Saturday Halloween Bonus: Some Awesome '70s Kitsch

Found on YouTube this week.  Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West and Billie Hayes as Witchie-poo, together on one TV special?  YES!

Weekend Reading

The Non-Picture Book Library Stash
Currently, Three Tales of My Father's Dragon is still being read at bedtime (although we scored the first book in paperback at that used book warehouse sale).  I've also started Among Others.

Books We're Reading That We Own
On the Banks of Plum Creek is still being read alternately with Three Tales of My Father's Dragon.  The other two books I have had to put on hold, in order to read the library stash!

Books That Just Moved Into My House That I'm Dying to Start!!!
Two sequels to delicious "young readers" titles that my girls are too young for, but which I ravenously devoured.
And this doesn't count, of course, the two bags of picture books we have checked out, or the many other books we bought at the used book warehouse sale.  (By the way, we hit the sale on the last day, too.  Three bucks a bag, and they had new stuff to choose from!)

Does anyone else have an unwieldy pile of books to read?  Why do I feel the need to place so many holds at the library, when I have so much at home?  And poor Little Sis is so anxious for us to finish our two bedtime books, so we can start The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!

Oh, books...  I love you so.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Halloween

I'm sure there will be more.

Vampirina Ballerina

The Halloween decorations are still in the shed.

We were supposed to break them out Monday, but we spent all day cleaning house instead.  Yesterday we babysat my year-old niece.  Today is Little Sis's weekly play date with her best friend, and it's our turn to host.  I thought the hubby and I might get them up before we pick them up from preschool, but then I saw the state of the girls' bedroom and playroom.  

So it goes.

Both daughters have had their dance classes this week:  Big Sis has two classes Monday after school and Little Sis has a preschool dance/theatre combo class on Tuesday afternoon.  When we arrived this week, the entire building was decorated for Halloween!

This is all I could capture via Instagram in one quick picture.  There are things hanging from the ceiling, stuff on the walls.  It's fabulous!

The first of our Halloween books from the library to be read this year is Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, LeUyen Pham.  (Disney Hyperion, 2012)  Why shouldn't a little vampire girl be a ballerina, too?  

I think this is another book we may need to own ourselves.  It's a simple story, about a little girl who wants to be a ballerina.  The usual things are discussed:  taking class, practicing (LOTS of practicing), making recital costumes, not turning into a bat.  Oh, maybe that last one isn't so usual.  That's what makes this book so much fun, of course!  To see a few more pictures, head over to LeUyen Pham's (seldom updated) blog for the sneak peek she posted last year.  

My girls won't have their next recital until spring.  Their costumes have always been pretty and girly.  I doubt they will get a chance to look as glamorously dark as Vampirina any time soon.

Last year's recital costumes!

(And no, I will never, ever be used to seeing stage makeup on little girls.  Eek.)

Pumpkin Soup. Delicious.

Last night was so blissfully chilly, and the grocery store had pie pumpkins, so it was time to make my favorite fall supper:  PUMPKIN SOUP!

My favorite recipe for pumpkin soup, so far, may be found here.  I used a plain, large sugar pumpkin (aka pie pumpkin) last night, but I've also used an Australian blue pumpkin (DELISH).  After I left the store, I noticed the peanut pumpkins described in the recipe with the gourds outside the store.  I think I may be making pumpkin soup again very soon!  

I used veggie broth instead of chicken broth, and I forgot the Gruyere, so I rubbed garlic on the toasts instead.  I love the sharpness of the garlic toasts in contrast to the soup anyway.

This is NOT a sweet soup.  It is a delicious, perfect, savory soup.  And please, use fresh rosemary and thyme.  I left out the sage and Italian parsley, and even the nutmeg (the husband is picky about herbs), but the thyme and rosemary smell heavenly with the pumpkin.  Seriously.

We also read Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper, and one of its companion books, Delicious! A Pumpkin Soup Story.  (We have discovered a third book exists, called A Pipkin of Pepper, but our library system doesn't have it.)

Pumpkin Soup was a favorite of mine for storytime at the bookstore.  

Helen Cooper's illustrations are beautiful, and her writing is perfect for reading aloud.  The story is about a cat, a squirrel, and a duck.  They make pumpkin soup for dinner every night.  They each have a job to do, but problems arise when one day, the duck announces that he wants the squirrel's job:  stirring the soup.  There is a fight, and Duck runs away.  Making pumpkin soup just isn't the same.  Only Duck knows the right amount of salt to add to the pot.

I decided to ask for Little Sis's help in describing the books.  

I interrupted her drawing time.

I was very lucky to get her to talk to me at all.

(She takes her art very, very seriously.)

Me:  What is pumpkin soup about?

Little Sis:  A cat, a duck, and a squirrel.  They make pumpkin soup.

Me:  Where do they live?

Little Sis:  A cabin.

Me:  What does the cabin look like?

Little Sis:  A pumpkin.  Or an acorn.

Me:  What happens when Duck tells the others that he wants to stir the soup?

Little Sis:  [scribble, scribble]

Me:  What happens...?  

Little Sis:  [stop.  glare.  scribble, scribble.]


In Delicious, our friends cannot find any ripe pumpkins.  They go home a pull down recipe books, looking for alternative soup recipes.  They try fish soup and mushroom soup, but the duck refuses to even taste them, crying for pumpkin soup.  (In a cute subplot, the bugs of the cabin become upset about the wasted food, and try to devise a way to siphon any uneaten soup for themselves.)

They decide to try the market, looking for pumpkins to buy, but cannot find any there.  They try beets (a recipe for "pink soup" is included on the dust jacket!), but Duck will not try the beet soup.  Then Cat decides to mix yellow and red veggies together, mashing it up until the soup turns orange.  Duck thinks it's pumpkin soup, until he gets the spoon closer to his mouth.  Finally, Duck tries the vegetable soup.   Does he like it?

Me:  Would you be willing to try pink soup?  It's made with beets.

Little Sis:  Only if it has lots of beets in it!  [she loves beet chips]

Me:  What about fish soup?

Little Sis:  No!  But the cats will try it!  [giggle, giggle]

Me:  What about mixed vegetable soup?

Little Sis:  [nods]

Me:  Mushroom soup?

Little Sis:  NO!!!  ACK, mushrooms!  They come from the ground.

Me:  Mommy likes mushroom soup.

Little Sis:  But you like mushrooms.  Okay, fine then, try to find a recipe and make it, Mom.  For you.

Me:  What's your favorite soup?

Little Sis:  Alphabet soup.  [Campbell's vegetarian vegetable]

Me:  What else?  

Little Sis:  Potato soup.

Me:  I thought you liked pumpkin soup.  [she only ate half her bowl last night, and it was like pulling teeth to get her to eat that much, despite the soup being her request.]

Little Sis:  It's okay.

Me:  What about the soup I made last night?

Little Sis:  It was okay.  I was full of the chicken, or whatever it was.  [chicken]

Me:  And if we go out to eat, what is your favorite soup to get at a restaurant?

Little Sis:  Tomato.  

Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder Monday: The Tale of The Dark Crystal

The geek in me flipped at that bookstore warehouse sale last week when I found this.  I have mentioned before that I am a Muppet geek, and I LOVE The Dark Crystal.  Back in 1982, the largest mall in our town had both an indoor and outdoor cinema, and I clearly remember seeing this movie in the outdoor multiplex with my parents and little sister.  I was in kindergarten.  My parents were worried I would be scared by it, but no, I was entranced.  

For years, my dad would sometimes do Chamberlain impressions around the house, for no reason.

I am pretty sure I had this book.  It seems so familiar.   

As excited as I was to find this book, I would dearly love to own The World of The Dark Crystal, featuring the art of Brian Froud.  The public library has it, and it is beautiful.  Brian Froud did all the concept art for the movie, and it was there that he met his wife, Wendy, who built puppets.  He did the concept art for Labyrinth, too, and their little son Toby played the baby in that movie.  
Both daughters claim The Dark Crystal is too "creepy."  Sigh.  What have I done wrong?  When Big Sis was two years old, she could sing every word to "Magic Dance" from Labyrinth (another favorite, if you couldn't tell).  As I type this post, they are both watching The Nightmare Before Christmas.  They are fascinated by Coraline.  But The Dark Crystal is too creepy.  Sigh.  
By the way, I want this for Christmas.  No one will get it for me, though.  I'm resigned to this.

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