Monthly Archives: March 2017

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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March 17, 2017 · 5:33 am

35 Fun Facts About The Wonder Years

Ask me what my favorite movie is and I’ll have to list at least two or three.  There are just so many factors!!  But when it comes to my favorite TV show, hands down, every time…it’s The Wonder Years.

What I love about The Wonder Years is that it’s not neat and tidy.  Things do not end the way you may think they will…or the way you want them to…and that’s just how life is, honestly.  People don’t live happily ever after.  People die.  People break up and get divorced.  Our first loves, our true loves, are not always the ones we end up with…and this show does an amazing job of bringing that to life in the most relatable, honest and heartfelt way.

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I’ve watched The Wonder Years a ridiculous amount of times.  I’m actually watching it now as I write this post!  I watched it for the first time with my dad when it was on ABC, then again when it was on Nick at Nite.  I watched it when it was released on Netflix a good handful of times and then again after my dad died…and apparently here I go again!  No other show, movie, play, or book has touched my life the way this show has…and, much like an old friend I know I can count on when times get tough, it will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Even now, all these years later, certain episodes still make me laugh.  A lot make me cry…and some just hit home in a way that nearly knocks me off my feet.  I had a romance like Kevin and Winnie’s…I knew people like Paul and Becky Slater.  I had teachers like Mr. Collins and my grandpa was so much like Mr. Arnold.  These were real people to me…they were a part of my story.  I’ve never experienced anything like that before or since, and I will forever be grateful to the cast and production team for telling their story the way they did…in a manner that was honest and true.

The Wonder Years recently had a 25 year anniversary…and was finally released on DVD not too long ago after an epic battle to obtain music rights to several of the songs that helped make this show so great.  A few days ago I did a post on Where The Wonder Years Cast is Now, and now I bring you a few fun facts about the making of this iconic American TV show!

35 Fun Facts About The Wonder Years

Kevin Arnold’s (Fred Savage) and Winnie Cooper’s (Danica McKellar) first kiss was also Savage and McKellar’s first kiss! Savage was just 11 and McKellar was 12 when they shot that scene.
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Actress Danica McKellar was up against her sister, Crystal, for the part of Winnie Cooper. Producers finally decided on Danica the day before the pilot began shooting because she was older and her hair color better complimented Fred Savage’s hair.
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But Crystal got her chance in the spotlight, too. You can see Crystal McKellar play the role of Becky Slater throughout the series.  Ironically she’s the one Kevin dates early on to make Winnie jealous.  Cold move, Kev…cold move.
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Olivia D’Abo, who played Kevin’s sister Karen, had hair extensions put in to complete her ‘flower child’ look.
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After its first season, which was only 6 episodes, The Wonder Years took home an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1988.
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If that chemistry between Kevin and Winnie looked like the real deal, it’s because it was! McKellar has said that both she and Savage had crushes on each other in the early days of filming, but their relationship eventually turned into a more brother-sister bond…as is the case with most of these young folk!  Savage was quoted as saying, “I was in love with her for the same reasons every other boy fell in love with her.  You won’t meet a sweeter, nicer girl – and she’s gorgeous.”  STOP IT.
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The city where The Wonder Years took place is never mentioned, but the Arnold’s house was located in Burbank, California and the interior was replicated on a soundstage.
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Many fans have tried to debunk this and search the series for clues…including zooming in on the license plate of the family car and the shot of Wayne’s (Jason Hervey) driver’s license. Both ground the series in California, but it’s never explained exactly where it takes place.
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A TON of actors made guest appearances on The Wonder Years, including Juliette Lewis, Jim Caviezel, Alicia Silverstone, Giovanni Ribisi, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, David Schwimmer, Robin Thicke, John Corbett and several more.
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Ben Savage, Fred Savage’s younger brother, even made a little guest appearance in the Valentine’s Day episode! Look at him!!

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Yes, the entire cast is still super close to this day (which makes me happier than you will ever know), but the moms of all the kids also really hit it off…since they were all on set with their kids all the time. Joanne Savage, Mahalia McKellar, Marsha Hervey, and Jane Saviano (Josh Saviano’s (Paul) mom) still talk and get together.  How precious is that?!

The Wonder Years was partly inspired by film, A Christmas Story. From the coming-of-age theme to the use of narration, the two cultural staples had quite a lot in common.  Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) even made an appearance in the final two episodes of The Wonder Years as one of Kevin’s roommates.

The Wonder Years also was pretty revolutionary for its time in terms of production value. The dramedy only used one camera to film the entire series and the use of a narrator and lack of a laugh track was a bit unheard of for the time.

Casting a lead is never easy…especially when your lead is an 11-year-old boy. So producers Carol Black and Neal Marlens interviewed five casting directors for recommendations on who should play Kevin Arnold.  Every single one of them said Fred Savage.  Boy’s got skillz!

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Perhaps the success of The Wonder Years has to do with the fact that it premiered after the 1988 Super Bowl. More than 80 million viewers tuned in that year to watch the Washington Redskins crush the Denver Broncos and were then treated to a bit of Americana television.

In 1989, at the tender age of 13, Savage became the youngest actor to be nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category. He was nominated again in 1990.
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A lot of the dialogue between Kevin and Winnie was picked up from conversations that Savage and McKellar would have off-screen.

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The on-again, off-again romance between Kevin and Winnie was an integral part of the series…but between the third and fourth seasons, the split was solely because McKellar had experienced a huge growth spurt, leaving her little 5-foot co-star in the dust. The two remained separated just long enough for Savage to catch up in height!

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It was Dan Lauria’s idea to make his character, Jack Arnold, a veteran of the Korean War. Lauria himself was a marine and Vietnam War vet and he wanted to bring that part of his life into his character.  It certainly helped and added much-needed dimension to Mr. Arnold.

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Daniel Stern narrates the series as grown-up Kevin Arnold. You might know Stern from a little movie called Home Alone.

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Stern also directed several episodes of The Wonder Years.

In the series finale, it’s mentioned that Kevin’s friend Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano) goes off to Harvard and becomes a lawyer. In real life, actor Saviano actually attended Yale to become a lawyer.  He’s a lawyer to this day, working to protect, build and exploit celebrity and corporate brands.

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The little boy’s voice in the finale asking grown-up Kevin to come outside and play catch is actually Stern’s real life son.

The reason it took so long to release The Wonder Years on DVD was because it was near impossible to get all the music rights for the songs that really brought this series to life, including the title song, “I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends”. Eventually, about 96% of the original music was cleared, and The Wonder Years has finally made it to DVD!  WISH LIST!!!!!

The Wonder Years: Complete Series (slipcase)(26DVD)

Since the actors on The Wonder Years were all so young, they often had to balance filming with school…therefore a lot of scenes were actually shot separately. For example, in the scene where Kevin climbs into Winnie’s bedroom after she is in a car accident and they say “I love you” FOR THE FIRST TIME, it was actually each actor saying “I love you” to a piece of tape!

Though he played a total nerd in the series, Saviano was actually a varsity athlete. McKellar, who was a bit of an athlete in the series, was actually a total book nerd and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics…with honors, no less.

Savage, McKellar, and Saviano have all said that the episodes that feature Mr. Collins, the stern and fair math teacher, were their favorite episodes in the series.

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Lauria and Alley Mills (Norma Arnold), who played Kevin’s parents on the show, didn’t have any real life children of their own; therefore, they basically adopted all the kids on set and the vibe was very much that of a tight family unit.

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Paul’s bar mitzvah episode was one of the first depictions of Judaism on mainstream prime-time television. Savage was invited to Saviano’s real life bar mitzvah, but couldn’t go because he was filming a movie.  However, both Saviano and McKellar attended Savage’s bar mitzvah.  OMG THE CUTENESS…I CAN’T TAKE IT MUCH LONGER.

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In order to make it easier for Savage to react to the voiceover, there was a real narrator on set reading the lines out loud.

Young actors of today, look to Savage, Saviano, and McKellar as gleaming examples of child actors going on to live pretty amazing lives. Savage attended Stanford and is now directing movies and TV (including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Modern Family), Saviano is a Yale graduate practicing law, and McKellar graduated from UCLA with honors and has written four books about mathematics, one of which made it to the New York Times Best Seller List.

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The house used for exterior shots of the home throughout the series is 516 University Ave., Burbank, CA.

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After the series ended, Savage’s mom kept the New York Jets jacket worn by Kevin during the show’s first few seasons. In October 2014, Savage donated the jacket to the Smithsonian.

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Fred Savage, Blake Sennett, and Dan Lauria all guest-starred on Ben Savage’s show, Boy Meets World.

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Savage is also the only cast member to appear in every episode of the series.

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Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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Cute Birthday Hat Garland

I recently went through my craft stash and did a MASSIVE clean…I got rid of yarn I don’t use, supplies I never use, paper I’ve never used…and sitting at the bottom of one of my craft containers was a stash of scrap paper.

Saved from various paper projects, this collection of scrap paper had a whole mess of paper in it. In an effort to really make a dent in my craft stuff, I set it aside to be recycled…

But…then I got an idea!

Also in my collection of stuff to bring to work and put on the free table was a bag of small pom poms. I have no idea why I had these or where they came from, but I grabbed them and my paper stash and got to work making some little party hats.

Needless to say, this was a great way to use up my paper scraps and now I have a fun little garland to hang up during birthday celebrations!

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I found a template for a mini hat at the This Heart of Mine blog (link below) that made super cute hats about 1 in. high. She also includes a pattern for human-sized hats if you want to get crafty for a party!

A fun garland to hang on the wall or use to wrap a gift, this birthday hat garland is fast, easy, and oh so adorable!

Cute Birthday Hat Garland

Materials:

  • Pattern (I used the pattern found here)
  • Scissors
  • Scrap Paper
  • Glue Stick
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Mini Pom Poms
  • String

Instructions:

  1. Cut out your pattern and assemble your little hats. You can follow the instructions at the link above for the mini party hats.
  2. Using a glue gun, top your hats with mini pom poms.
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  3. Attach back of hats to string using glue gun.

String up and enjoy!

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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The Humanity of Our Heroes

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Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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5 St. Patrick’s Day Recipes that Aren’t Corned Beef and Cabbage

Right, so I know corned beef and cabbage is the traditional St. Patty’s Day go-to…and I know my Irish ancestors would shun me for saying so, but I’m just not a huge fan of corned beef…or cabbage for that matter.  I mean…I’ll eat it…but when push comes to shove, I’d much rather spring for a piece of shepherd’s pie or a big ol’ plate of bangers and mash (which I know is not OFFICIALLY Irish, but…it has potatoes!!).

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So here are a few other Irish-ish recipes that you can make to still be in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit if you’re like me and don’t swoon over the traditional fare.

5 St. Patrick’s Day Recipes that Aren’t Corned Beef and Cabbage

Irish Soda Bread (my favorite!!)
Gimme Some Oven
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Bangers & Mash
Self-Proclaimed Foodie
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Shepherd’s Pie
Delish Plan
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Bailey’s Brownies
Just a Pinch
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Beer Cheese Soup
A Spicy Perspective
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Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Is You Okay? Book Review

The first Glozell video I saw was “The Cinnamon Challenge”.  Here was some crazy loud woman with one heck of an amazing weave downing a LADLE full of cinnamon and somehow not dying…I felt bad laughing hysterically but I couldn’t help it!  I instantly fell in love with her and her vibrant personality.

I plowed through a few more of her challenge videos, including “The Wasabi Challenge” and “The Hot Pepper Challenge”, and –of course— “A Push Up Bra Will Help Me Get My Man”.  I couldn’t get enough.  She was just so lovable in her stupidity.

My sister and I share a mutual love of Glozell.  And when we found out she was writing a book, we made a mental note to attend her signing, no questions asked.  Well, I guess that note blew away in the wind…but when I opened my Christmas gifts from her and found Glozell’s book, Is You Okay?, smiling up at me between the ripped Christmas paper, I got instantly excited and jumped in that night.

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Filled with everything a “Glo-worm” or “Glo-bug” or Glozell fan could ever want, Is You Okay?, is a gem of a book, filled with surprising inspiration and motivation to follow your dreams.  Written as if Glozell was just chatting with you over lunch, Is You Okay? is an intimate look into Glozell’s personal life and how she got her start as an Internet-tainer.

A true and quite unusual success story, Glozell talks about her journey from filming “A Push Up Bra Will Help Me Get My Man” to her special episode where she got to sit down and interview President Barak Obama.  Hers is a story that is not far-fetched or out of reach for others who are just as dedicated and resilient as she is…and it’s that message that makes this book pretty inspiring.

Of course, every success story has bumpy roads.  “The Cinnamon Challenge”, for example, was a life-changing video that put Glozell on the map as one of YouTube’s most successful hosts…but it also nearly killed her…like, for realz.  Easily her most popular video with 50,714,327 views and counting, “The Cinnamon Challenge” basically turned her into an overnight sensation…and helped guide her voice and message for the rest of her insanely crazy videos.

Also peppered with personal stories about Glozell’s family, love life (celebrity drama included!), and even a few family photos, Is You Okay? will make you laugh out loud with stories that are embarrassing, ridiculous, and relatable.  She’s a shining, albeit strange, example of success and she continues to pump out videos and collaborations to this day.  With 4.5 million subscribers to her YouTube channel, GloZell Green, Glozell has proven herself to be a true entertainer in every sense of the word…making millions smile and laugh one video at a time.

Over and out.

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Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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The Little Rascals…Where Are They Now?

The 90’s were a time of amazing music, fantastic TV shows, and adorable kid-friendly movies.  Home Alone, Matilda, The Lion King, Homeward Bound, Free Willy, Hook, Jumanji, Space Jam, Mrs. Doubtfire, Hocus Pocus, Toy Story, My Girl, Good Burger, Fern Gully, The Sandlot, and Aladdin were just SOME of the movies that came out between 1990 and 1999…and nestled comfortably between classics like The Lion King and Home Alone sat a little movie about “The He-Man Woman Hater’s Club” that brought to life the characters from the old program, Our Gang.

Starring newcomers Bug Hall, Travis Tedford, and Brittany Ashton Holmes, as well as several familiar faces like Whoopi Goldberg, Reba McEntire, Mel Brooks, Lea Thompson, and…yes…Donald Trump, The Little Rascals was a sweet and adorable movie that was a favorite in our household, for sure!  With plenty of kid and adult humor jam-packed into an hour and change, The Little Rascals was a movie our whole family could enjoy year after year (especially as us kids understood more and more of the adult humor!).

While some of the stars of The Little Rascals had a successful career in Hollywood after the film ended, others decided to retire and focus more on their education.  Here’s a look into what the cast of The Little Rascals has been up to recently!

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The Little Rascals…Where Are They Now?

Bug Hall
Alfalfa

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Brandon “Bug” Hall is perhaps best known for his role as Alfalfa in The Little Rascals.  After winning over young hearts as the little lover with the cowlick, Hall went on to appear in a few more 90’s movies, including The Stupids and The Big Green.  From there his work was limited, mostly appearing in direct-to-DVD films and TV movies.  He’s also had guest spots on several popular TV shows, including Charmed, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, and 90210.  Most recently he appeared as Arthur Davidson in the TV miniseries Harley and the Davidsons.  He also has two movies due to release soon, The Shadow People and The Long Run.

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Travis Tedford
Spanky
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Travis Tedford is also best known for his role as Spanky in The Little Rascals.  He became the spokesperson for Welch’s Grape Juice when he was just 5 years old, the same year he was in The Little Rascals.  After The Little Rascals, Tedford was in a few more films, including A Bug’s Life (1998) and Freaky Friday (2003).  In 2006 he graduated from Athens High School in Texas and went to Trinity Valley Community College, where he got an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts.  He currently is employed at Texas Trust Credit Union as a marketing specialist.

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Brittany Ashton Holmes
Darla
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Brittany Holmes retired from acting about two years after crushing that can like a pro in The Little Rascals.  She currently resides in Los Angeles and is working on getting a degree in political science.

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Blake McIver Ewing
Waldo

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Starring as the little kid we all loved to hate, Blake McIver Ewing has gone on to do quite a lot since his role in The Little Rascals.  A talented singer, actor, and pianist, Ewing co-wrote and performed the song, “Along the River”, the end credit song for the 2005 film, End of the Spear.  To help raise money as he was growing up in LA, Ewing performed as a go-go dancer throughout 2013…he actually raised so much money that he was able to release his debut album, The Time Manipulator, in May 2014.  A graduate of UCLA, Ewing was nominated for an Ovation Award for his role as “The Little Boy” in the LA production of Ragtime went on to release another song, “This is Who We Are” in July 2015.

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Ross Bagley
Buckwheat
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Ross Bagley is definitely that actor with the familiar face.  Getting his start in acting alongside Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Bagley portrayed Nicky Banks from 1994 to 1996.  During his work on Fresh Prince, Bagely was the loveable Buckwheat in The Little Rascals and soon after appeared with Will Smith again in the 1996 blockbuster, Independence Day.  In 2005, Bagely enrolled at California State University, seeking a degree in cinema and television arts.  Most recently, he appeared in the 2015 horror film, Gnome Alone.

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Kevin Jamal Woods
Stymie
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Always wearing his black derby hat, Kevin Jamal Woods got his start in acting playing Stymie in The Little Rascals.  Following the film, he had a recurring role as Frank in the TV series, Blossom, and had various guest roles on Walker, Texas Ranger and Sons of Thunder.  Recently, Woods has been pursuing comedy and music and occasionally posts to his YouTube channel, ThaRealKWoods.

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Zachary Marby
Porky
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Zachary Marby, who played Spanky’s younger brother, Porky, in The Little Rascals, ultimately gave up acting after this movie and decided to go into accounting.  Like his co-star Brittany Ashton Holmes, he found that acting just wasn’t for him and wanted to focus on his studies.

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Sam Saletta
Butch
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Every gaggle of goofy kids needs a bully, right?  Well, in the case of The Little Rascals, that bully was Butch, played by tough guy Sam Saletta.  Since teasing all the members of the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, Saletta has spent a good portion of his time focusing on acting and music.  He’s appeared in several TV shows, including Recess, 7th Heaven, and Rocket Power.  For a while he was a member of the band “Jubala” and, in 2010, did some voiceover work for the Call of Duty: Black Ops videogame.

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Jordan Warkol
Froggy
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Playing the kid with the crazy voice, Jordon Warkol went on to appear in several TV shows and TV movies after his work on The Little Rascals, including Thunder Alley, Walker, Texas Ranger, 7th Heaven, Judging Amy, The X-Files, Hey Arnold!, and Rocket Power.  In 1996 he was in the movie, Carpool and also lent his voice to a character in A Bug’s Life.  Currently Warkol is trying to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.

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Courtland Mead
Uh-Huh
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Having to only say about one word throughout the duration of the movie, Courtland Mead had it pretty easy as Uh-Huh in The Little Rascals.  After his work on the film, Mead joined forces with Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the Disney film, Tom and Huck.  Like a few of his other co-stars on The Little Rascals, he also did some voiceover work as the character, Gus Griswald, on the animated series, Recess.  In recent years, Mead has appeared in the TV series Lloyd in Space, as well as the 2010 film, Mean Parents Suck.

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Blake Jeremy Collins
Woim
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Butch’s sidekick, Woim, was brought to life by funny kid Blake Jeremy Collins.  Minor roles followed his work on The Little Rascals, including appearances in the TV shows Minor Adjustments and Men Behaving Badly.  In 1998 he was in the film Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish and then disappeared from the big screen.  Most recently, Collins actually did some work behind the camera working as an assistant cameraman on the TV series, Sons of Anarchy.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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International Women’s Day

“On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017, women and our allies will act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women and all gender-oppressed people, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.”

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To those women who came before me, my great-grandmothers, my great-aunts, and the matriarchs of my namesake, thank you for paving the way for us…for fighting to give us a voice, a place in the workforce, a pathway to education and success.

To those women who stand beside me now, my sister, my mom, my aunts and cousins, my grandmas, my friends and family by blood and by choice, thank you for continually inspiring me to be a better person, a better woman. Thank you for breaking stereotypes, for challenging the status quo, and for uniting together during a time when it would be so easy for us to fall apart.

For those women who will come after me, my children, my grand-children, my future nieces and friends, I hope you continue to stay strong, even if it seems impossible. Nothing will come easy, and it shouldn’t…their is nothing that strengthens you like fighting for something you believe in, and I hope you all have the chance to do that. Challenge yourself. Question everything. Dream BIG. Don’t fear the fire…become it.

And for those women in the spotlight who make conscious decisions to be strong and positive role models for women and young girls, thank you for showing the world that not every girl is obsessed with diamonds and glitter.  Thank you for loving your bodies and for being open about not changing yourselves to fit into some stereotype.  Thank you for encouraging young girls to read, get involved, and join causes that are important to them.  Thank you for choosing roles that showcase women as smart, brilliant members of society and for opening our eyes to the women of history who have helped shape and mold our nation and our world.

Today I join my fellow sisters in economic solidarity.  After today, I hope it will be very clear to see who runs the world…

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There’s Love in Letting Go

love-in-letting-go

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots

In my adult life, I get way too excited about simple things.  Like having no plans on the weekend, finding the perfect socks that hug my feet, actually fitting into my pants, and finding fun foods that are new and exotic.

Granted, carrots are by no means exotic or new to me, but these colorful and vibrant carrots were literally the highlight of my last shopping trip.  What makes boring carrots even better?  COLOR!!

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These carrots taste exactly the same as the carrots we all know and love, but come in a bag filled with yellow, orange and purple roots that, when sliced and served, really dress up your plate.  PLUS, when you combine them with a sweet brown sugar glaze…I mean…COME ON, NOW!

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These carrots are super easy to make and can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.  They’re a fun side dish alongside pork or chicken and are great for serving a dinner party or large group of folks.

 

Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag multi-colored or plain carrots (about 8-10 carrots total)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Zest of 1 orange

 

Directions:

  1. Cut carrots into coins, about 1/4 in. thick.  Set aside.  ALL THE PRETTY COLORS!
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  2. Heat water, about 1 in. high, in saucepan.  Add carrots and salt.  Cover and heat until boiling.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender (you should be able to cut one in half with a fork).
  3. In the meantime, combine brown sugar, butter, and orange zest in skillet over medium heat.  Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbly.  This should really only take a minute or two…don’t overcook it as your sauce can burn.  Once bubbly, remove from heat.
  4. Drain carrots.  Stir carrots into brown sugar sauce.  Toss to coat.  Cook over low heat about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring gently, until carrots are glazed and hot.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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