Tag Archives: christmas

christmas rules, year three.

if you’ve been following along for awhile, you know that for the past two years kevin and I have been doing something kind of unique for our christmas gifts to each other. each year since we’ve been married, we’ve come up with five different categories and challenged each other to purchase gifts in each of those categories for $10 or less. (you can see the 2011 post here, and the 2012 posts here and here).

the first year i was skeptical…would we just end up getting each other cheap junk? but this has turned into one of my favorite traditions and we’re planning to keep it going this year.

here’s what this year’s categories will be:

1. a donation to a charitable organization. we’ve done this one two years in a row and it’s one of my favorites. last year, kevin made a donation in my name to an org called zidisha, which provides micro loans to small business owners in developing countries. we even get status reports of the woman’s business that we are supporting – so cool.

2. something local.  this gift should be something unique to and made in omaha or nebraska. last year, kevin got me some locally-roasted coffee, and i got him mason jar beer glasses from lucky bucket, a local brewery.

3. something to drink.  it’s pretty inevitable that one of our gifts would end up being alcohol-related anyways, so we might as well make it a category!

4. something to entertain.  another new category this year. we were going back and forth about having a “something to read” or “something to watch” category, but this encompasses both, and more, so we’re going for it.

5. an adventure.  last year, one of our categories was to plan a date…and i’m sad to report that neither of the dates we planned ever officially happened. this year, i thought it would be fun for each of us to plan an “adventure,” aka a day or overnight trip, inspired by the wild weekends over at the fresh exchange. there are so many little towns and hiking trails and campgrounds within a couple hours of omaha, and i think it would be great to start doing more exploring. obviously, this one is exempt of the $10 limit, but it should still be relatively minimal and not cost much more than a tank of gas and some lunch or renting camping gear, maybe $50. i love the idea of gifting experiences instead of things, so i’m really excited to see what we both come up with for this one.

do you have any gift-giving traditions in your family, or any ideas for future categories? please share!

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{recipe of the week} our christmas dinner.

this past christmas, we hosted our very first big holiday meal while my parents and sister were in town. i was admittedly a little nervous about how everything would turn out, considering we don’t have much space and we were down to the wire on making the dining table that you’ll see in these photos. but of course, everything turned out just fine. thanks to my dad and grandpa, the table came together just in time for christmas dinner, and even though it’s a little wobbly and nobody could cut their prime rib without wiggling the entire table, it was pretty neat to eat on a table we had built with our own hands (and lots of curse words).

the menu:

salt encrusted prime rib roast
vegan no-knead baguettes
delicata squash salad with roasted potatoes & pomegranate arils
bread stuffing
roasted brussels sprouts
creamed corn
apple pomegranate galette

i didn’t come up with any of these recipes, but i thought it would be fun to share what we ate for our big meal as well as some photos  of the food and our new table! 

did you and your family try any new dishes for christmas this year? i’m already looking forward to next year’s meal!

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our christmas gifts to each other.

you may have read a couple weeks ago about our plans for christmas gifts to each other for this year. without further adieu, here’s a recap of what we ended up getting each other!


1. a handmade gift
his: i saw a bottle opener similar to this for sale online awhile back, but thought it was something i could make pretty easily. we actually already had the opener piece, but hadn’t hung it up anywhere yet, so i used a piece of scrap wood we had lying around, screwed it on, made some stencils and painted on the letters. voila! we can’t wait to hang this up right next to our bar!

hers: k made me a weekly calendar using indesign that was similar to something i had liked on pinterest. i love making little to-do lists all the time, so i’m looking forward to using this!

2. a local gift
his: many of our omaha friends already know about the amazingness of lucky bucket, but those of you living elsewhere/under a rock in omaha, lucky bucket is an awesome craft brewery out in la vista whose beers we love. we’ve been to a couple local bars that serve their beers in these adorable mason jars, and a couple days before christmas, i happened upon these for sale at beertopia and thought it was the perfect local gift!

hers: the grey plume is an upscale restaurant in midtown crossing that roasts their own coffees. we’ve never been to the restaurant, but we’ve seen their beans for sale around town and have always talked about trying it. i was actually a little afraid that k and i were going to both get each other the mason jars for this gift, so i was so happy to see that i got coffee! we’ve already enjoyed the majority of the bag of coffee and it’s delicious!

3. a gift you can read
his: as you can probably now tell, all of my gifts to k were beer-themed. i was hoping to find two different beer magazines to gift him for this category, but i could only find one i liked, so the other half of the gift came in the form of several different beer apps for the iPad (they are: beer wizard, beer citizen, today’s beer, mybeernation, and beer trivia, in case you’re interested).

hers: k got me the iBooks version of “grow your handmade business” by kari chapin. i’ve been wanting this for awhile, but wasn’t expecting it as a gift because the paperback version would have exceeded our price limit. i was very happy to receive the digital version and can’t wait to read it.
*yes, we did wrap each others iPads for this gift :)

4. a date
his: i saw a blog post about a couple’s beer tasting party awhile ago and since then have always wanted to recreate that for kevin and i. i modified it a little bit to include pretzel making and beer tasting, created a little invitation in illustrator, and even made place cards for us and attached them to little tasting glasses that we already owned. i can’t wait to have this date sometime soon. i’ve been salivating about fresh baked pretzels for weeks.

hers: for k’s date to me, we’re going to have a wine + cheese night! (can you tell we love food + alcohol?) again, the price limit for each date was $10, so i love that the invitation specifies that we’ll be buying $2 chuck from tj’s. when we do cheese plates, we usually go to whole foods where they have smaller pieces of lots of their gourmet cheeses so that it’s a little cheaper. super excited for this date, too!

5. a donation
his: i was a little worried that i wouldn’t find something beer-related to fit into the charity category, but as it turns out, charitable breweries and bars are sort of the new thing (WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?!) i decided to make a donation to finnegans, a brewery in minneapolis that donates 100% of their profits to food security and hunger programs. i love that their mission statement is simply, “turning beer into food,” and event though they don’t distribute in nebraska yet, i’d love to visit and try it out if we ever  take a trip to minnesota.

hers: k took a really different, but really cool approach to this gift. he went through a website called zidisha.org that allows others to help microfinance small businesses of low-income individuals in developing nations. together with many other lenders, we’re now helping a woman from kenya keep her cosmetic business open!

already can’t wait to do this again next year! anyone have any other unique or new ideas for categories?

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winter wonderland.


thankfully, the fam made it here safely about an hour before our first snowstorm of the year hit with a vengeance yesterday. even though it’s freezing cold, super windy, and was basically impossible to drive anywhere last night and this morning, i think the snow is just beautiful. we ventured outside for a few minutes this afternoon to snap a few photos; i especially love how the super white snow flocks the trees all over campus. i think it’s safe to say that winter has finally arrived, and we’re gonna have a very white christmas! <3

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