Nostalgic Notes: Toys



It’s time for another Nostalgic Notes were we look back at the stuff we’re…you know… nostalgic about. Some of these will be from my childhood and some from my kids’ because nostalgia – I’m rife with it.

Lemme introduce you to my childhood. I feel like the revelation that my mom was a great big hippie will come as no surprise as we look at items one and two on this list.


In case you’re wondering WTF, this is the Sunshine Family – Stephanie, Steve, and their baby, Sweets. Sadly, there weren’t a lot of clothing options for Stephanie, Steve, and Sweets. They were too small and too normal-bodied for Barbie clothes. But, I liked them. You could also get the grandparents and extra babies. (The extra babies were very important if you were me.) And I did like that they also made a black Sunshine Family. Granted, their features were the same as the white dolls, but I guess, at least, Matel was trying for inclusion in the 70s?

I didn’t have any of these dolls. Only the original family, and this amazing piece of hippiness. That’s right, people, the Sunshine Family had their own fucking  CRAFT STORE! (Side note: I wonder if this is why I’ve been obsessed with all the crafts for as long as I can remember. Probably not. But, I still find this delightfully hilarious. Also, the entire craft store smelled like new baby doll. (I still love that smell.) Because vinyl. Probably not the best material to make a counter culture doll store out of. But, you know, mass production.


Next we come to my original Star Wars figures which I no longer have because life and younger siblings can be cruel. But I had Leia, R2D2, 3PO, and a couple jawas. One of my brothers had Han, Luke, Ben, Chewie, Darth Vader a couple stormtroopers and some sand people. I was always jealous of his Han Solo action figure.


Now, on to some of my my kids’ toys. I used to do daycare. It was, most days, an awesome job, but I’m one of those weirdos who actually likes other people’s kids in addition to my own. (Unless the kids are like The Young Prince. I’m not having that shit.)  Anyway, this was one of the games we’d often play (after everything else was picked up and the clean up song had been sung – “Put it Away” to the tune of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Give it Away”) because no one wants legos embedded in their feet while playing Elefun.


Captain Kitty and KittyBestFriend were my kids’ favorite stuffed animals. They have oversized, almost hydrocephalic looking heads that are hollow and there’s a ball, or maybe balls, inside that rolls around and makes them sound like they’re purring.

Corwin and Captain Kitty and Killian and KittyBestFriend

Speaking of Captain Kitty, I’m super nostalgic about this Captain Kitty costume I made Corwin so he could match Captain Kitty (we played a lot of dress up, so costumes are toys) and the giant Mega Blok castle that was Corwin and Captain Kitty’s lair.

Corwin Captain Kitty and Castle

Both of my kids were fascinated by pirates, but Corwin was especially so. So, for his birthday, one year, he got the S.S. Argh. The company that made these ships had a thing where you could get whatever you wanted printed on the sail. Their example photos said things like Captain Peter’s Ship or the S.S. Brandon. I like to think they giggled when they got our order.

Next up, in the Toy Nostalgia Parade are these blocks. My kids loved the troll blocks and the tree blocks.

And no nostalgic toy list is complete without my daughters obsessively huge Harry Potter Lego collection. (This is just one set.) Also not pictured are the Star Wars, LOTR, Pirates of the Caribbean, and a zillion other sets.


And her Harry Potter costume. killian-hp

What were some of your favorite toys? Oh, and be sure to check out the other bloggers’ lists! DeelylahGwen, Kellie, and Paige.

Nostalgic Notes: Games


I confess, I’ve never been big into games. I mean, I do enjoy a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity, and back in the day I loved me some D&D, but for the most part, games aren’t really my thing. But, when you have visitation with your dad every other weekend and that involves going to your grandma’s where your family members all take naps after lunch while seasonal sportsball blares from the TV and you and your brother are the only kids, you learn to play games. These are a few I didn’t mind playing and others I resented the fuck out of.









Here are the games I resented the fuck out of.


I will forever hate this game. I loathe this game.


Fuck this game, too.


And fuck these little long-armed bastards with their judgey faces.


And really fuck this game. Literally the most boring game ever. And if we played Star Wars we had to play this one, too. Because “fair is fair and you have to share”.

So, what were some of your favorite games? More importantly (to me, anyway), what games did you despise? Be sure to check out Deelylah and Jess‘ posts.

Nostalgic Notes: Movies


It’s time for another Nostalgic Notes post, and this time it’s movies. There are a ton of movies that I have massive nostalgia for. And nearly everyone of these is quoted regularly around our house.

Labyrinth (1986) Original

Unless you’re new here, you had to know this one would be at the top of the list. Yes, I know there are aspects of it that are a bit creepy. But I still love it – problematic themes and all. Incidentally, I hadn’t known Jenny Trout for very long when we both quoted the same dialogue in this movie in response to something someone else had said. I knew then that we were going to be awesome friends. I was right.


Speaking of problematic themes, there are definitely some in here (discovered during later rewatches) but I have happy memories all around this one. See also:

Adventures in Babysitting

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this movie. But, I can tell you that I haven’t seen it near as many times as my sister has. It was one of her very favorites. And the Elizabeth Shue singing the Babysitting Blues is one of my favorite things, ever.

The Princess Bride

I was about to type, ‘who doesn’t love this movie?’. Then I remembered my dear friend Roxanne. She doesn’t love this movie. She also loathes musicals. And thinks Labyrinth would be better without the songs. (!!!!) But I love her anyway.  I first saw this, when Alex Kourvo came home from college, showed up on my doorstep and kidnapped me to take me to the movies. It was one of the best dates I’ve ever had.

Alex and I saw a lot of movies together. And often repeatedly. Like these gems.


I will never not love these movies. Never.

The first Terminator movie will always be my favorite Terminator movie – even if it did inspire a real and terrifying phobia of AI and Skynet. And who the fuck doesn’t adore Kiefer Sutherland as a vampire?!

My deep and abiding love for Winona Ryder began here. And Beetlejuice is one of those movies that gets quoted constantly around here. Particularly, “If you don’t let me gut out this house and make it my own, I will go insane, and I will take you with me!” And “My life is one big, dark room.”


This, along with The Grinch, is our annual, must-watch Christmas movie. Usually while we’re making Christmas cookies. It’s also quoted year-long. Hans Gruber is hands down my favorite villain of all time. I. Love. Him.


Okay, now, I know there are some people who say that Tim Curry phoned in his performance in this movie, but I don’t care. Tim Curry is precious. As are all of the Muppets. The songs are pure gold. And hilarious. And were the soundtrack of my life when my kids were wee.

Speaking of kids, I loved these two when I was little and so did both of my kids. Both still get quoted on the regular around here. Particularly, “Oh, bother.” and “I will bite you, Chuchundra.”


I fucking love The Animaniacs, and Spooky Stuff is my very favorite compilation video. Not that I can watch it anymore, or you know, any video. I wish they’d make a DVD of this one. It’s brilliant and we quote it all the time.

Last, but certainly not least, are these. My brothers and I often quote Highlander – in fact, one of them just texted me a Highlander quote the other day in response to something I’d said.

And whenever I pick up someone’s baby, I almost always say, “I stole the baby!” And when someone responds with “Stupid Daikini!” or something along those lines, I’m always delighted.

Okay, that’s it from me, this week. And holy crap, apparently, there are a lot of movies I feel nostalgic about!  How about you? What movies do you get the nostalgic feels for?

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ nostalgic picks.







Nostalgic Notes: Clothes

NNClothes com defines nostalgic as: experiencing or exhibiting nostalgia, a sentimental or wistful yearningfor the happiness felt in a former place, time, or situation.

Now, these pictures I’m about to show you are less about nostalgia and more about, sweet jesus, mom – what the hell were you thinking?! 

My childhood seems to have involved an inordinate amount of plaid. And not even good plaid.

Welcome to my nightmare, dear reader.

First up, is this hideous pink and blue number.

Me - swing

Oh look. More plaid. And ukuleles. And possibly my cousin Howie. Clearly, I knew well enough to hide under this table while wearing this ensemble.

Me - plaid jumper

Not plaid, but…yeah. So this is a thing that happened. However, my Aunt Malita looks freaking fab in that Twiggy sort of way – so there’s that.


Okay, so this little hand knitted green dress isn’t terrible.

Me - Tim Christmas

Okay, so I’m not in plaid, here. But my brother is. I can only assume my mom made some sort of plaid-related pact with a crossroads demon, and one of us had to be in plaid at all times.  Also, check those orthopedic saddle shoes. Nothing says carefree summer fun like saddle shoes.

Me and Tim hugging by the garage

But what’s this? MORE PLAID. (I feel like my demonic expression is directly linked to the amount of questionable plaid in my life.


Plaid mini-kilt? Check.

Oversized uglyass hat? Check.

(No, really, mom. What were you people thinking?)

Me - Ridiculous hat - croppped

Looking at this picture, you might be lulled into a false sense of plaidless security, like I was.

But nope. Pink and aqua plaid pants. Who does that to a child?! 

Monsters. That’s who.

Also, I think that’s my cousin’s creepyass Mrs. Beasley doll reaching for me in the lower right hand corner. I think we can all agree that this was a near miss.

Me - Chrissy Doll

No plaid here, but I think we can all agree that these horrendous gold and green floral pants are even worse.

Me, Tim and Lucas

At this point, you can’t possibly be surprised by the hideousness of these pants. And do be sure to notice my uncle’s girlfriend’s coordinating plaid maxi dress. I assume Rosie picked out her own clothes and wore that on purpose.

Me - plaid pants

This tour of my fashion challenged childhood was brought to you by the letter “P” for plaid (obviously) and the number “7” for seven hideous plaids (“8” if you count Rosie’s.).

Be sure to check out Jessica and Gwen’s posts. Hopefully, their parents were kinder.


Nostalgic Notes: Books



There are so many books that I’m nostalgic about, and if you’ve hung around this blog for a while, I’m sure some of these will be familiar. But, if not, here are a few books that give me the book feels.

First, we have Where the Wild Things Are. I read this book so often to my siblings and to my kids and daycare kids that I have it memorized. Still. After all this time. In fact, just last year, on the way to school, my son, Corwin bet me that I couldn’t recite it – loser had to fold all the laundry. Fool. Not only can I recite this book in my sleep, I fucking loathe folding clothes. As I pulled into the school parking lot, having just finished the story, I looked at Corwin and said, “Oh, please don’t go. I’ll eat you up, I love you so.” Corwin got out of the car, looked back at me rather balefully, and responded, “And Corwin said, ‘no’.”


These are the copies of the A.A. Milne books (Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Six) that my mom used to read to us when we were little. As you can see, they’ve been much loved and have had many cups of tea sat on top of them.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond often kept me company when I was in third and fourth grade. I ended up going to four different elementary schools, but the school I attended in third and fourth grade was my favorite. There was an apple orchard behind the school where we played during recess. And if I didn’t feel like playing, I’d sneak a book outside and climb one of the trees and read. I loved this book and read it several times a year and it remained one of my favorite memories of that school after we had to move. Years later, when we moved back into the area, I heard that my favorite elementary school was closing, but they were selling a bunch of stuff – including library books. I couldn’t believe my luck when I went to the sale and found the very same copy I used to read. Of course, I bought it immediately!


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, The Paper Bag Princess will always be my favorite book, and it’s another one I can recite from memory. Feminist children’s book? Absolutely. I used to read it to my sister’s preschool class, my kids and my daycare kids (and all their classes when I volunteered) and now I get to read it to my nieces and nephews. I’ve never once met a kid who didn’t love how Elizabeth outsmarted the dragon and rescued the prince finally realizing that he was a jerk who wasn’t worth her time, and she deserved so much better. One of these days, I’m gonna get me a Paper Bag Princess tattoo…


I loved Little House in the Big Woods so hard – it was a gift from a favorite uncle – and I read and reread it to death. And like probably millions of other little girls, I used to pretend to be Laura Ingalls all the time. My mom even made me a matching sunbonnet and apron.


These books make me wildly nostalgic for cuddly, drooly, giggly babies and toddlers. Sometimes, I wish there was a temporary rewind button for kids.

I could go on for days about books and nostalgia, but I’ll just post a few more that jumped off the bookshelf at me. Edward and the Pirates, The Ballad of the Pirate Queens, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, Drac and the Gremlin, Wild Robin, The Story of the Root Children, Stellaluna, The Wild Swans, and Tough Boris. These are all books that I read to my kids over and over.

Oh, and these, too!

Be sure to check out the the books on Gwen and Kellie‘s lists.

Nostalgic Notes: Songs


Nostalgic Notes is a new feature we’ve decided to try out. Basically, every other month, we’ll be blogging about random things we’re nostalgic about. This month, it’s songs.

I love music. There are so many songs that bring back a sense of nostalgia. My mom used to sing us to sleep at night. My brother and I used to sing our much younger sibs to sleep on nights when our mom had to work, and I sang my own kids and daycare kids to sleep, too.

Interestingly enough, all these lullabies were what’s come to be known as Wildly Inappropriate Lullabies. 

Some WILs from my own childhood include: The entirety of Carole King’s Tapestry album (I can still probably sing that thing from beginning to end.) Carly Simon, Simon and Garfunkel, select Eagles songs, lots of Beatles songs, oh and there’s nothing like being sung to sleep to the cheery strains of Gordon Lightfoot’s Sundown or The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

I’ve been feeling especially nostalgic about David Bowie, lately. Space Oddity was also a bedtime song, and I used to love hanging out with my Aunt Malita and her Bowie albums.

I’m pretty nostalgic about The Imperial March from Star Wars  mostly because one of Killian’s favorite things it the world was for me to sing the plot of Star Wars (yes, you read that right) to the tune of The Imperial March when I was putting her to bed. 

Shriekback’s Cradle Song still guts me. I don’t think a more perfect parenting song exists. (Though, Dar William’s The One Who Knows comes close.) Just listened to Cradle Song now…and am suddenly overcome by allergies. Yes. That’s it. Allergies.

Here it is…in case you’re feeling the need to blow your nose.

Oh…The Dance by Garth Brooks. I’m not a country music fan – not by a long shot. But this song has a special, gut-wrenching place in my heart because a friend of my brother’s played it at my nephew’s funeral, and it was really just kind of perfect in that way that only hideously sad things can be.

The music from Labyrinth, and weirdly, Muppet Treasure Island, will always bring on an unmitigated wave of wistfulness.

Sometimes, I feel a bit nostalgic when I hear any of the Guns ‘n Roses songs off Appetite for Destruction. I hated that album with an unholy passion because my brother played it incessantly. But then I moved 12 hours away from my family for about a year (pre-internet and cellphone days, people) and any time I heard one of those damn songs, I’d miss my brother like crazy. One night at a bar, Mr. Brownstone was playing, and I went into the bathroom to cry because I missed my brother so much. Pathetic, I know.

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for 80s British New Wave and Billy Joel. And my girls Dar Williams, Tori Amos, Ani Defranco, Tracy Chapman, and Lucy Kaplansky. And Counting Crows, Rusted Root, and Toad the Wet Sprocket tend to give me a case of the “wistfuls”, too.

I know there are more, but this is what’s popping into my head right now.

So what songs are you nostalgic about?

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ lists, too.