Pajamarama: Ninja Training

Pajamarama is an evening program where children can wear their jammies and have one last adventure before bed. It lasts about a half hour and is designed to burn off energy before bedtime.


Book: The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz

Craft: Paper bag ninja puppets from [iheartcraftythings.com]. I love how they measured everything out -- SO EASY. I already had most of the supplies and only spent about $5 on the paper fastening brads, paper bags, and googly eyes.

Activity: I used some donated red yard between two rows of stacks to make a laser obstacle course. If you cut the string into smaller strips and tape them across the stacks, there's less chance of a kid tripping and hurting themselves on the string -- if they fall, they just knock off the string.

Total cost per child: less than $1. 

Pajamarama: The Pony Show

Pajamarama is an evening program where children can wear their jammies and have one last adventure before bed. It lasts about a half hour and is designed to burn off energy before bedtime.


Book: The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

Craft: Pool noodle ponies. [There are a ton of different ideas on Pinterest.] I bought pool noodles from Dollar Tree for $1 a piece, drew some cutesy eyeballs and laminated them, and set out a ton of yarn we had donated to us.

Activity: I used extra pool noodles ahead of time to put together an obstacle course similar to an equestrian competition, including a "ring of fire" using flame-colored streamers. I used duct tape to make a maze on the floor, and miscellaneous toys and stools around the library to make obstacles to jump.

Total cost per child: about $1.


Organizing Programming Plans with Google Docs

(so I realize that this looks like a sponsored post, but I'm really just a true believer. This system keeps me sane at work, and I'm hoping it will help you.)

Handling the programming at a library can be complicated, and if you don't find an organizational schematic that works for you, you're in for a world of stress.

I tried the big, expensive, fancy planner that comes with all the stickers and accessories. I spent most of my time doodling in it and aligning stickers and missed a meeting. Yikes.

I tried a big binder. I killed part of the Amazon rainforest and was still disorganized.

I have now gone all-digital, using Google Docs to stay on top of things. First, here's a couple sample shots of my current doc, and then I'll show you how I set it up each season.

First off, if you are totally unfamiliar with Google Docs, you can get started here. It's basically an online word processor. If you can use Word, you can use Docs.

I love using Docs because I can pull it up from any computer or from my smart phone. I use it in programming because I no longer have to print out my programming notes -- they're available on my phone. This is especially useful during Storytime when I want to remember the words to a new song.

To make your own, click here to open up the Doc. Then, click File -> Make a copy.


Brief Cases (Dresden Files #15.1) by Jim Butcher

Brief Cases (The Dresden Files #15.1)
Me when I found out that a new short stories book was coming out during the downtime before Peace Talks:

I'll admit, when I started reading this book I was a bit... miffed. Apprehensive. It's been a long time since I'd been in the Dresdenverse, and I'd been spending a lot of time in other universes. I was impatient for a new book.

[Now don't get me wrong -- I understand authors are human beings with lives and other responsibilities and they don't exist solely to entertain me. I have sort of a cognitive dissonance going on where I am 110% patient when it comes to supporting Mr. Butcher as an author who writes on his own time, while I am also mad at Harry for being away for so long.]

But the Bigfoot stories got to me and pulled me out of my "I miss Harry" funk. The Bigfoot trilogy rose to the top of the collection and showed us the more parental side of Harry. We see this new Harry again in the final story, where a zoo trip with Mouse and Maggie forces all three to face their demons (and some real demons, too.)

Side characters are given their time to shine in this anthology. Even Gentleman Marcone gets an opportunity to be a bit heroic. We see Molly twice, one in a heartrending story of loss, and again when she earns that favor from the dark elves and we see how an illusion mage like herself handles combat magic. (Creatively.)

Waldo Butters steals the show as the new Knight of the Cross. Considering that he wields a sword that looks more like a lightsaber than a holy relic, it should come as no surprise that his first "Call" from the Almighty is quite a bit different from the still, quiet voice that pious Michael had heard.

And who could deny the appeal of Anastasia Luccio subduing some bad guys out in the Old West with Wyatt Earp?

I suppose you could skip this collection and still read Peace Talks, book 16, when it comes out. But why would you want to? This book is just fun and gives more insight to characters that Mr. Butcher has already fleshed out wonderfully.

received via Netgalley

View all my reviews


Tots! by Dan Whalen

Tots!: A Cookbook There's no better word for this book than "fun."

You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't love a good tater tot, and this cookbook celebrates all the ways tots can be deliciously childish comfort food or a surprisingly refined part of dinner. The recipes are straight-forward and easy to read. I only wish there had been more pictures.

received via Netgalley


Scourged (Iron Druid #9) by Kevin Hearne

*sniff* it's over. I'll be okay.

Scourged (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #9) I award this book 1 billion wagging dog tails for a fulfilling, unexpected finale to what has been one of my favorite series.

Remember a few books back when Atticus, ignoring the advice of his good friend Jesus, made a few poor decisions and set off the events of Ragnarök? It's time to pay the piper.

Told in quick, shotgun-blast chapters from the viewpoint of Atticus, Owen, and Granuaile, the events of Scourged cover a relatively short period of time -- perhaps even less than a day. (Can anyone verify this for me?) As Loki initiates the violence of Ragnarök, other baddies around the world decide to take advantage of the chaos to wreak a little havoc of their own. The three druids and some heroes of world pantheons rise up to meet them, culminating in an epic battle against Loki.

(You will snicker a little at the wager that the gods and goddesses have going on who will be the one to finally slay Loki.)

Several figures from the past play a part in the finale, but the hounds are noticeably absent. Hardcore Oberon fans will miss him, but who brings their pet to the battleground? Not Atticus. Don't forget to read Oberon's Meaty Mysteries if you need a hit.

And speaking of animals, Owen makes his own furry friend, and I keep thinking about it throughout the day and internally squeeing a little.

For a fun fantasy romp of a series, it doesn't shy away from harsh losses and the need for atonement. Not all of the good guys make it out alive, and not all of the living survive unscathed. Atticus is forced to reckon with the knowledge that he is responsible for much of it.

The series did not end the way I anticipated it, and I doubt many other readers will see the ending coming, either. I'm pretty confident this is the last book Mr. Hearne has planned for Atticus. But you still see future adventures for him off in the distance, and can imagine him and his doggos off saving the world and speaking in the Irish accent he has reclaimed for himself.


Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega #5) by Patricia Briggs

Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega, #5; Mercy Thompson World - Complete, #15) Patricia Briggs is an absolute rock star and I will read every book she writes.

With a newborn at home, it's difficult to do any pleasure reading. Now that I'm back to working full-time, too, I have no free time.

However, Patricia Briggs' books are always so awesome that I was willing to sacrifice a few nights of sleep to read this, and I regret nothing.

Ms. Briggs' heroines are always compelling and unique, and Anna Cornick is certainly both. As an omega wolf, she has no interest in domineering over anyone else and is equally disinterested in kowtowing to anyone, either. She's content to do what needs to be done and then go home and snuggle with her terrifying, yet kind and just, husband, Charles.

While acting as the de facto stand-in head of the wolves while his father Bran is mysteriously away, Charles receives a distress call from one of the wildlings, members of the pack so old and so powerful that they can no longer live peaceably around others. When Charles and Anna respond to the call, they uncover a murder plot that can only be treachery, a dangerous and old magic that is even too strong for Charles, and must suss out which of the pack members is to blame.

This is the fifth book in the Alpha & Omega series and it's not recommended to try and read this without reading the previous four. It's best to start with "Cry Wolf," the first book in the series. This is a spin-off series that takes place in the Mercy Thompson universe, and it's recommended to start with book one, "Moon Called," although not entirely necessary.

ARC received via Netgalley