Happy Friday! {Books, Instagrams, Food, and Etc.}

It's Friday! I apologize for not posting much lately. Richard 3 opens this Sunday, the girls are out of school for a 4-day weekend (starting today), and we're trying to make our gross house presentable, so that Little Sis's friend can spend the night on Sunday.

My opening pictures are taken from Instagram. Last Saturday, Little Sis and I indeed drove to Hutchinson, Kansas, to the little old-fashioned mall cinema, to see The Last Unicorn. It opened with a preview of some of the merchandise, then some giveaways. We actually won something - two Last Unicorn book-inspired art prints. After that, Peter S. Beagle answered questions from the audience. It was so very cool. The Q&A was followed by a screening of the movie, in a beautiful new digital print. I think I saw the movie at a Wichita mall cinema, when my parents took me to see it the first time in 1982, so the cheap mall atmosphere made me feel especially nostalgic. When the movie ended, we headed to the merchandise table, where I bought a t-shirt and Little Sis got a comic book and little crocheted wizard doll. Peter S. Beagle signed the comic and the prints we won. They were not selling copies of the book. A new special edition is coming out soon, so they were taking pre-orders for that. I was low on money, as usual - all the cool stuff comes just before pay day, right? - so I haven't pre-ordered mine yet, but I did sign up to be a Last Unicorn Tour Member, which should allow me to do so from home. I hope. I'm not sure how it works.

I regretted not getting our old SelectAVision CED of the movie from my dad's for Beagle to sign. Apparently, it's pretty collectible.

The second set of pictures were taken the day before that, at the first grade science fair, in which the kiddos showed off the crazy-creative "recyclebots" they made with their families at home. Little Sis's was made of two differently sized coffee cans, a little nut can, 3 soda cans, 2 bubble bottle lids, some straws, and a pair of broken wings from some plastic toy. She named it Fly. As you can see, there were some adorable robots on display!

On to books.

What We Read

Alphabetabum by Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka. New York Review Children's Collection, 2014.

Little Sis chose this book at the library, and she and her sister have had a good time with it. The book consists of found vintage photographs, like a picture book version of the Miss Peregrine's books. It's also perfect for April - National Poetry Month - as each photograph is accompanied by a humorous verse. As you may have guessed by the title, it's also arranged as an alphabet book. I haven't even had a chance to look at it closely myself, but they love it, because as Little Sis says, "I love old things!"

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane Books, 2014.

It seemed to take our library for-ever!!! to get this book. This is a sweet wordless picture book about a baby clown, who bounces off a circus train into a farmer's field. The farmer takes the little clown in and takes care of him, until the train comes back to collect the little guy. It's an adorable book. You can see more pictures of it over at Pen Pals & Picture Books.

As for our bedtime chapter book, we are more than halfway through The Lost Princess of Oz!

What Little Sis Read

Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe #2: Little Red Quacking Hood (A Branches Book) by Noah Z. Jones. Scholastic, 2014.

I have decided I looooove Scholastic's "Branches" series for early readers. Every page is illustrated, but the books have enough text to justify them as chapter books. The fun (and often funny) subjects and characters keep the kiddos reading. I'm impressed, because Little Sis is not the most excited independent reader. She likes to be doing something with her hands (especially drawing!) at all times, and it's hard to multitask when you're holding a book. These books hold her interest so much, however, that she read this one aloud to me one evening, because she wanted to. When I told her it was time for bed, she kept begging, one more chapter, until she finished the book. We read the first book in this humorous fractured fairy tale series last fall. She read another "Branches" book, the first in the Owl Diaries series, in February.

Big Sis Update

Big Sis finally finished the first Sisters Grimm book. She has requested the next book, but until then, she is reading Lord & Lady Bunny - Almost Royalty. 

What I'm Reading

I've been working on lines for Richard III! I don't have many, but they take my time. I started The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, which must be one of the most physically beautiful regular hardcovers I've held in a long time. Mine is special, too - thanks, Schuler Books!

But... I got two new cookbooks! I've been a vegetarian for nearly twenty years. Not a vegan - I do eat eggs and dairy. I admit, though, that I overdo it on the dairy (especially cheese) and I need to revamp my diet. So as part of my effort to cut down on dairy, I've turned to some vegan cookbooks. There are not many I particularly like, as some contain a lot of processed substitutions - fake cheese products [shudder], fake meats, over-the-top expensive and/or hard-to-find ingredients. I have found a favorite, though.

Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes Every Day of the Week by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Little, Brown and Company, 2013. 

I own Moskowitz's Veganomicon, which is gigantic. There are some repeat recipes in this one, but I find Isa Does It to be easier to use, plus it's full of gorgeous full-color photography. I finally tried cashew mac and cheese, which turned out to be delicious! My favorite recipe so far as to be the Bistro Beet Burgers (also in Veganomicon), which my entire family loved. Really. Even the beet-haters! They don't taste like meat, but they're crunchy and tasty, especially topped with avocado. You can find the recipe on her Post Punk Kitchen website.

The America's Test Kitchen Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. Cook's Illustrated, 2015. 

Mr. B and I love to watch America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country, so I was thrilled when my dad gifted me with the new vegetarian cookbook. This thing is full of information, recipes, even product taste-tests. There are so many things I cannot wait to make. It includes vegan and gluten-free recipes, too.
I've also been pulling out my favorite cookbook from last year.

The Southern Vegetarian by Justin Fox Burks & Amy Lawrence. Thomas Nelson, 2013.

This one is by the folks behind The Chubby Vegetarian blog, which I love. It's full of fabulous comfort food, made with fresh ingredients. Finally, a vegetarian recipe for biscuits and gravy that doesn't include frozen fake sausage! And it's really good! Plus, this book introduced me to my favorite lentil tacos, which I make at least once a month.

I made something particularly wonderful for lunch today, by the way. Smitten Kitchen posted this lovely recipe for Fried Egg Salad a few months ago, and I pinned it immediately. Maybe I needed the protein, but I craved eggs today. I didn't have all the ingredients for the original recipe, so I improvised. I had a bag of ready-to-eat kale, so I poured half into my colander, rinsing and massaging it thoroughly. I had some baby spinach, too, so I added half the container of that. Then I added grated carrot and some rings of red onion. For a dressing, I mixed some toasted sesame oil and a little white vinegar with sesame seeds, lime juice, dry mustard, salt and chili powder. I followed her directions for the crispy fried eggs, draining and salting them generously. (I'm not a big salt person, but these needed it.) The result? Amazingness. Big Sis, Mr. B, and I gobbled it up in no time. (Little Sis wouldn't touch kale with a ten-foot pole, and ate a turkey sandwich instead.)

As for the rest of our week, I've discovered Mr. Belvedere reruns on Antenna TV. It's hilarious how many of these episodes I remember, and I'm surprised at how well they hold up. It's actually entertaining, compared to some other shows of my '80s childhood. When it's time to scale Mt. Laundry (folding and sorting, yuck), I've starting re-watching The X-Files on Netflix, which I loved back in the day. I never saw the movies, nor the last season of the show. I was feeling a bit fed-up by then. News of the impending re-launch has made me miss the show, though.

I LOVED this song.

My husband's best friend has been going through a rough time lately, so he's been coming over on Mr. B's days off. It gave us an excuse to watch all of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt again, which means I've seen every episode at least twice, and in some cases, even more. We finally started watching the second season of the new Doctor Who, too. Both of these shows are made even better by the fact that our whole family, parents and daughters, enjoy them together.

We also have this Blu-Ray checked out from the library. Cannot wait to watch it. And did you see this beautiful trailer

And speaking of trailers...  the ending to this one is so epically awesome!!!  Not! Enough! Exclamation Points!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope the weather is lovely where you are - we're expecting those Kansas storms again! I'll leave you with fan video I found on YouTube, set to the opening theme to The Last Unicorn, written by Jimmy Webb and performed by America . Little Sis has decided she wants to dance to it at next year's school talent show.

As always...

Merry Weekend! Happy Reading!

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  1. Everything about the Last Unicorn looks so cool! I love your shirt. And the recyclebots! When Marnie was there looks amazing, I'd love to see that. I 've wanted to be vegetarian for a long time, just haven't resolved to do it yet. Have a great weekend!

    1. The Last Unicorn is truly one of my favorites from childhood. I'm sad that Big Sis changed her mind about it, but it's grand that Little Sis loves it. According to some YouTube comments, people who have already seen When Marnie Was There (in Japanese, I'm guessing) said they cried. I'm a bad movie crier, but we'll see. (I can be a cry-baby in general.) Yeah, I've done the meatless thing for years, which always got me grief from the meat-eaters, especially in Kansas. Then suddenly, I was around hardcore vegans, who had a tendency to be condescending, even though they were rather recent to it, compared to my vegetarian thing. My kids eat meat, because their dad does and they prefer it. I'm not militant. Everyone can make their own choices. I wish people would be more accepting of others period, you know? xoxo Hope your Sunday is lovely!


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