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!