Thursday, July 31, 2008

Support Israel and Get a FREE $25 Gift Card!

I just saw this deal advertised in the World Jewish Digest, and thought it was too good to be true until I confirmed it online. The deal is that with your first "Yes to Carrots" brand purchase on (prices starting at $5.99), you will receive a FREE $25 dollar gift card for!

The cool thing about Yes to Carrots is that it is an Israeli company (headquarters in Tel Aviv) and therefore, every purchase directly helps the Israeli economy.

Another great thing about this company is that all the products are labeled with the USDA Organic symbol, and contain no parabens. In other words, you can feel good about your purchase!

If you have done this deal or know more about it, please let me know. I'm always interested in supporting Israel...and going out to eat!

For more Frugal Friday ideas, see BiblicalWomanhood.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Man

A man -
Thinning hair, trying to cover a scalp burnt by the sun;
A dent where a beam at the fish house came a little too close;
Kind eyes, one blue, one hazel,
Eyes that can penetrate to the soul;
A set jaw, firm against any contrary thing;
A smile that turns up the edges of a salt and peppery beard;
Huge, calloused hands filled with lines and scars and fish scales;
A little bulge on the stomach, evidence that he "doesn't eat any sweets;"
Huge feet, the shoes of whom I loved to clop around in
But never could fill - my Dad.
Dad, they say a mother teaches her children who they are and a father teaches them what to do. You are such a G-dly example for me and the rest of the family, and we love you so much. Today we celebrate how much you mean to us. You have taught us the way to live, G-d's way to live, and that means more than words can say. I love you Daddy!
Have a wonderful birthday!

Graphic courtesy of

My New Favorite Thing!

This is my new favorite thing! My sister found it for me last week when she came to my house and saw that I had about 2 pounds of loose (wonderfully delicious) tea from More Than Alive. The Tovolo tea infuser is awesome for tea connoisseurs like me, because not only is it functional with it's drip-catching holder, but really fun too! I love tea and now I love it even more because of my Tovolo tea infuser. Thanks sis...You're the best!
Check out Fiddledeedee for more Favorite Things!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Interview with Derek Leman, Author of Feast

After having the opportunity to read this awesome new resource for anyone trying to learn about the feasts found in Leviticus 23, I was given the chance to ask the author, Derek Leman, some questions regarding this new Bible study. I should mention that although I went through the resources contained in the leader's kit individually, Feast looks like it would be so enriching and fun to go through with a group! Following is the interview....

What made you decide to write Feast?
I have been sharing Passover and the Fall Feasts of Israel in churches for years. I have always enjoyed the chance to share with Christians how the Old Testament and Jewish roots of faith in Jesus deepen our lives. Along the way, I had a chance here or there to write something for a Christian publication. A few editors out there thought of me as a go-to guy on Jewish roots. So one day I got a wonderful call from LifeWay, asking if I'd like to write a small group study for Threads, a division that publishes for 20's and 30's. I tried not to act like I'd just won a sweepstakes and accepted the assignment. Working with a big, professional publisher has been a joy.

I really like that you included your family's personal experiences with celebrating the festivals. How did your family begin celebrating the "feasts of the LORD"?
I was a new follower of Yeshua when I met my wife and was going to Bible college in Chicago. I did not yet fully understand the feasts and the Torah, but I was drawn to things like Passover and lighting candles on Friday night. Coming to Yeshua brought me to the Jewishness of Yeshua. Before I read the Bible, I actually thought Jesus was Catholic. Discovering his Jewishness by reading the New Testament filled me with questions. I met some Messianic Jews and started getting answers. My wife grew into them while dating me and they were part of our marriage from the beginning. Eighteen years and eight kids later, they are here to stay.
How do you think the various audio/visual materials enhance the study?
Many people have never seen a Sabbath meal. They have dozens of questions about Jewish traditions and what they would look like for their family. The video sessions show me and my wife with one Messianic Jewish couple and one Christian couple. The Christian couple asks us questions in an intimate setting about what these traditions mean to us and for our families. I think a lot of people would get a first glimpse at what the feasts could bring into their home.
Some Christians may feel apprehensive about studying something they have never experienced themselves. How would you respond to someone who thought that he/she doesn't know enough to go through the Feast study?
This book is for beginners and yet has insights for the initiated also. Beginners will find everything explained and no knowledge of Jewish customs assumed. Those who already know a good deal about the feasts will find interpretations, suggested applications, and personal notes that will enhance their celebrations.
What is your vision for how God may use Feast?
I think that numerous Christian families and small groups in churches can add the richness of physical celebration to their worship. I know that already in places all over people have used Feast to host dinners. I imagine teachers will use ideas in their teaching to better explain biblical passages. The beauty of Jewish roots and holistic worship is that they are God's ideas and not man's.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Passover, Firstfruits, and Weeks celebrate the death, resurrection of our Messiah and his imparting the Holy Spirit to us. Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles celebrate the return of Jesus, the coming judgment of God, and the World to Come where we will dwell with God. The themes and truths of the Jewish holidays follow God's complete plan for this world. They are the root from which Christianity sprang and the historical reasons the church had for leaving them behind were unsound. I hope a lot of people will come and discover the joy of God's calendar.
And there you have it folks! As I've stated on here before, I am very excited about this new study and hope that you will check it out at Threads, a division of LifeWay. (And knowing my readers, you will appreciate that you can download a free sample of Feast at the Threads website).
*Thank you to Threads and to Derek for this new resource and for giving us an interview here on Tavita's Purse!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Frugal Friday: Do unto Others...

This week for Frugal Friday, I'd like to remember an important principle. Sometimes some of us in the frugal mindset can have a "hoarding" mentality...not all, but some...sometimes. Whenever I find myself in this mood, I have to go back to the words of my favorite Rabbi..."Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
This concept, also called middah k'neged middah (measure for measure) in Hebrew, is one that just makes sense and I've yet to find someone who disagrees with its profound truth. However, no matter how true it is that "what goes around comes around," sometimes I see myself acting just plain greedy. That's why it's important to remember that the purpose of a frugal lifestyle is NOT to amass more for myself - but so that I free up more of my resources to "love G-d with all my heart, soul and mind" and to "love my neighbor as myself."
In our individualistic society, it's easy to forget about the needs of others. The good news is that with our frugal lifestyles we can find more creative ways to help those in need, while making sure that our families are taken care of as well. I've read stories of women who have baked apple pies for the their cashiers at CVS and I've seen my CVSing friends at work give boxes of toiletries to foundations that help. It's inspiring, and I know it will come back on these ladies. Little acts of kindness come back in big ways.
For more Frugal Friday ideas, head back to Biblical Womanhood.
Graphic courtesy of

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Book Review: Rashi's Daughters, Book 1: Joheved

Recently, I read a semi-historical novel based on Talmudic lore about Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Issac) and his three daughters. Because this book includes some of my favorite subjects - Judaism and history - I was immediately drawn into the masterfully woven story surrounding Rashi's family. Of course, as a novel, not every part of the story is a fact. However, I was surprised at how much I really did learn about Rashi's (and his daughters) life and about the Talmudic literature that so gracefully weaves itself throughout the pages of this story. Joheved is someone I can imagine myself being friends with - she's caring, a leader, not one to be in the "popular crowd", but also is very brave. You see, Rashi decided to teach his daughters Talmud, which was a huge faux pas in his day and age. Being the oldest daughter, Joheved blazed a trail for the rest of her sisters as she studied Talmud with her father, much to her mother's chagrin. This book is filled with strong female characters, not only Joheved, but her grandmother, Leah, Rashi's mother who in real-life wrote letters to the government in Troyes, France concerning her vineyard. Yes, Rashi's family REALLY were vinters...that's why we have Rashi wine! (My husband and I love it so much that this is actually what we served at our wedding!)

Back to the story, I was not in love with all of the book, however. Unfortunately, the book does become a little too graphic for my taste as Joheved gets married to a young, shy Talmudic scholar named Meir. Meir is a likeable character, and even kind of charming at times. I just didn't need to know the intimate details of their wedding night and struggles to conceive children (which they become quite good at later on!).

Issues aside, I am glad that I read this book and I can say I recommend it, but just watch out for the graphic parts. I also would like to tell you that I am reading the second book now, which focuses on Rashi's second daughter, Miriam. Honestly, I have almost jumped ship on this second book at least a dozen times. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that Book 2 has been a major disappointment after seeing what Maggie Anton has to offer from reading Book 1. I will finish it, not because I really need to, but rather that's how I am with my reading fetish. I just HAVE to finish a book that I begin. I can't wait to see what Book 3, which I'm assuming will be called Rachel, after Rashi's third daughter.

Free Vivanno drink at Starbucks (July 25 and 26)

Yet another reason to always register your Starbucks gift cards at Starbucks Rewards. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CVS: Physcian's Formula Organic Wear Moneymaker!

In the absence of good deals lately, I haven't been going to CVS quite as often as usual...about once a week is what I've been averaging lately. Well, I'm happy to say that I found a moneymaker this week, and I'd love to share! I had found $6 off coupons for Physcian's Formula on a tearpad at CVS months and months ago, and was saving them for such an occasion!

Buy 2 Physician's Formula Organic Wear Makeup (The cheapest I could find was the concealer for $7.99)

Use $3/$15 (if your CVS is taking expired coupons)

Use 2 $6 off Physician's Formula (found on tearpad at CVS) coupons

Pay $0.98

Receive 5 ECB's!

This worked for me today, and I hope it works for others!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Marriage Must Read!

Crystal has written another wonderful "Lovin' that Man of Mine" post today, and I thought I'd share in case you missed it!
Actually, what she writes about applies not only to husbands and wives, but to anyone in any form of relationship. Overall, a must read! Check it out...
Graphic courtesy of

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Turn every meal into an act of worship!

Ever wanted more spiritually out of your family meals?
Ever wondered what the first believers' times of "breaking bread" looked like?
Well, now there is a whole series of resources that just came out called
Rarely do I recommend something before I have even tried it, but I have to say, that I just ordered 6 copies of the Deluxe Table Edition for our home and I am so excited. Check it out!
What a great resource to have for your home, especially for joyful Shabbat dinners with friends and family!
Another great idea from our friends at First Fruits of Zion...

Frugal Friday Recipe: A New Twist on an Old Favorite!

This week I was looking for a new recipe, as I am getting a little burned out of my usual weekly repertoire. I had heard someone mention the following recipe before and it sounded good, so I looked it up and made my own version of Turkey Sweet-Potato Shepherd's Pie (this is Rachael Ray's version). It's very simple to make, and can be really inexpensive as well...not to mention totally delicious! I had to force myself to STOP eating it at dinner tonight. Another added can be made ahead of time and then frozen and reheated.

Jenny M's Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1 lb Ground Turkey (By the way, my Publix has Empire Kosher Ground Turkey for $2.89/lb!)
1 large onion, chopped
10 baby cut carrots, sliced into "coins"
3 celery sticks, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter (or Pareve alternative, if needed)
2 tablespoons flour
1 package onion soup mix
1 cup water
1 cup of frozen mixed veggies
1 ripe banana, sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Few dashes hot pepper sauce
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Italian seasoning, few sprinkles
Preheated oven to 400 degrees
Large glass (or disposable - even better!) lasagna pan
1. Put sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and put potatoes back into the warm pot.
2. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil on high heat. Add the turkey while breaking up with spoon. Once it is browned, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper, or add whatever you like!
3. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat while whisking in flour for 1 minute. Then whisk in the onion soup mix and SLOWLY add the water, and season with a little pepper. Whisk until it thickens, and then add to the turkey mixture. Stir in the frozen veggies and turn heat to low.
4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the sweet potato pot and melt over low heat. Add the banana, sprinkle of salt, sprinkle of cinnamon and a few dashes of the hot sauce and mash until well combined.
5. Spoon the turkey mixture into the pan and then put the sweet potatoes on top. It helps to put the sweet potatoes on a dollop at a time, and then smooth the whole thing over the top. Sprinkle a little Italian seasoning on top and bake until a little crust is formed, about 10 or 15 minutes.
6. Enjoy!
Check out the rest of Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood!
No, the picture is not mine, but is courtesy of Ontario Turkey. For some reason my digital camera is not wanting to upload tonight!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Free Gas Cards from Publix!

No sooner have we just sent off for our last Publix promotion than we have another one! Don't you just love it?

Here's the deal:

1) Spend $50 (can be more than one transaction) at Publix between now and 7/27/08.

2) Included in that $50 must be 4 of certain Kraft foods. (See offer form)

3) Send receipt(s) with Kraft products circled and offer form to the address on the offer form by 8/8/08 and receive a $10 ExxonMobil Cash Card!

4) This is a limit of 3 cards per person, so if you spend at least $150 between now and 7/27/08, then you could get $30 back for gas!

Not a bad deal, huh?

Maybe we can even use some of these $3/1 Planters coupons for this deal??? And don't forget, Planter's peanuts are on BOGO this week (until Thursday at my store, Wednesday outside of Florida).

I have to give credit to Sarah at Fiddledeedee for telling us about this on her blog. By the way, she ALWAYS has all the Publix deals on her blog, so be sure to check it out!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Shabbat and Fireworks

This year is the first that I can remember a 4th of July coinciding with Shabbat (I'm sure it's happened...I just can't remember!). Of course, that poses a problem for Shabbat-keeping families. What's more important - G-d's holy Sabbath or America's birthday? I read a great post about this at First Fruits of Zion.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July and Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Watchmen Wednesday: Pray for Gilad Shalit!

On June 25, 2006, a 19 year old Israeli soldier was captured by Hamas and is currently still held captive. Today is the second anniversary of his abduction according to the Hebrew calendar (29 Sivan), and people all over the world are banding together to pray for his release. Hamas says that Gilad is alive and well, but this is still a war crime according to international humanitarian law.

Will you join with me and thousands of other "watchmen" as we pray for Gilad's release? According to, we are praying Psalm 121 at certain times, depending on your time zone. On the East coast in the US, we are to pray at 11 am; the West coast is then 8 am this morning.

Thank you for joining with your brothers and sisters around the globe that care about Israel!