Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Very Flakey Christmas

Medlock Christmas



 Christmas started early with my family Thursday





Then continued with meeting this sweet girl - and her mom and sister



and sliding around on the ice pond


and tracking Santa DSCN0460DSCN0461 

DSCN0465DSCN0470and cute Christmas outfitsDSCN0471DSCN0472

and cousins playing                                       

DSCN0475DSCN0480DSCN0482                   DSCN0485DSCN0486

                                                                                                     and family gathering

                 DSCN0491DSCN0492  DSCN0493DSCN0498

and snow!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Spreading Cheer

I was first introduced to Mexican Hot Chocolate as a junior in college when my folklore professor brought some in for us to try during our section on Mexican folklore. I buy it occasionally and this place in Del Ray has a great version called Lucy. I found a recipe for it and thought it would make for great Christmas presents.

It was really easy to make. I borrowed a food processor, mixed everything together, and put it in the food processor a little at a time. To make it present-ready, I put the chocolate in 16oz mason jars, leaving room for little marshmallows.


Using the lid as a template, I traced it onto Christmas scrapbook paper to insert in between the parts of the lid.


Next using Picnik, I created little tags that I printed on the back of snowflake scrapbook paper and cut them out with scrapbooking scissors and punched a hole in the corner.


With some ribbon, the tags were secured to the jars and bags.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

It Happened At Christmas

As a birthday present, my husband gave me How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I was so pleased. My sister has this amazing collection of Christmas movie classics that I've missed having around. I do have a few: Elf, It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Mr. Kruger's Christmas.

But lots of movies happen at Christmas: You've Got Mail, Serendipity, Home Alone, Little Women, The Shop Around the Corner. There are probably more, in fact I see listing for movies like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. Never seen them. (For the record, It's a Wonderful Life just happens to end during Christmas. The reason it's shown at Christmas time so much is the people that owned the movie forgot to renew the copyright, so the networks were able to show it really cheaply.)

My husband and I have been deciding if While You Were Sleeping is a Christmas movie. I say it is, he says it's not.  I single this one out because it may be my favorite movie ever ("These mashed potatoes are so creamy!"); I can watch it a lot. I know it doesn't focus on Christmas, or Christ, or Santa Claus. But most of the movie takes place in the week between Christmas and NYE; the family invites Lucy for Christmas; they open presents and have Christmas dinner.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas Video (or two)

This may be the cuttest telling of the Christmas Story I've seen in a while. I love the sheep and the star and the cute little angels and....well just watch. Enjoy!

These Christmas videos are also tell the story of the events of Luke 1 & 2 and Matthew 2.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas Tree Story

Christmas is my favorite time of year.

One year, I started putting up Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving was finished and went non stop all weekend: lights around windows, swag along banisters, trees with ribbon and baubles and handmade trinkets. I was quite possessive of the way the trees and the decorations went up. Christmas felt like my holiday, my time of year, a time I share with the Savior. I was supposed to be born on Christmas Eve, but came a couple weeks early, probably so I could take in all the twinkle lights for that extra time.

As I’ve gotten older, I don’t spend the whole weekend decorating. There were several years, when I was living with roommates, that we did very traditional trees, red and gold. It matched our lovely red couches.

This year, after looking at a few less desirable artificial trees, John and I bought a live tree. My. First. Ever. We found our lovely tree after much discussion and tree holding DSCN0453 (2)and wandering. A lovely 6-7 foot Fraser Fir. She smells divine. We brought her home and set her up, but we’re unable to trim her for several days. The appointed day arrived and I wanted the hours to go faster so I could get home. I thought about organizing all the lovely baubles my friend Brittany helped me to put together and even using paper airplanes and left over ribbon from the wedding. I was worried that the idea in my head wouldn’t, couldn’t come out. When John got home, we put on the lights. Happily John got distracted (did I say that?), so I was able to put the ribbon and the ornaments how I liked them. When I was done, she was exactly as I had pictured her. I added and old tablecloth for her skirt. She then told me her name was Myrtle.

For the first time ever, I’ve been able to put my tree topper on the tree. A pretty cream and glitter snowflake. I found it a couple years back. This year it’s extra special since I’m now a Flake.

Can you believe Christmas is almost here? We will be in Evanston, WY by the end of the week!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hello 30, You Look Fine

This year, my birthday came in a blink of an eye. I bade farwell to my twenties with a small group of friends and family. As much as I loved my twenties, I'm ready for my thirties. I'm excited to see what will come and what I will become.

And now, a list (one of my favorite things!) of 30 things I'm grateful for/happened to me this year

  1.  My husband John. Uhm, so he's pretty great.
  2. Getting married. I was really excited to marry and be sealed to John; I was excited when we celebrate with friends and family; I was excited as we moved into our new place; I was excited to be with him a lot of the time (in fact going to work was torture for a while); but only a few things can compare to sitting in Relief Society a few Sundays after we were married, singing "Families Can Be Together Forever" and having the reality of that sink deep into my soul.
  3. My family. Both my immediate and extended family and my new in-laws. I'm really grateful for the love and warmth I've recognized and felt this year.
  4. My sister Jenny. So she also fits into number 3, but she has been so strong and supportive of me. She never tires and she's resilient and funny and adventurous.
  5. Visiting with my friend Anne and her family. We went up a few weeks ago to spend some time with them before they moved a few states west. Anne and I have been friends for many years. I love her and her little family. As Anne's oldest, Hannah, and I sat on a bench at Longwood Gardens, I asked Hannah, "Did you know I've known you since you were 3 months old?" Looking at me with her sweet face, her eyes wide, she said, "No, I didn't know that." I told her she has gotten so big (she'll be 6 in the spring) and gave her a big hug as my heart filled up so much I could barely breathe.
  6. For Saturday morning walks with Tammy.
  7. Regular scripture study and prayer. I have taken a new approach to my studies - I've been trying to study topically and not necessarily according to the topics in the Topical Guide - and this has made a world of difference. I've studied the women mentioned by name in the Book of Mormon; I've studied the words of Jacob, Nephi's brother. I'm studying mercy, right now.
  8. For friends. New and Old.
  9. For work. Not just my job, but being able to serve and do house work and work out.
  10. Having a temple so close by. I must admit, on most days driving to the temple, I don't mind sitting in traffic. It gives me time to not be in a rush, to let go of things that happened that day, to turn my thoughts to the Lord.
  11. Modern transportation. We took so many trips this year - South Carolina, Wyoming, California, Wyoming, and Wyoming again. Most were in airplanes which makes family far away seeable more often.
  12. Becoming familiar with Wyoming. John's family is there and I really like going there (and I really love flying into SLC!)
  13. For the number 13. That number seems to be a tender mercy. And for the other tender mercies the Lord offers me.
  14. Going with the modern theme, modern communication - email, im, facebook, skype, blogs. I've been able to keep in some contact with people from my mission and friends now spread out around the world. I've been able to "meet" a sister-in-law and their new girls through the marvels of skype while they were living in Taiwan.
  15. Crafts. I've been trying lots of new things - knitting, mod podge, wreaths, digital scrapbooks. I love creating.
  16. Writing. I crave this sometimes. even if it's just for me.
  17. Reading. Why is there not more time in the day?!
  18. For happy suprises. I worry a bit. Too much sometimes. I'm learning to let the Lord guide me and letting myself not feel like I have to be in control of everything.
  19. Decorating/Arranging my own place. Ok so John has some imput too, but it's ours, together.
  20. South Carolina. It will always feel a little like home.
  21. Relief Society. I love this organization and the way it brings sisters in the gospel together. So much good, so much love, so many friends.
  22. Participating in events in my friend's and family's lives - graduations, weddings, engagements, new opportunities, etc.
  23. Talking on the phone with my mom. So she doesn't live far from me, but we call each other a few times a week just to chat.
  24. Discovering I really like database design.
  25. I love that, through the atonment, I can change - change behavior, change, my thoughts, change my heart - and be better
  26. For a husband that so willingly gives of his time and resources to others.
  27. Being a Flake. So there are times where I miss my maiden name, but I'm liking the new name. John has to watch my consumption of things with snowflakes on them.
  28. For yoga. This is something I found this year. I do it in my home with my netflix subscription. It feels so nice.
  29. Quiet time. Time to recharge and collect my thoughts and be ready for the world.
  30. Paper Airplanes and Lemonade...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In the Land of Libraries and Other Magical Places

The following is a true story.

Once upon a time in far away land called Scotland, the people of the lovely town of Edinburg began recieving gifts. It all started when a librarian at the Scottish Poetry Library found a tree growing from a book. A note was left that said "This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas..." and was signed with the Twitter handle @ByLeavesWeLive. Next the National Library of Scotland received a coffin with a gramaphone. The librarians and the townspeople were quite curious about these new treasures and wondered at their benefactor. With no further explination the gifts continued.

A movie theater received a group of soldiers; The Scotish Storytelling Center (doesn't that sound magical in itself) received a hatching dragon; two showed up at the International Book Festival - a cup of tea with a cupcake and a small man sitting in the edge of the trees; and The Central Lending Library found a magnifying glass. These gifts were carfully displayed in the places found so that all could enjoy them. The people of Edinberg took a vote to decided if the name of the giftgiver should be revealed, if it were ever found out. The townspeople decided that the identity of the giftgiver didn't matter, in fact, they were happy not to know.

Then there was a short pause in the gifts until a librarian at the Poetry Library found a wren sitting next to a pair of gloves and a tiny hat and a note. The note explained that this would be the end of the presents, that the presentgiver had very much enjoyed being able to give these special gifts, and that there were 2 that hadn't yet been found. The Museum of Scotland found a T-Rex and the Writer's Museum found a row of homes.

The End

So this may sound like a bit of fiction, but this really did happen. An anonymous woman, left intricate pieces of art made from books in places all over the city this past year. This story warms my heart as people, places, books, and artifacts were connected. It's amazing what familiar things presented in new ways by unknown persons can do to create a little bit of magic.

To see the collection, see here, here and here (there are pictures in each story). My favorites are the tree, the wren, the T-Rex, and the man in the woods.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Season Happenings

Last week, John participated with the Mormon Choir of Washington in the lighting ceremony at the Visitors’ Center at the Washington DC Temple. This kicks off a month of music and lights. The visitors’ center also displays crèches and decorated Christmas trees.

On the second night of the lighting ceremony, choir members are able to bring a guest, so I went with John. It’s amazing to see all the people from different parts of the world, many of them in their traditional dress. Here are some pictures of the choir, one of the trees, and the lights.



Yesterday, John and I drove up to Philly to see my friend Anne and her family. After reading stories and watching the end of Cars, we went to Longwood Gardens. They put up Christmas lights and decorations throughout the garden. In the conservatory, we wandered through the different rooms, with amazing decorations made from the plants in the room. They have a lighted fountain that dances to music. It’s pretty amazing.


At dinner Thatcher shows the girls sugar and salt.        Anne jumps with Hannah, Makennah, & Amelia
Me and Amelia                                         Makennah finds butterfly wings in the gift shop


John and Makennah watch the fountain light show.


In the DuPont house. In the building they had amazing baskets of poinsettias hanging from the ceiling.


In the birdhouse, Christmas decorations and bird’s nests in the Christmas tree.
Makennah kept asking to see the birds. I told her they were sleeping.

There were lots of rooms in the conservatory. This is what we saw when we entered. The lilies smelled divine and they decorated the trees with white hydrangeas.

The next room was also quite large, with more paths, grass, and fountains.

                                                              Who knew poinsettias could grow like trees?
This was my favorite: the lights hanging
from the ceiling and the Christmas trees
set up in the water and the tree made of
gingerbread men.

IMG_0922IMG_0923The tree was a frame with potted plants

The hothouse with the roses.


The main Christmas Tree near the entrance decorate with lovely green ornaments.