Friday, November 21, 2008

Budgeting For Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving meal can put a strain on one’s weekly budget. I’ve been preparing for Thanksgiving by stocking up on sale items; however, many ingredients must be bought fresh. In order to not go over budget, I’ve decided that all our dinners leading up to Thanksgiving will be cooked with only the food that we already have on-hand. Our meals will utilize the frozen chicken in our freezer, frozen vegetables, and applesauce. So my grocery list this weekend will primarily consist of groceries for Thanksgiving. By cutting out some of the things I usually buy on a weekly basis, I can make room in our weekly budget for the special occasion food.

Here are some of the recipes I’ve had my eyes on: Roasted Turkey with Sage, Hard Cider Gravy, Thanksgiving Stuffing, and Favorite Apple Pie.

{Photo from Martha}

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Calendar of the Christian Pilgrim

{"Little Miss Sunshine" by Robert David Bretz, print available on Etsy }

Jessica Snell, a writer who I blogged about here, has a great post on Advent. I especially appreciate this sentence:

“When you see the year not just as winter, spring, summer, and fall, but as Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time, then the changing seasons don't just remind you that the Earth is circling the Sun, but that God Himself came down onto that Earth in order to save us all.”

Christians are called to be pilgrims, seeking a better country. I love how the church year provides a framework in which to understand the idea of Christian pilgrimage. The world is not our home, and the liturgical calendar provides the Christian with a way to mark time. It reminds us of our heavenward journey, and it directs our gaze towards the place to which we are heading. More on Advent here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spinach and Pears Dinner Salad

This dinner salad is currently one of our favorite meals. Not only is it attractive, but it’s also healthy, tasty, easy, and affordable! I use spinach leaves, broccoli, almond slices (or walnuts), diced pears, and chopped chicken. You can serve it with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Yum!

Monday, November 17, 2008

And the Winner Is…

Congratulations to Briana, the soy candle giveaway winner! I am excited to send her a handmade soy candle. Briana, please email me at karen00elizabeth{at}gmail{dot}com, telling me your mailing address and your preferred candle scent. Here are your choices:

Celebrate” is a Christmas candle, bending the smells of crisp pines, cloves, and spices.
Contemplate” unites the scents of coconut milk, brown sugar, fig fruit, and vanilla.
Illuminate” smells like clean, floral soap, reminiscent of a cherry blossom tree.
Appreciate” combines the fragrances of cucumber, melon, and honeydew.
Rejuvenate” smells like my favorite spring flowers – hyacinth flowers.

Thanks to everyone who participated! You made my first giveaway very exciting!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Handmade Soy Candles as Christmas Gifts

In my effort to give handmade Christmas gifts this year, I have been collecting pretty jars and decorative glasses to use to make soy candles. Usually I make my candles in little tins and sell them on my Etsy site, but for these Christmas gifts, I wanted to do something slightly different. Some pictures of my new candles are forthcoming, but in the meantime…

I thought it would be fun to give a blog reader one of the candles I sell on Etsy. Consider it an early Christmas present. To be entered to win an 8 oz. handmade soy candle, please leave a comment on this post. The commenting will be open until Friday. I will randomly select a commenter over the weekend to whom I will mail a scented soy candle of their choice. Stay tuned to find out if you’re the winner!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Meatless Meal: Twice-Baked Tex-Mex Potato

I’ve heard some people recommend that the best way to lower your grocery bill is to eat at least one meatless meal a week. This is a great recipe from Whole Foods that I tried last night – it is healthy, frugal, and tasty!

{Photo from Whole Foods}

Monday, November 3, 2008

Advent: Coming Back Around to What Is True

Many Christian traditions celebrate Advent and Easter, yet they have abandoned the rest of the church calendar. I am learning how Advent and Easter fit into a bigger picture. Beginning with Advent, the liturgical calendar traces the events of Christ’s life and conforms our lives to his. In the rhythm of the church year, our lives become hid with Christ. We find our life in his life. His story becomes our story. Why participate in this ordering rhythm throughout the year? Here is Thomas Howard's explanation in The Liturgy Explained:

“The idea in all of this is the same as in all human celebrations and anniversaries: it is a good thing for us mortal creatures to be vividly reminded at regular intervals of something that is always true anyway (a marriage, a birth). It helps us. It freshens our imagination. Perhaps angels experience an eternal, perfectly clear, sameness of awareness. We cannot. We have to keep coming back around to what is true.”

As we approach Advent and come back around to the truth of Christ’s birth, we are called to prepare our hearts for the coming of God to us – not only in his Nativity, but also in his Second Coming.

[Quote from Howard, Thomas and Betsy Corwin. The Liturgy Explained. Wilton, Conn: Morehouse-Barlow, 1981 (37).]


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