house, Tally is always close behind. I can't wait for these two to play together when Ryan's older!

Day 329: The finished product! Oh those feathers... you don't even want to know the anxiety I felt trying to place them just right- HA! I'm ridiculous. Or craftily challenged. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuna Noodle Casserole

As I mentioned in yesterday's weekly meals post, I've been making this recipe for as long as I can remember. I grew up eating pasta multiple times a week, and this was one of the ways I remember having it. It is so easy and delicious and could be varied easily if you wanted to add an ingredient or two to match your own tastes.

3/4lb of pasta (I used rigatoni)
1 can cream of celery soup (I used campbell's healthy request)
1 can milk
1 can tuna (I use all-white albacore in water, drained)
2T butter
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Empty soup can into a pan. Fill the soup can to the top with milk and add that to the pan. Bring to a low boil and whisk/stir until the soup is well blended. Add tuna and cheese. In a separate pot, cook pasta to al dente in salted water. After draining the pasta, return to pan and mix with butter. Pour sauce on top and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parmesan.

I've also made this as a casserole that bakes in the oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes. When I do it that way, I use a whole pound of pasta and double the sauce (2 cans of soup and milk- doubling the tuna, cheese, and butter is optional, I just like to have extra sauce so that it doesn't dry out in the oven). 

Undercook the pasta by 5 minutes, mix everything together as stated above, and bake.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Last Week's Meals & Dinner Ideas

This new series that I started last week has actually gotten me to meal plan! I mentioned this in last week's post, but I have never been a meal planner. I prefer to make whatever I'm feeling around the 5 o'clock hour, so I tend to keep a full pantry, fridge, and freezer. The only problem with cooking that way is that now it's a little bit trickier to run out to the store to grab one or two last-minute things since Ryan does not yet share my love for quick errands and frequent grocery visits. ;)

I really don't intend for these posts to be all of my own recipes (which are often variations of other recipes I've found), but I do like to refer to the recipes tab on this blog to help me with dinner ideas when I'm in a rut (which is actually the whole reason why I started blogging recipes in the first place!), so if it seems like I'm linking back to this blog a lot, that's why.

Last week, I asked y'all to share any of your favorite meals with me, and Tiffany shared Pioneer Women's Lasagna Recipe that looks uh-mazing. I will definitely be trying it out over the holidays!

Here's a look at what we ate last week!


Let's be honest, you just can't go wrong with spaghetti. Monday night, I made a variation of this marinara sauce and used a pound of ground beef to thicken up the sauce. 
I've also shared one of my other favorite spaghetti dinners using Publix pre-made meatballs that are so easy to cook and really tasty. You can check that out here.

Tuesday night, we went with breakfast for dinner and had this yummy sausage braid. Mmm, it is so good and SO easy! We make this sausage braid every single time we have a girls weekend. And it's one of Matt's favorites too! If you haven't already, you definitely need to try it. I like to use maple sausage, but it's also great with hot sausage, or a combination of maple and hot for a sweet and spicy kick.

Wednesday, we ate Tuna Noodle Casserole. We've been making this meal in my family for as long as I can remember. It is so quick and easy and oh so tasty!

Thursday, I made one of Matt's favorite chicken dishes- Vidalia Onion Chicken Bake. This recipe has three ingredients and takes no time to make. Oh how I love a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Friday, we got Chicken Pad Thai take out from a Thai restaurant that is right up the street from our house. Rarely can Matt and I share a meal (my hubby is super fit but has an amazing capacity for food), but the portions at this restaurant are so big that the two of us can share one order of Pad Thai and call it a meal for $15.12. That's a good deal in my book. Some nights, you just gotta get take-out, ya know?!

This time of year, I love soups and I love the crock pot. So Saturday night, we ate my taco soup while watching football and catching up on Scandal. We have the winter finale left to watch tonight- gah that show is SO good!

Sunday night, I made Mix & Match Mama's Crunchy BBQ Brisket Tacos. Prior to trying out this recipe, I had never cooked brisket before. And since trying this recipe the first time, I have made it three other times. It is SO good! 

I use soft tacos instead of hard, chicken broth instead of water, and add these crispy onions that my friend Andrea told me about on top.
The best place I've found for buying brisket is surprisingly Publix. They sell it for $7.99/lb. Trader Joe's was $9.99/lb and Costco was $8.99/lb. But wherever you buy your brisket, you must give these tacos a try. They are the bomb. 

I'm not entirely sure how this week's meals will shake out with the Thanksgiving Holiday and family in town, but I'm going to try to fit in my sister's unbelievable BBQ Apple & Bacon Chicken dish that I told you about last week. I'm still thinking about that meal- it was so good!

I know it's a Monday, but it's a short week, so yay for that.