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Room to Read

In my house, we love to read. All four of us. It's something we do as a family, and something we do individually when we need a little quiet time. Reading entertains us, educates us, and connects us with others. It makes me sad to think about all the kids out there that don't have access to books or will never learn to read. This holiday season, I want to do something about that.

lola empower girls

Room to Read is a program that focuses on 4 parts: libraries, schools, local language publishing, and girls education. A good friend of mine & Corvallis, OR native, Lola Tsai, introduced me to Room to Read, as she is active in the empowerment and education of girls around the world. She has recently published a beautiful book and calendar called 'For My Girls', and 10% of the profit from her sales will go directly to Room to Read. Another 10% of sales will go to Gaston Jr./Sr. High Arts Scholarship, established by Julie Tervo Dexter, illustrator of the book, also a Corvallis native.

The efforts of Room to Read and For My Girls impact and aim to affect so many important things facing our world today: reading, education, empowerment of girls, and global issues. I'm going to help this year, and there are several ways you can help too:

*Donate to Room to Read

*Purchase For My Girls Book

*Purchase For My Girls Calendar

*Ask yourself: what am I doing to raise my children so they are aware, compassionate, and involved in global issues? How am I raising/empowering my girls for this new era where girls/women's empowerment is ever urgently needed?

Happy reading to everyone around the globe!

Disney tips

Boehringer family for webMOM Mag designer, Kassie, offers up some advice based on her recent trip.

We recently took our first family vacation to Disneyland. Planning the trip was almost like expecting our first child-the vast amounts of reading, the advice from friends and strangers, the anticipation (what have we gotten ourselves into?). In the end, it turned out to be a fabulous vacation. And what kind of MOM would I be if I didn't pass on some advice of my own?

So here are a few tidbits to consider if you too are planning a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.

1)      Stay as close to the park as you can afford. We originally booked a hotel off site, but then changed to a hotel right next to Downtown Disney. Even though it cost a bit more, I'm glad we did. We were able to easily go back and forth-for naps during the day, to grab a sweatshirt, to change after a splashy ride. It was key to keeping everyone happy, rested and comfortable.

2)      Speaking of splashy rides, bring a few disposable rain ponchos from home. After you're done with them, find a family in line and pass them on.

3)      Look at Disney vacation packages offered by Alaska Air, Costco, AAA and others that include airfare, hotel and park tickets. I found the packages to be cheaper than going ala carte.

4)      Shop for Disney stuff-especially clothing-ahead of time. This morsel came from MOM Publisher Raeann. We stocked up on Tinkerbell and Minnie t-shirts at Wal-Mart beforehand, and passed up their more expensive counterparts at the gift shops.

5)      Bring snacks from home. I put together small bags of different, non-perishable snacks and packed them in my suitcase. Each day, I threw a few of the small bags in my purse and we munched happily while waiting in lines.

6)      If you have a smart phone, download a free Disney wait time app.  It was a great way to see when our favorite rides were the least crowded.

7)      Fast Passes are your friends. I wish every ride had them.

8)      For the younger set, character meals are expensive, but worth it. We did the Princess lunch and it was the highlight for our girls. You can make reservations ahead of time to secure your spot.

9)      If you're going to buy a photopass, use it as much as possible.  There are photographers stationed everywhere to take your picture, and you can purchase all of the photos they take for one price. I was so excited my daughter got picked for Jedi training that I forgot to take pictures of her fighting Darth Vader. Fortunately, the photopass photographer was there. After that, we got our picture taken as often as possible and now have a cd full of memorable and professional shots.

Build On Your Child’s Creative Skills

The First Saturday of every month the Home Depot offers kids ages 5 to 12 a chance to tap into their inner-handyman (or woman) with a useful project such as creating a mail organizer or birdhouse. This Saturday, November 6th, kids will create a spice rack.


The workshops focus on tool safety while teaching kids do-it-yourself skills. Your kids will gain a sense of accomplishment while having fun with positive Home Depot mentors. In addition to newly constructed project kits, each child participating in the FREE Saturday event receives a kid-sized orange apron (just like the employees have) and an achievement pin. The free workshop runs from 9 am to noon. Check out the Home Depot's website to learn more about upcoming Saturday Kids Workshop activities or to find out what projects are going on in your area.

home depot kids clinic

Caramel apples

Our apple trees are bulging with apples - the best apples I've ever tasted. I hate to see them going to waste. Apple pie, applesauce, apple pancakes - anything to take advantage of this harvest. But my favorite is caramel apples!

Caramel apple spice

Check out these fun ideas from B&G. They are fun to make and taste so good. A tip that I learned is the caramel sticks to the skin, but not to the insides. So if you make caramel apple slices, keep that in mind. Please let me know if you have a creative idea for apples.