Saturday, December 31, 2011

And a Happy New Year!

I realized in my last post that I didn't include any Christmas morning pictures. I only have a few but here they are...I know my grandma in CO will enjoy seeing them!

Tonight we ring in the New Year. We are doing so in our household by having steak, chicken wings, fries, and salad, followed by popcorn at the movie theatre! Then we will celebrate at midnight with sparkling grape juice, Hawaiian bread and spinach dip! I am looking forward to a fun night! Check back to tomorrow and I will let you all in on my New Years Resolutions!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's a wonderful life...

This year for Christmas, it was time to celebrate with the Durgin side of the family. Chaz and I boarded a plane Wednesday morning, and were in Reno by 1pm! It's so nice getting two extra hours!

We arrived to excited family members, and Chaz was like a kid in a candy store! He loves family time, which is why I love him!

Wednesday was a bit of eating, shopping, relaxing and playing games. And in Durgin tradition, everyone takes a go at cleaning up after dinner...Chaz and Laine tag teamed it the first night. What cute siblings! The mood was greatly heightened by this lovely little number being lit up each evening.
Thursday has us decorating a ginger bread house and putting together a puzzle. It was a great morning of relaxing and doing little projects together. Chaz had way too much fun decorating the ginger bread house. He showed his mad skills by adding icicles and other fancy adornments.
The rest of us just watched! I did however make that great looking wreath! Thank you to the lady at Michael's craft store who I watched while D. Lo shopped one day...your presentation paid off!
Friday Laine, Terri, Chaz, Ginny, Chaz's grandma, and I drove up into the mountains. We stopped in Incline Village, where Chaz's grandparents used to live, and then continued on to the Ritz to get pedicures. Of course Chaz passed on a pedicure so he headed back to Incline to do some shopping and take some great pics!
The Ritz was lovely, and after our amazing pedicures, Chaz joined us again and we had lunch in their main lobby. Great food, great drinks, and lovely views.

That night Laine took Chaz and I downtown Reno. We went to a basketball game and then hit up some bars and Casino's downtown. Way different then going out in Mpls. A different vibe with the Casino's and the night owl atmosphere but we had a good time just walking around, taking pictures, and eating way to much food! (Maybe the eating too much food was just me but boy was I full!)

Christmas Eve day we woke up and I made caramel rolls that my family has made for years on Christmas eve. We finished wrapping and shopping, and Chaz's aunt joined us from LA early afternoon.

That evening we enjoyed the traditional Durgin fondue. It was a lovely meal complete with a chocolate creme brule dessert (so fricken good!)

We also get Santa presents on Christmas Eve, which are usually pajamas to wear that evening and the next morning for present opening. Chaz's family opens gifts Christmas day but I was a good girl this year and didn't tempt them all to open more then the one gift like I did my first Christmas with them.

Fu even got in on the action!
Christmas day we opened presents. It was quite the event. We started with stockings. Each person goes around and opens their stocking in which almost every item is wrapped. It takes a bit of time so after that, we broke for a delicious breakfast of rolls and egg bake. The egg bake was out of this world! It was full of meat, bread, and eff, but the best part was all the vegetables.

After breakfast we opened the rest of the gifts. There was a lot of laughing, smiling faces, and excitement. The perfect Christmas morning.

We lounged around after that, played some games, and then had Christmas Day dinner of ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, and lobster salad. Yummy!

Monday morning we headed up in to the mountains again, this time to visit a crystal mine. The views were breathtaking. Chaz took some lovely pictures as he usually does.

For the remainder of the day, we packed, lounged around, and played some games. That evening we went ice skating at a rink downtown, and the we out for some late night pizza and beer. A wonderful end to our amazing vacation.

Tuesday afternoon we boarded the plane headed home. It is always sad leaving family, especially after such a great time, but it was also nice to think about coming home to our own bed. That and we get to look forward to Christmas with my family this weekend.

I will leave you with this beautiful picture that Chaz took while we were in the air coming home!

Fun! I love these signs!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Does this make you think?

Chaz's aunt gave us all cards for Christmas. I loved the quote they had on them as it really filled me with contentment and comfort.

You will find the road to Christmas
where your hopes and dreams come true,
And your heart will know the magic
that the Season brings to you.
~Garnett A. Schultz

Love it! Just simple, lovely, and true!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas! I hope it was wonderful and blessed for all. I had the most amazing time in Reno with Chaz's family. It is just crazy how family time can end up meaning more then a trip to an exotic island or a foreign adventure. It really only takes amazing people to provide you with a wonderful vacation and adventure.

I of course missed my family on Christmas but look forward to celebrating with them over the New Year weekend. I love having the 12 days of Christmas to really get some good celebrating in. And as is popular with my family, my decorations will remain remain up until the 12th day of Christmas! It really is a great setup to be able to celebrate christmas with both families! It does't happen every year but when it does, it just feels extra special!

I will update more on the trip later. For now, I just wanted to get on and say Merry Christmas! I hope God has enriched your lives this year and that even through hardship, pain or sorrow, you were able to see the blessings. And if your were lucky enough to experience nothing but joy, be sure to really count your blessings.

Loads of love to everyone this holiday season!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Merry Merry!

Happy Monday.

It has been a while, but I needed the break. I placed my focus on schoolwork, and made sure to get in a lot of family time during this holiday season. That is truly the most important thing in my life. Whether it's a dinner out with my husband, or driving around looking at Christmas light; an abrupt hotel stay with my parents and siblings which turned into a great occasion to bond; and visits and dinner with friends who I consider part of my family. It has been a wonderful year, and this month has been doubly as wonderful. Last year I was not in the Christmas spirit and I can report that this year, it is the complete opposite.

Yesterday would have been my great grandma's 90th birthday. I was lucky enough to have had her in my life for almost 20 years, and really cement a relationship the last year of her life. Even if I didn't know her as well prior to that, her personality, compassion, and love were infectious and though we only saw her once or twice a year for most of my life, she was still an amazing example of how to live, laugh and most importantly, love.

I celebrated the momentous milestone by cooking kielbasa, perogies, red cabbage and to top it all off, a berry cobbler. If you have 5 minutes and an hour of oven time to whip up a dessert that will warm your heart and soul, and that of those who join you in eating it, you have got to try this recipe.

This recipe is simple and wonderful!

The Pioneer Women's Blackberry Cobbler

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups berries

Mix the flour and sugar, and whisk in the buttermilk. Add the melted butter. Pour into a well buttered casserole add two cups of berry's. (I used 2 cups frozen mixed berries that I thawed and drained). Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar on top (I only needed about half of that).

Bake at 350 degrees for around an hour.

This recipe was top notch and a great night cap with a scoop of ice cream.

My mother-in-law also celebrated her birthday this weekend so it was a special weekend all around. She is also a wonderful person who I have had the privilege of knowing for over 11 years and I am lucky to get to call her my mother-in-law.

Other then that, my weekend was amazing. I spent time with friends, had a wonderful evening with my parents and sister at the Wild game, and spent Sunday doing some last minute shopping and relaxing.

I am looking so forward to leaving for Reno on Wednesday morning! I am just so excited to see family and take a break from it all!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A filling night!

Today I weighed in down 1 pound. It always feels good to move in that direction! I really pushed it at the gym yesterday but then gorged on Tacos when I got home because I was famished! Then of course while eating, Faith was by the table begging and we realized that it had been a few days since the cats had had wet food as we had been out. Of course we had to go out right after dinner and get our little kitties some wet food (because who doesn't love an overly spoiled cat) and Petsmart just so happens to be right next to Dairy Queen. Well, you certainly can't go by a Dairy Queen without getting an ice cream cone right? So good weigh in, but it probably could have been better! I did however enjoy my tacos and ice cream, and Faith and Kea inhaled their wet food in 2.2 seconds. It was a filling night for all!

Monday, December 5, 2011


I sat down to write a post about 4 times last week. I was just so busy at work and so busy with school that I could not get one finished. Needless to say, I just deleted all the saved drafts I had. Not need to try and back track. Let's just move forward!

Last week I weight in up 1.2. Not bad for Thanksgiving week and I am owning it! This weekend I made Christmas cookies with my dear friend Tonya and made sure to pop in a few semi-healthy recipes. I made these delicious white chocolate chip 2pp cookies and added dried cranberry for some festivity. I would imagine the cranberry brought the cookies up to 3pp (I added one half cup), however, I got more then 24 (I think 26), so maybe they are still matter the point value, they are still slightly healthy and REALLY wonderful! I also did not put the oats int he food processor this time and I really like the heartiness it added...I just used quick oats and it worked out great!

To also help me stay on track, I joined a challenge at the Y to not gain over the holidays. If I can maintain my weight, I will walk away January 1st with a cool long sleeve t-shirt. Since I love anything free, I think this may be some great motivation!

Last week was so intensely busy that I am so relieved it is over and a cookie baking weekend away was just what I needed. I got home last night and Chaz and I whipped up this wonderful stuffed shells recipe. I omitted the chicken (just for time sake) and it was so tasty, easy, and healthy. I would imagine without the chicken, the serving drops down to 6pp per serving but I am not for sure. I do know that I have two lunches out of the left overs which makes me a very happy girl!

And I know during the past part of November, I slacked on my What am I thankful for today? posts. To make up for that, I would like to say that I am thankful for my husband, my family and my friends. I am thankful for those who read this blog, and those who are a part of my life. When I was young, I was a shy individual. Now I love being a people person. I can fully attest to the fact that I love having people around me. I value relationships above all else. The relationships I have with my family, my friends, and most importantly, my God! Just makes life so wonderful!

Here's to a good and productive day! Two weeks from Wednesday I will be on my way to Reno and Two weeks from Saturday is Christmas Eve! Love it!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I wish every weekend was a holiday weekend...

But then I guess they wouldn't be considered special!

I had a great Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful for and we were surrounded by friends and family all day.

I started my day off with a weigh in and was only up .2 after dinner the night before at Benihana's. We went out for Dave's birthday (Laura's Dave) and we ate a lot. I knew I wasn't going to worry about what the scale said but I was happy to see only a .2 gain.

The fan arrived around 11:30 to watch the Packer game and Mike and I put together this cool wreath.
You take a styrofoam wreath, hot glue tinsel on by wrapping it around and then finish with an extra pop of decoration.
I love my little wreath!

Then it was an afternoon of friends, family, and games. We had a heated marbles game going on in the kitchen right before dinner. Let's just say there were a few aggravated cooks who weren't too happy we chose the kitchen as our location to play.
Too bad!

Dinner was a smorgasbord of ham, turkey, swedish meatballs and so many sides we had two tables full of just food!

An of course Chaz was dressed to help clean it all up!
It was a great Thanksgiving!

Now we can officially start celebrating Christmas. I respected the bird but once Friday rolled around, it was all about Christmas! Saturday evening Chaz and I made homemade pizza, grabbed some Caribou hot chocolate, and decorated for Christmas.

The tree is up...I will post pics later, every nook and cranny is filled with tinsel (Chaz has an obsession with tinsel!), and the cats are getting in the mood!
It was great continuing the tradition of putting the tree up and decorating as a couple. This will be our third holiday season married and our 10th together. We are so lucky and blessed to have a love that feels new and bright each day. I am so thankful that I have that in my life!

We finished out our day helping D. Lo put some lights outside and otherwise, we have been inside enjoying the warmth of our Christmas lights!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

an update...

I forgot to let you know last week that I forgot to weigh in on Thursday so I weighed in Friday morning and had maintained through the week. Nothing lost, but nothing gained! I was super happy with that. With the bachelorette party this past weekend however, I went a little crazy with the alocoholic drinks and sweets. I am not as hopeful for this Thursdays weigh in but I had fun this weekend, and I will have fun on Thanksgiving. Friday I will wake up, and continue on my road to maintenance through the holidays. Hopefully this mindset helps me be successful!


It's Thanksgiving on Thursday...make THIS if you want to be considered cool! I know I will!


I am so good at getting behind! I thought the daily "What am I thankful for" would get me on here more but, alas, it really hasn't. So now I get to play catch up!

Friday night I made some bomb enchiladas! It was a recipe I found on Pintrest. Check them out...pinned here. So good...and EASY! It was the perfect meal before going out with my mom and sister. We went to see our friend Amy perform at a drag show and it was awesome! Amy is one of the best performers, by far, but there are a lot of talented performers so it made for an entertaining evening.

Saturday I slept, cleaned, then slept so more. Then off to a bachelorette party with Laura. We for sure drank a bit too much but it was such a fun night and it felt great to let loose! Oh, and my first limo ride!

Sunday I went to Twilight with my Alyssa and I have to say, I really liked the movie. It was a bit more grown up and the acting is stronger then in the other movies. To me, the first movie is pretty week and the cinematography is not that sharp. The movies have definitely evolved since then.

Now I am immersed in a busy work week. The next two weeks I am going to be running around crazy. Luckily I get Thursday as a break and can enjoy some amazing food. I love Thanksgiving! And tonight I will head to fitness yoga to hopefully relax, stretch, and de-stress a bit. Maybe that will have to be my go to workout for the next two weeks.

What am I thankful for today?

  • I am thankful for those friends who are always there and I can completely let loose around. I love feeling comfortable around people.

  • I am thankful for quiet mornings when I can wake up slowly and lounge around in bed for a while.

  • I am thankful for last minute plans that turn out to be the best evening you have had in a while.

  • I am thankful for warm clothes and a big scarf to wrap around my neck!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cheers to the fricken weekend...

Happy Friday! My team at work is full and content after the breakfast I brought in this morning. Homemade cranberry pear sauce, strawberries, banana chocolate chip muffins and crock pot egg bake! It was all a hit!

I made my usual brown sugar banana muffins which are 4pp and I added some mini chocolate chips. Since the recipe seems to grow every time I make it, I got 16 muffins this time (the recipe is usually 14), so i think it is safe to say that with the addition of the chocolate chips, the muffin is still only 5pp. I am going to figure it out later and let you know because they were delicious and felt naughty! (check out my food tab for the recipe).

the crock pot egg bake was pretty easy too and I like the results. I think the eggs were a bit grainy but not enough to stop me from making this again. There are a variety of recipes online but here is what I did.

Crock pot Egg Bake al a Adara
14 eggs (most recipes said 12 but I added a few extra for a larger group)
1-1.5 cups milk (depending on eggs used)
30 oz bag of frozen hash browns
1 cup cubed ham
green onions
1.5-2 cups cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Most recipes had a layering effect to how they put the mixture in the crock pot. I wanted my ingredients dispersed well so I mixed the eggs, milk, and seasonings, followed that by adding the ham, onion, half the cheese, and hash browns. I dumped it all in the crock pot, which was sprayed with cooking spray, and set it on low overnight (most recipes said 8-10 hours...I would even check after 6). 30 minutes before serving, top with remaining cheese.

It actually cuts similar to an egg bake. Just slice down the middle and then create slices in the opposite direction! Yum!

What am I thankful for today?

I owe you three of these as I have not been on her since Wednesday and even then I didn't put what I was thankful for!

  • I am thankful for the holiday season. It really is merry and bright, as long as you make it that way. Last year during this time I was in a funk because we were moving. It was so stressful and we didn't even get to put up most our decorations. Hopefully I will never have to move over the holidays again but I am thankful that for this year, I am grounded, staying put, and happy as a clam!

  • I am thankful for parents who will call and wake me up in the morning when my husband is out of town. I really suck at getting myself up in the morning and would probably sleep the day away with out them! (ugh, I am a night owl but it is getting more balanced!)

  • I am thankful to have a host of plans this weekend including a friends show tonight, a bachelorette party tomorrow, and taking in the new Twilight movie on Sunday. Looking forward to it all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lovin me some misto...

I wrote on here a while back that to curb the cost of a coffee drink, I sometimes like to get a misto...half coffee, half steamed milk. And with the holiday season here, you can get egg nog in your misto. Since this is a bit of an unhealthy habit, I just ask for 1/4 of the drink to be egg nog instead of half.

This little number is super tasty and costs about half the price of a latte...around 50 cents more then a cup of coffee.

This got me to thinking though...wouldn't it be great to make this at home but with Holly Nog (light egg nog). Sure I can heat milk on the stove and then add it to my coffee, but there is something wonderful about steamed milk.

Cue wish list!

There are two options at Target.

One is this handy frother that doesn't use steam so it can mix hot and cold drinks.

I love the steam aspect though and don't need to dirty the whole kitchen so maybe something like this would be better. Steam and froth at the same time!

Yeah, Aroma Milk Frother it is! Maybe I'll have to buy this little number soon! Better yet, maybe by Thanksgiving and I could play barista for everyone. Mmmm...pumpkin spice dunkin doughnuts coffee with Holly Nog...I can taste the holiday season already!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Maintain, not gain...

I saw this really great motto at the Y. Maintain this season, not gain. I really needed to hear that, and I really took it to heart after gorging on Friendship bread last night! Kory had a party for the Packer/Viking party and there was delicious goodies in excess. I had a hard time saying no. That, and I arrived right from a workout, so I was pretty famished. I will probably see it on the scale Thursday, but I didn't let it get me off track any more then it already did. I woke up this morning, got in an intense am workout, and ate well all day. That is what I want for this holiday season. I want to enjoy it, but I also want to lose, and maintain!

Tonight we had Trader Joe's mandarin orange chicken and rice. It was very delicious! And I made a pot of soup for lunches the rest of the week and I whipped up this yummy little treat!

It was super easy to make and tasty. I had it with some greek yogurt and granola, and I am looking forward to throwing it in some oatmeal! It is amazing all by itself but it is fun to think of little ways to add it to some of my normal treats!

What am I thankful for today?
I am thankful for warm lighting and good shows on tv this dark cold evening. It may be bitter outside, but the warmth inside the house makes it bearable. And because I am feeling extra thankful this evening, I am going to post one more thing I am thankful for. I am thankful for my two wonderful cats. Both Faith and Kea provide so much love and warmth, on top of entertainment! I couldn't imagine life without them!

Respect the Bird

Just a pre-warning to the bird. I am doing some crafts for the holiday season, so I may continue to squeeze them in in order to have enough time to complete them, but I promise, no decorations until after I have fully relished in the meaning and festivity of Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Up Nordt...

I had a great weekend up north visiting my friend Tonya and the bro! It is nice having them in the same area so we can all visit. Mike ends up spending most of the weekend with us so it is pretty nice.

I can't give too many details as we were busy making Christmas gifts but let's just say the weekend included a bit of the following:

  • hanging out in the garage until 2 am letting Mike play DJ, switching between Christmas and Rap music while Tonya and I labor away.

  • shopping and heading out for a break to see the new movie Jack and Jill (it was good, but worth waiting till redbox to watch at home)

  • caramel puff corn

  • wine

  • multiple outfit changes

  • eating French toast both mornings, Saturday with bananas, Sunday stuffed with peanut butter

And as you can tell, with my busy weekend, I didn't take time to really hop on the computer so I will first let you know that I lost 3.2 pounds last week so I took off that weight gain from the previous week and am down a total of 3.9 since I recommitted to WW three weeks ago. And I really believe, it is not about the number, it is about the way I feel, and with my added workouts, I have been feeling healthy and strong. The number just helps keep me on track. If I don't focus on that number, I may slowly increase my food intake and totally negate the workouts and I just want it to all be a good, healthy mix.

And last, I owe a few thankful updates! I missed a total of 4 with today being 5 but I still thought daily about what I am thankful for.

  • I am thankful for work out dvd's that make it easy to sneak in a workout when life is busy and I don't have time to leave the house.

  • I am thankful for Faith and Kea who provide loads of cuddles and really brighten the house. On mornings when we get to sleep in, Faith loves hopping on the bed for some mega cuddle time and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

  • I am thankful to have a job that I enjoy and one that provides for my family.

  • I am thankful for good friends, combined with good laughs and good wine.

  • I am thankful for the Holiday season and while I am getting excited for Christmas, I will thoroughly enjoy Thanksgiving and not put up any Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. I want to relish in each holiday and take in all the family time. Sometimes, it has to last you most the year so I really try and cherish it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This ain't no cheesy post...

I was going to post a cheesy potato recipe last night, but then I realized I saved my pictures in a weird spot and now the husband has to come to the that may be a few days.

I am however excited for tomorrow's weigh in! I have made the gym my biatch this week and I am hoping for some results, no matter how little! Slow and steady wins the race...that about sums up my whole road to being healthy adventure.

Just to recap, two weeks ago I weighed in down 2.3. Last week, I forgot to weigh in on Thursday, but I hopped on the scale Saturday and was up 1.8. No excuses here. I know what happened. I jetted off to Colorado, didn't eat the best I could, and didn't really get back into my grove once I returned. That's life though, and I will have weeks like that. I don't let the number define me, but I let it guide me. I want it to be my compass towards the best/healthiest decisions as often as it can. And sometimes I will get off track, but at least I know I can find my way back. So here's wishing me luck tomorrow and no matter the number, I know I feel great and I know my body is happy!

What am I thankful for today?

I am thankful to have wonderful parents who love, support, and have guided me in the past. Even as an adult, I look to them for advice. I know that no matter where life takes me, I will always have my family. They have engrained that in me and I am thankful to have the stability that that provides.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A quote on the white board...

I was beat last night. All I wanted to do was relax. And relax I did, after a wonderful fitness yoga class I took after work. Maybe that is what put me in the mood to relax the rest of the night. The last 5 minutes of class, when the lights were off and we were all in our meditative poses, relaxing, I got this big ass grin on my face and felt insanely giddy inside. I was so happy to be in that moment, relaxing after a great workout, and not have anywhere else to be or to be doing. It was bliss!

And while at the gym yesterday, they had a great quote on the bored. "Those who seek rest, find boredom. Those who seek work, find rest." I believe they said Dylan Thompsom said this but I could not find it on line. But, hello! This is exactly what I wrote about yesterday! The YMCA dry erase board read my mind!

After my workout, Chaz and I went out for Mexican and talked about our plans for the holidays. It was a nice little Monday night date! I am looking forward to the week! Should be a good one.

And since I was so tired last night, I did not write a thankful post so today you get two!

What am I thankful for today?

1. I am thankful that last weekend I was able to surprise my Colorado family with an impromptu trip out there. Those memories and the excitement will last me for a while!

2. I am thankful to have a body that allows me to run, jump, walk, skip, stretch, and do most physical activities. I feel empowered and strengthened when I can be active and really put it to good use.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

rekindled motivation...

I truly think that working out is making me more motivated in other areas of my life. I used to skip a workout, and not end up in bed till midnight, feeling stressed and like I didn't accomplish much. Now I am working out, eating healthy, getting my homework done, and hoping into bed fairly early. I have no clue how all of a sudden things seem to be fitting into place but I am going to chalk it up to increased motivation.

Today was a nice relaxing Sunday complete with errands, homework, and a lovely ham dinner. I made some yummy cheesy potatoes that I will share later. For now, I am off to bed, but first...

What am I thankful for today?
Today I am thankful for an extra hour which allowed me to wake up at 11am, and then realize it was only 10 am so I didn't have to feel like such a slough. Waking up feeling positive about yourself is much nicer then the opposite.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

before the day slips away...

It is after midnight, but with daylight savings, I still have an hour to let you know what I am thankful for today!

I am thankful for a wonderful brother who I have an amazing relationship with. We can do just about anything together and have a great time. I know that for the rest of my life, I have this cool dude that I get to call my brother and that no matter what, we will always be there for one another. Thanks for being the best brother Mike. I love you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Put a ring on it...

It is a crisp, chilly fall day here in the MN. The sun is shinning bright and I can't wait for 5 o'clock. I am ready to start my weekend and relax a bit!

Tonight I am going to throw together a nice little dinner for my man and I. Today marks three years since he asked me to marry him and I love any reason to celebrate so bring on some festivity!

I couldn't ask to be married to a more amazing man. Aside from the fact that he does my laundry and keeps our belongings anally organized, he is the most tender, caring, and loving man I have ever met. He is such a sincere soul and puts me first in every sense of the word. Sure he can be stubborn, and of course he has a few annoying habits (don't we all), but those are so easily over looked when he wraps me in one of his warm embraces. I can easily say he is perfect, perfect for me that is!
Happy Anniversary love!

What am I thankful for today?

I am thankful to have family that I can travel and see the world with. When I was little, my family was always on the go, whether it be swim meets, hockey tournaments, trips to visit family. Some of our best family time was spent in a hotel room, just the 5 of us. And I continue to travel with my in-laws. 3 years ago when my husband purposed, we were on a cruise with most of his family, celebrating his grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. I am so blessed to have these opportunities that allow family to really spend quality time together!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

movin on up...

Yesterday I joined the Y downtown, which is only a few city blocks from my work! I am making an effort to go either before or after work.

I love being back at the Y. I love the nice big locker rooms, the variety of workout equipment, and the pool! The smell of that place reminds me of being on the swim team when I was little. And I have successfully worked out the last two days after work! Gotta keep it up.

I have backed off the running train a bit because of some pain in my feet and knees. I am focusing more on a variety of exercise, along with strength training. Today I did the elliptical machine, making sure to have my arms moving most the time. To make it a good workout, I focus on intervals, remaining intense no matter the level. I keep my intensity up by finding music with a good beat that keeps me consistent. Bad Romance by Lady Gaga is a good one!

What am I thankful for today?

I am thankful to have a friend who motivates me to achieve my goals. Laura, one of my best friends, has lost almost 4 pounds in two weeks but more important then that, she has made working out a priority and that is making her a strong, healthy individual. I love looking up to strong women!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Seeing red...

It's that time of year again! Starbucks has put out their holiday cups! I live the saying this year. Let's Merry! So cute. This certainly does nothing for curbing my expensive habits. The little red cups just draw me in all the much more.

And being yesterday was the first of November, meaning the start of the Thanksgiving holiday. I am going to follow the tradition of some other bloggers and share something I am thankful for everyday. Since I did not get on here yesterday, today you will get two!

1. I am thankful for my faith.

2. I am thankful I get to fall asleep next to my husband, who provides me so much comfort and strength.

Happy November!

Monday, October 31, 2011

A weekend of surprise...

This weekend I jetted off to Colorado for a pretty impromptu visit. Two weeks ago my sister helped me book tickets to visit my grandma and aunt, and it was even easier to surprise them since she was out there and could pick me up from the airport. The few friends and family I told kept it a secret, which can be hard now a days with facebook and what not.

We surprised my aunt and grandma on their Friday afternoon coffee run. After they came in and started ordering their drinks, I popped around the corner and surprised them. It was a very happy, uplifting moment!

We spent the weekend relaxing, partaking in some Halloween festivities, and having some great meals as a family!

These are the moments that make life exciting and I am so glad I took the time to book a flight, and head out of town, even if it was just for the weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A weigh in...

I thought it would be beneficial to start tracking my weigh-ins on here! Over the summer and the first part of fall, I have slowly added about 10 pounds back on my frame. It has always been easy for me to fluctuate between a 5-10 pound range all my weight is never consistent, especially if I am not paying attention. That said, I am tracking again, almost 100%. I went over my points this week, but I tracked almost everything. AND, I am down 2.3 pounds this week...just goes to show you that my body did not want the added weight. This weight loss even came after enjoying some triple chocolate crazy good cake at Chaz's Halloween party.

Now I just need to get my workouts back. With a sore knee and a crap load of stuff going on, I have not been consistent...I need to be consistent! I know weight loss is a journey, and we go through hills and valleys. I don't need to loss weight every week, and if I need a day to just indulge, I will, but I will also come back and keep pushing. Moderation is key and if I indulge, then I just need to cut back somewhere else.

Here's to a good week of good eats!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Dinner tonight...please don't be jealous!

This time of year...

I love this time of year! I do love summer, and I loathe the winter, but there is just something about the perfectness of fall. Crisp weather, pretty foliage. Many comforting and warm memories are associated with fall.

I also love Halloween! It is just one of those chill, fun Holidays that allows us to dress up all crazy, eat tons of sugar, and watch scary movies! It's kind of a nice initiation into long winter nights....sppppoooooooookkkkkkkyyyyyyyyy!

Last night Chaz's work hosted a Halloween party. The restaurant closed early, and they held the event in their storage building next door. It was decorated to the nine's with lights, cobwebs, and the occasional hanging corpse...I wish I would have snapped a photo but all I had was my phone...doesn't do to well in the dark light! In fact, most my pictures are on my phone and I need to change that...I know!

To take part in the festivities, we were asked to dress up. The man decided to pull a blast from the past and dress up as a Boy Scout. Insert*guy I fell in love with*here! I'm not gonna lie, there may have been a few trips to the Boy Scout's of America store by our house to pick up pants, a new hat, and a few patches he never purchased...he assures me that some day he wants to get back into Scout's as an adult leader so hopefully all this business gets put to good use...if not, this was a slightly expensive Halloween costume but damn he looks fine!
And then there's me. I spent the night in a fog mingling with the wall flowers! JUST KIDDING! I decided to go as world peace...or maybe just a peace sign. A bit of a fancy peace sign as I paired it with a pencil skirt, fishnets, and purple stiletto's...flare jeans may have been more fitting but you get what you get when I'm coming from work!
We danced the night away, talking with Chaz's coworkers, and listening to them sing karaoke. Dinner was catered by Brasa, a local restaurant, and treats from Chaz's company. There were also White castle Sliders...I may have had one or two of those little puppies! I also had the most amazing chocolate was like chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce...I don't really know what was in it but a whole lotta chocolate was involved!

Now off to see if I can pencil in some exercise time today to work of those sliders and chocolate cake!

Monday, October 24, 2011

When stress devours you..

Today was a day where I just let it all get to me. My day was shitty, and I was distracted with stressful situations around me. To top it off, work was crazy stressful today and I was running around with out even a chance to pee!

Luckily my day flew by, and I am now relaxing on my couch, doing some homework. I am going to go to bed early so I can wake up tomorrow and start fresh. Sounds like a good plan!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crap...a new obsession

Today I had almond butter....and I have converted! This business is amazing. So amazing that I had a bagel thin with my other obsession, pumpkin spice cream cheese on one half, and almond butter on the other and when I finished the half with almond butter, I covered the cream cheese side with almond butter too! So good!

I bought a little pack of almond butter at Target so I could try it, but not be out a lot of money if I didn't like it. Any butter other then peanut butter tends to be a bit pricey. I decided to try it since every health food blogger has been blowing up about it but now I need to do a little research and actually figure out how good it is for me or what the benefits are. All I know right now is that it was so good and pretty filling! The little pack I bought was Justine's Maple Flavored almond butter and for the packet, which looked to be about 2 tbsp, it comes out to 5pp. The same about as 2 tbsp's of natural peanut butter! And since I only use 1tbsp, I generally just take 3pp and it is so worth it to get that hearty, full feeling from eating something good for you!

Monday, October 17, 2011


It's getting chilly in Minnesota. Not just wake up in the morning and throw your hands in your pockets to get warm chilly, but all day, cold to the bone chilly. That can only mean one thing. Winter is well on it's way.

On this cold October evening, I did what any Minnesotan would do. I took an ice bath to settle my sore muscles. And yes I know, this is not what any Minnesotan would do, but it sure felt great!

Since running the 1/2 marathon this summer, I have dealt with some sore heels, and my right knee kind of hates life. I have read on many blogs about ice baths so I decided to give it a try. I put a few inches of cold water in the tub and added a bowl of ice. I started by only putting my feet in and letting them numb up, and then I decided I would need to sit in the water if I really wanted it to be beneficial for my knee.

I kept my sweater on for warmth and slowly lowered myself into the water. After a few seconds, my body got used to the water, and I was able to sit for a good 10 or so minutes. My muscles felt great! Of course my upper body was a bit tense, bracing against the cold, but I followed my ice bath up with a nice warm bath, complete with eucalyptus Epsom salt.

I know I feel great right now, but hopefully the feeling will last through tomorrow! I guess I will just have to wait and see but I see this becoming a more common occurrence if I actually feel some relief! Here's hoping I can get back on the running train sooner rather than later!


I went to go write a new post like 6 times last week.

I have so much I want to write about, but life gets busy, and my blog easily falls to the waist side (what the hell does that even mean?!).

But I love my blog. I love to write, research, and fill my friends and family in on life and this is the most beneficial outlet for me to do all of those things. It just also seems the easiest to push lower of the to do list. Well, in all honestly, lots of things get pushed is like one constant to do list!

Here's to hopping I can get some writing in this week!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A life lesson?

Yesterday my aunt got married...what a great time! It was a small country wedding, complete with fresh air, bugs, and a boat load of fun. I will write more on that later...I have some bomb cake recipes and some great tips! But I thought I might talk about my wonderful husband tonight.

While my husband is romantic, he is not a huge fan of dancing so I went into the event this weekend with the notion that I was not going to push it. That ended up being a great move on my part!

The dance floor was hopping with upbeat songs and I was enjoying some ridiculous dancing with my friends and family. The DJ decided to slow it down so I took a chair on the sidelines, ready to converse. I looked up shortly after taking a seat and saw my handsome man strolling towards me. My brain started fluttering with questions. Is he coming to talk? Did he need something? Does he actually want to dance? He reaches me, grabs my hand, and asks me to dance with a playful smile on his heart started to flutter. And this didn't happen just once, but twice and when my aunt played our wedding song for us, we got in a third dance! It made for a lovely evening and some great memories.

It amazes me what a big impact little actions can have on a person. My husband made me feel amazing, like a princess, just by strolling me around the dance floor a few times.

Welcome to the Durgin family...

This lovely came in to my life around 3:30 p.m today, October the 9th. We are acclimating nicely and getting to know one another! I have a feeling this will be the beginning of a beautiful relationship!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How did they know?

How in the world did the Mpls. Star Trib know that my evening would entail making my very first wedding cake? Right, right, I know they didn't, but let's talk about crazy coincidence.

Today's Variety featured a wonderful article on the writer making a cake for her friends wedding. Coincidentally, I am making the cake and cupcakes for my aunts wedding. There were some great tips that I am hopping to put into play tonight...I will let you know how the cake baking turns out!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My brother is a freshman in college...

I was the first Bonnell kid to step foot on the campus of Concordia College as a college student. By sophomore year, there were two of us as my sister was starting her first year of college.

With two of the three Bonnell kids enrolled at Concordia, that meant lots of family trips up to visit.

About a month back, my friend Alyssa and I were reflecting on college life during a dinner out as both our siblings are freshman this year. We laughed about how much fun it was, and the silly things we did. I told Alyssa about the one family visit in particular where Kory and I snuck our brother into the dorms for a sleepover. Since Concordia is a strict school, no boys are allowed in the girls dorms after midnight, and vice versa. My sister and I had to get creative in order to pull it off!

We decided to load our bite size brother up into my roommates big suitcase and wheel him in....of course, to not look suspicious, we rolled the suitcase out earlier in the day. We just thought we had it all figured out! And of course, to make it more interesting, and to be super cautious, we loaded Mikey up in the suitcase in the parking lot, and rolled him the whole block back to the dorm.

When Alyssa and I talked about this a month ago, I wrote it down as a topic to blog about. I have been putting it off, trying to think of the best way to tell the story, but when my sophomore year roommate posted this picture on facebook today, I knew a visual would do it justice!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Reality Check...

Just when I think I can pull out the stretchy pants and eat processed desserts, another blog shows up with amazing recipes, all WW friendly...I am still in shock over the goodness that is on this many desserts, so many rich meals. I just may be able to get through this holiday season and still fit in my pants!

I have Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili for tonight so I will let you know how that goes!

Heart Happy...

Life can be tough. There are moments of pain, sadness, stress. We load our plates too full; we take on too much. We essentially make life a pain in the ass. So many people complain, hate, and grouch around with every excuse possible and it does not have to be that way. Of course, easier said then done, and yet, I wonder if that is an excuse in itself!

My approach...take life moment by moment. Don't regret. Try something new. Make your life meaningful. I easily fall into the stressed out category, and occasionally grouchy, but when I get this way, I try and step back and really remember what is important. I have found that this leads me to be a pretty happy individual.

Not everyone is built the same has a lot to do with our upbringing and environment. I personally love being busy all the time. My favorite past time is baking and cooking. Sometimes I bite off more then I can chew (pun intended!), and I try to squeeze in baking amidst cleaning and homework and anything else imaginable, but I love the feeling of when I complete a creation. I can share it with others, or watch my family eat it, and I feel accomplished. That feeling can take me pretty far.

I love to dream, and think of the next fun adventure, whether it be traveling, planning a fun event with my loved ones, or just chiseling out a day to pamper myself and relax. Focusing on these things, and not on the negative aspects in life, keeps me charged up and excited about life. It helps me focus on what is really important and not what is superficial. I find my heart just bursting with joy over life's little blessings, like a dinner out with my husband, a walk with a friend, playing cards with my grandma, reading an uplifting blog or story, or a good run. These are small things, but they make me happy, and that rocks!

I challenger everyone to focus on what makes you happy. Don't worry about others. We spend too much time doing that and end up neglecting ourselves. Take the time to make yourself a better you, and it will undoubtedly pay it forward.

Oh, and are hella awesome and deserve only good and happiness in your life. Don't forget that!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Can't wait...

So last night was a fantastic night! I can't even put in to words how wonderful it was to be surrounded by friends and family, great food, and simply put, lots of love! Chaz took numerous calls to wish him a happy birthday from family and friends who were out of state. He was happy as a clam, and that was wonderful to see! This year has held a few rough patches but things are looking up and last night helped put into perspective just what really matters!

And after all the hustle and bustle of the past few days, weeks months, I am taking night off! I am going to make dinner, and then fill my night with decorating for Halloween (something I am just excited to do!), taking a bath, reading, and heading to bed early! The end of the work day can't come soon enough! I am not going to allow myself to make last minute plans...I am going to take the night and just do what I want!

Jeepers! Who knew a night off could get you so excited! Is it 5 o'clock yet?!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mushy Post Day 3

It's here! The day has arrived!

Happy 27th Birthday to my Love! And Happy Anniversary to boot!

We had a wonderful night with friends and family, and had a crap load of stroganoff and cake! It was deliciously wonderful to be surrounded by love, from both near and far, and the good food only enhanced it.

Everyday, the love for my husband grows, and after 9 and a 1/2 years, it's some pretty intense love, and I know it will only continue to grow. We don't even know the half of it.

I look forward to growing old with my husband. I look forward to the future. I look forward to starting a many amazing things have happened, and so many amazing things to come!

Friday, September 23, 2011

This may result in me getting a DVR...

So Thursday night, as often considered growing up, is tv watching night. I am going to try and get back into the Office. I haven't paid much attention to it the last two years but it's time to give it some love!

I also really enjoyed the season premiere of Whitney, which was on after the Office, and following those babies up with a little Jersey Shore for now equals a pretty bomb night!

Thursday nights I am generally free, although I never put off my social life for tv! However, Up all night is on Wednesday night...the same night as flag football! Up All Night is surprisingly good too! Granted it is just the beginning but I see great potential!

So, the dilemma I invest in DVR so that I can keep up with my shows? I am trying to weigh the decision because I know that if I get DVR, I will be pulled to watch tv, and I am pretty sure I would stress myself out thinking of all the shows I have piling up...I can't help it...I have a few anal characteristics left! I guess being a grown up really is!

Mushy Post Day 2

On Wednesday, Chaz and I went to a Twins game to celebrate our anniversary. Our anniversary is not until Monday but since we are having a birthday party for Chaz that day, we decided to celebrate a bit early!

Chaz and I have a knack for reflecting on the past. Maybe it is just me and I make him reflect with me, but either way, it is fun to talk about the past and special memories we have. After 9 and 1/2 years, there are quite a few memories!

One memory that I love was not shared with Chaz, however, but rather with all my bridesmaids. After taking pictures and stopping for a bathroom break at my mother-in-law's friends house, we loaded in to two cars to head to the church. I remember shouting as we walked out the doors, "Let's go get Chaz some insurance!" (As he was in school and did not have worked provided insurance...or possibly any for that matter; I can't remember!).

As we were driving to the church, the Black Eyed Pea's song "Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night" came on the radio. We rolled down the windows, both cars had hands hanging out the windows jamming, and we all laughed at the irony that that night WAS going to be a good night! It certainly started the whole event off on the right foot. I will never forget sharing that moment with some of the most important women in my life!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mushy Post Day 1

That title implies that there may be multiple Mushy posts and if you guessed that, well, then you are one smart cookie!

Next Monday we celebrate 2 years of marriage and I thought I would use this here blog to record some memories! That and Chaz shares his day of birth with our anniversary day so for the sake of not overshadowing that, I thought I could get some of my anniversary mushy overload taken care of right here and spare him most of the mush (and there is plenty to go around so never fear, he will be showered, I just think it's best I take it down a few notches so I am being proactive)!

So let's kick it off and what better way to kick off the merriment then sharing some pics of my ring!

This is the day Chaz decided to put a ring on it! November 4th, 2008! As I have mentioned before, this is a hard date to forget as it was election night, and not just any election night, but it was the night America elected their first black president...pretty cool, eh?!?

Prior to this night, I had no clue what the ring looked like. I also had no clue when it would happen. I may have had a small inkling that it was going to take place in the near future however.

About 6 months earlier, Chaz's parents were visiting, and they had all treked to Minneapolis for a lunch date. Chaz may have let it slip that they were looking at rings (how cool that his parents were involved-although that may be the reason it finally took place as my wonderful husband doesn't mind taking his sweet time on occasion!) so there fore I knew that in only a matter of months, I would get to start planning my wedding to the love of my life!

When Chaz let it slip that they were looking at rings, he also told me who was making it. I went home that evening, told my mom in a rather excited fashion that things were rolling, and we spent the evening studying the designs on the jewelers website. Everything is so unique and special that I couldn't even imagine what it would look like. And for that I am glad.

While I go the wild hair to searhc the website, I have always been the girl who did not want to know what her ring would look like, or when it would be coming. I wanted complete and utter surprise, and for the most part, that is what I got!

So on the night of November 4th, 2008, on a cruise ship with Chaz's family, Chaz purposed to me on the balcony, under the bright moon. It was a magical moment!

Good thing my mom had me get my nails done (wink wink)!

And boy am I glad that I had no say in what my ring would look like. I could have never dreamt up something so beautiful!

The ring is comprised of family jewelry, melted down, and reformed into this design...
To say I absolutely love it is an understatment. To me, it represents our history, our families history, on top of being unique, interesting, and just simply beautiful.

I would never say the ring makes the engagement, but in my case, it added so much to that special day. It was so intercate that I spent hours looking at it, and asking Chaz to tell me all the details that went into it.

I will need to ask him or his parents for the whole run down so we can keep it for future generations, but I do know that the diamond was Chaz's grandma's, the two small diamonds were his sisters, and his dad's first wedding band went into it (since it no longer fit him).

Talk about making a girl feel lucky!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I did it!

Yesterday I ran a 5k, one that kicked off my path to getting healthy!

Last September, I wrote a post about wanting get healthy so I could run the Liz Logelin Foundation 5k.

And yesterday, I ran it, 20 pounds lighter, and with 2 5k's and a half marathon under my belt! It felt great...and I was running for a great cause!

On the right side of my blog, there is a link to the Liz Logelin Foundation...check it out...And think about donating if you are able!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Looking forward...

I am excited for this fall...not just the pumpkins, the apples, the cool air and the comfort foods. Although these things could certainly make it memorable all in themselves.

On top of all the pre-noted wonderfulness, I get to celebrate my husbands birthday, our 2nd wedding anniversary, my aunt's wedding, Concordia's Homecoming with my brother being a freshman, time with the Core Four (my Auggie ladies), two 5K's, and a fun craft weekend in Moorhead. Throw in Halloween and Thanksgiving and we're talking party!

My statistics class ends on Friday...Thursday night will be dedicated to homework. Then I get four wonderful weeks off. I am looking forward to that! I plan to organize my life, get in a bunch of fall running, and hang out with my friends who get neglected as my homework, I know, but what can you do! Hopefully my next class is not as killer...luckily no classes over Christmas (gotta look for the positives)!

Plan of attack for tonight is flag football, some dinner, and then getting a good start on my final assignment for class! Wish me luck!

P.S. It is COLD today in the high of 58 degrees...not to mention freezing tonight. Like I said, welcome fall! But winter, you best not be closely following!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A family weekend...

I had a great weekend. My little bro came home from college and I really needed to see him! I had missed him since he left 3 weeks ago. Like teared up twice looking at pictures of him as a young pup type of missed him.

I spent the entire weekend out in B*town. Friday night we enjoyed the family's favorite Mexican restaurant and I never get out there so I indulged! For this reason, I knew Saturday was all about tracking my points and getting some sort of work out in! We headed to the golf course at 3 and I decided to wear my work out clothes, even though I would not be playing golf...nope, I was driving the cart and going to sneak in some exercises! For the first 5 or 6 holes, at each stop, I either did cardio, strength, or stretching...what I did? Push ups, sit ups, running back and forth between the two carts, running to the green to be the flag biatch, then running back down! I honestly got in a great work out! And all weekend I tracked my points, I just totally ate my weeklies within two nights! lol...I am so funny!

And my husband took my out on a date night last night so that really did not help the whole point situation BUT, I am tracking everything and at least staying with the game from a mental aspect! And, he is just so darn cute, you can't pass up being asked out to dinner by him! I am tracking what I eat though and that is the hardest part for is hard for me to log on to the site, and write down everything I eat, because it just seems tedious, but I am doing it!

So today is Monday, and I am ready for the week...I have homework to do tonight, but I am also going to punch out a good, sweaty workout, and maybe bake some treats for work!

Things I have cemented into my brain:

  • A small frilly drink at Starbucks is plenty...keeps the point count down while still enjoying a treat!

  • You can find time to work out, no matter where you are or what you are doing!

  • my brother grew up too fast!

  • I will never understand statistics!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

No doubt...

No doubt you remember where you were...who you were with...what you were doing. If you were old enough to recollect, then I know you remember.

I was 15, and a sophomore in high school. Nothing mattered more then the upcoming homecoming dance, and who I would sit with at lunch.

After first period, there was chatter in the hallway. I couldn't grasp what was going on. It sounded like rumors, or stories from something happening far far away.

During second period, the teacher had CNN on...this is when I grasped it. This is when I realized where this was all taking place. On my home field, in my own country, to my own people.

I watched, still not believing. Then, right there on the tv, in second period, I watched as the second plane hit. I felt hopeless, lost, scarred. I felt violated and cold. What was happening? What was going on? Was this the end? I no longer felt secure in my small town. In that moment, I felt a lack of trust.

My dad worked in a government building in the cities. I called to see if I could reach him. He answered, and I found a bit of hope. He said he was fine...I don't remember all the details of the call...I am not sure if they evacuated for security reasons, or if they all just hunkered down and waited it out. All I know is that hearing his voice brought back some reality.

I can't recall if I talked to my mom...those were not the days where everyone had a cell phone. Those were the days of landlines, so there was no texting or calling during the day unless you used a teachers phone. I do know she recollected later that her and my brother saw the second plane hit while still at home...his school started later so they were still together.

That night we cried. We sat as a family and watched the news. We heard rumblings that gas would run out. We considered taking our cars to the gas station in town that drastically hiked their price up by almost 400% that evening. Luckily my parents are not rash thinkers. They waited it out. We waited it out.

I remember feeling like nothing would ever be normal. I remember selfishly asking if homecoming would be cancelled...I thought a boy was going to ask me out, and I couldn't fathom anything ruining that....I feel foolish even putting that on here...but I was 15, and that was my reality.

But now I am 25. I have seen the toll that that day took on a lot of people. Ten years later, we are still seeing it. We are still feeling it. We are still fighting it.

For ten years, we have fought a war that ultimately started that day. That makes my stomach turn. Someday, hopefully we can rebuild, and stop risking the lives of our people. Hopefully we can live a life of peace, solitude, and trust.

Today I will reflect, pray, and ask for peace. Today I will remember all the lives lost, and ensure that they are not forgotten. Today, I will go out of my way to brighten someone else's day, because, no doubt, on a day like today, we could all use a little bit of comfort.

Dear Lord,
I pray that you watch over all of us...
The men and women fighting...
Their families back home....
The American people...
All mankind for that matter...
Help us to trust...
Help us to live...
And please help us to always remember...


Friday, September 9, 2011

Falling into fall....

Even though we have a beautiful 80 degree weekend approaching, I have accepted and am ready for fall. With the emergence of warm colors, pumpkin spice lattes, and trees with leaves beginning to color, my mind has slowly converted from summer to fall, and I am actually looking forward to it.

I have started a little fall cleaning project, and maybe this weekend I will throw out some of my fall decorations! Most importantly, I will probably dig through D. Lo's large quantities of decorations and spruce her living areas up too! We tend to spend more time in the upstairs area as of late so I really don't have to focus on the downstairs area too much...although, this may sound crazy, but I am going to kind of reclaim the downstairs and start spending more time doing my homework and watching tv. It is just comfortable because it is my stuff and I can watch what I want and just de-stress. I love being around people, and I think that is why I slowly started spending most my evening upstairs, even doing homework at the dinning room table, but I think I will focus more if I maybe spend some time in solitude. Ah, the ramblings of someone about to go into hibernation...fall truly is approaching!

Even still, I am off to enjoy my 80 degree weekend and take in just a bit more summer...maybe I can stock pile the sunshine and warmth and it will tide me over through winter which I am certainly not going to accept as willingly as I accepted fall!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's that time of year again...

PSL time that is!

P.S. PSL stands for Pumkin Spice Latte...or as I like it skinny PSL! But really, who cares...just go buy one now! You will never look back!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bridal Shower Part 2: Games!

Last week I filled you all in on the food part of the bridal shower I hosted for my aunt...

I really feel the food is the key ingredient to a rockstar shower, of any kind, but ALMOST as is important are the decorations and the games.

I like games played at shower's. I don't love them, but it can be a great way to pass some time and get everyone engaged. Plus, if you pick games where there are prizes involved, everyone really goes hog wild!

I decided on the ever so common and popular toilet paper bride. If you have never played or watched toilet paper bride....well...I don't think we can be friends anymore. Just kidding! Toilet paper bride is one of those games that starts out with everyone cringing and morphs into everyone laughing hysterically by the end of it. Simply put, break your party up into teams, separate them throughout the house, and give them 5 minutes to create a designer wedding gown out of toilet paper! Bring everyone back together, let the teams explain their design to the bride and then the bride can chose a winner. I like to provide the winning team with a small gift and what better than toiletries! The dollar travel section is a great place to get body wash, lotion, body spray, what have you.

This is my grandma's sister and her double cousin posing as brides (my mom snapped this photo!)

Next we played Bridal Bingo and the dice game. Bridal bingo is simple. You can either use templates printed off from online, or, you can print blank sheets, along with a list of words, and have everyone fill in their card prior to playing.

The simplest form of entertainment and time-wasting is the dice game. Sit your guests in a circle, pass around two trays with dice in them. When someone rolls a pair, they can grab a gift, but not unwrap it. After all the gifts have been spoken for, everyone unwraps their prizes. However, they don't get to keep them. The next round is 5 minutes long and when someone gets doubles, they can steal a prize from anyone. This part of the game can get a little wild!

I suggest having plenty of prizes on hand. Pick up item from the dollar section of the baking aisles. I grabbed cookie mixes, cake mix and frosting, lotion, notepads, recipe cards, pot holders, salad spoons, just a bunch of random items that women swoon over!

I prepped the prizes the night before, wrapping them in colorful bags which is super easy and fast. I suggest eliciting help! Here's a quick shot of my little helper!

Yep! That's Kea (aka. White One!). Did you see her amongst the gifts?!

Next week, or maybe later this week once I get caught up on homework, I will fill you in on the decorations and talk themes!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tonya and Twins...

This weekend one of my best friends Tonya came down to accompany me to a Twins game. Needless to say, we had some large buckets of Malibu Punch and got a little tipsy...probably the most fun I have had at a game yet! Isn't it great to have friends you can have a good time with?!?

Yesterday I ran a mile and it felt great. I had some time before I mowed so I just hoped to it and punched out a quick run! I have been doing videos and not so much distance runs but I am ready to hit the pavement again! Tonight I will make Thomas go out with me...gotta start preparing for Thursday's MN State Fair Adventure!!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday...

I am thankful that I have a roof over my head and a nice bed to crawl into a night.
I am thankful I can play sports and be active.
I am thankful for some friend time this weekend.
I am thankful I get to fall asleep next to my wonderful husband.
I am thankful for the wonderful tomato soup I had for lunch (funny thing, I used to hate tomato soup!).
I am thankful that I have magazines to read at the gym.
I am thankful that my husband and I are going to the state fair next week.
I am thankful that today was a weigh in and a new week.
I am thankful I have the internet so I can keep in touch with all of you.
I am thankful I wore flats today.
I am thankful that in 9-10 hours, I get to crawl back into bed...this morning was an early one!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shower Part 1: The Food!

This past weekend I hosted a shower for my aunt who is getting married in October. Arguably, the most important part of a party, especially in the MN, is the food! I took that as a challenge!

To start, I created a spread that I was proud of.

Don't you see the contentment on my face?!

And to top off our beautiful spread, what better than to give food as a favor also! We decided to make mini loaves of friendship bread. My grandma helped me prepare for the shower and while she was able to bake during the day, that doesn't make such a favor off limits for those of us who work during the day. My philosophy while prepping for this shower, and ones I have hosted int he past, was to think of the effect that it would have on individuals, not just the bride. Everyone loved getting to go home with a baked treat! (And like I said, we are from the MN...everyone loves sweets and better yet, free food!)

We added a cute note of appreciation too! Our theme was a mixture of three words: summer, simple, country. I would say we pulled that off pretty well, but I will leave the details for another post!

Aside from the usual attendees at summer parties (fruit, crackers, cheese and meat) I decided to whip up two salads, one being a chicken salad to make sandwiches, and the other being a pasta salad to accompany it.

I wanted to share the recipes as the chicken salad was delicious! And the pasta salad was created by yours truly!

Chicken Salad (Adapted from online research)

2.5 cups cooked chicken diced
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup grapes, halved
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 bunch green onion chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients and chill overnight.

We doubled the recipe to make more, so instead of having to bake another small chicken, I picked up a rotisserie chicken for the second batch. Just a tip: This tasted wonderful and was easy! I will be going the rotisserie chicken route the next time I do this!

The second salad was a combination of Internet research, and personal preference!

Summer Pesto Caprese Salad

1 lb pasta (any shape!)
4 oz. pesto
3 tbsp garlic Olive oil (or add garlic to your saute pan if you use olive oil)
3 cups cherry tomatoes
Italian seasoning mix
8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan

Cook pasta. While this is cooking, saute tomatoes in olive oil. Once they have cooked, mash them up into a sauce. Once pasta has cooked, rinse with cold water to chill. To pasta, add tomato sauce, 4 oz. pesto, fresh mozzarella, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste! Let it chill over night to flavors can develop.
All plated up!

Finish the party with some sweet treats! We had pistachio dessert (sorry, no photo), store bought cupcakes that were delicious, and cookies I had made from refrigerated dough and those packs of dry mix you can get in the baking aisle (hey, what can I say? It was crunch time towards the end!)

My best and most sound advice when preparing for a party...prepare everything ahead of time! Get everything cut up, placed on trays, and what have you the night before. We even prepared the trays with olives and pickles and just wrapped them in saran wrap! And notice my cookie tins? Such a time saver! I had those babies lined up all pretty Thursday night! And good thing, cause we had not a minute to spare prior to the party!

Hope you enjoy the recipes and advice! I think hosting a party can be a really enjoyable experience! I just hate the cleanup!