Tag Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas 2010!

Just finished cleaning the kitchen and prepping the meat and beans for tomorrow’s enchilada fest, and as I turned off the radio (thanks for another amazing year of Christmas jams, KOST!) and that last light in the kitchen, I couldn’t help thinking of how lucky I am.

It’s been a long, strange year, but I have amazing friends, the coolest family in the world and a wife and little girl who make every single day that I am alive truly magical, even when it’s totally not.

And now, as I drift off to sleep with the smell of Christmas in the air — who says Christmas can’t smell like enchiladas? — I just want to thank everyone I know and love, those sleeping under our roof tonight and those who aren’t, for everything you do to make my life…well, kinda rad. You guys rock!

So, before my pot of holiday cheese totally bubbles over I’ll leave you with Greta’s 2010 Santa pic. As you can see, she refused to smile, but, on the upside, she didn’t cry like last year either. So, I call that progress!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Do

Missing Martha Stewart…

While putting up our classically cool, white-on-white Martha Stewart Christmas tree this past weekend, Christine told me that she suddenly realized that she really missed being able to watch Stewart’s daytime show “Martha” on a daily basis. I think she said “profoundly missed”, but, I could be wrong.

Either way, there is a void in our lives this holiday season and it is all due to the fact that Martha Stewart moved her show to the freaking Hallmark Channel. Urgh! No offense, Hallmark Channel, many of your made-for-television movies look awesomely bad, but, come on, why you gotta bogart the Martha?

I mean, who even gets the Hallmark Channel?? I know we don’t and I don’t think very many other cable carriers down here do, so, who is watching “Martha” in our absence? Well, according to a recent LA Times article, no one. Stewart’s show is tanking in cable obscurity and it’s just not right!

So, for the love of all things good and baked and hand-made this holiday season, ditch the Hallmark Channel while you can and come on home to network television, Martha. The holidays are so not the same without you…

2 Comments

Filed under Eat, See

Christine’s award-winning Gingerbread House Bundt Cake

OK, we have been waiting to blog about Christine’s award-winning bundt cake for a year. Literally! See, by the time we finished making it for Christine’s work Christmas party, it was already too late in the season to blog about it, so, we skipped it. Well, not this year!

Actually, there isn’t much to this thing…all you need is a Nordic Ware Bundt Pan, Gingerbread cake mix and all kinds of crazy candy for the outside. We bought our Bundt pan the year before at an after-Christmas sale at Sur La Table, and from what I can gather, our exact style is no longer available on most sites. But I did find a similar pan at Wal-Mart that would work just as well.

For the cake itself, we used Trader Joe’s Deep Dark Gingerbread Cake and Baking Mix, which is freaking delicious on its own, but even better in tiny Christmas house form. Yum!

As you can see in the second picture above, the cake comes out of the over kind of rounded on the bottom, so, we cut that part off and promptly ate it. Then, with the bottom of our Gingerbread house flattened, we placed it in the center back of our cake plate (gotta leave room for a big, snowy front yard, yo!) and got down to decorating the outside of our house.

Aside from the little jelly candies we used in the windows — which we found in the candy aisle at our local CVS — we stuck to pretty traditional candy decor: M&M’s, Red Vines, candy canes, and marshmallows.

The most expensive “building materials” we used were probably the Williams-Sonoma chocolate covered peppermint sticks (aka North Poles) we used for the fence. They weren’t cheap, but we only needed a few of them and since we had them in the house already, we used them.

The snowy ground cover in the yard was powered sugar mixed with water and, lemme tell ya, that stuff was hard to work with! You have to wait for it to kinda half-dry before anything will stick to it and if you wait too long, it gets too hard and you’re screwed. Trust me, this is where having two people working on the house came in very handy!

After plopping down a marshmallow snow woman in the front yard, we dusted the entire house with more powdered sugar and hurried off to the party where, lo-and-behold, we actually won a prize! Hooray!

But even cooler than the shiny award certificate or the $20 Target gift card that went with it, was the fact that the people at the party positively devoured our Gingerbread house. I’m not kidding, man. I saw a dude scraping the sugar snow off the plate…crazy!

I’m not saying everything we used wasn’t edible, because it totally was, but, wow, we never thought anyone would actually eat the whole thing. Yikes…guess the pickings on the buffet table were slim.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a quick, easy-to-make Gingerbread house this holiday season, Nordic Ware has the pan for you. Happy Baking, amigos!

10 Comments

Filed under Eat, Make

Christmas Wishes on KOST FM

OK, I know I sound like a broken record going on and on about the all-Christmas playlist at KOST 103.5, but, seriously, the only thing Christine and I love more than their non-stop Christmas jams are the sad-ass Christmas Wishes that the station grants their listeners every holiday season.

I’ve never called in a wish myself, but it works like this: from Thanksgiving through Christmas day, anyone with a hard luck story and a truly dramatic Christmas Wish can call into KOST at 818-520-2035 and possibly have their wish granted on the air. I know, awesome, right? And as gratifying as it probably is to have your wishes granted by the big-hearted DJ’s at KOST, listening to those teary-eyed phone calls is even better!

Christmas Wishes on KOST FM #2

Christmas Wishes on KOST FM

I swear to God, the stories these people tell will break your heart. And if the wishes don’t move you, than Michael Gore’s classic “Terms of Endearment” theme, which they play in the background during every segment, surely will.

I can’t tell you how many times Christine and I have sat in the car openly weeping to these sobby Christmas Wish segments. And from what we’ve gathered from our many KOST FM-loving friends and family in the Southland, we are not alone.

A favorite wish of ours from a couple year’s back was from the Grandmother who’s grandchild’s bedroom had been infected with toxic mold. Not only was her grandchild sick from the mold, but all of her favorite books and toys were ruined. Like they always do, KOST swept in with a whopping triple digit gift card from Target to replace everything and give that family back their Christmas. So cool!

And while most of the calls involve someone wanting airfare to visit a sick relative or something like that, two of our favorites this year involved something much more simple…

The first was from a woman who’s mother recently passed away. Her sister is the sole caregiver for their ailing father and since they have no money for extras of any kind this year, the woman drives a totally beat-up car with crappy tires. So, the Christmas Wish this lady asks for are new tires for her sister’s car so she can drive Dad to his doctor’s appointments. OMG…I was blubbering so hard I couldn’t even hear everything that KOST offered this poor woman. Sad!!

But, the best one I’ve heard so far this season came from an emotional gentlemen named Rick whose wife is dying of stage four breast cancer. Already, that’s enough to make anyone cry…but rather than one last trip around the world or a fancy vacation, all Rick wanted for his beautiful, long-suffering wife was a new mattress so she could sleep better at night. Gulp…

If I wasn’t crying so hard, I woulda called in and offered to buy that dude a mattress myself. Seriously, what a tearjerker! And, as always, KOST was quick to grant Rick’s wish with a fluffy new mattress from Living Spaces. You go, KOST!

If you’d like to hear some of these touching and insanely-sad Christmas Wishes yourself, check out the live internet feed here. I can’t get it to play on my Mac, but, since every radio in the house is tuned to KOST right now, it’s not a problem. Happy listening, amigos…

36 Comments

Filed under Hear

“The Christmas Shoes”

OK, if you read my last post, you have some idea of how much Christine and I love Christmas music — at last count we had upwards of 50 Christmas CD’s in our collection! — and as far as holiday tunes go, the cheesier the song, the better!

And our favorite cheesy Christmas song ever is the crazy-sad “The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong. If you haven’t heard the song, it hinges on a little boy meeting up with a stranger at a department store on Christmas eve. The boy is trying to buy some shiny Christmas shoes for his dying mother, who has hours to live, so that she looks pretty when she meets Jesus later that night in heaven. I know…sad, huh? Well, grab some Kleenex, amigos, because it gets way better…

THE CHRISTMAS SHOES #1

So, the kid is paying for the shoes when he realizes he doesn’t have enough money. At this point in the song, a choir of angelic children’s voices chime in as the boy asks the stranger in line behind him if he can borrow some money to buy the shoes. His heart breaking, the stranger ponies up the cash and the boy hurries off to give the shoes to his Mom.

Now, if you’re not crying by the end of this song, well, maybe you just don’t cry. But, as far as Christine and I are concerned…bring on the waterworks! Seriously, we tear up every time it plays on KOST, and they play that thing day and night during the holidays, so we do a lot of weeping around here.

Anyway, while we have been huge fans of the song for a couple of years now, Christine and I recently learned that there was a CBS TV movie made from the song back in 2002. And when we heard that our favorite TV movie hambones, Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams were the stars, well, how could we miss it?

So, last week we finally caught the movie on Lifetime, and, well, let’s just say it pales in comparison to the song. I mean, Rob Lowe is OK and a wheezing, coughing Kimberly Williams acts her pretty little heart out beneath a ton of “sick lady” make-up, but the rest of the cast is downright awful.

Peppered with a C-level supporting cast — apparently the producers blew all their cash on Lowe and Williams — the movie is painfully bad, even by Lifetime movie standards. Our Tivo missed the first hour of the movie, but since all we were concerned with was seeing the song brought vividly to life onscreen, and that all happened at the end, we were cool.

But, wow, the way they dramatized the song was just plain lame. I mean, God bless him, Rob Lowe tries him damnedest to give his lifeless, boring character some flava, but the boy playing Williams’ kid is one lousy little actor. Sorry, but, man alive, I can cry better on cue than that kid! Yikes…

THE CHRISTMAS SHOES DVD cover

The real kicker to the climactic scene, however, is the actor playing the department store cashier. This dude is so mean to the little boy that it almost ruins the good memory of the song. I mean, hello, I don’t remember any lyrics about the cashier being a prick! But in the movie, he belittles the kid — actually barking out the words: “Do I stutter?” when the kid asks him to repeat the price — for not having enough money and then tells him to come back after Christmas when “We’ll be giving [the shoes] away”. Huh? I know he didn’t just make fun of that boy’s dying momma shoes! Mean!

I think our biggest complaint, however, was the fact that they didn’t play the song nearly enough for our tastes. The song is the reason the movie was made, and a few wimpy refrains here or there is not enough, man. If I was directing that thing, that song would be all over the last few minutes of the movie.

Of course, we both still totally cried when the boy slipped the shoes on Williams’ giant feet — no kidding, that chick has clown feet, they’re huge! — but, overall, this movie sucked big time. Shockingly, CBS actually made a sequel in 2005 entitled “The Chistmas Blessing”. Wow…who knew?

In the sequel, Neil Patrick Harris plays the now-adult kid and Rob Lowe reprises his role as the money-lender with the Christmas spirit. Normally, we’d be all over that shit, but, having suffered through the first movie, I don’t know if we can stomach a sequel…sorry, Doogie.

So, if you’re craving some weepy, classic holiday cheese this season, I’d say stick to “The Christmas Shoes” song instead. Or better yet, check out “The Christmas Shoes” music video here. Using footage from the movie, the video is the perfect way to experience this song in all it’s awesomely sad glory. Enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under Hear, See