Showing posts with label Happy Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Happy Holidays. Show all posts

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Christmas Mood Table

For some reason, I'm really having a rough time getting into the holiday spirit this year. Maybe it's because we're pretty much broke, or perhaps it's stress from worrying about family and work. Whatever the reasons, I was finding that I had to force the happy feelings the past couple of weeks. Today, I decided to take back my holiday cheer. I was determined to find a way to bring those feelings of joy back to the surface, but I couldn't figure out how. Then it hit me, I needed a mood table.


I wish I could make the claim that I invented the concept of a mood table, but I believe that honor goes to Matt from Dinosaur Dracula. Humble as he may be, his Halloween Mood tables are something to behold, and I'm sure they could put anybody in the Halloween spirit. I decided to take that concept and apply it to the Christmas season. I did a quick search, but I couldn't find any examples of  Christmas Mood Tables. Does that mean I'm the first?



It actually took several tries before I got everything arranged just so. It's still not quite perfect, since I'd love to add some more colorful objects, but I think it's looking pretty great right now. Let's have a closer look, shall we?


This little Santa toy was once filled with candy. Now he just appears to be filled with fear. That's what happens when you tell Bob the Zombie Viper he's on the naughty list. It's not his fault he did all those nasty things. He's really not such a bad guy, he just smells that way.

I have to admit, after reexamining the photo, it's quite possible he's just trying to get away from Timber. Santa needs to realize, just because the wolves at the North Pole are friendly, doesn't mean the ones down here will be as amicable.


This is what I like to call the "treat corner" of the table. Up front we have Gingerbread M&M's, Gingerbread Peeps, and Rudolph gummies. Obi Wan Kenobi looks like he really wants an M&M, but I'm sure he thinks this is some kind of test. Just eat one already Ben. I promise they won't make you go to the dark side.


My, aren't we a happy looking Santa Claus. I can't help it, every time I look at this guy, I can't keep myself from grinning. Unfortunately, I have to make sure he stays turned off. Otherwise, the slightest touch on his belly sends him into a hysterical fit, and he'll knock everything off the table. Oh Ticklish Santa, you bring so much joy and so much aggravation at the same time..I'm not sure if you can tell, but Ticklish Santa is also sitting on several of my favorite Christmas Movies. Now I'm realizing I probably should have stored the discs in a binder, because I'll have to take part of the display down to get to the movies. Crap.


At the top of the mountain, we have the lair of Stunt Claus. Or is it Santa Zombie? Zombie Claus? I guess I should have established that at his creation. Either way, he has plenty of friends, with Wampa, unfortunate skeleton, and a couple of snowmen to keep him company. What are his plans for the Christmas season? Nothing too evil I hope...


Here we see Iron man putting the finishing touches on the tree. He actually came up with a formula to determine which decorations should go where. The result is the most precisely decorated tree in history. Behind him you can see more of our Christmas movies, and next to those you can barely see a Christmas Sing-a-ma-jig. It's just watching, waiting for the perfect moment to jump from behind the tree and sing "Jingle Bells" at somebody.


High up in the tree, Snake Eyes is keeping watch, just in case any of Cobra's secret elves try to come in and sabotage the lights. He may not seem like the Christmas-y type, but oh boy..does he ever get pissed when someone tries to mess with the tree lights.


It seems the Storm Trooper got a little confused, and mistook Dodger from Oliver and Company for his Tauntaun. "No wonder they lost the war", muttered a bewildered Rebel Trooper under his breath.


It seems like wherever you go, there will always be somebody causing trouble. Knowing Mumm-Ra, this is all his doing. Or, I could be wrong, and it's all part of a snowball fight gone bad. Either way, this is probably going to end badly for Cobra Commander, unless he's smart enough to run away from this one.

I have to admit, after I finished the table, I was definitely feeling more of the ol' Christmas spirit. It's almost like those twinkling little lights burned through whatever fog that was keeping me from getting into the holiday. So, if you're feeling down in the dumps, or just can't get into the swing of things this year,just do what I did. Arrange a bunch of random Christmas items on a table top, and watch your aggravations just dissolve away. Oh, and if you do put together a Christmas Mood Table, I'd love to see it.

Have a happy rest of November!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fun Food Friday-Rice Krispies with a twist

Okay, here it is. The Fun Food Friday I've been trying to do for the past..6 weeks or so. The problem with things that need to be cooked is that they take time, and time wasn't something I've had a lot of this holiday season. So I apologize if this is a little late, but think of it as that gift your mom ordered the day before Christmas, and it just arrived today.


I'm a huge fan of Rice Krispie Treats. If my body would allow it, I'm sure I could eat a whole pan of the things in one sitting. Thankfully, I think either my stomach or my heart would rebel before I could complete such a feat. They are one of the few treats that are nearly impossible to mess up. All it takes is butter, marshmallows, and Rice Krispies. I'm not even sure if the actual proportions matter that much. Add all those things together, plop them down on a pan, and done! At least, I think that's how it's done. Growing up, my mom would mention something about using up the stale box of Rice Krispies, I'd mumble a reply, and an hour later there was a plate full of Rice Krispie Treats sitting on the kitchen counter. It was magical. As much as I'm embarrassed to admit it, I've never actually made them myself. I've never even watched someone make them. With my girlfriend Chelsea's help, that's about to change right now.


The directions are pretty straightforward. Melt butter, then melt marshmallows, mix with Rice Krispies cereal, then wait a few minutes.  Man, this sounds easy. I'm not sure why people make such a big deal out of making these things. The box even gives the kids ideas for what to do while the adults are doing all the work. Pssh..like I need a box to tell me to go watch tv while someone else gets their hands dirty.


And here is what you'll need to build your Rice Krispies Treats Holiday Houses. The kit contains red and green icing, tiny hard candies, and gum drops for decorating your creation. I think the hard candies would work better as ammo for a slingshot, but I guess it depends on the kid. I love how the box exclaims, "Includes everything! Just add butter!". Well, I guess you didn't include everything then, now did you?


This is Chelsea's hand, trying to get the marshmallows to melt. The directions recommend "Low" heat, but we found that to be an exercise in futility. I think the pan would have rusted through before those marshmallows melted. We ended up cranking the heat up to "Medium", and blasted those fools.


And here's Chelsea's hand again, mixing up the marshmallow and Rice Krispies. I would have done it, but someone needed to work the camera. After you get all the Rice Krispies wrapped up with that marshmallow, you're supposed to let the whole thing rest for 5-10 minutes. The box suggested we design our houses while we waited for the mixture to set up, so that's exactly what we did.


That's mine on the left, while Chelsea's on the right. I went for the more abstract design, with a Christmas tree planted on the roof, large powerful arms on either side, and tank treads. You know, for moving. Chelsea's is a pretty good rendition of our actual house, though I can't say I remember the sun being that red. Also, why would it need to wear shades? No matter, 10 minutes are up, and it's time to build the houses.




I would have liked to have taken some photos of the process, but it's a little hard to do when your hands are covered in cooking grease. Chelsea keeps saying she won. I say I won, because I felt like my house more resembled my initial plan. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Either way, we're both winners, because Rice Krispies Treats are freakin' delicious!

So there you have it, my first experience making Rice Krispie Treats. It was certainly fun, but I think I still prefer it when they magically appear on the kitchen counter.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What about Bob?

In all the excitement, I completely forgot to ask my favorite zombie, Bob, got for Christmas. So, what did you ask Santa Maul for this year?


Come on now, there's no need to be shy. We just want to see what you got..

TA-DAH!
Hmm..something definitely looks different. Did you get a haircut?

Just kidding of course. It's definitely an improvement, but I have to wonder where Santa Maul found an extra head just laying around. All I can say is, enjoy it while you can..

He's Santa Maul, he has his ways. Besides, it's not like he stole it or anything.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fun Food Friday- Holiday Treats Extravaganza!

I've been slack in maintaining the weekly nature of my weekly feature, and for that I beg forgiveness. I'm going to do my best to make it up to you today. Let's get this show on the road.

Cherry Cordial Creme Hershey's Kisses

I'm really not a fan of cherry cordials. The chocolate always seems a little bland compared to the cherry filling, which is usually so sweet it makes my jaw ache. Most include a cherry in the middle, and though I enjoy cherries on their own, they're just overwhelmed by the sickeningly sweet syrup. In the end, it's a candy that just doesn't work for me, and I always avoided them.

Then my girlfriend pointed these out to me, and I decided I at least had to give them a shot. Thankfully, they fix all the issues I have with the regular cordials. I much prefer the cordial creme to a cherry and diabetes syrup. The Hershey's chocolate gets nice and melty rather quickly, and doesn't suffer from the waxiness of most cordial candies. Another bonus, no soggy fruit in the middle of the candy, just smooth, luxurious creme.

Cherry Cordial M&M's

Yes, another cherry flavored candy. This time it's M&M's taking on the flavor. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first, but going by how quickly the first bag disappeared, I must like them. Much like the Hershey's, the M&M's manage to replicate the cherry cordial flavor without the nasty syrup or soggy cherry.  I thought it was rather nifty that they are all maroon or red, because, that's what color cherries are. I've always said the best flavor was always red, and it looks like I've been proven right this time. Speaking of my favorite flavor..

Starburst Favereds

That's right, red is my favorite flavor, and it looks like someone at Starburst felt the same way. I don't really have much to say about the flavors, other than fruit punch is the only one that actually tastes like its name. The rest are all varying levels of red-ness, in color and flavor. About the only complaint I can lodge against Starbursts are that until it gets warm and soft, it feels like I'm going to lose a tooth while I'm chewing them.

Keeble Jumbo Mint Fudge Sticks

This was a new one for me, but according to my girlfriend, these things have been around for a while. Any company that puts out snacks in holiday themed packaging is going to instantly catch my eye, even if I'm not very fond of what they're peddling. As far as Fudge Sticks go, I enjoy the regular version, but I hadn't tried these. For a while, I was against anything that combined chocolate and mint, except York Peppermint Patties of course. I'm slowly coming around though, and I think one day I may be able to bring myself to try mint chocolate chip ice cream again. These guys kind of remind me of  larger, crispier Ande's mints. There's a nice balance between the fudge and the mint,  and neither one overpowers the other. I'm happy I gave them a shot, it's just unfortunate that they seem to be yet another seasonal food that I'd love to eat all year.

So that about wraps it up for this time. Next week's food is going to require an extra set of hands, and should be a lot of fun, so keep your eyes on this page. Until then, have a happy and safe New Years!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar Day 15

9 more days until Christmas Eve! I never realized how difficult it was to come up with something everyday, even if it is just a short nonsensical blurb. Just over a week, and then I'm taking a break. Just a short one, since I'm sure there will be plenty more to write about after the holidays. Enough of that, on to the Legos!


Oh man, a Snowtrooper! These guys are the coolest looking variant of the Stormtroopers. I think it's the helmet, it just looks so much more menacing with those smaller eyepieces. Plus, they seemed to be quite a bit more effective than their regular brethren.


Bob's dealt with the regular Stormtroopers before, but the Snowtrooper is an oddity to him. He decides to cement his authority with a staring contest between the two of them.


Oh no! What horrors lurked beneath that helmet, sufficient  to frighten even the undead?


Now that is the face of evil there folks. I'm sure Bob won't be gone for good though. He's never been one to give up early.


Also, his memory is pretty bad.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar Day 14

Two whole weeks. I've been going at this for two whole weeks now. I feel like I've actually achieved something, though perhaps I should save those feelings for when I actually finish it up. Yesterday's model was a bit odd, so I'm rather curious to see what today will bring.




Ah..a weapon rack. I feel like we got the same thing last year as well. Still, we needed some blasters for our Rebel and Imperial soldiers. As for the lightsaber, I guess I can trust the Gungan with that one. I just hope they're all able to get along once they're armed..


I'm not sure if Bob's being taken hostage, or if he's just trying to calm everyone down. Either way, I hope he's careful.. It looks like Gonk is getting in on the hostile holiday festivities too..

Gonk  gonk boom, baby.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar Day 13

Today is lucky number 13. Will it be another mini-figure? Will it be another ship or droid? I don't know either! Let's check it out.


Ah..it's a..droid? Maybe I'll figure it out once it's all put together..


I feel like I'm repeating my thoughts from an earlier entry, but I really have no clue on this one. It looks like it could attach to something, but what? I guess it could be a Power Droid, but I don't think it would be this big. Anybody else have any ideas?

No f-in clue.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Busch Gardens Christmas Town Part 2!

Okay, time for more photos from our trip.

There were a ton of these small lit-up pine trees scattered throughout the park. From a distance, they really look like they're on fire.

 On our way to Germany, to see what's going on in the Festhaus.

The main tree outside of the Festhaus. All the trees in the area were part of a light show that took place every half hour. It looked much better once the sun went down.

See what I mean?

All of those lights were part of the show as well.



 Just some random shots of the Festhaur interior.









We watched the Christmas music medley while we were in the Festhaus. It was actually a pretty good show. The performers were surprisingly acrobatic.



 Gingerbread men, toy soldiers, and snowmen, oh my!

By the time the show was over, the sun had fallen, and it was pretty dark outside. As you can tell, it was much easier to see the decorations.

I think this is one of my favorite shots. This is on one of the paths leading to Italy.

Escape from Pompeii looks a bit different this time of the year..


Hmm..different indeed. I definitely don't remember seeing polar bears there during the summer.

It looks like an Ice Palace doesn't it?

The "water" at Pompei. Lighting up the slide was a nice touch as well.

If anyone tells you polar bears don't like hot chocolate, they're lying. That little tidbit could save your life one day.

And somehow this ended up being my last shot before we left. That's the moon above Big Ben in case you were wondering.

We really had a great time at Christmas Town. We actually met up with some folks later on in the evening, which is why I wasn't able to get many shots after the polar bears. There are only two rides open this time of the year, Verbolten and Nacht Tower. Verbolten is a speed coaster, and from I hear it's like riding a race car around the track.I didn't go on it this time, I was just too full and too impatient to want to wait in line for it. Normally, Nacht Tower is the type of ride that takes you to the top of a pole, then quickly drops. This time of the year though, it slowly takes you up and down, and really gives you a great view of the park. I actually have a video from the ride that I will try posting tomorrow.

The only disappointment  during our time there was the food we bought from the Smokehouse in New France. The smells were wonderful, but the flavors just weren't there. The hot chocolate, on the other hand, was delicious, and I drank entirely too much of it. Chelsea also bought a small mini pretzel pizza that was freakin amazing. She also had some cinnamon and sugar pretzel bites from the same place that were very tasty. My recommendation, if you want dinner, go to the Festhaus. The food there has always been consistently good for us.

So there you have it, our short little field trip across "Europe". I hope you all enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed the trip.
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