BLAST FROM THE PAST: Childhood Favorites Revisited!

Good morning, my friends! I hope your mid-week Wednesday, is off to a great start, filled with promise. Last night, needing a bit of comfort and a bit of “TV Therapy,” I opted to watch two TV shows I recorded on my DVR: ABC Family’s new series, “The Fosters,” as well as The Hallmark Channel’s new TV series, “Cedar Cove.” If you haven’t seen either yet, I HIGHLY recommend both! The acting and storylines are relatable and genuine, plus the acting is top-knotch. In fact, in watching both of them, they ended up inspiring future blog posts, so be on alert for an upcoming one on both! Anyhow,  I’m very enthused to bring you today’s musing, as it is lighthearted, reflective and in my opinion, fun! Perhaps you can relate to me as I reflect and share with you some of my favorite childhood foods, music, television shows, and dances. Prior to sharing, I’d like to take a quick moment and share with you my morning eats:

Breakfast (Wednesday, July 24, 2013):

1 container Dannon Oikos Blackberry Greek Yogurt (This isn’t the first time I’ve had this flavor of Greek Yogurt. I’d say that I am 50/50 on it. It’s on the thicker side, making it a bit of a challenge to combine with cereal, but manageable, overall. The flavor is eh. At first, I liked it a lot, but now I’m not so sure. Still, it’s worth a try, if you’re game!)

1 cup Giant-Store Brand Puffed Rice Cereal (This never really gets old, it’s a trusted, reliable source).

1 cup Special K Multigrain Flakes (Have you tried them yet? As I’ve mentioned before, they are relatively new on store shelves, but definitely a good one to enjoy. The flakes are big and crispy, and hold up well with milk and/or yogurt.)

1 Banana (No complaints here; sweet and petite, per usual.)

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Now onto today’s musing: my childhood favorites! I figured an easier and more visually appealing way to share with you some of my favorites is by revealing them by category. So without further adieu, let’s get to the first category!

FOODS:

In general, for me at least and perhaps yourselves, too, foods have a way of bringing a wave of nostalgia over me, whether it is a particular scent, package, or taste – the possibilities are endless. The same is true for those I’ve listed below, the foods I closely tie to my childhood and teenage years:

  • Dunkaroos: Remember these?! If I’m not mistaken, I believe they still sell them today, but I’m not quite sure if they are as popular as they were when they were first introduced on store shelves. For me, they became a staple in my daily school lunch my mom would pack me. If you’re unfamilar with Dunkaroos, let me indulge you: they are small, rectangular packages containing bite-size cookies on one side, with a complementing “sweet dip” on the other side, for “dunking,” hence the name, “Dunkaroos.” The cookies and dips are available in a variety of flavors, so it was never really the same experience, but always a tasty one, to say the least!

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  • Oatmeal Cream Pies: These little pies of goodness are still readily available on store shelves as I’ve passed by them on countless occasions while browsing in the grocery store. The first time I experienced an oatmeal cream pie was when I was in preschool, visiting the “older kids” in my mom’s class, while they were having lunch. I remember I sat next to a girl named Candy, who became my friend and asked me if I would like to try a piece of her oatmeal cream pie. Since then, it became one of my favorite treats, striking the ideal balance of the sweetness of the cream, mixed with the comforting oatmeal flavor of the surrounding cookie.

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  • Frosted Animal Crackers: As a child, I truly loved these, feeling as though the frosting on the animal cracker made all the difference. Whenever I see them in the store, it reminds of me being a child, relaxing on the sofa while watching my favorite Nickelodeon TV shows.

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  • Handi-Snacks: Remember these? Those little, rectangular containers containing  little breadsticks or pretzel sticks with cheese? Nowadays they are still available, but in many different varieties – i.e. some with Oreos, and a multitude of other dippers and dips.

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  • Pepperidge Farm “Butterfly Crackers:” Whenever I see or think of these buttery butterfly crackers, I always think of my mom. She and I used to share them when I was a child, as the ideal accompaniment to soup or really, whatever we happened to be enjoying at that moment.

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  • Pizza Hut’s “Pan Pizza:In general, as a child, Italian food was always one of my favorite types of foods to enjoy.  Several Saturdays throughout the year, I would excitedly receive a free Pizza Hut Pan Pizza from the school “Book-It” program, as a reward for reading a certain number of books during the month; a great incentive for an enjoyable meal.

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  • Little Caesar’s Pizza: Sadly, Little Caeasar’s is no longer available near where I live, but I’ll always remember it as one of my favorites to have on the weekends.

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  • Friendly’s Conehead Sundae & Mac ‘N Cheese: As a child, one of my favorite restaurants to frequent was Friendly’s. Not only did I love it for their dessert – in particular, a Conehead (i.e. a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a sugar cone dipped in chocolate – “the cone” with Reese’s Pieces as the eyes), and for my meal, Mac ‘n Cheese – filled with cheesy decadence, strangely enough served with pickle chips on the side!)

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  • Life Cereal: In the mornings as a child, I would pile my bowl high with Life cereal until it was nearly overflowing! Not only did I enjoy it in the morning, as breakfast, but also sometimes as a snack, toting around my little baggie filled with the small brown squares, happily munching.

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  • Quaker Oatmeal Squares: This is one cereal upon growing up that once I began munching on was difficult to stop. It has a subtle sweetness, while being savory at the time.

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Next Category…

TV SHOWS:

Overall, television and I can sometimes have a love-hate relationship. Sometimes, I’m a big fan of watching a whole host of shows, while other times, I find it boring and lonely. Regardless, TV shows have shaped and significantly impacted my life, looking back on my childhood and adolescent years:

  • MTV’s Total Request Live – AKA “TRL“: If you’re similar to me, rushing home to watch TRL after school, each afternoon was on your list of daily highlights and must-do’s. I can fondly recall spending many afternoons, seated at the kitchen table with Hope, as we completed our homework, enjoying snacks together, singing along to our favorite videos while glued to the TV screen. Watching TRL, Carson Daly (and oddly enough, if you remember him, the VJ Jesse – long hair, long legs, kind of awkward?) nearly became like a friend, someone we could rely on each day to bring us our favorite stars, songs and videos. Fun story – years ago, (I believe I was in middle school at the time and Hope in high school), my family and I  ventured to NYC, with Hope and I eager to catch a glimpse of Carson Daly and the MTV studios and perhaps even get to request a video on air! Well, much to our delight and surprise, Hope managed to make it on-air, requesting her favorite video –  a 98 Degrees song! It was quite humorous actually, given it happened near the end of August, when I started back at school a month later, Hope came to pick me up one day and I had several people (whom I didn’t even know) coming up to her, saying they saw her on TRL! Looking back, there are such fond memories of this show and this time period.

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  • Full House: Honestly, I highly doubt I’ll ever get sick of watching this show, no matter how many times I see it or see the same episodes over and over. Despite owning each season, I just HAVE to watch it if I happen to see it is on TV, while I’m flipping channels. There is something comforting about it, despite how unrealistic at times it could be. I still hope they do a reunion special someday, I think it would be ideal and definitely fun to watch!)

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  • Saved By the Bell: Another one of my favorites I doubt I could really ever tire of and similar to Full House, despite owning each season, I STILL love to watch it whenever it happens to be on TV. Nowadays, it seems more rare to catch an episode of Saved By the Bell on TV, so when I do, I will without question, be watching! I also LOVED watching the special – Saved By the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas! (When it fired aired, Hope and I taped it and I truly believe I completely burnt out the VHS tape!)

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  • Eureka’s Castle: If you used to regularly watch Nickelodeon as I did, you might recall this show, with the Count, Eureka, and all of their friends.)

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  • David the Gnome: Also, on Nickelodeon, this was one of my favorites to watch, David and Swift, as they conquered the world.

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  • 7th Heaven: The first time I saw this show on the WB channel, it was completely by chance. It was a Monday evening, when I was in the third grade and my mom and I were flipping channels, unsure of what to watch that particular night. We just so happened to stumble across 7th Heaven and we immediately became hooked. It was almost as though it was the modern-day version of Full House, with a little more realism and drama. Looking back, I really do miss this show.

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DANCES:

Oh how I used to LOVE the many different line dances and dance moves of my childhood and teenage years:

  • The Macarena: Looking back, I can still recall first learning it as a 2nd grader, at recess on the blacktop, alongside my friends and teachers, all of us trying to “outdo” each other.

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  • Cotton-Eyed Joe: As a preteen, I first learned this dance at one of the many dances I attended in middle school and also the cast party of some of the school shows I was in. At first, it was a challenge for me to learn it, as I am not really the best dancer, but since learning it, I haven’t stopped doing it any chance I get! Today, I still love this dance and really “boogied on down” at my sister’s wedding last August!

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  • Electric-Slide & “Cha-Cha” Slide: I’ve never been a real big fan of the original electric slide, however I am a fan of the Cha-Cha Slide, which strangely enough my sister and I ended up first learning and becoming acquainted with it while on vacation in the Bahamas, when I was 13 and she was 17.

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BANDS/MUSIC:

Yes, I’ll be the first to admit it, in my younger years, I was a TOTAL teenybopper! To the fullest extent, I LOVED all the classic boy bands and actually attended several of their concerts alongside my friends, sister and even Mom.

  • ‘N Sync: For those of you who are familiar with Philadelphia, I actually attended their large concert as a teenager, back when Veterans Stadium was still around.  I still recall it as one of the best concerts I’ve been to, even though our seats were way up at the top. It was the experience that made it the most memorable. Plus, one of my other favorite boy bands – BBMak opened for them!

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  • LFO: Ahh, who can forget “Summer Girls?” I think the year it came out, it was the soundtrack of the summer. Of course, I am saddened of the lead singer, Rich Cronin’s tragic death to cancer.)

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  • BBMAK: Such a cute band, with great voices and now as I look back, I’m wondering, what happened to them?! If anyone reading this happens to know please fill me in; I’m curious!)

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  • 98 Degrees: While one of my favorites, it was my sister, Hope’s all-time favorite!  She couldn’t get enough of Jeff Timmons and as a fun fact to share with you, back when I was 18 or 19, I ended up purchasing a pair of tickets for she and I to go see Jeff Timmons and Jordan Knight, from New Kids on the Block perform at the BB King Club in NYC! What an experience, Hope even got to dance ON-STAGE with Mr. Timmons, himself!)

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  • Destiny’s Child: They are my girls! I can fondly recall first hearing their song, “Say My Name.” After hearing it, I was hooked! I remember one day, dragging my dad to Best Buy, begging him to buy me their CD. After that, they were secured as my favorite girl group. My sister and I saw them perform several times at a relatively local fair a couple summers in a row, but I’ve never gotten the chance to see Beyonce perform individually. I would definitely love to someday soon!)

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  • Backstreet Boys: Also one of my favorites as a child and a teen, I remember first hearing their music while my mom drove me to elementary school. After first hearing it, it was off to the music store called, “The Wall,” to buy their single! They’ll always be one of my favorites; they have such immense talent and I have so many fond memories upon thinking of them. Several summers ago, Hope and I ended up seeing them on the spur of the moment for free! It was a great show and one of my favorites!

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  • Christina Aguilera: Truly one of the best female performers/singers of our time, I remember when “Genie in a Bottle,” first sounded on the radio, I loved it. It was a song I recorded myself singing several times, as I aspired to sing like her (key word – “try”… unsuccessfully, of course, but all in good fun!).

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  • Britney Spears: Alright, whether you’re a fan or not, I had to mention her! Who can forget when her first single appeared on MTV’s TRL – “Baby One More Time?” It was a fun video to watch and one that was probably played and mimicked many times over. In fact, I actually dressed as Britney Spears for Halloween one year I had a Halloween Party! Very interesting time to recall, to say the least!)

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So there you have it, my little “Blast From the Past!

QUESTION: What are some of your favorites from your childhood and/or teenage years?

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