Happy Twelfth Day of Christmas

Yup.  It really is.

Now I have no excuse for the tree and decorations.  Oops.






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New Year's Snow and Books for Winter Break


This is the beauty I woke up to New Year's Eve morning.



Omigosh, I love snow.

How was it that I was born in the miserable heat of summer?  I heart winter.  As Lola says, "Snow is my favorite and my best."

By early afternoon, the snow was starting to melt.  We made a little snowman anyway.



Such a puny little guy.



This is how you make a miniature snowman look bigger.


 A few hours later, it started to rain.  The rain soon turned to big, fluffy, glorious snowflakes.


We gave our feral porch babies an old comforter to snuggle under.  Or on.

 

The next day, the snow was still falling.  We warmed ourselves with our traditional New Year's Day fare.


Okay, it's Friday, so a quick reading round-up.  We did some reading on our break, although I read more than the girls did.  (We're still finishing up our library stash or stuff we started pre-Christmas.  Our Christmas gifts will have to wait a bit!)

What the girls and I read:



Hilda and the Midnight Giant by Luke Pearson.  Nobrow Press, 2012.

Oh, good grief, but I need to own this book.  (We checked it out from the library.)  I first read about it at Julia's Bookbag, then more recently at Sturdy for Common Things.  I'm not usually a huge graphic novel fan.  Sometimes the pages get too busy for me.  I loved this book, though, as did both girls.  I'm a sucker for magical things that no one bothers to explain, and as Melissa said at Julia's Bookbag, it does have a Scandinavian vibe to it.  There is a shorter book called Hildafolk that precedes this one, but it looks like I'd need to order that one.  A new book, Hilda and the Bird Parade, will be published in April!










What the girls and I are reading:




The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson.  HarperCollins, 1994.

Yes, we're still reading all the other things we've been reading (Oz, Plum Creek), but when we happened upon this at a used bookstore a couple days ago, we had to begin it immediately!  We just can't get enough of those awful Herdmans.  (We bought this one, too.)














What I read:




The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones.  HarperCollins, 2012.

Some of you may recall that I wanted this for my birthday last August, and in fact, received it from my sister (check the comments).  Everyone who reads this blog regularly has probably noticed I have a bad habit of starting a book, then quickly moving on to another book, then reading more books, before coming back to books I started long ago.  (A habit I'm obviously sharing with the daughters...)  I finally finished this book this week.  Indeed, I started it over and read it from the beginning.  It was a quick and easy read, contrary to what my slow start may lead one to believe.  I was quite enthusiastic about it, but after reading it, I was rather disappointed.  It was never as creepy as I wanted it to be, and a bit predictable to boot.









What I'm reading:




I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.  Originally published by William Heinemann (UK), Little, Brown (USA), 1948.  Reprint edition published by St. Martin's Griffin, 1999.

I was curious about this book for years.  I often shelved it at work, and J.K. Rowling herself had written a blurb for the cover.  The title is rather beautiful, and the author had written 101 Dalmations.  Then about a year and a half ago, I had a late-night knitting session in front of the TV, watching the movie version on Netflix, starring Romola Garai, Henry Thomas, and Rose Byrne.  It was the perfect late-night, alone on the couch movie.   I also read a bit about the book in this book.  I knew I needed to read it for myself, and during a bargain sale, I ordered myself a paperback copy from my beloved Better World Books.  So far, I am loving it.  Has anyone else read it?










I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.  Big Sis started back to school yesterday, Little Sis starts this morning.  I have so many movies I want to see, but worry about whether Mr. B and I can get away together on our own.  (The big three:  The Hobbit, Les Miserables, and This is 40.)  The girls and I saw Frankenweenie at the second-run theater this week, and I think we all enjoyed it, although Big Sis thought it was a bit too creepy. We watched the original short film at home, and she thought it was better - less creepy.  Little Sis preferred the full-length animated film.  She declared, "Oh, I thought it would be more scarier."  In other words, she didn't think it was very creepy at all.  I thought it was sweet and funny.  The puppet animation was gorgeous, I loved the black-and-white, and the attention to detail (the house! the furniture!) was amazing.

And that shall do it!  Merry Weekend and Happy Reading to All!


(Oh, wait.  - P.S.  If you are a regular or even a semi-regular reader, and you happen to be a Facebook user as well, would you mind stopping by and "liking" my page?  I'm very close to the "Magic 30," as I call it.  Thanks!)

Put Another Record On...

Note the Adele and Taylor Swift records.  Vinyl, baby.

Christmas morning.  Santa has left this on Big Sis's side of the family room.

There is a note folded on top.

I can't be sure, of course, but I swear it looks as if Santa's stationary came from here.

Santa told Big Sis that he wasn't impressed with the quality of the small modern phonographs.  He saw that she'd put a pretty little Crosley on her wish list, but he said they broke down easily.  A long time ago, an older boy left this gorgeous 1970s console record player for Santa to pick up and take back to the North Pole with him, in order to fix it up for another child.  Santa had cleaned it up and used it for himself, but now he thought Big Sis might like it.  (Sweet story, Santa.  Are you sure you didn't just get a heckuva deal at a used record shop?  After they couldn't fix your modern little Philco phonograph, perhaps?)  Santa then told her that if she asked her parents sweetly, maybe they'd let her keep their little black record player in her room.


I took a basket and filled them with all our kid records.  (See the one in the bottom right corner?  My birthday album from the Rock-a-fire Explosion - Showbiz Pizza Place!)

We have soooooo many kid-friendly albums, but she rolled her eyes at me.

"We-eeee-eee are never, ever, ever getting back together..."

Meanwhile, Mr. B scored a few 8-tracks from the used record shop.


By the way, Big Sis's new vinyl sounds great on the console.  I want some new records, too...

The Material Things, or What We Got For Christmas


Christmas Day was small and sweet.  The girls woke up first, rushing to see what Santa Claus brought.  (See Little Sis's haul above.)  They opened their big present from mom and dad:  a used Wii for the family.  We Skyped with my brother-in-law and his partner as the girls opened the TWENTY-SEVEN gifts they sent them.  Awesome clothes!  Godiva Santas!   (The Uncles Claus and Grandpa Claus out-Santa Santa every time.)  Mr. B and I made a Christmas lasagna and salad.  When I told my family that's what we were making this year, I laughed and said, "It's red and green, see?"  (It wasn't until Christmas Eve that I realized where I'd heard that before.  I'm sure my copy is at my grandma's.)  My grandma brought over mashed potatoes (for Big Sis) and chocolate meringue pie.  My dad brought a red velvet cake for Grandma's birthday, which is on December 25.  My sister brought her little one and twin stepdaughters.  Much eating and present-opening ensued.  Happy family times.

But this post is entitled "The Material Things."  So what did we get for Christmas?

The girls' book haul was quite modest this year.  In the past, I used my employee discount to score a ton of books. My dad picked up the slack.  A Dignity of Dragons has been on our wishlist since we checked it out from the library last spring.  Emily Won't Take A Bath is another out-of-print-in-English title in the Emily series, which I blogged about in my very first Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder Monday post, last June.  I'm so excited that Big Sis received the Clarice Bean boxed set.  We love Lauren Child!  The only book that came from me is Pippi Moves In, and to be fair, I won it from Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves.  My own book haul consisted of some Jostein Gaarder titles, the new book about Madeleine L'Engle by Leonard S. Marcus, and bigger kid books for my own collection.  There were DVDs, dishes, a cake pop maker, art supplies, and some lovely matryoshka dolls for yours truly from my daddy.  The girls and Mr. B made me some jewelry.  My mom and stepdad gave us their gifts, when they were in town the weekend before for my sister's wedding:  a DVD for Mr. B, a cool hat for me, and jammies and sock monkey earmuffs for the girls.  And Big Sis got a very cool gift from Santa that the whole family is enjoying.  I'll share that one with you tomorrow.











Happy New Year!


I hope all of my lovely readers had a joyful holiday season!  Happy 2013!

My little blog won't turn one until the end of May, but here is a little look back at some of my posts from 2012, beginning with my itty-bitty one sitting on the porch, enjoying A Dignity of Dragons, and ending with my most popular post of the year - indeed, of all time, so far - "The Great Big Nutcracker Post."

This little holiday break was very necessary, but it's good to be blogging again!

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