Tag Archives: Christmas 2013

Disney Princess LEGOS

Just when you thought LEGO had reached the pinnacle of coolness with the recent release of their fanboy-tastic “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” LEGO playsets, they take things even further by adding the Disney Princesses to the mix as well.

That’s right, brick lovers, the Disney Princess LEGO sets are here. And though several of the bigger name Disney Princesses like Snow White, Cinderella and Ariel have appeared in hugely-popular DUPLO playsets over the years, this is the first time Disney royalty has appeared in a “big kid” LEGO set and the results are freaking awesome.

Disney Princess LEGOS

Seriously, even if I didn’t have a Disney Princess-loving daughter, I would want some of these sets. Beautifully detailed with rich, subtle colors you don’t often find in the LEGO universe, the sets are far cooler than you’d expect, especially considering how totally lame and borderline sexist the company’s previous girl-themed efforts have been.

I mean, no offense to the toothy lasses in the LEGO Friends collection, but, girls can do much more than run an ice cream shoppe, beauty parlor and/or brush their horse’s plastic hair all day long. Say what you will about Barbie, but at least she has career ambitions, while even the best of the LEGO Friends sets feel a marketing scheme that never really took off.

Whereas the new Disney Princess LEGOS are so cool and character-specific that they actually breathe new life into a franchise that most parents I know feel has lost a little steam in recent years. And, by focusing on the strengths and unique skills/talents of each of the Princesses featured in the LEGO sets, the powers that be present girl characters that, you know, actually do things.Disney Princess LEGOS

Disney Princess LEGOS

Disney Princess LEGOS

The Merida set highlights her archery skills, Rapunzel’s set focuses on her skills as an artist and even Ariel — who many consider to be the most offensive and weak-willed of the bunch — gets a chance to focus on her skills as a “collector of human artifacts” in one of her two LEGO sets. OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but, it’s better than nothing.

But the biggest surprise of all comes in the largest, showiest set in the series, Cinderella’s Romantic Castle. If you ask me, Cinderella was always the first truly modern-skewing of the Disney Princesses, but, rather than showcasing her skills at sewing and cleaning (both of which she obviously excelled at) Cinderella’s LEGO set goes out of its way to highlight her cheeky sense of humor by sneaking all sorts of hidden treasures into the castle. Her bed features a “secret drawer” containing a mysterious envelope (a souvenir invite from the Royal ball that started it all perhaps?) and another “secret room” upstairs hides a treasure chest behind a door that is only opened by a key hidden behind a trick bookcase downstairs. Forget romance, this castle is downright magical!

Disney Princess LEGOS

Disney Princess LEGOS

And in case you were wondering how long it takes to construct a 646 piece LEGO castle, I can tell you from experience — Greta got the castle from her Grandma Linda for Christmas — it takes forever. Just kidding. I didn’t actually log the hours, but, it took us a good two or three days to do it right. But, Greta and I had a blast building it and luckily, all of the big new LEGO sets come with very detailed instructions, so, we had lots of help.

And with my new “Lord of the Rings” Battle at the Black Gate LEGO set (yep, Santa heard my pleas as well!) due to start construction sometime this weekend, I forsee much cross-movie franchise bloodshed and turmoil in the land of LEGOS. Poor Cinderella will never know what hit her!

2 Comments

Filed under Cool toys, Daddy stuff, Holidays, Movie Stuff

Google Zeitgeist: “Here’s to 2013!”

As we did with Christmas, Mrs. Yeti, Greta and I spent pretty much the entire weekend holed up in the living room watching movies, eating and drinking, playing video games and assembling very intricately designed LEGO playsets. And while sitting there complaining that none of the end of year wrap-up shows on TV were any good, we caught this new Google ad that captured 2013 better than any cheesy TV show ever could.

Kudos to Google for doing it again! This new ad was so beautiful it had us in tears all night. Here’s to a fun, prosperous and magical year ahead for all of us. Happy New Year!

2 Comments

Filed under Daddy stuff, Dads in Ads, Holidays, TV Stuff

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)

Leave a comment

Filed under Daddy stuff, Good Girl, Holidays

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)

Leave a comment

Filed under Daddy stuff, Food, Holidays, Mommy Stuff

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Daddy stuff, Holidays, Mommy Stuff

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!

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Holidays, Movie Stuff, TV Stuff