Monday, December 12, 2011


There's something about doing snowflakes that leaves me waxing nostalgic. Forgive the rambling-- I'm just going to let my memories flow.

As a kid, the best Christmas memories are the ones I had at Grandma & Grandpa Hunter's house. We'd go over and crack nuts and eat 'em like candy. Grandpa always loved peanuts and we'd eat 'em by the handful. I loved getting the little nutcracker out and going for the walnuts, or the almonds, or the Brazil nuts out of the little nut bowl. 

Grandma would always have some sweet treat made up for us, too. I always remember the peanut brittle she'd make. It'd make my teeth stick together for that second after biting down- you know, so you'd have to pry your own mouth open for the next bite. Or we'd help make snickerdoodles or chocolate chip cookies. The snickerdoodles were always my favorite. I loved rolling them into balls and licking the sugar and cinnamon off my fingers. 

 When I was really little we'd go downstairs with Grandpa or Janis and add more wood to the old furnace. They always had so much wood in that basement. I loved the smell of it. And the cellar door that led into the giant wood room. I was always scared going down those creaky old steps without backs that something was going to reach through and grab my ankles. I had to remind myself that I was too old to get scared over silly things like that. But I always felt better when that basement door was closed. 

I liked going down to the laundry room or the storage room with Janis or Grandma, too, and seeing what was down there. I was always so curious about the various knickknacks and things in jars. Right now I can't really remember what was down there. The lightbulbs were always so dim, it had such a mysterious feel to it. I felt like I was privy to some special secret when we were down there. I always hoped there would be some secret treasure chest or something to discover. 

While the adults sat and talked, we'd sit and do puzzles and play with dolls. When I got older, I'd snuggle up in the chair next the new furnace Dad installed with a pile of old issues of Reader's Digest. I'd pore over them, looking for all the funnies at the end of every article. Every once in a while, I'd laugh out loud at something and interrupt whatever conversation was going on to share it with everyone in the room. 

And snowflakes. I'm pretty sure it was Janis that taught me how to fold a paper and cut it so it would look like a snowflake. It was always so exciting to watch as the paper unfolded to find what new kind of snowflake I'd created. They were pretty disappointing at first. But Janis's snowflakes were always works of art. Those dull little kids scissors I had to use at first always hurt my hands, cutting through all that paper. They were the old metal kind, with the circle handles. I'd just stretch out my hands between cuts and keep going, though.

Ah, the magic of childhood. Winter at Grandma and Grandpa's. The warmth of the fire. The smell of good things cooking. The quietness and the security of those days. Things were so very different then. I'm so grateful to have these memories.

This year, I decided it was time. My kids don't have an Aunt Janis anywhere near (ah, the one bad thing about living in Hawai'i!) so the duty fell to me to pass on the sacred tradition. And while I do say that slightly tongue in cheek, there is definitely a part of me for which that is the solemn truth. This year I had the art of the snowflake figured out a little more- thanks to self-described "artist/dork" Kristina Ackerman and her absolutely hilarious Paper-snowflake placemat post. Trust me, you wanna read this girl's blog. And watch the overworked face-ham video she linked to describe, well, basically all my first attempts at snowflake making--- and let's be honest--- my kids' too.

I mean, see for yourself. 
(Forgive the crappy lighting. Haven't completely figured out night pictures yet.)