Categories
[email protected]

It’s Champion #ShotatLife Day in #Blogust!

During [email protected]’s #Blogust 2015—a month-long blog relay—some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and [email protected] Champions will come together and share inspirational quotes for their children. Every time you comment on this post and other #Blogust contributions, or take action using the social media on this website, [email protected] and the United Nations Foundation pages, one vaccine will be donated to a child around the world (up to 50,000).

I’m sharing some quotes on Pinterest. Check them out. Here’s a sneak peak:

Blogustvax2puzzle

Pop over to my [email protected] Board on Pinterest (click the pic) to see a bigger puzzle piece and be inspired!

Categories
Books resources

Have you seen my #scarfie during #scarvember from Uncommon Goods?

What’s better than a warm scarf on a chilly November day?

A literary scarf with the words from Alice in Wonderland, that’s what! Check out my #scarfie (which is a selfie with a scarf) that I took during a recent #scarfvember post.

uncommon goods scarf

 

Isn’t that scarf adorbs?? The very literary and smart folks from Uncommon Goods thought that I might could ROCK this scarf. What do you think of it? The day after it came, I rocked it at the bookstore. All the ladies I work with were so JELLY!!! They wanted to hold it and touch it and read it and HAVE it!

And besides, who doesn’t love Alice in Wonderland? I mean, I’m practically the Mad Hatter, right? (I DO the tea parties, remember?)

Here’s another tidblit I learned about Uncommon Goods: they perform a lot of goodwill, which makes me happy. You know how much I love books, so I was over the moon when I learned that they support “Reach Out and Read’s thousands of doctors and nurses promote early literacy, language skills, and school readiness to young children and their families in all 50 states.” You know how I love to get books in the hands of kids, right?

As you lay in bed in the middle of the night pinning items to your Christmas pinboard, why not pin a few items from these links here (I’m eyeing the unicorn coffee mug), here (did you notice the upcycled cashmere scarf?, and here (library card socks!!).

You’re welcome. All your holiday shopping is done.

Get your Wuthering Heights scarf. All the Goth kids love it. ahahhahaa

Get it? Goth. Wuthering Heights?

Pin now, buy soon.

 

 

 

Categories
Books

Are You Getting Ready for Sochi?

If you’re like me when the Olympics are on, you’re all like WHOOOOOPIE!!! I’ve said it during the Summer Olympics and I’ll say it now, I will watch ANY and ALL televised Olympic events!

Despite the fact that Sochi is having some real problems getting ready for the games, I’m sure in the interest of unity everyone will get their acts together and we’ll all have a good time.  This is a great time to talk to kids about how we are all different but yet we’re the same.

Here are a few pictures from the Olympic webpage that caught my eye:

snowboard-693X520

Look how cute these mascots are!?!  I found a website for the kiddos to learn about the mascots.  Click this link and check it out.

Another photo I found reminded me of Katniss from Hunger Games. You know I had to get a book reference in somehow, right?

IMG_5240-693X520

Look, it’s the Girl on Fire!!

I’ve got a pinboard full of Olympic games and activities. I’m always looking to add more items to it so let me know if you have a board too and we can share in the excitement!

By the way, what’s your favorite Olympic event aside from the opening ceremonies? Mine is Figure skating.

Categories
Books

Superbowl or Holiday Party Ideas

Librarians Love to Party!

You know I love to party, but I don’t usually post food related items unless they are bookish. Recently I wanted to host the bookstore staff members to my house for a holiday open house.  After searching Pinterest for ideas I settled on a taco bar.  After finding how much it would cost to have it catered, at $9 a person, I figured I could do the thing myself for a lot cheaper!  I think you could use this party idea for a Superbowl party as well.

Here’s what was on the menu.  Serves approx 15.

Main course

  • Walking tacos
  • Beef ( i bought a roast because it was on sale but you could use ground beef or turkey)
  • Chicken
  • Tacos
  • Tortilla chips
  • Rice
  • Beans (black and red)
  • Lettuce
  • Red, yellow, orange peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Jalapeño slices (jar)
  • Flour tortillas
  • cheese

Bar
Prosecco
Soda cans
Wine

Additional ingredients:

taco seasoning
crock pot liners
at least two extra crockpots

For this party, the prep work is the hardest part. Prep isn’t difficult, but an important step that should be done early in the process, not waited until the last minute which I mistakenly did.  To make this party as easy as possible, I would chop the vegetables early in the day and refrigerate until needed. Here’s how I prepared for this party. It was super easy!

First thing in the morning I put the roast in the crockpot.  As mentioned earlier, you could use ground beef or turkey but i wanted to avoid another step by browning ground meat on the stove.  I highly recommend using crockpot liners. I tossed the roast in the crockpot, added perhaps a quarter cup of water, maybe less, and then poured approx 1/3 a package of taco seasoning over the meat. I put two jalapeno slices on top.  I didn’t want the beef to be too spicy because I was unsure of my guests tastes.  You could certainly use more seasoning and peppers to suit your crowd.

Additionally, in lieu of packaged taco seasoning you could certainly create your own with chili powder, paprika, cumin, etc.  Many of these ingredients are in the taco seasoning.  Again, the point of this party prep was shortcuts.

Cover and cook on low for a minimum of 4 hours.  My crockpot overheats quickly so 4 hours is a good guesstimate for my machine.  Yours may require 6 hours. Meat should be tender and fall apart with a fork.  When ready, keep on the warm setting until party.

If you have an additional crock pot, cook the chicken the same way.  I put a call out to my friends on Facebook a few days prior and was gifted with two additional crockpots.  If I had to do it over I would want two more for a total of 5. You’ll see why later.  I had a 10 pack of chicken breasts (purchased from BJs) in the freezer that i set out to thaw the day before.  I used 5 of the breasts in the crockpot for this recipe but since i thawed out the whole package, I boiled the other 5 breasts just in case the five in the crockpot weren’t enough.

Again, crockpot liner, and chicken in crockpot.  Use the rest of the taco seasoning packet, as desired. Add approx 1/4 cup water.  Cook on low for approx 5 – 6 hours or until the chicken falls apart with fork.  Chicken may take longer depending if you used fresh or partially thawed.  I find that partially thawed chicken tastes juicier when slow cooked. When done, keep on warm til party.

This is the stage where I would change if I had to do it again.  At this point, I left the kitchen and did other party prep things.  You, learning from my mistakes, should clean up the counter and then prep the veggies.  Slice up the tomatoes and  peppers into very small pieces and put them into separate ziploc bags and refrigerate until later.

At about two hours before the party, I started prepping the beans. I purchased black (Goya) and red beans and thought that I might cook them separately but in the interest of saving crockpots, I combined them.  I drained the beans, put them in the crockpot, and mixed them together.  I cooked on high in the interest of time.  I suppose you could have started them earlier and cooked on low. I don’t know.  I did not add any flavoring.  Beans are yummy enough in and of themselves!  Side note: I kept an eye on the beans to make sure they didn’t burn. I wanted them cooked but not burnt.  I eventually turned them down to warm once they were soft.

Now for the rice.  I love Goya’s yellow rice and I bought two boxes.  I started cooking them about an hour before the party. Again, learn from my mistake.  Cook them earlier in the day and then use a crockpot to keep them warm. This is the step that I wished I called in another friend for an additional crockpot.  Hindsight.  Anyway, I cooked the rice and then put them in a pretty dish with a lid, knowing they would not stay warm but hoping no one wanted to use the microwave (I was storing junk in it)!

And finally, the flour tortillas.  I totally made this part up.  I had my helper (#1 son) take 5 tortillas and wrap them up flat in aluminum foil.  We used approx 20 tortillas (two packages of 10?) and placed them on a large cookie sheet, alternating the layout so they all had access to heat, and cooked on 300.  I wanted them to be warm.  I pulled them out of the oven right before the guests arrived and placed on a tray on the table. I kept them wrapped in foil to stay warm.

Here’s how the display looked.

Taco Bar

Mix and match all of your dishes you have for an eclectic look. People feel special when you use your good dishes; what else are they for? I happen to collect dishes so mine look especially mismatched, which I like. I covered the card table with a long white tablecloth. I didn’t want the ugly card table legs underneath to show.  The dining room table became the buffet table.  I covered it with a large red tablecloth and set aside red holiday linen napkins. I love using linen napkins because they go right in the wash and don’t add any extra waste in the environment. For plates I used a mixture of Christmas plates and clear plates and gold edged plates. I had large dinner plates and smaller sandwich plates if guests didn’t want a large plate, like if they were only getting a walking taco.
I used a card table in the bay window and plugged the three crockpots into a couple of extension cords.

crock pots

I wanted people to be able to get to the hot foods but not trip over the wires.  See from the photos how I set the table. My thinking was guests would take a plate and silverware first then grab a bag for walking tacos (mostly for the kids), grab a tortilla or two, then turn to their left and take whatever meat and or beans they wanted (Side note: if you are crocking the rice you would put it on this table as well, to utilize the extension cords).

After they’d chosen their warm foods, they could turn back to the buffet table and choose their fixins: cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, etc.  (Side note: I used bagged lettuce but you could certainly shred your own.  Make sure your bagged lettuce is fresh. Mine was a day or two old and while still edible, looked slightly sickly)

I placed the bags of chips in a large wooden salad bowl, however, there are plenty of different ways you could display them.  Use your imagination. I placed small wooden salad bowls down the center of the table and put tortilla chips in them.  Again, use your imagination on how to display.  These bowls became portable and found their way to various tables as guests congregated around the house.

I found this container with gold plated utensils that matched the gold rimmed dishes perfectly! I remember buying these utensils from my fave antique store. Swoon!

gold plated utensils

The bar was opposite the front door.

Prosecco Bar

I like to place it there so guests can immediately do something with themselves while I put away their coats. I used all of my old wine glasses so that everyone, even the kiddos, could have a wine glass and feel special. Again, these are inexpensive, second hand glasses that can be re used and are good for the environment.

I wanted to keep drinks for the party simple, since the taco bar was complicated.  I only intended to offer Prosecco but the husband wanted to add a bottle or two of wine.  Cans of coke and sprite rested with the bottles of Prosecco in the ice bin.  Wine glass charms are in a small glass bowl by the wine glasses.

 

hot chocolate barAnd now for the dessert bar: a hot chocolate bar.

Again, prep work is everything for the dessert bar. If I had to do it over again I wouldn’t have two of these kinds of things at the same party.

My thinking for the hot chocolate bar was that i didn’t want to be left with a bunch of cookies and desserts that wouldn’t get eaten at our house.  So I thought hot chocolate might work!

Check out the photos of the set up.  I let #1 son set up the bar and while it’s not how I would have set it up, he was proud of his display and it worked just as well.

 

Here’s what we offered:

  • warm almond milk
  • warm whole milk
  • crushed candy canes
  • holiday colored m& ms
  • chocolate chips
  • caramel chips
  • mini marshmallows
  • large marshmallows
  • candy canes
  • powdered hot chocolate mix
  • chocolate syrup
  • caramel syrup
  • Bailey’s and Kahlua alcohol for the grown ups

There are so many ways you can display the hot chocolate bar, especially if you are creative and artsy; let your imagination guide you.  Many of my friends told me this type of party would be great for a Superbowl party but I think any party is a good excuse for a walking taco and your best dishes!

Pam hostess

Categories
Blogging

Checking in for #Scarfvember; How’s your scarf work?

It’s your midweek #scarfvember check up!

 

 

Don’t forget to link up if you’ve written a post! On Pinterest? Tag us there too: #scarfvember
Did you blog about your experience tying your scarf? We wanna hear it!


Categories
Reviews Young Adult

Random Magic Live Pinning Tour: it’s what’s next

HEY HI!

So. You’re all caught up are ya?

We survived a Pirate attack

Did LOTS of fighting with swords.

and found ourselves still floating in the ocean

Now we ask: NOW WHAT??

Well, swim over to Pinterest and follow along with us as we PIN things, like

POOCHES

to the Random Magic Tour Board!

Or you can click here

But NEVER EVER EVER EVER NEVER Click here unless you carry doggie treats.

To stay afloat, mouse over to Pinterest to see the goings on between our Henry and Winnie.

Reminder: To follow along with this week’s Magic Pinning, look for the footer:

|| Chapters 27-35 || Part of Pins and Magic party – Live-pinning ‘Random Magic’ || Schedule/Join us (Jul. 15 through Sept. 15, 2012):
http://pinterest.com/iyampam/random-magic-live-pinning-book-tour/

|| Chapters 21-30 || Part of Pins and Magic party – Live-pinning ‘Random Magic’ || Schedule/Join us (Jul. 15 through Sept. 15, 2012):
http://pinterest.com/iyampam/random-magic-live-pinning-book-tour/

|| Chapters 11-15 || Part of Pins and Magic party – Live-pinning ‘Random Magic’ || Schedule/Join us (Jul. 15 through Sept. 15, 2012):
http://pinterest.com/iyampam/random-magic-live-pinning-book-tour/

|| Chapters 1-5 || Part of Pins and Magic party – Live-pinning ‘Random Magic’ || Schedule/Join us (Jul. 15 through Sept. 15, 2012):
http://pinterest.com/iyampam/random-magic-live-pinning-book-tour/

|| Chapters 6-10 || Part of Pins and Magic party – Live-pinning ‘Random Magic’ || Schedule/Join us (Jul. 15 through Sept. 15, 2012):
http://pinterest.com/iyampam/random-magic-live-pinning-book-tour/

Want more RANDOM MAGIC  in your life? Tweet me (@Pamlovesbooks)  and YOU can join the pinning party too!

And a free puppy!

Go on!

Who’s a good doggie?

 

Categories
Books Reviews Young Adult

Random Magic week tres (3) and a VIDEO

GUESS WHAT??

It’s week 3 of the Random Magic Tour.

RUN over to Pinterest and follow along with us as we PIN things to the Pamdom Random Magic Tour Board!

Or you can click here

But NEVER EVER Click here unless you want a tasty tidbit to eat. Or Goats.

What’s different this week?

Well, we’re pinning from Chapters 11 -15, that’s what. You might see puppies; and who doesn’t want to see puppies?

To follow along with this week’s Magic Pinning, look for the footer:

|| Chapters 11-15 || Part of Pins and Magic party – Live-pinning ‘Random Magic’ || Schedule/Join us (Jul. 15 through Sept. 15, 2012):
http://pinterest.com/iyampam/random-magic-live-pinning-book-tour/

 

To catch up on what you missed, look for :

|| Chapters 1-5 || Part of Pins and Magic party – Live-pinning ‘Random Magic’ || Schedule/Join us (Jul. 15 through Sept. 15, 2012):
http://pinterest.com/iyampam/random-magic-live-pinning-book-tour/

or

|| Chapters 6-10 || Part of Pins and Magic party – Live-pinning ‘Random Magic’ || Schedule/Join us (Jul. 15 through Sept. 15, 2012):
http://pinterest.com/iyampam/random-magic-live-pinning-book-tour/

Want more Magic in your life? Tweet me (@Pamlovesbooks)  and YOU can join the pinning party too!

Wanna see me read with a British accent?

Who said NO..?

Get outta here…

and click here or below to watch my video!

 

 

 

 

Categories
Books Reviews

Random Magic Tour, week deux (2)

Hiyo friends, PammyPam here again!

Brief reminder that we’re onto week deux (TWO for you uninspired types) of the Pamdom Magic Tour.

Oh wait, I mean Random Magic Tour.

oopsie!

Either way, no matter, RUN over to Pinterest and follow along with us as we PIN things to the Pamdom Random Magic Tour Board!

Or you can click here

But NEVER EVER Click here unless you want a tasty tidbit to eat.

What’s different this week?

Well, we’re pinning from Chapters 6 -10, that’s what. You might see puppies; and who doesn’t want to see puppies?

To follow along with this week’s Magic Pinning, look for the footer:

|| Chapters 6-10 || Part of Pins and Magic party – Live-pinning ‘Random Magic’ || Schedule/Join us (Jul. 15 through Sept. 15, 2012):
http://pinterest.com/iyampam/random-magic-live-pinning-book-tour/

 

To catch up on what you missed, look for last week’s footer:

|| Chapters 1-5 || Part of Pins and Magic party – Live-pinning ‘Random Magic’ || Schedule/Join us (Jul. 15 through Sept. 15, 2012):
http://pinterest.com/iyampam/random-magic-live-pinning-book-tour/

Want more Magic in your life? Tweet me (@Pamlovesbooks)  and YOU can join the pinning party too!

Cheers!  pip pip and toodle and all that kind of Britishy stuff that they might say!

 

 

 

 

Categories
Books Reviews

Random Magic Pinterest Tour starts July 15!

You may have heard that the book Random Magic, by Sasha Soren, is touring all over the place.

If you heard that, you’d be right.

Sasha has SMARTLY GRACIOUSLY included me in on the proceedings,

mostly, to stop listening to me cry and whine.

But either way, I’m at the PARTY!

As you know, An Unconventional Librarian loves books about fun things.

Random Magic is proving to be so. much. fun!

What’s so fun about this tour is that

I get to host the pinning on PINTEREST!

What? you don’t follow me on Pinterest?

Get over there right now and do it: iyampam

or simply click the link for the Random Magicness.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

There.

You’re all hooked up to the Random Magicness

the Random Magicity

the Random Magicality

the Random Magiceuse if you’re French, prolly.

see? I’m on the cover of the book

and I’m over at Pinterest pinning things that

remind us of the Random Magic book (themes, spaces, characters, etc).

It’s kind of online book club meets Pinterest.

Come check it out and follow along.

The rave party runs July 15 through Sept 15,

so there’s lots of time join the festivities!

This first week, let’s visit Chapters 1-5 and pin items that are reminiscent of those chapters.

Let’s go!

Categories
Reviews

#Hunger Games and Ethnicity (SPOILERS)

Unconventional Librarian bailey hunger gamesIf you haven’t figured out by now, An Unconventional Librarian has been all about The Hunger Games!  I love reading YA books and I especially love sharing books with my kids.  I feel it’s a gift that I hope they never get tired of sharing with me.

So you can imagine my joy when Pumpkin said to me a few weeks ago that she was interested in reading The Hunger Games.  I’d had the book on my mental TBR list and was excited to have an excuse to buy it; esp since Pumpkin is more of a girly Twilight fan.

So we bought all three books and raced to finish them before the movie opened.  I tend to get caught up in pre-movie hype and then am disappointed by the time I see the movie (which is ALWAYS opening night: aka several years ago when Twilight opened and we almost got trampled).

Anyway, I avoided the pre-movie hype except for bloggers and the newspaper’s movie review. That’s it.  Ok, well I discovered that I’m from District 5.  Power. POWER.

Here’s my badge:

Games movie hype, I made a few cards at someecards.com  You can find them on my FaceBook page or on my Pinterest boards. Here’s a sample:

Unconventional Librarian Hunger GamesBut that’s it.

Now on to the bad news.  I would not be true to myself if I didn’t comment on the multicultural aspects of the movie.  In my head, books read very ethnically diverse and Peeta, was a pretty Southeast Asian (Indian) boy like from Slumdog Millionaire.  I know he’s blond in the book but whatever, that’s how I imagined him.  So I was hoping for something similar in the movie.  And if I’m remembering correctly isn’t he the little boy from Bridge to Terabithia? When did he grow up?

As the movie opened I was angry because everyone in District 12 looked white and I thought to myself “are you kidding me? this book appeals to so many and there is not ONE brown or yellow face???”

Then the kids got to the Capitol and I saw all the beautiful colors: brown, yellow, light brown, etc and I was satisfied.  Happy almost.

But then the movie continued and I became deeply disturbed.  Our sweet little Rue was Black.  Could she have been any cuter? I knew what happened to her and I was already hurting.  The other tribute from her District: Thresh? Also Black. What’s up with that?  My senses perked up and I don’t know whether intentional or not, I saw that many from Rue’s district were Black.  To be sure, there were Whites but it struck me as odd.  Rue’s District 11  is agriculture, a fancy name for farming: reminded me of plantations and slavery.   And then the riots. Oy.

As if my sensibilities are not upset enough, the violence started and it occurred to me that White children are pitted against Black children. Children killing each other.  And of course, since the main characters were White, there could not be any Black victors.

Was any of this profiling intentional on the part of the industry? I don’t know; probably not.  But does it have an impact? I’m pretty sure, yes.  The subliminal message is: White will always win, and any other racial group will not.  Take a look at horror movies and see who is usually one of the first to die: Blacks.

Let me be clear in saying that I am not downgrading the fun of the movie or the book.  As a reader, I am entitled to my own opinions and am able to enjoy the movie but hope for different outcomes:  I would love to see an African American play a lead role in something other than a superhero film. Remember, readers want to imagine a character who is like them and there are many multi-ethnic kids who are reading and going to the movies.  Can’t we give them something to relate to?

Nonetheless, I can and will see the movie again. Never mind that no one from my district (5, Power) finishes.  I can’t wait to finish book 3!

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!