Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yes, I'm a Children's Librarian

And another, Hi-I'm-a-Children's-Librarian-and-this-is-what-I-do-all-day post.

Here's a quick rundown of what my Tuesday (three Tuesdays ago to be exact) looked like....and since it was a TUESDAY (and I work the late shift on Tuesdays) let me tell ya what I did before I arrived at work. <--- trying to see how many "Tuesdays" I can fit into one sentence before you decide to stop reading.

Well, let's see: bright and early at 7 a.m. I had a delicious Dashing Dish protein shake, and then I proceeded to make dinner so Mr. B would have something to eat that evening while I was working away because it's Tuesday and I work late on Tuesdays. (See what I did here, more Tuesdays.) And we're still in the three-year-newly-wed phase, where I still care if he eats dinner. Who am I kidding? I come from a Southern family and we always care if someone eats.

Since it was my birthday week (and you can check that out here) I had to haul my behind over to the dreaded DMV to renew my wonderful license. Nothing says "Happy Birthday!" like paying the better half of $100 so I can spend even more money on gas in order to get from point A to point B every day. Anyhoo, Mr. B was off and kindly decided to ride along so I'd have company. But small towns are nice; 80% of the time there is no waiting. Just like it was on this day. And everyone was very friendly. And the cost actually went down. (Where am I?!) Too bad they only took cash or check, and the fee at the ATM quickly jumped the cost back to it's normal ridiculousness. Whew. Didn't want to get too spoiled, ya know? Oh, and then we went next door to the Dollar Tree so I could pick up a few materials for tonight's yoga program. And then we went across the street to the good ol' Walmart so Mr. B could get some snacks, a cucumber, and clothespins...because why not? Then it was back to the house, see you later dear husband, and off to work I went.

11:30-12:00 p.m. When I arrive at work, I immediately check emails, voice mails, calendars, to-do lists, and get organized for the day or I would have no idea what I'm doing. And I usually enjoy my coffee or tea while I'm at it.

12:00-1:00 p.m. My co-workers and I moved furniture so the performer will have plenty of space for today's children's program. In the few minutes of downtime after room arrangements, I perused through a huge stack of new books, which I'm thrilled to have because my shelves have been looking bare...but are all better now.

1:00-2:30 p.m. Children's program: KSU Summer Stock performance of "Puss In Boots." We have this group out every summer; it's a bunch of kids (from elementary to high school) putting on a play for other kids. After summer programs, the desk is usually bombarded with kids wanting to claim their Summer Reading prizes, so I spent the last 40 minutes handing out coupons, books, and fossil putty, maintaining crowd control, and putting back the furniture.

2:30 p.m. Taking an early lunch; all that furniture-moving worked up an appetite.

3:00-5:00 p.m. Children's program preparation: preparing yoga snacks (which consisted of pudding, smashed cookies, and plastic dinosaurs), gathering materials for the craft (a "brown bag" vest and binoculars for hunting dinosaurs), and creating a parcel game (where I stuck various prizes in between many, many layers of wrapping paper). After, I put the final touches on tomorrow's teen yoga program, which I'm collaborating on with the teen librarian--we'll be doing both Sun and Moon Salutations, and enjoying healthy carrots and grapes.

5:00-6:00 p.m. I continued perusing the new books, and then my thoughts, reluctantly, turned to Fall's By the Book, which is our fall program calendar, which means in the midst of hot, summery weather and Summer Reading programming, I have to think about what programs I want to do at my library in September, October, and November. And the deadline is in three days. Oh, and then I spent the last 15 minutes hurriedly setting up my program.

6:00-7:15 p.m. Yogi Kids program, where the kiddos and I ran through Sun Salutation a few times, learned three new yoga poses, played two games, unwrapped the parcels, designed our dinosaur hunting gear, and dug for dinos in our pudding "dirt." And, yes, clean-up time.

7:15-8:00 p.m. I spent the rest of the evening reviewing and ordering books from the CURRENT new book order, and getting materials around for tomorrow's A.M. toddler programs (which, in case you forgot, goes like this).

By the time I returned home around 9:00, I was tuckered and had an immediate need for pajamas and a cup of hot tea.

With Love and God Bless,

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Some Siamese love.
I'm currently....

Watching... Netflix. And a lot of it. Mr. B and I made the decision last month to get rid of cable. We've been talking about it for over a year now, but sports have kept us from actually doing it. Well, when we realized we'd save over $600 a year, we jumped right in. So far, I'm loving it. We joined Netflix (we were already members with Amazon Prime) and are having plenty of movie nights. AND, we have more free time to work on the house, work out, and READ!

However, ask me again when football season comes calling.

Eating.... a peanut butter and banana protein shake (I like shakes thick enough to eat with a spoon). I think I've had this particular shake for six days in a row now. #obsessed

Planning... Fall youth programming, all the way through November. And, yes, it's hard to think about November programs when you're in the midst of Summer Reading and 90 + degree heat. But I have a "body-themed" science Saturday, another Pinkalicious Tea Party, and a few yoga programs in the works.

Reading... The Darcy Saga, and I'm currently re-reading the first installment, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan. (Because I just finished my annual summer reading of Pride and Prejudice, and am not ready to put down this love story.) I have a bittersweet relationship with authors who continue another author's story/idea. However, this series is okay, and continues with Mr. Darcy and Lizzy's wedding night. [GASP!] I read the first two, have the fourth, and would like to find the third. Oh, and just discovered there is now a fifth. I plan to use the rest of the summer to work through these; they're of the romance-fluff breed.

Inspired by.... my faith. Hypocritical "Christians" drive me insane, and very recently I had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing this act. Serving Christ drives my faith. He helps me hold my tongue and be the better person when I see God's word blasphemed or mocked. However, the hypocrites are a constant reminder of who I am not. I am a Christ-follower. I read and apply His word. Yes, there are times I trip up, I fall down, I backslide. I am not perfect because I'm a Christian. I'm human. I live in the flesh. Romans 3:23 reminds me, "ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." But I recognize, and pray for forgiveness. I learn, and know the next time I will be better.

Excited about... upcoming downtime at work. Now that Summer Reading is officially over, I'll be able to breathe, focus on the children's collection, get organized, and continue a little education. But I'm more excited about the "green light" for vacation. August is the time when we youth librarians get the chance to enjoy summer. I'm taking advantage and planning a few personal days with the hubby.

With Love and God Bless,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thirty Before Thirty

Hey y'all.

I celebrated my 27th birthday last Friday. Hap-py, Hap-py, Hap-py Birthday to me!

My celebrations started the day before (on my brother's birthday like they always do, of course) with my family treating me to the county fair, dinner, ice cream, and the Sidewalk Prophets concert, and yes it was unbelievably hotttt.

I just so happened to have my birthday off this year, so my best friend, Jessica, treated me to a picnic lunch at the Cleveland Art Museum, which included wine and a few bites of my favorite desserts. We then went to the Botanical Gardens, where I perused the oldest book I'll probably ever hold. A book from the 1400's found in their rare books collection. As a librarian I was ecstatic. <----nerd, I know. And then we went to Starbucks...for my birthday beverage! Afterwards, we went back to her house so she and her adorable 2 1/2-year-old little boy, Myles, (love this little guy!) could give me my presents....which resulted in the following:

Jessica: Myles, go in the house with Auntie Dee, and we'll give her the presents.
Myles: Okay. (and then to me) My dad is home.
Me: I see that.

I follow him in the house and before I can set my stuff down, he grabs my birthday card off the kitchen table, handing it to me.

Myles: Open it! Open it!
Me: Okay (I open it and attempt to read it, but before I can he's handing me a present.)
Myles: Open it!
Me: (putting the card down and taking the present) Oooohhh, what is it?
Myles: Coffee.
Jessica: (giggling from the kitchen) Myles, You're not supposed to tell her!

Okay, so I didn't think he was actually going to tell me. And the fact that he knew I was holding the coffee present and not the candle, which were very similar in shape, amazed me. AND he's speaking in full sentences! When did he grow up into this smart, creative, and conversational toddler?! (And, in case you were wondering, I did not ask what the other gifts were....I like surprises.)

And speaking of surprises, guess what the hubby gave me this year for my birthday....a new GLASS bowl for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. This will now take mine and Jessica's Baking Extravaganzas to new levels.

Anyhoo, the main point for this post is to share with you all my "30 before 30" list. This list has been in my head for a while now, and I just feel the need to share. Most of the items are small, insignificant things I want to accomplish, while others have laid on my heart for a while. Writing them down holds me accountable. You can hold me accountable. I have three years to make it happen....and go.

Own 1 dog, whether through a breeder or adoption. (Mr. B and I are still compromising on a breed.)
MR. DARCY (Our Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy at 9 weeks.)
Compete in 2 races of some sort.

Make 3 new friends.
Send 4 of my favorite books to 4 of my favorite people.

Purchase the 5 kitchen items I've been meaning to buy for ages. (bigger food processor, pizza stone, juicer, Popsicle maker, hand-held blender)
Buy 6 fun and flirty sundresses.
Visit 7 new places.

Pay it forward: Buy 8 people their coffee.
my co-workers have cashed in on this ;)
Mail 9 hand-written letters.

Send 10 people "Thinking About You" cards.
Make 11 different flavors of homemade ice cream. (Giving them cool names centered around book titles/book club.)

Complete 12 devotionals.
xxxxx   xx
Take 13 yoga classes.
Take homemade food to 14 family members/friends.
xxxxx   xxxx
Try 15 new desserts.
xxxxx   xxxx
Compliment 16 strangers.
xxxxx   xxxxx
Pamper myself 17 times with special spa days (at home or professional).
Enjoy 18 sunsets at the park near our house.
Learn/Try 19 new things.
xxxxx   xxx
Write 20 prayer thank-yous to remember the amazing blessings of my twenties.

Daniel-Fast for 21 days.

Do 22 random acts of kindness.
xxxxx   xxx

Try 23 new cookie recipes.
xxxxx   xxx
Spend no extra money for 24 days straight, saving it for a rainy day.

Listen to 25 audio books.

Enjoy 26 date nights with my husband.
xxxxx   xxxxx   xxxxx   xxxxx
Celebrate 27 ridiculous National Holidays.
Read 28 Newbery Medal winners.
xxxxx   xxxxx   xxxxx   xx
Devote 29 blog posts to my favorite 29 things.
xxxxx   x
Donate $30 to a charity.

*Check back for progress updates! I'll place an X next to each entry to tally as I complete. Once fully completed I'll strike through.
**Updated on 4/16/15

With Love and God Bless,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Brotherly Love

Today is my brother's birthday.

You know how I know?

Because tomorrow is my birthday. (Makes it really easy to remember.)

We're the same age for one whole day. We're Irish twins, ya know?


Even though you live miles and miles, and states and states away, I'm still thinking of you and celebrating your day....whether you're here or not. It's not every week I get to indulge in two birthday "cakes" :)

Here's to all our past birthdays together, those times I took for granted. Lots of love, Bub.

With Love and God Bless,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Favorite Zucchini Bread

I don't have to tell Ohioans about the insane amount of rain we've had recently. It's definitely effected my garden.

The tomato plants are taller than I am, full of green tomatoes just waiting to turn (and I know just a little bit of sun will give them that much needed push). While waiting for God's candy to ripen, we harvested a bunch of basil, a few green onions, one bell pepper, and our first zucchini. When we first planted our zucchini plants, my mother-in-law mentioned how much she loved zucchini bread. I promised her I'd make my favorite zucchini bread with the first one. She picked up her loaf half while I was at work, and liked it so much she had to leave me a note telling me it was gone that very night. Unfortunately, so was my half. Mr. B just decided that he, too, was a fan of zucchini bread. Who knew?

Blueberry Zucchini Bread
*Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

Makes 10 slices

1 egg, lightly beaten, + 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax seed & 3 Tbsp water...let sit 5 minutes)
heaping 1/4 c plain Greek yogurt
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
heaping 1 c zucchini, grated and well drained
3/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c fresh blueberries, washed
oats (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9 X 5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Blend together egg, flax egg, sugars, yogurt, and vanilla. Fold in grated zucchini. Slowly mix in flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Gently fold in blueberries. Bake 45-50 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean. (*When there is only about 15 minutes left to go, I sprinkle some oats on the top.) Cool, in pan, on a wire rack for 25 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely before slicing.

(*If you can't wait for it to cool, like me, the bread may crumble apart when slicing and it will taste more like a muffin. Either way, it's absolutely amazing. I succeed at not slicing into it when I make this close to bedtime...that way it has all night to stand and cool, greeting me with a delicious treat in the early morning.)

Nutritional Information
Per slice: 145 Calories, 1 Fat, 12 Sugar, 4 Protein, 3 Fiber

**Next time, I plan to replace half of the sugar with mashed banana or applesauce to make it even healthier!

With Love and God Bless,

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Recent Eats

I apologize. I haven't shared any recipes or eats with you lately. But no worries. Here's a post full of mouth-watering eye candy. And something I can't get enough of lately, homemade pizza. (But, glancing at this post overall, it seems to be some form of bread....hmmm.)

Just in case you're new to Sweet B's, I'm a fan of homemade pizza. ONLY. That greasy stuff that comes in a box or sits under heating lamps for hours ....ewwww. Yes, I will pass on that. But this stuff, my homemade is where it is, my friends. And I only use one pizza dough recipe (I don't buy the frozen; really it's not that hard to make it yourself). I use Pioneer Woman's pizza dough recipe, using a little less oil than called for. Each batch makes two pizza crusts. And then I throw on whatever toppings I happen to have. Like in the above photo, it was more of a rid-the fridge-of-produce-that-should-have-been-used-yesterday kind of pizza. It has bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese on top of drizzled olive oil and minced garlic. YUM.

But this one? Yes, this one was premeditated. And a few weeks later I'm still singing it's praises. It was that good. Mr. B was quite skeptical because it is topped with nectarines and blackberries. He was quite confused, but lately (at a complete surprise to me) has been trying everything and anything new I make. He didn't speak once as he polished off over half of this "weird" pizza.
So here are the STATS for this beauty:

1 homemade pizza crust. Sprinkle on olive oil, brown sugar and a little bit of minced garlic. Top that with pieces of cooked chicken (a great way to use up leftovers), caramelized onions, nectarine slices, and fresh blackberries. Then layer on fresh mozzarella and basil, and bake at 500 degrees for about 10 minutes. (After, I leave the pizza under the broiler for a few minutes to make the cheese extra tasty.) I came across this pizza idea--and slightly adapted--while perusing through one of my favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is. Head over there for the full recipe.

*Note: I think this pizza would be an excellent addition to a brunch menu :)

Since there were no leftovers (thank you, Mr. B), I settled for a nectarine and fresh mozzarella grilled cheese for my lunch the next day. Yes, it too was just as delicious.

With Love and God Bless,

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Worship

Carrie Underwood is amazing with one of the best voices to ever grace all of music. And never does she sound better than when she is giving God the glory. Her version of one of my all-time favorite hymns on praising the almighty Father, "How Great Thou Art," is stunning, emotional, heartfelt, and utterly uplifting. It's one of my favorite performances, hearing this beautiful blessed voice. I pray Carrie's passionate performance is a blessing to you on this Sunday morning. Enjoy!

Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. 
Psalms 145:3 (NLT)

Also, Happy 19th Anniversary to Mama and Daddy! Love you both to the sky and back, and wishing you many more happy years together.

With Love and God Bless,

Saturday, July 6, 2013

ALA Chicago

Holy frijoles. It's been a while. And while I've been away, I'm feeling extremely blessed, well rested and a tad spoiled.

I have a wonderful job. THE best. This year I was one of the four librarians my library sent to the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago. And I networked, learned a few new things, pushed programming a little farther, enjoyed great food, picked up a bunch of free swag, and talked with some amazing children's authors and illustrators.

My co-worker, Amanda, and I took the Amtrak into Chicago, which traveled at night. Two Fridays ago we boarded the train at 1:49 in the morning. It was my first time on a train, and within 20 minutes we were delayed. That delay lasted about two hours because, as we were told so by the conductor, the freight train in front of us "ran somebody over." And that was all we knew. It was never clarified if the train hit somebody in a car, or if a person was actually on the tracks...or what. Hmmm. Yet, I did enjoy myself. I liked that I had plenty of leg room, and the bags didn't have to be kept overhead. I liked that there were more bathrooms and a dining car (there was a sleeper car but we didn't purchase that option). I really liked the fact that we didn't have to go through security, our bags weren't checked, and I could have as many as I wanted without an extra fee. This is also kind of scary when you think about it....

You know what else is scary? Cab drivers. Chicago also brought me that first experience. An eyes-closed-with-a-death-grip-on-the-seat kind of experience. But the hotel, the Hilton in Chicago, was extremely nice. I had two beds, two bathrooms, and a "Welcome Brindi" sign flashing across the computer screen when I walked in all to myself. Not too shabby, my friends.

Friday night was the grand opening program, or as Mr. B called it, The Opening Ceremonies, suggesting a bunch of librarians should be running around with lighted books. Ummm, babe, have you not read Fahrenheit 451? That night was also the opening of the exhibit hall, where hundreds of vendors were out at full force, basically handing out free stuff. The photo below is a shot of the exhibit hall from the second level of the McCormick Convention Center. It was insane, and I'm not sure why Amanda and I decided to head over the first night. Yeah, we're first-timers.

While at the conference, I attended a plethora of sessions targeted at Youth Librarians, including a few on programming for children and tweens, understanding the leveling system (which I think you need a degree in math for, by the way), early childhood literacy, childhood commercialism, and a few on the many uses of a Caldecott. (The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published the previous year, and the Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children...just wanted to clear that up because I'll be using those words throughout the rest of this post. They're kind of a big deal.) I was able to hear a few children's and young adult authors/illustrators speak as well.
A little librarian program humor to keep us entertained. :)
We had many opportunities to grace the exhibit hall to pick up a bunch of swag, including a dozen ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies, read: free books not yet published!), pens, bags, food/candy, posters, program tips, buttons, etc. and etc. The first night I picked up this cute Scaredy Squirrel bag and some delicious wine. (LOVE Scaredy Squirrel!) And they had Scaredy's stuffed animal to purchase, and if I had children of my own, I'd have spent way more money than Mr. B would have liked.

If you aren't familiar with Scaredy Squirrel, you need to be!
There were many ARCs for everyone to grab, but I tried to keep it minimal (I had to carry these things around the train station...).
But the absolute best part of the entire conference was the Caldecott-Newbery Award Banquet on Sunday night. It was $94 a plate and, although the library didn't pay for this, it was the 75th Caldecott anniversary so there was no way I was going to miss out on this experience. It was lovely. Phenomenal. Entertaining. Sociable. And delicious.

My co-worker and I at the Caldecott-Newbery Award Banquet.
My adviser/professor during library school is the current Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) president, so I was excited to see her there heading up the banquet. It was so cool seeing all of the medal and honor winners receiving their awards: Newbery winner Katherine Applegate for The One and Only Ivan, Wilder winner Katherine Paterson for her overall lasting contribution to children's literature, and, of course, Caldecott winner Jon Klassen for This Is Not My Hat. Every speech was just wonderful, full of emotion and quite hilarious, especially Klassen's. He's such a sweetheart.
And the food was spectacular. But, you know, the dessert was the best part of the meal. I particularly enjoyed the special Caldecott cookie favor. Oh, and I did try The Gold cocktail, made just for the night's banquet. If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know I don't drink except for the occasional glass of wine. But this cocktail had rum, and ginger, and citrus stuff, and it was an award banquet. Yes, it was quite strong, and yes, it took me the entire night to finish. And, yes, the elderly lady beside me informed me that I am a slow drinker.

Oh, but she was a gem. She's a retired children's educator who tagged along with her husband, who is the director (I think) of Penn State's library. Her whole group was extremely nice and charming and, honestly, I wanted her to be my grandmother. We had an instant connection. AND she invited Amanda and I out to Penn State to attend a poetry/children's program. We exchanged emails and I know I made a life-long [email] friend and, the good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I may take her up on that offer. She was just precious. AND her husband is good friends with Kevin Henkes (one of my all-time favorite children's authors), who just so happened to be in attendance (and a previous Caldecott-winner), and he introduced us. I'll admit, it was the first time I couldn't find my words. Fangirl completely. Sadly, I didn't get to tell him how much I enjoyed and connected with his children's book, Chrysanthemum.

My second favorite moment: meeting Caldecott-winner Jon Klassen.

This man = Sweetheart

And, to my excitement, while he was signing my book, we got on the subject of yoga (particularly for your hands) and I was able to explain how I use his and other picture books as part of my yoga story times. He was intrigued and told me to make sure I took stickers back to the kids. I'm not sure if he really meant stickers for all of my kiddos, so I just settled for one :)

ALA madness
I learned so much, met many wonderful people, and I will take every opportunity I have to get back. I felt very blessed to share in this experience with so many passionate, knowledgeable, and creative librarians.

With Love and God Bless,