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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy: Resource Blog for Parents

Sewickley Academy

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Top 10 Checked Out Books From Hansen Library in 2019

Have you ever wondered, "what are the most checked out books from the Hansen Library?"

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17 Book Recommendations for Middle School Children

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

~Groucho Marx 

As you roam the stores searching for gifts for the "tweens" and teens in your life, this list of book recommendations (compiled by Sewickley Academy middle school teachers) may be helpful!

  1. Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Michael Cesario - Grade 8 History)

  2. The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues, Book 1) by Rick Riordan (Wendy Berns - Admission Associate)

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Topics: Book Review, Parenting

Tips to Find the Right Prom Date (and Attire!)

Prom, movie clichés aside, can be an amazing and memorable moment in any teen's life. Yet, it can also be stressful. From choosing a date to finding the perfect outfit and picking out flowers, there is a lot of planning that takes place. Since prom should be fun, sit down with your teen and see what his or her expectations are for the big event.

One of the most stressful parts of prom for a teen is finding a date. Perhaps they have a crush on someone and are afraid to ask them out, or maybe they are single and are nervous to ask a friend. The most important thing is encouraging your teenager to go with someone who he or she will have fun with, someone who will dance with them and hang out with their friends.

Your son or daughter may want your assistance on finding a suit, tuxedo, dress, gown, or pantsuit. Many men end up renting a suit or tux for the event. Rental places ensure that your son's suit or tux fits him perfectly and the style suits him and the occasion. Men's Wearhouse does offer complete tuxedo packages, including the jacket, vest, and pants, starting at $99.99 and offer numerous locations. Top Hat Tuxedo also offers complete packages, starting at $89.00.

Begin looking early at the local stores to find the best deal. Simply googling "Pittsburgh tuxedo rentals" will give you a decent list of what is available locally, and some of the websites allow you to book appointments online or submit measurements to see what is available. Don't, however, feel tied to a tuxedo rental. A nice suit and tie comes in handy for more than just prom, such as a wedding or job interview. The same places that rent tuxedos usually sell suits as well.

Dresses can be a bit more challenging than suits since there are many more styles to choose from. While dressing in style is important for most teen girls, encourage them to find a dress that suits their personality as well. A good place to start looking is a bridal store since they sell prom dresses as well as wedding dresses. Carlisle's Bridal, located locally, and the chain David's Bridal, are two such shops, though there are many to choose from.

If the idea of prom dress shopping at a bridal salon doesn't appeal to you, local retailers and boutiques also carry prom attire. There are many in the Pittsburgh area that carry stylish and affordable dresses. Check out the Style Exchange Boutique, One Enchanted Evening, or The Winner, to name a few. Second hand shops are also a good option whether your teen likes her clothes on trend or has a style all her own.  

Wherever you shop for the main outfit, keep in mind that shoes, ties, jewelry, and purses can usually be found in the same store. One-stop shopping is a good way to get accessories that match the outfit, however you never know what you will find at other stores that would compliment the dress or suit perfectly. Whether you are shopping with your teen or they are on the hunt with their friends, try to make the experience an adventure and not just a chore leading up to the main event.

The last thing to keep in mind are the flowers. Typically in the form of corsages, they are usually given to female dates to be worn on the wrist. However, boutonnieres can make any suit or tux look extra sharp. If your teen is getting flowers in any form for their date, make sure they know the color of their dates dress or tie, so that the flowers match. Local floral shops offer prom services and most can be found online.

We hope these tips will take the stress out of prom planning, allowing you and your teens to enjoy not just prom, but the planning as well.

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Topics: General

Creative Ways to Make Reading and Writing Fun

“It’s time to do your homework.” If this sentence is usually followed by your child screaming “NO!,” running away, or throwing any other kind of tantrum, you are not alone. If your child is resistant to reading and writing, you need to make learning fun. Here are five creative ways to get your elementary school-aged child excited about reading and writing.

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Topics: General

Explore the History of Pittsburgh with Your Teenager

Looking for activities to do with your teenager? Learn about the history of Pittsburgh one afternoon by visiting the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and then taking a ride on one of the two inclines. Both activities offer older children the chance to learn about the diverse history of the city and the determination of its inhabitants.

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Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Pittsburgh

Martin Luther King Jr. Day reminds us that history is often cyclical with moments where we move forward, stand still, and then return to the roots of our habits as a nation. 

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How To Entertain Your Sick Child Without Turning On The Television

In a perfect world, children are always at school when their parents need to be at work. But as every parent knows, the schedule almost never works out perfectly. On top of the long weekends and numerous national holiday breaks, there are also the days home with your kids that can't be predicted, sick days.

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Twisted Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Thanksgiving is nearly here, which means it's time to break out the old recipe book. You will need to make a turkey, of course, but what if you were to add a bit of zing to the rest of the meal by changing up the side dishes? That's not to say you shouldn't serve  traditional dishes like mashed potatoes and stuffing, but you could add a twist or two that would make this particular holiday spread unforgettable. 

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Topics: Thanksgiving

A Friendsgiving to Remember

For many people, Thanksgiving is all about celebrating with family. You may have family celebrations that you're obligated to attend whether you want to be there or not. Unfortunately, that means you don't have the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with some of your closest friends. By celebrating early with a Friendsgiving celebration, you can enjoy a more relaxed, laid-back celebration that's a lot of fun for all of you. If nothing else, it's an excuse to get together with your favorite people!

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Topics: Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving

Video Tour of the New Cavalier Room with Ruth Neely

The Cavalier Room in Hansen Library was updated over the summer to better reflect how our students use the library to study, learn, and collaborate. Rather than tell you about the updates we thought it would be better to show you! Watch the video below as Director of Libraries Ruth Neely gives you a tour of the changes to the physical space and explains the features and benefits that guided our decisions during the redesign process. 

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Topics: Video