Monday, December 31, 2012

Today is... 
New Year's Eve
Today is New Year’s Eve! Send your best wishes to loved ones near and far with free New Year’s eCards. This special occasion is celebrated across the globe. Many cultures have fireworks displays and other festivities to celebrate the start of the New Year. In Mexico, people make a wish and eat a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the countdown to the New Year. In Brazil, they typically dress in white to bring good luck and peace for the year to come.
In the United States, New Year's Eve is a major social holiday. Huge crowds gather in New York City to watch the ball drop in Times Square, a tradition that began in 1907 after firecrackers were outlawed. At midnight, it is customary to kiss a loved one, toast with champagne, and sing "Auld Lang Syne.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve at home with your family or out on the town with your friends, and enjoy the countdown to midnight! Happy New Year!

Today is also National Champagne Day 

December is
National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 31
1897 - Brooklyn, NY, spent its last day as a separate entity before becoming part of New York City.

1929 - Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played "Auld Lang Syne" as a New Year's Eve song for the first time.

1940 - As a result of a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP (the American Society of Composers and Publishers), the radio industry was prevented from playing any ASCAP-licensed music. The ban lasted for ten months.

1946 - U.S. President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1967 - The Green Bay Packers won the National Football League championship game by defeating the Dallas Cowboys 21-17. The game is known as the Ice Bowl since it was played in a wind chill of 40 degrees below zero.


Reflections on Life"When you were born, you cried, and the whole world rejoiced. Live such a life that when you die the world will cry and you will rejoice."


Friday, December 28, 2012

Today is...

National Chocolate Candy Day

It's National Chocolate Candy Day! Chocolate candy is one of the most popular sweets in the world. It can be combined with everything from nuts and caramel to raisins and pretzels to make some of our favorite chocolate treats!
Did you know that during the Second World War, the U.S. Government commissioned Milton Hershey to create a candy bar to include in the soldiers' rations? The recipe his company created is now the famous Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar.
Today, chocolate is still clearly an American favorite treat. Over 2.8 billion pounds are consumed annually. On average that means each person consumes over eleven pounds per year! To celebrate National Chocolate Candy Day, enjoy some of your favorite types of chocolate candy.

December is National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 28

1836 - Mexico's independence was recognized by Spain.

1902 - The first professional indoor football game was played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Syracuse defeated the Philadelphia Nationals 6-0.

1945 - The U.S. Congress officially recognized the "Pledge of Allegiance."

1964 - Initial filming of the movie "Dr. Zhivago" began on location near Madrid, Spain. The movies total running time is 197 minutes.

1981 - Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American test-tube baby, was born in Norfolk, VA.


Reflections on Life"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try."

--Beverly Sills

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today is...

National Fruit Cake Day

Today is National Fruit Cake Day! Although fruit cakes are certainly a delicious treat to enjoy around the holidays, they are quite possibly the most popular item for re-gifting. A whopping 38% of people say they give fruit cakes away when they receive them!
Nevertheless, fruit cakes have remained popular for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians buried their loved ones with fruit cakes because they believed this particular food was essential for the journey to the afterlife. The Crusaders were known for eating fruit cakes during their campaigns. The small cakes could withstand long journeys without spoiling and were full of nutritious items like dried fruits and nuts.
To celebrate National Fruit Cake Day, buy one of these holiday treats at your local grocery store to share with friends!

December is National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 27

1831 - Charles Darwin set out on a voyage to the Pacific aboard the HMS Beagle. Darwin's discoveries during the voyage helped him form the basis of his theories on evolution.

1932 - Radio City Music Hall opened its doors to the public for the first time.

1945 - The World Bank was created with an agreement signed by 28 nations.

1947 - The children's television program "Howdy Doody," hosted by Bob Smith, made its debut on NBC.

1971 - Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Woodstock of Charles Schulz’ "Peanuts" comic strip were on the cover of "Newsweek" magazine.

1978 - Spain adopted a new constitution and became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.

2000 - Mario Lemeiux (Pittsburgh Penguins) returned to the National Hockey League (NHL) as a player after over 3 years of retirement. He was the first owner-player in the modern era of pro sports. Lemieux had purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins during his retirement from playing.

2001 - U.S. President George W. Bush granted China permanent normal trade status with the United States.


Reflections on Life"You don’t just luck into things as much as you’d like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it’s friendships or opportunities."

--Barbara Bush

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Today is...


The week-long celebration of Kwanzaa begins today! Send free Kwanzaa eCards to friend and family in honor of the occasion. This holiday was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 to honor African American heritage. It reflects upon and celebrates seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
On each day of the celebration, a candle is lit on the Kinara. Today, on the first day of Kwanzaa, a black candle is lit to symbolize the people. To the left of the black candle are three red candles, representing the people's struggles. To the right of the black candle are three green candles, symbolizing the people's hope for the future. The candles are lit from left to right, one candle for each day of the celebration.
Celebrate African American culture, and enjoy the festive meals and gift-giving! We wish you a Joyous Kwanzaa!

Today is also Boxing Day & National Candy Cane Day
December is National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 26

1776 - The British suffered a major defeat in the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolutionary War.

1865 - The coffee percolator was patented by James H. Mason.

1917 - During World War I, the U.S. government took over operation of the nation's railroads.

1921 - The Catholic Irish Free State became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain.

1944 - Tennessee Williams' play "The Glass Menagerie" was first performed publicly, at the Civic Theatre in Chicago, IL.

1947 - Heavy snow blanketed the Northeast United States, burying New York City under 25.8 inches of snow in 16 hours. The severe weather was blamed for about 80 deaths.

1982 - The Man of the Year in TIME magazine was a computer. It was the first time a non-human received the honors.


Reflections on Life"To feel that one has a place in life solves half the problem of contentment."

--George Edward Woodberry

Friday, December 21, 2012

Today is...

Winter Solstice

Today is the Winter Solstice! Autumn has officially come to an end. The winter solstice occurs when the sun's position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance from the hemisphere, resulting in the shortest day and longest night of the year. For the Northern Hemisphere, this usually occurs between December 21 – 23 each year. In the Southern Hemisphere it takes place between June 20 – 23.
Did you know that the word “solstice” means, “sun stands still”? This seasonal milestone has been celebrated since ancient times. The Romans, for example, honored Saturn, the god of time and harvest, with a weeklong feast called Saturnalia.
While the traditions surrounding the winter solstice differ from culture to culture, most recognize it as a symbol of rebirth. Various festivals, gatherings, and rituals take place today worldwide. To celebrate the winter solstice, attend a local festival or spend time with your friends and family around a cozy fire.

Today is also Kiwi Day & Forefathers Day
December is National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 21
1620 - The "Mayflower," and its passengers, pilgrims from England, landed at Plymouth Rock, MA.

1879 - Ibsen's A Doll's House was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark, with a revised happy ending.

1913 - The "New York World" Sunday edition included a crossword puzzle as an added feature of the "Fun" supplement. It was the first crossword puzzle to be published.

1937 - Walt Disney debuted the first, full-length, animated feature in Hollywood, CA. The movie was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

1968 - Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon.

1995 - The city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control.


Reflections on Life"Nothing seems so tragic to one who is old as the death of one who is young, and this alone proves that life is a good thing."

--Zoe Atkins

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Today is...

National Sangria Day

It’s National Sangria Day! This refreshingly fruity drink is the perfect cure for your winter blues. There are thousands of different variations of sangria that combine such ingredients as sliced fruit, honey, sugar, juice, carbonated soda, red or white wine, and other alcohols. Each combination changes the flavor, alcohol content, and carbonation of the sangria. 
Sangria is a popular drink at bars, pubs, and restaurants in Portugal, Spain, and Mexico, and at tapas restaurants in the United States. However, at one point, it was illegal to serve sangria in the state of Virginia! It violated an obscure 75-year-old law that did not allow the mixing of wine or beer with spirits. Violators of this law could be charged with a misdemeanor, a hefty fine, and up to a year in jail. It was not until 2008 that the Virginia General Assembly finally legalized the serving of sangria.
To celebrate National Sangria Day, conjure up your favorite sangria recipe to enjoy with friends and family!

Today is also Go Caroling Day & National Fried Shrimp Day
December is National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 20
1606 - The "Susan Constant," "Godspeed" and "Discovery" set sail from London. Their landing at Jamestown, VA, was the start of the first permanent English settlement in America.

1803 - The United States purchased the Louisiana Territories from France for $15 million.

1880 - New York's Broadway became known as the "Great White Way" when it was lighted by electricity.

1928 - Mail delivery by dog sled began in Lewiston, ME.

1946 - The Frank Capra film "It's A Wonderful" Life had a preview showing for charity at New York City's Globe Theatre, a day before its "official" world premiere.

1963 - The Berlin Wall was opened for the first time. It was only for the holiday season. It closed again on January 6, 1964.


Reflections on Life"The crown of life is neither happiness nor annihilation; it is understanding. These are the moments of revelation which compensate for the chaos, the discomfort, the toil of living....These are the moments in which all the disorder of life assumes a pattern. We see; we understand; and immediately the intolerable burden becomes tolerable; we stand for a moment on the slopes of a great mountain from the summit of which we can see the truth, and thus enjoy the greatest felicity of which we are capable."
--Winifred Holtby

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Today is...

National Hard Candy Day

Celebrate National Hard Candy Day! Who doesn't love a piece of hard candy now and again? Its sweet, sugary taste literally causes your mouth to water. Today is a celebration of all types of hard candies—everything from lollipops to candy canes to caramels. It's no wonder that hard candy has remained so popular all these years!
Hard candy can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, Arabia, and China. Archaeologists in all of these regions have found traces of “candied” fruits and nuts that had been dipped in honey, which is a preservative. There is also evidence that people stuck sticks into their candy treats to keep their hands from getting sticky as they ate them, just like our modern lollipops!
Did you know that the world's largest lollipop weighs 6,514 pounds? Ashrita Furman and members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre made it in August of 2009 to break the Guinness World Record. To celebrate National Hard Candy Day, enjoy a piece (or two) of your favorite hard candies!

December is National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 19

1562 - The Battle of Dreux was fought between the Huguenots and the Catholics, beginning the French Wars of Religion.

1843 - Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was first published in England.

1871 - Corrugated paper was patented by Albert L. Jones.

1917 - The first games of the new National Hockey League (NHL) were played. Five teams made up the league

1959 - Walter Williams died in Houston, TX, at the age of 117. He was said to be the last surviving veteran of the U.S. Civil War.

1980 - The film "9 to 5," with Dolly Parton, opened.

1984 - Britain and China signed an accord returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.

1997 - "Titanic," the highest grossing film ever made, opened in American movie theaters.


Reflections on Life"If you are called to be a street sweeper, sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'”

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today is...

National Bake Cookies Day

'Ya gotta just love Bake Cookies Day.........
Bake Cookies Day comes at an opportune time. It's right amidst the major December holidays. It serves as a reminder to bake holiday cookies, if you haven't done so already.
Young and old celebrate this day by baking their favorite cookies. Make a party of it, and bake cookies in groups with family, friends, kids and grandkids. Don't stop at baking just one kind of cookies. Plan to bake a number of cookies. Try a new recipe, or two, or three, or....
If you bake more than you can eat, good for you! Wrap up gift trays filled with cookies for friends and neighbors. Many cookies freeze well, too.
Important Note: we are very surprised that Bake Cookies Day is not immediately followed by "Eat Cookies day" 

December is National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 18

1865 - Slavery was abolished in the United States with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution being ratified.

1936 - Su-Lin, the first giant panda to come to the U.S. from China, arrived in San Francisco, CA. The bear was sold to the Brookfield Zoo for $8,750.

1956 - Japan was admitted to the United Nations.


Reflections on Life"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy not rich; to study hard, think quietly, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds and babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the commonplace. This is to be my symphony."

--William Henry Channing

Monday, December 17, 2012

Today is...

National Maple Syrup Day

It’s National Maple Syrup Day! Maple syrup is a distinctly North American product. Canada, the largest supplier of maple syrup, produces over 5 million gallons of it each year!
Native Americans were the first to harvest and boil the sap of the maple tree into a thick syrup—a process that was documented and adopted by early settlers in the 1600s. Tapping a maple tree does no permanent damage to the tree and only 10% of the sap that is produced in a year is actually collected. Many maple trees have been tapped for 150 years or more! Did you know that it takes 30-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup? Maple syrup can also be boiled down to produce maple cream, maple sugar, and maple sugar candy.
Whether you like your maple syrup as a topping on pancakes, waffles, or vanilla ice cream, enjoy some today in honor of National Maple Syrup Day!

December is National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 17

1843 - "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens was published.

1903 - The first successful powered-airplane flight took place near Kitty Hawk, NC. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the flight.

1959 - The film On the Beach premiered in New York City and in 17 other cities. It was the first motion picture to debut simultaneously in major cities around the world.

1969 - Television history was made when Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki Budinger were married on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.

1986 - Davina Thompson became the world's first recipient of a heart, lungs and liver transplant.

1992 - U.S. President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement.


Reflections on Life"The purpose of life is a life of purpose."

--Robert Byrne

Friday, December 14, 2012

Today is...

Monkey Day

Today is Monkey Day! Quit monkeying around and take a moment to participate in this celebration of all things simian!
Did you know that there are three distinct types of simian primates? Familiar species like baboons and macaques are classified as Old World Monkeys; capuchins and howler monkeys are New World Monkeys, and chimpanzees and gorillas are Apes. There are currently 264 known monkey species in the world.
To celebrate Monkey Day, dress in your favorite monkey attire, share your favorite monkey photo with your friends, or donate to your favorite monkey charity. While you’re at it, don’t forget to indulge in some mischievous monkey business! For more ideas, visit the official Monkey Day website.

Today is also National Bouillabaisse Day
December is National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 14

1503 - Physician, astrologer and clairvoyant, Nostradamus, was born at St. Remy, Provence, France.

1799 - The first President of the United States, George Washington, died at the age 67.

1946 - The U.N. General Assembly voted to establish the United Nation's headquarters in New York.

1985 - Wilma Mankiller became the first woman to lead a major American Indian tribe as she formally took office as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

1995 - The presidents of Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia signed the Dayton Accords to end fighting in Bosnia.


Reflections on Life"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature."

--Anne Frank

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Today is...

National Cocoa Day

It’s National Cocoa Day! Nothing warms you up better on a cold winter day than a nice cup of hot cocoa! Cocoa (the dried, fully fermented seeds of the cacao tree) is the basis for cocoa powder, which is used to make the hot cocoa beverage we all know and love. Did you know that monkeys were the first creatures to discover that the cacao plant was edible and quite tasty? Over 1500 years ago, monkeys began to consume the pulp of the plant and spit out the beans. Humans soon began to follow the monkey's example and the rest is history.
Cacao trees are grown all over the world, but it is believed that the first cacao trees grew in South America. Cocoa is similar to wine in that its flavor differs depending on the location where it is grown. It's a good thing that cacao trees are plentiful because approximately 300 to 600 cocoa beans are needed to make just two pounds of chocolate!
To celebrate National Cocoa Day, make your favorite type of cocoa to enjoy. For a holiday twist on a traditional cup of cocoa, try adding a candy cane!

December is National Fruit Cake Month & National Egg Nog Month

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for December 13

1913 - Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" was found. It had been stolen on August 22, 1911.

1961 - Anna Mary Robertson Moses, "Grandma Moses," passed away at the age of 101.

1978 - The Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony U.S. dollar. The coin began circulation the following July.

1987 - U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz told reporters in Copenhagen, Denmark, that the Reagan administration would begin making funding requests for the proposed Star Wars defense system.

1991 - Five Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union agreed to join the new Commonwealth of Independent States.


Reflections on Life"The amount of satisfaction you get from life depends largely on your own ingenuity, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. People who wait around for life to supply their satisfaction usually find boredom instead."

--Dr. William Menninger