Archive for the ‘Stuff We Like’ Category

Happy Friday, everybody!movienight_spinaltap

It’s hard to believe we’ve gone through this many movie nights at Rockabye Headquarters without “tapping” the 1984 rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. But, hey, as they say, better late than never! Tonight we’re gonna rock you!

This parody follows the once-famous British heavy metal band Spinal Tap (played by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer) on tour through the United States while being documented by fan and filmmaker, Marty DiBergi, played by Rob Reiner. The film was directed by Reiner and was also written (although most of the film was ad-libbed) by he and the three “bandmates.”

The first time I ever saw This is Spinal Tap I was 16 on a trip to Washington with my best friends (my parents let me drive across the country unsupervised because they were nuts . . . and weirdly trusting). The friends we were staying with insisted that we watch the movie and that we watch it with the commentary on. So my first ever viewing of the film was with Guest, McKean and Shearer commentating over the movie acting as the members of Spinal Tap. I didn’t know what the hell was going on but I was laughing my ASS off.

Some highlights to look forward to: Stonehenge set mix-up, getting lost backstage, bizarre drummer death stories—and much more. This movie (even while primarily listening to the commentary) is damn genius and not to mention endlessly quotable. It’s almost gotten to a point where I’m pretty sure every other sentence I say in real life is a line from this film.
So in honor of this daft, lovable movie, here are some of my favorite lines and moments from This Is Spinal Tap.

Note: Out of context a lot of these quotes won’t make all that much sense but that’s all the more reason to finally watch! If you have seen it, this’ll be a great reminder to watch it again immediately.

So here we go . . . and yes, this list goes to 11.

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And of course…

And it just so happens that my friends and I were Spinal Tap this year for Halloween. What do you think? My friend Jenna NAILED Derek.

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TAP INTO THE HOLIDAYS!

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Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for the chance to win a $50 Rockabye Baby  gift card!

There was one gift that I always, always wanted when I was a kid that my parents for some reason would never buy me—the Slinky. But I totally understood why later, it had one of the shortest life spans of any toy. Every kid I did know with one had that thing wound up in the wrong direction within minutes, then would throw tantrums while their parents had to somehow, usually unsuccessfully, try to coil it back into shape.

 

Now that I have a kid of my own, I do my best to only get her gifts that will last: won’t break (right away), won’t harm her or any of our pets, that she will treasure years from now, and will entertain her as much as they entertain me. (Sounds like a Rockabye Baby album, right?) So, to tell the truth, I’ve bought her very few presents — books, mostly, art supplies, and essentials — while her father buys her at least two a week, including stuffed animals, DVDs, dolls and action figures, and says he’s making up for my lack of gifts.

Maybe it’s partly me being a middle child that prevents me from spoiling her, an only child, but I always tell my husband, “I just don’t want her to want things that she doesn’t need,” especially in this age. I only like to give her things she needs and convince her that she really, really wants them. It’s actually not that hard! A cute toothbrush, colorful tights, Batman rain boots (what kid, doesn’t need a pair?). But, yes, kids want more, and when I was a child these were among the gifts on my wish list for the holidays or my birthday.

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Do these date me, or what? Were any of these on your wish list?

What are the gifts from your youth that still make you smile?

I may have to put it on my shopping list this season for my daughter! Here’s one gift from my parents I’ll always treasure.

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See more memorable presents from yesteryear on our Remember When Pinterest Board! And don’t forget these latest releases from Rockabye Baby to consider for your loved ones, big and small.

 

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If you enjoy laughing (and occasionally poking fun at hipster parents) you should really start following @TheLosFelizDayCare, a local Los Angeles “day care.”

Grab yourself an organic kale and avocado smoothie and read some of our favorites below . . .

 

 

The account’s commentary on the local parenting styles of our little corner of Los Angeles is pretty hilarious . . . and believable; so believable in fact, that a few of us thought it was a real account when we first stumbled across it.

 

And while Valentine’s Day is months away, we dug this one up because it’s so good . . .

Reading through the first few tweets we all had a chuckle and rolled our eyes. But once we realized that it was all just poking fun at some of the more hipster, yuppie tendencies of our “affluent hillside neighborhood” we couldn’t enough of what this mastermind has been posting.

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Halloween is over but you still have bowls of candy lying around that you’ve been hiding from the kids or yourself. Good luck with that.

What do you do with your leftover candy?

Sure, I could use that Halloween candy to make more sweet treats, but I’ve got other ideas this year:

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1) Candy Poker or Blackjack: If your kids are of pretend gambling age (shall we say 6 and up?), if they want more candy, they’re gonna have to win it back from you—spouses included. Establish how much each candy is worth (see, kids get to learn how to add quickly and strategize, too), and then teach them how the game is played.

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2) Candy slingshot game: There are actually a surprising number of candy slingshots you can purchase, but a slingshot with character, like our dear friend “Coyote” (purchased in Death Valley), is best.

What you need: Candy, slingshot, tape and worthy opponent(s)

Here’s how the game works:

  • Gather your hard and soft candy — because it’s fun to have them fall apart even if they do — but save the wrappers, you’ll need them!
  • Then take the wrappers, space them out and tape them on a wall; they are what you’ll be aiming for.
  • Assign certain points for each type of wrapper, and that will determine how many points you can earn; bonus points if you hit candy with matching wrapper!

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3) Candy experiments: Writer Loralee Leavitt has a fun book and website that shares all the interesting things you can learn from experimenting with candy, from what color Skittles dissolves fastest to discovering how many color dyes are used in a brown M&M. You may think twice about the candy you eat after a few of these. Science is cool.

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4) DIY Egg Shaker: Check out our super easy DIY Egg Shaker, but instead of using rice, lentils or quinoa, try Nerds or crush up some hard candy. You may want to glue those eggs up tights so you’re not tempted later.

 

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5) Candy Bribery: It’s a no-brainer to bribe kids with candy, but Valentine’s Day is all about how sweets can win someone’s affections, right? So leave the kids out of this, and go after those adults you’re trying to win over. My cousin Duane showed me how far a box of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts can go to getting him special treatment when was in the hospital. He had a whole stash of boxes with him that won him friends in his wing, from neighboring patients to the nurses.

BTW, I wouldn’t mind if any of you felt like sending some peanut butter cups my way in the form of these bars.

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Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars by Bakerella

 

If you’re hungry for more, see our favorite desserts on our Sweetest Thing board on Pinterest! And check out other tips below that are mostly calorie free.

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What to Do With Those Leftover Pumpkins

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What to Do With All Those Stuffed Animals

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How To Get Rid of Telemarketers

While most people live for the daytime, the sunlight, the start of a new day, I long for the end of it.

I’m a night owl who can’t make sense of the world until the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., when most people are in bed, lights are turned off and there’s a stillness that I just love. So I was thrilled when a couple weeks ago the most exciting thing happened in my neighborhood in the early evening: a blackout. For me, it was a return to the simple life, something that we’re missing a lot of these days in the Internet and smartphone age, and especially in a place like Los Angeles, where a blackout turns life upside down . . . but you can suddenly see the stars.

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My husband, my 2-year-old daughter and I were actually at dinner down the street when three transformers overloaded on one of the main streets and blew up just blocks from where we were dining, and most of the surrounding blocks suddenly fell into darkness. The sound was akin to bombs going off, but it was likely just too many people in the area using electricity (it’s been a record year in L.A., apparently, as we try to keep cool during an unending heat wave). My very smart husband called our home phone to check if our plugged-in answering machine (we’re old school like that) would pick up and it didn’t. But it wasn’t until we walked up the hill to see our whole neighborhood, all the way up to the Griffith Observatory, was lights out for blocks and blocks in all directions that it was confirmed our power was out. I was elated: 7 p.m. suddenly turned into 1 a.m.

I was instantly transported back to one of my favorite moments, some 15 or so years ago when my sister Tricia, her friend Kirsty and my friend Pam were staying at my parents’ house during a terrible storm when there was a blackout that lasted all night. Rather than trying to take on the rain and venture elsewhere to live as we normally would (with electricity), we stayed in and enjoyed the most precious, most important things in life—each other and ice cream. We lit candles, found some puzzles, got tubs of ice cream (that we weren’t about to let go to waste) and just talked and talked about everything. I’ll never forget that evening.

Fast forward to our 2014 blackout, I was looking forward to having as special a night with my little family. First things first, we had to stay completely calm from the moment the transformers blew up so as not to freak out our daughter or we’d have a very long night; it was her first blackout.

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Listen to our lullaby rendition of “Fade to Black

When we arrived to our pitch-black home, we first made sure the animals were okay. (It’s hard to find a black cat and black dog in the dark, by the way.) I lit some candles and placed them, of course, out of reach of little D, not just to prevent her from burning herself or the house down, but also because toddlers think every candle in the world is a birthday candle that needs to be blown out.

Since it was pretty humid in the house, we hung out on our backyard deck, got two soon not-to-be-frozen fruit popsicles and what was left of a small pint of strawberry Häagen Dazs ice cream from the freezer, pulled out D’s paints and just did art by candlelight while we sang her favorite songs as she danced around. All we were focused on was each other, and the melting ice cream and fruit pops. It was awesome. This made sense.

Then, unfortunately, the power came back on just an hour later: the TV, the cable box, the Wi-Fi, the A/C, the fridge and the lights in our house and all directions—life as we normally knew it. Thanks a lot, DWP, for the prompt service. I would’ve been happy to save the money on my power bill to have the blackout last a few more hours and savor those “each other” moments in the dark. They aren’t scary . . . they’re sacred.

Here are creative ways to light up your life this Halloween: our Rockabye Baby pumpkin stencils!

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When I was young, I was a huge Wonder Woman fan, as were most girls who grew up watching the Superfriends or Wonder Woman, played so glamorously by Lynda Carter, who never seemed to lose her cool, even in the most harrowing life-and-death situations. I wore her Underoos, her costume for Halloween and, much later in life, got myself a pair of shiny, knee-length, red boots (sans heels) to conquer each day with. You haven’t truly lived until you’ve walked the world in red boots.

As a kid, I thought, who wouldn’t want to be Wonder Woman, the woman who saves the day, taking on bad guys and girls alike?

Actually, in terms of superheroes, there weren’t a lot of popular female crime fighters to choose from except Supergirl (boring) and Batgirl, who my daughter has chosen to be for Halloween over my favorite Amazon, a move I very much approve of. Librarian by day, crime fighter at night—now that’s cool. Much cooler than princesses, I think. (Sorry, Disney. Oh, wait, you own Marvel now too. Smart move.)

These days, superheroes abound in pop culture, but it’s still those classic characters I see the boys at my daughter’s preschool dressed up as in full costume throughout the year — Captain America, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman — wandering in a sea of mostly Elsas and Annas. My initial reaction to the weekly parade of superheroes at her school was amusement. C’mon, it’s hilarious starting your day off walking by a pint-sized Spider-Man and Batman. And, you see, when my daughter first started preschool there, she didn’t know anyone, but she knew those superheroes. They were familiar even if no one else was, and that kind of made things okay. I really like that her school allows that kind of play and dress up. I don’t see it as a big deal, but that’s not the case elsewhere.

I’ve heard of preschools banning superhero play because it was getting too rough. One father I met recently told me that his kid’s preschool didn’t allow them to dress up as superheroes because they didn’t set good examples for conflict resolution. And my husband heard that childcare administrators at a local YMCA didn’t allow superheroes because they wanted to emphasize that everyone was special.

There are, of course, arguments and research saying healthy superhero play is important. Kids, girls included, get to explore fantasy scenarios and different personalities, can learn the concepts of goodness and fairness, gain confidence and may be inspired to do heroic acts, among other positives aspects of such play.

I’ve seen this kind of play opening up whole new worlds to my daughter so far. Yes, perhaps she’s getting a little too daring with her stunts, so we’ll have to work on that. But Captain America and his friends have even helped me with bath time. She’s much more will willing to bathe if it means the superheroes (and Elsa and Anna) are getting washed too.

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And, honestly, teaching her these different characters’ lives through old and new TV shows, comic books and our own home superhero play (for some reason, my daughter always makes me the Hulk) has also inspired me to be more superhero-like, minus the violence. Reading the news most days is so upsetting I’m wishing for superheroes to come in and save us from all this madness.

I’ve now stopped wishing and have started working toward that safer world that Wonder Woman — but really my parents — gave me March26_DavidBowie_AlbumArtgrowing up. Because I really want my daughter to see the potential in everyone – including herself and her parents – to be heroes.

And for me, it starts with fighting crime right here where we live, which is what I set out to do recently with some friends, just by contacting our local councilman’s office to discuss recent attacks on women in our neighborhood parks. And guess what just a few simple emails from concerned ladies turned into? A community forum with the local police department and park rangers happening this week. Getting that to happen felt really, really good; one step toward taking down the bad guys, and I didn’t even need to wear a cape — or a skimpy outfit. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Won’t you join me?

And there’s no better song to start us on our quest than the lullaby rendition of one of my favorite songs from David Bowie. You know the one.

Listen To Lullaby Renditions of David Bowie – “Heroes”

Don’t forget about our Wicked Halloween Sale!

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We’re all about giving out Halloween candy, but this year we’ve got an extra special treat for you! You’re familiar with our rolling discount, right? For those who aren’t, here’s how it works:

Just bundle the Rockabye products you want and see your savings grow!
With a $35 purchase, you get a 10% discount
With a $50 purchase, receive up to a 15% discount and free priority shipping

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See: Wicked savings! 

The more you bundle, the more you save, especially this Halloween season!

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This is where the treat comes in: We’re kickin’ up the discount!

For a limited time for Halloween, from October 22– November 3

With a $35 purchase, you get a 15% discount
With a $50 purchase, receive up to a 20% discount

And the savings continue the more you bundle!

Now go on and treat yourself!

And here are some cute Halloween printables as an added treat!

Some of us here at Rockabye Baby come from places that have eerie, strange pasts . . . tales of devils, witches and ghosts haunting our hometowns. A few brave souls were gutsy enough to share the ghost stories and urban legends from where we’re from, including me. Read on if you dare . . .

 

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The Jersey Devil

My hometown ghost story is an easy one that's fairly well known. I grew up in New Jersey, where for close to 300 years, New Jerseyans have passed down the story of the Jersey Devil (or Leeds Devil), a mythical beast that stalks the Pine Barrens. Legend has it that when "Mother Leeds," so named for her many children and her residence at Leeds Point, learned she was pregnant with her 13th child, she threw her hands up to the heavens in exasperation and exclaimed, "Let this one be a devil!"

And so he was.

The story is especially known by my family, since my grandfather worked at a restaurant for decades at the tip of Leeds Point. Each time we'd drive to eat dinner there, if we'd been acting up in the car on the way as kids, my dad would always threaten to take us to the Jersey Devil, and pretend he was veering towards Mother Leeds's old house. It never failed to get us to behave.

Chrissy, lead web designer

The Blair Witch House

When I was in high school I played football. After my junior season was over we had a get together at the coach’s house, which wasn’t far from where the Blair Witch house was located. Being that it was late, a bunch of us decided to head over there to check it out. One of the other coaches came with us to make sure we stayed out of trouble. As about 10 to 15 of us headed inside, the coach secretly slipped away and snuck in the back entrance of the house.

As soon as there were way too many of us inside the pitch black house the coach yelled, “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!”

The result ended up being a whole team of rough ’n’ tough football players screaming like children while running into the forest — myself included.

—Bill, sales rep

Annie Mary Twente

I grew up in a rural town in southern Minnesota. Living there, it was a rite of passage for local teens to venture out onto the gravel roads south of town to find an old, “haunted” gravesite for the purpose of having the living sh*t scared out of themselves. The gravesite belonged to little Annie Mary Twente.

Annie Mary fell ill with “lung fever” (old slang for pneumonia) in the fall of 1886. Before Annie Mary was put to rest, she slipped into a coma, leading her family to believe that she had died. The Twentes, restless in their grief, were convinced someone had stolen their girl from her grave. The father persuaded a few of his neighbors to help him dig up his daughter. The poor child was found on her side in the coffin, her eyes wide open in terror, strands of her hair clasped in her fists, and scratch marks on the lid of the coffin. She had been buried alive. It’s believed that her spirit haunts the grounds.

Like I said, almost every generation went out to see what went on near the grave. My grandparents did it, my parents did it, and, of course, so did I. One freezing cold night in October my junior year of high school, five of us piled into my best friend Amanda’s white Oldsmobile, aka “The Beast.” We headed out (another friend driving because Amanda was too scared), weaving south down the gravel roads that led there, all of us nervous with excitement (and petrified (though we didn’t want to show it)).

Almost as soon as we arrived the headlights flickered on and off. We screamed bloody murder, but then my friend driving started cackling so we knew it was just her pulling one on us. So we dared her to roll closer to the grave. We parked. Shut the engine off, sat in the dark and heard nothing. Nothing for a looooong time. Then suddenly, there was something on the roof, scratching. It got louder and louder. We all screamed, fired up the engine and kicked it into reverse to get the hell out of there.

Apparently, two nights before we headed to where Annie Mary was buried, someone had tried to break in. Guess she wasn’t too keen on visitors after that.

            —Ms. Rockabye

Have a good ghost story? Post them below. Feeling spooked? These Halloween pics of the Rockabye Baby team will fix that!

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Don’t forget to enter our Giveaway!

What lends more to a scary scene in film than music? Some of the most bizarre, frightful sounds in cinema (specifically sci-fi and horror) can be attributed directly to a number of spooky instruments. From the peculiar Beam Blaster to the theatrical Ondes Martenot — the list of freaky noisemakers goes on and on. Two of our favorite, fearsome instruments are the Waterphone and the Theremin.

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Waterphones

They even look a little scary, right?

  The Waterphone (also known as the oceanharp) produces haunting, ethereal sounds with its varied spokes and metal base (the spokes remind us a bit of frightening playground pangs and chimes and the base of the melodies of whale tones); basically perfect for eerie, goose bump–inducing additions to movie score, right? The underwater warble of the Waterphone has created the mood for movies such as Poltergeist, The Matrix and Star Trek, and TV shows such as The X Files, as you can hear below.

 

The instrument may actually have an “aquatic” name for more than one reason, too. In addition to being named after its inventor, Richard Waters, the handle of the contraption is filled with water, affecting the tones created.

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The otherworldly wail of the Theremin became an almost ubiquitous, signature sound for sci-fi TV shows and films by the mid 1940s, including The Lost Weekend and Spellbound. ’90s films Ed Wood and Batman Forever also received the Theremin touch, the unnerving moan that makes your skin crawl.

One of the Theremin’s most interesting characteristics (that itself seems a bit supernatural) is that it’s played literally by waving your arms around. One or two metal antennas are mounted on the instrument and the musician’s hands control the pitch and volume of the produced sound without actually touching the instrument. And it’s not just movies where you can hear the Theremin! Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page famously brought a Theremin out on tour to extend the instrumental solos of tunes like “Whole Lotta Love” and “No Quarter.”

But if you want to be spooked, try this fan’s Theremin track set to the opening of 1955’s Dementure:

 

Scared out of your wits just thinking about the ghostly sounds of the Theremin and the Waterphone? Don’t worry, we’ve got a little something that’ll calm you right down . . .

Don’t forget to enter our Giveaway!

Like I’ve said before, Play-Doh was the sh*t when I was growing up.

I generally made pleasant, generic things when I was a tot: flowers, snowmen, and tractors. But a recent conversation had me wondering what I would make today, on National Play-Doh Day, if I had Play-Doh at my disposal. Obviously my taste has changed a bit from when I was 3, right? (Well, I still love fruit snacks and Sunny Delight.)

But really, what would I mold now?

I asked a few members of the RB staff to join me in a little Play-Doh exercise. It turns out a recent study showed that playing with Play-Doh can be highly therapeutic and stress reducing. So, a few of the Rockabye Baby staff took a little work break!

Here’s what we made (turns our our tastes haven’t changed that much!):

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A walrus, a penguin and a fish, just chattin’

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Surfs up!

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“Holy on, I have to just catch my breath!” 

Pretty impressive, huh?

What would you mold out of your Play-Doh?

 

To make your own “play dough,” check out these recipes.