Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy

1 Comment

Self Care Sundays: Friends Are Soul Food

Last weekend my good friend had a birthday. To celebrate another good friend and I decided to visit her and spend Sunday being tourists in Seattle, where the birthday girl lives. As a surprise, another friend showed up for the day, as well. We were missing two of our core group of “girls” from high school, who have remained close friends over the past 13 years (!), but they were there in spirit and I’m sure we’ll all be together soon.

In any case, there’s really nothing like being with people who know you so well you can, literally, do anything and they are not surprised or weirded out. These are the kinds of friends who are family. I love them unconditionally and I’m pretty sure they feel the same way. Here’s a photo tour of our day (renamed to “Selfie Sunday). Hope you had an awesome birthday, Rosarita! I know I enjoyed it.


The first selfie of the day. She looks terrified, but she was really excited. I’m almost 100% sure.


After about 50 selfies I asked them how much they love selfies.


Get that baby to the bathroom!! But don’t hold it to close!


What? You don’t take selfies of your friends in bathroom stalls? I thought everyone did that.


Waiting for E to get picked up. It was like a paparazzi moment or something. It was so crazy and phones were ringing and cars were flashing by and OMG!!!


What do pirates say?


Ferris wheel fun!!! Not scary at all!!


Only we know what we were saying. Good times. Big pigs.


Parachute Play with Shredded Paper

In my last library we did this activity after reading an article about the Brooklyn Library inviting kids to play in shredded newspaper. Since my coworker had just shredded a ton of paper for a treasure hunting activity we decided to reuse it for an after storytime activity. I chose to use the parachute during storytime, ending with the chute on the ground, so I could throw the paper on top of the chute in hopes of maximum fun and a easier clean up. Well, one of those things definitely happened. ;)


This is not an activity for a day when you are super short on clean up time. No way around it- you will spend time cleaning up the paper. TOTALLY WORTH IT.

For the photos in this post I used shredded hold slips and other paper our library shreds for privacy purposes. It was actually better than the newspaper-it left a lot less residue. Newspaper leaves a lot of dust which was not only harder to clean up but made me sneeze.

Why do this? Because play is a natural way to learn about the world. Through play kids will experience new words, new emotions, learn how to function in a group environment, use their imaginations, and their fine and gross motor skills. I heard “It’s snowing!” and “It’s like a bath!” (both symbolism) and caregivers using words like throw, toss, grab, pinch, gather, stuff, plop, and sprinkle. Kids were instructed by their caregivers to be careful, pay attention to where they were throwing paper, and to be gentle and generally aware of their surroundings. These kids practiced self regulation, as well as developing their vocabulary and motor skills. Plus, they think the library is pretty much the best place in the world. And that’s good enough for me.


As you can see, this was a huge hit. Everyone had a great time and took away something from the experience. Literally. There was a paper trail down the hall and out the door.

The magical breadcrumbs leading to storytime. If you try this let me know how it goes! I’d love to see more joyful kids!

Leave a comment

Self Care Sundays: Planning Epic Adventures

The past several years we have been so broke the only times we took trips was with our parents (on their dime–we LOVE our generous parents!) or by charging things (never ever again! debt free, ftw!). Now, we are financially stable, I think for the first time in our lives, and we aren’t going to sit around missing out on all the great places we want to visit.

We have declared this summer “The Summer of Adventures.” Today we planned just one, of hopefully many, such adventures, using our McMenamin’s passport to help guide us. That, and the fact that we are ashamed to say we have never been to Crater Lake. And I won’t even have to use vacation time! Woot!


The first stop will be the Hotel Oregon in McMinville for lunch and passport stamps. Then we’ll head to Lincoln City for a beach walk and more McMenamins before traveling to Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park to camp for the night. Site is already reserved! The next morning we’ll eat and break camp and head right to Crater Lake National Park for a day of hiking and exploring. We’ll then head back to Roseburg to stay the night and have more McMenamins. The next day, Monday, we’ll jet up I-5, hitting every McMenamins on the way to get our passport book filled up. We’ll arrive home late that night exhausted and, no doubt, full (and hopefully with a growler of Ruby).

I’m SO excited to have something like this to look forward to! It’s my carrot for finishing the race (which in this case might be SRP, which will be about 50% over by then!).

What is your carrot?

Leave a comment

Guerrilla Storytime in Tacoma

Today I’m over on Storytime Underground talking about the AWESOME Guerrilla Storytime we did at an area storytime sharing meeting. Librarians from 3 districts came together to share and there was just so much greatness. So, go read about it and get some great idea- I know I did! And maybe plan one for your area. It’s super easy! Just ask if you want help or have questions.

Guerrilla Storytime: Get Local

Leave a comment

Self Care Sundays: Family

I have missed the last couple of weeks because I’ve been a little bad about dedicating time to myself and not library stuff and the time I have been spending away was playing video games. And pictures of video games are not very interesting. But, after a trip to Portland and getting stocked up on Candy Babel, non-chemical candy, that’s really all I wanted to do. That and watch Friends. So, yeah. That’s what I did for 2 weekends. Until this weekend.

My Mom came to town.


And brought gin. And tonic.

And we played pinochle (if you know what this is and how to play you are my new best friend FYI). A LOT of pinochle. And Kevin and I kicked their asses (sorry, Mom, better luck next time).


And we shopped (we were sober for this part, I swear). I love that my mom still wants to buy me a spring outfit. She has been doing this my whole life and it’s a really fun tradition that I kind of hope never stops.

Here’s me being a dork and “posing” in my new dress/shirt –channeling one of my favorite musicians, can you guess who?


My mom and I are extremely close. And sometimes that means we fight (ok, usually means that) but I love every second of it. The loving, the fighting, the joking, just being in her company. No one gets me more while simultaneously being mystified by many of the things I do and think. There is no substitute for spending time with someone who has unconditional love for you. It heals my soul.

So, my self care for this weekend was choosing to spend with with the people I love the most. Which leads me to… wait for next week! I’m going dancing and touristing (it’s a word now) with one of my best friends (since 10th grade!!) for her birthday extravaganza and IT. WILL. ROCK.

What did you do this week for YOU?

Leave a comment

REaD Any Good Books Lately?

When I started at my library there was an empty shelf range with a slat wall behind it. It just seemed sad, this bare wall and bare shelves, and with shelving space always an issue it almost seemed a crime to leave it empty. For a quick fix, in December I threw up a Newbery poster (Thanks, Amy!), a couple of signs about the various Youth Media Awards and pulled all our Newbery winners and honors to live there until February. It made the space look better, but it wasn’t highly used. I’m honestly not sure many patrons even noticed there was a display there. Of course they didn’t. What is so new and exciting about a Newbery display? Nothing. I mean, sure, it’s cool, but not very flashy for your average 10 year old. I really wanted something interactive so I hit Pinterest hard. After pinning a bunch of stuff I landed on a color display and since it would begin in February…RED! Thanks again to friends, I decided on “REaD Any Good Books Lately?” for the display wording.

red display

But to kick it up a notch and get that interactive piece, I placed red paper folded in half to look like a book on the shelf below the sign. Patrons were instructed to write the name of a favorite book on one of the red paper books and give the paper to a staff person. Then I hung them up so others might get some reading suggestions from their peers. All ages could participate and we had suggestions from Corduroy to The Notebook. 42 suggestions in all!

Everyone loved this display but because I have so much to do and not much time to do it, I will only be able to change them about every 2 months. I’ll be putting up a Poet-tree next. to stay until May and then maybe Summer Reading?

What kinds of displays have been successful in your library? Give me ideas!

20150315_193651 (1)


Self Care Sundays: Why Self Care is an Important Part of Your Job

To this day I am still realizing the importance of self care in professions dealing with the public. As librarians we don’t see nearly the kind of heartbreak and horror social workers, child counselors, public health nurses and even teachers do every day, but we see enough. Every person through our doors has a story and many feel obligated to share their stories with the person helping them find necessary information. Others desperately need someone to talk to and at the library they mostly find kind, welcoming people happy to listen (ok, so maybe we aren’t always really happy, but we do a great job of hiding that from them, right?) and help them find whatever and whoever they need.

All this listening and helping and searching is taxing on the heart and soul, especially when it’s so often for tough situations like divorce, disability, child custody, children in prison, and failing health.  And especially when we don’t receive the same level of training for dealing with people (of all kinds) as we do for locating information. And how can we even begin to help people if we, ourselves, are not in the best shape? We cannot provide the best possible service to our community if we are so stressed and exhausted that every person who visits our desks annoys us. We should not be faking it more than we are genuine. Last week I witnessed a coworker genuinely enjoying their interaction with a patron, one faking it unbeknownst to the patron, and another flat out and obviously annoyed by and uninterested in a patron (who had various mental health issues but overall had simple, doable requests, as I discovered when I helped them later on). My first thought was that the last coworker must have had a rough week.

So, after a particularly trying week myself, and not wanting to ever be like the last coworker, I’m making a pact with myself. Every Sunday I will take a break from all things libraries and focus on some major self care. To keep myself on track, and because I truly think this will help me be an even better librarian, I will be documenting my Self Care Sundays here.

Since baking is my happy place (and I get to use STEM!), this Sunday I made epic Coconut Cream Pie from the latest Food & Wine. I have been super sick the last week or so and now my husband has the ick. He has been eyeballing this pie, and requested it. I’m not a big coconut fan, but looking into his glassy eyes I couldn’t say no. The pie took ALL DAY. Partly because I’d never made a cream pie quite like this and partly because it has to chill for a total of 3 hours. But, you know what? WORTH IT. And I apparently LOVE coconut cream pie. It is currently difficult for me not to walk into the kitchen, grab a fork, open the fridge and dig in. The struggle is real.

Get the recipe here: Coconut Cream Pie

Here are some pics to make your mouth water and see the process.

Some of my prep space. I forgot to take a picture of the whole mise en place. My kitchen is super tiny now so I have this block and the stove, basically. That’s oobleck in the bowl in the front left corner. GO STEM!!


Cooking, and then straining the filling to get the vanilla beans out.

20150315_145429 20150315_150800

Filling goes in a bowl with plastic wrap on top. Then, after it cools down a bit, into the fridge for an hour.


The crust. Shredded coconut and vanilla cookie goodness. Nilla Wafers have high fructose corn syrup so I subbed for these instead. NO REGRETS.

20150315_155044   20150315_160358

Coconut whip cream goes in the filling and on top.

20150315_172403 20150315_172726

Topped with whipped cream and into the fridge for 2 more hours.

20150315_173217 (1)20150315_173522

I didn’t have toasted coconut so I toasted the regular stuff myself.

20150315_193135 (1) 20150315_194037 (1)


20150315_193651 (1) 20150315_194110 (1)