this abundant list

In the coming year, I will be writing “this abundant list” according to yours truly every week! These lists will include my favorite things, stuff that makes me smile, cry, shout for joy and links to things that make life beautiful, stylish, and fun. So here we go!

this abundant list dec 1

If you didn’t know already, I LOVE food.

I never knew it would happen to me, but I think I am becoming a foodie.

Travel is no longer about the things to see (although, I do love that too), but about the local bakery, farmers market, or hole-in-the-wall diner. Monday night dinners are no longer about just a can of soup for convenience (although it does happen every once in a while), but about the roasts and stews and trying out new cooking techniques.

Here’s a list of food/tips that I will be trying out this winter season. Enjoy!

  1. Baby, it’s cold outside. I will be trying out these delicious soups: Roast Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup (I will substitute potatoes for the rice), White Bean, Escarole and Chicken Sausage Soup, Mexican Corn and Poblano Soup. Maybe a cauliflower garlic and split pea too!
  2. Looking for a zesty soup and salad garnish? Try crisping your lemon zest!
  3. Making stock! Save all your scraps from cooking and store in individually labeled bags for the freezer. Chicken, vegetable, beef, or fish stock!
  4. Latkes, anyone?! I’m excited to try these 8 different ways to make them! And Elana’s version are UHH-MAZING.
  5. Tequila is my favorite. And when I saw a recipe for Tequila Punch, I was sold.
  6. We love eating Paleo, so I’m excited to try this real simple Seared Steak with Cauliflower Puree.
  7. So bad…but, SO good. I know Bret will love if I make this Cheese Crisps.
  8. I’m inspired to have a fancy dinner party. I think this extensive checklist could seriously help me. Maybe this complete menu too!
  9. TEA! I am obsessed with this tea and its glittering effect! DIY?!Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 9.12.59 PM
  10. Homemade Yogurt & Chamomile-Yogurt Panna Cotta! Yes, please.
  11. Always be dessert-ready with an antique glass jar of cookies in the fridge.
  12. Evernote Food is a new app I’ll definitely be trying out on my new iPad Mini. Looks awesome.

That’s all for now. I’ll be busy in the kitchen!

xo sarah

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Jesus is a better Santa

Merry Christmas friends!!!

I do hope this holiday was just lovely for everyone! I expect there was lots of laughs, delicious food, and time spent with the ones you love. Well, this Christmas, my husband, Bret, and I were discussing the reason for this season, Jesus! I was so encouraged by our conversation and I asked him to share his thoughts with all of you in a guest-post.  I think you will appreciate his funny yet non-sugar coated and truthful perspective. Enjoy! 

I’ll never forget the first time I told Sarah that I didn’t want to do the whole “Santa thing” when we had kids. She looked at me as if I had just told her that Lorelai Gilmore was a bad mother (she was).

After having thought about it at great length, I decided that what I really wanted for my children to focus on at Christmastime is the very reason for Christmas itself:  the birth of our all-sufficient Savior, Jesus Christ. (Which explains the whole “Christ” part of Christmas. Funny how that works, huh?)

Santa is really a tremendously deficient figure:

  • Santa is magic, for no discernible reason. (Thank you, Hollywood, for a charming yet disappointing mythos. And Tim Allen.)
  • Santa, while being the apparent universal moral authority, is a ravenous glutton.
  • Santa only comes once a year and gives us what we think we want (providing that he deems us worthy).

Human society, generally speaking, has entirely endorsed the Santa myth because…well, it makes us feel better about ourselves. At the end of the day, we can’t really imagine anybody ending up on the Naughty List. All of our Christmas movies confirm this: the Grinch, Jack Frost, the Abominable Snow Monster….even Buddy the Elf’s dad.

Santa tells us what we want to hear: you’re a good person and you deserve good things.

Jesus, the real reason for Christmas, tells us the opposite…yet deals with us COMPLETELY contrary to that!

Philippians 2:6-10 tells us that, “though he was in the form of God, (Jesus) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Romans 5:8 also tells us that, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Jesus Christ, the Son, a person of the infinite and eternal Triune God of the universe, took on flesh and became a human being so that He could die for the forgiveness of sins of those who would believe in Him and trust in Him for salvation!

So when our kids do show up, we will tell them the truth about Santa:
He was a real man named Saint Nicholas of Myra who loved and served Jesus Christ. And he straight punched Arius the heretic in the face at the Council of Nicea. Not exactly the best way to demonstrate Christian love, but his zeal for the Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of emulation.

Our children will know the truth about Santa and Jesus…

The truth that Jesus is a better Santa, who doesn’t give us what we deserve, or even what we want.
Jesus, our good and gracious Savior, gives us what we really need:  reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life.

Merry CHRISTmas!

xo sarah & bret

cold buster smoothie

I am sick today. Boo.

Actually, I have been sick since Sunday…but this is the first day of work I’ve missed because of it and I am determined to not miss another. Prayers are much appreciated!

Cold buster smoothie to the rescue! This refreshing smoothie is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, antioxidants, and lots of minerals. Drink this smoothie down whether you are sick or well! Either way, it is great for you and will give you the energy you need to face the day.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large handful of fresh cranberries
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 5 large strawberries
  • 5 watermelon chunks (Note: I like to puree watermelon while it is in season and then freeze it in ice cube trays so it’s always on hand for smoothies. Fresh is great too!)
  • 1 cup 100% apple juice

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until combined. If it is too thick add some water or more apple juice.
  3. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading! I hope you stay well this season! Get proactive and try this immunity boosting smoothing. It was so good I had to instagram it:

cold buster smoothie

xo sarah

saturday sabbath

Hello Saturday. I am so happy you are here. We can finally be sleepy heads!

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Today’s post is short and sweet. Lately, life has been non-stop craziness so I have been trying to schedule a Sabbath once a week. This week our Sabbath ended up being on a Saturday. Woo-hoo!!

Here is our agenda for the day:

  • Wake up when we wake up. No alarms. No rush to get anywhere.
  • Lounge with some “Parenthood” and yummy omelets a’la Bret.
  • Do dishes & general house cleaning.
  • Prepare a large pot of pork chili verde with white beans for our supper. Pick up some corn tortilla chips. I can hardly wait!
  • Bret is playing video games right now while I post this blog. The Office is on in the background. Maybe I should change out of my pajamas and get in real clothes now?
  • Eat a snack. Maybe some homemade popcorn, fruit, or granola.
  • Decorate the Christmas tree and apartment while listening to Classic Christmas Carols. Eat chocolate…probably!
  • Get a hot stone massage! Are you kidding me?! I am SO thankful for this amazing treat.
  • Come home and eat the chili verde that’s been stewing all day long. Lots of lime and cilantro on top!
  • Decorate more. Take time to read our advent devotional together.
  • Celebrate and thank God for an amazing day of rest that He gave us!

xo Sarah

P.S. The Winner of the Shutterfly Giveaway was TESS!!! Thank you so much for telling us about your “card-worthy moment” with your children holding their newborn sister! Enjoy your Shutterfly loot! xo

card worthy moments

There is something just wonderful about photographs. They can capture moments of beauty and grace, as well as moments of sorrow and struggle. Photographs allow us to reminisce on life’s many moments. What a precious thing.

I always thought that being a photographer would be such an amazing job. There are so many talented people who are blessed to make artwork from God’s creation! And bringing that artwork to life for people is priceless!

A couple of nights ago, I was invited to a fabulous dinner party hosted by Shutterfly. A few of us blogger girls got together to chat, eat delicious italian food at Rosinas, drink wine, and share some card-worthy moments with each other.

What do I mean by card-worthy? Well, a card-worthy moment is one you would never want to forget. It can also be a moment you would want everyone to know about, see, and experience for themselves: beach days with your family, your vacation to a very special place, a picnic in the park. Simply, most card-worthy moments are those you would want to put on a card and mail out, just so everyone can see those precious snapshots.

I feel so blessed to have had so many card-worthy moments in my life, but one in particular stands out. In March of 2011, I married my best friend and HANDSOME husband, Bret. Last year, around this time, we sent out our Christmas card with a photo of us on our wedding day. I think it was the most “Ideal Family Photo Day” I will ever have. The day began with prayer, friends, breakfast, hair & makeup, giggling, and lots of anticipation. The day culminated with vows, communion, rings, and kissing. The day continued with lattes, doughnuts, cake, dancing, and toasts. The day ended with a beautiful drive to our honeymoon suite for the most perfect night a girl could dream of. And it is absolutely amazing that our wedding photographer could catch every moment for us, from start to finish.

Here is a photo of our Christmas card last year. It was simple, beautiful and it shared our hope in Jesus!

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I am not sure what you and your family are thinking about doing for a Christmas card this season, but I hope that you share one or a few of your card-worthy moments with the ones you love.

As an added bonus, I am doing a GIVEAWAY! Shutterfly does such an incredible job. From holiday cards, announcements, stationary, calendars, mugs, photobooks and other photo gifts – they do it all and with style. That being said, I would love to give you a chance to win $50.00 toward Shutterfly products! If you are interested in entering this giveaway, please do one simple thing: comment on this blog post and tell me about a card-worthy moment from your own life! This GIVEAWAY will run until Friday, December 7th, at 5:30pm. Winners will be selected at random.

instashutterfly

* A photo from the fabulous dinner party hosted by Shutterfly showcasing some of their work. Enjoy! #cardworthy

xo sarah