Monday, December 10, 2018

(Review) A Christmas Carol



Happy Sunday, Everyone! It's the happiest time of the year, and of course, with that comes the never ending availability of holiday productions. I look forward to this time of year because I set my DVR to record ALL the Hallmark Christmas movies and my poor husband gets the privilege of watching them with me! Isn't he lucky? I love a happy ending! Well, you can imagine how excited I was when I got tickets to see A Christmas Carol downtown at the Walnut Street Theater! First, I know the story, because who hasn't seen probably 10 renditions of the beloved classic? Even though I've read several of Dickens' classics, from A Tale of Two Cities to David Copperfield, Dickens is one of my favorite authors of classic novels; and even though I have seen A Christmas Carol in movie or TV form, I have never seen it performed live on stage! 

So, when I told my daughters that we were going downtown again, they were pretty pumped! (As long as Mommy did drive down lol) This time, we decided to take the subway from Fern Rock Station down to the Walnut-Locust stop. It was about a five block walk to the theater, and even though it was chilly, the sun was out and it was a lovely afternoon! We arrived at the theater and found our seats right away, with a little time to spare this time. We were in the Mezzanine section on the right and we had no obstructions. Our view was perfect! Of course, as you know from the last review, I love the Walnut Street Theater and its history! I can image the stars from the past walking across that stage and could just spend forever looking at all the old photos in the lobby. 
View from our seats
The show was wonderful! Benjamin Lovell, who plays Ebenezer Scrooge was just the character you love to hate. With the help of the ghosts of past, present, and future, he turns over a new leaf and loses his grinchiness, if that's even a word. You leave the theater happy that Ebenezer's fate is going to turn out alright. And with all the negativity in the world today, believing there is good in others, no matter how 'ugly' they can be, gives us hope. My fifteen year old thoroughly enjoyed the play as did I. My only concern, though, was that the dialogue was still in the Dickens format. Since it was geared towards children, I was worried that my two younger ones might not understand what was happening, and so I asked them afterwards. Yep, they were a bit confused at the language. They enjoyed themselves, but I had to explain some of the story to them. The part where Marley's ghost shows up in the door knocker also caused a little crying in the theater, but it was very short and that was the scariest part. 
Benjamin Lovell (Scrooge)
Overall, I wouldn't mind making this a Christmas tradition. Maybe next time, we'll stop in to see the Dickens Village over at Macy's. Philly at this time of year is a fun place to go for the holidays. When we walked to City Hall, there were shop tents set up and I completely forgot about the ice skating rink set up there! I would've let the girls go skating, but one of the girls wasn't feeling so great, so we got some hot chocolate (and a cookie from the 4th Street Cookie Co dipped in chocolate) and headed to the subway. They had a great time and it was a fantastic way to kick of this holiday season! 

Walnut Street Theater Tickets








Disclaimer:
Though I received tickets to the production at no cost, all opinions are my own. 



Of course, I wore my favorite, most comfortable, yet sustainable, shoes...Rothy's in Mocha Spot. Kept my feet comfy all day!




Monday, November 26, 2018

{Review} Matilda The Musical


Okay, so, I know it's been quite some time since there has been a new post on here. Life has been CUH-RAY-ZEE! Good crazy...mostly...sad crazy quite a bit for about eighteen months (and still sometimes), but that's another story altogether. I've had the privilege of teaching sixth graders in my school district and it really consumes a lot of my time on top of being a mother and wife. Soooo, that being said...I keep thinking about which direction I want to go with A Ginger Mess...stick with recipes? DIY? Lean towards education? It's still undecided. After all, I'm a ginger mess no matter where I am, ask my students. 
Let's focus!  See...I'm a mess. A couple weeks ago I was offered four tickets to see the new play at the Walnut Street Theater in Center City Philadelphia. I mean, how could I say no? It's a musical! And Roald Dahl? No brainer! I mean, c'mon...I'm a teacher! Who doesn't love Roald Dahl? 



So of course, I let my daughters know about the show...and told my husband, "Sorry, you can't go. Not enough tickets." Poor guy. He was HeaRt BrOkEn. Well, Friday night came along, and we decided to make the trek downtown by driving. Usually, we like to either take the subway from Fern Rock station, or take Septa Regional Rail from nearby. However, knowing we'd get out of the show at 11:30ish my husband and I decided that driving and parking nearby was the better, safer bet. I don't mind taking the train or subway. It's actually a non-stressful way to travel, but nope, I drove...not doing that again. I'll just bring pepper spray next time so that my husband feels better. It was a rainy, miserable evening. It had been pouring all afternoon and wasn't letting up. Now usually when I drive in the city, I take Lincoln Drive because I can't stand Broad Street and it's such a beautiful drive, with trees and beautiful houses, not at all like the typical part of the city. Well, the road was closed for some reason once I hit Germantown Avenue and my GPS re-routed me. I'm not as familiar with all parts of the city as my husband is, so I just followed along, worried that Lincoln Drive might be a mess from all the non-stop rain. Well, I ended up on Broad Street, of course. Luckily, we left a couple hours early because we needed to eat dinner, so we stopped at the Taco Bell, then McDonald's drive-thru at Broad and Rt. 1. Bad. Idea. Really bad idea. It took us more than a half an hour to get our food. Slow. As. Molasses. 

Then, we finally made it downtown and the traffic was ridiculous. I think (well, actually I know) I was suffering from a case of road rage. By the time we made it to the garage and walked to the theater and actually sat in our seats, we had two minutes to spare, and I needed those two minutes to calm my nerves. It took TWO HOURS to get down there that night! It should have only taken me forty-five minutes. Next time, I'm taking a train (or the subway). It's so much faster and way more convenient. 

Okay, so now you know all about my drive and the miserable time it took to get to the theater, but you know nothing about the actual musical. I mean, my title says "Review" right? First, let's talk about the theater. The Walnut Street Theater is wonderful because no matter where you sit, you don't have a pole or anything in front of you. No obstructed view. My husband and I saw Wicked years ago in a different theater downtown and we had a pole in front of us the entire time. Additionally, the Walnut Street Theater has so much history! I could just spend hours looking at all the pictures of people who performed in this theater, from Marlon Brando to the Marx Brothers to Katherine Hepburn to Jane Fonda. Did you know it's the oldest theater in America and actually started out as an equestrian circus? Check out their site at www.walnutstreetheater.org for a lot more interesting history. 

Here we are, finally in our seats. We were in the Mezzanine Right, a few rows back, but all the way to the right, near the outside aisle. There was only one song that we couldn't see the actress's entire face because she was singing all the way to the right of the stage. Overall, I was thrilled with our location and so were the girls. 

From the moment the cast came out singing "Miracle" the show was mesmerizing. You know how sometimes kids shows are a little funny? For adults? I mean, they're funny, but not really laugh out loud kind of funny? This wasn't one of those. I was so pleasantly surprised to find out how much I'd actually laugh throughout the show. And after that horrible drive down, I needed some laughs. The singing and dancing numbers were fun to watch and my girls and I loved every moment! Christopher Sutton and Lyn Philistine were the perfect disgusting parents who only cared about themselves and didn't value Matilda or her unique qualities.  I'll admit. I have never read the book, Matilda, *gasp* I know, but I had seen the movie version with Danny DeVito, so I was curious how they'd actually pull off a musical version. Not only did it make me laugh, often, the story and the actors brought tears to my eyes, too. I know that when I go to something like this, having an emotional connection to the story is so important. The relationship with Miss Honey and Matilda, played by Jemma Bleu and Laura Giknis was heartwarming and seeing these two find each other after all of their heartbreak and truly value each other moved the audience, well, I'm guessing it did because it certainly moved me. 
 

Overall, this was a family-friendly production that I would highly recommend to anyone, big or small. My daughters and I enjoyed every moment and look forward to seeing more productions at the Walnut Street Theater. Even after the miserable driving adventure, it turned out to be a great experience! Make sure you get your tickets, soon! You won't regret it! 

The show is running from now until January 6th. 
Click the link below to go to the Walnut Street Theater. 










Disclaimer:
Though I received tickets to the production at no cost, all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Loaded Potato Soup



There's nothing like a nice bowl of soup on a cold, wintry day.  What's even better is to be able to make a simple, delicious soup in a short amount of time. This recipe is amazing. It's hearty and satisfying. I adapted the recipe from __________ . The great thing is that I usually have all of these ingredients on hand!

Ingredients

2 lbs. Russet potatoes or White Potatoes
8 slices bacon, diced
1 stalk celery, diced small
1/2 large onion, diced small
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese (or your favorite cheese)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. thyme

Toppings:
Cheese
Sour Cream
Bacon pieces


1. Wash and scrub the potatoes. Place them on a plate and pierce with a knife in several spots to allow steam to escape. Microwave for 11 min.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, dice up the bacon slices and cook in a large pot. Once crisp, remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

3. Pour off all the bacon drippings except 3 Tablespoons. Saute the celery and onions in the bacon drippings. 

4. Once tender, add the flour and whisk.

5. Add the spices and milk. Whisk together.

6. Add the heavy cream and chicken stock and whisk again. 


7. The potatoes should be finished by this point. Dice them up.

8. Add the diced potatoes to the soup and stir.

9. Add cheese and stir.

10. Use a masher to mash up some of the potatoes right in the soup. I like how it makes the soup a little thicker and you get chunks of potatoes with it too. 

11. Add all but a few Tablespoons of the bacon (to use as a topping) and stir.

12. Ladle some soup into a bowl. Top with cheese, sour cream, and bacon. Enjoy!!



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