Category: Moving


Next Chapter!

Hello, from a new state!

I’m sorry it has been so long since I last wrote. There have been SO MANY changes in the few months and I just couldn’t keep up!

So, the big news: Shane and I are moving back to our home state of WISCONSIN! Remember back in January when I posted that the word of the year was “Possibilities?” One of my big goals behind choosing that word was to move back to Wisconsin by the end of 2017. Don’t get me wrong, Minnesota has been good to Shane and I.

Let’s flashback to 2011: two bright-eyed and cheese-loving 22-year-olds moved to Brainerd, Minnesota to follow Shane’s dream of becoming a sports broadcast journalist. Our goal was to live in Minnesota for 1, maybe 2 years tops.

The Original Lakeland Crew!

Playing D&D in Trevor & Christy’s basement (I’m the one in the cow hat, in case you couldn’t tell).

While in Brainerd, I worked at Caribou coffee–I knew I that teaching wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I was kind of lost as to what came next. So, I started writing. I started volunteering at the Brainerd Public Library and fell in love with being a Children’s Librarian. In 2012, I finished the first draft of my book and River Place Press told me they wanted to publish my first young adult novel! With help from my amazing friends at the library and a scholarship from Caribou, I started my grad classes in January of 2013. Between writing, working at the library, and working at the organic food co-op in town, I got to really live all my passions!

Brainerd, Minnesota…in APRIL!

$4,000 Scholarship from Caribou helped make my grad school dreams come true!

Three-and-a-half years later, Shane got a promotion and became the sports anchor for Lakeland Public Television in 2014. We moved 2 hours north where we made some lifelong friends, experienced what true cold is, and vacationed in Duluth for the very first time. I started this blog in January 2015, and Seven Stones was released on March 21st.

Living life right in Bemidji

Horse rides in Bemidji’s state parks with Kori!

Filming Common Ground with Scott!

Looking for a change, Shane got a job in Mankato at KEYC as a sports reporter/anchor. He quit one month later, deciding that journalism was just not his bag. Me? I was totally fine with that because I had been hired as the Children’s Curriculum Coordinator at the Waseca Public Library. My first professional library job! I was a Children’s Librarian, doing story times, Early Outs, and really making that community home. I loved it!

Meeting my cousin for the first time in Spring Grove!

Me and my Library SOUL MATE. I want to be Dianne when I grow up!

Living in Mankato also meant bike rides through the hills, trips to see the waterfalls and bison at Minneopa, and hanging out with my cousin and her family. *whispers* Don’t tell Brainerd or Bemidji, but Mankato was my favorite of all three. It was so gorgeous and had a TEA SHOP for crying out loud. But, it was still six hours away, and our nieces and nephews kept growing up without us. I got my MLIS in December of 2016, and it was finally time to come home…

Chocolate Olympics at the library!


To be continued! 🙂

Next blog post: Life in Manitowoc, a HOUSE, new adventures, and MY BIRTHDAY (aka, best day of the year)!

Happy Sunday!



Welcome to Our Mankato Apartment!

Happy September, Everybody! It feels SO good to be back! We are now officially moved into our new apartment, and I can’t wait to show it to you.

So far, Mankato has been MAGNIFICENT! I am loving my new job as a Children’s Librarian, Shane is rocking is new position as sports anchor/reporter, I’m writing again, unpacking is DONE, and we are having fun discovering the area (which is gorgeous, by the way. I had no idea! All rolling hills, which is nice after the FLAT adventures in Northern Minnesota).

To share our new apartment, we’ve created a digital tour just for you! Shane is manning the camera this time, so the video is a little smoother. To be honest, though, I used my computer camera and the quality just isn’t all that great. You still get to see us, hear me banter, and see our place. What’s not to love?

See you soon!!!

Happy Monday!


Celebration Coconut Banana Cream Pie!

I’m a real librarian!

There aren’t enough exclamation points in the world to accurately convey how freakin’ excited I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got the job! I got the job!

I can’t believe it!!!!!!!

On Monday afternoon, I got a call from the library I interviewed at on Thursday. The director had told me not to expect a decision until later this week, so when I saw the number on my phone, my heart jumped into my throat. When she offered me the Children’s Librarian position, I was so excited that I accepted before she told me how much I’d be making or the fine details of the position.

Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about that. After working for and volunteering at the BEST library in the world during my days in Brainerd, I knew that becoming a Children’s Librarian was what I wanted to do with my life. I LOVE creating programs and helping kids love reading, exploring, and learning. When I found out we were moving to Mankato, I started job searching right away, applied to what is essentially my dream job, and crossed my fingers.

I couldn’t believe my luck in finding an open Children’s Librarian job, but when they called me in for my interview, I was over the moon. A chance to actually be in the running for a professional librarian position?!

Deep breaths

I cannot express how completely and utterly grateful I am for this opportunity. I cried. Real tears (after I got off the phone, fortunately. You can ask Stefania). I will be the best Children’s Librarian I possibly can be, and work my butt off to make the library programs absolutely amazing. My heart is 110% in this job, and I cannot WAIT to begin!

In the meantime, LET’S CELEBRATE! And what better way to celebrate than with PIE?!

I love pie (you may recall my Key Lime Pie recipe). I choose pie over cake, brownies, cookies–pretty much anything besides ice cream (because, why choose between the two? Just do ala mode!).

This Banana Cream Pie recipe changed my life. It was the first time I really tried making a raw dessert, and MAN is it good. This recipe is Shane’s favorite and most requested dessert. The flavor is out of this world, and as a bonus it is made with 100% whole food ingredients. Chia seeds act as the thickener to turn the coconut milk into pudding, and are packed with so much nutrition they are know as a “super food.”

Top this delicious pie with coconut shreds or homemade coconut whipped cream. Either way, it is healthy enough to have for breakfast. Trust me. I’m a librarian. 😉

Julia’s Best Ever Coconut Banana Cream Pie

Cool, Healthy, and a Total Treat!

For the Crust

For the ingredients & directions for my Super Easy Oatmeal Crust, check out my Key Lime Pie post!

For the Filling

1 can Coconut Milk, either full fat or light
1 cup Shredded Coconut
1 cup Chia Seeds
2 tsp Vanilla
4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
2-3 ripe Bananas


Make the crust according to directions. Set in the fridge.

In a large bowl, mash up 2-3 ripe bananas. Once they are good and creamy (a few chunks is fine), whisk the coconut milk, shredded coconut, vanilla, chia seeds and maple syrup.

Pour the banana mixture into that delicious pie crust. Lick the spoon. Heck, lick the bowl.

Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until the pudding has thickened enough so it doesn’t wobble when you shake the pie tin back and forth.

Top with shredded coconut, coconut whipped cream, or more sliced banana. Whatever sounds good to you.


Suggested Pairing

A glass of bubbly to toast your awesomeness!

I’m a real librarian! I’m a real author! I guess this year has been pretty darn good, huh? 🙂

Mankato, here I come!

Happiest of Wednesdays!


Wine & Words, an Interview, and the First Goodbye

Don’t worry. I haven’t named a volleyball “Shane”…yet…

After my post on Wednesday, I fully intended to follow-up with a Friday Favorites detailing all the excitement of my trip to Mankato. Then, Friday came about with a coffee date, a drive back to Bemidji, a full day of work, volunteering, and Shane’s very last show at Lakeland. Needless to say, my best intentions of writing a blog post were quickly forgotten.

But now is the perfect time. It is Sunday afternoon and the Hobbit Hole is quiet. There are boxes waiting to be packed, dishes needing to be done, laundry to do. But I’m curled up on my couch with my laptop, a big mug of tea in hand.

Shane just left for Mankato. His very first day at KEYC is tomorrow (well, actually today for you guys reading this on Monday). I am so excited and happy for him. But it was hard to see him drive off. I know it’s silly, but I cried when he left. It’s only a  week-and-a-half, but I’m going to miss that guy.

Anyway, let’s talk about all the good stuff that happened over the last few days. First, the interview! As soon as I walked into the library, it felt like a place I could spend hours in. Though nervous, I brought my A-game to that interview. I felt good about my prepared program ideas, my storytime example, and I had fun talking with the library director and lead librarian. I loved the library and the staff. So now I just have to wait! Regardless of if I get the job or not, I am really grateful to be considered a candidate for my dream job. I did everything I could possibly do to prepare. Now, we have to see if I’m the librarian they’re looking for!


Hanging with my library friends!

After driving five hours down to Mankato and interviewing for an hour-and-a-half, I turned around and drove 3 hours back up north to Brainerd for Wine & Words! Even though I got stuck in rush hour traffic in the Cities (Ugh), my library friends took care of me–like always. I arrived late, but my friends saved my dinner (complete with a heat tray to keep it warm), a piece of chocolate cake, and (thankfully) a glass of wine! Huzzah!


Ain’t no party like a LIBRARY party!

If you’ve never been to Wine & Words, it is the best book lover’s party EVER! There’s a fancy dinner, a silent book-theme auction, and authors from around the country come and speak about the importance of libraries. William Kent Krueger, Lorna Landvik, and Kathleen McCleary were among the speakers this year, and guess who was sitting next to me at my table? Nadia Hashimi, author of The Pearl that Broke it’s Shell! I JUST picked that book up from my library! I sat down, saw her name tag, and couldn’t believe my eyes. She’s an author, mother, AND pediatrician! Makes me feel like a major slacker. What an unbelievably good time, and the perfect way to unwind after all that driving.


Friday morning came coffee with friends (and a melt-in-your-mouth scone from Stone House Coffee), MORE driving, work, and Shane’s last show at Lakeland. I got to come in and be part of it on prompter. Being in the station with our friends is when it really hit me: Lakeland has been a part of our lives for four years. And that was the last night we’d ever be there. I think that was the first time I realized we were moving. Not just to Mankato, but to another chapter of our lives.

The show was perfect, Shane got a great on-air send off from the News director, and afterward, our friends showed us a tribute video they made for Shane. It was AMAZING! Thank you to everyone who contributed to the video, especially Stefania, the mastermind behind it all. Having such amazing friends means more to us than you’ll ever know, and we are so lucky to know each and every one of you.

Which brings us to Saturday: Shane’s final day in Bemidji. It started with French Toast (the perfect way to start any weekend), a bit of packing, and then ended with seeing Ant-Man, making pizza, and playing games with friends until after midnight. It really was the perfect day, and a great last day in Bemidji for Shane.

Really, the last few weeks has just emphasized how lucky we are. Thanks to all of our friends who make it hard to leave the North Woods behind.

Phew! What a post! I’m off to pack!

Happy Monday!