Archive for December, 2009

Our Christmas Vacation

After almost a week in Vegas, we’re back in the Reno cold. We had such a great visit with family and friends. The pugs were surprisingly well behaved in the car and aside from snow blowing across the highway through the entire middle of the state, it was a pretty nice drive. It sure looked like we were going to hit a ton of rain coming into the valley, but once we got there, nothing but blue sky!

We arrived Tuesday evening and spent a quiet night at home with the fam. Wednesday was full of baking then we had to sneak in a quick trip to visit Kimm and Sterling…just can’t get enough of that cute little one!!

The Christmas Eve tradition of steak and lobster continued. We had a fabulous dinner with my parents then picked Grom up for Christmas Eve church. If anyone’s ever in Vegas for the holidays and looking for a fantastic service, go to Community Lutheran. They have three amazing singers performing Christmas classics. It’s sure to put you in the holiday mood!

We had a lovely Christmas morning filled with great presents and french toast. 

The family got a Wii which then comsumed our lives for the next two days. My mom and I cooked all day while Jimmy, Vic & Alyssa mastered every game. We were able to tap into Jimmy’s sous chef abilities for a couple hours before losing him to the Wii which was a huge help to get everything ready on time!

For anyone wanting a fabulous meal, here are links to our Christmas creations:

Creamy Artichoke and White Bean Dip

Cranberry, Apple and Jicama Salad

Buttery Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Artichoke, Spinach & Feta Stuffed Shells

Herb Crusted Standing Rib Roast 

We also made a super simple arugula salad tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. So easy, but an incredibly good addition to any meal!

With so many holiday desserts, we couldn’t choose just one. Here’s what we came up with…

Blushing POM Holiday Cheesecake

Sweet Gingerbread Gems

Sour Cream Pound Cake – topped with homemade whipped cream (1 cup heavy cream, 2 tbsp powdered sugar, 2 tsp vanilla) and sprinkled with fresh pomegranate seeds

An abundance of wonderful food and great quality time with family made this an unforgettable Christmas!

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This year’s Christmas festivities kicked into high gear last weekend with the annual Reno Santa Crawl. While Jimmy and I didn’t brave the freezing temperatures for the pub crawl on Saturday night, we did partake in some good, wholesome bowling Friday at the National Bowling Stadium (yes, the same Reno landmark where Kingpin was filmed). The ridiculous snowstorm last week left the streets buried and it wasn’t ideal conditions to be walking around town in your pjs, but it was well worth it! The Santa Crawl Pajama Ball featured a night of bowling with proceeds donated to Reindeer Charities to support Hashimoto Widows and Orphans’ Fund for families of fallen police officers in the Reno/Sparks area.

We had the pleasure of spending an evening with a few of our favorite friends who never fail to bring the fun! And, like most gatherings we attend, it somehow ended up as a dance party with Seema busting a move while trying to bowl at the same time. It was a night of laughs and another late-night trip to Ole Bridge Pub for shuffleboard with Lesley.

This picture is just too random not to share…this is Jimmy’s friend and fraternity brother Tam, who oddly enough, wore the same outfit out for the pub crawl the next night with a Santa suit over it!

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After spending five days taking long walks, running around my grandparent’s backyard and basking in the sun, being cooped up in this apartment is no fun. It’s been colder than usual outside so we haven’t been on many walks lately. Not that we’d have time anyway since mom and dad are always upstairs on the computer.

Last Sunday, after a short little nap in our crates, Jett and I were so excited when the leashes came out! We were finally getting out of the house, maybe even taking a walk through the neighborhood. We could hardly wait for the door to open before we rushed out and, ugghhhh, snow. I hate snow. It’s cold and wet and just plain icky on my little pug feet. It makes me tuck my tail and run psycho laps around the house until I dry off.

Jett, on the other hand, could care less about the snow.

I tried my best to behave, taking care of business as quickly as I could before running back inside. The few times it snowed in Vegas, it was just one day and melted by the next, so I wasn’t too concerned.

It was unusually chilly that night so I snuggled close to mom and slept in late Monday. When I went to take my morning nap by the sliding door, there was no sun. What was going on? Jett insisted on going outside instead of giving in to the patio and for some reason, we were getting all bundled up for this trip. Look at this insanity that was outside our door!

Not just a little snow on the ground but a huge pillow of white! I was nearly buried by snow!! Thank goodness I looked cute in my little red riding hood jacket or this day would have just been worthless!

It’s three days later and we still can’t go outside. Just look at dad’s car…it’s still buried and everything around us is covered in white.

At least I’m used to the patio now and mom moved my grass under the awning so it’s nice and dry! I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to this, but at least I can sleep by a cozy fire wrapped up in mom’s blanket all day!! 

Sometimes I’m really nice and even let Jett snuggle by the fire. See, I’m not mean to him all the time!

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I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted. Thanksgiving road trip, 30th birthday and finals have kept me pretty busy. Let’s pick up where we left off, then next week, I’ll be sure to post some of my favorite recipes for you. After all, I have seven weeks off to spend in the kitchen!

We spent a nice, long holiday with Jimmy’s family in El Dorado Hills. We drove up Tuesday afternoon arriving just before sunset. Perfect timing to enjoy the beautiful colors of fall and for the pugs to explore in the backyard.


We had five days of wonderful food, lovely company and plenty of relaxation. The O’Mearas taught us a fun game called Tripoly. Jimmy’s parents and the O’Mearas play pretty regularly but I beat the pants off everybody! Beginners luck, I guess…and Mike helped me win the first few hands!!

Thanksgiving day started early (for Jimmy and his mom anyway) with the morning filled with cooking. I made an amazing butternut squash bread pudding, recipe provided by my favorite blogger Molly Wizenberg. The James Gang came over in the afternoon and stayed well after dark. We had such a good time visiting with them!

Friday was packed full of events. We started by seeing New Moon at the new town center in EDH. Then headed over to Placerville to visit with the Smith side of Jimmy’s family and enjoyed the tree lighting on Main Street. That night, we met up with a few of Jimmy’s childhood friends, Mike, Joe and Pat. We spent hours chatting, playing pool and shuffleboard before calling it a night. It really made me admire the lifestyle of a small town. All these boys grew up together and share so many memories!

We made it back to Reno Sunday afternoon, just in time to get ready for the long, dreadful week ahead. I had a little more to finish on my final papers and two classes left. Not to mention the birthday I’d been dreading all year! Just so there’s no confusion, I hated turning 30. It was the worst birthday yet. Now that it’s over, I’m OK with being 30…I think. It was just the actual day (and the next few after) that really sucked! I feel like there’s an expectation around birthdays to do something great. I just wanted to stay home and sulk about being old and unaccomplished. I know I’m such a Debbie Downer but really, it was painful for me!

Thankfully, I do have an amazing husband and wonderful friends who helped me get over it!! The sucky 30th birthday was on Tuesday, isn’t that a terrible day of the week for a birthday?? I pouted on the couch for three days, then Jimmy and I had a nice sushi dinner Friday. We spent the next night at Bertha Miranda’s (just for you Aunt Trisha!!), took this quick picture by the Christmas Tree downtown…

and hung out at a fun new bar on the river, Ole Bridge Pub. Birthdays in Reno are definitely better than birthdays in Vegas even if it means turning 30! My mom says I won’t care again until I’m 40 so I won’t have to slip into a state of depression for ten more years! 

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