52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Back to the Library

Reading While Waiting for Me

We Love the Library, As Always

We’re working to settle into a school year routine.

We’ve got soccer practice on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and by evening I mean five o’flippin’ clock, so I’m usually making dinner while on a conference call. As we always end up with Thursday evenings, the boys will miss the first few months of Children’s Choir, cheating us out of our one hour Thursday night dates. Homework gets done right after school. Right now it’s the easy stuff: read for 15 minutes, go over the math facts you already know, do this worksheet that is eleven billion times less complicated and less interesting than the workbooks your mom made you do over the summer. We try to get outside to play, to ride bikes, to take a walk, to go on a run, to breathe the fresh air while it’s still warm and inviting and not bitter and depressing.

We haven’t quite gotten used to everything just yet. We’re forgetting to do some things, clinging still to others we’d rather be doing, but we’re getting there… slowly and together.

With that comes the return to our library trips.

With the end of summer came the frenzy of “let’s go do all the things.” And so I just renewed the books we had online or dropped off any that simply had to be returned that millisecond. We didn’t make time for browsing aisles and looking up new series on the computer and sitting at the tables while mommy walked the aisles, running her pointer finger along the spines.

Tuesday will be our new library night. The library stays open until well after our early dinner hour. Chores can be finished up, books rounded up, and everyone piled into the car with the sun still shining… for now.

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I made them stop at the new books shelf in the children’s section before setting them loose on their own. I like to help them find new books or series or interests before they go off in predictable directions: Pokemon, Star Wars, Puppy Patrol/Place, Hardy Boys Secret Files, anything super hero, and so on. I grab a book here and there and toss it in their bags; this month the library featured a shelf on the solar system, complete with worksheets, so I grabbed two books and some papers for their bags. I never tell them that a book is too old or too young for them. I let them sort that out at home.

At one point, they both wanted a pair of books in a series. The third and fourth book. While all of the books we borrow from the library sit in the same place in our house while we have them checked out, there’s always a “claim” over the one each boy checks out. I suggested that they each check out one of the books and switch when they finish reading. It was as if the idea never occurred to them. They both snatched a book from my hand and dropped it into their bag, moseying onward.

Reading While Waiting for Me

I grabbed some non-fiction for myself, before heading over to the Newbery winners and grabbing three, two off of Janssen’s list and one I knew I hadn’t read before. I want to get some reading in first to find some really good read aloud books before the winter sets in, pushes us inside where we curl up on the couch under crocheted afghans and read by the light of my favorite lamp. I don’t know what we’ll read together this winter, but I bet I’ll remember it forever.

Eventually, the boys made their way to the librarian’s checkout counter. BigBrother talked the one librarian’s ear off about Pokemon. Bless her, she carried a quality conversation on the subject; she must love a child that loves some Pokemon, that’s all I can figure. The boys carried their bags to the car, never once complaining how heavy their bags felt as that is the price you pay for being able to select as many books as you so choose. By the time I got myself in the car and buckled, they both planted their noses firmly between the pages of their book picks.

Let's Go Home

The ride home was silent.

 

 

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Recipe: Hershey’s Syrups, Cream Cheese, and a Dippin’ Good Time

Do you know what my favorite thing about get togethers is? Summer, spring, winter, fall? Dips.

I adore dips. Sweet dips, savory dips, sweet-and-savory dips. Dips for chips. Dips for fruit. Dips for pretzels and cookies and, well, spoons. Basically, I could eat an entire course of just dips. An entire meal even!

My children have inherited my love of all things dip. They love dipping everything from chips to fruit in any number of dips. So when Hershey’s asked me to make something with their delicious syrups, I decided to make… yes, you guessed it: dip!

I made three different-but-the-same dips with three of their Hershey’s Syrups: Strawberry, Caramel, and Special Dark. They each are crazy easy to make, kids can help, and are a great addition to any get together. Or, in our case, “summer is ending and we need to celebrate with something that tastes amazing” little party we had with the friends who came to play regularly this summer.

Here are the recipes:

Hershey’s Strawberry Cream Cheese Dip

Hershey's Dips

2 blocks cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2.5 tablespoons Hershey’s Strawberry Syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Hershey's Dips

Mix with a blender. Put in a bowl. Voila!

Hershey's Dips

Hershey's Dips

Hershey’s Caramel Cream Cheese Dip

Hershey's Dips

2 blocks cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Hershey’s Caramel Syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Hershey's Dips

Mix with a blender. Put in a bowl. Voila!

Hershey's Dips

Hershey’s Special Dark Cream Cheese Dip

2 blocks cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Hershey’s Special Dark Syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Hershey's Dips

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Mix with a blender. Put in a bowl. Voila!

Hershey's Dips

Hershey's Dips

All of these dips are best served chilled.

Seriously, I told you these dips were easy. Some suggestions I would make to add a little fun to the dips or change it up a bit: chocolate chips in any of these dips (folded in with a spoon, not a blender), little pieces of dried strawberries in the strawberry dip, dried coconut in any of them (but I really, really love coconut, so you may want to ignore me), or butterscotch chips for the Caramel dip. Or, really, let your imagination take you where you want to go.

Hershey's Dips

As far as dipping goes, we tried:

  • apple slices
  • banana slices
  • honey wheat pretzels
  • shortbread cookies

Other dipping things that would be fantastic: pound cake, brownies, grapes, cherries, marshmallows, other kinds of cookies, regular pretzels (I love salt and sweet, don’t you), and so on. What you dip in these dips is really kind of taste based. You could honestly grab a spoon and just eat them as well, because they tasted delicious. (And, oh, I wish I had some lemon cake in the house when I made the strawberry dip because I imagined it tasting fantastic together. Someone needs to do this and report back, immediately.) Oh, and I after I wrote this post, I realized I forgot to cut up the strawberries to dip into these dips. Whoops?

The boys loved the dips as they got a pre-taste before their friends arrived.

Hershey's Dips

Hershey's Dips

Hershey's Dips

Hershey's Dips

Hershey's Dips

Me? I made sure to hoard some of the strawberry dip before their friends showed up because it was my favorite. But they were all delicious and greatly appreciated by a bunch of little kids celebrating the end of a fun summer.

Thanks, Hershey’s, for the fun you brought to our home this summer.

 

*This post is sponsored by Hershey’s. All ideas and images are my own. Be sure to visit CelebrateWithHersheys.com for more dessert and syrup inspiration.