Art, Uncategorized

‘Tis (not quite yet) the season… handmaking Christmas cards with a toddler 

Hi everyone! Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I feel like everyone is preemptively ready for Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I already have my Christmas CDs in the car, and I love hearing Little Bear talking about the “Christmas lights! Christmas trees!” whenever we pass the neighbors’ pretty outdoor displays.   My husband could tell you, he has to reel me in on Christmas decorating and music until Advent, because if it were up to me I’d have garlands in every room and stockings hung with care before Santa appears at the end of the Macy’s parade. 

But I do try to hold off on my decorating until the first week of Advent, and now that Little Bear is picking up soooo much soooo fast, I’m sticking to holding off on the decorating until it’s time for the Advent wreath to appear. So I’ve been contenting myself by making our Christmas cards early this year. 

I’ve handmade our cards one other year, when Little Bear was first born (apparently I have a thing for taking on big art projects when I have an infant), and I do now remember why I said I wouldn’t handmake cards again.  But I had a box full of cardstock and matching envelopes from my mom’s old rubber stamping days, and for the sake of the budget I couldn’t resist!

I wanted to give it an extra-special touch by having Little Bear help, so to start I got out some red and green construction paper and shimmery markers. 

Side note, give a toddler shiny markers and he will quickly discover that it’s fun to have entirely shiny hands.  Thank goodness for washable markers!

The artist busy at work

Of course, Heidi-dog supervised the entire operation. 

When the papers were beautifully scribbled and everyone’s hands scrubbed clean, I cut the paper into triangles of various sizes, and the cardstock into the right size for the envelopes. With the help of my trusty glue stick and some marker artwork of my own, I soon had Christmas tree cards ready to fill out! 

I’m still working on the longest part, filling out the cards and all of the addressing, but writing letters is a soothing task for me and I love thinning out what to write to each particular person I’m sending the cards to… an extra-special task when the cards are fully blank inside! 

I’m not gonna lie, making Christmas cards this way-especially with kids-is tough. I used to be able to do big projects like this in a day or so, back before kids, but this time it’s taken me over two weeks, and I still have to finish writing in the cards.  But I love having Bear take part in the project, and giving that personal touch to the annual card send-off, so even though it is frustrating to me that I can’t finish in one sitting, I’m so happy that I got to incorporate myself and my son into these cards.  And until this Sunday this is the one Christmasy task I have to tide me over.  

Well, that and a whole lot of Amy Grant’s and Frank Sinatra’s Christmas songs.   

Music, Uncategorized

Tuesday Tunes 

What have I been listening to this week? Amid the repeated requests for the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme, the Hot Dog Dance, and Paw Patrol, I have managed to get some “Mommy Music” in as well, a la Beauty and the Beast! 

I’ve been digging the soundtrack from the new live-action movie, especially Evermore (confession: I listen to this song repeatedly.  Both the Dan Stevens version and the Josh Groban cover; both are fantastic and wonderfully emotional without being copy-cats of each other). 

If you’re like me and on a too-tight-to-buy-music-budget, good news: YouTube has a playlist of the full soundtrack! You can listen by clickingthe link here.

My faves: 

  • The three prologue tracks 
  • Gaston
  • Days in the Sun
  • Evermore 


What are you listening to this week? Do you have a fave on this album I didn’t mention? Leave a comment and tell me about it! 


Guess who’s coming?


That’s right, baby #2 is on the way!
Current working name: Peanut. (We like to find out and reveal the gender, but hold off on revealing the name until the birth certificate is signed.)

Little Bear seems to know something big is going on.  He occasionally points at my tummy, and seems to be getting extra snuggly.  Maybe he’s figured out his days of fitting on my lap are numbered…

Good thing this kid likes babies!

Oh yeah…

…it’s a BOY!

We are all super excited and can’t wait to meet our new little dude!

Movies, Uncategorized

Moana = Shiny



That darn SHINY song.

Why?  WHY did they make that song?!

In the middle of our first viewing I turned to my husband and asked “So, did David Bowie do this song before he died, or did they bring him back specifically to write it?” Because seriously, that song is full-on, Labyrinth-swamp-scene-headless-bird-weirdness.  And it won’t get out of your head.  Ever.  We keep pulling Marshall Eriksons around the house, singing what we would actually speak to our son with the word “shiny” at the end of the sentence.

Phew, now that I got that off of my chest, I can say that I finally saw Moana….and I love it. (Other than the aforementioned song.) I love it because…

  • The music is addicting; even the background, non-lyrics soundtrack.
  • The Rock can sing, which is cool and actually quite nice to listen to. (Still figuring out how he fit that many tongue-tying syllables into that short of a time, because I’m going to learn it, dangit! #MusicMajorProblems)
  • The animation is phenomenal.  I even noticed the torches people were carrying around, the second time I watched it, and it looks like real fire.
  • I plan on being the kind of grandmother Moana’s Granny is.
  • The chicken ends up being the sidekick, even though he’s almost useless and they make you think it’s gonna be the smart pig.
  • Mythology.  I don’t know how accurate Disney kept it, but I have a long love of all sorts of mythology dating back into my elementary school days.

But most importantly, I love how there are two main themes in Moana, and even though they are somewhat opposing, they work together so well.

Theme one: “You can find happiness right where you are.”

They may have gotten the point across in the main crowd-scene song, but it looks like it takes all of Moana’s growing-up years to finally convince her of this.  She has a longing for more, but she also understands the important role she has to play for her people.  So, she puts aside her personal desires in order for the greater good.

Moana and Spock would agree. 


Even with knowing her grandmother would support her, it takes her island starting to die to take her away from her duty in leading her people.

Theme two: You usually know your calling deep inside yourself, but it might take a LOT of outside prompting to discover and accept it.

You might be saying “Theme two doesn’t oppose theme one.”  And you’d be right…. kind of.

In light of that Moana’s calling is to leave her people and complete a mission larger than her or her duty to her people, then yes, these two themes completely oppose each other in Moana’s case.  She has the duty to fulfill the mission the Ocean has given her, and she has a duty to taking care of her people.

And in the end, she manages to do both: Moana completes her mission, by which her people are saved (I’m guessing, since the lava monster isn’t spoiling the sea and islands anymore), she returns to lead them (symbolized by conch shell on the stack of leadership stones[way to go to ruin the stack for your descendants, Moana!]), and helps her people return to their tradition and calling of being voyagers.

I seriously love this girl.  True to her family, true to her people, true to her calling.  And sassy as all get out.

I also have to say that I love Moana’s mother.  She has such a small part, but it’s so important.  When she realizes Moana is leaving, finally answering the call to leave the island, she doesn’t stop her.  But more importantly, she helps her daughter pack.   She cries as her daughter leaves, she obviously worries once her daughter is gone, but she realizes her daughter is grown and must do what she thinks is best as her people’s leader.

And that’s my stormy night brain dump, as I’m staying up, just waiting to see if any of these tornado watches turn into warnings-yay!  Pray for safety in the southeast, it’s nasty over here.

Did you like Moana?  Did you despise Shiny, or actually like the disco moment?  Have you also been listening to the songs on repeat in your car?  Let me know! 

Movies, Uncategorized

If Chirrut were a Catholic lady… aka My ‘Rogue One’ Thoughts (SPOILERS!)

SPOILER ALERT: They successfully steal the Deathstar plans.

My apologies to anyone living under a rock since 1977, but that’s the part of the plot that shaped the entire Star Wars universe, and pretty much fueled Geekdom for the past forty years.

Much like the Star Wars prequels, sequel and that one WTF Christmas special, Rogue One is a mixed bag.  But here’s what I loved: the bag is mixed exactly half-and-half.  Not that I mean it’s a 5/10 stars, because I’d place it closer to a 8/10 on the Housewife Movie Scale.  “Wow,” you’re thinking, “that’s a high rating!”

Yeah, well… the movie earned all eight stars in the second half.  Seriously, at the hour mark, while sitting in the movie theater, I checked my phone and thought “Dear Lord, we’re only an hour in?!”  And then, BAM! The plot turned completely around and became everything I ever wanted in a Star Wars movie.

Last warning about spoilers: This is about stealing the Death Star plans.  And remember, from A New Hope: We never met anyone who helped steal the plans, and it was clear that many rebels died in the process.  So. If you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve been warned.

    I was born in the nineties.  I didn’t get to experience hearing the Star Wars main theme on the big screen, anticipate the silence between “A long time ago…” and the “TA-DA!!! Dum-dee-dee-dum…” that my parents did.  Until last year, when The Force Awakens came out.  That musical moment and title crawl was better than I ever imagined it could be.
    And then, THIS crap.  If you haven’t yet seen Rogue One, you will be heartbroken, like me.  You see the familiar “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” and we cut to a space scene.  Bam.  Straight to the action.
    I felt like Sheldon Cooper being handcuffed before finishing the third *knock-knock-knock* “Penny?”
    Directors, editors, anyone involved in this production: bad choice.  Not only was it weird, it was also distracting.  For at least the first 20 minutes, I was thinking about “Why wasn’t there the theme song?  Who should get fired for that?  This isn’t even Star Wars!” instead of paying full attention to the plot.
  2. S-L-O-W
    You can nap through the first half and still get the overall plot.  I truly think that the slow-ness of the film’s first half is because there wasn’t a title crawl.  No title crawl with background of main plot and characters = way too much exposition.  Or maybe it was slow because the writers knew we’d be lamenting the lack of title crawl and inwardly calling them names?  Yeah, that’s got to be it.
  3. Tarkin’s face.
    Look, we all know the original actor died.  That’s okay.  I’d much rather have had a close look-alike wearing a lot of make up and prosthetics than the cheap CGI face they attempted for this movie.  Once again, the creators did something that was  just distracting.  If you’re gonna do a CGI face, you can’t have it look that fake.  #Battlefield1HasBetterAnimation.
  4. Vader is roomies with Sauron.
    Apparently, I’m not the only one who started looking for a giant flaming eye at the top of Vader’s pointy palace.  FYI, that’s not Mordor.  It’s some other lava place.
  5. Blind guy, Machine-Gun-guy, and faith.
    Absolutely my favorite characters.  I had no clue what their names were while watching the films, but I have since used The Google and discovered the blind guy is Chirrut, and machine-gun-guy is Baze.
    Despite not knowing their names until two minutes ago, they are my absolute favorite characters in the film.  I think it’s because of the stark contrast between Chirrut and Baze.  The first believes in the Force, that it flows through him, that it not only allows, but helps him to do good, and that the Force is present and reachable in any situation.  He truly has (pardon the pun) blind faith.
    Baze’s point of view, on the other hand, is much more relatable.  Baze seems to think “If the Force was on our side, our temple wouldn’t have fallen, and the Jedi would still be the peacekeepers.  I’m here for my friend.”

    And since I’m a Catholic nerd, I couldn’t help but think that these are the two kinds of Christians I tend to run into.  The first is kinda nutty, super into their faith, believes that God is on his side no matter what, etc.  Let’s just say that if Chirrut were a Catholic lady, he’d be going to every daily Mass while wearing a veil, chanting The Angelus under his breath ad nausem whilst wielding dual rosaries.  (Okay, not a thing… except in the film Priest.)  But you get the idea: he’s the friend who’s kinda nutty, but you can’t help but love how much faith he has.
    Then there’s Baze.  His kind of believer says “You’re nuts.  What has God done for you?  Yeah, he’s there, but obviously, he doesn’t care if we all burn.”
    And yet Baze sticks by his friend, at first because they had a common faith/purpose, but now out of the loyalty and love that comes from their friendship.
    You can tell that Baze is amused and encouraged by Churrit’s faith in the Force being for him and in him (Through him, with him, and in him, anyone?), even though he gently mocks his friend’s faith.  And yet, there’s something in him that wants Churrit to be right.
    Watching Churrit’s final march through a hailstorm of blaster bolts, Baze’s admission that the Force was with him, and his final stand… I’ll admit, I cried.  I kept thinking about the movie For Greater Glory (which you should totally watch), and Churrit’s chant of   “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me, and I am one with the Force…” is just like the rote prayers I’ve learned through my own faith formation.  And when Baze’s faith comes back to him, his battle cry is very much a “Viva Cristo Rey!” moment.  And to think, he may have never believed that the Force was with him again without Churrit’s constant reminders, just as we are supposed to encourage our own friends in their times of unbelief!

  6. And then, of course, is the Rebellion itself.  A group of misfits who can barely work together, who (as they admit when joining Jyn)  have done terrible things, but are all willing to die for the sake of saving the galaxy.  Their lives for everyone else to have a chance.  (Martyrs, anyone?  Seriously, the Star Wars ‘verse is one giant Christianity metaphor.)  Going in to the movie, I figured not many of the main characters would make it out alive.  I was right.  And I love them for it.
  7. The seamless transition into A New Hope.  Spectacular.  I don’t even have adequate words for it.  And since I saw the movie just days after Carrie Fisher died, I definitely felt a lot of feels.  *sniffles*

    Obviously, this movie tugged my heartstrings, at least for the last half.  Seriously, once the act of stealing the Death Star plans actually begins, it is just as good as the original trilogy, and at that point, far surpasses any of the other four films made since then.   Watching the movie, I kept thinking back to my childhood, when me and my friends would play Star Wars.  Our bikes were X-Wings, the tire swing was the Millennium Falcon, we all fought over who was Leia (we took turns and made up other girl characters, and I think I was Luke a few times), and we were all misfits, joined up with the Rebels to fight the evil Empire.  Rogue One brought all of that back to me, which is exactly what a Star Wars movie is supposed to do.

    + May the Force be with you.  
    R: And with your spirit. 

    *Sidenote, I personally wouldn’t take super tiny kids to this thing.  Because seriously, almost everybody dies, and it’s really intense.*

30 Day Challenge, Uncategorized

30 Day Disney Challenge: The End.

It’s obvious by now that I have a horrible time remembering and finding the time to do any kind of “____ Days-Long Challenge.”  (See the Days of Thanks from November if you must… I got to day seven.)

So, since I stink so badly at finishing challenges, I’m going to finish up the 30 Day Disney challenge in this one post.  No muss, no fuss, and I’ll keep the answers *gasp* short.

We left off on Day 21, “An Overrated Movie.”  So now we move on to…

Day 22: An underrated movie.

Winner: Treasure Planet.  treasureplanetvhs If you haven’t seen this movie, WATCH IT.  It is spectacular.

If you think it looks stupid because it’s sailing ships in space, you’re wrong.

Go back, read the original novel, and then watch the movie.  It is an amazing adaption, especially how they re-made all of the characters while keeping true to the original story.

Moving on…

Day 23: A movie that makes you laugh.

Um… All of them?  Nothing is popping immediately to mind…

I guess we will go with

Winner: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

So many gems of lines in that film.  And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then clearly you’ve never been to Singapore.

Day 24: A movie that makes you cry.

Winner: Inside Out

Different personality lands

I laughed.  I cried (a lot).  It moved me, Bob.

Day 25: Your favorite scene from your favorite movie.

Winner: The lantern scene from Tangled. 

Followed by a close second with this moment:

Eugene rapunze hug

Day 26: Saddest death.

I was about to say Kerchak in Tarzan.  But it goes to…

Winner: Kala & Kerchak’s first baby gorilla.

You thought I’d pick Mufasa, didn’t you?  And watching a beloved character become an orphan after seeing his parent die is sad.
What’s sadder is a baby being torn apart by a leopard and watching the baby’s helpless parents know they can’t stop it.

When you’re done with that visual, we move on to….

Day 27: Your favorite quote.


So, growing up my family spoke mostly in Disney quotes.  This is probably due to watching SO many Disney movies with my sister, who has autism, and would watch one movie over and over again for a month.

Let me tell you: One month of any Disney movie is one too many if you don’t switch it up.  I could probably write out the scores for several Disney films, part-for-part, with barely a flaw, just because I heard them from my room at the end of the hall SO MANY TIMES.  (I consider it a gift.  I can karaoke the crap out of Disney music.)

If you are a Trekki (sp?) who knows about the “When the walls fell” episode, that’s pretty much how my family appears to outsiders.  I’ve known my husband for over six years now, and sometimes he still thinks I’m being rude or snarky when I’m actually quoting Scuttle, or Flounder, or Lumiere, etc.
It can make life really interesting.

Some family faves are:

“It was all ‘this is this, and that is that…'”

“It’s like he’s trying to speak to me!  Look, you’re really cute…”

There are dozens of other family favorites, but I’m blanking.  So in the interest of speed, I’ll pick a personal fave:

“All at once, everything looks different now that I see you.”

Day 28: Your favorite theme park.

Winner: Disney’s Animal Kingdom 

I’m obligated to choose this one.  It’s where I got engaged.  😀
Plus it’s usually the most peaceful park to visit.  (hint, hint)

Day 29: Your favorite theme attraction.

Winner: Star Tours/Everest.

I can’t choose just one.  They are SO different.  Star Tours made me cry when my childhood dreams came true.  Everest is one of my favorite coasters OF ALL TIME.

Day 30: Your favorite theme park show.

Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom.  

Best show in the parks.  Followed closely by Fantasmic.  But the talent in Festival of the Lion King beats out everything else.  I highly recommend it, especially if Be Prepared is one of your fave villain songs.


Or, as Prince James would say on Sofia the First:

(We have a very Sofia friendly household.)

Hope you enjoyed the quickie-version of the challenge!  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Have other “what are your fave” questions?  Let me know!