Showing posts with the label Products

Game Review: Christmas Trivia Game

We picked up this card game on sale at a Go! Games and Toys in the mall after last Christmas.

It's as simple as can be: just a deck of cards and some very brief instructions. Each player selects one of four categories and another player reads the selected question off the top card. The first person to get two right in every category wins (you need to keep track on a piece of paper, not provided). It serves as many players as are willing to sit around the table with you.

Warning: the difficulty of the questions seems rather random. The cards are numbered subtly on the bottom and the group I played with had the impression that higher numbered cards were more difficult, but it’s hard to be sure. On each card the difficulty can vary wildly: A low-numbered card I just pulled up asks what year Silent Night was written (multiple choice), how tall a poinsettia can grow (multiple choice), asks you to know a specific line from the Visit from St. Nicholas poem, or asks what reindeer like m…

Food: Christmas Spice Tea

We picked up this special tea blend at 'An Afternoon to Remember', a cute tea shop in Bothell, WA. It smells just like Christmas.

It's a loose tea, so you need an infuser of some kind. The mix smells amazing even before you steep it, it's full of spices.

When you make the tea, it smells, as I said, like Christmas. You can tease out apple, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves. It tastes lovely as well, of tea and spice and just enough of a hint of fruit.

Happily, although this is a local shop, the magic of the internet means that you can buy your own amazing Christmas tea. Enjoy!

Food: Cracker Jack Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn

I saw this in Walgreen's and had to have it. I love the concept; it's such a ridiculous thing to make 'holiday'.

The hilarity starts on the back of the package. It mentions "The snack brand America celebrates holidays with for over 120 years." Which a) is not a sentence, and b) I guess they mean Frito-Lay? Because Cracker Jack is not a holiday tradition. If it were they wouldn't be resorting to weird seasonal flavors!

The popcorn inside doesn't look like much. Part of the appeal of traditional Cracker Jack is that caramel color, and this is just white and sort of melted-looking. The red and green nonpareils are there to make sure you know it's Christmas.

The taste is pretty good, though! The candy-like coating tastes of sugar and butter, meaning it does actually taste as though someone liquified some frosted supermarket cookies like the ones in the picture and poured it over popcorn. Not high-class fare, but tasty enough.

But wait, there's …

Beneath the Tree: Santa Kit

Turn yourself into a perfect facsimile of Santa Claus with this undersized hat and crappy, inflatable beard.

Beneath the Tree: Creatology Christmas Eve Foam Kit

Build your own 3D model of frustration with Creatology's Christmas Eve foam kit!

Celebrate It Baroque Nativity Set

It was time.

We've been doing this blog for five years without a Nativity Set, and it was time to correct that oversight. We'd have gotten one earlier if it weren't for the fact that they're overpriced, we're not religious, neither of us have any emotional connection to these things, and we consider them - as a rule - horribly ugly, chintzy pieces of garbage. In fact, if I were to refer to them as a blight on Christmas decorations, I'd consider my appraisal charitable. But, beyond that, we really have no excuse for waiting so long.

At any rate, a friend (thanks, Cybil!) pointed us towards Kevin and Chuck Want You to Make a Nerdtivity Contest. A "Nerdtivity" seems to be defined as a geekily re-imagined Nativity scene. This isn't actually my first introduction to the concept, though the name's new. A few years back, I entered (and lost) a similar contest over here. If you visit that link, I think you'll agree that one of the main difference…

Beneath the Tree: Jolly in the John

Because who doesn't want a plastic snowman heckling them while they take a dump? Thanks, Hallmark.

Beneath the Tree: Cosmic Hat

Check out the "Cosmic Hat," a variation on the Santa hat for people who like annoying lights and sounds.

Beneath the Tree: Creatology Foam Deer Kit

What better way to celebrate the magic of Christmas than by mounting the severed head of Comet to your wall?

Food Review: Dryck Julmust

In line at IKEA is not necessarily where you first think to pick up something Christmassy, even though all the decorations are near the registers. (Incidentally, I really enjoy looking at IKEA Christmas decorations. I don’t even know why; they aren’t that different. But so many light up!)

This year, however, we ran across this:

“Swedish Festive Drink”
On the back, it adds: “Aromatized Carbonated Soft Drink”

So of course, after chilling per instructions, we had to try it.

What did it taste like? Mostly, a whole lot of not much.

It smells of something that I can’t quite define. Something I recognize but can’t put a name to.

It tastes mostly of water and sugar and that carbonated bitterness common to most drinks containing copious CO2.

There’s a faint taste of something vaguely fruity, but not fruit, like a lollipop flavor. Erin said it tastes like expired, watered down Pepsi. He’s not that far off. The bottle lists both hops flavor and malt flavor, and I guess that must be the vaguely fa…

Holiday Goldfish Crackers

I love Goldfish crackers. I think the classic cheddar fishes are a practically perfect food.
Of course, there are special holiday Goldfish varieties; we'll look at the four I was able to find today.
Let's start simple:
Standard Cheddar, but holiday shapes. 
Here's the back of the bag, with a game to play with Finn (the cheddar goldfish) and Gilbert (the pretzel). 

Gilbert didn't have his own holiday product, so he's playing second fiddle here.
Here are the crackers. Not that exciting, really.

They taste basically like normal Goldfish, if a little less fluffy because of the flattened special shapes.
Next up:

Holiday Graham Goldfish, in exciting Holiday Vanilla Cupcake and Hot Cocoa.

The back of both bags is the same. You might not be able to tell, but that's a lady graham goldfish named Coral that looks almost the same as the pretzel, but is not the pretzel acting as Finn's lackey on these.
Once again, you can play a fun game with the goldfish. Here, they n…

Holiday Products: Unexpectedly Peppermint

In our quest to experience the full breadth of Christmas, this year we purchased a good number of products that were slightly... unexpected. 
This is not an exhaustive list by a long shot of things going candy-striped for the holidays, just some of the ones we came across.

First we'll take a look at a Limited Edition ice cream. Dreyer's (Edy's east of the Rocky Mountains) has a seasonal flavor: Peppermint Wonderland.

This is the low-fat version. The full-fat variation has more explicitly Christmas packaging, with candy canes and all. I really couldn't say why the low-fat is more 'generic winter' looking...
In any case, it's peppermint flavored ice cream with slightly gooey peppermint candy bits.

I liked it, although it was a bit strong. Erin was less enthusiastic.

 With the addition of a little Hershey's syrup, however, even he pronounced it "fine".  And then he ate the rest.

Next, let's add mint to something that is already a mint.

Take …