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  • Parent’s Day

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    Parental figures in the United States receive the recognition for the role they play in their children’s lives on Parents’ Day. The day aims to promote responsible parenting and to recognize positive parental role models. It celebrates the special bonds of love between parental figures and their children.

    What Do People Do?

    Parents’ Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July each year. Citizens, organizations, and federal, state, and local governmental and legislative entities are encouraged to recognize Parents’ Day through proclamations, activities, and educational efforts to recognize, uplift and support the role of parents in bringing up their children.

    The Parents’ Day Council plays an active role in celebrating and promoting Parents’ Day through a range of events and activities.  For example, the council honors “Parents of the Year” at local, state and national levels. Those who have been nominated or selected are people who exemplify the standard and ideal of positive parenthood. Exemplary parents from each state are nominated for “National Parents of the Year”.

    Parents’ Day is a popular time for people to send cards and gifts, including flowers, cakes and food hampers, to those who play an important role as a positive parental figure in their lives. It is also a time for families to come together for lunches or dinners. Special tributes to parental figures who are seen as role models are made through local announcements, at church services, or at local community events. Parents’ Day proclamations and rallies have been held in recent times and involved organizations such as the United Civil Rights Councils of America.

    Public Life

    Parents’ Day is a national observance but it is not a public holiday in the United States.

    Background

    Parents’ Day promotes the message that the role of the parent is important in human development, which requires investment, focus, and commitment. In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed into law a resolution adopted by the US Congress to establish the fourth Sunday of every July as Parents’ Day. This day is similar to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. According to the Congressional Resolution, Parents’ Day is established for “recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children” (cited in the National Parents’ Day Council website).

    Symbols

    Images of people engaged in active learning activities with their children are often used in photos, posters, paintings, stickers and sketches to promote Parents’ Day. Images of flowers are also used to promote the day. The messages that organizations try to portray through these images are that: commitment is a core family value; parental responsibilities are important to children’s growth and development; and that unconditional love is needed for a strong bond between parental figures and their children. Parental figures include biological, foster or step-parents.

    Cleaning Tip – Jewelry Cleaning

    Use chamois cloth to clean jewelry because it’s very soft and won’t scratch. If chamois cloth is not available, use facial tissue. Or purchase a special jewelry cleaning cloth.

     

  • How to Freeze Summer Vegetables

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    veggies

    At this point in the season the farmers market tables are a riot of color, piled precariously with mountains of perfect produce – succulent heirloom tomatoes in their misfit beauty, corn fit to burst at the touch, luminous summer squash lined up in flirty nonchalance. But you know what will happen. The abundance will slowly dwindle as the apples start taking over, and all of a sudden, it’s roots and kale until spring.

    With the canning revival in full swing, sterilized jars and water baths are covering the counters of many a kitchen. But if you shy away from canning or have ample freezer space to supplement the pantry, freezing produce is an excellent way to preserve the local harvest for the bleaker months. Although frozen vegetables have taken a bad rap in the past, I’d take frozen produce in a heartbeat over old produce, commercially canned products, or produce imported from afar. Nutrients aren’t lost, and if frozen properly, neither is texture nor flavor.

    The Basics

    • Use the freshest produce you can find, and freeze it as soon as you can – the quicker the better. Make sure to avoid the 12 most toxic fruits and vegetables.
    • Wash and dry everything thoroughly. Remove pits and cut into uniform sized pieces.
    • Use containers, freezer bags or a vacuum seal system – and remember to leave headroom for expansion.
    • If you are watching your use of plastic, the ever-popular Ball makes freezer safe glass jars—yay! Label with contents and date.

    Blanching

    Although freezing slows enzyme action, it doesn’t completely stop it – therefore, most produce requires some method of heat treatment, generally blanching, to inactivate the ripening enzymes and to preserve color, texture, and flavor. To blanch vegetables, place the washed, prepared vegetables in a pot of boiling water. Roughly use a gallon of water per pound of prepped vegetables. Boil water, and time the blanching as soon as the water returns to a boil after submerging the produce. After the recommended time has elapsed, remove the vegetables and plunge them into very cold (you can add ice) water for the same amount of time that you blanched them for.

    Most frozen produce should be good stored for nine to 12 months. These are the basic methods for summer’s most popular produce.

    Beans

    beans

    Wash and trim ends, cut if desired. For whole beans, blanch for three minutes, for cut beans, blanch for two minutes. Dry, pack, seal and label.

    Corn

    corn

    For kernels: Remove husks and silks and trim ends. Blanch medium-sized ears, 3-4 ears at a time for five minutes. After blanching, remove kernels from cob, pack, seal, and label. For corn on the cob: Remove husks and silks and trim ends. Blanch medium-sized ears for eight minutes. Wrap each individually, and store in bags. Seal and label.

    Eggplant

    eggplant

    Cut into slices, sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Pat dry and sauté gently in olive oil until just tender. Cool, pack, seal, and label.

    Herbs

    herbs

    For basil only, water or steam blanch 1 minute. For other herbs, blanching is not necessary. Freeze in a single layer on cookie sheet. Freezing pesto in ice cube trays and then popping the pesto cubes into a bag for easy dispersion is a handy and popular trick, but Jacques Pepin has a different take on this. He prefers not to freeze finished pesto and opts instead for freezing a basil puree that he then transforms into pesto after defrosting.

    Peas

    peas

    Shell garden peas, there’s no need to shell snow or sugar peas. Blanch for one and a half minutes, dry, pack, seal and label.

    Peppers

    peppers

    Peppers, from bell peppers to all types of chili peppers, are one of the vegetables that don’t require heat treatment. Freeze them whole or sliced.

    Tomatoes

    tomatoes

    Method 1: Wash, cut into halves, quarters or leave whole. Pat dry and pack into freezer bags. Remove air, label and seal.
    Method 2: Dip into boiling water 1 minute. Remove and peel. Place on a tray and freeze for 30 minutes. Place in plastic bags, remove air, seal and label.
    Method 3: Simmer chopped tomatoes in a pan for 5 minutes or until soft. Push through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds. Cool and pack in plastic containers, leaving headspace.

    Zucchini and summer squash

    zucchini

    Wash, trim ends, cut into slices or strips and water blanch for three minutes. Pat dry, pack, seal, and label.

    Cleaning Tip

    Do not use nail polish remover or other cleaners that contain acetone fro removing stains from triacetate. Acetone will dissolve it. Perfumes containing organic solvents may also harm it.

  • 4th of July

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    The Birth of Independence Day

    When the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical.

    By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in the bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published by Thomas Paine in early 1776.

    On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence.

    Amid heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution, but appointed a five-man committee—including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York—to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain.

    On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

    On July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.

    Early Fourth of July Celebrations

    In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions and speechmaking. By contrast, during the summer of 1776 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty.

    Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war.

    George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778, and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.

    After the Revolutionary War, Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allowed the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity. By the last decade of the 18th century, the two major political parties—Federalists and Democratic-Republicans—that had arisen began holding separate Fourth of July celebrations in many large cities.

    Fourth of July Becomes a National Holiday

    The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.

    Over the years, the political importance of the holiday would decline, but Independence Day remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.

    Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has since the late 19th century become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues. The most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.

    Cleaning Tip – Warning

    Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner. When using wear rubber gloves or other non-porous boots, glove and eye protection. Try not to breathe in product fumes. If using products indoors, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter.

     

  • Summer Punch Recipes

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    With Summer here, comes gatherings and parties. Here are some good punch recipes to keep you cooled and refreshed.

    Pretty Pink Punch

    Pretty Pink Punch Recipe

    TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 15 min.

    MAKES: 50 servings

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 3 cups cold water
    • 2 bottles (64 ounces each) cranberry-raspberry juice, chilled
    • 1 can (46 ounces) DOLE® Canned 100% Pineapple Juice, chilled
    • 1 can (12 ounces) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
    • 1 liter ginger ale, chilled
    • Decorative ice mold & lemon slices, optional

    Nutritional Facts

    1/2 cup: 76 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 5mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (18g sugars, trace fiber), trace protein

    Directions

    1. In a punch bowl, dissolve sugar in water. Add juices and lemonade; mix well. Stir in ginger ale. If desired, top with a decorative ice mold and lemon slices. Serve immediately. Yield: 50 servings (7-1/2 quarts).

    Lemon Ice Tea Mix

    Lemon Ice Tea Mix Recipe

    TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 5 min.

    MAKES: 80 servings

    Ingredients

    • 7-1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 cups unsweetened instant tea
    • 5 envelopes (.23 ounce each) unsweetened lemonade soft drink mix
    • ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS:
    • 1 cup warm water
    • Cold water

    Nutritional Facts

    1 cup: 75 calories, trace fat (0g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 2mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (18g sugars, trace fiber), trace protein

    Directions

    1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, tea and drink mix. Divide into five equal batches; store in airtight containers in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Yield: 5 batches (8-1/2 cups total).
    2. To prepare tea: Dissolve about 1-2/3 cups tea mix in 1 cup warm water. Place in a gallon container. Add cold water to measure 1 gallon. Cover and refrigerate. Yield: about 16 (1-cup) servings per batch.

    Banana Brunch Punch

    Banana Brunch Punch Recipe

    TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. + freezing

    MAKES: 60-70 servings

    Ingredients

    • 6 medium ripe bananas
    • 1 can (12 ounces) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
    • 3/4 cup thawed lemonade concentrate
    • 3 cups warm water, divided
    • 2 cups sugar, divided
    • 1 can (46 ounces) DOLE® Canned 100% Pineapple Juice, chilled
    • 3 bottles (2 liters each) lemon-lime soda, chilled
    • Orange slices, optional

    Nutritional Facts

    3/4 cup: 68 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 4mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (16g sugars, trace fiber), trace protein

    Directions

    1. In a blender, cover and process the bananas, orange juice and lemonade until smooth. Remove half of the mixture and set aside. Add 1-1/2 cups warm water and 1 cup sugar to blender; blend until smooth.
    2. Place in a large freezer container. Repeat with remaining banana mixture, water and sugar; add to container. Cover and freeze until solid.
    3. One hour before serving, remove punch base from freezer. Just before serving, place in a large punch bowl. Add pineapple juice and soda; stir until well blended. Garnish with orange slices if desired. Yield: 60-70 servings (10 quarts).

    Orange Lemonade Recipe

    Orange Lemonade Recipe

    TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + cooling

    MAKES: 12 servings

    Ingredients

    • 1-3/4 cups sugar
    • 2-1/2 cups water
    • 1-1/2 cups lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
    • 1-1/2 cups orange juice (about 5 oranges)
    • 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
    • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
    • Water

    Nutritional Facts

    1 cup: 136 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (32g sugars, trace fiber), trace protein

    Directions

    1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Cool.
    2. Add juices and peels to cooled sugar syrup. Cover and let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Strain syrup; cover and refrigerate.
    3. To serve, fill glasses or pitcher with equal amounts of fruit syrup and water. Add ice and serve. Yield: 12 servings.

    Cleaning Tip

    Do not use dishwashing liquid in a dishwasher, it will oversud.

     

     

     

  • Summer Fun for Kids

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    kids

    Summer may be a time to relax, but tell that to kids who are bouncing off the walls or shrieking “I’m bored.” As parents, we want each summer to be more memorable than the next, and with that comes the need for a few new ideas. Take advantage of those bright sunny days and warm summer nights and plan something new a couple of times a week. Here are 101 ideas for your summer bucket list — to keep kids from being bored and create memories they’ll have for a lifetime (or at least for that first day of school when they’re asked “what did you do this summer?”).

    1. Bake cookies for ice cream sandwiches.
    2. Volunteer at a nature center.
    3. Make a photo journal or a family yearbook.
    4. Have a luau in the backyard.
    5. Visit the beach and collect shells.
    6. Make a fort out of cardboard boxes.
    7. Visit a farmer’s market.
    8. Stage an A to Z scavenger hunt, where you have to find something that starts with every letter.
    9. Pick berries.
    10. Have a picnic at a state park.
    11. Make ice cream.
    12. Go canoeing at a local lake.
    13. Build a sandcastle.
    14. Write and illustrate your own book and have it published into an actual hardcover book.
    15. Forget cooking — set up an ice cream sundae buffet for dinner.
    16. Clean up trash at a local park.
    17. Have a backyard campfire…or just use the grill! Roast hot dogs on sticks, pop popcorn and finish off with s’mores.
    18. Make homemade pizza.
    19. Go for a walk and then make a collage from nature objects you find along the way.
    20. Head to a creek and look at the ducks.
    21. Set up a lemonade stand.
    22. Have a water balloon fight.
    23. Practice your origami skills and make objects to hang from the ceiling.
    24. Go biking on a trail
    25. Interview an older relative about what life was like when they were young.
    26. Plan a picnic at a local park — or in your backyard.
    27. Print out a list of children’s books that have won Caldecott Medals. Visit the local library throughout the summer and try to read as many as you can.
    28. Create salad spinner art: Place circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover and spin away.
    29. Practice making interesting shadow puppets and then put on a show with your characters.
    30. Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.
    31. Make a sidewalk chalk mural.
    32. Go ice blocking (sledding) in the grass with a towel-covered block of ice.
    33. Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvases or cardboard.
    34. Visit a fish hatchery.
    35. Plant a butterfly garden with flowers.
    36. Pretend to be pirates for a day — dress up in costumes, plan a treasure hunt and talk like a pirate.
    37. Make an indoor sandbox using colored rice: mix 4 cups of rice with 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring and let dry overnight.
    38. Turn the backyard into a carnival — set up a face painting area and games like ring toss.
    39. Make totem poles out of paper towel rolls and decorate them.
    40. Visit a museum you’ve never been to.
    41. Make a giant hopscotch or Twister game on the lawn (with spray paint) or driveway (with chalk).
    42. String beads into jewelry.
    43. Make a bird house out of Popsicle sticks.
    44. Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible — see if there are any local astronomy groups for kids.
    45. Create leis with wildflowers.
    46. Go fossil hunting near a lake.
    47. Break out your baseball gloves and start a game, sandlot style.
    48. Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool using straws to propel them.
    49. Play mini-golf — or set up a course in your driveway by laying different size containers on their sides.
    50. Make your own colored sand and create sand art.
    51. Get a map of the United States and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit — create the ultimate road trip.
    52. Set up a net and play badminton and volleyball.
    53. Visit an amusement park or water park.
    54. Wade through a stream and search for minnows or tadpoles.
    55. Go zip-lining.
    56. Have a tricycle race at the park.
    57. Investigate an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices.
    58. Visit a fire station.
    59. Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks.
    60. Go roller skating.
    61. Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals.
    62. Run through the sprinklers.
    63. Blend your own smoothie.
    64. Set up a bike wash and raise money for a local charity.
    65. Batter up at a batting cage.
    66. Let kids paint the sidewalk or patio with plain old water and sponge brushes. When their creation dries, they can begin again.
    67. Bake cupcakes in ice cream cones and then decorate them.
    68. Assemble a family cookbook with all your favorite recipes.
    69. Go horseback riding.
    70. Make popsicles in Dixie cups using fruit juices.
    71. Catch fireflies in a jar (and let them go at the end of the night).
    72. Stage your own Summer Olympics with races, hurdles and relays.
    73. Create a backyard circus — kids can pretend to be animals and dress up as clowns.
    74. Decorate bikes and have a neighborhood Fourth of July parade.
    75. Take a sewing/crochet/knitting class.
    76. Make Mexican paper flowers using different colored tissue paper.
    77. Go to a flea market.
    78. Volunteer at an animal adoption organization.
    79. Visit a retirement home and read stories to residents.
    80. Attend an outdoor festival or concert.
    81. Pick a nearby town to visit for the day.
    82. Visit a cave.
    83. Get a map of your area, mark off all the local parks — then visit them, take pictures and vote for your favorite.
    84. Take in a fireworks exhibit.
    85. Make crafts with recyclable items like stickers using old photos, magazines and repositionable glue.
    86. Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles with 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap and 1 tablespoon of glycerin.
    87. Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens or acrylic paint.
    88. Create three dimensional buildings using toothpicks and mini marshmallows.
    89. Make bird feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and rolling in birdseed.
    90. Paint with ice by freezing ice cube trays with washable tempera paint.
    91. Create unusual s’mores by experimenting with ingredients like cookies, bananas, flavored marshmallows and white chocolate.
    92. Have a fancy tea party.
    93. Make a giant slip-n-slide with a painter’s tarp and shaving cream.
    94. Go camping in the backyard or at a campsite.
    95. Let kids paint each other with washable tempera paint, then wash it off in the sprinklers.
    96. Visit a national park and help the kids earn a junior ranger badge.
    97. Go to a ballgame and teach your kids (and yourself!) how to keep a scorecard.
    98. Set up a tent in the backyard to use as a summer playhouse.
    99. Take a free kid’s workshop at stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot or Pottery Barn.
    100. Have a game night with charades, Pictionary and bingo.
    101. Take a boring brown paper bag and have kids brainstorm creative things to do with it — you’ll be surprised at how many things you can come up with.

    Cleaning Tip – Diaper Pail

    Add 1/4 cup of bleach to one gallon of warm water. Wear rubber gloves and scrub the pail with the solution. rinse under cold running water. Wait for the pail to completely air-dry before putting in a new plastic liner.

  • Father’s Day

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    The nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington. However, it was not until 1972–58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official–that the day honoring fathers became a nationwide holiday in the United States.

    The campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm–perhaps because, as one florist explained, “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.”

    On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah, but it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday.

    The next year, a Spokane, Washington, woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

    Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in Washington, D.C. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day.

    Today, the day honoring fathers is celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday of June: Father’s Day 2017 occurs on June 18; the following year, Father’s Day 2018 falls on June 17.

    In other countries–especially in Europe and Latin America–fathers are honored on St. Joseph’s Day, a traditional Catholic holiday that falls on March 19.

    Many men, however, continued to disdain the day. As one historian writes, they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.”

    During the 1920s and 1930s, a movement arose to scrap Mother’s Day and Father’s Day altogether in favor of a single holiday, Parents’ Day. Every year on Mother’s Day, pro-Parents’ Day groups rallied in New York City’s Central Park–a public reminder, said Parents’ Day activist and radio performer Robert Spere, “that both parents should be loved and respected together.”

    Paradoxically, however, the Great Depression derailed this effort to combine and de-commercialize the holidays. Struggling retailers and advertisers redoubled their efforts to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for men, promoting goods such as neckties, hats, socks, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods, and greeting cards.

    When World War II began, advertisers began to argue that celebrating Father’s Day was a way to honor American troops and support the war effort. By the end of the war, Father’s Day may not have been a federal holiday, but it was a national institution.

    In 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last. Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts.

    Cleaning Tip

    Maximize lighting when cleaning or attempting to remove a stain. That way you won’t miss an important area that requires your attention.

     

  • The History of Flag Day

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    On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

    Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as ‘Flag Day’, and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

    Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

    In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children’s celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

    Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: “I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”

    Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day – the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 – was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

    Cleaning Tip

    Store all household cleaning products in their original containers, with original labels intact so you’ll be able to refresh your memory with regard to directions for use, suggested precautions, and possible antidotes. Before using any new cleaning product, be sure to read the product’s label carefully. Product formulations can change, so it is also prudent to read the labels on your old standby products before using a new container.

     

     

     

  • Memorial Day

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    Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.

    The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, requiring the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

    It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

    On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

    On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Many Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

    Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

    For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

    Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

     

    Cleaning Tip

    Always clean from top to bottom. Gravity carries dust down onto lower surfaces.

     

     

  • Staying Hydrated This Summer

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    With the hot summer days approaching us, it is very important to stay hydrated. Whether you’re at work, exercising, playing sports, traveling or just lounging in the sun, it’s especially important to take precautions to stay hydrated.Many people tend to forget that during exercise we experience increased sweat loss (compared to day-to-day activities like working at a desk or watching TV).As summer arrives, make a conscious effort to increase your fluid intake to counteract the warmer temperatures and elevated humidity.

    Drink Up With These Helpful Hydration Tips

    • Bring a reusable water bottle to work- and continuously fill it up throughout the day.
    • Stay away from energy drinks- energy drinks contain large quantities of sugar and stimulants that can be counterproductive and dangerous especially when trying to stay hydrated.
    • Look for a 2-pound weight loss – weigh yourself after using the bathroom in the morning. If you are two pounds less than normal and not actively trying to lose weight, you’re likely dehydrated and should drink before doing anything strenuous.
    • 20-30 minutes before exercise- drink at least 8 oz. of water if exercising indoors and at least 12 oz. if exercising outdoors.
    • During exercise- consume 8-12 oz. of water every 15-30 minutes
    • Turn to fruit- when looking to snack, choose a fruit to enjoy. Most fruits are a great source of electrolytes and fluids.

    If these tips are followed, chances of becoming dehydrated will be low.

    Know the Signs- Avoid Dehydration

    If you are feeling thirsty, your body is needing fluids. Listen to your body and drink water throughout the entire day during the hot summer days. Always watch for potential signs of dehydration:

    •  Dark yellow or amber-colored urine (urine that is clear or very light in color is an indicator that you are hydrated)
    • Constipation
    • Feeling thirsty
    • Constant fatigue or sleepiness
    • Headache or lightheadedness
    • For infants, no wet diapers for three hours

    Stay cool and well hydrated during the these warm summer days!

    Cleaning Tip

    Place mats strategically at each entrance to collect dirt that would otherwise be tracked in from the outside onto carpets and floors. Encoutage friends and family to wipe their feet before entering the house.

     

  • How Often to Water Your Garden

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    watering

    Many people wonder how to water a garden. They may struggle over questions such as, “How much water should I give my garden?” or “How often should I water a garden?” It’s really not as complicated as it seems, but there are some things that should be considered. These include the type of soil you have, what your climate or weather is like, and the types of plants you are growing.

    When to Water Gardens

    “When and how often should I water a garden?” While the general rule of thumb is about an inch or two of water each week with deep, infrequent watering as opposed to the more frequent shallow watering, this really depends on a number of factors.

    First, consider your soil. Sandy soil is going to hold less water than heavier clay soil. Therefore, it’s going to dry out faster while the clay-like soil will hold moisture longer (and is more susceptible to over watering). This is why amending the soil with compost is so important. Healthier soil drains better but allows for some water retention too. Applying mulch is also a good idea, reducing watering needs.

    Weather conditions determine when to water garden plants as well. If it is hot and dry, for example, you’ll have to water more often. Of course, in rainy conditions, little watering is needed.

    Plants, too, dictate when and how often to water. Different plants have different watering needs. Larger plants need more water as do newly planted ones. Vegetables, bedding plants and many perennials have more shallow roots systems and also require more frequent watering, some daily–especially in temps over 85 F. (29 C.). Most container plants need watering on a daily basis in hot, dry conditions — sometimes twice or even three times a day.

    When to water gardens also includes the time of day. The most suitable time for watering is morning, which reduces evaporation, but late afternoon is okay as well provided you keep the foliage from getting wet, which can lead to fungal issues.

    How Much Water Should I Give My Garden Plants?

    Deep watering encourages deeper and stronger root growth. Therefore, watering gardens about 2 inches or so once a week is preferable. Watering more often, but less deep, only leads to weaker root growth and evaporation.

    Overhead sprinklers are often frowned upon, with exception to lawns, as these also lose more water to evaporation. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation is always better, going straight to the roots while keeping foliage dry. Of course, there’s also the old standby—hand watering—but since this is more time consuming, its best left for smaller garden areas and container plants.

    Knowing when and how to water a garden correctly can ensure a healthy growing season with lush plants.

    Cleaning Tip

    If you don’t need or like something in your house, give it away, dispose of it, or recycle it rather than having it around the house.