It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The day after Thanksgiving until the end of the year is my favorite time of year.  I'm posting late because I'm writing this post today, and I had some serious sleeping in to do!  Now that I'm out of retail, the only "Black Friday" thing on our schedule is a friend's "Black Friday Art Show" at a downtown coffee shop tonight!  Beyond that, I hope to get our tree today, and start decking some halls!  And maybe watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which just showed up on Amazon Prime Instant Video.

I will say, if you are an internet shopper who detests Black Friday but secretly likes deals (hey, who doesn't?), some favorite Etsy shops are running deals today!  May I direct you to Audrey Eclectic or The Black Apple?

But here are a few of our Thanksgiving Day highlights:

In the evening, Big Sis went over to her great-grandma's for a while, and Little Sis settled in under our favorite butterfly quilt.  She watched some TV and drew (always drawing, that one), and I read.  And read.  And READ.

Three younger readers' books in an evening!  All worth reading, and if you're looking for books this Christmas, I would say they're all worth owning, too.

The Templeton Twins Have An Idea by Ellis Weiner, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes.  Chronicle Books, 2012.

This book had me laughing out loud a few times, which Little Sis thought was weird.  The narrator of the book is very much his own character, although we don't actually have a clue who he is. (The narrator was my favorite part.)  The Templeton twins are a brother and sister team who move with their grieving father to a new university town, where they encounter a bitter former student of their father's who believes he has been wronged.  Criminal acts follow, albeit in a very silly fashion.  

It's the first book in a series.  Promising start!

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Angela Barrett.  Candlewick Press, 2008.

This is a little book I had meant to check out a long time ago.  It's a tale of a little night fairy, and what happens when a bat mistakes her for a moth and bites off her wings.  While the premise sounds like it could lead to a very maudlin, icky sweet tale, the fairy is actually rather tough and unmannerly.  She is also very brave and resourceful.  The story offers a lesson in forgiveness and remaining true to yourself.  Like The Templeton Twins above, it would be a wonderful book for a young independent reader.  It isn't very long.  Both books would make excellent family reading stories, too.  The Templeton Twins is very, very funny, while this one would be lovely for bedtime storytime.

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz.  Candlewick Press, 2012.

Splendors and Glooms is by the same author as The Night Fairy, but it's a very different book.  It is better for slightly older readers.  I wish I could have read it around Halloween!  It's a wonderfully creepy story.  A rich little girl in 19th century London convinces her parents to allow a masterful puppeteer to perform at her twelfth birthday party.  She is especially interested in his two young apprentices, a kindly girl and a rough, rude, but talented boy.  The party ends on a sour note, and the next day, the rich little girl is missing.  There is magic, there is a witch, there are marionettes, there's grimy Victorian London - it's safe to guess that I LOVED THIS BOOK.  You can read a sample chapter here.

I hope everyone Stateside had a happy Thanksgiving!  And I hope everyone everywhere has something wonderful to read this weekend.  And as I say every Friday:

Merry Weekend!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day to all my fellow Americans!  

On this Thankful Thursday above all Thankful Thursdays, I'm thankful for YOU, dear readers, wherever you are, and for all my bloggy friends.

And now, I shall leave you with a laugh.  My Lilith Fair-attending, Sarah McLachlan fan club member, 20-year-old vegetarian self loved this in 1997.  

Have a beautiful day, one and all!

Thanksgiving Eve

We're gearing up for Thanksgiving!  I'm not going to sweat decorations.  I'm not going to sweat making the house look perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.  I'm giving us until Saturday to make the house look nice, and that's because the Christmas decor is going up!

As a matter of fact, Thanksgiving dinner will be lunch at noon, and at my dad's house.  We're still cooking, but I'm so relieved that we just have to concentrate on the food now.  And I'm so much more enthusiastic about the food because I found my November issue of Martha Stewart Living.  (It was buried under stack of magazines on the coffee table.)  I loooooooove this issue!  There are so many things I want to make.

(Time out:  As I type this - late Tuesday night - my hubby is taking a nip from a bottle of peppermint Schapps.  His Siamese cat is looking up at him, begging in her meowy Siamese way.  No, Katie, you can't have Schnapps.  No, Katie, Schapps is bad for kitties!)

Anyway, back to loving my magazine.

We've decided we're definitely making the apple and root vegetable hash recipe.  There are so many great-looking fall and winter recipes, though, that I will probably be keeping this one on the counter through the season.  I am a root vegetable nut.  Beets, turnips, parsnips, etc...  Yum.

Lots of mashes.  They all look sooooo gooooood...

The Thanksgiving Story: Myth Vs History

Oh, boy.  I am just not excited about Thanksgiving this year.  It's just going to be a small, quick dinner, early in the day, but I still have to cook.  No time to lounge in my pajamas, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is all I really want to do on Thanksgiving morning.

So forgive these Thanksgiving posts.  They are being thrown together rather quickly, and a mean, pesky migraine headache keeps coming and going.

The past two nights, Big Sis and I read two contrasting books about the history/myth of the first Thanksgiving.  She is seven now, and very bright.  Little Sis sat nearby coloring, listening enough to jump up to see pictures that interested her.  Never underestimate what might interest a preschooler.

The first book was The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh, illustrated by Helen Sewell. It was published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1954, and it's still in print today.

As far as traditional American Thanksgiving stories go, this one is rather beautiful, and told in a very plain, easy-to-understand manner.  We see the "first Thanksgiving" through the eyes of some pilgrim children.  It does state some interesting facts.  For example, the pilgrims wore bright colors, not the blacks we always see them depicted in.

I do think this spread at the end of the book is gorgeous.


Do you sometimes feel like formal education is wasted on the young?  I mean, as a teenager, I remember being so bored in my U.S. History I class.  I enjoyed U.S. History II - anything about the Civil War through the modern era kept my attention - but I admit, early American history made me yawn.  A good deal of that may have been the teacher.  He wasn't exactly exciting.  Then in college, I was a theatre performance major, and I don't think I took a single history class as an elective.  So now, I'm 35 and married to a history buff, and I admit, I'm much more interested now.  I read.  I watch documentaries.  And yes, the people I spend the most time with are 7 and 5 years old, but I would like to discuss some historical things of interest (within reason) with them, too.

Big Sis and I read 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving last night.  It was written by Catherine O'Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac with Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum, and published by The National Geographic Society in 2001.  The wonderful photographs by Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson show the museum's actors recreating the events leading up to and of the harvest feast we now call The First Thanksgiving.

I don't expect her to remember all the names of the people and tribes in the book.  I just want her to understand the difference between myth and fact, and to understand how history changes when seen through the eyes of other participants.  She was very attentive and she did find the differences between the stories interesting.

To get an idea of the text, you might check out this article on the National Geographic Kids website.  It is excerpted from the book.  There is also a discussion with the authors available on the C-Span website.  I had hoped to direct you to a link that perhaps showed some of the illustrations, as I could never do them justice.  Perhaps you would have better luck with Google than I?

Big Sis is a very bright seven, but I think we'll come back to this book in a couple of years.  Some subjects are still a bit difficult.  Something I often do is read up on things myself, and add my own comments to whatever simpler book we're reading.    Does anyone else do this, too?

We have a couple of old History Channel documentaries purchased from Amazon Instant Video, from back in the days when the History Channel actually showed history documentaries.  Sigh.  You know it's true when even South Park builds an episode around it.  (And yes, if you offend easily, do not click that link.  Watch the video below instead.)

I am thankful that old History Channel documentaries are available for streaming, even if they're seldom on TV anymore. Tomorrow:  less history, more crafts and Macy's parade stuff.  Yippee! P.S.  I had the mister read this post to see if it made sense.  He said, "No, it's good.  The tone's very different, though."  Ah, migraines.  They make me so boring and un-fun.

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New Old Stuff

Thanksgiving is this week - I know - but I'll cover that the next few days.  Today I have happy treasures from my favorite antique mall to show off!

I love Holiday Open House time!

I love my cheap, naked fake Kewpies.  The boxed ornaments are a very, very garish gold.  The little elves will probably find their way on a wreath or something.  The loose ornaments were chosen by Big Sis.

Little Sis scored a $4 Madeline doll!

And an even cheaper mini Raggedy Ann doll.

Big Sis got a Beanie Baby chameleon and some rings.  We all scored on the book front!

I was very excited to find a Little Golden Book edition of Walt Disney's Once Upon a Wintertime.  The cartoon on which it is based (originally part of the feature film Melody Time) is one I grew up with, and the girls know it well.  Apparently my copy belonged to a little girl named Peggy.

Some variation on "I love you Peggy" is written on several pages!

I knew this one was a media tie-in.  I didn't realize the other Little Golden Book I bought was a media tie-in, too!  All I saw on the front cover was an obvious Richard Scarry illustration.

I didn't look at the monograms on their clothing!  This book is from 1959.  It's by David Corwin, illustrated by Richard Scarry, and inside it says:

                            Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are the three chipmunks who made one of the
                            most popular records to come along in many years.  It was called "The
                            Chipmunk Song."  Here are the three chipmunks in their first Little Golden

I normally try to keep my holidays in order, but I admit, I'm a little Christmas-happy right now.

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