Which Is Better, the Movie or the Book? Charlie And The Chocolate Factory 50th Anniversary

Roald Dahl was one of my favorite authors when I was in elementary school. I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The B.F.G., The Witches and James and the Giant Peach (the later two not so much now that I'm an adult. I find those stories a little...weird.) When I discovered my worn and scribbled on much loved copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I delighted at the chance to share my love of Roald Dahl books with my son. We read a chapter a night, both of us engrossed in the story of Charlie Bucket and his quest for a golden ticket hidden in a chocolate bar. As we read, I was surprised at how different the book was from what I remembered and how different it was from the movie -- the original movie, not the bizarre Johnny Depp version, although I kept picturing his Willy Wonka, rather than Gene Wilder, as we read. After we finished the book, we settled in for a family movie night showing of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory*. I couldn't wait for my son to … [Read more...]

3 Books To Read With Your Child Tonight

My son is learning to read, which is at times both thrilling and laborious to experience. My husband and I are both avid readers and have been reading to him since he was a baby. We have our favorite books, as does he. Here are three that top our list. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton Our copy of this board book is well worn because its well read. Both of my children love the sing-song cadence of the story and enjoy the fun illustrations of the animals getting ready for bed on a boat. The plot stumps us every time, though -- why do the animals exercise after they get ready for bed? Harold the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson I love the simplicity of this book -- and all the books in this series (Harold at the North Pole is pictured above). I love how the story inspires the imagination with just simple lines drawn with a purple crayon. The books are substantial reads, too, without being too long for a bedtime story. David Goes to School by David Shannon I have a soft spot … [Read more...]

Are Women’s Colleges Disappearing?

I began my post-high school education at a women's college in Virginia. That college no longer exists, however not in the way it did nearly two decades ago (ouch, am I really that old now?). In 2007, Randolph-Macon Woman's College (RMWC) became Randolph College, opening its doors to men for the first time in its 115-year history. That change was a sign of the times. Today, there are less than 50 women's college in the United States. It's a disappearing educational tradition. I have mixed feeling about this. The reason I chose to attend a women's college still holds true: it fosters a learning environment that supports and encourages women to become strong, confident leaders in their fields and in their communities -- the alumni network is a force to be reckoned with. I remember my first visit to RMWC. I was there for a Prospective's Weekend, an overnight open house for interested students to get a feel for life on campus. My host was a sophomore student. Her sister, an … [Read more...]

How Slow Food Benefits Food Allergy Families

May is Food Allergy Action Month. This initiative from the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization strives to raise awareness about food allergies and inspire actions to improve the lives of people with food allergies. One way that my food allergy family is taking action is by embracing the Slow Food movement. What is Slow Food? The Slow Food movement began in Italy in 1986 in protest of a popular fast food chain. The philosophy of the slow food movement is simple -- its back-to-basics. Its all about slowing down to enjoy life's simple pleasures, like gathering around a table to enjoy a good meal. It's about enjoying the kind of food your grandmother made. The Benefits of Slow Food There are three pillars to the Slow Food movement: good, clean and fair. For food allergy families, like yours, these pillars are key. Good food, the first pillar, means locally-grown, seasonal food, like strawberries harvested from a nearby farm in late spring rather than … [Read more...]

Is Letter Writing Lost? The Random Cards of Kindness Project

The idea was born at a social event for women in journalism. We were chatting about networking and our guest speaker shared what works for her: handwritten notes and personalized emails. I thought back to the letters I used to write -- to a friend I made at summer camp, to another friend who went to boarding school -- and letters my grandmother wrote to me -- always about her health -- and decided I wanted to write more letters in 2014. It was in that moment, sitting in a living room full of writers, that my Random Cards of Kindness Project was born. Each month, I write and send one handwritten note to a friend, family member or colleague, either to say thank you or to offer encouragement. I'm inspired by random acts of kindness, especially the particularly creative ones, and the stories behind those acts. The Random Cards of Kindness Project is my way of filling the world with a little more kindness, of using my writing gift to spread a little cheer, to do something … [Read more...]