Storytimes for Babies and Young Children

As a follow-up to my post on Nurturing the Love of Reading in Children, I thought I would share some information about places to take the young ones to hear stories and have some together time with other children. It’s a nice outing and chance to get together with other moms, dads, grandparents, and other caregivers. You can take away some new ideas for ways to share books and stories with your little ones!

Most libraries have some form of storytime sessions for young children, and some include sessions for babies and toddlers.  Many also have activity times with time to create art and toys with other children.  You can check at your local libraries for the times and days when the children’s librarians or local guests come in to do storytelling times with the young ones.  They will also have schedules for guest visitors that come in to share something about their hobbies or jobs or topics like animals, music or dance.

The links in my post from 7-1-13 include the libraries in our area (Western North Carolina), along with the link to Libraries around the country.  You can search by state and county for the libraries close to you.  Those links go to the libraries online websites as well as addresses and phone numbers so you can get their schedules for storytimes and activities. To find libraries in your area, go to

Our Local Storytime schedules:

Buncombe County Area Libraries (multiple sites)

Mother Goose time (geared for babies up to about 18 months)

  •      West Asheville Branch – Mondays at 11:00
  •      North Asheville Branch – Tuesdays at 10:30
  •      Pack Main Branch – Tuesdays at 10:30
  •      Fairview Branch – Tuesdays at 11:00
  •      Black Mountain Branch – Tuesdays at 11:30
  •      Weaverville Branch – Wednesdays at 11:00
  •      Swannanoa Branch – Thursdays at 10:30
  •      Oakley Branch – Thursdays at 11:00

Toddler Time  (geared to 18 months up to 3 years)

  •     North Asheville Branch – Wednesdays at 10:30
  •     Skyland Branch – Wednesdays at 10:30
  •     Fairview Branch – Wednesdays at 11:00
  •     Oakley Branch – Wednesdays at 11:00
  •     West Asheville Branch – Wednesdays at 11:00
  •     Black Mountain Branch – Thursdays at 10:30
  •     Enka Branch – Thursdays at 10:30
  •     Pack Main Branch – Thursdays at 10:30
  •     Weaverville Branch – Thursdays at 11:00

Preschool Time  ( geared to the 3-5 year old group)

  •     Pack Main Branch – Mondays at 10:30
  •     Weaverville Branch – Tuesdays at 11:00
  •     Oakley Branch – Wednesdays at 10:00
  •     Black Mountain Branch – Wednesdays at 10:30
  •     Enka Branch – Wednesdays at 10:30
  •     Leicester Branch – Wednesdays at 10:30
  •     East Asheville – Wednesdays at 11:00
  •     North Asheville – Wednesdays at 11:00
  •     Fairview Branch – Thursdays at 10:30
  •     Skyland Branch – Thursdays at 10:30
  •     Swannanoa Branch – Thursdays at 11:00
  •     West Asheville Branch – Thursdays at 11:00
  •     East Asheville Branch – Saturdays at 11:00

The Enka-Candler Branch has a movement storytime for all ages on Mondays at 10:30, called Bounce’n Books.

Check with the local branches to make sure times are up-to-date.  Many more activities area held during the summer breaks, and there are additional groups for school-age groups. Check to see what is offered near you!

Here are some more local storytimes in our area:

Haywood County Libraries:

  •    Waynesville Branch – 11:00
  •    Tuesdays –  Ready 4 Learning
  •    Wednesdays – Family Storytime
  •    Thursdays – Movers and Shakers
  •    Canton Branch – Tuesdays 11:00 Family Storytime
  •    Canton Branch – Thursdays 10:00 Rompin’-Stompin’ Storytime

Henderson County Libraries:

  • Bouncing Babies (0-18 months)
  • Toddler Time (18 months – 3 years)
  • Play and Grow (birth – 2 years)
  • Preschool (3-5 years)
  • Family
  • 4 O’clock Club (K-5 grades)

Check websites or call for locations and times.

Even bookstores may have storytimes in your area.  Around here, the two locations for Barnes and Noble have storytimes on Mondays and Saturdays.  Check for times.

This is a great free resource you can take advantage of whenever you want!  You can go once or monthly or even weekly, depending on your busy schedule!








New Genealogy Television Program!

My passion for genealogy is not new, and some would think it can border on the obsessive!  So you will understand that I have to post about a new show I just heard about.  It is called the “Genealogy Roadshow“.

I have only seen previews online, on the PBS website.  I only found out about it because I was checking out a genealogy forum and read a post about a new show on PBS.  It will be a weekly program showing on most PBS stations, which is a great place to find unique programming.

There have been a few television shows recently that have explored genealogy research.  They have included researching for family histories for celebrities and other high-profile personalities. The focus for this program seems to follow the style of the “Antiques Roadshow” episodes, which travel to different areas of the country to share their genealogy expertise and information with local folks.

The 2 trailers or previews can be found on their website, and the start date for the show seems to be Monday, September 23.  My dvr is already set to record in case I have to miss it.  It is apparently a weekly show.  I’m interested enough to check it out!

My hope is that this show will add more awareness of genealogy, what it is, why we are so in love with it, and why it can be special to explore where our families have been.  After all, where we are now is because of where our ancestors have been.

For better or worse, their paths led us to our journeys.

Check it out at

The video can be found at

Please share your thoughts after you check it out!


Other Television Shows on Genealogy    (check out the websites for viewing information)

  • Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.   – PBS
  • Who Do You Think You Are      – BBC
  • Who Do You Think You Are      – NBC – US
  • African American Lives             – PBS
  • Ancestors: Getting Started With Family History – PBS and BYU
  • The Human Family Tree, narrated by Kevin Bacon- National Geographic Channel

Family Reunions – Time to Reconnect!

Family Reunions can be a great way to reconnect with relatives you don’t see very often!  They can also be a place to meet family cousins you never knew!

Reunions can range from a simple dinner at a restaurant for a few people to an overnight or weekend vacation for many.  Whatever the size of the family, the main goal is to reconnect, reminisce, stay in touch, and learn more about each other.

There are many different budgets out there, too, so keeping expenses down can help, especially if there are out-of-town folks traveling to a central site for a reunion gathering.  Many families travel to the hometown area, or where the most of the descendants have settled and are living.

Here are some ideas that might help in planning a special family reunion, one that won’t break a budget, and won’t be too hard to plan or keep going.


  1. The “Old Home Place” can be a perfect location to reunite, if it is still standing or in the family.
  2. Family members still living near the hometown can host a reunion if they have enough room.
  3. Hometown family can host a potluck at a local park or venue if budget allows. Our family reserves a covered picnic shed at a local park that is easy to find and fairly close to the home area where many family members grew up.
  4. Expenses for renting or hosting should be divided among the family as they are able.  Our hosting family reserves the picnic shed every spring, and at the reunion, a collection is taken to help pay them back, with everyone giving what they can.
  5. Help folks plan for the reunion date by setting the same weekend each year  Our family sets the third Sunday in July, and everyone plans accordingly.  Out-of-towners can plan a week or weekend getaway, and attend the reunion, too.  Some plan to visit familiar areas, where they grew up, cemeteries of their parents or grandparents, old homes and schools, or go sight-seeing while they are in town.  Some coordinate and meet up to visit family homes and gravesites together. It helps them to remember where those places were, how to get there, and brings up more memories they can share.
  6. Visiting family may choose to drive in for the day or stay overnight, depending on travel distance.  Some may stay with siblings or cousins in the area, making more time to visit and reminisce.
  7. Plan for a potluck, so everyone contributes.  Our hosting family provides paper goods, ice, and hot dogs.  Everyone else brings a dish or two, side dishes, different meat dishes, casseroles, salads, desserts, and drinks.  People can bring extra chairs for comfort, blankets if they like to sit out on the grass, and toys or games for kids or adults to enjoy. Our family reserves the space from 10-4, so everyone has plenty of time to enjoy, rest, eat, visit, play, share stories, photos, and add news to the family tree.
  8. The hosting family can keep a list of names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses, with copies for others in the family. If it is kept on a computer list, the names and contact information can be updated as needed.  This list can be used to mail out reminders and flyers each year.


Family Reunion tree trunk with 15 branches for 15 children!

Family Reunion tree trunk with 15 branches for 15 children!

Grandchildren's leaves on the branches

Grandchildren’s leaves on the branches


Leaves with a lot and some with a little!

Leaves with a lot and some with a little!

Leaf shape with Velcro square to attach to tree

Leaf shape with Velcro square to attach to tree

  1. We created a large physical tree design on posterboard to display leaves on the different family branches.  Our large family took 6 posterboards and we lay them out on a large table top each year. Each branch represents a child of the main/focus family.  In our case there are 15 child branches, and large green leaf shapes that represent the 46 grandchildren.  On each leaf is printed the family tree outline with the descendants to the present day.  We have added small thumbnail size photos of descendants on the leaves (the ones we have).  This makes the tree more personal, putting faces to names, especially helpful seeing those who are no longer with us or can’t attend the reunions.
  2. Ask family to bring family photos they can share, especially of older family members.  Have a digital camera or portable scanner there to make digital copies to add to the family tree and share with others.
  3. If genealogy research or online family tree information has been done, ask family to bring flash drives/thumb drives if they want copies.  Take a portable laptop with USB slots to transfer family tree, genealogy or photo files with others.  This is a great way to back-up family information, in case of computer crashes or in the sad event of a family death.  Otherwise, the information or photos might be lost or inaccessible.  For those that just want to see the information, a binder with genealogy or family tree information can be displayed for family to look through.  Add photos, stories, family recipes, or anything that might be fun to remember and look through.  From the laptop, family can look at selected photos in a continuous digital slideshow.
  4. Make sure someone is taking photos at the reunion.  Each year, there may be different family able to come, and as loved ones pass on, these photos can be a source of comfort as we remember the great visits we have together.
  5. If you have a really good techy-type family member who can help with video, you can even video some of the reunion memories, if family agrees. Ask permission to video, since it’s a little more personal.  Video great memories, and don’t video people just to embarrass them.
  6. If someone agrees to be taped as they are talking, telling old stories, that’s a great source of family history.
  7. There are many little ways to make the occasion fun and inclusive, reminding everyone that they are all of one family.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.  We took a simple tree shape on plain white paper (printed from the computer).  We laid out 4 colors of stamping ink next to the tree, and everyone at the reunion picked a color and placed one fingerprint somewhere on the tree. And of course, we had some wet wipes nearby.  Another way to show we are all from one family!  We’ll keep taking the tree back each year and hopefully add more fingerprints from those that weren’t able to come this year!
One fingerprint from children of all ages - One Family!

One fingerprint from children of all ages – One Family!

Most important – make it fun, enjoy the visiting, the stories, the memories, fellowship, learn more about each other, and keep it going!  Keep Family Close!

Cherish them now while you can, and cherish the memories when they’re gone. I recently found a quote from a Native American writer, Linda Hogan, who wrote:

“Walking, I am listening to a deeper way.                                                             Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.                                                                     Be still, they say.                                                                                                       Watch and listen.                                                                                                           You are the result of the love of thousands.”


Sweet Simple Sides: Maple Candied Sweet Potatoes & Honeyed Carrots

When it is hard to get your family to eat a variety of vegetables, it helps to have a different way to serve them up.  I admit to loving carrots raw, but not cooked.  However, my family likes them better when they are cooked and candied sweetly!

To encourage the orange veggies, I began fixing “honeyed carrots”, and the method works for sweet potatoes, too.  The vitamins from these veggies are important to our health, but sometimes moms are the ones that have to remember that!

Both of these recipes are super simple and don’t take much time to fix at the end of a long day.  I like these as a side for a slow cooker meal, like the Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken.


Maple Candied Sweet Potatoes

4 Ingredients!


Peel and cube 2 sweet potatoes (about 1 per person)

Parboil (boil in water just to tender, not too soft), or microwave sweet potato cubes in small amount of water to partially cook and make tender.

Sweet Potatoes with butter, brown sugar and maple syrup

Sweet Potatoes with butter, brown sugar and maple syrup

Place in small pan over low to medium heat with:

3 Tablespoons Butter

3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

Cook and simmer over low-medium heat until the mixture has reduced and caramelized or candied the sugar.

Maple Candied Sweet Potatoes halfway there!

Maple Candied Sweet Potatoes halfway there!

Maple Candied Sweet Potatoes Ready to Eat!

Maple Candied Sweet Potatoes Ready to Eat!



Honeyed Carrots

3 Ingredients!


1 can sliced carrots (drained)

3 Tablespoons butter

3 Tablespoons honey (can use brown sugar)


Place butter and honey (or brown sugar) in small pan.  Add the carrots after draining the liquid.  If you use fresh carrots, dice 2-3 carrots and parboil first to partially cook and tenderize.  Then add to the butter and honey.

Cook over low to medium heat until the carrots are caramelized or candied.

These carrots make a great side dish for most meals, especially for chicken or pork dishes.