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?