Wine & Words (…and then maybe a bit more wine)

0814161121I went back to work at my library after a WONDERFUL vacation this week and hit the ground running. Now, my job is a little different from most people’s, so here is what a full week looks like to a Children’s Librarian: Monday was the launch of a new family event called BREW (Bike Ride Explore Waseca) where we had Larger Than Life Games, a bike-themed story time (led by yours truly), and a beautiful family bike ride around Lake Crystal. I totally spotted an ice cream place near the end of the ride, and I’m TOTALLY making that the finish line there next year! Tuesday was my last Yoga Story Time of the summer, Wednesday was a collaborative event with United Way (complete with bouncy houses!), Thursday I had an outreach Baby Lapsit and finished the day by playing–um, I mean leading a kids program–with 3D Printer Pens. Just a week in the life. Isn’t it fabulous? 🙂

This week also meant back to school. Not officially–class doesn’t begin until September 6th–but what can I say? I’m a big nerd. This is my LAST SEMESTER OF GRADUATE SCHOOL and I want to make sure that nothing stops me from walking across that stage in December! So, I’ve been working ahead and getting a jump on my first big project.

So, that was this past week. But I still have two more highlights from my vacation that I want to share with you: Wine & Words, and my book club visit!

Wine & Words is one of my favorite nights of the year. I got to drive up to Brainerd and hang out with a bunch of my old library friends during a night of great books, authors, food, and WINE! Let me walk you through what Wine & Words entails: Laurel (aka, super-awesome-reference-librarian-hero) and I arrived and grabbed our souvenir wine glasses and proceeded to fill them with wine. Repeat. Alright, that’s enough for now. We perused the classy silent auction gift baskets (I bid on all the chocolate ones), ate an AMAZING dinner, and heard five authors speak about the importance of libraries: Allen Eskens, Joshilyn Jackson, Brian Freeman, Laura Childs, Helen Klein Ross, and our enigmatic MC for four years running, Lorna Landvik!

Right before this picture was taken, I said, "Smile with your eyes!"

Right before this picture was taken, I said, “Smile with your eyes!”

The next morning, I got to attend a wonderful writing conference at the Brainerd Public Library that really inspired me and got me rearing to go on the sequel.

On Sunday, my vacation wrapped up in the best possible way.  I was fortunate enough to be invited to brunch by a Minneapolis book club who had read (and loved!) Seven Stones! I had a BLAST meeting readers, getting to meet such a fun group, and answering such great questions. Thank you all for reading and making me feel so welcome! I can’t wait to see y’all after the sequel is published. 🙂

Thank you, guys!

Thank you, guys!

BEST NEWS: I’ve got ANOTHER book club “booked” for tomorrow afternoon! Loving it! If you have a book club, tell them all to read Seven Stones! I’d love to come meet you. 🙂

Happy Sunday!


Cilantro-Lime Chickpea & Black Bean Burritos

I did it! I made it through my first Summer Reading Program as a Children’s Librarian!!!!!!! There seriously aren’t enough exclamation points for that statement. The past two months have been fun, exhausting, and exhilarating as I got to run programs that got kids in the library and reading during the summer months. My favorites included Bubble Wrap Art, my weekly STEAM-based programs we dubbed “Level Up!”, our HUGE Water Carnival on July 6th (350 people attended!), and our grand finale: Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics.

I have learned SO MUCH from running my first Summer Reading Program, and I’m happy to say that it was pretty awesome! Before I go full-gear into fall programming (and the Wisconsin Highland Games coming Labor Day Weekend!), I HAVE A WEEK OF VACATION! Woo-hoo! So far, Shane and I got to grill & bonfire with our cousins, went to Winona, MN for a wedding, explored the Great River Bluffs State Park, and met my parents and Aunt Eileen in Tomah, WI for two days of fun. We ate way too much food, played board games, picnicked and played Bocce at Winebago Park, grilled out, swam, hot-tubbed, and watched the Olympics!

I was also invited to the Traverse des Sioux annual Battle of the Books competition in St. Peter, MN! Seven Stones had been chosen as one of the books teens read and answered trivia questions about. I got to be at the competition, signing books and meeting teen readers. It was AMAZING; filled my heart with so much joy to have teens not only want my autograph, but also telling me that they loved my novel! A few actually wanted to take their picture with me. I am telling you, I’ve never been more cool in my life. It was such an honor to be a part of Battle of the Books. Thanks TdS!

Battle of the Books as the teens answer questions about Seven Stones!

Battle of the Books as the teens answer questions about Seven Stones!

Today, here’s what’s on my schedule: write, do some yoga, a little bit of grad school work (my LAST CLASS starts in September!), drink tea, eat chocolate. I can handle that.

To celebrate vacation time, here’s a recipe that ANYONE can handle: Cilantro-Lime Chickpea & Black Bean Burritos. Shane actually made this recipe up and we have been munching through it all summer long! And if you are a meat lover who is looking at this recipe skeptically, let me repeat that: Shane made up this recipe. He doesn’t mess around with his protein. Cilantro-Lime Chickpea & Black Bean Burritos are:

  • Tasty
  • Flavorful
  • Easy (no cooking!)
  • Quick (comes together in 15-20 minutes, perfect for a weeknight dinner)
  • Healthy
  • Filling (lots of protein from the chickpeas & black beans)
  • Fresh
  • Versatile (change/add/omit to your taste!)
  • Vegan (if you don’t add any cheese)

Have I convinced you yet? This is a sure-fire recipe that you’ll come back to again and again!

Shane’s Stupendous Cilantro-Lime Chickpea & Black Bean Burritos!



Here’s What You’ll Need (remember, add/omit/change to your taste!)

3-4 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

1 onion, diced

1 15-oz. can corn (or a cup or more fresh sweet corn kernels, if in season!)

1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

Lime juice, to taste

Cumin, to taste

Garlic salt, to taste

Some avocado

Fresh greens

Whole wheat tortilla wraps

Grated cheese, if that’s your thing



Mix the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl.

Once everything is mingling together, add the lime juice, cumin, and garlic salt, to taste. I usually add a bit, then taste, add a bit more, then taste again until I get it right. A few tips: a little salt goes a LONG way in this recipe. Also, I LOVE cumin so I probably add way more than the average human. Again, it’s all about you and what you like. Just keep adding and tasting until you find that sweet spot.

Okay, now that the bean mix is perfect, time to make your burrito! I like to take a big whole wheat wrap and layer it with fresh greens, avocado, cheese, salsa, and the chickpea-black bean mixture. And, yes, my burritos are about the size of my face.


Happy Wednesday!