Posts

Showing posts from September, 2017

Awesome Autumn!

Image
I love fall. I love the crisp air, the changing leaves, and just about anything pumpkin scented or pumpkin flavored. But most of all, I love all the fun fall activities. Fall is the perfect time for hands-on science and art. Read on for some of my favorite activities and terrific books that compliment them.
Leaves Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

Leaves by Grace Hansen

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert 

My Leaf Book by Monica Wellington

Fall Leaves: Colorful and Crunchy by Martha E.H. Ruthstad

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger
Leaf Chromatography – How do leaves change color? The shortened days of autumn mean less sunlight for the leaves and the chlorophyll that makes the leaves green begins to disappear revealing beautiful fall colors. Can’t wait for the leaves to change? You can remove the chlorophyll from leaves to discover their hidden colors. To do so, collect leaves from a variety of trees (5-10 leaves per tree), keeping each variety separate. Then tear, crush, and mash the leaves u…

It's Fall: Baking Season!

Image
I have spent the summer living on cold soups, smoothies, and salads. Sometimes, in the hot weather, the idea of turning on even my stove felt crazy. And my oven? You must be kidding. Forget it!
All it takes to remind me of my love of baking, though, is one crisp fall day. My long-neglected oven is now back to working overtime, churning out muffins, cobblers, cookies, and cakes.
I love to cook, but there is a special satisfaction I get from baking. It is soothing to have to follow a recipe with real precision—scraping perfectly level teaspoons and tablespoons with a knife, beating egg-whites into just-so soft peaks, and sifting-sifting-sifting for that light, melt-in-your-mouth texture. And there is nothing cozier than the aroma of a fresh pie or pan of cupcakes wafting through your home.
If you, too, are ready to fire up your oven for a new season, here are a few cookbooks available right here at the library for your baking pleasure and inspiration:
Classics, Old and New: The Cak…

Five Odd Things That Can Slow Down Your Computer

Image
One of the biggest, and vaguest, complaints most computer technicians hear is my PC is slow. Some users immediately fear they have a virus or other malware. Other users assume the machine is just out dated or old enough that something inside is starting to fail. The solution, however, may be simple and easily solved with a few quick steps. While you may indeed be dealing with malware or an old part, here are five things you may easily overlook when trying to resolve an issue with a slow PC, but should check out to save yourself some time and money.
The PC is trying to run updates. We all know that you need to update your PC, the anti-virus, and almost every other program to patch security flaws and other bugs that cause things to crash or not run as smoothly as they should. Software programs also know you are not likely to do that, so they now code the programs to update themselves. Many users are unaware that while they are surfing the internet on Chrome, it will update in the …

Ready, Set, Organize!

Image
”Spring Cleaning" is SO overrated. The fall season is the time to get organized! The kids are back in school so you can finally get your house in order after the insanity of a busy summer. There is still a lot of time before the holiday season begins. I find that if my home is somewhat organized, it helps me think better and focus on other aspects of my life with a little more clarity. I can check that one BIG thing off my "to-do" list and can concentrate on the million other things that need to get done on a daily basis.

Bins and under-the-bed storage containers are my definite go-to in order to keep things contained and out of the way. I keep a couple of bins under each child's bed. My youngest son has two big canvas bins of Lego blocks alongside the different boxed Lego sets (Harry Potter and Justice League) that just cannot be mixed in with other Legos! Another bin contains all his toy cars and trucks. They slide right out from under his bed and provide…

Books to Get You Thinking

Image
The subject of taxes invariably becomes a topic of contentious debate generating conflicting views on the rates and structure of the tax code as well as on levels of government expenditure. Centuries ago, Benjamin Franklin observed “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” However early America—except for excise taxes on some commodities—had no direct income taxation and it was only in 1861 that the Revenue Act was introduced to finance the Civil War. Over the years, the complexity of the tax code and the tax base have grown steadily with taxes currently accounting for almost a fourth of the country’s total gross domestic product. What is the role of tax policy in an economy? What are the macroeconomic consequences of changes in the structure of taxes and overall government expenditure? How has the system worked and evolved in the US? Answers to many such questions can be found in Mercer County Library System’s rich collection of books on this su…

Defending Yourself against Fakers on Facebook

Image
Fake news was the buzzword regarding Facebook last fall, as both sides of the political debate claimed the platform was spreading lies and outrageous fabrications. In reply, Facebook created new security features designed to combat false posts, an effort it is still trying to perfect with more recent changes to the way the site displays news articles. Beyond just the news, however, is there more to worry about when checking your feed on the popular site? The recent hurricanes led to a spat of fake videos and dire weather “forecasts” that prompted local news outlets and the National Weather Service to issue warnings to viewers to make sure to verify the information that is being presented in the posts by consulting legitimate weather resources, an echo of similar warnings issued during various snowstorms last winter. In addition, there are the usual host of phishing and other scams that show up on the popular website every day. The good news is, it is fairly easy to protect yours…

Welcome Back to the Hollowbrook Branch

Image
The Hollowbrook Branch of the Mercer County Library System—which is reopening on Monday, September 11—is located in the Hollowbrook Community Center on Hollowbrook Drive in Ewing. In March of 2016, the branch had to temporarily close while necessary renovations were done to the building. The Hollowbrook Community Center also houses CYO and Head Start preschools, a Meals on Wheels office, a computer learning center, the Mercer County Nutrition program for seniors, and a branch of the Ewing Pool System.

Several repairs and upgrades have been made to the building while it has been closed. Some of the renovations include:
Asbestos remediation throughout the buildingA new roofA new HVAC system and boilerNew windowsNew LED lighting and emergency lightsNew flooringNew interior and exterior doorsNew ramp near the library and computer labNew ADA-compliant bathroom on the first floor When a library has to temporarily close, it takes a great deal of work and coordination between librarians, ma…

There's No I in Team: Introducing the Cooperative Board Game

Image
Some forms of entertainment have the staying power to adapt their format and continue to be enjoyed from one generation to the next. We no longer have to travel to the concert hall to hear Beethoven. Today we simply open our Freegal app and choose the piece we wish to hear. Even trips to the movie theater have been replaced with trips to the local Redbox, or with Netflix and hoopla. And although the flicker of candlelight was once our only option to read late into the evening, these nights the backlit screen of our Kindle illuminates our text.

Just like music, film, and literature, there is another form of entertainment that has stood the test of time—the board game!

Whether you are sitting around a table, placing wooden, lettered squares down to spell out words or using an app on your phone to play a similar word game against friends possibly time zones away, the excitement of playing board games has not diminished in the thousands of years they have existed. Ask anyone what their …

Best Action Movies of the 80s and Early 90s

Image
I am a big fan of those crude, shoot 'em up movies popular in the late '80s and early '90s. I saw them as a teenager at the time they were out, mainly from the video (meaning videocassette) store (meaning that, at one time in history, people would have to physically visit a store and rent movies). My dad liked those movies and, through watching them as new releases and then as reruns on television, I have gotten to the point where I can recite many parts. Here is a list of my favorites, all available for your get-the-bad-guys retro-viewing pleasure from the Mercer County Library System:
Predator (1987)—Predator has the best of both worlds – science fiction plus action – and the perfect cast to boot. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, even Jesse Ventura, play some of the main characters. The actors completely fit with their mercenary characters. “Recruited by the CIA to rescue hostages held by guerilla fighters in a Central American country, Schwarzenegger and his m…