Monday, December 15, 2008

Crimson, Pine and Candlelight

This past weekend flew by very quickly (we were on the road again) but we did have 2 beautiful Christmas evenings out (Saturday and Sunday). Friday evening the roads were icy, so we decided to wait until Saturday to leave for PA and therefore got to hang out at the seminary game night. It was fun watching the Asians play ping pong. Then Saturday we drove to DuBois for Mike's cousin's wedding. We didn't quite make it to the wedding but we did enjoy the reception. Christmas weddings are so beautiful... After Mike's magic show on Sunday afternoon on the way back to Ohio we stopped at Grove City College. The compromise was that we would watch the 1st half of the Steeler game in Ketler Rec and then go over to the Chapel for the Candlelight Christmas service. Unfortunately for Mike, the ending of the game was the best part.
However, I did enjoy being back on the campus for a little while and sitting in on the Candlelight Christmas service, especially since it will likely be a long time until we will have that opportunity again. ...Thank you, Mike, for giving up your Steeler game to allow me to enjoy that!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Frugal Friday

Shopping was not very exciting this week, so I'll mention my free "Amazing Grace" DVD that I got from Walden Media through this link. And since I posted something earlier in the week about decorating for Christmas, I thought I would mention these frugal decorating ideas , using free evergreen clippings, which I found interesting. Maybe next year I can talk Mike into getting a real live Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Caleb's Birthday Puppy

I am just now having the chance to post this video (sorry, the video turned out a little dark) of Caleb opening his birthday present last weekend. Even though his birthday isn't for another couple weeks, we were excited to be there visiting near his birthday and that he could enjoy his birthday gift separately from the Christmas gifts! It was the cutest thing! We love you, Caleb! (You'll want to turn the Christmas music off at the bottom of the page on the playlist.)

A New Experience

Mike and I can now say that we've had a private investigator come to our house. It was a first for both of us, but it wasn't that bad. It was actually more informal than I had anticipated. They (he and his wife) asked a series of 14 questions...such as "Have you ever been married before?" and "Tell us about your growing up years." "What would your neighbors say about you?" "What is your highest level of education?"...questions like that. They took about 5 pictures of us and our apartment. And that was really it. It lasted about 45 minutes and we conversed with them about ourselves and they told us a little bit about themselves also in between the questions.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dressing Up

With all of the other things going on, (including traveling every weekend since before Thanksgiving) we have finally managed to complete the decorating of our apartment for Christmas...
We discussed not putting up a tree this year and just not going through the hassle of getting all the decorations out of storage, but I just couldn't do it. I needed to place some things around the apartment to keep my mind in anticipation of the coming celebration of the birth of the Christ Child.
Luke 2:17-20 "When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
Can you imagine? A newborn baby. The Birth of the Messiah. Angels announcing His Birth. What it must have been like to experience that!
I think that the Lord is pleased when we make Christmas a big deal (in a worshipful kind of way). The devotional book that I was reading the other day entitled "Come and Behold Him" put it this way...
...if God commissioned angels to roll back the night and fill it with blazing light,
...if God provided a mighty celestial choir to serenade a few startled shepherds,
...if God graced the heavens with a miracle star,
...if God arranged such a memorable entry point as a feeding trough in a stable,
then festooning our homes with a few seasonal reminders to celebrate the event with attention and entirely appropriate. And, may I go so far as to say that if I would have chosen to not put forth the effort, to be too busy, and just skip the decorations this year...would that have been displeasing to the Lord?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Meal Planner Monday: Soups - Chicken Noodle

The reports indicate that flu season hasn't officially started yet, however, the common cold seems to be making its rounds. I managed to get by with only about 2 days of feeling really under-the-weather last week, with some help from extra vitamin C, ecchinacea, a day off work to get some rest and God's grace. So, I thought now would be a good time to share how easy and cheap it is to make homemade chicken noodle soup which by the way has been proven to be "good medicine" for the common cold. Ingredients: Chicken (I usually use leg quarters or thighs but a carcass would be good to use to) Water Onion Carrot Celery Salt Pepper Seasonings (I use some parsley and McCormick Chicken & Fish Seasoning) Noodles (I like to put in 1/2 regular Inn Maid medium and 1/2 whole wheat) Boil chicken in pot full of water. (I leave the skin on but you could remove it before boiling the chicken.) Add seasonings, vegetables. When chicken is cooked through, remove and let cool enough to handle. Skin and debone the chicken, break into pieces and put the chicken back into the pot. Add noodles and cook until tender. I don't have an exact recipe but you could find one in a cookbook or online if you want something more precise. If there is not enough liquid for the leftovers I add a box of chicken stock. Be aware that the chicken boullion (and powdered soup base probably too) contains MSG, so I stay away from those when I make my soup. Enjoy and best wishes for a healthy winter!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Frugal Friday

I am writing this to schedule to post since we are on the road again this week. I didn't see very many good deals this week. Most of my grocery budget this week was spent on contact solution for myself and razor blades for Mike which were both on sale at CVS. I also got a free surge protector power strip at RiteAid. Everything else that I bought this week was just the basics (milk, juice, produce) and a couple other items. This week's shopping trips were... Aldi 4-pack peppers OJ green beans bananas hot dog buns Hawkins 2 bags (1 doz) grapefruit $5 (Tuesday only sale but other stores are advertising for 2/$1) Mac n cheese (not something normally I buy but I needed a quick meal) Walmart 1/2 gallon milk tortilla chips ice cream CVS 2 pk OptiFree Replenish multi-purpose solution $15.99 - $1 coupon - $2 ECB = $12.99 8 pk Gillette Fusion Razors $25.99 - $5 ECB = $20.99*** ---
Ok, the truly frugal thing to do would be to strictly wear glasses rather than contacts and Mike to grow a full beard, but we haven't decided to do least not yet... RiteAid Surge protector power strip $5 - $5 rebate Total $45.51 ***I was disappointed though that I couldn't find a Sunday Paper last week because I could have saved another $4 with a coupon for the razors. Oh, well. RiteAid is doing a promotion 11/16-12/24 that you can earn gift cards for spending $25 or more, unfortunately purchased gift cards, money back on rebates and prescriptions don't count toward the money spent to earn this reward. Walgreens has a few good deals (see here) this the way, I recently heard one is coming to Ashland! Kodak Gallery is running a special deal on 75 free prints and 30 holiday cards for $.48...more info here Currently there are several online coupons for contact solution... AMO Complete multi-purpose solution (this is a December CVS monthly deal $8.99 - $8.99 ECB) Aquify multi-purpose solution Renu multi-purpose travel kit Renu Multi-Plus Renu Multi-Plus home & travel pack OptiFree multi-purpose solution Boston Simplus multi-action solution Renu rewetting solution
This week's Frugal Friday tip
Check your receipts and know your prices so that when the clerk rings up the order you can catch a mistake (almost always overcharging because the sale does't ring up)...I have had it happen twice in the last couple months, one I caught while I was in the store and it was corrected and one I didn't catch until later so I couldn't get that one corrected.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Preparing for Christmas

One of the Christmas traditions that we enjoyed as a family growing up was celebrating Advent. Many churches today have gone away from this celebration, but I still think that it is a wonderful way to prepare our hearts for Christmas.
The word "Advent" is from the Latin word adventus, which means "coming" and refers to the coming of Jesus into our world. The celebration of Advent has been observed for a thousand years and includes the four Sundays preceding Christmas. The Advent wreath is symbolic with the evergreen branches, and each of the five candles.
Whether you are following a guide which has Scripture and a devotional reading for each week in Advent or have another family tradition which emphasizes the preparation of our hearts for Christmas...I encourage you to keep reminding yourself, even in the many things that we spend our time on during the Christmas season (shopping, decorating, baking, socializing, writing Christmas cards, giving to a charity, gift wrapping, etc), to prepare your heart for the coming of the King as you are doing these things.
It is so easy in our "drive-through" "instant" society to miss out on the joy of anticipatory waiting. Rather than waiting in anticipation we tend to make the Christmas season a month-long series of events, celebrations and duties. So, this year I am going to work on waiting in anticipation. (See more about "anticipatory waiting" on Mike's blog this "Theological Thursday.")
By the way, did you notice the background music? There were a couple additional songs that I wanted to add to my playlist but they were not available on the website. One of those songs is "Christmas Offering." I just love that song. The words are changed from the original version of the song to be sung at Christmas-time...
Over the skies of Bethlehem appeared a star
While angels sang to lowly shepherds
Three Wiseman seeking truth they traveled from afar
Hoping to find the child from heaven
Falling on their knees they bow before the humble
Prince of Peace
We bring an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus may you receive the honor that you're due
O Lord I bring an offering to you
The sun cannot compare to the glory of your love
There is no shadow in your presence
No mortal man would dare to stand before your throne
Before the Holy One of heaven
It's only by Your blood
It's only through Your mercy
Lord, I come I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus, may you receive the honor that you're due
O Lord, I bring an offering to you
We bring an offering to you
We are an offering to you
We are an offering to you, Jesus
We are an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus, may you receive the honor that you're due
O Lord, we bring an offering to you
O Lord, we bring an offering to you
We bring an offering to you
We are an offering to you We are an offering to you
You can listen to it from the Casting Crowns "Peace on Earth" album on youtube here.
What are you hoping to find this Christmas???