Friday, December 31, 2010

The End of 2010

What a year it has been!
Continuing on as newlyweds and celebrating our first anniversary.
Surviving another one of Hub's busy seasons.
San Antonio, San Fransisco, San Diego and San Antonio. The year of the "San's."
My first Christmas away from my family and with my in-laws.
Hub's first Christmas home to SA in 2 years.
Sick family members.
Many healthy family members.
Friends moving closer and friends being long distance.
Working out, not working out.
Saving money, spending money.
Eating right, not eating right.
Injury and forging on.
No matter how we look at it, this was a year of lessons, supporting each other, strengthening out marriage--and a year of happiness. SO thankful to be where we are life and love and can't wait to ring in the new year and see what is in store for the Riemenschneiders in 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And the Festivities Continue...

I said to Hub the other day that the day after Christmas is like the day after coming back from the honeymoon...kind of blue. There is so much build up, so much hype and preparation and then just like that, it's over! This year though, we don't really have to feel that way because we are having another Christmas with my family on New Year's Day! Pretty lucky, I would say.

Christmas in Texas was wonderful. We ate, we relaxed, we decorated the tree, we played games, listened to music, made gingerbread houses, gave and received, but best of all, just spent a lot of quality time together. I was slightly chilly on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so I didn't feel too strange with 70+ degree weather like I had thought. Here are some highlights from the trip:
Tree adorned with many old, family ornaments {I even escaped with a few!}

Brother-in-law and I in our poker attire

Parents-in-law ready for a party

Hub 'n I ready for the party

so proud of our creations

Eager to open some gifts!

In our jammies by the tree

Enjoying the Shutterfly book we had made

The Alamo

Blurry, but I still like it!
A fun time was had and it's always hard to say goodbye. Looking forward to this week to continue the festivities with my family! Hope you all have been enjoying your season as much as I have!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Home for the Holidays

Finally, after a couple of years away, my husband gets to go home for the holidays--and obviously, I'm going with!
I mean, I don't think this picture really represents what "home for the holidays" will look like for us, but I thought it was a nice image that stirs up memories of cozy holidays at home.

Our holiday may look a little more like this:
That's right, San Antonio, TX. It is estimated to be 70ish+ and sunny on Christmas day. That's a little foreign to this lil' ol' Washington born and bred, rainy weather girl. This will be my first Christmas in 25 years that I am not with my parents and brother. Last year, Hub and I got a little taste of what it was like to wake up on Christmas morning with just the two of us. It was definitely different than Christmas pasts because our first Christmas spent together was the one before when his parents came and stayed with us. It was a busy, hustle-bustle with everyone around, but it was also picturesque because we actually had a white Christmas which happens about every other year here. 

I am so excited to experience this side of the family's traditions, see decorations, eat good food and even bring along some of my own ideas of Christmas traditions. It will be a short trip with lots planned to ensure we get the most out of the trip but the point is that we will be there for Christmas. We get to see some friends, go see some holiday decorations and get together with some extended family. 

I will obviously miss my family but I know I will be in good hands. My mother-in-law is also being very gracious in being very aware of how difficult this may be for my mom as my mother-in-law lives away from her son all the time. We may have a Skype session on Christmas day which may be nice. We head out tomorrow so I hope write a couple of posts while we are gone, but I may just have to play catch up when we return.

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Will you travel for the holiday? Was it hard when you spent your first Christmas away from "your" family?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Time to Set the Mood

We are hosting a holiday party tomorrow night. You know the type. White Elephant/Ugly Sweater/Holiday Cheer Party. Appetizers, desserts, drinks, laughs, games, friends and family--sounds like a great time. We did it last year. We did a New Year's version the year before. It always turns out to be quite enjoyable.

Hub and I attended a party last weekend of a family friend and I couldn't help but notice the "ambiance" of her house. It was dim but not dark. Light enough to navigate your way around but not giving you the feeling of being in a gym. Last year, I tried to convince Hub we should turn off the lights in the dining room (which is in between the front living room and the family room) but he said it was "too dark and weird." This year, my mom had a great idea for picking up some lower watt bulbs {apparently my brain just doesn't have the capacity to think of these types of things yet!} and I slipped them into the dining room light fixture today and I love the dimness!
GE Extra Soft White Low Wattage
 None of our other rooms (besides the kitchen) are too bright so it will give a great ambiance. With the Christmas lights and candles to give a warm, cozy glow the house should have a nice feel come dusk tomorrow evening.

What tricks do you use to "set a mood" in your house? Are you thankful for the dark, winter-y months to "hide" any shortcuts in cleaning for a get together? {did I really just admit that?!}

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Retail Therapy... a funny term to me. I used to be a spender. Boy, I tell ya what. It was my money, I worked hard for it and I would spend as I pleased. Within reason, I mean I never got myself into any kinda trouble with the spendin'. I just liked clothes. And boots. And shoes. And coats. And coffee from espresso stands. And books. And magazines. Wow, I liked a lot of things! Still do. The thing is, when you get married and you share money with a whole 'nother person, spending gets a little more complicated. Spending is not as frivolous as it once was what with a mortgage. And household bills. And home improvements. And big, joint purchases. Don't get me wrong now, I love being married. And I love being a homeowner but they sure do come with compromises!

Back to retail therapy. There is nothing {to me} like the feeling of spending a good chunk of change. Actually, I like spending small chunks, too. As I have gotten older though, I have found that retail therapy works even if I'm not spending the money on myself! Now, to tie this post in with the holiday season. I love giving gifts. I love looking at an item and thinking of a certain person, buying it, watching them open it and feeling satisfied with the feeling of being able to give something to someone I love. Something that really irks me about this time of year though is the sense of "obligatory gift giving"--well, they got me something so I have to get them something. I really, honestly can say that if I gave my friend, family member, even husband {wellll, maybe that's stretching it} a gift and did not receive one in return, I wouldn't mind because I got to give them something. I know some may not believe this but I can say it with absolute fact. Another irritation is "the spending factor"--I know the gift they are getting me is about this much so that's how much I have to spend. I am spending this much on this brother so I have to spend that much on that brother. Why, oh, why should it be about how much a gift costs rather than the meaning or reasoning behind the gift?

This may sound like a little Christmastime rant and take from it what you will, but those are my thoughts on gift giving. Now, I had a little retail therapy session today and the beneficiary of that session will be my husband. I feel so good about his Christmas gift and it is not because of how much I spent or because I had to get it for him. It is because I CANNOT wait to see the sheer delight on his face when he opens it! I feel that way about all of our gifts this year. We picked some good gifts and I can't wait to see the recipient's faces. For my next trick, I can't wait to get in the habit of making some gifts as well. I guess I don't have to wait a whole year to do that--there are birthdays, anniversaries and showers within the next year I could start in on!

What do you love most about gift-giving? What bothers you about gift-giving? Whose gift are you most excited to give?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Baking Frenzy 2010

First I will start with a quick weekend recap. Friday, I headed out with my mom to find her an outfit for a party we were all going to on Saturday. My mom is not the easiest person to shop with, but we ended up with a cute outfit that I think she liked. I hurried home to get ready for Hub's work holiday party. It was down in the city at a hotel. There were drinks, dancing and I got to meet some people that I hear him talk about quite often.

Saturday morning I went to work and then home for a few lazy hours before we headed out to a family friend's holiday party. Yummy appetizers, drinks and a pretty comical white elephant gift exchange ensued. Her house was decorated so festively {is that a word?}, I may have to "borrow" a couple of ideas for our get together this weekend!

Yesterday was a wonderful, glorious, cozy day at home. We watched a couple of Christmas movies--Fred Clause {which neither of us loved, but it could be because we fell asleep a couple of times during the movie} and the Santa Clause 2 {I think I had seen it once before but confirmed again that it isn't near as good as the first}. Well I started to get the baking itch which was supposed to start today however I couldn't wait.

Before Thanksgiving I was out grocery shopping and found these:
Yum, yum, yum and YUM! Not a lot says Christmas-time to me like mint flavoring. I have been drinking it my coffee and I also found some mint truffle chocolate kisses. So to use these mint baking chips, I just flipped the package over and followed the recipe!

1.Preheat oven to 350. Blend 1/2 cup salted butter (softened), 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, and 2 eggs.

2. Stir in one 10oz. package of Andes Baking Chips and 2 2/3 cups sifted flour.

3. Chill approximately one hour. Measure out approximately 1oz. of dough, form into a ball and flatten slightly.
4. Raise oven rack up one notch from center of oven.
5. Bake on non-stick pans at 350 for 8-10 minutes, let set on baking pans for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.
These cookies are so delicious. A few people have tasted them and I have had great feedback. Just the right amount of mint and a great texture. I am a moron, apparently and haven't taken a "finished" picture of the cookies yet but I will once I take them back out of the freezer. Try 'em, I tell you, they are easy and yummy! More to come after today, I have a great Taste of Home holiday baking magazine {you know, the kind at the checkout at the grocery store that's cover has great-looking recipes and then you look at the price and it's, like $10.99 and you think "10.99 for a magazine?!" but I bought this one because I LOVE Christmas baking and I have been nothing less than pleased with the recipes and I am proud of myself because I have had it for 3 years!} that I will be pulling recipes from and I will post them for you! Happy Holiday baking for you!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Inaugural Stitches

Ok, sew, I have been wanting to learn how to sew for awhile now. I just think it's a great skill to have be able to make stuff for the home, gifts and any other reason you may have to get creative. I have never really been what you would call "artsy" or "crafty" but lately I have been trying. Sew, my mom's friend gifted me her first machine she ever had and was even gracious enough to come over to my house and give me a tutorial. What a lady she is!

We decided an easy first project is pillowcases and what do you know, I needed some color on our bed! Sew {getting old yet? Ok, I'm done.}, I picked out some fabric to tie in with the color scheme in our bedroom and just a few easy steps later I have four beautiful pillowcases.

We made one the day she was here so that she could talk to me about the machine, some basic sewing lingo and stitches, etc. and on that first pillow, we sewed a ruffle on the end. Well apparently to Hub, ruffle=too girly so I ended up with a ruffle on two, so they would match and then just flat ends on the other two. Remember how I mentioned our furniture being a little too feminine in color? Well, I didn't want him laying his handsome little head on "too feminine" of pillows every night also. Apparently, the wall color in our bedroom is a little feminine as well {seriously, I give up!} but I don't think it is. It kind of changes color depending on the light. I can't really get a good light to get a good picture of it either. Anyway, I have digressed to paint color.

Back to the pillowcases.
The dining room crafting table
Good thing about Hub walking in one evening and being greeting by this on the table is that it elicited this reaction, "Maybe I can build you a craft table." Why, yes, Hub, maybe you can!

On the bed. Not great lighting.

Ruffled and non-ruffled.
Now I'm not saying I'm going to turn into some professional seamstress by any means {at least I don't think}, I just thought it would be nice to know a thing or two about a sew machine. I mean, someday there will be a baby room that needs some sewing done I'm sure....curtains, blankets, burp cloths--really the possibilities are endless and I even found a great website with free patterns
{I am working up to a post of the whole master bedroom since I feel as though we have been making so many steps towards "finishing" it, but it is not quite there yet. Stay tuned.}

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cleaning Frenzy

The way I clean my house is, I suppose, my "own way." I like to do certain things on certain days of the week {i.e. laundry on Mondays, sweep every other day thanks to the dog, etc.} and some stuff every other week {washing sheets, cleaning toilets} and I suppose I have certain cleaning supplies I love to use. Cleaning your house is a funny thing because I think everyone has their own way, their own frequency and their own supplies. The only reason I decided to talk about this today is because I am procrastinating getting ready to clean and I am a little behind on my normal "routine." Some ladies like to wear rubber gloves for chores such as washing dishes, cleaning toilets and using abrasive cleaners. I never wear gloves. I don't know why, maybe because my mom didn't? Some folks these days are going "au naturel" with their cleaning products and using such cleansers as:
Household Cleaners
Don't get me wrong, I do love Mrs. Meyer's goods, however, I think I love it more for the scent than the actual "getting the job done" part of the product. Some cleanin' fools even fancy making their own cleaners. Do you have this in your fridge: 
If so, there are a myriad of concoctions you can make to beat the grime in your home. If you are interested, just click on the link above and they give you some starter ideas for all-purpose baking powder. Maybe it is the fact that I do not have kids yet. I have been told time and again that you become more aware of many things in life such as what food goes in your child's mouth to what cleaning products you are using around the house so as not to harm the youngins'. I am admitting that I am a Clorox girl through and through. It gets the job done, it smells chemically clean to me and lets me know I put in a hard scrubbin'. Maybe that's why I sometimes spray some Mrs. Meyers over the top to get the lavender smell also. So this is my new go-to cleaning product that I have been using for just about everything these days:
Clorox® Clean-Up® Cleaner with Bleach
You just spray it on, leave it for a minute or so, and everything usually just wipes right off! The fact that this happens so quickly and easily obviously leads me to believe it is probably a pretty harsh concoction, but hey, it gets the grime off my window tracks that were so built-up I didn't want to have any guests over for fear that they would check out the tracks and go running out the door! Also, a really quick toilet bowl cleaner is this:
Clorox® Toilet Bowl Cleaner — with Bleach
You just squirt it in all around the top of the bowl, leave for 30 seconds, come back, flush and voila a sparkly, white bowl! 

I really don't know what took me off on this rant about cleaning, but I love cleaning, I get on a roll and I like to have the right products. It came up in conversation at work once with a lady that I use Comet sometimes and she looked at me with a horrified look on her face and said, "Oh! No you don't!" And I tell ya what, oh, yes I do! Maybe someday these beliefs in harsh chemicals of mine will change, but, not today! Off, to go flush down the toilet bowl cleanser!

What are your favorite cleaning products? Do you use natural? How do spread out your chores? Are you a rubber glove-wearer?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

So What Wednesday


So what if...
  • I like to wear flannel pajamas and long underwear to bed...It's cold!
  • I talk to my dog like she is my friend when it's just her and I at the house together.
  • I have two Christmas trees (both fake).
  • We have a fake tree! It is quick and easy to put up and it can live in the living room from the day after we eat the turkey until the day we ring in the new year! {I can always light a pine-scented candle!}
  • I blog when I should be doing laundry...
  • I leave clothes in the dryer for a few days. I know where to find an article of clothing if I need it!
  • I haven't starting planning a menu for our holiday party that is less than two weeks away.
  • I like to listen to Christmas music all day, every day this time of year.
Head on over to Life After I "Dew" if you want to link up!