Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas

Perhaps our favorite Christmas present that we gave this year was transferring old 8 mm films from Tricia's dad's childhood to a DVD. Trish and I sifted through a few shoeboxes full of these silent films to see what was on them, then brought the keepers to Plastic Trees Studio, where they all easily fit on a single DVD. It was fun to learn how to work the old film projector, and Tricia's dad seemed pretty excited to see the old movies.



Our favorite activity today was doing video Skype with my nephews, whose family just got a webcam. They entertained us for well over an hour, holding their Christmas gifts in front of the camera to show them off, and telling knock-knock jokes to a very friendly crowd. Great fun.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

innovation

This morning I was enticed by an internet ad that said, "Never buy wrapping paper again!" I clicked on the link and watched a five-minute video that detailed how I could take large sheets of brown paper used for padding in sent packages, trim it down to size, iron it out, draw on it, and then wrap my gifts with it.

I was inspired by that idea of innovation and decided to apply some home-cooked innovation to one of my most important tasks of the day: sealing 75 envelopes. I needed to get them done ASAP, but I didn't have an envelope moistener and didn't want to have a dry tongue after 50. I also didn't have time or opportunity to get to the store to exchange 99 cents for one, so I pondered what I could use from home.

The result: a flower aquatube (filled with water) and an old sponge cut to size. And voila! I had a homemade envelope moistener. The picture below details the needed materials for my project, as well as the resulting sealed envelopes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

i remember


I kept wishing for the snow to come. And now I remember why I was so excited in March to have it gone. I had forgotten how my arm hurts after shoveling it. I had forgotten the slush getting all over my shoes. I'd forgotten the ice that forms at night. I'd forgotten having that sense of not quite being in total control of the car. And I'd forgotten how necessary it is to wear gloves and a scarf.

But I had also forgotten how beautiful it is. Pure. White. Stillness. How could I celebrate Christ's birth--the One whose atonement has made my sins as white as new-fallen snow--without it?

Monday, December 8, 2008

the most beautiful


For me, lighted Christmas trees during the dark evening hours are the most pleasant, peaceful, and beautiful aesthetic of the holidays. I love seeing little lights peeking out from dark green boughs and casting illuminous shadows on the wall.

"The light which shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not."

May this Christmas season be one of remembering Christ, the Light of the world, and pondering upon His gift of life and love to us.

recent adventures

In shape
To get fit during the winter months, I've taken up step aerobics inside our home. Here I am working out my own routine in our basement. (Not a lot of space, but enough to do the necessary moves.)


Lights
We put up lights to celebrate Christmas. Matt was very brave to wander up on our roof.


The artist at work
For a recent mass card-producing activity, I pulled out almost all of my mediums and tried various ideas before settling on a white crayon snowflake on red paper, highlighted with lines of silver glitter.


Christmas Devotional
We were inspired and enriched at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.

thanksgiving

Matt and I got TWO Thanksgiving meals this year: one with my family (the Sunday before the big day) and one with his family on the big day.



Then we headed down to St. George to work off the turkey by running around with my family. Who has the better frisbee toss?




"the biscuits worked"

For a few weeks now I have been telling Matt I would make him a special breakfast of biscuits and gravy on the first morning of snowfall. Since it was November, I was sure the snow would come any time. But it didn't. And didn't. And didn't some more.

So I invited it by making biscuits and gravy this morning. And it worked! The snow has come.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

what I learned from sewing

Quite a few months back I bought a great dress at the outlets in Park City. Well, I thought it was a great dress because it was flattering--except that it was just a tad short. It was "modest" as far as exact measurements go, but I always felt just a wee bit uncomfortable with any sort of wind or vigorous walking.

When my mom suggested she thought the same thing about the dress's lack of length, I decided I would take upon myself the opportunity to improve my sewing skills by adding on some material to the bottom of the dress.
First, I needed material. Here is what I learned:
  • The sheen of black 100% polyester material does not match the sheen of black 95-%-polyester, 5-%-spandex material. (Who would have thought spandex would matter so much?)
  • Instead of matching black to black, you can add in a band of tan to match the flowers on the dress's material.
  • And then you can add on a band of black so the tan doesn't make the skin on your legs look sickly pale.

I started my supposed-to-be-only-one-hour project this morning at 9 a.m. I finished it a mere 5.5 hours later at 2:30. Here is what I learned:

  • Polyester is a very difficult material to sew because it is so supple (and stretches easily).
  • Think SEVEN times before sewing two pieces together to make sure a seam is matching correctly.
  • The iron setting needs to be on very high to make sure the polyester behaves accordingly.
  • Needles work well as thread picks--except be sure to not undo the threads of the material itself.
  • The seam lines on the bottom of flaring dresses need to also flare. If not, the dress cuts back in and looks awkward.
  • Don't cut off extra material from the band you've already sewed until you are sure you don't need it to make changes.

In the end, the dress looks pretty good--as long as you don't look too closely at the side seams. And the original mission of modesty is complete with an added 2.5 inches of length.

The dress in its final glory. I like how the added band turned out on the bottom.
And up-close shot of the added band.
And up-close shot of the side seams. (I had to get creative when the the seams hung funny and I had already cut out extra material.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

what I learned from washing the car

  1. Twenty-five-foot hoses are generally not long enough. Besides, 50-foot hoses only cost $2 more.
  2. When you connect the hose to the faucet, turn on the water, and find pressurized water spraying from everywhere around the connection point, do not immediately look for your warranty card. Simply look around for the plastic washer that might have come out of the hose's connection point with the faucet. Replace the washer and turn on the water. The results should be agreeable.
  3. End-of-season wasps and bees find wet cars in 1:00-p.m. sun fascinating.
  4. Clean cars sure look nice!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"To love another person..."

The most powerful part to me of my favorite musical, Les Miserables, is the closing scene, when Jean Valjean is at the end of his life. Fantine comes to him as an angel, and sings "Take my hand / I’ll lead you to salvation / Take my love / For love is everlasting / And remember / The truth that once was spoken, / To love another person / Is to see the face of God."



It's hard for me to get through that moment dry-eyed, even when I'm just listening to a CD. Memories from my life--and from that musical--always pour through my mind and I know how unselfishly loving others does bring an undeniable closeness to God.



This morning during my scripture study, I wondered to what Victor Hugo was referring as "the truth that once was spoken." Was he quoting scripture or other literature? I'm still not sure--if someone has insight, please let me know!



However, I did recall Matthew 25:40: "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bar-th-elona

In Spain, the c's are spoken like th's. At the airport, we had some trouble finding our luggage so I asked a lady for help. She directed me to Terminal "th." I didn't understand, so she said it a few more times and then said, "'Th' as in casa." Ah. I had forgotten we were in Spain. Now for the adventures:


Our first few days in Spain were spent in the city of Gava, about 30 miles outside of Barcelona. While Matt did his tradeshow thing, I bought sunglasses and soaked in the sun at a beach along the Mediterranean Sea. I read Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning, a wonderful book about using positivism to improve your life. I highly recommend it.


Then we went to Barcelona for the next few days. Barcelona is famous for the architect Antonio Gaudi, who used the city as the playing ground for his creative releases. Here is a good shot of some of his architecture in the city from the viewpoint of a park he designed. (I thought the mosaic benches were really cool--I really want to do a mosaic something in our house.)

More Gaudi architecture: the Sagrada Familia. This Catholic church was Gaudi's biggest design project, which he began a little over 100 years ago. He died before it was finished, and it is still under construction. "Sagrada familia" means Sacred Family, which is detailed in the above picture on one of the outside columns of the church. It was beautiful--and a bit avant-garde.


Here I am trying to figure out some of Gaudi's architecture--or maybe trying to make sense of the joke Matt just made. :)

Another church, this time built and finished in the 14th century. It is called Santa Maria del Mar and is hailed as one of the most true-Baroque churches ever built (thanks to its hasty building, which only took 20 years). We happened upon a Catholic wedding while there and enjoyed how delightful a string quartet can sound in the open vaults of a church.





The above pictures detail our ascension to Montserrat, a mountain monastery retreat. I say retreat because the area has been turned into a big tourist attraction with various hotels, restaurants, and shops. Since we went on a Sunday, Matt and I instead enjoyed nature by walking along a trail to a more secluded area. It was breathtaking to be so high up on such a steep mountain.

Our next post will end with London--our last stop.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Europe

Since Matt and I have been home for a full week--and our jet lag is pretty much worn off--we decided it was time to post about our adventurous European discoveries. Let's start with Paris.

Eiffel tower, shmeiffel tower. While we did take time to take in that most functional of all apparatuses (it is a radio tower), we were perhaps more taken by the extremely expressive art of Rodin. Here is his sculpture of Victor Hugo, listening to his literary muses while pushing out the din of us rather normal (and non-muse) humans.

In the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, each big window has a partner mirror across the way. That's about it--except for all the innate opulence. Oh, and the billions of visitors. Not-so-fun fact: the queens had to give birth in public so that it was verified that the child was the king's. (Not to question it further, but wouldn't it be more appropriate to verify that the child is the king's by witnessing the conception? Not that anyone would want to witness that...)  

In the city of wonderful food, Matt and I found this Japanese restaurant that served up some great pot stickers and wonderfully filling miso soups. All for the cheap price of 6 euros a piece. (Believe me, a $10/person meal is pretty cheap in Paris.)

Church in Paris was our most adventurous discovery, by far. I had printed out a map from maps.lds.org for a chapel, but the map took us to a small alley with NO church. We did have the address (which, interestingly enough, didn't match up to the map...), so we used our guidebook, people on the street, and famous landmarks to help us problem solve until we did find the church--only to find it was locked. But then we saw a sign that invited us to come in by pressing a button and walking through the big blue door. We did so, only to find church was not in session. All signs said it was supposed to be sacrament meeting, but no one was there so we figured it was a district conference day.

Tomorrow I'll take you through Barcelona!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Paris


What to do at night when in Paris with your wife? Well, I'd recommend taking her on foot through the cobblestone streets of the City of Light and enjoying the views on the banks of the Seine.

What to do the next night, at 2 AM when your wife's asleep and you're still fighting that obnoxious jet lag? Well, blog about the night before!

Monday, September 8, 2008

366 days


One year ago, today, a pretty, spunky, and charming woman chose to become the newest Sederberg in the United States of America.

If Sederbergs were a species, we would certainly have protected status here, as there were only 189 Sederbergs in the whole country in 2000, according to the US census.

Trish, thanks for adding one more to the total, one year ago today. We need all the strength we can get!

And yes, just like we had our reception the day before our wedding, I pushed to eat our frozen wedding cake last night, the day before our anniversary. I couldn't wait--I had been looking forward to eating that delicious chocolate stuff for weeks!

@Curtis--I checked, and yes, there are still four Tupperware containers of reception slush in my parents' freezer.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pennywise choices for school fundraisers



My big sister Rebecca just alerted me that an article she wrote is on the front page of The Dollar Stretcher this month. Her piece is about making wise choices with fundraiser participation so you can support the school and still get value yourself. Bec speaks from experience here, and this is great advice!

On a side note, I just realized that with this post, the "Sederbergs" blog I'm writing with Trish now has more posts than my Interested Mind blog that I started in college, which has more of a professional bent and is now not getting much attention from its author.

Friday, August 29, 2008

delightful lunch

I just had the most delightful--and delicious--lunch, that I'd like to share it with you:

tuna salad (tuna fish, celery, mayo, mustard, grapes, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, toasted almonds)
whole wheat saltine crackers
fresh peach
strawberries
glass of water

To top it all off, I'm going to indulge myself with a Ginger-O (cream between gingersnaps).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

m.i.a.

I wish I could show you how the finally-blooming, velvety purple verbenas look absolutely luscious against the ripening red tomatoes. Or how lovely those plush purple verbenas look against the smooth orange gazanias.

But our camera is missing in action. It is broken and (hopefully) being fixed.

Until then, try to imagine how gorgeous these colors go together:






Thursday, August 21, 2008

influence

It occurred to me the other day that a fundamental practice I have employed for almost 20 years was first introduced to me by someone whose face I can't remember and whose name I never knew. When I was about 10 (and had recently taken an interest in making my teeth feel smooth), a dental hygienist suggested a practice for thorough teeth-cleaning: count to four for each area you're brushing.

Since that day I have mentally divided the teeth portion of my mouth into 18 sections that each get four seconds of teeth-brushing attention at least twice a day. Since that day I have also added a soft-bristled toothbrush, a circular brushing technique with the bristles pointed toward the gums, and the "extend-your-life-by-a-few-years-and-don't-die-of-heart-disease" practice of daily flossing.

The influence of this lady who I don't know and can't remember has been quite impactful. It has made me wonder about other people whose influence is ingrained in my daily routine--but whose face and name I don't know or remember. Can you think of an example in your own life?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

one-and-a-half weeks

I drove into the driveway this morning after being away from home for 1.5 weeks. That really isn't a long time, so I didn't have too many expectations for what I would find--especially since we had arranged for a very helpful helper to water our garden and check our mail.

However, I was a bit surprised to find myself confronting so much "change" in so little time. Here is what I found:
  • Growing plants! Our tomatoes are almost ready to be picked, the zucchini plant doubled in size, and the roses bloomed. Wow. Our helpful helper weeded; otherwise, I'd be digging out a little jungle.
  • Decaying food. I cleaned the fridge of the following spoiled items: milk (past due last week), plain yogurt (so much for chicken tikki masala), tomatoe paste, and a few bites of melon. Amazingly, the artichoke hearts swimming in a brine of vinegar and oil have survived the last 7 months.
  • Disorder. I knew I wasn't leaving the house in perfect order last week, but I found I needed a good hour to just straighten things...let alone clean them (on today's afternoon list).
  • School starting! Today was the first day of school! Since we don't have kids, this wouldn't necessarily be a noticeable thing; however, since the school is located across the street, I am more than normally aware of the rhythm of elementary school life.

I have spent the morning dealing with these changes; but really, it is just nice to be back home.

Monday, August 4, 2008

hula hoops

Here is a fun video of Matt and me having a hula-hoop contest at the family reunion (refer to previous post). As a side note, I love the history of the hula hoop, as described by the movie The Hudsucker Proxy.

video

reunion

Matt and I went to Blackfoot, Idaho for a reunion with my mom's side of the family this last weekend. We ate a lot of good food, laughed a lot, got caught up, and played a whole lot. We also got to pay special homage to the matriarch of the clan, Grandma Johns. Her strong testimony and rock-solid faith have been the foundation for a blessed family that is growing quickly. Her advice to us all: PRAY. So, enjoy the pictures below--and don't forget to pray.

A few members of the group that were still chatting at 11:00 p.m. on Friday night.

A yummy breakfast: eggs, pancakes, bacon, cereal, fruit, and a variety of juices.


A service activity: tying a quilt. I'm not so good, but you can see me trying hard on the right.

A hat contest! MacKenzie, with her pink hat, was one of the winners.


The whole group, with the matriarch in the middle, second row.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nebo Loop

Loops are cool. My parents have a loop on the main floor of their house. Visiting (and resident) kids can chase each other around and around...without ever needing to back up and turn around.

It's fun to go driving in Utah's mountain canyons. Driving on a loop, though, is cool--the scenery is never repeated throughout the whole trip!

Tricia and I drove the Nebo Loop on Saturday. It is longer than the Mt. Timpanogos Alpine Loop, and is also more gentle.

Picnic nearby the Maple Dell scout camp.


Overlooking the south end of Utah Valley


Taking a picture of my wife and myself. I think I need to practice this art.


Mt. Nebo


This was cool: called the Devil's Kitchen; it looked like a bit of Bryce Canyon or Goblin Valley teleported into the Wasatch Mountains.


This was neat: for about 5 miles on the end of the loop, there was just enough ups and downs in the road that I didn't need to step on the gas OR the brake for the whole time--and I stayed between 35-45 MPH! And no, that is not my cute frog floor mat--we took Tricia's car.


It was sunset when we pulled into Nephi. Before turning north and heading for home, we got a very good burger and milkshake at this drive-in.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

earrings

Matt and I have a really fun part of our relationship: because he goes on various business trips, he tries to buy me earrings each time so we can commemorate his travels as well as our relationship in a tangible way.

Here are the earrings and I have (and where they're from) so far:

San Diego (big and dangly--I really like this for a fresh and playful look)
San Diego--Matt couldn't decide between the big ones above or these small ones (I love their texture and wear them when I'm feeling relaxed)
San Francisco--Matt made these with his cousin Sandra (for a fun-siding-on-elegant look) San Francisco--Matt also made these with his cousin Sandra (I haven't figured out the best approach for these so they're a "different" mood)
Yellowstone--I helped Matt pick these out (very small, delightfully cute, and RED)
Kansas City--Matt was assured by the salesman I would love these, and I do (I love wearing these, especially when I'm feeling attractive and cultural)

Las Vegas--Matt found these at an international jewlery tradeshow; they house Mexican miniature roses (definitely for the more sophisticated and mature look)

Park City, on our honeymoon (I love the teal, although I haven't worn them much)

Park City, on our honeymoon (Matt LOVES heart jewelry, and I love to wear these for special occasions or whenever I feel feminine and pretty)