I had so much fun filming at segment for WGN Morning News ~ talking about the hottest toys of the season. The DudePerfect Signature Bow was a huge hit with the crew, but I am a sucker for Soggy Doggy!

The segment was extra fun because it kicked off the holidays with carolers, animals (my phone died before I could take a picture of the reindeer ~) and WGN’s annual food drive. I do love the fun and frivolity of the holidays and even though it is completely no longer PC, I can’t help loving “Baby it’s Cold Outside.” Though every time I hear it, I lecture JRB that No means No, which always leads to a “mom I’m only 12,” conversation…. but I digress.

I also think the holidays are an excellent time for families to come together and give back. JRB and I always drop off all the toys and games we demo on TV for Toys for Tots or the local youth center in our neighborhood and we also make time to do a special project such  making blankets for Project Linus. 

Parents often ask me if I have suggestions for places they can go to do a family project together so below are just a few of my favorites. Some are local, others national and some even span the globe but they all are excellent opportunities to bond with your kids and do some good in the process! Happy Holidays!

Feed My Starving Children

According to the United Nation’s World Food Programme, nearly 3.1 million children die of poor nutrition each year. “Feed my Starving Children” is dedicated to eradicating this problem by providing nutritious meals to children in over 70 countries.  To volunteer, visit http://m.fmsc.org to register and choose a facility near you. The minimum age for volunteering is 5 years old, which makes it a great activity to do with your school-aged children.


Bernie’s Book Bank

Bernie’s Book Bank is dedicated to “pouring” books into the communities that need them most. Since 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has delivered over 5 million books to children in underserved communities. You can help Bernie’s Book Bank in several ways; Volunteer to help process books and prepare them for distribution. Volunteers typically come for 2-hour time slots throughout the week and weekend. Visit the website to learn more about their volunteer times, requirements and location. There is no age minimum, so families with little ones are welcome. Another great way to help Bernie’s Book Bank is to donate books. Have your kids’ help you go through their books, placing gently used books in a “donate to Bernie’s Book Bank” pile.


Chicago Foundation for Education – Supports Chicago public school teachers with leadership, learning and grant opportunities that translate into enhanced classroom experiences. Volunteer opportunities with CFE include reviewing applications, visiting schools or helping with workshops. Volunteer opportunities can be found here.


Safe Haven Network – Facilitates temporary emergency boarding for the pets of domestic violence victims. Volunteers can foster a pet for the holidays, providing a home for a pet that comes from a family unable to care