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!

I love magazines!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not a shower update, but a food update!

yup, I promised you wedded bliss but I just have to sneak in a little food update!

First, I want to get something out there. I am on Weight Watchers. I follow it as a guideline, but sometimes I have a hard time sticking to it perfectly. But no matter what, Thursday hits, I weigh myself, reflect, and continue on my journey. It may be a slow journey, but I am doing it. I vow to not jump on here and say that I am jumping back on the wagon, or I am restarting up after a break, because in truth, that is not true. WW is always in the back of my mind, even if I am enjoying some birthday cake. And sometimes I splurge at night, and over do it, but my mind snaps me back into reality, and I get back to focusing on what I eat. In general, my 9-5 is pretty regimented...and most of my weeknights, it's just the weekends that bring on the trouble but slowly, over time, I might just get over that! lol...but in the meantime, I am trying to really stay focused in order to drop some lbs. prior to my aunt Kristie's wedding, so here are some of the wonders I have found and wanted to share with you!

  • Fiber One Brownie - 2pp...a great treat to curb a sweet tooth! Also pairs nice with light ice cream! Try this: 2pp brownie, 1/2 cup light vanilla ice cream, 1/2 cup-1 cup blackberries (or any berries for that matter!) 5pp of wonderfulness! Top with light chocolate syrup for a 6pp treat! It will fill you up along with filling every sweet desire and craving within you!

  • Country Hearth Light English Muff - 2pp!!!!!...wonderful with light butter for 3pp, and a dash of cinnamon sugar! Or maybe some Jam for another 3pp treat! Or how about a good old pb & j on English muffin for a filling 5pp sandwich! Want something hearty? Top with one prepared egg and a slice of light cheese for another 5pp sandwich! Ahhh, the possibilities!

  • An assortment of berries drizzled with 1pp worth of light chocolate syrup

  • Light string cheese (1pp) paired with an apple (0pp)! Yummy!

  • 4 Water Crackers (2pp) paired with a slice of light cheese or cheese stick (1pp)

Enjoy! And happy snacking!

Wedding Shower and Graduation...oh my!

I will have a lot to recap, and I won't get it all in right now, but this past weekend was a blast!

On Saturday I hosted a bridal shower for Krisite! It went so well and everyone had a great time. When hosting a party, that is really what you want so I would say it was all around successful! I will provide more details later and fill you in on what I did!

Then yesterday we celebrate Mikey's graduation/leaving for college with a low key, family and friends party. It was relaxing and fun with some great summer time food!

This week will be busy with flag football starting and the continuation of school work...oh, and Mikey leaving on Wednesday for school :(

Speaking of school work, did I let you all know that my computer got a virus and crashed? And that I have no way to download the special software I bought for this really wonderfully fantastic statistics class I have to take...yeah, that's been a peach!

More to come later tonight!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

No longer at a loss for words...

Loss is hard to stomach.

It is hard, painful, and just seems to stick around.

There is something that stings a bit more, especially when the individual is young. Especially when they had so much life to live.

I have known LeeAnn since 9th grade. She is my best friend, pretty much my twin. She is the girl who made her self at home the first time I brought her home. The girl who spent 4 nights a week at my house during high school, who would drive to school with me, share clothes with me, eat batches of puppy chow with me, buy groceries and pack cold lunches with me. The girl who is there, whenever, no matter the hour. The girl who shared her family with me, and I shared mine with her. The girl whose family is and always will be her everything.

LeeAnn lost her sister at the beginning of June. I lost a little girl who I had watched grow up. We lost a young, beautiful, insanely energetic Maddie.

Life has been different since her passing. I can be driving in the car, and my mind will wander for 20, 30 minutes. I will ponder what she was like, how lively and upbeat she was. I think about who she would have been, and where her life would have taken her. I hear certain songs on the radio, and they make my stomach turn. I find myself looking at facebook pictures and realize that 45 minutes has passed. I just get lost in the situation. I get caught up in her life.

I wish like nothing that we could rewind, that I could say something, that we could all have made her change her mind. I wish with everything inside of me that her life would not have ended. I wish I wouldn't have to watch my best friend and her family mourn. I wish I didn't have to watch her mom break down. I wish there were no memorial pictures on facebook, no picture montages online. I wish she was at home, with her family, right now, enjoying a warm August evening.

I wish the little girl who caught the bouquet at my wedding, was alive and well and thriving.
But since she is not, all I can do is pray with everything inside me that someday, her family won't hurt this bad. And I know it may come, but it sure is a rough journey.

The summer is hott...

For birthdays that is!

Seriously, when July hits, I make sure I buy a host of cards and put away a little extra money for treats and gifts!

NOT that treats and gifts are expected, but it is something I personally enjoy doing! So in true Adara fashion, I am late in recognizing, but no less appreciative of these people in my life and the special day they have celebrated in the last two months!

So a big happy birthday to...

My dad Chris
My father-in-law Denis
My brother Michael
My best friend Tonya
My best friend LeeAnn
My cousin Ryan
My sister-in-law Laine
My dog-in-law Fu
My mom Joni
My soon to be cousin Dawson
My best friend Laura (who celebrates her birthday today)

and I will round out my birthday wishes by getting a head start on wishing my Grandma Lainy an early Happy Birthday...she will be celebrating her day of birth on September 3rd!

If I missed anyone, I apologize...please let me know and also understand that keeping track of this many birthdays is fricken crazy! But also a blessing!

Happy Birthday Everyone!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Growing up, we always had a cat in the fact, at one point we had three! Jigs was the first, then I think came Whitey, followed by Patches. Whitey was my cat. I was around 3 when my mom picked him up, battered and neglected at the local gas station, set to die the next morning at the owner's hands. My parents have always had a place in their heart for neglected animals, so there was no way Whitey was being left behind.

For the next 17 years, Whitey followed me everywhere, slept on my head, and licked my hair (I know, weird, but also comforting). I loved them all, but they also had their issues. All three were males and had the great quality of marking their territory. That, coupled with the mass amounts of hair that covered the house and the wonderful smell of the litter box, made me swear that I would not own a cat when I grew up. Even though I loved them, and the personalities they have, I was determined to own dogs!

However, I am here today to let you all know, that I am, and always will be, a cat lady! I thought I could switch my preference, but I can't! And the funny thing is, I never considered myself a cat person. Even though I was dressing Whitey up in doll clothes (and yes, he was a boy, but his complexion made him look great in pink ruffles!), carrying him around the house in baskets, and sharing my cereal and chex mix with him. Oh no, I was simply being nice. I would tell everyone and their mother that I was not a cat person, I just happened to have a best friend who was a cat. And Whitey was my best friend.

A funny memory of Whitey was when my sister and I shared a room. Whitey would always hop onto my bed and if Kory was being a brat, I would start telling Whitey secrets to make Kory mad. He was my partner in crime!

And when he passed, I lost someone very special to me. Someone who had grown up with me, someone who had helped me through some rough times. I spent a few years pondering where to bury Whitey, but I just hated the thought of putting him in the ground. One summer I came home from college and knew that it was time to find him a permanent home. We had planted a few trees for other pets and placed their ashes in the soil and I knew Whitey would want to be outside. So we went a picked out a tree, and Whitey was finally at peace.
And he got a cute little sign that needs to be fixed but it says, "Cats leave pawprints on our hearts."And even though I denied the fact that I was in love with cats, I guess God had a different plan. Shortly after getting married, Chaz and I knew we wanted to add to our Durgin clan. We looked at small dogs, and big dogs, and fish, and mice, and ferrats (that one is all mine!). Chaz came across some cats online and after discussing it to the extreme, we decided to get a cat as that is what our apartment allowed. Little did we know that we would be blessed with this lovely lady!

But Faith was going to be it! No more animals until we could get a dog! But I guess my parents need to help animals passed on to me cause when I heard this old girl (she's around 11) needed a home or she would be put down, I just knew she was coming home with me!

And both our girls have made our home even more enjoyable then it was before. We love cuddling them and fawning over them, giving them treats and playing with toys.
And even up till now, it has been hard to admit I am a cat lady. But with these two beauties around, I can't help but realize that I really am a cat lady...probably for life!

How could I not be when I get to come home to this cute mug!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

So happy...

I share a lot on my blog. While of course there are many days I don’t write, and sometimes a certain event is not relevant anymore, I am not one to keep too much bottled up. I have shared that Chaz has been looking for a job for a long time. Months, in fact, I imagine we are nearing a year. And it has been a hard, long road. But luckily, thankfully, blessedly, Chaz has landed a job! We are all excited for the opportunity, albeit a bit nervous for this new adventure. Wish us, but mostly Chaz, luck and well wishes on this next chapter in our lives!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August goals....

August is here, and while I wish we weren’t nearing the end of summer, I have decided that instead of loathing it, I am going to rock it! I have some great plans along with some fun goals for the future month! ·

  • Workout at least 5 days a week (doing good thus far!)·

  • Make a bunch of healthy recipes·

  • Watch some movies I have been meaning to watch·

  • Finish the book I started in June (if I was not in school, books would get completed much faster…kind of looking forward to graduating next May!)·

  • Host a bridal shower·

  • Continue to be successful with Weight Watchers·

  • Start flag football and really make an effort to understand what the fudge nugget is going on ·

  • Help Mike prepare to leave for college·

  • Plan a few trips to visit Mike and Tonya· Stay on top of my homework·

  • Go out to breakfast with Chaz a few weekend mornings·

  • Actually bring the pile of clothes that don’t fit to a donation drop off·

  • Plan our next trip·

  • Give my cats a bath (they will hate me, but I will love how they will be so fresh and so clean clean!)

  • Sign up for my next race!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WW Peach Crisp

Oh hello…yep, still here…just been a bit busy. And, well…I have actually just taken some time to relax. And for me, blogging can be relaxing, but it can also be another thing on my already too crammed plate. I need to learn to not take on so much, but I almost can’t help it. I think I have an addiction to “doing”. Hello, my name is Adara, and I can’t sit still. Seriously, come hang out for an hour. You’ll see what I mean!

School is going better. After donating almost all of last Sunday to reading and listening to online lectures, I have a slightly better understanding. Instead of knowing absolutely nothing at all, I at least know a few terms now…like one or two. Do you know we all use the word statistic wrong? Yep, pretty confusing! I can’t even explain it to you it is that confusing. Maybe the next time I have my book open and if I run across it I will fill you in!

I have had a few weekends at home which has just been wonderful (maybe I am learning not to cram my plate full!). I have spent some time with friends, mowed my parents lawn, worked on homework, taken in some movies, and worked out. I took a hiatus from WW the past few months but that is now back in full swing and so is my running! I suffered a bum knee after my half marathon but now I am feeling pretty good out on the pavement! And my new running buddy Thomas keeps me trucking. He runs the same pace as me…SLOW…which I appreciate!

So, thus far on the Weight Watcher trek…I was down 25. I gained back 7? And now I am back down one with my weigh in taking place tomorrow! Wish me luck! I had some gummy worms attack me this afternoon and we went out to dinner for my mom’s birthday but hopefully all the eating right and working out led to something! And if not, while then I just keep trucking! It is easy to live a fulfilling life with nummy foods and that is what I have to keep in mind! So with that, I leave you with a delicious recipe on found on one of my favorite blogs!

Disclaimer: Here’s a really good 4p+ peach crisp and you could easily make with apples in the fall for an apple crisp! I think 6-8 peaches is better…10 was too many and took forever to cook down and even then, they were not as soft…I made with less and it turned out better! OR, if you have a bigger pie plate or pan, use that!

Peach Crisp


Serves 6

1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
10 medium peaches
2 tbsp white sugar

Directions: Cut the peaches into slices and place in a pie plate. Sprinkle 2 tbs of white sugar over peaches. Mix oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and use two forks or a pastry cutter to mix butter into oat mixture. Cover the peaches with the oat mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Nutritional informationCalories 142 , Total Fat 4.3g, Sodium 31mg, Total Carbohydrates 25.0g, Dietary Fiber 1.0g, Protein 1.5g4 points + per serving