January 2, 2015

five friday favorites #11: week of jan. 2, 2015

Happy 2015! Where exactly did 2014 go? I'm not sure. It feels like we were just wrapping up speech season, and now here we are, just one week from our first meet. (Yeah, I kind of measure time by speech. For now, anyway.)

I took a blogging break over Christmas break, so I missed a week of favorites, which means this week's favorites will actually encompass the past two weeks. I'm linking up again at A Little Bit of Everything and Housewife Glamour.

1. Wise Men
After my grandma passed away, my mom got her nativity scene and passed my childhood one to me. Grandma bought both sets from an Italian company called Fontanini, and while she ended up with the complete set for herself, the one she bought for us consisted of the stable, Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and an angel. Our shepherds, wise men, and animals didn't match the set. Ever since I've had this nativity scene, I've wanted to replace the knock off pieces with Fontanini pieces ... but boy are they expensive! So I was thrilled when my parents gave me the wise men for Christmas.
Old wise men & new wise men
Here's how my nativity looks now. I still need to replace the shepherd, and maybe eventually the animals.
Notice that the wise men aren't at the stable because they weren't at the stable. I watched The Nativity Story for the first time this year, and I couldn't get over the fact that the script had the wise men arriving at the stable the night of Jesus' birth ... it's not a difficult thing to verify! (See Matthew 2.)

2. Trader Joe's
I set foot in a Trader Joe's for the first time a couple weeks ago, and I just about lost my mind. I was like a kid in a candy store! I was able to pick up lots of gluten free necessities, like almond meal and coconut flour, for a fraction of what they'd cost elsewhere. I really went a little crazy, and I didn't even pull out my shopping list ... which meant I forgot to buy GF oats. I guess I'll just have to go back again! If only the nearest store wasn't 90 minutes away ...

3. Celebrating Advent
Growing up, we didn't really celebrate Advent. I have vague memories of families taking turns lighting the advent candle at church, but, as a non-liturgical church, we didn't focus much on Advent. That's not to say we didn't focus on Christmas, but Advent wasn't ever a focus.

This year (or I guess technically last year), I decided to change that. While I didn't celebrate Advent in the traditional way with the different weeks and the meaning attached to them, what I did was meaningful to me.

I chose several YouVersion Advent plans to go through, and I also read through Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room, a daily Advent devotional that I got free for Kindle at the beginning of December. And, because I felt like ambiance was important, I lit a pillar candle while I read.

It's a tradition I hope to continue ... but I might choose a prettier candle next time.

4. Somebody Like You by Beth K. Vogt
I have another absolutely fantastic book to tell you about. It made lots of bloggers' best of 2014 lists, so I used some Amazon credits to buy the Kindle version. Basically, from start to finish, I was obsessed with this book.

Somebody Like You is the story of an Army widow and her late husband's identical twin brother--a twin brother she didn't know he had. It sounds like it could have been ripped from a soap opera, but it's actually an emotional, fascinating, thought provoking read.

This is the first book I read and reviewed in 2015, so I know it's early to be making this prediction, but I'd bet it'll end up on my best of 2015 list. It's that good. Check out my review, and then go get yourself a copy.

5. Family Time
Everyone's gone back to their respective homes and dorm rooms now, but we had a fabulous time with everyone in Central City for Christmas (well, for our family Christmas on the 27th). While my brother and his wife could only stay for the day, Blendy was home until New Year's Eve, and my other sister and her husband went home yesterday. We played games, watched Psych and Downton Abbey, worked on a maddening puzzle, saw The Hobbit, played piano duets, hung out, and ate lots and lots of food. And it was spectacular :-)

Strangely, I didn't really take any pictures over Christmas, but here's my favorite of the ones Blendy took.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and here's hoping for more regular blogging in 2015!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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