Give Your Backyard Critters, and the Earth’s Creatures Some TLC.

We are ALL interconnected and part of the chain that feeds and sustains life on earth. Wondering how you can help protect the most vulnerable critters on our planet? There are FIVE simple things all of us can do to help make a difference for the creatures who share the earth with us. 

1. Bee populations are disappearing, which effects food crops around the world. Help LOCAL HIVES by adding a “bee bath” to your backyard. Fill a shallow dish or birdbath with water and pebbles or marbles to welcome these pollinators into your garden.


2. You can help protect CORAL REEFS by replacing your regular sunscreen for one that does not contain OXYBENZONE. This ingredient damages the delicate reefs.

3. I’ve mentioned this one on numerous posts: FEED MONARCH BUTTERFLIES by planting MILKWEED in your garden. This is the only plant these endangered creatures lay their eggs on and the caterpillars eat. You can get get milkweed seeds in your local National Wildlife Federation office.


Milkweed from my garden. Bonus: it also attracts bees.

4. Eat seafood that is sustainably caught and protect whales and dolphins from getting trapped in fishing nets. Download the Seafood Watch app to identify businesses that serve and sell sustainably sourced seafood.

5. Help the endangered Sumatran tiger from losing its habitat to coffee growers. Make sure your brew is Rainforest Alliance certified. This means the beans are grown  and harvested in a sustainable, animal-friendly way.

New Books, Apps, Resolutions, and More for a Happy 2013.

I’ve been reading some amazing picture books (PB) as well as middle grade (MG) these past few months and want to pass along the titles to share with your children and friends.

In the PB category, pick up THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN by Tiffany Strelitz Haber.  Poor Onster lost his “M” which is his mean and gets teased by the other monsters.  In order to win back their friendship, Onster has to find his mean. But, instead of being mean like the other monsters, Onster is helpful and kind.  Will it be the end of his monster days?  Or, will he learn to be his own kind of monster? The illustrations are perfect and the theme of “be yourself” is just right for young readers. Visit Tiffany’s site @

In the MG category there are 2 books I’d recommend: THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY by Niki Loftin tells the story of a perfect school where you get your own endless bowl of candy, and you can talk on the phone or sleep during classes if you want to.  Perfect, right?  Until you walk through the door. There’s something in the food that is making all the children… the book to find out what happens.    The second MG is THE GREAT UNEXPECTED by Sharon Creech. Two friends – Naomi and Lizzie – are surprised by a boy named Finn who falls out of a tree and sets in motion a mystery involving mysterious trunks, dead ancestors, and expecting the unexpected.  It’s a wonderful story of family, friendship and believing anything is possible.

Here is a new app available from the National Wildlife Federation for kids who love learning about wildlife:

Start the New Year off with some great stories.  Make resolutions to learn one new thing this year, eat a new food, visit someplace you’ve never been to, and teach someone else something you’re good at. What better way to celebrate the start of 2013!