Tag Archive: thanksgiving

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

With all of the food that we ate this past week, I find it amazing that any of us are still able to stand. We had our usual Thanksgiving meal, Pizza Friday night, dinner at a friend’s house on Saturday, and a potluck on Sunday night.

There was lots of good eating including a somewhat spicy chili and turkey enchiladas. But it was also about getting together with friends and family that made the meals special.

Another thing we did this past weekend is watch lots of movies. I can only say that we went through movies like water. The Lion King, Ella Enchanted, Gnomeo and Juliet, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, and The Wizard of Oz.

The last one was my pick. For some reason I had a vague memory that we always watched this 1939 during every Thanksgiving. Not that I have anything specific to that point. I don’t remember watching it at my grandmother’s or my parent’s houses. It is just there in my memory.

Wizard of Oz 2What I discovered is that for some years, The Wizard of Oz was shown on Thanksgiving for a while. Then it was shown between Thanksgiving and Christmas until later deals placed it in the month of January. One Ted Turner bought the rights and technology brought us VCRs, well the movie lost some of it’s big draw luster on TV. But not in the hearts of the fans.

People still buy the various editions which includes featurettes and documentaries about anything regarding the production. We looked at a few included in our DVD but that might have been to avoid bedtime.

Watching the movie again for the first time in a long time made me realize how much I did not know about it. Such as Dorothy trying to run away. I thought she and Toto hid in her room until the tornado came. Nor did I ever remember the scene in which she visits Professor Marval’s camp.

Wizard of Oz 3But the rest of it I did. The glorious flight into Oz, the terror of Margaret Hamilton’s witch, the wonders of the Poppy field. As I watched, I began to see the little pieces that made last year’s The Great and Powerful Oz starring James Franco and Michelle Williams so familiar. Those little touches, such as Professor Marval’s flim flam routine and the bubbles in which Glinda travels about, expanded the experience more for me.

After we watched the movie, my daughter stated she wanted to learn more about Judy Garland. I am not sure if I can break it to her that for the next ten years Garland was a tremendous performer but drug use would take over her life. Well, it probably won’t stop me from getting Meet Me in St. Louis and listening to the wonderful ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Night.’

As with so much of her work, it is Garland’s singing voice that carries the movie. The sadness in her voice is heavy with regret and worry which is amazing when you think about the fact that Garland is so young in this movie. She was only about 17-year-old at the time of filming.

But to me the most amazing part is that of the Scarecrow as played by Ray Bolger whose dance steps are so loose and floppy. It made me wonder if he hurt his feet during any of his dance scenes.

All in all, I would say it was worth the time to watch it again.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Thanksgiving’s Coming…

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Next week is Thanksgiving already. Can you believe the year has gone so fast? Never mind that old chestnut; the better question is about what are any of us serving at the Thanksgiving.


What plans do I have for our menu?


Well, oyster stuffing is definitely on. Green Bean casserole in another must along with cranberry sauce


Another dish I plan on is Sweet Potato Casserole with a pecan topping. I love mashed sweet potatoes but my family is not so thrilled about them. That is until last year when I made up the topping with some pecans I happen to have in my pantry. I mixed the chopped nuts with a little flour, butter and brown sugar before spreading it on top of the mashed sweet potatoes already in a casserole dish. In the oven it went to get crunchy on top.


This was a Big hit!


As we make the ramp up to the holiday, I am sure there are a few movies that people like me say are “must see” because they focus on the turmoil and dysfunction of family get-togethers.



Poster Image from IMDb.com

How can you do Thanksgiving without watching Home For the Holidays with Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. as they go home again. This movie – not meant for anyone younger than teenagers because of the context – has its bitter moments and sweet moments.


Another Thanksgiving adult-only feature is Pieces of April starring Katie Holmes as a young woman trying to turn her life around. She decides to show her family how well she is doing by hosting Thanksgiving in her NYC apartment. Problems start with a broken oven and continue with a mom having issues.


Image from IMDb.com

My personal favorite movie to watch during the Thanksgiving holiday is family friendly Miracle on 34th Street.But I am a sucker for sappy movies about mythological characters that want to inspire good in the world.


That aspect lead me to the summer movie now on DVD, Brave.


Set in the Scottish Highlands, we meet Merida , a young girl who is on the edge of adulthood. But she and her mother do not see eye-to-eye. That could not be more true as her family prepares for the Highland Games that will determine whom Merida will marry.


That is when Merida goes to find the witch to produce a spell to help her mother see her point of view. But you know it is never that easy. Things go wrong and now the girl has to find a way to undo all that she has done.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

Disney put out a movie a few years ago called Brother Bear that worked on a similar premise although it it was the main character who was turned into a bear. I was not fond of that movie and felt it missed something.


Brave perhaps touches closer to home for me because my kids are head strong and want their way. I connected with the mother as voiced by Emma Thompson. But I can also get how the daughter wants her freedom. Merida ’s solutions may not be the right ones at first but they are certainly interesting.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night


by Karyn Bowman


This week is Thanksgiving.


Image by Jzlomek

At the quiet moments we are trying to remember why we are thankful. We are happy for having a job, having a roof over our head and the ability to put on this meal. We are thankful for healthy kids and good enough health for ourselves.


All of us have friends and relatives going through rough patches – lost jobs or serious health issues. My cousins are mourning the loss of their mother just two Thanksgivings ago. I pray for their hearts to be healed even though I can’t imagine losing my mother yet.


In the hustle and bustle of this holiday, there is cooking to be done and favorite dishes to get on the table. Green bean casserole, mashed sweet potatoes, mince meat pie, and pumpkin pie. And don’t forget the whipped cream. Some of you may enjoy the tussle of Black Friday shopping or giving a local business some money on Small Business Saturday.


There is no doubt this will be one busy week.


It is also the beginning of the holiday season, the ramp up to Christmas and all that goes with it. Band concerts, holiday plays, parties, sports tournaments.


So what do you do to relax?


When it comes to family watching movies together, it can be tricky. Our whole immediate family loves Kung Fu Panda. Perhaps it is because we like Jack Black but this movie is really fun. My dad is not a big fan and has said “I am not watching a Panda movie.” Fair enough, I say.


Finding that middle ground movie can be difficult. My dad likes movies with chase scenes and explosion that I do not appreciate for their language content. Perhaps that is why some holiday movies surpass all of that. They allow all family members to have something everyone can relate to without being too objectionable.



Poster image from IMDb.com

Movies such as Miracle on 34th Street and What a Wonderful Life are heart warming movies that everyone could watch although I do not think many kids are really interested in the latter movie.


That is when you bring out movies such as Elf in which Will Ferrell plays a man who was a foundling that found its way into Santa’s bag and the North Pole. Once he becomes a super-sized adult, Santa lets Buddy the elf know his true heritage and sends him on his way to New York City to find his father.


It is a magical movie with a great chase scene and some great comedic moments. Most of it is pretty safe for kids. But here is hoping they do not ask you to decorate the house as fast as Buddy can.


Poster image from IMDb.com

There is one movie I would suggest for the weekend is The Nativity Story starring Kasha Castle-Hughes as Mary, the mother of Jesus. Many people will recount how Christ is being taken out of Christmas but how are they keeping him there? I find that when I watch this movie about Mary and her life in the months before the baby Jesus is born, I gain greater understanding of both Mary and Joseph.


The movie allows us to better appreciate the times in which Mary and Joseph were living as well as how the dangers of their trip to Bethlehem. Director Catherine Hardwicke put together a rich movie filled with the sights and sounds of the era that recounts a story many of know by heart in parts. The other parts, she has brought to life so that we can imagine these miracles once more.



Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

What’s Up, Detroit?

Wordless Wednesday

For those who care about football and music, there has been an eruption of disgust in Detroit because the band performing at the big deal Thanksgiving game is Nickelback.

You don’t know who they are?  Well, here is a picture.

Image from bestweekever.tv


The problem is not that the band is awful, although some would disagree, or that their music isn’t riotous enough. The problem is the lads are – Canadian. And some fans are wondering why a Canadian band is playing in an American football stadium at halftime on the biggest AMERICAN holiday of the year.

Michigan state native Bob Seger still performs and I bet Eminem might have been willing. Kid Rock or Ted Nugent might have been willing. Some might have gone fora boring Mo-Town retread. Or maybe they wanted to have THANKSGIVING with their families. For Nickelback, this is no special holiday and therefore they are not missing out on something.

I thought I would post a few of their songs so the uninitiated could go “oh, I’ve heard that song.”

First up is my favorite.





Just like this one. Love the phrasing





Finally, the one that caught my attention; seems like it was the breakthrough song. And this video is great. How many people and places do you recognize?




Have you heard of these guys before and what do you think of their music?



After the Feast…

Family Movie Night

Thanksgiving is done.

The turkey on the table was surrounded by the favorite side dishes. Stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes or sweet potatoes, deviled eggs and a relish tray. Then there were desserts.


Pumpkin pie, mince meat pie, apple pie, Key Lime Pie Cheesecake.

Ok, maybe it doesn’t happen that way at your house. Maybe the deviled eggs are replaced with something else. Stuffing is made with sage and onion instead of oysters and onion.

No matter, we gathered together to give thanks and dig in to a great feast. But now it is the day after and people with the day off are looking around. The kids might be looking for something to do .

Edmund Gween as Kris Kringle in "Miracle on 34th Street." Picture from IMDb.com

That is when you dip into the bag of classic movies. My favorite movie to watch is Miracle On 34th Street (1947). Yes, it is black and white. It was made during the post war era when the feeling of hope was palatable. Then there is Edmund Gwenn, who may have been the most perfect Santa ever. We meet him as he is walking down a street in Manhattan on Thanksgiving Day.

He is telling a shop keeper how to arrange the reindeer in proper order when he sees a drunken Santa on the Macy’s float. That is when Gwenn meets Maureen O’Hara and she asks him to be the Macy’s Santa. Maureen O’Hara represents the bitterness of the era who is secretly seeking hope without knowing if she will ever find it. Meanwhile, attractive bachelor corporate lawyer John Payne, the personification of optimism and populist idealism, is trying to attract the beautiful O’Hara.

You do not have to watch the movie for all of the deeper meanings. It is a lovely film that epitomizes the spirit of the Christmas season, reminding us to believe in faith alone and to be grateful for what we have in this world.  This is one movie that all members of the family can watch and enjoy together.

Home for the Holidays, picture from IMDb.com

Another movie that is better for adult-only viewing is Home For The Holidays starring Holly Hunter as an artistic restorer who is going home to Baltimore for Thanksgiving. She has just been fired, her daughter tells her this is the weekend she is staying with her boyfriend and her stylish coat has been lost at O’Hare Airport.

But wait it gets better. Her priggish sister insists on making a whole separate meal that is ‘healthier’ while looking down her nose at their gay brother. The gay brother brings along a friend who may be interested in Hunter.

Why I like this movie has to do with moments of hope and understanding as adult children learn to understand their parents, siblings and maybe themselves. While parents, siblings and kids might drive each other crazy, for most there is a reservoir of love that keeps you coming back.

Picture from IMDb.com

Last, but not least, is perhaps what I think may be one of the funniest and sweetest Thanksgiving movies ever made. I was visiting Emjayandthem’s blog when I saw the reminder of what a great movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles really is. It may not be appropriate for every member in the house, although I think kids 13 and up can watch this one.

John Candy and Steve Martin charm in this movie as two travelers who are trying to get home when getting home for Thanksgiving is just not working out. I love it from start to finish. Cabbie race scene, uncomfortable train ride, car burning, confrontation and realizing you are an ass – all of it is great movie making.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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The Cleanup After Halloween

Halloween has been gone for a week now but the candy remains.

Picture by Mensatic

All week the kids have been eating their stash of candy – an impressive haul this year. The chocolates are just about gone and we are down to sweet-tarts and lollipops. What remains are the wrappers.

I find them on the floor, under the coffee table and couches. If I am going up the stairs, looking for laundry in the bedrooms or sweeping up in the kitchen – there they are. The bright colors of red, blue, yellow and green were wonderful when they wrapped chocolate lovelies.

The problem is I am not the only one finding the leftovers of a quick snack. So is our lovable dog, Storm.

This is not good.

Dogs should not have chocolate and Storm always feels the after affects of snitched chocolate. The sweet delight wears him out, loosens the stool and makes life unpleasant for him. He lays about more and farts more but none of that stops him

It makes our walks interesting. As I clean up piles I never know what color of wrapping will appear. What also amazes me is that a dog lives through some of the things that they eat. A candy wrapper or punch ball balloon comes out all in one piece.

All of this has lead to edicts of proper clean up whenever snacking occurs. I enforce wrapper sweeps. When I see wrappers, I make everyone take part in the clean up. When everyone has gotten to bed, I find myself resting my hand under the couch and finding a Snickers or M&M package.

I am not the only one. The dog is going on foraging missions behind the couch, under the couch, behind the dining room table and into the pantry. I have to be armed with the water bottle to make him stop.

Storm sitting in a chair, ready for a banquet.

Soon, the Halloween candy will be relegated to one bag of suckers and gumballs. Halloween will give way to the Thanksgiving feast as pumpkins see a better use to be made into pie and other goodies. I will have to be on the lookout for other candy wrappers soon.

While our dog thinks he is human, he has learned how to sit on a chair, he is not allowed to eat from the table. While he tries to find leftovers, the table is his favorite hunting ground. Just because Grandpa likes to feed him tidbits from the table, does not mean he is allowed that privileged year round. 

Should he ever learn to use a fork and spoon, I might relent.