Experiences are the Best Gifts

~Kristen Furleigh

The best gift you can give some one is your time. Rather than spending your hard earned money on things that in most cases only offer short term fulfillment why not think differently next time a holiday or birthday come around. We as people remember most the experiences we had and the people we had them with more readily than the gift items we get. Why not give the gift of experiences and/or time when the next gift giving event takes place?

great basin

Around here we prefer just that. Any chance we get we are trying to come up with a meaningful experience in which we can gift our time when these milestones hit. This year was my Dad’s 50th birthday and what we came up with is for me to take him out to a different spot once a month for the whole year and we grab a beer together . This encourages us to make time for each other; which with our busy schedules can get away from us sometimes. For the year we are dedicating once a month to an experience and quality time; which is better than any ol’ tie or bottle of aged whiskey could offer. It’s just two months in and it has been a blast!

If you are looking for some grand adventures or experiences and don’t know where to look try out Groupon. You can get ideas and even try something new for a fraction of the original cost. They have offers in most cities.


Christmas this year was a great year for Groupons, one of my favorite gifts, my parents got each of us ‘kids’ a voucher for go-kart racing! And for my parents I got us an adventure for a group snowshoeing adventure up in Lake Tahoe. For Richard and I we purchased one for parasailing this summer up in Lake Tahoe also. I can’t wait to go on these epic adventures with people I love.

cpAnother place to start when trying to come up with gifts that are more along these lines is to think about the person’s interests and how you can incorporate those into an activity or outing. When my birthday came around last year Richard remembered my love of arts/crafts and weakness for a sweet Moscato and signed me up to spend time with my Mom at Crafted Palette (a local paint and sip establishment) since he had to work.

These are just a few of many ways you can change your gift giving habits that we encourage you to try out. What are some of your favorite non-traditional gifts or some ideas that you have come up with that we didn’t talk about? We would love to hear about them. Having trouble or feeling stuck; lets brainstorm some ideas together! Til next time Pengminions!

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All About the Biggest Little City in the World

Hello Pengminions!!!

So much catching up to do. The Mr. PenGLAP and myself have been settling here in Texas for a bit as we attempt money making and planning for our grand shindig and honeymoon adventures. There is so much still left to do. I have almost finalized my dress maker. I have used Etsy.com to find wonderful wonderful artists to design the perfect steampunk ensemble. More of that later though once more is finalized. Besides….RENO!!!!

We finally made it to Reno back in November. While we were there I got to introduce my fiance to a beautiful place. Never in my life did I imagine my “family” home would be in Reno, NV but somehow it happened and what a glorious place to go and visit my Mom, Dad, and brothers. I fall a little bit more in love with this city every time I visit.
The top thing that this trip was being introduced to a place called The Generator. It is not affiliated with Burning Man but it provides a space for many of those artists to create some of the stories tall structures seen there. Most importantly it is a free space that any artist can use to create whatever their heart desires. It is a place with tools and space. You bring the materials you need to create and they will give you the rest provided they have it. All you have to do is talk to one of the heads at this place and they will work with you night and day (literally, this place is open 24hrs) for you to see your dreams come true. We had a wonderful experience with the people there the couple times we visited. We might even have some of our decorations done there. (I just need to enlist my family members. hint, hint. wink, wink;) They have a laser cutter that we think would be perfect to get gears/accessories cut out of wood to paint. I could go on about this place but you should click on the name of the place above and visit their website. Its FREE! It blows my mind that someone could be so generous to artists trying to make it happen. Alright, gush over!

We spent a lot of time with my family who were still working AND going to school. Everyone in their house was taking college courses which is pretty cool. Maybe one day they will be graduates like me! 😀 They have so many amazing things going on currently that I cannot wait to share with you!
They have also been dealing with a lot which is one of the main reasons we made the journey to Reno. My middle brother was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation in his brain. We went with him when he had to have an angiogram with possible surgery at Stanford Medical Center in California. They did not continue with the procedure (embolization) they were planning on after doing the angiogram because they did not think it would be safe to do so. He had a follow up with another doctor from there and now they will be doing cyberknife radiosurgery. He will be having that procedure in the near future and will be on anti-seizure medications with follow up MRI’s twice a year to check the status. I am hoping that it all goes smoothly and he can continue with his studies (he is going to school for engineering) how he would like to and it goes away completely with this procedure because until it is 100% gone he is at risk of a stroke. Any positive thoughts and vibes are most appreciated if you can spare a few. (Not everything in a relationship is peachykeen and it is something we are having to navigate so thank you for reading even the tough stuff)

More things about our adventures in Reno!
We spent some time at the Grand Sierra Resort casino and hotel hitting golf balls into…water!
Yes, it was cold!
We also headed inside for some more family fun competition!
Since everyone had their own things going on some of the time we busied ourselves with some projects of our own.
We finished making our paracord whips (except finishing touches on the handles) so we can practice new skills and hopefully add it to our resume’s in the future. We had a friend start us off on them while in PA but finished them from a website he gave us
Check them out!

Another day we decided to climb a mountain!
This is us about a 1/4 of the way up.
This is our first signs of ice as we ventured up the snow capped mountain!
Snack time with a view
Our crazy faces after we made it to the top! It was such a glorious experience. People get adventurous it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Just getting out and exploring and doing things I had never done before.

One other day we went for a bike ride near the river with my mom and got distracted by this buck and deer couple laying in the grass right behind someone’s house. Unfortunately we didn’t bring our phones so we could not capture this moment for you all but it was quite majestic being so close and to watch them watching us and how close we were.
If you are in need of a movie recommendation we went to a late showing of Catching Fire and it was fantastic! Richard had just finished reading the book and was a bit more critical than I was because it had been years since I had read the books though he still thought positively about it for the most part.

Two of my brothers, one girlfriend, the fiance, and I all went ice skating the night before our Thanksgiving adventures. Surprisingly the outdoor rink downtown was open because it had not been getting to freezing the few days before. Also, Luckily no one fell which I find to be a miraculous feat but we did have a few close calls!
Here’s a dark picture because it was night time.
On an early Thanksgiving morning the kids took off to a lake in California and spend part of the day fishing!
When we got back we had the best food, Fried crawfish, Steak, and my mommas Delicious potato salad (seriously the best thing!)


A couple days later we all gathered for a family adventure out to LAKE TAHOE! I was so excited to take Richard.
We spent the day driving around the lake taking pit stops at some of our favorite locations.Image
Man I could gush about this place but nothing I say nor any picture I post can show you what you see or give you the feels like being there does. I will share with you anyway a slew of photos from this day. Enjoy!
My mom and dad! ❤ this photo
An Island with a tiny castle in Lake Tahoe.
Natural Beauty.
Mom & I
Alright, Alright I’m done bombarding you with the wondrous Lake Tahoe. There is just so much to do there pretty much year round. It is located in the mountains and during the summer has all the water fun you could want, camping, hiking, fishing, ect. And during the winter (we were there during the limbo period where it isn’t quite snowy enough yet and definitely not warm lol) they have skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ect. Anytime of year you can find something to do if you can pull yourself out of awe to do anything else but stare at it’s magnificence.

The following day we went on down to Virginia City, NV an old gold mining town that his been kept fairly well in its original state.
We had so much fun walking around with my brother and his girlfriend looking at all the antique shops and seeing people dressed up and riding horses. We went and got some great steampunk ideas while we were there too.
It was very merry!
Once night hit we went exploring an old cemetery that many of the initial settlers to this town were buried. It was a little eerie but also mind stimulating to read the tombstones and try to come up with what could have happened and stories surrounding.

Oh and I cannot forget before we did depart from the adventure filled Reno we went sledding with my dad on a hill right behind their place!
Obviously Richard had the camera!
(This reminds me one day we are going to have to post an outtakes album with videos and pictures, something for you all to look forward to)

Here is Richard scraping off our windshield as we are to depart our family visit vacation!

Thank you Pengminions for hanging in there with me and checking out our Reno adventure!
We cannot wait to have more for you as our soiree plans get going. There is one more catch up blog we have for you guys and it is our trip BACK to Texas. Worry not we are getting closer and closer to the present. Ha and it will be merry like x~mas because x~mas = presents and it will be merry when we finally catch up! Ok, ok cheesy I know. Hopefully it is part of why you are following our journey.
Til next time.
Much love,