Friday Finds #159

Christmas Classics

This week our house has been buzzing with lots of construction!

Since the weekend before Thanksgiving, we’ve been working on finishing our stairwell. This was quite an involved task!

It included building and finishing the newel posts and handrails, removing the construction step treads, building and installing the outer and inner skirt boards, rebuilding/releveling the step bases (which has sagged slightly due to a year being unfinished), building the new treads, filling in nail holes, trimming, and painting.

The carpet is being installed as we speak (our final carpet install!) then we will put up the handrails and balisters.

On top of that, our master bathroom floor and shower are also getting tiled!

Long story short?

I’m thankful a friend encouraged me to schedule an extra week’s break over Christmas this year. It would have been impossible having students around this week!

Merry Christmas to you all!



Despite the busy week of construction, I still managed to make:

Poached Cod in Tomato Sauce (Michelle Tam | Nom Nom Paleo)

Seriously Delicious Detox Salad (Ali Martin | Gimme Some Oven)

Raspberry Orange Almond Muffins with Sprouted Wheat Flour (Amy Chaplin – the other one)



While we’re on the topic of food…

As far as baking goes, cookies are definitely my favorite (to eat and to bake!). You may be shocked then, to hear that the whole Christmas cookie “thing” has never been a “thing” in our family.

I think it’s because we already have way too many sweets as it is in December. The thought of baking 12 kinds of cookies just seems like a sugar-overload disaster waiting to happen.

This is more my language: My Favorite Christmas Cookies Aren’t Cookies at All — They’re Candied Orange Peels (Christopher Michel | The Kitchn)



CBS This Morning hosted a nice segment on Mariah Carey’s 25-year old Christmas classic, All I Want for Christmas is You. Songwriter Walter Afansieff shares the story of their collaboration while sitting at the piano.



I’ve been working on two Spotify Christmas playlists.

The first one I shared in my last Secret Letter (and maybe in another Friday Finds? I can’t remember…) It includes all of my favorite Christmas songs and albums from over the years (including said song above).

The second one is more of a Christmas worship-focused playlist. Feel free to follow either one. You can even use them to start your own playlist!



In the hustle and bustle of the season, don’t forget the people that are right in front of you.

THAT Person is More Important than Your Phone (Joshua Becker | Becoming Minimalist)



Last week, I shared a delicious Cookie Butter Puppy Chow one of my students gave me. It currently ranks as my all-time favorite, but in a close second is this Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow one of my husband’s co-workers made last year. (Lizzy Cox | Your Cup of Cake)

Do you have a favorite puppy chow recipe? Share it in the comments!



This SNL children’s clothing ad is absolutely hilarious!



Five ways Emily P. Freeman experiences sacred moments around the table. [The Next Right Thing Podcast, Ep. 104 Make Soup (And Eat It Too)]



Public libraries scraping late fines – now THAT’S a gift! (Emma Bowman | NPR)



I absolutely LOVE this mindset for giving gifts shared in this article by Christine Bailey on The Art of Simple.

“For gifts, we follow the plan of each child getting three gifts from us: Something you want, something you need, and a surprise.”

Since Drew and I don’t have kids, we don’t really have a special “rule” like this, but if I had children, I would definitely keep my gift-giving process along these lines.

Does your family have a special “rule” for gift giving?


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  • Since my kids are now adults our gift giving to them has morphed into 3 gifts: a “body” gift(something to wear or makeup, hand lotion, etc), a “soul” gift(something fun that matches their unique personality and interests and a “spirit” gift (something to help them grow spiritually like a book, a worship CD, a journal, etc). It’s been a great journey to pray about what to give in these categories each year.

    • Oh, this is also a wonderful idea! My parents have always done a “spiritual” gift for us as well, ever since we were children. Thank you for sharing!

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