Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Helpers

We have started getting the house ready for Christmas and the kids have been so excited about the changes going on in the house.  Emma really "gets" Christmas this year and has been eager to participate in anything and everything Christmas related.  She suggested that we put candy canes on our Christmas tree, which isn't something I normally do, but you can bet that I got some for that sweet girl to put on the tree.

Both girls have a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament that we let them put up.  Emma's ornament is little baby shoes and Sophia's is a baby carriage.  They seemed a little shocked that we were actually letting them near the tree since it's usually on tight lockdown. Seeing their little faces full of awe makes this time of year even more special.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mmm, Mmm Monday- Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Go ahead and plan on making this immediately.  You can thank me for introducing you to this delicious dish later.  I found this recipe on Pinterest from one of my favorite blogs, Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour. Cara Carroll is my go-to girl for teaching, cooking, decorating...she's pretty much awesome, as is this recipe.

I made this for some friends and was a little nervous about the spiciness, and even though it did have a major kick, it was so tasty I just chugged some water and continued to shovel.  This time around, I adapted it to suit my our tastes, so this version is a little more mild than the original version (which you can find here). 

Chicken Enchilada Pasta
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I used one whole rotisserie chicken)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 (4 oz) can diced chilies, not drained
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1 (10 oz) can green chili enchilada sauce
2/3 cups red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheese (I used colby and Monterrey Jack)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 box Penne pasta

Optional Toppings
sour cream, diced tomatoes, black olives, cilantro, avocado, green onions

The recipe calls for two can of green sauce, but I accidentally only bought one.  I substituted with 1/2 can of tomato sauce and it came out just as good this time around.

Cook and shred your chicken (or shred your rotisserie chicken).  Meanwhile, begin to boil a pot of water to cook your pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package and chop the onions and garlic.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onions until soft, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Add the chilies, enchilada sauces, spices, and chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes.  Add the cheese and stir until melted.

On low heat, add the sour cream and stir to combine. Do not bring to a boil or the sour cream will curdle.  Continue to stir until the sour cream is completely mixed in and heated through.  Drain your pasta and add it back into the pot.  Pour the chicken mixture over the pasta and mix well.

Garnish with toppings of your choice and devour. Yum, yum, yum! 
 Reviews from the Peanut Gallery

Me: 5 out of 5 stars.  This had just the right amount of heat for a sissy like me.  It has great flavor and is a simple dish to throw together on a busy weeknight. It's a nice alternative to our weekly taco or spaghetti nights. 

Andy: 5 out of 5 stars. He would have preferred a little more spice, but his stomach thanked me in the end.  He liked that I used less pasta this time around, resulting in a creamier pasta.  He has requested that this become a regular item on our menu.

Emma: She tried it and said it was good, but reached for her water right after her first bite.  Maybe it was a coincidence or she sadly inherited her mama's wimpy taste buds. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stuffed Turkeys

Oh my word.  Are you as stuffed as I am?  Everyone in this house certainly is.  The turkey was delicious, the stuffing was delicious, the sweet potatoes, the pie, the gravy...ALL delicious.  After we all had our fill, we needed to take a nice, long nap to sleep off the food.  I had planned on putting the Christmas tree up while the kids slept, but napping won out in the end.
The spread.  See that sweet potato casserole? To DIE for!
So excited about dinner and her special "bubbly drink" (sparkling grape juice).
Yum yum!
Good food makes for happy kids.

Auntie Yaya and Auntie Mimi bought the girls Candyland and Memory so once everyone was awake and ready, we played Emma's first game of Candyland.  She didn't really "get it," but she had a great time picking up the cards and telling everyone their card colors.  She definitely inherited my competitive nature because she would move one space and shout "I win!"

I win!!!
We let Sophia try a little bit of everything today, even a little bit of pumpkin pie and Cool Whip. I'm pretty sure that she's going to look at us like we've lost our minds when we try to give her "normal" food.  She's going to wonder where the good stuff is.
The pie vultures descend upon their daddy.
Forget the parenting handbook...give this kid some Cool Whip!

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with lots of fun, lots of food, and lots of love. We had a great day making wonderful memories on our first Thanksgiving as a family of four.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from my two little turkeys!
So incredibly thankful for my little butterball...
and my beanpole.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Weekend Away

Andy and I took a belated weekend trip to Nashville this past weekend.  Seven years ago, we got engaged at the Opryland Hotel, so we decided to take another trip for our five year anniversary.  Our first stop was the Grand Ole Opry to see the Rockette's Christmas Show.  It was amazing! They didn't allow cameras inside, but I managed to snap a few outside of the building.

After the show, we made our way next door to the hotel to get changed and to relax a little before dinner.  We arrived during their Christmas kickoff and everything was decorated for the holidays.  It was so beautiful and festive.  Our room was in the Delta section of the hotel and it was so pretty there.  Right outside our patio we had a New Orleans street and a river walk.

Looking out our patio door.
The view from our room.
Having dinner without kids was so relaxing.  Andy and I were able to have a nice, long dinner and have a conversation without being interrupted.  After dinner we walked around the hotel and then took a boat ride that takes you around the hotel.  It was so pretty with all of the lights and decorations.

The next morning we went to Ice!, which is an indoor ice sculpture tour.  The theme this year was Merry Madagascar.  Being there without the kids made me a little sad because I kept thinking how much they would have loved seeing everything.  They give you these huge parkas to wear, which is good because it is SO cold inside.  There is even an ice slide, and we gladly acted like a couple of kids to slide down it.

It was so nice to get away, but it was even better to come home to these two little monkeys.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Giggles Galore

Who knew that blowing raspberries could be so funny? Apparently Emma does it pretty hilariously because Sophia couldn't stop laughing (and neither could we!).  I just love these precious giggles!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bathing Beauties

Now that Sophia is old enough to hold her own, we put the baby tub away (FOR GOOD!) and doubled up our bath time.  It's so nice because it allows one of us to take a breather while the other gives the girls their baths.  It's great for the kids because they have a buddy to play with!  The first time we put them in together, Sophia had so much fun that she literally tried to claw her way back in when we took her out.  Emma is so calm and sweet with her little sister and they have so much fun together!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nine Months Old

You are nine months old today.  It's hard to believe that you've only been part of our family for nine short months, because we couldn't imagine life without you and your sweet smile.  
Birth: 8 pounds 5 ounces
1 month: 9 pounds 3 ounces
 2 months: 11 pounds
3 months: 11 pounds 8 ounces
4 months: 13 pounds 13 ounces
5 months: 15 pounds 4 ounces
6 months: 16 pounds
7 months: 17 pounds
8 months: 18 pounds 6 ounces 
9 months: 19 pounds 9 ounces
Birth: 19 inches
1 month: 20 1/2 inches
2 months: 22 3/8 inches
3 months: 23 1/2 inches
4 months: 23 1/2 inches
5 months: 25 inches
6 months: 25 1/2 inches
7 months: 27 inches
8 months: 27 1/4 inches 
9 months:  27 1/2 inches
You don't know the meaning of this word.  To you, sleeping is a nuisance; a hurdle in the way of getting into anything and everything.  Naps?  Who needs 'em?  Certainly not you.  If we're lucky, you will take a half hour nap mid-morning and an hour in the afternoon.  You are SO cranky at times and I know you're tired because you will rub your little eyes and bury your face into my neck.  But if I try to put you down, or rock you, or take a step in the direction of your room you will pitch an ever-loving fit. 

You go to sleep around 7:30 and wake up around 6:00, so I guess I can't really complain, but if you got this nap thing under control before I'm home for Christmas Break, I'd really appreciate it. 
You have tried almost every fruit and vegetable out there (except berries) and you prefer the vegetables, especially peas.  You father is demanding DNA tests.  You have mastered picking up Puffs, so we'll start trying out some new finger foods.  When we meet with your doctor later this month, he'll most likely give you the go ahead for meats, so we'll see how you like that.  

You still love your morning oatmeal and your bottles, but you are starting to get fussy at dinner.  I don't know if it's the "witching hour" phenomenon, teething, or tiredness catching up with you, but feeding you dinner is a full on wrestling match.  You throw punches, jabs, and swipes.  More food ends up on the tray/floor/me than in your mouth. 

Your newest favorite thing is your sippy cup filled with water.  You go crazy when we give it to you! 
You are a crawling, cruising, babbling machine!  You started babbling the "ba" sound and made me SO happy when you started saying "mama."  Sometimes it sounds like you say "Emma" and you even said it when you saw her.  You have started letting go when you pull up on something and have stood for a few seconds, which makes my heart stop.  You are falling out of love with your jumper (too confining, I guess) but you're ok with it as long as we sit right next to you.  You really get going and jump like crazy when you want to.  You are in between wearing 9 and 12 month clothes and are much bigger than your sister was at this age.  We'll get your percentiles when we take you to the doctor. No teeth yet, and we are hoping they pop through soon!
What I Want to Remember
Your smile still melts my heart and lights up the room.  Separation anxiety really kicked into high gear this month and if Daddy or I come into a room and don't immediately pick you up you will squeal, kick, and cry until we do.  You get SO excited about things and throw your arms out and grunt with your eyes really wide when something makes you really excited. 

You are a little dancing queen!  Your favorite songs are Car Wash and Bird is the Word.  But if you hear music, just about any kind, you will start bopping back and forth.  You love when Emma dances with you and crack up when you both dance together.  We'll tell you "Dance, Sophia!" and you'll start to dance...even without music! 
You and Emma are really starting to play together a lot.  Your favorite things to do together are to build towers (she builds them, you know them down), play tag (with a little assistance from Mommy or Daddy), and play in the tent.  You are a bruiser pretty physical with Emma and you give her a run for her money, even at just nine months.  

I love you so much sweet girl!