Day 23 – SNL Starter Skits for Kids

It takes commitment – I mean, DIGGING DEEP – to spend literally all morning watching Saturday Night Live videos online.

But I’m willing to make that kind of sacrifice for your children.

I think it’s that important.

Saturday Night Live comes on at 11:30 at night for a reason. Young kids shouldn’t be watching this stuff. Most of it, anyway.

But there are some G-rated gems out there that can introduce your brood to vast realms of comedic genius — one robotic driving cat at a time.

So on Day 23 of my 31 Days of Fun/Funny/Funtastic Stuff for Kids, I happily present to you my 10 Favorite Saturday Night Live Starter Skits (for Kids) — not necessarily in order of awesomeness. These are the gateways to a whole new world of ridiculousness.

1. Behind the Music: (More Cowbell) with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken


This is the ultimate. Previous knowledge of Blue Oyster Cult not required; it is all about a hairy paunchy belly poking out of a too-tight sweater. I hope I’m preaching to the choir here, and your kids already have already seen the need for more cowbell. But this is (not to understate it) required viewing for life in the 21st century.

2. King Tut with Steve Martin


My older brother showed this to me when I was a kid, and it seared a place in my heart. There are crazy Egyptian costumes, goofball dance moves, and a gold-painted guy playing a saxophone in a sarcophagus. This is a ’70s-era gold-embossed feast for the eyes. Just be prepared to explain the phrase, “my favorite honkey.”

3. Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals – with Andy Samberg


Your kids may not be hip to the Marky Mark scene — or his Funky Bunch. But what kid doesn’t love animals? Or better yet, what kid wouldn’t love Andy Samberg’s inane Mark Wahlberg impression as he tries to chat up a chicken? “Say ‘Hi’ to your mother for me” could become a thing at your house.

4. Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet with Tracy Morgan


More animals and a weird delusional man-child who loves them. Or wants to make a coat out of them. Tracy Morgan is just odd and silly and buffoonish — all the things that kids love most. And oh yeah, did I mention there are animals?

5. Matt Foley on Halloween with Chris Farley


You do NOT want your kids to end up in a van down by the river. So they need to get a few pointers from this guy — and to laugh hysterically as he flattens a perfectly good coffee table.

6. Toonces the Cat with a robo-cat, Steve Martin, and Victoria Jackson


A cat who drives a car and careens wildly off cliffs? This is the stuff kids LIVE FOR.

7. Laser Cats with Andy Samberg and Bill Heder


The other thing kids live for is cats that shoot lasers out of their mouths.

8. MacGruber with Will Forte


You have to be careful with these. Oh mama, you can get on a tear with some addictive bite-size MacGruber skits and end up in R territory quick. But this one has been mom-approved (if you trust my judgment, and I’m not sure you should…). Kids won’t get the MacGyver joke, but whatevs. There’s funny hair-dos and stuff blows up.

9. Super Showcase with Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig


I’d want to have this skit with me on a desert island. Maybe I’m just a product of my Price is Right rearing, but game show hostesses “Shonda” and “Vonda” posing with frozen chickens and talking in those weird made-up accents — it’s fall-down funny to me. Your kids don’t need to know who Bob Barker or Vanna White is to laugh at a couple of big-haired lunatics crashing through walls in a golf cart.

10. Taste Test with Melissa McCarthy


Y’all. I saved this for last because it just might be MY FAVORITE EVER. And because you’ve probably never seen it. Melissa McCarthy is a scream every single second she’s on screen. She is a total case study in how to milk something for laughs — either with a subtle look or a gesture…or by pouring an entire bottle of Ranch dressing down her front. There’s something for everybody, and my kids know this crazy thing backwards and forwards. As they should.

BONUS PRIZE: Compulsion with Jan Hooks and Phil Hartman


When I recently posted a list of my favorite Jan Hooks skits, I looked high and low for this commercial. Hallelujah, it has been FOUND. I personally cannot relate to its clean-freak protagonist, but this goes down as one of the smartest and most side-splitting ads ever made on SNL, featuring two of its greatest talents. Plus, your kids can watch it. They won’t really get it, but maybe it will encourage them to clean the bathroom.

So that’s my SHORT list.

Now I’m waiting. What are your SNL favorites that just might pass the family-friendly smell test?

And by the way, this may have been the best way to fritter away a morning ever.

All images property of NBC

Day 20 – Game on

It’s only October, but I’ve already racked up my first Christmas Miracle.

Look what we spotted at Toys R Us yesterday. (Go ahead and get your pens out. You’re gonna need to start writing to Santa for this pronto…)


This thing of beauty can be yours (again) for $40 at Toys R Us. I am still marveling.

Yes, Virginia. It is an Atari. With JOYSTICKS. And (count ’em) NINETY-TWO built-in games.

(And yes, one of them is Space Invaders.)

Tell XBox 360 (or whatever the cool kids are playing this week) to step off. There’s a new, really old, game in town.


92 games. That means some of them are weird useless stuff like Yars’ Revenge. But that also means there’s Centipede. And PONG.

I wish I had some heart-warming Tiny Tim-esque story of my favorite Christmas past. But I don’t. My favorite Christmas EVER was the year Santa cracked under societal pressure and placed an Atari beneath our tree.

Consider my world ROCKED.

I cannot tell you (or dare admit to my children) the number of lost hours of my youth that were spent fighting intergalactic battles with digitized blobs called “asteroids.”

Too many. So so many.

But eventually I perfected how to swing from a “Pitfall” vine like a tiny pixillated Indiana Jones, landing on that crocodile’s eyeball with razor-sharp accuracy time after time after time. Oh, it took hours of commitment, but I saw it through, people. I saw it through.

Atari taught me that.

This is the stuff ’80s-era childhood memories are made of — and that family game nights should now have to endure.


So on Day 20 of my 31 Days of Fun/Funny/Funtastic Stuff for Families, might I suggest stuffing those stockings a little early? Just get ’em all chock full of ’80s joy and rapture.

Your kids will rise up and call you LAME.

But listen. We fought too hard to rid the world of marauding super-sized caterpillars. And now they’re back. It’s our duty as children of the ’80s to grab a joystick and equip a new generation for the battle.

If not now, when? If not us, who?

Day 18 – Get Tricked Out for Halloween

On a lazy Saturday morning, the kids have cartoons (really loud skater-punk turtles who munch pizza and fight crime.) I have Etsy.

If you don’t already know and love this crafty/vintage website, it’s just the sweetest little oasis of homespun commerce. And you can find anything. I mean, seriously, ANYTHING.

I’ve sent off for everything from lovingly home-stitched Easter dresses to, well…Cousin Eddie earrings lovingly crafted from bottle caps.



These beauties are – SOMEHOW – still available! Check out the Goldylyon Shop on Etsy.

So for Day 18 of my 31 Days of Fun/Funny/Funtastic Stuff for Families, I have curated a fall fabulous list of Halloween Not-Necessarily-Must-Haves for the Home — straight from the Etsy files. You will love deeply, occasionally laugh loudly, and quite possibly drain your PayPal account.

Let’s get you started.

Okay, for those who hate yielding machetes and scooping pumpkin guts every October, I say slap a mustache on your gourd and call it a DAY.


 Handlebar facial hair is what all the cool pumpkins are wearing this fall. Just $5 for this handsome mustachioed set of 4 decals. These are coming to you straight from SaraLukeCreations in Spring Arbor, MI.

No Southern pumpkin with any decency would be caught dead without a monogram. (Yankee pumpkins, just stick with the mustaches. This is a language you do not speak.)


These lovely golden ‘gram decals are $4 each from the well-heeled “Monogram Collection” Etsy shop out of (gasp!) Chicago, IL. Um, duh, the pumpkin is NOT included.

This spoon makes the perfect companion for your child’s morning CountChocula.


This hand-stamped slverplate spoon can rattle around your silverware drawer for $16 from MilkandHoneyLuxuries in Richmond, VA. Other funny/scary phrases: “Let’s Spoon” and “Call Your Mother.”

Nothing is scarier – or makes you feel better about your parenting — than Mommie Dearest. Now she’s scary.


Share freaky greetings with your kids with this hand-made Joan Crawford card for $4 from DebbieDrawsFunny in Cleveland, OH. If Mommie’s not scary enough, check out the cards with Hall & Oates or the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man. 

For the cat-loving (or hating) family, this might be my very favorite find. If we only had a cat to torment…


This hand-crocheted Rapunzel hat FOR YOUR CAT is $30 from the IHeartNeedlework shop in Florence, SC. Be sure not to miss the ridiculous pilgrim hats and Frankenstein foreheads. FOR ANIMALS. 

Now let us bring our journey full-circle, beginning and ending this spooky trail of stupidity with bottle caps.


Bottle-cap earrings scream “class” in every season. Just $5.99. 

Etsy is a world of weird and wonderful wonders that begs to be explored.

It takes a whole lot less energy than a stupid corn maze. And you can busily burn through your stash of Twix trick-or-treat bars at the same time.

Now that’s good holiday fun.

Day 17 – Hightail it to Harry’s

Yesterday’s blog took it out of me. Alllll those horrifying pictures and alllll that bad hair.  (If you missed my ode to ’80s yearbooks, click here for a good laugh.)

So yada yada yada…

I’m really tired today. And I need a snack.

Preferably cheeseburgers, thank you very much.


On Day 17 of My 31 Days of Fun/Funny/Funtastic Stuff for Families, I hereby channel my inner Wimpy from Popeye and heartily suggest that you take the kids for cheeseburgers. Preferably from Harry’s Place in Colchester (if you live around these Connecticut Shoreline parts.)


Who is this adolescent pre-teenage person who stowed away in our car and is eating our cheeseburgers??

Harry’s is our favorite little roadside stand — with crazy good burgers, those fries that are all crispy on the outside the way I like, gigantic onion rings, and an ice cream stand to boot. (We hit it hard on our recent jaunt to Pumpkintown.)

This place is actually on the National Register of Historic Places; it’s been around since 1920. (I’m not good at math, but I think that’s close to 100 years). It’s safe to say that Harry knows his way around a burger.


She’ll gladly pay you on Tuesday for a cheeseburger today.

Harry’s closes for the season on Sunday, October 19. So that gives you exactly two days.

Stop wasting time salivating over this picture and RUN.

Oh, who are we kidding? After all that greasy goodness hits your gut, there’s no way you’ll be able to run back.


Then ride home fat and happy with the top button of your jeans unsnapped.

Leave the spinach to Popeye. We’re with Wimpy on this one.

Day 16 – Show the Kids your Yearbook

Prepare yourself. This is gonna be a feast for the eyes.

I took the day off yesterday from my 31 Day Blogging Challenge (eh, we all knew I’d never make it).

But that has given you a full 24 hours to cleanse your system in preparation for this day.

Welcome to ThrowBack Thursday: ’80s Yearbook Edition.

Here’s your first free sample:


I’m the slope-shouldered dork with the Forenza V-neck and painfully short haircut. One word: WHY?

For Day 16 of my 31 Days of Fun/Funny/Funtastic Stuff for Kids, I say let’s dust off our old yearbooks. And let’s collectively horrify our children with our mullet hair/gold chains/Jordache jeans of yesteryear. They need to know – nay, SEE – what we went through with their own eyes so they won’t make the same mistakes we did.

And oh yeah, so they can mock us.


Bill’s senior pictures from Western Tennessee are mind-blowingly awesome. I cannot get enough of the red feathery things and matching bow ties. (In case you need help spotting my c.1988 husband, he’s the mullet-free white guy. There’s only one.) 

Let’s show them what passed for “Best Dressed” in our day.


 I’m sure these are dear precious people. But how did Bill’s senior class collectively agree that a plaid-on-plaid suit (with sock tie) and matching Gunne Sax dresses represented their most fashion-forward? It was a different time. One with much more fabric. Not all of it matching.

Make your children look at you in that band uniform and know: This is my heritage. This awesomeness is where I come from.


Nothing screams “COOL” like being a 6 ft. tall girl in a toy soldier uniform. Topped with a 2 ft. tall fuzzy hat. In 6 inch thick Hushpuppy shoes. Banging together very large and very loud CYMBALS. I was a LOT to take in.

Let your children enter that world with you…back to Ye Olde 20th Century, where we churned our own margarine and communicated with the outside world by CB radio and wore leg-warmers to survive the harsh prairie winters.

You may need to translate and/or screen some of the 1980s yearbook lingo. (Apparently “Raising Hell” was very much encouraged at my junior high.)


There are many many versions to choose from. This one means, “Raise Hell All Summer.” I’m sure I failed utterly to do so.


Okay, so here I’m supposed to “Raise Hell OVER Summer.” So maybe just one episode of hell-raising would suffice?


Hmmm…this one suggests that I “Raise Hell THIS Summer.” I guess that got me off the hook for any future summers. That’s a relief.

There’s also higher math that may need to be explained. (This is not the way they do things in the Common Core.)


This math is confusing. I’m apparently really sweet (like, to a memorable degree) but I still have more hell-raising to do?


Even with all the hell-raising, there are apparently limits. And I was in the Students Against Drunk Driving Club, so there’s that. (That was an actual thing in 1989).

Be sure to introduce your kids to the teachers and staff who shaped the person you would become.

Like our Lunch Room Ladies.


Especially the giant one with the mustache.

Your yearbook is a teaching tool, my friends, for giving the next generation a window into the past.

To see what the ancients wore (mostly puffy sleeves).

To better understand how they communicated with one another (by corded phone and mix tape).

To catch a glimpse of what daily life was like (we were very big on balloon arches).


Sharing our yearbooks with our children is a vital tool for passing along the proud oral tradition of our family histories – as we tell tales of courage and perseverance (like how Bill survived having his sweater set on fire by some girl playing with matches in class). These are the stories they will one day tell their children.

May we all reflect on our yearbooks of days gone by, learn from the past, and guide our children into a better tomorrow.

A tomorrow where there is no more hate.

No more fear.

And (please Lord), no more perms.

Day 14 – Cook like Betty Draper

Throw your kale chips in the air like you just don’t care.

This post is all about making old-school cuisine just like our moms used to make — a turn of events that will free up your busy day, lighten the grocery budget, and completely freak out your children.

(This is my idea of a good time on Day 14 of my 31 Days of Fun/Funny Stuff for Families).

I ran across the most darling and disturbing cookbook, circa 1956, put out by the National Dairy Council — presumably because they wanted to promote good wholesome cooking with America’s finest dairy products.


If you know anything about cookbooks of the ’50s and ’60s, you know the sun rises and sets on one thing:  cottage cheese. Usually on an iceberg lettuce leaf. Maybe with a maraschino cherry or canned pineapple ring on top, if you wanted to act rich.

With all of our modern-mom emphasis on sneaking broccoli puree into lasagne, roasting kale and calling it “chips,” and sending hummus and red peppers in a bento box to school, I say let’s throw these 21st century kids for a LOOP.

Let’s greet the brood after soccer practice with a warm bowl of vitamin-packed soup like our moms used to do. From a can.



Would you just LOOK at the detailed instructions for heating up canned soup? There’s even a variation in case you dig on Green Pea instead. (Which essentially boils down to opening a different can.)

But there’s MILK. So yeah, it’s pretty delish and nutrish.

Or if you dig on triglycerides, how ’bout the haute hot dog cuisine of sliced dogs doused in cheese? This heaven on a plate is also known in ’50s parlance as Saturday’s Dream.


Sadly, I distinctly remember this hot dog invention being part of our regular family repertoire. And on a side note: do you know a single solitary kid in 2014 whose name is Bill?

If you really want to shake things up, how about greeting your kids with an afternoon snack of PRUNE WHIP?


Can you even imagine? Seriously. YOUR CHILDREN WOULD DIE A THOUSAND DEATHS.

It’s amazing what terrors, I mean – WONDERS, you can create with a little mayo, instant pudding, and condensed soup.

Oh sure, our kids may recoil at these foodstuffs of the 1950s, but here’s one thing for ’em: they sure do whip up quick.

This easy-breezy, totally non-nutritional approach to the kitchen frees up lots of extra time for chain smoking and playing canasta with the other wives on the cul-de-sac.

So what’s the grossest concoction of the Harvest Gold-hued kitchen era that your mom made you eat? Do tell.

And oh please, DO serve it to your kids. It builds character. And probably clogged arteries.

But there’s plenty of kale for that later.

Day 13 – Get Pumped for Fall at Pumpkintown USA

I finally broke down.

After over a decade of living in New England, this Carolina girl bought her first Yankee Magazine subscription. It was time to come to terms with our new Northern normal.

When that first issue arrived — the one devoted to all things leaf-peepish — I found a blurb on a Connecticut whimsy mecca I’d never heard of before: Pumpkintown USA.


Y’all. (I still say that, Yankee subscription or no Yankee subscription…)

It is just the CUTEST thing.

And it’s Day 13 in my 31 Days of Fun/Funny Stuff for Families (or at least families who live in these parts). Pumpkintown is just adorable, and it’s open every day through Halloween.

As part of a family-run greenhouse in East Hampton, CT (near Colchester – for the uninitiated), Pumpkintown is all about the gourds – each one painted and posed like really smiley humans throughout a makeshift village of barber shops and wedding chapels and county jails.


I dig the groom’s ‘fro mullet.



From your seat on the family hayride, you can spot more of these goofy gourds scattered through the woods — skiing, chilling in a deer stand, splitting logs, (and my personal favorite) manning a moonshine still.


Here’s one caught reading his paper in the outhouse.


This Southern girl felt right at home.

There are, of course, cider donuts and actual cider and kettle korn — all for pretty cheap.


Plus, kids can run amuck in a little hay maze and bounce their brains out in a big inflatable pumpkin and in a garden of bouncy tires.


There’s about a million places to make your kids stick their heads in and pose. Here’s a sampling:

ScarecrowWIll HeadlessLucyFull HeadlessLucy

We went home with many gourds.


Although not quite THIS many…


And I went home with that warm-fuzzy Mom feeling.

The family unit experienced someplace new, we soaked in some fall colors, and MAN, did we ever get our fall New England whimsy on. I loved it.

So I’m just gonna put it all out there and say…(wait for it)…

Pumpkintown USA. You’d be out of your gourd not to go.

Day 12 – Sunday is for Slothing

I’ve been blogging for 12 straight days, and I’m wore out.

And of course, this is Sunday — the Day of Rest.

So might I suggest on Day 12 of my 31-day blogging challenge (for 31 Days of Fun/Funny/Funtastic Stuff for Families) to do something really radical?


Me (at about 5) and my dad “reading” the paper together. If you look carefully, you’ll see mine is more of the “funny paper” variety. Whatevs.


Go to church.

Read the paper.

Take a nap.

Have breakfast food for dinner.

Watch a movie.

Be a waste of space for a day.

That’s what a Sunday is for.

Besides, there’s a bonus holiday tomorrow for most of us – so store up those energy bunnies for tomorrow’s fanciful action-packed pumpkin-picking, hay-riding and leaf-peeping.

Sunday is for slothing.

I give you permission. And I’m gonna go out on a limb here…so does God.

Happy Sunday. Happy slothing.

Day 11 – Get Your Faerie On

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT is, to coin a phrase, awesome-sauce.


(As FGM’s grants writer, they do pay me to say that – albeit with somewhat fancier words like “educationally innovative,” “inspiring and imaginative,” “committed to excellence.”)

No joke, FGM is all those things every day, but nowhere is that imaginative spirit in fuller bloom than during its annual Wee Faerie Village installation, up now through Nov. 2.


For my local-yokel peeps along the Connecticut Shoreline and in New England, this is my Day 11 of Fun Stuff for Families (in this interminable 31-Day blogging challenge): Go see Florence’s faerie houses.

This year’s theme of 26 faerie houses (crafted by lots of cool local creative types) is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and the oh-so au courant Steampunk Movement (calling upon the cool metal stuff of the Industrial Revolution — from clock gears to oil cans — to create these wildly fanciful versions of Wonderland.)




There are keyholes to peek through and tiny little worlds to investigate and kids love it. Almost as much as you will.


Wee Faerie Village is sort of like a Pixar movie – kid-captivating, adult-clever. Everybody wins.

Plus, there are bonus prizes with a riverfront campus that is just crazy with color this time of year. (Note to kids: feel free to run wildly about in its glory.)



And try on funny SteamPunk’d hats.


If you’re sadly a thousand miles away from swinging by for the afternoon, you can always get all inspired and craftsy and make faerie houses at home (although that would require a glue gun…). Here’s some inspiration:




But if you’re not a thousand miles away, go.


Wee Faerie Village in a Steampunk’d Wonderland is pure-T whimsy at its fall finest.

It’ll make you wanna jump for joy.

(Or at least wanna photo-bomb your sister and her friends.)

Day 10 – Introduce your Kids to Jan Hooks

It’s weird. And sad.

Today was the day I’d planned to pitch my favorite kid-friendly SNL skits – sort of as a safe, early introduction into the non-Nick Jr. comedy realms.

Then I heard Jan Hooks had died, who’s like my favorite crazy aunt.


This is NBC’s photo from the Saturday Night Live archives. (Don’t sue me for this stuff.)

So today, I will be showing my kids the Sweeney Sisters “Bells” medley skit. I just watched it again, and as many times as I’ve seen it, I was still this close to wetting my pants. (That’s good, by the way.)

Jan Hooks squeezes laughs out of every single solitary moment her face is on screen. Full on. ALL THE TIME. So this is mandatory viewing today. You will be graded.


(I got this off Pinterest, and it said “via The Lusty Literate.” Again, please don’t sue me.)

(Oh, and disregard the fact that this crappy version of the Sweeney Sisters is from someone’s crusty VHS tape; just have a bonus laugh at the 80s-era cereal commercial.)

May I also recommend a lesser-known gem from Jan Hooks’ immense body of work — one that I still quote to this day.

“Musicians for Free-Range Chickens.”


Jan Hooks plays Diana Ross, just behind Victoria Jackson’s screechy Cyndi Lauper. (I got this sketchy image off Don’t sue me)

Your children will totally NOT get the joke. They will have no idea who any of these people are or why they’re all singing badly together. But consider this send-up of We are the World a helpful crash course in ’80s pop culture – a vital teaching tool about Axl Rose and Bob Dylan and Wilson Phillips (sorry about the bra).

Your kids may not get WHY this is funny, but they’ll look over at you snorting and pounding the desk, and they’ll laugh because you’re laughing.

This is, by the way, how we begin to impart to future generations what’s funny. They see us NOT laughing at, say, something terrible on the Disney Channel and they understand: NOT FUNNY. They see us laughing at Jan Hooks swaying dramatically in a voluminous wig, and they understand: Ah, FUNNY.

And you can’t not laugh at this.

Let me add: if it’s possible for Jan Hooks to steal the show right out from underneath the entire cast in one fell swoop, her Diana Ross character does that with these eloquent words:

“Tell the children…to tell the world…to tell the chickens we’re ON OUR WAY!” 

That’s one of my favorite lines ever anywhere. EVER.

(I say it to our Purdue boneless breasts quite often while standing over them at the stovetop.)

Those skits are just the kid-proofed ones. There are, of course, scads of others that don’t quite pass that test, but deserve a fond look back.

Check out the immortal “pie” sketch with Alec Baldwin, the Church Chat episodes – once as Tammy Faye Bakker, another time as Jessica Hahn, the Sinatra Group as Sinead/Sinbad/Uncle Fester O’Connor.


From NBC’s SNL archives

Maybe we can talk about other fun-for-family SNL skits on another day in this 31 Day blogging challenge (I’ve still got 20 days left in my 31 Days of Fun/Funny/Funtastic Stuff for Families series). But today is Jan’s day.

Jan Hooks was just a complete and total riot. Fall down on the floor funny. The crazy aunt who shakes up Thanksgiving.

So I will show my kids these skits today and belt out “Clang clang clang went the trolley” and talk about doing what you love with joy and abandon.

That’s what Jan Hooks did so well.

She makes me wanna be a better goofball.