What I'm Into: December 2015 Edition

In the Kitchen
Taco Tuesdays...need I say more? Try this Korean beef recipe and you won't be disappointed!

I love pretty much anything from Budget Bytes, but this Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta is to die for. I looked at the recipe, and laughed when I read "1/4 cup parmesan".  A QUARTER CUP of cheese? Just a quarter cup? No, there's got to be a mistake. Well, I took the matter into my own hands and, omitting the parmesan completely, added an entire package of Herb & Garlic Boursin cheese. Oh yes. That made my heart (and belly!) happy.

On my Night table 
Currently Reading: (see sidebar)
Winter's Heart, Robert Jordan: Still trekking with the three ta'veren as they save the world from the evil that threatens to take over.  This is book nine of fourteen-a long investment, but if you like fantasty, it's worth it!

The Ersatz Elevator, Lemony Snickets (A Series of Unfortunate Events): This Junior fiction series is so depressing but cleverly written. Count Olaf is trying to get his hands on the Baudelaire orphans' inheritance, and each book tells a different tale of how they escape his clutches, but only just. 

What a Difference a Mom Makes, Dr. Kevin Leman: This book is written for mothers of boys, specifically, and it was very insightful.  I would highly recommend it; Dr. Leman covers a lot of ground, and caters to moms of all ages. 

Dad is Fat, Jim Gaffigan: I've never seen his comedy shows live, but I've heard he's pretty clean, and his book was excellent.  I found myself laughing out loud, and nodding my head in agreement as he talks about parenting his five children and shared about his comedic and chaotic life.

Through my headphones
Songza playlists, Audien's Something Better , Sia's Alive

Blogilates- Loving Cassey's workouts still. Keep up with her monthly calendar, and you'll notice some amazing results!

In the Word
Jake and I have been trying to spend intentional time together in the Word.  Twice a week we read a chapter of a C.S. Lewis book and then a chapter in Ecclesiastes.  It's been really great for us to take our relationship to a deeper level with the Lord.  Over the years of our marriage we've always struggled with this, so I'm hoping the discipline will stick.

As far as my own study goes, I've been tracking with the She Reads Truth app, doing a Hymn study and a Gratitude study.



Cold weather bucket list...

I admit it.  I'm not really a fan of winter, but I've heard that writing a bucket list of the things you want to do in the wintertime can make it tolerable. So here goes:

*toboggan with Adrian 
*go caroling and get hot chocolate afterwards
*go skiing or tubing at least once
*drink a hot chocolate outside when my fingers are frozen like ice
*fly to Switzerland with Jake and stay in a chalet while watching the snow swirling outside and drinking hot chocolate in front of a fireplace
*fly to Florida and stay in a rented house with a pool and a frozen chocolate beverage, and go to Disney World

There, now I feel much better about winter!



Christmas is for Interior Decorating...

This year, more than in years past, I've been feeling the pressure to have a perfectly decorated home for Christmas.  The stores set up their festive wares early on in the season [can we give Thanksgiving some breathing room?!] and I was struck with just how materialism dictates the pulse of the season.  

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My feelings were intensified after my second annual Christmas home tour.  If you're not familiar with these, they are typically fundraising events in which people with unique or grandiose homes open them up for tours.  There are usually local food vendors who set up shop in the kitchen, offering samples of their creations and hopefully receiving some business in return.  The tour satisfies my psyche in two ways: 1} I get to have a reason for snooping in people's homes 2} I fill up my belly with delicious holiday morsels.  Despite the delightful sensory experience, I felt those old feelings of dissatisfaction and unworthiness welling up within me.  Never mind that those homes were decorated specifically for this event by professional interior decorators.  Never mind that they may very well look as lived in as my own apartment from day to day.  My mind completely blocked out reality, mourning over how shabby my home looked in comparison to such perfectly matching decor.  I remembered all the decorations and accents that I saw in the stores, and tried to imagine how I could make my own home look just so.

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A few weeks removed from this event, my thoughts are a little more clear.  I still feel the need to get the perfect wreath for our door [because wreaths are high on my list of what an immaculately decorated home should have], but I'm pondering how to move through this season while still keeping the main reason in the forefront of my mind. 

The stores might tell me to buy more wreaths.
The advertisements might tell me to buy the perfect decorations.
The magazines might tell me I must have an altogether festive home.

But in my heart I know that remembering Jesus' birth is the only thing worth dwelling on, not what kind of centerpiece to acquire for my table.  God came to earth as a man to save all of mankind, and now there is Hope! All the Christmas decor in the world will not satisfy my longings more than this exciting news.