Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas

It's so much fun to savor the time with family and friends, eating good food, and participating in all those family traditions. Believe me, Christmas is my favorite time of year, hands down (as if you all hadn't already guessed :) ). However, a more important reason, and one I continually pray will be at the forefront of my mind, is the birth of Jesus and the ultimate gift He gave to us. And this day is only just the beginning...the celebration culminating at a place called Golgotha 33 years later when He died on a cross for us. So take a moment and reflect over your day today and give thanks- thanks for unconditional love, sacrifice, grace, and mercy. Merry Christmas!

"And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased"".
Luke 2: 7-14

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Two thoughts on movies

Thought One:

Have you seen "I am Legend"? If you haven't...don't. It is the scariest movie ever...I watched most of it with my jacket over my face or watched my friend Lynn's reaction while Chad laughed at us. Example

Lynn: "What was that?" (during the horrendously suspenseful scene when he follows the dog into the dark building- seriously, how many people shouted "don't go in there!")
Melissa: I don't know- I'm not actually watching the movie, maybe its the zombies.
Lynn: There are zombies in this movie?
Melissa: yep
Lynn: What was Parma thinking recommending this movie!? (our friend Brian said it was good and convinced Chad to take us along...). I wish I could capture Lynn's tone of voice...but Brian was pretty lucky he wasn't sitting next to her right then

I knew I was going to have nightmares about it (just like I did with Sixth Sense) and sure enough, I had my first nightmare last night...stupid zombies...stupid stupid zombies and dark places...

Thought Two:

I finally saw "A Christmas Story". My Mom watched it umpteen times last Christmas when she was with my sister (who had just had John Michael) and was staying up late finishing up his stocking. She bought it this year (good memories) and we just finished watching it...I think my favorite part is the Chinese restaurant scene. So funny!

Friday, December 21, 2007

12 Christmas Facts

So Erin tagged me to tell 12 Christmas facts about myself...funny thing is, she and I share some Christmas quirks :)...

1) Both my mom and I own Christmas dishes and use them :)
2) Every year on Christmas Eve (yes, even now), my brother, sister, and I get to open one gift- and it is always Christmas underwear.
3) White Christmas is my all-time, without-a-doubt favorite Christmas movie...I think I have it memorized...well at least all the songs
4) We eat chili (homemade of course- Grandma's recipe) on Christmas Eve...this is at least a 35 year old tradition...
5) My brother, sister, and I used to feel bad for any Christmas ornaments that got left in the box so it was our mission to put them ALL on the tree...we have a lot of ornaments, especially since my Mom is a teacher and gets them as gifts. Needless to say, it didn't really matter what type of tree we picked out, since you couldn't see the tree behind the ornaments. These days, it looks naked since none of us kids are home to show our parents how its done :)
6) My mom makes Christmas cookies and it was the kids job to decorate them: a task we despised 'cause Mom would make about 50 bagillion of them. We made our own frosting from powdered sugar and food coloring and for those last few dozen cookies, we got tired of spreading the frosting on nicely and just started dunking the cookies in the frosting...Mom would never let us give those to our neighbors on the goodie plates so it was more for us :)
7) I usually start listening to Christmas music in October (and so does anyone who does anything artsy-crafty)
8) We have a Christmas Eve party ever year that all our family and friends are invited to...chili and ham provided. Spoons and Jenga are played (my Grandma is really good at Jenga)
9) We feast on our traditional Christmas Day morning breakfast of breakfast burritos
10) We used to wake up on Christmas morning to a new stuffed animal at the foot of our beds. The first year we didn't, my brother and I threw a fit...I was 24... :)
11) Every year we put up my parents first Christmas tree (along with our REAL tree) and we decorate it. They got married on Dec 18th and returned from their honeymoon on Christmas Eve. Every place was closed except for McClellans (drugstore?) and they bought the only tree left, a little two foot thing. It traveled to college with me during my dorm days. It is 31 years old this Christmas.
12) Christmas baking...you can read my other blog about that

I now tag Heather, Desiree, and Adrienne

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Farm

Today Lynn and I met Chad (Lynn's husband) at this restaurant called "The Farm". It's a real working farm that serves the produce it grows, all organic. Super yummy sandwiches and soup. Afterwards, Lynn and I walked around in the vegetable gardens, trying to guess what everything was and bugging the poor workers with questions like "so is there a system to how you rotate the vegetable beds?" and "what are those wire frames for that are over the beds?"

You eat at picnic tables on The Farm

Lynn and Chad

Your food comes in "picnic baskets"

Picking carrots



Then, Lynn took me to her gym. She teaches gymnastics to the "itty bitties" (3 and 4 year olds). Of course, they decided that I needed to be initated and thrown (literally!) into The Pit. And then I had to demonstrate my Tarzan skills as well :) Lots of fun!

Chilling in The Pit (well...that and I can't get out! It's hard!)

video

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to the Best Nephew Ever!

My little nephew, John Michael, turned one year old today! My sister threw him a fabulous party, albeit in Tacoma, so Auntie couldn't attend . It looks like he had a blast! Happy Birthday John Michael!


Mom, do I have to wear this?

It's good to be the prince...

This frosting is really interesting

Mom helping me open my presents.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Banquet

I went to the Christmas Banquet at my old church this evening. I'm so glad I was here for it because it allowed me to catch up with a lot of old friends all at once.

Janell, me, and Ashley

Erin and her husband Todd are my old caregroup leaders

me and Sophia

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Party in AZ!

That's right, I am in Arizona. Let the vacation begin. To start it off, I had a dinner party/gift exchange for a group of my friends here. Good food, good laughs, lots of fun. Here are some pictures:

AZ Christmas Party 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

FOUND!!!!

I found my diamond earring today! It went missing last week, just fell out of my ear. I was really bummed since they were the earrings my parents gave me (and my sister) when we turned 21. I was almost late to console last week because I was so busy crawling on the bathroom floor trying to find it. But tonight I saw something sparkly and there it was! Yay! :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

The BEST news EVER!!!!

My aunt had her surgery today and the surgeon believes he got ALL the cancer! There are a few "sandy" spots, but they will be taken care of with her final three rounds of chemo. Also, the doctors had believed it had spread to her colon as well, but it hadn't! Praise God for His mercy! Words cannot express how thankful I am...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Eat your heart out, Rachel Ray

By the way, "eat your heart out"? Where did that saying come from...it's kinda icky Indiana Jones-ish...



Anyways, I just spent the last 10 hours doing my Christmas baking (well, minus the hour when I had to run back to the grocery store to get zucchini for the zucchini bread...yeah I know...and then the lady in front of me ran into a car that was zooming across 6 lanes of traffic (Darwin anyone?) and had to wait for the cops as a witness since Darwin lady was trying to argue that it wasn't her fault). Today was the only day I had to get the baking done...mission accomplished (hope the pool tournament was fun!). Now for the random cooking stories:

Someone needs to invent a candy cane crusher...yes a hammer works fine- except when you can't find yours and the recipe calls for "finely crushed candy canes". I tried the food processor, which worked like a gem until the candy cane pieces got stuck under the blade and knocked it out of place...so onto the new blender...well, I pretty much had to feed it itty bitty candy cane piece by piece (again, they wedge up under the blades), but it finally churned out the required 1 1/2 cups...I decided, next time, I don't care if people break their teeth on candy cane bits. Oh and by the way, inhaling candy cane er...dust...not fun.

Do not try this at home...it doesn't work...

So then it was on to the chocolate coconut balls...I truly hate making these things. It is so tedious, but they are sooo good. Once the batter chills, you have to form little balls and then coat them with melted chocolate. Since I do not possess a double boiler (neither does my mom- and she's been doing this for 30ish years), I get to mickey mouse one together and then try to outwit the steam that comes from inbetween the cracks of the pans...it's kinda of a contest between me and the steam- how many times can it get me to fling my hand out of the way- leaving a fine spray of chocolate over me, the floor,...my cats...

The finished chocolate coconut product
Oh, and when is someone going to invent a hood (like those from chemistry class) to use when working with powdered sugar?- and how the heck do they make powdered sugar anyways?



Puppy Chow cooling...
Oh well, when all is said and done, I have 3 batches of Puppy Chow, 5 loaves of zucchini bread, 5 loaves of lemon poppy seed bread, 6 dozen chocolate coconut balls, and a pan of candy cane fudge...church people and office people...bring your sweet tooths...uh..teeth?

Zucchini bread....in case you've never seen bread before :)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Personal Best!

So today Lisa, Kevin, and I ran the Christus St. John's Hospital Annual Reindeer Run 5K (quite a mouthful isn't it?). And I ran my personal best! My goal was to run a 12 minute mile. Lisa was timing our run and she said it was ~34 minutes and 40 seconds!!! That means I ran about an 11:33-34 minute mile or so! Lisa was my motivation, because I stayed a little bit behind her and she keeps a good pace. Thanks Lisa! I am so excited! I am even more excited because I ran 3 miles on Monday, 2 on Wed, 3 yesterday, and 3.1 today! That's 11ish miles this week. Whoohoo!! And of course, we all forgot to bring our cameras, but thanks to Santa, we did get a picture to capture the event.