Monthly Archives: December 2015

Netflix’s True-Crime Documentary: Making a Murderer

making a murderer

If you’re looking for your next binge-watch and you have 10+ hours, you simply cannot miss Making a Murderer, Netflix’s new true-crime documentary. Set in Wisconsin, but with cautionary tales applicable to any state and just about any family, MAM follows the case of Steven Avery over a 10-year period, beginning as he is released from prison after serving an 18-year sentence on a wrongful rape conviction. Not long after gaining his freedom, Avery files a lawsuit against the local police force responsible for his wrongful conviction. He is then arrested by the very police officials he is suing (along with his nephew Brendan Dassey, a learning disabled 16-year-old who is manipulated and tricked into a confession by investigators and even his own lawyer), for the rape and murder of a local woman.

MAM takes us step by step through the years, through the court process, and through the gut-wrenching aftermath of Steven’s and Brendan’s cases. Via interviews, in-court filming, press conferences, and local news footage, MAM showcases the trial, lawyers, and deeply flawed justice system in place today, while personalizing the accused and their family members. And it will leave you thinking long after the final episode, thinking and hoping and praying that this kind of thing never happens to you or anyone you love.

Annual Favorite: A Gift for Parents: A Stress-Free Christmas Morning

christmas morning

All parents love the joy and wonder they see in their children’s eyes on Christmas morning. We envision langorous, loving exchanges of gifts and resulting hugs, sips of hot toddies by the fire, and magical elves that cook breakfast and bag up a landfill’s worth of wrapping paper and bows as classic Christmas tunes serenade our relaxing repose.

The reality, however is a bit different. For instance, at 6 a.m. on December 25th, we are already blurry-eyed (or hungover if you previewed the hot toddies after Midnight Mass) from staying awake until 2:30 a.m. to:

  • Wait for sugerplums to start dancing (start, already!) in their bursting-with-excitement heads.

children sleeping

  • Finish, or, er, start, building that bike or 250-piece deluxe dollhouse and furniture with magnifying glass and a hot glue gun.

deluxe dollhouse

dollhouse furniture

  • Clean up reindeer poop and free Santa from the chimney after a few too many cookie/milk combos.

santa chimney problem

Because of these challenges, we often set ourselves up for a less-than-satisfying experience, not the ideal we dream of. So in order to help parents everywhere better prepare and maybe even enjoy the day, I’ve created this handy checklist of THREE WISE things to remember:

1. Three Things to Have on Hand for Opening Gifts

swiss army knife

dynamite

box cutter

Why? Because every parent knows toys are boxed for maximum display, not ease of removal. Take Polly Pocket or Barbie sets, for instance. Military-grade plastic strips and twist-ties are used to hold EVERY SINGLE limb, accessory, and hair in place in the box. These require hours of finger-numbing work to loosen, untie, or remove. Same goes for CDs and DVDs. They are encased in SPF 1000 plastic which you may or may not be able to remove before the second or fifth installment is released at Easter.

polly pockets

2. Three Things to Prepare Ahead of Time

industrial coffee maker
batteries
headphonesStart with an industrial-sized coffee maker prepped the night before to spew out that glorious caffeinated liquid. Or, if you prefer:

hot toddy

Next, be sure to have 212 batteries on-hand for all those toys that say:

batteries not included

No kid wants to open a gift they can’t play with until you run out to the store in your pjs and curlers to get the batteries!

curlers

Finally, despite our best efforts to avoid them, there are always toys on our kids’ wish lists that tend to be a bit noisy:

pink drumset

A great set of headphones attached to something playing those classic carols will help you keep your sanity in check.

3. Three things to Make this Christmas the Most Magical and Memorable

wrapping mess

family at christmas3

ugly sweater

More important than anything else, be sure to take the time to ENJOY Christmas morning…these are precious memories for you and your family. Can’t walk in the living room because of the huge mess? Leave it for a while. As long as the baby isn’t trying to eat a ribbon or the cat trying to do her business in the crinkled wrapping paper, let it go. At least until you need to search for the miniscule missing part that makes this year’s must-have toy go BING, BANG, BONG (bet you’re glad I recommended those headphones now, huh?).

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your time together as a family. Bake a batch of cookies. Sing some carols. Attend church together in matching ugly Christmas sweaters (don’t forget to take a photo too…it will be great for embarrassing your kids in their teen years!). Laugh and joke and do all the things that make family time great. When you just can’t stand being together any longer, say, 11 am, head off to relax a bit…

headphones in bath

…so you’re recharged and ready for more TOGETHER TIME!

And finally, be sure to teach your kids what this joyous day is truly all about. No, not that:

tvguide

THIS:

nativity

Wishing you and yours a Blessed Christmas and

Very Happy New Year too!

Bacon Heaven: A Gift for Every Bacon Lover

bacon doormat(Bacon Doormat)

Still searching for that just-right gift for a special someone this holiday season? You know who I’m talking about: that certain person in your life who seems to have everything, want nothing, and deserve, well, something. I have compiled the ultimate guide sure to make everyone on your list happy. Because everyone LOVES bacon (proven fact: even if they don’t like to eat it, everyone loves to smell it!).

BACON, IT’S WHAT’S FOR EVERY MEAL

extra bacon

For your friends and family members who do love to eat bacon, but still can’t get enough of that crunchy, meaty flavor, try these gift ideas:

squeeze bacon                     peanut butter bacon cookies   Bacon Bacon ice creambacon apple pie

bacon hot sauce                    baconnaise

And to top it all off: Bacon Beer in a Bacon Mug

bacon mug

WORK IT, BACON

For that fashion-forward person who can pull off anything:

bacon sweatshirt                                    bacon underwear

bacon high topsbacon swimsuitbacon high heels
bacon suit

bacon tie 2

bacon tie 1

BACON GETS PERSONAL

Great add-on gifts and stocking stuffers:

bacon balm bacon sunscreen gummy bacon bacon toothpaste bacon soap bacon mints bacon gum bacon floss bacon drink tabs  bacon candy cane bacon bandages

BACON HERE, BACON THERE, BACON BACON EVERYWHERE

Still haven’t found something that seems just right? Give these and you’re sure to be remembered:

bacon wallet bacon tattoo bacon skull mug bacon roses bacon poetry kit
bacon candle bacon clock bacon board game

Still looking? Here’s the ULTIMATE idea:

Kevin-Bacon

(Portrait of Kevin Bacon. Medium: Bacon)

Finally, after all this bacon, you might want to consider a more, um, long-term gift:

bacon casket

Just be sure to wrap it up the right way. No, not this:

bacon wrap

This:

bacon wrapped