Best Valentine’s Gifts to Give and Get For Teens

Best Valentine’s Gifts to Give and Get For Teens

Valentine Fun!

Valentine’s Day can be such a fun time for teens. Even for teens that do not have a special “other person”, giving gifts to a bestie or other friends can be fun! Finding the best Valentine’s gifts can be a lot of fun, and there are many great activities as well that I list at the bottom for fun!

We encourage our boys to give gifts at least to us and their grandparents, even if it is just a card. These can mean a lot, especially if they are homemade!

Showing someone that you care is a life lesson, and there is no better time than Valentine’s Day to make sure that this happens!

Encourage your teens to reach out to someone or many someones with a message of friendship and/or love.

I put together the following list of Valentine’s gifts with help from my boys and my middle school students. These vary in price from just a few dollars up to a lot -most are really inexpensive items of less than $25. Our teens need to remember that it is the thought that counts more than anything.

*This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Best Valentine’s Gifts!

Red or pink nail polish

Heart boxers

Heart pillow

 Giant hersheys kiss

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” ―Eleanor Roosevelt

Pink earrings

Heart sweatshirt

Love dish

Shaving kit

Heart mug

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ―H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Heart magnets

Heart shaped sunglasses

Leather ear pod case

Pink candle


Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” ―Ben Carson

  Pink or red tassel earrings

Personalized pocket knife

Heart socks


The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ―Pablo Picasso

Retro Valentine t-shirts



Heart jammies

Bedshelfie

Nintendo switch

Heart shaped box – Use these to create something beautiful to then fill with some other gift for your Valentine.

Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” —Booker T. Washington

Photo box explosion album -My son got one of these for Christmas from his girlfriend! It is so cute! She did say that it took some time to put together.

Some fun activities for spending time together on this special day!

•Watch some movies about love! Then, make some Valentine’s popcorn and enjoy a date night!

•Make heart shaped cakes, pancakes, waffles or cookies

Here are some links to recipes.

Cupid floats,

20 Valentine cookie recipes,

14 Valentine’s dinner ideas

•Set out some simple Valentine’s Day decorations – Some links to fun decor…

Dollar Store decor for Valentine’s,

Valentine’s vignettes

•Create a Valentine tree -I think these DIY twig trees are so cute! This one is cute, too.

•Write someone love notes and/or coupons -you get to choose what to offer.

•Spend one on one time with your teens -watch movies, play games, take a walk… Here’s the link to  a post my friend wrote about creating a fun day with her teenage daughter!

•Get them their own box of candy -always a favorite!

•Hot chocolate bar with these cute supplies -Here’s a great Idea for a charcuterie board, and an easy recipe for crockpot hot chocolate.

•Decorate your teen’s door with fun Valentine’s stuff or do some homemade hearts with personal messages!

Related posts:

25 Valentine Movies,

Best Valentines Decor For A Dorm Room: 9 Fun Ideas

11 Advent Calendars for Valentines Day

49 Ideas for Teens At Valentines -A Great Round Up!

Best Easter Baskets for Teens,

Best Graduation Gifts: The Ultimate Guide

Cinco de Mayo With Teens Can Be So Fun

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

 

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Best Social Justice Books For Teens

Best Social Justice Books For Teens

Lessons we need to learn…

Social justice books for teens are a great way to teach real world lessons that they can continue to learn through their lives. Social justice is an ongoing issue in real life.

As a mom, as a teacher, as a person, I need to be willing to put myself in someone else’s shoes. To empathize with my fellow man. As I live out my life, I hope that the lessons my own children, as well as my students, have learned from me will help them to be better people. To be empathetic, sympathetic, to be GOOD people, now and always.

Respect.

Tolerance.

Diversity.

Equality.

Justice.

These are all concepts that need to be taught. Defined. Lived. As mothers, teachers, parents, we can only do so much, but with everyone’s help, our world can be a better place.

With headline after headline of police brutality, rioting, social injustice-sadly, the list goes on and on. We need to do better. We need to BE better. No excuses. We have run out of time.

Best social justice books for teens -movies too!

What I have taught….

One of the units that I teach as a middle school English teacher is Deep Study of Character -with Lucy Calkins curriculum. It is literature based on all the above characteristics woven through their themes. I love to use books to teach all sorts of lessons.

I was new back to the classroom last year after a long hiatus bringing up my boys, so many of the books on the following list are still new to me. However, I have researched all of these, and I am part of a wonderful group of teachers on Facebook that shares and elaborates, so I pulled a lot of information from that group. Read on for great social justice books for young adults (and everyone)!

Check the bottom of the post for other options besides books!

Here is a link to one of my most popular posts: Best Books to Read When Parenting a Teen

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Social justice books for teens and, really anyone!

These books were chosen to represent the best of what I have taught and what I have learned as a teacher listening to other teachers…

There are sections for picture books, short stories, young adult and adult, and finally, authors who have written so many books to choose from. I wanted to get this out and published because this is such an important subject and will be adding to this list frequently!

*This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”―Martin Luther King Jr.

Picture Books

Not My Idea -Higginbotham This is an honest book that looks at race, racism and being white in today’s world. This addresses the topic of civic responsibility in a great way for kids to relate to. I have ordered for my classroom!

For white folks who aren’t sure how to talk to their kids about race, this book is the perfect beginning. —O MAGAZINE

It’s Our World, Too: Young People Who Are Making a Difference: How They Do It -How You Can Too! -Hoose  This is two books in one. First part is stories about kids today who are making a difference in various ways. The second part is how-to advice to get started for young people who WANT to make a difference in positive ways.

Juneteenth for Mazie – Cooper Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the southern United States that had formed the Confederacy. This is a sweet story about a little girl who is ready to celebrate freedom. She celebrates the day her ancestors were freed from slavery.

Separate is Never Equal – Tonatiuh  The unknown story of school integration in California 10 years before Brown v. The Board of Education. This began school integration in California for Mexican-Spanish American children.

You, Me, and Empathy -Sanders   “Showing empathy towards others is a learnt trait, and one to nurture and cherish with the children in our care,” -this quote taken from the book description. Such a wonderful book about the main character, Quinn learning that empathy means “being able to understand how another person is feeling and recognizing their needs helps people to connect to one another across race, culture and the diversity that is ever-present and so important to our world.”  Everyone needs to read this one!

Unspeakable -Weatherford This is a wonderful book about a terrible event that took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma one hundred years ago.

“I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is that they must change if they are to get better.”― Georg Lichtenberg

Short Stories

Thank You, M’am – Langston Hughes This short story is all about morality. What is good? How do we know? A boy tries to steal a woman’s purse to buy a new pair of shoes. Find out what happens… I found this on the CommonLit website.

Flying Lessons and Other Stories -Ellen Oh   This selection of stories is such a great collection. I have not read them all, but between my classes last year, I have heard about all of them from my students. All sorts of stories about all sorts of people. My students chose the story with this book that resonated with to do a project on for class. These ten stories are all great in their own way.

The Hero Next Door -Rhuday-Perkovich  This is another gathering of stories about being brave in today’s world. Young people can make a difference, all it takes a little courage. Again, I have not read all of this collection, but the couple that I have read were great!

Fresh Ink – Giles  These short stories are unfinished. Their endings are still playing out in today’s headlines. These are all amazing stories of individuality and bravery. Diverse and raw and uplifting. Please read!

Our Stories, Our Voices -Reed  These are essays by popular YA authors who all have something to say about all sorts of things that happen as kids grow up.

The Treasure of Lemon Brown -Myers  I found this on CommonLit.org  We studied this story in my eighth grade class this year. So many lessons contained in this short story! We all loved it.

51 Black Heroes -Norwood “Black Heroes introduces you to 51 black leaders and role models from both history and modern times” from all walks of life. This book is for younger audiences, but also good for lower readers.

“In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice…, the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man.”― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Try Audible on Amazon and get 2 free books!

Young Adult

Wishtree -Applegate  An old oak tree that has been used as a “wishtree” for the surrounding community. A new family that is not necessarily welcomed by all. A crow and other creatures watch from the trees branches as this story unfolds. This is a wonderful story told by a tree, but so much more! If you are not a fan of fantasy, give this a try anyway-because, a tree is wise.

Dear Martin -Stone  This follows the story of a Justyce, who always Is doing the right thing: honor student, helps those in need, all-around good guy. Then, he is arrested and cuffed by an off-duty police officer after an event which Justyce just happens to be there. I have not read this, but it’s on my list! There is a sequel, Dear Justyce, which follows up as Justyce is at Yale as a college student.

Refugee -Gratz  This was another class favorite. Three refugees on three different paths are all connected  by the end of the story. All of them leave homes that they love for reasons beyond their control. They encounter so many difficulties both on their journeys and at their different destinations. I learned a lot about the plight of refugees and many of their circumstances!

All-American Boys -Co-written by Reynolds and Kiely  This story could unfortunately be ripped out of today’s headlines. Gripping and realistic. Could not put down!

Long Way Down -Reynolds  This book has haunted me. My students all were intrigued by this story and a lot of great discussion came from this. The length of time it takes to get down Will’s building’s elevator. His brother has been shot and killed. While Will rides the elevator down one day, he is visited by people from his brother’s past as it stops at each floor. This is now available in a graphic novel version -soooo good!

Will got on the elevator with a singular purpose. Will he get out at the bottom and carry through his plan?

“Genuine equality means not treating everyone the same, but attending equally to everyone’s different needs.”― Terry Eagleton

The Poet X – Acevedo  The main character her, Xiomara, is a young woman with a lot to say. She writes in her journal, and has many thoughts that she feels cannot be shared anywhere else. She is invited to a slam poetry contest, but she knows that her family would not approve.

The 57 Bus -Slater  This is based on a true story. Two kids from completely different parts of the world, within one city. They have eight minutes together each day. Then a tragic event occurs. One is injured. One is charged with a crime…

Monster -Myers  This is a complicated story about the trial of a young man for a crime. Is he guilty or innocent? A pawn of the system and the characters surrounding the crime. Is he a “monster” as he has been titled? Steve, the young man in this story, starts to transcribe his story as a film script. What is the verdict? This would be a good one to read with your teen…

Mexican White Boy – de la Peña  Half Mexican, half white, Danny is struggling with a lot of things as a teenager in San Diego. He mostly wants to figure out where he belongs…

The Hate You Give -Thomas  I have to admit that I have not read the book, but I loved the movie!

Harbor Me -Woodson  I loved this book! Six kids meet in a room that they have a special name for. They can talk about their lives. It’s a wonderful story about a caring teacher, a group of kids dealing with so much, and the friendships that evolve from their meetings. My students loved this book.

Out of My Mind – Draper  This book really got to me. Locked into a body that won’t work, Melody is assumed to be stupid. Far from it. She finally proves that she is really smart only to be rejected again. Heartbreaking, heartwarming… My students learned that students with disabilities are always what they seem! Along the same lines as Wonder, another wonderful book and movie -talk about overcoming adversity!

Ghost Boys -Rhodes  Two boys meet who have been tragically been killed as a result of racism in different places and times. They help one another to figure out some things about what happened to each of them. This is on my list to order for my classroom!

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry -Taylor  This is a classic! A wonderful story set in the depression about hate and racism and social injustice. It stands the test of time.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You -Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi  The authors reworked Kendi’s book Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and write it in a way so that you can identify racist thoughts and ideas and “stamp” them out when they begin. I have not read this, but it was recommended by a good friend who is a counselor as a great choice for this list.

“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.”― Ijeoma Oluo

For Adults

Just Mercy  -Stevenson  This is a true story about a young lawyer defending a young man accused of a crime he swears that he did not commit. Compared to To Kill a Mockingbird, another great book about good v. evil.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness -Brown  Written by Austin Brown, who finds out at the age of 7, that her parents named her Austin so that future schools and employers would think that she was a white man. As she grows up, Austin learns that people don’t mean what they say, and she grapples with what it means to be a woman of color in today’s world. Really good insight for me.

The Nation Must Awake -There are many books written about the Tulsa Massacre of 1921. I really like this one in particular because it is a memoir written in story form by a woman who lived through this event with her daughter.

Raising Fences -Datcher  I read this a few years ago for a book club. It’s a memoir written by a black man who wants to be a good father without having had one himself. This was painful to read, but I never felt so white while reading this.

Americanah -Aditchie  This is a novel that really opened my eyes. It is a love story, but is also a story about how unaware we are of race in this country as white people. This was so good!

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration -Wilkerson  This is a story that covers the migration of six million people from the south to the north in the US from 1915 to 1970. Thousands of interviews and really great stories of a people who tried to escape oppression and find a better life for themselves and their families.

Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America -Kendi  “In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.” This is at the top of my list to read. Grab the companion book co-authored by Kendi and Jason Reynolds, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.

“The world howls for social justice, but when it comes to social responsibility, you sometimes can’t even hear crickets chirping.”― Dean Koontz 

Authors to Check Out

Kwame Alexander

Matt de la Peña

Gary Soto

Jason Reynolds

Jacqueline Woodson

Walter Dean Myer

Alan Gratz

From my friend, Louisa, over at LPTutoring, she has this great list of podcasts that I copied here. Her post is awesome and has books as well as other resources!

Hope this helps you start a conversation…

This list is by no means complete! Please let me know if you have a good suggestion that will help to teach our young people lifelong lessons. I hope that these best social justice books for teens will help you start or continue a conversation that has to happen in order for our world to be a better place for everyone.

Other book posts: 9 Books to Read With or Without Your Teen,

Great Book Gifts for Teens (And Adults!),

7 Best Books for Parenting Teens

27 Best Books To Read As A Young Adult For Success

And, here is a link to my ongoing list of favorite books on Amazon!

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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social justice books for teens

PHS Week in Review #3

PHS Week in Review #3

(PHS) Weekly Review!

How are you this week?

Parenting Wisdom

“I love the scents of winter! For me, it’s all about the feeling you get when you smell pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread and spruce.” Taylor Swift

Isn’t this true? I am much more likely to light scented candles in the winter, and I really enjoy it. What about you? Are you a candle person? I have been trying to add in comfort to my days where I can find it, and this is an easy way to do this.

What is your winter comfort go-to?

Random thoughts on a cold Saturday morning in January:

•Did you know that yesterday was Bubble Bath Day? Make this your excuse to do something for yourself, whether it’s taking a bath or not! Here are some ideas for you! 

•Can I just say that it is so fun to have older kids? My middle son is starting an online fitness business. He has been getting up to work with me in the early mornings. I am not getting nearly as much done myself, but I love the companionship, and his work drive!

•Have you got any plans for the weekend? We are going to watch my Chiefs play this afternoon, as well as some Baylor and Mizzou basketball. All the years of our boys growing up, we never really watched many sports -too busy I guess. But, this has become an activity that we love to do together.

•And, ugggh, I need to be better about sorting and packing up this house. So hard to get motivated. Have any of you downsized recently? Please send me encouragement and tips for getting things accomplished! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

I have rounded up some great things for you this week, so….

Read on for much more!

This week’s challenges, scholarships and helpful resources!

Connection Corner

As you start this year, I encourage you to find ways to take care of you. I also want you to share those ideas with your teens. They are still learning self-care, and maybe some of your ideas will work for them! I still use my 4:15 system as a minimum.

Here is a post regarding teens and stress.

Here are the cutest printable habit trackers that I found! I don’t track my habits, but these are so cute, I might have to start!

Scholarship of the Week

Nellie Love Butcher Music Scholarship

The link above connects to 9 DAR scholarships, so if this doesn’t apply, check out the others!

Deadline: February 15, 2020
Award Amount: $5,000
Eligibility: Music students who are pursuing an education in piano or voice.

Helpful Links

•Betty White was a treasure! So sad when she passed, but I know she partied with her much beloved husband and friends for the New Year. Here are some fun Golden Girl t-shirts!

Speaking of Betty, did you know that with the reboot of Sex In The City, the actresses are all in their mid-50s, just like the women were in Golden Girls? Mind blown!

•Look at these beautiful snowflake pictures! They were taken in high-res with a special light that would not melt the snow. Wonderful!

•Are you looking for a great book to read? I just wrote a new post about books I have loved in the last year.

•Is your teen’s car prepped for the weather?

•Guess what? Our 3rd Next Phase Parenting Summit is right around the corner! It is January 24-27th, and my co-host, Laura and I are so pumped to do this again. We have had such success in our other two, and we have received such great feedback! It’s FREE and perfect for the parent of teens looking for more help with the college process, parenting strategies, and things to think about for your future empty nest.  Sign up here!

•Thinking ahead to Valentine’s Day? Here is a post that covers advent calendars, decor, gifts, and more for teens!

•Speaking of great books, I am reading Apples Never Fall by Moriarty. I am dying to know where the mother is. I know many people loved her book Nine Perfect Strangers that is now on Hulu. I did not like it though, did you? Thoughts?

Aerie is having a sale –50% off sweaters and sweatshirts.

•This sweatshirt would be so cute for Valentine’s Day!

•60% off at Sperry this week -my boys love their shoes.

•Did you hear about this 80-year man who was reunited with his siblings because of his dog?

•Are you a Twitter person? I don’t know that I am necessarily, but I do post teenager-y things for parents. So, if you are a Twitter-y person, follow me here!

YouTube Video –

As your teen begins this new semester, this would be a great time to go over some of these ideas for routines for best school success.

•A post that gets hundreds of hits a month is this one –do you have an 18 year old?

Thanks so much for being a part of my life, I am such a fan of parents of teens -we need to stick together!

Have a great week!

❤️

Mel

Parenting High Schoolers -15 Favorite Books from 2021

Parenting High Schoolers -15 Favorite Books from 2021

Best books that I read in 2021

I have not written a book post in awhile, and thought it would be fun to round up my favorite books from 2021 as a way to share with you. I am always reading something, and I try to vary my choices. The following list includes fiction and non-fiction books divided for your convenience.

Have fun reading! Be sure to check out my other book posts listed at the bottom.😀 *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Favorite Books from 2021

Favorite books from 2021 in fiction

“Wherever I am, if I’ve got that book with me, I’ve got a place I can go and be happy.” -JK Rowling

Magic Lessons -Hoffman

Fantasy is not usually a genre that I enjoy that much. But, this was such a great story! I was spellbound from the start -no pun intended…

Here is the description:

Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Nameless Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

“The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” -Malcolm X

The Lilac Girls -Kelly

This was one of my favorite books from last spring. WW2 has always been a favorite time period for me to read about, and I love all the converging story lines.

Here is the description:

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

What’s Done in Darkness -McHugh

Fun fact is that Laura McHugh’s youngest daughter was in my preschool class as she wrote her first wonderful book! I finally had a chance to read this fourth suspenseful book -she writes this genre so well!

Here is the description:

Seventeen-year-old Sarabeth has become increasingly rebellious since her parents found God and moved their family to a remote Arkansas farmstead where she’s forced to wear long dresses, follow strict rules, and grow her hair down to her waist. She’s all but given up on escaping the farm when a masked man appears one stifling summer morning and snatches her out of the cornfield. 

A week after her abduction, she’s found alongside a highway in a bloodstained dress—alive—but her family treats her like she’s tainted, and there’s little hope of finding her captor, who kept Sarabeth blindfolded in the dark the entire time, never uttering a word. One good thing arises from the horrific ordeal: a chance to leave the Ozarks and start a new life. 

Five years later, Sarabeth is struggling to keep her past buried when investigator Nick Farrow calls. Convinced that her case is connected to the strikingly similar disappearance of another young girl, Farrow wants Sarabeth’s help, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it, even if that means dragging her back to the last place she wants to go—the hills and hollers of home, to face her estranged family and all her deepest fears. 

The Names They Gave Us -Lord

This was a great read. I started this book thinking it was something else, but ended up really enjoying it anyway. Coming of age, wrestling with personal faith, love, and friendship are all wrapped together in this wonderful story.

Here is the description:

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters–in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp–one for troubled kids–Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle.

Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

The Seventh Most Important Thing -Pearsall

This was a book that I read out loud to each of my ELA classes last year. We all enjoyed it so much, and my classes started out so much better when I read this first thing! It’s sad and funny and heartwarming.

Here is the description:

Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie forever. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community service . . . working for him.
 
Arthur is given a rickety shopping cart and a list of the Seven Most Important Things: glass bottles, foil, cardboard, pieces of wood, lightbulbs, coffee cans, and mirrors. He can’t believe it—is he really supposed to rummage through people’s trash? But it isn’t long before Arthur realizes there’s more to the Junk Man than meets the eye, and the “trash” he’s collecting is being transformed into something more precious than anyone could imagine. . . .

A Woman Is No Man -Rum

This book was a great departure for me. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to know more. Deya wants to know more, and what she finds out is surprising…

Here is the description:

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

Maisie Dobbs -Winspear

This series has become a favorite of mine over the last year. I have read the first three books, and cannot wait to read some more! I recommended these to my mom, and she has read all 17! 

Here is the description:

Maisie Dobbs got her start as a maid in an aristocratic London household when she was thirteen. Her employer, suffragette Lady Rowan Compton, soon became her patron, taking the remarkably bright youngster under her wing. Lady Rowan’s friend, Maurice Blanche, often retained as an investigator by the European elite, recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts and helped her earn admission to the prestigious Girton College in Cambridge, where Maisie planned to complete her education.

The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie trained as a nurse, then left for France to serve at the Front, where she found—and lost—an important part of herself. Ten years after the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie sets out on her own as a private investigator, one who has learned that coincidences are meaningful, and truth elusive. Her very first case involves suspected infidelity but reveals something very different.

The Stand -King

I went back this past year and reread this old Stephen King classic. The last time I read this was 24 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest son, and boy did I have strange dreams! This time around, I still had dreams, but not as strange or intense. I remember liking this so much, and it is a great book to reread in today’s times. A great good v. evil story…

Here is the description:

A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader.

Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence.

As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.

The Rose Code -Quinn

I read this early on in 2021, and I remember being intrigued immediately. Again, I was on a WW2 kick! I loved all the interconnected story lines and the codes, and especially that it was women who were at the forefront of taking care of the Nazis.

Here is the description:

1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart.

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger–and their true enemy–closer…

Favorite books from 2021 in non-fiction

“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.” -Lena Dunham

Barking at the Moon -Beckerman (this is a memoir)

I was given the wonderful opportunity to read this book before it was released this past summer. I loved this story about this family and their dog, Riley. He is everyone’s dog: silly, smart, gross, loving, and this makes the book so relatable. It’s reduced by 75% on Kindle for January 2022 as a new release! If you like dogs at all -grab this book and read it with your kids/teens -it would be a fun read aloud because if you have any pets, it will spark conversations of funny and similar memories.

I love the way Riley is a “person” in their home. That is the way it is here with our dogs! “Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble” is a #1 New Release on Amazon!  Get your copy today!

**I am just one of many bloggers reviewing Barking At The Moon, so check out the other awesome blogs with book reviews at the bottom of this post!

Here is the description:

When Riley comes into her family’s life, award-winning humor columnist Tracy Beckerman realizes she got a lot more than she bargained for. From tracking wet cement through the house to shredding the family’s underwear, Riley is a one-dog wrecking ball. Yet this lovable retriever also brings joy, laughter, and a renewed sense of wonder into the household.

At times hilarious and heartwarming, Barking at the Moon speaks to life’s growing pains, and to mothering children both human and furry. With Beckerman’s trademark wit and heart, she reminds us that no matter what stage of life we’re in, we can learn a lot from the dogs who teach us how to stop and enjoy the ride.

This Is Good: A Lesson in Overcoming Adversity -Matheny

I came across Tami Matheny as I was searching for something else. I love her message, and am anxious to read more of her stuff! Here are YouTube videos I did on her book: Part 1 and Part 2.

Here is the description:

Adversity is often seen as a bad thing. Something to avoid. But to accomplish anything worthwhile adversity is necessary. It is what separates the great from the mediocre, the champions from the contenders.

The difference is in how you look at adversity. Success comes from learning to see it, think about it, and respond to it in a positive or productive way. Creating a “this is good” mindset will allow you to do this.

This is a story within a story. It is how an African folk lore transformed a college soccer team to reach heights they didn’t know they could. You will follow their journey and the lessons along the way that enable them to cultivate a new way of thinking.

How to Do It Now Because It’s Not Going Away: An Expert Guide to Getting Stuff Done -Josel

This was a great book that I read for both myself, and my blog. I did a YouTube video on this, and was happy to share some of her ideas.

Procrastination is one of my faults, and I have three boys with ADD, so I am pretty sure that they get it from me… Here are great tips for both you and your teens.

Here is the description:

Procrastination is especially tough for young adults. Getting started is overwhelming, it’s hard to get motivated, not knowing how long things take messes up planning, and distractions are everywhere. We are all wired to put things off, but we can learn tools and techniques to kick this habit.

This book is a user-friendly guide to help teens get their tasks done. Simple, straightforward, and with a touch of humor, it’s packed with practical solutions and easily digestible tips to stay on top of homework, develop a sense of time, manage digital distractions, create easy-to-follow routines, and get unstuck.

In her breezy, witty style, internationally recognized academic and parenting coach Leslie Josel opens the door to a student’s view of procrastination, dives deep into what that really looks like, and offers up her Triple Ts―tips, tools and techniques―to teach students how to get stuff done…now.

The Energy Bus -Gordon

Last year this was a book assigned to me for professional development. For once, I loved this assignment!

Here is the description:

Forced to take the bus to work, George meets a unique kind of bus driver and an interesting set of characters (passengers) that over the course of 2 weeks share the 10 rules for the ride of his life…and attempt to help him turn around his work and team and save his job and marriage from an almost inevitable destruction.”

In the mode of other best-selling business fables, The Energy Bus takes listeners on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment – at work and at home. Everyone faces challenges. And every person, organization, company, and team will have to overcome negativity and adversity to define themselves and create their success.

No one goes through life untested, and the answer to these tests is positive energy – the kind of positive energy consisting of vision, trust, optimism, enthusiasm, purpose, and spirit that defines great leaders and their teams. Drawing upon his experience and work with thousands of leaders, sales professionals, teams, nonprofit organizations, schools, and athletes, Gordon infuses this engaging story with keen insights, actionable strategies, and a big dose of positive, infectious energy. 

“The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” -David Bailey

Responsible and Resilient Teens -Lamb

Lamb writes a great book for parents. I know Miranda from the blogging world, and she is such a great writer. She incorporates her knowledge as a mom, a counselor, and a writer to create this short, concise guide to setting boundaries for teens.

Here is the description:

Set Boundaries for Teens. Build Character. Strengthen Your Family.Wish you could spend more time enjoying your teen and less time nagging? Feeling overwhelmed by your teenager’s disrespect and lack of responsibility?

In Responsible and Resilient Teens: 10 Secret Parenting Solutions That Work, discover how to set healthy boundaries and creative consequences in your home. Learn simple parenting solutions that hold your teen accountable in the present and also positively shape your teen’s decision making skills going forward. 

I am Not Your ATM -Murphy

Rachel has also become an online friend as well, and I appreciate her taking this tough topic and breaking it down for parents so that they can help their teens out into the real world. She has a great podcast, here is the episode where she and I had a chat about communicating with your teen –Raising Confident Teens

Here is the description:

In I Am Not Your ATM: A Practical Plan for Teaching Your Teen to Manage Money, Rachel Murphy shares the knowledge and tools to help you teach your teen. You will gain the know-how and confidence to teach your teen how to handle money even if no one taught you.

The teen years can be a great opportunity to teach your young person money skills. Instead of money being a point of contention and stress like it is for many parents and teens, you can become a team working together to help your teen build a strong foundation for the future.

Related posts

Best Books for Mom and Son Book Club

Best Books for Parenting Teens

Best Social Justice Books For Teens

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

And, a link to Amazon where I have an ever going list of my favorites for teens and adults!

Here is the list of other blogs to check out for book reviews!

1/3 – www.notasupermom.com

1/5 – www.lightheartedlife.org

1/6 –www.parentinghighschoolers.com (that’s me!)

1/8 – www.lizzielau.com

1/9 – www.cottageinthecourt.com

1/11 – www.kimscrazylife.com

1/12 – www.chiilmama.com

1/14 – www.goodgirlgoneredneck.com

1/15 – website for Jeanette Smith

1/16 – www.annebardsley.com

1/18 – www.staceygustafson.com

1/20 – www.carolcassara.com

1/22 – www.carolowens.com

1/23 – www.nerdfamily.com

1/24 – www.serenitywithglenda

1/26 – www.aboomerslifeafter50.com

1/27 – www.decodingcreativity.com

1/29 – www.themiraclechild.org

1/30 – www.biggreenpen.com

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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Favorite Books from 2021

Best Stocking Stuffers For Teens

Best Stocking Stuffers For Teens

Best Stocking Stuffers for Teens

Stocking stuffers are my favorite way to give gifts to our boys! I know I have many fond memories growing up as a child of Christmas morning and running to see what was in my stocking. Finding the best stocking stuffers for teens can be a challenge!

One of my favorite Christmas memories was receiving a printout of the safety features of a car in my stocking. I asked my parents if it was there by accident because it was a car that we didn’t have at the time. Turns out that they had gotten this car for me to take back to college.

I was sooooo excited. Mind you it was the ugliest car ever, but it was all mine, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Needless to say, that was my favorite stocking stuffer ever, especially since the key was in the toe of my stocking. (Sometime I will have to write a post on the ugly cars that my parents got for my sisters and me to drive.)

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Best Stocking Stuffers For Teens

There are so many creative ways to give gifts in a smaller way. Our boys love to open their stockings first every Christmas morning. Santa props them up next to the fireplace since a couple of times they have pulled the hooks off of the mantle from their weight.

I have put together a gift guide for stocking stuffers for your teens. I asked my teens and their friends for these ideas, so here you go!

*This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

Stocking stuffer ideas…

  • Sneaker balls -These are great for deodorizing stinky shoes in their gym bag or locker. My boys actually get embarrassed when their shoes stink. If your teen doesn’t notice the smell, then this is really a present for you!
  • Anker Power Core    –One of the most powerful ‘mini’ chargers on the market. It will add over one charge (6 hours talk time) to an iPhone 6, almost one charge to a Galaxy S6 or around one charge to most other phones. These are great to throw in a backpack or purse.
  • Swedish Fish    –‘Nuff said. Really any candy works!
  • Ridge wallet -These are great with the money clip, and they need a place for their licence and school ID.
  • Duct Tape   –The uses for duck tape are endless, both for crafts and fixing things. My boys have many rolls of tape, and they have used it for so many things!
  • Sun Bum Chapstick  –Always a good choice! Contains soothing cocoa butter. Gluten Free/100% Vegan. Petrochemical-free.
  • Crazy Socks   –Moisture wicking, ventilation, smell free, soft touch and durability. Perfect gifts for a stocking! Fits socks size 8-14; men shoes size 8-13 / women shoes size 7-13. 80% Cotton, 15% Nylon, 5% Spandex, soft and comfortable.
  • Fitbit Alta  –Track your activity levels, sleep patterns, and more with the black Fitbit Alta Activity Tracker in size small. This sleek band uses an array of sensors to keep track of how many steps you take, how far you walk, how many floors you climb, the number of calories you burn, and the time you spend active. Alta is sweat, rain, splash proof.
  • Snack subscription from Universal Yums -Food is always a good choice!
  • Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds- Look for in-ear headset built in bluetooth V4.1 technology, and microphone give a real stereo music sound and stable calling. Find some that are sweat-proof and waterproof with up to 8 hours playing time. (My son got some for his birthday and loves them for the gym!)
  • 3-in-1 charger stand– Works for iPhone, earbuds, and Iwatch all at once. Super convenient, and it really doesn’t take up much room at all!
  • A Dogs Purpose  –Everyone love a great dog movie. But, seriously, any movie is a great idea for a stocking. My boys always like a couple of movies for their stockings.
  • Do you have a teen that is a picker? Here is a great thing! It’s a Picking Stone Kit, and it’s basically a covered rock that your kid can pick on to relieve that desire instead of picking on their own skin! Plus it is supposed to sooth stress -who knew!
  • Bubble tea -have your teens gotten into this craze?
  • Starface acne patches -These are so great! The little star shapes can grip in creases, and other difficult spots. They are cruelty free, and use the ingredient Hydrocolloid, which is clinically proven to improve pimples overnight. This is the starter kit, and it has refills.
  • Noise cancelling headphonesActive Noise Cancelling technology. Significant noise reduction for travel, work and anywhere in between. Advanced active noise reduction technology quells airplane cabin noise, city traffic or a busy office, makes you focus on what you want to hear, enjoy your music, movies and videos. The noise cancellation function works well both in wire and wireless mode. 
  • Selfie Ring Light -If they are going to do selfies, they may as well be the best possible. This clips on for easy use and is rechargeable.
  • Sheet masks -My boys love these, so don’t rule the guys out on this one.

Do you have a teen that loves the show Schitt’s Creek? I wrote a post about the show with lots of gift ideas! And, don’t forget that cash and gift cards are also great small gifts that are great stocking stuffers for teens!

A couple of great holiday party ideas for teens are in this post. One for guys and one for girls. And, here are some easy DIY ideas for holiday crafting and gifting.

Are you looking for new stockings? I have thought about ordering a new look when we downsize. For now, I will stick with what we have, but there are SO many cool looks for stockings out there!

Also, check out my other holiday posts:

49 Holiday Movies to Watch with Your Teen,

Budget Friendly Ideas for the Holidays,

11 Ways to Bond with your teen over the holiday break,

Advent Calenders for All Ages,

Gift Guide for Your Teen Girl,  and

Gift Guide for Your Teen Guy

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube.

I look forward to seeing you again!

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Best Stocking Stuffers for Teens|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

15 Best Gifts For Dad That a Teen Can Afford!

15 Best Gifts For Dad That a Teen Can Afford!

Best Gifts For Dad That He Will Actually Use!

Here are the best gifts for dad that a teen can afford, AND that dad will actually use! Father’s Day and dad’s birthday can be tough because… what do you give to him??

Most men that I know go out and buy what they want or need on their own. But, our teens need to honor dad’s day, whether it’s a birthday or holiday, and purchasing a gift for dad is always a good thing!

Best gifts for dad -he would always love a hug too!

Almost all of these gifts for dad are less than $25 dollars. I did include a couple of more expensive items so that siblings and/or mom could chip in -still less than $50!

*This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Best gifts for dad

Wallet Ninja -this little tool is great! I gave each of my boys these in their stockings a couple of years ago!

 

Geekey -This is a new one to me, but what a great idea!

 

Peeps -and, no, this isn’t the candy! These clean dad’s glasses!

Screenklean -made by the Peeps people for cleaning larger screens like ipads etc. I need this!

Soul insole – Does dad work on his feet all day? These are supposed to be amazing for reducing and maybe even eliminating foot pain!

Stankstix -Speaking of feet… Does dad have stinky feet? Or does he have stinky gear of some sort? These look pretty cool!

Yeti tumbler -This 26 oz. size will be great for no refills, no sweat exterior, keeps dad’s drink warm or cool… These are great!

Whisky and cigar tumbler -I gave this to my dad for his birthday last year! It has a groove in the tumbler for his cigar -he loves it!

Beard care -There are so many things for a guy’s beard! If dad has a beard take a look at this kit!

Money clip -For the dad who likes to carry cash, a personalized clip is a great gift!

Power charger -This thing can charge a lot of devices. For the dad on the go who might forget to charge his phone, this is the best!

 

Waterproof portable speaker -This is one of the best gifts for a dad who has it all! He can take it fishing, to a game, or just hang it near his hammock!

Does dad love socks? Here are some great choices!

Digital photo frame -This is the one gift that is over the $50 limit I set for this post. Maybe mom can chip in! This is an everlasting gift that any dad would like to have on their study or office desk!

Best gifts for dad if you have a little bit more to spend…

If you have a little bit more to spend, or like the idea of an ongoing gift, here are some subscription gift ideas for dad.

If dad is a foodie

If dad loves socks

If dad loves sports

If dad is a nerd

Giving gifts is a great way to show thoughtfulness

One thing that we have really encourage our kids to do over the years, is to think of others. Gift giving is such a fun way to show someone love. Your teen doesn’t need to spend lots of money to give their dad a thoughtful gift. They don’t even have to spend anything! Some of the best gifts for dad can be funny homemade cards or coupons for jobs or things that they can do with dad over the next few months.

Encourage your teens to think ahead… to know when their dad’s birthday is, to know when Father’s Day is, to acknowledge their love for their dads even if things are rough in their relationship right now. This is one thing that can be hard for our teens to do because dads can be gruff, and come across as grumpy at the end of a long day.

As moms, we need to find those times when they are getting along, and really help both sides to see that they really DO love each other, it just can be rocky sometimes. Help those dad and teens find ways to connect and bond!

Here is one more place to look for some reasonable priced gifts for dad!

Other related posts:

Best Gifts for Mom ( I do include a few ideas for dad in this post!),

Ideas for Parents in June,

Some Really Great Reasons to Shop on Amazon!

147 Jolly Holiday Ideas to Enjoy with Your Teens

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!❤️

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Best gifts for dad!

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