Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed in 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. 

• The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873
• 1890 - Memorial Day was recognized by all northern states. 
• The South refused to acknowledge the day until after World War I

What changed? The holiday now honors all Americans who died fighting in any war, not just those that died fighting in the Civil War. 

• Some southern states still have a separate day honoring the Confederate war dead: 
 January 19 in Texas
 April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi
 May 10 in South Carolina
 June 3  in Louisiana and Tennessee, which just happens to be Jefferson Davis' birthday

Memorial Day (Remembrance Day, Poppy Day, Armistice Day) is a day to remember those of the armed service who gave their lives in service to their country since World War I. 

How did poppies come to symbolize Veterans? 
In 1922, The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States organization  started the VFW "Buddy"® Poppies, to provide aid and assistance to disabled and needy veterans. During an encampment those veterans assembled the artificial poppy flowers and were paid for their efforts. The VFW "Buddy"® Poppies program provided financial assistance as well as therapeutic programming to those brave people who had sacrifices so much for their country.  Since that time the VFW "Buddy"® Poppies are still assembled by and therefore providing financial compensation to disabled veterans,  as well as providing additional funds to support the continuing to support national and state veterans rehabilitation hospitals. The red crepe paper poppies  

Now 75 years later the Veterans of Foreign Wars has raised millions of dollars to support the health and wellbeing of veterans and to continue to honor all who have fallen. 

The poppies became the symbol of the Veterans of Foreign War and Memorial Day when Colonel John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada's First Brigade Artillery, wrote a poem memorializing the rows and rows of graves that were witnessed at Flanders' Battlefield in western Belgium during World War I. McCrae summarized his feelings in his know well known poem, In Flanders Fields.

Monday, May 22, 2017

FREE! Watch Rhythmic Gymnastics in Lake Placid (NY)

Rhythmic Gymnastic teams watch competitors at the
Lake Placid Olympic Training Center (OTC) 
There is something so beautiful about watching athletes strive to be their very best. On the surface, the focus around Lake Placid seems to surround those winter Olympic sports. There are hockey camps and pond hockey events. There are national and international alpine ski races. Lake Placid hosts aerial ski jumping events, Nordic races as well as Luge, Bobsled and Skeleton World Cup championships. Being so close to all these unique sporting competitions has allowed my family to participate in events, watch world-class competitions, and learn new sports.

Tucked within the Olympic village, another unique sport is hosting an array of regional and national competitions. The USA Gymnastics Rhythmic program is hosting a variety of events to select the very best athletes to proceed to the next level of their sport. 

 Rhythmic Gymnastics club members perform as Individuals or teams during a floor routine using special elements such as a ball, clubs, rope, hoop, and ribbon. Each routine is practiced until perfect and then choreographed to music. The female-only sport was first integrated into the summer Olympic program at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.  Between 1984 and 1992, participants only competed on an individual level.  It wasn’t until the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games that a team category was added to the gymnastics competition. The Olympics may have only recently included Rhythmic gymnastics to its docket, but the sport started in 1880s from a variety of disciplines including classical ballet.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Make Your Own Paper Beeswax Drinking Straws. Say No to Plastic!

Earth Day is Every Day!

I hate plastic drinking straws. My children both have been taught to say NO to the straw when we go out to eat. It isn't a perfect scenario. My daughter has braces and finds it to be more comfortable to drink out of a straw.

Years ago I purchased stainless steel straws. I have a container near the fridge and she and visiting friends can grab a straw to use around the house.

To solve the issue of plastic outside the house, I looked into purchases paper straws. Though inexpensive, the packaging and shipping can be an issue.

It seems making paper straws would be a simple enough, and it is. Below are a few templates to make things easy for you. I used beeswax because I have a lot of it on hand for candle making. I'm sure other waxes could be used, but I love the smell of honey. According to members of my family, the beeswax didn't change the taste in anyway. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Make Your Own Easter Egg "Confetti Egg" Cascarónes

Cascarónes are a lot more fun than just dying the eggs. You get to blow out the egg, dye the egg, fill it with confetti and smash it on your brother's head - all in the name of good luck.                                            

Cascarónes are used in Mexico during Carnival as well as Easter and other celebrations. The word cascaron means "egg shell." (Don't forget food safety when handling raw eggs.) 

These hollowed-out eggs can be filled with glitter, confetti or even small toys. Since my husband hates glitter, we stick to paper confetti. Enjoy! 

raw eggs in shells
large needle (children should not do this alone)
boiling water
food safe dye
confetti (make your own by cutting up tissue paper into small pieces)

1) Wash the eggs with soap and warm water
2) Gently ease the needle into one end of the egg
3) Use the needle to pick out a small hole at one end
4) Shake the contents of the egg into another bowl (can be cooked with later)
5) rinse empty shell with hot water
6) let dry

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Faugh a Ballagh! (Clear The Way!) for Irish Road Bowling History, Rules and Terms

Faugh a Ballagh! (Clear The Way!) is the battle cry of Irish Road Bowlers to make sure no one is hit by an approaching cannonball. 

From green beer to corn beef and cabbage, some of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day traditions have very little direct connection to Ireland. Not to downplay the importance of dressing in green, parades and brined meat, but one fun tradition that has been practiced in Ireland for hundreds of years in the counties of Cork and Armagh, is the sport of Irish Road Bowling. 

Originally known as Long Bullets, Irish Road Bowling's North American the road bowling history is a great deal shorter. The first American outpost of the Irish Road Bowling League was founded in 1996 in Boston, MA. Since that time there have been a small number of leagues founded in West Virginia and New York with non-official games sprouting up all over. As in all games, Irish Road Bowling has its own lingo where a road shower gives advice and you never want to break the butt

A few years ago my Adirondack family decided to claim our Irish traditions, via family in Cork and being dabblers of green beer, with an afternoon of bowling in Indian Lake. We register as a family team and are handed a bullet, the official 28 oz. iron ball with an 18 centimeter circumference. It looks like a cannonball. Though it feels less like bowling and more like bocce, the energy is infectious. 

Fintan Lane's book Long Bullets: A History of Road Bowling in Ireland where he traces the history of the game that is believed to have originated in the Scottish Lowlands. The game spread to Northern England, Ireland and North America. Though no documents can be found to authenticate the claim, the road bowling belief is that the iron bowls were originally cannonballs

Irish Road Bowling consists of teams of four to bowl an official 28 oz. iron ball from Point A to Point B down a country road for almost a mile. The team with the least number of bowls is the winner. There are no penalties and each team alternates bowls. Though most people show up with formed teams, singles looking for a place are fit into teams when possible. American rules allow for teams of four while traditional Irish Road Bowling is an individual sport.