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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Mother’s Day Gifts for the Techy Mom

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and we’re all asking ourselves what we’re going to get mom this year. And maybe your mom isn’t actually super techy, but she might want a few things in her life to make things flow better. I know everything on this list are things that I would want! (hint hint, Jason!)

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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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What to do with your Toddlers on New Years Eve

I love New Years Eve. The sleek and elegant dresses, my husband dressed up in a suit and tie, with my favorite cologne spritzed on him. The Champagne, the canapés, the music; it’s all very sexy. Ok. I’m lying a lot. We mainly went to parties in barns with other friends, but that first paragraph sounded so Great Gatsby that I had to go with it. And don’t knock a barn party until you’ve tried it!

Either way, now that we have kids, and with babysitters being so expensive on New Years, we stay home with the kiddos. I stay up until midnight to watch the ball drop, and Jason snores next to me in his recliner, then claims the next day that he was awake the whole time. I’m good with this arrangement, as going to parties are fun, but getting up the day after the party is not so fun.

But! We can still celebrate with our littles, as I plan to do this year. We just plan on celebrating differently, and not until Midnight. Here are a list of things I plan to do for my boys on NYE.

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Domestic Violence: Technology is Helping and Hurting

Recently, my community was rocked by a horrible incident of domestic violence.  One of my students went home to find that her step-father shot and killed her mother, and then he shot and killed himself. The news was and is absolutely catastrophic. The local news interviewed neighbors, and they spoke of well-known discord in the family.

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