nutellla cake

Thanks to this wonderful thing called the Internet, people can look up all kinds of quick and easy recipes for that last minute meal or late night snack. So I bring you the first installment of Eat Cheats, a selection of cool, fun, easy-to-make meals for one that you can eat right out of your coffee cup. This post will focus on the Nutella Mug Cake, based on my experience with the recipe and what you need to successfully bake your own little cake.  Who says you can’t enjoy mini desserts without an Easy-Bake Oven?

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als-books

It was the splash heard ’round the town. Less than a week after partaking in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the Niles Public Library has inspired more people to participate in this worthy cause to raise awareness about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known in the U.S. as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Ice Bucket Challenge

While the high level of participation in the challenge is great, many of the people pouring gallons of icy water over their heads don’t fully understand what ALS is or early warning signs of the neurological disease. So for those interested in learning more about ALS, here is a compiled list of some resources – both books and DVDs – that can be found at the Niles Public Library to provide a better understanding of it:

Until I Say Good-Bye

Tuesdays With Morrie

Luckiest Man

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Staff members of the Niles Public Library took the icy plunge this past Saturday to honor Dr. Fred Purcell, the uncle of Patron Services clerk Samantha Menard, who has been diagnosed with ALS. They also commemorated the life of Moira Steiner, a Tech Services clerk who succumbed to ALS in 2006.

Amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known in the U.S. as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a brain disease that affects the muscles that control speaking, swallowing, and breathing. There is no known cure or even a treatment to slow down the process, which usually overtakes a person in about 3 years. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a phenomenon that has swept the nation in recent months due to its viral popularity. It seeks to raise awareness about this crippling disease as well as to inspire people to raise money towards research for a cure.

The rules are simple: Film yourself getting cold water dumped over your head, donate, and challenge more people to do the same. The Niles Public Library challenged the Niles Public Library Board of Trustees, Skokie Public Library, Des Plaines Public Library, Park Ridge Public Library, and Chicago Public Library (Edgebrook and Roden Branches). Watch the chilly fun ensue here:

For more information on ALS research, visit www.alsa.org.

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toddler

As a children’s librarian, I have a front row seat to the greatest show on Earth: toddlerdom. Toddlers are fascinating, brilliant little people whose curiosity drives them to seek new experiences every waking hour of the day. At the same time, they lack practical knowledge, time-sense, and impulse control. This combined with extreme emotional intensity can lead the most angelic two-year-old to behave like a complete maniac. In her new book, How Toddlers Thrive, developmental psychologist and Director of the Barnard Center for Toddler Development, Dr. Tovah Klein explores the unique challenges parents face when their babies enter the dreaded “terrible twos”. She writes,

Toddler behavior is often paradoxical: they seem to swing between extremes for no apparent reason—or at least, this is the way it looks to us adults…Why do their moods and their actions seem so erratic and hard to predict? How can we love them with all our hearts, but feel so powerless in the face of their crazy-making behavior? The answer to these questions is found when we peek inside their brains and understand what makes toddlers tick.

Klein’s approach is not a one-size-fits-all approach. She offers no easy fixes, but rather encourages parents “see the world through your toddler’s eyes”. She calls this shift in perspective a “Parenting Point of View”. The goal is to help parents approach the day-to-day challenges toddlers dish out with a clear head and full heart.

Of course, she offers no guarantees that you won’t want to tear your hair out sometimes. Since misery loves company, read Jason Good’s: 46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might Be Freaking Out. Keep in mind, brave parents of wild little maniacs: THIS TWO SHALL PASS!

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dramas4

So here it is, the last of a four part series on popular dramas currently airing today.

Supernatural Dramas feature characters of supernatural origin such as zombies, vampires, werewolves, witches, and ghosts or have plot lines that deal with the supernatural or a combination of both. Shows such as The Walking Dead fall into the latter category, which feature human characters battling the titular creatures. Although the advent of these “walkers”, as they’re touted on the show, aren’t strictly supernatural in origin on the series, the definition of what they are is. Therefore, I have categorized them as such.

Below are several shows that are all available at the Niles Library.

*Indicates a show that has appeared on a previous list.

*The Walking Dead Season 1; Season 2 and Season 3

Get all caught up! Catch all three seasons of this hit series and be sure to place a hold on Season 4 coming soon!

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Dark Passage:

A lesser-known Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall film that, despite an un-Hollywood ending, is one of their best (THE best in my opinion). The chemistry between the two has never been better. The film begins from the visual perspective of Bogart’s wronged-criminal character. The camera moves with Bogart’s eyes, so the audience only hears his voice and does not see his face for the first part of the film. Once we see Bogart, the film picks up its pace some, but throughout, this film is a strong thriller. Don’t look for everything to be resolved in the end – but aside from that, this one will keep you guessing.

Written on the Wind:

Melodrama at its finest! Directed by high-drama master Douglas Sirk, this film will make you run the gamut of all emotions. There is scandal, affairs, wronged love, unabated passions, alcoholism, miscarriages, infertility, guns, murder, etc. Sounds good, right? Well, it is. It’s like one big soap opera, but, don’t worry…it’s a top-notch soap…with Rock Hudson, Bacall, Kirk Douglas and Dorothy Malone, who won a Supporting Actress Oscar for her role.

Designing Woman:

A great romantic comedy with a twist. Here, the couple gets married first and then they decide to get to know each other. When they do, they find out how little they have in common. This would be just a typical run-of-the-mill rom com if it weren’t for the quick, super-sharp script (which won an Oscar) and the talents of Gregory Peck and Bacall, who have fabulous chemistry that translates perfectly on the screen. A must see for any romantic comedy fans!

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lauren-b

One of the last remaining classic actresses, Bacall was part of the Golden Age of Cinema…the 1940s-1950s. She was a screen siren from day one, with her sultry performance as the ultimate Femme Fatale in To Have and Have Not, directed by Howard Hawks and starring Humphrey Bogart. From that catapult to stardom in 1944, Bacall never looked back. She starred in three more movies with Bogart, who in addition to being her favorite leading man on screen, became her leading man off screen when they married in 1945.

Over the next few days, I will highlight some of my favorite Bacall movies. We have truly lost one of the greats.

Check out these Lauren Bacall movies at the Niles Public Library:

All I Want for Christmas (J)

The Big Sleep

Birth

Blood Alley

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robin-w

Known for both iconic acting performances, as well as highly physical stand-up routines, Williams was one of the most robust and lively comedians working today…from his early start as Mork in the cult TV show Mork and Mindy, to his famed performances as the title role in Mrs. Doubtfire, defiant teacher in Dead Poets Society and his Oscar-winning role as a psychologist in Good Will Hunting. Even after all of his acting notoriety, he never left his comedy roots, doing many successful stand-up shows as well as teaming with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg for Comic Relief, beginning in 1986.

Williams will always be remembered for his infectious humor and his over-the-top comic behavior. His death is a great loss to Hollywood and the entire world.

Check out these Robin Williams movies at the Niles Public Library:

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (voice)

Aladdin (voice)

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

August Rush

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roadtrip

If the increasing number of YA novels turned into movies is any indication, then Hollywood has suddenly remembered that teens (both male and female teens) go to the movies. Big shock, I know. This isn’t a  a post about movies, but about places in the movies (and the books they’re based on). Maybe we can’t go to fictional places like The Glade or Panem in real life (and really, who would want to?), but we can go to the real places that stand in for them. Here are a few literary/cinematic destinations, arranged by the time it would take to get there:

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little-authors

There’s nothing I love more than a good story. Luckily, as a KidSpace librarian, I spend a lot of time reading & telling to kids of all ages. This summer, I’ve decided to give preschoolers a chance to sit in the storytime chair in a story dictation program called Little Authors.

For decades, preschool teachers have been using story dictation methods developed by early childhood education luminaries like Vivian Paley and Carol Avery to help children put their ideas, experiences, and fantasies on paper. Story dictation is a deceptively simple early learning activity. All you need is paper, pencils, and your undivided attention. Ask a child to describe an event, idea or person; and write down the words exactly as the child says them. Then read the story back to her, and watch her face light up in pride & triumph!

Here are some of the fantastic stories written by a few of Niles’ homegrown little authors:

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