R Collage

My teacher’s in-service (I was well enough to go) was in Yucaipa at St. Francis X. Cabrini Catholic Church, which has to be one of the most beautiful Catholic churches in the area. It was stunning and huge! As I exited the freeway, I noticed that the famous apple orchards of Oak Glen were to the left. Going to the apple orchards is something I always wanted to do as a family, so that’s what we did on Saturday.

I didn’t know which orchard to pick, so I chose Riley’s because it was the first one that popped up online and looked pretty good. The boys had a great time. There were a ton of activities for them, including tomahawk throwing and archery. I was nervous when it was Mikey’s turn to throw the tomahawk. Mikey is a fair athlete. He gives it 100% and loves sports, but he will never be a professional…football player, for example. I’m more than OK with that, but the mama bear in me didn’t want him to toss a tomahawk in front of a crowd of people and have it land in the dirt 5 feet from the target. I shouldn’t have worried. He listened to the directions quietly and got into position. Then my serious, small-for-his-age 10 year-old let that tomahawk fly. It whistled through the air blade over grip and hit the target with a loud whack. Head shot, I’ll have you know. The crowd made a murmuring sound of surprise and the guy in the tri horn hat looked at me and said, “OK, he’s a natural.” Then Mikey went on to make 5 more shots like tossing dangerous weapons is what he does for fun after he runs out of babies to pinch. Nico, it turns out, is a natural at archery, even though they didn’t have a left-handed bow. I walked away both proud and slightly concerned that we are raising the Dixon brothers from The Walking Dead.

As much fun as it was, we wouldn’t go back to Riley’s. It was far too crowded and the trees were picked bare. We only managed to get a few apples, and only standard varieties you can get at the store. When I came home, I went on Facebook and saw that our priest went apple picking, too! While we were there at the same time, he was at a different orchard. He couldn’t remember the name, but his pictures showed him drowning in bushels of apples. Our orchard was more picturesque, but the man walked away with apples from an apple orchard. Which is, like, the point when you go apple picking. Clearly he had God on his side during the apple orchard selecting process.

Happy, Happy


Fruit and squash


October Collage

Dining room table

Every time I think I’ve dodged the cold I feel coming on, I get a tickle in my throat. I must have caught something in the TK-K classroom, even though I wash my hands all the time. There is a teacher’s in service on Friday, so the boys don’t have school. I have to go, even though I’m not a teacher. Have you ever wanted to not get sick because you don’t want to ruffle feathers by missing something important, only to secretly also want to get sick enough that you can get out of going?

It gives me smug satisfaction to have bookcases that aren’t styled. Old craft projects, rocks the boys find on hikes with my brother, and a post-it note reminding me to check out The Snakebite Letters.

Nico’s teacher told the class about apple fries, and he hasn’t stopped asking for them. I promised I would make them for him, but when I searched for recipes I found out apple fries are literally fried. [insert bug-eyed emoticon here] I want to meet the person who looked at an apple, our modern-time symbol of health, and said, “You know what? I’m going to fry the hell outta this thing. Then I’m going to roll it in sugar.” I’m still making them, of course. I have apples, though I might need some more. I’m going to try this vegan recipe.

I decorated for Fall/Thanksgiving. The boys wanted to go out and decorate for Halloween, but I don’t want to decorate for just one day. Plus, the decorations are morbid. I don’t want to hang a zombie head over my fireplace. I can’t believe I am now one of those moms who decorates for the seasons. That’s thanks to the library. Also, the boys are appreciative and notice the decorations right away, which is motivating.

It’s time for me to move the fiddle leaf fig. A couple of months ago I mentioned that the plant was starting to scrap the ceiling. Now it’s growing along the ceiling. I might move it outside, though I’m worried because the spot I have in mind faces West. I finally bought some air plants for the containers I bought over the summer. Now I want to get some sand for the balls, for looks more than anything else. I regret heartily the long air plant holder-thingy I bought. I should have bought a third glass ball.

Currently our dining room hold book wrapping supplies, legos, a toy car, graded homework, glue, the a fake pumpkin that fell off my door wreath, two cacti, a variegated jade, and Nico’s pinto bean school project. Notably absent: things that belong on dining room tables.

The William Morris Project: Pinterest

Screen shot 2014-10-14 at 8.11.05 PM

This might be one of my biggest projects yet, and I don’t even have to move from my chair. I spent two hours last night cleaning up my pinterest boards. I went from 156 to 104 boards. That’s a decrease of 33.33%. Not bad! I would love to get under 100 boards, but that’s impossible since I haven’t moved over my boards from the library account I started a couple of months ago.

Yes, I started the library account because my original account was too cluttered for me to find anything. Heaven forbid I just clean out the cluttered account! At least now I can say that I’ve taken steps to having a pinterest account that won’t give me a nervous breakdown.

Things I’m doing to clean up my Pinterest space:

  • Deleting all boards with only 1 or 2 pins
  • Deleting all boards that are no longer relevant, like boards on specific books I’ve read
  • Deleting all recipe boards that include ingredients I no longer eat, like chicken
  • Deleting inspiration boards for rooms/trips/designs that are no longer relevant (I no longer need a laundry room board, for example)
  • Giving all boards heading and sub-heading
  • Alphabetizing all boards
  • I’m still working on all bullet items, especially the last two. Alphabetizing boards takes forever! You have to move them around with your mouse because pinterest isn’t enough of a time-suck as it is, I guess. I want to see a button that says “ALPHABETIZE BOARDS” and then be done. I’ll pin that under “In My Dreams.”

How to Wrap Books and Protect Your Paperbacks


Over the summer I spoke a lot about wrapping books for the library on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, here, church, the supermarket…anywhere there was an ear and a platform, basically.

It didn’t occur to me that some people wouldn’t know what I meant when I said I was wrapping hundreds of books. A few people thought I was setting up a blind date with a book program, one friend, who gives me way too much credit, thought I was wrapping them up for a giant “Christmas in August” book party with the students. Still other people thought I was wrapping everything in brown paper like regular textbooks.

In reality, I was wrapping new paperbacks with laminate so they last longer. I mentioned that in a comment somewhere (the problem with whining in so many venues), and then moved on to complain about something that was more inclusive and allowed everyone to coddle me like a baby koala bear with a broken paw.

Only yesterday did it occur to me that wrapping books with laminate is someone everyone should try, especially if you have little ones. The books I could have saved from Nico’s gummy mouth!

Here is how I taught myself to do it last year, when one too many Goosebumps books crumbled into a fine dust in my hands. There may be other, better tutorials out there, but this is my method.

Lots of pictures with this one! Let’s get started.



Grab a book you want to wrap. It’s okay if it looks tattered beyond repair! The laminate won’t make it look new, but it will keep it from breaking down more and it will look slightly more presentable. In this case, I’m wrapping a book I read at the pool all summer (Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran). It has water damage and a minimally frayed cover.

The first thing you will need is book laminate. For the library, I use Demco CircExtender Laminate. It creates a permanent bond 6-24 hours after application.

    • PROS: permanent, strong, matte finish, rolls come in multiple sizes
    • CONS: may be difficult to work with (you get used to it), bubbles are difficult to remove, extremely tacky, requires trial and error, cost, availability
  • This is the laminate I prefer, but I’ve wrapped enough books that I can do it in my sleep. I rarely have to reposition a book once I set it on the laminate, and that’s key with this brand. They say you can reposition it, but they are liars. I can only find this laminate online, so that’s an issue.

    While I was still figuring out my technique, I used clear Contact paper, which is far more user friendly and available in small rolls at Staples and Target.

    • PROS: price, availability, easy to apply and forgiving of mistakes, completely reposition-able, matte finish.
    • CONS: not permanent, may require taped ends for secure application, not as sturdy, more expensive in store unless you buy it in bulk online or through business catalogs
  • HTWB, 4

    Cut out the laminate.

    Most chapter books will require between 12″-14″ of wrap (12-14 squares). You want an inch or more of laminate all around your book.

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    I remove all the paper backing and place the book on top, but in the beginning I removed only half of it, like you see in the pictures. I removed the paper as I went, almost like applying a band-aid.

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    Roll Book Onto Laminate

    This is the best way I can explain it, but I had Mikey take a million pictures of the process for reference. Keeping in mind your 1″ border, you place the edge of the book down onto the laminate and then roll the rest of the book on. You do this to avoid air bubbles. If you place the book down flat, air bubbles are guaranteed. Once I roll on the book, I put pressure on it and smooth it out like you would a tablecloth. I have no idea if this prevents air bubbles, but it’s habit now.

    Note that I have removed only 1/2 of the paper backing.

    At this point, before I move on to the next step, I flip the book over once and check for air bubbles. I smooth out those I see, just like I would if applying wallpaper.

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    Apply Laminate to Back

    Remove the rest of the paper backing (if you haven’t already), flip the book over, and firmly tug the laminate over the spine of the book. Then beginning smoothing the laminate onto the backside of the book, almost like a reverse of the “roll” step above. Watch for air bubbles.

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    Smooth down laminate.

    Using a bone folder, squeegee, credit card, ruler, etc., smooth out the laminate. In some cases, you’ll be smoothing out air bubbles. In this case, I was just making sure the laminate had a nice, strong bond to the book.

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    Cut the corners off the laminate, including those by the spine. This is the part some people find confusing. Even at the spine, you are cutting at an angle to create mitered corners. You can use straight cuts, but it will make wrapping the book harder. Also, your end product won’t look as nice.

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    Wrap laminate around book.

    Hopefully these last two pictures show why mitered corners will make your life easier as you wrap the interior of the book with laminate. Tug firmly so that the laminate is flush with the edges of the cover, then smooth onto book.

    HTWB, 19

    That’s it! Done! I should have done this before I read it for two months at swim practice, but there you go.

    A Post About the Library, School, and Shoes


    Last year, even without any sort of electronic management system, I was able to keep stored in my memory everything I needed to know about acquisitions, circulation, and cataloging. If a child said they liked dinosaurs, I knew where to go and what we had. Now, with the influx of books we received from generous parents (and my own friends!), my optimistic goal of reorganizing the entire library, and my time away from the library aiding in other classes, I need help.

    I’m looking at open source systems since a proprietary model is not an option this year. If you have experience with Evergreen, Koha, or any other integrated library system, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


    One should always spend time around children when one is feeling especially cocky.

    On top of aiding in the 4th grade and volunteering in the library, I’m now spot-aiding in Kindergarten. The children so little! I can’t believe my own boys were ever so young, especially Mikey. I was walking by one little boy who stopped me with a quick tug on my sleeve. I bent down with a smile.

    “Mrs. Candalellella? Why are you wearing a wig?”



    The younger grades at school are becoming obsessed with Halloween, specifically the costume I’m planning to wear. I tried telling them that I would most likely not wear a costume, but they won’t hear of it. There is one particularly enthusiastic group of 3rd grade girls who won’t let the issue go. I know they are huge Harry Potter fans, so I said I would maybe go as Hermione.

    Dead silence. A few nose wrinkles and shared glances.

    “Actually, Mrs. Kendall, you should be Mrs. Weasley,” said one.

    “No, no!” said another. “Professor Sprout! You could totally be Professor Sprout.”


    That’s all I have to say about that.


    I aide 4th grade and Kindergarten. I have 1 hour of lunch/recess duty every day, and 15 minutes 1st recess every 3rd week. I then go to the library, where I shelve, organize, and help the kids find books. I am not exaggerating when I say I spend the majority of the day on my feet. I’m looking for my pedometer because I’m curious to see how many steps per day I’m walking. I must walk more now than I did when I took daily walks. But, my feet are paying the price. I’ve tried comfortable shoes (Bare Traps, FitFlops–I have these) but apparently they aren’t comfortable enough. I used to wear and love Danskos. Maybe it’s time for me to go back? Please, spill the beans on your favorite comfortable shoes. And I mean comfortable. I’m almost to the point where I’ll wear something unattractive. Almost.

    Hi! I’m Jules.

    I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

    You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.