Monday, December 19, 2016

Interesting Year-long Resolutions and Projects for 2017

One of the enduring traditions of the holiday season is making New Year's Resolutions. To give you some ideas for resolutions or neat projects, we've compiled a list of some interesting examples found online.

Temperature Blankets

First 10 days of a temperature blanket. (Source)

These blankets are an interesting way of remembering the temperature through the year by pairing certain colors of yarn with a number, then crocheting or knitting exactly one row daily using the highest daily temperature's color. There are no other rules, and the colors you choose are up to you.

For reference, here are the colors used for different temperatures by some weather modeling programs.

Here is a link to show you how to create a color chart for your temperature blanket.

Take a photo every day for a year

This challenge is extremely straightforward. Whether it's a picture of yourself, your house, your pet or a daily snapshot of the sky, choose one subject to take a picture of for 365 days. At the end of the year you will be able to look back over the year and see a variety of moods or skies and compare January 2017 to next December 31st.
*If you're into technology, these can potentially make awesome YouTube videos.

Daily Acts of Kindness Challenge

Whether it's something as simple as leaving change in the vending machine or as extreme as purchasing someone's groceries, perhaps attempting daily acts of kindness is a good resolution to try. Here's one link to help if you are not sure where to start:

52 Weeks of Books

Head on over to the Collinsville Public Library if you need a hand with this resolution! The goal of this challenge is to read at least one book per week. Some people choose to read the bestsellers from the year they were born in fiction and nonfiction - which you can find listed here on Wikipedia:

365 Days of Crock Pot, Slow Cooker, and Frozen Meals Cooking

If you're one of more than 60% of American Adults, it's possible that all of the adults in your family have busy work schedules and little time to make meals at the end of the work day - or your time to eat dinner might be 11:30 p.m! If so, perhaps you might try this challenge: cooking dinner using a crock pot or slow cooker (or slow-cook oven recipe) for a whole year - including weekends. (Imagine how much you can get done if only one weekend a month was devoted to preparing meals for many work days if chicken or fresh vegetables are discounted extremely well on one visit?) There are several methods for this if you are interested!

First, for those who do not have a crock pot suitable for their needs, freezing meals and setting an oven timer works well if you cannot adjust the heat in the recipe and keep the food cooking long enough, hot enough, or start it at the right time. Most electric ovens have timer settings to delay your oven from turning on until a certain time (or at the end of a timer). This works especially well with thick frozen foods as they will keep just fine for a few hours in the oven before it heats up, and it works well with your favorite recipes that only take an hour or two to cook.

Secondly, there are slow cookers. These are: pots that sit on a heating element - but have no heating elements on the sides. (They're actually a little different from crock pots.) The heat in slow cookers generally cycles, and only comes from the bottom, so these are slower to heat food and great for soups. (Not all slow cookers are recommended for large cuts of meat, so check the settings before you roast a chicken in one of these devices!)

Finally, there is the beloved crock pot. These are much better at heating large cuts of meat and thick foods than slow cookers tend to be. Check your crock pot before you cook - certain models older than 5 years may have only two or three settings that must be changed manually to lower or increase heat as foods cook. For someone with a 6+ hour work day, consider a programmable crock pot to ensure nothing burns and that the temperatures can change through the day to accommodate trickier recipes.

Here are a few links for "long day dinners" and frozen meals:

52 Weeks for a Cleaner House

Here's a great list of house cleaning tasks broken down into weekly suggestions to tame a wild house in a year. (Bonus: If you get to a week where you've already got that suggestion finished - or if you don't have a chimney to clean or kids living at home - you get a week off!) 
*This is so simple, even a messy college student like myself will be trying it!
**Need cleaning inspiration? Search "Organized Rooms" or "Cleaning Inspiration" on Pinterest.

Learn a Language in a Year

Here's another that you can head to the library to complete. Our library has Pronunciator (listed under our database links, or click HERE) but some other libraries feature Mango languages. Beyond this, you can request resources from audio books to learning texts for many languages and learn your way. (Pssst! There are some great free apps for learning how to write foreign characters, such as Hirigana, on the apple and google app stores. These work great with touch screen devices!)

Let us know if any of these suggestions make it to your New Year's Resolution list!

Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk

Friday, December 02, 2016

Winter Bookmark Crafts

In the spirit of the cold weather and celebrating the PERFECT time to curl up with a book under a blanket, here are some winter bookmark crafts you can make using household materials or recycled holiday cards.

1. Recycled holiday card: Birds bookmark

2. Paint chip bookmarks or gift tags
3. Snowman popsicle stick bookmark
Source: Alpha Moms

Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk