Halloween '17, and Little Sis Turns 10

Well, Halloween is over, my spooklies - almost a week over, in fact - but I decided to post pictures anyway. It was a fun weekend. We spent Friday night at the Torchlight Tour at the Historical Museum, then Sunday the 30th, we threw a backyard bash for Little Sis. Her birthday is All Saints Day, November 1, but Nutcracker rehearsals put a kink in our plans for a unicorn party. In the end, we decided to throw another Halloween-themed costume party a few days prior to the actual date.

We prepped the front yard and the mantle earlier in the month...

I roasted and pureed two gorgeous pie pumpkins, and as she requested, made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and a pumpkin pie. (I also cheated and made some plain white cupcakes from a mix for those folks who couldn't handle pumpkin.) We bought ice cream from Braum's: one carton of homestyle vanilla and a carton of pecan pie, which is Little Sis's favorite ice cream in the whole world.

Activities were super-easy to plan. Besides our trampoline and a tent Mr. B made from a tarp and the old swing set, we had pumpkin painting...

...and chicken-petting and feeding. (Yes, hands were washed immediately after touching the hens.)

Big Sis has decided she is too old for dress-up and trick or treating, but I convinced her to don her long black skirt and t-shirt to wear with this fabulous hat I found at the grocery store. The best $3 costume purchase I think I've ever made.

I gave Little Sis the option of blowing out candles on a cupcake or on her pie. She chose the pie.

Oh! Did I mention she was Jareth the Goblin King from Labyrinth this year? Her auntie surprised us by wearing this costume to her party last year. Little Sis loves all things Labyrinth, especially David Bowie, and begged to borrow the costume. Her uncle in DC sent her a little stuffed Ludo and the Worm. To top it off, one of her friends from school came to the party dressed as Sarah, and her awesome mom donned a headband and sign that said, "Ello!"

This Halloween was my first not trick-or-treating with my oldest baby. She stayed home with her dad, passing out the occasional bit of candy, rewatching Stranger Things, and working on school stuff. Little Sis and I braved the cold weather and headed to the College Hill neighborhood to meet her bestie and her parents. Little Sis was Jareth, of course. I borrowed her pink Japanese pigtailed wig and went as some sort of witch.

She got a lot of attention, mostly from people my age. A few folks thought she was Rod Stewart, though.

College Hill is magic on Halloween.

And ohmygoshohmygosh there was a Stranger Things house this year! Complete with an Eleven and Barb to pass out candy!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween. I'm sorry I slacked off this year. I hope to have more to share this November. Crossing fingers I'll be back on track by Advent!

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Edgar and Poe

Happy October, dear spooklies! I am so sorry for my incredibly long absence. Life has definitely interfered with my blogging. I am down a computer, I've given up on learning my Canon Rebel, I have a middle-schooler AND an elementary schooler now, I just started a part-time job at the school, I was in a play, one kid is in rehearsals for The Nutcracker, the other performs with a repertory group at her dance studio, and there are a million other excuses. Blogging just isn't the same for me as it was three or four years ago, and I'm sorry. You can always see a bit more on Instagram.

Today was a day off of school, so the girls and I went library-hopping. Both are attempting Battle of the Books again at their respective schools, and Big Sis also wanted some Edgar Allan Poe for this week before Halloween. I bought her a used paperback copy, but we couldn't resist checking out this lovely Annotated Poe [edited by Kevin J. Hayes, Belknap Press, 2015]. 

As we explored the kid books, we ran across the adorable Edgar books, published as part of the BabyLit series.  I wanted to blog about these a couple of years ago, and never got to them.

First, we have Edgar Gets Ready for Bed, in which cute little Edgar argues with his mother over bedtime. As this book is clearly inspired by Poe's "The Raven," you can guess little Edgar's stock phrase: "Nevermore!"

Edgar Gets Ready for Bed by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Ron Stucki.
Gibbs Smith, 2014.

The next two books pay homage to a couple of Poe's most famous short stories, "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher." First, we have Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart, in which young Edgar accidentally breaks a bust of a certain famous author. His sister, Lenore(!!!), wants him to tell their mother the truth, but Edgar isn't sure he can. 

Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Ron Stucki.
Gibbs Smith, 2014.

Edgar wants to hang out with his friend Rodrick in Rodrick's treehouse, without his sister, in Edgar and the Tree House of Usher. Lenore tries to crash the party, but when the three are caught in a storm, he realizes how important his sister is to him.

Edgar and the Tree House of Usher by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Ron Stucki.
Gibbs Smith, 2015.

As with the other books in the BabyLit line, these picture books are cute and clever, but this time, they're allowed to expand into relatable stories for young children. And while the plots have nothing to do with Halloween, the prominent Poe references make these perfect to set out amongst your Halloween decor.

And these photos are more atrocious than I thought. Honestly, that's another reason I haven't blogged in a while. My photo skills contribute nothing worthwhile to the blogosphere. Please, check out these books for yourself, and IGNORE me.

I hope everyone is finding time to enjoy the fall! I've pureed four pie pumpkins so far, and we're planning another Halloween-themed birthday party for Little Sis!

Happy Reading!

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Dean's Gift Book of Fairy Tales

Dean's Gift Book of Fairy Tales,
illustrated by Janet & Anne Grahame Johnstone.
Dean & Son, LTD., 1967.

Finally, I have seen this book in person! I have read about it and seen a few pictures, but it wasn't the same. Dean is a British publisher, and their lovely children's books are not readily available in the middle of the U.S. Fortunately, inter-library loan exists, and a beautiful copy arrived from somewhere in Illinois.

The Johnstone twins are best-known here for illustrating Dodie Smith's The One Hundred and One Dalmatians and its sequel. Those black and white illustrations are cute and fun, but I'm loving their full color fairy tale art.

The pictures look as if they are glowing. That quality caught the eye of the librarian at the desk that night, and we paged through the book, oohing and ahhing together before I brought it home!



"Babes in the Woods"

"Sleeping Beauty"

"Puss in Boots"

"Tom Thumb"

"Hansel and Gretel'


"Beauty and the Beast"

"Beauty and the Beast"

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The Valiant Little Tailor (A Bonnie Book)

The Valiant Little Tailor (A Bonnie Book), illustrated by Dolli Tingle.
John Martin's House, 1946.

This is a charming little book we found at an antique store recently. Bonnie Books were another inexpensive book series, similar in price point to Little Golden Books. It is a retelling of "The Brave Little Tailor" by the Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Dolli Tingle, an illustrator who once designed postage stamps. I love the folksy illustrations and the way they are incorporated into the text. This copy is in pretty good shape for its age, too.

The Valiant Little Tailor (A Bonnie Book), illustrated by Dolli Tingle. John Martin's House, 1946

The Valiant Little Tailor (A Bonnie Book), illustrated by Dolli Tingle. John Martin's House, 1946

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