Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in Review

When I started this blog back in July of 2012 I never thought I would be writing my second "Year in Review" entry here in 2013.  Based on my unsuccessful promises to end my Diet Coke addiction and to do daily stomach crunches, I had little faith in myself to keep up a blog. Even though Mainly Maren sometimes is a bit more inconsistent than I would like, I'm glad to have stuck with writing. Going from 28 blog entries in 2012 to 58 blog entries in 2013 is something I am proud to have accomplished. So to my family, friends, and world wide readers I have to say "Thank You" for sticking with Husband and I this past year.  You may not realize, but as a reader you are a part of our lives.
In keeping with a Mainly Maren yearly tradition;
Looking Back on 2013:
January- We returned to Germany for a full year... 12 Months without Target. 

February- Husband took me on my very first trip to Italy. We celebrated my 29th birthday in Romeo and Juliet's town of Verona.
March- We returned to Italy during Easter Week, this time in Venice.
April- I discovered TKMaxx in Munich and had a run of the homesick blues.
May- Two of my best friends and their Husbands came to visit Munich for four days.
June- Husband and I celebrated our 1st year of marriage! We also took a weekend trip to Rothenburg, Germany to welcome Husband's 29th birthday.
July- We held our first dinner party, a Mexican Fiesta, to celebrate our 1st Germanniversary of living in Munich for one year.
August- Husband and I took a trip to Paris for our wedding anniversary.
September- To end the summer, we spent a long weekend in Brussels, Belgium.
October- I found Pumpkin Spice Lattes in Munich!
November- We were able to cross off Vienna, Austria from our Travel Wish List after a long weekend roadtrip.
December- Husband and I flew home to Texas to welcome the birth of our very first niece!
2013 was a much welcomed quieter year for Husband and I between a few weekend trips and time spent cuddled up on the couch. 
In 2014 I am looking forward to:
-New births and adoptions among close friends
-Launching the new MainlyMaren website (details to come!)
-Starting and finishing my first chapter book
-Trips to Switzerland, Rome or Greece, and London
-Turning the BIG 3-0! 
Again, thank you all for your continued support and time spent reading Mainly Maren.  May you have a blessed 2014!

Happy New Year,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Digital Photo Albums

It has been over a week since my last entry and I apologize for that! I'm not exactly sure why I haven't written but I think it could have something to do with the Christmas Markets, snowy day naps, and a short run with a cold.  
Jingle Mingle Market

Husband and I are both extremely anxious to get back home to our families for Christmas. This week is a big one with the anticipated birth of our first niece. Last night Husband and I bought her a Christmas gift, the first one from us, and let me just say this could be trouble. Husband already said a little speech about how "we need to be careful" and "we shouldn't spoil her too much"...blah blah blah...yeah...uh..huh..."Sure honey." Sorry older folks on my list, I love you all, but it is just so much more fun shopping for a little one. Everything is so cute, petite, and those ruffle butt outfits are too adorable for their own good.  

In other news, today I spent several hours finishing up our August vacation photo album. A couple of years ago I started documenting our travels using the digital photo albums available on After every trip, I create an album with the photos we took. 

An Earlier Version in 2011- A Simple Photo Album

Not only do I create albums for our travels but also every year I compile our Christmas pictures into a book. Each Christmas I pull the photo albums off the shelf and display them on our coffee table. I have only done this for the past two Christmas' but already it has been fun to look back and remember the memories.

2011 Christmas Album

Now of course I have an organizational system for these albums. (a tad OCD sometimes...) Every travel album I create with a brown cover, white lettering, with a title of the place and year. On the shelf all of the albums are together and sorted by year. The Christmas albums I always bind in a green fabric cover. Then our engagement, wedding shower, ceremony, and reception albums are all covered in the same white lace fabric.  

Wedding Shower Page- Not too much "flair"

This past year Snapfish has become more user friendly. It used to be very controlled with restricted photo placements, only a few font options, and hardly any cutesy flair at all. Now I am able to re-size and crop my photos any which way, they are movable depending on where I want them, and there are more updated font options. My favorite part (and most time consuming) is that Snapfish recently launched "Embellishments". Embellishments are tags, photo borders, letters, and clip art pictures you can drop into your pages.  

The Latest Album with the "Embellishments"

These new features make the photo albums more personable and I love that I can use my own creativity. It does take more time using the Embellishments but the books are something Husband and I will look at for years to come.  

The Newest Spread

Typically the books run about $25 a piece but I always wait for the coupons. The books I have finished sit in my "Project" folder on the Snapfish website until I am ready to order. Every few months (or sometimes more often) Snapfish will email a Buy 1 Get 2 Free coupon. When this coupon hits my Inbox, I go back into my Snapfish account and make my purchase.  

Are you making life beautiful with memories? How do you preserve your family moments?

Making Memories,