Monthly Archives: December 2013

Merry Christmas (2013)

Spent pretty much the entire day eating, opening presents and watching movies with people I love. I can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas day! However and wherever you celebrate it, here’s hoping your big day was great. Merry Christmas, amigos!

Greta w/Santa (2013)

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Gingerbread House 101: How to stay sane while decorating with candy, gingerbread and a very willful four-year-old!

Despite the fact that Mrs. Yeti and I created an award-winning gingerbread house in 2008, this year’s casa de gingerbread was a totally different story. To start with, we had a very opinionated four-and-a-half year old at the helm and an even more opinionated construction crew helping her.

To complicate matters further, we started the project when we were all very hungry, for, you know, real food, which is never wise. And though the candy involved in the making of our house was tasty, one can only eat so many M&M’s and sour gummy worms before true holiday madness sets in. So, as you can imagine, the hunger-fueled sniping and arguing came on pretty fast and furious like.

Gingerbread house (2013)

Gingerbread house (2013)

Gingerbread house (2013)

Gingerbread House (2013)

Mrs. Yeti, who had already been baking all weekend, dropped out first, followed quickly by our master junior architect who got bored and left the table in a huff after assembling the roof. That left my mom and I to finish up the sides of the house and the yard. And despite some major artistic differences (I still say we need a wreath or something over that back window!), overall, I think we did a pretty good job. And as the pictures prove, we all came together again at the end to share in the glory of our crooked little candy house. So, there’s always that.

Gingerbread House (2013)

Gingerbread House (2013)

Anyway, if you’re interested in making a gingerbread house with your kids this season, I highly recommend using Trader Joe’s tasty Deep Dark Gingerbread Cake and Baking Mix (a house mold our size takes two boxes) and one of Nordic Ware’s amazing Gingerbread Cake Pans. Both will save you loads of time and heartache in the early stages of making your house.

And, trust me, anything that saves you time and heartache when you’re creating Christmas memories with a four-year-old is a very good thing. Enjoy!

Gingerbread House (2013)

Gingerbread House (2013)

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Brenda Schmitz’s Christmas Wish

Move over KOST 103.5, there is another radio station granting Christmas Wishes out there these days, and they even answer wish requests from beyond the grave! You may have already heard about this online or seen the accompanying video clip, but, the late Brenda Schnitz’s story is too beautiful not to share with you guys, especially in these last fleeting days before Christmas.

The clip itself is a little long, but totally worth watching from start to finish, so, I’ll save the good stuff for the video. All you need to know is that just before losing her battle with Ovarian Cancer in 2011, Brenda Schmitz gave one of her friends a letter and made her promise to deliver it to the local radio station’s Christmas Wishes program only after her husband fell in love with someone else.

Two years later, the radio station got the letter and invited the stunned widower down to the station to read it to him and tell him the story of his late wife’s dying Christmas Wish for the family and husband she left behind. So, click on the YouTube link below and prepare to be terribly moved. Seriously, I don’t even know how the DJ finished reading the entire letter. This one is a real tearjerker!

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Bigfoot & Yeti Christmas Ornaments

I know it’s probably too late to get these super cool Bigfoot and Yeti-tastic Christmas ornaments shipped out to you and yours by Christmas Day, but, if you’re anything like me, you’ll hardly care. The fact that someone knows and appreciates your deep abiding love for all thing Cryptozoological is reward enough. And what’s a belated Christmas gift or two amongst friends, right?

Yeti Christmas Ornament (2013)

Bigfoot Christmas Ornament (2013)

So, slip your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, loved one, or even your child a little note with the name and online store address of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine — I’m still getting over the fact that such a place exists. So cool! — and tell them to order you a hand blown glass Bigfoot and Yeti Christmas ornament today. If you’re lucky, they’ll get you both of them.

And if you’re really lucky, who knows, maybe your secret Santa will even pay extra to overnight these bad boys to you in time for the holiday. Because nothing says “I love you and Merry Christmas, nerd!” like a pair of fancy Bigfoot and Yeti ornaments.

Bigfoot & Yeti Ornament Tag (2013)

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Kelly Clarkson: “Wrapped In Red”

Kelly Clarkson has been all over the radio and talk show circuit this season — she was even the guest DJ on one of the all-Christmas music stations on Sirius/XMRadio last week! — but, if you’ve heard her new Christmas album, “Wrapped in Red”, you know that the girl has every reason to be proud of it. Loud, fun, sweet and beautifully-produced, Clarkson has called “Red” her favorite album she’s ever done, and I’m tempted to agree with her.

Every song on “Red” — which features a very cool mix of holiday classics and new material mostly written or co-written by Clarkson herself — is infused with Clarkson’s genuine love of Christmas music and the album has songs for every kind of holiday music fan. Clarkson’s rendition of “Silent Night” (sung with Reba and Trisha Yearwood) is just plain beautiful and her recording of “My Favorite Things”, whether intentionally or not, proves that there is only one true American Idol this holiday season. Sorry, Carrie.

Kelly Clarkson WRAPPED IN RED album cover (2013)

Kelly Clarkson @ Christmas (2013)

But, of course the real gems are the raft of new songs Clarkson wrote for the album. “Underneath the Tree” is already an instant classic (not to mention Greta’s favorite new song to sing!) but the title track and the songs “4 Carats” and “Winter Dreams (Brandon’s Song)” are sure to be around for a while as well. We have over 75 Christmas albums in our collection and, trust me, it’s rare that you find one from a major pop star that feels so artfully-crafted and produced. Seriously, Clarkson knows her Christmas music, yo.

So, if you tired of the glut of mass-produced lump of coal Christmas albums that usually bubble to the surface this time of year, check out “Wrapped in Red” instead. And if you get a chance to catch her NBC Christmas Special in reruns or video on demand, watch that too, it’s freaking hilarious!

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Filed under Holidays, Music, TV Stuff

Star Trek: “The Wreath of Kahn”

So, just as I was getting ready to go to bed and stop blogging about Christmas trees and crafting one’s own Middle-Earth entirely from LEGOS, I came across this amazing, one-of-a-kind Christmas wreath and just had to share it with you guys.

Annie Shapiro's WREATH OF KAHN

Annie Shapiro's WREATH OF KAHN

I heard about this nerdtastic ode to Christmas and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn from a friend’s status update on Facebook, but, apparently the Wreath of Kahn –has been taking the internet by storm for a few days now. It might not be the first Wreath of Kahn out there, but, it is pretty damn cool. According go her twitter feed, the wreath was designed by NYC-based Annie Shapiro. I don’t know her personally, but, in the spirit of the season, I love her already.

Kudos to you @apianoshrine for sharing your awesomeness with the world, may you and yours “live long and prosper” for many Christmas’ to come!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Decorating the tree with a four-year-old…

One of the greatest things about Greta getting older is that every year she gets more and more excited about the holidays. Especially Christmas! Already this year, she’s had the chance to decorate three Christmas trees: one at Grandma & Lola’s house in San Diego, one at Uncle Guy-Guy and Aunt Laura’s place on Friday night (while Mrs. Yeti and I saw a screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) and, this past weekend, at our house.

Of course, by the time she got around to decorating our tree, Greta was a little weary of the whole experience, so, mostly what she did was play with the ornaments while I decorated. Which was fine and actually much faster than letting her run the show, so, it was all good.

Greta decorating the tree (Christmas 2013)

Greta decorating the tree (Christmas 2013)

And, as you can see, the tree looks great. So, my tip for the parents out there is to wear your kid out with lots of decorating (preferably at other people’s homes!), lull them into submission by distracting them with lots of cool shiny ornaments and then, and only then, get down to the business of trimming your tree. Trust me, it worked like a charm!

And even though we’re still woefully behind on sending out our Christmas cards and Mrs. Yeti’s usual baking frenzy has been greatly reduced due to her hectic work schedule — she did make something called Hot Chocolate on a Stick and a batch of Candy Cane Sugar Cookies, so, that’s something! — the fact that we got the tree up at all is a major accomplishment. So, hooray, and, you know…Merry Christmas and all that good stuff.

Greta decorating the tree (Christmas 2013)

Greta decorating the tree (Christmas 2013)

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Filed under Good Toddler, Holidays