7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 59)

November 20, 2009 | 70 comments

— 1 —

Anyone have a good Advent calendar to recommend? I’m looking for some kind of interactive “calendar” to help us celebrate Advent, but have no idea where to start. There are so many options! Let me know if you have one that you love.

— 2 —

As an armchair nutritionist, I thought Rachel Balducci’s post about how her chronic anxiety subsided when she quit drinking Diet Coke was so interesting. My own diet drink story is that there was this one time in my life when I suddenly had major candy cravings; I’d never been much of a candy person, but suddenly my desk at work was covered with Nerds, Gobstoppers and Sprees. I heard a theory that diet drinks raise insulin levels without raising blood sugar and therefore make you crave sweets, so I decided to cut them out to see what happened. The candy cravings went away and never came back. (Marilyn Shannon talks about this some in her awesome book Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition.) What are your thoughts on diet drinks?

— 3 —

Speaking of which, the other day I couldn’t help but notice that I’d already drank half the carton of eggnog I’d just bought the day before (without alcohol, for the record), and that I craved it in a way that made me want to rip the door off of the refrigerator every time I thought about it. I was certain — certain! — that I must be craving the rich, thick goodness of fresh cream and nutmeg. Yes, yes, it must be the nutmeg that had me eyeing that old beer bong (from #7 here) every time the thought of eggnog came to mind. Surely this was not another case of delightful flavors that dazzled my tastebuds ending up being just flavored sugar. I even had a very clear visual of a farm wife standing in her homey farmhouse kitchen, pouring milk and cream from ceramic pitchers into a bowl and then hand-shaving a little nutmeg over it. (How we got from there to the tens of thousands of packaged cartons in area grocery stores, I’m not sure. But whatever.)

Anyway, alas, on an I’m-probably-going-to-regret-this whim, I turned the carton around to see that the first five ingredients were:

Milk, cream, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, corn syrup

Et tu, eggnog?

— 4 —

I thought this was a good post about being too attached to hyperconnectivity, in which the author challenges us to see if we could be content for a while day without Twitter, Facebook, texting, etc. What I found most amusing, though, was when she brought up the topic of St. Paul doing a status update as he wrote Philippians 4:11-13. It does sound kind of ridiculous when you think about reading:

paul In jail again. Writing to folks in Philippi (have to say, I like their jails better). Telling ppl about joy, unity; false teachers = bad.

— 5 —

I’m excited: I just ordered free business cards from Vistaprint. I find that it’s so handy to have business cards with my name, phone number and email for when I meet new people when we’re out and about, and this is a great/cheap way to do it. I ended up paying a few bucks for shipping and a couple add-ons, but ended up with hundreds of business cards for less than $10. Not bad! (I’m not receiving any compensation for saying this, by the way — just a product I like.)

— 6 —

Anyone else feel like the old decluttering adage that “you’ll never miss it!” is a total lie? I constantly miss stuff I gave away during decluttering. The latest is that I recently thought that I might actually start jogging occasionally, but then I remembered that I gave away my workout clothes in some overzealous decluttering spree, thinking triumphantly, “I haven’t worn these in more than a year so therefore I don’t need them! It’s time to make peace with the fact that I hate exercise! Workout clothes, meet the Goodwill bin!”

Maybe the adage should be, “You’ll never miss it!…Unless you’re some fool who tends to make rash decisions without thinking through, in which case you’ll end up keeping a bunch of garbage, throwing away stuff you actually need and then probably end up whining about it on your blog.” Anyway, if you see someone in central Texas jogging in jeans, that would be me.

— 7 —

Next Thursday is our annual Christmas card picture taking day, which promises to be an epic event with four kids under age six. In years past there have been plenty of moments of the kids asking me through screams as we wrangle them into nice clothes why we have to do this, and I scream back that it’s “SO THAT EVERYONE CAN SEE WHAT A HAPPY FAMILY WE ARE!”

Below is a Mr. Linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. (1) Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL. (2) Include a link back here.

I look forward to reading your posts!


1. Blair’s Blessings
2. Genny @ MyCup2Yours
3. It Feels Like Chaos
4. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
5. Gae
6. violingirl
7. Elizabeth Mahlou
8. Maggie @ From the Heart
9. Sarah Reinhard – Interview with Sarah Bauer
10. NCSue
11. Judy@A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings
12. Mary @ Hope Echoes
13. Pharmgirl
14. DebbieQ@stophershesknitting
15. Tami @ The Next Step
16. Dymphna@ the Well
17. Sarah @ SoJoBlog
18. EV
19. Trena @ The Third Prayer
20. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
21. Amanda
22. Megan@Blueberryscones
23. Sara @ AShowerOfRoses
24. Herb of Grace
25. (just) Lenae
26. becomewhatyouare
27. Jaime @ UndertheFigTree
28. Joy
29. Missus Wookie
30. Heather of the EO
31. Jenny
32. Mary @ Passionate Perseverance
33. Chelsea @ Roots & Rings
34. kim@baby yahyah
35. ThatMarriedCouple
36. Holly @ Hollison Journey
37. Annemarie
38. majellamom
39. Tracy@magnolia cul-de-sac
40. Colleen
41. Milehimama (Mama Says)
42. Transitus Tiber
43. KC
44. Kate@so much to say, so little time
45. Cheryl
46. Smoochagator
47. Katie @ The Baby Factory
48. Ranee @ Arabian Knits (Last Chance for Giveaway Entry)
49. Erin @ Well Red
50. Stacy @ So blessed
51. Janet @ Domestic Bliss
52. Christina@Mrs. Broccoli Guy
53. My Cup Runneth Over
54. Rebecca
55. Emily @MySong of Joy
56. Mama Fuss
57. Wendy from Zoom
58. Molly @ Just Simply
59. Rachael @ More Than a Mom on a Mission
60. Salome Ellen
61. Following A Call to Adoption
62. Jamie @ A Rough Diamond
63. Amy @ From the Desk of Mom
64. Minnesotamom
65. Julia
66. Mrs. Bubbles
67. Stephany Writes
68. ChrisV
69. Jen @ The Short Years
70. Elena@My Domestic Church
71. Lori
72. Laughing Lioness
73. Karen @ Needs New Batteries
74. Christian H @ Thinking Grounds
75. Anna @ Annalogue
76. Carly at the Tree (House Edition)
77. Adventures in Savings
78. Matching Moonheads
79. Julie Stiles Mills
80. Marie, Two Ways of Renouncing the Devil
81. suburbancorrespondent
82. Therese (Aussie Coffee Shop)
83. Sharon
84. Lindsey (with links)
85. Gill-Life of a Photographer
86. Embejo

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Genny


    I'm so sorry I entered my link twice! It didn't look like it went through the first time. Oops!

    Great links; I'm definitely going to check out the business card site. Thank you!

    Have a beautiful weekend.


  2. blissful_e

    I think the rule of thumb about giving things away that you haven't used in more than a year does NOT apply to the wardrobe of frequently pregnant/nursing women. I love decluttering, but I know that decluttering my wardrobe of infrequently used but well-loved items is a costly mistake at this juncture in my life.

  3. Anonymous


    I love Vistaprint!

    Also, the best eggnog I've ever had (with or without spirits) is from the recipe on Jeffery Morganthaler's blog: http://www.jeffreymorgenthaler.com/

    It tastes like ice cream!

  4. ~ Judy ~

    Thanks Jennifer…these GREAT Quick Takes were the perfect way to start my day! Here is the family/interactive Advent Calendar that we enjoy making each year:
    You'll find many other little ideas on the blog this week as well…especially for families like yours, who have lots of Littles under age 7!
    Peace and Joy!
    (And thank you for the business card link!)

  5. Carrie

    We have the magnetic advent calendar from Sensational Beginnings. I wanted something nativity-centered instead of santa or tree-centered. In each door, I put the day's magnet and two small pieces of candy (lifesavers or butter mints), along with a Bible verse and a fun seasonal family activity on a slip of paper. (Only two kids here, so just two pieces of candy. You might have to find smaller candy since you have more kiddos! πŸ™‚ ) HTH!

  6. Tami Boesiger

    I'm with you, Jennifer. I always find I miss something after I throw it out. Maybe that's why I have three bags of clothes I cleaned out of my closet this summer still sitting around my bedroom!

  7. SursumCorda

    "You'll never miss it" is definitely a lie. Regret-free decluttering may be possible, but it's never done (1) in hurry, or (2) when so stressed over clutter that you're in a mood to "throw the bums out." Once we moved across the country twice within two years, squeezing the contents of a large house first into a small apartment and then into a much smaller truck. There are plenty of things left behind that I still miss nearly a decade later. Do I need them? No. But I miss them.

    Another lie: "You can always buy another one if you need it." Unfortunately, I've already found several things we discarded in order to save space in the moving truck, intending to replace them after the move, only to find that they were no longer made. πŸ™

    And next time you think, "I haven't used this in a year, therefore I don't need it," remember fire extinguishers and life insurance.

    Moral: Decluttering IS important, but is best done in a calm frame of mind under no time pressure — and the best way to stop clutter is before it ever enters the house.

    By the way, I love your blog. I've recently slashed dramatically the blogs I follow, not because they're not very interesting, but because I'm doing a different kind of decluttering. Yours, however, is not one I'm willing to give up.

  8. Christine

    I would highly recommend the Advent Book, found at http://www.theadventbook.com. It is a beautiful way to learn and celebrate the Luke story. Every page from 1-25 has a large door to open with some of the Christmas story inside (as well as beautiful artwork) and each day you begin at 1 and go through whatever day you're at in December. The kids all take turns opening doors and can't wait for their turn. We light our advent wreath, sing a hymn and say a prayer to round out our evening celebrations each day.

  9. Trena

    I don't have a good Advent calendar but I'll be watching your comments for advice.

    I did hear of this idea from my Christian MOMS group and am going to do this. Take a piece of construction paper and write down someone to pray for everyday during Advent. Take all the papers and make them into a long chain. You can either add that as decoration to your dress or use it as decoration on the wall. Every morning, tear a piece of the chain off and that is who/what you are praying for that day. Each day the chain gets closer, as your heart is getting closer to Christ.

  10. Sarah

    I don't drink diet drinks. I gave them up in my early teens when I linked them to my awful headaches. I haven't touched a diet drink since. I'm convinced they're poison (I'm only half joking).

  11. Tracy @Magnolia Cul-de-Sac

    We've had several Advent calendars over the years and I've never been just thrilled with any of them. I mean they've done their job, ticked off the days until Christmas, but I want More!

    I too had had Goodwill guilt. But, I'm also fairly certain I've been the lucky buyer of someone else's Goodwill guilt πŸ˜‰

  12. Anonymous

    I never found one that I liked; so I made my own. I have patterns from quilt magazines for both an advent wreath and also a nativity scene. I've given several as gifts. I sew them up along with 24 pockets on the bottom. For the advent wreath calendar, I use velcro and felt flames to attatch each week. For the nativity I place a star in the pocket to count and then hang it on a button above the manger on Christmas day. Each evening when we move the Star we place one item on the mantle for our nativity. You can put whatever you want in the pockets: Someone to pray for that day, a special family activity, a scripture verse, or candy and treats.

    God bless,


  13. Herb of Grace

    Oo, I'm excited about the advent calendar suggestions! I hope they keep rolling in. We've been trying to find a good one for forEVER, but usually end up just sticking with the candle wreath…

  14. Martha

    I can think of 1 or 2 things I have ever given away that I wish I hadn't. (one marble track; one pair of Ninja Turtle slippers that it turns out he *would* notice if I gave them away.) Maybe there's something wrong with me?

  15. Terri

    Here are my suggestions on the best Advent Activities for preparing your kids for Christmas:

    1. http://www.catholiccompany.com/catholic-gifts/3001012/Advent-Calendar-w-24-Mini-books/

    You can get it elsewhere, including Amazon and B&N, but this link had the best picture and description.

    2. http://www.abbeypress.com/product.asp?pn=48002

    This is a magnetic advent wreath that we keep on the refrigerator.

    We do both of these as daily and weekly activities and the kids love it.

  16. Jennifer Merck

    The Advent Book: amazing! Jesse Tree: can't imagine Advent without it anymore. The other Advent calendar we do: fabric, quilted, hangs on the wall, each day a piece of the Nativity is added to the velcro at the top. If you're interested, I'll find the manufacturers name. Can't remember it right now!

  17. Kimberlie

    RE: #7, I just did this two days ago. I have three kids and the oldest is 8 so I am not quite in your situation. But seriously, I thought I was going to have to be talked off a ledge before the whole thing was done. Even my 8 yr old became a toddler and was so incredibly frustrating.

    Of course, who's brilliant idea was it to schedule the sitting for 4:40pm on a school day when my oldest doesn't get off the bus until 4:10pm, needed a shower, then to get dressed, and then a 10 minute drive normally, but 20 minutes in early evening traffic, when DH could not be with me to help herd the cats (er, kids) and right when they are really getting hungry for dinner? Um, that would be me.

    My bad. I snapped a better photo of them at home, minus the fancy background, once their tummies were full and they didn't feel they had to "perform." A little computer photo editing and it will be just right for the card. We only purchased a few of the not so great photos from the studio. I probably saved myself $100.

  18. Jenny

    I just did my first "quick takes"! Thank you Jennifer for such a wonderful blog!

  19. Ginkgo100

    * Diet sodas are an illusion of healthy drinks. They are still bad for your teeth due to acid. They're full of chemicals, including artificial sweeteners and preservatives. I don't think small amounts of these chemicals are a problem for most people, but I do know that "the dose makes the poison," and most diet soda drinkers I know drink copious amounts every single day. I think that on the balance, that's better than drinking an equivalent amount of soda with fructose (HFCS), because not only is there an enormous number of calories, but research has shown that fructose contributes more to belly fat when it reaches a certain percentage of your daily calories (and lots of soda drinkers do drink that much).

    I do think I saw some research that showed that merely tasting something sweet started the metabolic pathways to digesting sugar, so there may be something to your idea. I have the good fortune to have almost no taste for sweet drinks, and I mostly drink water. Tap water, in fact. Yeah, I'm a barbarian.

    * The only time I ever really craved sweets, in a deep-down, my-body-REALLY-NEEDS-this way, was when I had gestational diabetes. It faded away as I adjusted my diet to control my blood sugar. When I asked her about it, my current OB suggested it was probably from reactive hypoglycemia, creating a vicious cycle: eat simple sugars, get a blood sugar spike and then a blood sugar crash, crave sweets with every fiber of your being, repeat.

    If that's the case, you might be able to have occasional sweet treats if you eat them like a diabetic has to: along with a meal with lots of protein and fiber and not a whole lot of carbohydrates. Protein and fiber both slow sugar absorption. But you would have to limit yourself to a small portion (I actually counted carb grams at every meal).

    * For the most part, getting rid of clutter really does make me feel better. And I can't remember ever missing it. Maybe that's a sign that I truly, truly have a clutter "problem." If you came for a visit, you would agree.

  20. Barbara C.

    A few years ago I bought some pink and purple felt, cut it into strips, and added self-stick velcro dots. Purple strips are for weekdays and pinks strips are for Sundays (in case we forget a few days I can get us easily get caught back up). I am so not a crafty person, and I was able to make it.

    And I don't do Christmas cards. They just seem like such a waste of time and money. Anyone I really care or cares about me about I talk to regularly (especially in the Facebook age). And my husband won't get his photo made so no family photos…it could be a blessing, though.

  21. marie

    1.My daughter's godfather gave her this one. We love it. http://www.yonderstar.com/advent1.html

    2.I quit diet coke. In addition to the caffienne it made me crave chocolate.

    3.I have a a milk man. He brings the egg nog in a glass bottle, like our milk, It is so creamy and delicious I want to suck the whole thing down. OOPH!

    4.My teens are way too connected to their phones. But by the same token, I find that they bring up topics that they are uncomfortbale bringing up face to face via text. It gives them a bit of space. So that we can then later have a deep conversation. I say thats a good thing.
    5. I think I am going to get business cards. This way I don't have to write my email on the back of CVS reciepts in eye liner.
    6. detatchment.
    7. Have all the kids get their backs on the floor with their heads in a circle. Get up on a chair and take the shot from above of their cute faces. They will think its crazy fun!

  22. honeybee

    Jennifer: there is plenty of information out there delineating the dangers of aspartame and other excitotoxins.

    Poison, pure and simple. Check it out.

  23. Milehimama

    I just got my free business cards from Vistaprint! They say, officiallly, "writer" on them.

    I'm thinking of getting another set, with contact info and my kid's names and ages to hand out to friend's parents, etc. Like a contact card.

    I went with the free diamond template, black background. What do yours look like?

  24. Kate@so much to say, so little time

    Oh, how excited I am to see your question about Advent calendars! The Advent calendar is the center point of what I call the Advent Reclamation Project (also includes Jesse tree, etc.). I think it's much less important *what* it looks like, than what goes *in* it. I actually am negotiating a book with Liguori Publications, which will be available next year, on this subject. What we have done is to take all the busy work of the season, as well as the service opportunities and fun stuff, and plan them all out ahead of time. Then we put a piece of paper with the day's "activity" in the calendar, and open it each morning. It is an AWESOME way to make Advent special in its own right, not to mention organizing the busiest season of the year so that much of the stress is alleviated. Hope this isn't too big a self-promotion πŸ˜‰ but I'm really excited about this book project–I think people are *so* wanting to celebrate Advent as something separate from Christmas.

  25. Kathy

    Just bought an advent calendar from Fisher Price. I've had the little people nativity set for my kids for years and I love that it's theirs to explore the story and not fear breakage (I have 4 kids 4 and under). This year they came out with a calendar with 24 pockets, each with a velcro on piece or character of the nativity with the Baby in the manger being the 24th. Can't wait to put together (in more ways than one!) the story with my children!

  26. Ranee @ Arabian Knits

    I have the best ever recipe for eggnog! It includes no HFCS or even just regular corn syrup (so long as you use good ice cream in it or make your own). You can find it here

    wv: rainemo (n) A state of depression or sadness related to wet or grey weather. (ex. I always feel so rainemo when the sun isn't out.)

  27. 'Becca

    Artificial sweeteners wreak havoc with me. I can have them in chewing gum but not on an empty stomach. Diet soda or any food or drink with artificial sweetener sends me into a scary state of depression, cold hands and feet, tingling face, insatiable hunger but mild nausea, sensitivity to light, and shooting pain in the kidneys. NutraSweet is worst, but overall I think it's less a reaction to the chemicals themselves than my body reacting to sweetness by preparing to digest sugar and then freaking out because there aren't enough calories. FWIW, I'm also a person who can't eat too much refined sugar without experiencing "sugar shock" jumpiness and dizziness. So I drink only things with minimal, real sweetening, like tea with 1/4 tsp. honey. Once in a while I have a non-diet soda WITH non-sugary food.

  28. nicole

    I drank diet soda some last summer, while competing in a family Biggest Loser contest. I didn't really care for it though. I found that I would much rather drink less of the regular soda than fill up on diet soda. Happily, I really love unsweet iced tea and just drink that instead. Most of the time.

  29. Janet in Toronto

    My local grocery store is now offering chocolate egg nog. I can't buy it because I can't bring myself to look at the ingredients.

    Not sure if I am drawn to, or repelled by the concept, though.

  30. Sarah L.

    Re: #3
    And here I thought the ingredients were just Egg and Nog.

  31. lana

    #7: don't do it. go to the backyard and have a neighbor take a fun family photo in the sun. forget the studio, the dresses and suit jackets or whatever. natural (and goofy and silly) is better.
    just my two cents.

  32. Emily G.

    Love all the Advent calendar suggestions; I too am hunting for one.

    I know what you mean about throwing stuff out and then realising you need it-I've done it myself a few times in the past month. I've been on a de-cluttering kick.

    I've never been a diet soda drinker. I can't abide the taste of aspartame and am allergic to it-it makes me nauseous and I get a headache.

  33. Christy

    I just love Marilyn Shannon – she gave a short talk at a retreat I went to a couple weeks ago and I was able to buy her updated book! I was blessed to have her as an NFP teacher and she helped to diagnose my hypothyroidism.

  34. Molly

    My first Quick Takes!

  35. Jess

    We just ordered a new Christian advent calendar from Chinaberry – we also have an Advent spiral I bought a couple years ago from A Toy Garden online that Ella loves.

    I also love egg nog, I have always wanted to make some home made but have never gotten around to trying. This may be my year!

  36. Jen Rouse

    I love the faux-tweet update from Paul.

  37. Lori

    I ordered my Advent calendar from The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd this year. I've got some other sources on the sidebar of my blog.(If you're interested:)
    God Bless, Lori

  38. Carrien

    I ALWAYS have decluttering regret, especially when it comes to clothes, and books. I always think later, "I used to have a really nice sweater where did that go… oh crap, I gave it away." The big problem for me is that I forget in the really warm CA summers that I'm ever going to want warm clothes again. And I think I will stay fat, or skinny forever, forgetting that this changes all the time thanks to kids.

    I have only twice in 8 years regretted any toy de-cluttering I have done however. And that was only because a child remembered the toy and it was gone. I actually had to buy CandyLand again so great was the sadness. (I hate that game.)

  39. L. David

    Last year, some dear friends gave us an "Advent Calendar" that is a beautiful wooden box in the shape of a stable. It has 24 boxes that open and they had filled each box with a treat of some sort. At least 10 of them had the different pieces of the Nativity so that on Christmas Eve we had a complete set. Some of the other things in the boxes were rosaries, prayer cards and even candy a few times. Needless to say, my kids could not wait to have family prayer every night just to see what we would find next! We have also done the Jesse Tree for the past several years and they enjoy that too. Advent is what finally got us doing regular family prayer all year long! Good luck!

  40. Karen

    Thank you for hosting. I love it when I remember to play and read along on Fridays!
    Bonne chance with your holiday photo!

  41. Karyn

    I'm going to try combining the Jesse Tree and the advent calendar. I'm drawing an evergreen on poster board and I'm drawing the symbols for the Jesse tree. Then the kids can tape the symbol of the day onto the tree after the day's Scripture reading. I have started the drawing and find it to be really mediative – but I guess you do need to like drawing. The kids have been drawing next to me and asking about the symbols, so we're sort of already starting our "lessons".

  42. Green Monk

    Thanks for the tip concerning soda pops. I may have to try a fast from them to see the effects. πŸ™‚

  43. EvaV

    Re: diet drinks – Did you know that aspartame began its career in a lab developing compounds for chemical warfare? It was going to be a nerve agent when it grew up!

  44. Christian H

    I drink diet drinks even though I increasingly aware that 1) I have a psychological addiction to them (that might not count as 'even though') and 2) I'm pretty sure I now have a sugar addiction, if the symptoms are anything to go by. I sometimes quit, but only for a few months at a time. Then, when Lent or whatever is over, as soon as I hit a stressful period I cave again.

  45. Rose Atwater

    Love your blog…this is my first '7 Quick Takes' although I've been reading yours since it started!

  46. Marie

    Amen on the diete drinks, no weight loss "program" ever worked for me as long as I let myself drink diet soda.

    Oh, and re: the eggnog, I'm sure you have heard this, but the reason they put three different kinds of sweeteners in is because if it were all one of those it would be the first ingredient. . .

  47. regan

    i loved what you said about the eggnog.
    i bought honey flavored and pumpkin spice and have been adding it to my tea all week long.
    but i have moments when i'd like to put it in shot glasses. line them up on the kitchen sink and drink the whole thing.
    i really need to read that book on fertility cycles and nutrition.
    something about me if off.
    thanks for the quick takes.
    i needed a bit of a chuckle!

  48. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

    Here's a link for a homemade eggnog that I guarantee blows away the kind you buy in a carton! (This one is actually good for you, and tastes much better.)


    Also, we all LOVE this Advent activity. It's not a big burdensome "have to get this done" thing on my plate (only takes 5 or 10 minutes of my time), and it's fun for the kids. They've heard the same stories for years now as they color, but still love it. The whole story of creation is covered.


  49. Elena

    Hey Jen, I have included a link to the Advent calendar we made (and used) last year. The link is to my blog and the picture isn't that great but the calendar worked wonderfully. This year we are making it out of foam and the doors will be like pockets to hold the prayer intentions.

  50. Tina

    We have the magnetic advent calendar from Catholic Child cataglog. Here's a link. http://www.catholicchild.com/MAGNETIC-ADVENT-CALENDAR/productinfo/32053/ The pieces may be rather small for your small children, but it does have a bracket on the back so that it can be hung out of reach (take it down to put a piece on, back up after). It also can stand on its own.

  51. Mary Lyter

    Hey there Jennifer – not sure if you've heard of Freecycle.org but it is a way to give stuff away for free and people will typically come get it. I enjoy meeting the people getting our stuff and using it, as opposed to putting it in a box and sending to goodwill where who knows if they will throw it out or sell it even though they received it for free. Also, you can get free stuff on Freecycle – I recently got jeans (because I lost weight, huzzah), the Ghostbusters movie for my son and even a brand new The Very Hungry Caterpillar book. Just thought I'd pass it along.

  52. Elisa@ElisaLoves

    Haha…jogging in jeans…you crack me up. You know the Duggars…w/ the 19 kids? Well, the boys only wear long pants, NEVER shorts, so they jog in jeans all the time! Well, are in you Austin or San Antonio, I can't remember. My husband is Army and we were stationed at Ft. Hood 2 years ago, but now we are heading BACK down to good ole Texas. I'm looking forward to warmER weather (currently in NY) and wearing more skirts & dresses & trying out some petticoats that Betty Beguiles was writing about!

  53. Young Mom

    Maybe I am a bit dumb, but I couldn't figure out how to get the picture mclinky thing to post on my blog. I'm kind of new at this, can anyone help me out?

  54. Elizabeth M

    Just a note about Goodwill. They do sell some of the clothes and other items that are donated — but that's part of their service. The money raised through the sales is used to fund job training programs for disabled and untrained workers. I think there are also ways that those in need can "shop" in the stores for free. No, I don't work for them. But my daughter's Brownie troop is doing a clothing drive for them and they had the programs explained to them.

  55. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary

    Young Mom – Just popping in real quick and wanted to answer your question: I think the easiest thing to do is to right-click on it, save it to your computer, and then use your blogging platform's regular process for adding pictures to your post. Sorry for the inconvenience — one of these days I'll make it easier. πŸ™‚

    Oh, and Marie –

    I'm sure you have heard this, but the reason they put three different kinds of sweeteners in is because if it were all one of those it would be the first ingredient

    I hadn't heard that. THAT IS SO SNEAKY!!

    Anyway, thanks for the comments, everyone! πŸ™‚

  56. Young Mom

    Thank you! That makes sense, maybe next week. πŸ™‚

  57. Mary Lyter

    Other Goodwill thing – Elizabeth, just wanted to let you know, I work at Goodwill!!

    It's not that I don't donate things, I just like to see them be used by someone who can't afford to buy it, even at a secondhand store. I know that at Goodwill, we aren't allowed to accept donations of many baby/children's things such as cribs, bassinettes, playpens, strollers, carseats, etc.
    I have seen some very beautiful and still functional things donated that are sent straight to the dumpster because of liability issues. I have personally given away changing tables and high chairs that I know would have been landfill had I taken them in to donate to Goodwill.

    So…. also, I am a massive procrastinator, and it's easiest for me to put things up on Freecycle as I'm cleaning my house and have people pick them up that day/evening. I know if they sit around and I think, "I will take them to Goodwill or Salvation Army," they will be sitting there for a month or more.

    At any rate, particularly enjoyed this Friday Jennifer. Good job! Jog in jeans, you may set a trend.

  58. The Lomanno Family

    Last year, we started doing a Jesse tree. The kids loved it. We used the one listed below, which was great because it was crafty, yet didn't require too much thought on my end. I just had to follow a pattern.


  59. monica_divineoffice.org

    Your no 7, great! You always make me laugh with one of your over sincere posts.

    Liturgy of the Hours

  60. Ginkgo100

    To the commenter who called aspartame an excitotoxin and "poison, pure and simple":

    I have to say that this position is full of misinformation and based on pseudoscience. Here are the facts:

    The body breaks a portion of aspartaMe consumed into aspartaTe, which is another word for aspartic acid. Aspartic acid is one of the 20 amino acids used by the body to build proteins, and it literally is present in every cell of the body. In a stroke, glutamic acid and aspartic acid already in the brain play a role in further brain cell death, and this is what is meant by the term "excitotoxin." There are several key facts that explain why this is not a concern with aspartame consumption:

    First, aspartate (aspartic acid) does not cross the blood-brain barrier uncontrollably. It has to be brought in via "active transport," which means that cells have to actively spend energy to bring it in.

    Second, the problems experienced by some people due to aspartame sensitivity are not due to aspartate excitotoxicity. The methanol in aspartame is a more likely culprit. (Aspartame is a compound made of methanol, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid.)

    By no means am I declaring aspartame "safe." It's the subject of ongoing scientific research, with some (but by no means all) experts suspecting it plays a role in certain neurological problems, at least in some people. But as I said before, the dose makes the poison. Just because a substance is toxic at a certain dose does not mean it is dangerous at a lower dose. Here is one journal article that is an example of how the dose matters with aspartame: In a study on toxicity in red blood cells, "low concentrations" had no effect, but "high or abuse concentrations" had a negative effect.

  61. Embejo

    My first time. Done πŸ™‚

  62. Lenetta @ Nettacow

    I really appreciate the call for Advent celebration stuff . . . my little one is just about to the age where I can do this stuff with her. I linked to this on my weekly roundup and since I'm a big nerd, I pulled out the links, too. :>) Thanks, and blessings!

  63. Christine the Soccer Mom

    I didn't play along this week, but I finally got home and decided to read your Quick Takes.

    Re: Advent Calendars.

    There's an online one from Veggie Tales at their site, and it usually starts December 1. Each day, Larry gives you another silly saying. (Big Idea has a new Christmas Veggie DVD about St. Nicholas, by the way! I'm so excited, and I don't even know if my girls would be.)

    I'm doing my Jesse Tree stuff again (just set it up to go every day at midnight, beginning Dec. 1), but it's not interactive unless you make ornaments and hang them up yourself. πŸ˜‰ I did paper ones our first year, by the way, and we started using our Christmas tree as our Jesse Tree last year, which works better than the stupid stick in cement in a pot setup I tried two years ago.

    Finally, if you're looking for some activities for Advent, Catholic Mom and Domestic Church have some really good stuff, too. (At Domestic Church, look for "Fridge Art" for various activities, categorized into age groups! I love catagories!!)

    God bless, Jen, and have a blessed Advent!


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