Night Buddies - Adventures After Lights Out

What’s On My Bookshelf?

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Over the last year, I’ve recommended dozens of children’s books for you and your children to enjoy. But I realized I haven’t shared too many of the books I read on my own! If you want to stay updated regularly, be sure to check out my Goodreads page. But for today’s post, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon.

What truly stunned me about this story was the way the author gets into the mind of a boy with autism, and explains an emotional tale from his emotionless point-of-view. It’s an easy but remarkably written read that I’d recommend to anyone. Especially those who know or are the family members of an autistic individual.

Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens.

This is a classic you can’t help but come back to. The characters are pricelessly eclectic and always interesting, and the writing is as sincere as it is beautiful. If this is your introduction to Dickens, you’ll have chosen a good place to start!

In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson.

This is a fascinating story about a character named William Dodd, who becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. It goes through the exciting beginning of the Third Reich, and shows how easily people became enamored with Hitler’s Germany—until it was too late to turn back. This is a book you won’t want to put down.

Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck.

You can’t pick this book up expecting a whirlwind of a plot, but once you get past its unusual literary style, you’ll fall in love. The story is a picture of a town, the cannery district of Monterey, CA, and all the people within it. Told through a series of vignettes, it is a masterpiece of literature that not enough people have read!

Have you read any of these? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

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4 Things To Do When Your Kids Are Bored On Spring Break

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It’s that itchy-eyed, sunny day time of year again! Chances are, your kids will soon have an entire week away from school and are counting on having some fun in its place. But how do you keep them excited and having a fun-filled time for seven days straight—especially when your family doesn’t have vacation plans? Read on for my top tips and activities! (more…)

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Book Recommendation Time!: Parenting Edition

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This past Valentine’s Day, a book titled, The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today That Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow, hit bookstore shelves and took over the parenting world. According to its description on Amazon, the book “helps parents recognize the connection that exists between their own parenting behaviors and their child’s ability to acquire valuable twenty-first-century skills.” I don’t know about you, but in that one sentence this book comes across as the answer to the root of every parenting question I hear—how do I raise my child to be a success? (more…)

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Tips to Make You a Storytime Hero!

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Courtesy of Pixabay

Sharing bedtime stories with your child is an important night-time ritual for many parents. In fact, research has shown that children of parents who have bedtime stories show increased brain activity, particularly vocabulary and logic skills. Those skills will serve as the foundation for a better reader for the rest of their life. Bedtime stories also deepen your relationship with your kids and help to establish a bedtime routine (something every parent needs for their child). It’s also a time for both parents and children to wind down for the day.

Having said that, coming up with a bedtime story for your child EVERY night can be a little overwhelming. So what do you do when your child asks for a story and your mind goes blank? Here are some of my tips to get your creativity flowing!

1. Put your child in the story. Whether it’s princesses or superheroes (or superhero princesses), allowing your child the opportunity to be a part of the story you tell stretches their imagination and enhances their linguistic skills.

2. If you are reading a book, ask them, “What do you think happens next?” A plus for you, your child gives you a kick-start for coming up with the next part of your story—and a plus for them, they get to listen to the kind of story they want to hear!

3. Put your child in the storyteller’s seat by asking them to tell you their favorite story. Asking your child to retell a story back to you gives you (the master storyteller) a break. But it also allows them a chance to practice another important skill, memorization. Because children remember what they believe is important, allowing your child to tell the story they love gives you a front row seat into your child’s brain, and allows you to see what he or she values.

4. Take an old story and add a unique spin to it. This is the oldest trick in the book for storytellers of all kinds. Take an old story that everyone knows, like “Red Riding Hood,” and re-imagine it. What if Red Riding Hood could fly? Or what if she and the wolf became friends, instead of enemies?

The point of these suggestions is to make storytelling fun and interactive. Storytime should not be a tired old routine that you do because you have to. Storytime should be an important time for your child to relax and develop the skills that will serve them in their lifetime.

Do you tell your children bedtime stories? Let us hear them in the comments below!

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Want Your Children to Form Healthy Habits? It Starts With You

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I can’t tell you the number of times I hear parents complaining to one another about their children’s habits. “They won’t eat anything other than junk food,” “they won’t play outside,” “they’re always on their phone,” are among some of the most popular. But what’s interesting to note is that these habits they don’t want their children to have often starts at home—they aren’t being the example they want their kids to follow. (more…)

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Say No to Cyber Bullies: What You Need to Know

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By now, cyberbullying is something every parent needs to be aware of. A study by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids investigated how often children (6- to 11-year-olds) and teens (12- to 17-year-olds) had been cyberbullied—and the results were astonishing. One-third of the teens and one-sixth of the children reported that someone said threatening or embarrassing things about them online.

Sometimes as parents, it is easy to feel helpless to stop this bullying trend, whether your child is being bullied or is the bully himself. But there are measures you can take to minimize the risk of cyberbullying taking over your child’s life. (more…)

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What Science Has to Say About Raising Sons

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This week, an article went up on The Stir called, “Our Baby Boys May Need a Totally Different Kind of Parenting.” In it, the author discussed a study that was published in the Infant Mental Health Journal which suggested that because boys brains mature at a slower rate, they may actually be more sensitive and slower at developing emotion than girls. She notes how this goes against what society has been telling us for years—boys can “tough it out” but girls need to be emotionally supported as children. (more…)

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Best Children’s Books to Teach About Diversity

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Following the global Women’s March, where kids of all ages marched alongside their parents in the name of equality and respect, you may be wondering how to talk to your own kids about what inclusiveness and acceptance of diversity really mean. And the good news is, the more you talk to them about diversity and accepting one another’s differences, the better equipped they will be to stand up to bullies at school. (more…)

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4 Tips to Help You Read More in 2017

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Now that we’re midway through January, your New Year’s resolutions should be in full swing! Behind getting fit and healthy eating, a New Year’s resolution I often hear friends and family make is to put down their phones and turn off Netflix more often in order to get back into reading. For some, it brings them back to their childhood days when they had ample time to read and smartphones didn’t exist yet, while others simply want to learn new things and be better informed. Whatever your reason, here are some tips I’ve found help me in the pursuit to making reading part of your daily routine! (more…)

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Tips On Welcoming a New Pet Into Your Home

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reuben

As many of the regular readers on this blog know, I am a huge lover of St. Bernards. Most recently I had two littermates—Dudley and Maggie—who I raised with my son John, and who were just like members of my family. You can read all about my journey as a breeder and self-proclaimed “dog-dad” in this post.

Seeing as they were littermates who grew up together, Maggie and Dudley were very close. So when Dudley died of epilepsy three years ago, Maggie took it badly. I knew we were going to need to find her another companion, but when we looked for another St. Bernard, none were available within even 300 miles!

(more…)

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Children's Museum of Alamance County
217 South Main Street
Graham, NC 27253
Phone: 336-228-7997
Reading begins at 3 pm


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