The Life and Times of Nolan Smith

It’s been 3 months since we celebrated Nolan’s 1st birthday (eek!) and it occurred to me that when Brady was 15 months old, I did a blog post to document what he was up to at that age.

I thought I’d do the same for N-Dawg to help myself remember some of his baby (although less baby-like every day) quirks.

First off, he has just recently mastered walking within the last month. He still has a little drunk man technique at times, but is trying so hard to keep up with his big brother. He always has the bruises to prove it.

Since he took his time getting the hang of being mobile, his focus must have been on language skills because lil’ man has lots of words he likes to use. Some of his favorite words include; ball, balloon, “all done,” “I did it,” bobba (bottle), wawa (water), Brady, momma, dada, pup-pup (puppy), up, down, Gato, moo (cow), foffle (waffle), night-night, vroom, airplane, monkey, moodic (music), outside, spoon, bite, wow!, hot-hot, bubble, pop, bucket, button, book, banana, and the ever so lovely “poo-poo” and “burp.”  Just to name a few…

He’s already fascinated by anything that Brady likes- trains, trucks, airplanes. He even knows the characters from the “Planes” movie…yesterday he brought me a  “Planes” sticker he found and kept saying, “Dusty,” which is he main character from the movie. He loves to make sound effects when playing with anything that has wheels. He gets great delight from coming in the room and destroying Brady’s train tracks and stealing one of his “choo-choo’s.”

The thing I will probably remember the most about Nolan from this age is his love of music. I know, I know, all kids love music. Brady loved music too, but this is like, whoa, demands music anytime he sees an I-Pad, speaker, or radio. He takes his music and his dancing very seriously. There’s a whole repertoire of moves that he uses for different types of music. He loves Hip-Hop and 80’s hair bands. His very favorite song, the one he actually requests by name, is the “Happy Song.” (Happy by Pharrell) If he sees my mom with her Kindle, he makes a bee line for it, saying “Happy Song” and does not give up until she has the music video playing on YouTube. He likes to watch and imitate any dance moves in the video. I can’t make this stuff up….

Since day one, Nolan has been bursting with personality. He is quick to laugh, and quick to freak out and cry. He is always “on” and rarely has quiet or down time. Despite his “on the go” personality, he still likes a quick snuggle with mommy every now and then. His signature move is to snuggle in my neck, pull my hair and suck his thumb. I’ve lost quite a bit of hair thanks to him, but have gotten quite a few cuddles to make up for it.

Nolan keeps us on our toes, but brings us unimaginable joy. He couldn’t be more different than his big brother, but they are still best buds. We have so much fun watching Nolan and being a part of his little world!


Mouth full of snacks…this is oh-so-Nolan.


Nolan is a constant sweaty, disheveled, messy-faced kid. Love him!


Still just rocking the same few teeth he’s had for forever! I think we’re finally up to 6 now…


My smart, sweet, silly boy!


Momma’s boy!

Grandma’s Cheesy Lasagna- Kids Cook Monday

Us Smiths have been doing lots of traveling this summer. Between Chris’ work schedule, family trips, and a few girls’ trips of my own, we’ve been all over the place. Even though Chris is out of town again this week, I’m here with the boys and my mom and we’re celebrating Meatless Monday with Grandma’s Cheesy Lasagna. My boys are nuts for Italian food, but this one is especially a hit!

Whenever my mom is around, she makes up a big batch of lasagna for us for dinner. We freeze the leftovers in individual containers and pull it out when we need a quick dinner (usually when Chris is traveling and I’m not in the mood to cook something up for just the kids and I.) It always re-heats so great and is a perfect go-to Meatless Monday meal.

Grandma’s Cheesy Lasagna

1 box lasagna noodles
2 lg. jars of spaghetti sauce
1 lg. container of small curd cottage cheese
1 sm. container of Ricotta cheese
6 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 pkg. spinach leaves (optional)
About 3 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cloves minced garlic
1 onion (diced)

-Cook lasagna noodles until just tender
-Add minced garlic, diced onion to jarred sauce (to liven it up!)
-Use a 9’13 pan and begin assembling:
Pour a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan and then begin layering noodles (slightly overlapping them so they lay flat), sauce, spinach, cottage cheese, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, Ricotta cheese, Mozzarella cheese and then repeat starting with noodles again. You will make about 3-4 layers total. Top it all with a layer of sauce and Mozzarella cheese.
-Bake uncovered at 375* for 25 minutes.
-Remove from oven, cover with foil and continue to bake at 375* for another 25 minutes.
-Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting and eating.


All the beautiful layers before going in the oven!


Golden brown cheesy goodness!


As much fun as it is to travel, nothing beats being home, sitting together at the table with my boys, and eating Grandma’s (mom’s) lasagna!



Nolan LOVES Italian food!!

Did I mention she made homemade banana bread for dessert?!


One Pot Garden Pasta- Kids Cook Monday

Recently I’ve been intrigued by some “One Pot Pasta” recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest. I couldn’t imagine they’d really taste as good as promised, but I had to give it a try to see for myself. (Mostly because I will use any excuse cook with my new Le Creuset Dutch Oven!) And of course, I couldn’t just follow a recipe exactly so I used what ingredients I had on hand to make it different. Our next door neighbor just gave us a BUNCH of yellow squash from his garden, so I knew I would be using some of those bad boys in this pasta!

The basic idea of this pasta is that everything (water included) goes in the pot all at once. You bring all the ingredients to a boil, then take it down to a simmer for about 15 minutes. The water is absorbed by the pasta, along with all the yummy flavors of the herbs, veggies and seasonings. Once all the liquid is gone, the pasta is cooked and you toss it with a little cream and Parmesan Cheese, and…its…DELICIOUS! Who knew?!


Everyone goes in the (beautiful, awesome, lovely, new) pot before boiling.


One Pot Garden Pasta

*I made my recipe a little smaller than other versions I’ve seen online- enough to serve 3 if it’s your meal (maybe 5 servings if it’s served as a side dish.)


1/2 pound thin spaghetti

2 cups of water

1/2 pint of mushrooms (sliced)

1 (big) yellow squash

1 cup of corn (frozen or fresh)

1 clove of garlic (chopped)

2 sprigs of thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

About 1/4 cup heavy cream

About 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

Put all ingredients (except cream and cheese) in a big pot or Dutch Oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let cook about 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and the water is all absorbed. Then, add cream and cheese and toss until the pasta is coated. (Add additional salt or pepper to taste.)

And it’s seriously that easy. But best of all, we got to use Brady’s thyme from the herb garden that he’s been helping me water every day and a home grown squash. Brady was quite the helper today. We were working on learning to cut the vegetables and he took the job so seriously. There was a whole lot of ownership over this meal!

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This meal was yummy, veggie packed, kid friendly, and too easy not to try!