Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Season, Christ & The Jesse Tree - Do your kids really know what Christmas is about?

Last night my 4 year old said to me, "Mommy, do you know what happens at Christmas?"  I assumed that he was just parroting what I'd heard my husband say to him a few days before, where my husband asked my boys, "Why do we celebrate Christmas", and my 4 year old blurted out "Jesus was born".  So last night when Caleb said "Mommy, do you know what happens at Christmas," I started to mentally prepare my simplest, most theologically correct response, but before I could open my mouth Caleb started in to tell me that "Santa comes and leaves presents".  I didn't know how to respond, but did wake up this morning knowing that EVERY DAY of this Advent Season I need to be counter-cultural, impressing upon my kids that Santa is not point, or the culmination of the season - Christ is.

So, I need to finally get around to doing something I heard about a couple of Christmases ago, but have yet to implement as a tradition - the Jesse Tree.  Have you heard about the Jesse Tree?  Do you already do it with your kids?  I leared of it at a MOPS meeting a couple of years ago, and think it is a neat way to celebrate the Advent Season. 

If you google "Jesse Tree", you'll find quite a few sites with ideas, and since I've never actually done this with my family, I'm not going to tell you how to do it, but I want you to encourage you to google it like I did and try it with your family.  You can make your own tree, or buy a kit with one online, but the point is to celebrate the Birth of Christ by recognizing the lineage He came from, and by doing a small devotion every day of the Advent Season in conjuction with hanging an ornament on the Jesse Tree. 

For more info, and suggested daily devotional schedules, check out the following sites:

Tree of Jesse (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Tree of Jesse is a depiction in art of the Ancestors of Christ, shown in a tree which rises from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David; the original use of the family tree as a schematic representation of a genealogy. It originates in a passage in the Biblical Book of Isaiah which describes metaphorically the descent of the Messiah, and is accepted by Christians as referring to Jesus.
The passage in Isaiah, 11:1 is: "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.[

In the New Testament the lineage of Jesus is traced by two of the Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke. Luke describes the "generations of Christ" in Chapter 3 of Luke's Gospel, beginning with Jesus himself and tracing backwards through his "earthly father" Joseph all the way to Adam.

Matthew's Gospel opens with the words: "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham".[3] With this beginning Matthew makes clear Jesus' whole lineage: He is of God's chosen people, by his descent from Abraham, and he is the "shoot of Jesse" by his descent from Jesse's son, King David.[4] The figures shown are drawn from the genealogies in the Gospels, usually showing only a selection.

JESSE TREE SCRIPTURES/Suggested Daily Devotionals (The symbols are only suggestions)

December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth
December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman
December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite
December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow
December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain
December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush
December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder
December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic
December 9 Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols: baby in basket, river and rushes
December 10 Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: lamp, temple
December 11 Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: crimson robe, shepherd's staff
December 12 David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star
December 13 Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword
December 14 Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: hammer, saw, chisel, angle
December 15 Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart
December 16 John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: shell with water, river

On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the "O" Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the "O" Antiphons.

December 17 Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1 Symbols: oil lamp, open book
December 18 Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets
December 19 Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbols: flower, plant with flower
December 20 Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22 Symbols: key, broken chains
December 21 Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7 (in older Bibles this will be Psalm 18) Symbols: sun rising or high in sky
December 22 Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbols: crown, scepter
December 23 Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbols: tablets of stone, chalice and host
December 24 Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbols: candle, flame, sun

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Walkway of Lights in Marion - Worth the $5!

My family went to the "Walkway of Lights" tonight, our first trip, of what I'm sure will be many, this holiday season.  If you don't know what the Walkway of Lights is, it is a path of Christmas lights that starts behind Marion General Hospital and runs all along the river through Matter Park.  Once you get to Matter Park, you pay $5 for a sticker on your window, which gets you in to the park to see the lights for the entire season (it also gets you a little candy cane for every member in your car - something my kiddos & I love!).  We drove through tonight, with my kids squealing with glee.  This is our third Christmas being here, and our third year driving though, but they enjoyed it tonight more than ever.

If you haven't gone already, head to Matter Park between 6pm - 10pm now through Dec 31.  Find a good Christmas music station on the radio, eat your candy cane, and enjoy SLOWING DOWN this Christmas season.  
For more info, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday Out of Control - Read Before You Shop

 I saw this article in the paper last weekend and think it is worth repeating. 

Michelle Singletary, Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- If you’re like me, at midnight on Thanksgiving night you’re either in bed or getting ready for bed after enjoying a day with your family. But several major retailers have said they will open for business at that hour to sell to shoppers wanting to get a jump on the bargains. If the trend continues, Black Friday will become Black Thursday.
 And that’s not a good thing.

Target, Macy’s, Best Buy and others have decided to open at 12 a.m. to begin Black Friday. Best Buy called its move to open at midnight “historic.”
Really. Historic?
Toys R Us, not to be outdone by its retail rivals, will open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. And Wal-Mart, the mascot store for penny-pinchers, is opening at 10 p.m. “Our customers told us they would rather stay up late to shop than get up early,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, Wal-Mart’s chief merchandising officer.
All of these earlier openings mean that employees will be pulled away from their families. Anthony Hardwick, an Omaha-based Target employee, isn’t happy with the earlier hours. “I’m going to have to go to sleep at 2 or 3 in the afternoon so I can be well rested to deal with the controlled mayhem of the Black Friday rush,” said Hardwick, who says he’ll miss spending Thanksgiving with his fiancee. He works part time at Target as a cart attendant. He’ll leave that shift to go work at 5 a.m. at his full-time job at Office Max, he said.
Hardwick has started a petition drive on to try to persuade Target to abandon its plans for a midnight opening. When I last checked, he had more than 60,000 signatures for his campaign.
”Thanksgiving is about family and spending quality time with the people you love,“ Hardwick said in an interview.
Molly Snyder, a communications manager for Target, said in an email that the retailer does its best to work around the schedules of its team members, ”making every effort to accommodate their plans. Target will offer holiday pay to all hourly team members who work on Thanksgiving Day.“
In addition to Hardwick’s campaign, there are more than 25 other petitions on calling for a boycott of Black Friday or asking retailers to reverse their decisions to start Black Friday at earlier times.

 In the grand scheme of things, this won’t shake the country’s core. We’ve got so many other things to concern us -- two wars, high unemployment, runaway deficits and debt.
Maybe there are some employees who would welcome the extra hours of pay. But I think the early store openings continue to speak to our financially unhealthy obsession with shopping.
In the headline trumpeting its midnight opening, Kohl’s said it wants to provide a ”convenient shopping experience for customers who ‘love to give’ and are ‘happy to save.’“ Added Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, ”The state of the economy will definitely affect how consumers plan and shop this holiday. We understand they feel pressure to find the best gifts at an incredible value.“
He’s right about the pressure. It’s still there despite the economy. We still love to spend money that probably could best be used to boost an emergency fund, save for college or pay down college debt, make extra payments on a mortgage or give to a well-run charity.
”By sharing our Black Friday specials earlier than ever, we hope to make buying decisions easier for parents working hard to give their families the Christmas they deserve,” Naughton of Wal-Mart said.
See, that’s just it. What on earth do any of us need to buy on the special day (and night) we as a nation have purposefully set aside for family time?
And let me throw this in for free.
The fact is, you never save when you spend, regardless of whether you’re shopping regular store hours or when you should be in bed. You are spending less than a product might cost retail, but you are not saving. Saving is an act signified by the absence of spending.

Readers can write to Michelle Singletary care of The Washington Post, 1150 15th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071. Her email address is

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Small Business Saturday

So you know all about "Black Friday", but have you heard of Small Business Saturday?

Support for Small Business Saturday

The 2nd annual Small Business Saturday® is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.On November 26, we're asking millions of people to shop small at their favorite local stores and help fuel the economy. When we all shop small, it will be huge.
For more info, CLICK HERE.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Another turkey deal.... Lance's New Market FREE Turkey with Promo on KRAFT items

Lance's New Market is also running a promo for a free turkey when you buy 12 participating KRAFT items.  When you purchase 12 of the select Kraft items, you get $10 off a turkey, and their frozen basic turkeys are on sale for $.99/lb, making a 10lb turkey free.   Actually, you get $10 off any turkey (fresh, frozen, hormone free, turkey breast, etc.)

I went in today, and purchased my 12 items and got a 9.68lb turkey, and still got $10 off, so I actually made a little money on mine! :)

Generally, I find Lance's to be much higher priced than other grocery stores in town, but if you look for some of their sale items you can still make out ahead.  Two of the "select" Kraft items that are part of this deal are Cool Whip and Jet Puffed Marshmallows, which are each on sale for $1, so theoretically you could spend $12 TOTAL on 12 bags of Marshmallows or tubs of Cool Whip, and get a 10lb turkey for free.  I didn't need 12 tubs of cool whip, so I didn't do that, but I still only spent $20.48, got my almost 10lb turkey, and got a bunch of other stuff I needed from Kraft items.  Shop carefully, and look for the coupons on things like the front of the Kraft/Nabisco crackers that have $1 off when you purchase one cheese and one box of crackers.  I scored 2 of those coupons from the front of the Nabisco cracker boxes, and added it to Lance's sale price on their cheese & crackers, making it a pretty good deal ($1.50 for a box of crackers & $2 for the cheese)!  All my rambling will make sense once you go in & see for yourself.  :)

Remember, turkeys are just for Thanksgiving.... make some room in your freezer & save them for later!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Starbucks BOGO on Holiday Drinks (Nov 17-20)

Need a little pick-me-up to get you through to Thanksgiving?  I know many (e.g. my husband) are not getting much sleep this time of year, so you may need a little extra help from caffeine. 

Today, Nov 17 - Nov 20th, from 2-5pm each day Starbucks is having a buy-one-get-one-free on their holiday drinks.  This is valid on holiday flavors - it doesn't say exactly which flavors but here are some that were listed: Gingerbread Latte, Peppermint Mocha and Carmel Brulee Latte. Click here for more info.

Not sure who to give your free one to?  Make a co-workers day!  (or your kid's teacher, a friend, a mom who is ready to lose it with her kiddos by late afternoon, etc!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turkey Deals in & Around Marion

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!  Got your turkey yet?  Want to know where the deals are in town?

Spend $20 in other items, get $9 OFF a turkey weighing 10-15lbs (applies to fresh or frozen). 
Spend $20 in other items, get $16 OFF a turkey weighting 16+lbs (applies to fresh or frozen).

Spend $25 in other purchases and get a frozen turkey for only $0.57/lb (frozen turkeys 12-24lbs). 

Butterball turkey $1.09lb
(Sweet potatoes on sale for only $0.25/lb and butter on sale only $1.99 each)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Give Blood, Get a FREE Turkey!

You heard right - give blood, save a life, and you will get a free turkey!  Marsh and the South Bend Medical Foundation Blood Donor Center in Marion (basement of the ACC building across from the hospital) have teamed up to offer blood donors a GREAT promo for November.  Give blood before Nov. 23 and you'll get a coupon for a free 10-12lb frozen turkey from Marsh.

Hours of operation:
Mon & Tues - 11am - 7pm
Wednesday - 9am - 3pm
Thurs & Fri - 8am - 4:30pm

Requirements for giving blood:  must be 17 years or older, weigh at least 110lbs (not a problem for me!), wait 12 months after a tattoo or body piercing, wait 56 days between donations, be symptom-free of cold or influenza for 72 hours, be in good general health, wait 24 hours after a dental cleaning.

I went in and got my free turkey today, along with a $10 VISA gift card (you get a $10 VISA gift card every 3 times you give if you bring in your punch card).  Call to schedule and appointment and get your turkey too! What a win-win!

For more info or to schedule an appointment call 662-4630 or  CLICK HERE.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lowes Build & Grow FREE Kids Clinic (Nov 12)

Lowes' next free Kids' Clinic is this Saturday, Nov 12 at 10am.  Kids thru age 12 are welcome to participate with help from a parent.   This week you will be making a science lab kit.  For more info, and to register, click HERE.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Need Your Eyes Checked?

Preferred Eye Care, LLC in Marion is helping their community this holiday season by offering a $100 gift certificate for donating non-perishable food items for St. Martin's Community Center.  All you have to do is take non-perishable items into Preferred Eye Care (711 N. River Drive), and they will give you your gift cert and will deliver the items to St. Martin's for you. 

The $100 gift certificate can be used for an exam, glasses, or contacts, and can be used WITH your vision insurance (if you have it).  Preferred Eye Care is doing this promo as a way of saying THANK YOU for helping support those who give to those in need in the community. 

For more info, go to their website HERE, or call them at 
(765) 664-9637

Thank you Preferred Eye Care! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Butterball Turkey Coupon

Starting to think about Thanksgiving dinner? 
Make sure you head over to to print this coupon!   Never used  It is FREE to sign up & print coupons! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

10 FREE Holiday Photo Cards from Staples!

Found this on the CouponDivas Site & I'm definitely going to take advantage of it!  If you print these in the store, you can avoid shipping costs, making these totally free!

Staples is offering 10 free 4x8 Holiday photo cards through November 12, 2011. (limited quantities available, so do it soon!)  Click HERE for coupon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall Leaf Pick-up Schedule in Marion

From the Chronicle Tribune...

The 2011 fall leaf pick-up in the City of Marion has begun.  Bagged leaves will be picked up only if in paper yard waste bags.  No plastic bags will be picked up.  The schedule is:

Week of Oct 31: Friday and Saturday trash routes. 
Week of Nov 7: Tuesday trash route.
Week of Nov 14: Wednesday and Thursday trash routes.
Week of Nov 21: Friday trash route.
Week of Nov 28: Monday and Tuesday trash routes.
Week of Dec 5: Wednesday and Thursday trash routes.
Week of Dec 12: Friday trash route.

There is no leaf pick-up on holidays.  The schedule will be adjusted and/or added to as needed.