7 Quick Takes with a big announcement, a drinking horn, a gift coupon, and a desperate call for the Advent rock!

December 4, 2014 | 24 comments

— 1 —

On October 2, 2008 I wrote my first “7 Quick Takes” post. Soon after that I made it a link-up, meaning I put some code on the bottom of each of my own 7 Quick Takes posts so that other bloggers could submit links to their own posts of the same format. In the six years since then, not a single Friday has gone by that I haven’t written a 7 Quick Takes post and hosted the linkup (or at least posted a note with a lame excuse about why I couldn’t).

The 7 Quick Takes blog party has been part of my life week in and week out since I was pregnant with my child who is now a Kindergartener, and it’s probably the writing project I’ve loved the most.

And now it’s time to pass the torch. So…

I am thrilled to announce that Kelly Mantoan of This Ain’t the Lyceum is the new permanent host of the 7 Quick Takes Friday link-up!

One reason I wanted Kelly to take over is that schedule changes have made it difficult for me to have each week’s post up in time for other people to link up. But the main reason is just that it felt right. Kelly is a brilliant and hilarious writer who brings a ton of energy to everything she does, and it seemed like everyone would have a lot of fun with her as host. Those of you who aren’t already familiar with her are going to LOVE getting to know her!

I still plan to write my own 7 Quick Takes posts regularly, I just won’t be hosting the linkup. This is a big change for me after hosting 7QT for over 320 weeks in a row, but I’m super excited to follow the fun over at Kelly’s place!

— 2 —

I had to look through the 7 Quick Takes archives to find the date of my first post, and it ended up being a trip down Memory Lane…if Memory Lane is a street in a Felliniesque world where people like me find ourselves in the most ridiculous of circumstances. Here are a few of my favorites:

Top 5 Moments from Early 7 Quick Takes Posts:

5. Considering stalking a woman to tell her that I don’t think she’s a stalker (#6)

4. Finding a black widow spider in my grapes at the store (#4 and 5)

3. Turning into a madwoman over a Christmas rocking horse at Toys R Us (#4)

2. Running into a pirate at the library (#2)

1. Sharing my surprisingly impassioned views after an encounter with Trucknutz (my all-time most popular 7 Quick Takes post — do NOT miss the comments on this one)

— 3 —

I finally got my desk set up for my radio show! My favorite part? That lovely picture in the center of the wall:



It was sent to me by Jennifer, an artist who’s shop is StudioJRU. I found it to be deeply moving from the first moment I saw it. When you think about it, that one simple word — known — says so much about who God is and what our relationships is to him.

After I raved and raved about my new artwork, Jennifer kindly offered a special discount code for me to share with you guys! You can find the Known print that I have here, and you can see all her other prints here. If you enter the code Jennifer15, you’ll get a 15% discount off of all of her prints!

I am so inspired every time I look at the one on my wall. I highly recommend this as a decoration for your house, or as a gift for someone special!

— 4 —

7qt281-drinking-hornAnother item for my “best gift ideas EVER” file would be this drinking horn that I found on Hallie’s annual Gifts for Guys list. Beholding this item was one of those jaw-dropping moments of wondering how I could have possibly gotten this far in life without having one of these items in my house. And just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any better, there are the reviews. A highlight:

After a long day of crushing your enemies and seeing them driven before you, nothing goes down better than an ice cold brew. With Das Horn, you can hold TWO beers without using your hands utilizing the included neck strap, and when your thirst is satisfied you can press the drinking vessel against your ear and hear the lamentations of their women.

At the time of this writing, the drinking horn is ranked #742 in the Amazon Housewares section. It makes me despair for our society that people have managed to find 741 items that are more valuable to them than a sturdy drinking horn.

Between this and the StudioJRU prints, I think your Christmas gift list is pretty much set.

— 5 —

I got the Advent wreath down from the attic this weekend. I actually remembered to store the candles indoors this year, so they weren’t melted like they usually are…although they were the wrong colors. I’m not too worried about it, though, since the traditional purple color is meant to symbolize sacrifice and penance — ANY candles that I put up in this house are an exercise in sacrifice and penance on my part.

Anyway, this is how it ended up:


I got the Advent calendar out too. It’s one of those awesome wooden ones with the little doors with precious magnet figurines that fill out the manger scene day by day.

…And the cat knocks it down every single night, and I wake up to magnetic figurine manger scene carnage every single morning — which is, frankly, better than when it’s time to open the doors.

I had the kids do a re-enactment for my radio show of what it’s like when we open the door on the Advent calendar each night. Here’s what it sounded like:

— 6 —

What is with all these liturgical year objects that are breakable, flammable, have lots of tiny pieces to get scattered all over my house, and/or are traditionally stored within the reach of young children? I need some new traditions that involve objects that are a) simple, b) indestructible, and c) stored in a place that is impossible to access if you’re shorter than 6′ 0″. Therefore, I have a proposal for a brand new Advent tradition:


Each year on the first Sunday of Advent, families will get out a ROCK. The rock symbolizes…the, umm, the rock upon which Christ would eventually build his Church. The Advent Rock will traditionally be stored in a titanium cage, which symbolizes…the protection that Christ offers us from evil. And the cage will be hung from the ceiling to symbolize our desire to be closer to heaven.

THIS is an Advent tradition I can actually handle in this house. Who’s with me?!

— 7 —

Everyone go welcome Kelly Mantoan as the newest and best 7 Quick Takes Friday host ever!


  1. Amanda

    Bahaha! The Advent Rock should totally be a thing 🙂

    Our Little People Nativity Set has proved itself to be relatively sturdy and long-lasting. It withstands toddlers chewing on it and 4 insane cats and all. I recently saw that Auntie Leila had her advent wreath hanging from the ceiling above her dining table, which seemed totally genius to me! Out of reach of toddlers and off the table, perfect!

  2. April

    I went through a phase where I gave up reading blogs, except your 7 Quick Takes. Every Friday, I wake-up, make coffee and read your blog. I’ve read since the beginning.

    I sound totally creepy. Lol. Your writing always makes me smile laugh or praise God. I’m sad to this part end, but understand. I just wanted you to know, your quick takes have helped me. I’ll miss you.

    • Melody

      Me too! And, THESE Quick Takes are spectacular – you’re relinquishing the reins with style, Jen! 😉

  3. Angela

    Living in Germany, we decided to get an Advent calendar this year and I purchased one made by playmobil. Mainly because on one of the days the Mommy and Daddy figures get wine. And on Day 5 of Advent, I’m ready to rip it off the wall and throw it out the front door because the 6-year-old doesn’t want to wait for Daddy to get home before opening the next door each night and the one-year-old keeps running off with the figures. We put a giant baby gate around the tree and calendar, but the little one already got inside once. I never understood the whole ‘doing penance during Advent’ thing until I had kids and realized that everything about our Christmas traditions is some kind of penance for how I acted as a child.

    • Walter

      Hahaha, thanks for that…truck nutz post from the archives (please, please, read the comments section!!!!)is too funny. I too remember seeing that scourge dangling there, sadly recognizing what it was right away, rolling my eyes and saying…”Dude really? Why?”

  4. George @ Convert Journal

    Thank you Jennifer for creating and offering 7QTF for so very long. My first post was in early 2010 when you were already up to #73. For me, it has provided a wonderful digest format for tidbits too small to post on their own and an ideal community with whom to share them. May God bless you and your family as your journeys continue!

  5. Rita @ Open Window

    320 weeks? And just last night I was wondering whether I could manage my…I have no idea what, but couldn’t even be 75th. Thank you for starting such a fun linkup. Love the Advent rock idea! Our candles are white and red this year…red for um…martyrdom and white for that’s what they were selling at the dollar store that day. The wreath is up before week 3! Victory!

  6. Susan

    My ten year old son would like to know what happens if the Advent Rock falls on someone’s head?
    We have the tradition of losing the advent wreath and the candles not fitting. One year we used. Four different candles with out a wreath . We now have two wreaths but I can only find one.

  7. Cajuntexasmom

    I want in on this Advent Rock thing. Except, we should probably paint it purple. Because liturgy.

  8. Erin

    Big news!! 6 years is a long time and much appreciated all the years you have hosted 7 Quick. thank you.
    May you enjoy this new season:)
    Off to read your links, think I’ve missed most of them.
    know what you mean about liturgical and flammable, was thinking about that the other day.

  9. Judy G

    Hi, Jennifer! I just finished your amazing book, Something Other Than God, and I feel like I know you as if we’ve been friends forever! Your honesty and the way you went about coming to faith was a wonderful read for me, a Baby Boomer and cradle Catholic. It made me apprecitae my Church all the more.
    God bless!

    Oh, and I like the idea of an Advent Rock, except, having raised a son, it can get thrown across a room very quickly!

  10. Jessica @ housewifespice

    I would totally buy your Advent Rock on Etsy. The best thing about it is…no siblings fighting over whose turn it is to light, snuff, open, hang, etc! Only looking is happening at the Advent Rock!

    Curiously, my Spanish exchange student tells me they use one white, one red, one purple, and one green candle in Spanish Advent wreaths. She doesn’t know why, but I have commanded her to find out when she goes back for two weeks for Christmas and the Epiphany.

    Thanks for the Quick Takes. They are delightful as always.

  11. Suzanne

    Ha! We open the Advent calendars in the morning after breakfast. Trader Joe’s grocery store had $0.99 cent chocolate calendars. They sit on top the refrigerator since my four year old decided to shake and mix up the chocolates. So far, they seem to be working…..

  12. Elizabethe

    I’m developing a shelving unit that will consist of one 6 inch deep shelf that will encircle a room at the height of 6 feet and is impossible to pull down. It’s for parents of children ages 1 – 6. I’ll put my advent to k up there with every other item in my house.

  13. Sarah H

    I SO want a drinking horn too! Amazing. I would have to learn some Viking songs too.

    The recording of your children’s response to the Advent calendar make me laugh so hard. We’re doing a Jesse Tree this year, and while I’m loving writing my own devotional, things aren’t always peaceful when we actually do it as a family – usually a bit of fighting about who lights the candle, who hangs the ornament, general non-Christmassy grumpiness, etc.

  14. Melissa D

    Glad that the happy sounds of Advent at our house are mirrored at yours. Add me and my husband saying “Don’t. Dont’ touch it…I said DON’T TOUCH IT. It will burn you….STOP!…Hey. Hey! DIDN’T I JUST TELL YOUR BROTHER NOT TO TOUCH IT? THEN WHY ARE *YOU* TOUCHING IT???” etc etc.

    And I tried to read the Ann Voskamp Advent book to them, I really did. Disaster. Then we downsized (spiritually speaking) to the Light the Candles booklet. Now I’m at the stage of scrabbling for the scraps of paper with a single verse on them that we used for our cute wooden advent calendar last year. This year, 3 of the doors are busted. Oh well — at least I found the Little People Nativity set in good shape.

    Last night we skipped all of it and I had red wine and oreos for dinner. I wonder if Ann Voskamp ever has red wine and oreos for dinner.

    • Morag

      I didn’t even buy the Ann Voskamp book, I knew it wouldn’t happen. But in my alternative universe (where I live in Downton Abbey – upstairs of course) I would have bought it and all would be wonderful 😉

  15. Mel

    Hahaahahahaha…my kids 16,15,13, and 9 still. STILL STILL STILL fight over who gets to blow out the advent candle.

  16. Paul Forgette

    Thank you Jennifer for hosting “Takes.”
    It has helped me in many areas of my life.
    God bless you and all your family.

  17. Marie

    1) My breakable nativity set goes in the garden window over the kitchen sink.
    2) Even with the indestructible Fisher Price nativity set, you can get kids fighting over baby Jesus or adding extras to the set
    3) Our DRE makes kits for advent wreath felt banners. Purple and pink candles, green leaves and red berries are cut out of felt and glued down. Candle flames are cut out of orange or yellow felt. They attach and detach using some Scotch 3M product – maybe the wall mounting tabs. The entire banner can be hung as high as necessary.
    4)The need for a 6′ shelf (Elizabethe’s comment) is not limited to kids under 6. The tops of all my 6′ bookcases are littered with foam lightsabres,books which were being read under the table during homework time, toys that were fought over, my chocolate, the emergency stapler and flashlight, the grownup colored pencils, sharpies, etc.

  18. Nicole Hallford

    No household is complete without a good drinking horn!

  19. Jamie

    Well you couldn’t have picked a cooler host to pass the baton to, but NOOOOOO!! We’ll all be missing you as our fearless link up mother 🙂

  20. Kathleen McAleer

    I think what often gets forgotten in these discussions of the new austerity is that we as a nation came out of Puritan asceticism. Before Catholicism came to the United States, it was European. In older times, Christmas was celebrated with great fanfare, and the mass was always central, but all of the revels and music, parties and observations revolved around the mass, which was still the central event. But I think people in times past understood something that we very practical and calculating Americans have forgotten, that it is important to observe some occasions as a BIG event. I think that the story A Christmas Carol captures this idea very well. Scrooge, when he finally understands the meaning of Christmas, is so filled with joy that he cannot contain himself and he must give in excess in order to make up for all the years that he did not keep Christmas. And what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with having one holiday a year that is an excess? After all, is in the gift of Jesus from our Father God and excessive generous gift? Also, I detect some pride in these “how to keep Christmas” articles that I feel result from mothers competing to see who can have the holiest Christmas. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that this is not a matter of doctrine, just personal preference. yes if you want to have a simple Christmas, and have a simple Christmas!and those of us who want to have a holiday filled with family, food, presents, and parties, will feel free to do so also! It doesn’t have to be Martha Stewart perfect in order to be an event, it can just be fun. And what’s wrong with fun?sometimes I think our American Calvinistic background teaches us that fun is unholy, when nothing could be further from the truth. Check out Teresa of Avila and her dancing nuns!

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