Sunday, January 31, 2010

I love...

...mid-afternoon naps with the hubby and puppy boy. Which is why I am shutting down the computer and heading off for one now!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Something new

Tonight is going to be fun. Not only am I meeting up with a large group of knitty friends (yay! Knitting!), but we are going to get Indian food. This is a first for me. While I've wanted to try Indian cuisine, I've never really had the opportunity to do so.

So, I am excited for an evening out with good friends and (hopefully) good food!

All you need is Love...

The past couple of weeks this song has been going through my mind a lot. I've even caught myself singing it out public! Then, a few days ago a friend on one of the message boards I frequent titled her new journal All you need is love. ACK! Thank goodness I love the song, because it will be stuck in my head for ages now.

Speaking of love...

I've been reading the book Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman. What an amazing love story! The two were completely devoted to one another, despite their differing opinions about religion and science.

When I was in Boston, I was had the chance to hear the author speak, as she won the Morris award for the book (in the category of best nonfiction for young adults). There were many in the audience, myself included, when she remarked on the adage "write what you know". She said that she likes to write, not what she knows, but what she wants to know more about; however, with this book she realized that she was also writing what she knew, as she, too, has a wonderful, devoted relationship with her husband. Coincidentally, her husband is a science-minded person (and Pulitzer prize winning author of The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time) and she has a degree in religious studies.

Continuing on the topic of love...

I can't help but think of my husband and me. In just a few weeks we will have been together for ten years (and married for a bit over seven). We've encountered many stresses over those ten years, including unemployment, living in separate states, career changes, buying our first house, financial issues and infertility. Through it all, though, we have stood together, hand in hand, and worked our way past the bad to find the good. Perhaps it is true. All you need is love.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

so close...

As I was laying in bed last night (with a very cuddly puppyboy), I realized that I didn't post yesterday. It's almost the end of the month and I miss a day. Bah.

BTW: Happiness is a snuggly pet. Especially if that pet is my 24 pound Boston Terrier.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday, Monday...

It's Monday, and the start of a new work week. I was working today, which means I have a three day weekend coming up. Now that is something to be excited about!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Yay! again

  • hubby is home (until tomorrow morning- that last part is not so yay)
  • puppyboy is home.
  • the parents got us a Wii for a combined Christmas/birthdays gift.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


The hubby is home! I haven't seen him since before the Boston trip.

It's kinda funny, though, that on the train trip to Boston it seemed like he was following us. While we were in Boston, there was a time that he was only a few miles away. On the way home, it was almost like he was following us again - at least the first part of the trip. This is because his weekly run usually goes between Indy and Hartford, CT with trips up to Boston.

We are going to get the puppy boy today. I'm so glad. I've missed both of my boys over the past two weeks. It will be good to have the whole family home again.

home sweet home

One of the best things about being home after a trip away? Being able to cook your own meal.

Granted, I hate the cleaning part afterwards, but I love to cook. I enjoyed nearly all of the food in Boston. I did not, however, enjoy the lack of veggies with some of the meals. Thankfully I took lots of clementines with me, so at least I had lots of fresh fruit (and something healthy to eat).

Tonight I made a chicken pot pie. It was quite yummy. Not nearly as yummy as the chicken pot pie that R's mom made for us Tuesday night, but still hit the spot. As usual, I made enough to feed a small army. Guess I know what we will be eating much of this weekend!

I used organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs, diced sweet onion fresh sliced baby bella mushrooms, frozen corn and lima beans, frozen carrots and frozen potatoes O'Brien (with peppers and onions). I cooked the chicken, onions and carrots in a can of low sodium chicken broth and then used the liquid left at the end to make the gravy. I used refrigerated pie crust for the top.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Best of the Best - Youth Media Awards, part 3

There are so many reasons I love to attending conferences like the one I went to this past week. It is more than the free swag (though that is awesome – especially the books!) and learning opportunities. It is more than networking and being with people who are just as excited and passionate as I am about libraries. It is the revival of that passion. It is also the inspiration to return home and ignite that passion in others.

As I stated in a previous post, Monday I attended the Youth Media Awards. It is events like this that help to revive my excitement over my career choice. How could it not? The YMA is all about the best in youth media over the previous year. I’m a children’s librarian. It stands to reason that I would be excited to find out which books, video and audiobooks were considered to be the best…especially since I have read a ton of them just for fun.

The video winner wasn’t a surprise. I was on the committee that picked it. Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus by Mo Willems is an excellent picture book. The video was even better.

I had my hopes for the Newbery and Caldecott winners and they were brought to life. I was beyond happy to find out that When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead was the Newbery pick and The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney was the Caldecott winner. From the moment I read these books I wanted them to be the winners. They are that great.

To add to the excitement and inspiration of the event, the winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Award (Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal), Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, was sitting just a couple of rows behind me. When they announced the winner, several people from other awards committees jumped out of their seats and ran to congratulate her. The overwhelming joy was contagious. Even though I do not personally know her, I had tears in my eyes!

Now I am back to the daily grind, where I hope to pass along that enthusiasm for children’s literature to the patrons of my library. Who knows? A future Caldecott illustrator or Newbery author might be the child who comes to storytime tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Best of Boston

Last week I was in Boston. While there I managed to see some wonderful historical places...and eat some delicious foods.

One of the best meals I had was also one of the most expensive. My friend R and I went about town on Thursday, and stopped at the Omni Parker House hotel. We had a late breakfast, so weren't overly hungry, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to eat at this historical location. Not only were Parker House rolls developed there, but also Boston Cream Pie.

R and I both ordered Boston Cream Pie. Additionally, I ordered a crock of French Onion soup and my usual unsweetened, fresh brewed ice tea with no lemon. R also ordered hot cocoa. Our server brought us a basket of Parker House Rolls and Boston Brown Bread.

Our meal's total: just over $34.

It was totally worth it.

R and I both took photos of our dessert. Even though I was stuffed, I ate every bite.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Recently I came across an online article about 101 new uses for everyday things (like lemons, coffee filter and vinegar).

“What a great article!” I thought. I liked it so much that I immediately passed it along to a friend, telling her that I wanted to share it on my blog.

That was the plan. Then…I checked out the site it originated from. Or, rather, the section of that site. What a wonderful site! In addition to the 101 new uses article there were many more similar articles encouraging readers to think outside the box. The site? Real Simple Magazine. The section? Home & Organizing: New Uses For Old Things.

Granted, some of their new uses are ones that I had already known about (like using coffee filters to clean your windows – no lint or streaking!); however, I did learn a lot of additional uses for common household objects. One of my favorites is using post-it notes to clean a keyboard. You just run the sticky side between the keys to collect crumbs and bits of lint.

Check out the site. Maybe you’ll find some new uses for old things, too, and while your at it, you might learn the best way to do something new.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Best of the Best – Youth Media Awards, part 2

And the winners are....

All listed here. More later. It's time to pack and get to bed, as I have a long train trip home tomorrow.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Best of the Best – Youth Media Awards, part 1

Very bright and early tomorrow morning I will be attending the Youth Media Awards. This is the third time I’ve attended the event at ALA Midwinter Meeting, but the first time (and hopefully not the last time) I will attend as a committee member.

Many have likened this event to the Academy Awards for our field. Librarians, publishers, authors, illustrators and others in youth media fields will be anxiously awaiting the results. The awards given can make an unknown author an overnight success.

You can watch the awards online by going to this website.

Nearly anyone who really knows me will tell you, I'm not a morning person. Far from it. I often sleep through alarms, and find it hard to think coherently when I first get out of bed. Yet tomorrow morning I will need to be bright eyed and wide awake in time for a 6:30 a.m. photograph. Good gods. I'm sure I'll look a fright! At least I won't be the only one, as I'm sure there are many on the various awards committees that will be too nervous/excited to sleep much tonight.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Candle Care 101 - Trim candle wicks.

Before lighting your Gold Canyon candle, you should trim the wick to 1/4 inch. When candle wicks are too long the candle will create excessive smoke, turning the jar black. This should be done every time you are going to burn a candle.

Black Jars can also be caused by burning a candle in a draft or near or below a fan causing the candle to burn unevenly. So always burn candles out of a draft.

This five ounce Heritage candle is nearly done. Before it is burned again, though, the wick needs to be trimmed.
An inside view before trimming the wick.

Place the Gold Canyon Wick Trimmer inside the candle, making sure that the wick is in the notched area. Then snip.

A nicely trimmed candle, all ready to be lit.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Music to move your soul

On one of the message boards I frequent, someone recently started a thread about what songs get to your core. “What a great idea for a blog post!” I thought, “Especially when the month’s NaBloPoMo theme is best, and I’ve been kinda slacking in that theme.” So, here are just a few of the songs that just move me.

  • I’m Your’s - Jason Mraz
  • Lucky - Jason Mraz
  • Rhapsody in Blue- George Gershwin
  • Feelin’ Love - Paula Cole
  • Hallelujah - Rufus Wainwright
  • More than Words - Extreme
  • Landslide – Stevie Nicks or Dixie Chicks. Both are great
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo Ole'
  • I'll Stand By You - The Pretenders
  • Danny’s Song – Loggins and Messina
  • There is Love (The Wedding Song)
  • Give me one reason - Tracy Chapman
  • I'm The Only One - Melissa Etheridge
  • Come into My Window - Melissa Etheridge
  • Smile – Glee cover is my favorite
  • O Holy Night
  • Ave Maria
  • Amazing Grace
  • Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Going to the Movies

The hubby and I watch a lot of movies, though he is more of a movie hound than I am. During the summer blockbuster season, we often go to the theaters three times a month. We also have a collection of over 250 DVDs. So, it’s save to say we like to watch movies.

A short list of my favorite movies we’ve watched over the past year or so:

  • Up
  • G. I. Joe
  • Gran Torino
  • The Wrestler
  • P.S. I Love You
  • Star Trek
  • Juno
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno
  • Extract
  • Sweeny Todd

As you can tell, we are both fans of comedy and adventure type movies. Hubby likes horror movies as well. I rather have suspense than horror. I can do without all the gory blood shots. That’s why two of my favorite scary movies are The Others and Stir of Echoes. Lately I rather watch something that is going to make me laugh than something that is going to make me cry or hide my eyes.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Simply sensational scents

I’ve been at this candle thing for about 4 full months, and now it’s time for a new catalog. This means new scents and products. I have the sample pots for nearly all of the current scents, but I really don’t know them all yet. So…this post is dedicated to three of my favorite scents that were in the last catalog (though some are still be available).

Pineapple and Cilantro

This was one of my first Gold Canyon candles. The scent is only available in the pillar series. When the box arrived, I was amazed that I could smell the candle even through the sturdy box that surrounds it. Then I removed the golden yellow candle from its container, closed my eyes and inhaled the fragrance. My goodness. My mouth immediately started watering and I could practically feel the ripe pineapple and peach juices dripping off my chin. It was amazing. For weeks afterwards, my mouth would water just talking about the candle.

(This scent is currently available)

Gingerbread House

Ah…the spicy scent of ginger mixed with the delicious aroma of brown sugar make for one yummy scent! I have this bit of scrumptiousness in both a scent pod and a five ounce heritage candle. It is also one of the scents that I have an extra sample pot of, so I keep one in my office at work. When I want to make the office smell extra nice (usually when someone heats up a strong smelling lunch in the break room across the hall), I just open the little sample pot. The aroma is strong enough to fill the office without knocking me out.

Warm Welcome

Almonds. Cherries. Vanilla. Cinnamon. Who doesn’t enjoy these three fragrances – especially when blended together? This scent is available as a Comforts of Home candle and as a Scent Pod. I have both. I initially purchased this scent as an 11 ounce candle, but knew before it was finished burning that I needed to get the larger 20 ounce. It’s that heavenly.

(This scent is currently available)

As I become more familiar with the new catalog, I will post about some of my newer favorite scents.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Picture Book Pizzazz

Last night six children and four parents attended my library's Picture Book Pizzazz/Mock Caldecott. Of the ten books reviewed, the top picks were the same for both parents and children…just in different order.

Books reviewed:

  • Chicken Little
  • The Mouse and the Lion
  • All God’s Critters
  • Duck! Rabbit!
  • Birds
  • Pelé, King of Soccer / Pelé, el rey del fútbol
  • Tsunami!
  • All the World
  • Otis
  • Kiki’s Blankie

The children chose Kiki’s Blankie as their winner. The parents chose Duck! Rabbit!

Monday, January 11, 2010

it's the drugs, man...

My sister G works as a pharmacy technician. This is a job she has done for several years now. Her husband is a pharmacist. I know that any question I have about medications, one of the two will be able to answer.

A couple years ago, G mentioned to me a great web resource. The site is called Internet Drug Coupons. The purpose of the site is to provide coupons and discounts for many medications – both over the counter and prescriptions. Want a coupon for $1 off any Advil product? Check out this site. Need a discount for Avandia? There is currently an offer for 30 Days FREE + 3 $25 Coupons. Not too shabby, eh?

So check out this site and pass it along to everyone you know. In times like these, everyone can use a little extra cash in her pocket.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


It's Sunday, which means I have a day off of work. Yay! One of the best things about it? Sleeping in with the hubby and puppyboy. I could go for more days like that.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just the essentials

As I mentioned, I have a trip planned for next week. A long trip in that 1. I’ll be out of town for almost a week, and 2. the travel time to and from equals more than 24 hours. Since I’m not driving, I don’t have to pay attention along the way. Yay! From what I hear, I’m not the greatest navigator, so it’s a good thing I’m not involved in choo-chooing the train.

So…what kind of things will I do to keep occupied during the time actually traveling? I expect to nap for at least a bit of that time. I love me some sleep! I also plan to pack a bag of goodies to keep me occupied. That bag will include:
  • Yarn and knitting needles. I have at least one project that I need to finish. I also plan to take a couple skeins of cotton to make some dishcloths.
  • MP3 player. Right now there are a ton of songs on it. I should put a book on it as well.
  • Laptop. This will be in its own carrying case. As there won’t be wireless available, I won’t be able to play online. (Oh, noes! Whatever will happen to my Facebook games!). But…I can type, play other games, watch a movie and even listen to music/audiobooks. Yay!
  • Book. Only one, as I will probably pick up many free books (mostly Advanced Readers Copies) at the conference. I’m not sure what book just yet.
  • Puzzles. I have a word search book (or few) around the house. I need to dig up one to take along with me.
  • Snacks. Yup. Food is a necessity on a long trip. The train has a snack car, and we will partake of train cheese (as friend R and I call it), but on a 14ish hour trip I will need more than a few pieces of cheese and crackers.

So…there’s my list of things to keep me occupied/from going even more crazy. What do you take on long trips?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Beantown, here I come!

Next week I am heading to a conference in Boston. I’ve never been there before, so I am looking forward to visiting such a historical city.

My friend R and I are taking the train there. This does mean we will be en route most of the day, but I am looking forward to just sitting back and enjoying the scenery.

Two years ago, when we first attended this conference in Philly, R talked me in to taking the train with her. I’ve since decided that I love traveling that way. When I went to Chicago last summer, I took the train from Detroit as well. I haven’t used that mode of transportation for any other trip – due to cost more than anything else. While a somewhat short distance is very affordable, the cost for a comfortable trip across the country is greatly increased. One day, though, I plan on taking that kind of trip. I even plan to bring the hubby along with me.

So…next Wednesday morning R and I will board a train in Pittsburgh and head towards Boston. I will bring along some knitting, a book, a few snacks, my mp3 player and my laptop to keep me occupied, and watch the world go by. And, if all goes well, fourteen hours later I will be checking in at the hotel in Boston.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Go Green...With Gold Canyon!

As I noted a few days ago, I recently went to my hometown to visit family. While there, my Aunt M raved to me about the Gold Canyon Homeology products she purchased through me. Specifically, she told me about using the Mandarin Eucalyptus Clove All Natural Cleanser and the Rosemary Mint Natural All Purpose Cleaner to deep clean her upstairs bathtub. With just a little bit of cleaner and not much elbow grease, she was able to get the tub shining in no time.

So…what is Homeology?

According to Gold Canyon, it “is aromatherapy for the home. Our plant-based, environmentally friendly cleaning products contain fragrant essential oils for a pure and natural scent that soothes you while wiping out dirt and germs. Our Homeology line of products includes all-natural cleaning supplies that are effective, biodegradable and safe to breathe.

In other words, it’s Gold Canyon’s green cleaning products. I have tried a few of them so far, mostly the Rosemary Mint Natural All Purpose Cleaner. I’ve used it to clean the walls, counters and appliances in my kitchen, the front entryway walls before painting them, and even to clean the bathroom tile and hallway wood floors. It is truly an all purpose cleaner!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dream a little dream

On one of the many message boards I frequent, there was talk about making a dream board. Someone posted this link for an online tool for making your own dream board. What fun!

What is a dream board? It’s a space decorated with visual representations of your goals. Words are welcome, but it is the pictures – photographs, clip art, magazine clippings – that really make up the essence of a dream board.

As we start a new year and a new decade, resolutions and goals are a popular topic of conversation – both with others and with one’s self. A dream board – whether physical or virtual – can help to achieve those aspirations.

I haven’t tried my hand at making my own dream board yet, but do plan to play around with the online tool provided by Oprah’s website. Regardless if I complete one or not, I think it is an excellent idea for anyone.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Decluttering challenge

Last year on one of the message boards that I frequent, we had a challenge to purge 2009 items from our homes. While I didn’t hit that goal, I did come in with 1358 items tossed, donated or gifted. I’m sure there were more that just weren’t counted.

We are doing this challenge again this year, adding an additional item to make the goal 2010. Thanks to trash pickup this morning, last night I was able to purge 132 items.

I’m ashamed to admit that most of those items were very wasteful. We have a pantry in our basement that we both often forget about. Miscellaneous food items have been stored in there for several years. Some expiration dates were over three years old! Additionally, we have a deep freezer in our laundry room – also in the basement. I’ve started pulling the items from the bottom to throw away. Soups and chili that was bagged and frozen in the fall of 2007. Cookie dough made and frozen around November 2006. Some of the items in both places haven’t been consumed simply because our tastes and eating habits have changed. Others were just forgotten about after being stored. Over the next month or two, I plan to toss at least a dozen of these items every week.

Other items that were purged were old magazines and mail. Goodness how the paper piles up. We have boxes of it stored in the spare room closet – thanks to many moves and grad school. Some of the magazines – the more recent ones – I am going to donate for the library’s book sale. The rest are going directly into the trash. This is when having a wood burning fireplace would be lovely. I’d just burn most of this paper. While I know I could – and should – recycle much of the paper clutter, I’m at a point when it is better to just put it in the trash in order to make sure it leaves my house.

Clutter can always be overwhelming, which, at least in my experience, just makes more appear. Hopefully this year we can tackle the clutter in our home and come out much better for it in the end.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Best Reads from 2009

I read. A lot. In fact, from my records (i.e. my other blog), I read over 80 novels last year. Here is my list of the best of those. The books are not listed in any particular order.

  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (series)
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  • The Nation by Terry Pratchett
  • Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • Ghost Medicine by Andrew Smith
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (sequel to The Hunger Games)
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (series. I just finished reading the third book in the series.)

While not my favorite books from my reading adventures this past year, the following titles receive an honorable mention:

  • Pride and prejudice and zombies : the classic Regency romance -- now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem! by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The journey that saved Curious George : the true wartime escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
  • Owly: Flying Lessons by Andy Runton
  • Jellaby by Kean Soo
  • Shield of Stars by Hilari Bel land Sword of Waters by Hilari Bell (series)
  • The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs
  • Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher

Sunday, January 3, 2010

weekend update

Thanks to the slow freight this week, hubby and I have been able to spend nearly four days together instead of our usual two.. He made it home around 5 a.m. Friday morning, and will be heading back on the road tomorrow evening.

It has been a wonderful weekend, my Christmas Cold notwithstanding. We had a lazy day at home on Friday and rented a couple of movies to watch that night (Julie & Julia and Inglorious Bastards). We slept in yesterday and then headed to my hometown for a wonderful day with family. Today we celebrated MIL’s 60th and FIL’s 62nd birthdays with a family lunch at a local pizza chain. Afterwards we all headed to the house of one of my SIL, where we enjoyed watching the kids play various Wii games.

And now we are relaxing at home watching more movies. A perfect way to spend a snowy evening.

RE: Friday night’s movie choices:

I saw Julie & Julia in the theaters, and liked it a lot. The best parts were the ones about Julia Child, expertly portrayed by Meryl Streep.

The hubby and I wanted to see Inglorious Bastards in the theater, but never quite got around to it. Knowing that it was a Quentin Tarantino film, I expected a good bit of gory violence. The movie was excellent. It would have been just as excellent – or perhaps even more – if it wasn’t so bloody. Ugh. I watched a good bit of the film from behind the screen of my cracktop.

Homeward bound

This afternoon the hubby and I headed south towards my hometown. While the shopping part of the trip was a major bust, the visiting part was a success.

We stopped for lunch on our way, and chatted with one of hubby's former coworkers - always a delight. We then continued on to do some shopping.

After the "shopping" part of our trip, we went to see my 88-year-old PapPap. I hadn't seen Pap since around Thanksgiving. It was wonderful to sit and talk with him for a while.

We then headed to my Aunt M's house, where we talked, ate and played Wii games with her family. I also played the piano a little with my cousin H (age 9).

We just arrived home about 10 minutes ago, and will be heading off to bed shortly.

The best part of the day - spending time with family and being home.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Simply the Best...

I’ve decided to attempt a post every day for the month of January. While I might veer off track topicwise from time to time, I hope to mostly stick to the topic of the month at NaBloPoMo: Best.

Here’s hoping this doesn’t end up like most New Year resolutions!