Monthly Archives: December 2011

Doggie Treats

As I mentioned in my last post, my big Christmas gift this year was a KitchenAid mixer from Chip. I’ve wanted one for a while and always loved using the one my mom has back home in Arizona. So needless to say I was so excited to get my own! Chip chose one in a beautiful cinnamon red… I’m kind of obsessed with it.

The beautiful KitchenAid Mixer

I have been anxious to use it since opening it Christmas morning. I thought about baking some cookies for us, but decided instead to reward Wrigley. While he was pretty terrible the weeks before Christmas (as in trying extra hard to get into things he shouldn’t be as well as stealing food…), he’s been so sweet and gentle the last week or so which makes me forget all of his terrible ways. We had also received some doggie biscuit cookie cutters from Chip’s mom for Christmas, so I thought it would be great to make some treats for Wrigley. We love giving him his beloved Beggin’ strips, but I had been wanting him to snack on something a little healthier so thought homemade treats would be a fun alternative to try. So this past Tuesday, I made him some peanut butter doggie treats. Wrigley loooves peanut butter, so I found a quick recipe online that I thought he would enjoy. The only change I made to this recipe is that I didn’t cook it as long; the first batch I made, I did the full 40 minute baking time and they came out a bit burnt and too dark and crispy. So the rest of them I baked at about 24 minutes and they turned out a lot better.

Doggie Biscuit Cutters

Wrigley patiently waiting for his treats

The KitchenAid mixer got this recipe done so quickly. It works like a charm! I thought about baking a couple of batches of these biscuits for Wrigley just so I could use my mixer more, but decided one batch was enough for him and am now deciding what to bake for Chip and myself so I can whip out my mixer again :)

Dog bones, squirrels and fire hydrants

Wrigley loves his treats!

Merry Christmas!!

“I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is the Messiah, the Lord.” – Luke 2:10-11

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!! This holiday was special in that it was our first Christmas as a married couple. While I had been eagerly anticipating our first Christmas together, I was surprised by just how homesick I became a few weeks before Christmas. This was my first year being away from my family for the holidays, and despite being excited for Chip and I to create our own Christmas traditions together, I was sad to not be with my family during this special time of the year. I am so thankful for Chip who was very understanding and loving while I struggled through being away from my family for the holidays. Overall, while I was a little down during these weeks, we still had a special first Christmas together, with some key highlights:

  • Decorating our own Christmas ornaments at Clay Casa.
  • Getting a real Christmas tree and enjoying homemade lasagna with wine while we decorated the tree (with Elf on in the background of course!)
  • Baking holiday breads for family and friends here in town
  • Walking along the RiverWalk, enjoying all the beautiful Christmas lights along the river

San Antonio RiverWalk Christmas lights!

Enjoying the RiverWalk lights

While it was a little strange to not be in Arizona for the holidays, we were both excited to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in our home. Our friends Matt and Haley were also in town for Christmas Eve, so the four of us planned a special Christmas Eve-evening together. We had dinner at our house, went to a Christmas Eve church service together and then ended the night with drinks and desserts at their house. Growing up we always had a HoneyBaked Ham for Christmas Eve dinner and I felt like I was completing some right of passage when purchasing the ham myself this year :) As always, there was a really long line at the HoneyBaked Ham store (even on a Thursday afternoon at 3:00!), but the wait was worth it! The rest of dinner consisted of salad, bread rolls, green bean casserole and a potato au gratin dish. For dessert, we had a rich, delicious chocolate torte Haley made and a toffee apple cheese pie. Yum!!

Christmas Eve Dinner Table Setting

Christmas morning!

We were both looking forward to Christmas morning and exchanging our gifts for each other. Both of us had been hiding our gifts leading up until Christmas, so we each took turns bringing out our presents from undisclosed locations in the house. Once we got the Christmas music playing (courtesy of non-stop Christmas music from 101.9!), it was time to open our gifts. We let Wrigley go first because we knew he would be so entertaining to watch as he tore apart his gifts and this would also keep him busy and away from us while we opened our own gifts. As we had predicted, Wrigley was a blur of destruction once we placed our gift bag in front of him. All of the toys were a success!

Wrigley getting started on his Christmas gifts...

All the toys out on the floor

Farewell, Mr. Penguin

Now as you might know, I have really enjoyed baking a lot since we got married. So my big Christmas gift from Chip was….

Yay!

… my very own KitchenAid Mixer!! Now, I’ve been wanting one of these babies for a long time. We registered for one before our wedding, but it was one of the items that wasn’t purchased and something we didn’t want to use our precious gift cards on right away as we were moving into our new home. So I was content to bide my time, thinking it would come a couple of years or so down the road. In the meantime, I had been using my trusty hand-held beater…which was a gift my parents had received at their own wedding 25 years ago. Needless to say, it is a quality piece of machinery! While I have some clear emotional attachment to this hand-held beater, I am SO excited about this beautiful, cinnamon red KitchenAid Mixer. I’ve already put it to use on some doggie biscuits for Wrigley, which will be a separate post. :)

Now, Chip has been dropping hints for months about how awesome blu-ray players are. We had also registered for one of these, but didn’t get it for our wedding, so like my KitchenAid, it was something we decided we would get on our own later. Knowing how much Chip liked these for their multi-purpose functionality (they can also stream online content, like Netflix), I kept an eye out for any and all sales for one of these. In the end, I ordered him a PS3 from Best Buy on Cyber Monday. The gift was a success and Chip quickly got it set up that morning!

PS3 Setup...complete!

After we opened our gifts, Chip made us a great breakfast of egg sandwiches with some of our leftover ham from Christmas Eve. We then went to our Sunday church service, came back home to pack up and get Wrigley and then drove to Corpus Christi to spend the rest of the day and Monday with Chip’s mom. We had a great time there and were excited to see his mom, stepdad, brother (who dominated a dance game on the Wii!) and stepbrother’s family, including their super smart almost four-year old daughter. We were so happy we got to see all of them and hope to see them again soon!

Our first Christmas pictures!!

About two months ago, we spent 30 minutes with our good friend Haley to take pictures for our first Nance family Christmas card. This was a big moment and one I was pretty excited for (which is one of the reasons why we took these back at the end of October…). We had a great time being back on the Trinity campus taking pictures with Haley. She got some really cute pictures and was super patient working with Wrigley, even howling to get his attention so we would look at the camera. Below are some of our favorite pictures from our time with her. To see more of Haley’s work, check out her website at Haley Beham Photography.

Family Christmas Picture - Outside the Trinity Chapel

Family Christmas Picture

Something got Wrigley's attention...

One of my favorites :)

Outside the Trinity Chapel

Oh, Wrigley

Merry Christmas from the Nance's!

O, Christmas Tree! O, Christmas Tree!

I hope at least a few people started to sing that Christmas song as they read the title of this post :)

As many people know, I absolutely love Christmas. Some might say I’m obsessed, but I’ll just say I love the Christmas season. While Chip and I were getting married this past May, I was already looking forward to our first Christmas as a married couple and how we would blend our different family traditions to make them our own. One particular aspect of the Christmas season I was very excited about was getting our first Christmas tree. After years of growing up with a fake tree complete with color-coded branch instructions, my family got our first real tree when I was in sixth grade. It changed my life. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I’ll never go back to a fake tree! Nothing beats picking out a tree on a cold day and the smell of a fresh tree when you come home. Chip also had real Christmas trees throughout his childhood, so this was something very easy for us to agree on. We had decided that the weekend after Thanksgiving would be the perfect time to go pick out our tree together and decorate for the holidays.

Ready for the big tree-finding day, we first spent the morning with the community of Redeemer Presbyterian Church helping put Christmas baskets together that would later be distributed to families throughout San Antonio. After the Christmas baskets event, we made a quick trip to HEB to get the needed items to make ourselves homemade lasagna and chocolate bread. Once we finished at HEB, we went to three (yes, three) different Christmas tree lots. The first tree lot we visited was the best we saw that day. For those out looking for a tree, this lot is located behind Health Link, which is in the same shopping center as Magnolia’s Pancake Haus. As soon as Chip and I walked into the little tented area, we were greeted by the smell of fresh pine. It was wonderful. The trees there were all very fresh, but Chip wanted to compare to a couple of other lots just to be sure that we were getting a good deal on a great tree (I reluctantly agreed). So off we went to two other tree lots.. and both were nowhere near as good as the first! The trees just all seemed drier and had so many loose needles… two terrible qualities for a Christmas tree! So off we went to the first lot once again. We walked around for a bit and Chip found a tree that was still wrapped up and hadn’t been opened by anyone yet. But Chip felt there was something special about this tree. So we asked one of the employees there to cut the rope off so we could see how the tree looked “opened”… and it looked perfect!! We agreed pretty quickly that this was our tree. Although for a second, we did think about buying this tree….

Are we at Rockefeller Plaza?

…. but realized that this would be a smidge too big for our house… haha This thing was huge! And $800.. a little much, right?

Anyway, we gladly took our tree home. While Chip worked to cut off a few extra branches at the bottom of the tree, I got started on our homemade lasagna. After getting the initial steps done, it was time to bring in the tree! I’ve seen my dad and my brother put our tree up year after year and watched them spend some time trying to get the tree straight while my mom and I instructed them on any needed adjustments. I had no idea the straightening process would be such a project! We got the tree up in the stand pretty quickly, but it wasn’t quite centered. After what I thought were minor adjustments in direction, our tree was tilting a lot more than when we originally got it up. I’m thankful that Chip tried to be patient with me and listened to all of my “mm, no. I still don’t think that’s right…” comments and working with me in order to get it just right. It was not an easy process at all and I wasn’t sure if we would even get to decorate our tree or if we would just give up after finally getting it centered! Luckily we were able get through the somewhat grueling setting up process the second time around. By this point, it was 6:30 and the lasagna had yet to go in the oven. After quickly putting the rest of it together, we were extremely happy when the lasagna was done an hour later. It turned out so good!

Homemade lasagna!

Wine, complete with Santa topper

By the time we finished dinner (with some wine and while watching Elf, of course!), I made the dough for our chocolate bread and we were ready to decorate the tree! Now, hanging the Christmas tree lights was always my mom’s job back home. I was excited and also nervous to now have this task for our own tree! Luckily I had years of watching and learning from my mom to help me out. :) Between our solid white lights interwoven with twinkling lights, the tree is well lit!

Lights on the tree!

As far as ornaments go, we only had a handful that we had bought while we were dating, like an ornament from when we saw the Lion King musical at the Majestic, an ornament Chip gave me for our first Christmas as a couple and a few ornaments we bought in Rome on our honeymoon. So we went and stocked up on ornaments a couple of months ago during a trip to Home Goods, but I wasn’t sure if we had enough. It actually turned out to be the perfect amount! Here’s a look at the completed tree!

Our first Christmas tree!

We both love our tree and are so happy with how it turned out. We’re looking forward to enjoying it for the next few weeks!