Sunday, November 30, 2008

Five More GREAT Christmas Movies

Here is a list of 5 more Christmas movies that are great to watch while decorating or if you need help getting in the holiday mood! Do you love the song "White Christmas" but don't like the movie of the same title? Well then, you need to watch "Holiday Inn". This movie can be watched on every holiday because it takes place throughout an entire year and there is a song for every holiday of the year. It is great fun!
Next is "The Bishop's Wife" with Cary Grant. He plays an angel sent down to help a bishop who is having a hard time getting things done. Cary Grant is amazing....but he is in every movie he's ever made. This holiday movie was re-made with Denzel Washington (who I love to watch!) but the original is soooo much better!
Next is "Elf". What more can I say but this is so fun to watch. Will Farrell is perfect as Buddy the Elf, but watch for a cameo performance by Peter Billingsley, yes, I mean Ralphie from "The Christmas Story". He is the head elf that helps Buddy feel better when he is so behind on his toy building. (he is here in the red suit)
"Millions" came out about 3-4 years ago and I instantly fell in love with it. It is a heart warming story about 2 brothers whose mom has recently died. Their Dad moves them to a new home and one day while out playing, the younger brother finds a duffel bag full of money. It takes place during the Christmas season and it has a lot of good messages about the true meaning of Christmas. As a side note...the portrayal of the LDS missionaries is hilarious even if it is inaccurate. This movie was made in England so that is why there is the inaccuracy. But it is so funny.
Last movie for this group is "Joyeux Noel". It takes the true accounts of the first Christmas during WWI where the soldiers stopped fighting for a few hours and came together to celebrate Christmas even though they were enemies. It is beautiful and very touching. They are parts in sub-titles but most is in English. There is one "scene" you will want to skip but it is not on the battlefield so you will know what I mean when you get to it, so skip past it. The rest is perfect!
If you have a comment on any of these movies, let me and everyone who reads this blog know what you think of them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Top Five Christmas Movie Picks

As fas as I'm concered, the Holiday season starts on November 1st. However, there are some things I can't do until after Thanksgiving. One is put up the Christmas decorations. The second, is break out the Christmas movies. Now, every holiday at out house has a list of movies that we (I) watch to celebrate the holiday, so I thought I would let you know about some of my favorite Christmas movies.
First and on top of the list, is "The Christmas Story". I always watch this on Thanksgiving Day as I am cooking. It is the best of all and so funny!
Next is one you might not have heard of. It is "Christmas in Connecticut" with Barbara Stanwyck. It is one of the rare comedies that she was in and she is great. Sydney Greenstreet, who is always a "bad guy" is also in this and he is perfect and also very funny. Check this one out if you can find it (or call me, I have it).
I know my third pick is probably everyone else's first, but next is "It's a Wonderful Life". AHHHH, Jimmy Stewart.... What more needs to be said.
Then we get to "A Christmas Carol". My favorite version, (and I have 5 different versions, including "The Muppet Christmas Carol"-very funny!) is the 1951 version starring Alastair Sims. It is a classic and he is the best Ebenezer Scrooge.
Last in my top five, and I do watch them in this order is "Miracle on 34th Street" with Natalie Woods. I love every character and actor in this movie! And because it starts on Thanksgiving, it is on my Thanksgiving and Christmas movie list!
Check out these movies, and during the upcoming month I will let you know of other great Christmas movies, some you might not have ever heard of.
Have a Great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two Random Thoughts on Two Different Subjects

Christmas is such a fun time. I especially love to listen to Christmas music. However, there is one song that should be banned from all Christmas affiliation! Let me explain.
When I was in first grade, our class had to learn the Christmas song, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" for the school Christmas program. Even as a 6 year old, I remember thinking how wrong it was for a mommy to kiss anyone but her husband and I was upset that we were being taught this song to sing in a program like everything was OK.
I remember feeling devastated that Santa was going around and kissing any mommy that would let him. In order to save all children these feelings, I want this song banned!!!!

Christmas should be a happy time not a disturbing time for children. That is my opinion on that song!

Next, I heard a rumor that the only show I watch regularly is in danger of being cancelled!!!
If you haven't seen it, WATCH IT!!! It is a great murder mystery every week!
Maybe we can change ABC's mind if they are really thinking about cancelling it. It is so frustrating when there is so much garbage out there on TV that a great show can't make it
Here is a link to sign an online petition to ABC to keep it on:
Please Vote!!!
Thanks for letting me vent on those 2 subjects!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Tough Movie Review

This is a hard one to review. My husband has been trying to get me to this movie for a couple of weeks but I have been able to avoid it until last night. I knew "The Boy In the Stripped Pajamas" was based on a book but due to the subject, I had never read it, although it has been highly recommended. And due to the subject I knew it wouldn't have a happy ending (you know I need a happy ending!). But the ending was much worse than I ever anticipated!

Here is the basic story: Time is WWII in Germany. Brunos' father is promoted to be a Commandant of a concentration camp, so the family moves out to the country for the new post. Through a number of situations, Bruno inadvertently comes upon the camp during his explorations of his new home and there he meets a boy, the same age as he is and they become friends. Brunos' parents have completely shielded him from the situation so he has no concept of what is happening around him and to his new friend.
As the movie progresses he begins to learn about the Jews, his fathers role in the camp, and what he is being taught, and he is very confused. At the end, he tries to redeem himself for a mistake he made against his friend (Shmuel) he sneaks into the camp to help Shmuel find his father who has gone missing. However, it is the day that Shmuels' barrack is to go to the gas chamber.
The frantic search of Burnos' family and then the realization of what has happened to him is gut-wrenching. I haven't stopped crying about it everytime I think about it.
The movie is beautifully made and very well acted. Although, two of my favorite English actors were in very evil roles, so now I have to go watch them in the "happy" movies to get the pictures of them out of my mind.
So, I recommend it but with very great reserve. It is not one I will ever watch again and it will probably take me several days to get over it and stop crying.
I am curious, if you have read the book, is this how the book ends? Let me know. SOOOOO Sad!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The final step for the Train Garden

Here are the pictures of the Train Garden with all the props added. Now it feels like it has come alive with all the villagers added. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Train station, water tower, scholl, and farm houses
School with boys playing
Mountain lodge, with deer and Moose
Farm house with livestock
How much fun is this?!?!?!?!?!?

More Pictures of the Train Garden

So now the final step of getting the train up and running was getting all the props added to it. I trimmed all the bushes to look like trees, then added all the villagers and animals. I hope you can see some of them. There is a wedding going on at the church, a snake oil salesman in the village square, Passagers waiting at the train station. By the school we see kids playing. On the farms we see all the animals and on the mountain are all the forest animals.
Town square

Another shot of the aquare

The blacksmith and general store

Church with wedding
Hope you enjoy seeing it while I have fun playing in it

Monday, November 10, 2008

Southwest Shakespeare Company: "The Winter's Tale"

Just a reminder so you can make plans. My favorite Shakespeare Play, "The Winter's Tale", is being performed at the Mesa Arts Center starting Nov. 28th. Get you tickets soon as it is in the smaller Farnsworth Theater so there will be fewer seats available. This play has everything from drama, tragedy, comedy, romance, forgivness and redemption, miracles, and even a BEAR!. It is the first play to make me cry! Here is a clip to pique you interest:

It is a great start to your Holiday Season celebration! I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

You are all AMAZING!!!

I just saw my counter at the bottom of my blog and I realized that I had over 1000 hits in less than a week!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! As much as I enjoy doing this, it is even more fun to know that someone else out there is reading it besides me! Thanks again!

You have got to get this product!

Just a quick blog about this amazing product. I go through alot of produce but about 1/4 of it got thrown out. I saw a news story a couple of weeks ago, on Phoenix's Fox 10 news about Debbie Meyer's Green bags. They gave them rave reviews so I went out the next day with my friend Anita and we bought them. I specifially tried the bananas and strawberries because they are the produce I throw out the most and after 10 days they were still perfect. The bananas ended up lasting over 2 weeks without one brown spot.

If you want to save money, learn to use more produce in your meal planning and then get this product to save your produce. You will also save on gas because you won't have to go to the store as often to get produce. To borrow a phrase from the 70's...TRY IT, YOU'LL LIKE IT!


Monday, November 3, 2008

One of Australia's movie Gems

Many of my favorite movies have come from Australia. Such movies as, "Strictly Ballroom", "Man from Snowy River" just to name a couple. But of them all, "The Dish" has got to be one of the best and the funniest. This comedy is based on the true story of Australia's roll in the Apollo 11 moon landing.

It stars Sam Neill (who is great in almost everything he does), Patrick Warburton (Puddy, to you "Seinfeld" fans), and several great Australian actors that you wouldn't recognize, but are all great!
The story starts just a couple of days before lift off in July 1969. Parks, Australia has got a reciever, or "the dish", that will pick up the transmissions from the space ship while it is in the Southern Hemisphere. But something goes terribly wrong and they lose the rocket and all the computer data.
Getting it back up and running before the landing, without letting NASA and anyone else know is where the comedy ensues!
They used the actual footage of the moon landing in the movie and I still get a little teary eyed (ok a lot teary eyed) when ever I watch it again.
There is never a dull moment and the supporting characters are very funny. You will even have a small bout of pride in America. If you have seen it here is a little quiz...What did the band play as the American National Anthem? For a great laugh check out this movie!!!!