2015 Goal setting

Too late? Ah, oh well… I’ve thought about it and I’m ready to commit to a couple of goals.

Each year, I pick one word. The word works as a focal point for the year. It’s been extremely helpful in past years. This year, I’ve encouraged the rest of my family to join in. We’ve selected ‘Kind’ for our word. My kids sometimes struggle with treating one another with kindness first – like all normal siblings. This will be a good opportunity for us to continue to circle around and revisit this goal frequently.


I’m not big on resolutions. But I do have some goals for the upcoming year. I think if I share them, I’m more likely to be successful.

Blogging: I commit to 52 blog posts in 2015. Notice, I didn’t commit to one each week. Mr. Hero used to work with a cat guy and a non-cat guy. The cat guy frequently had to travel for work. He’d ask the non-cat guy to feed his cat while he was gone. The non-cat guy would forget and feed all of the meals on the last day. His explanation was, you left 8 meals, the cat got 8 meals. I don’t support that.. but I am accepting that November & December might be busy blogging months for me in 2015. I promise 52 blog posts, 52 blog posts will be published 🙂

Fitness: I love, love, love going to group fitness and the social aspect of fitness. Problem is I just haven’t found the balance in that yet. So, the fitness I most stick with happens at home. So I’m just going to embrace this. Instead of being discouraged by not being able to always do what I want to do, I’m going to focus on what I can and make it more pleasant. This means I’m transforming my basement room into a home gym. Maybe my kiddos will join me. I’ll save the specifics of this for future blog posts.

Professional: I would love to have a regional meetup of our professional library association. This is as much a step of commitment to new professionals having the opportunity to network, as it is my attempt to make finding professional staff for my libraries easier. With the number of librarians being pumped out of grad schools, it floors me that we did not receive a flood of applications for the position I recently vacated. To be fair, the applications we received were outstanding. Any of the ones that we interviewed are going to do amazing things. But they were all out of state!! I find it hard to believe that the great state of Georgia, with an outstanding MLIS program at Valdosta State University, didn’t have a leading candidate to offer.

So these are my goals. I hope that they interest you enough to join me on the journey of 2015.


Sleep-over Breakfast on the Quick

Kids had company last night. We’d not planned on it and I’ve not made it to the grocery store. In emergencies, I turn to processed food:


Quick Monkey Bread:

1 tube buttermilk biscuits from Pillsbury
1/2 T butter
Cinnamon Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut biscuits into quarters. Roll in cinnamon sugar individually.

Melt butter in small oven safe skillet. Snuggle little biscuits into small skillet in a single layer. Place in oven until lightly browned. About 12 – 15 minutes depending upon the weight of your skillet. Cast Iron takes longer. Yum!

I have also added chopped pecans to the melted butter & flipped out upside down.


Shelter Dog Jackpot

Admittedly, this post doesn’t have anything at all to do with books or food, or even fitness for that matter. But I’m so stinking excited, I just have to share. Our family recently hit the Shelter Dog Jackpot and I want to encourage you too as well. Here’s some tips and tricks that I’ve learned along this journey. First, here’s our Jackpot:


Meet Barkley. He’s about 5 or 6 months old. He’s a boxer mix. Our home has been a big adventure for him but he’s adjusting well. Sometime in early November he was found wandering around the local hospital. Animal control picked him up and after a 7 day hold for owner reclaiming, he was offered up for adoption. I first saw him on a facebook post or petfinder – I’m not sure which. That was back in early November. We finally connected with him on December 31st. I can’t believe that such a great dog stayed at the shelter for that long. Just think of how many other amazing dogs are just waiting on their forever homes as well.

Initially we thought we might like a smaller dog so we tried out another shelter first. This shelter was my first experience with shelter dogs and boy it’s obvious. We tried our local shelter. The manager was very kind and arranged her schedule to be there a bit late that night since it was so difficult for both my husband and I to get there after our commute. When I arrived there were about 5 kids between the ages of 5 and 9 running around playing with balls, toy guns, and a hoola hoop. I had a particular dog in mind and so I asked if I could meet him. She invited me into the dog runs but also volunteered to bring him out. Due to the chaos, I agreed to let him be brought out. The only place we could be with the dog was outside with the rowdy kids. This really amped up this dog. He just wanted to run and play with the boys. He didn’t give a rats patootie about my kids. And the more those boys played the more crazy that dog got!! I had visions of a bull in a china shop in my house. Eventually, I was able to get to a quiet spot in the back of the building. While the dog did calm down considerably, he never really warmed to us. I guess we weren’t his cup of tea any more than he was ours. This is also the time that I discovered he had diarrhea. When I brought it to the shelter manager’s attention, she explained that he’d eaten some cat food. I thought, hmm, not trying to take home a sick dog.

There was another dog that I really liked on the Facebook page but my family wasn’t crazy about. I thought, well we’re here. Might as well meet her too. This one I went back to bring out. The shelter manager gave me the leash and explained that all of the dogs are afraid of the hallway so just get her through there. She hated it!! It was very difficult to get her out and once I did, she puked at my feet. Then went nuts. I was concerned that maybe there was ‘something’ in that shelter. Again, no sick dogs for me!!

So fast forward a couple of weeks. We’ve pet sit a friend’s dog and become absolutely POSITIVE that we are indeed big dog people. So we’re ready to consider something a bit bigger. Lab mix most likely. I find that another local shelter has a number of lab mixes available. I also find this article on petfinder to help me have a more successful shelter visit. I especially recommend that At The Shelter section. Anyway, we go and do all of the steps of the article. We narrow our list down to 3 dogs who seem they might be good to come out and really visit with the family. The first one passes everything but we were smitten. Thought we’ll meet the other 2 as well. Then we’ll decide.

This is the point that I should really make it clear that this is my and the kids’ dog. Hubby was raised on a farm and animals just shouldn’t be in the house. But he knew I was a dog person when he married me and he tolerates it because he’s a good man. And don’t let him fool ya too much – he’ll baby talk, play, and enjoy the fur babies once they get home!!

So the next one we decide to meet is the boxer mix. Not a lab – but he passed all of the steps in the article and just as cute as can be. Shelter Officer goes to get him on the leash, and ends up carrying him because he’s not great on a leash. I get the leash and lead him out to meet the family. As soon as he’s through the door, he runs to my husband and lays at his feet. After some sweet talk, and love, he rolled over for a belly rub. Needless to say, we had our dog. Never even got the chance to meet the 3rd pup on the list.

Barkley has been fantastic. He’s mostly housebroken and responds to quite a few commands. We’re working on crate training, which is getting better. Having come from a shelter, I imagine being confined isn’t at the top of his list. But he’s seemed to figure out that the crate is just a temporary arrangement and is much more willing to participate. He’s a sweet, smart boy who is eager to please and quick to learn. Our shelter dog is a perfect addition to our family.

I hope you’ll consider a rescue for your next pet. Additionally, I hope the tips in the above article help you to identify the perfect dog for your family too.

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to you and yours!!!

2014 was an amazing year for me and mine. Whether your 2014 was wonderful, dreadful, or somewhere in between – the good news is you have a fresh start! Someone else has a fresh start too –

Meet Barkley –


After losing our beloved lab this past October, we weren’t sure any little furry fella would be able to fill the hole in our hearts. We’d visited a couple of shelters and applied through some rescues, but none of those dogs panned out. And the reason for that was that this little precious baby was waiting for us at a nearby shelter. I’m glad we waited for the perfect fit and now we are able to cruise into 2015 with a little extra love flowing through our house.

Here’s something else exciting going on today:

First Book clubI greatly enjoy reading Sheila over at Book Journey (click the ^ to check her out). She’s hosting some great challenges this year. The First Book of the Year link up is my speed so I’m participating to share what I’m reading and see everyone else’s:
Librarian Eats

I love Jojo Moyes. I’ve read some of her others, and thought I’d take a step back to an earlier work. I’m glad I did. The Peacock Emporium is very good. What are you reading as we flip into 2015?

And finally, in keeping with my fitness theme, I encourage you to seek out some great New Year fitness experiences. Just here around me, I’ve found free 1st day hikes at our State Parks, free Zumba classes, and a group run with a local running group.This sounds like a great way to kick off 2015!!

Faceoff: Jawbone UP24 vs. Weight Watchers

This isn’t really fair because it’s really an apples to oranges comparison. It’s not apples to apples because I’m not comparing Weight Watchers Active Link to Jawbone UP24. I’m comparing Jawbone food tracking component to Weight Watchers app.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I’m a die-hard Weight Watchers Lifetime member. I did this experiment for curiosity sake. I logged in my food intake for one weekend day into both the WW app and the UP24 app. It was a pain in the tuck-us to do both.

What I love about Jawbone UP24 is the nutritional analysis. Here’s the display on the day that I tracked:

IMG_1870I absolutely am smitten with this. I love the focus of the daily tracking on green, yellow, red light foods. Green light foods = go. Eat these. Yellow light foods = proceed with caution. These are the ‘Don’t over due it’ items listed above. For me today, that was hard pretzels, baked potato, rolls. The red light foods = pass on these items. Which obviously, I tanked on today!! I am not a fan of any off limits foods, so I think this approach is realistic. The ongoing monitoring of the nutritional content helps to guide food choices through out the day.

There were some things that I just didn’t love. I found the input screen a bit difficult to navigate at first. It’s best to add a whole meal at a time and make sure there is a bit of time between entries. This is because the display is a clickable timeline of meals. When entries are too close together, they overlap. When I went back to edit an entry, it was too close to another entry, and I was never able to select the one I wanted.  Also, I found that the listing of recognized UPC codes for easy scanning entry is limited. None of the items I scanned today were recognized. And the final item that I didn’t love, was that even of the listed items, some of the nutritional content wasn’t available. I ate a cookie – no biggie, it’s Christmas!! The cookie was listed by brand name. Even though I ate a homemade one, I selected it thinking it would make tracking nutritional content more available. The UP24 app just logged “you ate something good” and omitted calorie, fat, etc. This would seriously hinder calorie counting efforts if that was my purpose.

So to be fair, what do I love about WW app? Well, that’s pretty easy. Perhaps since I’ve been using it for nearly 5 years, it’s super easy to navigate. There’s a huge bank of UPC codes so nearly everything I scan is recognized, except Publix items. This doesn’t bother me, but another lady in my meeting room really loves Publix and she finds this irritating. You might too if you are a loyal Publix shopper. I enjoy the earning of Activity Points to eat 🙂 Finally, I love my WW app because it’s worked so well for me.


After experiencing the UP24, I would like to see more nutritional content feedback. Someone I know, and I’m not naming names, used to eat 9 Hershey kisses for breakfast. As long as they didn’t go over on points, there wasn’t any huge alert that this was a bad idea. Clearly it is a horrible idea. WW does offer Good Health guidelines which are to be checked off to keep you nutritionally on track but this lacks the specific nutritional analysis of UP24.

I also enjoy the ability to enter recipes into the WW site to determine point values of new items. This is easily done in the website instead of the app, but it’s stored and can be logged forever more in the app or on the site.

UP24 does an outstanding job at fitness tracking. WW does an outstanding job at food tracking. Combining the two gives me the best of both worlds. Great news is now they are compatible and Jawbone can feed activity points directly into the WW app!

The deciding factor for me is the 5 years I’ve already invested in WW. Like many who have had success with a particular method, I’m hesitant to try something new in fear of backsliding. I’m pleased with the fitness and sleep tracking of UP24. They make it worth every cent. If I weren’t a WW member and I was looking to trim down, I’d definitely try out the food journal component of Jawbone UP24 as an added step to modifying my lifestyle.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I had to get the fridge cleaned out so I could fit this week’s CSA veggies in there. Luckily, it all came together deliciously!IMG_1864

4 crowns of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
2 leeks, diced
1 5oz can evaporated milk
6ish oz Velveeta
1 brick cream cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Better than Bouillon Chicken base
4 – 5 cups water
Dash of pepper

Throw in a crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Enjoy!

Though my UP24 reports some concern over my sodium consumption. Perhaps this didn’t help!! But more on the UP24 nutritional info in another post. Out of curiosity, I logged my food diary into both my Jawbone UP24 and the Weight Watchers app to see what would come of the information. I’ll share that in the next couple of days.

I dropped the hint

and he picked it up!! I’ve mentioned in passing on here and IRL that my hobbies of reading & eating really don’t make for a tiny waist line. I enjoy running. Though with my long commute and the short days of winter, finding the time to run is difficult. But Mr. Hero gifted me with a much desired Jawbone UP24.IMG_1856

I’ve been stalking fitness trackers for months, waffling on which would be best and what my most needed features would be. Following a bunch of research, I decided that the UP24 was my best bet. I liked that it tracks activity, not just steps. It’s compatible with my WW ~ because you know I’m a dedicated WW girl. And it also tracks sleep quality. I didn’t realize that I’d get such detailed reports:


See there where little man woke me up? Glad my kids are a bit older – the orange of wake times in there would have been a heck of a lot more a couple of years ago. I’d love to hook Mr. Hero up to one of his own. He sleeps horribly.

I also didn’t realize that it had such detailed food journal, mood tracking, and coaching. Needless to say, I’m thrilled. I can’t contain myself. So while my blog will continue to focus on books & food, when I actually have time to share, it will now contain a sprinkling of my fitness efforts too. Because life has to be about balance, right?