Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Losi & Dom's Wedding!

Here are some photos from my friend Losi's wedding reception, December 4th 2010. We'd never been to a Tongan reception, so were obviously excited! It was so much fun. We went with Nicole and Conrad, which was great, as we had a while to chat before the celebrations began.

While we waited for the wedding party, we were served various courses of fruit and coconut-bread pudding(?). It was nice. The main meal was impressive too! No roasted pigs, but every other kind of meat you could think of! And cooked in every way, too! (Or not cooked... Brian found out that what we thought was coleslaw was actually some kind of sushi.... :)

After a few hours, the entertainment section began! (In-between Tongan speeches from the bride and groom's fathers and others from the paternal sides.) At one point they got Losi and Dom to come up and dance, it was fun. She looked so beautiful, and he looked so happy! It was wonderful.

Divine Comedy - Now THATS what I call... LDS Singles

Umm.... really funny :)

Divine Comedy is a group of BYU students who put on a comedy show for other students and visitors. I hadn't seen a show in ages when I came across this one on Youtube. Oh, and don't be put off by The Notebook picture. It's good :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Festival of Trees!

Every year for the past 40, hundreds and hundreds of donors buy and decorate Christmas trees, wreaths, make center pieces, and other random things to be sold or auctioned at this humongous event. This year, money raised goes to the Primary Children's Medical Center. My previous roommate Rachel invited me and it turned out to be a lot of fun!

The first thing we heard when we walked into the expo center was the children's choirs singing Christmas songs. There were two stages at opposite ends of the building. We watched choirs and dance performances to break up the 2 hours of walking we did... Which didn't even allow us to see half the trees!

First we checked out the gingerbread houses! This one was ridiculous! I don't even want to imagine how long it took to make. That's Santa Claus at the front on a 4-wheeler. Ha. There were so many other amazing ones but my camera was low on battery power. :(

This is one of my favorite "Christmas trees"! The wave effect was created by bending over 4 Christmas trees. I didn't get it in the picture but to the right there was the funniest snorkeling elf. I also like the flippers coming out of the wave.

Many of the trees were donated and decorated by companies, and most of them came with a crazy amount of extra stuff! Instant Christmas in terms of decorations and gifts! Jet Blue had a cool tree too, but the coolest thing was that buying it also bought you 2 tickets to anywhere! I'm guessing that one sold pretty fast!

I think this is my favorite, most bizarre thing. It's a puzzle of a house that someone has taken parts out of, and stuck pictures of Christ underneath. The sentence underneath reads:

"Pictures of Christ around the home make it brighter."

Yep, I couldn't help but giggle. A lot.

Here, Santa is featured driving an Elf around in a carriage. I like it, it's fresh. I am especially glad that Santa is the designated driver, because that Elf looked suspiciously high!

Me and Rachel! We had a great time but we were both pretty tired of tinsel by the end of it.
Good times! Thanks for inviting me, Rach!

A Proper English Dinner!

Yep, here it is. I cooked my first authentic English dinner a wCheck Spellingeek or two ago, and here is the proof. Family, be prepared to be impressed :)

But first, for the sake of comparison, let us admire a picture of a REAL Proper English dinner, piled high:

And without further ado, here is my attempt:

I know, I know.... Beautiful, right?!


It would've made a better picture had I not eaten half of it already! It really was delicious...

Here's what makes it a Proper English Dinner:
  • Mashed potatoes (preferably accompanied by roast potatoes, of course)
  • Gravy! (This is obviously not Proper English Bisto, but anything is better than nothing)
  • SEVERAL types of vegetables (at least 3, excluding potatoes). Popular choices are carrots, brocolli, sweet corn (aka corn), roasted parsnips, peas, runner beans, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, and cabbage. 
  • Smallish serving of meat (roast chicken is my family's preference) and, of course...
  • Yorkshire puddings! (I hear the secret to making good Yorkshires is to talk to them... I think mine could have done with a little more conversation!)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kitchenaid Triumph & Guy Fawkes!!

This was a good night!

November 6th 2010
My Kitchenaid Triumph! Finally got up the nerve to turn it on. Well... Brian may have turned it on, but I had a lot of fun finishing up the cookies. I've used it loads since then. We made some quick and easy peanut butter cookies to take to Guy Fawkes Night at the Humphries'.

This "guy" didn't burn so well as it was made out of vines, it was fun trying though!
There were a lot of fun people there. I've been going to Steve's Bonfire night for years now, and there are always the regulars. This year though, Brian and I had a lot of fun chatting to a South-African family. They were hilarious! We talked about the Green-Boks and Mandela, it was very enlightening :)

These were my favorites, the "mini-guys", bearing a strong resemblance to voodoo dolls! ha. The kids had fun making them in the Humphries' kitchen and then dangling them over the fire with marshmallow roasting sticks.

S'mores!! Yummmmm! Here is Brian tackling his double-decker s'more! He roasted like 9 marshmallows at once.

Friday, November 5, 2010

New Favorite Artist!

Love Brooke Fraser. Although this song doesn't show any, most of her songs have Christian undertones. Great stuff.

Some of my other favorite songs from her are: Shadowfeet, Albertine, and The CS Lewis song.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I think I'm afraid of my Kitchenaid....

There it is.... Lurking in the corner.
A couple of weeks ago in Relief Society (a women’s meeting we have at church) a lady gave a wonderful object lesson about being grateful for the gifts God has given us. She talked about how she’d always wanted a certain kitchenaid accessory and was convinced that it would greatly add to her baking success and save her time and effort. When her husband bought it for her at Christmas, she barely used it and continued to use her kitchenaid as she had done previously, without the accessory. We talked about a lot of things from there: How God gives us gifts we ask for but don’t use, etc. All I could think of was I’ve never even used my kitchenaid! Let alone an accessory!”

It’s not that I don’t bake, or have use for it. I do. Often my arm is aching by the time I remember I even own a kitchen aid. Also, I think it scares me. Not in any rational way, but in the same irrational way that my mother is scared of the computer. She’s worried she’ll break it or won’t be able to use it properly, and in any case whatever she needs can be got with a bit extra effort some other way.

Originally my mother bought it to help her bake the plethora of cakes she made for my wedding reception, and then left it to me as part of our wedding present. Since then I haven’t touched it, except to edge it a little further into the corner. It still even has a smear of cocoa on the outside from when my mum was here.

However, I think there is hope. If my mother can learn to turn on a computer, and now even use facebook to a limited degree, I think I can manage to set up the kitchenaid and take it for a spin. We'll see how it goes....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Marriage improves health!

A Marjorie J. Hinckley lecture given in February 2010 discusses evidence that being married positively affects emotional, physical, and mental health. Linda J. Waite from the University of Chicago is the lecturer.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Some Goals...

Recently I've felt like I should memorize the Family: Proclamation to the World and The Living Christ. Then, suddenly I started hearing and reading stories about how people have done this and it has changed them and their family life for the better. These are a couple of my goals. Another one is to finally finish with all of our legal stuff for permanent residency by Saturday the 23rd of October. The last goals for now are to keep up with my French (to improve it) and to begin learning Spanish. I've been thinking about that for a while too and have since also come across so many useful bi or trilingual people. I figure writing it on a blog helps me stay accountable.... right? Feel free to ask me about my progress everyone :)

Addicted: "Carry On, Mr Bowditch"

So, Brian has to read a lot of books to fulfill his Honor's Literature requirement. Sometimes, the books he read are interesting. Occasionally, they are completely addictive! Carry On, Mr Bowditch is not only well-written but is captivating. The characters are so likable yet human. The book follows the unlikely successes of Nat Bowditch. Nat's family is poor. To save money, Nat is "indentured" from age 12-21 as a book keeper for a sailing supplies company. He is extremely gifted with numbers, and this talent (coupled with his insatiable desire to learn) takes him on amazing adventures. I love it because it inspires me to learn better, and to teach others too. Brian and I read it together on journeys, for our FHE activity and every evening we were free. It took about a week. Great book.

Brian's also blogged about it. To read his comments, click here.

Wedding Pictures!

Hey everyone! Sorry it's taken so long. Here's a link to our photographer's website with a selection of our photos. Enjoy! :)


Friday, October 1, 2010

Outside the box

BYU Professor Scott Holden teaches his students the art of the "bowed piano". It's impressive and weird and I'm guessing you probably won't listen to more than a couple of minutes :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Yeah, my niece is pretty cool.

Everyone, meet Kyan, my creative niece. She's only been in Senior School for a few weeks and already she's been recognized for her artistic talents. Senior School in England is like High School. Except you start at age 11/12 (depending on when your birthday falls) until 18. One of the big differences in England though (from the US) is that you can quit as soon as you take your GCSE examinations or turn 16, whichever comes first. Crazy. Anyways, back to Kyan.... So she's already in 3rd place in her college for points (kind of like the house points in Harry Potter, but for her individually). Then my Sister gets called into school, not because Kyan's in trouble, but to tell her she's scoring in the gifted and talented percentiles. She may also be able to take her Art GCSE next year because she tests so highly, when she should really be ready for it when she's 16! Needless to say, I am a very proud aunt!

Food Bank Adventures!

Last week a neighbor and I got to volunteer at our local food bank. It was so much fun! We took food from big boxes and put them into slightly smaller boxes, broke up the big boxes for recycling, and then got to put together the bags for the senior citizens (2 cans of veggies, 2 soups, 2 beans, 2 meats, 1 tomato, and some mac-n-cheese). It made me feel pretty good and hungry. It seems like there's always something to help with at the food bank.

Friday, September 24, 2010

LDS sites get cool.

Has anyone checked out new.lds.org yet? It's fabulous. What about the church's internet radio station? There's a program on there called Conversations where Sheri Dew gets to interview General Authorities, Auxiliary Presidencies, and other Latter-day Saints. It's great. My personal favorite is Julie Beck's conversation with her two daughters. I think I appreciate them so much because they are very real.

It ain't what you do, it's what it does to you.

I found it! A few lines from this poem I studied for my GCSEs have been running through my head for a while and I finally found the whole thing.

It ain't what you do it's what it does to you

I have not bummed across America
with only a dollar to spare, one pair

of busted Levi's and a bowie knife.
I have lived with thieves in Manchester.

I have not padded through theTaj Mahal,
barefoot, listening to the space between
each footfall picking up and putting down
its print against the marble floor. But I

skimmed flat stones across Black Moss on a day
so still I could hear each set of ripples
as they crossed. I felt each stones' inertia
spend itself against the water; then sink.
I have not toyed with a parachute cord
while perched on the lip of a light aircraft;
but I have held the wobbly head of a boy
at the day centre, and stroked his fat hands.

And I guess that the tightness in the throat
and the tiny cascading sensation
somewhere inside us are both part of that
sense of something else. That feeling, I mean.

Simon Armitage

I like it a lot because often in life we don't always get to do the great big things, yet we can experience the everyday in a way so magnified that we do begin to have that sense of wonder and of the divine. It's sort of a long the lines of what Mother Theresa preached:

"We can't all do great things, but we can do small things with great love."

I like that.

What Suzie does with her time...

So... a lot of people have been asking what I've been up to these past weeks not having a work permit or school to keep me occupied. Well, here are some of the highlights!

Cooking. I have discovered a latent passion! I've really enjoyed experimenting without recipes. It's very exciting what you can make with random stuff from the cupboards and a fondness for dabbling. I didn't actually make this zucchini bread, but one very similar. Maybe better :) I don't bake as much as I cook because baking requires recipes...

Here is beautiful Provo Library. I like to sit on the comfortable chairs in the upstairs because it's quiet and helps me think clearly.

Here is the Provo Temple. I get to volunteer here about 5 hours each week. I also like to go with Brian and then on my own. Sometimes I feel like I learn a lot. Other times I just feel weight has been unloaded. I always leave seeing things a lot more clearly.

This is part of the Freemont People's exhibit at BYU's Museum of Peoples and Cultures. I am currently training to become a docent! It's fun. I've had the two training sessions and have followed one tour. Now for a lot of reading and online tutorials. It's really interesting learning about the exhibits in such detail. It's located right by the Elms - where I lived 2005/2006. I stopped in once.... Thankfully it has changed a lot!

Yellowstone! Brian and I had a lot of fun visiting Yellowstone with his Biology club. The Professor was great, he explained a lot about these geysers. Apparently, Utah and some other surrounding states are sitting on top of a super volcano that produces the heat for these geysers. Fun fact: The color of the geyser is a quite accurate tell of its temperature. Surprisingly, the crystal clear blue water is the hottest: It's so clear because at almost 200 degrees Fahrenheit, nothing can survive! It was incredibly cold and fun. We camped and woke up to snow! Burrrrgh!

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