Friday, December 5, 2008

Greening The Holidays Contest!

Getting Eco-Friendly + Spending Less Money = Making The Holidays Meaningful

What does a Green Holiday mean to us? Trimming the budget and tree at the same time. Here are a few of our personal solutions -- which we hope will inspire you to share great ideas with our KOTC community and win a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

KOTC IDEAS: (1) Wish Trees -- Inspired by Yoko Ono's Wish Trees, we're asking everyone to write wishes on hang tags and tie them to our Christmas tree or pile them around the Menorah. (2) Recycled Gift Wrap: We're keeping old newspapers, pulling out all those half used paint sets, and going to town on personalized wrapping paper. Our kids are using twigs and berries from our yards to decorate their packages.

Diane's Idea: This year, I am trying new kind tradition - a gift of special time. Each member of our family is asking another for a regular date doing something together. I will ask my teenager for a cup of tea study break once a week, Grandma wants to play a Scrabble game once a month with her grandchildren, Dad (this is a tough one) will request 9 holes on the golf course every two weeks.

Sarah's Idea: The adults in my extended family pick Secret Santas to reduce the stress of shopping for 20-odd relatives at the holidays. It also reduces the amount of silly ties and bad sweaters in the closet. (In fact, one terrible tie does get shuttled around each holiday, showing up as a gag gift in a different stocking each holiday). This frees us up to buy one well researched and thought out gift for a sister, or brother in law and leaves time to play Santa for every adorable, deserving niece and nephew.

Please share your Greening The Holiday ideas with us and win a $100 Gift Card! If you're not already a member of Kids Off The Couch, please sign up here – it's free. Then leave your "Greening the Holidays" suggestions below in the comments section of this Blog posting and you will instantly become eligible to win a $100.00 Gift Card. (US Residents, 18 years and older only please.) Our winner will be chosen on December 19th, 2008. We will also be publishing some of our favorites on the Kids Off The Couch website and sending them out next week all over the country with your name as the Author.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Chasing Vermeer" + Vermeer Painting Visit = Kids Off The Couch

Chasing Vermeer, a chapter book heralded as "The Da Vinci Code for kids," had our children burning the midnight oil, avidly following clues and secret codes to solve an art caper -- who stole Dutch master Johannes Vermeer's A Lady Writing? As our kids met up with fictional art experts, librarians and teachers throughout the novel, they learned a lot about Vermeer, and to our great delight, asked to see the real deal. In many cities, locating a Vermeer on exhibit is impossible -- there are only 35 known Vermeer's in existence! Yet, when one of these luminous masterpieces was loaned to a museum in our city, we packed everyone into the car for a rare treat -- the chance to see a Vermeer in person. Our kids admired an intimate portrait of a young woman, dressed in silks and pearls, bathed in Vermeer's signature light. Just as big a treat? Having our kids get excited about a museum visit! Click here for our inside scoop on how to bring Vermeer's art alive with a treasure hunt at the museum and Dutch cooking at home.