First Week of School and Feeling Fine

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Hey everyone!

Well, the first week of the semester is over and I feel pretty good! My classes are so far as interesting as they seemed when I signed up for them and I think I’m going to learn a lot of cool things this semester. I’m trying to get a head start on my reading and projects and avoid some of the all-nighters and stress I put myself through last spring. Here’s to not procrastinating!

If you’re interested in some of what I’m working on this semester, here’s the blog I’m writing for my Young Adult Materials class:

http://materialsforyoungadultsmoreno.wordpress.com

Work is also going well – I feel like I’m settling in and definitely learning a ton about the day-to-day operations of a public library. It’s so much fun to work with the materials – I love getting to choose which books to display. I’m also having a great time getting to know our patrons and helping them find awesome books to read. It’s especially great to see our child patrons get so excited about reading and discovering new favorite books. I’m really thankful for what I learned in my Materials for Tweens and Award Winning Books for Children classes last fall – that information has been so helpful in making recommendations for our readers!

In non-library news, I finally got a car!!! I could go on and on, but I’ll be brief: it’s awesome and I love being able to drive myself places. I never thought that I’d be someone who got super-excited about a car, but what can I say, it was love at first sight. I decided she needed a great name, so I named her Jane, in honor of Jane Austen. 

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After this great week, I’m going into the weekend feeling very thankful. Have a good one and thanks for reading!

Seven Quick Takes (the I-haven’t-blogged-in-forever edition)

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Linking up with Conversion Diary

1. I made it through my first year of graduate school! I have eight classes to go until I earn my Masters in Library and Information Science – yay!

2. School starts in a couple of weeks and I’m pretty excited about my classes but pretty sad about my soon-to-diminish free time. I’m trying to read as many “for-fun” books as possible because in a few weeks it will be all textbooks, academic journals, and children’s books.

3. Why the children’s books? I decided to concentrate on Youth Services because I’m hoping to work as a children’s librarian after graduation. I’ve really enjoyed my Youth Services classes so far and am excited to be taking three more, plus a class on collection development, this fall.

4. In other library news, I work for a library now! Last month I began working for the county public library as a library aide and I love it! I’m really enjoying the public library environment and am excited to go to work each day. I feel really blessed to have this opportunity and to be working in my dream field.

5. I have to give a shout out to this gentleman for interceding on my behalf during the hiring process and as I settle in at the library:

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Saint Jerome, patron saint of librarians, you are awesome! Thanks for helping me get a job!

6. I would feel remiss if I didn’t include something about what I’ve read this summer, so here are some of the books I read and enjoyed:

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Big Book of Women Saints by Sarah Gallick

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

As you can see, my summer reading spanned a wide range of subjects and genres. Check one out – I think there’s something on that list for every literary taste!

7. In the interest of having more energy and an upper body that doesn’t ache, I’ve taken up a yoga regime courtesy of YogaGlo. If you’ve ever thought about getting into yoga, this is the route I would recommend. The site features video classes from a wide variety of yoga instructors and routines for any fitness level, time limitations, yoga style, and desired type of class. I love starting my day with one of the many wake-up routines and ending my day with a relaxation routine. I am already noticing that I have more energy throughout the day and am sleeping better at night. The best part? No more achy shoulders, neck, and back! And to be clear, this is not sponsored content – I just think YogaGlo is really cool and have been happy with the results I’ve seen so far.

Well, that’s what’s new! I hope to blog again soon but we’ll see how that works out when school starts. Have a wonderful day and thanks for reading!

Resolutions for 2014

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1. Train myself to be tidier. Spend 15 minutes every day reducing clutter, putting away items, and organizing my environment.

2. Be more forgiving of myself and others.

3. Read one new-to-me book a week.

4. Brown-bag my meals for work most of the time.

5. Pay off my laptop and at least one of my student loans.

6. Get my driver’s license.

7. Learn to better manage my anxiety and depression.

8. Stay on top of my reading for school.

9. Drink more water.

10. Complete and turn in school assignments at least one day before they are due.

{Recipe} Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

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I love macaroni and cheese. It’s cheesy, it’s comforting, it’s perfect for these cold fall days.

I usually make Mark Bittman’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese, but I felt like trying something a little different the other day so I headed over to Pinterest. I found this recipe for Quick and Creamy Macaroni and Cheese from KitchMe.

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I made a few changes to the recipe and I was really pleased with the results. Next time I think I’ll use a different type of pasta (the rigatoni I used really works better in a baked macaroni and cheese), but other than that I was really pleased with how it turned out. I’d describe it as a grown-up, less processed version of boxed macaroni and cheese. This recipe makes serves two, but it would be really easy to double or triple.

Here’s how you can make your own:

Ingredients 

6oz pasta of your choice

2 TB butter

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

3 TB cream cheese

3 shakes tabasco hot sauce

1 pinch tumeric powder (for color)

freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Boil pasta until it is two minutes away from being fully cooked. Drain the pasta and put it back in the original pot.

2. Add the cheeses, butter and seasonings. Stir together and cook until cheese is melted.

3. Serve and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite macaroni and cheese recipe? Share in the comments!

7 Quick Takes {7}

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Linking up with Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes!

It has been way too long since I’ve posted! My grad program requires A TON of writing, and while that is something I enjoy, after so much academic writing I don’t always feel like writing in my free time too. Anyway, here are some quick updates:

1. Halloween is approaching and I am ready to rock my Arya Stark Halloween costume! The outfit wasn’t too difficult but I was really having a hard time deciding what to do with my hair. My hair’s really long so I knew I couldn’t go with Arya’s short haircut of Seasons 2 and 3. When I looked up her hairstyles from Season 1, though, I saw that a lot of them were side braids and I was worried people would confuse my costume with Katniss Everdeen. Not that there’s anything wrong with being Katniss Everdeen for Halloween because she’s awesome and The Hunger Games are awesome, but it’s not my costume! Anyway, I finally found this hairstyle and thought it was just distinctive enough:

Best of all, even with my limited hair-styling abilities, I am confident that I can pull off two braids and a bun! Easy!

2. The trailer for Wes Anderson’s new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, was released yesterday and it looks incredible! I can’t wait to see it when it comes out!

3. School update: So I had this really big homework assignment and I had been really stressing about it. We had to design a database for a unique catalogue of data. I had never done anything remotely like that before and I was really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to figure it out. Anyway, I got it done (early, thank goodness) and lo and behold it actually turned out okay! It works! I haven’t gotten my grade yet because it was due yesterday, but I got some great peer feedback from my classmates. And in case you were wondering, my database was a cat adoption database and my data set was cats available for adoption at the animal sanctuary where we got Henry.

4. Anyway, my experience with that assignment was a good reminder for me to not get so worked up about things. I’ve gotten a lot better about it than I was when I was younger (no tears!), but I think it’s something I’ll have to be conscious of for quite some time. Patterns take a long time to break, and my obsessive worrying is a very deeply ingrained pattern.

5. On the subject of behavioral patterns, I’m reading a book that my sister recommended to me called You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I had to laugh at the title, but it’s a really good and helpful book about breaking patterns that are holding you back in life and going for what you want. One pattern I’m breaking this week? Staying in the school/work/sometimes family routine and not going out socially. This weekend I’m going to a Halloween party (as Arya, of course) and I’m planning on fighting my wallflower tendencies and having a great time! Hopefully dressing like Arya will allow my inner badass to come out :)

6. As far as I’m concerned, tea is one of the essential ingredients to a good life. I drink so much tea and am always on the lookout for new options. I just tried Celestial Seasoning’s Jammin’ Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea and it is a new favorite. It tastes great and gives a good energy boost without caffeine. I really, really hate tea bag tags (I have weird pet peeves), so I particularly like that Celestial Seasonings doesn’t use them on their bags.

7. I went to Target on Tuesday to buy new work clothes and vitamins and I left with only new work clothes and vitamins. Miracles happen!

Have a great weekend!

 

{Recipe} Healthier Pineapple “Fried” Rice

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Whenever I go out for Thai food, I have to get pineapple fried rice – so delicious! It’s not the healthiest dish, however, so I decided to recreate a healthier version at home using quinoa for added protein. The result? It looks ugly (quinoa is not photogenic!) but it tasted like the real thing!

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Here’s how you can make it yourself:

Ingredients

- 1 cup cooked quinoa

- 1 cup frozen shrimp (note: I am a vegetarian most of the time but eat seafood about every six weeks)

- 1/2 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen)

- 1/2 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)

- soy sauce to taste

- fresh ginger, grated, to taste

- salt and pepper to taste

- 1 TB olive oil

1. Sautee shrimp, pineapple, and peas in olive oil. If using frozen pineapple you will have to drain the pineapple juice before the next step.

2. Add quinoa and stir until ingredients are evenly mixed.

3. Season with soy sauce, ginger, salt, and pepper.

Makes one large serving or two small servings (full disclosure: I didn’t share).

Enjoy!

Seven Quick Takes {6}

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Linking up with Conversion Diary for Seven Quick Takes!

1. Academic highlight of the week: I got to write a library manual for my management class and design a library of my choice. Being me, I created the Jane Austen Library and had an excellent time doing so. I love assignments that teach practical skills while being enjoyable at the same time.

2. Otherwise, school is going okay. I’m still adjusting to the online format and finding it a bit difficult in some ways. I chose it for flexibility, but that flexibility also comes with a cost. Keeping up with the class discussion takes up so much time! I’m finding that I’m able to keep with the the reading, lectures, and assignments, but I need to come up with a better strategy for attacking the discussions because they are such a big part of the program.

3. After reading L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle a few weeks ago, I decided to have a nostalgia fest and reread the entire Anne of Green Gables series. My well-worn and well-loved childhood paperbacks are somewhere in my parents’ garage, so I am reading the free iBook editions. For some reason they have every novel in the series except  Anne of Windy Poplars, so I had to skip that one for the time being and move on to Anne’s House of Dreams. I’m slightly bitter.

4. Embarrassing fact: I was reading Anne’s House of Dreams on my lunch break at work and during a particularly sentimental passage I started to get a little teary-eyed. Thankfully none of my coworkers or customers noticed, but I am going to be careful about what I read in public from now on!

5. It has been a really nice, mostly tv-less summer, but I am ready for my shows to come back! The Mindy Project is coming back first, on September 17th, and you better believe I am counting down the days. I am particularly excited because a certain James Franco will be guest-starring this season. Honestly, that show might as well be called Mindy and the Handsome Men Parade, not that I am complaining! :)

6. Maryrose and I saw a really good movie this week called The Spectacular Now. I thought it had a really good message about the danger of fear and how people hold themselves back because they are afraid. I could definitely relate to that, and it made me take a good hard look at myself. I think I often limit myself because I’m afraid, but that’s no way to live. More on that later, but the short version is that I am going to work on being brave. Oh, and here’s the trailer for The Spectacular Now:

7. Gratuitous Henry picture:

Sleepy baby!

Sleepy baby!

Have a great weekend!