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  • Foil Packet Dinners

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    With the children back into school, everyone is looking for easy dinner options, with easy clean up. What’s easier than a foil packet dinner? Foil packet dinners have small prep times with little to no clean up. Foil packet dinners can be cooked in the oven or even on the grill. Here are some foil packet recipes to try.

     

    Grilled Parmesan-Ranch Chicken Foil Packs

    chicken

    • Prep Time 45 min
    • Total Time 45 min
    • Servings 4

    Ingredients

    • boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 to 5 oz each)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt-free garlic-herb blend
    • 1/2 cup reduced-fat ranch dressing
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 cups quartered small red potatoes
    • 1 cup ready-to-eat baby-cut carrots, cut in half lengthwise
    • 1/4 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
    • 1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

    Directions

    • 1.  Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 4 (18×12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil; spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with garlic-herb blend; place 1 breast on each sheet of foil. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the dressing over each breast.
    • 2. In medium bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup dressing and the water. Stir in potatoes, carrots and green beans. Divide vegetables among chicken breasts. Sprinkle with cheese.
    • 3. Bring up 2 sides of foil so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.
    • 4. Place packets on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 minutes. Rotate packets 1/2 turn; cook 5 to 15 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender and juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F).
    • 5. To serve, cut large X across top of each packet; carefully fold back foil to allow steam to escape.

    Low Country Shrimp Foil Packs

    shrimp

    • Prep Time 25 min
    • Total Time 40 min
    • Servings 4

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb small red potatoes, halved
    • 4 pieces frozen mini corn on the cob, thawed, cut in half
    • 2 teaspoons oil
    • 2 teaspoons Old Bay™ seasoning
    • 1 lb uncooked peeled deveined extra-large shrimp (16 to 20 count)
    • 12 oz fully cooked andouille sausage, sliced
    • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

    Directions

    • 1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 4 (18×12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil. Spray with cooking spray.
    • 2. Place potatoes in microwavable bowl. Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Add corn to potatoes; drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the seasoning; mix until evenly coated. Place shrimp in medium bowl; toss with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and remaining 1 teaspoon seasoning; mix until evenly coated.
    • 3. Place equal amount of sausage on center of each sheet of foil. Dividing evenly, arrange potato and corn mixture around sausage. Divide shrimp evenly over sausage. Squeeze 1 wedge of lemon over each pack.
    • 4. Bring up 2 sides of foil so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.
    • 5. Place packs on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 6 minutes. Rotate packs 1/2 turn; cook 5 to 7 minutes longer or until shrimp are pink and sausage is heated through. Remove packs from grill, cut large X across top of each pack. Carefully fold back foil; sprinkle with parsley, and top with remaining lemon wedges

     

    Grilled Meatloaf Dinner Foil Packs

    dinner3

    • Prep Time 15 min
    • Total Time 45 min
    • Servings 6

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
    • 1 package (1 oz) onion recipe and dip soup mix (from 2-oz box)
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup Progresso™ plain bread crumbs
    • 1/3 cup ketchup
    • 1 bag (1 lb 4 oz) refrigerated new potato wedges
    • 3 cups ready-to-eat baby-cut carrots
    • Fresh parsley, if desired

    Directions

    • 1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 6 (18×10-inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil; spray with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix beef, dry soup mix, egg, milk and bread crumbs. Shape into 6 loaves, 4×2 1/2×1 inch. Place 1 loaf on each foil sheet; top each with about 1 tablespoon of the ketchup. Place about 1/2 cup potatoes and 1/2 cup carrots around each loaf.
    • 2. Bring up 2 sides of foil so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.
    • 3. Place packets on grill. Cover grill; cook over medium heat 25 to 30 minutes, rotating packets 1/2 turn after 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender and meat thermometer inserted in center of loaves reads 160ºF. To serve, cut large X across top of each packet; carefully fold back foil to allow steam to escape. Garnish with parsley.

     

    Grilled Beef Fajita Packs

    dinner-4

    • Prep Time 20 min
    • Total Time 40 min
    • Servings 4

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
    • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
    • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
    • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
    • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 package (1.25 oz) fajita seasoning mix
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 8 Old El Paso™ flour tortillas for soft tacos & fajitas (from 10.5-oz package)
    • 3/4 cup Old El Paso™ Thick ‘n Chunky salsa, if desired
    • 3/4 cup sour cream, if desired

    Directions

    • 1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 4 (20×18-inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil. In large bowl, mix beef, bell peppers, onion, seasoning mix and water.
    • 2. Place 1/4 of beef mixture on center of each foil sheet. Bring up 2 sides of foil over beef mixture so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.
    • 3. Place packets on grill over low heat. Cover grill; cook 13 to 18 minutes, rotating packets 1/2 turn after about 6 minutes, until beef is cooked to desired doneness and peppers are tender.
    • 4. To serve, cut large X across top of each packet; carefully fold back foil to allow steam to escape. Serve beef mixture with tortillas, salsa and sour cream.

     

    Grilled Lemon and Salmon Foil Packs

    dinner-5

    • Prep Time 15 min
    • Total Time 29 min
    • Servings 4

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups uncooked instant rice
    • 1 3/4 cups Progresso™ chicken broth (from 32-ounce carton)
    • 1 cup (from 10-ounce bag) matchstick-cut carrots
    • 4 (4 to 6 ounces each) salmon fillets
    • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
    • 1 medium lemon, cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

    Directions

    • 1. Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. Spray four 18×12-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil with cooking spray.
    • 2. Mix rice and broth in medium bowl. Let stand about 5 minutes or until most of broth is absorbed. Stir in carrots.
    • 3. Place salmon fillet on center of each foil piece. Sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning salt and salt; top with chives. Arrange lemon slices over salmon. Spoon rice mixture around each fillet. Fold foil over salmon and rice so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again. Allow space on sides for circulation and expansion.
    • 4. Cover and grill packets 4 to 6 inches from low heat 11 to 14 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with fork. Place packets on plates. Cut large X across top of each packet; fold back foil.

     

    Cleaning Tip – Ovens

    For light soil on an oven door, use dishwashing liquid or a mild all-purpose detergent and hot water. Do not use an abrasive powder or an abrasive pad or steel wool. Oven shelves are usually too large to fit in the dishwasher; instead hand wash in the sink or the bathtub. Always check the manufacturer’s care manual before you begin. The type of oven you own will determine how you clean it.

    Self-cleaning ovens – These ovens will turn spills into a powdery, gray-ash residue that you wipe off with a damp cloth at the end of the cycle. Ventilate the kitchen during the cleaning cycle to reduce smoke and fumes in the room. If vaporized soil leaks through, use the mildest nonabrasive cleaner to scrub the oven’s door seal. Avoid scrubbing the gasket itself. Never use commercial oven cleaners, harsh abrasives, or scouring pads. Porcelain- coated racks, a feature on some ranges, can be left in for cleaning during self-clean cycle. Metal oven racks can be left in but will discolor and become hard to slide, so it’s generally recommended to remove them. If you decide to leave them in, after the cycle completes try coating the side edges with a light coating of vegetable oil to ease sliding.

    Non-self-cleaning ovens – Wipe up standard ovens after use with a hot, damp cloth or non-abrasive scouring pad. Clean up spills on the oven floor immediately so cooked-on food will not build up. Loosen grease by placing a cup of ammonia in a warm oven. Turn the oven off and close the oven door. Leave it sit for several hours or overnight, then wipe the interior out using a sponge dipped in hot water and detergent. For stubborn stains, use a commercial oven cleaner and a plastic scrub pad or brush. Wear gloves and be sure to have proper ventilation.

     

     

     

     

  • Living Green – Cleaning Recipes

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    When it comes to cleaning and household chores in general, you can work greener by making your own cleaners from some basic ingredients, and these products will save you money. Listed below you will find several different recipes for cleaning supplies to use throughout your home.

    Freshen up

    For a bathroom freshener, make your own air freshener using 1 teaspoon of baking soda , 1 teaspoon of vinegar (or lemon juice), and 2 cups of hot water. Pour mixture into a spray bottle and spritz away. White vinegar has a slight scent while wet, but leaves no odor after drying.

    All-purpose cleaner

    Dish soap is enough for most cleaning jobs. For extra power, soapy ammonia is a versatile cleaning agent. You can use it in place of a commercial all-purpose cleaner for everyday kitchen and bathr0om cleaning. Dilute according to the instructions on the container od ammonia.

    Mild abrasive scrub and stain remover

    Baking soda can be used for a variety od purposes, such as removing stains from tile, glass, oven doors, china, cleaning inside of the refrigerator, helping to absorb orders and removing baked-on food from pans. It also acts as a stain remover for fruit juices and mild acids. It is also a mild abrasive for scouring delicate surfaces.

    Window and glass cleaner

    Just add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 quart of water in a spray bottle and you have a safe, eco-friendly window cleaner. Some recommend using half vinegar and half water. For extra-dirty windows, try 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap, 3 tablespoons of vinegar, and 2 cups of water. Shake well.

    Furniture polish

    Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in 1 pint of mineral or vegetable oil, and wipe furniture. Microfiber cloths work best to polish and dust furniture.

    Rug deodorizer

    Deodorize dry carpets by sprinkling liberally with baking soda. Wait at least 15 minutes and vacuum. repeat if needed.

    Silver polish

    Boil 2 to 3 inches of water in a shallow pan with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a sheet of aluminum foil. Totally submerge silver and boil for 2 to 3 more minutes. Wipe away tarnish. Repeat if necessary. Another alternative is to use nonabrasive toothpaste.

  • Mother’s Day

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    Mother’s Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world, and Mother’s Day 2018 occurs on Sunday, May 13, in the United States. The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar. While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day traditionally involves presenting moms with flowers, cards and other gifts.

    Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”

    Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service.

    Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.

    The origins of Mother’s Day as celebrated in the United States date back to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children.

    These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.

    Another precursor to Mother’s Day came from the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.

    Other early Mother’s Day pioneers include Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist who inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s. The duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering, meanwhile, both worked to organize a Mothers’ Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some have even called Hering “the father of Mothers’ Day.”

    The official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.

    After gaining financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, in May 1908 she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. That same day also saw thousands of people attend a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.

    Following the success of her first Mother’s Day, Jarvis—who remained unmarried and childless her whole life—resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar. Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood.

    By 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. Her persistence paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

    Anna Jarvis had originally conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. Her version of the day involved wearing a white carnation as a badge and visiting one’s mother or attending church services. But once Mother’s Day became a national holiday, it was not long before florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity.

    While Jarvis had initially worked with the floral industry to help raise Mother’s Day’s profile, by 1920 she had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candies.

    Jarvis eventually resorted to an open campaign against Mother’s Day profiteers, speaking out against confectioners, florists and even charities. She also launched countless lawsuits against groups that had used the name “Mother’s Day,” eventually spending most of her personal wealth in legal fees. By the time of her death in 19

    While versions of Mother’s Day are celebrated worldwide, traditions vary depending on the country. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is always celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit.

    Another alternate observance of Mother’s Day can be found in Ethiopia, where families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood.

    In the United States, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated by presenting mothers and other women with gifts and flowers, and it has become one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. Families also celebrate by giving mothers a day off from activities like cooking or other household chores.

    At times, Mother’s Day has also been a date for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968 Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children. In the 1970s women’s groups also used the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.

    Cleaning Tip – Wooden Salad Bowl

    Wipe a bowl out with a nonabrasive pad or cloth dipped in warm, sudsy water. Rub until food particles are removed, and dry the surface immediately. Never soak a wooden bowl in water, put it through the dishwasher, or leave it in direct sunlight. If the wood appears to be dry, rub in some vegetable oil; to season it. Use a paper towel to remove the excess.

     

     

  • Cinco de Mayo

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    Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Cinco de Mayo 2018 occurs on Saturday, May 5. A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.

    In 1861, Benito Juárez—a lawyer and member of the indigenous Zapotec tribe—was elected president of Mexico. At the time, the country was in financial ruin after years of internal strife, and the new president was forced to default on debt payments to European governments.

    In response, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz, Mexico, demanding repayment. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew their forces.

    France, however, ruled by Napoleon III

    , decided to use the opportunity to carve an empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large force of t

    Certain that success would come swiftly, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juárez rounded up a ragtag force of 2,000 loyal men—many of them either indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry—and sent them to Puebla.

    The vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans, led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza, fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez gathered his army—supported by heavy artillery—before the city of Puebla and led an assault.

    The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers. Fewer than 100 Mexicans had been killed in the clash.

    Although not a major strategic win in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s success at the Battle of Puebla on May 5 represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement. In 1867—thanks in part to military support and political pressure from the United States, which was finally in a position to aid its besieged neighbor after the end of the Civil War—France finally withdrew.

    The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico in 1864 by Napoleon, was captured and executed by Juárez’s forces. Puebla de Los Angeles was renamed for General Zaragoza, who died of typhoid fever months after his historic triumph there.

    Within Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely victory occurred, although other parts of the country also take part in the celebration.

    Traditions include military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events. For many Mexicans, however, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks and stores remain open.

    In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations.

    Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, in part because they identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans (such as Juárez) over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla.

    Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

    Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla.

    Independence Day in Mexico (Día de la Independencia) is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.

     

    Cleaning Tip – Cast Iron Outdoor Furniture

    Durable and easy to maintain as cast-iron prices are, they can rust easily. Remove rust spots wit a wire brush or by sanding, then paint with a metal primer, followed by a coat of rust-inhibiting, exterior paint. Oil the hinges of the furniture to keep them from rusting.

     

     

  • Administrative Professionals Day

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    Administrative Professionals Day highlights the important role of administrative professionals in all sectors of the modern economy worldwide. It is on the Wednesday of Administrative Professionals Week, which is on the last full week of April.

    Celebrate Administrative Professionals Day

    Administrative Professionals Day and Administrative Professionals Week are widely observed in many workplaces in the United States and other countries around the world. Many employers and supervisors arrange events to show their appreciation of the work carried out by administrative professionals, to highlight their importance to the organization and to enhance their work-related skills.

    Public Life

    Administrative Professionals Day is an observance but it is not a public holiday in the United States.

    About Administrative Professionals Day

    During World War II, there was an increased need for skilled administrative personnel, particularly in the United States. The National Secretaries Association was formed to recognize the contributions of secretaries and other administrative personnel to the economy, to support their personal development and to help attract people to administrative careers in the field. The association’s name was changed to Professional Secretaries International in 1981 and, finally, the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) in 1998.

    These changes in name reflected the changing nature of the tasks, qualifications and responsibilities of the members of the organization. IAAP now has an international orientation and continues to provide education and training and set standards of excellence recognized by the business community on a global perspective. The organization’s vision is “to inspire and equip all administrative professionals to attain excellence”.

    The first National Secretaries Week was organized in 1952 in conjunction with the United States Department of Commerce and various office supply and equipment manufacturers. The Wednesday of that week became known as National Secretaries Day. As the organization gained international recognition, the events became known as Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day. In 2000, IAAP announced that names of the week and the day were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsibilities of the modern administrative workforce. Many work environments across the world observe this event.

     

  • Tax Day

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    Many United States residents mark Tax Day as the deadline to file their income tax details to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The date is usually on or around April 15. This year it is April 16.  However, this deadline may be extended to accommodate holidays or extreme weather conditions.

    What Do People Do?

    A large proportion of residents of the USA have to inform the IRS of all income that they received in the previous fiscal year. Some groups, particularly veterans, pensioners and some low-income families, do not have to file a tax return unless they wish to qualify for certain types of income subsidy. Others may wait until the last moment to file their tax return and pay any money they owe. Some people may find that filing a tax return is complicated, while others may feel that they should not have to pay income tax. In the United States, income tax returns may be filed on paper or electronically. Now, people are encouraged to file a return via Internet as this is efficient and reduces the risk of mistakes being made or documents being lost in the mail.

    Public Life

    Tax Day is not a federal public holiday in the United States. Schools, post offices, stores and other businesses and organizations are open as usual. Public transport services run to their usual schedules and no extra congestion on highways is to be expected.

    Background

    Income tax was first introduced in the United States of America in 1861. A rate of three percent was levied on incomes above $800 per year and the resulting revenue was used to help fund the American Civil War effort. However, income tax was seen as unconstitutional and the law was repealed in 1872. The idea of a tax on personal income, at a rate of two percent, was reintroduced in the Revenue Act of 1894, but the legal status of this kind of tax was still unclear. In 1913, the “Sixteenth Amendment” to the Constitution of the United States was ratified. This cleared the way for the modern income tax system in the USA.

    The details of the income tax system have changed greatly since 1913. The top rates of tax have varied enormously and were particularly high during the First and Second World Wars and the Great Depression. Individuals and families with very low levels of income do not have to pay income tax and may receive some subsidy via the tax system.

    In 1913 Tax Day, or the filing deadline, was fixed on March 1. However, it was moved to March 15 in 1918 and April 15 in 1955, where it has remained since then. If April 15 falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a civil holiday, such as Patriot’s Day, the deadline is extended to the next working day. An extension due to a holiday may only affect certain states. In 2007, the residents of some states were granted an extension due to the disruption to public life in many areas caused by a huge Nor’easter storm. In some years in Washington DC, Emancipation Day may be the reason to extend the deadline for filing an income tax return (Tax Day). In 2007, the observance Emancipation Day in Washington DC had the effect of nationally extending the 2006 income tax filing deadline from April 16 to April 17. This 2007 date change was not discovered until after many forms went to print.

  • Spring Cleaning

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    House Cleaning #5            

     

    Spring is arriving upon us and with that comes flowers blooming, fresh cut grass and the chore of spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is a tradition that allows you to freshen up your home. Spring cleaning helps you focus on the parts of your home that have been neglected all winter long. Listed below you will find some tips to help you get the job done with special attention given to seasonal chores for the springy time of year.

    The Kitchen

    • Dust down the ceiling and corners of the walls
    • Dust and clean the ceiling fan
    • Take down curtains and/or blinds to wash them
    • Apply oven cleaner and clean the oven
    • Clean out old food from the refrigerator and freeze, then clean inside
    • Wipe down kitchen appliances
    • Clean out kitchen cabinets and drawers
    • Run the dishwasher empty
    • Wash out trash can
    • Wipe down wall, doors and baseboards
    • Wipe switch plate covers and door knobs

    The Dining Room

    • Dust down the ceiling and corners of the walls
    • Dust and clean the ceiling fan
    • Take down curtains and/or blinds to wash them
    • Wash down dining table and chairs
    • Wipe walls, doors and baseboards
    • Wipe switch plate covers and door knobs
    • Clean carpet

    The Living Areas

    • Dust down ceiling and corners of the walls
    • Dust and clean the ceiling fan
    • Take down curtains and/or blinds to wash them
    • Dust and clean out the furniture
    • Dust down lamps and lampshades
    • Wipe walls, doors and baseboards
    • Wipe switch plate covers and door knobs
    • Clean carpet

    The Bedroom

    • Dust down the ceiling and corners of the walls
    • Dust and clean the ceiling fan
    • Take down curtains and/or blinds to wash them
    • Wash all bedding
    • Flip your mattress
    • Dust down lamps and lampshades
    • Wipe walls, doors and baseboards
    • Wipe switch plate covers and door knobs
    • Clean carpet

    The Bathroom

    • Dust down the ceiling and corners of the walls
    • Dust vents
    • Take down curtains and/or blinds to wash them (shower curtain included)
    • Wash inside and outside of the medicine cabinet and linen cabinet
    • Wipe down walls, doors and baseboards
    • Wipe switch plate covers and door knobs
    • Shake out and/or wash rugs
    • Wash out trash can

     

    These are just some of the tips for spring cleaning that you could do in your home. If you need help in your spring cleaning endeavors, you could always hire a local cleaning company to come in and help you. The smallest amount of help could make a world of difference. Happy Spring and good luck with your spring cleaning adventures.

  • April Fool’s Day

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    april-fools-day-banner

     

    April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day is celebrated every year on April 1st by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April Fools. People playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting April Fool.

    April Fools’ Day has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians have speculated that April Fools’ Day, dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. The people who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1st and continued to celebrate it during the last week of march through April 1st became the butt of the jokes and hoaxes. Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to ancient festival known as Hilaria, celebrated in Rome at the end od March and has people dressing up in disguises. There is also speculation that April Fools’ Day is tied to the vernal equinox, or the first day of spring, when Mother Nature fooled people with unpredictable weather.

    In the modern times, people have gone great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day pranks. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and even Web sites have participated in the April 1st tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled audiences. For example, in 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch, who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. Another example would be from 1998, when Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” which tricked tons of clueless customers when they requested the fake sandwich. That is just a couple of the pranks that big companies have played on people.

    The practice of April Fool pranks and hoaxes are controversial and there are mixed opinions of the critics. There are both positive and negative sides to April Fools’ pranks. The positive side of April Fools’ can be good for one’s health, because it encourages jokes, hoaxes, pranks and good old belly laughs. With the laughter brings the benefits of stress relief and reducing strain on the heart. The negative side describes April Fools’ hoaxes as creepy, manipulative, rude and a bit nasty. Sometimes, April Fools’ jokes or hoaxes are misinterpreted, like stories that are intended as jokes are taken seriously. With the negative can come adverse effects, such as confusion, misinformation and even legal consequences. Just be careful with your April Fools’ pranks and think of others before you do them.

     

     

     

  • Easter

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    Easter ~ He Is Risen

    Easter, the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s mot important holiday. It is called the moveable feast, because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as the other holiday’s do. Instead, Christian Churches celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox. Therefore, Easter is observed between March 22nd  and April 25th every year.

    The exact origins of this religious feast day name are unknown. Some sources claim the word Easter derived from Eostre, a Tuetonic goddess of spring and fertility. While, other accounts trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, which is an ancient reference to Easter week and the white clothing worn by the people who were being baptized during that time. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became the word Easter in English. In Spanish, the word Easter is known as Pascua and in French as Paques. These words are derived from the Greek and Latin words Pascha or Pasch meaning Passover. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection happened after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. That is when Pascha eventually came to Easter.

    Easter is an entire season of the Christian church year, as opposed to a single day observance. Lent, which is the 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday, is a time of reflection and penance. Those 40-days represent the days Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, at a time in which Christians believe he survived various temptations by the devil. The day before lent starts is known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday and is the last hurrah of food and fun before the fasting begins. The week that proceeds Easter is known as Holy Week and includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. The Friday before Easter is know as Good Friday and honors the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. The Saturday before Easter is Holy Saturday and focuses on the transition between the crucifixion and resurrection. The 50-days following Easter Sunday are called Eastertide and include a celebration of Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

    In addition to Easter’s religious significance, there is also a commercial side that is filled with mounds of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks, which appear in stores year after year during Easter time. Also, every year over 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made. Over the centuries various folk customs and pagan traditions like Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets and candy have become a standard part of the Easter holiday.

    Easter~ Eggs 1                 

     

     

  • Spring is Near!

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    Spring ~ Tulips #3Spring is arriving upon us and with that comes flowers blooming, fresh cut grass and the chore of spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is a tradition that allows you to freshen up your home. Spring cleaning helps you focus on the parts of your home that have been neglected all winter long. Listed below you will find some tips to help you get the job done with special attention given to seasonal chores for the springy time of year.

    The Kitchen

    • Dust down the ceiling and corners of the walls
    • Dust and clean the ceiling fan
    • Take down curtains and/or blinds to wash them
    • Apply oven cleaner and clean the oven
    • Clean out old food from the refrigerator and freeze, then clean inside
    • Wipe down kitchen appliances
    • Clean out kitchen cabinets and drawers
    • Run the dishwasher empty
    • Wash out trash can
    • Wipe down wall, doors and baseboards
    • Wipe switch plate covers and door knobs

    The Dining Room

    • Dust down the ceiling and corners of the walls
    • Dust and clean the ceiling fan
    • Take down curtains and/or blinds to wash them
    • Wash down dining table and chairs
    • Wipe walls, doors and baseboards
    • Wipe switch plate covers and door knobs
    • Clean carpet

    The Living Areas

    • Dust down ceiling and corners of the walls
    • Dust and clean the ceiling fan
    • Take down curtains and/or blinds to wash them
    • Dust and clean out the furniture
    • Dust down lamps and lampshades
    • Wipe walls, doors and baseboards
    • Wipe switch plate covers and door knobs
    • Clean carpet

    The Bedroom

    • Dust down the ceiling and corners of the walls
    • Dust and clean the ceiling fan
    • Take down curtains and/or blinds to wash them
    • Wash all bedding
    • Flip your mattress
    • Dust down lamps and lampshades
    • Wipe walls, doors and baseboards
    • Wipe switch plate covers and door knobs
    • Clean carpet

    The Bathroom

    • Dust down the ceiling and corners of the walls
    • Dust vents
    • Take down curtains and/or blinds to wash them (shower curtain included)
    • Wash inside and outside of the medicine cabinet and linen cabinet
    • Wipe down walls, doors and baseboards
    • Wipe switch plate covers and door knobs
    • Shake out and/or wash rugs
    • Wash out trash can

     

    These are just some of the tips for spring cleaning that you could do in your home. If you need help in your spring cleaning endeavors, you could always hire a local cleaning company to come in and help you. The smallest amount of help could make a world of difference. Happy Spring and good luck with your spring cleaning adventures.