A Week of Free National Parks Admission Starts Saturday, April 21

It’s increasingly difficult to come up with family activities which would not cost an arm and a leg which is why I’m so thrilled to learn that starting April 21, and stretching all the way through the following weekend, entrance fees are being waived at all national parks that usually charge for admission.

The occasion is what’s become an annual event, National Park Week, which in 2012 is scheduled for April 21 to 29. It’s one of several periods during the year when normal admissions fees are waived. Other no-fee dates include Get Outdoors Day (June 9), National Public Lands Day (September 29), and Veteran’s Day (November 10 to 12 this year).

How much you’d save on entrance fees depends, of course, on which park you’re visiting. Normal admissions fees range from $25 (Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier), to $20 (Yosemite), to $15 (Badlands), to free all year-round (Great Smoky Mountains, Redwood National Park). The Parks Department likes to point out that 397 national parks and monuments, in fact, never charge admission.

So what are you waiting for?   Pack your sleeping bags and go explore your wild side.  🙂

Source: Time

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Build Your Child’s Reading Skills This Summer!

Looking for ways to get your child to read when school’s not in session? iVillage has partnered with PBS Parents to bring you a free, four-week reading challenge that will help you make reading a fun, easy part of everyday life for your kids.  Sign up today and starting on Monday, July 5, you’ll get daily ideas to help you turn everyday activities with your kids into adventures that build reading skills.

What I really like about the site is that it also includes great reading guides:

Kid’s guide to reading fun
Great books for kids of all ages
10 ways to grow a bookworm

What are you waiting for?  Sign up and get reading!

For all BoA cardholders: Get free museum tickets in 2010

Here’s a great money-saving, family/friend bonding tip:

Bank of America cardholders can get into select museums, zoos, science centers, botanical gardens and more for free with the Museums on Us program. All you need is your Bank of America ATM, credit or debit card and a photo ID.

Get the full list of participating locations, as well as eligible weekends through September 2010, here:  http://museums.bankofamerica.com/

One Thing You Should Do Now to Combat Climate Change

Three words. Reduce plastic waste.

I was shocked to learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vortex of over 3.5 million tons of plastic spanning 10 million square miles.  80% of the garbage comes from land-based sources, and 20% from ships at sea.


It’s a horrifying twist to the saying “Don’t shit in your own backyard.”

Charles Moore, the sailor who discovered the Northern Pacific Garbage Patch in 1997, warns that unless consumers cut back on their use of disposable plastics, this plastic soup would double in size over the next decade.

Plastic has become an indispensable part of our everyday lives.  At the moment, it’s virtually impossible to spend a single day without touching the stuff. However it IS possible to avoid creating MORE plastic waste. Here are just 2 actions that you and your family can start implementing TODAY.

1. Ditch the straw
Think of how many thousands of plastic straws you have used, wasted and thrown away. Did you know that it takes centuries for each one to biodegrade! The next time you dine outside, do think twice before accepting that straw. For those operating food joints, make that paradigm shift: makes straws an option, not the default.

2. Bag the Bag

Seriously, do you really need that plastic bag when you buy something at the local 7-11 or Ministop?

Let’s try to reduce our habit of using plastic bags when we don’t need them.

I discovered this pocket bag at the check-out counter of my favourite shopping centre – Daiso (aka the $2 store). I usually have it folded into a tiny square and tucked into my bag organizer. I whip it out whenever I grab a bite at 7-11, buy office supplies, pay a visit to the Library, use my umbrella on a rainy day… etc etc.
We are now also taking a conscious effort to reduce our collection of plastic bags when buying groceries. Those cloth bag giveaways at trade fairs & bazaars are discovering a second life.
It’s Blog Action Day today, focusing on Climate Change. How exactly does the reduction of plastic relate to tackling climate change? Everything is interconnected — manufacturing plastic depends on consuming oil so the indiscrimate use of plastic literally fuels global warming. Getting rid of them (plastic) in incinerators also adds a little bit more to the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere.


As our family has found,  it’s not that hard to make that shift to a greener life. Just take it one plastic bag/straw at a time and make the world a better, cleaner place.

JOELLECHRONICLES recommends:

1.  How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Save the World by Tony Juniper

2.  Save Cash and Save the Planet by Andrea Smith and Nicola Baird

Oct 3: Expo Kid @ Rockwell

Expo Kid

Everything for kids under one roof

October 3, 2009, Saturday, Rockwell Tent

* Interactive Activity Areas
* 30+ Exhibitors and vendors showcasing products and services for
kids of all ages.
* All day talks and demos for moms, dads and kids at the stage area.

Come to EXPO KID and experience active fun, learning, imagination-building, and just smply having a grand time with your kids!

Featuring interactive activity areas and all-day talks and activities
showcasing some of the most progressive and creative kids activity providers today:

* My Masterpiece Multi-Arts School
* KidsAhoy
* Multiple Intelligence School
* Kiddieparty.com

Program Schedule:

10:00 AM Formal Opening
Kids Bazaar open to the public

10:30-11AM Yoga Kids

11-11:30 AM Balloon Show by Jiggles the Balloon Lady
11:30 AM-12NN Raffle

12NN-12:30 GSK Book Launch

12:30-1PM Games and Raffle

1-2PM The Bumblebee & Co 2009 Collection – A Halloween Costume Fashion Show

2PM-230Pm Science Exploration by KidsAhoy

2:30-3PM Little Theatre by KidsAhoy

3PM-330PM Drum Jam! by Dona Esteban
Enrich your child’s creative expression, coordination, team spirit and musicality through dynamic rhythms!

330-4PM Tumble Tots

4-5PM My Masterpiece multi-arts show

5PM-6PM Batang Pinoy by KidsAhoy

6PM Onstage Games

Raffle draws
8PM Closing

An Expo Kid Bazaar of 30+ vendors and exhibitors of unique finds for kids and everyone in the family.

Expo hours: 10am to 8pm

Entrance Fee: P 25/head
*All proceeds from registration will benefit Mio Mendiola, a 5-year old boy fighting leukemia. (
www.miofightscancer.com).

2008 Manila International Book Fair

I’m so sad that I’m stuck here in KL in the upcoming week.  

Booklovers across the Metro have been counting down the days to the 29th Manila International Book Fair will be held from September 12 to 16, 2008, 10:00 A.M.to 8:00 P.M. at Halls 1-4, SMX Convention Center in SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

The MIBF 2008’s theme is Words without Borders. It celebrates the power of literature to cross boundaries of time, place and culture.  MIBF showcases the largest and most varied collection of literature, textbooks, educational supplements, general references, religious and inspirational titles, self-help books, management books, Filipiniana, coffee table books, popular novels, children’s books, art books, graphic novels, rare and hard-to-find titles, magazines, audio and e-books, multimedia, teaching supplies and services, publishers’ technology, and travel materials.

This celebration of books and all that it contains is one of the longest-running in Asia. It is also one of the most accessible and affordable, Through the years, it has welcomed millions of Filipinos to the Manila International Book Fair, which is for everyone of all ages, of all tastes and means and dreams. This year, the Book Fair becomes more international opening up to other cultures while continuing to champion the best of what Philippine publishing has to offer.

The world and the word comes to Manila this September for the sharing of stories and the meeting of minds. Come and join the conversation.

The 29th Manila International Book Fair is organized by Primetrade Asia, Inc. in partnership with Asian Communicators, Inc., Book Development Association of the Philippines, Philippine Booksellers Association, Inc., and Publishers Representatives Organization of the Philippines. For details, call 890-0661 or 896-0682, log on to www.manilabookfair.com, or e-mail bookfair@primetradeasia.com.

Many local publishing houses will have their booths there and hosting workshops at SMX.  I was particularly excited about the workshops being offered by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBYP):

  • A Thumbnail History of Children’s Literature in the Philippines
    A lecture to be delivered by Prof. Lina Diaz de Rivera
    9-12 noon, September 13, Meeting Room 8, SMX
  • 25 Ways to Entice Children with Stories
    A workshop on storytelling; Facilitator: Manolo Silayan
    1-4 pm, September 13, Meeting Room 8, SMX
  • Library Magic
    – 25 Steps to Building a Mobile Library
    – 25 Ways to Survive and Thrive: Managing Change in Libraries
    – Setting Up Children’s Libraries
    Facilitators: Nina-Lim Yuson, Zarah Gagatiga, PLAI
    9-5 pm, September 13, Meeting Room 9, SMX
  • Tong Tong Tong: Tinig, Tunog, at Talino ng Tulang Pambata
    Facilitator: c/o Linangan ng Imahen, Retorika at Anyo (LIRA)
    9-12 noon,September 14, Meeting Room 9, SMX
  • Creative Effective Visuals for Children’s Books
    Facilitator: Totet de Jesus
    1-4 pm, September 14, Meeting Room 9, SMX
  • Reading, Responding and Reviewing
    A workshop on reviewing children’s literature; Facilitator: Neni Sta.Romana-Cruz
    1-4 pm, September 15, Meeting Room 9, SMX
  • Each workshop has a fee of six hundred pesos (Php 600.00), except for Library Magic which costs one thousand pesos (Php 1000.00).  For inquiries or registration, please send an e-mail to pbby.ncbd@gmail.com or call 3723548.  Also visit www.pbby.org.ph.

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    Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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    Sept 27: FREE Museum Day 2008

    As a young mom, it’s increasingly a challenge to come up with activities which are both cost effective and intellectually stimulating.

    On Sept 27, enjoy free general admission for you and a guest to one of over a hundred museums and cultural venues in the United States. Just download the admission card here and present it at participating Museum Day locations. Find the list of museums here.

    Mark the date on your calendars and take advantage of the opportunity to introduce your child to a new cultural experience. He or she just might enjoy it. =)

    As a side note, some participating museums may already have a free admission year round. Good to note which dates are “free admission” days.

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    Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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