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  • December 2013
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Go Natural in the New Year!

In spite of my best intentions to focus on the positive events of 2013 its tempting to look forward to how much potential lies in the new year.  This year I’m planning to focus on using more natural products.

From soap and make up to household cleaners, buying all natural products from the store can be expensive and a little confusing.  To save money on pre-made products and be sure that my products are really natural I’m planning to make many of my own products.

The library is full of resources get you on your way.  For cleaning up around the house I plan to check out these books to get me started.

better basicshomemadegreenup

For shampoo, conditioner, body scrubs and lotion check out these titles.

makinggreenFor all natural cosmetics take a look at these books.

naturalgreen guide

Happy New Year!

~Brooke, CLP South Side

2013 Year in Review

With four days left in the year, I figured it was time for a year-in-review post.  Granted, this snapshot of 2013 leaves out many monumental events, but here are a few of the most noteworthy and/or mystifying moments of 2013.


Lance Armstrong admits to using performance-enhancing drugs on Oprah

lance armstrong


Harlem Shake goes viral


Pope Francis elected as 266th Pope


Boston Marathon bombing


Amanda Berry, Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, and Michelle Knight freed from 10-year captivity (after kidnapped by Ariel Castro)

Paula Deen scandal erupts

Paula Deen


Kim Kardashian + Kanye West = North West


George Zimmerman found not guilty

Kate Middleton has famous baby (George Alexander Louis, prince)


Miley Cyrus’ performance at VMAs (’nuff said; no picture necessary)


Miley Cyrus’ release of Wrecking Ball creates meme



Open enrollment for Obamacare

Government shutdown

khannnn gress


The Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is…  selfie


Nelson Mandela dies

Beyonce releases TOP SECRET ALBUM

Justin Bieber is retiring?!

Joffrey Belieber

What would you add to this list?

Happy New Year!

-Amy, CLP-Lawrenceville

Winter reads

If you’re reading this on the 25th, I hope you have time today to relax and read a good book! Here are some suggestions if you want to get in the wintry spirit. These would all be great selections, and they’d all count for the Winter Reading Raffle!:


Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

At 9, Tiffany Aching defeated the cruel Queen of Fairyland. At 11, she battled an ancient body-stealing evil. At 13, Tiffany faces a new challenge: a boy. And boys can be a bit of a problem when you’re thirteen … But the Wintersmith isn’t exactly a boy. He is Winter itself–snow, gales, icicles–all of it. When he has a crush on Tiffany, he may make her roses out of ice, but his nature is blizzards and avalanches. And he wants Tiffany to stay in his gleaming, frozen world. Forever. Tiffany will need all her cunning to make it to Spring. She’ll also need her friends, from junior witches to the legendary Granny Weatherwax. They–Crivens! Tiffany will need the Wee Free Men too! She’ll have the help of the bravest, toughest, smelliest pictsies ever to be banished from Fairyland–whether she wants it or not. It’s going to be a cold, cold season, because if Tiffany doesn’t survive until Spring–Spring won’t come.


Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

“I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.” So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?


Zombie Winter by Jason Strange

Which is worse, a long, cold winter, or a town of zombies?


The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell

Something is wrong in the house that Lin’s family has rented; Lin is sure of it. The clocks tick too slowly. Frost covers the flowerbed, even in a rain storm. And when a secret key marked “Twistrose” arrives for her, Lin finds a crack in the cellar, a gate to the world of Sylver. This frozen realm is the home of every dead animal who ever loved a child. Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with Rufus, the pet she buried under the rosebush. But together they must find the missing Winter Prince in order to save Sylver from destruction. They are not the only ones hunting for the boy this night. In the dark hides a shadow-lipped man, waiting for the last Winter Prince to be delivered into his hands.


After the Snow by S.D. Crockett

The oceans stopped working before Willo was born, so the world of ice and snow is all he’s ever known. He lives with his family deep in the wilderness, far from the government’s controlling grasp. Willo’s survival skills are put to the test when he arrives home one day to find his family gone. It could be the government; it could be scavengers — all Willo knows is he has to find refuge and his family. It is a journey that will take him into the city he’s always avoided, with a girl who needs his help more than he knows


The Wickit Chronicles: Ice Road by Joan Lennon

It’s the harshest winter anyone can remember, and the vast waterways of the Fens are frozen solid, transformed into an Ice Road. The conditions are ideal for a surprise invasion by young King Arnald’s banished uncle. Wickit Monastery is under threat too a bitter illness has struck down almost all the brothers, and a ghost walks across the snow. Can the orphan Pip and Perfect, the stone gargoyle, save the Brothers, their friend the King, and their country?


Star Crossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

On the lam after a failed theft, 16-year-old runaway Celyn bluffs her way out of the city with four young nobles. She finds refuge as maid to one of them, Lady Merista, in a snowbound mountain castle. When Lord Daul discovers Celyn’s thieving tendencies, he forces her to spy for him. Delving even deeper into the castle’s secrets than she reveals to Daul, Celyn’s eyes are opened to the myriad secrets and schemes of its many guests and occupants. In choosing her path, she confronts her own past, uncovers a rebellion that could lead to civil war, befriends a prince, contemplates religious persecution, and faces betrayal.


The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift — that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. At once, he is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight.


Trapped by Michael Northrop

The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That it would be “one for the record books,” as the forecasters safe and dry in their TV studios would later say. That it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but keeping alive & Scotty and his friends Pete and Tommy are among the last kids waiting to get picked up at their high school that day, and it doesn’t take them long to realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when Krista and Julie, two hot-to-the-point-of-being-distracting freshmen, are sleeping in the next classroom over. But then the power goes out. Then the heat. Then the emergency generator. As the snow piles higher and higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, tempers rise and friendships fray….


Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library by Eth Clifford

Mary Rose and Jo-Beth are sisters who hardly ever agree on anything, but they both feel as if this night will never end. First their car runs out of gas in an unfamiliar city and their father goes in search of a gas station. Then Jo-Beth makes Mary Rose go with her to find a bathroom and they stumble across a curious old library. And then, worst of all, they get locked in! But their troubles are just beginning. Is Jo-Beth right about the library being haunted by banshees? Or is there a logical explanation, as Mary Rose claims?

– Tessa, CLP – East Liberty (not a prisoner in the library)

Yes, Virginia, There is Teen Stuff Going Down at the Library This Week

No school and nothing to do???  The Library’s got you covered!  Here’s a brief glimpse of what’s going on this week:

Monday, December 23

Teen Time @ Lawrenceville / 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Gaming @ Main, Allegheny, and East Liberty!

Open Lab @ Main and Allegheny!

Tuesday, December 24


Wednesday, December 25

Thursday, December 26

Teen Lounge: Pop-Up Flix @ Brookline / 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Teen Time @ Knoxville / 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Teen Creative Writing Workshop @ Beechview / 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

iPad Playground @ Squirrel Hill / 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Friday, December 27

Bad Movie Fridays @ Main / 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Gaming @ Main, Allegheny, and Sheraden!

Saturday, December 28

Teen Manga Club @ Beechview / 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Movies All Day @ Main / 10:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Aquaman and Aqualad gingerbread cookies from Teen Thing @ Carrick

For more teen happenings at a Library near you, be sure to check out the EVENTS slider on the Teen Page!

ALSO!  Don’t forget about the Teen Winter Reading Raffle, which is going on now till January 15th.  You could win stuff just for reading!

Jon : Carrick

Winter as Metaphor

Even though we have had several inches (about 18 inches) of snow this season, winter is just beginning!  According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, winter  begins at 12:11 PM on December 21st.  Winter, like all of the seasons, has its lovers and haters.  Personally, fall is my favorite season, but winter has to be my second most favorite.  I like cold weather and I love walking in fresh snow, especially at night. 189884_1845951477408_4735855_n Is winter harsh and bleak?  Or beautiful and full of joy?  The answers to those questions can be found in poetry.  Yes, poetry.  The mystery and wonder of winter can be found by reading poetry.  Poets often use one  of the elements of the winter season as a metaphor in their poems.  The bare trees and fields.  The cold winds.  The short days and long nights.  The snow. 563232_10200782434472075_1505638863_n Two of my favorite winter poems come from the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology series.  The first one is from 2008. Crystal Blankets by Valesha Edwards

My eyes glued to a winter wonderland

Crisp, chilling breeze blusters and flows

Light, white flakes whispering off to new regions

I gaze transfixed on an earth blanketed with white crystals

Delicate flakes with unique shapes weave gracefully from a somber sky

Amazing how simple white crystals disclose joy in me

How beautiful, yet simple white crystals enlighten a person,

is one of life’s vast mysteries 65286_10200641321184331_1790025591_n

The second one comes from 2011. Sparsile by Annie Utterback

November the barber

sweeps with the wind,

collecting his trimmings

on the forest floor.

I left my tree house

in its snug red jacket,

but the compass is a circle

and she’s led me here before.

I don’t want to meet you,

Miss Argyle Winter.

My friends have all vanished.

I’ve nowhere to go.

With your blanketed blizzards

and white woolen mittens,

I can’t seem to distinguish

man from snow.

The forest Manhattan,

its trees all the same,

our faces are blank,

our branches are bare.

The city is night,

We’re all constellations.

You need no map to find me.

I cut my own hair.

For more information about the Ralph Munn Creative Writing program click here. Happy Winter Solstice!  Winter is here whether you love it or hate it. ~Marian

Not-So-Traditional Christmas Movies

It’s almost impossible NOT to be bombarded with Christmas this time of year whether you celebrate the holiday or not. Christmas sales, Christmas shopping, Christmas specials on TV with Christmas-themed commercials, Christmas music– SO MUCH CHRISTMAS MUSIC– not to mention Christmas movies. Sometimes all the snowmen and Santa Clauses and heartwarming soundtracks can get a little stale. Maybe you love the classics and will never get tired of watching Elf twenty times a year. Or maybe you’re ready for something different. Luckily you can indulge in some holiday spirit without going overboard by checking out one of these not-so-traditional movies featuring December 25th.

Ghostbusters 2 (1989)


If there’s something strange…in your neighborhood…who ya gonna call? In Ghostbusters 2, the gang encounters a convulsing toaster, a massive river of psychoactive pink slime running beneath New York City, and a seriously creepy painting possessed by the spirit of an evil dude named Vigo who haunted my nightmares as a child (see above). Perfect for getting in the Christmas spirit.

Gremlins (1984)

Gizmo!When Randall adopts a cute & cuddly pet named Gizmo, the mysterious little mogwai comes with three important rules: 1. Don’t expose him to bright lights, 2. Don’t get him wet, and 3. Don’t feed him after midnight.  The rules get broken almost immediately, and soon little Gizmo begins spawning dozens of slimy, evil creatures bent on violence and destruction just in time for the holidays.

Batman Returns (1992)

Batman ReturnsEven before Jack Skellington came along, Tim Burton mastered the dark Christmas vibes in Batman Returns. Here the Caped Crusader confronts a corrupt millionaire and the repulsive Penguin to save Gotham City in this gloomy Christmastime tale. Oh yeah, and Catwoman comes by to steal the show, too. A+ & ideal December viewing.



There you have it– three Christmas-y movies that serve up something more than your average sentimental sweetness. Time to plan your winter break movie marathon!

You Might Be My Lucky Charm

It’s only been 3 months since the last Friday the 13th!

Several of the superstitions have been covered by other posts on CLP Teensburgh:
Black Cats and Broken Mirrors, How Will You Celebrate Friday The 13th?
Beware Friday the 13th
All things creepy…

You might want to take the advice of the great Stevie Wonder: “When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer, superstition ain’t the way!”

If you love this old school performance on Sesame Street, check these out!

Those of us who are still superstitious might want to make sure to have a lucky charm on hand today. You can even take part in a superstition that is thought to bring good luck to balance out the day. Have you ever stopped to wonder why these items or acts are considered lucky?


Just in case...

Detail of a door at Fatehpur Sikri in India.

Horseshoes have seven holes in them, a number that is considered lucky and divine, and many people associate them with good fortune. Another belief is that witches rode on broomsticks because they were afraid of horses, so a horseshoe is a good charm for scaring them off. The iron in horseshoes was also considered to possess magical abilities – allowing the horseshoes to detour evil spirits that attempt to haunt your dreams.

Bird Droppings

In many countries a bird pooping on you or your property is a sign of good luck and possible future riches. One idea is that it’s a sign of major wealth coming from heaven. It’s based on the belief that when you suffer an inconvenience (a very gross inconvenience), you’ll have good fortune in return. So you might want to look at the potential benefits the next time a bird mistakes you for a walking poo target.

Crossing Your Fingers 
Crossing your fingers is a gesture that we learn from an early age that hopefully sends positive vibes toward something in the future. Supposedly this sign became a thing in ancient times when Christianity was illegal so that believers could identify other believers. Another possible origin is that during the Hundred Years’ War, an archer would cross his fingers to wish for luck, before drawing back his longbow with the same fingers.

 Wishing On A Star
The origins of the superstition of wishing on the first star that you see in the evening or night sky is most likely a hybrid of similar ancient superstitions such as the Ancient Greeks’ belief that stars were the falling souls of humans coming to Earth and it was good luck to wish on them.

Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have this wish I wish tonight.

This  rhyme, recorded in late nineteenth-century America, further embedded the idea into popular culture. The poem even makes up some of the lyrics in  Madonna’s first top-five hit, Lucky Star.

Four Leaf Clover
An amulet can be any object, but its most important characteristic is its alleged power to protect its owner from danger or harm.  It is believed that ancient Celts warded off evil with four leaf clovers. Later, these good luck charms would become the unofficial symbol of Ireland. (The official symbol is a harp.) This old Irish verse describes why the leaf is so lucky:

One leaf is for fame,
And one leaf is for wealth,
And one is for a faithful lover,
And one to bring you glorious health,
Are all in the four-leaved clover.

The variations of activating the good luck power of the clover ranges from simply wearing it around your neck to actually having to eat it.

A Rabbit’s Foot
Good fortune is believed to be locked in a rabbit’s foot. This superstition dates back to the seventh century BC, when the rabbit was considered a talisman. Folklore states that the left foot of the rabbit must be taken in order to harness the creatures magical powers.


Knocking On Wood
It’s a natural reaction for many to say “knock on wood” after making a statement they hope will come to fruition. This superstition is thought to come from an ancient belief that good, positive spirits live in trees. So, by knocking on a tree or object made of wood, it was believed you were directly calling on those spirits for protection.

Good luck symbols and talismans by Thomas BrackenThe good luck book : an A-to-Z guide to charms and symbols by Bill HarrisAmulets and talismans : simple techniques for creating meaningful jewelry by Robert DancikAmulets & talismans for beginners : how to choose, make & use magical objects by Richard Webster

Good luck today and if you have a lucky charm, please let me know what it is in the comments!

lauren @ CLP – Woods Run

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