Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

We did some exploring today with Matt's parents- went to Alpine Helen, GA, which is a total tourist trap town that is down in Bavarian style - all of it. The Wendy's, the hotels, the tacky t-shirt shops all look like what people in North GA think Germany looks like. Matt and I embraced the vibe. Take a look:

And then we went to Anna Ruby Falls near Helen. There's actually two falls and the tallest is 153 feet.

Don't we all look happy? I'm so happy I can't keep my eyes open!

Tonight: a fire with hot dogs and smores!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

an end of the year update

My lovely friend Lydia pointed out yesterday that I posted nothing of my Christmas festivities. I don't think I have much to say about them. Pictures would speak better than words in this case, but our digital camera didn't attend any of the Christmas celebrations to document any car-riding, present-opening, cookie-baking, family-hugging, feast-eating or corporate worship-attending.

But we did all those things, I promise. We were at my parents for the Christmas weekend, arriving Friday, leaving Sunday. My little bro was there too, and it was low-key and relaxing. I enjoyed attending the Christmas Eve and Christmas worship. My mom's cooking is always fantastic. Very nice presents were exchanged. And we were sent home with baked goods.

We left Sunday to prepare for the arrival of Matt's parents at our house Monday morning. There was a dusting of snow on the mountaintops, but the Floridians seem to have brought warmer weather with them. Also more very nice presents and more baked goods. We lit a fire in our new outdoor fireplace/firepit thingy (gift from my thoughtful husband) and went out to dinner.

These last few days I've been at work, which I realize is a downside to full-time year-round employment. I've never
really had to deal with too much interference with my desire to travel and lounge about the last week or two of the year. Instead, all my co-workers are off with their families and I'm holding down the fort.

I am taking Friday - wait, that's tomorrow! - off and I get next Monday too. My New Years' Festivities? Shopping and hiking with Matt and the in-laws.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I baked and baked, but have no proof!

I just realized that I didn't take pictures of all the beautiful cookies and candy I made this weekend to give my co-workers. You'll have to take my word for it that I made good stuff. I was very inspired by several recipes on the Martha Stewart website. In fact, here's what I made:

Peppermint Bark
Dried Cranberry Shortbread Squares
Gingerbread Stars
And, from Rachael Ray, Fabulous Five-Minute Fudge with raisins and walnuts

I think Matt was rather sad to see all the goodies leaving the house. Actually, I was sad too. Maybe I'll be doing some more baking tonight!

Friday, December 16, 2005

No video games, no DVDS

I heard two really interesting stories this week on NPR about fostering children's creativity, thinking skills, and literacy.

Take a listen:
This one is about choosing quality toys for children (hey, big surprise, no video games, but legos are great!)
And this one is about those baby videos that say they make children smarter, but there's no scientific evidence to support those claims. In fact, pediatricians recommend that children under two not watch TV or videos at all because it's probably messing with their attention spans.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I love lasagne!

I made a pan last night and just finished some for lunch. It's a very easy recipe I found on a cooking website for kids, when I was cruising, which is a website that lists recommended websites for kids. It's sponsored by the NC state library and something I promote at work.

Anyhow, here's the recipe. I like to pretend it's healthy too, because of the spinach. I recommend using a pasta sauce with garlic in the flavor name.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

We sqeezed out a few hours this weekend to go see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Last week I hosted a "Narnia Night" party at one of the libraries to promote the book series before the film premiered and we were eager to check out the movie. It was great. As faithful to the book as anyone would expect. Not too violent or scary (I wouldn't hesitate to take any child who had already read the book), but just right to get the mood of the story. And my goodness, that little Lucy was cute.

I especially liked how Aslan's death was depicted. When I read the book, I didn't realize how personal Aslan's (and by extension of the allegory, Christ's) death is. He completely chooses to die to save Edmund from paying the punishment for being a traitor.

In the church, we talk a lot about how Jesus died to save the world from sin, and about how unbelievers need to hear the gospel, but we don't do a good job of preaching the gospel to ourselves. This movie reminded me that Jesus didn't just die for a whole bunch of people who would believe, Jesus was the sacrifice personally for ME. I was a traitor like Edmund and Jesus took MY place. It's amazing.

Anyway, I recommend the film. But only after you've read the book. Because I am a librarian, after all.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

AccuRadio Holidays

Sometimes I get tired of the country music that plays in the central part of the offices where I work. My office is right off this central room and close to the source of the music. Sometimes I also don't like hearing the phone conversations of my co-workers.

So I provide my own soundtrack for working. Usually this consists of NPR - Morning Edition or All Things Considered. I like news and human interest stories. But sometimes my soundtrack is AccuRadio. Oh, the choices. The free choices. Broadway, obscure new rock, oldies, standards. This makes me happy.

But I was overjoyed when I discovered AccuHolidays. You may know my deep-seated love of Christmas decor, traditions and music (inherited from my parents - thanks guys!). This totally feeds my Christmas music needs. Look at the variety (seriously, go look now). It's so weird! You can choose the "Blue and white" and only listen to versions of "Blue Christmas" and "White Christmas." Or the "Let it Snow" and "Silent Night" channels. Do you really like "The Christmas Song?" Try the "Chestnuts Roasting" channel. I've been listening to the "Wide Playlist" channel so I can get my hymns, classical, comical, and pop all in one place. Plus, they let you block artist you don't want to hear. (Does anyone really want to hear a Hanson Christmas album? I thought not.)

I'm waiting for "Run, Run Rudolph!"