Thursday, January 31, 2013


In an effort to try to get into the kitchen more, I made a quiche this past weekend. I chose a quiche because I had an extra pie crust in the freezer from the holidays (and I wasn't making pie over the holidays - my mom did).

Monster quiche!
While it doesn't look pretty, it tasted amazing. Richie really enjoyed it. And it was really simple. I followed this recipe. I'm considering it a success and very much a learning experience.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Duck Pond and Picture Books

Awesome happenings from this past weekend.

Richie and I braved the chilly temperatures and went walking at a local park. The park has a name, but locals refer to it as the duck pond. The waterfall in the background is a recent addition. We walked several laps around the pond, and we had the park all to ourselves for much of the time. It was a peaceful and relaxing way to spend an hour on a Saturday.

In my never-ending efforts to catch up on what's awesome in the world of children's books, I have been working my way through the Kirkus list of Best Children's Books of 2012. The picture above highlights some of the goodies I brought home this weekend. I enjoyed all of the above.

Tell me about something awesome in your world.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Morning Routine

I'm attempting a new morning routine. I'm very type A and love my routines and lists. I love to be productive and have a hard time just sitting. However, I know that I need to build in more downtime during the week because I get stressed a little too easy. Stressed Olivia = meltdown.

And meltdowns just aren't pretty.

I generally wake up at 6:00 a.m. during the week, but I have decided to start getting up at 5:30 a.m. The first thing I do when I get up is clean the litter box. It's my least favorite chore, so I get it done and out of the way. After that, I shower and get ready for work. It's about 6:30 at this point, and I don't leave for work until about 7:40. From 7:00 to 7:40 I'm having breakfast, tidying up the house, feeding the cats, and doing other small chores. 

So why in the heck am I getting up 30 minutes earlier? For the newest addition to my morning routine: I read for fun.

I don't think about school, I don't turn on my computer, I try to ignore my to-do list. Instead, I read for the fun of it. I'm able to get in pleasure reading and start my day off feeling relaxed. As a youth librarian, I try very hard to keep up with the latest and greatest in children's and YA publishing. But a full-time job and two graduate-level classes each semester haven't afforded me the opportunity to read just for fun where I don't feel guilty.

If you're unable to find the time to read for fun, try devoting 30 minutes in the morning just a couple of times each week to reading whatever you want. If nothing else, it sets a really nice tone to start your day.

What's your favorite part of your morning routine?

Saturday, January 26, 2013


My boys.
My furry company in the early morning when I'm sipping coffee and reading.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Winning at Time Management

I have hit that point in adulthood where I realize just how valuable my time is. So when my library closed late this morning due to icy conditions and we all went home for the rest of the day, I dedicated three hours of my afternoon to knocking out school work. I could have goofed off with Richie (who had the entire day off because he works for a public school) and watched copious amounts of Netflix... but I didn't.

And thanks to this extra time devoted to school work, I might actually be able to enjoy my weekend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I hosted a royalty-themed story time last week. One of the books I read was Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated. Before I begin reading, I like to engage the audience in light conversation. I asked if there were any princes in the room. No answer. Then I asked if there were any princesses in the room.

A little boy looks at his sister, and with a sarcastic delivery replies, "Yes."

Have I mentioned I love my job?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chocolate and Pottery

Two awesome highlights of the past few days.

I went on an "emergency" chocolate run on my lunch hour Thursday. Very worth it.

Some friends of ours just opened up a pottery shop and invited friends and family to come paint today. The last time I painted pottery was my freshman year of college. I selected a soap dish and made it all lovey dovey. Yes, I painted it black. Our wedding colors were black and white, and most of our apartment has a black and white color scheme. I can't wait to pick it up next weekend! 
Your turn! Tell me something awesome.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tomato-Cracker Salad

If you want a quick snack or side dish that anyone could make, let me introduce you to my current obsession: tomato-cracker salad.

Looks crazy. Tastes amazing.
My father-in-law introduced us to this simple dish this past summer. It's just diced tomatoes, crushed Saltines, a little mayo, and salt and pepper to taste. I love it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pinterest Success: 8 Can Taco Soup

For someone who doesn't like to cook, I love to pin recipes on Pinterest. I have it in my mind to make one Pinterest recipe every week. (In reality, Richie will do most of the making - the man is skilled in the kitchen.) When I found this recipe several weeks ago, I had it on my mind to make weekend after weekend. We finally decided to put it on the menu yesterday evening.

8 Can Taco Soup

I thought about taking a picture of our final creation, but I devored a bowl in no time. The soup is amazing. I'm sure recipes like this have been circulating around since the dawn of canned goods, but it was new to us. And you know what else I like? It yields amazing leftovers. I have three containers in the refrigerator for lunches this week.

Do you have a favorite, easy, go-to recipe that this kitchen-skills-deficient gal should try?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recent Reads: Picture Books

One of the perks of my job is that I get to read children's books. I read every book I consider for story times and try my best to keep up on what's appearing on our new shelves. Let me tell you: There are fantastic new releases for children coming out all the time. Here are a few I recently read and loved.

Abe Lincoln's Dream by Lane Smith
A fun read featuring honest Abe and presidential pooches.
Hello! Hello! by Matthew Cordell
Excellent book about unplugging from technology.
The Box by Axel Janssens
Did you ever get creative with a cardbox box as a child? Check out this boy's adventures.

The next time you visit your public library, check out a picture book or two. Reading through a new book or a classic from your childhood is a fun and free way to make you smile.

(All titles mentioned aboved were borrowed from my public library. I receive absolutely no compensation for talking about these books.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First Monday of 2013

This past Monday was the return to my regular routine. The spring semester started, the holidays have passed so my work schedule is back to normal, and Richie's work schedule is normalizing too. While Mondays aren't always my favorite, I'm trying to have a better attitude towards them.

Here's all the good from my first Monday of 2013:

1. I woke up excited to take on the day. And I wore a new blouse to start the week off right.

2. We had my mom's lasagna for dinner. My mom visited in December and froze a pan of her lasagna for us. I even have leftovers for lunch all week. Thanks, Mom!

3. For a Monday, I was incredibly productive at work. One of my professional resolutions this year is to tune out the noise and stay more focused while working. It's essential for a successful year.

4. Richie cleaned the entire apartment. He's amazing!

How do you make your Mondays more awesome?

Monday, January 7, 2013

First Day of Spring Semester

Today is the first day of my second semester is graduate school. The first semester was rough, but I nailed it with straight As and a huge sense of accomplishment. There has been a small voice in the back of my mind that whispers that going back to school wasn't the best idea. I've had this voice since I applied for this program at the start of 2012.

That little voice has been fear.

It's been a rough adjustment to introducing two graduate-level classes into my 40-hour work week and other obligations. I've lacked sleep, eaten poorly, stressed myself out beyond limitations... but I made it. I survived. I can do this. That little voice won't bother me this semester.

Image courtesy of

Here's to an excellent spring semester!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Revelation Song

I have had this song stuck in my head for days. Our church band performs it regularly, and I love the Phillips, Craig & Dead version. When I turned on the radio this morning, it just started playing. I love when that happens.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Desk at Work

Where the librarian magic happens...
This was my desk yesterday morning. I am a youth librarian. I absolutely adore my job. I get to color and glue stuff, read children's books, and generally be a big kid. I also love working with adults - helping them to use a computer, finding books, or demonstrating how to use a microfiche reader (yep, we still use 'em) to search newspaper archives. Being a librarian is just plain fun.

I don't like chaos. However, I like to think that the chaos above is evidence of my love for my job. This chaos doesn't bother me. I can't leave dishes in my sink, there is no way clean laundry lingers in a basket, and we vacuum our apartment every day (that's cat parenting for you). But a messy desk at work? No problem. It means I'm in the zone.

For the record, I have my desk spotless by the time I leave for the day. I also straighten up periodically throughout the day. The above example was taken during an extreme moment of chaos: creating storytime crafts and catching up on work after the holidays. It was also a slow morning, for which I was ever so thankful to take advantage of.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cats and Coffee

Our cats are our children. We have had our babies since they were two months old (they are six years old now). I'm one of those crazy kitty moms who takes way too many photos of her cats. I'm cool with that. I embrace my crazy cat lady-ness.

However, I also have a life... and I don't dress my cats up. Ever.

I can't help but snap photos when adorable opportunities arise. For example:

I take my coffee black. Got it?
Richie balanced his empty cup near Humphrey yesterday morning. How could I not take this photo?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolving to Travel More

Richie and I crawled into bed around 11:15 last night. We're an old married couple that doesn't go out for New Year's Eve. (Also, the tiny mountain town we live in doesn't do anything to mark the occasion.) We reflected back on 2012 before watching our cell phones strike midnight, and we resolved for 2013 to take more time for us.

One way we want to accomplish this is to get out of town more. We want to make more time to take short trips on weekends. We are planning a trip to visit extended family in April. We want to go out and do more, especially in the area where we live. We live an hour away from Atlanta and have barely scratched the surface on all that fun that is to be had there!

Have you ever made a resolution to travel more?