Have yourself a merry little Christmas!
Let your heart be light.
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
(Isaiah 9:2 ESV)
Posted by Erin on December 25, 2012
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to your name.”
And again it is said,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol him.”
And again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
(Romans 15:8-13 ESV)
Posted by Erin on December 19, 2012
I do my best during the holidays to let my mind rest on the things that really matter, but, let’s face it, mostly I’m looking forward to plenty of good eats. No holds barred, these are the treats that I would like to be whipping up in the kitchen this week:
This cake would be the perfect addition to an evening around the fireplace with friends and a serious cup of coffee. A fabulous winter-time cake that looks beautiful on the plate.
Pie isn’t just for the summer time. If you can get your hands on some fresh berries or apples, a pie hot from the oven won’t be turned down after any meal this week. I’ve been known to eat pie for breakfast and I wouldn’t say no to a piece on Christmas morning I don’t mind telling you.
My grammy’s cheese spread is a Christmas-time must in my family. It’s my favorite savory way to break up all the sweets.
I made this mint cake last year around Easter, but I think it might make another appearance at our family Christmas gathering with icing in a slightly darker shade. It was a huge hit, super moist, and just minty enough. Maybe I’ll call it a Frozen Grasshopper Cake instead…
What’s happening in your kitchen this week?
Posted by Erin on December 18, 2012
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
During this second week of advent, we rejoice in our right standing with God. That, because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we have eternal peace with our Lord. He has come! He has victory o’er the grave! Not only that, but he will come again. He will restore all that is broken and the curse will be no more.
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
(Isaiah 11:1-10 ESV)
Posted by Erin on December 12, 2012
This Sunday will mark the first day of the Advent season. This year we will celebrate in our home each day by reading, praying, and lighting the advent candles together. There are many resources available, but over the years I’ve settled on a few favorites that I wanted to share with you.
First, you’ll need some advent candles, traditionally in the shape of a wreath. Mr. Thirdrowseat made me the lovely Advent box pictured above this year. I know that this will become a treasured part of our family history. You don’t need anything too fancy, though. You can buy Advent wreaths on Amazon.com for just a few dollars or you can even just use five candles you already have around the house. The candles on the outer ring each represent one of the four weeks of Advent. The center candle is reserved for Christmas day and is called the Christ candle.
We are using four basic resources for our Advent celebrations this year. This website has some great prayers and basic descriptions to use if you are new to celebrating Advent. I particularly love their weekly alternate/complementary prayers for the candle lighting. The first year I celebrated Advent daily with some friends we read through this book. It’s been a few years since I’ve used it, but I remember the time fondly and think that there were only a few readings that we had to skip over for being out of line with our particular beliefs.
Finally, as we do throughout the year, our family practices praying the offices using The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle. It is probably my most recommended resource for the Christian life outside the bible. The daily prayers are a wonderful way to enter into prayer and to quiet my heart. There is a special Advent edition of The Divine Hours, but I would suggest getting the seasonal set in three volumes as the winter book already contains the Advent readings.
How are you celebrating this season? I’d love to hear about your traditions, too.
Posted by Erin on November 29, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I hope your day is full of turkey, pie, and naps.
Posted by Erin on November 22, 2012
It’s already mid-November! Gasp! Things are about to get crazy folks.
This time of year it’s hard for me to stay sane. There are a million errands to run, cookies to bake, pie crusts to roll out, and events to attend. And that’s just the beginning. Christmas will be here before we know it. Gulp. Organization is key to taking care of the small everyday details so that I can be free to
enjoy try to embrace the chaos of the season.
One of the ways that I try to keep the crazy at a minimum in our house is to plan our meals in advance. This is something that I do year round, but during the holidays, it is a life-saver! Planning out our meals at the beginning of each week saves us time, money, and energy because I only go to the grocery store once and am able to buy some ingredients in bulk when appropriate. Avoiding a stop at the grocery store on my way home from work during rush hour traffic is priceless!
Tips for Making Your Weekly Meal Plan Work
- Grocery shop on the same day each week. I find that shopping on the same day each week allows me a reasonable amount of time to plan ahead, but also keeps me from being over-whelmed or biting off more than I can chew. It also helps me to get into a predictable rhythm for re-stocking staples for our family (I buy hummus and eggs every week, bacon once a month, etc…)
- Be sure to check your calendar! Consulting the calendar is key. If I don’t take into account evenings when Mr. Thirdrow works late or planned dinner guests, I am not as likely to be prepared with the right amount of food and the best on hand recipes. This helps me to pick quick recipes for busy nights and leave more elaborate meals for a slower day.
- Post your menu. I write up our weekly schedule/menu and hang it on the fridge each week. It helps keep us on track and eat the food we’ve already purchased. When I come home at the end of the day it’s easy to opt for carry-out if I don’t have my plan in front of me.
- Be flexible. Life happens. Things come up. Sometimes you just want some Taco Bell, dangit. Keeping my menu handy allows me to easily shift things around so that food and money don’t do to waste when the plans change.
This is my weekly menu. Feel free to download a copy of my WeeklyMenuPlanner printable and use it yourself!
Posted by Erin on November 14, 2012
The Bucket List is getting shorter by the day!
I hope it’s filled with plenty of fun-size Laffy Taffy and Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups!
Posted by Erin on October 31, 2012
Posted by Erin on May 5, 2012
Last Sunday we gathered with some friends in our neighborhood just before sunrise to celebrate Easter. We came together to remember that the light has overcome the darkness; that Jesus is risen from death.
Posted by Erin on April 15, 2012