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Friday, December 13, 2019

Happy Birthday National Guard

Happy Birthday to the United States National Guard!!!
The first national guard was created December 13, 1636. The Massachusetts General Court created the militia from those able to serve that were between the ages of 16 to 60. This was not the first organized militia but the National Guard is the first organized establishment. The National Guard is older than the United States itself and still has its roots in Massachusetts. Following the formation of the United States each state would establish its own militia. Perhaps you would be surprised if you found out that the early militias were not known as the National Guard, 
It would not be until 1933 that the state militias would come to be known as the national guard. Following WWII the United States National Guard would also form the Air National Guard. 

 Members of the national guard are citizens that also hold down full time civilian jobs and / or attend school. When the need arises these civilian soldiers are called up to be part of the current military operation. Moreover each state, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and territories of Guam and U.S. Virginia Islands are blessed with Army National Guard and Air National Guard. 
Both the community and country are served by the National Guard Soldiers. When called upon it may be at a time of domestic emergency, overseas combat missions, help with reconstruction or a number of other things that the military may call up members of National Guard. Thus helping to protect the freedoms and ideals of Americans is always at the top of the members of the national guard.

Serving Up Some Hot Chocolate

Today would be a great day to get a hot cup of chocolate or cocoa and celebrate National Cocoa Day. Each year on December 13th this national day occurs and helps to usher in the beginning of the winter holidays. Hot cocoa has long been made with cocoa powder, heated milk or water and sugar. On the other hand hot chocolate while often used in conjunction with hot cocoa is not necessarily the same thing since hot chocolate is made with cocoa butter, hot milk and drinking chocolate. 

Cocoa beans were found to be very useful by the Aztecs in early civilization. Travelers from Mexico had helped bring the drink to civilizations around the world. Like many things the Europeans are credited with making the chocolate drink first created by the Mayans popular. However, that was only the beginning as cocoa would go through many more changes.
Hot chocolate has also been found to have health benefits. Because of the antioxidants that cocoa has it may be helpful in preventing cancer. The cocoa bean has been shown to be helpful with digestion as well as having positive effects on arterial health. Perhaps now that you know more about cocoa perhaps you are ready to share some with family and friends

There is no right way or wrong way to serve your guest up some hot chocolate. One of the fun and becomingly popular ways is to set up a hot chocolate bar. You can simply doing this by putting out a few ingredients such as marshmallow, and one or two more topping items or you can go to extremes and set up a bar that may contain any or all of these great ideas:


  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon and sugar
  • Marshmallow
  • candy canes
  • caramel
  • toffee bits
  • coconut
  • Peppermint Patties
  • butterscotch candies, crushed
  • candy sprinkles
  • cinnamon cereal
  • mini chocolate chips
  • chopped nuts



Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Give GIfts that Helps Thinking Caps Go On

What does dress-up, finger painting and action figures all have in common?? The top guess would be that they are all things kids love to play with. They are much more than that though. Children who pretend to dress up to play a role, paint a great picture, play action figures as if the war is for real are all using their imaginations as they play. Perhaps it makes sense that children that spent time doing these things also built skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. 




Some of the best toys that help build skills of imagination that may and often do lead to skills needed in education include:
  • puppets, dolls and action figures
  • books for coloring or / and filled with activities
  • art and craft supplies as well as stickers
  • pretend dress up clothes and props such as play food, toy cars, etc...
  •  blocks and materials to build with
  • musical instruments

Critical thinking skills that help children analyze and evaluate problems to be able to solve it alone are often learned first thru play. Think about it when your child answers a riddle or plays a completive board game they are using their minds to complete such tasks. In a like manner these skills are needed to solve math problems, learn vocabulary words as well as to learn how to read and write. Toys that require children to use logic in thinking allows them to learn how and why things work as well as to search for correct solutions. Toys that are best for teaching logical thinking include:
  • jigsaw puzzles or for younger children start with shape sorters
  • puzzles that require logic knowledge for younger children start out with busy boxes
  • games such as clue, chinese checkers, guess who that teach strategy 
  • construction toys such as marble runs for younger children nesting and stacking toys work great
  • science and chemistry sets
So when you are out selecting the perfect Christmas gift for the children in your life consider the toys that may show progress year after year as they grow 

Gumdrop Cookie #recipe



1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of chopped gumdrop

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar
Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition
Beat in vanilla
Combine flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl
Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture while the mixer is still running.
Fold in the chopped gumdrops
Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Honoring the Greatest

The Nobel Prize was established in a will left by the late great Alfred Nobel. The Swedish Norwegian Club in Paris would be the place where Nobel would leave his late will only to be open after his death. The family of Nobel disagreed with the will as much of this wealth was left to establish a prize that would be awarded to names of individuals listed in the will. Perhaps if you knew a bit about Alfred Nobel you would understand the importance he thought behind his act.



Alfred Nobel from Sweden could speak 5 languages by the age of 17. Not only a businessman but an inventor as well he held 355 patents during his lifetime. Perhaps one of his patents for the invention of TNT rings a bell. Thus the invention of a prize to award those who led the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace was very important to him. 

Those that will be awarded Nobel prizes are awarded at the beginning of October each year. On the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death, December 10th in Stockholm Sweden , the awards of handed out. The winners will each receive a Nobel diploma, a medal and 10 million Swedish crowns per prize. 

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Human Rights Day

December 10th, 1948 witnessed a documentation being proclaimed that would stand for all humans every where. The document would be presented to the United Nations General Assembly and was known as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was a proclamation of sorts calling for the inalienable rights that every human being should be entitled to. No matter the individuals race, color, religion, sex, language, opinion, origin or any other status should stand in the way of these rights. Because the document is one that holds such importance it has been translated into over 500 languages.



Basic human rights include freedoms such as right to life and liberty, freedom and thought and expression and equality before the law. It is easy to see how these rights should belong to each and every person. However, not everyone feels the same way and do not believe that all humans are entitled to certain rights simply because they are human.



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Monday, December 9, 2019

Enjoy a Pastry today

When you visit the local bakery whether it be a shop or a space in a mall or store more than likely they will have pastries for sale. Pastries come in a great variety with all of them containing flour, sugar, milk, butter, baking product and eggs. Perhaps you may have a favorite pastry whether it be pies, tarts, or quiches. 

Some of the earliest pastries can be traced back to ancient Mediterranean. These early pastries were mostly paper thin, multilayered baklava and phyllo dough. Early crusaders from Northern Europe would bring pastries back with them from  the Mediterranean. Renaissance chefs from Italy and France would perfect the early pastries. Later chefs from the 17th and 18th centuries would bring with them new recipes such as cream puffs and eclairs. 

Pastries come in a variety of forms including 
  • Shortcrust pastry – simplest and most common.
  • Sweetcrust pastry – similar to the shortcrust but sweeter.
  • Flaky pastry – simple pastry that expands when cooked.
  • Puff pastry – has many layers that cause it to puff when baked.
  • Choux pastry – very light pastry that is often filled with cream or other fillings.
  • Phyllo pastry – paper-thin pastry dough that is used in many layers.
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