Saturday, December 31, 2011

How our calendar came to be

Given that it's New Year's Eve, I figured you would enjoy this cool video. It shows you how our current calendar came to be the way it is now. Pretty cool stuff

Sunday, December 25, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 25-Merry Christmas!!

here's a great Christmas heart warmer for you. And I hope your Christmas has been great

Saturday, December 24, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 24-luminaries

The reason why I waited till later to post this one today is because I had to get some pictures of the luminaries on my street. Unfortunately these pictures don't do the luminaries any justice at all, but they always look really pretty because the street is a hill that curves a bit. That always makes for super pretty lights.

the view looking down the hill from about halfway up

                                                   this gives a pretty good view of the curve up the hill

what an individual luminary looks like

my house with a few luminaries in front of it

Friday, December 23, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 23-my gingerbread house

being that I'm back home in STL I'm finally doing Christmas-esque stuff. One of which is decorating a gingerbread house. It's kinda lame, but oh well

Thursday, December 22, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 22-the Magic Tree

Last night I got to go to the Magic Tree here in Columbia. As with last year I don't have an actual camera so I had to use my phone camera, so that's why all the pictures are slightly blurry.

                                                            This one's my favorite

Take a look at all those different types of LED's. I'd love to talk to the guy about where he gets all of these

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 21-a country music Christmas

I like country music, Christmas and Christmas songs-well doesn't that work out well for this next installment of 25 days of Christmas! Here's some awesome country music stars singing some awesome Christmas songs.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Alan Jackson-A Holly Jolly Christmas

Faith Hill-Silent Night

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 20-"not the gumdrop buttons"

Ok so this isn't Christmas in any way, but going along with the theme of day 19: gingerbread I figured everybody would enjoy it.

25 days of christmas: day 19-Gingerbread

I wanted to know why gingerbread is associated with Christmas. Here's an excerpt from an article that I found online. It's really interesting. The whole article is here and really worth the 5 minutes.

"The first gingerbread man is credited to the court of Queen Elizabeth I, who favored important visitors...with charming gingerbread likenesses of themselves...After the Grimm Brothers' tale of Hansel and Gretel described a house "made of bread," with a roof of cake and windows of barley, German bakeries began offering elaborate gingerbread houses with icing snow on the roofs, along with edible gingerbread Christmas cards and finely detailed molded cookies. Tinsmiths fashioned cookie cutters into all imaginable forms, and every woman wanted one shape that was different from anybody else's...Most of the cookies that hung on nineteenth-century Christmas trees were at least half an inch thick and cut into animal shapes or gingerbread men..."
---"Gingerbread," Karen S. Edwards & Sharon Antle, Americana [magazine], December 1988 (p. 49+)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 18-puppy Christmas

Get ready to witness the most adorable Christmas you've ever seen....ever

Saturday, December 17, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 17-a domino Christmas

Flippycat's 2011 Christmas video

Friday, December 16, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 16-lights around Columbia, Missouri

I saw these really pretty lights at the corner of Providence and Grindstone. They can't even hold a candle to the Plaza lights in Kansas City, but it's still cool nevertheless.

25 days of christmas: day 15-traditional Christmas symbols

I was initially just looking for why Christmas' colors are red and green. Luckily I came upon this cool explanation which describes the colors and some other cool things. Again these aren't my words I just found them.

You probably never intended to go this in depth with the meanings of Christmas stuff, but it's interesting anyways

Red symbolizes the blood that Jesus spilt to redeem us from our sins.
Green is the color of life. Therefore, green symbolizes the potential for eternal life that Jesus' sacrifice made possible for all of us.
The evergreen tree is green all year round. So, it also symbolizes eternal life.

The flame of a candle, the lights on the tree and the star on top are all meant to remind us of the new star that appeared to proclaim the birth of the promised Messiah.
The bell is a reminder of the bells worn by sheep. They provide a means for the shepherd to find the sheep that has wandered from the flock and become lost. They symbolize our pleas to the Good Shepherd for guidance back to His flock.
The candy cane is shaped like a shepherd's staff. It symbolizes the responsibility that we all have to be shepherds, to help each other and guide each other back to God.
Finally, the bows on the top of the presents are symbolic of brotherhood. It should be a reminder that, just as the ribbons are tied together, we should all be tied together by the knowledge that we are all God's children and, therefore, brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 14-a Simon's Cat christmas

some of you may know that I love Simon's Cat. So I decided to find his Christmas/winter videos. They're all super cute even if you don't have a cat.

This year's Christmas video

Last year's and probably my favorite

a super cute real life Simon's Cat

Monday, December 12, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 12-history of stockings

Here's the general folklore following the origins of why we hang stockings above our fireplace. Found this on the ever knowledgeable wikipedia. Don't worry, it lines up with all the other websites that describe the origins, but it was written in a more concise way.

While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas Stocking, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. One such legend has several variations, but the following is a good example: Very long ago, there lived a poor man and his three very beautiful daughters. He had no money to get his daughters married, and he was worried what would happen to them after his death.
Saint Nicholas was passing through when he heard the villagers talking about the girls. St. Nicholas wanted to help, but knew that the old man wouldn't accept charity. He decided to help in secret. He waited until it was night and crept through the chimney.
He had three bags of gold coins with him, one for each girl. As he was looking for a place to keep those three bags, he noticed stockings of the three girls that were hung over the mantelpiece for drying. He put one bag in each stocking and off he went. When the girls and their father woke up the next morning, they found the bags of gold coins and were of course, overjoyed. The girls were able to get married and live happily ever after.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 11-santa's reindeer update

my friend posted this on facebook and I thought it was funny. While the bottom part if kinda offensive to guys, I try and overlook that part and focus on the beginning.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 10-Calvin and Hobbes snowmen part 2

given that my Calvin and Hobbes snowmen post from last year's 25 days of Christmas is my most popular post by several thousand views, I thought I'd show everybody some more Clavin and Hobbes snowmen

I'm pretty sure I saw this one in cartoon form at some point, but can't find it

Friday, December 9, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 9-Christmas in Australia

What do you picture when you think of Christmas and Christmas traditions? I bet snow, snowmen, a cold chill in the air, tacky Christmas sweaters, and a whole lot of other winter-like things popped into your head. Well I was curious what Christmas was like in the Southern hemisphere where Christmas is in the middle of summer. An Australian couple made this website which is devoted to telling those of us in the Northern hemisphere all about what Christmas is like without snow and short, cold days.

It's a really cool website if you want to go peruse around.

I got this excerpt below from their page about the usual weather.

Sunshine, surf, cricket, tennis & cool drinks,
what more could anyone want.
Christmas in Australia is within three days of the longest day of the year therefore we have long daylight hours with warm temperatures instead of short days with long cold nights. Of an evening the sound of children playing outdoors drifts across the suburbs.
If you would like to see the latest weather forecast here is a link to the
Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology. Santa in the pool
While my granddaughter and I were discussing the Australian Christmas summer weather we suddenly decided that although we did not have frost and snow we did have an interest in ice. It is needed on our plates to keep our oysters cold, it is needed to keep our prawns (shrimps) cold and it is needed to keep our drinks cold.
You can have any type of weather for your Christmas in Australia except a white Christmas. However Christmas 2000 saw a light covering of snow on some of the mountain peaks in the island state of Tasmania. So to have a white Christmas you must climb a mountain and then only about every ten years will you actually have a white Christmas.    
Please note that here is no truth in the rumour that Australia changed Jesus' birthday to June so we could celebrate Christmas in winter.
24th December 1974
Cyclone Tracy arrived in Darwin. The cyclone destroyed the town of 40,000 people. Most did not wake up on Christmas morning as they had been awake all night while their home blew away in the strong winds. Cyclones are a product of the summer season.
26th December 2001
Mother nature was up to her tricks again, with temperatures in the low 30's Celsius and strong winds, the state of New South Wales experienced about 70 major bush fires on Christmas Day 2001. About 5,000 fire fighters and other emergency personnel were on duty on Christmas Day with up to 20,000 people being engaged in fire fighting and support services at the height of the blaze which raged for 22 days before rain and calm conditions allowed it to be brought under control.
December 2006
This year the vast majority of the continent of Australia is in the grip of a serious drought. Most major water storage systems are at very low levels and the weather forecasters are not promising any significant rainfall in the coming months, especially in the south of the continent where it is most needed.
December 2006 Lyn, NSW wrote:-
I’ve only been in Australia for 11 years now and I still miss my English Christmas celebrations in the snow / freezing cold!
It is difficult not to feel ‘disappointed’ by the lack of snow, the heat, etc.. in an Ozzie Christmas, but then there are the street parties, having the neighbours over for drinks, the fabulous seafood, the lightshows, the swimming pool, and of course warm feet and fingers!
An Australian "Snowman"
Sand/snow manHere is a snowman built from beach sand. The 'sand-man' is wearing a broad brimmed hat for protection from the sun. The red and white scarf and the carrot nose indicate the link to the traditional snowman. More details

Thursday, December 8, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 8-"Merry Christmas" around the world

This is a really cool thing I found. It's a list of what "Merry Christmas" is in a bunch of different languages

AfrikaansGesëende Kersfees
CzechPrejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
DanishGlædelig Jul
EsperantoGajan Kristnaskon
FinnishHyvää Joulua
FrenchJoyeux Noël
GermanFroehliche Weihnachten
GreekKala Christouyenna
HawaiianMele Kalikimaka
HindiBada Din Mubarak Ho
IcelandicGledileg Jol
IrishNollaig Shona Dhuit
ItalianBuon Natale or Buone Feste Natalizie
JapaneseShinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
KoreanSung Tan Chuk Ha
LatinNatale hilare
LithuanianLinksmu Kaledu
MaoriMeri Kirihimete
NorwegianGod Jul
PolishWesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
PortugueseFeliz Natal
RussianSrozhdestovm Kristovim
SpanishFeliz Navidad
SwahiliKuwa na Krismasi njema
TagalogMaligayang Pasko
ThaiSuksun Wan Christmas
VietnameseChuc Mung Giang Sinh
WelshNadolig Llawen

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 7-the house part 2

So unfortunately this is the only picture that I could get of the lights on my house. I swear that in person they're significantly more impressive looking, this picture doesn't do it justice in the slightest.

You'll notice that I extended the gutter lights this year to include the peak above our garage. Maybe next year I'll line the garage window so there's not that gaping hole underneath. The only other new things are the blinking lights on the pathway (which of course you can't see blinking, but just imagine how cool they are) and the red lights around the door. From the looks of things, they've shifted a bit to the left-a problem I'll have to fix when I return after finals are over. Both the pathway lights and the candy canes blink, but not in an obnoxious-taking the attention away from everything else kind of a way, but a "wow that's kinda whimsical" kind of a way....Again I promise it's more impressive and pretty in person and the lights around the poles really aren't that cockeyed. 

25 days of christmas: day 6- meaning of the 12 days of Christmas

We are all more than familiar with the never ending song "The 12 Days of Christmas," but did you know that each of the 12 days represents something? I found this on (yes, I know it may not be the most reliable source, but it's the only one that didn't have a 4 page answer

In England (from 1558 to 1829), it was illegal for Catholics to practice any pieces of their faith in their homes or in public. 
"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written as a "catechism song" to assist young Catholics to learn the tenets of their faith without being obvious to the outside world, that it was of religious roots. 
The gifts mentioned in the song symbolize different teachings of Catholicism, and the giver of the gifts, "My true love," is God. The recipient of the presents refers anyone who has been baptized. 

The symbols:

Partridge in a pear tree = Jesus
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (the seven sacraments )
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

Monday, December 5, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 5-A Christmas Story

Because who doesn't love "A Christmas Story." While this part doesn't technically have to do with Christmas, it's still funny

25 days of christmas: day 4-dog wrapped in Christmas lights

I actually found this picture several months ago and it's been sitting on my computer desktop ever since. It's adorable and if I remember correctly, it's from pinterest. It's the cutest Christmas thing that's ever been on this blog.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 3-putting up the Christmas lights part 1

Putting up Christmas lights on the house is one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season. This post will be dedicated to a sort of "before" look at the lights themselves before they go on the house.

my trusty Bucket 'O Christmas Decorating Stuff....I couldn't think of anything more clever

New additions! Unfortunately they don't light up, but they are really pretty. Courtesy of Lowe's

Can I take a moment and say how much I love SAM'S. This 50 foot string of lights-$20. You can literally never find a deal like that anywhere else. But sadly they don't have a huge selection, but if you want to line your gutters, SAM'S is the place to get really long strings of lights for cheap. I saw similar strands for $40 at the Home Depot and Lowe's

Martha Stewart lights...I personally think she should stay out of the exterior lighting business, but I really needed strands of red lights. Being that LED lights have only been around for a few years it's hard to find plain white/blue/red/green. 

But, they're really cool looking. Although if you're looking at  C6 lights (which these are) and the usual 5mm (ones that you think of when you see LED christmas lights), they look the same from far away. But, up close they're more ascetically pleasing

All the strands laid out and ready to go.

Those are only about half the wires that I ended up using

New cool 12'' stakes I decided to use just to make things a bit different. I ended up putting blinking lights on them, just because I accidentally bought them a few years ago and they haven't found a home yet. This being because I think a whole display of blinking lights is annoying and distracts from the display itself. 

Well for now that's it. I unfortunately left my house in STL to come back to school before I could snap a few cool pictures of the lights hung up at night. So whenever I either go back or convince a family member to take a few pictures for me the Part 2 may not be for a few days.

Friday, December 2, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 2-history of candy canes

I can only assume that you love candy canes as much as I, if not for eating than because they're just really cool. But, where did they come from. They actually have very simple beginnings.

Back in the 17th century Europeans began using Christmas trees, and they decorated them cookies and sugar-stick candy. Back then they were pure white, they didn't receive their red stripes until later. It received it's infamous hook shape in 1670 when a choirmaster in Germany bent the sugar-sticks to look like a shepherd's staff, and he would hand them out to children during nativity services. The stripes came around in 1900 when candy makers started flavoring the candy canes with peppermint and wintergreen, which is what we know and love today. 

they've gotten all fancy and added a lot of colors

who doesn't love mini candy canes?....seriously I don't think I've ever met somebody who doesn't like them

Thursday, December 1, 2011

25 days of christmas: day 1- The Office Christmas opening

To start off our 25 Days of Christmas, I thought everybody would love to see a little bit of 'The Office.' This has always been one of my favorite openings, and lucky for us it's Christmas themed