Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Recap

Christmas was amazing. It really is called the most wonderful time of the year for a reason. There are few things better than having time off of work to spend with family and eat delicious food and exchange presents and celebrate the birth of our Savior. And to quickly recap all of those things for you Rothenberger style, here's the low-down:

Family time - Now that Justin & I are our own little family of two, we made sure to spend some time celebrating by ourselves.  We spent Christmas Eve at home, making dinner and partaking in general holiday cheer. Then we packed our bags and headed to our parent's for the next few days. We're pretty fortunate that our parents only live a couple miles apart so we were able to see everyone.

Delicious food - My father-in-law's birthday is December 31st, so we decided to have a little birthday dinner celebration early. We had lobster, steak, and vanilla bean cheesecake. It was so much deliciousness that we felt like we were sinning. 

Presents - Although I enjoy reading other people's present recaps, they're just not my style. But you can expect to see some new house decorations on the blog soon :)

Savior's birth - We hung our stockings, wrapped presents, baked cookies, lit candles, decorated the tree, and decked the halls all to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And His life and death are the greatest gift of all.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  
 ~John 3:17, NIV

So how was your Christmas? I'd love to hear about it! Have a great rest of the year! I'll be back blogging in 2012. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
~ Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope your day is full of celebration and laughter and good food and worship and prayer. 
xo, The Rothenbergers 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gifting The Neighbors

This is the story about how we gifted our neighbors. Nothing extravangent, just something small that says - "we like living next to you. thanks for being so awesome."

First I took a blank box and layered some red tissue paper.

Then I filled it with homemade deliciousness.

I attempted to neatly fold the tissue paper on top.

Then on the box I tied one of my homemade gift tags and a felt tree ornament I bought at Target. I can't find them online to share with you, but they were 3 for $1 and they were in the ornament section.

* After looking at this picture I remembered to trim the trailing leftover twine.

Easy peasy. That's my theme for this year. 

So that's what we're gifting our neighbors with. Are you giving your neighbors anything? Did you bake any holiday cookies yet this year? If you have any killer recipes, I'd love to hear! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011


Today is a special day for Justin & me . . . it's our engagaversary. A year ago today Justin woke me up in the wee hours of the morning and I walked outside to find my dear man, a burning heart on our pond, and a sparkly diamond.

And as they say, the rest is history. Beautiful beautiful history.

Happy engagaversary Justin! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Let's play a game. Can you spy what is different with my tree since the last time I shared a picture of it?
Did I hear presents? 123 blogger points to you!

When I receive a beautifully wrapped gift, I am in awe. I love gifts that are wrapped with such attention to detail and thought. My gifts, however, typically get hastily wrapped the night before Christmas with whatever paper I can find. Birthday balloons, pink foil, ladybugs . . . it's all fair game. So this year I decided to step it up.

Keep in mind that nothing I am sharing is going to be great - or probably even good. It's just a step up for me and if I keep making small steps, maybe one year my presents will be pretty too. That's what I'm hoping at least.

So first I decided to start with pretty paper. I ended up choosing 3 rolls from Lowes (shocker).
As I've said many times before, I enjoy traditional patterns and decorating with reds and greens -  so it should be no surprise that I chose plaid, shiny red foil, and ivy leaves with holly berries. 

But my stepped up Christmas presents couldn't be given without a little jazz. It'd be like putting on a fancy dress and forgetting your pearls. If you're June Cleaver that is.

So I made some gift tags. I haven't attached them to the gifts yet because i'm worried they'll get crumpled under the tree, so imagine them tied with twine to get the full effect.

I got the idea for these tags from none other than pinterest of course. They're made with green paint swatches from Lowes (shocker again). Then I punched a present and glued that onto the tree and added a tree trunk. Simple. Easy. Lemon squeezy.

Then I made a couple more gift tags by simply punching out a snowman and stamping either "tis the season" or "noel". Festive and fun.

So how are you wrapping your presents this year? Are you tying intricate bows or making beautiful gift tags? Any tips on how to tie the gift tags so they don't fall off in transport?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wall of Shame

What you are about to see is real... unfortunately. 

If you walk through our kitchen, right before the stairs to the basement there is some open shelving. I remember when we were still house hunting and I saw this open storage I said something along the lines of, "oh this is going to be excellent to store all my knick-knacks and rarely used kitchen tools". Well, after we moved in and I threw all my extra crap on those shelves, this is what it looked like.

 And if you're coming up the stairs from the basement, this is the view you're greeted with. Ugh.
Every time I walked past these shelves, I kinda blinked quickly and kept walking. And then one day the embarrassment built up and I actually did something about it.

The first thing I did was take an inventory of what was on those shelves to see what was actually necessary to be stored upstairs:
- Kitchenaid mixer
- Crockpot
- Blender
- Paper towels
- Straws
- Bug spray
- Dusting cloths
- Light bulbs
- Candles
- Trashbags
- Water filters
- Jars of change
- Shades for the chandelier in the dining room
- Tissues
- Reusable shopping bags
- Disinfectant wipes
- Empty pasta jars 
- 4 extra place settings (I only keep 8 in our cabinets)
- Extra silverware (I only keep 8 place settings in our drawer)
- Serving platter 

Oh & a partridge and a pear tree.

As you can see, these shelves had become a dumping ground. And half of the things on those shelves did not need to be there. So I rearranged what was in some cabinets and moved the rest to our back-up pantry in the basement. The one that is behind closed doors. And then I was left with this . . .
It's still not perfect - far from it actually. I'd like to eventually do away with the palm tree shelf liner and get some nice woven baskets for those shelves, but until then this is much better. Now all that is on those shelves are:
- Kitchenaid mixer
- Crockpot
- My nice casserole dishes
- A few milkglass vases
- Blender
- Paper towels
- Napkins
- Jars of change

And I stopped falling down the basement stairs because I can now keep my eyes open when I walk past. Success? I'm thinking so :)

Have you had any random cleaning/organization bursts lately? Do you have any open shelves? If so, how do you organize them? 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Nativity Sets Galore

It's so easy for me to get caught up in all the hoopla of Christmas. The twinkling lights and shiny ornaments distract me. I foolishly focus on decorating the Christmas tree and making my holiday cards. 

And that's why I love nativity sets. For me, they are a constant reminder that all this decorating and gift giving is done to celebrate the greatest gift of all - Jesus. My almighty Savior humbled Himself and entered this world as babe born in a stable. Nothing is sweeter or more sacrificial than that.

If my money tree ever produces its fruits, I'm going to purchase several nativity sets and fill every blank table with one. Then I'd walk all around my house smiling and crying and laughing because that's what the Christmas story fills me with - hope and humility and joy. 

In the meantime, I have selected 4 of the most beautiful nativity sets from Etsy to share with all of you. Each of these sets has captured my heart in a special way because I find them capturing the joy of Jesus' birth through their simplistic and rustic goodness.

*Disclaimer: I contacted all of these sellers from Etsy and it is with their permission that I am sharing their sets below. Some of the sellers even included a special discount for my readers in case you want to purchase one of these sets for your home. These are in no specific order - they're all stellar in my book.

Seller: Designs by Shandi
Link To Nativity Set
Discount: 15% with the code "RRBLOG"
I love how simple this set is. I especially love how baby Jesus is wrapped up with Mary and Joseph - it's exactly the way I imagine the proud parents to be on that first Christmas morning. And look at that sheep - adorable!

Seller: North Wind Metal Art
Link To Nativity Set
I love how rustic looking this nativity set is. It would look great sitting on a mantel above a fireplace! 

Seller: Lindsay Gaines
Link To Nativity Set
This set is so fun! I love the clay figures and the star above the creche. This would be especially cute in a kid's room!

Seller: Happy Bungalow
Link To Nativity Set
Discount: 10% with the code "snowflake11"
This set is stunning. I love how it is handmade with several different kinds of wood. You can see that a lot of time was poured into this piece. I also like how this set would be perfect for older children to play with. My mom had a set specifically for us kids to tinker with and I have many fond memories of playing with it as a child.

So there are my top 4 Etsy picks! But if I had to pick my most favorite nativity set of all time, it would be the Willow Tree Nativity Set. I love all of the Willow Tree figurines and this one especially captures the joy of Christmas morning. 

So what is your favorite Christmas decor item? Does your heart swoon over Christmas trees, or do you love nativity sets like me? Does anyone else have a favorite nativity set too? 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stocking Splendor

Thank you for all of your get well wishes. I enjoyed reading what everyone has been working on while I've been laying around on my growing rear. 

But I'm back and I've got another Christmas decor update for you! 

My dear mother gave us an early Christmas present . . . our holiday stockings! My very talented Aunt Robin made these stockings for us. Robin runs an etsy shop that I highly encourage you to check out here. A couple items I'm really digging in her shop lately are this festive Christmas bannerthese too-cute-for-school coasters, and this adorable tea towel. 

Oh and at the end of our dresser reveal post you can catch a glimpse of the quilt she made us for a wedding present. Gorgeous I tell ya!

Okay, back to the stockings. . . 
I enjoy decorating with traditional reds and greens, so these fit perfectly with the rest of our decor. I hung some extra greens from our tree with some Christmas balls to even out the banister.
And here's the whole shebang in one shot.
Our entryway table also got a little Christmas cheer.
Pardon the horn-tooting here, but my talented husband sketched that wise men picture. I wish I had an ounce of his talent.

And here's the whole living room. The table was moved by the window to make room for the tree. The wood stove is still perched in the corner awaiting it's next move (not sure what that is yet though - but stay tuned!).

Psst: do you notice that a tv has now made its way in to our living room? We don't have cable or any real function for it yet - but we're no longer tv-less. Not sure if this 16 incher can be considered improvement though.

So tell me . . what do you think? Do you like decorating with traditional reds and greens, or do you take a more taste-the-rainbow approach? Are you surrounded by an incredibly talented family and wondering what happened to your creative genes too? Join the club :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lately I've been feeling like this:
I'm currently using what little energy I have to get through work each day. As soon as my head clears up and I dig my way out from under these tissues, I'll be back on and blogging as usual.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear all about the projects you're working on. If you leave a comment linking to your blog, I'll be sure to check it out in between my coughing spasms. 

Have a great day everyone! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Birthday Wishes

My baby brother turns 17 on Sunday! I guess he's not really my baby brother anymore. More like my deep-voiced and armpit-hair-growing man brother. 

He and his best friend Albert and my mom are coming over tonight for a little birthday dinner celebration. So there will not be a regular post today because I need to get some cooking done before I head in to work. In place of my usual ramblings, I'm just going to post a couple random pictures of my grown-up fella.

And this last picture always cracks me up. When we were at Busch Gardens, Harrison & Justin squeezed into this little egg. Hilarious. 

Happy birthday Harrison! 

So what are your weekend plans? Any DIY projects in store? Tree decorating? Good ole' fashioned eggnog drinking? 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Countdown

Ahh December 1st. Something about Christmas rejuvenates me. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I love the lights, the Christmas ornaments, holiday cookies, family gatherings, and - most importantly - celebrating the birth of my Savior.

25 more days. 

Over the next month you can expect to read about a lot of oozy Christmas cheer from us Rothenbergers. We've got a lot in store for our first Christmas together as husband and wife.

But, first things first, the tree. Oh the joyous Christmas tree. We picked ours out on Sunday - it's a Frasier. As we walked up and down the rows of trees trying to find the most beautiful one, I couldn't decide. Call me cheesy but they were all gorgeous. So I let Justin choose. 

On Monday night we cranked up the Christmas music and got our decorating jeans on. Justin hung the lights. We used 200 lights to wrap around the inside of the tree and 300 lights for the outside. Putting the lights on the inside and the outside really helps the tree glow from all over.

Then we decorated. We didn't have any set plan - just scattered our red and white balls and then hung my ornament collection. (My dad has given me an ornament every Christmas since I was a babe).

Okay - enough talk. Let me show you the beauty.

The tree skirt is actually that $1.75 fabric scrap that I shared a month or so ago as one of my reuse shopping spoils. Here's another picture of our tree with all our lights on.
My mom gave us our tree-topping star. I love how it sparkles and casts a glow all over the ceiling. 

Okay okay, last picture. I'm definitely going to be one of the crazy mothers who can't stop talking about her kids and showing pictures of them breathing and eating and doing completely normal things. This picture is with all the lights off. See how she glows? It's those 500 lights we have wrapped all around her.
Have you decorated your Christmas tree yet? Do you get a real tree or a fake tree? If you get a real tree, how do you deal with all the dropping needles - or do you just ignore them and pretend they're not there until January?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Light My Fire

I'm pretty sure the "aging University of Miami fan" guess was totally worth leaving you all hanging yesterday. Anyway, we made a purchase. A big one. But first let me give you a little backstory so you don't think we're completely crazy . . . 

When we were house searching our wants/needs list included things such as:
- 3+ bedrooms
- 1+ bathroom
- Oil or natural gas heat
- Basement
- Large, spacious kitchen
- Backyard
- Garage
- Fireplace
- Hardwood Floors

. . . You get the idea. Well, we were able to get a lot of things on our list (4 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, oil heat, basement & hardwood floors) - but a few things were just not a part of the brick beauty that we fell in love with.

So we're going to add something. A wood burning stove!
This is an old Vermont Castings Stove. We saw it on Craigslist and decided to drive out to the boonies to check it out. We fell in love immediately, so we handed over $250 and took this baby home.

Here's where the trouble begins . . . actually installing the stove. Luckily my dad is a mason so he can help us with the whole process, because let me assure you it is daunting. 

A few things we need to do are:
- Work with our township inspector and homeowner's insurance agent to make sure everything is to code
- Install a slate base for the stove to sit on (it will be raised several inches off the ground) - this is because wood floors are combustible surfaces
- Bore a hole through the wall to attach stove pipe and carry it outside
- Decide whether we are going to use temporary pipe and then build a permanent brick chimney or use double-wall insulated pipe and box it in outside.

There's a lot to think about and a lot of decisions to make. We're still not even certain that installing the stove is a possibility. We may end up having to resell it if the installation process is too costly. We need to do some more research and planning. But, we're super excited about the possibility!

If all goes as we'd like, the stove will end up in the corner of our living room with a raised slate base. And yes, I will sit on the couch and lovingly adore it all the days of my life.
Until we figure out exactly what we're doing with this whole wood stove installation nonsense, there will be no loveseat purchasing. That's why among being beautiful and hot (get it?), this bad boy is also a game changer.

We're seriously crossing our fingers that we can get this installed and not spend a small fortune in the process. And we're very excited to see wood chopping and hauling in our future!
I'd love to hear your thoughts - do you think we're crazy? Have you ever installed a wood stove? Any tips or advice?

Game Changers

Last time I talked about our hunt for the perfect loveseat, Justin and I were still a little undecided on the Bella and wanted to try on a few more sofas for comparison. Since then we have visited Raymour & Flannigan, American Signature Furniture, Pottery Barn Outlet, Thomasville, and LazBoy again. We only saw one loveseat that we kinda liked . . . 
But it didn't come in brown, so it was nixed faster than the button flew off my pants on turkey day.

This one chaise was super comfortable, but it was equally ugly. So we smiled and sighed and moved along.
After feeling too much like Goldilocks, we battled our indecisive selves and decided to get the Bella loveseat from LazBoy. 

But the universe had another plan. We ended up making a big purchase that is going to change the layout of our living room and require some serious renovation work. What is it you ask? Here are 2 hints:
- It is old
- It loves hurricanes

192 blogger points to the person that guesses correctly!! Oh and make sure you check back tomorrow to find out what it is and how we plan on incorporating it into our home.

Has any one else had any game changers lately? 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

How was everyone's Thanksgiving weekend? Did anyone battle the masses on black friday and find some killer deals?

We spent Thanksgiving with Justin's family. And I can assure you I ate enough sweet potato casserole to last me for the rest of the year. But besides the amazing food, we really enjoyed just relaxing and catching up with the cousins (and the newest family member baby Miller!). 

Oh and my heart swooned over this centerpiece my mother-in-law made!
Right now I need to attack the piles of nonsense all over our home, start some laundry and wash the dirty dishes piled in the sink. 

But make sure you check back tomorrow to read all about our loveseat-hunting progress!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day of Thanks

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the Lord -  He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.  ~ Psalm 100:1-5

God saw me - a helpless sinner - and chose to not just save me, but to prepare for me. And it is only because of His great sacrifice that I can experience far more joy than I'll ever deserve.

I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Table

When I walked downstairs this morning, I took a picture of our dining room. You can see the extent of my Autumn decorating in this room are the leaves placed around the mirror. Other than that, this is what our dining room looks like on a day-to-day basis. After the kitchen, I would say this room is the center of our home. We eat, do computer work, and craft right at this table. 
But every now and then even the most tomboy of dining room tables likes to get dressed up and be treated like a lady. Since I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year (or more likely for many years), I decided to do a few quick mock-ups of how the table might look if I was hosting.

Look #1: Classic & clean white tablesetting.
I started with a basic white and tan checked tablerunner (*cough*scarf*cough*). Then I layered my china (which was my grandmother's from her wedding that she passed down to me!) and cups/utensils.
For the centerpiece, I decided to stack a couple antique books and place a white pumpkin on top for a little autumn-vibe. Then I scattered my famous birch tealight holders along the table.

Look #2: Where my table no longer becomes vertically challenged.
All I did was swap out the book/pumpkin centerpiece for my vase filled with dried hydrangeas.
I like how the deep red in the vase plays off of the curtains/cabinet.

Look #3: Casual gathering of friends.
If we had a few friends coming over for a simple dinner, I'd keep the table equally simple. I swapped out my grandmother's china for our everyday casual china plates. Then for the centerpiece I subbed in a bowl of pinecones. I decided to use my green glasses to add a little touch of color.
And apparently, we eat with our hands. :)

If I was truly hosting Thanksgiving I would definitely put a little more time and thought into my table setting, but for a quickie mock-up using only what I had on hand - I'm pleased as pink. Although some napkins would definitely be a nice touch and help class things up a bit.

What do you think? Which table setting do you like best? Or do you despise them all? How will you be setting your table for Thanksgiving?

ps: krystle from color transformed family passed the versatile blogger award on to me. Thanks lady!! Since Brandi graciously passed the award to me earlier, I won't make you hear any more random facts about my life. I do want to pass the award on to Ashley from Attempts at Domestication though. Just because she's awesome and then we can keep this bad boy bloggie award alive :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Travels

When we got married and became Team Rothenberger, we knew we wanted our home to be a place of comfort and laughter and love. A place where our families and friends felt welcome and relaxed. And that's why we work so hard on making our house into a home. It's because of the people that are a part of it.
But we hold fast to the principle that even though we want a beautiful and inviting home, we value our relationships with people more. So instead of working on our house projects this weekend, we packed up our bags and spent time with our family and friends.

All this was to say that I don't have any house progress to share. And I may not for a few days... but I've got memories to last a lifetime. And that's better than any wreath in my book.

What did you do this past weekend? Any one else take a weekend trip?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Hunt

I mentioned way back in our living room reveal post that our room was only about 60% done. Our to-do list looked like this:
     - Hang art/pictures on walls
     - Get a rug for the front door   completed!
     - Get a loveseat 
     - Paint trimwork
     - Find/make throw pillows   completed!

Well we've been working on that third item. Finding a loveseat. Who would have thought it'd be so hard? 

We wanted a loveseat that complimented the couch we already had. We were looking for:
- Higher back
- Wooden legs
- Slightly rolled arm

After an exhaustive online search, we decided to visit Wolf & Interiors. Both of these are fairly local stores that we've heard fantastic things about. So we had high expectations. These high expectations were immediately shot down by the store's equally high prices.

Then we decided to visit La-z-boy Furniture.
The one loveseat that we really liked was the Bella. 
We want to get it in a fabric that coordinates with the couch we already have. . . so we narrowed it down to these 2 choices.

We mapped out how much space the couch would take up. If you notice the frog tape - that's the length of the couch
You'll have to excuse the shoes / bags / artwork - just keeping it real people :)

After some serious photoshop efforts by Justin, we chose the couch in the "Mollasses" color. We went this past Tuesday to order it but had a change of heart in the store. We want to look at a few more places before we finally decide if it's the one for us. Try on a few more couches.

Yeah, we're those indecisive people.

This weekend we're planning on visiting Raymour & Flannigan and American Signature Furniture. Hopefully by Monday we'll have it all together!

Any recommendations? What do you think of the Bella - is she our beauty? Did your couch search take months too?