Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Preparations and Poor Parenting

I am quite sure that I made some serious promises (to myself) that I was going to be super blogging lady through December; I was going to host giveaways, sing carols, and generally ooze holiday spirit.

Honestly, I have no idea what I was thinking.  December is the busiest time of year for a gal who loves Christmas so much! I have had cookies to bake, presents to wrap, presents to buy, then more presents to wrap, buy, and repeat.  I have only updated the movie lists once (although I did FINALLY add an Amazon Prime Christmas movie page, and a page with just movies that I like - so that's something, right?). 

I've definitely done some baking (although the big day is looming and I have a LOT more to do), but my tree didn't even get decorated until the second week of December (VERY unlike me - I'm a Sunday after Thanksgiving buyer and decorator), it actually stood in the living room naked for almost a week before we put the lights and decorations on!  

You might be thinking I've lost my Christmas spirit - that after 33 amazing December 25ths, I'm worn out.  Maybe you are under the impression that I went all loopy, bought into the whole world ending on 12/21/12 dealio, and believed Christmas wouldn't come.  Perhaps you've been worried that I, like many fantastic soap opera characters, have amnesia, and speak with an accent.  

None of these scenarios is remotely correct. The mundane reason I've been so lacking in the publishing department is due to an invisible, and evil, force: INFLUENZA.

Thankfully, my immune system is like an armored car with the instincts of a great white shark, and other than a brief paranoia-induced headache, I've been perfectly fine.  My poor girl, on the other hand, has been MISERABLE.  Two weeks ago, on Saturday, she wasn't feeling well.  By Sunday, she was running a decent fever, and by Monday morning, she was running a high (101 - 102) fever, so I called the doctor, explained the symptoms (classic flu stuff - nose, head, body aches, high fever, coughing, sneezing, exhaustion - I could go on, but you're literate, so are probably familiar with the list), and the prescribed her Tamiflu (which is crazy expensive).  

She finally was able to go to school on that Friday, and has caught up on all her work.

Fast forward to tonight: I come home from picking up prescriptions at Walgreens, and the last baking items I needed from Hannaford, and she is asleep in her room. When I check on her, she says she has a sore throat, and I believe my response was that she had chores to do (fyi - I'm not a slave driver, I'm more of a super messy slacker, but it's almost CHRISTMAS, and standards are different).  

For the next few hours, she complains about her sore throat, and after I borrow her chapstick, she mentions that might have been a bad idea, and I, of course, laugh it off.  Fast forward to a few minutes ago; I check to see what she's doing (shocker of all shocks, she's on Skype); she's bundled in her down comforter, plus a couple of fleece blankets, and her cheeks are bright as Rudolph's nose.  She complains of her throat again, so I huff, and get the thermometer.  Lo and behold, the kid has a 101 temperature.  

Have I mentioned that we both got flu shots at the exact same time, same batch of shots, etc.???  I'm pretty sure it's not the flu again; or I should say, I'm refusing to even consider that the flu might be back for take two.  

Hopefully my Iron-Man-like immune system will keep up the good work; I am SOOOO not okay with being sick on Christmas.  

Oh - and hopefully Santa can overlook a dirty litterbox.

MOST of the presents!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When NOT to Have Fun

Moments ago, I told one of the women in my office suite that I was going to lunch (for me, lunch involves sitting on the couch in the breakroom with the fluorescent lights off and enjoying a book, words with friends, or if I'm feeling particularly exciting, pyramid solitaire), she told me to 'try to have fun.' My response to her was that 'I always plan to, I can't imagine doing anything and NOT trying to have fun.'

Of course, as soon as I uttered those words, I got a-thinking: when was the last time I didn't have fun? That is a tough question; I am about 95% positive that I enjoy things more than most people, and my daughter rolls her eyes and sighs about my 'excess excitement.'

I joke and laugh with my doctor when I'm sick; I treat bill collectors to lovely monologues on how much I appreciate the services they provide; I enjoy waiting rooms, because I get a little 'me time;' on a scale of 1 to 10, I'm easily an 11 when telling someone about the glory of my litter locker (for the lay person - it's a cat poop and pee receptacle).  I really do try to bring fun and happiness to everything I do. The last time I was at the dentist, I had to get a filling, and at the end gave my dentist a big hug, and laughed with him.

The thing is: it's not always good to have fun.  When I thought about it, of course, a funeral was the first thing that came to mind - but there are a number of occasions where, while you needn't sob uncontrollably, it would be a lot more appropriate than fits of giggles.  Here are a few examples:

- delivering the news to your parent/friend that you crashed/lost their car
- testifying in your own defense in court
- if you are an IRS agent, when auditing someone
- in a natural disaster, when you are totally fine, but the person next to you has lost everything
- when someone shows you their very ugly child/pet/new haircut
- when you are caugh red-handed doing something you ought not
- when you suddenly realize the comedian you're watching is racist or homophobic

There are other situations; I'm sure of it, but this is all I can think of at the moment, and lunch is almost over.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Best Streaming Christmas Movies

If you'd like to see ALL of the streaming Christmas movies on Netflix - go to this page; for all Christmas movies available with Amazon Prime - go to this page.  If you'd like to see a list of Christmas movies I have actually seen, and would recommend, or which I want to see, that are available for streaming online with subscriptions, this is the page you want! I'm only including movies available on Netflix and with Amazon Prime (I plan to add Hulu titles in the future), meaning that you can watch these free with those paid subscriptions. Of course, there are a ton of Christmas movies you can rent on Amazon, but I thought I'd keep it simple.

For updates on this page, follow this blog on facebook! Updated 12/5/2012

12 Dates of Christmas - Netflix - Do you love Christmas and miss Saved by the Bell? Or maybe just one of those two? Come on, this is an ABC Family Christmas movie - if you like one, you like them all.  Watch it here before it airs this December!

All I Want for Christmas - Netflix - this movie has all the markings of your classic Lifetime Christmas movie - it's a romance, the title is a line from a song, and the actors and actresses all look mildly familiar, but I can't place where I know them from.

All She Wants for Christmas - Netflix - I'm pretty sure I saw this one on Lifetime last year.  It's about the girl who is trying to save the Christmas Ornament factory.  Does that sound familiar? I admit it, it's not a great movie.  But it's good enough for Lifetime, and that's good enough for me.

Becoming Santa - Netflix - This is a documentary focusing on Jack Sanderson, and his physical and emotional journey to becoming a volunteer Santa.  The reviews are good, and I'm looking forward to watching it!

Bells of St. Mary's, The - Netflix - Bing Crosby - he's really all it takes to make a movie Christmasey for me - but they also throw in a holiday play.

Carried Away - Netflix - This is one I'd never heard of, it's a cool little Indie Christmastime movie! Mix together the drama of a Grandma being put into a home with a dysfunctional Texas family including one movie star member.  I'm looking forward to this!

Christmas Cupid – Netflix - this is a newer made for TV Christmas movie. A woman is haunted by a client who is trying to make her find true love by Christmas.

Christmas in Connecticut - Amazon - The 1945 classic starring Barbara Stanwyck as a reporter who has seriously misrepresented herself in her biography.

Christmas Tale, A - Amazon - This one is new to me, a 2008 Sundance Films production starring Catherine Deneuve - I'm looking forward to seeing it!

Christmas Time in South Park - Netflix - those offensive little bastards are at it again - Holiday Style.

Christmas with a Capital C - Netflix - A town has to fight with a lawyer who wants to take any religious references out of their holiday celebrations.

Crazy for Christmas - Netflix - I'm pretty sure this was ABC Family, or Lifetime movie.  A poor single mother gets stuck chauffeuring around a rich man who is handing out cash to everyone.  I'm sure there's a lesson here...

Desperately Seeking Santa -  Netflix -Three words: Sexy Santa Contest.  I strongly suspect this one was made for TV, as I don't really see the box office draw.

Gift of the Magi, The -  Netflix -this is one of my favorite Christmas stories (originally written by O. Henry); that story is where I learned what a pageboy haircut is.  The movie is based in the early 1900s, and looks incredibly sweet.

Grumpy Old Men - Amazon - I recently watched this, and discovered that it's a Christmas movie; I had completely forgotten! I first watched this when I was in high school, when it originally came out and spent the whole time snuggling with my boyfriend, so I'll use that as my excuse.

Heart of Christmas, The -  Netflix -Aw man, a cute little kid is diagnosed with cancer before Christmas? I'm SUPER DUPER hoping this one ends with an awesome Christmas miracle (but I haven't watched it yet, so don't get mad at me if it's one of those 'life lessons' type of movies). I just found out this is based on a true story, too!

Hogfather -  Netflix -this is not specifically about Christmas, it's about "Hogwatch" - the Christmas-like holiday in Discworld.  This is a really fantastic adventure-filled fantasy movie.  I am so glad Netflix brought it back!

Holiday Engagement -  Netflix -This one reminds me of 'The Wedding Date' (with Debra Messing - you probably didn't see it, I think I'm one of the only people who did), except it's Christmas!!! This is fluffy Christmas made for TV magic at its best/worst (is there really a difference).  I can't wait to watch it!

Holiday in Handcuffs –  Netflix -Poor Trudie – she has terrible hair, an awful job, and now she’s kidnapped a man to make him pose as her boyfriend for her terrible family Christmas. This movie puts the Fun back in Felony!

How About You -  Netflix -A younger sister takes care of a retirement home in Ireland or something - check it out - on the cover she looks REALLY excited.

Jack Frost - Amazon - this is the live action version starring Michael Keaton, where he comes back to life as a snowman.  I believe this one actually made its start in theatres.


Jersey Christmas, A - Amazon - Don't worry - there's no Snooki here, just some blue collar folks stuck working on Christmas Eve. 

Jingle Hell - Amazon - The Irish Catholic Fitzgeralds (not my childhood best friend's family) and their not quite perfect NYC Christmas.


Last Holiday -  Netflix -Starring LL Cool J and Queen Latifah, this is one I can't help but recommend. It's cheesy, but cute.  QL stars as a sweet woman who's constantly being walked all over by everyone, and pines away for the cute guy at work. She is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and decides to live it up and do all the things she'd always been too afraid to.  Gorgeous Christmasey scenery and decorations.

Little Britain - 2006 Christmas Special Episode - Amazon - This one is definitely not appropriate for children.  Little Britain is one of the funniest, most inappropriate skit shows out there.  REALLY inappropriate.

Meet Me in St. Louis - Amazon - I apparently led a very sheltered life before meeting one of the coolest guys I know in 2004.  David introduced me to the glory that is Meet Me in St. Louis, an incredible musical starring Judy Garland.

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol -  Netflix -that silly little scamp Mr. Magoo is at it again - this time he's playing the part of Ebenezer Scrooge in the classic Dicken's tale 'A Christmas Carol.' I hope you, like me, have a place in your heart for cartoons from the early 1960s.

My Year Without Sex - Amazon - I never would have guessed this was a Christmas movie (until I read the description).  I am definitely planning on watching it, as the reviews are pretty darn good.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Amazon Prime - One of, if not THE, best Christmas movies of all time! This has been a family tradition since the 1990s.  LOVE it!!! Despite the fact that I watched it as a child, I would recommend waiting to watch it with yours until you've seen it yourself.

Nightmare Before Christmas, The - Netflix - This is one of my absolute favorites (my daughter's numero uno) - This fantastic Tim Burton movie is the story of Jack Skellington, whose intentions are good, but efforts to take over Christmas are just awful.  I am so excited to see this available on Netflix!!

Noel -  Netflix -Penelope Cruz and Susan Sarandon make up for the presence of Paul Walker, I'm sure in this tale about five New Yorkers alone at Christmas, and discovering the meaning of the season or something.

Nutcracker: The Motion Picture –  Netflix -This is, without fail, the best recorded version of the ballet I’ve seen. If you don’t have a chance to get to see it performed live this year, I’d recommend queuing this up.

Perfect Gift, The -  Netflix -Ruben Studdard is that really you? Yes! The headliner on this holiday gem is none other than one of the previous winners of American Idol. This movie is about the madness that ensues when both sets of inlaws arrive for the same holiday.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular, The –  Netflix -If you’ve not had the opportunity to see these incredible women perform in person – I think you should jump at any chance you’re afforded (we saw them for the first time last winter in Boston – they are AMAZING). Luckily for everyone, those who have, and haven’t seen the Rockettes perform – you can watch the show on your TV or computer – seriously – this is awesome stuff!!

Samantha, An American Girl Holiday - Amazon - Because I grew up in the late eighties - early nineties, I was, of course, completely obsessed with the American Girl books (I never had any of the dolls, but made up for this fact with my daughter's extensive collection).  I believe this was the first of the books to be made into a movie, and it was really well done.

Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe –  Netflix -Santa’s daughter (Jenny McCarthy) is tapped by her old pops to take over the family business, but is torn between her awesome life in NYC and making millions of children happy.

Santa Claus: The Movie – Netflix - One of the elves defects and starts working for an evil toy baron determined to take over from Santa (how dare he!?!?!?!). This is the classic 80s with Dudley Moore.

Snow –  Netflix -I actually own this ABC Family made for TV gem. Santa’s reindeer go through a magic portal and end up being stuck in a zoo. Ready for some romance between Santa and a lovely zoo keeper? Me too!

Snow 2: Brain Freeze –  Netflix -uh oh! Something happened to Santa and he’s lost his memory of his wife (who just might be a certain zoo keeper). What will they do??

Snowglobe –  Netflix -another ABC Family made for TV beauty – a woman discovers that she can go into her Christmas Snowglobe, and it’s totally awesome.

Under the Mistletoe - Amazon - From what I can tell, a happy family is torn apart at the holidays by a Christmas Tree related car crash.  At least one review mentions ghosts.  It looks very Lifetime, or ABC Family - which means I ought to watch it.

We're No Angels - Amazon - I'd never even heard of this holiday movie starring Humphrey Bogart, and I can't wait to watch it!! This purports to be about some criminals who escape from prison to an island in France. 

White Christmas -  Netflix -Quite possibly the greatest movie ever made.  Fact: my sister and I can perform the "Sisters" routine in its entirety, and sing the song together on a regular basis. If you've never seen it - watch it! If you've already seen it, why aren't you watching it again???

Yes, Virginia –  Netflix -this is an adorable animated version of the true story of a little girl who wrote to the newspaper asking if Santa was real because "If you see it in The Sun, it's so."  I’m really excited about this new addition to the Netflix streaming Christmas library!




List of Streaming Christmas Movies on Amazon Prime

If you're at all like me, Netflix just isn't enough for you anymore.  I've had an Amazon Prime membership for years, and when they started including streaming video with that, I didn't really pay much attention. Lately there have been more and more movies and shows added, and I decided it was high time I added an Amazon Prime Streaming Christmas Movies list to the blog!

*Be sure to check out the List of Streaming Christmas Movies on Netflix, my list of the BEST Streaming Christmas movies online, and for updates to all of these, be sure to follow me on Facebook.

Aliens First Christmas - Remember your first day at a new school - how you weren't sure of how to behave, what was cool, etc.? Imagine if it was your first Christmas on a new planet - yowza.

Arthur's Perfect Christmas - Everyone's favorite Aardvark, Arthur, and his sister DW celebrate the holidays.


Bah Humduck! A Looney Christmas - Looney Tunes Time! It's Daffy Duck's turn to play Scrooge!


Barney: Christmas Star - Ah, Barney - aren't you lucky it's Christmas time??

Barney: A Very Merry Christmas - of course, let's put some Barney on this list.


Barney: Night Before Christmas - just in case you wanted more Barney Christmas...


Bear Who Slept Through Christmas, The Like "Snakes on a Plane" - this one is pretty self-explanatory.



Bob the Builder: Christmas to Remember - "Can we watch it!?" "If we have a glass of wine"

Bob the Builder: White Christmas - "Can we watch ANOTHER episode?!" "If we have an entire bottle of  wine"


Bush Christmas - Hmmm - a band of outlaws - Australian siblings - Dad cancels Christmas - color me excited!!!


Casper's Haunted Christmas - poor Casper, that annoyingly friendly ghost has to scare someone before the big day.  I'm not even referred to as a friendly ghost, and I would feel bad messing with someone this time of year.

Charles Dickens' The Christmas Carol - What do you think about Vincent Price reading Charles Dickens' story? I hope you think that's awesome; I most certainly do!

Christmas Carol, A - 1938 Adaptation of the Charles Dickens Classic.


Christmas Carol, A; A Picture of Magi - Some mid-1950s made for TV Christmas specials to make your day a bit brighter.


Christmas Classics: Jingle Bells - Here's a poorly animated romp for all of those families out there who are struggling - learn from the voices of David Alexander and Shelly Long (of Cheers Fame) that the best gifts don't come from the store.


Christmas Classics: O' Christmas Tree - Based on the cover art, someone took psychedelic drugs and had a frightening experience with a humanized Christmas tree.  It is for children, so it's probably quite sweet. I think if you're going to watch this, you need to steer clear of any non-prescription medications.

Christmas Classics: We Wish You a Merry Christmas - How ironic that you'd forget about music living in a town called Harmony.  Just be thankful that you're not a cartoon character.


Christmas Classics: Volume I - contains the world's greatest Christmas song - "Somewhere in Dreamland" (I apologize to anyone who got really excited there, it's straight up awful - but I have a real soft spot for it).


Christmas in Connecticut - The 1945 classic starring Barbara Stanwyck as a reporter who has seriously misrepresented herself in her biography.


Christmas Tale, A - This one is new to me, a 2008 Sundance Films production starring Catherine Deneuve - I'm looking forward to seeing it!


Christmas Too Many, A - Reviews for this movie about an aging hollywood star are almost universally bad; I'm not making any judgments.


Christmas Wife, The - An oldie about a widower looking for a new special lady - at Christmas.


Christmas With the King Family - The lovely King Sisters celebrate the holiday with their family in 1967. 


Christmas Without Snow - 1980 most likely  made for TV movie about a widow moving to a new city.


Deck the Halls - Low budget cartoon NOT starring Danny Devito.  Be warned.


Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Christmas - I'm not his biggest fan (he's just so darn mean to everyone) - but I acknowledge that he's one heck of a cook, and now you can emulate him (the cooking skills, not the language, please). Two episodes!

Grumpy Old Men - I recently watched this, and discovered that it's a Christmas movie; I had completely forgotten! I first watched this when I was in high school, when it originally came out and spent the whole time snuggling with my boyfriend, so I'll use that as my excuse.


He-Man And She-Ra: A Christmas Special - Wow! In the mid-1980s, you got together with your cousins at Christmas time (heck, in 2011 we're still rolling that way in my family) - that even includes super heroes. Step back to Christmas, 1985 - no time machine needed!

Hit Favorites: Jolly Holiday!Christmas specials featuring: Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Thomas the Tank Engine and Barney.

How About You - A younger sister takes care of a retirement home in Ireland or something - check it out - on the cover she looks REALLY excited - FYI, this movie is based on a short story written by beloved author Maeve Binchy.


Jack Frost - This is one of those wonderful classic stop-animation Christmas Specials from my childhood.  It stands up to the test of time!


Jack Frost - this is the live action version starring Michael Keaton, where he comes back to life as a snowman.  I believe this one actually made its start in theatres.


Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special - if you can tolerate Jeff Dunham and his puppets, you should watch and enjoy this.  If you, like me, can't stomach them - steer clear.


Jersey Christmas, A - Don't worry - there's no Snooki here, just some blue collar folks stuck working on Christmas Eve. 


Jingle Bell Rap - Who doesn't love rapping cartoons from 1991? 

 
Jingle Hell - The Irish Catholic Fitzgeralds (not my childhood best friend's family) and their not quite perfect NYC Christmas.


Joe Santa Claus; The Orphan's Christmas - Good old fashioned 1950s made for TV Christmas movies!


Jolly Old St. Nicholas - This is another low budget cartoon Christmas special.  I can't recommend watching it without some commercial breaks to water down the experience.


Kipper: Let it SnowSuper cute little puppy gets into the snow and Christmas time! What could be better?


Lawrence Welk Christmas Shows - Yep - that's right -almost THREE hours of Lawrence Welk Christmas shows!! Great stuff for playing in the background at your hipster ugly Christmas Sweater party. 


Liberace's Christmas Special - Once you've exhausted nearly three hours of Lawrence Welk - cue up this bad boy!


Little Britain - 2006 Christmas Special Episode - This one is definitely not appropriate for children.  Little Britain is one of the funniest, most inappropriate skit shows out there.  REALLY inappropriate.

Meet Me in St. Louis - I apparently led a very sheltered life before meeting one of the coolest guys I know in 2004.  David introduced me to the glory that is Meet Me in St. Louis, an incredible musical starring Judy Garland.

Merry Mirthworm Christmas, A - Poor little worm doesn't fit in with folks in his new town. Luckily it's Christmas, so I suspect it will all work out.


Merry Yule Log, The - If you, like me, rent and don't have a fireplace, or maybe live somewhere warm - just click on the link!


Miracle on 34th Street, The - Apparently this was a made-for-tv version of the 1947 movie, made in 1955 - I'm withholding judgment until I see it.


Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol - that silly little scamp Mr. Magoo is at it again - this time he's playing the part of Ebenezer Scrooge in the classic Dicken's tale 'A Christmas Carol.' I hope you, like me, have a place in your heart for cartoons from the early 1960s.

My Year Without Sex - I never would have guessed this was a Christmas movie (until I read the description).  I am definitely planning on watching it, as the reviews are pretty darn good.


National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - One of, if not THE, best Christmas movies of all time! This has been a family tradition since the 1990s.  LOVE it!!! Despite the fact that I watched it as a child, I would recommend waiting to watch it with yours until you've seen it yourself.


Radio City Christmas Spectacular, The – If you’ve not had the opportunity to see these incredible women perform in person – I think you should jump at any chance you’re afforded (we saw them for the first time last winter in Boston – they are AMAZING). Luckily for everyone, those who have, and haven’t seen the Rockettes perform – you can watch the show on your TV or computer – seriously – this is awesome stuff!!


Samantha, An American Girl Holiday - Because I grew up in the late eighties - early nineties, I was, of course, completely obsessed with the American Girl books (I never had any of the dolls, but made up for this fact with my daughter's extensive collection).  I believe this was the first of the books to be made into a movie, and it was really well done.

Santa and Pete - I grew up without grandfathers, so the idea of James Earl Jones being my grandpa is pretty darn sweet, especially when he sits down with me and tells me the story of Santa and Pete.  While that will never happen for me, it happens for Terence in this movie!

Santa and the Three BearsNaughty bear cubs decide to skip the big sleep, and keep an eye out for the big  guy. I suspect they deserve coal, but instead will get a heart warming lesson.


Santa Claus, The MovieOne of the elves defects and starts working for an evil toy baron who wants to put Santa out of business (how dare he!!?!?!?). This is the version from the 1980s with the irrepressible Dudley Moore.


Santa Claus Conquers the MartiansIt sounds like the martians are fed up with kids being so into Santa so they get the idea of kidnapping him (and a couple of kids) and bringing them back to Mars.


Scrooge - A very old adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.


Tangerine Bear, TheA poor bear (you guessed it - tangerine colored!) has his smile sewn on upside down, and no one wants to buy him.  Sad stuff - I'm honestly not sure how it relates to Christmas, but maybe you can tell me.


Thomas & Friends: Merry Christmas Thomas - Thomas and his friends. 'Nuff said.


Thomas & Friends: Ultimate Christmas CollectionYet another very festive episode of Thomas and Friends!


Ugly Duckling's Christmas Wish, The - I am so glad that my parents didn't name me Ugly. I suspect it would have had a REALLY bad impact on my self esteem.


Under the Mistletoe - From what I can tell, a happy family is torn apart at the holidays by a Christmas Tree related car crash.  At least one review mentions ghosts.  It looks very Lifetime, or ABC Family - which means I ought to watch it.

Up on the Housetop - A super schlubby cartoon whose family has abandoned him at Christmas, reminding him that he loves them.  Or something like that.


Usual Children, The - The only review on this is one star; due to language used in the movie.  I'm going to have to take the time to watch it to find out more about it.  The tag line explains that it's Christmas Even, the kids are misbehaving, and, he takes them upstairs to tell them a story.


We Wish You a Merry Christmas - A Christmas cartoon about being happy with the way you are, especially when you're a turtle with no shell (which, I believe, is a salamander, right?)


We're No Angels - I'd never even heard of this holiday movie starring Humphrey Bogart, and I can't wait to watch it!! This purports to be about some criminals who escape from prison to an island in France. 


Yes, Virginiathis is an adorable animated version of the true story of a little girl who wrote to the newspaper asking if Santa was real because "If you see it in The Sun, it's so."  I’m really excited about this new addition to the Netflix streaming Christmas library!


Yuletide Fireplace in a Box - More streaming fireplaces!!!





Monday, November 19, 2012

Super Deal on Lifetime Presents: 12 Days of Christmas

I have had Lifetime Presents: 12 Days of Christmas in my Amazon cart since before it was even released, and kept waffling, as I am super duper thrifty/cheap.

I almost bought it this weekend when it was marked down to $20.00, but when I had finally decided to take the plunge, it was up to $29.95!

Right now, they've got it for $13.49 - I haven't seen this listed in any Black Friday Ads, so I will be surprised if it goes lower than this before the big day.  I'll be picking up this 12-Disc DVD set - and if you're into cheesy Christmas romance, I suggest you do the same!!!




Amazon.com Product Description:



When you welcome these extra special movies into your home over the holidays, you'll experience the true joys of the season. These are the precious gifts you can look forward to year after year that will always guarantee your holidays are happy.
This holiday set contains the following Lifetime movies:
  • The Road to Christmas
  • Recipe for a Perfect Christmas
  • Home By Christmas
  • A Christmas Wedding
  • Holiday Switch
  • A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride
  • Under the Mistletoe
  • Holiday Wishes
  • Christmas in Paradise
  • Deck the Halls
  • His & Her Christmas
  • Will You Merry Me?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Paperwork II - The Fun Stuff

Did you hear that?

I suspect folks all across the nation heard the squeal that I just let out!  It's wild, I just got the confirmation phone call, with my dates, and the FedEx guy delivered the second set of paperwork this morning!!!

This is the fun stuff - we get to give our sizes for hat/clothing (they provided a handy-dandy hat sizer, as I suspect I'm not the only person who has never thought about her hat size beyond infant-youth-adult. I'm not, am I?), and pick out our activities!!!

I'm going to scan all the paperwork that came, but thought I could give you a summary!

We get to rate our interest level in different activities:

  • Archery Adventure - My one experience with this proved to me that I'm no Katniss
  • Zipline Adventure - I have ALWAYS wanted to do this - and no flesh eating bacteria is going to dissuade me.
  • Dogsledding - Even though I lived in Alaska for a winter, I've never even met a single sled dog!
  • Snowmobile Intro & Trail Ride - I REALLY want to do this!  It's pretty crazy that I've lived in Maine for the vast majority of my life and have never been on a snowmobile.  My only concern with this is whether or not it's a good idea with my back (I had back surgery in July of this year - Laminectomy and Microdiscectomy in case you're wondering.  I feel FANTASTIC now, but am terrified of injuring my back again)
We provide our sizes for the following items:
  • Boot Size (option of Men's and Women's sizes)
  • Glove Size - this is unisex sizing - I think I might need to go try on gloves at LLBean or something to figure that out.
  • Hat Size - as I mentioned, they included a hat sizer, but I think I'll need my sister's help using it, as my eyes are not on stalks like a snail.
  • Jacket Size - I wish I knew what brand it is - I might try LLBean on this as well
  • Thermal Undergarment Sizing - (aka Long Johns) - this is unisex, which I need to keep in mind, as I am not a very tall person.
We get to specify if we want to share a bed, or have two beds (and while I do love my sister a lot, I don't love her in a creepy way that would make me want to share a bed with her).

We specify our tobacco preference.  As I said before, I'm not a regular smoker anymore, it's just when I'm "out" or at a party or something.  The equation works like this: Jessy + Alcohol = Jessy + Cigarettes.  It's not a complicated equation.

The fantastic folks at Marlboro also provided a schedule of when everything else will happen, keep in mind that the trip is January 12 - 15, I'm sure these dates are specific to our trip date, but if you're going on the trip, you can probably math it out:
  • Around December 3rd, I will get a call confirming my mailing address. I have until December 10 to change my travel companion (I guess that means Conni had better be on her best behavior!)
  • Around December 31, I will receive the airline tickets, and a check for $600 (this should cover the taxes I will need to pay on the trip in 2014)
  • From January 1 - January 11th - I will be consumed with my upcoming trip, and will have trouble eating/sleeping/etc.  
Tonight I'm meeting with Conni to do our hat sizing and paperwork.  I won't have access to a fax machine until Tuesday because of Veteran's Day on Monday, but will fax the info Monday morning!

I am over the moon excited.  I scanned in all of the paperwork I received - read on!

Descriptions of the activities & the Hat Sizers!

The Official Letter

Rating Activities

Size and Preferences

To read all posts related to this win - go to my Marlboro Ranch Page!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'm Dreaming of a White Thanksgiving

One of the best things about living in Maine (and believe me, there are a LOT of great things about living here!) is the weather!

I know a lot of folks would disagree with me on this (even a certain member of my family - gasp!), but I stand by my love of this beautiful, snowy place.

If you're thinking to yourself that Maine is too cold, you should meet my sister Faith, who moved to Alaska, because she feels that Maine summers are too hot.  (true story!)

We got our *FIRST* snow this week!  I know that folks way down south have gotten a lot of snow already, but here in Maine, we got our first this week.

I watched flurries through the day from my office window, and when I went out to get in my car, there were a few fluffy flakes hanging out on the roof.

Lovely little flurries!

From work, I had to go to Walmart to buy some dinner food, and pick up some socks (when it started snowing, I knew it was time to stop wearing the damn flip flops).  When I walked out of Walmart, it had started snowing in earnest.  Weird snowball type things pelting you in the face.

Weird Snow Balls

Of course, none of that was still around by 10:00 the following morning, but we've been hearing about this big Nor'Easter that was headed our way.  This morning I awoke to a wintry wonderland!!! Sadly, it's rained some since then, and I didn't think to catch a picture first thing in the morning (I was too busy being sad about not having a snow day).  

Here it is - the first real snow of the season - hopefully there's lots more to come!!!

In front of my office




Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's Official!!

I just got off the phone with a lovely woman at the Marlboro, and after over six weeks of waiting for the background check to go through - we are officially scheduled to go to the Crazy Mountain Ranch from January 12 - 15, 2013!!!!!

I am over the moon excited.  I feel a little bad because all of my election-related excitement has really faded into the background (although I must point out that my beloved home state is the FIRST state in the nation to legalize gay marriage through a popular vote - I am one proud lady!!!!).

This has been my morning:

  • 2:00 am - finally turned the TV off, after Obama made his AMAZING speech, and the news coverage ended
  • 2:30 am-ish - fell asleep
  • 6:45 am - woke up for work
  • 8:00 am - got to work 
  • 8:01 am - talked with coworker about our excitement over election results
  • 8:30 am - made car and hotel reservations for "Prospective Students Weekend" at the high school my daughter is hoping to attend (check it out - it's pretty amazing: The Maine School of Science and Mathematics)
  • 10:39 am - got the phone call from Janet at the Marlboro Travel office, congratulating me on being an official winner, and telling me that the earliest date available would be January 12 - 15th (this was really exciting, because when I called last week to check on the status of our paperwork, they told me that it would probably be mid-February at the earliest)
  • 10:43 am - sent the first of roughly 8,000 texts to Conni (my travel companion, and big sister) asking her if those dates work - I have plenty of flexibility at work, so it's not an issue for me, however, she had to have her days off for 2013 submitted by last Friday
  • 11:02 am - Conni replied "Yes!"
  • 11:03 am - I call back, and tell Janet we're good for those dates!!
As you can see, it's been one busy morning!!!  According to Janet, we should be receiving the "fun" paperwork in a week to ten days - this will have our gear and activity forms.  She suggested we fill it out as fast as possible, as activities are assigned on a first come, first serve basis, luckily, there's a faxing option!!!  After that, she'll be contacting me in early December to finalize all of the travel arrangements!!

I am over the moon with excitement right now.  There's one tiny bummer - my nephew Aaron (who is completely and totally cool and awesome) is turning 18 while we'll be in Montana, and Conni is freaking out a bit over missing his birthday.  I think that just means we have to throw him the swankiest birthday party ever when we get back.  

I promise I will update the blog with any news I hear, and as soon as the paperwork comes in!!!

Read more about my Marlboro Ranch Adventures



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Win a 42" LG Smart TV!!!!


LG Smart Magic Bigscreen Giveaway Event

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One lucky reader will receive a LG 42" Smart 1080p Edge-Lit LED HDTV with Wi-Fi and Magic Remote!

Giveaway ends November 26th at 11:59pm, open to Continental US residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm so excited to be able to participate in this fun event!  Good luck to everyone who enters!!

Back to Giveaways

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Are You Finished? is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Pardon me, would you have any grey matter?

Oh yes, that's right - I am hi-larious.

Technically I've recycled my costume from the Bangor zombie walk - but I have had a clean face since Saturday, so I spent a good twenty minutes doing myself up this morning.  The best thing about recycling the costume is that this time the blood on my clothes has dried, and I'm not sitting here in sticky wet stuff.

I was a wee bit concerned that my costume wouldn't fly in my office, but the reaction has been positive.  Phew!!!

I also brought my bag o' makeup and fake blood, in case anyone else wants to be zombified!

How much are all these brains going to cost me?
Stupid Frontal Lobe

Numbers Bad
 
See - this is me on a normal day - I'm not ALWAYS a zombie

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Birthday Cake of the Gods

Have I mentioned that I love to bake? Well, I do!  And, while there's a decent chance you'll come across a cat hair in whatever it is I've made for you - I promise it'll be worthwhile (for reals, I do try to find all the cat hair, but seriously - there are three felines in this house, and you can't turn around without running into one of them).

It's my lovely daughter's birthday, mad props to both of us for surviving fourteen years together! Honestly, I'm one lucky Mama; she's crazy smart, funny, kind, etc. We've been talking about her birthday cake for about a month now. Many ideas were thrown around: Chocolate with peanut butter frosting, cheesecake, chocolate with chocolate frosting, chocolate with cream cheese frosting, etc.  FINALLY, yesterday, a decision was made:

Four Layer Dark Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, and layers of White Chocolate and Chambord Truffle Filling (also the truffle filling drizzled on top).

I used my fave old standby chocolate cake recipe, but had to google chocolate cream cheese frosting (it's pretty easy), and the truffle filling recipe was taught to me by my best friend.

Fact of the matter - this is the greatest cake I've ever made, or eaten.

For your visual enjoyment:

Four layer dark chocolate cake with milk chocolate cream cheese frosting, and layers of white chocolate & chambord truffle filling - Best cake ever!

The cake with the super stylish plates & forks!

Fourteen Years Ago

While a significant chunk of the country is under water, and suffering in awful conditions caused by Sandypocolipse/Frankenstorm/SUPERstorm/Angry Water, we, in Maine, have been pretty much unscathed.  I was a bit concerned for my brother, as he lives a literal stone's throw from ocean waters, but, other than some sand in the road, he seems to be A-okay, and my lucky nieces got a snow day!

I was, honestly, hoping for a rain/storm day (usually I'm hoping for snow days, but it's been in the high fifties), but when I watched footage of what's happening all along the Eastern Seaboard, I am quite happy to have to work.  I was watching streaming weather.com on my laptop until about 4:00 this morning, constantly peeking out my window and wondering where my storm was.

When I woke up the lovely Miss A this morning, I sang "Happy Birthday" to her (just as I did at midnight on the dot last night - a bit of a family tradition), and we agreed that having to deal with work/school is vastly superior to having a tree on our car, or having our house flooded and all of our things ruined.

Yesterday, in the car, while out collecting ingredients for her birthday cake, I told her the story about the day she was born *don't worry - I totally left out the really gross parts.  The wildest thing about it all was when I said "well, you'll be fourteen tomorrow, I was five years older than that when you were born."  I'm so thankful that she is such a collected, smart lady, hopefully she'll make wiser decisions regarding the timing of having children!!!

While I might regret the timing of my introduction to parenthood, I will never ever ever ever regret my introduction to my girl.  Honestly, we've done some growing up together, and have a fantastic relationship now.  We noshed on some trial birthday cake for breakfast, and will have lobster rolls and french fries for dinner tonight.

So - while yes, this is an awful day for a lot of people, it's an incredible day for me.  Fourteen years ago today, I had the chance to meet the person who had been making me so uncomfortable!

The Prettiest Girl in the Room



Saturday, October 27, 2012

2nd Annual Bangor Zombie Walk

It may have been Bangor's second annual Zombie Walk, but it was Jessy's First!!!  I had so much fun doing this. If you want to see more pictures of the event - check out the Bangor Zombie Walk page on Facebook!




My very first zombie walk - you can see how excited I was!



Yes, I realize that zombies are totally mainstream, and not at all fringe, hipster, or cool, but, I FLIPPING LOVED IT!!!!!

Beautiful


I love zombie movies, zombie tv shows, zombie comic books, zombie novels, and, the newest addition to that list - I love zombie walks!!!  My two local sisters, my daughter, and one of my nieces all got dolled up and participated in this year's walk.  It was AWESOME!!!  I'm only posting my pictures, but there was at least one professional photographer taking pictures.

That's not a brain!

I think that the most fun part (besides splattering each other with blood!!) was seeing all the other amazing costumes.  There was a Ronald McDonald zombie with a Burger King head on a stick (seriously - how awesome is that???). Sadly, you'll just have to imagine him - because I didn't get a picture.

You can probably see the family resemblance.

I was one of MANY doctor zombies.  I wasn't expecting quite so many - but realistically, it would be us, the first responders, who would get turned right away (yeah, I know, I have a BA, and I have no real medical experience, but those were real scrubs I got at the thrift store).

I hope everyone has a great Halloween - I can't wait to do this all again for work on Wednesday!!

I was enjoying a "Zombie Apocalypse" at a local restaurant after the Zombie Walk.  As I kept saying - Alcohol is the new Brainzzzzzzzz



Friday, October 12, 2012

What You Should Watch Tonight: Machine Gun Preacher

I recently was scanning around on Netflix looking for something to watch, and discovered, to my delight, that Machine Gun Preacher (starring the dreamy Gerard Butler) is now available for instant streaming!

I've been wanting to see this since the first time it popped up as a recommendation for me on Amazon, but I wanted to watch it without it costing me $2.99 for the Amazon Streaming Rental, so I was super excited about it when it finally showed up on Netflix!

I have to say this one gets high scores - 9/10 or 4.5 out of 5 stars - maybe five out of six holly berries; I haven't really decided what my rating scale should be.

This is the incredibly touching story of a man who goes from being a seriously nasty drug-addled biker who almost kills a homeless man, to spending all of his time and money running an orphanage and rescuing children from the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army, which is headed by the infamous Joseph Kony; the group is guilty of some of the most horrific crimes against humanity I've ever read about).

The most incredible thing about this movie is that it's based on a real man: Sam Childers, and while it shows all of the incredible things he does for the children, it doesn't leave out his awful acts prior to finding his faith, and his calling.  I HIGHLY recommend you read his book (which the movie is based on) Another Man's War: The True Story of One Man's Battle to Save Children in the Sudan.

The one reason I can't recommend this movie for everyone is because it has plenty of foul language, drug/alcohol use, and graphic images of the people who are (STILL) being tortured by the LRA.  However, I don't believe the story would have been so strong without these aspects.  I'm afraid the language, drugs, war crimes might keep away some audiences, while the message of a man who finds religion might turn away others.  Neither of those kept me from watching, and it was really great.

In closing - if you have Netflix, and the kids aren't around - WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!!  

Don't have Netflix? Rent it on Amazon!