Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Just one more thing to say in 2011

     I thought yesterday's note to you would be my last, but I just couldn't pass this one up.
     You know, there's going to be a lot of eating going on over the next couple of weeks.  Eating like it's going out of style.  Eating like there's no tomorrow.  Eating like you're never going to eat again.
     Now, with those thoughts in mind, I have to tell you that I found, today, right here at our library, something that will help you, if you pay attention.
     Yep!  I found this information right here at our library.
     There I was, pouring myself a cup of coffee in the break room and minding my own business, when I began to look for a spoon to stir the creamer in my cup.
     That's when I found the information about food that I'm going to share with you.
     It was on a shelf in the break room where we put our "stuff" and it surprised me so much that I brought it back to the office to tell you.
     It's a plate that talks about the portion size of food you SHOULD eat, not the size you WILL eat.  Have you ever seen one?  Every household needs one of these plates and I don't know where to get one.  But I want to share the information printed on this plate with all of you (like me) who plan to eat big-time for the holiday season.
     OK!  It says around the rim of the plate that half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, 1/4th should be whole grains, and 1/4th or less should be lean meat or protein (that usually means peanut butter to me.  Sorry about that!).
     The top half of the plate says "fats, oils and sweets USE SPARINGLY!"  (The capitals are there!)  It shows the picture of a baseball and says "one cup of fruits or vegetables EQUALS the size of a baseball."  It also says "a medium potato EQUALS the size of a computer mouse" and shows a computer mouse.  The baseball and mouse are the exact size they should be.
     In the lower lefthand corner of the plate it says "the width of a pancake EQUALS the size of a CD.  A slice of bread EQUALS the size of an audio cassette."  Now, it doesn't show the exact size of those items, but you get the idea.
     In the lower righthand corner of the plate it says "one serving of meat EQUALS the size of a deck of cards," and there's an almost-exact-size card with a few behind it.
     So!  Are you getting the message?  This is one of the most busy "stuffing" times of the year, and I don't mean "stuffing the turkey," unless your siblings call you a turkey.  This is right before you NEED to make that new year's resolution that you will lose weight beginning in 2012.
     We are two weeks and a few days away from 2012.  What do you think?  Should we get a running start on the new year and take a better look at our plates over the next two weeks?  Should we consider how many pounds we can put on over the next seventeen days if we don't control what we put on our plates?  Are we going to take a baseball size portion of Grandma's fruit salad (the one with the marshmallows and coconut and whipped cream; that's the fruit, you see)?  Are we going to leave off the real butter and brown sugar that we usually put on our sweet potato (the one that should be the size of a computer mouse)?
     What are we going to do about those cloverleaf yeast rolls that Aunt Suzie brings?  Will four of them equal the size of an audio cassette?  And the meat...a piece of turkey the size of a deck of cards?
     Oh, geez, why did I have to find that plate?  I have laid a guilt trip on me that's bigger than my mama's fourteen-person dining room table.  Now, I know every time I go back for a refill I'll be thinking of that plate.
     Well, I just thought I'd share this information with you.  No guilt trip intended, honestly.
     Hope you enjoy all the good food coming your way during this holiday season.  But why not join me on January 1st and make the resolution to lose weight in 2012.  I honestly need a few friends to stand beside me and take the pledge to drop those pounds I added at the end of 2011.  You know the saying..."misery loves company."
     Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, y'all.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Closing

The Moultrie-Colquitt County Library, Odom Genealogical Library, and Doerun Municipal Library's Holiday Closing - - December 17, 5:30 p.m. through January 2, 2012.  All libraries reopen Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at regular times.

     As we close our libraries to begin the Holiday Season, all of us at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Public Library, the Odom Genealogical Library, and the Doerun Municipal Library would like to wish you and your loved ones the happiest and best of the holidays.
     We also thank you for the wonderful support you've shown us in 2011.  We appreciate the MCCLS Friends, the visiting authors and program speakers/singers, and all of our patrons.
     Although our budget was tight for our libraries, we have continued to provide you with entertaining, enlightening, and educational programs during the year. With your continued support, we promise to continue to provide you with great quality events in 2012 and for years to come.
     We hope you have a joyful Holiday Season and look forward to seeing you in the New Year, right here at our libraries.

Melody S. Jenkins, Director
all Library Staff Members

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just in time for busy Christmas cooking

     Well, I did myself one of those little 1.5 quart slow cookers.   I mean, why not?  They were on sale for $10.00.  I guess that was the lure.  I got it even though I wasn't sure I'd use one.  After all, it's so tiny compared to the 4 or 6 quart cookers.  But since I cook for just me, I figured...why not?
     Since the cooker didn't come with appropriate recipes for a tiny cooker, I had to do some Internet research.  Most sites said to calculate the recipe to fit my tiny cooker.  Math was not my best subject!  Just tell me in plain English with lots of pictures. But I have to admit, some sites had little calculation meters to help you.
     Well!  What else could I do except head for the 641.5 shelves in my library, the shelves that hold our cookbooks.  Here's where I found the slow cooker recipe books. 
     There was a big blue and green book called "Slow Cooker Cooking" by Lora Brody, the author of "The Kitchen Survival Guide."  It had a copyright of 2001, and I wondered if that was before the tiny cookers came into kitchens.  It read like Lora was right there talking to me, had good slow cooker basics, and mentioned her testers also used a small cooker, which holds about 3 cups. 
     Since my criteria for a slow cooker is to cook recipes with meat, I looked at the meat section first.  I found a recipe for lamb-stuffed cabbage rolls with yogurt-dill sauce, but I'm not big on cabbage or dill sauce.  I found a recipe for chicken merlot with mushrooms that sounded good, but I'm not a fan of merlot.  All recipes were for 3 to 5 quart cookers.  I should have paid attention when the author said she was a fan of the 5-1/2 quart oval cooker.  So...on to the next book.
     There was a teeny, tiny book titled "Extra-Special Crockery Pot Recipes" by Lou Seibert Pappas.  None of the recipes gave a pot-size.  Most receipes served 4 to 8 people, some 10 or 12; way too much for my tiny pot.  Think of all the calculations I'd have to do to make one small little pot of food.  However, the lemon roast chicken made my mouth water.  And the Hawaiian chicken with pineapple slices and avocado spears as a complement sounded yummy!  I decided I might have to check this book out for a few days.
     The Betty Crocker "More Slow Cooker Recipes" was BIG with a spiral binder.  It had information about adapting your own favorite range-top recipes, along with a section for hassle-free holidays.  It also had gorgeous pictures, with the majority of the recipes for 3-1/2 to 4 quart cookers. I did find a beef pot roast with vegetables recipe I thought I could work on cutting down to my size.  Then I moved on to the next book.
     This is where I found several 3 quart recipes I could cut in half.  Called "Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly" by Phyllis Pellman Good, it had a recipe for super easy chicken, beef-lite with ground beef, and a tuna casserole; I liked them all (even if they were for the 3 to 4 quart pots).
     You know, the more slow cooker recipes I thought I'd like to try, I've decided I need to take that tiny slow cooker back and get a refund.  I'm not ever going to use that tiny, little pot. 
     In fact, I think I'm going to get me one of those 5-1/2 quart oval cookers, one I can put a bunch of chicken in, or a meat loaf, or a nice size roast.  I think one of those bigger pots will be just in time for my busy Christmas cooking.  Don't you think so?
     How about you?  If you need help with your Christmas cooking, why not come look at all our cookbooks.  Remember, they're all in the 641.5 section.  We'll be glad to show you where they are.
     And be sure you have one of those bigger cookers.  Everyone tells me to just dump the stuff in, turn the pot on, and go.  Couldn't be better cooking for Christmas or anytime, right?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The "moses hats" have arrived!

     The stage is set!  Three tables, all in a row from the front door to the back of the room, covered in long white and red tablecloths, are set with red serving platters for snacks and goodies.  On the first table a tall tin raindeer stands to greet you.  Red tin Santas are lined up on the piano in the hopes of singing, "Ho, ho, ho!"
     And all around the room, up against the walls, are tables filled with the "moses hats."
     I imagine you're wondering what "moses hats" are.  They are sights to behold!
     They are paper creations, paper hats, carefully crafted out of newspapers and colored papers, painstakingly twisted, cut, tied and glued together.
     They are 46 inspirations created by the 7th grade visual arts students from Willie J. Williams school here in Moultrie, Georgia.  Their teacher is Alisha Montgomery, and through her direction she has stirred the souls of these children into making remarkable art constructions.
     As I strolled the room and looked at each hat, I saw some amazing demonstrations of artistic skill in concept,construction, visual effect, and titles of deep thought. 
     Outstanding in concept was:  Flower Power by Payton Snipes, The Rock Star by Fernando Bautista, The Hat With No Face by Kisheu Patel, and Holy Moses by David Garza.
     Outstanding in construction was: The Hat by John Burdon, Samurai Hat by Gabriel Evans, To Creep by Jaleel Bell, and Dumb-Dumb Hat by Korey Meisner.
     Outstanding in visual effect was:  Flower Power by Payton Snipes (again), Christmas Presents by Josie Moore, Christmas Gift by Keyonna Brown, and Spirit of the Wind by Nathan Stone.
     Outstanding in Name was: Crazy and Old but Back in Style, The Hidden Garden, Wedding Kiss, The Tank, Dread Head, and Laffy Taffy.
     All of these hats, and even the ones I didn't mention, are exceptional.  The young people who made the hats are more exceptional.  They deserve a big round of applause.
     But don't take my word for all of this.  Come see the art exhibit for yourself.
     A reception will be held this evening in the auditorium, 6:30 to 7:30.  You will be amazed at the creativeness of our school children and delighted by the gifts that Alisha Montgomery has given to her students through her amazing teaching.
     The Children's Library of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library is delighted to host this special event.  Watch us grow!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Grinch is gone

     I kicked him out yesterday.  Him and Scrooge, too.
     You see, we decorated the library yesterday.  Pulled out all the Christmas decorations and had a ball!
     It really started with our director, Melody, hanging huge, curly, red and green paper stars over the circulation counter.  I mean they are HUGE!  And they are so pretty.  They hang from the ceiling and were no easy job for her and our janitor, Mitchell.  But with a regular-size ladder and a short wooden stool, Mitchell, who must stand at least six feet, was able to put those long pieces of string up on the ceiling tile carriers.  And the stars hung over the library.
      Next, Johnnie and I worked on the two lighted cases in the main foyer.  She brought in her porcelain Christmas ornaments, the Norman Rockwell kind, in red and pearl white.  We placed them on top of sparkling white felt, bunched up like clouds (actually scrunched over stacks of books), and added huge, debugged pine cones and glistening greenery.  In one case, Aileen's chubby Santa sat in the center; in the other case, Melody's antique-y Christmas tree with tiny decorations.  After we were finished, everything sparkled in the lighted cases and the festive feeling began to float through the building.
     But we weren't finished!  For months Melody had been talking about making a Christmas tree out of books for the foyer table.  While Johnnie and I worked on the cabinets, behind us Melody was stacking huge green books on the round table covered with a green tablecloth.  As she neared the top of the tree, the books became smaller and smaller, until a tiny one sat at the top.  And on top of that little book, she placed a three-dimensional, yellow paper star.  Then in all the little crevices of the books, she added tiny, wooden toy decorations.  It's a sight to behold.  What a clever idea for a library, huh?  Books!  Just love them!
     But we didn't stop there!   On top of the lighted cabinets, we put books about making Christmas crafts, like ornaments, stockings, trees...books all the way from Martha Stewart to Leslie Linsley.  Our table near the nonfiction bookshelves have Christmas books, too...'Tis the Season for Frosty Good Stories...and Johnnie's little cloth Christmas tree her sister made.  We even placed Christmas books on our bookcase at the circulation counter.  I mean, you won't be able to read fast enough to read all the great Christmas stories we have for you.
     But let me tell you what really chased the Grinch and Scrooge away.
     Today Corlis White's little Day Care tiny tots came to sing for us.  Five little 3-to-4 year-olds, dressed in their Christmas shirts (one little girl had on a long green dress and brown boots).  They had their Santa hats on their heads, too.  They sang "Holly, Jolly Christmas" and kissed each other profusely.  They sang "Jingle Bells" and rang bells as big as their ears.  They sang "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and watched us all sing with them.  Then as "Frosty, the Snowman" played on the CD player, they tossed Frosty up and down in a multi-colored parachute they all held.  Believe me, their giggles were the delight of the event!  They put good cheer in all of us and we are definitely in the holiday season mood.
     Now you know why the Grinch is gone!  Don't expect me to talk about him (or Scrooge) again.
     In fact, I still have the December calendar to put up in the lighted case just outside the door.  And while I do it, I think I'll sing along with the Christmas songs I have playing on my computer.  I'm in the mood!  It's December!  And Christmas is coming!
     We are ready to bring you good cheer.   Drop by and soak up some Christmas atmosphere.