Merry Christmas to All!

We are off to the land of wintery goodness to celebrate Christmas with our families. But before we set off, I'd like to share some of the holiday things we've done around here.

In front of the National Christmas Tree (on a chilly night!)

with Mrs. Claus (and the nice meter)

At the Festival of Lights, DC Temple :: out in the first snow of the winter

this Santa was very cool (a biker by day, Santa by night) and had a great Santa demeanor, but Oliver didn't think so (I was entranced by the magic of it all, I admitted to Jess on the way home. They had set it up so that Santa's helper would ask the name of the child, then secretly tell it to Santa, and then Santa would say, "Oliver, it's so good to see you!" It was awesome.)


bp's science: Christmas themed science (v.1)

A few Christmas-themed science thoughts for the holidays:

1. This year for our December Primary Activity we made Gingerbread (graham cracker) Nativity Scenes. I volunteered to lead the task, which meant, I had to make "gingerbread house frosting." I had never heard of that before, but it made sense to me, we needed a STRONG frosting to hold the things together. Turns out, the frosting is 3 egg whites, 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar and 1lb. powdered sugar. It may not harden in 5 minutes (try 1-2 hours) but man, those eggs do just the trick. Here is my final Nativity Scene. Not craft magazine material, but it'll do.

2. Also, I just learned this year that poinsettias are not poisonous. So don't worry about Fido, or Grover, or Fifi getting into them.

3. And you know how, in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch's heart grows three sizes? In the story, that's wonderful. I can't get enough of that Christmas classic. But in real life, an enlarged heart is not a good thing. It's a sign of overcompensation of the heart for one reason or the other caused by heart disease. For some reason I always think about that when I watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, that and Cindy Lou Who.


bp's science: it's getting cold (v.1)

When we have these cold, windy days, I try to get my weather info early in the morning so I can tell my family what kind of warm gear we'll need for the day. Jacket, hat, and gloves? Just a jacket? For O it's always just a coat. He is not a fan of the hat or the gloves.

Our weather is always in Fahrenheit (F), but I find that more and more we need to understand Celsius (C). For our extended stay in Belgium, I was always trying to figure out what 20 degrees Celsius meant in Fahrenheit.

To convert F to C:
Subtract 32 and then multiply by 5. Divide that result by 9. In shorthand:
(F - 32) x 5 / 9 = C
for a quick estimate, subtract 30 and divide by 2, (F - 30) / 2

Looks hard, but it's so easy (especially since we've all got calculators on our phones these days).

So today it is 34 degrees F. Let's see what that makes it in C:
34 - 32 = 2 x 5 = 10 / 9 = 1.11 degrees C
or quickly (34 - 30) = 4 / 2 = 2

And for the other way around:
Multiply C by 9, divide by 5 and add 32. In shorthand:
C x 9 / 5 + 32
for a quick estimate, multiply by 2 and add 30
So what was the temp in Belgium?
20 x 9 = 180 / 5 = 36 + 32 = 68 degrees F
or quickly 20 x 2 = 40 + 30 = 70
Other computer is still not working, so the exciting thing I promised last week is still on hold.


I'm still young...or so I thought

but then today, while teaching the Primary kids, I...

1. used WITE-OUT to represent repentance,

2. played a cassette tape (which the kids thought was a video tape),

3. and told the kids that when they sing for the Christmas party next Saturday they are going to make their parents cry (out of joy).


bp's science: viri (v.1)

Okay, the plural of virus is not viri, it's viruses, but anyway.

Our new computer caught a virus, or some other such nasty cyber ailment yesterday and we are currently trying to figure out how it got there. We have Norton Anti-Virus, so this isn't supposed to happen. Hmmm.

And because this post is about viruses, I'll tell you that we are experiencing our first colds of the season here at our house. All of us, that is, except for the man with the amazing immune system. He has yet to catch the virus. Which is a good thing, since he's fighting the one on the computer this evening.

I did have a great thing to share for bp's science today, but it requires the use of our stricken computer. More on that great thing later.


I never thought I'd buy that

How many times have you seen something for sale and thought to yourself, "Who would ever buy that?" I have. And I may have spoken too soon.

Take for instance, aviator glasses. When I inherited my dad's truck, he left not one, but two pair of aviator sunglasses in the glove compartment (see left photo). Man, did my passengers and I get such a kick out of those! I remember driving down to St. George with a friend once, wearing them and making clever remarks (Ma'am, do you know how fast you were going?) thewhole way down. Fast forward to two weeks ago. There I was browsing the sunglasses section looking for a pair to replace the others I'd lost on a recent hike. "These aviator's don't look too bad," I thought to myself. And I bought them.

It happened again with skinny jeans. "Hideous!" I thought, "who can actually pull those off?" They reminded me of when I was in grade school and pegged my pants. Then a few months ago I secretly went into a store (although I don't really know who I was keeping the secret from, possibly myself?), tried some on and bought them. I needed a little pick-me-up and this was the adventure I was looking for.

So as I went on a long drive in my jeans and sunglasses I got to thinking about how many things I've purchased that I never thought I would ever, absolutely never, buy. One thing that came to mind was my Martha Stewart Living subscription. We ended up getting a year for free because of a furniture purchase. I picked up the first issue laughing to myself that there couldn't be anything in there worth reading. I ended up dog-earring several pages and I've used a brownie recipe from that very issue many times now. This past month I re-upped the subscription.

Then I remembered my knitting needles. Never thought I'd knit. Never really had much interest in it. But after a friend offered to give me some lessons, I took her up on it. She's created so many neat things for her friends and family, I couldn't pass up her offer. And now I like knitting. I'm certainly not a pro, but I've bought needles and yarn and I'm pondering my next project.

There have also been several car designs that I've really disliked as they were unveiled to the public. "Do you like that look?" I'd ask Jess. "Is that going to sell?" I'd ask my brother. "Of course," he'd answer, "every 30-something will love that." And he was right, as time has gone on, I've come to like the look (think past models like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Volkswagon Jetta). That's why I'm not a designer and my brother is.

And on the subject of cars, mini-vans are now considered to be "in-the-mix" if we ever have a need for a 6+ passenger vehicle (something smaller than the Sprinter on right). Try to convince my 19-year-old self that I'd be typing that nearly ten years later.

Of course I realize that I'm eating my words a lot and that's okay. Maybe the problem is that I'm not a big fan of change. Just take a look at many of the things I own. Most items date pre-2007, some even from before 2001 (think stereo, watch, a pair of running shorts - yes they have holes). I stick with the things I know I like; for instance, a black turtleneck, it can do no wrong in my eyes, or wishing someday I could own a Z3 before a van.

So with this newfound knowledge, I will try to tone down the declarations of, "I will never buy that," except, that is, while perusing the SkyMall catalog.


December 1st

Our Christmas tree is up, the festive banner's hung, and holiday tunes are sounding in our little apartment. And O chose to wear this festive lei the other night. Perfect way to start the holidays.