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Charity spotlight

A Natural Selection

What are your plans for Earth Day 2012? When you think of charities to help out, think trees and grass and critters, and the organizations working every day to protect them.

We love nature, so it's only natural that we love The Nature Conservancy too. This organization works around the world to save lands and waters for nature and people.

The Nature Conservancy has preserved more than 119 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide — and they operate more than 100 marine conservation projects globally. With a foot in all 50 states and more than 30 countries, they protect habitats from grasslands to coral reefs in places all the way from Alaska to Zambia. Check Nature Conservancy out today.

Great idea

Earth Day is April 22, but you can celebrate all year long with clever craft activities!

One of our favorites is planting a simple herb garden. Just grab a grownup and a small planter. Decide on your three favorite herbs -- we recommend pizza toppers like basil and oregano, and mint for summer lemonade. Use a long rectangular planter and cluster the seeds in three areas so they grow together.

Start the seeds indoors now, and before you know it, you'll have a garden full of good taste. When the seedlings are sturdy in a few weeks, move the planter outside and enjoy your delicious greens!

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From the Chicago Sun-Times

"How to throw a party that gives back

In The Good Fun! Book (Blue Marlin), Hyde Park mother Kate Hannigan Issa and former neighbor Karen Duncan give parents detailed instructions for hosting 12 pre-tween parties that make service fun.

The parties offer a range of themes, from helping animals to feeding the hungry, and each includes two service ideas, a party food recipe the guests can make and eat together, and a craft activity kids can take home. All parties have been tested on the authors’ families and friends."

Read the full article at the Sun-Times.
 
From School Library Journal

Gr 3-6-For each month of the year, Duncan and Issa suggest a party with a service theme. For example, they suggest making Valentines for children at a local hospital in February, cleaning up a park for Earth Day in April, or making jack-o-lanterns for a nursing home in October. The ideas are realistic, age appropriate, and thoughtful. The authors have done a good job mixing fun with function. Some of the activities are geared for a large group, like a school class, while others would work with a Cub Scout troop or a birthday party. Almost all the projects require an adult leader to contact and coordinate with a community organization like a nursing home or food bank. Each plan contains two ideas, a treat recipe, a craft, and information about a national charity related to the theme. The book is illustrated with child-friendly color cartoons featuring youngsters doing good deeds. The Kid's Guide to Service Projects (Free Spirit Publishing, 1995) has more service ideas, but they are not organized in a party-plan format. This is a great resource for any school or public library.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT (c) Copyright 2010.

 
Vicky & Jen Podcast!

The Good Fun! Book was lucky enough to spend some time with Vicky and Jen of VickyandJen.com recently. Committed to "making every day matter," they are a one-stop-shopping portal on the Web for quality life experiences. Check out the podcast interview here, where they talk to us about the writing the book, raising our kids, and "making life simple so you can enjoy what really matters."

 

 
Will Allen and Joan Horwitt

Joan Horwitt, founder of Lawns 2 Lettuce 4 Lunch in Arlington, Virginia, visits with Will Allen, founder of Growing Power and one of the amazing people featured in The Good Fun! Book, at his Milwaukee headquarters recently. Lawns 2 Lettuce 4 Lunch works to help local elementary students learn about growing and eating healthy foods and develop new relationships between the school and its neighbors. Learn more about community farming at Growing Power.

 
From Huffington Post

"The other day in the mail I received a wonderful gift," writes Ellen Galinsky in a Nov. 18 article on Huffington Post. "It was from Darell Hammond, the visionary CEO of KaBOOM!, the group that has helped bring playgrounds to children around the country. In keeping with Hammond's passionate commitment to 'saving play' because it's declining in America, he want to share this book with friends and colleagues."

"This book is called The Good Fun Book by Karen Duncan, the wife of the Secretary of Education, and Kate Hannigan Issa. It is a gift in the real sense of the word because it can help us turn the gimmes into giving; it serves as an antidote for extravagant children's parties; and at the same time it really provides lots of 'good fun' for kids and adults."

Read the full post here!
 
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