Tween and Teen Summer Reading: 2017

Summer is here and it’s time for my tips to get your kids to read! In case you missed last year’s article on “Preventing Summer Slide,” here is a link. Summer slide is real, and the best way to prevent it is to get those kids to read! Big kids (10-18) don’t need to read a zillion books to avoid learning loss; three to five novels is enough to maintain and grow a few brain cells.

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Fat Mom

I knew I was getting really fat when I couldn’t fit in the desk at school. This was last January. I asked my professor to switch classrooms. He did. We were reassigned to a lecture hall. It probably seats 500. There were six of us. I still couldn’t fit. I managed to sit sideways all semester, on one butt cheek. I would sit all the way on the left of the auditorium, perched to the right, so my body language read, “oh, do tell me more about statistics!” In reality, my body was screaming at me, “You don’t fit. You are enormous and you must be stupid to be this fat.” Read more

Helpful Autism Awareness Resources

A few months ago I was in line at the grocery store. I stood behind a woman with three children, two boys and a girl. They looked to be between the ages of 8 and 12. One of her sons was having a full-out meltdown. He did not want to walk. He did not want to get in the cart. He did not want to hold Mom’s hand. He just wanted to sit and rock in the aisle. He wanted to look at the little toys for sale on the rack. I was desperate to show this mom support, but I did nothing more than smile at her, and her children.

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Spring into Spring with New Garden Tech

Spring is upon us. Despite snow in March, I know the seasons are changing because my mailbox is chock full of gardening catalogs. For me this means dreaming and planning my gardens. Yes. Plural. In my yard I have a Zen garden, a vegetable garden, a cutting flower garden, a rose garden, a butterfly garden, a purple flowers only garden, and various other little spaces without a formal name, like the dark pit along the east side of the house where nothing grows except thorny blackberries.
I love gardening. I enjoy hiding in plain sight, tending to what my wife calls “dillydandums and whosiwhatsits.” I read books, search catalogs, chat with nearby growers, and wander around garden supply sites with lust in my heart. New garden technology makes me giddy. Here are a few of my favorite gardening techy tools (and links if available).

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Does Makeup Make Up Me?

A weird thing happens when I am at work. I am a librarian at an urban high school. I have 11 individual, twelfth-grade, ladies that are my assistants each day. Here’s the weird part. Every single girl watches makeup tutorials in their spare time. They also speak about makeup like … I have no words to describe it… like it is a real part of who they are, and it is also what they have in common with other people.

They vary in myriad ways… as all of us do. But not when it comes to makeup tutorials or how they view wearing makeup. I noticed these commonalities, and because all parts of everything they do surrounding makeup is so foreign to how I view makeup, I started asking questions. Maybe this was generational? I asked all my assistants, my twelve year old daughter, and some coworkers how they learned to put on makeup, and what they think wearing makeup (or not wearing makeup) means.

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Fighting Against Bullying

My daughter was the victim of girl-on-girl meanness just before Christmas. For an unknown reason, her little clique of girlfriends stopped talking to her, for four long days. She didn’t tell me until their last day of the silence. She kept asking them if she had done something wrong. The girls would shrug and walk away. Then, it was over just as quickly as it started.

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Holiday Gift Ideas for Techy Teens

The holiday season is upon us, and if you are like me, you are perplexed by what to buy the weirdo, almost human beings (teenagers) in your life. I am not one to hand anyone a wad of cash, or even a few gift cards; I love watching the strange humans (teenagers) respond with glee as they tear into a gift. Choosing the right squeal-inducing present has become more and more challenging. Here is my list of gifts to give the alien inhabiting your loved one; each image is a link to Amazon.com, so you can purchase with ease! Read more

Gaming: It’s Not Just Family Fun Anymore

The other day I embarrassed myself in front of my friend Katy.  We were reminiscing about Christmases from our childhood and family traditions.  Katy’s family always puts together a puzzle. She smiled as she told me that they all just take turns sneaking into the room to put a few pieces together, so each person is pleasantly surprised to find it more and more completed.

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