Babes In Toyland was the first live-action, big budget Disney musical and it’s completely bonkers. Annette Funicello stars as Mary, Mary Quite Contrary. She’s about to marry Tom the Piper’s Son — played by Tommy Sands — but the evil Barnaby (Ray Bolger) gets in the way so that he can get hitched to her himself. He hires ne’re-do-wells Gonzorgo (Henry Calvin) and Roderigo (Gene Sheldon) to toss Tommy in the sea. Instead they sell him to Gypsies. That’s the basic plot…for the first half of the film. After that, the movie completely switches gears as Mary, Tommy and her siblings wind up in Toyland helping the Toymaker (Ed Wynn) and his assistant Grumio (Tommy Kirk) create toys for Christmas with the bad guys waiting to strike.
As I said in a recent Photo Diary entry, I really enjoyed this Jack Donohue-directed movie the first time around. Then, I put it on for my parents and wife — all big Disney fans — to watch on New Year’s Eve and realized this story is poorly put together, all over the place and plain-old-nuts in many ways. That’s what I’m focusing on in this particular post, though I liked the film enough on the third viewing to also list some awesome moments in a post that will go up next week. Continue reading
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 86 covers Christmas, sickness, sleep and Sh-Ra with a surprise appearance by Lucy!
For more information on Watts Christmas Wonderland, check out their site. Above you can see a shaky shot of the light-filled neighborhood we discovered and the solid Santa at the Newburgh Mall.
My First Disney Princess Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Singing Doll was a big hit with Lu. She also got Frozen stickers, jammies, jelly beans, slippers and more.
Above you can see She-Ra – Princess of Power – Season One, Vol. 1 as well as Lu brandishing her paper roll She-Ra sword!
Apologies once again for the late episode, but the 85th episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast covers pre-Christmas preparations, our continued sleep issues and Lu’s adventures with my Star Wars toys.
My original Itzbeen post can be found here.
2 Alices really is the best, they just opened up a second location in Newburgh. Check it out if you’re in the Orange County area!
Here’s a few Star Wars toy photos. First, you’ve got Lu going through the box, then Mighty Mugg Mace Windu. The red-armored Luke figure I mentioned is officially called Luke Skywalker in Imperial Guard Disguise according to RebelScum.com.
Lu and Jack both got in on the Christmas tree-decorating action.
If you want to hear more about Eggbert, check out the Christmas podcast I did with my pal Brett a few weeks back.
A few weeks ago, my buddy Brett White and I started talking about our love of all things Christmas so we decided to record a podcast about it! You might notice I sound like I’m a little under water for the first 20 minutes or so. This is the first time I’ve recorded via Skype with the monitors on which was throwing me off like crazy. Also, I thought about cutting my daughter’s quick appearance, but it was just too cute.
And now for some show notes!
I highly recommend checking out Brett’s appearance on Hear Me Out. It’s even Christmas-themed!
The Santa’s Workshop LEGO set Brett mentioned can be seen here.
Dig my list of non-traditional Christmas movies over on Topless Robot.
For what it’s worth, right after recording, I saw that one channel shows The Santa Clause 1 and 3, while another shows 2.
Don’t believe me about Eggbert? The New York Times did a story on him a few years back.
I mentioned the MiniMate Christmas village from a few years ago which you can see above. Shot on my very first “smart” phone, I believe. As if you couldn’t already tell.
Here’s Muppet Family Christmas, which Brett mentioned and I haven’t watched yet, but I want to!
I thought I’d talked about the Mickey Christmas specials I mentioned on Netflix, but apparently I haven’t. They are Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas and Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, or as my daughter calls them Mickey Christmas Red and Mickey Christmas Blue.
Charlie and Lola, Vol. 2 and I can’t seem to find the exact Hello Kitty DVD after minimal searching.
Thanks to New Year’s I got a bit delayed in posting the 41st episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast. This one’s all about traveling to and from Michigan, Christmas, family and the time my car got stolen via plow a few weeks ago.
We’re pretty light on links this week, but if you want to check out the Lose It app go here.
In the 40th episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast I lay out our holiday plans, rail against Santa and the Elf On The Shelf and look back on 2013.
Teach your kids it’s okay to be spied on thanks to The Elf On The Shelf!
As I explained yesterday, I made what turned out to be a pretty great Second Christmas dinner for my family all from Michael Ruhlman’s book Ruhlman’s Twenty. In addition to the Leeks Vinaigrette, I also made his recipe for Mac & Cheese With Soubise (page 87). As regular readers — and anyone who knows me — will remember, I’m a huge fan of macaroni and cheese and have been since my Kraft’s Blue Box days. But, I also like trying new recipes and seeing how they compare to one another. I don’t know if I’m ever going to find one that will become the default version, but if so, this one might be up for the spot.
This particular recipe has four kinds of cheese involved including basic Swiss, sharp cheddar, Emmenthaler (which I’d never had before, but is another kind of Swiss) and Parmesan for the top. If you look closely at the picuture, you’ll see that there’s Asiago on top there, but I just grabbed the wrong block for the picture.
The major difference between this recipe and other ones that I’ve made is that you not only carmelize the onions, but also put the entire pre-cheese sauce in a food processor to whir it all together. Aside from that, though, you’ve got a recipe that’s similar to other ones I’ve tried. As always, I got all my ingredients as prepared ahead of time as I could, separating out spices and whatnot that would be added together. This all made the process a lot easier. Also aiding the process was the fact that I used the food processor to cut the cheese up, a trick I always use for mac & cheese and also got this whole thing ready in the morning. You can get 95% of the mac & cheese ready, refrigerate it and then pull it out when you’re ready to go. The only thing you don’t add before the cooling process is the buttered breadcrumbs. When we were ready, I got those together, put them on top of the dish and in it went into the oven.
The finished product had a very creamy, very cheesy feel to it. My wife heard somewhere that you can actually replace milk in a mac and cheese recipe with water. I’m going to try that next time I make this or any other similar dish. I just didn’t want to try it like that the first time as I was making food for a larger group than just the three of us. That is a lot of dairy as the recipe is written, so if that’s something that bother’s your system, watch out.
I know it’s well past Christmas and even our Second Christmas (celebrated with my parents a few days before New Year’s Eve), but I made a pretty great series of dishes for that meal and wanted to both share them with everyone and post so I remember how well they turned out. I don’t usually cook for more people than my wife and daughter, an experience that’s almost always super casual, but it’s fun cooking for more people every now and than. Actually, when we move into a house I’m looking forward to having people over and actually doing dinner for larger groups, but that’s not really the point of this post, is it?
Anyway, as I mentioned in another post, my wife got my Michael Ruhlman’s Ruhlman’s Twenty so I put my new book to good use and came up with three dishes that not only complimented each other well but allowed me to prepare them throughout the day so as to not put too much pressure on me at any one point. While I worked on all three dishes concurrently, I”m going to break them up by dish and try to remember which parts I did ahead of time.
We started off with Leeks Vinaigrette (page 211) which was incredibly easy to prepare. The first thing I did was prepare the four hard boiled eggs the night before. On the day, it was all about the leeks and dressing. You actually prepare the leeks ahead of time by cutting off the green parts and then slicing them in half, but not cutting through the very end, so they stay together when steaming. The steaming only takes about 10 minutes and then you put the leeks in the fridge until you need them.
I also prepared the ingredients for the dressing ahead of time too. For the dressing, I put the vinegar, mustard and honey in a bowl and also got the shallots in the Magic Bullet container and then popped them in the fridge as well. When it came time to actually get the salad ready right before dinner, I moved the stuff from the bowl into the food processor, added the remaining ingredients, whirred the shallots in the Magic Bullet, chopped up the hard boiled eggs (white and yellow parts separately) and then prepared the salad. You cut the leeks at this point, put one half on a plate, add the vinaigrette and then put both kinds of egg and green onions on top.
I’m not usually a big fan of hard boiled eggs, but I thought they added an interesting texture to this first course. With the dressing and the faintly onion-y flavor of the squishy leek, it was a really solid, simple and interesting salad to kick our dinner off with.