I promise, my play closes this Sunday, so next week, I should have more time for blogging!  Meanwhile, here are a few Instagram pics from the past week or two.  

Beginning with our old, beloved wooden Clifford pull-toy, and some Clifford the Big Red Dog paperbacks.  Today is the 85th birthday of Norman Bridwell, Clifford's creator!  Happy Birthday, Mr. Bridwell!

Some friends of mine who lived in New England for a spell met Mr. Bridwell.  They said he is a very nice man.  That's always good to hear.  The two books on the ends, Clifford Goes to Hollywood and Clifford's Riddles, are from the 1970s.  The paper is newsprint quality, the pictures are black and white.  My grandmother got them at a garage sale, and she would read them to me when I would go to her house to spend the night.  Clifford the Big Red Dog was "our thing."  She had more of the books, too, but I don't know what became of them.

Top:  Wichita State University.  We went to the art museum there to deliver cookies to a friend.  As we were leaving I pointed out Wilner Auditorium, the theatre building where Mr. B and I first met.  They were far more impressed by the rain.
Second Row:  A pretty pizza from The Fresh Market, our toy piano with a bust of Bach - someone was having a Schroeder moment - and Mr. B with monkey, wearing the girls' Alice costume.
Third Row:  Little Sis's ambitious "book stand," a happy Scholastic order (The BFG!!!), and Little Sis running circles around me outside of Big Sis's school.
Bottom:  Little Sis's favorite valentine (from her BFF), the books I read at Big Sis's school this week (Olivia books by request!!!!), and some yummy macaroni.  I think I'll have to do a blog post about favorite macaroni recipes soon...

The play has been going well.  Great audiences.  We've had two performances, and we have three more to go.  I'm auditioning for The Cherry Orchard tomorrow.  Crossing fingers!  In more performance news, Big Sis has a speaking role in her first grade show at school!  She attends a performing arts magnet school, and pre-K, 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades have full productions.  She's been bringing her script home to study each night.  And last week, costume photos were posted on the bulletin board at the girls' dance school - they know what they will be wearing in their recital this spring.  We're not exactly a showbiz family, but it's fun to have something artsy in common!

Merry Weekend, One and All!  Happy Reading!  

February 14

Today is...

It is also...

International Book Giving Day 
V-Day / One Billion Rising

Today, my girls have their Valentine's Day gifts, I will try my best to give a book, and tonight, after curtain call, the cast of my play, Radiating Like A Stone, will invite the audience to stand and dance.

I wish each and every one of my readers a Very Happy February 14, no matter what it may mean to you.

At Home With Mabel

Mabel came home last week!  She's been easing into her new life as our house kitty.  She's adapting amazingly well.  She spent a few days hiding under the girls' bunk beds, so we put her food and water tray in their bedroom.  She would only come out to use the litter box and to say hi if we were in the room.  Since then, though, she's been exploring more and more.  And she loves to play!  I haven't had a kitten in so long, and even then, I don't remember having one who liked to play this much!  

So I present to you:

"Get it, Mabel!  Get it!"

Did she get it?

She got it.

R.I.P. Yarn Ball

Little Things For Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day...  Oh, Valentine's Day, I'm just too busy for you this year!  I forgot how hard it is to be in a play over Valentine's Day.  I want to make cupcakes and cool decor and Valentines for the girls' classes.  Alas, alack!  When???

This is what we did on Valentine's Day, 2010.  We were very, very broke.  I wanted to do something sweet, though, so I got some cheap cupcake picks, used a tablecloth left over from a birthday party, and made a pretty table.  We kept our winter-themed decorations from Christmas, and added lots of hearts, including the paper bag hearts with the lacing and magazine words that we made during one of my storytimes at the bookstore.

Our fireplace is bare right now.  There is junk on the blower, because no one seems interested in putting anything away right now.  (Grrrr...)  I see no red or pink anywhere, except for the toys I always seem to be stepping over.  Or on.

So, this is a little post made up of what little Valentiney stuff I can come up with.  Enjoy!

At this time, we are making Valentines for the classrooms.  Well, we're printing and assembling, anyway.  Little Sis has chosen to make these awesome little puppet Valentines, via You Are My Fave.  Big Sis's Valentines will take a little more time - we need to make a whole bunch more pom-poms first!  I love this free printable/instructions from See Jane Blog.  We also decided to give Valentines to the kids in the girls' dance classes.  For those, we opted for some store-bought cuteness.

I have the girls' Valentine gifts ready.  February 14 is also International Book Giving Day, and I have books on order from Little Sis's Scholastic flyer, but I don't know if they will arrive in time.  They may.  But we got them some glitter crayons, gel crayons, and Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, too.  (Yep, yesterday I wrote It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown.  I don't know why.  I even linked to it.  I don't know where my head is.)  I'm excited because the DVD also includes It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown and You're In Love, Charlie Brown, two more of my very favorites.

I tried out a recipe for Beet and Carrot Pancakes, which I thought would be beautiful for Valentine's Day.

But let's be honest here - the only person in this house who likes beets, besides me, is Little Sis.  She tried these, and declared "Nope, I only like beet chips!"

These are the beet chips I made at her request last week.  I think she ate two of them.  I give up.

But aren't the beet and carrot pancakes pretty, with their dollop of sour cream?  Red and white for Valentine's Day?  Perfect if your Valentine likes beets.

None of mine do.  

I haven't checked out any new Valentine's Day-themed books this year.  I can share my favorite from the past couple of years:

Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated
by Scott Campbell.  Atheneum Books for
Young Readers, 2011.

And Little Sis told me that this is her new favorite Valentine's Day book.  I have never read it!  They read it in her pre-K class.  So this is her recommendation:

Little Mouse's Big Valentine by Thacher Hurd.
HarperCollins, 1992.
I hope everyone else is having a lovely Valentine's Day week!  Tomorrow, Little Sis goes to her best friend's house after preschool, so I'm going to Big Sis's school to read a Valentine story or two to her first grade class.  (The teacher will have to provide a book.  I don't really like any we own!)  Her school Valentine's Day party is Thursday, of course.  Little Sis's will be on Friday, since she doesn't attend preschool on Thursday.

I need to go  clean my messy house now.  Again.  It never ends...

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Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder Monday: Valentine's Day TV

I don't really remember having many Valentine's Day books growing up.  None that stick out in my memory anyway.  Nor do I remember having many favorite shows.  My all-time favorite doesn't really fall into this little category I've created for myself, because I never stopped watching it.  That would be Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown.  Peanuts never go out of style.  

But we did have a VHS tape of The Berenstain Bears' Comic Valentine!  The special first aired in prime time in 1982.  We taped it off back-to-back with the I Love the Chipmunks Valentine Special.  

I couldn't find much for my Chipmunks special.  Here are some clips:  a TV promo spot pairing this special with a Smurfs Valentine's Day special (I don't remember that one), and someone did upload the song I remember most from the episode.  (The Chipmunks and the Chippettes!)

The Valentine's Day That Almost Wasn't was a special that aired on Showtime during the 1980s.  It was created by Paul Fusco, better known as the creator of A.L.F.

(Yeah, I watched A.L.F.)

This is one of those things that I know I loved and watched many times as a kid, but I'd completely forgotten about it until one day, my sister sent me a clip from YouTube.  After that, she managed to dig out the old VHS tape my dad had made of the special, but my VCR no longer worked.  Now I can't remember if we gave the tape back to my sister or if I've managed to misplace it somewhere in this house.  I have a working VCR now!  I'd love to see this thing in its entirety again!

It's about a cupid named Sam, a character based on Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon.  An evil woman named Rubella Slime creates a hate potion, and she and her brothers are determined to turn the world into one without love.  Um...  yep.  I haven't seen this thing in eons, so forgive me if that's really all I remember.

These YouTube clips are all I can show you.  Thanks, YouTube user who uploaded these.  

I like Rubella Slime better when she was evil...

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