Friday, December 31, 2010

Florida Thompson Home Movie Showdown--rules and results

Good morning video makers. You have nine hours on New Year's Eve to create your video and post it on YouTube by 9 p.m. Florida time. When you are ready to start, click on the following video to find out what has to be included in your production. We look forward to seeing your marvelous creations. Remember, they need to be under 4 minutes long.(Enjoy the results below!)

Here are the marvelous results!

Grandma and Grandpa's
"Reforming the Big Bad Wolf"

Joe and Heather's
"Blueberry Bandit IV"

Bonnie and Sean's
"Peter Pan's Lost Pets"

Rob and Jen's
"Super Baby I"

Sage and Troy's
"Super Baby II"

Chrissy and Randy's
"James First New Years"

Carrie and Jamie
"What's Precious"

Wendy, Debbie and Eric's
"The Potato Prison"

"Wagga Wagga Wonderland"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mom's culturally approved winter hat

The older women on the bus have been looking at mom disapprovingly because she hasn't had her head properly covered for the winter cold. So we went hat shopping. Which of these do you think got the cultural nod of approval when we went home on the bus tonight?

That's right--this last one. Doesn't mom look like a fashion model with the new hat and scarf? She says she is now warm and toasty.

Boldog születésnapot--Happy Birthday

It was mom's birthday. Since we are always together, I couldn't get her a surprise present to show I hadn't really forgotten. My chance came when I went alone into the gas station to pay for the gas we just put in the car. Luckily, they had this horse book on sale by the cash register--so she still got a surprise gift. As she eagerly looks up the new words, she can learn the horse words she needs to chit chat with the cowboys we meet. I'm sure they'd make good bishops too.

She decided to celebrate Filipino style--throwing a eating party. I almost forgot to get a picture of the food. (I was too busy enjoying it.) Can you see the lumpia, pancit, adobo, lechon and rice? For dessert we had halo-halo, which we made by putting flan on top of chopped up fruit and topping that with raisin peanut ice cream and whipped cream.

Here mom is enjoying her food with some of our guests, Erika, our landlady, and her son Csaba. The food was great and everyone had a great time. Mom says she was so energized that she doesn't feel a year older.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Second day of Christmas

What do you do on the second day of Christmas? You can walk around and see the town lit up at night...

or you can visit a wonderful member family like the Joós. She's our primary president and he is my clerk, as well as a member of the district presidency.

If you take a closer look at the tree, you can see that the decorations are mostly cookies and candies that were hastily put on the tree while the daughter was out for her evening walk on Christmas eve.

We came and sang Christmas carols on Christmas Eve and gave them a manger scene. They were so excited that they made a "daddy" size version to put beside it.

Of course, we had to eat, and eat, and eat. This was the main course after the delicious soup. Can you find the cabbage rolls and sauerkraut, the chicken breast stuffed with plums from their garden, the pork stuffed with sausage, the turkey and pork fingers, and the red cabbage, rice, and potatoes? Yum, yum.

Do we all look ready to eat? The Haslems, who had served here before us, joined the missionaries and us for the feed.

Afterwards, we ate nine different kinds of pastries for dessert. They filled the entire table.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Kellemes karácsonyt--Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve and the streets are filled with children walking around with parents, older brothers and sisters, or grandparents.

They are walking the streets so baby Jesus can come decorate their tree and give them presents. That means it is time for the traditional Thompson caroling!!

Since we don't have the Hungarian carols memorized, we'll have to take along these cute song books that one of our teenagers, Bianka, decorated for the branch. We're taking extras so the families can sing along with us.

We made these manger scenes to give away with a Liahona (the church magazine) and a sack of mandarin oranges. Since we're from Florida, we have to give oranges of some type. Don't look too closely or you'll notice that baby Jesus is a gummy bear and Joseph is Frosty the Snowman in disguise.

Should we take a bunch of missionaries too?

The apartments are pretty small so that might be overpowering. So it will just be us.

Is Bea sprouting wings?

Anna Horvath, her parents and brother seemed to enjoy it.

As we walked around, I think we saw Santa looking for Americans. He already came to the Hungarian children on December 6.

I got this picture of the "jolly old elf" and his Hungarian helper elves when he found our house.

Here's Santa's helper mom enjoying her special family picture book that Debbie put together with everyone's help. Thank you!! Everyone loves it.

Kim sent us a copy of "Letters to Grandma" to help us remember our adventures through the years. Mom just got up to the section about our adventures in Hungary twenty years ago.

The Relief Society did embroidery for the month before Christmas to give as special presents to sisters in the branch. Mom is now an expert cross stitcher. She was surprised to receive these in return for her efforts.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Angol óra kórus--English class choir

Are you ready for our English class choir to come caroling at your place? Don't they look enthusiastic?

The other classes liked our singing. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "Jingle Bells" were the crowd pleasers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


We live on Köszegi ut, which means, the road to Köszeg, a small town about 25 miles away near Szombathely where the district chapel is. We've always wanted to see what our namesake town looks like. The problem is, with the changes in country boundaries through the years, you can't continue down our street and end up in Köszeg because our street was cut off when the area between the two towns became part of Austria and the road was cut off at the borders on both ends.

So on the way back from an activity in Szombathely, we decided to visit Köszeg about 10 miles west of Szombathely near the Austrian border and then take the short cut home through Austria. Our GPS always wants to take us through Austria to Szombathely since it is the fastest route.

Here is the main square. Köszeg has escaped much of the destruction that has hit the rest of Hungary through the years whether from invading Turks, Austrians, or Russians so it has several buildings in the old part of town that reach back to the 1400s and earlier.

This church isn't one of them. It's only about 100 years old. Doesn't it look a bit like Cinderella's castle at Disney World?

This is Heroes' Gate that leads to the oldest part of town, Jurisics Tér.

You can see that they are painting things up to attract the tourists from nearby Austria. This is the city hall, one of the first buildings you notice when you pass through the gate. Click on the picture for a closer look at the paintings on the front.

If you stand in the middle of the tér (square) and look back towards the gate, this is what you see--city hall on the right and the steeple tower of the church in the background. Since this is the "off" season for tourists, the pavement on the square was all dug up to put in new sewer lines and new cobble stones to impress visitors.

Turn to the left and you see these buildings from the 1600's. Again, click on the picture for a closer look. How do you like the creative paint jobs typical of the Renaissance?

As you complete your circle turn, you see this church, Szent Jakab templom, finished in 1407.

There is also a castle a block or two away but we didn't walk over to explore it. The temperature was in the low 20s and dropping so Florida boy and girl were too cold to continue on. With our faces and our picture-taking hands frozen, we jumped back in the car and headed for home. Maybe we'll come back to explore some more when things thaw out, they turn on the fountains and the flowers bloom again.

Old timer

This is Agi, one of the original members in Szombathely. She is the landlady for the senior couple in Szombathely, the Haslems. She has kept a registry of all the missionaries that have served in Szombathely since 1990 when missionaries first came to Hungary. Guess whose name we found for October 1999? Bonnie Moffat Thompson!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Állófogadás--buffet reception

Look at this beautiful creative wedding cake that Mom made. How do you like the flower in the middle? I guess when you have married off lots of kids you pick up a tip or two on how to make a cake. Doesn't her fondant look great? (That's a fancy word for smooth frosting made from microwaved marshmallows.) Everyone was amazed that this was homemade--the frosting anyway.

With all this food, this must be a wedding reception.

Yep. Here's the happy couple, Timi and Peter Rimbauer, the newest members of our branch. Állófogadás literally means "standing" (álló) reception. Originally only the bride and groom were to sit but we decided to defy the name, got out chairs and joined them around the table. We brought the food over and ate family style.

Snow walk about

We've been having lots of snow. Here's the view out of one of our windows.

Downtown this is one of the corners that we pass when we walk around visiting members.

This is the best nativity scene we've found.

Here Thompson Elder is eating fresh potato chips from a food stand with a new friend. Do you think he might be interested in knowing more about the Church?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mikulás--Santa is coming to town

I know that all the good little boys and girls wonder how Santa gets to everyone in one night. Well, the secret is that he does Hungary first on December 6. We just happened to catch him making his visits here in Sopron. In Hungary he fills your shoes with goodies rather than your stockings.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Budapest Christmas Fair

After zone conference in Budapest yesterday, we went to the 10th Annual Budapest Christmas Fair, one of the biggest Christmas fairs in Europe. It started two weeks ago and lasts until Christmas. It specializes in Hungarian culture, food, music, dance, and folkart. Of course, the first thing that strikes the eye is the white lights down the streets.

We found this nice Hungarian to be our guide.

Of course, since this is Christmas, the first things we have to look at are the manger scenes. Since this is traditional folkart, they are made of such things as leaves, dried flowers, and nut shells.

Hungarians love ceramics. How do you like this collection of animals...

or these drawer handles? We thought of buying some for you but decided they might break in the mail.

Mom decided to become a puppeteer!

Isn't this doll house cute? Anyone ready to get out the wood and some tools and make one?

Spencer, Chris, and Tom. I don't remember making pig boards like this in high school shop!

This gingerbread nativity scene is making me hungry.

What's cooking here?

I wonder which one this sign is advertising? I'm all for trying out the local delicacies, but this one is a little too delicate.

Our guide wanted us to try out the famous hot Hungarian wine. We opted for hot apple cider. It was great.

Our guide insisted that we try out Hungarian chimney bread or kürtöskalács (kirtushkalach). First they roll strips of bread dough around a big tapered wooden cylinder.

Then they roast it over charcoal.

Then it is coated with sugar and roasted some more. You eat it by tearing off pieces of the chimney--much more appetizing than that rooster thing.